The source

Illustration by Ken Crane

How can we be able to retain good values in ourselves? (Ankit, Twitter)

I don’t see this from this perspective – I don’t think we “retain” good values.
This would mean that we would be trying to keep inside ourselves things that ultimately do not belong to us.
In a way your question is quite revealing of what society tries to instill in us: to be able to retain the rules of “dos” and “don’ts” of others.

I see good values in a different way; I see them in the sense of a greater understanding and joy.
This can only be found within our souls – not outside from us. We have then to “tap” into this source that is available in virtually all of us.

This is the moment when we identify, in the silence of ourselves, the greater light, the greater path.

Once we recognize this inner fountain, we stop “retaining” and actually become instruments of a higher purpose: to allow it flow without questions, without the seeking of a reward.
This is the only value, in my eyes, that truly matters.

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE



  1. Adeel Arif says:

    I find “understanding” is a continuous process with ups n downs… dont really find it permanent… somehow the mode changes and understandings turn the other way around… what we are left with is lifeless materials… pity…!!!

  2. Mi piacerebbe capire quali sono i buoni valori
    Se questa societí  li avesse scoperti non ci sarebbe il disastro che impera e non morirebbero bambini per fame e non ci sarebbero guerre e i soldi non rappresenterebbero quello che sappiamo

  3. Angela says:

    Wise words, as always… and very fitting!

  4. Tiffaney says:

    We are not now the strength which in old days
    moved earth and heaven;
    That which we are, we are:
    One equal temper of heroic hearts
    made weak by time and fate but strong in will –
    To strive, to seek, to find,
    And not to yield.
    ~Alfred Lord Tennyson

  5. Sonia Maria Durant says:

    la fuente, esta en constante movimiento para renacer somos seres evolucionando , para bien los valores no cambian, solo se transforman para mejorar, y solo lo podemos notar como dice usted, desde adentro,y aunque aveces parece que se nos perdieron , solo cambiaron para nuestro bien,nos dejan destellos para que los identifiquemos y asi adaptarnos a ellos.

    bendiciones para usted y su familia!

    y gracias de nuevo , siempre aprendo algo mas todos los dias , y entre ese aprendizaje , esta usted!

  6. Vanda says:

    Very telling .I am in this stage of my journey now and as each day goes by and I pray for peace and love I am able to tolerate the outside world because it is not in me anymore.Blessings

  7. Justin says:

    do’s and don’ts are depends on perspective..hence, it calls for respect..

  8. pramila says:

    The greater light, the truer path… Does one see eternal verities in a cluster of sublime lines just for their ethereal imagery? probably not. You need a mind that is clear, transparent and free from the slightest smudge. Only a mystic who has touched the feet of God could attain that!But it’s comforting to know that there are people who can follow their bliss!Maktub!
    For lesser mortals like us, values are just a matter of common decency.It’s not so easy to understand the meaning of words like soul!

  9. Jitzhak says:

    We are coming to a world, a civilisation around us with human, cultural traditions, a hierarchy of value systems passed on by heredity. If we are succesful to find the light of conciousness, to find ourselvs, our own place in the time, than we can find the valuation which harmonizing with a greater concept.

  10. ali0jan says:

    Once again satisfactory answer Paulo. I want to add that good morals and good values always lie under the humans’ chest but the actual task is to find that out, realize it and practically perform it. Unfortunately, “dos” and “don’ts” of people and society around us completely represses children which hampers their capability of finding good morals that children are supposed to discover themselves. So it’s up to people around you that either they are letting you grow yourself or they are moving child as a puppet.

  11. Anna van de Berg says:

    Stand by yourself…

  12. Robelis says:

    My source, my fountain is the endless love of God.
    He is the natural joy that lives inside of me. His will on earth is all I am living for (Love).
    Con amor, Robelis :)

  13. Andreas says:

    Tank you for your words which guide me on my path since Santiago.

  14. Thankyou Paulo,

    Innumerable as the stars of night,
    Or stars of morning, dewdrops which the sun
    Impearls on every leaf and every flower.
    – John Milton


    Gratitude and Love to All,
    Jane xo

  15. marie-christine says:

    ‘What society tries to instill in us : to be able to retain the rules of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of others.’

    I believe ‘patriotism’ is wonderful when citizens get both sides of the story, then you can put a spin on the theory.

