How to see the All in everything

By Paulo Coelho

 
When Ketu was twelve, he was sent to a teacher, with whom he studied until he was twenty-four. When he had finished his apprenticeship, he returned home, feeling very proud.

 
His father said to him:

 
‘How can we know something that we cannot see? How can we know that God, the Almighty, is everywhere?’

 
The young man began reciting the scriptures, but his father interrupted him:

 
‘That’s far too complicated. Isn’t there a simpler way of learning about the existence of God?’

 
‘Not that I know of, father. I’m an educated man now and I have to apply the education I was given in order to explain the mysteries of divine knowledge.’

 
‘I wasted my money sending you to that monastery,’ cried his father.

 
And grabbing Ketu by the hand, he dragged him into the kitchen. There, he filled a basin with water and added a little salt. Then they went out for a walk around the town.

 
When they got home, his father said to Ketu:

 
‘Bring me the salt that I put in the basin of water.’

 
Ketu looked for the salt, but couldn’t find it because it had already dissolved in the water.

 
‘So, you can’t see the salt any more?’ asked his father.

 
‘No. The salt has become invisible.’

 
‘Taste a bit of the water on the surface of the basin. What’s it like?’

 
‘Salty.’

 
‘Taste a bit of the water from the middle. What’s that like?’

 
‘As salty as the water on the surface.’

 
‘Now try the water at the bottom of the basin and tell me what that tastes like.’

 
Ketu tried it and it tasted exactly the same.

 
‘You studied for all those years and yet you cannot explain in simple terms how the Invisible God can be everywhere at once,’ said his father. ‘By using a basin of water and calling God "salt", I could make even a peasant understand. My son, forget the kind of knowledge that separates us from men and go in search of the kind of inspiration that brings us closer.’

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Comments

  1. Megan O says:

    The past couple days I've been walking around feeling very void. In fact I've wondered if perhaps I've become a nihilist. I've been struggling to find passion inside my soul. I've questioned the very definition and semantics of the word itself trying to come up with some way to grasp passion in my life.

    There was a time and a place that I could very easily define passion and pinpoint it in my daily life.

    Some things changed, I moved to a new place, I shed a lot of the layers and things that comprised my daily life and gave it meaning (I question now how meaningful they even were… or if they were perhaps just fabrications).

    Do other people do that? Do they waste their days trying to make these intricate connections of philosophical inquiry? Or do they appreciate the new copper color the tree outside their apartments has changed to or the way the autumn sun casts a filtered glow on a 70 degree day in October? Are they thankful for the roof over their heads and the hug of a true friend?

    All the philosophy I studied in college and all the pretentious conversations I had about politics, metaphysics… even soul… all the times I turned my nose up at simple pleasures… even turning my back on film, television, “meaningless” wastes of time…

    But, how can one go from a state of, at least, relative enlightenment to living outside of her head and being simple? Plato and the analogy of the cave (for any other philosophy snobs like myself) suggests that going back to the simple is not so… simple.

  2. Marie-Christine says:

    That reminds me of what happened to a relative of mine, when he was a child, went to the seaside, ventured into the sea, got knocked down by a wave and rushed back in saying :” Who is put salt into that water?”

  3. je suis du sud says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    Take comfort in knowing that if it is complicated, it is not spiritual. Spirituality is uncomplicated, it is designed that way so that it is accessible to all –
    We are all vibrational although most of us are not even aware about the Universe around us.
    Writers, musicians, artists, dancers, photographers etc have access to the feminine Energy, (right side of the brain)
    although it is in all of us,we just need to learn and focus on the Universal language more; so , follow your intuitions and your dreams – you are on the right path –
    not forgetting all the good ideas from Mr Coelho – writing, listening to music, visualising –
    Keep up those good vibrations,
    Love,
    Marie-Christine

  4. Kathleen says:

    Marie-Christine,
    Its interesting to read about visuals and high vibrations. I’ve mentioned before on this blog how (like quite a few people nowadays I think) I see the pictures from my dreams while wide awake, floating around the room. And one thing I have noticed is that there have often been but not always, vibrations. Once late at night while reading in bed it felt as though the whole bed vibrated. I was reading an explanation by Edgar Cayce about this but I could barely understand it. Often there are also smells and sounds. I wonder why sometimes vibrations and sometimes not.

