The Good Fight

In 1986, I went for the first and only time on the pilgrimage known as the Way to Santiago, an experience I described in my first book. We had just finished walking up a small hill, a village appeared on the horizon, and it was then that my guide, whom I shall call Petrus (although that was not his name), said to me:

- We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the body. Many times in our lives we see our dreams shattered and our desires frustrated, but we have to continue dreaming. If we don’t, our soul dies

‘The Good Fight is the one we Fight because our heart asks it of us.The Good Fight is the one that’s fought in the name of our dreams. When we are young our dreams first explode inside us with all of their force, we are very courageous, but we haven’t yet learned how to Fight. With great effort, we learn how to Fight, but by then we no longer have the courage to go into combat. So we turn against ourselves and do battle within. We become our own worst enemy. We say that our dreams were childish, or too difficult to realize, or the result or our not having known enough about life. We kill our dreams because we are afraid to Fight the Good Fight.

“The first symptom of the process of killing our dreams is lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The Truth is, they are afraid to Fight the Good Fight…

“The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are Fighting the Good Fight.

“And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams-we have refused to Fight the Good Fight.

“When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being. We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves.
“What we sought to avoid in combat-disappointment and defeat-came upon us because of our cowardice. And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breath, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from out certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of Sunday afternoons.”

in “The Pilgrimage”(1987)

Comments

  1. katie says:

    I can relate to this. It’s scary. It makes me feel sick inside.

  2. walter laurel says:

    nice article! thanks for kindling my fire to fight the good fight again.

  3. Puran Bhardwaj says:

    Yes, I agree with this artical so much. Dreams and goals are inspirations and once we have a dream or goal, then it leads us to itself. Its like if don’t know which mountain or peak to reach, then we can’t find a path. But once we choose the hill then we can just walk towards it and paths will be created by the goal or mountian.

    someone have said “Build castles in the air and just replace the plent or base, when the right time comes”

    Goal is in inspiration and dream leads can lead to a great bliss.
    yes courage is needed and it will come from the interest of the dream, more we want the dream more courageous we will be. if we don’t don’t eat..don’t eat..but there will be a time when we will forget everything just get the food, even though we have die for it. So complete surrender will happen once we are focused on our dream and we will achieve it. sorry my thoughts- p

  4. PaTricia says:

    Thank you! :-)

  5. sajid says:

    Its great thing and a message for everybody around as most of us have the same problem, quitting at the time when it was too near to reach…may we pick up the courage and could go on…

  6. Aynur says:

    And what if you live in such a place that you just can’t realise your dreams as the society you live in just doesn’t accept that? It is not about weakness, cowardice and justifying your inactivity? It is like living in two worlds – the real one and world of dreams. The more you dream the more difficult it gets to live in the real world and people think you to be a psycho.Then your dreams become dangerous for you and you prefer to stop dreaming because it hurts you…

    1. amy says:

      i so understand what you mean… i must say that us who dream are no psychos. we should feel sorry for those who have stopped dreaming long ago. maybe we shouldn’t shout around about our dreams because the non believers opinions about them weaken us. maybe we should keep fighting quietly in some cases so we could keep our strenght.

  7. cheryl field says:

    I fail/failed myself constantly, I cannot remember what it is to dream. Married at 16 and so busy being wife, mother, daughter and friend. I was forgotten. Who am I? Where are my dreams? ♥

    1. Ann Williams says:

      hmm i know what you mean!i had a dream before that these gods(like the one’s in the sinbad films) were sitting on some clouds looking down at me and saying “she’s still got fire in her”and i woke up thinking yes, your right!!!!:)

  8. Liz says:

    When I was young, I dreamed.

    I concocted the most elaborate dreams and replayed them in my day to day living. Life was spent dreaming and living those dreams.
    I achieved them and was happy. Or so I thought…

    I grew slightly older and stopped dreaming, writing, reading, fear paralysed me and I was trapped within myself. I was lacking an outlet for passion, creativity and expression.

    Until one day after a few fraught years of self-suffocation, I started to dream again. I was frightened and fearful but still pursued my dream. But I couldn’t achieve it.

    I tried and tried but my attempts were in vain and I didn’t ask for help or listen to those around me. My heart was hurt, angry, furious. I exploded at everyone around me. My thoughts were cruel and my head was tired. I was exhausted using all the negative energy trying to pursue my goal.

    I was short sighted.

    Tunnel-visioned.

    Blind.

    Then my body stopped, I became weak, ill and frail. My soul was screaming out for peace, for stillness, for rest.

    The minute I stopped focussing on the end and instead focussed on the journey, my wellbeing and the wellbeing of others, my spirit began to grow again.

    My dream became true. I was given a second chance.

    When I was young, I was courageous and didn’t value my dreams because they occurred naturally.

