20 SEC READING: The lady in Copacabana #WorldHumanitarianDay

old lady paint

Today, August 18, ONU celebrates the World Humanitarian Day, and asked its Messengers of Peace to share a story.I decided to share a story of joy
EM PORTUGUES CLICAR AQUI: A velha em Copacabana
EN ESPANOL CLICAR AQUI: La señora en Copacabana

She was standing on the sidewalk of Atlíântica Avenue with a guitar and a hand-written sign that said:

“Let’s sing together.”

She began to play.

Then a drunk arrived, then another old lady and they began to sing along with her.

In a short time a small crowd was singing together and another small crowd played the audience, clapping hands at the end of each number.

“Why do you do this?” I asked between songs.

“I don’t want to be alone,” she said. “My life is very lonely, just like almost all old people.”

I wish they all could solve their problems in this way.

 #ShareHumanity   #WorldHumanitarianDay

Vacations

THE ALCHEMIST copia

THE ALCHEMIST copia
Begona Miguel of the Huelgas Monastery says: “San Juan de La Cruz teaches us that silence has its own music; it is silence that enables us to see ourselves and the things around us.

“I would like to add that there are words that can only be said in silence, odd as that may seem. To compose their symphonies, the great geniuses needed silence – and they managed to transform this into divine sounds. Philosophers and scientists need silence.”

“In the monastery, at night we practice what we call the ‘Great Silence’. In the absence of talk we can understand what lies beyond.”

Therefore, it is time for me to enjoy the silence. This blog takes a vacation, returning by the end of August

You are always welcome to browse the ARCHIVES below

Enjoy your summer.
Love
Paulo

How to keep Hell full

By Paulo Coelho

 

According to a traditional story, at the moment when the Son of God expired on the cross, He went straight to Hell in order to save sinners.

The Devil was most put out.

‘I have no other function in the universe,’ he said. ‘From now on, all the delinquents who broke the rules, committed adultery and infringed the religious laws will be sent straight to Heaven!’

Jesus looked at him and smiled:

‘Don’t worry,’ he said to the poor Devil. ‘All those who judge themselves to be full of virtue and therefore spend their lives condemning those who don’t follow my word, they will come here. Just wait a few hundred years and you’ll find that Hell is fuller than ever!’

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In Buddha and in the Virgin Mary

The Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, is one of the most respected teachers of Buddhism in the West.
When he was travelling in Sri Lanka, he met six barefoot children. ‘They were not children from a shanty town, but children from the country, and looking at them, I saw that they formed part of the nature which surrounded them.’
He was alone on the beach and they all ran towards him. Since Thich Nhat Hanh did not speak their language, he simply hugged them and they hugged him back.
At one point, however, he suddenly remembered an ancient Buddhist prayer: ‘I take refuge in Buddha’. He began singing it, and four of the children joined in. Thich Nhat Hanh made a sign to the other two children who were not singing. They smiled, put their hands together and said in Pali: ‘I take refuge in the Virgin Mary.’

The sound of the prayer was the same. On that beach, on that afternoon, Thich Nhat Nanh says that he found a harmony and serenity he had rarely experienced before.

 

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40 SEC READING: the magic moment

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“You have to take risks”- he said.

“We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.

“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 that 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 to 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 seem 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.”

In “By the river Piedra I sat down and wept”

And while out walking…

 

While walking through a field, a man spotted a scarecrow.
“You must be tired standing there in this lonely field with nothing to do,” he commented.
The scarecrow replied:
“There is great pleasure in driving away danger, and I never grow tired doing this.”
“Yes, I too have acted like that, and with good results,” agreed the man.
“But those who are full of straw inside are always chasing things away,” said the scarecrow.
The man took some years to understand the answer: those with flesh and blood in their body must accept some unexpected things. But those with nothing inside them are always driving off everything that comes near them – and not even the blessings of God can come close to them.

