2013: the first year of the rest of my life

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No one can go back, but everyone can go forward.

And tomorrow, when the sun rises, all you have to say to yourselves is:
I am going to think of this day as the first day of my life.

I will look on the members of my family with surprise and amazement, glad to discover that they are by my side, silently sharing that little understood thing called love.

I will pass a beggar, who will ask me for money.
I might give it to him or I might walk past thinking that he will only spend it on drink, and as I do, I will hear his insults and know that it is simply his way of communicating with me.

I will pass someone trying to destroy a bridge.
I might try to stop him or I might realise that he is doing it because he has no one waiting for him on the other side and this is his way of trying to fend off his own loneliness.

Instead of noting down things I’m unlikely to forget, I will write a poem.
Even if I have never written one before and even if I never do so again, I will at least know that I once had the courage to put my feelings into words.

I will keep smiling, because it pleases me to know that people think I am mad.
My smile is my way of saying: ‘You can destroy my body, but not my soul.’

If it’s sunny tomorrow, I want to look at the sun properly for the first time.
If it’s cloudy, I want to watch to see in which direction the clouds are going.
I always think that I don’t have time or don’t pay enough attention. Tomorrow, though, I will concentrate on the direction taken by the clouds or on the sun’s rays and the shadows they create.

Above my head exists a sky about which all humanity, over thousands of years, has woven a series of reasonable explanations.

Well, I will forget everything I learned about the stars and they will be transformed once more into angels or children or whatever I feel like believing at that moment.

For the first time, I will smile without feeling guilty, because joy is not a sin.
For the first time, I will avoid anything that makes me suffer, because suffering is not a virtue.

I am living this day as if it were my first and, while it lasts, I will discover things that I did not even know were there.

Even though I have walked past the same places countless times before and said ‘Good morning’ to the same people, tomorrow’s ‘Good morning’ will be different.
It will not be a mere polite formula, but a form of blessing.

And if I’m alone when the night falls, I will go over to window, look up at the sky and feel certain that loneliness is a lie, because the Universe is there to keep me company.

And then I will have lived each hour of my day as if it were a constant surprise to me, to this ‘I’, who was not created by my father or my mother or by school, but by everything I have experienced up until now, and which I suddenly forgot in order to discover it all anew.

And even if this is to be my last day on Earth, I will enjoy it to the full, because I will live it with the innocence of a child, as if I were doing everything for the first time.
 
 
taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

2013: 13 perguntas para Paulo Coelho

“A humanidade terá de ser mais responsável e menos destrutiva”
O escritor diz que 2013 é tempo para as pessoas assumirem as responsabilidades sobre seus atos e aprenderem a entender outras culturas em nome da paz mundial
Luí­s Antí´nio Giron

Em 2011, o escritor Paulo Coelho sofreu uma obstruí§í£o nas artérias do coraí§í£o que o laní§ou ao limite entre a vida e a morte e o estimulou a repensar toda sua carreira de autor de sucessos. “Os momentos difí­ceis nos ensinam a viver melhor”, disse a ÉPOCA de sua casa em Genebra, na Suí­í§a. Hoje, aos 64 anos, menos viajante e mais preocupado com a qualidade de vida, ele encontra tempo para meditar, planejar um romance a ser laní§ado em 2013 e fazer previsíµes. Nesta entrevista, discorre sobre o futuro do Brasil e do mundo. Segundo ele, a palavra de ordem para os meses que virí£o é “responsabilidade”.

1 – ÉPOCA – Que sentimento o senhor recomenda í  humanidade para os próximos meses?
Paulo Coelho – O sentimento da responsabilidade. A humanidade terá de ser mais responsável e menos destrutiva. A comunidade social permite que qualquer pessoa tenha uma voz que será ouvida. É preciso aproveitar isso para se fazer ouvir. É o contrário do que acontece hoje, nas caixas de comentários de notí­cias. Em vez de se dar conta de que sí£o responsáveis pelo que dizem, elas se dedicam a criticar qualquer coisa e pessoa de forma violenta e indiscriminada. É o que se chama de “trolar” no jargí£o da internet. Faí§a com que sua voz seja ouvida com responsabilidade, e ní£o como uma brincadeira. Mais responsabilidade e menos “trolagem”!

