Parents and children

When I was young, my parents sent me to a mental institution three times ( 1966, 1967, 1968). The reasons in my medical files are banal. It was said that I was isolated, hostile and miserable at school. I was not crazy but I was rather just a 17-year-old who really wanted to become a writer. Because no one understood this, I was locked up for months and fed with tranquilizers. The therapy merely consisted of giving me electroshocks. I promised to myself that one day I would write about this experience, so young people will understand that we have to fight for our own dreams from a very early stage of our lives.

When I realeased “Veronika decides to die”, a book that was a metaphor of my experience in a lunatic asylum, the press started asking me if I forgave my parents. In fact, I did not need to forgive them, because I never blamed them for what happened. From their own point-of-view, they were trying to help me to get the discipline necessary to accomplish my deeds as an adult, and to forget the “dreams of a teenager” .

Khalil Gibran has an excellent text about parents and children:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Love and fight

The warrior of light sometimes fights with those he loves.
The man who defends his friends is never overwhelmed by the storms of life; he is strong enough to come through difficulties and to carry on.
However, he is often faced by challenges from those to whom he is trying to teach the art of the sword. His disciples provoke him into fighting with them.
And the warrior demonstrates his abilities: with just a few blows he disarms his students, and harmony returns to the place where they meet.

‘Why bother to do that, when you are so much better than they are?’ asks a traveller.
‘Because in challenging me, what they really want is to talk to me and this is my way of keeping dialogue open,’ replies the warrior.

taken from “”Warrior of the Light: a Manual”

The vespers


San Francisco, United States

I walk through a park with my former American editor, John Loudon, and his wife, Sharon. We can see the city of San Francisco in the distance, illuminated by the setting sun.
Sharon wrote a book about a Benedictine monastery, and tells us that the afternoon prayers, called vespers, are songs of faith in the certainty that the night will pass.

– The vespers indicate the necessity we have to be near others at nightfall – she says. – But our society has forgotten the importance of this nearness, and pretends to greatly prize each person’s ability to deal with his own difficulties. We no longer pray together; we hide our solitude as if we were afraid to admit it exists.

Sharon pauses, before adding:

– I was like that once. Until one day I lost my fear of depending on my neighbor, because I discovered that he too needed me.

20 sec reading: In search of the perfect leader


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EM PORTUGUES AQUI: Em busca do lider perfeito
EN ESPANOL AQUI: En busca del lider perfecto
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A reader sends me a questionnaire in which he presents the profile of three world leaders who lived in the same period of history, and asks if it is possible to choose the best one using the following data:

Candidate A was associated with witchdoctors and often consulted astrologists. He had two mistresses. His wife was a Lesbian. He smoked a lot. He drank eight to ten martinis a day.

Candidate B never managed to hold down a job because of his arrogance. He slept the whole morning. He used opium at school, and was always considered a bad student. He drank a glass of brandy every morning.

Candidate C was decorated a hero. A vegetarian, he did not smoke. His discipline was exemplary. He occasionally drank a beer. He stayed with the same woman during his moments of glory and defeat.

And what was the answer?

A] Franklin Delano Roosevelt. B] Winston Churchill. C] Adolf Hitler.

So what then is leadership? The encyclopedia defines it as an individual’s capacity to motivate others to seek the same objective. The bookstores are full of texts on this theme, and the leaders are normally portrayed in brilliant colors, with enviable qualities and supreme ideals. The leader is to society as the “master” is to spirituality. This, however, is not absolutely true (in either case).

Our big problem, especially in a world that is growing more and more fundamentalist, is not allowing people in prominent positions to commit human mistakes.
We are always in search of the perfect ruler. And we risk to have another madman like Hitler.
We are always looking for a pastor to guide and help us find our way.

The truth is that the great revolutions and the progress made by humanity were brought about by people just like us.
We only need to have the courage to make a key decision at a crucial moment.

Character of the week: Maria

Maria and I, 2002

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EN ESPANOL AQUI: Personaje de la semana: Maria
EM PORTUGUES: Personagem da semana: Maria

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“At every moment of our lives we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.”

“When we meet someone and fall in love, we have a sense that the whole universe is on our side… And yet if something goes wrong, there is nothing left! How is it possible for the beauty that was there only minutes before to vanish so quickly? Life moves very fast. It rushes from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds.”

“If I must be faithful to someone or something, then I have, first of all, to be faithful to myself.”

“If I’m looking for true love, I first have to get the mediocre love out of my systems.”

“Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally come to realize that nothing really belongs to them.”

