Archives for February 2015

Bhagavad Gita (Chapter II, 16-26)

:
“Man is not born, nor does he ever die. For ever he tries to exist, he will never stop doing this, because this is eternal and permanent.”

“Just as a man casts off his old clothes and starts to wear new ones, the soul casts off the old body and takes on a new one.”

“But the soul is indestructible; spades cannot cut it down, fire does not burn it, water does not wet it, and the wind never dries it. The soul is beyond the power of all such things.”

“As man is indestructible, he is always victorious (even in his defeats), and therefore should never have regrets.”

The right speed

 

A warrior of the light needs patience and speed at the same time. The two greatest faults of a strategy are: acting too soon, or allowing an opportunity to slip too far away.

In order to avoid this, the warrior deals with each situation as if it were unique, and does not apply formulas, paradigms or the opinions of others.

Caliph Moauiyat once asked Omr Ben Al-Aas what was the secret of his great political skills:

“I never became involved in anything, without first studying a retreat; conversely, I have never embarked on something and wanted to abandon it immediately,” was his reply.

 

(from “The Warrior of the Light: a manual” )

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The art of retreat

By Paulo Coelho

A warrior of the light who trusts too much in his intelligence ends up under-estimating the power of the adversary.

One must not forget: there are moments when strength is more effective than sagacity. And when we find ourselves faced with a certain kind of violence, no brilliance, argument, intelligence or charm can prevent tragedy.

That is why the warrior never under-estimates brute force. When it is irrationally aggressive, he retreats from the battle field until the enemy has spent his energy.

However, let it be made quite clear: a warrior of the light is never cowardly. Flight can be an excellent art of defense but it cannot be used when there is great fear.

In the face of any doubt, the warrior prefers to accept defeat and take care of his wounds, because he knows that if he flees he will be giving the attacker a greater power than he deserves.

He can cure physical suffering but he will be eternally persecuted for his spiritual weakness. In some difficult and painful moments, the warrior faces a situation of disadvantage with heroism, resignation and courage.

To achieve the necessary state of mind (since he is entering the fight at a disadvantage and may suffer a lot), the warrior has to understand exactly what can cause him harm. Okakura Kakuso comments in his book on the Japanese tea ritual:

“We look at the evil of others because we know evil through our own behavior. We never forgive those who injure us because we believe that we would never be forgiven. We tell painful truth to our neighbor because we want to hide it from ourselves. We show our strength so that no-one can see our fragility.”

“That is why, whenever you are judging your brother, know that it you who are on trial.”

Sometimes this knowledge can prevent a fight that will only bring disadvantages. However, at other times there is no way out, only an unequal fight.

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Question by Ruth

In your novels, you transmit a wonderful magical world, full of spirituality and goodness, and you insist that goodness is not limited to a place, religion or group. How did you reach this conclusion, especially with all that you went through earlier in your life?

The cost is always high but worth it. If I look back at my life – which in this moment I am “obliged” to look at since a biography about my lyricist days just came out in Brazil and soon another will come out by the end of the year – I see many occasions where society tried to make me conform to “normality”. This resulted in three hospitalizations in an asylum when I was a teenager (which I describe in my book Veronika decides to die), torture when I was a young adult by the hands of the paramilitaries, and many defeats. You could look at these experiences and say “Paulo’s life is tragic” but I don’t see it that way. What I do see is someone trying to remain true to oneself. Yes there is a price but I believe that life tends to be very generous to those that are brave enough to take these risks. In a word, I’ve always had faith in life.

Dieting already?

One of Brazil’s great philosophers, Tim Maia, once said: “I decided to go on a strict diet. I cut out alcohol, all fats and sugar. In two weeks I lost 14 days”.

The worst of it all is that at each and every moment there appears a new way to lose weight: eating calories, then not eating calories, compulsively consuming fats, then avoiding fats at any price. We step inside a pharmacy and are visually assaulted by all sorts of miraculous products that promise to do away with our desire to eat, with our fat tissue, with our belly, and so on.

We have survived all these millennia because we could eat. And nowadays this seems to have turned into a curse. Why is that? What makes us try at the age of 40 to keep the same body we had when we were young? Will it ever be at all possible to stop this dimension of time?

Of course not. And so why do we need to be slim?

We don’t. We buy books, go to the gym, devote a great deal of our concentration trying to stop time, when we ought to be celebrating the miracle of living in this world. Instead of wondering how to live better, we are obsessed with how much we weigh.

Let’s forget all that; you can read all the books you want, do all the exercise you want, suffer all the punishment you decide to inflict on yourself, and you will have only two choices – you either stop living, or else you will get fat.