    Until such time,’patriotism’ is not worthy of the word.

    To ensure that good values are in place for the future generation this anomaly needs to be addressed in schools and ‘history’ books re-written.

  16. Karen says:

    From the Source within a woman’s Heart:

    Our Mother who Art in the Garden
    Glory be Our name
    Thy Queendom united
    Thy creativity ignited
    Our Earth respected like Heaven
    Thank you for this day, our daily tread
    Free us, our hearts from harsh judgement
    As we see all beings with compassion
    Lead us not into disconnection
    And deliver us from shame
    For NOW is the place of power and freedom
    For all eternity

    -The Queen’s prayer

  17. Adriana says:

    I truly loved the question and the answer. You were being an instrument while you wrote it. Huge kisses.

  18. Bryan says:

    I guess we need to understand what is really valuable

  19. karen says:

    Retaining what’s outside inside? All in one’s definition of “values”, I suspect. There’s a meditation where the mind dips into the heart. Value: worth, usefulness, help, merit, significance…. It’s like the dance where the body moves towards the sensation of pleasure and healing – dips, sustains, increases, adjusts and refines…

  20. margherita says:

    I valori con si dovrebbero instillare ma dimostrare con le proprie azioni coerenti e non dannose verso i nostri simili.
    Ad un bambino non si dovrebbe dire “fai cosí¬”, semplicemente la societí  degli adulti dovrebbe sottoporgli i valori messi in atto.
    Una societí  che educa ma che poi si contraddice non fa altro che confondere le nuove generazioni.
    Percií² gli adulti sono i primi responsabili della societí  del futuro.
    Tuttavia rimane da fare i conti con le inclinazioni e l’egoismo insito nell’animo umano: e contro questo forse neppure Dio (che ci lascia liberi di scegliere) puí² qualcosa. E’ l’eterna lotta tra il positivo ed il negativo, tra il bene ed il male, tra gli opposti che si legittimano. Ogni giorno l’essere umano deve combattere la sua battaglia per rimanere dalla parte della luce o dell’ombra. Il giudizio non spetta all’essere umano, la libera scelta sí¬.

  21. Alexandra says:

    I try a comparison. Inner might be same as sombody who know well a thing, but is not able to teach it to others…So is a retained skill. If the person is able to pass the knowledge to others and the others become skilled, is a shared thing. Maybe same with love? Just an idea.

  22. jackienoriega says:


  23. Dear Paulo,

    Do you remember you once said, routine is fatal…I had a hard time with that, on that weekend, I went with some friends in town surrounded by pine trees and mountains and I argued that even the trees can make a difference just by being trees, imagine life without them but later on I realized that they are trees and I am a person, we have different roles in this universe…

    Thank you for challenging my existence..always..

  24. Heimo Kruschinski says:

    There are internal and external values”‹”‹. Both are closely linked. One must not retain them, I think one have to conquer them. I think you have beautifully described the inner values”‹”‹. The external values”‹”‹, I summarize easily. An old proverb. What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to others. The source of all value, sustainability, this inner fountain – a wonderful expression – what is that? I have a suspicion. Can it be love? Love thy neighbor as thyself! Love yourself as your neighbor. Without this inner love for yourself, respect for yourself, in spite of all the mistakes you have, it is not possible to love others and respect them. This is the basis for all other values”‹”‹. That’s my opinion at least.

    I wish you all a wonderful evening

  25. eleonora says:

    Once we recognize this inner fountain, we stop “retaining” and actually become instruments of a higher purpose: to allow it flow without questions, without the seeking of a reward. This is the only value, in my eyes, that truly matters.

  26. Olta Canka says:


    It was while learning what you are explaining here when I learned more about this:
    “Judge not and you won’t be judged.” For we are the ones who judge and we judge others as we judge our self, so we are judged and we seek not to, but no matter how hard how many wonderful virtues we retain they will never be enough, never be always the right one to our judgment.

    It was then when I STARTED to open my self more to the many beauties, differences of the one light that we are.
    The many languages, cultures, lights around me, and see how little I have known til now, for trying to Understand and control all around me. I see now that there is so much to see, and so will be, more and more…
    So less did I know, so very less, or nothing do I know about heart’s language… although I know to talk it…
    Our minds can only create deformed images of what we are, of our own beauty because all what our minds know come from what we truly are, and it is not to the mind to transform it, but just to let the transformation happen, while we let our self being guided by the heart and the love we give here in the many forms we can.