    Children live their lives so instinctively, it is as adults that we have to re-learn the steps of our ancestors and listen to our ‘gut instincts’ – listen to our head, our heart, our soul’.

    It is later on in life that I realised you have to fight for your dreams – it is the struggle that defines us. You also have to listen to your soul however, and decide which causes are worth fighting for.

  9. Mathilde says:

    ‘Dreams provide nourishment for the soul,’
    ‘The Good Fight’
    Peace… can i not live my dreams from this peace, inner peace? or does peace means you are parked and be content with what Is on that moment? always have dreams sure! always be on the move? never live the dream? or the dream evolves and expand.. bring new dreams? life is ..a dream? :)
    Dreams change, you re-arrange, you live them, you breathe them, you dream them, you be them.. I am?

  10. katie says:

    when I look back, my dream has developed smoothly. it looks now as if the good fight starts?
    it has grown so fast. the next steps that I have to take have become so clear, and they feel natural.

    I thought that my dream was little; just for me to “pull me out of a hole” and pamper my soul.
    I now realize that I have gotten frightening competitors. I am longing for solving this conflict of competition, but it looks as if they are not interested in.

    I am already beginning to miss my peace. I used to pull out and drop the work immediately when this kind of situation happened. but now I begin to doubt …

  11. Lisa says:

    Beautiful quotes. Thank you so much for this book. It made such an impact on me. I have learned so much from it, and will continue to learn and grow as I make my way in fighting the Good Fight. I have experienced some of the symptoms of killing our dreams but I see how absolutely necessary it is to keep going…keep fighting. It is all we will have left at the end.

  12. danelle says:

    i stopped dreaming..and that made me lived on wretchedness, a living dead..an awful feeling..i don’t want to had a good fight..i’m scared of pains and disappointments..i took life for granted..
    and now, i’m decaying..
    could sumbody help me?

  13. Cheree Ackermann says:

    I had to fight the good fight when I was diagnosed with AML Leukemia in 2007 and only given 6 weeks to live.
    Through gruelling chemo, a bone-marrow transplant and your books, especially The Warrior of Light (given to me by my then 11 year old son, who read it first), I survived. I have been in remission now for 2 years. I will continue fighting like a warrior of light.

    Thank you
    Cheree

    1. danelle says:

      how inspiring..thanks!

    1. Teri Grice says:

      I love the expression fighting the good fight. I always love fighting the good fight. My family which consists of over 100 members (we are now members because not all of us really want to be related!!!lol) have always been impersonally close, we literally live in each others lives, and find fault with everything and nothing all at the same time. My grandmother had 13 children for a man who had a great deal more than 13 children! and each of those children bore at least 4 kids, give or take, each. I am 1 of 6 siblings and fought for my freedom and independence from the tribe (as I like to call it). My relatives always thought me weird, as a child growing up I liked being on my own a lot and talked to myself a lot (a trait I still hold dear to my heart!). When you live with as many people as I did you value your alone time more than a plate of food at times. I rebelled early on and my mother tagged me as being eccentric. lol another colourful wrapping for being different.
      My dreams as a child was to have a place for myself where I could live and decorate as I wanted and pretend that life was as I wanted it (or dream rather). I was a huge daydreamer (still am) but dreams change and vary I hate daydreaming about the same thing twice I always change it, spice it up. Even my husband’s face changes…lol but the one thing that now remains consistent in each of my dreams now are my 2 boys… The love that I feel for them just exists and it feels better than any dream I have ever had. It hasn’t always been an easy road but I thank God because without the struggle the love just wouldn’t be as powerful as it is, to be able to seep out of my dreams everyday and make me know that it’s a reality, it exists as sure as I do. I smile at the oddest of moments and laugh loudly when I am on my own. I am myself, I am who I am and I love both boys for being slightly off centered as well infact I dam well encourage it. Normal is a stated of mind of those that have given up the good fight.

      By the way in all of my day dreaming as a teenager of prince Charming well let’s just say I had to kiss many frogs in the swamp before finding the one that turned me into his frog and allowed me to share his lilypad with him… I’d much rather live in the swamp than in a castle anyday… Lilypad hoping can be dangerous but exciting…

  14. jacqueline esic says:

    Thats really true..Dreams are the nourishments of our soul..Thank you Sir Paulo you are one of the reason why i dont stop dreaming and believing in myself..last year i almost gave up thinking that dreaming are just for some people but then realize that God loves us so much that he wants us to be the best that we could be..and it is just of to us if we believe..

  15. Caroline de Lourdes says:

    I very much agree that dreams spice up life and help us to fight the good fight. Why do we dream? This question is an intellectual question, but the answer lies in the world of feelings. The meaning of dreams can no more be answered with the intellect than a mathematical theorem can be solved by violence.
    When we decide to follow our dreams we become someone, as no-one can survive without inspiration. Our dreams brace ourselves for the battle.

