Archives for April 2019

The two drops of oil

(Standing above the little town of Tarifa is an old fort built by the Moors. I remember sitting here with my wife, Christina, in 1982, and for the first time looking at a continent from across a narrow stretch of water: Africa. At that time I could not dream that such a lazy moment in the late afternoon would inspire a scene in my best-known book, “The Alchemist”. Nor could I have dreamed that the story that follows, heard in the car, would serve as an excellent example for all of us who are searching for some balance between discipline and compassion.)

A merchant sent his son to learn the Secret of Happiness from the wisest of men. The young man wandered through the desert for forty days until he reached a beautiful castle at the top of a mountain. There lived the sage that the young man was looking for.

However, instead of finding a holy man, our hero entered a room and saw a great deal of activity; merchants coming and going, people chatting in the corners, a small orchestra playing sweet melodies, and there was a table laden with the most delectable dishes of that part of the world.

The wise man talked to everybody, and the young man had to wait for two hours until it was time for his audience.

With considerable patience, he listened attentively to the reason for the boy’s visit, but told him that at that moment he did not have the time to explain to him the Secret of Happiness.

He suggested that the young man take a stroll around his palace and come back in two hours’ time.

“However, I want to ask you a favor,” he added, handing the boy a teaspoon, in which he poured two drops of oil. “While you walk, carry this spoon and don’t let the oil spill.”

The young man began to climb up and down the palace staircases, always keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. At the end of two hours he returned to the presence of the wise man.

“So,” asked the sage, “did you see the Persian tapestries hanging in my dining room? Did you see the garden that the Master of Gardeners took ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?”

Embarrassed, the young man confessed that he had seen nothing. His only concern was not to spill the drops of oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.

“So, go back and see the wonders of my world,” said the wise man. “You can’t trust a man if you don’t know his house.”

Now more at ease, the young man took the spoon and strolled again through the palace, this time paying attention to all the works of art that hung from the ceiling and walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around the palace, the delicacy of the flowers, the taste with which each work of art was placed in its niche. Returning to the sage, he reported in detail all that he had seen.

“But where are the two drops of oil that I entrusted to you?” asked the sage.

Looking down at the spoon, the young man realized that he had spilled the oil.

“Well, that is the only advice I have to give you,” said the sage of sages. “The Secret of Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.”

Don’t scold the Lover

Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying:
“Lord, where are you? I want to help you, to fix your shoes and comb your hair. I want to wash your clothes and pick the lice off.
“I want to bring you milk to kiss your little hands and feet when it’s time for you to go to bed.
“I want to sweep your room and keep it neat. God, my sheep and goats are yours. “

“Who are you talking to?” Moses could stand it no longer.
“Only something that grows needs milk. Only some one with feet needs shoes. Not G’d!”

The shepherd repented and tore his clothes and sighed and wandered out into the desert.

A sudden revelation came then to Moses.

“You have separated me from one of my own.
“Did you come as a Prophet to unite, or to sever?
“I have given each being a separate and unique way of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.
“What seems wrong to you is right for him.

“What is poison to one is honey to someone else.
“Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship, these mean nothing to me.
“I am apart from all that. Ways of worshiping are not to be ranked as better or worse than one another.
“It’s not me that’s glorified in acts of worship. It’s the worshipers!
“I don’t hear the words they say. I look inside at the humility.

“Forget phraseology. I want burning, burning. Be friends with your burning.
“Burn up your thinking and your forms of expression!
“Lovers who burn are another.

“Don’t scold the Lover. The “wrong” way he talks is better than a hundred “right” ways of others.
“When you look in a mirror, you see yourself, not the state of the mirror.
“The flute player puts breath into a flute, and who makes the music?
“Not the flute. The flute player!

“Whenever you speak praise or thanksgiving to Me, it’s always like this dear shepherd’s simplicity.”
 
from Rumi’s “Moses and the Sheperd”, translated by Coleman Barks
 
 

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Alice’s quotes


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EN ESPANOL AQUI>>> Alicia
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I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!

If it had grown up, it would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin.

If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.

You are old, Father William, your hair has become very white. And yet you incessantly stand on your head – do you think, at your age, it is right?

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

The adventures first… explanations take such a dreadful time.

We are all mad here ( The Cat)

Alice is a magistral character, created by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll

10 SEC READ Satan holds a clearance sale

Conscious of the need to move with the times, Satan decided to sell off a large part of his stock of temptations. He placed an advertisement in the newspaper and spent the whole of the next day attending to customers in his workshop.

There were some amazing items for sale: stones on which the virtuous could stumble, mirrors that increased one’s own sense of importance and spectacles that diminished other people’s importance. Hanging on the wall were a few other prize objects: a dagger with a curved blade for stabbing people in the back and tape recorders that recorded only gossip and lies.

‘Don’t worry about the price!’ cried old Satan to any potential customers. ‘Take it away with you today and pay me when you can!’

One visitor noticed two much-used tools that had been relegated to a corner. They didn’t look anything special, but they were very expensive. Curious, he asked the reason for this apparent discrepancy.

‘They’re both very worn because they’re the tools I use most,’ said Satan, laughing. ‘I wouldn’t want them to be too noticeable because then people would know how to protect themselves against them. But they’re both worth the asking price: one is Doubt and the other is a Sense of Inferiority. When all other temptations fail, those two always work.’

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10 sec reading Never be ashamed to feign weakness


A wise Chinese master has this to say about the strategies of the warriors of light:

‘Convince your enemy that he will gain very little by attacking you; this will diminish his enthusiasm.’

‘Do not be ashamed to make a temporary withdrawal from the field if you see that your enemy is stronger than you; it is not winning or losing a single battle that matters.’

‘Even if you are very strong, never be ashamed to feign weakness; this will make your enemy act imprudently and attack too soon.’

‘Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.

‘To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

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in WARRIOR OF THE LIGHT: A MANUAL

Paulo Coelho: 10 Quotes To Remind You To Grow Wilder

Paulo Coelho, the legendary author and writer, has inspired millions of people around the world with his stories of travel, love and spiritual lessons learnt along the way.

I read the Alchemist nearly twenty years ago.  The story spoke to my heart and inspired me to believe in the adventurous life!

Here are 10 Paulo Coelho quotes to remind you to grow wilder:-

1. “Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?”

2. Be Brave.  Take risks  Nothing can substitute experience.

3. “A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.”

4. “I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.”

5. “No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it”

6. “You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”

7. “Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.”

8. “Sometimes, we are so attached to our way of life that we turn down wonderful opportunities simply because we don’t know what to do with it.”

9. “That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.”

10. “The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don’t talk anymore, they don’t sit down to talk and listen. They go to the theater, the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, but they almost never talk. If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire and tell stories.”