2 – ÉPOCA – Que lugar inspirador ou para peregrinar o senhor recomenda para 2013?
Coelho – Peregrine por seu coraí§í£o. Ele é inspirador. As pessoas estí£o freqüentando muito a lógica e deixando de lado o sentimento. O coraí§í£o tem uma caixa de ferramentas de que vocíª precisará em 2013. Ali, vocíª encontra a intuií§í£o e a capacidade de reagir rápido sem pensar muito. Com isso, ní£o quero ser irracional. Refiro-me ao coraí§í£o como metáfora, ní£o como órgí£o. A linguagem do coraí§í£o será cada vez mais importante. Usando seu coraí§í£o, vocíª volta ao estado de crianí§a. Sem a ingenuidade da crianí§a. Isso lhe dará condií§íµes de ser criativo para os desafios do ano. Fará vocíª se adaptar í s crises do mundo, como lidar com as novas linguagens. O coraí§í£o pode ní£o ser pragmático, mas é sábio. Procure conhecer o interior de sua alma. E assim estará no meio da tempestade, com raios e trovíµes a sua volta, e se sentirá bem. Vocíª é um desconhecido, e seu potencial é maior do que vocíª sabe. Passeando pela alma, vocíª ficará feliz com o que encontrará. As pessoas temem a confrontaí§í£o. No outono, as folhas brincam entre si que ní£o querem cair, mas ní£o adianta: elas cairí£o. A paz é uma utopia se associada í  idéia de ausíªncia de conflito. Aceite os conflitos, díª boas-vindas a eles e toque para a frente, porque isso é parte da condií§í£o humana.

3 – ÉPOCA – Quais serí£o os maiores obstáculos para o crescimento pessoal humano em 2013?

Coelho – A zona de conforto será o pior obstáculo. Vocíª cria essa zona achando que tem controle sobre tudo. Ora, isso é uma ilusí£o completa. No momento em que vocíª acha que está tudo bem í  sua volta, aí­ é que reside o perigo. Estou aqui parado, mas ní£o me sinto tranquilo. Persigo a atividade, evitando a crení§a no controle. Aprendi isso em duas situaí§íµes. A primeira foi em 1974, quando me achava o rei do mundo, porque tinha acabado de laní§ar a caní§í£o “Gita”, com Raul Seixas. Foi quando fui preso, desapareci – e aí­ meu mundo caiu. A segunda foi em 1979. Era um executivo de gravadora, achava que sabia aonde queria chegar. Troquei a Polygram pela CBS e aí­ fui mandado embora. Ní£o consegui mais arranjar emprego. Foi uma bíªní§í£o. Mas na hora vocíª sofre. Vocíª ní£o tem controle sobre nada.

4 – ÉPOCA – Que poder espiritual ou habilidade o senhor pretende desenvolver no ano que vem?
Coelho – Quero fazer algo de que ní£o tenho certeza se conseguirei: aprender árabe e hebraico. Acredito que, no caso de lí­nguas em conflito, como essas duas, quem sabe as palavras “ní£o estí£o sendo mal traduzidas”? Quando Lutero traduziu a Bí­blia e ela se tornou a base do idioma alemí£o, demonstrou que as palavras do latim eram imprecisas. A lí­ngua necessita de uma precisí£o. Se vocíª entende os idiomas, passa a entender melhor as pessoas que falam aquelas lí­nguas. Eu gostaria de manter um diálogo entre essas duas lí­nguas distintas. Sí£o lí­nguas mí­sticas. O hebraico com o misticismo da cabala e o árabe com a poesia do Corí£o.Quem sabe ní£o consigo aproximar esses dois universos?

5 – ÉPOCA – O ano de 2012 foi marcado pela ascensí£o da literatura erótica para mulheres. O senhor acha que a tendíªncia continuará? Quais as consequíªncias desse tipo de literatura paraas mulheres?
Coelho – Vejo como uma coisa positiva. Se gente como a Erika (Leonard James, autora da trilogia erótica Cinqüenta tons de cinza,) vende tantos livros, é porque tocou numa veia sensí­vel que estava oculta. Esse tipo de literatura é liberadora. A relaí§í£o das pessoas em relaí§í£o ao sexo é ainda travada. Minha geraí§í£o experimentou o sexo como livre. Depois, houve um retrocesso tremendo. É hora de as pessoas repensarem a sexualidade.

