Archives for February 2016

The blackbird comes to a decision

An old blackbird found a piece of bread and flew off with it. When they saw this, the younger birds pursued him in order to attack.
Confronted by imminent battle, the blackbird dropped the piece of bread into the mouth of a snake, thinking to himself:
‘When you’re old, you see things differently. I lost a meal, it’s true, but I can always find another piece of bread tomorrow.
“However, if I had hung on to it, I would have started a war in the skies; the winner would become the object of envy, the others would gang up on him, hatred would fill the hearts of birds and it could all go on for years.

“That is the wisdom of old age: knowing how to exchange immediate victories for lasting conquests.’

10 SEC READ: Dialogue (ENG, PORT, ESP)

Keeping the dialogue alive

Rabbi Iaakov’s wife was always looking for an excuse to argue with her husband. Iaakov never reacted to her provocations.
Until one night when, during a dinner with some friends, the rabbi had a ferocious argument with his wife to the surprise of all at the table.
“What happened?” they asked. “Why did you break your habit of never answering?”

“Because I realized that what bothered my wife the most was the fact that I remained silent. Acting in this way, I remained far from her emotions. My reaction was an act of love: now she understands that I hear her words.”

Mantendo o diálogo

A esposa do rabino Iaakov vivia procurando um motivo para discutir com o marido. Iaakov nunca respondia as provocaí§íµes.
Até que, durante um jantar com alguns amigos, o rabino terminou discutindo ferozmente com sua mulher, surpreendendo a todos na mesa.
– O que aconteceu? – perguntaram – Por que abandonou seu costume de jamais responder?

– Porque percebi que o que mais perturbava minha mulher era o fato de ficar em silíªncio. Agindo assim, eu permanecia distante de suas emoí§íµes. Minha reaí§í£o foi um ato de amor: consegui fazíª-la entender que escuto suas palavras”.

El dialogo

La esposa del rabino Iaakov viví­a rebuscando motivos para discutir con su marido. Iaakov nunca respondí­a a las provocaciones.
Hasta que, durante una cena con unos amigos, el rabino terminó discutiendo ferozmente con su mujer, sorprendiendo a todos los comensales.
-Pero, ¿que ha ocurrido? -le preguntaron – ¿Por qué no has seguido tu costumbre de no responder?

-Porque por fin me he dado cuenta de que lo que más irritaba a mi mujer era que me quedara en silencio. Actuando de esta manera, me estaba manteniendo distante de sus emociones.Mi reacción ha sido un acto de amor: he conseguido que entendiera que escucho sus palabras.

Nasrudin always makes the wrong choice

Every day Nasrudin went to beg for alms in the market, and people used to make fun of him by playing the following trick: they would show him two coins, one worth ten times more than the other, and Nasrudin would always choose the smaller coin.

The story went round the whole province.
Day after day, groups of men and women would show him the two coins, and Nasrudin would always choose the smaller one.

Then one day, a generous man, tired of seeing Nasrudin ridiculed in this fashion, beckoned him over to a corner of the square and said:

‘When they offer you two coins, you should choose the larger one. That way you would earn more money and people wouldn’t consider you an idiot.’

‘That sounds like good advice,’ replied Nasrudin, ‘but if I chose the larger coin, people would stop offering me money, because they like to believe that I am even more stupid than they are. You’ve no idea how much money I’ve earned using this trick.

“There’s nothing wrong with looking like a fool if, in fact, you’re being really clever.’

The natural order

A very wealthy man asked a Zen master for a text which would always remind him how happy he was with his family.

The Zen master took some parchment and, in beautiful calligraphy, wrote:

– The father dies. The son dies. The grandson dies.

– What? – said the furious rich man. – I asked you for something to inspire me, some teaching which might be respectfully contemplated by future generations, and you give me something as depressing and gloomy as these words?

– You asked me for something which would remind you of the happiness of living together with your family. If your son dies first, everyone will be devastated by the pain. If your grandson dies, it would be an unbearable experience.

“However, if your family disappears in the order which I placed on the paper, this is the natural course of life. Thus, although we all endure moments of pain, the generations will continue, and your legacy will be long-lasting.”

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10 SEC READING: Keeping friends



When she was eleven years old, Anita went to her mother to complain.
“I can’t manage to have friends. They all stay away from me because I’m so jealous.”

Her mother was taking care of newly-born chickens, and Anita held up one of them, which immediately tried to escape.
The more the girl squeezed it in her hands, the more the chicken struggled.

Her mother said: “try holding it gently.”
Anita obeyed her. She opened her hands and the chicken stopped struggling.
She began to stroke it and the chicken cuddled up between her fingers.

“Human beings are like that too,” said her mother. “If you want to hold onto them by any means, they escape. But if you are kind to them, they will remain for ever by your side.”


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Q&A: Transformation

Many times we need to compare things, situations and people in order to decide what is best for us. Do you consider that in most cases this is a positive attitude? (Mara Adriana)

It all depends on the context: if we make a decision that is based solely on what other people tell us, we may be straying from what we truly desire and want. But if we are able to listen to our souls – keeping of course a channel open to others – then we are able to grow and walk in the direction of our dreams.

