Archives for July 2008

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

A blessing rejected becomes a curse.
(The Alchemist)

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

What followed this decision has confirmed that you have gone the right way. You have won international recognition, most important prizes, honorary titles; you have become a member of some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Is anything missing from this almost perfect portfolio? If so, what?

Every day is a miracle and a challenge. I should be concentrated in the daily experience, without thinking about the past.

How important interviews are?

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I met a reader and she was discussing with me an article she had just read in a Spanish magazine about me. She told me that she kept on reading the same things in my interviews. Of course, she has read all of my books and follows my career. Yet, she’s right to have this feeling given that journalists always repeat the same questions, over and over again.
So here is my question of the week for you: How important interviews are?

Weekly Free Association : The Moon

Taking the lead of last week’s free association, we now pass to the Moon.
In many traditions the moon is seen as the counterpart of the Sun. It is considered as the Yin – female – passive counterpart of the Solar Yang – active – male star.
The Moon, given that is it lighten by the rays of the Sun, is said to be “reflexive” – hence the association of the Goddess Athena, the goddess of rational thinking and technology, with the owl, animal that lives by night.
At the other side of the spectrum, the Moon, given that it reigns over the tides, is linked to the underworld, the world of imagination – the realm of Selene or Artemis for the Greeks.
We can see then the apparent opposition between reason and imagination. Yet bare in mind that in the world of symbols, apparent oppositions never actually exclude one another.
Now, you take the floor : what do you associate with the Moon?

Image of the Day : The Heart by Louis Charbonneau-Lassay

The Heart

Conversations with the master – Work

By Paulo Coelho

(I continue to transcribe notes from my conversations with J. between 1982 and 1990:)
– You have tried to make me understand that one must pay attention to life, people, and everything around us. I have the impression that all you ever do is work (at that time, J. was an executive at a Dutch multinational company).
– Instead of answering your question directly I shall quote from the Indian poet Tagore: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy/ I awoke and saw that life was service/I acted and behold, service was joy.” In fact, through my work I discover life, people, and everything which happens around us.
“The only trap I must beware not to fall into, is to think that each day is the same as the next. In fact, each morning brings with it a hidden miracle, and we must pay attention to this miracle.”
– What is duty?
– A mysterious word which can have two opposite meanings: the absence of enthusiasm, or the understanding that we must share our love with more than one person. In the first case, we are always making excuses for not accepting our responsibilities; in the second case, duty becomes a form of devotion, of unrestricted love for the human condition, and we begin to fight for that which we want to happen.
“I seek to do this through my work: to share my love. Love is also a mysterious thing: the more we share it, the more it multiplies.”
– But in the Bible, work is considered a type of curse which God has forced on men. When Adam commits the original sin, he hears the Almighty say: “in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”
– At that moment, God is putting the Universe into motion. Up until that time, all is beautiful, idyllic – but nothing has evolved and, as we mentioned, Adam starts thinking that each day is like another. From then on, he loses the sense of the miracle of his own existence; then the Lord, seeing His creation, understands that he must help him again conquer this sense.
“This sentence must be read in a positive way: weariness will turn into nourishment, sweat will be the bread’s seasoning. In this way, everything will converge perfectly, but first, Adam and all human beings must go down the path of mutual understanding.”
– Why is it that one of man’s great dreams is to one day stop having to work?
– Because he does not know what it is to spend months and years doing nothing. Either because he does not love what he does; no one wishes to be separated from the woman he loves, no one wants to stop doing that which he loves. Or it is because there is no dignity in his going about his work – he has forgotten that work was created to help man, not humiliate him.
“There is an interesting story about this in “The Thousand and One Nights”: caliph Alrum Al-Rachid decided to build a palace in order to demonstrate the greatness of his kingdom. He gathered together the greatest works of art, designed gardens, personally selected the marbles and carpets.
Beside the grounds which had been chosen, was a dwelling. Al-Rachid asked his minister to convince the owner – an old weaver – to sell it so that it might be demolished.
The minister tried in vain; the old man said he did not wish to part with it.
Upon hearing of the old man’s decision, the Court Council suggested he be simply thrown out.
– No – responded Al-Rachid. – He will become part of my legacy to my people. When they come to the palace, they will say: he was a man who worked in order to show the beauty of our culture.
“And when they see the dwelling, they will say: he was just, for he respected the work of other men.”
“The world seems threatening to cowards. They seek the false security of a life void of great challenges, and arm themselves heavily in order to defend that which they think they possess. Cowards are victims of their own egos, and in the end erect the bars of their own prison.”

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

A Warrior never accepts what is unacceptable.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

You are undeniably one of the most influent and, in the same time, one of the best selling contemporary writers. Considering only these two certainties, aren’t you afraid that at some point you could disappoint your readers or you could be accused that you write commercial literature?

I write to understand myself. If you take “Eleven Minutes” for example, it was a risk, but I was ready to take it. I am only concerned about being honest to my soul, when I write.

Warrior of the Light Newsletter no.177

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

Why women believe that we love them

Por que as mulheres acham que as amamos

Por qué las mujeres piensan que las amamos

Pourquoi les femmes pensent que nous les aimons

Per che cosa le donne pensano che le amiamo

What distinguishes an unjust law from a law that we simply do not want to comply to?