6 – ÉPOCA – A literatura continuará a contribuir para o aperfeií§oamento das pessoas ou perderá terreno para a tecnologia?
Coelho – A literatura viverá uma transformaí§í£o radical, por causa das pessoas. A primeira delas é a linguagem. Ní£o há mais espaí§o para escrever a seus pares. Isso é perder a releví¢ncia. A literatura é beneficiada pela busca da simplicidade. O blogueiro se educa em concentrar-se na essíªncia do que escreverá. É essa a transformaí§í£o na literatura. Ela se tornará importante, mas ní£o será como a conhecemos hoje. Literatura precisa de estilo, de conteúdo e de uma plataforma. A literatura está mudando nos tríªs ní­veis. Como escritor, tenho de me adaptar í  nova linguagem. Minha literatura sempre seguiu o princí­pio da objetividade que evita a superficialidade, sem perder a poesia. Escrever pelas redes sociais é fazer literatura. Hoje em dia, a literatura, como tudo, está migrando para a tela dos celulares. A literatura será lida pelo telefone.

7 – ÉPOCA – O torcedor brasileiro tem pela frente dois eventos internacionais sediados no paí­s: a Copa das Confederaí§íµes em 2013 e a Copa do Mundo em 2014. Vamos vencer?

Coelho – Minha esperaní§a é que o Brasil díª o show que ele dará. Ní£o tenho dúvida de que venceremos. A Olimpí­ada de Londres foi criticada, mas foi responsável pela recuperaí§í£o do paí­s. Espero que aprendamos com os erros alheios.

8 – ÉPOCA – Os brasileiros estí£o ficando mais ricos. A riqueza nos trará felicidade?
Coelho – O Brasil se livrou do complexo de vira-lata. Demos um passo gigantesco. Antes, o brasileiro batia no peito e dizia que tinha orgulho, mas, no fundo, admirava outras culturas. Agora ele é brasileiro, está contente de ser brasileiro, porque sua voz é ouvida. O brasileiro está conquistando a vida plena. Demorou!

9 – ÉPOCA – Ficaremos mais sábios ou mais superficiais?

Coelho – Ní£o sei. Se escolhermos combinar os lados masculino com feminino, a intuií§í£o e a forí§a, ficaremos mais sábios. Mas é impossí­vel saber ao certo. Estamos sendo arrastados ao mar da banalidade. Quando vocíª sofre o excesso de informaí§í£o, a tendíªncia é voltar í  simplicidade. Bater papo no bar ou na praí§a foi a origem da filosofia na ágora de Atenas. A saturaí§í£o faz com que a gente queira voltar ao simples. E a tecnologia colabora nessa volta. Por mais que pareí§a uma contradií§í£o, a tecnologia nos ajuda a voltar aos fundamentos, í  escolha das fontes de informaí§í£o. Se, antes, sentí­amos o fascí­nio pela internet, agora vivemos um momento de seleí§í£o e concentraí§í£o da informaí§í£o. Indo mais fundo, vocíª acaba simplificando. E a simplicidade nos deixará mais sábios.

10 – ÉPOCA – De onde virí£o os ventos da vL^ mudaní§a polí­tica e cultural para o mundo, se é que haverá mudaní§as?
Coelho -A tecnologia está mudando tudo. As pessoas estí£o passivas ou ativas de uma maneira errada. Fazem “trolagem”, porque acham que estí£o colaborando, mas ní£o estí£o fazendo nada.

11 – ÉPOCA – O senhor víª um mundo unido por uma ideologia, como dizia John Lennon na caní§í£o “Imagine”?

Coelho -Ní£o. É o oposto de John Lennon. Acredito num mundo em que as diferení§as serí£o respeitadas. Estamos caminhando para um mundo de minorias. A globalizaí§í£o econí´mica dissolveu as fronteiras. Isso nos leva a voltar í  condií§í£o tribal, tendo a tecnologia como ajuda. As minorias terí£o de ser respeitadas.

12 – ÉPOCA – Devemos temer a intolerí¢ncia religiosa?

Coelho – O grande problema deste milíªnio é que ele aponta para a intolerí¢ncia religiosa. As pessoas, por ausíªncia de fé, precisam provar a elas próprias que tíªm fé. As agendas polí­ticas sí£o determinadas pelas agendas religiosas.

13 – ÉPOCA – A que pergunta o senhor gostaria de responder, caso um repórter do futuro aparecesse na sua frente?
Coelho – Gostaria de responder a uma só pergunta: “Vocíª viveu com dignidade?” Esperaria responder ao repórter com um sonoro “sim!”.