  16. Erik Mabe says:

    This reminder came as a savior after a night of despair and nightmares. Wonderful. Never forget to live the dream – to follow your path

  17. Monica says:

    A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM

    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow-
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand-
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep- while I weep!
    O God! can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

    Edgar Allan Poe

    May you all be able to continue dreaming and may your most desired dreams become a reality in your life such that the warm thought of having accomplished the dream becomes engraved in your hear throughout eternity.

    Love

    Monica

  18. Simi says:

    I have been dreaming all my life, nice dreams, sweet dreams – a dreamy princess, always living up in the clouds, somwhere on the other planet. And dreaming makes me happy. An escape from the real world to my own reality. And somehow my dreams came true. I got to live my dreams. The feeling is incredable. Pure happiness. Such a gift from the Universe it just makes you sooo grateful to be alive, to live, to feel, to enjoy. I even cried because I was sooo happy and so gratefull. How many of us can say that live their dreams??? But for couple of years I have this obsessive dream that is killing me. Hoping that it will come true, whishing terribly to be something real, but it`s slipping away. And I want to stop dreaming this dream and stop fooling myself. so I ask you how do you kill a dream??? for a dreamer like me it`s a fight. I don`t know if a good one, I`ve never killed a dream before. But since this mornig I have that wish. How do I stop dreaming this dream and continue to be happy? Or how do I keep dreaming and stay happy? You see every time this dream moves further and out of reach the desire of living this dream gets bigger and I want even more this dream to come true. I have to kill it or it will kill me. And that`s the sadest thing I`ve ever done.

    1. katie says:

      I am in love with a dream, and I think I am too old to realize it. at my age, people have a different status and work on different things (do you recognize this :o).

      I hassled to work on this dream for 5 years. I started finally with it after I got in a bad situation, I had lost everything what was important to me. and it actually helps me to stay positive and move on now.

      I try to look at it as if it is someone separate from me that accompanies me, a friend. it has its own rights to develop and be.

      There are people that are not good for me. and the same with dreams. there are also dreams that are hidden addictions, or they support weaknesses of me. to sort this out, I talk with good friends about my dreams and discuss this with them. during the communication, I can see more clearly whether those dreams are actually dangerous.

      I give it time, to “act”, I mean really I sit down and just dream, as I paint, knit, sing and dance, go for a walk, or cook. I try not to allow my perfectionism to comment on it.

      I keep my expectations low, and be gentle, as I would be with a child.

      however, every little growth is acknowledged by me with gratitude; and the dream gets praised and confirmed.

      overall I have learned, that my current dream has so many aspects and good gifts to me, that all these little steps are accepted as “it’s enough.”

      I have learned that whenever something does not go as I expect it and I am disappointed, and I think I lost a dream. overall, all the experience is accumulating and knowledge grows over time.

      my current dream only can grow because of so many situations I had and some negative experiences ….

  19. Shama says:

    Happy New Year and thank you for all your books, I have read most of them.
    I have been sick for 6 months and being the person I am, it was very hard to not be out there living and working towards my dreams. I was to travel as I saved up, I was to get married, I was to visit my sister in the UK, etc.
    Whilst recovering, I have learnt all about the power of silence. Besides that I now struggle to set dreams. I am to wed in April and I am struggling, travelling will never go away, my experience will just be different and my best friend and sister will always be there for me and this I know!
    Am I ok where I am and if I am still recovering of the shock of the past 6-months, how do I start dreaming once again? Shama

  20. Wavinya says:

    I feel like I have lost my dreams somewhere….and am now in limbo…. How do I start dreaming again? How do I awaken that voice within me?

    This article has made me think…. I don’t know where to begin, but I know I must begin to dream again.

  21. Esko Hussi says:

    What is better start to new year, this time to new decade, also, than nourishing our dreams, thank you.

  22. Olta Ana says:

    I am really afraid from living my life day by day while kicking out of it my dreams and my heart callings. I’d rather die than have a long life to waste on living because I have to.
    Since when I was little I used to wander, why people struggle so much on doing all these things for if they don’t get joy from it?
    Will I be that way when I’ll grow up? Only the idea of that has terrified me, but I hope I won’t be strong enough as to bear that kind of killing monotony, living just because I have a life ahead to live.
    There is one language I am trying to learn now and teach it to others. Heart’s language.

    PS: Speaking about Heart, does any of you know where is Heart ? I am starting to miss her comments here in the blog. I see that there are some wol who maybe have took some vacations. Hope they all are fine and happy!

