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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  1. Arto Hutto says:

    In Swedish:

    15 sekunders läsning: täcker solen

    En lärjunge gick till rabbinen Nachman av Bratslav:
    – Jag kommer inte att fortsätta med mina studier av heliga texter – sade han.
    – Jag bor i ett litet hus med mina bröder och föräldrar, och har aldrig idealiska förutsättningar för att koncentrera mig på det som är viktigt.

    Nachman pekade på solen och bad sin lärjunge att placera sin hand över ansiktet för att dölja det.

    Lärjungen lydde.

    – Din hand är liten, men den kan helt täcka den kraft, ljus och majestätiska från den mäktiga solen.
    “På samma sätt, lyckas de små problemen ge dig den ursäkt du behöver för att hindra dina framsteg längs din andliga resa.

    “Precis som din hand har makt att dölja solen har medelmåttigheten makten att dölja din inre ljus.
    “Skyll inte på andra för din egen inkompetens.”

  2. nuevavista says:

    Sun in Greek means together.
    Athena in Greek means wise.

  3. Paula says:


  4. Gargi says:

    Thank you so much for this inspiring piece of advice.. got to remember and cultivate this!! thank you so much again :)

  5. Sonali T says:

    Its so simple to understand but difficult to follow.Thanks Paulo for such a beautiful way for illutrating it.

  6. Mahrang says:

    i often wonder why the spiritual journey seems difficult with our daily hinderence and barriers but the truth is the only hinderence in our way is ourself. we tend to blame everything else but ourselves to show reluctance to seek whats most important… sir keep inspiring us. Thank you.

  7. prashant mahale says:

    how could u manage to be so simple yet effective… lots of love.. keep writing..

  8. Aishwarya says:

    That is a lesson for all!!

  9. 'm speechless , Paulo :) thank u. says:

    ‘m speechless , Paulo :) thank u.

  10. Margot says:

    How true, we do tend to become overwhelmed by seemingly insurmountable challenges sometimes losing sight of the power that lies in our own hands to overcome and grow. A gentle reminder that has fuelled this spirit with the determination to overcome & prevail. Mercie.

  11. Satora says:

    Distractions…there are many…but does the “journey” always depend on studying sacred texts? Or can by the grace of the “Holy Spirit” you reach a glimpse of the all-embracing compassion of love? Isn’t this “holy” spark given by “GRACE”? Or do you believe that only by studying sacred texts for hours and hours “you” can ignite it?

    Dear Paulo…I am just wondering again…and concerning incompetence: is not insisting on only ONE SET WAY another form of incompetence??? As to “half way up the mountain” mediocrity…what can I say.. only that a teacher should encourage with a positive feedback not negative…

    “When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy. Pride leads to violence and evil. The truly good gaze upon everything with love and understanding.” Dalai Lama

    There is a time for everything and sometimes it is NOT even the right time for studying sacred texts…for if your heart and soul are not nurturing you, how can you proceed? (you might think (and blame) the noise around you that it is stopping you)…

    “When you really look for me, you will see me instantly –
    you will find me in the tiniest house of time. Kabir says: Student tell me, what is God? It is the breath inside the breath.” Kabir

    With loving kindness,


  12. arun says:

    We do always have reason to argue or choice not to do this on the pretext of anything or nothing.We are always been given choice to follow what we would like to do or what we should not.. we choose our own ways to walk over it and if something wrong occurs we know lot of things to blame upon, may be road is too slippery or i got sprain or sun was over my head or wind was flowing against me or it is making me walk too fast so I could not see this obstruction or smoothnes of road.. All things were playing against me or expectations were high and I could not handle the pressure..)) many excuses and one reason, I am not to be blamed for it. We have seen that the warrior makes his own way w/o complaining about the surroundings or environment/weather/ conditions so lets take up the task and fulfill it, not for anyone only for the awakening of our own soul. May be we ended up alone but that would be temporary phase, we all know warrior all always be surrounded by followers andafter each victory or success he acheives his aura spreads..

  13. melli says:

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder!

    Peace and love to you, Paulo!

  14. Pilar says:

    No culpar a los demás por nuestra incompetencia:de acuerdo y
    gracias por mencionarlo.
    Los problemas, impiden que avancemos y CONOCER HOY que la mediocridad oculta nuestra luz interior supone para mí­ HOY una AYUDA, INFINITA.

  15. carmen alicia says:

    creo que uno no debe darle fuerza a los obstáculos que se le interpongan en la vida.Quitar la mano que obstruye la luz.

  16. Florence says:

    So very True ! :)

  17. kim alfred says:

    Everyday i do this excuse in subtle ways not knowing that this could be a habit and devolve me to my lesser being…

  18. Vue says:

    Just reminds me of my late sunday school teacher (“May her soul rest in peace”). She used to sing the song “Walk in the light of God. Just walk, walk, walk…
    Good old days.

  19. Amjad Mumtaz says:

    a beautifull message for those cursing darkness instead of lighting a candle.

  20. Nitin Awchar says:

    Yes, Lets fail to succeed.

  21. Elly van Haaster says:

    This story is so obvious. But I want to share my interpretation:
    Don’t cover the warmth of the sun, the warmth of your family! Be aware of the people who are living with you and cherish them. That is also a small step of your inner spiritual development.Be happy with the place where you are and the people around you, than you can meditate and transcend in complete peace without irritations and you don’t have to cover anything. The people around you are in your meditation.

    Thanks for the beautiful thoughts every day mr Coelho!

  22. Sheela nandini says:

    Dear Ken,

    This is lovely! Was reading so much about the Sun yesterday. Love the colours,dreamy blues…shining Light everywhere…

    Take care,


    1. Ken Crane says:

      Thank you Sheela!!


  23. valeria says:

    Often we blame others for reasons that depend on us

  24. Lata says:

    Superb. In India we call it diversions that try to hinder our spiritual this test our will power.

  25. Anna van de Berg says:

    The sun,the moom, star, heaven, earth and the land… ” The death of Jesus ” From the sixth hour unti the ninth our darkness came over the land. About the ninth Jesus cried out in a loud voice; ” Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachtani? which means which means My God, my God why have you forsaken me?
    At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn i two from top to bottom ….
    The earth shook and the earth and the rocks split. The tombs open and the bodies of the many holy people who had died were raised to life.they came out of the tombs, and after Jesus resurection they went in toholy city and appeared to many people…( Matthew 27, 45 – 53 )

    The disciples and woman who were from Galilee never for a moment could have thought that Jesus said that God had forsaken Him. When he told Peter that if He wished could bring angels to fight for him, and when he said ”Father let it be ” They wish if I should drink this cup.” These words, ” Eli, Eli, Imana sabachthani,” even today are used by Assyrianswhen they suffer and die unjustly. Instead of plaint and dissatisfaction, they leave everything to God. They believe that it is God’s desire that they should pass the through such experiences . This is the reason why we do not people commit suicide…inspite all the weaknesses and sufferings in this temporary life in this earth….

  26. wow!! nice lesson this morning. 1 finger pointed @ others means 3 fingers pointed towards others and 1 towards the very earth you are standing upon.

  27. slen says:

    ..love your composition as always…

    … we should owe up to everything that is in our life. Our successes and failures.

    Thank you Sir Paulo.

  28. Ann says:

    “Aish”, as we say here in South Africa!! We forget the significance and proportion of our problems……A hand hides the sun and yet we cannot manage the smaller intrusions.
    Paulo. I often just need to reach out and hug you for your subtle wisdom……. bless you.