30 SEC READ The vase and the rose

The Grand Master gathered together all the disciples in order to decide who would have the honour of working at his side.

‘I am going to set you a problem,’ said the Grand Master. ‘And the first one to solve that problem will be the new Guardian of the temple.’
Once this briefest of speeches was over, he placed a small stool in the middle of the room. On it stood a priceless porcelain vase containing a red rose.
‘There is the problem,’ said the Grand Master.

After a few moments, one of the disciples got to his feet and looked at the master and at his fellow students, . then he walked  over to the vase and threw it to the ground, shattering it.

‘You are the new Guardian,’ the Grand Master said to the student.

‘I made myself perfectly clear. I said that there was a problem to be solved. Now it does not matter how beautiful or fascinating a problem might be, it has to be eliminated.
A problem is a problem. It could be a very rare porcelain vase, a delightful love affair that no longer makes any sense, or a course of action that we should abandon, but which we insist on continuing because it brings us comfort.
There is only one way to deal with a problem: attack it head on. At such moments, one cannot feel pity, nor be diverted by the fascination inherent in any conflict.’

20 SEC READING: What is truth?

I read the following piece of news in the Spanish newspaper “La Vanguardia”.

“What is truth? The President of the Court, Josep Maria Pijuan, had to check which of the versions of rape offered by the girl victim, 11-year-old J., was closest to reality. The lawyers attending the questioning did not believe that she would manage to avoid contradicting herself in her deposition.

“At a certain moment the judge asked a rather philosophical question: What is truth? Is it what you imagine or what they asked you to tell?”

The girl stopped for a minute, then she answered:

“Truth is the bad they did to me.”

“Lawyer Jufresa, a renowned and prestigious jurist, said that was one of the most brilliant definitions she had heard in her whole career.”

The mechanism of terror

An old legend tells of how a certain city in the Pyrenees mountains used to be a stronghold for drug-traffickers, smugglers and exiles. The worst of them all, called Ahab, was converted by a local monk, Savin, and decided that things could not continue like that.

Knowing the nature of men as well as he did, they would only take honesty for weakness and soon his power would be put in doubt.

So what he did was call some carpenters from a neighboring town, hand them a drawing and tell them to build something on the spot where now stands the cross that dominates the town. Day and night for ten days, the inhabitants of the town heard the noise of hammers and watched men sawing bits of wood, making joints and hammering in nails.

At the end of ten days the gigantic puzzle was erected in the middle of the square, covered with a cloth. Ahab called all the inhabitants together to attend the inauguration of the monument.

Solemnly, and without making any speech, he removed the cloth.

It was a gallows. With a rope, trapdoor and all the rest. Brand-new, covered with bee’s wax to endure all sorts of weather for a long time.

At the end of the meeting, several groups formed, and most of them felt that Ahab had been deceived by the saint, since he lacked the courage he used to have. So he would have to be killed. For the next few days many plans were made to this end. But they were all forced to contemplate the gallows in the middle of the square, and wondered: What is that thing doing there? Was it built to kill those who did not accept the new laws? Who is on Ahab’s side, and who isn’t? Are there spies among us?

The gallows looked down on the men, and the men looked up at the gallows. Little by little the rebels’ initial courage was replaced by fear; they all knew Ahab’s reputation, they all knew he was implacable in his decisions. Some people abandoned the city, others decided to try the new jobs offered them, simply because they had nowhere to go or else because of the shadow of that instrument of death in the middle of the square. One year later the place was at peace, it had grown into a great business center on the frontier and began to export the best wool and produce top-quality wheat.

The gallows stayed there for ten years. The wood resisted well, but now and again the rope was changed for another. It was never put to use. Ahab never said a single word about it. Its image was enough to change courage to fear, trust to suspicion, stories of bravado to whispers of acceptance.



in “The Devil and Miss Prym”

The Magic Mountain

I think that one of the most beautiful regions in the world is Languedoc, a part of the Pyrenees in southwest France. I have been there several times and its valleys, mountains, vegetation and rivers always impress me. However, as human beings are quite unpredictable, it was precisely in this magnificent place that the first great European “heresy” arose, Catharism.