    Love
    Olta

    1. gaurry says:

      Olta Ana , why people struggle so much on doing things for they don’t get joy from it .I don’t know either .but maybe they have got joy from it but they themselves didn’t sense or you didn’t sense .in fact ,I always am doudting at myself ,I didn’t like my job at all ,how about change one ?then I asked myself :what job i want to get ?no ,it can’t be too busy I can’t get time to read book or think of myself ,I don’t like the people show bad with each other because of competing ……then finally I found :I didn’t like my job but I like its easy and safe and i can do my interested things in my so -much-leisure time and I can _____as you say___have plent of time to study the heart language !as a matter of fact I don’t know how many people can really earn a life with their interesting .so sometimes people have to make a balance on the life and interested things .Ha ,I don’t know if I am speaking for my coward or not !sometimes feel very confused because there are some job in the mind what is not really wanting to do but still want to have a experience, but the risk will be losing the now-job and put the risk of my familly .the familly is a great deal of important to me .I remembered you told the story of your father and mother .maybe sometimes the interesting can only occupy your leisure time ,if take it as a job …..the losing is too much to offer .that’s many people who have to take the job what they have to .maybe the meaning behind the job what is their true wanting !who knows ?
      maybe each one living in this world who all have one dream they can’t get or have no ability .
      Maybe the most important thing to people is to know their real dream .sometime the dream itself is a dream!
      but at least we can ask ourselves :if tomorrow I die ,will I feel regret at my life or my dream ?!
      my answer is :yes ,i have some regret ,but the regret can’t compare my earning !my excuse is :if every one go chasing after their dream ,who raise up the child ?maybe the child is just our dream we didn’t sense out.
      Olta Ana ?you made a very nice relationship with your parents ,can you ask them:are you their dream ?
      Thank you for let me think of myself so much !
      I’ll have to still think of myself and ask myself :what’s my dream?
      no matter what the dream is ,feel content at self what’s the most important ,I think .don’t know how you think .and I think feel content at self and love self and spread love around are the essence of the heart language .don’t know it is right or not .
      we are all the newcomer to the world no matter how old we are .let’s help with each other .thank you for inspiring me so much one more time .

    2. gaurry says:

      HI ,dearest Olta Ana ,Heart is in the warrior of light community last day ,found him ,he spoke something very interesting .happy .

    3. sofie says:

      everyone sometimes finds themselves complaining about pretty much anything in their lives.One day i was waiting for the tram and i saw a young man waiting as well.Then i noticed that he had no arms and later i noticed he had artificial legs as well and i thought shame on me for feeling miserable for some things in my life when he s missing half of his body yet he s out there in the world fighting.
      To follow once s heart is to do the things that truly make you happy to live your life according to your beliefs.
      If you want to travel the world because meeting people from other countries will make you hope that maybe one day racism will disappear then go travel the world.
      If you dont want to settle down and get married then dont.Dont live your life according to the standards and the things other expect from you because that s the way things should be according to them.dont be afraid to be judged and dont forget to smile.like the quote says”be the change you want to see in the world” up to you comfort level i add to that.and most of all when you dream and love dont ask everyone elses opinion about your dream and your heart s desire because everyone will give you a billion different opinions when they will only be able to see things from a completelly different angle than the real one.only do what you truly want to do because it is your life your heart your dream your truth that only you know and even if you think you will fail still try again and again sometimes in the open sometimes in the shadows until you succeed.
      blessed i am for my family the few good friends i have to love support and put up with me and god who gives me health which are truly the most essential ingredients to succeed in following your heart.
      blessed i am for the bad luck i had in my life as well cause they eventually made me forgive and realise that one way or the other we all get what we deserve eventually and we create our own misery by deliberatelly harming others.

    4. Monica says:

      Olta Ana,

      This morning as the alarm went off to the morning news there was a report about an increase in the use of anti-depression drugs. I think, going back to your comment in regards to not enjoying what you are doing and struggling so much in doing things we don’t enjoy is what’s causing this incidence in usage of antidepressants.
      But on that same token, there must be a way to find joy in everything we do. During the Christmas season I was fortunate enough to come across a couple who have been on a pilgrimage through the US for the last 4 months, they are two very spiritual people. They both agree that we can find joy in every single thing we do. Otherwise our spirit gets sick and thus our physical body as well. Lately I’ve been thinking about dreams and if I’ve been able to fulfill mine. Now I come to realize that dreaming is a never ending saga, and we must continue dreaming to feed our spiritual self until our path through this dimension is over or our spirit dies, which would be very unfortunate and sad. May you have a dreamful life and continue to awaken your spirit.

      Love

      Monica

    5. Olta Ana says:

      Thanks to all of you!

      Love
      Olta

    6. sajid says:

      there can only one reason to live is to live to your dreams , to your realself and find out the best in you before you go away from here to the unkown lands.

  23. walaa says:

    thank you sooooooooooo much for this enlightening anatomy:)