Negative desires

By Paulo Coelho

A disciple said to his teacher:
‘I have spent a large part of my day thinking things I should not think, desiring things I should not desire, and making plans I should not make.’
The teacher invited his disciple to go for a walk with him in a forest near his house. On the way, he pointed to a plant and asked if the disciple knew what it was.
‘It’s deadly nightshade,’ said the disciple. ‘The leaves can kill you if you eat them.’
‘But they cannot kill you if you merely look at them. In exactly the same way, negative desires are entirely harmless unless you give in to them.’

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  1. andrea says:

    paulo as vezes os meus´”pensamentos negativos” me assustam, mais tenho que aceita-los para que eles nao me destruam, desejos e pensamentos negativos sao um bom caminho para treinar o aqui e agora.

  2. marci says:

    yes and no. . .yes our actions are the end point forming the manifestation, but negative thoughts can be like crab grass or deep rooted prairie grass which can take up so much productive space and plunge their root into deep caverns which suck and hoard the nutrients and livable space for the soul’s sustainability and viability. . .

  3. Karen says:

    Define “negative” ;)

  4. bbZuSh says:

    Thinking about things you should not think about and desire things that you shouldn’t be desiring doesn’t necessary think that this is bad. This could also mean that well, things that we want to do and are not allowed to. A priest would certainly not be allowed to have kids but sometimes or the other, he would want to have one. May be the wrong example but I guess you understand what I mean. I really loved what the teacher said. It’s really beautiful and deep. It might be those things we secretly dream about and might never attain.

  5. fLUXman says:

    bo0om paulo,
    to transcend judgment is when one lives the moment. what values do we humans subscribe to?
    you can feel your soul standing with you observing you.
    this non reaction, just to observe your every breathe is vipassana .
    sometimes the soul hangs out not merging with yourself then comes this hollowness so full of nothing,
    that one calls oneself silly , light,awakwnwd,enlightened etc…

  6. Chus says:

    My first thought: What seems to be bad to me, can be something good to you, of course there are lots of exceptions.

  7. El Dormido says:

    This past year I have lived by this: it is not what I think or feel that matters, it is only what I do. I have found within myself to think well and to think badly, to allow myself despair and possibly a moment of joy. What has become real, though, for me is simply what I choose to do, only. And where that comes from is my effort to understand, moment by moment, the signs, the portents, the sense of God’s will however I find it expressed around me. Not that I am the most able practioner of divining God’s will, but if I look to do the next most obvious task at hand, I do not stray very far from what my God would asks of me anyway. It is as simple as that, for me, today.

  8. wanbliska says:

    “Who tells the disciple what he should and should not think about?? and define ‘negative'” Leaf.

    Leaf, to my mind, the disciple himself…
    Cause he knows his proper limits, where things are good or not, for himself.
    Each one of us gets that skill. Some can call it the “Moral”. But I think, it’s about something stronger.

    Thanks Paulo.
    Have a great journey; a beautiful path.

  9. Kathleen says:

    It really depends on the negative desires. You may not act on them outright but a negative desire may hold you back from acting in a positive way. If you think of what a negative desire could be: greed, coveting what others have, anger, lust.

    An adult who thinks lustfully about a minor to me definitely needs to realise what they are thinking is completely wrong and to work on ridding themselves of those thoughts.

    A husband/wife who thinks lustfully about another needs to be careful that they don’t neglect the partner they have because they cannot completely commit heart/soul and mind to them etc.

    Kathleen xx

  10. agnieszka says:

    I think that there’s no man on Earth who never had negative desires.
    We all do, and as You wrote Paulo, we safe when they are just desires,
    though when you think of one of ten commandments:
    “do not desire someone’s wife or things he has” ,
    you could say that desire – can also be wrong.
    For me it depends if it last a moment – a thought that just came to your mind,
    or is it something you think about for long time.
    If you visualize something that is wrong, then you lost.
    There’s this saying:
    “be careful for your thoughts, they become words, be careful for your words, they become your actions.”


  11. Leaf says:

    Who tells the disciple what he should and should not think about??

    and define ‘negative’

    If one decides that something absolutely is negative then its’ obvious harm is that it will steal place in the heart/mind where positive would grow…stony ground, fertile soil, weeds will be weeded out and all thought produces something.
    A Warrior of the Light is master of his thoughts
    Much Love
    thank you