The friend in Sydney

Paulo Coelho

“Sometimes we get used to what we see in the movies and end up forgetting the true story,” says a friend while together we admire the port of Sydney.

“Do you remember the most remarkable scene in “The Ten Commandments”?

“Of course I do! At a certain moment, Moses – played by Charlton Heston – raises his staff, the waters divide, and the Hebrew people cross the sea on foot.”

“In the Bible it is different,” says my friend. “God orders Moses to “tell the children of Israel to walk.” And it’s only after they start walking that Moses raises his staff and the Red Sea opens up.”

“Only confidence in the path will make it reveal itself.”

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  1. Alexandra says:

    I think that is really that way.In my life,while believing in a dream,I realised it soon,but,when I started to have doubts,things were not going well.

  2. Irina Black says:

    Let’s miracles work for you.Before even we were born,there were certain beliefs:a boy or a girl?A clever one,or..very clever,and so on.We do know,that medical verdict can be changed,if prayers’ve been said.With our beliefs we create the world,where we are going to live.To put actions first..?It does happen,sometimes,when people like to go rounds.The way, you choose,either makes miracles work for you,or postpones this chance for a perspective..

  3. THELMA says:

    I have read somewhere that the phenomenon described in the Old Testament was a …tsunami.

    I believe that faith can perform miracles.

  4. Rita says:

    Some one told me it was time to let go of the striving to a plan I had in my mind, and that I was trying to make happen, at the expense of a lot of energy. It kept me from seeing the signs, and from considering my feelings and my inner knowing. It brought me a lot of un-ease and not peace.

    It turned out that “overgave”, as we say it in Dutch, “surrendering” brings an internal peace and calming of the mind, it enhances the sensitivity of my senses and my observation capacity. Intuition leads me to do the right thing, in harmony with that moment.
    I guess this is the “confidence in the path”, in the big energy we are all expressions of.

  5. Savita Vega says:

    Recently I have been contemplating this concept of an “Otherworld”: Heaven, for example; Paradise; the Underworld, as in Greek mythology, might be another – anyplace that is separated from our world by a high wall or other barrier and which has a gate that is kept locked and requiring of some sort of key to enter there. Even entry into the Underworld required a crossing over of the River Styx, and didn’t the ferryman require some sort of toll to take one across to the Other-side?

    So, I have been thinking a lot about how one attains entrance to the Otherworld – whether the Promised Land or the Underworld – from here. What is required of one to cross that barrier? How does one traverse such obstacles as the Red Sea? How does one attain the key, or otherwise dig under, crawl over or blow up the wall that stands in the way, barring entry?

    You, Paulo, say: just start walking and the door will open for you. This makes perfect sense in a way, as in this equation, faith itself (sheer conviction) becomes the necessary key.

    Last night, with this question in my mind, I opened a book at random and this is what I read: “The OtherWorld is a parallel universe existing in the same space as our own. Time has its own rules here. Buildings turn on their own, and mazes wind beneath ancient castles. Many times the OtherWorld is a place of testing. Streams and fountains are defended by giant knights in black armor. One-eyed herdsmen jealously guard magic flocks. To enter the OtherWorld, one must know the mystical phrase or know the right turn in the bend of the road. More often, the OtherWorld waits and opens its portals to you unaware. A ferryman may exact a toll for crossing her rivers and entering her enchanted territories. If you are deserving, she will give you one of her tireless Red Horses…. The OtherWorld is, of course, the Spiritual World. If wee learn to reconcile our physical world with the OtherWorld, then we have no problem knowing the magic phrases of the right turn on the road.” (from Healing the Fisher King, by Shelly Durrell).

    I like both answers, yours especially, Paulo, because it seems so straightforward and simple: just start walking, just have faith/conviction, and the gates will open for you, the sea will part, and you will walk across on dry land. But that is all metaphorical, and I am not sure how to translate this into real, practicable terms, in my given situation at the current moment. In my case the journey is in reverse. The realm I am in is the Paradise, the Promised Land – the world of sunlight and green fields; the world I am trying to enter is the Underworld, again, as in Greek mythology, the dark underside of the living world we inhabit – a world filled with walking zombies, formless specters and demonic powers that have the potential to hold sway over us when we enter into their realm.

