Character of the week: Rilke

RILKE_1.jpg Producción ABC.

RILKE_1.jpg Producción ABC.

” For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other.
This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love: the more they give, the more they possess.

There are no classes in life for beginners; right away you are always asked to deal with what is most difficult.

Believe that with your feelings and your work you are taking part in the greatest; the more strongly you cultivate this belief, the more will reality and the world go forth from it.
If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty.

Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.
The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.

The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.

Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.”

Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926) was a Bohemian-Austrian poet and art critic

How much do you know about pilgrimages?

Pilgrimage has been celebrated in literature from The Canterbury Tales to Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage. Pilgrims in funny hats and buckled shoes play an outsized role in the American national mythos, but pilgrimage traditions encompass much more than the Puritans. From medieval Japan, where the first pilgrimage package tours were offered, to modern-day Mecca, which welcomes 30 million pilgrims for the annual hajj, to Africa, Latin America, and beyond, pilgrimage is a global phenomenon.

Test your knowledge of pilgrimages throughout history, across religions, and around the world HERE.

Crowns on the Torah

When Moses ascended to Heaven to write a certain part of the Bible, the Almighty asked him to place small crowns on some letters of the Torah. Moses said: “Master of the Universe, why draw these crowns?” God answered: “Because one hundred generations from now a man called Akiva will interpret them.”

“Show me this man’s interpretation,” asked Moses.

The Lord took him to the future and put him in one of Rabbi Akiva’s classes. One pupil asked: “Rabbi, why are these crowns drawn on top of some letters?”

“I don’t know.” Replied Akiva. “And I am sure that not even Moses knew. He did this only to teach us that even without understanding everything the Lord does, we can trust in his wisdom.”


1 min read: Pain. Suffering. Pleasure



While he was speaking, Terence was transformed into two very different men. The one who was calmly explaining the rules to her and the one who made her feel like the most miserable wretch in the world.
‘Do you know why I am doing this? Because there is no greater pleasure than that of initiating someone into an unknown world. Taking someone’s virginity – the virginity not of their body, but of their soul, you understand.’

She understood.
‘Today you can ask questions, but the next time, when the theatre curtain goes up, the play will begin and cannot be stopped. If it does stop, it is because our souls are incompatible. Remember: it is a play. You must be the person you have never had the courage to be. Gradually, you will discover that you are that person, but until you can see this clearly, you must pretend and invent.’

‘What if I can’t stand the pain?’
‘There is no pain, only something that transforms itself into delight and mystery. It forms part of the play to say: “Don’t treat me like that, you’re really hurting me.”

Maria, kneeling, lowered her head and stared at the floor.
‘…in order to avoid this relationship causing any serious physical harm, we have two code words. If one of us says “yellow”, that means that the violence should be decreased slightly. If one of us says “red”, it must be stopped at once.’
‘You said “one of us”…’
‘We take turns. One cannot exist without the other; no one can know how to humiliate another person if they themselves have not experienced humiliation.’

These were terrible words, from a world she did not know, full of shadow, slime and putrefaction. Nevertheless, she wanted to go on – her body was trembling with fear and excitement.

‘Was tonight worth one thousand francs?’

Terence seemed pleased with this response.
‘I’ve asked myself the same thing. The Marquis de Sade said that the most important experiences a man can have are those that take him to the very limit; that is the only way we learn, because it requires all our courage. When a boss humiliates an employee, or a man humiliates his wife, he is merely being cowardly or taking his revenge on life, they are people who have never dared to look into the depths of their soul, never attempted to know the origin of that desire to unleash the wild beast, or to understand that sex, pain and love are all extreme experiences.
‘Only those who know those frontiers know life; everything else is just passing the time, repeating the same tasks, growing old and dying without ever having discovered what we are doing here.’

in “Eleven Minutes”

Dreams: the 12 steps

Paulo Coelho quote on failure

When Joseph Campbell created the expression “follow your blessing,” he was reflecting an idea that seems to be very appropriate right now. In “The Alchemist,” this same idea is called “Personal Legend.”
Alan Cohen, a therapist who lives in Hawaii, is also working on this theme. He says that in his lectures he asks those who are dissatisfied with their work and seventy-five percent of the audience raise their hands. Cohen has created a system of twelve steps to help people to rediscover their “blessing” (he is a follower of Campbell):

