Nobody is courageous all the time. The unknown is a constant challenge, and being afraid is part of the journey.
What to do?
Talk to yourself. Talk alone.
Talk to yourself even if others think you have gone crazy.
As we talk, an inner force gives us the security to overcome the obstacles that need to be surmounted.
We learn lessons from the defeats that we are bound to suffer.
And we prepare ourselves for the many victories that will be part of our life.
And just between you and me, those who have this habit (and I’m one of them) know that they never talk alone: the guardian angel is there, listening and helping us to reflect.
Abd Mubarak was on his way to Mecca when one night he dreamed that he was in heaven and heard two angels having a conversation.
“How many pilgrims came to the holy city this year?” one of them asked.
“Six hundred thousand”, answered the other.
“And how many of them had their pilgrimage accepted?”
“None of them. However, in Baghdad there is a shoemaker called Ali Mufiq who did not make the pilgrimage, but did have his pilgrimage accepted, and his graces benefited the 600,000 pilgrims”.
When he woke up, Abd Mubarak went to Mufiq’s shoe shop and told him his dream.
“At great cost and much sacrifice, I finally managed to get 350 coins together”, the shoemaker said in tears.
“But then, when I was ready to go to Mecca I discovered that my neighbors were hungry, so I distributed the money among them and gave up my pilgrimage”.
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.’
There was once a well-known scholar, who lived in a mountain in the Himalayas. Tired of living with men, he had chosen a simple life and spent most of his time meditating.
His fame, however, was so great that people were willing to walk narrow paths, climb steep hills, swim rivers – to meet the holy man who was believed to be able to resolve any trouble of the human heart.
The wise man, as he was full of compassion, gave some advice here and there, but kept trying to get rid of unwanted visitors. Still, they appeared in larger groups, and once a day a crowd knocked on his door, saying that great stories about him were published in their local newspaper and that everyone was sure he knew how to overcome the difficulties of their lives.
The wise man said nothing but asked them to sit and wait. Three days passed, and more people arrived. When there was no room for anyone else, he addressed the people who were outside his door.
“Today I will give the answer that everyone wants. But you must promise that, to have your problems solved, you will not tell the new pilgrims that I moved here – so that you can continue to live in the solitude you so much crave. Men and women have made a sacred oath that if the wise fulfilled their promises, they would not let any more pilgrims climb the mountain.”
“Tell me your problems,” said the sage.
Someone began to speak, but was soon interrupted by others, as everyone knew that this was the last public hearing that the holy man was giving, and they feared that he wouldn’t have the time to listen to all of them. Minutes later, confusion was created, many voices were shouting at the same time, people were crying, men and women were tearing their hair out in despair because it was impossible to hear.
The wise man let the situation be prolonged a little, until he cried, “Silence!”
The crowd fell silent immediately.
“Write your problems down and put the papers in front of me,” he said.
When everyone finished, the wise man mixed all the papers in a basket, then said, “Keep this basket moving amongst you. Each of you will take a paper, and read it. You will then choose whether to keep your problems, or take the one given to you.”
Each person took a sheet of paper, read it, and was horrified. They concluded that what they had written, however bad it was, was not as serious as what ailed his neighbor. Two hours later, they exchanged papers amongst themselves, and each one had to put their personal problems back into his or her pocket, relieved that their distress was not as hard as they once thought.
Grateful for the lesson, they went down the mountain with the certainty that they were happier than all the others, and – fulfilling the promise made – never let anyone disturb the peace of the holy man.
EN ESPANOL: Purificando el mundo
How do we purify the world?- asked a disciple.
Ibn al-Husayn replied:
– There was once a sheik in Damascus called Abu Musa al-Qumasi. Everyone honored him for his great wisdom, but no one knew whether he was a good man.
“One afternoon, a construction fault caused the house where the sheik lived with his wife, to collapse. The desperate neighbors began to dig the ruins; eventually, they managed to locate the sheik’s wife.