2013 Encerrando ciclos


Illustration by Ken Crane

Ní£o consegui comprovar o autor deste texto, que circula na internet como se eu o tivesse escrito – até o momento pelo menos dez pessoas clamam sua autoria. Resolvi transcreve-lo aqui com modificaí§íµes que fiz
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Sempre é preciso saber quando uma etapa chega ao final…
Se insistirmos em permanecer nela mais do que o tempo necessário, perdemos a alegria e o sentido das outras etapas que precisamos viver.
Encerrando ciclos, fechando portas, terminando capí­tulos.
Ní£o importa o nome que damos, o que importa é deixar no passado os momentos da vida que já se acabaram.

Foi despedida do trabalho? Terminou uma relaí§í£o? Deixou a casa dos pais? Partiu para viver em outro paí­s? A amizade tí£o longamente cultivada desapareceu sem explicaí§íµes?
Vocíª pode passar muito tempo se perguntando por que isso aconteceu….
Pode dizer para si mesmo que ní£o dará mais um passo enquanto ní£o entender as razíµes que levaram certas coisas, que eram tí£o importantes e sólidas em sua vida, serem subitamente transformadas em pó.
Mas tal atitude será um desgaste imenso para todos: seus pais, seus amigos, seus filhos, seus irmí£os, todos estarí£o encerrando capí­tulos, virando a folha, seguindo adiante, e todos sofrerí£o ao ver que vocíª está parado.

Ninguém pode estar ao mesmo tempo no presente e no passado, nem mesmo quando tentamos entender as coisas que acontecem conosco.
O que passou ní£o voltará: ní£o podemos ser eternamente meninos, adolescentes tardios, filhos que se sentem culpados ou rancorosos com os pais, amantes que revivem noite e dia uma ligaí§í£o com quem já foi embora e ní£o tem a menor intení§í£o de voltar.

As coisas passam, e o melhor a fazer é deixar que elas realmente possam ir embora…

Por isso é tí£o importante (por mais doloroso que seja!) destruir recordaí§íµes, mudar de casa, dar muitas coisas para orfanatos, vender ou doar os livros que tem.

Tudo neste mundo visí­vel é uma manifestaí§í£o do mundo invisí­vel, do que está acontecendo em nosso coraí§í£o… e o desfazer-se de certas lembraní§as significa também abrir espaí§o para que outras tomem o seu lugar.
Deixar ir embora. Soltar. Desprender-se.
Ninguém está jogando nesta vida com cartas marcadas, portanto í s vezes ganhamos, e í s vezes perdemos.

Ní£o espere que devolvam algo, ní£o espere que reconheí§am seu esforí§o, que descubram seu gíªnio, que entendam seu amor.
Pare de ligar sua televisí£o emocional e assistir sempre ao mesmo programa, que mostra como vocíª sofreu com determinada perda: isso o estará apenas envenenando, e nada mais.
Ní£o há nada mais perigoso que rompimentos amorosos que ní£o sí£o aceitos, promessas de emprego que ní£o tíªm data marcada para comeí§ar, decisíµes que sempre sí£o adiadas em nome do “momento ideal”.
Antes de comeí§ar um capí­tulo novo, é preciso terminar o antigo: diga a si mesmo que o que passou, jamais voltará!

Lembre-se de que houve uma época em que podia viver sem aquilo, sem aquela pessoa – nada é insubstituí­vel, um hábito ní£o é uma necessidade.
Pode parecer óbvio, pode mesmo ser difí­cil, mas é muito importante.
Encerrando ciclos. Ní£o por causa do orgulho, por incapacidade, ou por soberba, mas porque simplesmente aquilo já ní£o se encaixa mais na sua vida.
Feche a porta, mude o disco, limpe a casa, sacuda a poeira. Deixe de ser quem era, e se transforme em quem é.

Esqueí§a quem vocíª era, e passe a ser quem é.

FELIZ 2011!

2013: closing cycles

25aki85

ESPANOL AQUI: CERRANDO CIRCULOS
PORTUGUES AQUI: ENCERRANDO CICLOS
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(a version of this article circulates in internet having me as its author. In fact, I did not write it, but I made a few corrections and decided to republish it here)

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.
Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?
You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened.

You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that.
But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister.
Everyone is finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home.

Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.
Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them.

Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.
Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.

Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.”

Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back.
Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need.
This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life.

Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.

Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

2013: The warrior and the faith

Often what we call “experience” is nothing more than the sum of our losses. So we look fearfully at those of us who have made enough mistakes in life “” and have no courage to take the next step.

At this point it is worth remembering the words of Lord Salisbury, “If you have a total belief in doctors, you will soon find that everything leads to bad health.

If you have a total belief in theologians, you will be convinced that everything is a sin. If you have a total belief in the military, you will conclude that nothing is absolutely safe.”

We must accept the passions, and not abandon the enthusiasm of the achievements; they are a part of life and we should be cheerful to all who participate.

But the Warrior of Light never loses sight of the enduring things in his life and knows that the bonds created with strength over time can distinguish between what is transitory and what’s final.

There is a moment, however, that the passions disappear without warning. Despite all his wisdom, he lets himself be overwhelmed by discouragement; from one moment to another, his faith is not the same as before, things do not happen as he dreamed, tragedies occur unexpectedly and unfairly, and he begins to believe that his prayers are no longer heard. Continue praying and attending religious services, but don’t be deceived, the heart will not respond as before, and words may seem to be meaningless.

Therefore, there is only one possible way: keep practising. Say the prayers through obligation, or fear “” but keep praying. Insist, though everything seems useless.

Legend has it that after a morning praying in the monastery of Piedra, a novice asked an abbot, “Do they make God closer to us?”

“I will answer you with another question,” said the Abbot. “All those prayers you pray will they make the sun rise tomorrow?”

“Of course not! The sun rises because it obeys a universal law!”

“So that is the answer to your question. God is near to us, regardless of the prayers we say.”
The novice rebelled, “You want to say that our prayers are useless?”

“No. If you don’t get up early, you will never be able to see the sun rise. If you don’t pray, even though God is always near, you will never be able to notice His presence.”

Pray and watch, this should be the motto of the Warrior of Light. If you just watch, you’ll start seeing ghosts where none exist. If you merely pray, you will not have time to execute the works that the world sorely needs.

I’ll tell another legend, this time from Verba Seniorum, that says that Abbot John had prayed so much that he felt he did not need to worry “” his passions had been unsuccessful.

The words of the Abbot reached the ears of one of the wise men of the monastery of Sceta. This drew the attention of the novices after supper.

“You have heard the Abbot say that John has no more temptation to win,” he said, “The lack of struggle weakens the soul. Let us ask the Lord to send a very powerful temptation to Abbot, and if he wins this temptation, we will ask another and another. And when he is again struggling against temptation, we pray he will never say ‘Lord, rid this demon from me.’ Let us pray for his part, ‘Lord, give me strength to confront evil.'”

Christmas tale: The Juggler of Our Lady

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PORTUGUES AQUI>> O jogral de Nossa Senhora
ESPANOL AQUI>> El malabarista de la Virgen

Christmas Eve came around. And precisely on that day, a special miracle happened in Melk Abbey: Our Lady, carrying the baby Jesus in her arms, decided to descend to Earth to visit the monastery.

All the priests lined up and each of them stood proudly before the Virgin trying to pay homage to the Madonna and her Son. One of them displayed the beautiful paintings that decorated the place, another showed a copy of a Bible that had taken a hundred years to be written and illustrated, while a third recited the names of all the saints.

At the very end of the line, young novice Buckhard anxiously waited his turn. His parents were simple people, and all that they had taught him was to toss balls up in the air and do some juggling.

When it came his turn, the other priests wanted to put an end to all the homage that had been paid, since the ex-juggler had nothing important to add and might even mar the image of the abbey.

Nevertheless, deep in his heart he also felt a great need to give something of himself to Jesus and the Virgin. Feeling very ashamed before the reproachful gaze of his brothers, he took some oranges from his pocket and began to toss them in the air and catch them in his hands, creating a beautiful circle in the air just as he used to do when he and his family traveled to all the fairs in the region.