I have just finished reading the Witch of Portobello. What is the one thing that I must remember during this time which is full of doubts and fears but at the same time curiosity and excitement? (by Sarah)

You should always bear in mind the goal of this transformation, without shutting away the process. It’s actually in this very moment that you can grasp the wider meaning of your life.

I had this realization while doing the pilgrimage to Saint James. I was, in the beginning obsessed with my sword and so wanted to get straight to the end of the journey. It was actually by living the journey in all its aspects that I was finally able to find my sword. Both elements then must be present in your spirit in this time of change.

What is fear? (by Benedict)

Contrary to what we believe, fear does not arise because we feel utterly alone. If we were totally alone there wouldn’t be anything to fear.

Actually fear comes from the fact that we imagine there are forces ready to attack us, things that escape from our power to understand.

Our fear arises from what we can’t grasp. What we don’t understand is actually what fills us with dread.
The moment we realize that things that go beyond our knowledge are not harmful, then the object of fear disappears.

Looking for a reason

EN ESPANOL CLICAR AQUI: ¿Qué es un guerrero de la luz?
EM PORTUGUES CLICAR AQUI : As contradií§íµes do guerreiro

What is a warrior of light?

Warriors of light keep the spark in their eyes.

They are in the world, are part of other people’s lives, and began their journey without a rucksack and sandals. They are often cowards. They don’t always act right.

Warriors of light suffer over useless things, have some petty attitudes, and at times feel they are incapable of growing. They frequently believe they are unworthy of any blessing or miracle.

Warriors of light are not always sure what they are doing here. Often they stay up all night thinking that their lives have no meaning.

Every warrior of light has felt the fear of joining in battle. Every warrior of light has once lost faith in the future.

Every warrior of light has once trodden a path that was not his/her. Every warrior of light has once felt that he/she was not a warrior of light. Every warrior of light has once failed in his/her spiritual obligations.

That is what makes them warriors of light; because they have has been through all this and have not lost the hope of becoming better.

That is why they are warriors of light.
Because they make mistakes.
Because they wonder.
Because they look for a reason – and they will certainly find one.


Love and fight

The warrior of light sometimes fights with those he loves.
The man who defends his friends is never overwhelmed by the storms of life; he is strong enough to come through difficulties and to carry on.
However, he is often faced by challenges from those to whom he is trying to teach the art of the sword. His disciples provoke him into fighting with them.
And the warrior demonstrates his abilities: with just a few blows he disarms his students, and harmony returns to the place where they meet.

‘Why bother to do that, when you are so much better than they are?’ asks a traveller.
‘Because in challenging me, what they really want is to talk to me and this is my way of keeping dialogue open,’ replies the warrior.

taken from “”Warrior of the Light: a Manual”

The vespers

San Francisco, United States

I walk through a park with my former American editor, John Loudon, and his wife, Sharon. We can see the city of San Francisco in the distance, illuminated by the setting sun.
Sharon wrote a book about a Benedictine monastery, and tells us that the afternoon prayers, called vespers, are songs of faith in the certainty that the night will pass.

– The vespers indicate the necessity we have to be near others at nightfall – she says. – But our society has forgotten the importance of this nearness, and pretends to greatly prize each person’s ability to deal with his own difficulties. We no longer pray together; we hide our solitude as if we were afraid to admit it exists.

Sharon pauses, before adding:

– I was like that once. Until one day I lost my fear of depending on my neighbor, because I discovered that he too needed me.

20 sec reading: In search of the perfect leader

EM PORTUGUES AQUI: Em busca do lider perfeito
EN ESPANOL AQUI: En busca del lider perfecto

A reader sends me a questionnaire in which he presents the profile of three world leaders who lived in the same period of history, and asks if it is possible to choose the best one using the following data:

Candidate A was associated with witchdoctors and often consulted astrologists. He had two mistresses. His wife was a Lesbian. He smoked a lot. He drank eight to ten martinis a day.

Candidate B never managed to hold down a job because of his arrogance. He slept the whole morning. He used opium at school, and was always considered a bad student. He drank a glass of brandy every morning.

Candidate C was decorated a hero. A vegetarian, he did not smoke. His discipline was exemplary. He occasionally drank a beer. He stayed with the same woman during his moments of glory and defeat.

And what was the answer?

A] Franklin Delano Roosevelt. B] Winston Churchill. C] Adolf Hitler.

So what then is leadership? The encyclopedia defines it as an individual’s capacity to motivate others to seek the same objective. The bookstores are full of texts on this theme, and the leaders are normally portrayed in brilliant colors, with enviable qualities and supreme ideals. The leader is to society as the “master” is to spirituality. This, however, is not absolutely true (in either case).

Our big problem, especially in a world that is growing more and more fundamentalist, is not allowing people in prominent positions to commit human mistakes.
We are always in search of the perfect ruler. And we risk to have another madman like Hitler.
We are always looking for a pastor to guide and help us find our way.

The truth is that the great revolutions and the progress made by humanity were brought about by people just like us.
We only need to have the courage to make a key decision at a crucial moment.