The grove of cedar trees

 

In 1939, the Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara was working in the Japanese embassy in Lithuania during one of the most terrible periods humanity has known, and he saved thousands of Polish Jews from the Nazi threat by issuing them with exit visas.
His act of heroism, in defying his own government for many years, was just an obscure footnote in the history of the War until the people whom Sugihara had saved broke their silence and decided to tell his story. Then everyone celebrated his great courage; the media joined in and authors were inspired to write books describing him as a ‘Japanese Schindler’.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government was collating the names of all such saviours in order to reward them for their efforts. One of the ways in which the Jewish state tried to acknowledge their debt to these heroes was to plant trees in their honour. When Sugihara’s bravery became known, the Israeli authorities planned, as was the custom, to plant a grove of trees in his memory, cherry trees – Japan’s traditional tree.
Suddenly, the unusual decision was taken to revoke the order. They decided that cherry trees were not an adequate symbol of Sugihara’s courage. They chose instead to plant a grove of cedar trees because the cedar is a much more vigorous tree and one with sacred connotations, having been used in the construction of the first Temple.
Only when the trees had already been planted did the authorities learn that in Japanese ‘sugihara’ means…a grove of cedar trees.

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The small farm and the cow

 

A philosopher was strolling through the forest with a disciple, discussing the importance of unexpected encounters. According to the philosopher, everything around us provides us with an opportunity to learn or to teach.
At that moment, they passed the gate of a small farm which, although well situated, appeared to be extremely run down.
‘Just look at this place,’ said the disciple. ‘You’re quite right. What I learn from this is that many people live in Paradise, but are not even aware that they do and continue to live in the most miserable conditions.’
‘I said learn and teach,’ retorted the philosopher. ‘It is never enough simply to notice what is going on, you must also find out the causes, because we can only understand the world when we understand the causes.’
They knocked on the door and were received by the inhabitants: a couple and their three children, all dressed in ragged, dirty clothes.
‘You live in the middle of the forest with no shops anywhere around,’ said the philosopher to the father of the family. ‘How do you survive here?’
The man very calmly replied:
‘My friend, we have a cow who gives us several litres of milk every day. Some of this we sell or exchange in the neighbouring town for other food, and with the remainder we make cheese, yoghurt and butter for ourselves. And that is how we survive.’
The philosopher thanked him for this information, looked at the place for a few moments and then left. As they walked away, he said to his disciple:
‘Take the cow, lead it to that precipice and push it over.’
‘But the cow is the family’s only means of support.’
The philosopher said nothing. Having no alternative, the young man did as he was told, and the cow fell to its death.
The scene remained engraved on his memory. Many years later, when he himself was a successful businessman, he resolved to return to that place, to tell the family everything, to ask their forgiveness and to help them financially.
Imagine his surprise when he found the place transformed into a beautiful farm with flowering trees, a car in the garage and children playing in the garden. He was gripped by despair, thinking that the humble family must have been forced to sell the farm in order to survive. He hurried on and was greeted by a friendly servant.
‘What happened to the family who used to live here ten years ago?’ he asked.
‘They still own the place,’ came the reply.
Astonished, he ran into the house, and the owner recognised him. He asked after the philosopher, but the young man was too anxious to find out how the man had managed to improve the farm and to raise his standard of living so dramatically.
‘Well, we used to have a cow, but it fell over the precipice and died,’ said the man. ‘Then, in order to support my family, I had to plant herbs and vegetables. The plants took a while to grow, and so I started cutting down trees to sell the wood. Then, of course, I had to buy saplings to replace the trees. When I was buying the saplings, I thought about my children’s clothes, and it occurred to me that I could perhaps try growing my own cotton. I had a difficult first year, but by the time harvest came around, I was already selling vegetables, cotton and aromatic herbs. I had never realised how much potential the farm had. It was a bit of luck really that cow dying!’
(A story circulating on the Internet in 1999, author unknown.)

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When the bridges are collapsing

Mr. Coelho, are you interested in building bridges between cultures?

For a writer you have to be interested in different cultures, different backgrounds. You are not there to write only about your village. You’re there to show a bit of your village, but also to understand other villages. Like Tolstoy says: everything that happens in a village happens everywhere.

Were you raised with that kind of approach?

As a child I was influenced by many different inputs and cultures – Arabic, Jewish, American – and I became interested like this. We did not select music that we were going to hear out of political correctness. We selected something that you either like or you don’t like. When I started writing I started seeing this input manifesting itself. And then I became interested.

Do you feel like we have more bridges between cultures today than in the past?

