Archives for November 2018

20 sec reading: our daily miracle

Give us this day, Lord, our daily miracle.

Miracles tear away the veils and change everything, but do not let us see what lies behind the veils.

They allow us to escape unharmed from the valley of the shadow of death, but do not tell us which road led us to the mountains of joy and light.

They open doors that were locked with padlocks impossible to break, but they use no key.
They surround the suns with planets so that they do not feel alone in the Universe and keep the planets from getting too close so that they won’t be devoured by the suns.

They transform the wheat into bread through work, the grape into wine through patience, and death into life through the resurrection of dreams.

Therefore, Lord, give us this day our daily miracle.
And forgive us if we are not always capable of recognising it.

taken from THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

Paulo Coelho Quotes

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Life is tough–we all know that. Yet, it’s also our perspective that determines whether we go through life’s trials and tribulations with a strong heart or a weak one, and whether we emerge as a warrior or as a disheartened loser.

Here are 15 quotes from the famous writer, Paulo Coelho, that will help you see the silver lining behind every dark cloud in your life.

1. When you are afraid of change:

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”

2. When you are misunderstood or maligned:

“Don’t explain. Your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you.”

3. When you feel disappointed about a failure:

“But there is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it’s better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you’re fighting for.”

4. When you are unsure of who your true friends are:

“Our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.”

5. After a break-up:

“When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.”

6. When you grow envious of other people:

“Some people appear to be happy, but they simply don’t give the matter much thought. Others make plans: I’m going to have a husband, a home, two children, a house in the country. As long as they’re busy doing that, they’re like bulls looking for the bullfighter: they react instinctively, they blunder on, with no idea where the target is. They get their car, sometimes they even get a Ferrari, and they think that’s the meaning of life, and they never question it. Yet their eyes betray the sadness that even they don’t know they carry in their soul. Are you happy?” 

7. When you feel overwhelmed by everything in your life:

“Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.”

8. When it’s time to let go:

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”

9. When you are afraid to love:

“Love is always new. Regardless of whether we love once, twice, or a dozen times in our life, we always face a brand-new situation. Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere. We simply have to accept it, because it is what nourishes our existence. If we reject it, we die of hunger, because we lack the courage to reach out a hand and pluck the fruit from the branches of the tree of life. We have to take love where we find it, even if it means hours, days, weeks of disappointment and sadness. The moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us. And to save us.”

10. When you feel like you can’t hold on anymore:

“It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn.”

11. When your haters hate on you:

“The world is divided into those who understand me and those who don’t. In the case of the latter, I simply leave them to torment themselves trying to gain my sympathy.”

12. When you feel suppressed by others’ expectations:

“Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.”

13. When you lose something or somebody you love:

“Tragedy always brings about radical change in our lives, a change that is associated with the same principle: loss. When faced by any loss, there’s no point in trying to recover what has been; it’s best to take advantage of the large space that opens up before us and fill it with something new.”

14. When you find it so hard to forgive:

“I forgive the tears I was made to shed, I forgive the pain and the disappointments, I forgive the betrayals and the lies, I forgive the slanders and intrigues, I forgive the hatred and the persecution, I forgive the blows that hurt me, I forgive the wrecked dreams, I forgive the stillborn hopes, I forgive the hostility and jealousy, I forgive the indifference and ill will, I forgive the injustice carried out in the name of justice, I forgive the anger and the cruelty, I forgive the neglect and the contempt, I forgive the world and all its evils… I also forgive myself. May the misfortunes of the past no longer weigh on my heart. Instead of pain and resentment, I choose understanding and compassion. Instead of rebellion, I choose the music from my violin. Instead of grief, I choose forgetting. Instead of vengeance, I choose victory. I will be capable of loving, regardless of whether I am loved in return, of giving, even when I have nothing, of working happily, even in the midst of difficulties, of holding out my hand, even when utterly alone and abandoned, of drying my tears, even while I weep, of believing, even when no one believes in me… So it is. So it will be.”

15. When you hit rockbottom:

“When I had nothing more to lose, I was given everything. When I ceased to be who I am, I found myself. When I experienced humiliation and yet kept on walking, I understood that I was free to choose my destiny.”

The Nagual Elias and the second chance

Carlos Castaneda tells of how his master’s master, Julian Osório, became a Nagual – a type of sorcerer according to certain Mexican traditions.

Julian worked as a actor in a traveling theater in the interior of Mexico. But his artistic life was only a pretext to flee the conventions imposed by his tribe: in fact, what Julian liked most was to drink and seduce the women – any type of woman, those he encountered during his theatrical performances. He overdid things and demanded so much of his health, that in the end he contracted tuberculosis.

