The most destructive of weapons

The most destructive of weapons is not the spear or the siege cannon, which can wound a body and demolish a wall.
The most terrible of all weapons is the word, which can ruin a life without leaving a trace of blood, and whose wounds never heal.

Let us, then, be the masters of our tongue and not the slaves of our words.
Even if words are used against us, let us not enter a battle that cannot be won.
The moment we place ourselves on the same level as some vile adversary, we will be fighting in the dark, and the only winner will be the Lord of Darkness.

Loyalty is a pearl among grains of sand, and only those who really understand its meaning can see it.

Thus the Sower of Discord can pass the same spot a thousand times and never see the little jewel that keeps together those who need to remain united.

Loyalty can never be imposed by force, fear, insecurity or intimidation.
It is a choice that only strong spirits have the courage to make.

And because it is a choice, it will never tolerate betrayal, but will always be generous with mistakes.
And because it is a choice, it withstands time and passing conflicts.

taken from THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

Motivation of Paulo Coelho for each sign

by Tech2

Paulo Coelho is a famous Brazilian writer and one of the most widely read authors in the world. His books have been translated into 67 languages ??and published in more than 150 countries. His best-selling album “Alchemist” has sold more than 65 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books in history.

If you need a motivating stimulus, now or in the new year, you can use some of the author’s most encouraging thoughts. There is definitely something to learn from him.

And here is a good advice from Coelho’s life for each of the 12 signs of the zodiac:

Aries

“Accept what life offers and try to drink from each glass of wine, all wines must taste, some of you have to drink sips, and others to drink the whole bottle.”

Taurus

“Do not live in the past or in the future, just be interested in the present, if you can always focus on the present, you will be a happy person, life will be a party for you, a great party, because life is the time the one we live now. ”

Gemini

“When we least expect it, life challenges us to test our courage and our willingness to change, at this point, it makes no sense to pretend that nothing has happened or that we are not ready.” The challenge will not wait. A week is more than enough time to decide whether to accept our destiny or not. ”

Cancer

“The secret of life is to fall seven times and become eight times.”

Lion

“There is only one thing that makes it impossible to achieve a deep and relaxed sleep: the fear of failure.”

Virgo

“Do not waste your time on explanations, people just listen to what they want to hear anyway.”

Pound

“When we really strive to improve, everything around us also improves.”

Scorpio

“Be crazy, but learn to be crazy without being in the spotlight, be brave enough to live differently.”

Sagittarius

“You can never escape from your heart, so it’s better to listen to what you have to say.”

Capricorn

“When you find your way, you must not be afraid, you must have enough courage and allow yourself to make mistakes.”

Aquarius

“Understand that fear of suffering is often worse than suffering in itself.”

Fish

“Do not let your mind dictate to your heart what to do, the mind surrenders more easily.”

18 Phrases

1- Parfois il faut choisir entre une chose à laquelle on s’est habitué, et entre une autre que l’on a envie de connaître.

Combien de fois avons-nous laissé passer une chance par peur de perdre certaines choses? La vie, c’est choisir un chemin. Depuis notre réveil jusqu’à notre coucher, nous faisons des choix, qui nous limitent ou qui nous ouvrent les portes de la vie.

2- Quand tous les jours sont ainsi semblables les uns aux autres, c’est que les gens ont cessé de s’apercevoir des bonnes choses qui se présentent dans leur vie tant que le soleil traverse le ciel.

Nous nous sommes habitués à vivre sans penser, et sans profiter. Nous sommes contaminés par le rythme infernal d’un présent qui, en nous présentant les choses toutes faites, détruit la magie du monde.

3- Lorsque tu grandiras, tu découvriras que tu as déjà menti, que tu t’es trompé toi-même et que tu as souffert pour des choses absurdes. Si tu es un bon guerrier, tu ne te culpabiliseras pas pour cela, mais tu ne laisseras pas tes erreurs se répéter.

Nous sommes les seuls animaux qui se blessent deux fois avec la même pierre. Se blesser n’est pas grave, mais le faire une seconde fois de la même manière peut être fatal. Les erreurs nous donnent une chance de grandir, pas de sombrer dans notre propre existence.

4- Elle n’avait pas peur des difficultés : ce qui l’effrayait, c’était l’obligation de devoir choisir un chemin. Choisir un chemin signifiait en abandonner d’autres.

 

5- Si tu te préoccupes trop de découvrir ce qu’il y a de bon ou de mal dans ton futur, tu oublieras ta propre âme, tu te fatigueras et tu seras vaincu par l’énergie que tu as gaspillée en jugeant les autres.

Nous devons vivre notre propre vie, et cesser de juger les autres. Nous sommes tous notre propre chemin, et personne ne peut réellement voir qui nous sommes. Il faut cesser de rechercher à l’extérieur ce que nous portons en notre sein.

 

6- Il est facile de comprendre qu’il y a toujours dans le monde une personne qui en attend une autre, que ce soit en plein désert ou au cœur des grandes villes. Et quand ces deux personnes se rencontrent, et que leurs regards se croisent, le passé et le futur sont désormais sans la moindre importance, seul le moment présent existe.