Many books have been written on the subject, yet it is possible to summarize the Cathar philosophy in one simple phrase; the Universe was created by the devil, all this apparent beauty is a diabolic work.

According to the encyclopedia, they were dualists who believed in the existence of two gods, one of good (God) and one of evil (Satan), who created the material world. Because of this, they took a vow of chastity and had no intention of procreating and presenting the devil with more followers. They called themselves “perfect” and were disposed to martyrdom to prove the importance of their belief. The symbolic end of the movement, which triggered off the first crusades recorded in history, took place on March 15, 1244 in the fortress of Montségur. After a long siege when they were offered the choice of converting to Catholicism or else die, approximately 250 “perfect” men, women and children climbed down the mountain singing of their intent to throw themselves into the flames of the bonfire specially made for the occasion.

For a long time I was interested in Catharism. In 1989 I met Brida O’Fern (who later on became a character in a book of mine), who had been a Cathar in an earlier incarnation. At the beginning of that same year I had met Mí´nica Antunes, who at that time was just my friend, now my friend and agent.

Since for spiritual reasons I needed to go on the Cathar walk (a trail linking together the castles/fortresses of the “perfect ones”) I invited her to take part in a stretch of the walk.

Mí´nica and I reached the foot of the Montségur Mountain one August afternoon. We had planned to climb it the following day, and after dinner we went to chat in the place where the bonfire had been lit almost 800 years before (an insignificant monument marks the spot). The weather was overcast, with clouds so low that we could not even see the ruins at the top of the gigantic rock. Just to provoke Mí´nica, I said that it might be interesting to make the climb that very night. She said no, and I was relieved, imagine if she had said yes!

At that moment a car drove up, the same make and color as mine. An Irishman stepped out and asked, as if we were from the region, from what point the rock could be climbed. I suggested that he make the climb the next morning with us, but he was determined to go up that very night, he wanted to see the sun rise from up there, claiming that perhaps he had been a Cathar in a past life.

“I wonder if you could lend me a lamp?” he asked.

And everything seems to fit; Brida, the obligation of going on the Cathar walk, the joke with Mí´nica a few minutes before, and now this fellow, with a car just like mine. It is a sign. I go to the hotel in the village where we are staying and borrow a lamp, the only one they have.

Mí´nica seems scared, but I say that we have to go ahead. Signs are signs, I say. The newcomer asks where the path is. I told him it did not matter and to just start going up the path.

And for some time, (I cannot remember how long) the three of us climbed a mountain that we did not know at night and with the fog that only allowed us to see a few yards ahead of us. Finally, we penetrated the clouds, the sky filled with stars, the moon was full, and standing before us was the gate of the fortress of Montségur.

We entered and contemplated the ruins. I looked at the beauty of the firmament, wondering how we got there without any accident, and then I think it is better not to ask any questions and just admire the miracle. The Cathars contemplated this very same sky, and believed that all these stars were the work of the devil. I shall never understand the Cathars, although I do respect the integrity with which they dedicated themselves to their faith.

I have returned to Montségur and climbed the mountain several other times, but have never again managed to find the path that we used that August night in 1989.

Mysteries exist.

Temos muito para agradecer a Bolsonaro

Temos muito para agradecer a Bolsonaro.

Bastaram 5 meses de um governo atípico, “sem jeito” com o congresso e de comunicação amadora para nos mostrar que o Brasil nunca foi, e talvez nunca será, governado de acordo com o interesse dos eleitores. Sejam eles de esquerda ou de direita.

Desde a tal compra de votos para a reeleição, os conchavos para a privatização, o mensalão, o petrolão e o tal “presidencialismo de coalizão”, o Brasil é governado exclusivamente para atender aos interesses de corporações com acesso privilegiado ao orçamento público.

