Castro Dozón – Chapter 9


We leave Cea. We walk to the albergue at Castro Dozón.

I read Chapter 9 of the Tao te Ching (translated by Steven Mitchell):

“Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.”

“Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.”

“Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.”

“Care about people’s approval
and you will be their prisoner.”

“Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.”

We come to an overpass over a highway and see a place where pilgrims have constructed crosses in the fence.

Making these crosses is a way of focusing the mind.


Lao tsu advocates a way of being but is unclear about how to attain this state beyond “doing nothing.” The Lao tsu describes a  “Master” who has a highly focused mind but who “steps back” rather than being overly compulsive. The Master does not cling to a particular ideology, method, or doctrine.


“Doing nothing” is at the heart of meditation – but there is irony involved. The meditator must expend effort to continually focus his or her mind on a target, such as the breath.

I suggest trying different methods to see what works for you.

Some people find  that Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian mantras (repeating a phrase over and  over) are useful for focusing the mind. You can repeat a mantra while sitting, but a mantra  can be particularly useful while walking. Repeat the mantra again and again in time with your steps.

I used the mantra “Om mani padme hum” for many years.

We arrive at our destination. The albergue is full of bunk beds. We are in a noisy environment.

Mantras can be useful for helping you gain peace of mind when faced with compulsions, unwanted thoughts, desires, memories.

I struggled after I came back from the war in Vietnam and I found mantras to be very useful. You should plan to practice a mantra for a long time, perhaps for many lifetimes.

You can select your own mantra but you may wish to try different ones to see which one works best for you.


I have found that different mantas have different effects. After a few days of intense practice, the manta becomes part of your being. It changes things — and you can reach your self-less self.

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