Being attentive

Paulo Coelho

The warrior of the light knows the silence which precedes an important battle.

And this silence seems to say: "things have stopped. Better forget the fight, and enjoy oneself a little."

Inexperienced combatants put down their weapons at that moment, and complain about the boredom.

The warrior is attentive to the silence; someplace, something is happening. He knows that destructive earthquakes come without warning. He has walked through forests at night; whenever the animals make no noise at all, danger is near.

While the others talk, the warrior practices his swordsmanship and pays attention to the horizon.

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Comments

  1. Halldóra M. Steingrímsdóttir says:

    Dear Poulo, is it possible to get your email address? I have one question for you.

    Thanks Dóra

  2. zain says:

    is the pilgrimage paulo quello’s true story?

  3. Aretha says:

    Thank you Paulo for focusing the importance of the Silence! I have still difficulties in creating it in my heart when I’m surrounded by cahos.

    here you are an interesting reading by Ernesto Balducci about The Silence. It’s a bit long, sorry if I don’t have enough time to translate it today.

    “In principio era il logos, la parola”, sta scritto. Ma si potrebbe dire altrettanto bene che in principio era il sighé, il silenzio, che è l’altro nome di Dio. Ma anche parlando dell’uomo si può dire che in lui il principio è, insieme, la parola e il silenzio. “Noi siamo doppi a noi stessi”, scriveva Montaigne, nel senso che noi portiamo in noi stessi una doppia identità; siamo, come io amo dire, editi ed inediti. L’uomo inedito è l’uomo come insieme di possibilità in attesa di adempimento, di trasformarsi cioè in realtà, diventando così dicibili a tutti. Perché come Dio è un Deus abscunditus, così anche l’uomo è a se stesso abscunditus. Nascosto, ma non del tutto, perché, come dice etimologicamente la parola coscienza (con-scientia), c’è una presenza dell’io a se stesso che ha l’unico limite di non potersi esprimere con parole, ma appunto perché le parole sono gli strumenti forgiati dall’uomo edito. L’uomo edito è quello che si ritaglia nella cultura in cui si è svolta la sua formazione, che è sempre una cultura governata dalle esigenze del gruppo di appartenenza. L’uomo inedito predilige il silenzio e, anche quando parla, le sue parole si caricano dell’ispirazione alla totalità, come dire a un mondo che non è quello della cultura espressa dai vocabolari, è la vera patria dell’essere. Diceva ancora Montaigne che per quanto l’uomo perlustri il suo perimetro “non si dà comunicazione all’essere”. Se mi chiedi chi è Dio, diceva Agostino, non lo so, ma se non me lo chiedi, lo so. Restare fedeli a questo versante inedito della nostra realtà umana vuol dire, poi, saper entrare nella conversazione degli uomini senza alterigia, con umiltà, accettandone le regole, ma restando in qualche modo estranei, capaci, proprio per questo, di svegliare negli altri le segrete affinità elettive e cioè la dimensione inedita che resta repressa e soffocata nella chiassosa convivenza della piazza.
    La parola veramente comunicativa fiorisce ai confini dell’uomo nascosto. Solo chi ha orecchi da intendere intende e ha orecchi da intendere chi a sua volta abita nel silenzio. Nel silenzio fioriscono le immagini in cui si riflettono le nostre possibilità che non hanno né possono avere cittadinanza nella città comune, la cui legge più severa è la discriminazione tra il possibile e l’impossibile. I sogni ad occhi aperti, quelli che nascono dal silenzio in cui lo spirito si concentra al massimo in se stesso, sono le traduzioni immaginative delle possibilità che fervono in noi in attesa del loro tempo.
    Ma anche Dio è, a sua volta, edito ed inedito, conosciuto e sconosciuto. Nessun nome è più funesto di quello di Dio quando diventa dio edito, il dio del gruppo, della città, emblema e garanzia di ogni potere. L’uomo inedito lo sa e non ama nominarlo. Il vero Dio è un Deus abscunditus, l’estremo corrispettivo dell’homo abscunditus. La preghiera è, nella sua intima essenza, una silenziosa corrispondenza tra l’uomo sconosciuto e il Dio sconosciuto. Non si parla di Dio, dunque, si parla a Dio, e parlando di lui le parole sono di inciampo. Nominare significa possedere, e un Dio posseduto è un idolo fatto a immagine e somiglianza dell’uomo. Il limite dell’ateo è di essere a suo modo del tutto conforme alle misure dell’uomo edito, il corrispettivo dialettico del bigotto o del clericale che fanno di Dio un punto di sostegno delle loro sicurezze pubbliche e delle loro aspettative maturate sulle pulsioni della società in cui si sono integrati. La religione è loquace e scrive il nome di Dio sui muri, la fede silenziosa lo cancella: la verità di Dio è nel momento in cui il suo nome si cancella. La preghiera è il respiro dell’uomo nascosto che si protende verso Colui che è nascosto: l’incontro, se c’è, non è dicibile. Dio non si dimostra, Dio si mostra e si mostra a chi, rinunciando a quella sottile forma di potere che è la parola, si mostra a sua volta.