It is obvious that you have to eat moderately, but above all you have to take pleasure in eating. Jesus Christ said that: “evil is not what goes into man’s mouth, but rather what comes out of it”.

Remember that for thousands of years we fought to avoid being hungry. Who invented this story that we have to spend our whole life being slim?

Let me give you the answer: the vampires of the soul, who think that it is possible to stop the wheel of time. It is not possible. Use the energy and the effort of a diet to feed yourself with the bread of the spirit, and go on enjoying (moderately, let me repeat) the pleasures of good eating.

While millions of people the world over are hungry, we see people provoking this other obsession because at some moment or other somebody decides that being slim is the only option for regaining youth and beauty.

Instead of artificially burning those calories, we should try to turn them into the energy we need to fight for our dreams; no-one has ever stayed slim for long just by following a diet.

Gestalt: Four People & Middle column

A gestalt has two or more parts (like figure and ground) that are so integrated together that we perceive them as one object. Think of teaching “the whole child,” and you have the idea behind gestalt.

The perception of oneness from many is the basis of gestalt. It derived from the 1890 German philosophy of Gestaltqualität, meaning “form or shape,” which explored the idea of perception. For example, a picture might have several separate parts that work together to form one perceived image. The area of gestalt psychology developed in 1912, focusing on the various aspects of a person and how they combine into a whole that affects that person’s relationship with his or her environment.

O passageiro e o definitivo

Todos os caminhos do mundo levam ao coraí§í£o do guerreiro; ele mergulha sem hesitar no rio de paixíµes que sempre corre por sua vida.
O guerreiro sabe que é livre para escolher o que desejar; suas decisíµes sí£o tomadas com coragem, desprendimento, e – as vezes – com uma certa dose de loucura.

Aceita suas paixíµes, e as desfruta intensamente. Sabe que ní£o é preciso renunciar ao entusiasmo das conquistas; elas fazem parte da vida, e alegra a todos que delas participam.
Mas jamais perde de vista as coisas duradouras, e os laí§os criados com solidez através do tempo.

Um guerreiro sabe distinguir o que é passageiro, e o que é definitivo.

 

(do meu livro “Manual do Guerreiro da Luz”)

A warrior does not rely on strength alone

A warrior of light does not rely on strength alone, he makes use of his opponent’s energy too.

When he enters the fight, all he has is his enthusiasm and the moves and strikes that he learned during his training. As the fight progresses, he discovers that enthusiasm and training are not enough to win: what counts is experience.
Then he opens his heart to the Universe and asks God to give him the inspiration he needs to turn every blow from his enemy into a lesson in self-defence.
His companions say: ‘He’s so superstitious. He stopped fighting in order to pray; he even shows respect for his opponent’s tricks.’
The warrior does not respond to these provocations.

He knows that without inspiration and experience, no amount of training will help him.

(from my book “Warrior of the Light, a Manual” )

The law as a metaphor

I am someone who believes in the judicial system despite all the drawbacks we see. The United States Supreme Court disqualifying torture as an interrogation method, for example, even when the president of the country and his VP have, through legal artifices, tried to justify it.

Nonetheless, my belief is not shared by many people. A lawyer friend said to me that, “the law is not made to solve problems, but to prolong them indefinitely.” Just to exercise my imagination, I decided to use his theory to analyze Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

If God were alive today, we would all still be in Paradise. He, however, would still be replying to pleas, appeals, letters, court injunctions or writs; He would be required to explain his decision to expel Adam and Eve from Paradise just for breaking the arbitrary law of refraining from the evil fruit, without any legal grounds at countless hearings.

If He hadn’t wanted Adam and Eve to eat the fruit, why did he put that tree in the middle of the Garden and not outside the walls of Paradise? If an experienced lawyer were called to defend the couple, he could allege the theory of “administrative omission.” Besides putting the tree in the wrong place, he didn’t surround it with notices and fences, failing to take the minimum safety measures and therefore exposing all who passed by to danger.

Another lawyer might accuse him of “inducement to crime”; He drew the attention of Adam and Eve to the exact place where the tree was growing. If He had not said anything, generations and generations would have passed through this Earth without anyone being interested in the forbidden fruit – considering that it should have been in a forest, full of similar trees, and, therefore lacking any specific merit.

But Genesis happened before the judicial system and, therefore, allowed God to have full freedom of action. He wrote a single law, and found a way of convincing someone to break it, just to be able to invent Punishment. He knew that Adam and Eve would end up bored with so many perfect things, and, sooner or later, would try His patience. He stayed there waiting, because He – Almighty God – was also bored with things working perfectly. If Eve had not eaten the apple, what interesting things would have happened in those billions of years?

