The four forces

By Paulo Coelho

Father Alan Jones says that in order to build our soul we need the Four Invisible Forces: love, death, power and time.
We must love because we are loved by God. We must have an awareness of death in order to understand life fully.
We must struggle in order to grow, but without becoming entrapped by the power that is gained through that struggle, because we know that power is worthless.
Finally, we must accept that our soul, although eternal, is at this moment caught in the web of time, with all its opportunities and limitations. We must therefore behave as if time existed and do everything we can to value each second.
These Four Forces cannot be treated as problems to be solved because they are beyond our control. We must accept them and let them teach us what we need to learn.

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  1. Jackie noriega says:

    quiero decirte paulo que esta es la primera vez que se me ha planteado una pregunta de tal magnitud que lo voy a intentar una a una pulir para llega lo mejor que se pueda construir mi alma. Empezarè por amar, estoy entendiendo la muerte, se muy bien que el poder no sirve para nada si no lo usamos para cosas buenas y ayudar a los necesitados y como estamos en el tiempo atrapados como una telaraña intentarè usarlos lo mejor que se pueda. gracias por que hoy se como construire mi alma

  2. rainer says:

    Hello Paul,
    in the comments i have read an interesting diversity of thoughts. The four forces are very inspiring and I ask myself, is there a fifth force, so subtle that is always forgotten – but without it, there would be no context or relation?

    1. Marie-Christine says:

      “THe Journey of the Unknown”
      WOO OO ! I like your destination..
      Thank you rainer. Beautiful.

  3. Dear Paulo,

    I wish you a sparkling Sunday and all who are reading this I blow kisses to you. I hope you read this in good health and spirits because I might say this with love but since my tone of voice is not conveyed and my facial expression is not visible, you have to take my word for it that I do not mean to offend anyone’s convictions and beliefs. I read this above text with a little chuckle.
    Here are my thoughts about those four elements.

    I chuckled not because it was a joke or anything like that but much more because the concept of “soul building” is foreign to me. To me it sounds a bit like “body building” since to me “soul” is the animate being, the body and thoughts combined in the human being itself. But hey, why not develop a spiritual muscle and get colossal as far as our spiritual convictions, faith, and loving kindness.

    It makes me think of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, who screams at the world “I FEEL GOOD!” and I am truly loving his music, I want to wake up to that song everyday and stretch out and start dancing!!!!

    Note that Genesis talks of human souls and animal souls being made:)))) At the point of creation there was one thing blown into the nostrils of Adam. Creation of life was the spirit that went forth and animated Adam (animo=spirit).

    This made him become alive. It was God’s breath of life and as such made him the living being which “is” the soul. It doesn’t say Adam “has” received a soul from the universal soul distribution centre where many others are still awaiting their body.

    But again, catholic teachings only look at the new testament. Also it combines the eternal soul concept of ancient philosophies (especially Hellenistic school of thought). To me it occurred that this was something that was instigated by the serpent’s original lie in the Garden of Eden. The serpent said to Adam and Eve:

    “You positively will not die. For your eyes will be opened and you will be like God.” God is immortal, humans were supposed to have eternal life and by that lie Satan robbed us all of it because Adam was moved to sin against God, who clearly said “Do not eat from this tree. You will positively die.”.

    This is what is also taught in Ezekiel 18:4 clearly God speaking :

    ‘Look! All the souls to me belong. As the soul of the father so likewise the soul of the son – to me they belong. The soul that is sinning – it itself will die.”

    So what we really are talking about is the spiritual part of our being, the spirit which is made of our concept of the world, thoughts, and feelings. That’s where love comes into play. Love is the only thing God cannot make us GIVE him. We have free will. If we love him unconditionally, we love him the way he loves us.
    God loves us for who we are and desires us all to come to this understanding that love is the perfect bond which makes us be “in union” with him, HE IS spirit and love is the intangible connecting and creating force that he used to create this universe.

    Our resistance to it, which otherwise expressed if we allow ourselves to be motivated by fear, we are blocking our union with him and as such we go against the notion of our spiritual connection. We loose faith.

    As far as time, and I admit that my first love A. Einstein has influenced my thinking, it is relative.

    Look at how fast time passes when you enjoy something you truly and utterly love doing. If we embrace even doing the dishes and cleaning toilets as a work of love (keeping cleanly is pleasing to God) we will learn that it’s not just the big things that can bring us in the state of feeling love.

    So, now go and love doing dishes!! Notice how time flies. LOL

    Love conquers fears. Love dissolves resistance to the uncertainty of life if we believe that God is always by our side. This knowledge is forceful.

    Love is GOD. It is power. Love is what will make us better beings. We start with the love of God, then self-love, which afterwards enables us to love others AS ourselves.

    Love is then also what essentially will get us all the way, through time and space. This invisible force is the connecting force between God and the individual who gains strength and spiritual power from him.

    HE is the only one who CAN and will eventually do away with death, until then we experience how vulnerable we are, how weak we are, how powerless we are when a baby dies and we were unable to save his life, even if trained in the highest medical and technological arts and sciences.