Today I see all the bridges collapsing. It seems that nobody is capable of understanding each other anymore. I feel it’s my duty as a human being, as a person who is trying – like everybody else who thinks about the state of the world – to enhance the importance of this multicultural connection. As long as you still have one bridge left, nothing is lost. But from the moment that you cannot even understand the storytelling or the music of other cultures anymore, then we become strangers to each other and the situation will become very complicated.

Well I’d say you are bridging cultures with your online presence – you have 22 million Facebook Likes, 9 million Twitter followers, and you have been blogging since 2006. Why are you so active on the internet?

It’s a new platform and as a writer I have to find platforms that can use this writing process. The internet is one of them. People are reading more and writing more now because of the internet. So the virtual world is a way for me to listen to my readers and interact with my readers. It is a way that they can voice their opinion. I like to be challenged with language, so I start to do texts for my blogs that people can download, can spread. There is no commercial interest behind it. It’s only for fun, like doing something that you really enjoy to do. I have texts that I write specifically for the internet and I put them there. I am interested in how readers also respond to the texts that I write to them.

Does it trouble you that the wealth of information also brings less credibility with it?

I’m not sure about that. I think the more information you can get, the better you can find information for your own purposes.

Is it true that you always look for a white feather before you start writing?

That’s true for starting the book. Meaning there’s a tradition back to The Pilgrimage, my first book in 1987. Back then I was not sure if I should write the book or not, I was in a moment of doubt. I was in Madrid and I said, “If today I see a white feather, that’s the sign that I should write.”

But what if you have a great idea and you really want to start writing, but you can’t find a white feather?

No, you normally find a white feather. The problem is to find a white feather in January or so. But it is possible. The moment that I find this white feather I start writing. But it has nothing to do with the contents of the book, it has to do with the book itself.

Do you have a similar sign that tells you what the book should be about or have you already decided by that point?

Of course I am a person that is very curious about what is going on in the world and there are a lot of subjects to write about, you meet a lot of interesting people. But one idea will be there and it will show up without any logic. It is a book that has been written in my heart before it is written into sentences. So I don’t choose. Normally it’s the book that chooses me.

So you don’t write with a purpose in mind?

I write because I need to share my thoughts with the audience. I don’t know if the books are making the world a much better place. I don’t write with that objective. What I know is that I see my readers creating a critical mass so we can at least understand this world in a different way. You need to change yourself. The moment that you change yourself it is a gigantic step. And this is what I do. The book is much more important than the writer.

But your personality is still very present in your work.

I am very present in my work and my work is somehow an expression of my soul, but at the same time I think that a writer cannot write out of nothing. You have two types of writers: one like Proust who was locked in his room and wrote the masterpiece À la recherche du temps perdu. And the other type was Hemingway who celebrated life and also wrote a masterpiece.

A central theme of The Alchemist, your most famous book, is the idea that one should live in the pursuit of his or her dreams. Does your life within that theory make perfect sense to you, or are you also still searching for something?

It makes perfect sense, but that doesn’t mean that I understand the sense. So the issue is not answering questions, but leaving discussions open. Not in the sense that probably one day you are going to have an answer or you are not going to have an answer. Just live your life, do what you have to do, what you are enthusiastic about doing.

Life is like a big bike race

Life is like a big bike race, with the path to the finish line being your personal path.

At the start, we all ride together – sharing the camaraderie and enthusiasm. But as the race progresses, the initial joy gives way to the real challenges: tiredness, monotony, doubts about our own abilities.

Notice that some friends will give up, they are still going, but only because they do not know how to stop in the middle of a road, they are numerous, pedaling alongside the support car, talking amongst themselves and meeting an obligation.

Eventually we distance ourselves from them and are forced to cope with loneliness and unfamiliar bends in the road, not to mention problems with the bike. After some time, we may begin to wonder if it’s worth the effort.

Yes, it’s worth it. You just can’t quit.

Furthermore, if you stop pedaling, you begin falling.

The porcelain vase and the rose

Alessandra Marin tells the following story: the Grand Master and the Guardian shared the administration of a Zen monastery. One day, the Guardian died and a replacement had to be found.
The Grand Master gathered together all the disciples in order to decide who would have the honour of working at his side.