1. Tell yourself the truth

Draw two columns on a sheet of paper and in the left column write down what you would love to do. Then write down on the other side everything you’re doing without any enthusiasm. Write as if nobody were ever going to read what is there, don’t censure or judge your answers.
2. Start slowly, but start
Call your travel agent, look for something that fits your budget; go and see the movie that you’ve been putting off; buy the book that you’ve been wanting to buy. Be generous to yourself and you’ll see that even these small steps will make you feel more alive.
3. Stop slowly, but stop
Some things use up all your energy. Do you really need to go that committee meeting? Do you need to help those who do not want to be helped? Does your boss have the right to demand that in addition to your work you have to go to all the same parties that he goes to? When you stop doing what you’re not interested in doing, you’ll realize that you were making more demands of yourself than others were really asking.
4. Discover your small talents
What do your friends tell you that you do well? What do you do with relish, even if it’s not perfectly well done? These small talents are hidden messages of your large occult talents.
5.Begin to choose
If something gives you pleasure, don’t hesitate. If you’re in doubt, close your eyes, imagine that you’ve made decision A and see all that it will bring you. Now do the same with decision B. The decision that makes you feel more connected to life is the right one – even if it’s not the easiest to make.
6.Don’t base your decisions on financial gain
The gain will come if you really do it with enthusiasm. The same vase, made by a potter who loves what he does and by a man who hates his job, has a soul. It will be quickly sold (in the first case) or will stay on the shelves (in the second case).
7. Follow your intuition
The most interesting work is the one where you allow yourself to be creative. Einstein said: “I did not reach my understanding of the Universe using just mathematics.” Descartes, the father of logic, developed his method based on a dream he had.
8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind
If you put a decision aside and this bothers you, think again about what you chose. Don’t struggle against what gives you pleasure.
9. Learn how to rest
One day a week without thinking about work lets the subconscious help you, and many problems (but not all) are solved without any help from reason.
10. Let things show you a happier path
If you are struggling too much for something, without any results appearing, be more flexible and follow the paths that life offers. This does not mean giving up the struggle, growing lazy or leaving things in the hands of others – it means understanding that work with love brings us strength, never despair.
11. Read the signs
This is an individual language joined to intuition that appears at the right moments. Even if the signs point in the opposite direction from what you planned, follow them. Sometimes you can go wrong, but this is the best way to learn this new language.
12. Finally, take risks!
The men who have changed the world set out on their paths through an act of faith. Believe in the force of your dreams. God is fair, He wouldn’t put in your heart a desire that couldn’t come true.

20 SEC reading: the boy and the rain


After four years of drought in the small north-east village, the priest gathered everyone for a pilgrimage up to the mountain; there they would do a collective prayer, asking for the rain to fall again.

In the group, the priest noticed a boy wearing a raincoat.

‘Are you crazy?’ he asked the boy.

‘It hasn’t rained in this region for five years and the heat from hiking up the mountain will kill you.’

The boy replied: ‘I have a cold, priest. If we are going to ask God for rain, can you imagine our return from the mountain? It will be a spate and I need to be prepared.’

At this moment, they heard a great roar coming from the sky and the first drops began to fall. It sufficed the faith of a boy in a miracle that even the most prepared ones didn’t believe in.

The fire of friendship


ICI EN FRANçAIS: Le feu de l’amitié
AQUI EN ESPANOL: El fuego de la amistad

AQUI EM PORTUGUES: O fogo da amizade
When I arrive at the Moscow hotel with my publisher and my editor, a young woman is waiting outside for me. She comes over and grasps my hands in hers.
‘I need to talk to you. I’ve come all the way from Ekaterinburg to do just that.’

I’m tired. I woke up earlier than usual and had to change planes in Paris because there was no direct flight. I tried to sleep on the journey, but every time I managed to drop off, I would fall into the same unpleasant, recurring dream.
I hold out my hand to say goodbye and notice that hers is very cold.
‘Why didn’t you wait for me inside?’
‘I read your blog the other day and realised that you were talking directly to me.’