  5. je suis du sud says:

    Everything is energy and we are electro-magnetic Hu-man beings. Hu= God

    The Feminine Energy is situated on the right side of the brain, it is holistic, visual and deals in 4D+, geometry and feelings. It is magnetic( Higher vibrations)and is part of the Universal language.

    I like to come back to the quote by Einstein who had the perfect balance. It is amazing to see how he shifts from the feminine Energy onto the masculine one and perceives both with such ease.ps
    “I will do a flight of fantasy and work on some thinking, which is not thinking as you would understand it, but a combinatorial play of some types of imageries and sensory feelings.” A.Einstein(feminine Energy)_

    The masculine Energy is situated on the left side of the brain, it is eg0-orientated and deals in 3D, algebra and intellect, it is also electric (lower vibrations0.
    “Only when this activity comes to some resolution, would I fumble on the other side of my head for words and for algebraic statements which would permit to communicate these insights with others” A> Einstein (Masculine energy) – where most people are.
    Perhaps one of the reason why it is so difficult for us to grasp the concept of spirituality is because most of our teaching is done with the left brain mind, thus creating and imbalance.

    Love, peace light (translated in the Universal language = 4D+ and higher vibrations.
    FEEL GOOD
    Marie-Christine

  6. Yajna says:

    Megan and kathleen,

    Sorry this is a bit late.
    Kath- i understand completely what you mean.. But don’t waste your energy with people like that, they often put others down to cover up their own insecurities. You know who you are, and thats whats most important.

    Megan- i’m very glad we’ve helped you in some way :) i hope that you find your perfect balance.

    love Yajna

  7. aditya says:

    Hi ! Megan & Kathleen,

    about critics view of paulo’s works ( some critics that is ), does paulo write for the critics ! does it matter if his works are considered a classic or not, they are helping people. can we grow above these classifications and see things and creatins just as they are, individual and unique !

    aditya

  8. Isabel Teixeira says:

    Olá

    Tenho enviado uns emails,para si(Paulo Coelho)

    Mas infelizmente responde sempre A D.Elza, gostava que fosse o Sr. Paulo Coelho a responder-me,isto porque gostava de lhe fazer um convite muito especial,gostava que fosse o meu convidado de honra em Portugal para o livro que vou lançar,ainda este ano, chama-se «Sem Termo». é um livro pequeno mas com sentimento, são poesias que escrevo, olhando para o Mundo e para as pessoas que me rodeiam,observo seus olhares entro nas suas vidas e depois escrevo, aquilo que vejo.
    Espero que veja esta mensagem, e que me responda.
    Seria uma honra e um prazer conheçe-lo, e tê-lo aqui comigo num dia que vai ser muito especial para mim, e nestes dias gostamos de contar com aqueles que gostamos,e eu gostava de contar com a sua presença. penso que para mim se aceitar o meu convite, será como um professor no dia da formatura do aluno, será assim que eu me iria sentir.
    obrigada

    Em todos os passos que deres lembra-te, que serão todos esses passos a influenciar o momento de hoje.
    Isabel.

    querida Isabel, adoraria ir, mas nao tenho planos para viajar a Portugal este ano. Um grande abraço, Paulo

  9. Megan O says:

    Yajna and aditya-

    Thanks for your responses. Today I went out and lived life without giving it much thought and my soul feels so much more free. Balance is very much essential to happiness.

    Thanks…

  10. Kathleen says:

    Yajna and Aditya, Thanks for your words. I don’t dislike all intellectuals at all, I admire them, I just don’t like those individuals who are intellectuals and who use their intelligence to make you feel inferior instead of involved.

    Kathleen xx

  11. WENDY ESPINOZA says:

    it is not Obcession like some poeple have told me but Admiration for Paulo Coelho. i admire the simplicity of his work yet very meaningful his books have touched millions of people in different ways. this message reflects him so much.he is like the father teaching his son an easier way to prove the existence of God. a way that all of us can understand not only the intellectual ones. That is just like Paulo Coelho through his work he teaches us about life in simple terms but yet extremely powerful.

  12. Jin-Hong says:

    the Albert E. quote is good!

    E=mc(squared)

    Some I know thought about this for a long time. And he said he finally understood it when he imagined a particle, smashed and shooting out 2 dimensionally at the speed of light… that’s Energy!

    For me that’s just the particle in a different form, aka a sheet.