Nothing.

When the law was broken, God – the All Powerful Judge – had even simulated a pursuit, as if he did not know all the possible hiding places. With the angels watching and amusing themselves with the prank (life for them also must have been very tedious, since Lucifer had left Heaven), He finds Adam.

“Where art thou?” God asked, already knowing the answer. He did not warn him about the consequences of the reply. He did not say the well-known words that we have heard so often in movies, “anything you say may be used against you”.

“I heard your steps in the garden, I was afraid and hid, because I am naked”, answered Adam, without knowing that, from then on, he would be the admitted culprit of a crime.

Well. Through a simple trick, where he seemed not to know where Adam was, nor the reason for his escape, God had managed to get what he wanted. He expelled the couple, and their children ended up paying for the crime as well (as happens until today with the children of criminals), and the judicial system had been invented; law, breaking the law, judgment and punishment.

Leitura de domingo 15 Fev

Pode uma folha, quando cai da árvore no inverno, sentir-se derrotada pelo frio?
A árvore diz para a folha: ‘Este é o ciclo da vida. Embora vocíª pense que irá morrer, na verdade ainda continua em mim. Graí§as a vocíª estou viva, porque pude respirar. Também graí§as a vocíª senti-me amada, porque pude dar sombra ao viajante cansado. Sua seiva está na minha seiva, somos uma coisa só.’

Pode um homem que se preparou durante anos para subir a montanha mais alta do mundo, sentir-se derrotado quando chega diante do seu objetivo e descobre que a natureza a cobriu com uma tempestade? O homem diz para a montanha: ‘Vocíª ní£o me quer agora, mas o tempo vai mudar e um dia poderei sub
Iir até seu topo. Enquanto isso, vocíª continua aí­ me esperando.’

Pode um jovem, quando é rejeitado por seu primeiro amor, afirmar que o amor ní£o existe? O jovem diz para si mesmo: ‘Encontrarei alguém capaz de entender o que sinto. E serei feliz pelo resto de meus dias.’

Ní£o existe nem vitória nem derrota no ciclo da natureza: existe movimento.

 
em “Manuscrito encontrado em Accra”

The master and the combat

By Paulo Coelho

The aikidí´ master demanded intensive training but never allowed his pupils to compete with other martial-arts academies. They all complained among themselves but no-one ever had the nerve to bring up the subject in class.

And then one day one of the boys dared to ask:

– We have dedicated ourselves wholeheartedly to the study of aikidí´, but we shall never know whether we are good or bad fighters because we cannot compete with anyone from outside here.

– And may you never need to know that – was the master’s answer. – He who wants to fight loses his bond with the Universe. Here we study the art of resolving conflicts, not starting them.

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O grande silíªncio

Diz a freira Balbas Miguel, do Mosteiro de Huelgas:

“San Juan de La Cruz nos ensina que o silíªncio tem sua própria música; é o silíªncio que nos permite ver a nós mesmos e as coisas que nos cercam.

“Eu gostaria de acrescentar: existem palavras que só podem ser ditas em silíªncio, por mais absurdo que isso possa parecer. Os grandes gíªnios, para compor suas sinfonias, preci­savam de silíªncio – e conseguiam transformá-lo em sons divinos. O filósofo e o cientista precisam do silíªncio.

“No mosteiro, prati­camos de noite o que chamamos de O Grande Silíªncio. Através da ausíªncia de conversas, conseguimos entender o que está além”.

Choosing with confidence

By Paulo Coelho

The warrior of the light always manages to balance Rigor and Mercy. To attain his dream he needs to have a strong will – as well as an immense capacity of self-surrender.

Although he has an objective, the road to reach it is not always the one he imagines, so he has to use discipline and compassion. God never abandons his children – but the designs of Providence are unfathomable.

So, for the warrior of the light nothing is abstract. Everything is concrete and everything concerns him.

Some of his companions spend their lives criticizing the lack of options or commenting on the decisions of others. The warrior, however, turns his thoughts into action.

Sometimes he makes mistakes, and pays the price of his error. Other times he strays from the path and wastes a lot of time getting back to the original destination.

But a warrior does not become distracted, because he knows what he is looking for.

 

taken from my book “The Warrior of the Light: a Manual”

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The right to choose

Dr. Victor Frankl, survivor of the concentration camp in Auschwitz, wrote in his diary:

“Those who lived in these places of death can still recall that at night, some of those who were there, would go from tent to tent, comforting the most desperate, many times offering a piece of leftover bread or potato.”

“Only a few were able to act like this, but these few gave everyone the greatest of the lessons: it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, you can take everything from a man except the freedom of choice.”

