Christmas is coming

10 libretas firmadas (edición limitada)

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Enviaré 10 libretas firmadas, como la que ves arriba (edición limitada), para las 10 mejores reseñas de El manuscrito encontrado en Accra.
El libro está publicado en todos los paises de idioma español y en EUA (solamente en español)

Para participar es necesario publicar tu reseña sobre el libro en Facebook, usando los comentarios de aquí abajo
Las 10 reseñas con más “me gusta” serán las seleccionadas.

La fecha límite es el 6 de Enero 2013

¡Gracias por participar! Abajo los ganadores:
1. Karen García · Culiacán, Sinaloa (422)
2. Luli Cattáneo (333)
3. Cesar Farfan Delgado (158)
4. Samuel Carrasco · Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco (126)
5. Anna Kreen (121)
6. Yazmin Molina · Mérida, Yucatan (82)
7. Liliana de Gálvez (82)
8. Hill Bill (77)
9. Edna Gutierrez · Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico (62)
10. Pilar Menendez (43)

Por favor envien su email y el link de su pagina en Facebook para pilar_piedra@hotmail.com

Dance and pray the Sufi way

I have already told Sufi stories in several of these columns, some of them in which the main character Nasrudin, the fool that always manages to be more intelligent than the wise man, is able to surprise readers with his actions time and again. Today I would like to lay these stories aside and try to write a little about the subject itself.

The encyclopaedic definition of Sufism describes it as an Islamic esoteric tradition and for that reason it has always been badly received in the Muslim world. Sufism originated around the 10th century and its guiding principle holds that its believers are able to have direct connection with God through a series of non-conventional religious practices. The most common of these practices is dancing and the transmission of its philosophy is done through small tales.

In a small apartment in an Arab country, I was invited to attend a ritual with the lights turned off, candles lit and people drumming on percussion instruments. It was possible to see how this spiritual tradition is able to preserve its purity up to this day.

The meeting was at 9 pm. For almost half an hour a man, using a tone of voice that seemed to come from the depth of his soul, sang in a monotonous way. When he stopped singing, the percussion instruments began to pound in a very similar rhythm to the one we are used to hearing at the celebrations of the Afro-Brazilian religions.

That was when, following the same ritual line of these religions we know so well, some men got up and began to turn circles around themselves.

The whole ceremony lasted for an hour, during which the dancers would laugh out loud, say incomprehensible words, and seemed to be in a deep trance. Slowly they stopped turning, the percussion dwindled and the lights in the living room were turned on. I asked one of them what he had felt.

“I have been in contact with the energy of the universe,” he answered. “God went through my soul.”
“Is it necessary to do anything else? To have a special belief, pursue a constant practice?” I asked. “According to one of the most important theologians of Islam, Sufism isn’t a doctrine or a system of beliefs. It is a tradition of enlightenment through everything that is dynamic.”

Abu Muhammad Mutaish says, “A Sufi is one whose thought walks on the same speed as his feet.” That is, his soul is where his body is and vice versa. “Wherever the Sufi is, there is also everything he is: the worker, the mystic, the intellectual, the contemplative, the one who has fun.”

Sufism is universal as it accepts that knowledge has been transmitted to man through great prophets such as Jesus, Moses, Solomon and illuminated beings of other cultures. However, its root stays entirely buried in Islam and in the Muslim conception of the world. The Sufi learning system is similar to the system of the so-called occult orders; it involves a master and disciples, its practices are revealed according to the advancement stage of these practices, special graces (Baraka), etc. The master needs to have what we call “charisma”, that is, a power that is able to connect with the heart of those who find it.

One of today’s great experts on Sufism, known by the initials A.M., says, “The central method of Sufism is the development of our perception to accept love. Love is the only thing that activates intelligence and creativity, something that purifies and frees us. Being a Sufi means being capable of loving and being alert to the needs of those we love (God), and using each gesture to get closer to Him, during the 24 hours of the day.”

© Translated by Mitchelle Aritmez

20 sec reading: Just like marriage

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Nadia spent the whole autumn sowing and preparing his garden. In the spring, the flowers opened, and Nadia noticed a few dandelions that he had not planted.

Nadia pulled them up. But the seeds had already spread, and others grew. He tried to find a poison that would kill only dandelions. An expert told him that any poison would end up killing all the other flowers too. In despair, Nadia sought help from a gardener.

‘It’s just like marriage,’ said the gardener. ‘Along with the good things, there are always a few inconveniences.’

‘What should I do, then?

‘Nothing. They may not be the flowers you intended to have, but they are still part of the garden.’

A Peruvian priest’s sermon

In my book “The Alchemist”, the young shepherd Santiago meets an old man in the town square. He is searching for a treasure, but does not know how to reach it. The old man starts up a conversation with him:
“How many sheep have you got?”
“Enough,” answers Santiago.
“Then we have a problem. I can’t help if you think you have enough sheep.”
Based on this extract, the Peruvian priest Clemente Sobrado wrote an interesting piece, which I transcribe below

One of the biggest problems that we drag around with us all our life is to want to believe we have “enough sheep”. We are surrounded by certainties, and nobody wants someone showing up to propose something new. If we could only suspect that we don’t have everything, and that we aren’t all that we could be!

Maybe we are all faced with a very serious problem, namely that although we have the opportunity to help one another, the truth is that few people let themselves be helped.

Why is that? Because they think they have “enough sheep”. They already know everything, they are always right, they feel comfortable in their lives.

Almost all of us are like that: we have many things but few aspirations. We have many ideas already sorted out, and we don’t want to give them up. Our life scheme is already organized and we don’t need someone trying to make changes.

We’ve done enough praying, practiced charity, read the lives of the saints, gone to Mass, taken communion. A friend of mine once said: “I don’t know why I come to visit you, father. I am already a good Christian.”

On that day I could not help answering:

“Then don’t come to visit me, because there are a lot of people waiting to see me and they are all full of doubts. But one thing you ought to know: You aren’t bad enough to be bad, nor good enough to be good, nor holy enough to work miracles.

“You are just a Christian satisfied with what you have achieved. And all those who are satisfied have in fact renounced the ideal of always improving. Let’s talk about this some other time, all right?”

Ever since then, whenever we speak on the telephone he starts by saying: “this person who is calling hasn’t yet grown up as much as he could”.

Lord, give us always a dissatisfied heart.

Give us a heart where the questions that we never want to ask can be voiced.

Deliver us from our conformism.

Make us able to enjoy what we have, but let us understand that this is not everything.

Let us appreciate that we are good people.

But above all, make us always ask ourselves how we can become better people.

Because if we ask, then it is quite possible that You will come and show us horizons that we couldn’t see before.