    Energy to me is more like sweating it out at a basketball game & finishing it refreshed. Or that incredible impulse to write that is somehow fueled on by light or no-light.

    And energy is definitely my mum, (or wife to other- in some cases), even though she often says “I’m tired…”

    Paulo, friend, your website has great energy. Sometimes too much “good” and not enough “bad”/weight/force/character/personality.

    Anyway, what I meant to say is, I think sometimes seeking knowledge is the path through which people experience solidarity, and also each other. Knowledge of one another brings us closer! Unless of course you are referring to the tree of Knowledge from which Adam & Eve ate from, that caused them to be self-conscious.

    good night!

  13. Esteban says:

    i get two replies from people who weren’t happy with Paulo’s books. 1) too simple and 2) reads like a parable from the bible. i don’t consider either to be bad if you enjoyed the story and got something from it.

  14. Carmen Larisa says:

    First of all thank you all for the comments as they are very useful insights into humans’ hearts and minds, too. :-)
    And of course, dear Paulo, thank you so much for this beautiful story about the wisdom of seeing The All, meaning God, in everything.
    Life experience taught me that, in essence, people are very simple. We are all human beings first and foremost, though we have the tendency to forget this when feeling superior or inferior to others in certain situations…
    Then, in fact, our problems or at least the majority of them, arise from our hearts, from our internal turmoils. Even the biggest exterior conflicts humanity has, come from our inner conflicts.
    And after accepting this, it is very obvious that only by solving our inner problems, inner wars, discontentment, we will be able to change something for the better on the outside.
    As far as intelligence and wisdom are concerned, I’ve seen in various situations life offered that an intelligent person is not necessarily wise, but a wise person is definitely intelligent.
    Wisdom has nothing to do with age. You may have wisdom and be five or eighty years old.
    A very dear friend of mine and ex-colleague at highschool, whose intelligence I’ve always admired, meaning that she was good at every possible subject at school, learned so fast and understood difficult issues connected to school, proved not to be very wise as far as life matters are concerned. And I was absolutely shocked: how can a very intelligent person make such foolish decisions or be so dogmatic and not seeing the Truth, the Reality, even if the facts show you very clear how things stand…
    How can you be such an intelligent person and affirm that Christianity has found God and no one else? How can you be intelligent and affirm that you betray yourself by believing into the divine origin of each of us? How can you be intelligent and believe that God is not everywhere, not in everything and not in everyone? Even life itself is a miracle, as in each of us there is a sparkle, a little star of the Divine Spirit.
    Not recognising these, you cannot be very wise…
    But I also believe that love can overcome everything, even stubborness, so things are improving even though quite slowly, but there is a progress…
    From my own experience, I can say that too much intelligence, from the rational point of view can make you blind to emotional intelligence which is definitely wiser and more powerful.
    When you become a flower, you cannot suddenly change and behave like a leaf. Flowers should be delicate, beautiful and also spread their fragrance everywhere.
    And one more thing, I’ve seen that when people think they are very intelligent, their Ego grows so big and develop this feeling of superiority which is so stubborn and aggressive and ugly…
    A wise person is humble, loving, giving, joyful, and does not make such a big fuss over his or her intelligence. He or she is discreet and knows that being able to see The All in everything is a greater achievement than a Nobel prize…
    When we are wise, we are satisfied and thankful for everything that God gave us and also enjoy our lives, the present moment.
    Only a wise person can understand that a drop (a human being) can become the Ocean (Oneness, the All) and that also The Ocean can be in a drop…