‘I am going to set you a problem,’ said the Grand Master. ‘And the first one to solve that problem will be the new Guardian of the temple.’
Once this briefest of speeches was over, he placed a small stool in the middle of the room. On it stood a priceless porcelain vase containing a red rose.
‘There is the problem,’ said the Grand Master.

The disciples looked in some perplexity at what was there before them: the rare, sophisticated designs on the porcelain vase and the elegance of the flower. What did it represent? What should they do? What did this enigma mean?
After a few moments, one of the disciples got to his feet and looked at the master and at his fellow students. Then he walked resolutely over to the vase and threw it to the ground, shattering it.

‘You are the new Guardian,’ the Grand Master said to the student.
And as soon as the student had returned to his place, he explained.

‘I made myself perfectly clear. I said that there was a problem to be solved. Now it does not matter how beautiful or fascinating a problem might be, it has to be eliminated.
A problem is a problem. It could be a very rare porcelain vase, a delightful love affair that no longer makes any sense, or a course of action that we should abandon, but which we insist on continuing because it brings us comfort.
There is only one way to deal with a problem: attack it head on. At such moments, one cannot feel pity, nor be diverted by the fascination inherent in any conflict.’

Learning to take care of oneself

– For years I have sought enlightenment – said the disciple. – I feel I am near it and want to know how to take the next step.

– A man who knows how to seek God knows also how to take care of himself. How do you support yourself? – asked the master.

– That is just a detail. I have rich parents who help me along my spiritual path. Because of that, I can dedicate myself entirely to sacred things.

– Very well – said the master. – I will explain to you the next step: look at the sun for half a minute.

The disciple obeyed.

When he had finished, the master asked him describe the landscape around him.

– I can’t. The sun’s brightness dazzled my eyes.

– A man who looks fixedly at the sun ends up blind. A man who only looks for Light, and shifts his responsibilities onto the shoulders of others, never finds what he is seeking – was the master’s comment.

My top 9 travel tips

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I realised very early on that, for me, travelling was the best way of learning. I still have a pilgrim soul, and I thought that I would use this blog to pass on some of the lessons I have learned, in the hope that they might prove useful to other pilgrims like me.

1. Avoid museums. This might seem to be absurd advice, but let’s just think about it a little: if you are in a foreign city, isn’t it far more interesting to go in search of the present than of the past? It’s just that people feel obliged to go to museums because they learned as children that travelling was about seeking out that kind of culture. Obviously museums are important, but they require time and objectivity – you need to know what you want to see there, otherwise you will leave with a sense of having seen a few really fundamental things, except that you can’t remember what they were.

2. Hang out in bars. Bars are the places where life in the city reveals itself, not in museums. By bars I don’t mean nightclubs, but the places where ordinary people go, have a drink, ponder the weather, and are always ready for a chat. Buy a newspaper and enjoy the ebb and flow of people. If someone strikes up a conversation, however silly, join in: you cannot judge the beauty of a particular path just by looking at the gate.

3. Be open. The best tour guide is someone who lives in the place, knows everything about it, is proud of his or her city, but does not work for any agency. Go out into the street, choose the person you want to talk to, and ask them something (Where is the cathedral? Where is the post office?). If nothing comes of it, try someone else – I guarantee that at the end of the day you will have found yourself an excellent companion.

4. Try to travel alone or – if you are married – with your spouse. It will be harder work, no one will be there taking care of you, but only in this way can you truly leave your own country behind. Traveling with a group is a way of being in a foreign country while speaking your mother tongue, doing whatever the leader of the flock tells you to do, and taking more interest in group gossip than in the place you are visiting.

5. Don’t compare. Don’t compare anything – prices, standards of hygiene, quality of life, means of transport, nothing! You are not traveling in order to prove that you have a better life than other people – your aim is to find out how other people live, what they can teach you, how they deal with reality and with the extraordinary.

6. Understand that everyone understands you. Even if you don’t speak the language, don’t be afraid: I’ve been in lots of places where I could not communicate with words at all, and I always found support, guidance, useful advice, and even girlfriends. Some people think that if they travel alone, they will set off down the street and be lost for ever. Just make sure you have the hotel card in your pocket and – if the worst comes to the worst – flag down a taxi and show the card to the driver.