At that instant, the baby Jesus, lying in Our Lady’s lap, began to clap his hands with joy. And it was to young Buckhard that the Virgin held out her arms to let him hold the smiling child for a few moments.

based in a medieval legend

Manuscript found in Accra

Pub dates

 

Some prayers

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Instead of a thousand words, better still there were only one, but one which brought Peace.
Instead of a thousand verses, better still there were only one, but one which showed the Beautiful.
Instead of a thousand chants, better still there were only one, but one which spread joy.
Dhammapada (attributed to the Buddha)

Outside, beyond what is right and what is wrong, there is a huge field.
We will meet there. –
Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-73)

Oh Allah! I consult you because You know everything.
If what I am doing is good for me and for my religion, for my life now and after, may the task be easy and blessed.
If what I am doing now is bad for me and my religion, keep me away from that task. –
Prophet Mohammed

Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord so that we may walk with Him.
We will turn our swords into ploughs, and our spears into pruning tools.
May no nation raise their swords against one another, and may we never learn the art of war.
No one should fear their neighbour, for the Lord said so.
Jewish Prayer for Peace

Ask and it will be given to you.
Seek and you will find.
Knock and the door will be opened to you.
Because those who ask, receive; those who seek, find; those who knock, shall have the door opened to them. –
Jesus of Nazareth, Mathew 7; 7-8

If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace among neighbours.
If there is to be peace among neighbours, there must be peace at home.
If there is to be peace at the home, There must be peace in the heart. –
Lao Tzu, China (6th century BCE)

Hagakure (Hidden by the Leaves)

After serving as a samurai for many years, Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659- 1719) decided to share everything he had learned with one of his disciples, Tsuramoto Tashiro.

The outcome of these conversations became the book called Hagakure (Hidden by the Leaves), which withstood the passage of time.

Rereading his text, I realised that the great part of the teachings it holds could be applied to our daily lives.

A samurai, as we know, was a warrior with a code of conduct (known as bushido), based on three important principles: (a) discipline; (b) ethics; (c) courage.

These are the elements that should be present in every decision we make. That way, as we seek for a meaning in our journey on this Earth, we would understand that:

It’s only possible to reach a dream when we have the will for it. It’s not enough to possess enthusiasm, passion, desire – it also requires strength and concentration.

When we set out seeking something that has a true meaning in our existence, there is no need to hurt or step on other people. The more we respect the path of others, the more allies we find, and the more respect we will get.

In addition to discipline, it’s necessary to understand that in spite of our fears we need to carry on. Courage doesn’t mean lack of fear, but the ability not to let it paralyse us.

20 sec reading: the fake coins

An old man was selling toys at the market in Bagdad. His buyers, knowing he had weak sight, would sometimes pay him with fake coins.

The old man noticed the trick but didn’t say anything.
In his prayers he asked God to forgive those who had tricked him.

‘Perhaps they don’t have much money and want to buy gifts for their children,’ he would say to himself.

Time passed by and the man died.
Standing before the portal of Paradise, he prayed once again. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘I am a sinner.

‘I did many things wrong, I am no better than the fake coins I was given. Forgive me!’

On that moment the gate opened and a Voice said:
‘What should I forgive? How can I judge someone who has never judged anyone throughout his life?

The imperfect attracts us

Perfectly-Imperfect2


Beauty exists not in sameness but in difference.

Who could imagine a giraffe without its long neck or a cactus without its spines?
The irregularity of the mountain peaks that surround us is what makes them so imposing. If we tried to make them all the same, they would no longer command our respect.

It is the imperfect that astonishes and attracts us.

When we look at a cedar tree, we don’t think: ‘The branches should be all the same length.’
We think: ‘How strong it is.’

When we see a snake, we never say: ‘He is crawling along the ground, while I am walking with head erect.’
We think: ‘He might be small, but his skin is colourful, his movements elegant, and he is more powerful than me.’

When the camel crosses the desert and takes us to the place we want to reach, we never say: ‘He’s humpbacked and has ugly teeth.’
We think: ‘He deserves my love for his loyalty and help. Without him, I would never be able to explore the world.’

A sunset is always more beautiful when it is covered with irregularly shaped clouds, because only then can it reflect the many colours out of which dreams and poetry are made.

Pity those who think: ‘I am not beautiful. That’s why Love has not knocked at my door.’
In fact, Love did knock, but when they opened the door, they weren’t prepared to welcome Love in.

They were too busy trying to make themselves beautiful first, when, in fact, they were fine as they were.
They were trying to imitate others, when Love was looking for something original.

They were trying to reflect what came from outside, forgetting that the brightest light comes from within.
 
 
taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

Por que Deus ní£o nos ajudou

cavalos-jose-franz-seraph-lutzemberger-brasil-1882-1951-aquarela

Mestre e discí­pulo caminham pelos desertos da Arábia. O Mestre aproveita cada momento da viagem para ensinar ao discí­pulo sobre a fé.