    Love and appreciation,
    Carmen Larisa

  15. Isabel says:

    O que é o nada?
    É algo que não tem resposta,se não existisse o Mundo o que é que existiria?
    Nada, nada que é invisivel, nada é o que não tem resposta, nada é tudo o que não vemos, é o vazio para o qual não temos resposta.
    Nada é apenas uma palavra que pode ser uma pergunta que pode não ter resposta.
    No entanto esta palavra existe e utilizamos-la muitas vezes, isto porque acreditamos naquilo que dizemos sem termos a noção de que o nada é uma palavra complexa que não tem tradução.
    Quando alguem nos pergunta, -O que é que tens?
    e eu digo -Não tenho nada, estou a mentir tenho uma Alma vazia de amor,que naquele momento não estou a conseguir preencher, por isso limito-me a dizer Nada com um olhar diferente um tom de voz melancolico e com a esperança de que essa mesma pessoa insista para que eu diga o que tenho pois só assim minha Alma sentirá o colo de alguem presente para me consolar.
    E tudo isto acontece quando não sentimos no nosso interior a presença divina de tudo o que somos e de tudo o que um dia tambem fomos, agimos assim porque cada palavra nossa é como uma flecha que sai disparada mesmo sem sabermos qual a direcção simplesmente atiramos porque nos dá prazer porque foi o que um dia nos ensinaram, uma linguagem comum para todos, mas especial para quem a sabe ler e escrever com o coração.
    Especial para quem souber traduzir a palavra nada, e esta é a pergunta que eu faço para quem souber responder.
    O QUE É O NADA?
    SE NÃO EXISTISSE NADA O QUE É QUE EXISTIRIA?

  16. Nicole Bosky says:

    There is something called Book smart, and sometimes people can only exist to be that. They are what they have read and can not seem to see the deeper meaning. you forgive them, its not always arrogance or snob like behaviour.

    But in truth being wise is nothing that is gathered by a particular person..everyone gets wiser through time because we learn from our mistakes…do not hate or dislike people for trying to be the person they invision they should be. merely be sympathetic and acknoledge that, that is something you yourself do not want to be. but never be aggresive. what you dont want to be is not neccesarily what someone else doesnt want to be…remember this.

  17. je suis du sud says:

    Hi there,
    Einstein had the perfect balance,
    “I will do a flight of fantasy and work on some thinking, which is not thinking as you would understand it, but a combination of play of some types of imageries and sensory feelings. Only when this activity comes to some resolutions would I fumble in the other side of my head for words and for algebraic statements which would permit me to communicate these insights to others.” A. Einstein
    Marie-Christine

  18. Nidhi says:

    The story reminds me of a critics comment on Paulo Coelho’s work.He said that paulo’s book,that Paulo’s book are no beter than self help books and tht his work is too simple to be considered classics.Well, he should read today’s story.Our most beautiful thoughts are often the most simple ones.Simplicity is GOD.Because forget about the CLASSIC Language,but one should speak the language of UNIVERSE, which can be understood by the commom man not not just by the so called intellectual Elite class.

    Thanks Paulo for conversing us in that universal language of simplicity.

  19. aditya says:

    megan hi !

    would u tell a little more about the analogy.

    yep 1 going back to simple is not so simple 1 it’s similar to gaining once innosense. we are all born as children, innocent & cute ! then their is fall from that innocense, which is also necessary, because the self awareness is not exitant there, as we gain the sence of i, soon it becomes big I, that too is necssary. we read, study, struggle, debate, u work this brain out. From that churning, from that pain, comes the innocese which is beyond all concepts. fed with all the ‘philosophy’ we decide to drop all of it, and once again become childlike, enjoing the flight of a butterfly, dancing with the winds. just being. that too is not the end, one last step is balance, now that u know life is pretty menaingless in itself, it does not have any predetermined meaning, u chose to give it some emnaing u feel like, maybe working for preserving this beutiful planet, saving it from the beyond explaination greed of some individuals. or maybe making some painting, anything, worth your time, effort and existance.

    regards

    aditya

  20. aditya says:

    yep ! unless one is able to convey the message in simple terms,one may not have really understood the concept properly. Einstein is reported to have explained the theory of relativity simply as time flies faster when we are happy and slower when we are sad.

    kathleen don’t carry any grudge against intellectuals, they too deserve your freindship as much as the non intellectauls do, we are all travelleners on the same boat, groping in teh same darkness, let’s forgive each otehrs little foolishness. and ya intelligence and wisdom go togather, infact when one stars to get fed up of one’s intelligence, there is a possibility for wisedom to grow, but those who have not yet sparpend their intellects ( no matter where ) have little chance of becoming wise, well before u kill me, so i feel and i may be wrong.

