Always running

By Paulo Coelho

The monk Shuan was always telling his students about the importance of studying ancient philosophy. One student, known for his iron will, made a note of all Shuan’s teachings and spent the rest of the day reflecting on the ancient thinkers.
After a year spent studying, the student fell ill, but continued to attend the classes.
‘I’m going to carry on studying even though I am ill. I’m on the trail of wisdom and there’s no time to lose,’ he said to his teacher.
Shuan replied:
‘How do you know that wisdom is ahead of you and that you must run after it? Perhaps it’s walking along behind you, trying to catch up, and you, in some way, are not allowing it to do so. Just relax and let your thoughts flow, for that too is a way of achieving wisdom.’

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  1. Yajna says:


    Your story is incredible, i admire your strength. Thank you for sharing. CWG, has also given my faith back again at many times. I don’t know what to say, just thank you :)


  2. Yajna says:


    Thats a lovely story. Its so amazing how the world works- sometimes we always get what we want but in a unique form. Congrats on your daughter, she sounds lovely :)

    love Yajna

  3. Isabel says:

    Agradeí§o a consideraí§í£o que teve em responder ao meu pedido, e deixo aqui uma frase para pensar.



  4. Isabel says:

    Ventos de Primavera

    A tua vida voará
    Quando já ní£o me vires
    Ficarás sozinho
    Quando já ní£o estiver a teu lado

    E alguém te encontrará
    Outra vida

    Minha passagem será eterna
    Tal como o vento que me levar

    O meu ser ficará
    Nas vidas
    Nos muitos rostos que por mim passaram

    Nos dias de Primavera

    Meu cheiro í  mistura com as flores

    Mesmo que eu esvoace
    E meu cheiro seja levado pelo vento
    Enquanto houver Primavera
    Eu estarei sempre aqui

    Tal como é

    Queria ser uma Princesa
    Ter um vestido gracioso
    Cor-de-rosa ou azul
    Cor de um sonho impossí­vel

    Ter um castelo
    No cimo da montanha
    Um prí­ncipe de encantar
    E uma bruxa para derrotar

    Queria chamar á atení§í£o
    – Olha a princesa
    – Que bela que é

    Logo acordou
    O sonho terminou
    A princesa virou menina
    A menina ficou triste

    Já ní£o tinha vestido
    O castelo era de brincar
    O prí­ncipe desaparecera
    E a bruxa nunca chegou a figurar

    A menina lacrimeja
    Mas a felicidade impera
    Numa famí­lia feliz
    Que ela ní£o queria mudar

    Reflexo da Alma

    Ní£o escrevo sempre o que sinto
    Mas o que vejo sentir
    Ní£o passo de uma tradutora
    De olhos que vejo fingir

    Em cada rosto que enxergo
    Uma palavra me sai
    É como se conhecesse a alma
    De quem fica e de quem vai

    Mentiras ní£o posso escrever
    Porque os olhos nunca mentem
    Apenas tento expressar
    O que as pessoas sentem

  5. Myzpax says:

    Once Isabel Allende had her future predicted by a woman and she was told that one of her sons would be known all over the world. Eventually it did happen. Her daughter, a beautiful smart woman, had a strange and rare disease and had to stay in the hospital in coma. Doctors said that if she ever got out of it she wouldn’t remember anything so her mother, being a writer while at her bed side, wrote the story of their family, to give to her daughter if she ever got out of the coma. But unfortunately she didn’t and passed away and she became kown all over the world through the words her mother had written while keeping her company in the hospital. Life has the most unexpected ways of making something come true.

    I was born into a poor family in one of the poorer areas of where I live. My father was a hard working man who always gave mother the money he earned. My mother was also hard working and sweet, the kind of person who would get out of her way to help you. When she was healthy. When she was not she was terrified of everything and nothing. After I was born she started suffering from deep depressions and having very negative feelings about herself. I remember my father saying about when I was a baby how he once found her outside trying to crawl into the dogs little house. She said that’s where she belonged. My father sold the tinplate house where we lived and move in with his parents, because of course, both me and mother needed to be taken care of. I was 15 months old when we moved into a low rental tinplate house close to where father worked. They had two more sons. We were poor but we always had the minimum necessary to live. I went to school until the fourth grade with no problem. After that it was always an uncertainty because I was a girl, and my parents didn’t think I needed an education as much as my brothers. Besides that mother would get her depressions and since I was the girl I was supposed to help out. My mother’s plans for me, were to help care for the family. Fortunately for me I was in an environment where some people valued very much education even for girls and they’d tell that to my parents. Fortunately for me none of my brothers wanted to study. And I have to credit and thank my father because he put in a lot of overtime work to support me through school, and my mother because although with numerous back and forward on opinion changing, most of the time she found strength out of her depression so that I could go to school, she only stayed once or twice in a psychiatric hospital once when I was eight, I can’t quite remember the other time.

