This is a question that has not bothered me for a long time, precisely because I don’t know how to answer it.
Some people seem to be happy: they just do not think about it. Others make plans: “I’m going to have a husband, a home, two children, and a house in the country”. While this keeps them occupied, they are like bulls looking for the bullfighter: they don’t think, they just keep moving forward. They manage to get their car – sometimes even a Ferrari – and they think that the meaning of life lies there, so they never ask the question. Yet, despite all that, their eyes betray a sadness that they themselves are quite unaware of.
I don’t know if everyone is unhappy. I do know that people are always busy: working overtime, looking after the kids, the husband, the career, the university degree, what to do tomorrow, what they need to buy, whatever it is they need to have in order not to feel inferior, and so on.
Few people have ever told me: “I’m unhappy”. Most say: “I’m fine, I’ve managed to get all I ever wanted”.
So then I ask: “What makes you happy?”
They answer: “I have everything that a person can dream of – a family, a home, work, good health”.
I insist: “So the meaning of life is work, the family, children who grow up and leave you, a wife or husband who will become more like a friend than a true love-mate. And one day the work will come to an end. What will you do when that happens?”
They answer: there is no answer. They change the subject.
I have received three litres of products that substitute milk.
A Norwegian company wants to know if I’m interested in investing in the production of this new type of food, because, according to the opinion of an expert, David Rietz, ‘ALL (the capital letters are his) cow’s milk has 59 active hormones and substantial amount of fat, cholesterol, dioxins, bacteria and viruses.’
I think of calcium, which ever since I was a child, I heard my mother say was good for the bones, but the expert anticipated my thought: ‘Calcium? How are the cows able to acquire sufficient calcium for their voluminous bone structure? From the plants!’
Of course, the new product is made from plants, and milk is condemned based on innumerable studies done at the most diverse institutes spread throughout the world.
And its proteins? David Rietz is implacable: ‘I know that people call milk the liquid meat (I never heard that expression, but he must know what he is talking about) due to its high amount of protein.
But it is the protein that makes calcium not able to be absorbed by the organism. Countries with a rich diet in proteins also show a high index of osteoporosis (lack of calcium in our bones).’
On that same afternoon, I receive a text my wife found on the Internet: ‘Those who are between 40 and 60 years old today drove cars with children sat lose on the back seat, having fun and jumping around.
I, for example, am part of a generation that built the legendary soapbox cars (I don’t know how to explain this to today’s generation – let’s say the ‘roller-skate wheels’ were metal balls fixed between two iron rings) and we would descend the steep streets of Botafogo, using our shoes as brakes, falling, hurting, but proud of the high-speed adventure.
Children were never right, they were always grounded, and that didn’t mean they had psychological problems of rejection or lack of love. In school there were good and bad students: the first went on to the next stage, the latter failed.
Psychotherapists weren’t sought out to study these cases – those who failed would just repeat the year.
And even so we survived despite some scratched knees and a few traumas. We not only survived, but we remember the time when milk wasn’t poison, when children would solve their problems without help, fight when necessary, and spend great part of the day without electronic games, inventing children’s plays with their friends.
But let’s go back to the initial issue of this column: I decided to try the new product that substitutes the killer milk. I couldn’t drink the second sip. I asked my wife and our housemaid to taste it without saying what it was, and both of them said they had never tasted anything so bad in their lives.
I’m concerned about the children of tomorrow, with their electronic games, parents with cell phones, psychotherapists helping out at every defeat, and – over all – having to drink this ‘magic potion’ that will keep them without cholesterol, osteoporosis, 59 active hormones, and toxins.
They’ll live with great health, considerable balance, and when they grow up they will discover milk (at this point, possibly an illegal beverage). Who knows a scientist of 2050 will take upon himself to rescue something that had been consumed since the beginning of times?
Or will milk only be obtained through drug dealers?
Of course things don’t always happen they way we wish they would. There are moments in which we feel we are seeking something that is not meant for us, knocking on doors that don’t open, waiting for miracles that don’t manifest themselves.
Fortunately that is the way things are – if everything went the way we wanted, soon we would no longer have anything to write about, nothing to guide our daily thoughts. This script serves our dreams as nourishment, but to our battles as energy. And as it always happens with the warriors that spend all their energy in the Good Fight, there are moments in which it is best to relax and believe that the Universe is still working for us secretly, even if we cannot comprehend it.