  4. THELMA says:

    To be attentive to the omens, sounds, movements, signs of our Soul and SILENCE. The silence of the DESERT that holds all secrets of life. To be attentive to our heartbeat and to the empty ‘space’ in between.
    LOVE,
    THELMA

  5. PeregrinaMom says:

    Richard,

    Perhaps one day you will consider doing the Camino yourself.. the stillness of one’s soul allows us to truly feel and be in awe of everything…. everyone……

    It changed my life. My husband’s life (whom I met on the Camino by the way), my son’s life, my daughter’s life….. and many of their friends…

    Ah! and the comfort zone, yes, perhaps the book maybe out of the comfort zone but so are the Camino blisters… I was told the blisters come from the unresolved issues in our lives and how we have to walk through the pain…

    Well worth it!….. as for Agape?… None of us had ever experienced the purest form of love, as we did on the Camino…

    Ultreia! y buen camino peregrino whether in life or on the trail!

    Love……. always and in ALL ways.

  6. Noppie says:

    From 1985 to 1993 I trained in hap Ki Do 6 days weeks for 4 to 6 hours each day. I was hurt in 1993 and hospitalized for 18 days and for several year after were terrified of be so injured again. I eventually return to training in hap ki do. Was hurt again that question why I was doing this. But I return again and for a year or more I only experiences minor injuries nothing that slow me down. Then I was hurt severely. Even though I had medical insurance, I was denied treatment saying it was inadequate. My right arm will allow me to draw but I have to do push-ups and pull-ups with only my left arm.

    I remember sparring under condition very similar to your comment. I can remember looking my opponent in his eyes and not thinking. There were time were I heard no sounds. There were times were I only saw my opponent. There were times I imagines I knew what he wanted to do with ever step or move. I miss those times.

  7. Tania says:

    I just love this word attentive ! Love Tania

  8. Richard Andrews says:

    Dear Mr. Coelho,
    I am in the middle of reading your novel The Pilgrimage, and I understand that the main message is trying to teach the reader that there is more to life than our wants. Throughout the book Petrus takes Paulo on a journey to show him that there are more important things in the world than getting his sword. Petrus puts Paulo through many tests in order for him to find himself, and discover what he could potentially become. Often when I read I find that I try and put myself through the RAM rituals that Petrus teaches to Paulo. For example whenever I think of bad thoughts about myself, or doubt myself, I take my index finger and squeeze it into my cuticle. I agree that in life one must experience agape (love) to give them reason to live, because one must find something that really interests them to give them motive in life. I now understand that we must defeat whatever we fear, or we will be traumatized by it for the rest of our lives. If we do not conquer these fears, then we will live a life in fear, and not experience all the joys life can bring. I also agree that is important to accept death in order to live each day to the fullest, and conquer all that we can. I really enjoy this book so far because I feel that I am learning the path to wisdom, as Paulo journeys through it.
    Thanks Gabriel

