Archives for May 2008

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Is there any place in the world that might be more important or more meaningful then other places? Place that one should definitely visit?

A place is a symbol. You misunderstand a symbol when you try to follow the interpretation that another person gave to it. A symbol is there to talk to your heart, not to your brains. Therefore, wherever you feel that you are receiving good energy, this is a place that you should return.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

God’s decisions are always mysterious, but they are always in our favour.
(Maktub)

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Vatican: It’s OK to believe in aliens

Today while browsing through Digg, I found this curious article written by By ARIEL DAVID for the Associated Press

VATICAN CITY – Believing that the universe may contain alien life does not contradict a faith in God, the Vatican’s chief astronomer said in an interview published Tuesday.

The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

“How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?” Funes said. “Just as we consider earthly creatures as ‘a brother,’ and ‘sister,’ why should we not talk about an ‘extraterrestrial brother’? It would still be part of creation.”

In the interview by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion “doesn’t contradict our faith” because aliens would still be God’s creatures. Ruling out the existence of aliens would be like “putting limits” on God’s creative freedom, he said.

The interview, headlined “The extraterrestrial is my brother,” covered a variety of topics including the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and science, and the theological implications of the existence of alien life.

To read the rest of the article, please go here.

Traveling in a different way

By Paulo Coelho

When I was very young I discovered that, for me, a journey is the best way to learn. I still have this pilgrim’s soul to this day, and have decided to relate some of the lessons I have learned, in the hopes that they will be useful to other like-minded pilgrims.

1] Avoid museums. This advice may seem absurd, but let us reflect a little together: if you are in a foreign city, isn’t it far more interesting to seek out the present, than the past? Usually, people feel obliged to go to museums, because ever since they were small they have been told that traveling is a search for this type of culture. Of course museums are important, but they require time and objectivity – you need to know what it is you want to see there, otherwise you will come away with the impression that you saw several things which are fundamental to your life, but cannot remember what they were.

2] Frequent bars. Unlike museums, this is where the life of the city can be found. Bars are not discotheques, but places where the people gather to have a drink, pass the time, and are always willing to chat. Buy a newspaper and observe the bustle of people coming and going. If someone speaks to you, strike up a conversation, however banal: one cannot judge the beauty of a path merely by looking at its entrance.

3] Be open and forward. The best tourist guide is someone who lives there, knows everything, but doesn’t work at a travel agency. Go out into the street, choose someone you wish to speak to, and ask him or her for directions (where is such-and-such a cathedral? Where is the post office?) If this bears no fruit, try someone else – I guarantee that in the end you will find excellent company.

4] Try and travel alone, or – if you are married – with your spouse. It will be harder work, no one will be looking after you, but this is the only way of truly leaving your country. Group travel is just a disguised way of pretending to go abroad, where you speak your own language, obey the leader of the pack, and concern yourself more with the internal gossip of the group than with the place you are visiting.

5] Don’t compare. Don’t compare anything – not prices, nor cleanliness, nor quality of life, nor means of transport, nothing! You are not traveling in order to prove you live better than others – your search, in fact, is to find out how others live, what they have to teach, how they view reality and the extraordinary things in life.

6] Understand that everyone understands you. Even if you don’t speak the language, don’t be afraid: I have been in many places in which there was no way of communicating with words, and I always found support, guidance, important suggestions, even girlfriends. Some people think that if you travel alone, you will go out into the street and be lost forever. All you need is the hotel card in your pocket, and – should you find yourself in extreme circumstances – take a taxi and show it to the driver.

7] Don’t buy much. Spend your money on things which you won’t have to carry: good theater, restaurants, walks. Nowadays, with the global market and the Internet, you can have everything you want without having to pay for excess baggage.

8] Don’t try and see the world in a month. It is better to stay in one city for four or five days, that visit five cities in a week. A city is like a capricious woman, who needs time to be seduced and reveal herself completely.

9] A journey is an adventure. Henry Miller said that it is far more important to discover a church no one has heard of, than go to Rome and feel obliged to visit the Sistine Chapel, with two hundred thousand tourists shouting all around you. Go to the Sistine Chapel, but also get lost in the streets, wander down alleyways, feel free to look for something, without knowing what it is. I swear you will find it and that it will change your life.

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

How would you sum up the central theme of your latest novel The Witch of Portobello?

It’s difficult to sum up a book, but I would say that it revolves around the awakening of the female energy in both men and women.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Every day, God gives us, as well as the sun,
a moment when it is possible to change anything
that is causing us unhappiness.
The magic moment is the moment when
a “yes” or a “no” can change our whole existence.
Every day, we try to pretend that we do not see
that moment, that it does not exist,
that today is the same as yesterday
and that tomorrow will be the same too.
However, anyone who pays close attention to
his day will discover the magic moment.
It might be hidden in the instant
that we put the key in the door in the morning,
in the moment of silence after supper,
in the thousand and one things
that appear to us to be the same.
This moment exists, a moment in which
all the strength of the stars flows through us
and allows us to perform miracles.
(By the river Piedra I sat Down and Wept)

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – The qualities

By Paulo Coelho

The warrior of the light has the qualities of a rock.

When he is on flat terrain – when all around has found harmony – he remains stable. People may build houses upon that which he created, because the storm will not be destructive.

When, however, he is placed on uneven terrain – and things around him do not show any respect or equilibrium for his work – he reveals his strength, rolling towards the enemy which threatens peace. At such times, the warrior is devastating, and no one can detain him.

A warrior of the light thinks of war and peace at the same time, and knows how to act according to the circumstances.