7. Don’t buy too much. Spend your money on things you won’t need to carry: tickets to a good play, restaurants, trips. Nowadays, with the global economy and the Internet, you can buy anything you want without having to pay excess baggage.

8. Don’t try to see the world in a month. It is far better to stay in a city for four or five days than to visit five cities in a week. A city is like a capricious woman: she takes time to be seduced and to reveal herself completely.

9. A journey is an adventure. Henry Miller used to say that it is far more important to discover a church that no one else has ever heard of than to go to Rome and feel obliged to visit the Sistine Chapel with two hundred thousand other tourists bellowing in your ear. By all means go to the Sistine Chapel, but wander the streets too, explore alleyways, experience the freedom of looking for something – quite what you don’t know – but which, if you find it, will – you can be sure – change your life.

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Andy Warhol

Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. During the 1960s, I think, people forgot what emotions were supposed to be. And I don’t think they’ve ever remembered.

Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves? I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. Since people are going to be living longer and getting older, they’ll just have to learn how to be babies longer.

I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of “work,” because I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don’t always want to do. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep.

Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet. I have Social Disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumors to my dogs. Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets.

In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

BY ANDY WARHOL

Andrew Warhola (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987), known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. The author of this blog considers him to be the MOST important visual artist of his generation

2 min reading: meeting Henry Miller’s widow

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The Japanese journalist asks the usual question: “And what are your favorite writers?” I give my usual answer: “Jorge Amado, Jorge Luis Borges, William Blake and Henry Miller.”

The translator looks at me astonished: “Henry Miller?” But she soon realizes her role isn’t to digress and gets back to her work. At the end of the interview, I want to know why she was so surprised about my answer.

“I am not criticizing Henry Miller; I’m his fan too,” she answers. “Did you know he was married to a Japanese woman?”
Yes: I’m not ashamed to be fanatic about someone I admire and try to know everything about their life.

I went to a book fair just to get to know Jorge Amado, I travelled 48 hours in a bus to meet with Borges ( this ended up not happening due to my own fault: when I saw him I froze and said nothing), I rang the bell of John Lennon’s door in New York (the porter asked me to leave a letter explaining the reason of my visit and said Lennon would probably call, this never happened). I had plans of going to see Henry Miller in Big Sur, but he died before I was able to gather the money for the trip.

“The Japanese woman’s name is Hoki,” I answer proudly. “I know too that in Tokyo there is a museum devoted to Miller’s watercolors.”
“Would you like to meet her tonight?”
But what a question! Of course, I would like to be near someone that lived with one of my idols.
I imagine she must receive visitors from all over the world and several interview requests; after all, they stayed together for almost 10 years.

We stop at a street where the sun probably never shines, as a viaduct passes over it. The translator points to a second-rate bar on the second floor of an old building.

We go up the stairs, we enter the completely empty bar and there is Hoki Miller. In order to conceal my surprise, I try to exaggerate my enthusiasm about her ex-husband.
She takes me to a room in the back where she set up a small museum – a few pictures, two or three signed watercolors, a signed book and nothing else.

She tells me that she met him when she took a masters degree in Los Angeles and played piano in a restaurant to support herself, singing French songs (in Japanese). Miller went there for dinner, loved the songs (he had spent a great part of his life in Paris), they went out a couple of times and he asked her to marry him.

She tells me delightful things about their life in common, about the problems originated by the age difference between them (Miller was over 50, Hoki wasn’t 20), of the time they spent together. She explains that the heirs from the other marriages got everything, inclusively the copyrights of the books – but that didn’t matter to her, what she lived with him lies beyond financial compensation.

I ask her to play that music that caught Miller’s attention many years back. She does it with tears in her eyes and sings ‘Autumn Leaves’ (Feuilles Mortes).

The bar, the piano, the voice of the Japanese woman echoing in the empty walls, not caring about the ex-wives’ victories, about the rivers of money Miller’s books shall make, about the world fame she could enjoy today.

“It wasn’t worth it to fight for inheritance: his love was enough to me,” she says at the end, understanding what we felt.
Yes, for the complete absence of bitterness or rancor in her voice, I understand that love was enough.

