Today’s Question by the reader : Alexandra

How do you imagine paradise?

Not as something that I will reach in an afterlife. Paradise for me is when I feel I am accomplishing what I am supposed to do. It is basically accomplishing my dream in this world.

Today’s Question by the Reader : Sami

Reading through your novels, one finds a strong influence of Sufism. Is there a particular Sufi that influenced your life, and whose influence was reflected in your works?

Indeed, Sufism has inspired me a lot throughout my life and I refer to this tradition in some of my books such as The Alchemist and more recently The Zahir.

Rumi is of course the first figure that springs to mind. His teachings and visions are incredibly subtle and clear.

Another figure that I am very fond of is Mulla Nasrudin (aka Nasr Eddin Hodja). I really enjoy how he managed to get to the core of things with such irreverence and simplicity. The path of wisdom too often appear as foolishness to the world.

Today’s Question by the reader : Nathalia

I think in economic crisis the main problem of Igor, the main character of your new novel The Winner Stands Alone, will be to save his business but not love. What you think about this? And what you think about crisis?

Interesting that you mention the crisis because, in my eyes, this book talks exactly about the excesses that led to the current situation. The constant race for power, money, glamour, are the outward signs of a society that has made “consumption” the alpha and omega of human conduct. In this scenario, when a person is merely what he/she consumes, wears, and pretends – she gradually slips into this image, this collective illusion of perfection. But this collective “dream” reveals only that in order to exist you need to have – instead of simply being.

The crisis is bringing with its chaos, a sort of readjustment: people are realizing that there are other priorities and that they should focus on quality of life – rather than this frantic race for quantity.

Today’s question by the reader : Zoula

Spirituality is the core of your works. You certainly influenced the life of millions through this book, but few people know what were the powers influencing you?

I think my spirituality came from curiosity and, later, by understanding there is a silent presence around myself and I don’t try to explain it but I try to live my faith according to the things I believe.

Today’s question by the reader : Raphael

Readers of your books, besides the joy of reading, find concrete spiritual directions for life… Do you think that your messages find their way to a specific type of readers, or you write novels without thinking about your reader?

I don’t give concrete spiritual directions for life, because living is the only way to learn. I am a writer, first and foremost. I always had the need to write, despite the outer world. I believe that it is this need to keep on understanding myself and questioning the world that motivates me the most. The miracle happens when this inner dialogue gets out in the world and touches other souls. Reaching within one’s soul is what links you to others. I profoundly belive in John Donne’s words: “No Man is an Island”.

Today’s question by the reader : Edwin

Your books contain all these wisdoms for better living. Do you have a mentor or is it all selfstudy?

Yes, I do have a mentor – better saying, I have several mentors: my neighbor, the taxi driver, the stranger that starts a conversation with me and it is not a stranger anymore, or the person that I crossed on the street, or the book that I open by chance, or a music that strikes me at the right moment. My mentors are people that I meet on the course of an ordinary day.

Quote of the Day

Paulo Coelho

In our obsessive wish to arrive, we often forget the most important thing, which is the journey.
(The Pilgrimage)

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet

Today’s question by the reader : Josephine

I very much enjoyed ‘A life in the Day – of the Boy from Brazil’ in the Sunday Times Magazine today. It was so different from the many famous people who are usually in this column due to the way in which you have shaped your life in reflective way.
Today in the Sunday Times, you are quoted as saying ‘ but there is a high price to pay for being different. I’ve paid a price for being different ……… I’m proud of my scars; they are like medals’.
Why do you think some of us are called to be different and make a difference and suffer the pain that this brings while others are content not to make a difference and therefore do not suffer the pain? Is this linked to our spirituality?

I’m not so sure about your assumption that people content themselves with what society asks of them. Furthermore, I don’t think they are as placid as you think.
Actually in my book The Pilgrimage I talk about this feeling. Indeed, when you abandon your dream, the first feeling that creeps in is a type of calmness, stillness. This is the first indication that something of precious in your soul is dying.
I would say that it is better to feel – completely – the consequences of your fight because these indicate that you are alive.
Of course, sometimes we wish to reduce the pain – and I think this is part of the battle. Ideally, the best would be to reduce the suffering in the realization of our dreams. Hence the need of allies and most importantly of all: faith.
The most beautiful accomplishment in my eyes is to fight with happiness in our hearts. I prefer this immensely more than some type of mild satisfaction of not taking risks.

Today’s question by the reader : Alex

How do we know if we should try to help someone or if we should walk away?

I think that there’s no true answer for this. But I take it from another perspective : how far are you willing to go for someone who is lost? How far can you walk away from your path in order to “help” someone who doesn’t want to be helped?
In The Alchemist, I use the metaphor of the sheperd : sometimes we sacrifice the whole flock for a single sheep. Is it worth it?

Today’s question by the reader : Sylvia

What is more important to be loved or to love?

Dear Sylvia,
I think that if you could only choose one solution”: the best is to love. When you are in love, you live this miracle and you feel this strength.
On the other hand – to be loved – without the counterpart of loving is unbearable.
Your question though reminded me of a song by a very famous Brazilian singer: Roberto Carlos – “I will only love someone who loves be back”. This in my view is the perfect configuration.