And so, let us allow the Soul of the World to fulfill its mission, and if we can’t help, the best way to collaborate is to pay attention to the simple things in life; the sunset, the people in the street, the reading of a book.
However, in many cases, time continues passing and nothing exceptional happens. But the true warrior of light believes. Just like children believe.
Because they believe in miracles, the miracles begin to happen.
Because they are certain that their thoughts can change their lives, their lives begin to change.
Because they are certain they will find love, this love appears.
Sometimes they are disappointed. Sometimes they feel hurt.
Then they hear the comments, “you are so naïve!”
But the warrior knows it is worth the price. To each defeat, there are two conquests in his favor.
Christianity: The Chess Game
A young man said to the abbot from the monastery, “I’d actually like to be a monk, but I haven’t learned anything in life. All my father taught me was to play chess, which does not lead to enlightenment. Apart from that, I learned that all games are a sin.
“They may be a sin but they can also be a diversion, and who knows, this monastery needs a little of both,” was the reply.
The abbot asked for a chessboard, sent for a monk, and told him to play with the young man.
But before the game began, he added, “Although we need diversion, we cannot allow everyone to play chess the whole time. So, we have the best players here; if our monk loses, he will leave the monastery and his place will be yours.”
The abbot was serious. The young man knew he was playing for his life, and broke into a cold sweat; the chessboard became the center of the world.
The monk began badly. The young man attacked, but then saw the saintly look on the other man’s face; at that moment, he began playing badly on purpose. After all, a monk is far more useful to the world.
Suddenly, the abbot threw the chessboard to the floor.
“You have learned far more than was taught you,” he said. “You concentrated yourself enough to win, were capable of fighting for your desire. Then, you had compassion, and were willing to make a sacrifice in the name of a noble cause. Welcome to the monastery, because you know how to balance discipline with compassion.”
Judaism: Forgiving in the Same Spirit
The Rabbi Nahum of Chernobyl was always being insulted by a shopkeeper. One day, the latter’s business began to go badly.
“It must be the Rabbi, who is asking for God’s revenge,” he thought. He went to ask for Nahum’s forgiveness.
“I forgive you in the same spirit you ask for forgiveness.” replied the Rabbi.
But the man’s losses just kept increasing, until he was reduced to misery. Nahum’s horrified disciples went to ask him what had happened.
“I forgave him, but he continued to hate me deep down in his heart.” said the Rabbi. “Therefore, his hatred contaminated everything he did, and God’s punishment became more and more severe.”
Islamism: Where God Is
At a small Moroccan village an imam was thinking about the only well of the entire region. Another Muslim approached him and asked:
“What is in there?”
“God is hidden in there.”
“God is hidden inside this well? That is a sin! What you may be seeing is an image left by the unfaithful!”
The imam asked him to get closer and lean out on the edge. Reflected on the water, he could see his own face.
“But that is me!”
“Right. Now you know where God is hidden.”
The young man crossed the desert and finally reached the Sceta monastery. There he asked – and was given permission – to attend one of the abbot’s talks.
That afternoon the abbot spoke about the importance of farm work.
When the talk came to an end, the young man commented to one of the monks:
“That really impressed me. I thought that I was going to hear an illuminated sermon on virtues and sins, but the abbot only spoke about tomatoes, irrigation and things like that. Where I come from, everyone believes that God is mercy: all you need to do is pray.”
The monk smiled and answered:
“Here we believe that God has already done His part; now it’s up to us to continue the process.”
Xenophobia is defined as “an unreasonable Fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange. It comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning “stranger,” “foreigner,” and φόβος (phobos), meaning “fear.”
Ruth: Life means adventure, change, things that not everybody has the courage to face and accept. When one sees someone who is unfamiliar, a subconscious fear springs up: “why dare he take two steps forward and run risks where nobody knows him? I wonder if he wants to infiltrate his ideas and destroy the world that we have built with so much toil?”
D.H.: For a few months in 2001 I had an Arab student living in my home here in Boston. Everyone admired his kindness, and on many an evening we would gather in a local bar to chat about the customs of his country. Right after the attacks of the 11th September, the very same people who had laughed the day before at his stories began to hate him.
Dasha: Xenophobia isn’t just the fear of strangers, it’s being afraid of what happens between different generations. Most people are afraid of today, they prefer to live in the past. My country (Russia) is an excellent example of this.