Não só políticos, mas servidores-sindicalistas, sindicalistas de toga e grupos empresariais bem posicionados nas teias de poder. Os verdadeiros donos do orçamento. As lagostas do STF e os espumantes com quatro prêmios internacionais são só a face gourmet do nosso absolutismo orçamentário.

Todos nós sabíamos disso, mas queríamos acreditar que era só um efeito de determinado governo corrupto ou cooptado. Na próxima eleição, tudo poderia mudar. Infelizmente não era isso, não era pontual. Bolsonaro provou que o Brasil, fora desses conchavos, é ingovernável.

Descobrimos que não existe nenhum compromisso de campanha que pode ser cumprido sem que as corporações deem suas bênçãos. Sempre a contragosto.

Nem uma simples redução do número de ministérios pode ser feita. Corremos o risco de uma MP caducar e o Brasil ser OBRIGADO a ter 29 ministérios e voltar para a estrutura do Temer.

Isso é do interesse de quem? Qual é o propósito de o congresso ter que aprovar a estrutura do executivo, que é exclusivamente do interesse operacional deste último, além de ser promessa de campanha?

Querem, na verdade, é manter nichos de controle sobre o orçamento para indicar os ministros que vão permitir sangrar estes recursos para objetivos não republicanos. Historinha com mais de 500 anos por aqui.

Que poder, de fato, tem o presidente do Brasil? Até o momento, como todas as suas ações foram ou serão questionadas no congresso e na justiça, apostaria que o presidente não serve para NADA, exceto para organizar o governo no interesse das corporações. Fora isso, não governa.

Se não negocia com o congresso, é amador e não sabe fazer política. Se negocia, sucumbiu à velha política. O que resta, se 100% dos caminhos estão errados na visão dos “ana(lfabe)listas políticos”?

A continuar tudo como está, as corporações vão comandar o governo Bolsonaro na marra e aprovar o mínimo para que o Brasil não quebre, apenas para continuarem mantendo seus privilégios.

O moribundo-Brasil será mantido vivo por aparelhos para que os privilegiados continuem mamando. É fato inegável. Está assim há 519 anos, morto, mas procriando. Foi assim, provavelmente continuará assim.

Antes de Bolsonaro vivíamos em um cativeiro, sequestrados pelas corporações, mas tínhamos a falsa impressão de que nossos representantes eleitos tinham efetivo poder de apresentar suas agendas.

Era falso, FHC foi reeleito prometendo segurar o dólar e soltou-o 2 meses depois, Lula foi eleito criticando a política de FHC e nomeou um presidente do Bank Boston, fez reforma da previdência e aumentou os juros, Dilma foi eleita criticando o neoliberalismo e indicou Joaquim Levy. Tudo para manter o cadáver procriando por múltiplos de 4 anos.

Agora, como a agenda de Bolsonaro não é do interesse de praticamente NENHUMA corporação (pelo jeito nem dos militares), o sequestro fica mais evidente e o cárcere começa a se mostrar sufocante.

Na hipótese mais provável, o governo será desidratado até morrer de inanição, com vitória para as corporações. Que sempre venceram. Daremos adeus Moro, Mansueto e Guedes. Estão atrapalhando as corporações, não terão lugar por muito tempo.

Na pior hipótese ficamos ingovernáveis e os agentes econômicos, internos e externos, desistem do Brasil. Teremos um orçamento destruído, aumentando o desemprego, a inflação e com calotes generalizados. Perfeitamente plausível. Claramente possível.

A hipótese nuclear é uma ruptura institucional irreversível, com desfecho imprevisível. É o Brasil sendo zerado, sem direito para ninguém e sem dinheiro para nada. Não se sabe como será reconstruído. Não é impossível, basta olhar para a Argentina e para a Venezuela. A economia destes países não é funcional. Podemos chegar lá, está longe de ser impossível.