    So why would I wish to make such a journey? Why would I want to cross the barrier into this Underworld I describe, this realm filled only with demons and the walking-dead? Well, even in mythology, such journeys are often necessary. Ishtar, for example, a Goddess of the Upper Air, had to make that journey into the UnderWorld to bring back her beloved Tamuz who was being held captive by Ishtar’s wicked sister Allatu, Queen of the UnderWorld. Such stories abound throughout the mythology of many cultures, so, to take the position that we are somehow “too good” or “too spiritual” to make that journey into the UnderWorld is somehow to renounce the possibility of growth.

    In order to enter the UnderWorld, however, Ishtar had to meet with Allatu’s Gatekeeper and pass thru seven gates. At each gate she was asked to renounce some emblem of her higher spiritual self: first her crown, signifying her sovereignty over the Upper Realm, then her pendant earrings, her necklaces of precious stones, her breastplate, the girdle of birthstones from her hips, her bracelets and anklets, then finally, her robes of shimmering threads woven of silver and gold. Only when she was completely naked, stripped of all her powers that she held in the Upper Realm, was she allowed into the UnderWorld and the court of Allatu, where Tamuz was being held captive, under the spell of the Queen of the UnderWorld.

    This somehow all makes sense to me. Again, I am not yet sure how this translates into my personal life and the given situation I am contemplating at the moment, but it seems also to have something to do with your answer, Paulo – faith. Ishtar herself must have had some faith that she would somehow come out alive, even without her magical powers that she relied upon in the Upper World. There was something deeper even than that, which was sustaining her on this journey, and she knew it, she had conviction in it. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have gone because she would have know that to do so meant certain death, she would have deemed the journey a failure before it even began. But she knew that she could win – even without her Upper World magic – she knew that she could dive into the UnderWorld and bring Tamuz back. And how did she do it – by what means, by what power? Love. When Allatu, the Evil Queen, saw how deeply and intensely Tamuz truly loved Ishtar – when she saw the two of them clinging to one another, weeping, bound up in one another’s arms, she was moved to mercy, and offered a compromise to Ishtar. The deal was that Tamuz would be allowed to return to the Upper Realm with Ishtar, but only for six months out of every year. The other six months, he had to spend in the UnderWorld with Allatu. This is why there are six months of sunlight and warmth (Spring and Summer) and six months of darkness and cold (Fall and Winter) – because when Ishtar’s beloved Tamuz is away in the UnderWorld, the life-force itself is withdrawn from the Upper Realm.

    So this is what I have to do: start walking, and go there, knowing that the gates will open for me, the waters WILL part and let me pass before I wade in over my head and drown. I have also to be prepared to let go of the sort of control I am accustomed to wielding in the realm that is mine. I have to know that I will lose the powers I am used to having, and I must be prepared to renounce those willfully and willingly. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, I must know that love will win out in the end, even over the evil powers of the UnderWorld.

    I think I do have a key in my pocket, now that I think of it – yes, look! There it is! It was there all the time, and I just didn’t know it, or perhaps had forgotten it. That key is the key that “unleashes and binds”. That is the key that Ishtar used to unloose Tamuz in the UnderWorld, the same key that bound him to her in the Upper Realm: that key is love, and the faith we must have in its power to affect miracles, not only in this realm, but in all worlds, both above and below.

  6. Nancy says:

    A person needs to be in motion to have life’s miracles to come their way. I do like this blog!

  7. TL says:


    Thank you, Mr Coelho for the sign you have just given me and tell me to have confidence in the path. The signs and coincidences I have been receiving on this particular path have been so useful and have given me reassurance.

    Thank you.


    T L

  8. Liina L. says:

    If something is spoken out and about, having the facts left out from it, or bending the truth or hiding the truth, it will come out, eventually. If it has to come out, it will. The truth always finds a way.

    But it depends, who listens the truth. And if it has been truly listened to. In other words – do You absorb it, understand it fully.


    Always, given or talking about some information, we should gather the facts and not forget about them, to know how the story really goes.

    Truth comes to those who decide to embrace it.


  9. austere says:


    So difficult. So simple.

  10. Lavanya says: