Archives for March 2008

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Whenever we need to make an important decision,
it is best to trust impulse and passion,
because reason usually tries to remove us from our dream,
saying that the time is not yet right.
Reason is afraid of defeat,
but intuition enjoys life and its challenges.
(Acceptance speech delivered to the Brazilian Academy of Letters)

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Do you have any favorite activities/ hobby that you have enjoyed for years?

I love an old-fashioned pinball (not video games, please!). I consider myself to be one of the best players in my country.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Good and Evil have the same face;
it all depends on when they cross
the path of each individual human being.
(The Devil & Miss Prym)

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light

By Paulo Coelho

The transitory and the definitive

All paths in the world lead to the warrior’s heart; he dives without hesitation into the river of passions, which flows unceasing through his life.

The warrior knows he is free to choose that which he desires; his decisions are taken with courage, detachment, and – at times – with a certain amount of madness.

Accept your passions and delight in them intensely. Know that one must not renounce the enthusiasm of the conquests; they are part of life, and please all who take part in them. But never lose sight of the enduring things, and the solid ties created by time.

A warrior knows how to distinguish between that which is transitory, and that which is definitive.

A type of strategy

A Chinese wise man says of the warrior of the light’s strategies:

“Make your enemy believe he will not benefit greatly, should he decide to attack you; thus, you diminish his enthusiasm.

“Do not be ashamed to withdraw temporarily from the battle, if you notice that the enemy is stronger; the important thing is not the single battle, but the outcome of the war.

“Nor should you be ashamed, if you are strong enough, to pretend to be weak; this will cause the enemy to be imprudent, and attack too soon.

“During a war, one’s capability to surprise the adversary is the key to victory.”

When to take risks

A warrior of the light, before entering an important combat, asks himself: “up to which point have I developed my skills?”

He knows that the battles fought in the past always provided him with a lesson. However, many of these teachings caused the warrior to suffer more than necessary. More than once, he wasted his time fighting for a lie.

But the victorious do not repeat the same mistake again.

A warrior cannot refuse to fight; but he also knows that he must not risk important feelings, in exchange for benefits which are not worthy of his love.

This is why the warrior only risks his heart from something worthwhile.

Belonging to the world

The warriors of the light maintain the glint in their eyes.

They are in the world, are part of the lives of others, and begin their journey with neither a bag nor sandals. Often they are cowardly. They do not always act correctly.

The warriors of the light suffer for useless things, act niggardly, and sometimes believe they are incapable of growing. They frequently think they are unworthy of any sort of blessing or miracle.

The warriors of the light are not always sure about what it is they are doing here. They often stay up all night, thinking their lives have no meaning.

This is why they are warriors of the light. Because they err. Because they question. Because they seek a reason – and they will surely find it.

The best and the worst

A poet says: “the warrior of the light chooses his enemies.”

The warrior knows what he is capable of. He does not need to go around telling others of his qualities and virtues. Nevertheless – just like in the Old West – someone always comes along wanting to prove that he is the better man.

The warrior knows there is no “better” or “worse”: each has the gifts necessary for his individual journey.

But some people insist. They provoke, offend, do everything they can to irritate him. This is when then warrior’s heart says: “do not accept the insults, they will not increase your ability. You will tire unnecessarily.”

A warrior of the light does not waste his time listening to provocations; he has a destiny to fulfill.

Using one’s own madness

A warrior of the light studies very carefully the position he wishes to conquer.

However difficult his objective may be, there is always a way to overcome the obstacles. He verifies the alternative routes, sharpens his sword, and seeks to fill his heart with the perseverance necessary to face the challenge.

But, as he advances, the warrior realizes there are difficulties he had not foreseen at the outset.

If he waits for the ideal moment, he will never move from his position; he sees that a little madness is needed for the next step.

The warrior uses a little madness. Because – in war and in love – one cannot foresee everything.

Moving forward

The warrior of the light does not always have faith. There are times when he does not believe in anything at all.

And he asks his heart: “Will all the effort be worthwhile?”

But the heart remains silent. And the warrior must decide for himself.

So he seeks an example. And he remembers that Jesus endured something similar – in order to live the human condition in all its fullness.

“Take this cup away from me,” said Jesus. He too lost heart and his courage, but he did not stop.

The warrior of the light remains faithless.

But he moves forward nevertheless, and his faith will return.

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

You used to write songs for pop-stars. Why did you quit?

Because, after so many years of enjoying it, I start doing this without enthusiasm. Even if I received a lot of author rights, I could not hide to myself that this work was not touching my heart anymore. Therefore, as I need to be honest to my work, I stop writing lyrics.

How do you imagine your funeral?