Agradeçamos a Bolsonaro, pois em menos de 5 meses provou de forma inequívoca que o Brasil só é governável se atender o interesse das corporações. Nunca será governável para atender ao interesse dos eleitores. Quaisquer eleitores. Tenho certeza que esquerdistas não votaram em Dilma para Joaquim Levy ser indicado ministro. Foi o que aconteceu, pois precisavam manter o cadáver Brasil procriando. Sem controle do orçamento, as corporações morrem.

O Brasil está disfuncional. Como nunca antes. Bolsonaro não é culpado pela disfuncionalidade, pois não destruiu nada, aliás, até agora não fez nada de fato, não aprovou nada, só tentou e fracassou. Ele é só um óculos com grau certo, para vermos que o rei sempre esteve nu, e é horroroso.

Infelizmente o diagnóstico racional é claro: “Sell”.

20 sec reading: The Drunkard Disciple

A Zen master had hundreds of disciples. They all prayed at the right time, except one, who was always drunk.

The master was growing old. Some of the more virtuous pupils began to wonder who would be the new leader of the group, the one who would receive the important secrets of the Tradition.

On the eve of his death, however, the master called the drunkard disciple and revealed the hidden secrets to him.

A veritable revolt broke out among the others.

“How shameful!” they cried in the streets, “We have sacrificed ourselves for the wrong master, one who can’t see our qualities.”

Hearing the commotion outside, the dying master remarked, “I had to pass on these secrets to a man that I knew well. All my pupils are very virtuous, and showed only their qualities. That is dangerous, for virtue often serves to hide vanity, pride and intolerance. That is why I chose the only disciple whom I know really well, since I can see his defect: drunkenness.”

Viva N. Sra. Fátima!

nossa-senhora-de-fatima

In the spring and summer of 1916, three children, Lucia Santos and her two cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, claimed to have experienced the visitation of an angel on three separate occasions. The angel appeared to them as they watched their sheep, taught them specific prayers to pray, to make sacrifices, and to spend time in adoration of the Lord.

On May 13, 1917, ten year old Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto were herding sheep at a location known as the Cova da Iria near their home village of Fátima, Portugal. Lúcia described seeing a woman “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun”. Astonished they ran back to their village and told everyone. Further appearances were reported to have taken place on the thirteenth day of the month in June and July. In these, the woman asked the children to do penance and Acts of Reparation as well as making personal sacrifices to save sinners. The children subsequently wore tight cords around their waists to cause themselves pain, performed self-flagellation using stinging nettles, abstained from drinking water on hot days, and performed other works of penance.[citation needed] According to Lúcia’s account, in the course of her appearances, the woman confided to the children three secrets, now known as the Three Secrets of Fátima.

Thousands of people flocked to Fátima and Aljustrel in the following months, drawn by reports of visions and miracles. On August 13, 1917, the provincial administrator Artur Santos (no relation to Lúcia Santos), believing that the events were politically disruptive, intercepted and jailed the children before they could reach the Cova da Iria that day. Prisoners held with them in the provincial jail later testified that the children, while upset, were first consoled by the inmates, and later led them in praying the rosary. The administrator interrogated the children and tried unsuccessfully to get them to divulge the contents of the secrets. In the process, he threatened the children, saying he would boil them in a pot of oil, one by one unless they confessed. The children refused, but Lúcia told him everything short of the secrets, and offered to ask the Lady for permission to tell the Administrator the secrets.That month, instead of the usual apparition in the Cova da Iria on the 13th, the children reported that they saw the Virgin Mary on 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption, at nearby Valinhos.

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1 MIN READ: the Lord was creating mothers

EM PORTUGUES AQUI> Personagem da semana: A mí£e
EN ESPANOL AQUI > Personaje de la semana: La madre

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by Erma Bombeck

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of “overtime” when an angel appeared and said:
“You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?