  9. Richard Andrews says:

    The Pilgrimage is a book that is out of my reading comfort zone. I don’t usually pick up a book like The Pilgrimage and thoroughly enjoy and understand concepts that are exposed. I could relate to Coelho’s main themes of the book which is to overcome our fears and recognizing the temptations that surround us along the way. Impatience is something that many people suffer from, and the way Coelho demonstrates this is outstanding and intriguing to me. The meaning to life in this book has affected the way I look at my life and the life of others. The sword is a symbol of achieving something you desire in life and following whichever path you may have to take no matter what the consequences may be on the journey. This book has served great relevance to my life and I enjoyed the reading along with many emotions I had felt during this time.
    Chella

  10. Richard Andrews says:

    Dear Paulo Coelho,
    Over the course of their mission along San Tiago to find Coelho’s sword, Petrus (Coelho’s guide) keeps trying to emphasize the notion of patience but when the appropriate time arrives, you must go after it with all your passion and effort. He is taught the concept of “Agape”, the importance of love and nothing else. I agree with this, because if you live your life pursuing only things you truly love, you will always have a sense of happiness and accomplishment. Another important life lesson we pick up along the way is the significance of death. I thought that your idea that death is what keeps motivating us is absolutely accurate and critical to how we live. We don’t want to admit it but death is the reason we have jobs and families, to keep our names and legacies alive once we pass on. Thank you very much for having written this book and all the useful lessons you threw in along the way and I can’t wait for your next one.
    David

  11. Richard Andrews says:

    Dear Mr. Coelho,
    Your book has given me a new outlook on the world. I found the concept of agape very interesting. I had always thought that there was only one form of love and adoration, but after reading “The Pilgrimage” I began to realize that there is more than one kind of love. The love one has for their pet is far different than the love one has for their mother or soul mate. I enjoyed how you portrayed several life lessons through characters. Petrus’ symbolism is incredible. Although there is no picture of him, I can paint a clear and vivid image of the wise old guardian in my mind, thanks to your use of tone, language and dialogue. The concept of sin and trial is perfectly portrayed through the enemies the man meats on the road to Santiago. The gypsy, the little boy and the dog all represent some form of mortal sin or challenge that the man must face. Each of these must be confronted in a different way and Petrus always tells the man the message behind the situation. Although Petrus’ character is portrayed as an all-knowing and very learned man, I believe that he too has things to learn and the quality time he spends with the pilgrim will do him well. An example of this is when Petrus gets mad at the waiter. When the pilgrim tells his guide that he acted rude, Petrus admits that he could have been more polite and patient. Although the story revolves around the man, his search for his sword and the life lessons he learns, I believe that in the end, he will enlighten his guide and even the intelligent guide will learn a few things about himself.
    Sincerely, Michael

  12. luce says:

    Dear Paulo,
    Very true !

    Many years ago total silence woke me up and then several minutes later earth started trembling, it moved in vawes, though it was spring (Easter morning) leafs were falling like in autumn.

    It was increabible feeling, you can imagine bookcase, house, tree, whatever trembling but not The Earth under your feet !

    There were no birds chirping, no cats miaouing, nothing was to hear, just total silence…!

    But there are other silences before the storm, before important fight !

    Paulo, thank you !
    Once again you opened the door of my memory !

    Love
    Luce

  13. cat forsley says:

    Sitting still, Quieting the mind, Breathing only love is one of the hardest things to do….
    But when we do this, we open our souls and bodies to signs and these signs will prompt us towards our next actions……..
    Silence can set us Free.

    ALL LOVE=cat

  14. Viv says:

    I am being attentive right now; things have got quiet and I know the silence before an earthquake is a warning to get ready. And so my dreams tell me too.