Archives for June 2014

10 SEC READ: Kings

The kingdom of this world

An old hermit was once invited to visit the court of the most powerful king of the day.
“I envy a holy man, who is content with so little,” commented the sovereign.
“I envy Your Majesty, who is content with less than I. I have the music of the celestial spheres, I have the rivers and mountains of the whole wide world, I have the moon and the sun, because I have God in my soul. Your Majesty, however, has only this kingdom.”

O reino deste mundo

Um velho ermití£o foi certa vez convidado para ir até a corte do rei mais poderoso daquela época.
– Eu invejo um homem santo, que se contenta com tí£o pouco – comentou o soberano.
– Eu invejo Vossa Majestade, que se contenta com menos que eu. Eu tenho a música das esferas celestes, tenho os rios e as montanhas do mundo inteiro, tenho a lua e o sol, porque tenho Deus na minha alma. Vossa Majestade, porém, tem apenas este reino.


El reino de este mundo

Un viejo ermitaño fue invitado en cierta ocasión a ir a la corte del rey más poderoso de su tiempo.
-Yo envidio a los hombres santos, que se conforman con tan poco -comentó en soberano.
-Yo le envidió a Su Majestad, que se contenta con menos aún que yo. Yo tengo la música de las esferas celestes, tengo los rí­os y las montañas del mundo entero, y tengo la luna y el sol, porque llevo a Dios en mi alma. Su Majestad, sin embargo, apenas tiene este reino.

15 SEC READING: covering the sun

Illustration by Ken Crane

A disciple went to Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav:
– I shall not continue with my studies of sacred texts – he said. – I live in a small house with my brothers and parents, and never have the ideal conditions for concentrating on that which is important.

Nachman pointed to the sun and asked his disciple to place his hand over his face, in order to hide it.
The disciple obeyed.

– Your hand is small, yet it can completely cover the power, light and majesty of the great sun.
“In the same way, the small problems manage to give you the excuse you need in order to hinder your progress along your spiritual journey.

“Just as your hand has the power to hide the sun, mediocrity has the power to hide your inner light.
“Do not blame others for your own incompetence.”

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Kindle (four languages) HERE

Paulo’s everyday life

What kind of person Paulo Coelho is in everyday life?
( Richard, in Twitter)

I’m first and foremost an “Internet addict”. I spend 3 hours every day talking to my readers through social communities: this blog, Facebook and Twitter.

For the past two years, I decided to stop giving interviews – I am tired to repeat the same questions over and over again. Of course this is not a final decision, and I can eventually accept an invitation – but my mailbox is full of requests that my office answers with a single word: “busy”.

I also have small rituals that I need to accomplish (at home or travelling): walking in the morning, reading the news in the internet, talking to my friends and my wife.

Of course, I also live my life in a way that every day will present new challenges and unexpected things. I don’t like to have everything planned beforehand.

This is mainly because:
a] It’s pointless : life is impossible to predict
b] It’s the very salt of life – I don’t want to know what’s going to happen.

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

1 MIN READING: how the path was forged

VERSíƒO EM PORTUGUES AQUI > Como a trilha foi aberta

One day, a calf needed to cross a virgin forest in order to return to its pasture. Being an irrational animal, it forged out a tortuous path full of bends, up and down hills.

The next day, a dog came by and used the same path to cross the forest. Next it was a sheep’s turn, the head of a flock which, upon finding the opening, led its companions through it.

Later, men began using the path: they bent down, deviating obstacles, complaining and cursing – and quite rightly so. But they did nothing to create a different route.

After so much use, in the end, the path became a trail along which poor animals toiled under heavy loads, being forced to go three hours to cover a distance which would normally take thirty minutes.

Many years passed and the trail became the main road of a village, and later the main avenue of a town. Everyone complained about the traffic, because the route it took was the worst possible one.

Meanwhile, the old and wise forest laughed, at seeing how men tend to blindly follow the way already open, without ever asking whether it really is the best choice.

.(based in traditional Malayalam story)

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Pablo Neruda’s quotes

“Someday, somewhere – anywhere, unfailingly, you’ll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life”

“Let us forget with generosity those who cannot love us”

“Love! Love until the night collapses!”

