By Paulo Coelho
(from my notebook, August 1982)
– What are we doing on Earth?
– Truly? I don’t know. I have looked in many corners, in light and dark places; today, I am convinced that no one knows – Only God.
– That is not a good answer, for a master.
– It is an honest answer. I know many people who will explain to you in great detail, the meaning of our existence. Don’t believe them, these people are tied to an ancient language, and only believe in things which have an explanation.
– Does that mean there is no reason to live?
– You do not understand what I am saying. I said I don’t know the reason. But of course there is a reason we are here, and God knows it.
– Why doesn’t he reveal it to us?
– He reveals it to each of us, but in a language we often do not accept, because it has no logic – and we are too accustomed to directions and formulas.
“Our heart knows why we are here. Whoever listens to his heart, follows the signs, and lives his Personal Legend, will understand that he is taking part in something, even if he doesn’t comprehend it rationally. There is a tradition which says that, the second before our death, we realize the true reason for our existence. And at that moment, Hell and Heaven are born.
– I don’t understand.
– During this split second, Hell is to look back and know that we wasted an opportunity to honor God and dignify the miracle of life. Heaven, at that moment, is to be able to say: “I made some mistakes, but I was not a coward: I lived my life, and did what I had to do.” Both Hell and Heaven will accompany us for a long time, but not forever.
– How can I know that I am living my life?
– Because, instead of bitterness, you feel enthusiasm. That is the only difference. Apart from that, one must respect the Mystery, and humbly accept that God has a plan for us. A generous plan, which leads us towards His presence, and which justifies these millions of stars, planets, black holes, etc. which we see tonight, here in Oslo (we were in Norway) .
– It is very difficult to live without an explanation.
– Can you explain why man needs to give and receive love? No. And you live with that, don’t you? Not only do you live with it, but it is the most important thing in your life: love. And there is no explanation.
“In the same way, there is no explanation of life. But there is a reason we are here, and you must be humble enough to accept that. Trust what I say; the life of each human being has a meaning, although he commits the error of spending the greater part of his time on earth seeking an answer, and meanwhile forgets to live.
“I can give you an example from a time when I came close to understanding all this. I had arrived at a party to commemorate 50 years since my graduation from high school. There, at the school where I studied as a teenager, I found many friends. We drank, told the same jokes as half a century ago.
“At a certain moment, I looked out onto the schoolyard. There, I saw myself as a child, playing, looking at life with amazement and intensity. Suddenly, the child that I saw began to take form and came over to me.
“He looked at me and smiled. Then I understood that I hadn’t betrayed my youthful dreams. That the child I had once been was still proud of me. That the reason to live that I had as a child, was still alive in my heart.
“Try to live with the same intensity as a child. He doesn’t ask for explanations; he dives into each day as if it were a new adventure and, at night, sleeps tired and happy.”
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