Timeshifting – Part 1

Paulo Coelho

I correspond a lot by e-mail with Stephan Rechtschaffen, a doctor who founded the successful Omega Institute in New York. I was invited to give a talk there but I had to cancel it at the last moment. Then Stephan and I were contacted to talk together in Vienna, Austria, and this time I decided to cancel because I found the price they were charging absurdly high. The fact is that these upsets, instead of separating me from him, have ended up drawing us closer (the world has very odd situations).

In one of these exchanges, he told me he was going to send his book. To my surprise I received a copy in Portuguese (Timeshifting – “Reorientando o Tempo”). I read it in one afternoon and have re-read it several times more, since all of us, every day of our lives, always have some problem with this theme. In the text Stephan offers some comments that I have listed below (edited on account of the size of the column).

Time is not a measure: but rather a quality. When we look at the past we are not rewinding a tape but remembering a gift of our passage on Earth. Time is not measured like a road is measured, since we take gigantic leaps backwards (memories) and forwards (projects).

Managing is not living: “time is money” is nonsense. We have to be aware of each moment and know how to take advantage of each single moment in what we are doing (with love) or in just contemplating life. A day has 24 hours and an infinity of moments. If we slow down, everything will last much longer. Of course, washing the dishes can take longer too, but why not use that time to think about pleasant things, singing, relaxing, being happy at just being alive?

In tune with life: Arthur Rubinstein (one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century) was once approached by an ardent admirer, who asked him: “How can you use the notes with such mastery?” The pianist answered: “I use the notes the same way that others do, but the pauses … ah! That’s where the art lies.” My divorce process was extremely painful and I thought that by keeping busy I would manage to get over the difficult moments, but it did not work out as foreseen because I could not see the pain in my soul. As of a certain moment I began to “use the pauses” – sit down, let the pain come and reach me and then pass. Little by little I re-structured my life and understood better the reasons for the separation. Today my ex-wife works with me in the Omega Institute – because I was able to face pain, not just hide it behind my work.

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The second part of this text will be published here tomorrow.


  1. THELMA says:

    My dear/est Paul from Austria. Yes, Sarbel is missing from your .. catalogue .. and .. and ..
    I hope that shifting from … Springtime to .. Wintertime is not an actual description of Vienna’s life! Spring is always in our Souls.;]
    p.s. Sarbel now you know that when I said I wouldn’t forget your name, having a ..Singer named Sarbel in Cyprus!! T.

  2. orly says:

    i love the way he describes the pause,,,,, and i realize that without even thinking – i do the same-
    i take pouses i absorbe i always face situations and i thank G-d for beeing alive and beeing able to know life from all sides- the good the better and the best!!!!
    lots of love

  3. […] Timeshifting – Part 1 Paulo Coelho I correspond a lot by e-mail with Stephan Rechtschaffen, a doctor who founded… […]

  4. Seema says:

    Hi Paulo,
    Beautiful writing by the Doc and novel in approach… Just yesterday, I too was thinking about ‘Time’ and even did write on MS Word, with watermark (the first time I put the watermark ever on MS word). I would like to share with you some even if it is a trifle too simple: “When I want to look back, now-a-days, I do not want to…Not becoz there were no simple pleasures of life, instead I had a loadful of them since the beginning…..Well, I do not wanna look back becoz I am now at that juncture of life where there is no past nor future, becoz there is simply no thinking… not even the present… it has vanished…Dare say, want to do too much and nothing simultaneously…The Law of Duality!!! How does that happen! I think I have an idea….Won’t explain right here, right now…”

  5. Alexandra says:

    I think time is not an illusion.Why we get old?Ok,we can say as great Shakespeare that world is a dream,if we want.But we feel alive,we feel pain,happiness,we see world changing.I think we can be friends with our ex,but,only after a period of time .After we forget pain.
    Usually if one has time has no money,or if has money has no time.
    I feel at times that I need a 48 hours day to finish my plans.Time is a treasure .