As we all know, one day we will die – either we like it or not. Having this in mind, I ask you : how do you imagine your funeral? If you want to know how I imagine mine, I wrote this text in my book “Like The Flowing River” that I just found in the internet : Please click here

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Lord smiles contentedly
because this what He wants,
that everyone should take responsability
for their own lives.
(The Fifth Mountain)

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Conversation with the master – The journey

By Paulo Coelho

During the recent move to my new apartment, I found a series of notes of my conversations with J., who belongs to the R.A.M. order, a small brotherhood devoted to the study of oral traditions and the world’s symbolic language. These notes cover our meetings from February 1982 through to 1990.

I recently asked him whether I might share parts of these texts; he agreed, and some have already been published in the first two issues of Warrior of the Light Online. I have transformed the texts into dialogue for better reading, and the words are not exactly those used by J., although the content is absolutely faithful to that which I heard.

These texts are not in exact chronological order. I decided to begin with some of our conversations from 1986, which was when he insisted I go on the Road to Santiago.

– You said that going on the Road to Santiago is important. For it, one must give up everything for some time: family, work, projects. And I don’t know whether I’ll find everything the same when I return.

– Indeed I hope you won’t.

– So should I take the risk of losing everything I have conquered up to now?

– Lose what? A man only has a soul to be won or lost; apart from his life, he has nothing. Past or future lives do not matter – at the moment you are living this one, and you should do so with silent comprehension, joy and enthusiasm. What you must not lose is your enthusiasm.

– I have a wife, whom I love.

– (laughing) That is the most common excuse, and the most foolish of all. Love has never prevented a man from following his dreams. If she truly loves you, she will want the best for you. And anyway, you do not have a woman whom you love; the woman is not yours. What is yours is the energy of love, which you aim at her. You can do that from anywhere.

– And what if I had no money for the pilgrimage?

– Traveling is not always a question of money, but of courage. You spent a great part of your life going around the world like a hippie: what money did you have then? None. You could hardly afford the tickets, and nevertheless I believe they were some of the best years of your life – eating badly, sleeping at railway stations, unable to communicate because of the language, being forced to depend on others just in order to find some shelter to spend the night.

“Traveling is sacred; mankind has traveled ever since the dawn of time, in search of hunting and grazing ground, or milder climates. Very few men manage to understand the world without leaving their home towns. When you travel – and I am not speaking of tourism, but of the solitary experience of a journey – four important things occur in your life:

a] one is in a different place, so the protective barriers no longer exist. To begin with this can be alarming, but soon one gets used to it and starts understanding how many interesting things there are beyond the walls of one’s garden.

b] since solitude can be great and oppressive, one is more open to people one would not normally exchange a single word with, back home – waiters, other travelers, hotel staff, the passenger in the next seat in the bus.

c] one starts depending on others for everything: finding a hotel, buying something, knowing how to catch the next train. One begins to realize that there is nothing wrong with depending on others – on the contrary, it is a blessing.

d] one speaks in a language one doesn’t understand, uses money whose worth one does not know, and wanders down streets for the very first time. One knows the old I, with all it learned, is completely useless in the face of these new challenges – and begins discovering that, buried deep down in one’s unconscious, there is something far more interesting, adventurous, open to the world and to new experiences.

“To travel is the experience of ceasing to be the person you are trying to be, and becoming the person you really are.”

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

What, in your opinion, is the secret of the great success of The Alchemist?

The absence of secrets. It is a book that I wrote to my soul alone. When I wrote The Alchemist, I was trying to understand my own life, and the only way that I could do it was through a metaphor. Then, the book – with no support of the press, because the media normally refuses to publish anything about an unknown writer – made its way to the readers, and the readers start to discover that we share the same questions. Little by little, the book started to travel abroad, and today is one of the bestseller books of all times. But this success came slowly, based on a word-of-mouth promotion, and this gives me the sensation, the wonderful sensation that I am not alone. Of course, by being a well-known author, I never feel myself as a strange in a strange land, and I am pleased with the idea that several persons, all over the world, share a kind of very modern perspective of life.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Anyone who interferes in the destiny of others will never discover his own.
(The Alchemist)

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Tales of Sufi wisdom

By Paulo Coelho

Pretending to be a fool matters not

We are all responsible

A group of men came along the street; heavily armed soldiers leading a condemned man to the gallows.

“That man is no good”, said a disciple to Nasrudin. “I once gave him a silver coin in order to help him start his life afresh, and he did nothing important.”

“He may be no good, but perhaps he is now on his way to the gallows because of you,” argued the master. “Perhaps he used the alms in order to buy a dagger, which he then used in committing his crime – because instead of helping him with love and care, you chose to give him alms in order to release yourself from your obligation.”

Each thing in its own place

All Nasrudin’s disciples were gathered at a feast. They ate and drank for several hours, and talked about the origins of the stars. The night drew on and everyone made ready to go home.