She takes out a piece of paper containing the article. I know it by heart, although I can’t remember who told me the story.
A man called Ali is in need of money and asks his boss to help him out. His boss sets him a challenge: if he can spend all night on the top of a mountain, he will receive a great reward; if he fails, he will have to work for free. The story continues:

When he left the shop, Ali noticed that an icy wind was blowing. He felt afraid and decided to ask his best friend, Aydi, if he thought he was mad to accept the wager.
After considering the matter for a moment, Aydi answered:
‘Don’t worry, I’ll help you. Tomorrow night, when you’re sitting on top of the mountain, look straight ahead.
‘I’ll be on the top of the mountain opposite, where I’ll keep a fire burning all night for you.

‘Look at the fire and think of our friendship; and that will keep you warm.
‘You’ll make it through the night, and afterwards, I’ll ask you for something in return.’

Ali won the wager, got the money, and went to his friend’s house.
‘You said you wanted some sort of payment in return.’

Aydi said, ‘Yes, but it isn’t money. Promise that if ever a cold wind blows through my life, you will light the fire of friendship for me.’

Read comments on the book and post yours (NO CENSORSHIP) by clicking here

10 Lessons I’ve Learned From Reading Paulo Coelho

The king and the hermit

An old hermit was once invited to visit the court of the most powerful king of those times.

“I envy such a saintly man, who is content with so little,” said the ruler.

“I envy Your Majesty, who is content with even less that I,” responded the hermit.

“How can you say such a thing, if this entire country belongs to me?” – said the offended king.

“For precisely that reason. I have the music of the celestial spheres, I have the rivers and mountains of the whole world, I have the moon and the sun, because I have God in my soul. Your Majesty, on the other hand, has only this kingdom.”

What will they say

As a boy, Abin-Alsar overheard a conversation between his father and a dervish.

“Careful with your work”, said the dervish. “Think of what future generations will say about you.”

“So what?”, replied his father, “When I die, everything shall end, and it will not matter what they say.”

Abin-Alsar never forgot that conversation. His whole life, he made an effort to do good, to help people and go about his work with enthusiasm. He became well-known for his concern for others; when he died, he left behind a great number of things which improved the quality of life in his town.

On his tombstone, he had the following epitaph engraved:

“A life which ends with death, is a life not well spent.”

Reflections In a Lake

Cain and Abel came to the banks of an enormous lake. They had never seen anything like it.

“There’s something inside it,” said Abel, looking into the water, not knowing that it was his reflection. Cain noticed the same thing, and raised his staff.

The image did the same thing. Cain stood waiting for the blow; his image did the same. Abel studied the surface of the water. He smiled, and the image smiled. He laughed out loud, and saw the other imitating him. As they walked away, Cain thought:

“How aggressive those creatures are who live in there.”

And Abel told himself:

“I’d like to return, for I met someone both handsome and in good humor.” –

The circle of joy


EM PORTUGUES AQUI: O circulo da alegria
EN ESPANOL AQUI : El circulo de alegria

Illustration by Ken Crane
And old story tells that one day, a countryman knocked hard on a monastery door. When the monk tending the gates opened up, he was given a magnificent bunch of grapes.

– Brother, these are the finest my vineyard has produced. I’ve come to bear them as a gift.

– Thank you! I will take them to the Abbot immediately, he’ll be delighted with this offering.

– No! I brought them for you. For whenever I knock on the door, it is you opens it. When I needed help because the crop was destroyed by drought, you gave me a piece of bread and a cup of wine every day.

The monk held the grapes and spent the entire morning admiring it. And decided to deliver the gift to the Abbot, who had always encouraged him with words of wisdom.

The Abbot was very pleased with the grapes, but he recalled that there was a sick brother in the monastery, and thought:

“I’ll give him the grapes. Who knows, they may bring some joy to his life.”

And that is what he did. But the grapes didn’t stay in the sick monk’s room for long, for he reflected:

“The cook has looked after me for so long, feeding me only the best meals. I’m sure he will enjoy these.”

The cook was amazed at the beauty of the grapes. So perfect that no one would appreciate them more than the sexton; many at the monastery considered him a holy man, he would be best qualified to value this marvel of nature.

The sexton, in turn, gave the grapes as a gift to the youngest novice, that he might understand that the work of God is in the smallest details of Creation. When the novice received them, he remembered the first time he came to the monastery, and of the person who had opened the gates for him; it was that gesture which allowed him to be among this community of people who knew how to value the wonders of life.

And so, just before nightfall, he took the grapes to the monk at the gates.