    1. marie-christine says:

      Alex, I agree with what you are saying.
      “you can be friends with your ex,.. after you forget the pain.”
      One of the problem with time is linked – for the average person – also with money.
      The person who has money can delegate and therefore has more time to manage and that is the fundamental difference between the one who has and the one who has not.
      Time management should be also taught in schools so that you can …as Paulo says “be aware of each moment and know how to take advantage of each single moment in what we are doing (in love)or in just contemplating life.”

    2. marie-christine says:

      Yes,and “time is a treasure”.
      Thank you Alexandra and Paulo.

  6. Risa says:

    Interesting and beautiful. I’d love for you to post Part 2…

  7. THELMA says:

    Nika Marie, I love you. I feel so happy I have met you and I am sure we will meet again soon.
    Classical music is the best .. medicine for the Soul! It is my .. dream life.
    Thelma xxx

  8. THELMA says:

    My dear ROSA DE LOS VIENTOS, un saludo a ..te!!
    Never mind I do not speek spanish I understand your ‘vibrations’. Your are a beautiful lady with a beautiful soul.

  9. Veronica says:

    When I first began to read this blog, I thought Paulo was going to talk about the difficulties one might encounter when meeting someone. I have had so many disenchantments and twists everytime I have tried to see someone very special to me. I have learned through all the bitter experiences and pain, that time and distance does not really exist when those whom you love are in your heart. Despite distance, despite time, they prevail in one’s soul like the essence of the soul itself, and nothing can take them away from you, even the most difficult circumstances. In this, time can be a wonderful friend, allowing you to slow down, to think of them, to remember the sweet moments shared. But it could also become the worst enemy when we look back and find pain in the sweet moments gone, when we think that we might not be here the next moment and that cherished opportunity for an encounter with that loved person will be gone for this life, and one will have to wait till next life to see them again. The soul, my soul is stubborn and cannot just turn and forget love, however it has learned to be on their knees and to welcome the circumstances time is giving, even the most adverse ones, but hope is still there, for it cannot die, cannot fell asleep, cannot rest. That keeps me with the certainty that one day, I will see those eyes again.

  10. Marie-Christine says:

    Rubi n stein can certainly tinkle the ivory and ebony….

  11. Ca says:

    Querido Mestre,

    Administrar ní£o so o tempo mas a energia no nosso tempo, é muito importante na nossa vida. Acredito que ní£o é o tempo que deve ser administrado, mas a energia que colocamos em cada momento, e o quanto ela pode ser aproveitada e nos retorna em mais energia. Dai vai quando a energia é tí£o boa e tí£o pura que a gente deseja que o tempo pare. Se contarmos quantos pensamentos passam pela nossa cabeí§a por segundo, vamos entender porque nos precisamos tanto de tantas regras e ocupaí§íµes pra dominar a sua propria mente, nosso proprio tempo. Cada dia é um milagre na nossa vida, e devemos estar cientes disso antes de tudo. Uma vida cotidiana organizada é essencial pra nosso avaní§o. Acordar cedo, ter um trabalho, sair com amigos, fazer esporte, enfin, planning cheio e organizado. Mas os momentos em que certas situaí§íµes viram nossa vida de cabeí§a pra baixo e que ní£o temos nosso “planejado e controlado” tempo de compromissos, aprendemos muito em nossa vida. Pausa, em que é so vocíª com vocíª mesmo. Se nao fosse esta pausa, ní£o haveria a reestrutura. Pra fazermos a alquimia, acredito que jamais devemos ignorar nossa dor, precisamos encara-la de frente, com coragem, mesmo que isto nos arranque muitas lagrimas, é como se tivemos que irmos ao fundo para entí£o poder ascencionar. E este periodo embora seja arduo, se torna sagrado uma vez feita a alquimia. Na minha vida cotidiana, é de extrema importí¢ncia que eu cumpra meus compromissos, e eu me esforí§o o maximo pra ter uma estrutura de tempo mais organizada possivel. Mas assim como Stephan eu tb tive uma grande pausa que toda esta estrutura saiu de meu controle, ní£o importando quanto esforí§o eu fizesse pra retoma-la, e neste momento tive que ter muita paciencia e muito amor pra ní£o querer me afundar, e sim enfrentar tudo de frente. Nestes momentos descobrimos a forí§a que tem dentro de nos mesmos. A forí§a de querer viver, de querer ser feliz, de querer amar, perdoar, se perdoar e dar o seu melhor…



  12. candie says:

    Irina Black,your comments are always so cool!