Becoming aware

Adapted from the book of Thich Nhat Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ):

“In every religious tradition there is a practice of devotion and a practice of transformation.

“Devotion means trusting more in ourselves and in the path we follow. Transformation means to practice the things this path imposes on us.”

“When you say: ‘I am determined to study medicine,’ this sentence exercises an impact on your life even before you register at a school.

“You see this step as something positive and want to advance in its direction. The same happens with any religious tradition.”

“The key is to be fully aware of your actions. When you swallow a cup of water deeply, with all your ardor, illumination is present in its initial form. Being illuminated always means having clear vision concerning something.”

Respect my wishes

 
On his deathbed, Jacob summoned his wife, Sarah, to his side.

 
‘Dear Sarah, I want to make my will. To my first-born, Abraham, I am going to leave half of my estate. He is, after all, a man of faith.’

 
‘Oh, don’t do that, Jacob! Abraham doesn’t need all that money, he’s got his own business; besides, he has faith in our religion. Leave it to Isaac, who is in such turmoil about whether or not God exists, and who has still not found his way in the world.’

 
‘All right, I’ll leave it to Isaac. And Abraham can have my shares.’

 
‘Like I said, dear Jacob, Abraham doesn’t need anything. I’ll have the shares and I can always help out the children as and when.’

 
‘You’re quite right, Sarah. Now about the land we own in Israel. I think I’ll leave it to Deborah.’

 
‘To Deborah! Are you mad, Jacob? She’s already got land in Israel. Do you want to make her into a businesswoman and ruin her marriage? I think our daughter Michele is much more in need of help.’

 
Mustering his last ounce of strength, Jacob sat up indignantly.

 
‘My dear Sarah, you have been an excellent wife, an excellent mother, and I know you want the best for each of your children, butwho’s dying here, you or me?’

Everyone is afraid of each other

The warrior of the light knows: everyone is afraid of each other.

This fear can generally be seen in two forms: through aggression, or through submission. They are two sides of the same problem.

That is why, upon being confronted by a someone who inspires terror, the warrior recalls: the other man is insecure, stressed, or scared. He has overcome similar obstacles, and has lived the same problems.

But he knows how to deal with the situation better.
Why? Because he uses fear as a motor, not as a brake.

Thus the warrior learns from his opponent, and keep cool, waiting for the storm to pass

( taken from: “Warrior of the light: a manual”)

The desert priests

During the early part of the Christian era, the monastery at Scete became a center where many people gathered. After renouncing everything they had, they went to live in the desert surrounding the monastery. Many of the teachings of these men have been collected and published in numerous books.The stories of the desert priests

Judging my neighbor

One of the monks of Scete committed a grave error, and the wisest hermit was called upon to judge him.

The hermit refused, but they insisted so much that in the end he agreed to go. He arrived carrying on his back a bucket with holes in it, out of which poured sand.

– I have come to judge my neighbor – said the hermit to the head of the convent. – My sins are pouring out behind me, like the sand running from this bucket. But since I don’t look back, and pay no attention to my own sins, I was called upon to judge my neighbor!

The monks called a halt to the punishment immediately.

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A question by Anne-Sophie

In your books you are proving, that you have great feeling for contemporary human and his distresses. What do you think in what direction is going the future man? Will he be capable to survive and save his integrity, creativeness and intellect, and above all mental health?

It’s always very tricky to talk about “mental health”: I’ve been committed as a teenager to a clinic institution.
I felt in my own skin the burden of being cataloged as “mentally disturbed” just because i didn’t fit into the social norms.

In my wanderings I came to believe that a person has a personal legend to fulfill. What is a personal legend? It is the reason why we are alive.
In my case this legend was to share my ideas with others through writing.

We have dreams, that are not necessarily the dreams that our parents or society had for us.
So, we must get rid of the idea of fulfilling what people expect us to do, and start to do what we expect from our lives. The message in my book “Veronika decides to die” is that: dare to be different. You are unique, and you have to accept you as you are, instead of trying to repeat other people’s destinies or patterns.

Insanity is to behave like someone that you are not. Normality is the capacity to express your feelings. From the moment that you don’t fear to share your heart, you are a free person.