“I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. ”

Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet and politician Neftalí­ Ricardo Reyes Basoalto.

The future becoming present


From now on – and for some centuries to come – the Universe will help the warriors of the light, and boycott all those who are full of prejudices about people who dare to follow their dreams.

The energy of the Earth needs renovating.

New ideas need space.

The body and the soul need new challenges.

The future becomes present and all the dreams – except those that involve prejudices – will enjoy the chance to manifest themselves.

Whatever is important will remain; whatever is useless will disappear.

For that reason, when lots of people gather to give their opinion on how we should act or behave, we must ignore them, as our life on Earth leaves us no time for explaining everything we do.

And we must also avoid commenting on the behavior of others: in order to have faith in our own path, we have no need to prove that the path of the other is wrong.

Those who act like this have no trust in their own steps.



Faith, coincidence


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Kindle (four languages) HERE

15 SEC READING: Insult the dead

A novice went to Abbot Macarius seeking advice about the best way to please the Lord.

– Go to the cemetery and insult the dead – said Macarius.

The brother did as he was told. The following day, he returned to Macarius.

– Did they respond? – asked the abbot.

The novice said no, they didn’t.

– Then go to them and praise them.

The novice obeyed. That same afternoon, he returned to the abbot, who again wished to know whether the dead had responded.

– No – said the novice.

– In order to please the Lord, behave as they do – said Macarius.

“Pay no heed to the insults of men, nor to their praise; in this way, you shall forge your own path.”

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

Video: Sahara Wonderland (click on the photo


Football (a.k.a. soccer) 101

Duration: 90 min ( 2 x 45 min )
Players: 11 in each team
Objective: to score as many goals as possible using any part of the body but the hands. Any player can score a goal.
Referee: the one who enforces the rules

Foul & misconduct

when a player hits another, three things may happen:
1]Free kick
2] Free kick + card ( Yellow= beware! Red = you are out! )
3] Penalty kick = if a defender uses the hand or if the foul happens in the marked area around the goal (white lines above). In this case, the ball is placed in a mark in front of the goalkeeper. When the penalty kick is taken, the only two players in the box are the penalty taker and the defending team’s goalkeeper. Everyone else must be outside the white lines.

The only complicated rule

The offside – when the striker is closer to the opposing team’s goal than that team’s last defender. Meaning: you need an adversary to make it worth your effort!

20 SEC READING: The game of chess

EM PORTUGUES CLICAR AQUI >> O jogo de xadrez
EN ESPANOL CLICAR AQUI >> La partida de ajedrez


Illustration by Ken Crane

A young man said to the abbot of a monastery:
‘I would really like to become a monk, but I have learned nothing of importance in my life. My father only taught me how to play chess, and I was told that all games are sinful.’
The abbot called for a chessboard and summoned a monk to play with the young man. However, before the game began, he added:
‘We also need diversion, but we will have only the best players here. If our monk loses, he will leave the monastery, thus creating an opening for you.’
The abbot was deadly serious.
The young man played an aggressive game, but then he noticed the saintly look in the monk’s eyes, and from then on, he began to play deliberately badly.
He decided that he would rather lose because he felt that the monk could prove far more useful to the world than him.
Suddenly, the abbot overturned the chessboard onto the floor.
‘You learned far more than you were taught,’ he said. ‘You have the powers of concentration necessary to win and you are capable of fighting for what you want, but you also have compassion and the ability to sacrifice yourself for a noble cause.

‘ You have shown yourself capable of balancing discipline and mercy; welcome to our monastery!’

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

Two poems by Saadi

On friends and enemies

I am displeased with the company of friends
To whom my bad qualities appear to be good;
They fancy my faults are virtues and perfection;
My thorns they believe to be rose and jessamine.
Say! where is the bold and quick enemy
To make me aware of my defects?

Sage advice

If people injure thee, grieve not;
Because neither rest nor grief come from the people.
Be aware that the contrasts of friend and foe are from God,
Because the hearts of both are in His keeping.
Although the arrow is shot from the bow,
Wise men look at the archer!