  21. fLUXman says:

    bo0om paulo,
    we are but one organism, evolving every moment, and our common catalyst is god. god is that vibration which started all these complex vibrations and manifestations that is us. people who have written the scriptures, koran, bible, bhagavadgita etc,. have all tried to awaken our minds to peace, contentment,satisfaction, nature, togetherness, realization. what is god ???
    its a fundamental vibration with infinite resonances.
    with you always in light and no light paulo,
    bo0om
    fLUXman

  22. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo,

    I know i’m rather opinionated tonight, but i was just wondering something. How you think of this stuff? Everyday, i read your blog and everyday i’m fascinated. Do you wake up in the morning thinking.. Hmmm.. Today i will write of wisdom? Or do have things listed in advance? Or do you just randomly go with the flow of life and write and publish here whenever you feel like it, based on that? You see, its brilliant that you a write books, but thats over a period of time. This stories are random bits of wisdom, everyday, that are portrayed so incredibly, that they remind us of important things that we seem to forget. How do you know what to say? (i know this isn’t the best of questions, but i’m rather curious..)

    Thank you for being.
    Yajna

  23. Yajna says:

    Megan,

    I’ve been thinking about what you said, and personally i think your solution is balance. Why do you have to be complex but not simple? They can work hand in hand if you look carefully. As much i love to spend my time of philosophical theories, i love to sit and stare at a copper tree just as much. The theories that you learn about are put into practice in some of the simplest things in daily life. Sometimes it is best to stop analysing everything, so learning about how life works, and start living life. And in some of the greatest moments you will realise how everything is in perfect sequence. And you will start to experience how life works. Just remember, life’s about balance. You can sit all day and marvel at the beauty of an apple, and sit all night studying the composition of it. But bringing both skills together you are able to experience that apple on different levels, simply because you’ve opened your mind to it. As for your passion, just close your eyes and remember what you love. And you will discover your inspiration.

    lots of love,
    Yajna

  24. Yajna says:

    Kathleen,

    I’ve known many people who are extremely intelligent but do not hold nearly as much wisdom. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than who you are. Its so often that these people make others feel inferior simply to make themselves feel better- which is just proves that they themselves can not be very enlightened to exhibit such behaviour. I have nothing against intelligent people, and i admire many of them, but each individual is themselves, and we should not stereotype. If a person can speak to you of wisdom, whether it is simple or complex, and he or she helps you understand something, then thats what makes a person remarkable.

    lots of love,
    Yajna

  25. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo,

    This story is beautiful. It’s often in simplicity that we find the best meanings. Thats why i love your books so much. Its because their simple. Extremely complex- yes. But simple in words. It’s as though you paint a pastel picture with your words, and as i stare at the painting, going deeper than the surface, i find that i am part of the painting in many ways. That the colours are distinctly my emotions, and the expressions illustrate where i have been. Through it all, the creator, soft yet brisk brush strokes, guide me to where i wish to go.
    This story is one filled with wisdom. Wisdom that does not only come from books and studying, but wisdom that comes from life.

    Thank you for being.
    Yajna

  26. Megan O says:

    The past couple days I’ve been walking around feeling very void. In fact I’ve wondered if perhaps I’ve become a nihilist. I’ve been struggling to find passion inside my soul. I’ve questioned the very definition and semantics of the word itself trying to come up with some way to grasp passion in my life.

    There was a time and a place that I could very easily define passion and pinpoint it in my daily life.

    Some things changed, I moved to a new place, I shed a lot of the layers and things that comprised my daily life and gave it meaning (I question now how meaningful they even were… or if they were perhaps just fabrications).

    Do other people do that? Do they waste their days trying to make these intricate connections of philosophical inquiry? Or do they appreciate the new copper color the tree outside their apartments has changed to or the way the autumn sun casts a filtered glow on a 70 degree day in October? Are they thankful for the roof over their heads and the hug of a true friend?

    All the philosophy I studied in college and all the pretentious conversations I had about politics, metaphysics… even soul… all the times I turned my nose up at simple pleasures… even turning my back on film, television, “meaningless” wastes of time…

    But, how can one go from a state of, at least, relative enlightenment to living outside of her head and being simple? Plato and the analogy of the cave (for any other philosophy snobs like myself) suggests that going back to the simple is not so… simple.

  27. Kathleen says:

    Wonderful!

    Yes, I’ve always believed intelligence and wisdom don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

    I was never a particularly bright person so I suppose in a way I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder in regards to what I consider intellectual snobs. People who I think sometimes make you feel inferior and “not in the know” and they won’t enlighten you because then they can’t be better than you. I need and appreciate the simple explanation and often feel its the best one.

    Kathleen xx

  28. Quennie says:

    Beautiful. Wisdom ought not be expressed in esoteric terms.