I came across a blog that listed Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World.
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
5. The present moment.
“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”
6. Everyone is human.
“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”
“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”
“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”
“Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”
How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.
Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.
How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!
This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.
taken from the Bible, Seventh Chapter of Canticle of Canticles
August 30: end of Ramadan. EID MUBARAK to all my Muslim friends here!
An old man sold toys in the Baghdad market. Knowing that his sight was not quite perfect, his customers sometimes paid him with fake money.
The old man discovered the ruse, but did not say anything.
In his prayers he asked God to forgive those who cheated him.
“Perhaps they’re short of money and want to buy presents for their children,” he said to himself.
The time passed and the old man died. Standing before the gates of Heaven, he prayed once more:
- Lord! – he said. – I am a sinner. I did many wrong things, I am no better than the false coins I was paid. Forgive me!
At that moment the gates swung open and a Voice was heard:
- Forgive what? How can I judge someone who all through his life never once passed judgment on others?
People ask me: “Don’t you get tired of the fame and doesn’t it interfere you in your (creative) work? “ I never feel “tired” of this fantastic chance that was bestowed on me. On the contrary I try to honor this gift every day of my life.
I write for myself and therefore how others react to my writings has never been that important to me.
What is important to me, at every single launch of a new book, is the moment when the first reader will touch my book in the shelves of the bookstore. I get very excited about this and recently I realized that I was still able, after publishing many books, to feel exactly the same way as in the release of my first book, The Pilgrimage.
Of course, with success, the dimensions change but the inner feeling of sharing my soul with others remains intact.
I’m living the dream I had in my youth but I never look upon this dream as something that has an end.
As long as I’m able to live, I hope I will continue to face the challenges – agony and ecstasy of a new book.
Tip 2: Public transportation
Look to the faces around you. Try to feel what they are feeling now. Talk to a stranger. Be ready to hear a “no”, but try again.
Tip 3: A bar
Go there alone, and don’t feel intimidated. Relax, bring your computer, or a good book, and start working. Stop from time to time. As in the public transportation, talk to strangers. Connecting to people is a blessing, not a threat
AQUI EN ESPANOL: El fuego de la amistad
AQUI EM PORTUGUES: O fogo da amizade
When I arrive at the Moscow hotel with my publisher and my editor, a young woman is waiting outside for me. She comes over and grasps my hands in hers.
‘I need to talk to you. I’ve come all the way from Ekaterinburg to do just that.’
I’m tired. I woke up earlier than usual and had to change planes in Paris because there was no direct flight. I tried to sleep on the journey, but every time I managed to drop off, I would fall into the same unpleasant, recurring dream.
I hold out my hand to say goodbye and notice that hers is very cold.
‘Why didn’t you wait for me inside?’
‘I read your blog the other day and realised that you were talking directly to me.’
She takes out a piece of paper containing the article. I know it by heart, although I can’t remember who told me the story.
A man called Ali is in need of money and asks his boss to help him out. His boss sets him a challenge: if he can spend all night on the top of a mountain, he will receive a great reward; if he fails, he will have to work for free. The story continues:
When he left the shop, Ali noticed that an icy wind was blowing. He felt afraid and decided to ask his best friend, Aydi, if he thought he was mad to accept the wager.
After considering the matter for a moment, Aydi answered:
‘Don’t worry, I’ll help you. Tomorrow night, when you’re sitting on top of the mountain, look straight ahead.
‘I’ll be on the top of the mountain opposite, where I’ll keep a fire burning all night for you.
‘Look at the fire and think of our friendship; and that will keep you warm.
‘You’ll make it through the night, and afterwards, I’ll ask you for something in return.’
Ali won the wager, got the money, and went to his friend’s house.
‘You said you wanted some sort of payment in return.’
Aydi said, ‘Yes, but it isn’t money. Promise that if ever a cold wind blows through my life, you will light the fire of friendship for me.’
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Una muchacha espera fuera del hotel en Moscú, cuando llego con mis editores. Se aproxima y toma mis manos.
—Necesito hablar contigo. Vine de Ekaterinburg sólo para eso.
Estoy cansado. Desperté más temprano que de costumbre, tuve que cambiar de avión en París porque no había vuelo directo, intenté dormir en el viaje, pero cada vez que lograba hacerlo, entraba en una especie de sueño repetido que no me gustaba nada.
Extiendo la mano para despedirme, y noto que las de ella están muy frías.
—¿Por qué no entraste al hotel para esperarme?
—Leí tu blog el otro día y entendí que escribías para mí.
Ella saca un papel impreso con parte de mi texto.
Era una vez un hombre pobre pero de mucho coraje que se llamaba Ali. Trabajaba para Ammar, un viejo y rico comerciante.
Cierta noche de invierno dice Ammar: “Nadie puede pasar una noche así en lo alto de la montaña, sin frazada y sin comida. Pero tu necesitas de dinero y si consigues hacer eso, recibirás una gran recompensa. Si no lo consigues, trabajarás gratis por treinta días”.
Ali respondió: “Mañana cumpliré esa prueba”.
Pero al salir del negocio vio que realmente soplaba un viento helado y tuvo miedo. Resolvió preguntarle a su mejor amigo, Aydi, si no le parecía una locura hacer esa apuesta.
Después de reflexionar un poco Aydi le respondió:
“Voy a ayudarte. Mañana cuando estés en lo alto de la montaña mira hacia el frente.
“Yo estaré también en lo alto de la montaña vecina, pasaré la noche entera con una fogata encendida para ti.