“The art of sex is the art of controlled abandon.”

“Passion makes a person stop eating, sleeping, working, feeling at peace. A lot of people are frightened because, when it appears, it demolishes all the old things it finds in its path.”

“In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each of us responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel.”

“The great aim of every human being is to understand the meaning of total love. Love is not to be found in someone else, but in ourselves; we simply awaken it. But in order to do that, we need the other person. The universe only makes sense when we have someone to share our feelings with.”

Pain and suffering are used to justify the one thing that brings only joy: love.

“Considering the way the world is, one happy day is almost a miracle.”

from the diary of Maria, the prostitute in ELEVEN MINUTES

Hiding the inner strenght

‘It’s odd,’ says the warrior of light to himself. ‘I have met so many people who, at the first opportunity, try to show their very worst qualities. They hide their inner strength behind aggression; they hide their fear of loneliness behind an air of independence. They do not believe in their own abilities, but are constantly trumpeting their virtues.’

The warrior reads these messages in many of the men and women he meets.
He is never taken in by appearances and makes a point of remaining silent when people try to impress him.
And he uses the occasion to correct his own faults, for other people make an excellent mirror.

A warrior takes every opportunity to teach himself.

Who still wants this bill?

Cassan Said Amer tells a story about a lecturer who began a seminar holding up a one dollar bill, and asking:

– Who wants this dollar bill?

Several hands went up, but the lecturer said:

– Before handing it over, there’s something I must do.

He furiously crushed it, and asked again:

– Who still wants this bill?

The hands continued raised.

– And what if I do this?

He threw it against the wall, letting it fall to the floor, kicked it, stamped in it and again held up the bill – all dirty and crumpled. He repeated the question, and the hands continued to be held high.

– You mustn’t ever forget this scene – said the lecturer. – No matter what I do with this money, it’ll still be a one dollar bill.

“Many times in our lives, we are crushed, stamped on, kicked, maltreated, offended; however, in spite of this, we are still worth the same.”

10 SEC READING: Here where I am

After having won many archery contests, the town champion went to the Zen master.

– I am the best of all – he said. – I didn’t study religion, never sought help from the monks, and succeeded in becoming the finest archer in the whole region. I heard that, for a time, you were the best archer in the region, and ask you: was it necessary to become a monk in order to learn to shoot?

– No – replied the Zen master.

But the champion was not satisfied: he took an arrow, placed it in the bow, fired it and hit a cherry which was very far away. Smiling, as if to say: "you might have saved your time, devoting yourself only to technique." And he said:

– I doubt whether you could do that.

Without looking in the least bit worried, the master went inside, fetched his bow, and began to walk towards a nearby mountain.
On the way, there was an abyss which could only be crossed by an old bridge made of rotting rope, and which was almost collapsing.
The Zen master went to the middle of the bridge, took his bow and placed an arrow in it, then aimed at a tree on the far side of the precipice, and hit his target.

– Now it is your turn – he kindly told the young man, as he returned to firm ground.

Terrified as he gazed down at the abyss below his feet, the young man went to the spot and fired, but his arrow veered wide of the mark.

– That is why the discipline of meditation was worthwhile – concluded the master, when the young man returned to him.

“You may have great skill with the instrument you choose for your livelihood, but it us useless, if you cannot command the mind which uses that instrument.”

Is it written?


Are coincidences in our life are a part of our destiny and if everything is written as we say ‘maktub’, then what is the point in following our dreams? (by Saakshi)

There’s a traditional story that in my view sums up quite well the answer to your question:
There was an old man who had a dream one night that he would be protected from a ravaging storm that would engulf his whole village.

The next day, as expected, a terrible storm came to his region. The first day a neighbor of his offered help for him to flee – help that he denied since he was sure God was going to help him.
The second day, when he had to take refuge in the second floor of his house given that the waters had taken over all of the first floor, a rescue team came to his house and offered him to get out of there – help that he again refused given that God had promised him to get out of there.
The third day came a helicopter to rescue him but he was adamant that God was going to save him.
Not long after he drowned and died. Once in heaven he complained to God: “why didn’t you help me as you promised?”
To which God replied: ” I sent your neighbor, a rescue squad and even a helicopter to which you simply declined!”

You see Saakshi: things are written, but you need to be attentive to the signs that constantly try to remind you that life wishes you to be “saved”. And salvation is the path that leads you to your dream, your fulfillment in this life.