– Eat and enjoy them – he said. – For you spend most of your time alone here, and these grapes will make you very happy.

The monk understood that the gift had been truly destined for him, and relished each of the grapes, before falling into a pleasant sleep.

Thus the circle was closed; the circle of happiness and joy, which always shines brightly around generous people.

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A Halloween story

[ Excerpted from Spooky Texas retold by S.E. Schlosser]

Oh, you hear the stories about how dangerous Ouija boards are, but hey—it’s just a game. Mary waited until midnight to begin our little game, and the four of us—Sarah, Jessie, me, and, Mary, started by asking all kinds of silly questions.

It was a strange-looking board, covered with letters and symbols. There was a plastic pointer that was supposed to move across the board at the behest of the spirits. The instructions called it a planchette.

Around one thirty in the morning, the planchette suddenly froze in Mary’s hand. It wouldn’t move, no matter how much we pushed and pulled.

Mary turned her frightened blue eyes toward me. “I’m not doing it,” she said, lifting her hands. I grabbed the planchette myself and tried to push it around, but it was fixed to the board.

Suddenly, a kind of electric shock buzzed through my fingers. I gasped and tried to pull my fingers from the planchette, but they were stuck. Mary and Jessie both tried to pull my fingers away, nothing helped. The other girls stared with wide, round eyes, as the planchette came alive under my fingers—which were still fixed to its surface—and began to move.

“Help.” The words spelled out under my hand. “Help me. Help me.”

The planchette kept moving back and forth between the h – e – l – p continuously, until Sarah cried out: “Who are you?”

“Amber.” The board spelled. “My name is Amber. I am eight years old.”

“What’s wrong?” Mary asked. Her face was so white all the freckles stood out like darkened age spots.

“Water. Danger. Help. Scared.” The words spelled out as fast as my hand could move.

“Call 9-1-1,” Mary cried suddenly. “Quick. Amber is in danger.”

By this time, Sarah was gasping into the phone. Then she hung up the phone. “They wouldn’t listen to me,” she told us, almost in tears.

At that instant, my hand was suddenly free from the planchette.

“She’s gone,” I gasped,

“See if you can contact her again,” Mary said urgently. “We need to know if she’s okay!”

I picked up the plastic planchette again. “Amber, are you there?” I asked softly, afraid of what might happen.

After a long pause, it moved slowly across the board and spelled out the words: “Too late.” And after another long pause. “Water. Flood. Drowned. Mobile. Alabama.” The planchette stopped.
I knew that Amber was gone.

None of us got much sleep that night. In the morning, we rushed through breakfast and then looked up the Alabama news on the Internet. None of us were surprised to read that there had been flash floods the night before. I read the names of those who had died in the flood. One of the victims was an eight-year-old girl named Amber.

The secret of happiness (ENG, ESPA, PORT)

The story below is taken from my book “The Alchemist” is one  of the Top 20 Bestselling Books from all times

EN ESPANOL CLICAR AQUI: Las dos gotas de aceite
EM PORTUGUES, CLICAR AQUI: As duas gotas de óleo

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, the Sage 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, handling 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.”

from the book  “The Alchemist”

The road not taken / El camino menos transitado

Poem by Robert Frost (1874-1963).

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I””
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


El camino menos transitado

Dos caminos se bifurcaban en un bosque amarillo,
Y apenado por no poder tomar los dos
Siendo un viajero solo, largo tiempo estuve de pie
Mirando uno de ellos tan lejos como pude,
Hasta donde se perdí­a en la espesura;

Entonces tomé el otro, imparcialmente,
Y habiendo tenido quizás la elección acertada,
Pues era tupido y requerí­a uso;
Aunque en cuanto a lo que vi allí­
Hubiera elegido cualquiera de los dos.

Y ambos esa mañana yací­an igualmente,
¡Oh, habí­a guardado aquel primero para otro dí­a!
Aun sabiendo el modo en que las cosas siguen adelante,
Dudé si debí­a haber regresado sobre mis pasos.

Debo estar diciendo esto con un suspiro
De aquí­ a la eternidad:
Dos caminos se bifurcaban en un bosque y yo,
Yo tomé el menos transitado,
Y eso hizo toda la diferencia.