* She has to be completely washable, but not plastic;
* Have 180 movable parts… all replaceable;
* Run on black coffee and leftovers;
* Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;
* A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair;
* And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

The Lord nodded.
“One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’
“Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know.
“And of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

“Lord,” said the angel, touching His sleeve gently, “Go to bed. Tomorrow…”

“I can’t,” said the Lord, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick
“…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger
“… and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

“But she’s tough!” said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

“Can she think?”

“Not only can she think, but she can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
“There’s a leak,” she said. “I told You were trying to push too much into this model.”

“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “It’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

And the Mother was created – a work of genius.

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In Search of the Dream

Those who dare having a project in life, foregoing everything to live their Personal Legend, will end up achieving anything. The important thing is to keep the fire in your heart and be strong to overcome hard moments.

Remember, the desires that are in our souls do not come from the nothingness; someone put them there. And this someone, who is pure love and only wishes our happiness, only did it because he gave us, together with these desires, the tools to make them happen.

What’s the price?

“Is the price of living a dream much higher than the price of living without daring to dream?” asked the disciple.

The master took him to a clothes store. There, he asked him to try on a suit in exactly his size. The disciple obeyed, and was very amazed at the quality of the clothes.

Then the master asked him to try on the same suit – but this time a size much bigger than his own. The disciple did as he was asked.

“This one is no use. It’s too big.”

“How much are these suits?” the master asked the shop attendant.

“They both cost the same price. It’s just the size that is different.”

When leaving the store, the master told his disciple, “Living your dream or giving it up also costs the same price, which is usually very high. But the first lets us share the miracle of life, and the second is of no use to us.”

The Search of the Path

“I am willing to leave everything. Please, take me as a disciple.”

“How does a man choose his Path?”

“Through sacrifice. A path that demands sacrifice is a true path.”

The abbot bumped into a bookcase. A very rare vase fell down and the young man threw himself to the floor to pick it up. He fell the wrong way and broke his arm. But he was able to save the vase.

“Which sacrifice is greater, to see the vase breaking down our breaking an arm to save it?”

“I don’t know.”

“So then, do not try to guide your choice through sacrifice. The path is chosen by our capacity of compromising with each step we make while we walk.”

20 SEC READING: Praying for everyone

A farm labourer with a sick wife, asked a Buddhist monk to say a series of prayers. The priest began to pray, asking God to cure all those who were ill.

‘Just a moment,’ said the farm labourer. ‘I asked you to pray for my wife and there you are praying for everyone who’s ill.’

‘I’m praying for her too.’

‘Yes, but you’re praying for everyone. You might end up helping my neighbour, who’s also ill, and I don’t even like him.’

‘You understand nothing about healing,’ said the monk, moving off. ‘By praying for everyone, I am adding my prayers to those of the millions of people who are also praying for their sick.

‘Added together, those voices reach God and benefit everyone. Separately, they lose their strength and go nowhere.’

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.”

Bolsonaro: the dark ages are back

 

(THIS TEXT IS COPYRIGHT FREE)

May 28, 1974: A group of armed men breaks into my apartment. They start going through drawers and cabinets — but I don’t know what they’re looking for, I’m just a rock songwriter. One of them, more gentle, asks that I accompany them “just to clarify some things.” The neighbor sees all this and warns my family, who immediately panic. Everyone knew what Brazil was living at the time, even if it wasn’t covered in the newspapers.

I was taken to the DOPS (Departamento de Ordem Politica e Social), booked and photographed. I ask what I had done, he says they will ask the questions. A lieutenant asks silly questions and lets me go. From that point on I’m officially no longer in prison — so the government is no longer responsible for me. When I leave, the man who took me to the DOPS suggests we have coffee together. He stops a taxi and gently opens the door. I get in and ask to go to my parents’ house — they need to know what happened.