L’amour est le sentiment le plus universel qui soit. Même si cela peut paraître parfois impossible, il y aura toujours une personne qui saura voir toute la beauté d’une autre.

 

7- Il n’existe pas d’amour paisible. L’amour s’accompagne toujours d’agonies, d’extases, de joies intenses et de tristesses profondes.

 

8- L’amour n’est pas dans l’autre, il est à l’intérieur de nous-mêmes, nous sommes les seuls à pouvoir le réveiller. Mais pour le réveiller, nous avons besoin de l’autre.

L’amour n’est pas un sentiment facile. Grâce à l’amour, nous parvenons à faire ressortir le meilleur, mais aussi le pire, de nous-mêmes. L’amour mérite qu’on se batte pour lui, et qu’on y mette de la joie. L’amour mérite tout.

 

9- L’amour commence par un regard, se décide avec un mot, se sent avec un baiser et se perd avec une larme. Des natures différentes naît l’amour. Dans l’adversité, l’amour donne de la force. Dans la confrontation et dans la transformation, l’amour préserve.

10- Celui qui est habitué à voyager sait qu’il est toujours nécessaire de partir un jour.

 

11- Je suis comme tout le monde : je vois le monde comme j’aimerais que les choses se passent, pas comme elles se passent réellement.

 

12- Un enfant peut apprendre trois choses à un adulte : à être content sans raison, à toujours être occupé par quelque chose, et à savoir exiger avec force ce qu’il désire.

 

13- Les défaites existent, et personne n’en est à l’abri. Mais il est mieux de perdre quelques combats dans la lutte pour nos rêves, que d’être défaits sans même savoir pour quoi l’on se bat.

 

14- Ce qui noie quelqu’un ce n’est pas le plongeon, mais le fait de rester sous l’eau.

 

15- Attendre fait mal. Oublier fait mal. Mais ne pas savoir quelle décision prendre est la pire des souffrances.

 

16 Notre vie est un voyage constant, de la naissance à la mort. Le paysage change, les gens changent, les besoins se transforment, mais le train continue. La vie, c’est le train, ce n’est pas la gare.

 

17 – L’élégance est la posture la plus adéquate pour que l’écriture soit parfaite. Il en va de même pour la vie : quand le superflu est écarté, l’être humain découvre la simplicité et la concentration. Plus simple et plus sobre est la posture, plus belle elle sera, même si au début elle paraît inconfortable.

 

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

selected by

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

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.

10 SEC READING: were it not for this

There is always someone in the world waiting for someone else, whether in the middle of the desert or in the heart of some big city.

And when these two people’s paths cross and their eyes meet, the whole of the past and the whole of the future lose all importance,
and there only exists that moment and that incredible certainty that everything under the Sun was written by the very same Hand.

The Hand that awakens Love and creates a sister soul for everyone who works, rests and seeks treasures under the Sun.

Were it not for this, the dreams of the human race would make no sense.

 

taken from The Alchemist

1 MIN reading: the child within us

We must listen to the child that we once were, and who still lives within us.

This child understands about magic instants.

We can muffle his sobbing, but we can’t hush his voice.

If we aren’t reborn, if we don’t see life again with the innocence and enthusiasm of childhood, then there is no more sense to living.

 

There are many ways to commit suicide. Those who try to kill their body offend God’s law.

Those who try to kill their soul also offend God’s law, although their crime is less visible to the eyes of man.

 

Let’s allow the child within us to take the reins of our existence a little. This child says that one day is different from another.

Let’s make the child feel loved again. Let’s please this child – even if it means acting in a way that we’re not used to, even if it seems foolish in the eyes of others.

Remember that the wisdom of men is madness before God.

If we listen to the child we bear in our soul, our eyes will shine once more. If we don’t lose contact with this child, we won’t lose contact with life.

30 SEC READ A task for angels

Many years ago lived a man who was able to love and forgive everyone he met.

Because of this, God sent an angel to talk to him.

“God asked me to come and visit you and to tell you that He wants to reward you for your goodness,” said the angel.

“Any favor that you desire will be granted. Would you like to have the gift of curing?”

“By no means,” answered the man. “I prefer that God Himself choose those to be cured.”

“I can’t go back to heaven without granting you a miracle. If you don’t pick one, you’ll be obliged to accept one.”

The man reflected a little before answering: “Then I want Good to be done through me, but without anyone noticing – not even myself, so that I don’t commit the sin of vanity.”

And the angel gave to that man’s shadow the power to cure, but only when the sun was shining on his face.

In that way, wherever he went, the sick were cured, the earth became fertile again, and sad people regained their joy.

The man traveled many years over the Earth without noticimg the miracles he worked, because when he was facing the sun, his shadow was always at his back.

In that way he could live and die without being aware of his own sanctity.

20 SEC READ Moving the shadow

Myiamoto Musashi, the famous samurai who wrote the book The Book of Five Rings, comments that all the people in the world are always ready to defend themselves because they live in the fear and paranoia that others do not like them.

In this way, our adversary too – however brilliant he may be – is insecure and reacts with excessive violence when provoked.

On doing so, he shows all the arms he has, and we come to know where he is strong and what his weak points are.