    Love is the best reason for embracing life, and the understanding of it comes through that we are lovingly taught by a Creator who builds up our spirit, as we are the souls that belong to him.

    He promised eternal life… time won’t matter then, right?

    1. Concentrated Lapka says:

      I so fucking love this.:;)
      I also think we really
      can’t conceptualize this
      whole thing up there like that.
      So if we understood we woulndn’t suffer.
      My question is: how do we behave towards our children
      so they can be free to love?

      Favorite books: Erich From THe Art of Loving,Zeina B. Ghandour The Honey

    2. Marie-christine says:

      I always like your comments Lydia.
      “Spiritual muscle”hey, That;s cute!
      “I feel good” Love that song 2. So much energy in it.”Big stretching exercises”
      Albert?… don’t mention it!
      Doing dishes can be a meditation in itself, considering there are hundreds of way of doing dishes.Cleansing for the body then as well.
      …”Time wont matter” then, YOU ARE RIGHT !
      Thank you for those enlightening comments.
      :) Love

  4. mariangela says:

    …..Que o momento difí­cil
    traga lií§íµes de vida
    que me faí§am esperar o que vem do Senhor
    sem amarguras, recriminaí§íµes, desapontamentos

    Que seja plena essa entrega
    iluminada pela luz de Sua face
    a beleza das cores da divina invení§í£o
    o ví´o da ave solitária
    a harmonia da música
    que preenche os vazios
    as flores que enfeitam
    as margens do caminho

    Ní£o me permita, Senhor
    aguardar na inseguraní§a
    as respostas
    que talvez ní£o venham
    a compreensí£o do Seu gesto
    que talvez ní£o chegue

    Para que essa entrega seja total
    e traduza
    pelos meios que sí£o Seus
    o sentido do amor
    que me ensinou

    (parte da poesia Oraí§í£o da entrega M.Salles )

    com amor,
    Mari Raphael.

  5. Leaf says:

    Yes, Love in one’s eye and in our state of being.
    And yes, we can feel when given love….I just mean we have no choices if someone choose not to give us love.
    But as Jesus said Love your enemies and the law of forgiveness shows, we are better off to love at all times, maybe at all costs.
    Christmas greetings.

  6. je suis du sud says:

    Acceptance of these four invisible forces is a step forward towards our freedom.


  7. aditya says:


    I read with interest what u said about love, would like to say that their is love in receiving too ! being able to receive love correctly, gracefully is also an act of love, i feel. love is in one’s eye ! love is in one’s state of being ??


  8. Monika Frotscher says:

    The Four Forces are working with full speed every day of my life! Inspired by you in this way, I also will learn faster from day to day! Thank you to the catalyst!

  9. IN says:

    Love is a very important factor in life as are hope and faith. Power is something everyone longs for but actually is worthless like the possesion of material things. Death strikes us at moments we are unaware and we must dream as if we’ll live forever so we’ll have no limits to the possibilities of our dreams but live as if every second is the last.
    Time does not heal all wounds, you do. Time is too precious to let it go to waste without something being done.

  10. Leaf says:

    With Love I say to you…love is not to fall in love but to act with compassion and therefore love, which we do consciously decide to do or not do.
    Love for children, aunts, strangers.
    Can even be given in the act of falling in love with someone other than our lover/partner….by refusing to fall in love with that other person who turned our eye.
    Therefore two forms of love exist – one to fall in and out of and one based in kindness and compassion. The latter being more potent and even important to me.

    Therefore Paulo, I say Love is in our control, in our giving yes, but not in our receiving.

    Love and prayers to all

  11. mw says:

    There is only one “power” and it is godhood–and it chooses its reality.

    boomerang logic for spiral motion says the DIVA

  12. Saraswati says:

    Absolutely agree about the Four Invisible Forces. As warriors of light, accepting the mysteries that have been given to us – accepting these four forces and their part in our journey – is liberating, humbling and fulfilling yet always mysterious, inspiring us to keep walking!

  13. Daniel Lao says:

    somehow these four elements Father Alan Jones is talking about can be synonimous to what the French Existentialist Gabriel Marcel emphasized in his work… He was talking about the distinction of problem and mystery…
    Love, Death, Power,and Time is a mystery… that is beyond our control…

  14. aditya says:

    Love – I am confused on this one, can I consciously plan to be in love; love happens ? all I can do is not to hinder it’s expression for fear of this & that.

    Power is worthless ? yep ! anything that is temporal is worthless so far as our individual journey is concerned.

    “We must therefore behave as if time existed and do everything we can to value each second.” yes Paulo ! I really understand that, hence getting bored, spending even a few monets sulking is such a waste of time. Having said this, what to do ? our mind seems to have a mind of its own, unless consciously disciplined, normally it keeps hopping, like the famous comparision with a monkey, not just that if one tries to force the mind say “for next three mnutes I will not think of a monkey or for three minutes I will just let my mind observe the seconds hand of a watch”, mind rebels and does not follow our dictates ! again lovingly disciplining it, almost continuously is the only way out as far as I can see, the device I was speaking about is designed precisely for help such an endeavour !!