  13. Interesante, muy interesante me gustará aprender más de ello.
    Estaré atenta al siguiente capí­tulo.
    Un saludo a Thelma, Paul from Austria y Marie que me ha encantado conocerlos en la fiesta, con Marie fue un grato reencuentro.
    Un beso Paulo, tu eres amado y nosotros somos amados por ti, así­ nos haces sentir.

  14. Kasia May says:

    It is so true about facing the pain. The moment we acknowledge painful feeling in our mind, it’s power diminishes.

  15. Irina Black says:

    Odds and ends.How often people take “big things” to the house and forget to collect “a few unimportant”.What “stuff” to be filled with?Perspectiveviewing.Timeless things should be on board.Everybody decides for himself,what he is going to be made of.

  16. nika marie says:

    Thelma thanks for the youtube link perfect for my mood! :)

  17. nika marie says:

    Yes the pauses,can be hard to acknowledge but hard not to accept.

    Paul I giggled at that cigarette breaks, but I understand now. I asked myself how is it possible that Paulo can show much love to so many people in one night? Ahhh it is the magic of LOVE I guess. I give you Paulo two thumbs up and a big hug.

    Paul & Thelma

    it is a great pleasure meeting I pray we meet in the near future sending my love from Qatar.

  18. THELMA says:

    Artur Rubinstein.

  19. THELMA says:

    TIME is an illusion. It is the desire to put into moulds our lives. It is an aspect of the three dimensional world. It is our desire to .. tame, count and master our .. lives. It is not time that passes. It is ourselves that proceed into infinity. To collect as much .. light and love.
    Problems are not solved by putting them under the .. carpet, but by facing everything with bravery and as … spectators! To be ‘in life’ but to be also .. distant. To face everything with passion but not be burned by .. passion. After all ..’what is time and a life in ETERNITY’.

  20. Amy says:

    I send out thanks to you for sharing this… and thanks to God for the guidance that seems to always line me up with amazing coincidences that leave no doubt of the hand of a higher power.

    Lately I have had so many synchronicities with two books by Elizabeth Lesser – The Seeker’s Guide, and Broken Open – and it continues to astound me. This Omega Institute that you mention… that would be the same one that she co-founded?

    At any rate, upon some meditation and Jungian archetype reflection this morning, I was inspired to come read your blog, and finally, heartened by what I found here. Then again, I think those coincidences, which are themselves a work of Art woven into reality, are there all along. We just must take the time (*pause*) to notice and appreciate them.

  21. T.K. says:

    I’ve been considering attending an Omega Institute retreat. The movie I recently saw “Knowing” was about things placed in a time capsule and opened 50 years later.

  22. candie says:

    Great words here.

    Time is what you chose it to be.For some it can be an ennemy,for others it is a friend.

  23. Savita Vega says:

    Just last night a friend called me on the phone – she is one who reads many self-help and self-improvement books – and gave me several suggestions on how to make better use of my time. These are a few of her suggestions (which I think can add greatly to the quality of our time spent, as well as helping us manage the quantities we dedicate to this or that):