(traduí§í£o: ní£o encontrei o tradutor do texto na internet)


O caminho menos percorrido

Num bosque amarelo dois caminhos se separam,
E lamentando ní£o poder seguir os dois
E sendo apenas um viajante, fiquei muito tempo parado
E olhei para um deles tí£o distante quanto pude
Até onde se perdia na mata;

Entí£o segui o outro, tí£o bom como o do lado
Porque coberto de mato e querendo uso
Embora os que por lá passaram
Os tenham realmente percorrido de igual forma,

Ambos estavam essa manhí£
Com folhas que passo nenhum pisou.
Oh, guardei o primeiro para outro dia!
Embora sabendo como um caminho leva para longe,
Duvidasse que algum dia voltasse novamente.

Direi isso suspirando
Em algum lugar, daqui muito e muito tempo
Dois caminhos se separam em um bosque, e eu …
Eu escolhi o menos percorrido
E isso fez toda diferení§a.

(traduí§í£o: ní£o encontrei o tradutor do texto na internet)

5 reasons why Paulo Coelho is so Successful

He is Rebellious 

Paulo Coelho was not one of those kids who took normal traditional way without questioning or opposing it. He always stood against the traditional ways. He always had his own perception of the world which was beyond the understanding of normal people.

When asked by his parents to go for engineering, he said he wanted to be a writer. Though he was forced to join the college but later dropped out to follow his dream.

Paulo Coelho disagreed to a lot of views of his parents and society. He had his own reality which he ultimately made true.

paulo coelho quotes

He was considered Crazy and Freak

Because of his rebellious attitude, Paulo Coelho was considered crazy and freak. Disagreeing to normal concepts made his parents believe that he was mentally ill and put him in a mental institution. He even tried escape from there three times before being released.

Ultimately all theses made his parents believe that we can’t make him right so leave him on his own fate. They even said that “ oh my poor son you can never make a living because of this weird crazy attitude.

Travelling around the World

After dropping out of college, Paulo Coelho set out to travel the world in search of happiness and truth. He adopted a kind of hippie lifestyle. Moving from place to place with no money.

Meeting new people, learning new things. A journey of adventure and spiritual to the self.

In 1986, Coelho walked the 500 plus mile road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, a turning point in his life. On the path, Paulo Coelho had a spiritual awakening which he described autobiographically in his book “Pilgrimage”.

He took Risk

Risk makes us see things which you can’t see being in your comfort zone. Risk put us in circumstances which brings out the best version of us.

Paulo Coelho never thought twice in taking the risk. In fact for him risk was a way of life. Right from dropping out of college to travelling the world with no money speaks of his courageous and risk-taking attitude.

He even left successful lyrics writing career to focus full-time on Writing.

paulo coelho quote


He is a Believer

The very basic thing we should have in our life is Faith and Belief on ourselves, in our destiny. To believe is one of the most crucial things in life. Belief gives us the positive feeling and motivates us to keep going.

Paulo Coelho was a great believer. He always believed in his destiny. He believed in omens. he believed that When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.


30 SEC READ: Tell a story (ENG, ESPA, PORT)

Illustration by Ken Crane
CLICK AQUI PARA LEER EN ESPANOL: Por que contar histórias

The great Rabbi Israel Shem Tov, when he saw that the people in his village were being mistreated, went into the forest, lit a holy fire, and said a special prayer, asking God to protect his people.
And God sent him a miracle.

Later, his disciple Maggid de Mezritch, following in his master’s footsteps, would go to the same part of the forest and say:
“Master of the Universe, I do not know how to light the holy fire, but I do know the special prayer; hear me, please!”
The miracle always came about.

A generation passed, and Rabbi Moshe-leib of Sasov, when he saw the war approaching, went to the forest, saying:
“I don’t know how to light the holy fire, nor do I know the special prayer, but I still remember the place. Help us, Lord!”
And the Lord helped.

Fifty years later, Rabbi Israel de Rizhin, in his wheelchair, spoke to God:
“I don’t know how to light the holy fire, nor the prayer, and I can’t even find the place in the forest. All I can do is tell this story, and hope God hears me.”
And telling the story was enough for the danger to pass.

And I will add:
Tell your stories. Your neighbors may not understand you, but they will understand your soul. Stories are the last bridge left to allow different cultures to communicate among each other.

Tales of Zen wisdom – The gift of insults

By Paulo Coelho

Near Tokyo lived a great Samurai warrior, now old, who decided to teach Zen Buddhism to young people. In spite of his age, the legend was that he could defeat any adversary.

