Why is The Spiritual Path so Painful? 

Today we we’re close to walking the exact number of miles that were registered on our first leg of the Spiritual Variant, a merging of the Portugese path and the original Sea Trail. We walked 15 miles from Ponteverdra to Armenteria.
From the pamphlet ( direct quote) : “Follow the same route as the remains of St. James on his journey to Compostela. Cross a place of great natural beauty. Discover water mills, fountains, chapels, and monasteries. Walk through many vineyards and beaches. Travel the only maritime Via Crucis in the world, where you can admire the 17 centennial cruceros (calvary) identifying this part of the Camino de Santiago as the ‘Translatio’ THE ORIGIN OF ALL ROADS.”
Somehow the description of this segment as a ballbuster is lost in the literature.  
First, there are three of us in the albergue here tonight and all three of us got lost trying to find the start of this variant coming out of town. Mame and I were preceded by our new Dutch perigrino pal Maaike. 
Next, we went from sea level all the way up to 1,800 feet on a climb above a village that was graced with a multitude of vineyards but that was also the recipient of the most direct, clear and brutally hot sunlight that I’ve experienced since my walk through the “godless expanse of desert in Southern New Mexico on my CDT thru hike in 2013. I consumed 4 quarts of water in three hours today. I was a drenched sweat ball, and only survived by judicious use of my Mylar chrome dome umbrella and dunking my bandanna in every pool of cold mountain water than was collecting in algae covered holding tanks that we passed.  
Poor Auntie Mame was my fellow wreck today, as we trudged up the inclines that stretched for much too long.  
Which bring up the issue of this Spiritual Variant. If it is truly spiritual, today’s ordeal leaned into the suffering aspect of spiritual life. Today’s segment was a mini-purgatory, a testament of the value of suffering on the path to enlightenment.   
I spent the bulk of the day “offering it up” for the better good of my life. This could of been my Ultimate Stoic test!

About tjamrog

I'm sixty-seven and live in the Maine woods. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010, Vermont's Long Trail in 2011, and the Continental Divide Trail in 2013 . I am outdoors every day. I offer guided backpacking trips and classes in Maine, through "Uncle Tom's Guided Adventures".
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