Oh thou! who showest virtues on the palms of the hand,
But concealest thy errors under the armpit,
What wilt thou purchase, oh vainglorious fool,
On the day of distress with counterfeit silver?

Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī , better known by his pen-name as Saadi, was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period.

Literature and success

The Nobel prize winner, Kenzaboro Oe once said that you had discovered the secrets of literary alchemy. I’m sure there are several younger writers interested in leaning about these secrets. Would you mind sharing them with us? (Valéry Peyrot, France)
The average book print in the US or France is that of about 3000 copies – the same as in Brazil.
Therefore, the only secret I know is the word-of-mouth.
It took me close to ten years, for example, to appear in the New York Times Best Seller List. (but now the book is breaking all records – almost four years there)

As for the formula: an author that tries to express himself or herself thinking only about the market, may have a successful book once, but he/she most likely will not repeat the same success – which will not permit that the author makes a living out of literature.

In my case, I did the only thing I should have done, or use my writings to get to know myself better. As long as I kept being loyal to myself, without looking for formulas, the readers have also remained loyal.

Two of my books, for example, did not sell well: The Fifth Mountain and The winner stands alone. However, if I could go back to the past, I would still write these two books, because they express what I feel about tragedy and celebrity

Literature got further away from criticism, exactly because instead of being more traditional, criticism became reactionary. Thus, literary criticism does not have the power neither to sell, nor to avoid sales.

The reader, on the other hand, is watching reality more closely, and he/she buys whatever will reflect his/her state of mind or the status quo.

You write because you need to write. The career of a book is beyond your control.

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

The moving monument

With very rare exceptions (Rio de Janeiro is one of them with its statue of Christ the Redeemer), it is not the statues that mark the city, but the least expected things.

When Eiffel built a steel tower for an exposition, he could not have dreamed that this would end up being the symbol of Paris, despite the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and the impressive gardens.

An apple represents New York.

A not much visited bridge is the symbol of San Francisco. A bridge over the Tejo is also on the postcards of Lisbon.

Barcelona, a city full of unresolved things, has an unfinished cathedral (The Holy Family) as its most emblematic monument.

In Moscow, a square surrounded by buildings and a name that no longer represents the present (Red Square, in memory of communism) is the main reference.

And so on and so forth.

Perhaps thinking about this, Geneva decided to create a monument that would never remain the same, one that could disappear every night and reappear the next morning and would change at each and every moment of the day, depending on the strength of the wind and the rays of the sun.

Legend has it that a child had the idea just as he was … taking a pee. When he finished his business, he told his father that the place where they lived would be protected from invaders if it had a sculpture capable of vanishing before they drew near.

His father went to talk to the town councilors, who, even though they had adopted Protestantism as the official religion and considered everything that escaped logic as superstition, decided to follow the advice.

Another story tells us that, because a river pouring into a lake produced a very strong current, a hydroelectric dam was built there, but when the workers returned home and closed the valves, the pressure was very strong and the turbines eventually burst.

Until an engineer had the idea of putting a fountain on the spot where the excess water could escape. With the passing of time, engineering solved the problem and the fountain became unnecessary.

But perhaps reminded of the legend of the little boy, the inhabitants decided to keep it.

The city already had many fountains, and this one would be in the middle of a lake, so what could be done to make it visible? And that is how the moving monument came to be.

Powerful pumps were installed, and today a very strong jet of water spouts 500 liters per second vertically at 200 km per hour.

They say, and I have confirmed it, that it can even be seen from a plane flying at 10,000 meters.

It has no special name, just ‘Water Fountain’, the symbol of the city of Geneva (where there is no lack of statues of men on horses, heroic women and solitary children).

Once I asked Denise, a Swiss scientist, what she thought of the Water Fountain. “Our body is almost completely made of water through which electric discharges pass to convey information.

One such piece of information is called love, and this can interfere in the entire organism.

Love changes all the time.

I think that the symbol of Geneva is the most beautiful monument to love yet conceived by any artist.” I don’t know how the little boy in the legend would feel about it, but I think that Denise is absolutely right.