Contemplating the desert

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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