O alquimista: o segredo da felicidade

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Certo mercador enviou seu filho para aprender o Segredo da Felicidade com o mais sábio de todos os homens. O rapaz andou durante quarenta dias pelo deserto, até chegar a um belo castelo, no alto de uma montanha. Lá vivia o Sábio que o rapaz buscava.

Ao invés de encontrar um homem santo, o nosso herói entrou numa sala e viu uma atividade imensa; mercadores entravam e saíam, pessoas conversavam pelos cantos, uma pequena orquestra tocava melodias suaves, e havia uma farta mesa com os mais deliciosos pratos daquela regiãoo do mundo.

O Sábio conversava com todos, e o rapaz teve que esperar duas horas até chegar sua vez de ser atendido.

Com muita paciência, escutou atentamente o motivo da visita do rapaz, mas disse-lhe que naquele momento não tinha tempo de explicar-lhe o Segredo da Felicidade.Sugeriu que o desse um passeio por seu palácio, e voltasse daqui a duas horas.

– Entretanto, quero lhe pedir um favor – completou, entregando ao rapaz uma colher de chá, onde pingou duas gotas de óleo. – Enquanto você estiver caminhando, carregue esta colher sem deixar que o óleo seja derramado.

O rapaz comeíçou a subir e descer as escadarias do palácio, mantendo sempre os olhos fixos na colher. Ao final de duas horas, retornou à presença do Sábio.

– Entãoo – perguntou o Sábio – você viu as tapeçarias da Pérsia que estão na minha sala de jantar? Viu o jardim que o Mestre dos Jardineiros demorou dez anos para criar? Reparou nos belos pergaminhos de minha biblioteca?

O rapaz, envergonhado, confessou que nãoo havia visto nada. Sua única preocupação era nãoo derramar as gotas de óleo que o Sábio lhe havia confiado.

– Pois então volte e conheça as maravilhas do meu mundo – disse o Sábio. – Você não pode confiar num homem se não conhece sua casa.

Já mais tranqüilo, o rapaz pegou a colher e voltou a passear pelo palácio, desta vez reparando em todas as obras de arte que pendiam do teto e das paredes. Viu os jardins, as montanhas ao redor, a delicadeza das flores, o requinte com que cada obra de arte estava colocada em seu lugar. De volta , relatou tudo que encontrara.

– Mas onde estãoo as duas gotas de óleo que lhe confiei? – perguntou o Sábio.

Olhando para a colher, o rapaz percebeu que as havia derramado.

– Pois este é o único conselho que eu tenho para lhe dar – disse o mais Sábio dos Sábios. – O segredo da felicidade está em olhar todas as maravilhas do mundo, e nunca se esquecer das duas gotas de óleo na colher

(do livro “O alquimista”, edição comemorativa em todas as livrarias do Brasil, e record mundial de permanecia na lista de mais vendidos do NY Times)

“O Alquimista” é um 20 livros mais vendidos de todos os tempos

 
 

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Alice and the queen

In Lewis Carroll’s famous masterpiece “Alice through the Looking Glass,” there is a dialogue between the main character and the Queen, who has just told something quite extraordinary.

– I can’t believe it – says Alice.

– Can’t believe it? – the Queen repeats with a sad look on her face. – Try again: take a deep breath, close your eyes, and believe.

Alice laughs:

– It’s no good trying. Only fools believe that impossible things can happen.

– I think what you need is a little training – answers the Queen. – When I was your age I would practice at least half an hour a day, right after breakfast, I tried very hard to imagine five or six unbelievable things that could cross my path, and today I see that most of the things I imagined have turned real, I even became a Queen because of that.

Life constantly asks us: “believe!” Believing that a miracle can happen at any moment is necessary not only for our happiness but also for our protection, or to justify our existence. In today’s world, many people think it is impossible to put an end to misery, to build a fair society, and to alleviate the religious tension that seems to grow worse every day.

Most people avoid the struggle for a whole variety of reasons: conformism, maturity, the sense of the ridiculous, the feeling of impotence. We see injustice being done to our neighbor and remain silent. “I’m not getting involved in fights for nothing” is the explanation.

This is a cowardly attitude. Whoever travels down a spiritual path carries an honor code to be fulfilled; the voice that is raised against what is wrong is always heard by God.

You are supposed to be normal if you follow these stupid rules

TRADUCCION EN ESPANOL AQUI>>> Es considerado normal…
TRADUçíƒO EM PORTUGUES AQUI >>>É considerado normal…

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1] Believing that dreams are impossible.

2] Believing in everything they tell about who are your “enemies”.

3] Spending years at university and then not being able to find a job.