Elias, a very well-known sorcerer among Iaque indians, was taking his evening walk when he found Julian lying in a field: his mouth was bleeding so much that Elias – who could see the spiritual world, could see that the young actor’s death was near.

Using some herbs he had in his pocket, he managed to stop the bleeding. Then he turned to Julian:

– I cannot save you – he said. – I have done everything I can. Your death is very close now.

– I don’t want to die, I’m too young – replied Julian.

Elias, like all Nagual men, was more interested in behaving like a warrior – concentrating his energy on the battle of life – than helping someone who had never respected the miracle of our existence. However, without being able to explain why, he resolved to answer the request.

– At five in the morning I shall depart for the mountains – he said. – Wait for me on the edge of the village, without fail. If you do not come, you shall die sooner than you think: your only chance is to accept my invitation. I will never be able to repair the damage you have inflicted on your body, but I can deviate your approach to the cliffs of death. All human beings fall into this abyss, sooner or later; you are a few steps from it, and I cannot bring you back from it.

– So what can you do?

– I can make you walk along the edge of the abyss. I shall mark your paces so that you follow the enormous length of the margin between life and death; you may go to the right or to the left, but as long as you don’t fall down, you shall remain alive.

The Nagual Elias didn’t expect much from the actor, a lazy, libertine and cowardly man. He was surprised when, at five o’clock the next morning, he found him waiting at one end of the village. He took him to the mountains, taught him the secrets of the ancient Mexican Naguas, and with time Julian Osório became one of the most respected iaque sorcerers. He was never cured of his tuberculosis, but lived to the age of 107, always walking along the edge of the abyss.

When the right time came, he started taking disciples, and was responsible for the training of Don Juan Matus, who in turn taught Carlos Castaneda the ancient traditions. Castaneda, with his series of books, ended up making these traditions popular the world over.

One afternoon, talking to another of D. Juan’s disciples, Florinda, she commented:

– It is important for all of us to examine the path of Nagual Julian along the edge of the abyss. It makes us understand that we all have a second chance, even if we are very close to giving up.

Castaneda agreed: to examine Julian’s path meant understanding his extraordinary fight to stay alive. He understood that this battle was fought by the second, tireless one against bad habits and self-pity. It wasn’t a sporadic battle, but a constant, disciplined effort to keep his balance; any distraction or momentary debility might cast him into the abyss of death.

There was only one way of overcoming the temptations of his past life: to focus all his attention on the edge of the abyss, concentrate on every step, keep calm, and not become attached to anything but the present moment.

In my opinion, these lessons apply to each and every one of us.

Learned Helplessness

“The American psychologist Martin Seligman’s foundational experiments and theory of learned helplessness began at University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression. A person should be able to walk away from an abusive relationship, for example, or voluntarily quit a stressful job. A psychological condition known as learned helplessness, however, can cause a person to feel completely powerless to change his or her circumstances for the better. The result of learned helplessness is often severe depression and extremely low self-esteem. Learned helplessness can be seen as a mechanism some people employ in order to survive difficult or abusive circumstances. An abused child or spouse may eventually learn to remain passive and compliant at the hands of his or her abuser, since efforts to fight back or escape appear futile.

Learned helplessness results from being trained to be locked into a system. The system may be a family, a community, a culture, a tradition, a profession or an institution. Initially, a system develops for a specific purpose. But as a system evolves, it increasingly tends to organize around beliefs, perspectives, activities and taboos that serve the continuation of the system. Awareness of the original purpose fades and the system starts to function automatically. It calcifies.

Some experts suggest learned helplessness can be passed on through observation, as in the case of a daughter watching her abused mother passively obey her husband’s commands. The daughter may begin to associate passivity and low self-esteem with the “normal” demands of married life, leading to a perpetuation of the learned helplessness cycle.

Child abuse by neglect can be a manifestation of learned helplessness: when parents believe they are incapable of stopping an infant’s crying, they may simply give up trying to do anything for the child. Another example of learned helplessness in social settings involves loneliness and shyness. Those who are extremely shy, passive, anxious and depressed may learn helplessness to offer stable explanations for unpleasant social experiences. A third example is aging, with the elderly learning to be helpless and concluding that they have no control over losing their friends and family members, losing their jobs and incomes, getting old, weak and so on.”

