As we approached the last few days of the walk the fear of not completing was behind us. Santiago was only a few days away, and we knew that whatever happened we would complete the walk. In fact it no longer mattered whether we actually arrived in Santiago. We had already gained the gifts of the pilgrimage and the arrival and physical completion was not important.
The pain in my leg had subsided and I could walk comfortably, although carefully. There was still the occasional reminder, a very sharp shooting pain going up the right shin, which usually made me swear out loud. The threat of pain both reduced any desire to go faster and brought a level of mindfulness to my walking. The rucksack was now almost forgotten, although it was still a delight to take it off.
Towards the end the weather finally cooled, after two final days of record breaking, searing heat. At last the peacefulness arrived and the walking was easy. It was almost familiar territory, like coming home. It was a land of green rolling hills, wooded and beautiful. It reminded me of how beautiful England is and how blessed we are to live here.
There comes a stage when the walking is effortless. I had experienced it several times on the walk, but never more so than now. It was nothing to do with the terrain, the countryside or my physical well being, it was all about a sense of wholeness and completion. Once everything else is taken out of the way I was overcome with a sense of being. It was a state where I felt at one with the world. In this state of being it seems that the energy flows through us effortlessly and it is no longer our effort that we use to walk.
As I wrote in my journal:
Ribadisio, 40km to go. I do not give. I do not receive, all I do is get in the way. Spirit is constantly flowing through us. We are part of the universal energy and part of the universal flow. The energy never stops flowing through us, but we can reduce our awareness of its flow and hide the flow, but it never stops.
When we are in the flow we are in the present moment. When the mind is alert and present we can be aware of the flow within us. We can become aware of the energy flowing in and flowing out. The less we do and think the greater the flow or the awareness of the flow. We do not have to do anything, except be present and alert, so that we are aware of it. We expend energy by creating an image, no energy is required to be who we are. The energy is always flowing through us. All we do is become stiller and more aware of it. There is nothing to do to make it happen.
The flow of energy through us is natural and when the energy flows through us we do not expend any of our own energy. For the energy to flow freely, the body is relaxed, the mind is quiet with a feeling of being connected and we feel open. The pilgrimage helped me to leave behind all sense of belonging, of owning and all sense of identity. There are so many nationalities, yet beyond the language differences we are all the same. Wearing the same few clothes each day for 40 days takes away the sense of image, we are what we are. Sleeping in a refuge, with bunk beds and as many as a 100 other people strips away our inhibitions, there is nothing left to hide behind. For the pilgrims approaching Santiago there is nothing left but who we are.