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Remise du prix littéraire Femme Actuelle

Mercredi 6 mai, Paulo Coelho, de nombreux représentants du monde de l’édition ainsi que toute l’équipe de Femme Actuelle se sont réunis dans le café mythique “Les éditeurs” pour décerner le Grand prix Femme Actuelle du roman de l’été.

Les coulisses en vidéo

Les belles lettres étaient í  l’honneur en ce début du mois de mai í  Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Paulo Coelho récompensait trois “premiers romans”, désignant ainsi le 1er prix littéraire Femme Actuelle / Les Nouveaux Auteurs.

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

You dedicated your book The Witch of Portobello to S.F.X. Who is he?

A man that left everything to go after his dream, in a very young age. Well, I took much longer to follow my dream. I was nearly 40 when I decided to be guided by my dream. I had the courage once I made the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The best way to serve God
is by going in search of your own dreams.
Only the happy can spread happiness.
(By the river Piedra I sat down and wept)

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The Orgasmic Mind: The Neurological Roots of Sexual Pleasure

Today in Digg, I came across this very interesting article published in Scientific American by Martin Portner :



“Achieving sexual climax requires a complex conspiracy of sensory and psychological signals””and the eventual silencing of critical brain areas.

Key Concepts about the Principles of Pleasure:

* Sexual desire and orgasm are subject to various influences on the brain and nervous system, which controls the sex glands and genitals.

* The ingredients of desire may differ for men and women, but researchers have revealed some surprising similarities. For example, visual stimuli spur sexual stirrings in women, as they do in men.

* Achieving orgasm, brain imaging studies show, involves more than heightened arousal. It requires a release of inhibitions engineered by shutdown of the brain’s center of vigilance in both sexes and a widespread neural power failure in females.

To read the rest of this article, please go here.

Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – Maintaining one’s concentration

By Paulo Coelho

For the warrior of the light, nothing is abstract. Everything is concrete, and everything concerns him. He is not sitting in the comfort of his tent, observing what goes on in the world. The warrior of the light accepts each challenge as an opportunity to transform himself.

Some of his companions spend their lives complaining about the lack of choice, or commenting decisions which do not concern them. The warrior, however, turns thought into action.

Sometimes he errs his objective, and pays – without complaining – the price for his mistake. At other times, he strays from the path, and loses much time returning to his original destiny.

But a warrior is never distracted.

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

In countries under totalitarian regime art is severely attacked when not subdued to political party. Would you say that’s because art – or literature more precisely – is so powerful?

Literature by itself can do nothing, except to make people feel less lonely. And this is what makes the difference: from the moment that you understand that you are not alone, you get an extra strength.

Warrior of the Light Newsletter no.172

Read the new issues from “Warrior of the Light Online” :

Issue nº172 : Between heaven and hell

Edií§í£o nº 172 : Entre o céu e o inferno

Edición nº 172 : Entre el cielo y el infierno

Édition nº 172 : Entre le ciel et l’enfer

Edizione nº 172 : Tra il cielo e l’inferno

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The future belongs to God
and he will reveal it only in extraordinary circumstances.
(The Alchemist)

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Google Banned by Myanmar Govt., Still Donates $1 Million to Cyclone Relief

Today, while browsing Digg, I found the following article by Gavin Hudson for the EcoWordly site:



Despite being banned by the government of Burma (also Myanmar), Google has said that it will donate up to $1 million USD to assist victims of Cyclone Nargis.

Google has offered to match donations made to UNICEF and Direct Relief International for all donations made at Google’s Support disaster relief in Myanmar page, up to one million dollars.

Internet users in Burma reported that access to Google and Gmail had been blocked by the strict military junta governing the country in the summer of 2006. By this time, Yahoo and Hotmail had already made the censored IT blacklist.

Go to Google in Burma and you’ll get: “Error Number 1045 Access Denied.”

The ban, of course, was put in place before the government crackdowns on popular uprisings that left many dead or imprisoned. Some of the last words to leave Burma were from observers there who described nighttime kidnapping raids on the homes of Buddhist monks. The monks were involved in the popular uprisings against the government. On mornings after a raid, only blood would be found in the empty house.

Since the crackdowns, the flow of photos and information from Burma has all but completely stopped. No information gets in. None gets out. A political black hole where a country used to be.

(…)

To read the rest of this article, please go here.

Fragments of a non-existent diary III – Brissac, France

By Paulo Coelho

During my stay at a castle rented by a Brazilian magazine, a local journalist came to interview me. During the conversation, which was being watched by other people, he wanted to know:

– What is the best question a reporter has ever asked you?

The best question? I thought I’d been asked just about EVERY question, except for the one he just put. I asked for a moment to reflect, to study the many things I wanted to say but was never asked. But in the end I had to confess:

– I think it was yours. I’ve had questions I’ve refused to answer, others which allowed me to talk about interesting subjects, but yours was the only one I cannot possibly answer sincerely.

The journalist made a note, then said:

– I’ll tell you an interesting story. Once, I went to interview Jean Cocteau. His house was piled high with bibelots, paintings, drawings by famous artists, books, Cocteau kept everything, and felt a deep love for all those things. So anyway, during the interview, I decided to ask him: “if the house caught fire right now, and you could only take one thing with you, what would you choose?”

– And what did Cocteau say? – asked Alvaro Teixeira, who was in charge of the castle, and a great follower of the life of the French artist.

– Cocteau said: “I’d take the fire”.

And we sat there in silence, applauding deep down in the most intimate corners of our hearts, the brilliant reply.

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