In search of the lost path

By Paulo Coelho

We go out into the world in search of our dreams and ideals, although we often know we put away in inaccessible places, all that which is within our reach. When we discover our mistake, we start to think we’ve lost too much time looking far and wide for something which was nearby; and this is why we allow ourselves to be overcome by a sense of guilt, for past mistakes, for the useless search, for the grief caused.

But that’s not really true: although the treasure is buried in your home, you’ll only find it when you distance yourself. If Peter hadn’t experienced the pain of negation, he would never have been chosen as head of the Church. If the prodigal son hadn’t abandoned everything, he would never have been joyously received by his father.

There are certain things in our lives that carry a seal which says: “you will only understand my value when you lose me – and recover me.” It is no use hoping to shorten this path.

The Cistercian priest Marcos Garcia, who lives in Burgos, Spain, commented: “sometimes, God takes away a certain blessing, so the person can understand Him beyond the favors and requests. He knows how far to go in testing a soul – and never goes beyond this point.

“At such moments, we never say God has abandoned us. He never does so; it is we who at times abandon Him. If the Lord puts us to the test, he also always provides enough graces – more than enough, I’d say – to get us through it. When we feel far from His face, we should ask ourselves: are we making the most of that which He has placed along the way?”

In Japan, I was invited to Guncan-Gima, where there is a Zen-Buddhist temple. When I arrived, I was surprised: a fine structure was situated in the middle of a great forest, but had a vast waste land beside it. I asked the reason for this, and the person in charge explained:

- It is the site of the first construction. Every twenty years, we destroy this temple you see before you, and rebuild it next door.

“In this way, the monks, be they carpenters, bricklayers or architects, have the opportunity to exercise their skills, and teach their apprentices in practice. We also show that nothing in life is eternal – and that even temples are in a constant process of refinement.”

If what you are following is the path of your dreams, commit yourself to it. Don’t leave the back door open with excuses: “this still isn’t quite what I wanted.” This sentence – heard so often – contains the seed of defeat.

Embrace your path. Even if you need to take uncertain steps, constantly destroy and build, even if you know you can do better than at present. If you accept the possibilities of the present, you will certainly improve in the future.

Master Achaan Chah was given a fine piece of land so that he might build a monastery. Chah had to go away for a time and left his disciples in charge of the building work.

When he returned – five months later – nothing had been done. The disciples had already ordered several plans from local architects.

One of them asked Chah:

- Which of the projects should we go ahead with? How should we go about taking the right decision?

Chah answered:

- When one desires that which is good, the results are always good.

Free of the fear to make mistakes, the decision was taken and the result was magnificent.

Face your path with courage, do not be afraid of other people’s criticism. And – above all – don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by self-criticism.

God is the God of the brave.

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

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.
A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.

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

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

It seems that in the first half of the story, Athena was searching for herself and seeking for self-realization, but after the incident at Portobello, her goal has changed to carry out her own mission. What is the change of the thoughts underlining such transition.

Athena is trying to reach a deeper understanding of herself, but in this process she also learns to live with the mystery, with the unanswered questions. This is how the transition begins. She is learning to live with her “empty spaces”, traits of her personality that defy a certain logic, that can’t be expressed in words. You see, the whole problem is not about having empty spaces, but about admitting that they exist.

Today’s society is so preoccupied about coherence that many get trapped in the misconception that all is explainable. Society tries to convince us that we have to be completely transparent, not only to world but to ourselves. There is where the danger lies. It’s necessary to admit that some things can’t be grasped, that our empty spaces exist and that we have to respect and honor the mystery.

Once you start honoring that – that’s when your quest becomes your mission.

THANK YOU!

Dear Readers,

UP-DATE 1 (18.09.08) : I just received the news that since yesterday the show was downloaded more than 650 times. It is really a pity that the chat room could only hold 200 people.

The Alchemist Live Event with Laurence Fishburne and I was a great success.

According to the organizers of the online event it is #1 live show for books and is on the top 10 of all shows in all categories at BlogTalRadio.

For those who didn’t have the chance to hear it, you can hear it by pressing play in the widget below.

Love
Paulo

Chat El País 19 Septiembre (en español)

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Warrior of the Light Newsletter no.181

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

The third cardinal virtue: Love

Terceira virtude cardinal: Amor

Tercera virtud cardinal: Caridad

Troisième vertu cardinale : l’Amour

Terza virtù cardinale: Amore