Walked: 17.6 Km


At the donation albuergue I told the hospitalera that I was running low on cash, and that—if she preferred—I could help her out cleaning in the morning. She said she had her cleaning routine set up, but I could help by taking out the garbage out to the containers.

I understood what she meant, oftentimes unskilled help causes more work because you must give out instructions, supervise that it was done correctly and so on, so I didn’t press back, knowing that unobtrusive opportunities would come up to give back a bit more than what she was proposing.

When I woke up in the morning my awareness was attuned to being helpful, and I observed that we are utterly ignorant on the effects we cause in the pursuit of leaving early. We forget to pick up after ourselves, to wash our dishes, to put things in their proper place. A resentment arose: who do these people think they are? Can’t they see that their slack has to be picked up by us? They surely do it because they’re spoiled kids, and so on.

Of course, these thought were not entertained seriously, I simply observed them arise with a certain degree of amusement. Up until now, I had been that spoiled kid whose priority was leaving as soon as possible, never giving a second thought that there was a an unpaid volunteer picking up after me. One has to be a saint to be a good hospitalero, I thought, for resentment festers unless you possess the simplicity of unattached action.

Can these things be observed without putting yourself into the shoes of the other? One can surely imagine what it is like to be a hospitalero and foresee the consequences of slacking in personal responsibility. You may be more careful in picking up after yourself. But, by experiencing it instead of imagining it, you are able to see that the collective slack falls into the hands of the hospitalero, so your responsibility extends beyond your own mess. You may fold that forgotten blanket, pick up that stray wrapper, or wash the bowl left behind.

The spiritual lesson is to perform it without any trace of resentment. It’s more difficult that it seems.