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Saint Augustine says : an unjust law should not be considered as a law. We equally see throughout history that many people rebelled against the system because they considered it unjust: Gandhi, Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Simon Bolivar. On the other hand a society needs laws in order to function – or else anarchy will rule. In your opinion, what distinguishes an unjust law from a law that we simply do not want to comply to?

Some historical comments on the question of this week

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. . . Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty” : Howard Zinn

Under the influence of politicians, masses of people tend to ascribe the responsibility for wars to those who wield power at any given time. In World War I it was the munitions industrialists; in World War II it was the psychopathic generals who were said to be guilty. This is passing the buck.

The responsibility for wars falls solely upon the shoulders of these same masses of people, for they have all the necessary means to avert war in their own hands. In part by their apathy, in part by their passivity, and in part actively, these same masses of people make possible the catastrophes under which they themselves suffer more than anyone else. To stress this guilt on the part of the masses of people, to hold them solely responsible, means to take them seriously. On the other hand, to commiserate masses of people as victims, means to treat them as small, helpless children. The former is the attitude held by genuine freedom fighters; the latter that attitude held by power-thirsty politicians.” : Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism

“…..if by a liberal they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties.. if that is what they mean by a “liberal” then I am proud to be a liberal. “: John F. Kennedy

“A society whose citizens refuse to see and investigate the facts, who refuse to believe that their government and their media will routinely lie to them and fabricate a reality contrary to verifiable facts, is a society that chooses and deserves the Police State Dictatorship it’s going to get.” — Ian Williams Goddard

Weekly Free Association : The Sun

Symbols are doors that enable us to enter other universes. They are based in associations and from this week onwards I want to invite you to make a list of free associations based in a symbol that I will post here in the blog.

This week we will talk about the Sun.
As you know there have been sun deities throughout history.
In Ancient Greece as well as in Egypt, the Sun was portrayed as a masculine God : Apollo, Ra.
Yet, in other cultures, such as Japanese and Nordic cultures, the Sun is portrayed as a Goddess. For instance, in Japan, Amaterasu was the sun goddess who was born from the left eye of the primeval being Izanagi. The ruler of the Plain of Heaven, she was the oldest daughter of Izanagi. She hid in a cave until Uzume lured her out, at which time a beam of light, the dawn, escaped.
Now, you take the floor : what do you associate with the Sun?

Discovering true fear

By Paulo Coelho

A sultan decided to travel by sea with some of his favorite courtiers. They joined the ship in Dubai and sailed out into the open sea.

However, as soon as the ship moved away from land, one of his subjects – who had never seen the sea before, having spent most of his life in the mountains – began to be overcome with panic.

Sitting in the ship’s hold, he cried, shouted and refused to eat or sleep. Everyone tried to calm him down, saying that the journey wasn’t as dangerous as all that, but although he heard their words, they had no influence on his heart. The sultan did not know what to do, and the fine journey upon calm seas and under blue skies, became a torment for the passengers and crew alike.

Two days passed without anyone being able to sleep because of the man’s cries. The sultan was about to order the ship to return to port, when one of his ministers, who was known for his wisdom, came over:

– Your Highness, with your permission, I will be able to calm him.

Without a moment’s hesitation, the sultan said that not only would he allow it, but that he should reward him if he succeeded in solving the problem.

The wise man asked that the man be thrown into the sea. Right away, content because their nightmare was about to end, several crew members grabbed the man struggling in the hold, and cast him into the ocean.

The courtier thrashed about, sank, swallowed plenty of seawater, returned to the surface, screamed louder than ever, sank again, and managed to surface once again. Just then, the minister ordered for him to dragged back on board.

From then on, no one heard so much as a single complaint from the man, who spent the rest of the journey in silence, and even commented to one of the passengers that he had never seen anything so beautiful as the sky and sea touching on the horizon. The journey – which had before been a torment to all those on board the ship – became a pleasurable, peaceful experience.

A short time before they returned to port, the Sultan went to see the minister:

– How did you guess that, by throwing that poor man into the sea, he would calm down?

– Because of my marriage – replied the minister. – I was always terrified of losing my wife, and was so jealous that I never stopped shouting and screaming like that man.

“One day she could take no more, and left me – and I tasted the terrible experience of living without her. She only returned when I promised never again to torment her with my fears.

“In the same way, that man had never tasted salt water, and had never known the agony of a drowning man. When he felt that, he understood only too well how marvelous it can be to feel the planks of a ship under his feet.

– Wise counsel – commented the sultan.

– In the Bible, a holy book of the Christians, it says: “all I most feared, came to pass.”

“Some people can only value what they have, when they endure the experience of loss.”

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Stop being who you were and become who you are.

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

In the documentation about you that I had at my disposal I have identified all the elements of a successful novel. Haven’t you thought about writing an autobiographical book? The experiences you’ve had easily surpass fiction.

All my books are somehow biographical, but in a methaporical way. The best way to understand myself is by using images to dive deep in my own unknown sea.

Paulo Coelho and Privacy Zero – The Feather

Image of the Day : Shemhamphorash or the 72 names of God

Shemhamphorash or the 72 names of God