    I thank God and I will thank Him the rest of my life because I was born poor, because if I hadn’t I don’t think my parents would have let me work. My father was very strict concerning a girl’s education, I grew up listening to him say that a woman’ place was home fixing sock’s holes and that a woman who kissed her own husband outside was a little less than a whore. On mother’s side I have an aunt who to this day, says that a woman’s virginity is the greatest asset a woman has. My father helped me find a job as a clerk typist and from there on I managed to succeed on my own. I always wanted to emigrate so on my first vacation I went to Canada for two months. I tried to stay legal, but it was a long process, and I did not like the idea of being sent back because of working illegally and I came back. Mother was so sick. While I was in Canada she stayed the whole time in a psychiatric institution. She started getting depressions more often. At that time I didn’t know it, but it also was a way for her to get attention. When she was sick we’d do anything she wanted. Me and my brothers used to think she got sick because of us. Then we realized that despite the fact she indeed suffered from depression she also used it to control our lives. She was raised to be obedient to her husband’s wishes and she did so. And father was demanding and got verbally enraged over everything and nothing. When I was a kid I was terrified of him, when I got to be a teenager I revolted often and had terrible arguments with him. I felt the only way he’d listen was if I screamed louder than he did. Since mother spent more time depressed I had to help out more around the house. I used to complain a lot because she demanded it from me only. When she’d go into the psychiatric institution it was hell for me, because she expected me to be like her, and I had an eight hour job and my cooking skills were limited. It wasn’t like now with pre-cooked food or pre-cut vegetables. We did everything from scratch. My father and brothers would complain initially but little by little they started changing. To my amazement even father would help. One day I had a huge migraine, I cooked and served dinner and had to go to bed. The next morning he had washed the dishes. He didn’t use a single drop of detergent, but I know he did his best. But then when mother came home he went back to being a little tyrant. Looking back now I feel like there wasn’t two people in my parents marriage. It was a triangle. In some ways father depended on mother, and mother depended on me.

    I don’t mean to blame my parents for everything that happened to me. Parents might be to blame for some things but at a certain point you have to be responsible for your own choices. They had a hard time dealing with their own emotions let alone help me deal with mine. I had some romantic notions about love but I didn’t have a good image of marriage. On one hand I was certain I did not want for me what I had seen home, and I did not want a son to go through some of the things I did. On the other falling in love was hell for me. It had literally a stupidifying and paralyzing effect on me. By what I’ve said so far you can probably make some guesses. But it wasn’t that easy for me. When you grow in a certain environment it’s hard to imagine let alone convince yourself and those around you things can be different. Fortunately I had work and father started being more liberal with me when I came back from Canada, because he didn’t want me to leave the house and I had already done that once.

    There was a guy I used to talk to a lot. We studied music together and had a few things in common. I can’t say I was in love with him, if I was it would be impossible for me to be near him. I never wanted to get married a virgin because I felt it like a sign of possession and I didn’t want to be anybody’s possession. And even though I didn’t consciously think that way at the time I wanted to know how I would feel and who I would be after I lost ‘my biggest asset.’ The beliefs I grew up with, did disturb me but so did my body and a confused want for intimacy and I didn’t know how to deal with it except by grabbing the bull by the horns. And I did. I thank God for such a powerful force as sex, because it forced me to think about the true nature of love.

    Then my life took a big shift. I was in a vehicle accident and in bed for nearly three months, my family moved to another house, away from the friends I grew up with, we didn’t have a phone, I didn’t have a car, so even if I wanted to have done things differently I’m not sure if I’d have been that successful. I felt like isolating myself and circumstances helped to it, with the exception of work. It was a very productive time for me. I learned to sew, I learned to cook, I read lots of books, for about two years. Then I met this guy at work. He seemed like a really sweet guy, and my colleague started telling me I should invite him to our work’s Xmas party. And I did. But even before I did I fell into hell. I had fallen into the swirling black hole. For the next two years, from morning to night time I had to make a titanic effort not to think about suicide and the many ways it is possible to do it. I did not take medication. I saw mom taking it all her life and that took her nowhere and even the psychologist I talked to a few times reminded me to much of the mental institution she’d go to regularly. But she was very helpful. The few times I talked to her helped me understand that the reason why I often felt so unloved had to do with the psychological abandonment I had been subject to by my mother when I was a baby. So I started forcing myself to be with people, and make friends, hard as it was in the beginning. I started writing because it slowed down the tornado of catastrophic thoughts I had in my head. Writing helped me organize my thoughts and I walked a lot, I organized work parties I helped at home and I slept as much as I could. Surviving those two years was the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life and the only reason I didn’t commit suicide was because I believe in reincarnation, and that I would be put in such a position in another life, and another until I overcame it. So I thought, I might as well deal with it now. I thought for some time that God had abandoned me but I never stopped believing and then one day it hit me that even though I couldn’t feel Him like I used to, He was there for me. And He was.