A fine plate of sweets was left on the table: Nasrudin made all his disciples eat it.

One, however, refused.

“The master is testing us,” he said. “He wants to see whether we can control our desires.”

“You are mistaken,” replied Nasrudin. “The best way of dominating a desire, is to satisfy it. I would rather you had the sweets in your bellies – their rightful place – than in your minds, which should be filled with nobler things.”

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

How did it happen that you decided to become a writer?

At school, I realized that I was able to express my feelings through writing. When I first decided to pay the price of my dream – to become a writer – I already knew that my mother could be right: nobody reads in Brazil, I would never be able to succeed. But I was not paralyzed by her advice, and I fought against all odds, because I needed more enthusiasm in life. There were moments that I was overcome by anxiety, or frustration, but I was wise enough to burn all my ships before engaging in my own adventure. There was no way back. Therefore, I see the future as a result of the present moment, and I see the present moment as a result of decisions that I was capable to take at the right time, against all advises.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

There is no such thing as a single chance.
The Lord gives us many opportunities during our lifetime.
(The Fifth Mountain)

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The World according to the Mexican Sorcerers

By Paulo Coelho

The great majority of spiritual traditions present in the Americas before Columbus’s arrival, has managed – by some miracle! – to preserve its roots. In other words, they were stronger than the civilizations which were here, and which soon succumbed to the conquistadors. Among them, Mexican shamanism, which is still practiced by many local tribes, is one of the most widely studied; various anthropologists have carried out serious studies about the way in which the sorcerers understood God’s presence and their spiritual search. Here are some of the aspects of this understanding of the universe, drawn from various sources:

1] The absence of the personal story: in order for magical rites to pass from generation to generation, the sorcerer (shaman) must forget all he learned before his initiation into magic. According to tradition, a man or women who is tied to his past, will in the end allow himself to be governed by his parents’ way of thinking, or that of the society in which he lives. This is why all those who are initiated choose a new name and seek to free themselves from their memories, both good and bad.

2] The process of forgetting: in order to abandon the story he lived in, the sorcerer spends months on end remembering in detail each of the events of his life. Some traditions require him to spend hour after hour speaking out loud to a glass filled with water, reciting everything which happened at each meeting with each person; thus, the experience is removed from the memory and enters the water – which is then thrown into a river. In this way, the head is left “empty”, and can begin to be filled with new things.

3] Interior silence: once free of his old thoughts, the sorcerer concentrates on his inner silence, and waits for the spirits to begin telling the true story of the Universe. This silence, together with the absence of memories of the past, gives the sorcerer the sensation of total freedom to understand a new world.

4] The web: when he begins understanding his new universe, he enters a sort of trance, and “sees” that everything around us is a giant web of luminous fibers, all linked – in other words, it is a unique object, and part of the same energy. Sometimes, these luminous fibers are condensed in an egg shape, and this means that there is the soul of a human being. (Carlos Castaneda explains this vision very well in his book A Separate Reality).

5] The encounter with power: looking at his own “egg of light”, the sorcerer notices a point, which must join with the luminous fibers capable of conducting the energy of power. This energy, although it can be used by the sorcerer, cannot be manipulated – he must know how to gently lead it to his apprenticeship. Approaching this pointing of joining up is the most difficult work during initiation, and requires silence, meditation and perseverance.

6] The negative energy: some of these fibers of light conduct destructive fluid issued by other sorcerers – who seek not knowledge but control over the souls of others.

7] The “disturbance”: there is always an event in our lives which is responsible for the fact that we ceased to progress. A trauma, an especially bitter defeat, an amorous disappointment, these all lead us towards a cowardly attitude, and we refuse to go on. The shaman, during the process of forgetting his personal history, must first free himself of this “disturbance point”.

According to Mexican sorcerers (and also, curiously, to some Buddhist thinking), death enters through the region of the navel. At this moment, the “egg of light” disintegrates, and the fibers which were there blend with the energy of the universe, until they regroup again in a new form.

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

What is your life motto?

Who dares, wins.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Wagers and pacts are made with angels – or with devils.
(The Valkyries)

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Do you have a goal? What is it?

I do believe that a person has a personal legend to fulfill. What is a personal legend? It is the reason why we are alive. We have dreams, that are not necessarily the dreams that our parents, or society has for us. So, we must get rid of the idea of fulfilling what people expect us to do, and start to do what we expect from our lives. The message in Veronika decides to die is that: dare to be different. You are unique, and you have to accept you as you are, instead of trying to repeat other people’s destinies or patterns. Insanity is to behave like someone that you are not. Normality is the capacity to express your feelings. From the moment that you don’t fear to share your heart, you are a free person.