    We are worrying to much in how to live instead of just living.

    (I had to cut the link to the movie, as sometimes the video appears embed)

    And in minute 6:50 there it is what I am talking about.

    There is so much beauty inside of each of us and it is infinite. Hoping for all us to stop picturing it and just start seeing it, Loving it, using it/just being it!


  27. Marie-Christine says:

    En francais

    Comment sommes-nous capables de ‘garder’ des bonnes valeurs en nous-meme? (Ankit, Twitter)

    Je le vois sous un angle different. Je ne pense pas que l’on ‘retient’ les bonnes valeurs.
    Cela voudrait dire qu’on essaierait de garder en nous, les choses,qui, en fait de compte, ne nous appartiennent pas.
    En un sens, votre question est tres revelatrice de ce que la societe essaie de nous ‘inculquer': etre capable de garder les regles des ‘faire’ et ‘ne pas faire’ des autres.

    Je vois les bonnes valeurs autrement. Je les vois dans le sens d’une plus grande connaissance et joie.
    On le trouve seulement dans nos ames – pas en dehors de nous – Nous devons a ce moment la,’faire appel’ a cette source qui est disponible pratiquement en chacun de nous.

    C’est dans ce moment que nous identifions , dans notre silence, la plus grande lumiere, le plus grand chemin.

    Une fois que nous reconnaissons cette source interieure, nous cessons de ‘retenir’ et devenons actuellement des instruments d’une intention superieure : pour lui permettre de couler sans questions, sans la recherche d’une recompense. C’est la seule valeur, a mes yeux, qui importe vraiment.

  28. Bhaskar Roy says:

    “This can only be found within our souls – not outside from us.” I loved this sentence. And at the same time, remaining neutral to the statement may i ask if you think that we would all, sooner or later arrive at the discovery that you talk about… ? The moment, that you are taking about… what makes you think that we all have an inherent moment of reckoning in us, apart from your personal life and experiences WHAT makes you so convinced that it is so?

    I am not simply interested in telling you only how much i love to read your books(which obviously i do) . I want to know what makes Paulo say and write things with such conviction!Aren’t experiences subjective? Yet, somewhere one does feel a ring of truth in your writes.

    *Dear moderator: Please do nor post this comment if it cannot be answered. I do understand the hectic schedule that a writer of Mr Coelho’s caliber has to go through.

    Thanks and regards

  29. Pilar says:

    Tiempo para escuchar el silencio.Y, con el tiempo, igual que nosotros, algunos valores cambian. Gracias.

  30. Nancy says:

    It is amazing that the most simple action bring the greatest results. It is in the silence inside of us where we will find what we are looking for. The moment of silence which welcomes the Source, the creator life and love.

    I find this simple action must be repeated again and again, and always.

  31. Leandro says:

    It is extremely complicated the question of values.
    There are some values “‹”‹that are ridiculous, absurd, banal. But there are others that are essential for the balance of society. We need to know to use common sense to understand what values “‹”‹should be left and what should be saved.
    If you look at all religions that exist, they preach the same values, the values “‹”‹change very little from one to another. I believe it is in our instinct to some values, to respect his father and hand, care for and protect their children. Do not commit suicide, always fight for life, be careful not to fall into addiction. I have an opinion I do not know if it is correct. We need to know to use common sense to understand what values “‹”‹should be left and what values “‹”‹should be saved.

    “The Arts and Sciences were born of addiction” Jean Jacques Rousseau

    “If you find a weakness in you, rather than disguise it reduces its own dimensions and corrects you Oh, if the soul had to fight, if only the body has its own vicious inclinations, and it is necessary that the parties -. ? The smaller, but at the same time the most divine – fight each other, without ceasing “Delacroix.