– Confie suas coisas a Deus – dizia.

– Porque Ele jamais abandona seus filhos.

De noite, ao acamparem, o Mestre pediu que o discí­pulo amarrasse os cavalos numa rocha próxima. O discí­pulo foi até a rocha, mas se lembrou do que aprendera durante aquela tarde. “O Mestre deve estar me testando. Na verdade, devo confiar os cavalos a Deus”. E deixou os cavalos soltos.

De manhí£, descobriu que os animais haviam fugido. Revoltado, procurou o Mestre.
– O senhor ní£o entende nada sobre Deus! Ontem aprendi que devia confiar cegamente na Providíªncia, entreguei a Ele a guarda dos cavalos, e os animais desapareceram!

Deus queria cuidar dos cavalos – respondeu o Mestre.

– Mas, naquele momento, Ele precisava de suas mí£os para amarrá-los, e vocíª ní£o as emprestou.

Cerrando circulos


Illustration by Ken Crane

Several times I receive via Internet some texts attributed to me, as the text below. I did not write it, but I made several changes and decided to post it here.
________________________________________

Siempre es preciso saber cuándo se acaba una etapa de la vida. Si insistes en permanecer en ella más allá del tiempo necesario, pierdes laalegrí­a y el sentido del resto. Cerrando cí­rculos, o cerrando puertas, o cerrando capí­tulos, como quieras llamarlo. Lo importante es poder cerrarlos, y dejar ir momentos de la vida que se van clausurando.

¿Terminó tu trabajo?, ¿Se acabó tu relación?, ¿Ya no vives más en esa casa?, ¿Debes irte de viaje?, ¿La relación se acabó? Puedes pasarte mucho tiempo de tu presente “revolcándote” en los porqués, en devolver el cassette y tratar de entender por qué sucedió tal o cual hecho. El desgaste ya a ser infinito, porque en la vida, tú, yo, tu amigo, tus hijos, tus hermanos, todos y todas estamos encaminados hacia ir cerrando capí­tulos, ir dando vuelta a la hoja, a terminar con etapas, o con momentos de la vida y seguir adelante.

No podemos estar en el presente añorando el pasado. Ni siquiera preguntándonos porqué. Lo que sucedió, sucedió, y hay que soltarlo, hay que desprenderse.
No podemos ser niños eternos, ni adolescentes tardí­os, ni empleados de empresas inexistentes.¡Los hechos pasan y hay que dejarlos ir!

Por eso, a veces es tan importante destruir recuerdos, regalar presentes, cambiar de casa, romper papeles, tirar documentos, y vender o regalar libros.

Dejar ir, soltar, desprenderse. En la vida nadie juega con las cartas marcadas, y hay que aprender a perder y a ganar. Hay que dejar ir, hay que dar vuelta a la hoja, hay que vivir sólo lo que tenemos en el presente…

El pasado ya pasó. No esperes que te lo devuelvan, no esperes que te reconozcan, no esperes que alguna vez se den cuenta de quién eres tú… Suelta el resentimiento. El prender “tu televisor personal” para darle y darle al asunto, lo único que consigue es dañarte lentalmente, envenenarte y amargarte.

La vida está para adelante, nunca para atrás. ¿Noviazgos o amistades que no clausuran?, ¿Posibilidades de regresar? (¿a qué?), ¿Necesidad de aclaraciones?, ¿Palabras que no se dijeron?, ¿Silencios que lo invadieron? Si puedes enfrentarlos ya y ahora, hazlo, si no, déjalos ir, cierra capí­tulos. Dite a ti mismo que no, que no vuelven. Pero no por orgullo ni soberbia, sino, porque tú ya no encajas allí­ en ese lugar, en ese corazón, en esa habitación, en esa casa, en esa oficina, en ese oficio.

Tú ya no eres el mismo que fuiste hace dos dí­as, hace tres meses, hace un año. Por lo tanto, no hay nada a qué volver.

Cierra la puerta, da vuelta a la hoja, cierra el cí­rculo.

FELIZ 2011!

Discovering the real fear

A Sultan decided to make a voyage with some of his best courtiers. They embarked at the port of Dubai and set out across the open seas.

As the ship sailed away from the land, one of his subjects, who had never seen the sea and had spent much of his life in the mountains, had a panic attack.

