Contemplating the desert

By Paulo Coelho

Three people passing in a small caravan saw a man contemplating the late afternoon in the Sahara desert, from the top of a mountain.

– It must be a shepherd who has lost a sheep – said the first.

– No, I don’t think he’s looking for anything, much less at sunset, when the view is hazy. I think he’s waiting for a friend.

– I guarantee that’s a holy man, and is looking for enlightenment, – commented the third.

They began to talk about what the man was doing, and became so engrossed in the discussion that they almost fought over it. Finally, in order to resolve the matter, they decided to climb the mountain and go to the man.

– Are you looking for your sheep? – asked the first.

– No, I have no flock.

– Then you are surely waiting for someone – said the second.

– I’m a lonely man who lives in the desert – was the answer.

– Since you live in the desert in solitude, you must be a saint searching for God’s signs, and are meditating! – said the third man, delighted.

– Does everything on Earth have to have an explanation? Then I shall explain: I am merely looking at the sunset. Is that not enough to give sense to our lives?

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  1. Marie-Christine says:

    Same here.Good on you Angeline.

  2. Angeline says:

    Sometimes I wonder why we have to explain the things we do to other people?
    But for me, I don’t think that I have to tell people the reasons behind everything I do. Because of the reason I have is simple: it makes me happy and it makes me contented.

  3. THELMA says:

    If we could ever stop searching for …reasons.. my dear Paul the ..Pilot, the ..Reluctant Messiah!!

  4. Alexandra says:

    Very smart.Because God is present in all beautyful things that surounds us.In a way,he was looking for his inner peace,and he find it by contemplating the sunset.More or less being aware,he was doing the right thing ,because meditating implies to let your thoughts free,not to think at one certain thing.
    I agree that for our simple mind,as human beings,not all things should have one explanation.But all that we dont understand might scared us,is human nature.
    I also love to stare at sunset,without a precise purpose.I just relax.

  5. Sidharth says:

    Not having a ‘reason’ and simply being in the moment is a reason in itself!!

  6. Heart says:

    From the contemplation of ourselves we gain fear and humility ; but from the contemplation of God, hope and love. (Sermons of St Bernard)

  7. Tania says:

    Yes the simple pleasures of being without explanation ..I thought about that saying (song) curiosity killed the cat ..people always are curious about another person or people ..Blessings Tania

  8. halfnotes says:

    This story illustrates in a very crystalline way the three main pursuits people have on earth. The one who thought about sheep is primarily focused on possessions and acquiring and holding on to personal wealth. The second, who thought about friends, values the interpersonal relationships we cultivate throughout our lives. And the third, who said something about a search for enlightenment, holds on to what is eternal and passes beyond both people and things, namely, the love and knowledge at the core of the universe which we all carry within us and, as such, must seek alone.

  9. luce says:

    Dear Paulo,

    As usualy right down to the point !
    I love it !


  10. Monika says:

    I agree,these are the luckiest moments in life – when we feel the sense of our life and there no need to have any explanation for it!

    But the warriors of light “ask themselves questions” and are “looking for a reason” for a sense of their lifes.

    So what now?

  11. THELMA says:

    A beautiful story.
    I know a similar one:
    One man stands outside a beuatiful villa, with a garden full of flowers and trees. He is standing gazing inside through the fence.
    Another man approaches him and tells him : this is a magnificent house. The owners must be very rich.. Are you a burglar, do you intend to go inside and steal??
    No, was the answer, I am just admiring those roses.
    We must never forget to see the beauty and harmony around us.