“She said: “Don’t worry about me. First save my husband, who was sitting somewhere over there.”
“The neighbors removed the rubble from the area she indicated, and found the sheik. He said: “Don’t worry about me. First save my wife, who was lying somewhere over there.”
“When someone acts as this couple did, she/he is purifying the whole world.”
For those who are not frightened by the solitude that reveals all mysteries, everything will have a different taste.
In solitude, they will discover the love that might otherwise arrive unnoticed. In solitude, they will understand and respect the love that left them.
In solitude, they will be able to decide whether it is worth asking that lost love to come back or if they should simply let it go and set off along a new path.
In solitude, they will learn that saying ‘No’ does not always show a lack of generosity and that saying ‘Yes’ is not always a virtue.
And those who are alone at this moment, need never be frightened by the words of the devil: ‘You’re wasting your time.’
Or by the chief demon’s even more potent words: ‘No one cares about you.’
The Divine Energy is listening to us when we speak to other people, but also when we are still and silent and able to accept solitude as a blessing.
And in that moment, Its light illumines everything around us and helps us to see that we are necessary, and that our presence on Earth makes a huge difference to Its work.
taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA (now in paperback)
EN ESPANOL AQUI —> MATANDO NUESTROS SUENOS
The first symptom of the process of our killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight the Good Fight.
The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those who are engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are fighting the Good Fight.
And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the Good Fight.
When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being.
We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise. What we sought to avoid in combat – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice.
And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of our Sunday afternoons
Words from Petrus to me during The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.
I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. As far as I’m concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue.
True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism.He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.
If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.
Albert Einstein ( 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a theoretical physicist, philosopher and author who is widely regarded as one of the most influential and best known scientists and intellectuals of all time.
We forget that the world is what we imagine it to be.
We stop being the moonlight and become, instead, the pool of water reflecting it.
Tomorrow, the water will evaporate in the sun. And all because, one day, someone said: ‘You are ugly.’ Or: ‘She is pretty.’ With those three simple words, they stole away all our self-confidence.
And we become ugly and embittered.
At that moment, we can draw comfort from so-called ‘wisdom’, an accumulation of ideas put together by people wishing to define the world, instead of respecting the mystery of life.
This ‘wisdom’ consists of all the unnecessary rules, regulations and measurements intended to establish a standard of behaviour.
According to that false wisdom, we should not be concerned about beauty because it is superficial and ephemeral.
That isn’t true. All the beings created under the sun, from birds to mountains, from flowers to rivers, reflect the miracle of creation.
If we resist the temptation to allow other people to define who we are, then we will gradually be able to let the sun inside our own soul shine forth.
Love passes by and says: ‘I never noticed you before.’
And our soul responds:
‘Well, pay more attention, because here I am. It took a breeze to blow the dust from your eyes, but now that you have recognised me, don’t leave me again, because all of us desire beauty.’
taken from THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA
Every day, God gives us the sun – and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy.
Every day, we try to pretend that we haven’t perceived the moment, that it doesn’t exist – that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow.
But if people really pay attention in their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment.
It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seems the same to us.
But that moment exists – a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.
Joy is sometimes a blessing, but it is often a conquest.
Our magic moment help us to change and sends us off in search of our dreams. Yes, we are going to suffer, we will have difficult times, and we will experience many disappointments – but all of this is transitory it leaves no permanent mark.
And one day we will look back with pride and faith at the journey we have taken.
Avoid those who say: ‘That’s it, I’ll go no further.’
Because what they have failed to grasp is that neither life nor death has an end; they are merely stages of eternity.
Stay close to those who say: ‘Everything’s fine as it is, but we still need to move on.’
Because they understand the need to keep going beyond the known horizon.
Avoid those who meet up to discuss, seriously and pretentiously, any decisions that the community needs to take.
They understand about politics, they impress others and try to show how wise they are.
What they don’t understand is that it is impossible to control so much as the fall of a single hair on your head.