    “There is no vice that does not hide behind a good reason, in principle, everyone is seemingly modest and acceptable, so that little by little they are expanding. It is not able to stop an addiction, if you let it install. In Nature given the task of caring for ourselves, but if we are too complacent, this trend was an addiction. the acts necessary nature joined pleasure, not for us to do this our way, but just to make things even more enjoyable, without which existence is impossible. “Seneca

    I believe it is a matter of common sense (and it is very difficult to know if common sense is right or wrong). The two things are in our nature, a control of another, always has been, always will be. I think we have to leave them less than others.
    Some values “‹”‹are ridiculous, absurd and trivial.
    Other values “‹”‹bring harmony, balance and good for society.

  32. Annie says:

    “In the silence of ourselves”, he said
    you ll find a beautiful song ready to be heard
    it comes from within, he said
    in a fountain of Light let’s bathe in

    Don’t divide yourself
    in dos and don’ts
    don’t divide your heart
    in good and bad

    Come, Drink from this water of Love
    and let everything,
    poisoned and unpoisoned
    become divine

    Love and Gratitude

  33. KHALED_1981 says:


  34. Irina Black says:

    Лестница Иакова.
    Экстаз без промедления вы получить хотите?
    Тогда вы на одну из четырёх ступеней поднимитесь.
    Вы выбор сделаете сами:
    Пред вами честь,долг,любовь и Божий праздник.

  35. Lyl says:

    I am :)

  36. Pandora says:

    All today I have been getting an image of Wine, bad wine held within a cup, and there is little point putting good wine into a cup with bad wine, or red with white.

    Maybe I am relating it to this post and a number of other things. It is only a fountain that is free from poisons that can replenish and that is why healing is of importance, to clear the way, of any obstacles or stagnant waters hidden in the murky depths of souls.

    Like the image of a blocked well, and in an old system, filled with corruption, it is better perhaps to start from scratch, with a clean cup. Free from all the impurities or blockages so that the energy can freely flow, and as William Blake said one can only “Expect poison from the standing water.”

    Thank you.

  37. Tarek says:

    Speaking about good “values” necessitates the presence of bad “values”. Labeling things as good or bad requires the ability to discriminate between what we (a group) agreed to label as good or bad. The tool of discrimination is human consciousness, probably the most valuable development in the course of evolution. But this human consciousness is still infant and incomplete. This can be easily seen in its tending to consider the universe to be limited to what is can perceive and mostly denying anything else the lay beyond it scope of comprehension. Here again Rumi: Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,. there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
    I guess this sentence have sited 10s of times in this blog :-)

  38. LoveM says:

    To flow with power
    Just let go of what you know
    And become current…
    Informed by the flow
    Feeling field of energy
    Shows the way to go…
    Lit by awareness
    Your entire life flowing like
    A river of light…
    How lovely to feel
    This free flowing life essence
    Without grasping…

  39. Princess says:

    I read a blog that spoke about the different levels of consciousness and they placed joy rather high up on the hierarchy. While trying to figure out where I was on this list, I found that I was getting so caught up in the hierarchy and was completely losing touch with what mattered the most: the growth and expansion of my own soul. I was spending so much time trying to fit myself into the consciousness of love and joy that I was no longer listening to my own heart that said, “you’re okay. You’re right where you need to be and let that be enough to fill you with joy. The beauty of the moment.”

    This is nice to read, Paulo. Because values aren’t to be retained. When we tap into that source within us, we find that these values are essentially written on our hearts.

  40. […] Today’s Question by the reader : Ankit How can we be a […]

  41. Marie-Christine says:

    Je comprends cela tres bien.
    “les enfants seuls savent ce qu’ils cherchent.”
    “Un sourire est souvent l’essentiel. On est paye par un sourire. On est recompense par un sourire.” :)
    “Et si l’on peut te prendre ce que tu possedes qui peut te prendre ce que tu donnes.”
    Antoine de Saint Exupery

  42. orly says:

    once we see our world in a certain prespective- and we feel we need and want and desire for those good values-
    i believe that each one of us in our society can add his (her) own acts- and every day we can get a better world,,,
    and i agree with u 100%- to love without waiting for the reward- its a really importnat issue that one has to learn
    lots of love to all of u

  43. THELMA says:

    We are who we are and we act the way our inner self and personality dictates us. I think it is like …painting or playing an instrument.. The piece or art we produce expresses our Soul.
    The brighter and more illuminated we are the more Light we spread around us. Our Aura..