To read more about this subject: Learned helplessness in Wikipedia:
 http://bit.ly/hHnAJH

Citas de Paulo Coelho

  • “Nunca desistas de un sueño. Soólo trata de ver las señales que te lleven a él”.
  • “Todo está permitido, menos interrumpir una manifestación de amor”.
  • “Hay en el mundo un lenguaje que todos comprenden: es el lenguaje del entusiasmo, de las cosas hechas con amor y con voluntad, en busca de aquello que se desea o en lo que se cree”.
  • “No existe amor en paz. Siempre viene acompañado de agonías, éxtasis, alegrías intensas y tristezas profundas”.
  • “Si quieres tener éxito debes respetar una regla: nunca te mientas a ti mismo”.
  • “Nadie logra mentir, nadie logra ocultar nada cuando mira directo a los ojos”.
  • “Cada trecho recorrido enriquece al peregrino y lo acerca un poco más a hacer realidad sus sueños”.

“Quien ama esperando una recompensa está perdiendo el tiempo”.

  • “Un niño siempre puede enseñar tres cosas a un adulto: a ponerse contento sin motivo, a estar siempre ocupado con algo y a saber exigir con todas sus fuerzas aquello que desea”.
  • “Así debéis hacer vosotros: manteneos locos, pero comportaos como personas normales. Corred el riesgo de ser diferentes, pero aprended a hacerlo sin llamar la atención”.
  • “La posibilidad de realizar un sueño es lo que hace que la vida sea interesante”.
  • “Cada persona, en su existencia, puede tener dos actitudes: construir o plantar. Los constructores un día terminan aquello que estaban haciendo y entonces les invade el tedio. Los que plantan, a veces sufren con las tempestades y las estaciones, pero el jardín jamás para de crecer”.

“Presta atención a todos los momentos, porque la oportunidad, el instante mágico, está a nuestro alcance”.

  • “Las personas cambian cuando se dan cuenta del potencial que tienen para cambiar las cosas”.
  • “Lo que ahoga a alguien no es caerse al río, sino mantenerse sumergido en él”.
  • “Afronta tu camino con coraje, no tengas miedo de las críticas de los demás. Y, sobre todo, no te dejes paralizar por tus propias críticas”.

“Sólo una cosa vuelve un sueño imposible: el miedo a fracasar”.

  • “El barco está más seguro cuando está en el puerto; pero no es para eso que se construyeron los barcos”.
  • “La razón teme la derrota, pero la intuición disfruta la vida y sus desafíos”.
  • “Que la vida sea corta o larga, todo depende de la manera en que se viva”.

 

  • “La gloria del mundo es transitoria, y no es ella la que nos da la dimensión de nuestra vida, sino la elección que hacemos de seguir nuestra Leyenda Personal, tener fe en nuestras utopías y luchar por nuestros sueños”.
  • “No tenía miedo a las dificultades: lo que la asustaba era la obligación de tener que escoger un camino. Escoger un camino significaba abandonar otros”.

“Las cosas simples son las más extraordinarias, pero solo los sabios consiguen verlas”.

  • “Cuando todos los días parecen iguales es porque hemos dejado de percibir las cosas buenas que aparecen en nuestras vidas”.
  • “Haz algo en lugar de matar el tiempo. Porque el tiempo es lo que te está matando”.

 

  • “Es necesario no relajarnos nunca, aunque hayamos llegado muy lejos”.
  • “Yo conozco mejor que nadie mi propia vida. Por eso soy el único que puede juzgarme, criticarme o aplaudirme cuando yo quiera”.

“Las decisiones son solo el comienzo de algo. Cuando alguien toma una decisión, se zambulle en una poderosa corriente que lleva a una persona hasta un lugar que jamás hubiera soñado en el momento de decidirse”.

  • “Valórate como persona. Si tú sabes lo que vales, buscarás lo que te mereces”.
  • “Quien interfiere en el destino de los otros nunca encontrará el suyo propio”.
  • “Cuando atrasamos la cosecha, los frutos se pudren; y cuando atrasamos los problemas, no paran de crecer”.

  • “Si vives para agradar a los demás, todos te amarán, excepto TÚ mismo”.
  • “Cuando realmente quieres una cosa, todo el universo conspira para ayudarte a conseguirla”.
  • “Algunas veces hay que decidirse entre una cosa a la que se está acostumbrado y otra que nos gustaría conocer”.

“El primer síntoma de que estamos matando nuestros sueños es la falta de tiempo”.