On the way, the taxi is blocked by two cars — a man with a gun in his hand exists from one of the cars and pulls me out. I fall to the ground, and feel the barrel of the gun in the back of my neck. I look at a hotel in front of me and think, “I can’t die so soon.” I fall into a kind of catatonic state: I don’t feel afraid, I don’t feel anything. I know the stories of other friends who have disappeared; I will disappear, and the last thing I will see is a hotel. The man picks me up, puts me on the floor of his car and tells me to put on a hood.

[Read this in Portuguese.]

The car drives around for maybe half an hour. They must be choosing a place to execute me — but I still don’t feel anything, I’ve accepted my destiny. The car stops. I’m dragged out and beaten as I’m pushed down what appears to be a corridor. I scream, but I know no one is listening, because they are also screaming. Terrorist, they say. You deserve to die. You’re fighting against your country. You’re going to die slowly, but you’re going to suffer a lot first. Paradoxically, my instinct for survival begins to kick in little by little.

I’m taken to the torture room with a raised floor. I stumble on it because I can’t see anything: I ask them not to push me, but I get punched in the back and fall down. They tell me to take off my clothes. The interrogation begins with questions I don’t know how to answer. They ask me to betray people I have never heard of. They say I don’t want to cooperate, throw water on the floor and put something on my feet — then I see from underneath the hood that it is a machine with electrodes that are then attached to my genitals.

Now I understand that, in addition to the blows I can’t see coming (and therefore can’t even contract my body to cushion the impact of), I’m about to get electric shocks. I tell them they don’t have to do this — I’ll confess whatever they want me to confess, I’ll sign whatever they want me to sign. But they are not satisfied. Then, in desperation, I begin to scratch my skin, tearing off pieces of myself. The torturers must have been frightened when they saw me covered in my own blood; they leave me alone. They say I can take off the hood when I hear the door slam. I take it off and see that I’m in a soundproof room, with bullet holes on the walls. That explains the raised floor.

The next day, another torture session, with the same questions. I repeat that I’ll sign whatever they want, I’ll confess whatever they want, just tell me what I must confess. They ignore my requests. After I don’t how long and how many sessions (time in hell is not counted in hours), there’s a knock on the door and they put the hood back on. A man grabs me by the arm and tells me, embarrassed: It’s not my fault. I’m taken to a small room, painted completely black, with a very strong air-conditioner. They turn off the light. Only darkness, cold and a siren that plays incessantly. I begin to go mad. I have visions of horses. I knock on the door of the “fridge” (I found out later that was what they called it), but no one opens it. I faint. I wake up and faint again and again, and at one point I think: better to get beaten than to stay in here.

I wake up, and I’m still in the room. The light is always on, and I’m unable to tell how many days or nights went by. I stand there for what seems like eternity. Years later, my sister tells me my parents couldn’t sleep; my mother cried all the time, my father locked himself in silence and did not speak.

I am no longer interrogated. Solitary confinement. One fine day, someone throws my clothes on the floor and tells me to get dressed. I get dressed and put on my hood. I’m taken to a car and thrown in the trunk. We drive for what feels like forever, until they stop — am I going to die now? They order me to take off the hood and get out of the trunk. I’m in a public square filled with kids, somewhere in Rio but I don’t know where.

I head to my parents’ house. My mother has grown old, my father says I shouldn’t go outside anymore. I reach out to my friends, I look for my singer — nobody answers the phone. I’m alone: If I was arrested, I must have done something, they must be thinking. It’s risky to be seen with a former prisoner. I may have left prison, but prison stays with me. Redemption comes when two people who were not even close to me offer me a job. My parents would never fully recover.

Decades later, the archives of the dictatorship are made public, and my biographer gets all the material. I ask why I was arrested: an informant accused you, he says. Do you want to know who reported you? I don’t. It won’t change the past.

And it’s these Years of Lead that President Jair Bolsonaro — after referring in Congress to one of the most heinous torturers as his idol — wants to see back in place and time