Everyone tried to calm him down, saying that the journey really wasn’t all that dangerous, but although their words reached his ears, they did not touch his heart.
The Sultan was ready to turn the ship around and head back to port, when one of his ministers, known for his wisdom, came over to him:
“Your Highness, with your permission, I will try to calm him down.”

The wise man ordered that the man be thrown into the sea. A group of crew members, pleased that the nightmare was about to end, dragged the struggling man up from the hold and hurled him into the ocean.

The courtier began to thrash about, he went under, swallowed salt water, came back up, shouted louder still, went down again, and again struggled to the surface.
At this point, the minister ordered that he be brought back on board the ship.

From that moment on, no one heard the slightest word of complaint from the man, who spent the rest of the voyage in silence.

Shortly before returning to port, the Sultan asked the minister:
“How did you know that you could calm the poor man down by throwing him into the sea?”

“Because of my own marriage,” replied the minister. “I was terrified of losing my wife, and I was so jealous that, like this man, I spent all my time weeping and wailing. One day, unable to stand it any longer, she left me, and I realised how awful life would be without her.

“She only came back when I promised that I would never again torture her with my fears. In the same way, this man had never tasted salt water and had never understood the agony of a man about to drown. Once he had known that experience, he understood perfectly how marvellous it is to feel the deck of a ship beneath one’s feet.”

“It is written in a book sacred to the Christians, the Bible: ‘Everything I most feared came to pass.’ Some people are only capable of valuing what they have once they have experienced its loss.”

Agenda 2013

 
 

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Breaking The Taboo – Film 58′

Modern Day Existentialism

by Lisa Vallejos

Existential themes permeate our society, supporting the notion that no matter how many ways we try to hide, there is no running from what it means to be human. Although our society is quick to assuage the anxiety brought on by existential awareness, the themes are there, and it is up to us as the new existentialists to tease the awareness out and into consciousness.

One of my passions is to make heady philosophical themes accessible to the general public. After all, isn’t that who we are attempting to reach? In many ways, we have limited our reach by remaining in our Ivory Towers discussing themes that one needs extensive education to understand such as “Dasein.” We also limit our reach by discussing philosophers such as Nietzsche, Sartre, and Kierkegaard when many of the people we desire to impact are unfamiliar with philosophy and how it may apply to their life and who simply want to know what help is available.

The world needs what existential psychotherapy has to offer; the culture is crying out for vivification, for enlightenment and to awaken and to transform. In order to meet that need, we as the Modern Existentialists must learn to speak the language of the people and introduce them to the works of existentialism on their terms.

Recently, I was watching a television show entitled “The Vampire Diaries.” In this particular episode, one character was transforming into a werewolf for the first time. His friend, a vampire and fellow high school student, stayed with him during this painful first transformation. Although she (the vampire) knew the risk posed to her if she were to be bitten by the werewolf, she refused to abandon her friend in his time of need. Throughout his transformation from human to vampire, during which he was deeply tormented and ashamed, she stayed with him and retreated only when the situation became dire. When the danger passed, she returned to the friend/werewolf and held him. I was struck by this scene as it reminded me much of what happens in existential psychotherapy: the client struggles to (or against) transformation while the therapist creates a safe place for them to do so. Indeed, the therapist is not interested in moving the client to transform but is tasked with the much more challenging call of bearing witness to another’s pain with what Schneider (2009) calls “effortful nonattachment,” meaning that one is deeply engaged in the present moment without an agenda or desired outcome (p. 169). Trying to describe this process to a person who has never experienced it or something very similar to it is, at best, an exercise in futility. One can, however, point a potential client (or students in training) to scenes similar to the one described above that illustrate the process in a different and perhaps more relatable way.

There are many other existential thinkers in our world who are saying the same things but in different language. Take, for instance, Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian novelist. Coelho has written books such as “Veronika Decides to Die,” which tells the tale of a young woman who attempts suicide, and it isn’t until she is told that she is not going to live that she decides to truly live. Many of Coelho’s books carry deeply existential messages, and because he is such a beloved author, it is easy to introduce existential themes to readers. Indeed, there are many books, movies, television shows, and musicians who are speaking to existential themes if we only have an ear to hear. These newer, more modern existentialists can bridge the gap between past philosophy and present-day need.

to read other Lisa Vallejos posts on Modern Existencialism, CLICK HERE