  • “No importa como te sientes hoy: levántate, vístete y muestra que puedes seguir adelante”.
  • “Sólo la pasión por lo que hacemos nos permite transformar la esclavitud en libertad”.
  • ” La gente es capaz, en cualquier momento de su vida, de hacer lo que sueñan”

 

  • “Dile a tu corazón que el miedo a sufrir es peor que el miedo en sí mismo. Y ningún corazón ha sufrido al ir en búsqueda de su sueño”.
  • “Cuántas cosas perdemos por el miedo a perder”.
  • “Cuanto más violenta es una tormenta, más rápido pasa”.
  • “El secreto de la vida es caer 7 veces y levantarse 8”.
  • “Lo que los demás piensen de ti NO es tu problema”.
  • Y recuerda: “La vida es corta: besa despacio, ríe bien alto, ama intensamente y perdona rápido”.

 

20 sec reading: the gift of insults

ESPANOL: El regalo de los insultos
PORTUGUES: O presente dos insultos

______________________________

Near Tokyo lived a great Samurai, now old, who decided to teach Zen Buddhism to young people.

One afternoon, a warrior – known for his complete lack of scruples – arrived there. The young and impatient warrior had never lost a fight. Hearing of the Samurai’s reputation, he had come to defeat him, and increase his fame.

All the students were against the idea, but the old man accepted the challenge.

All gathered on the town square, and the young man started insulting the old master. He threw a few rocks in his direction, spat in his face, shouted every insult under the sun – he even insulted his ancestors.

For hours, he did everything to provoke him, but the old man remained impassive. At the end of the afternoon, by now feeling exhausted and humiliated, the impetuous warrior left.

Disappointed by the fact that the master had received so many insults and provocations, the students asked:
– How could you bear such indignity? Why didn’t you use your sword, even knowing you might lose the fight, instead of displaying your cowardice in front of us all?

– If someone comes to you with a gift, and you do not accept it, who does the gift belong to? – asked the Samurai.
– He who tried to deliver it – replied one of his disciples.

– The same goes for envy, anger and insults – said the master.
“When they are not accepted, they continue to belong to the one who carried them.”

Feeling guilty

We feel guilty for all that is authentic in ourselves – our salary, our opinions, our experiences, our hidden desires, the way we speak – we even feel guilty for our parents and our brothers.

And what is the result? Paralysis.
We grow ashamed of doing anything different from what the others are expecting.
We do not expose our ideas, we don’t ask for help.
We justify this by saying: ‘Jesus suffered, and suffering is necessary’.

Jesus experienced many situations of suffering, but he never advocated staying still in those circumstances.
Cowardice cannot be concealed with this type of excuse, otherwise the entire world fails to move ahead.
That is why, if you see someone under a viaduct, you go to help them, because they are part of your world.

And how can that be changed?
Have faith. Believe that it is possible, and all the reality around you will begin to change.
“Nobody can perform that task all alone. What I see is that most people don’t have enough faith” said someone.

In the Middle Ages the Gothic cathedrals were built by several generations. This prolonged effort helped the participants to organize their thoughts, to give thanks and to dream. Today that Romanticism is ended, and yet the desire to build remains in our hearts, it’s just a question of being open to meet the right people
…then we can build our Cathedral

Ithaca by K. Kavafis

Ithaca is a greek island generally identified as the home of Odysseus, whose delayed return to the island is the subject of Homer’s Odyssey.

As you set out for Ithaca
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – don’t be afraid of them:
you’ ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon – you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbours you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind –
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaca always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.

Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then this is the meaning of Ithaca.


K. Kavafis, (April 29, 1863 – April 29, 1933)

Memories and salt

I arrive in Madrid at eight o’clock in the morning. I will only be here a few hours, so it’s not worth phoning friends and arranging to see them. I decide to go for a walk alone in my favourite places, and I end up sitting smoking a cigarette on a bench in the Retiro Park.

‘You look miles away,’ says an old man, joining me on the bench.

‘Oh, I’m here,’ I say, ‘but I’m sitting on this same bench with a painter friend of mine, Anastasio Ranchal, 24 years ago in 1986. We are both watching my wife, Christina, who has had a bit too much to drink and is trying to dance the flamenco.’

‘Enjoy your memories,’ says the old man.

‘But don’t forget that memory is like salt: the right amount brings out the flavour in food, too much ruins it. If you live in the past all the time, you’ll find yourself with no present to remember.’

Like a narcotic

I’ve been in love before, it’s like a narcotic.

At first it brings the euphoria of complete surrender.

The next day you want more. You’re not addicted yet, but you like the sensation, and you think you can still control things.

You think about the person you love for two minutes then forget them for three hours.

But then you get used to that person, and you begin to be completely dependent on them.

Now you think about him for three hours and forget him for two minutes.

If he’s not there, you feel like an addict who can’t get a fix.

And just as addicts steal and humiliate themselves to get what they need, you’re willing to do anything for love.