4] Working from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon at something that does not give us the least pleasure, so that we can retire after 30 years.

5] Retiring only to discover that we have no more energy to enjoy life, and then dying of boredom after a few years.

6] Using Botox.

7] Trying to be financially successful instead of seeking happiness.

8] Ridiculing those who seek happiness instead of money by calling them “people with no ambition”.

9] Comparing objects like cars, houses and clothes, and defining life according to these comparisons instead of really trying to find out the true reason for being alive.

10] Not talking to strangers. Saying nasty things about our neighbors.

11] Thinking that parents are always right.

12] Getting married, having children and staying together even though the love has gone, claiming that it’s for the sake of the children (who do not seem to be listening to the constant arguments).

12ª] Criticizing everybody who tries to be different.

14] Waking up with a hysterical alarm-clock at the bedside.

15] Believing in everything that is printed.

16] Wearing a piece of colored cloth wrapped around the neck, known by the pompous name “necktie”.

17] Never asking direct questions, even though the other person understands what you want to know.

18] Keeping a smile on your face when you really want to cry. And feeling sorry for those who show their own feelings.

19] Thinking that art is worth a fortune, or that it is worth absolutely nothing.

20] Always despising what was easily gained, because the “necessary sacrifice” – and therefore also the required qualities – are missing.

21] Following fashion, even though it all looks ridiculous and uncomfortable.

22] Being convinced that all the famous people have tons of money.

23] Investing a lot in exterior beauty and paying little attention to interior beauty.

24] Using all possible means to show that even though you are a normal person, you are infinitely superior to other human beings.

25] In any kind of public transport, never looking straight into the eyes of the other passengers, as this may be taken for attempting to seduce them.

26] When in an elevator, looking straight at the door and pretending you are the only person inside, however crowded it may be.

27] Never laughing out loud in a restaurant, no matter how funny the story is.

28] In the Northern hemisphere, always wearing the clothes that match the season of the year: short sleeves in springtime (however cold it may be) and a woolen jacket in the fall (no matter how warm it is).

29] In the Southern hemisphere, decorating the Christmas tree with cotton wool, even though winter has nothing to do with the birth of Christ.

30] As you grow older, thinking you are the wisest man in the world, even though not always do you have enough life experience to know what is wrong.

31] Going to a charity event and thinking that it is enough to put an end to all the social inequalities in the world.

32] Eating three times a day, even when not hungry.

33] Believing that the others are always better at everything: they are better-looking, more resourceful, richer and more intelligent. Since it’s very risky to venture beyond your own limits, it’s better to do nothing.

34] Using the car as a way to feel powerful and in control of the world.

35] Using foul language in traffic.

36] Thinking that everything your child does wrong is the fault of the company he or she is keeping.

37] Marrying the first person who offers a position in society. Love can wait.

38] Always saying “I tried”, even though you haven’t tried at all.

39] Putting off doing the most interesting things in life until you no longer have the strength to do them.

40] Avoiding depression with massive daily doses of television programs.

41] Believing that it is possible to be sure of everything you have won.

42] Thinking that women don’t like football and that men don’t like interior decoration.

43] Blaming the government for everything bad that happens.

44] Being convinced that being a good, decent and respectful person means that the others will find you weak, vulnerable and easy to manipulate.

45] Being convinced that aggressiveness and discourtesy in treating others are signs of a powerful personality.

46] Being afraid of fibroscopy (men) and childbirth (women).

47] And finally, thinking that your religion is the sole proprietor of the absolute truth, the most important, the best, and that the other human beings in this immense planet who believe in any other manifestation of God are condemned to the fires of hell.
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list compiled by Igor, the main character of “The Winner stands alone”

Madness as disguise

The warrior of light does not worry that, to others, his behaviour might seem quite mad.
He talks out loud to himself when he is alone. Someone told him that this is the best way of communicating with the angels, and so he takes a chance and tries to make contact.
At first, he finds this very difficult. He thinks that he has nothing to say, that he will just repeat the same meaningless twaddle. Even so, the warrior persists. He spends all day talking to his heart. He says things with which he does not agree, he talks utter nonsense.
One day, he notices a change in his voice. He realises that he is acting as a channel for some higher wisdom.
The warrior may seem mad, but this is just a disguise.

taken from “”Warrior of the Light: a Manual”

Contradictions

Warriors of light always keep a certain gleam in their eyes.
They are of this world, they are part of the lives of other people and they set out on their journey with no saddlebags and no sandals.
They are often cowardly.
They do not always make the right decisions.
They suffer over the most trivial things, they have mean thoughts and sometimes believe they are incapable of growing.
They frequently deem themselves unworthy of any blessing or miracle.
They are not always quite sure what they are doing here.
They spend many sleepless nights, believing that their lives have no meaning.