Musashi calls this technique “moving the shadow”.

In truth, the Warrior of Light does not enter the fight, but provokes a little, and then the shadow of his provocation confuses the adversary.

The fish who saved my life

Illustration by Ken Crane

Nasrudin is walking past a cave when he sees a yogi, deep in meditation, and he asks the yogi what he is searching for. The yogi says:

‘I study the animals and have learned many lessons from them that can transform a man’s life.’

‘A fish once saved my life,’ Nasrudin replies. ‘If you teach me everything you know, I will tell you how it happened.’

The Yogi is astonished; only a holy man could be saved by a fish. And he decides to teach Nasrudin everything he knows.

When he has finished, he says to Nasrudin:

‘Now that I have taught you everything, I would be proud to know how a fish saved your life.’

‘Very simple,’ says Nasrudin, ‘I was almost dying of hunger when I caught it and, thanks to that fish, I had enough food for three days.’

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Justice

According to the dictionary: from the Latin justitias: conformity with the law; act of giving to each what belongs to them; equity; group of magistrates and the people who work with them.

According to Jesus Christ: You have heard that they were told, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist injury, but if anyone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other to him too. (Matthew 5: 38-39)

According to Bankei: during one of Zen master Bankei’s classes, a pupil was caught stealing. All the disciples demanded he be expelled, but Bankei did nothing. The following week, the pupil stole again. The others, irritated, demanded that the thief be punished.

“How wise you all are,” said Bankei. “You know what is right and wrong, and you can study anywhere you like. But this poor brother – who does not know what is right or wrong – has only me to teach him. And I shall go on doing that.” A flood of tears purified the thief’s face; the desire to steal had disappeared.

According to a man condemned to death: Death row is the arena where the politics of Power, Retribution and Violence are applied to a man using concrete and steel. Until this man turns into steel and concrete. And yet, although steel can be hard, it is still capable of being flexible, and although the heart can turn to concrete, it is still capable of beating. (Justin Fuller, executed in Texas on 24/08/2006)

According to the Spanish Inquisition: In the 15th century the Inquisitor priests went from town to town gathering the inhabitants together in the main square. After a sermon was preached, they would choose at random six or seven people who were then interrogated about the life of their neighbors; in every case, these people always accused someone, for fear of being considered heretics.

According to the tea ceremony: We see evil in others because we know evil through our own behavior. We never pardon those who wound us because we feel that we would never be pardoned. We tell others the painful truth because we want to hide it from ourselves. We take refuge in pride so that no-one can see how fragile we are. That is why, whenever you are judging your brother, bear in mind that it is you who are on trial. (Okakura Kakuso, The Book of Tea, 1904)

Looking for proof: Despite being inefficient as a means of proof and method of investigation, for centuries torture was the juridical method to discover the truth of facts. (Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Professor of Political Science)

The true warrior

Of course things don’t always happen they way we wish they would.

There are moments in which we feel we are seeking something that is not meant for us, knocking on doors that don’t open, waiting for miracles that don’t manifest themselves.

Fortunately that is the way things are – if everything went the way we wanted, soon we would no longer have anything to write about, nothing to guide our daily thoughts. This script serves our dreams as nourishment, but to our battles as energy.

 

And as it always happens with the warriors that spend all their energy in the Good Fight, there are moments in which it is best to relax and believe that the Universe is still working for us secretly, even if we cannot comprehend it.

And so, let us allow the Soul of the World to fulfill its mission, and if we can’t help, the best way to collaborate is to pay attention to the simple things in life; the sunset, the people in the street, the reading of a book.

However, in many cases, time continues passing and nothing exceptional happens.

But the true warrior of light believes. Just like children believe.

Because they believe in miracles, the miracles begin to happen.

Because they are certain that their thoughts can change their lives, their lives begin to change.

Because they are certain they will find love, this love appears. Sometimes they are disappointed.

Sometimes they feel hurt. Then they hear the comments, “You are so naïve!”

But the warrior knows it is worth the price. To each defeat, there are two conquests in his favor.

The importance of the eyes

Paulo Coelho

 

“I sell churches.”

I stood astonished as he continued:

“I am employed by the Vatican to select buyers, since there are more churches than churchgoers in Holland. And since we have had awful experiences in the past, seeing sacred places turned into nightclubs, condominiums, boutiques and even sex shops, we changed our sales system. The project has to be approved by the community and the buyer must say what he is going to do with the property: as a rule we accept only proposals that include a cultural center, a charity institution or a museum.

“So what does that have to do with your talk, and the others that I am trying to organize? People are no longer meeting one another. When they do not meet, they do not grow.”

He looked me straight in the eye and concluded:

“Meetings. That was precisely my mistake with you. Instead of sending a bunch of e-mails, I should have shown right away that I was made of flesh and blood. When I failed to get an answer from a politician, I went and knocked on his office door and he told me:

“If you want something, first of all you have to show your eyes.” That’s what I have done ever since then and I have had nothing but good results. We can have all the available means of communication in the world, but nothing, absolutely nothing takes the place of the human look.”

Of course, I finally accepted his proposal.

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