“Mira para el fuego, piensa en nuestra amistad, y eso te mantendrá abrigado. Tu vas a conseguir y después yo te pediré algo en cambio”.
Ali venció la prueba, tomó el dinero y fue hasta la casa de su amigo:
“Tu me dijiste que querías algo en pago”.
Aydi le respondió: “Si, pero no en dinero. Prométeme que, si en algún momento el viento frío pasa por mi vida, encenderás para mi el fuego de la amistad.”
Epictetus (55 A.D.-135 A.D.) was born a slave and became one of the great philosophers of Rome. He was expelled from the city in 94 A.D. and it was while in exile that he came up with a way of teaching his followers. Here is an extract from his Art of Living.
‘Two things may happen when we meet someone: either we become friends or we try to convince that person to accept our beliefs.
The same thing happens when a hot coal meets another piece of coal: it either shares its fire with it or is overwhelmed by the other’s size and is extinguished.
But, since, generally speaking, we feel insecure when we first meet someone, we are more likely to affect indifference, arrogance or excessive humility.
The result is that we cease being who we are, and matters move into a strange world that does not belong to us.
In order to avoid this happening, make your good feelings immediately apparent. Arrogance may only be a banal mask for cowardice, but it prevents important things from flourishing in your life.’
I had many moments of pain and doubt. Becoming a best-selling author was a long journey and I faced many setbacks along the way.
For instance, I had a rough time with my second book The Alchemist. It was first published by a small publishing house and even though it sold well, at the end of the first year, the publisher decided to give me back the rights since, according to his words, “he could make more money in the stock exchange”.
At the time I decided to leave Rio with my wife and we spent 40 days in the Mojave dessert. I needed to heal myself from this and when I came I decided to keep on struggling.
I realized that despite the fear and the bruises of life, one has to keep on fighting for one’s dream.
As Borges said in his writings “there no other virtue than being brave”.
And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.
If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
Psalm 91, 9:13
Thank you all for being here all year long, sharing your ideas.
By reading your comments and the stories you sent me, I also learned a lot.
All my love
Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.
Even if there is no one dumber,
if you’re the planet’s biggest dunce,
you can’t repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.
No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with precisely the same kisses.
One day, perhaps some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
into the room, all hue and scent.
The next day, though you’re here with me,
I can’t help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?
Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It’s in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.
With smiles and kisses, we prefer
to seek accord beneath our star,
although we’re different (we concur)
just as two drops of water are.
translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak
Malba Tahan ilustra os perigos da palavra: uma mulher tanto falou que seu vizinho era ladrão, que o rapaz acabou preso. Dias depois, descobriram que era inocente; o rapaz foi solto e processou a mulher.
- Comentários não são tão graves – disse ela para o juiz.
- De acordo – respondeu o magistrado. Hoje, ao voltar para casa, escreva tudo que disse de mal sobre o rapaz; depois pique o papel, e jogue os pedaços no caminho. Amanhã volte para ouvir a sentença.
A mulher obedeceu, e voltou no dia seguinte.
- A senhora está perdoada se me entregar os pedaços do papel que espalhou ontem. Caso contrário, será condenada a um ano de prisão, declarou o magistrado.
- Mas é impossível! O vento já espalhou tudo!
- Da mesma maneira, um simples comentário pode ser espalhado pelo vento, destruir a honra de um homem, e depois é impossível consertar o mal já feito.
E enviou a mulher para o cárcere.
Of all the powerful weapons of destruction that man has invented, the most terrible – and the most cowardly – is the word.
Knives and firearms leave traces of blood.
Bombs shake whole buildings and streets.
Poisons can always be detected.
But a destructive word can provoke Evil without leaving behind it a single clue.
Children are subject to years of conditioning by their parents, artists are mercilessly pilloried, women are systematically undermined by remarks made by their husbands, the faithful are kept apart from religion by those who judge themselves capable of interpreting the voice of God.
Check to see if you yourself are using this weapon.
Check to see if someone is using this weapon on you.
And put a stop to both.
He/she is the kind of person who tries to stand out more when we are adolescents, when we are fighting to affirm our identities, our dreams, our place in the world. We are filled with doubts about what to do, and all of a sudden here comes the creep: always the leader, the one who thinks he is the best-looking, the most intelligent, the most able to face the challenges that lie ahead.
In the case of boys, normally he imposes himself by brute force or by his “smart” attitudes, as if he knew more than everybody else.
In the case of girls, the creep is always the one who seems to attract the looks of all the guys, get invited to all the parties, always be the most elegant.
During this important rite of passage called adolescence,while we suffer from feeling neglected, insecure and fragile, the creep sails smoothly by.
One fine day, when we are already adults, we think about getting together with our friends from adolescence. We organize a party, usually in a restaurant – where everyone shows up with their husbands and wives.
The creep shows up – generally married like the rest of us. We are all interested in what has become of his/her life.
The first surprise is that the creep went nowhere. Or rather, he may have taken a couple of successful steps, but soon life proved implacable towards his arrogance – the adult world is quite different from the one we live in when we are young.
When dinner starts, it seems that we have all been transported back, but soon we realize that he was just an instrument to enable us to grow. After a couple of drinks, we see the creep at bay, trying to prove a strength that no longer exists, feeling that we still believe that he is the leader of us all.
We smile, exchange kind words with everyone, pay the bill and leave with the impression that the creep has made the wrong choice. We think: “everything in that person should have worked out right, and it didn’t”.
All of us have known a creep or two in our lives. And that’s just as well.