    At that time I met another guy. I loved to be and talk to him. The moments I spent with him were a shelter from the storm. But he wanted nothing with me or any other girl. He never got married. But he was also the kind of person, he doesn’t want you, but doesn’t want you, to want anybody else, either. I hang on to him for a few years. Hate is the worst form to be connected to someone. I didn’t hate him but… With him I learned a very important lesson. I always believed in Mt. 17, 20-21 ‘If your faith is the size of a seed of mustard, you will tell this mountain, move from here to there. And it will. And nothing will be impossible to you’. I never thought this could happen in a negative way. I didn’t wish him bad, but I wished with all my heart someone would make him understand how much he hurt me. And it happened. He had a daughter with a woman, who made his life and his parents’ life hell for some time. When he told me that, I was so ashamed I promised myself I would never wish anybody anything less good. Not that I think what had happened to him had been my fault, but my ‘prayers’ did not help at all to prevent that.

    By coincidence or maybe not, thinking like that changed my life for better. Things and friends started coming more easily to me, mom was healthy for three years. Recently I had bought a car, I got a new more satisfying job, I started studying and practicing music again and within two years I bought a house.

    Life was perfect for a while except for romantic relationships. And then mother started getting longer and more severe depressions again. Even though I lived on my own I still helped out. Then about three years ago I felt like I couldn’t take another disappointment. And God came to me. Through coincidences. My life started being an amazing sequence of coincidences, through which God talked to me. If I had a question or doubt I’d find answers quickly for it, sometimes immediately, in a movie, a book, through a cell phone message from a friend. He “talked” to me only once. It sounded more like a woman. I can’t describe what I heard any other way but as the Voice of Love, the beautiful Voice of Love . Hearing it made me want to talk like that all the time, even though I still get angry especially if I’m stressed or caught by surprise I always try to keep that Voice in mind.. At first I was literally in heaven. And life treated me good for a few months, I got into college, had an exciting musical project to work on. But I also paid a price for it. I don’t ever remember being so tired by Summertime. I wasn’t sleeping and should have noticed it was not a good sign. I remember I was at work and was watching about the conflict between Israel and Palestine and how they used babies as human shields. I work for the Armed Forces. At that time I felt I did everything wrong. I nearly fainted at work and was taken to the hospital. For the first time in years, again I was afraid of wanting to commit suicide. I asked to be taken to a psychiatric institution. I stayed there five days. I seriously considered becoming a nun and work for peace and peace alone. It would have been a mistake. Fortunately I found a wonderful doctor. And fortunately I had read Conversations with God. For you see when I promised not to wish anything less good to anybody I forgot to include myself. I used to think very negatively about myself. Because of not being exactly the woman my family would like. I went spend a vacation in the wonderful place my mother’s family still lives. And my aunt said it again. I did not agree but I didn’t know what a woman’s greatest asset was. I thought of kindness, courage, the love you have to give. That seemed the best one. But then I thought of a friend who got a sickness that immobilized her. And I realized Life is your greatest asset, because without it, you can’t experience Love. My friend was immobilized but she could watch TV, and learn something and she could pray for others. That’s love, for yourself and others. After realizing that Life was your greatest asset and that sex was the origin of it, I felt like a weight had been taken off my shoulders. I was at peace with my body.

    Coincidences kept happening to me. I read a phrase more or less like ‘The book of Life starts with a man and a woman in a garden of wonders and ends with Revelations.’ Then I realized that as a coincidence, or maybe not, the Book of Life has a man and a woman in a garden of wonders in the beginning, in the middle (Song of Songs) and in the end. From there to the Tree of Life was a step. And the part of CWG where you talk about being thankful came to my mind… Beee thankful. AAAl the time. For everything.

    And I am thankful. And I was able to take another disappointment because I found how to nourish my own self esteem through my own thoughts. And that’s one of the things I’m working on now. A constant struggle but worth fighting for because I know from experience that if you can’t love yourself you won’t be able to love anybody else, not in positive, healthy way.