That is why they are warriors of light. Because they make mistakes. Because they ask themselves questions.
Because they are looking for a reason – and are sure to find it.

taken from “”Warrior of the Light: a Manual”

Acts of folly

A warrior of light is never predictable.
He might dance down the street on his way to work, gaze into the eyes of a complete stranger and speak of love at first sight, or else defend an apparently absurd idea. Warriors of light allow themselves days like these.
He is not afraid to weep over ancient sorrows or to feel joy at new discoveries. When he feels that the moment has arrived, he drops everything and goes off on some long-dreamed-of adventure. When he realises that he can do no more, he abandons the fight, but never blames himself for having committed a few unexpected acts of folly.
A warrior does not spend his days trying to play the role that others have chosen for him.

taken from “”Warrior of the Light: a Manual”

Perseverance

A warrior of light respects the main teaching of the I Ching: ‘To persevere is favourable.’
He knows that perseverance is not the same thing as insistence. There are times when battles go on longer than necessary, draining him of strength and enthusiasm.
At such moments, the warrior thinks: ‘A prolonged war finally destroys the victors too.’
Then he withdraws his forces from the battlefield and allows himself a respite. He perseveres in his desire, but knows he must wait for the best moment to attack.
A warrior always returns to the fray. He never does so out of stubbornness, but because he has noticed a change in the weather.

taken from “”Warrior of the Light: a Manual”

Repeated moments

A warrior of light knows that certain moments repeat themselves.
He often finds himself faced by the same problems and situations, and seeing these difficult situations return, he grows depressed, thinking that he is incapable of making any progress in life.
‘I’ve been through all this before,’ he says to his heart.
‘Yes, you have been through all this before,’ replies his heart. ‘But you have never been beyond it.’
Then the warrior realises that these repeated experiences have but one aim: to teach him what he does not want to learn.

taken from “”Warrior of the Light: a Manual”

11 ways to become an Alchemist

HAPPY 2016 !

 

Oh Maria concebida sem pecado, rogai por nós que recorremos à Vós. Amém 2015-01-18 01.13.16

2016: Manual for conserving paths

1] The path begins with a crossroads. There you can stop and think what direction to follow. But don’t spend too much time thinking or you’ll never leave the spot. Once you have taken the first step, forget the crossroads forever or you will always torture yourself with the useless question: “did I take the right path?”

2] The path doesn’t last for ever. It is a blessing to travel the path for some time, but one day it will come to an end, so always be prepared to leave it at any moment. Don’t get too used to anything. Neither to the hours of euphoria, nor to the endless days when everything seems so difficult and progress is so slow. Don’t forget that sooner or later an angel will appear and your journey will reach an end.

3] Honor your path. It was your choice, your decision, and just as you respect the ground you step on, that ground will respect your feet. Always do what is best to conserve and keep your path and it will do the same for you.

4] Be well equipped. Carry a small rake, a spade, a penknife. Understand that penknives are no use for dry leaves, and rakes are useless for herbs that are deep-rooted. Know also what tool to use at each moment.

5] The path goes forward and backward. At times you have to go back because something was lost, or else a message to be delivered was forgotten in your pocket. A well tended path enables you to go back without any great problems.

6] Take care of the path before you take care of what is around you. Don’t be distracted by the dry leaves at the edges or by the way that others are looking after their paths. Use your energy to tend and conserve the ground that accepts your steps.

7] Be patient. Sometimes the same tasks have to be repeated, like tearing up weeds or closing holes that appear after unexpected rain. Don’t let that annoy you – that is part of the journey.

8] Paths cross. People can tell what the weather is like. Listen to advice, and make your own decisions. You alone are responsible for the path that was entrusted to you.

9] Nature follows its own rules. In this way, you have to be prepared for sudden changes in the fall, slippery ice in winter, the temptations of flowers in spring, thirst and showers in the summer. Make the most of each of these seasons, and don’t complain about their characteristics.

10] Make your path a mirror of yourself. By no means let yourself be influenced by the way that others care for their paths. You have your soul to listen to, and the birds to tell what your soul is saying. Let your stories be beautiful and pleasant to everything around you. Above all, let the stories that your soul tells during the journey be echoed at each and every second of the path.

11] Love your path. And may the Lord guide you and help you every single day in 2016!