Discipline is important, but it needs to leave doors and windows open to intuition and the unexpected.
Stay close to those who sing, tell stories, enjoy life and whose eyes sparkle with happiness.
Because happiness is contagious and will always manage to find a solution whereas logic can find only an explanation for the mistake made.
Stay close to those who allow the light of Love to shine forth without restrictions, judgements or rewards, without letting it be blocked by the fear of being misunderstood.
No matter how you are feeling, get up every morning and prepare to let your light shine forth.
Those with eyes to see will see your light and be enchanted by it.
taken from THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA
Each work of art could easily say:
‘I want to be noticed and I’m going to get out of here.
So I can share my efforts with my brothers and sisters’
And as it is with vases, paintings, sculptures, so it is with men and women.
And so it is with tribes and ships and trees and stars.
Once we understand this, we can sit next to our neighbour at the end of the day and listen with respect to what he has to say and say what he needs to hear.
And neither of us will try to impose our ideas on the other.
Beyond the mountains that separate the tribes, beyond the distance that separates bodies, there exists the community of spirits.
We are part of that, and there are no streets peopled with pointless words, only broad avenues that connect what is distant and sometimes have to be repaired because of the damage caused by time.
And the man who, yesterday, was seen as an enemy because there was a war being waged, will now be seen as a friend again, because the war is over and life goes on.
The son who left will eventually return, and he will return rich in the experiences he had along the way.
His father will receive him with open arms and say to his servants: ‘Bring the best robe for him and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet; because my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.’
Thus, the returning lover will never be eyed with distrust, because loyalty accompanies his/her every step.
taken from THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA
I am going to think of this day as the first day of my life.
If it’s cloudy, I want to watch to see in which direction the clouds are going. I always think that I don’t have time or don’t pay enough attention.
Above my head exists a sky about which all humanity, over thousands of years, has woven a series of reasonable explanations.
Well, I will forget everything I learned about the stars and they will be transformed once more into angels or children or whatever I feel like believing at that moment.
Time and life have given me plenty of logical explanations for everything, but my soul feeds on mysteries. I need mystery, I need to see the voice of an angry god in a rumble of thunder, even though many of you here might consider that heresy.
I want to fill my life with fantasy again, because an angry god is far stranger, far more frightening and far more interesting than a phenomenon explained by the sages.
For the first time, I will smile without feeling guilty, because joy is not a sin.
For the first time, I will avoid anything that makes me suffer, because suffering is not a virtue.
I will not complain about life, saying: everything’s always the same and I can do nothing to change it. Because I am living this day as if it were my first and, while it lasts, I will discover things that I did not even know were there.
Even though I have walked past the same places countless times before and said ‘Good morning’ to the same people, today’s ‘Good morning’ will be different. It will not be a mere polite formula, but a form of blessing, in the hope that everyone I speak to will understand the importance of being alive, even when tragedy is threatening to engulf us.
I will pay attention to the words of the song the minstrel is singing in the street, even though others are not listening because their souls are heavy with fear. The music says: ‘Love rules, but no one knows where it has its throne; in order to know that secret place, you must first submit to Love.’
And I will have the courage to open the door to the sanctuary that leads to my soul.
May I look at myself as if this were the first time I had ever been in contact with my own body and my own soul.
May I be capable of accepting myself as I am: a person who walks and feels and talks like anyone else, but who, despite his faults, is also brave.
May I be amazed by my simplest gestures, as if I were talking to a stranger; by my most ordinary emotions, as if I were feeling the sand touching my face when the wind blows in from Baghdad; by the most tender of moments, as when I watch my wife sleeping by my side and try to imagine what she is dreaming.
And if I’m alone in bed, I will go over to window, look up at the sky and feel certain that loneliness is a lie, because the Universe is there to keep me company.
And then I will have lived each hour of my day as if it were a constant surprise to me, to this ‘I’, who was not created by my father or my mother or by school, but by everything I have experienced up until now, and which I suddenly forgot in order to discover it all anew.