    I do realize that what I said about the Bible can be used to excuse some excesses but on the other end my intention is to prevent existing excesses. There is way to many distorted ideas about sex and love, to much intolerance towards women, towards homosexuals. I said it before and I’ll say it again. It is with sadness I believe AIDS is the answer to a lot of peoples ‘prayers’ for hating their bodies, themselves and their lives. We are Body, Mind and Soul. But I believe even more that the Highest Love will always prevail. He always has He always will.

    May the Love of God surround us all

    Thank you


  6. Sou escritor e jornalista. Fui, certa vez, portador de um texto seu, ótimo, para La Insignia, Carta Aberta a Bush. Publico hoje uma ficí§í£o livre – como deve ser toda ficí§í£o – sobre o dia em que vocíª ganha o Príªmio Nobel de Literatura. Está em

  7. dancing bird says:

    …So true, just like another form of retreat.
    Trying to just be, not doing, not thinking, but just to be.
    Love C.

  8. fLUXman says:

    bo0om paulo,_—-)))
    wow whats on the wave edge of your light warriors, have been on a trip to shirdi to give baba my thirds daughters first hair ( this is normal amongst us hindus here in india, one pledges ones childs first hair to whichever god they believe in). ved_a_nki thats her name gave her hair without a sigh she was smiling. I was pretty stressed out taking my second and third out on their first flight in their lives. had the parental concern, which sometimes crosses that of ones belief in ones god. was worried about her getting nicked, not holding still for the complete head shave. you can imagine how it must feel, ved_a_nki is 15 months old and born in my fortieth year and is my third daughter. well the 5star we were putting up didnt give permission for a hair shave on their premises. had to wake up at five, it was a chilly morning, at six i put her in my arms and went to the nearest barber , about 200 mts walk accomponied by my second chand_a_num and my wife. sat myself with my baby in my arms and we massaged her scalp with warm water. it was an open air barber shop.i was really tensed. then came along this young dog. he was so friendly and he walked up to ved_a_nki and amused her all through shave which went amazingly well no nicks. i was filled with a kind if joy, the sun rise, this lovely friendly dog playing with vedanki, chand_a_num was entertaining her sister and joined in the play. there were a thousand sparrows on their morning twitterings. and suddenly i felt that god was with me. soon the barber shoeed the dog awaya. and i asked him whose dog it was. his reply was, never seen him around here. thats how we as an organism are. sharing with you all my friends those tears of joy,

  9. Prasad Mothadaka says:

    Agreed. We strut and fret, chasing the unfathomable and forsaking what is in our reach. There comes an end. Long back an Indian origin Nobel laureate wrote some thing like “One need not climb all the way to the top of Everest just to experience dawn. One can make shack over looking Everest, can get-up every day early in the morning to experience it. At same time all the chores can be attended to.

  10. Juhi says:

    So much emphasis is laid on effort that we tend to overdo things. As Osho said,’Being effortless is the key’. Something which is very difficult to understand.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  11. IN says:

    Sometimes you have to let the universe do it’s thing, to let things run it’s course, if you keep saying that the future is better than where you are now then you are living in the future not in the present.
    The things you learn have to be used to live a rich life, not the other way around.

  12. Maris says:

    Yes, indeed, we learned a lot by being still. We do a lot of better thinking when we are not on a rush or when we quietly conversing with ourselves. Me? I do that when washing my clothes by my hands manually. That’s the time when I review my previous actions and converse with my self. Weird neh? :p

  13. aditya says:

    doing a little meditation / setting aside sometime each day, preferabely at the same hour, for not doing anything has been helpful.

  14. Milk says:

    I think I will get some of the things.
    And invited you to my blog!

  15. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo,

    Whenever i read something written by you it always impacts my life, and has come at the perfect timing. I’ve been thinking all day, that i need to stop thinking. Sometimes thinking too much is more destructive than constructive, and sometimes its just good to relax. Its so often when you stop analysing life, and start living it, you start really figure things out. Naturally. Thanks for this story. I needed it. You’re awesome :)

    Thank you for being.

  16. Beatriz says:

    what is normal, normal is looking at poor kid on the street asking for money or food, normal is looking around and not seeing anything but sadness, normal is looking high and few people is going to be there enjoying life, normal is waking up everyday with hope…

  17. Cristina says:

    Aveces siento que su escritura en como un cochero guiando un carro de caballos, a cada corsel le tiene que tirar la rienda con diferente fuerza para que el carro siga una misma velocidad y se deslize suave.

    Gracias por aceptar esta responsabilidad y llevarla con talta etica.