A Coruña – Chapter 17


We took the train to A Coruña and are in a hotel close to the ocean (Eurostars Cuidad de la Coruña).

This is the view from our fifth floor window– you have to pay extra for the view but we just completed our 1000 kilometer walk so we are rewarding ourselves.)

We walk on a trail behind our hotel and look back at where we are staying.

We pass by sculptures and artwork.

We walk toward the Tower of Hercules — the old Roman lighthouse refurbished and currently  in operation.

The view from the top.

I read Chapter 17 of the Tao te Ching:

“When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.”

[This is another of Lao tsu’s “political” chapters — we will consider how his discussion might be useful on a psychological level.]

Views from our our hotel window — always changing but, like your self-concept, always similar.

We are in the Plaza Maria Pita. In 1589, Maria Pita was assisting her husband, a captain defending the city from English attack. He was killed by a crossbow bolt as the English assaulted the city walls. Maria Pita then killed an English soldier at the highest part of the wall. “Whoever has honor, follow me!” she shouted. The English assault was then repelled and the English abandoned their siege and returned to their ships.

“If you don’t trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.”

[Can you trust yourself? People with addictions cannot trust themselves. People with negative, recurring patterns of behavior should seek to change themselves.]

We follow a procession past the Church of Santiago.

We look inside the church. I pray that you come into harmony with your inner self.

We watch the procession pass.

“The Master doesn’t talk, he acts.”

[If you are facing sadness, anxiety, depression, PTSD — think about what you need to do besides focusing on the problem. Figure out a self-help plan.]

The next day, we walk on the trail past the lighthouse. We are going to the Finnisterre Aquarium.

“When his work is done,
the people say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”

We watch the fish.

We see a shark.

[Lao tsu’s concept of “doing nothing” is held up as a logical method for rulers — but within nature, the big fish eat the little fish. If you are a little fish, you must watch out — your anxiety may not be completely useful but awareness of reality is required. Put together a plan that involves self understanding.]

We visit the military museum and see a diagram of the forces arrayed for the battle between French and British troops on January 16, 1809. The Peninsular War (1807-1814) involved Napoleon’s Empire and Spain, Britain, and Portugal. France destroyed the ability of Spain to fight and, in 1809, British Lt. Gen. John Moore sought to withdraw his troops and return to England.

The ships sent to aid him did not arrive in time and the French attacked. The soldiers lined up and fired on each other (about 20,000 French vs. 15,000 British). After hundreds were killed, the French attack was repelled, allowing the British to escape and board their ships.  General Moore was mortally wounded but lived to be informed that his battle plan had been successful.

It is strange to think about the hundreds who died on this day. This was not a particularly meaningful event — if the French had not attacked, the British would have withdrawn without a battle. This battle was similar to some I experienced in Vietnam — meaningless events — outcomes without resolution.  What is the use of it?

Traumatic events are harmful psychologically but recovery is possible through meditation.

We see a portrayal of the Roman lighthouse before it was repaired in the 1700s. When left alone, the light house deteriorated.

These flowers are called Angels Trumpets.

A different color


The museum contains a medieval boat — very different from those in the harbor.

Lao tsu did not advocate technological change since “progress” is not always psychologically healthy.

Be aware of this possibility — playing with your iPads and cell phones may not lead to happiness.

People who want to come into harmony with themselves must ponder self-change.

“Doing nothing” can be a symptom of depression. Lao tsu’s prescription of “doing nothing” refers to a special state of mind. Don’t be lazy. Seek the Inner Way.

The Inner Way involves meditation, a focusing of the mind. If you wish to develop this skill — which can lead to inner peace and happiness — you need to apply yourself. Practice!

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