Today’s question by the reader : Catherine

I would be interested to know what one word you yourself could use to describe the common thread that links all your images of the day.

The common tread that links all the images of the day is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes not revealing the Ariadne’s thread leads us towards a much richer maze.

Today’s Question by the reader : Juan

My question to you is : What you say about those like me who are workaholics and have a need to keep striving for acknowledgements for others instead of self-fulfillment?

Dear Juan,
Being a workaholic myself, the only solution I found was allying my work with my mission. It was a very long process, but becoming a writer helped me a lot in achieving this fragile equilibrium.

Today’s Question by the reader : Stella

Some medias reported the disturbance caused by your biography The Magician. Was this biography published with your authorization? How about its authenticity?

I authorized the biography but Fernando was completely free to use whatever material he wanted.

I never wanted a complacent biography – I gave him the keys to a truck I had with all my writings and only read the book once it was being printed.

I was impressed by certain of the things I did, but I prefer truth in these matters.

Today’s Question by the reader : Kelly from Myspace

Your blog yesterday has me thinking and wondering about something…it mentions men closing their eyes to major travesties around the world and some others that are less major, but no less important…and it is true that warriors of light never/should never accept what is unacceptable.

Tell me…should this apply to our own individual battles? To injustice done to ourselves? How do we know when to fight against this injustice, to fight for our truth, and when we should just let them win, walk away beaten and burned? It is unacceptable to me that this wrong was done to me and that truth and light will never win….what to do?

Today’s Question by the reader : Kelly from Myspace

Your blog yesterday has me thinking and wondering about something…it mentions men closing their eyes to major travesties around the world and some others that are less major, but no less important…and it is true that warriors of light never/should never accept what is unacceptable.

Tell me…should this apply to our own individual battles? To injustice done to ourselves? How do we know when to fight against this injustice, to fight for our truth, and when we should just let them win, walk away beaten and burned? It is unacceptable to me that this wrong was done to me and that truth and light will never win….what to do?

The unacceptable is not only to be found in “major issues” – such as social injustices or wrongs that we hear through the news.

Unacceptable actions take their roots in everyday circumstances – they happen daily to all of us.

So, in order to start shedding some light around us, we need to start by not accepting the wrong that is done to us. This is actually the beginning of a difference that will gradually spread the others.

It’s important to say no, and to defend ourselves when we realize we were attacked.
Otherwise, if you are paralyzed by defeat, then there is simply no beginning for justice in the world.

Today’s Question by the reader : Melle

Oi Paulo,

I once read that in working with Raul Seixas, you said he taught you how to write about complicated and important subjects in simple ways. What were the specific lessons and techniques that you took from that?

Basically I learnt that the first draft – is the final draft! This means that if you feel that in order to write something you need to be constantly re-read and re-edit, this means you didn’t get it right in the first place.

He also tought me to not only go to the essential but also depart from more baroque ideas so that the message can pass in a crystal clear way.

Today’s Question by the reader : Jenni

Everytime I read a book of yours I always catch myself being drawn by the characters you write about and their stories.I write blogs and when I do it is always something spontaenous.But deep inside I know how much more I want to let go of all the emotions and experience I have kept and made in my life. It is never an easy thing for me to write because it is like stripping my soul. It is like I am tearing myself up but on the other hand I let go of all the bad cords that is connnected to me for a long time.

My question is: How come everytime I write I bleed inside… Is this feeling normal?

It depends on how you define normality. If you think normality is to be insensitive to your own feelings and pretend that the best you can aspire to is some sort of placid state where nothing moves you, well, I would say that normality is not really an objective.

But if you consider that normality is to strive despite the bruises of life, and to be yourself as much as possible, then, yes dear Jenni, the feeling you have is quite normal.

When you look at my life, you will notice that it took me 40 years to be able to become a writer. It takes time and it is a long process. But once you start walking your path, you find out that things will come to you more and more naturally.

Today’s Question by the reader : Jen Sanchez

Hi Mr Coelho,
just wondering, from among all the places & countries you’ve been to, which one do you consider a personal favorite?

I’ve always been a traveler, a pilgrim. To be able to keep on moving, meeting new people and getting in touch with new visions of the world, is what keeps me going.

That’s why, I find impossible to answer this question. It’s like asking me which of my characters I love the most: they are all part of my soul, my children.

The same thing happens with the different countries I’ve been to: all these different horizons gave me shelter.

Today’s Question by the reader : Ema

How exactly do you pray?

I pray three times a day – when I wake up, then at 18h and when I go to bed. These are conventional prayers that I do every single day – since I think that it is very important to be rigorous in the spiritual quest.

Having said this, I see myself praying many times throughout the day – sometimes because of an unexpected joy, sometimes because of my fears, sometimes because of a wish I need to make. More importantly, I pray through my work that I perform with great love, and through my life. To live intensively and with joy is the best way of praying.

Today’s Question by the reader : Carla

Will you ever write an autobiography?

No – for two reasons. Firstly, a biography written by Fernando Morais (a Brazilian journalist and writer) is coming out throughout 2009 and 2010 in several countries.

Secondly, I never wanted to write an autobiography because I prefer a third party to write about one’s own work – otherwise it would be too pompous to indulge in such an exercise.