  44. lynne says:

    I agree, its not about retaining values, but living and being true to your values. If you don’t live then then its usually apparent – there’s a negative emotion- sadness, anxiety, feeling lost, and the opposite when you do. And about tapping into your true self, baring your soul, being both vulnerable and strong and the same time. and when others see or feel they will mirror, and thet can then to live their values.

    Thank you Paulo for reminding me of this
    with love


  45. Bartlomiej says:

    In my opinion, when living in times when we are being overflown by the information from everywhere, we should start everything from simplicity, from loving, caring, openless etc., take our time to think the complex aspects over, do not judge.

    When we have grasped what is the most important, we should add other elements to our ethics, but do not try to follow others who are maybe more capable or have different goals in their lives. Instead try to persuade them why being right is not so important and why they should apply the win-win thinking.


  46. Isobel says:

    Love is a reward itself

  47. Irina Black says:

    How to leave “the Market”. “Love,only love”-..and you will not be “selling” or “buying” anything,everything will be given to you.

  48. Savita Vega says:

    This idea of “retaining” values also has its flip-side: the notion that it is possible to “instill” good values in a child.

    Parents often do this, usually by threat of violence, without contemplating the fact that the first need to exemplify the values they claim to admire. The child lies, and so they beat the child for lying. Yet meanwhile, this child is watching that same parent lie to their boss, lie to their spouse, lie to friends and other family members. But that parent still believes that they can somehow “instill” the values of honesty and trustworthiness in their child, if only they are adamant enough, determined enough, forceful enough in their approach.

    Our schools similarly (with few exceptions) seek to “instill” a list of abstract values in the child, but their approach is a little different, at least in recent years. They do not rely so much on the threat of violence as upon perpetual bombardment of certain ideals (ideal values), coupled with the utilization of specific brain-washing techniques.

    In example, a few weeks ago – I think it was around the holiday of Presidents’ Day – my daughter, who is in kindergarten, came home with a folder full of papers that rather troubled me. When I looked through them, it was obvious that these exercises were intended t “instill” certain values deemed as “ideal” by our society. On one of these papers, written in big bold print, was the word PATRIOTISM, and beneath it, a coloring book illustration of several children gathered around the national flag, with their hands over their hearts, smiling up at the flag. When I questioned my daughter about what they had been learning, the answer was: how many stripes does the flag have, how many stars, how old is our nation, who was George Washington…. They were not learning anything that would cause them naturally to FEEL patriotic; they certainly were not being told both sides of the story, the whole story, and allowed to decide for themselves how they feel. They were just being told that it is “good to be patriotic,” and that “the American flag is praiseworthy.” (No questions allowed.) In essence, they were being “instilled” with BLIND patriotism, inarguably a value that will make them “good little citizens.”

    There is a very short chapter on education in a book by Roberto Unger and Cornel West, that I like very much. From it, is the following paragraph:

    “The school in a democracy should take no part in delivering to the child the ancient message of the family or the local community: Become like me. [Translate: The school should not seek to “instill” the values and norms of society.] It has a bigger job: to equip the child with the means to think and to stand on his or her own feet, bringing the ideas and experiences of far away or long ago to bear upon the understanding and the criticism of the here and now. The school should examine possibilities of imagination and of life that the surrounding society is unable or unwilling to countenance. It should be the voice of the future – of alternative futures – within the present, and it should recognize in the child, the future worker and citizen, a little prophet.”

    Or, as Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Education, once said: “Accept the children with reverence, educate them with love, send them forth in freedom.”

    No education is of value that does not entice the soul, as well as the mind, to grow and evolve. To educate a child in the light is not to “brainwash” – not to “instill” them with a specified set of values, or force them to accept the norms of society – but to offer them resources and allow them the opportunity to set forth and explore the path that will lead them to the discovery of that “inner fountain” within themselves.

  49. aditya says:

    interesting take paulo !

    good values are the once which bring an inner joy to us, not necessarily more comforts but a joy of the heart, of the soul !

    once we get used to tapping into, noticing the inner changes which comes about in us as we do certain things and refrain from doing certain other things, the good values need not be retained by any effort from our side, they automatically get retained.

    the inner fountain needs to be noticed, recognised – then whatsoever we do will be in line with ‘good’ values. but busy as we are do we have time to stop and ponder, to notice ourselves !!


  50. Alexandra says:

    Your words show your great heart.I think I am still far of being that way…