One afternoon, a warrior – known for his complete lack of scruples – arrived there. He was famous for using techniques of provocation: he waited until his adversary made the first move and, being gifted with an enviable intelligence in order to repair any mistakes made, he counterattacked with fulminating speed.

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.

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Gibran’s love letters

Born in Lebanon, Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) will be always remembered for his classic The Prophet, which is still on the bestsellers list in several countries, 60 years after its publication.

In 1995, a Lebanese friend of mine gave me a book containing love letters exchanged between Gibran and Mary Haskell, a 10-year older American woman.

When I read it, I discovered a complex and fascinating man, what encouraged me to select a few texts for publication

Here are a few excerpts:

MARCH 10, 1912
Mary, my adored Mary, how can you think you bring me more sorrow than joy? No one knows for sure where the boundary between pain and pleasure lies: many times, I think it is impossible to separate them. You give me so much joy it almost hurts and you cause me so much pain; it even makes me smile.

MAY 24, 1914
Imagine, adorable, if we were walking through a beautiful field, in a beautiful day and suddenly a storm fell over our heads. How wonderful! Is there greater emotion than seeing the elements producing wild power and energy? Let’s go to the fields, Mary, and seek the unexpected.

JULY 8, 1914
I always thought that when people understand us, they end up enslaving us — given that we accept anything in exchange of feeling understood. However, your comprehension brought me the most profound peace and freedom I have ever experienced. In the two hours of your visit, you found a black spot in my heart; you touched it and it went away forever, allowing me to see my own light.

APRIL 18, 1915

Thetwo days in which we were together were magnificent. When we talk about the past, we always turn present and future more real. For many years, I dreaded to look at what I had lived and suffered in silence. Today I understood that silence makes us suffer more profoundly. Karanvir Singh a.k.a. Kerano A few excerpts from Khalil Gibran’s letters to an older love interest ILLUSTRATION: ALAKA CHAKRABORTY But you made me talk and I discovered dusty things hidden in my soul. Now I can tear them up from there.

JULY 17, 1915

Both of us are trying to touch the limits of our existence. The great poets of the past always surrendered to life. They didn’t look for established things, or tried to unravel secrets: they simply allowed their souls to be carried away by their emotions. People are always seeking safety and sometimes they find it: but safety is an end in itself, and life doesn’t have an end. Your letter, Mary, is the most beautiful expression of life that I have ever received. Poets aren’t those who write poetry but all those who have a heart filled with the sacred spirit of love.

MAY 10, 1916

Dear Mary: I’m sending you a parable I have finished. I haven’t been writing much and only in Arab. But I would like to hear your corrections and suggestions about this excerpt: At the shadow of a temple, my friend pointed me to a blind man.
My friend said: “This man is a wise man.”
We approached him and I asked: “Since when are you blind?”
“Ever since I was born.”
“I am an astronomer,” I said.
“So am I,” the blind man answered. And placing his hand on my chest, he said: “I spend my life observing the many suns and stars that move inside me.”

12/10 Viva N. Sra. Aparecida!


Our Lady of Aparecida (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora Aparecida or Nossa Senhora da Conceií§í£o Aparecida) is a celebrated 18th-century clay statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the traditional form of the Immaculate Conception. The image is widely venerated by Brazilian Roman Catholics, who consider her as the principal patroness of Brazil.[1] Pious accounts claim that the statue was originally found by fishermen, who miraculously caught many fishes after invoking the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The dark statue is currently housed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, Aparecida, Sí£o Paulo. The Roman Catholic Church in Brazil celebrates her feast day every October 12. Since the basilica’s consecration 1980 by Pope John Paul II, it has also been a public holiday in Brazil. The Basilica is the fourth most popular Marian shrine in the world,[3] being able to hold up to 45,000 worshippers.[2]

The image has merited the Papal sanction of Pope Pius XI in 1929 by declaring her shrine as a minor Basilica, and by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1980, who reiterated the patronage of Brazil under the title of the Immaculate Conception.

The statue has also merited worldwide controversy in May 1978, when a Protestant intruder stole the clay statue from its shrine and broke it into pieces, and another in 1995, when a Protestant minister slandered and vandalized a copy of the statue in national Brazilian television.

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