2 min de leitura: o cí­rculo do amor

Certo dia, um camponíªs bateu com forí§a na porta de um convento. Quando o irmí£o porteiro abriu, ele lhe estendeu um magní­fico cacho de uvas.

– Caro irmí£o porteiro, estas sí£o as mais belas produzidas pelo meu vinhedo. E venho aqui para dá-las de presente.

– Obrigado! Vou levá-las imediatamente ao Abade, que ficará alegre com esta oferta.

– Ní£o! Eu as trouxe para vocíª.

– Para mim? Vocíª me deixa ruborizado, porque ní£o mereí§o tí£o belo presente da natureza.

– Sempre que bati na porta, vocíª abriu. Quando precisei de ajuda porque a colheita foi destruí­da pela seca, vocíª me dava um pedaí§o de pí£o e um copo de vinho todos os dias. Eu quero que este cacho de uvas traga-lhe um pouco do amor do sol, da beleza da chuva, e do milagre de Deus, que o fez nascer tí£o belo.

O irmí£o porteiro colocou o cacho diante de si, e passou a manhí£ inteira admirando-o: era realmente lindo. Por causa disso, resolveu entregar o presente ao Abade, que sempre o havia estimulado com palavras de sabedoria.

O Abade ficou muito contente com as uvas, mas lembrou-se que havia no convento um irmí£o que estava doente, e pensou: “vou dar-lhe o cacho. Quem sabe, pode trazer alguma alegria í  sua vida”.

Mas as uvas ní£o ficaram muito tempo no quarto do irmí£o doente, porque este refletiu: “o irmí£o cozinheiro tem cuidado de mim por tanto tempo, alimentando-me com o que há de melhor. Tenho certeza que isso lhe trará muita felicidade. Quando o irmí£o cozinheiro apareceu na hora do almoí§o, trazendo sua refeií§í£o, ele entregou-lhe as uvas”.

– Sí£o para vocíª. Como sempre está em contacto com os produtos que a natureza nos oferece, saberá o que fazer com esta obra de Deus.

O irmí£o cozinheiro ficou deslumbrado com a beleza do cacho, e fez com que o seu ajudante reparasse a perfeií§í£o das uvas. Tí£o perfeitas que ninguém para aprecia-las melhor que o irmí£o sacristí£o, responsável pela guarda do Santí­ssimo Sacramento, e muitos no mosteiro o viam como um homem santo.

O sacristí£o, por sua vez, deu as uvas de presente ao novií§o mais jovem, de modo que este pudesse entender que a obra de Deus está nos menores detalhes da Criaí§í£o. Quando o novií§o o recebeu, o seu coraí§í£o encheu-se da Glória do Senhor, porque nunca tinha visto um cacho tí£o lindo. Na mesma hora lembrou-se da primeira vez que chegara ao mosteiro, e da pessoa que lhe tinha aberto a porta; fora este gesto que lhe permitira estar hoje naquela comunidade de pessoas que sabiam valorizar os milagres.

Assim, pouco antes do cair da noite, ele levou o cacho de uvas para o irmí£o porteiro.

– Coma e aproveite. Porque vocíª passa a maior parte do tempo aqui sozinho, e estas uvas lhe farí£o muito feliz.

O irmí£o porteiro entendeu que aquele presente tinha lhe sido realmente destinado, saboreou cada uma das uvas daquele cacho, e dormiu feliz. Desta maneira, o cí­rculo foi fechado; o cí­rculo de felicidade e alegria, que sempre se estende em torno de quem está em contacto com a Energia do Amor.

Warrior of the light necklace

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The hole in the sidewalk

Adapted from a text by Portia Nelson (in Stories for the Heart): 

â–  I walk along the street. There is a hole in the sidewalk. I am distracted, thinking about myself, and fall inside. I feel lost, unhappy and incapable of asking for help. It wasn’t my fault, but the ones who dug that hole there. I feel disgusted, I am a victim of the irresponsibility of others, and I spend a great amount of time in there.

â–  I walk along the street. There is a hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it, that’s not my problem. I fall in there again. I can’t believe that happened once again, I should have learnt the lesson and sent someone to close the hole. It takes a long time for me to get out of there.

â–  I walk along the street. There is a hole in the sidewalk. I see it. I know it is there because I fell in there twice. However, I am someone used to always take the same path. Due to that, I fall into the hole for the third time; it’s the habit.

â–  I walk along the street. There is a hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. Soon after I pass the hole, I hear someone yelling “” he must have fallen into the hole. The street is closed and I can’t go on.

â–  I walk along the street. There is a hole in the sidewalk. I put a fence around it. I can go on my way and no one will fall in there again.