And even if this is to be my last day on Earth, I will enjoy it to the full, because I will live it with the innocence of a child, as if I were doing everything for the first time.
taken from THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA
No one can go back, but everyone can go forward.
And tomorrow, when the sun rises, all you have to say to yourselves is:
I am going to think of this day as the first day of my life.
I will look on the members of my family with surprise and amazement, glad to discover that they are by my side, silently sharing that much-talked-about, but little understood thing called love.
I will pass a beggar, who will ask me for money. I might give it to him or I might walk past thinking that he will only spend it on drink, and as I do, I will hear his insults and know that it is simply his way of communicating with me.
I will pass someone trying to destroy a bridge. I might try to stop him or I might realise that he is doing it because he has no one waiting for him on the other side and this is his way of trying to fend off his own loneliness.
I will look at everything and everyone as if for the first time, especially the small things that I have grown used to, quite forgetting the magic surrounding them. The desert sands, for example, which are moved by an energy I cannot understand – because I cannot see the wind.
Instead of noting down things I’m unlikely to forget on the notebook I always carry with me, I will write a poem. Even if I have never written one before and even if I never do so again, I will at least know that I once had the courage to put my feelings into words.
When I reach a small village that I know well, I will enter it by a different route. I will be smiling, and the inhabitants will say to each other: ‘He must be mad, because war and destruction have left the soil barren.’
But I will keep smiling, because it pleases me to know that they think I am mad. My smile is my way of saying: ‘You can destroy my body, but not my soul.’
Tonight, before leaving, I’m going to spend time sorting through the pile of things I never had the patience to put in order. And I will find that a little of my history is there.
All the letters, the notes, cuttings and receipts will take on their own life and have strange stories to tell me – about the past and about the future. All the different things in the world, all the roads travelled, all the entrances and exits of my life.
I am going to put on a shirt I often wear and, for the first time, I am going to notice how it was made. I am going to imagine the hands that wove the cotton and the river where the fibres of the plant were born. I will understand that all those now invisible things are a part of the history of my shirt.
And even the things I am accustomed to – like the sandals which, after long use, have become an extension of my feet – will be clothed in the mystery of discovery.
Since I am heading off into the future, I will be helped by the scuff marks left on my sandals from when I stumbled in the past.
May everything my hand touches and my eyes see and my mouth tastes be different, but the same. That way, all those things will cease to be a still life and instead will explain to me why they have been with me for such a long time; and they will reveal to me the miracle of re-encountering emotions worn smooth by routine.
taken from THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA
Success comes to those who do not waste time comparing what they are doing with what others are doing; it enters the house of the person who says every day: ‘I will do my best.’
People who seek only success rarely find it, because success is not an end in itself, but a consequence.
Obsession doesn’t help at all, it becomes confused as to which path to follow and ends up taking away the pleasure of living.
The truly rich person is the one who is in contact with the energy of Love every second of his existence.
You must have a goal in mind, but, as you go along, it costs nothing to stop now and then and enjoy the view around you.
As you advance, step by step, you can see a little further into the distance and take the opportunity to discover things you hadn’t even noticed before.
At such moments, it is important to ask yourself: ‘Are my values still intact? Am I trying to please others and do what they expect of me, or am I really convinced that my work is a manifestation of my soul and my enthusiasm? Do I want success at any price or do I want to be a successful person because I manage to fill my days with Love?’
Do that in 2014. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I just found the file above. It contains the full audiobook of “Brida”
Many people from the book industry will say: “this is a pirate copy, and you should denounce it”.
I prefer to say: “people are basically honest, and if they have a chance to glimpse its content and like it, they will pay”
So this is our deal: if you listen to more than 10 min, please buy the book. Nobody is watching, but I trust you
You can buy it below
iTUNES (iPad and iPhone)
Update: Just read several comments of people who already have the book. It is my understanding that the deal is done, they can listen to the audiobook. That said, I must stress again that I have no copyright of the audiobook