    * Put God first in everything you do. This means the day also. When awaken, pray, meditate, read scripture or other spiritual material, or otherwise do some form of spiritual practice that brings your mind to focus upon the Divine. This will not only set the tone for your day, causing your mind to return to God in both good and bad situations, but it will also make everything else you do “just fall into place.”
    * Do a little of this, and a little of that (particularly in terms of spiritual practice, but also in more material pursuits). Rather than getting carried away with your enthusiasm for a new hobby and spending the entire day practicing guitar, thus neglecting other things that you need or want to do, limit yourself to an thirty minutes or even an hour. This will enable you to keep the enthusiasm alive as well as maintain your practice on a ongoing basis. When we get carried away with something is when we fall into the trap of boredom, or otherwise we start to feel that it is taking too much of our time and energy and abandon the pursuit altogether.
    * Allot specific amounts of time for certain endeavors. This will enable you to achieve them in a reasonable length of time, still leaving time for the other things you want to do. (Rule: certain tasks will take exactly as long as you give yourself to complete them.) For example, instead of saying, “I will clean the house today,” and thereby spending the whole day, puttering about, and still, at the end of the day, not being finished; tell yourself, “I will clean the house in an hour.” You will be surprised at what you can accomplish in that time, and even how much fun it is, because you are doing it in a vibrant, energetic manner, not trudging about, dragging your feet, like it is the most dreadful chore on earth.
    * List the things you need/want to accomplish on a daily basis – but do not leave out the elements of your spiritual practice. This list will enable you to:
    * Prioritize: Face it – some things will NOT get done, or at least will not get done today. It is important to know what items on your list take priority and why. Upholding these priorities will not only give you a sense of accomplishment each and every day, but it will also help you avoid feeling, at the end of the day, that your hours were wasted.
    * (This is my own suggestion:) Live one day of the week without a clock. Make one day a sacred space by purging it of all obligations other than spiritual pursuits. If you spend just one a day a week plugged fully into God, thereby fully recharging your spiritual “batteries,” you will find that life not only runs more smoothly and is a lot less exhausting (no matter what you do the other six days), but you will also find that life, in general, is a lot more thrilling.

  24. munrocea says:

    “today is the tomorrow that you were worrying about yesterday.. and all is well”


  25. munrocea says:


    I found the use of repetition whilst changing keys, octaves etc on the piano my way of moving through blockages…

    but also, you can move time forward, by re-writing and transforming an old piece of music that perhaps you have written, to incorporate new events..
    all through music… what theraphy!!!

    the phrase i found solace in at ‘one time’ was this one:
    “today is the tomorrow that you were worrying about yesterday”

    its about managing our lives…
    knowing that what will be will be…
    that all you need is the courage, patience and discipline… to ensure a safe passage through space over time…

    by ritualising time and space – we have created so many dichotimies as well as differences… the latter is ok but to distinguish someone and then relate, identify, and ultimately shape ourselves and life itself in relation to that characterisation of time – are we not limiting and holding back time itself?

    where was it i – oh yes.. Dr Who – the ultimate time machine traveller of UK Tv channels anyway…
    on voyaging to one planet, the inhabitants were 90 years behind time… this was because the tv news station was emmitting out censored, abbreviated or false information…

    anyway… with time, like music – yes the pauses ; the rhythms and the key of the music… the repetitions and of course the time that the piece is in… 4/4 2/2 etc…
    – or like the dressage horse, the shoals of fish in the ocean,
    time is constantly shifting…
    moving us towards the light.

  26. Kealan says:

    Time is an illusion of our world, it is one of the first conditionings we receive when born. It is measured by the spinning of our earth around the sun. Each revolve takes 24 hours in our measurement, and the full revolve takes 365 and ¼ days. If we venture out into space our measurement of time would have no place or reasoning as our time is a consequence of the earth. A better measurement would be how many times our solar system revolves around the galaxy or how many times our galaxy revolves around the central black hole that knows no time and is only concerned with holding the universe together and limiting mass.

  27. aditya says:

    Hia paulo,

    perhaps he is the chap I should be speaking to about my ‘time -mcahine’ could you be an angel and introduce me to him.


    PS : Time has been a ‘companion’ to me too. Caompanion as in thinking of, being with.