Aspen: Every child, if he is raised with the necessary amount of strictness and freedom, could collaborate infinitely to make this planet a better place to live. But one of the first things we learn is “not to talk to strangers”.
Warrior of Running Water: Here in Denmark we have a festival that lasts about a week and attracts 100,000 strangers to celebrate life, share common interests and learn from the differences. People embrace for no reason except being on the same path, they sing and get drunk together. When the festival is over, a strange atmosphere takes over the town again, and strangers are once more seen as a threat.
Neel P.: We have to trust in love. We have to remember what we were told: “love your neighbor as yourself”. If we trust in love, we don’t need to fear anything any more, but the truth is that we never trust enough…
Radek: People in my country (Poland) lived through the tyranny of Hitler and the Soviet oppression, and they don’t seem to have learned anything. It terrifies me to see people who experienced the horrors of Nazism behaving the same way today, avoiding everything that is unknown or different. The worst of it all is that they use religion to justify their acts, arguing that all those who aren’t Christians should be banished from society. This blind faith is worse than having no faith at all.
The men she had met since she arrived in Geneva always did everything they could to appear confident, as if they were in perfect control of the world and of their own lives; Maria, however, could see in their eyes that they were afraid of their wife, the feeling of panic that they might not be able to get an erection, that they might not seem manly enough even to the ordinary prostitute whom they were paying for her services. If they went to a shop and didn’t like the shoes they had bought, they would be quite prepared to go back, receipt in hand, and demand a refund. And yet, even though they were paying for some female company, if they didn’t manage to get an erection, they would be too ashamed ever to go back to the same club again because they would assume that all the other women there would know.
‘I’m the one who should feel ashamed for being unable to arouse them, but, no, they always blame themselves.’
To avoid such embarrassments, Maria always tried to put men at their ease, and if someone seemed drunker or more fragile than usual, she would avoid full sex and concentrate instead on caresses and masturbation, which always seemed to please them immensely, absurd though this might seem, since they could perfectly well masturbate on their own.
She had to make sure that they didn’t feel ashamed. These men, so powerful and arrogant at work, constantly having to deal with employees, customers, suppliers, prejudices, secrets, posturings, hypocrisy, fear and oppression, ended their day in a nightclub and they didn’t mind spending three hundred and fifty Swiss francs to stop being themselves for a night.
‘For a night? Now come on, Maria, you’re exaggerating. It’s really only forty-five minutes, and if you allow time for taking off clothes, making some phoney gesture of affection, having a bit of banal conversation and getting dressed again, the amount of time spent actually having sex is about eleven minutes.’
Eleven minutes. The world revolved around something that only took eleven minutes.
And because of those eleven minutes in any one twenty-four-hour day (assuming that they all made love to their wives every day, which is patently absurd and a complete lie) they got married, supported a family, put up with screaming kids, thought up ridiculous excuses to justify getting home late, ogled dozens, if not hundreds of other women with whom they would like to go for a walk around Lake Geneva, bought expensive clothes for themselves and even more expensive clothes for their wives, paid prostitutes to try to give them what they were missing, and thus sustained a vast industry of cosmetics, diet foods, exercise, pornography and power, and yet when they got together with other men, contrary to popular belief, they never talked about women. They talked about jobs, money and sport.
Something was very wrong with civilisation, and it wasn’t the destruction of the Amazon rainforest or the ozone layer, the death of the panda, cigarettes, carcinogenic foodstuffs or prison conditions, as the newspapers would have it.
It was precisely the thing she was working with: sex.
A Hasidic tale
On the day of Yom Kippur
On the day of Yom Kippur, Rabbi Elimelekh of Lisensk took his disciples to a bricklayer’s workshop.
“Watch how this man behaves,” he said. “Because he manages to communicate well with the Lord.”
Without noticing that he was being observed, the bricklayer ended his work and went to the window.
He took two pieces of paper from his pocket and raised them to the sky, saying:
“Lord, on one paper I have written the list of my sins. I have erred and there is no reason for me to hide that I offended You several times.
“But on the other paper is the list of Your sins towards me. You have demanded of me more than what is necessary, brought me difficult moments, and made me suffer. If we compare the two lists, You are in debt towards me. But since today is the Day of Atonement, You pardon me, I pardon You, and we shall continue on our path together for another year.”
No Dia do Perdão Judaico:
No dia do Yom Kyppur, o rabino Elimelekh de Lisensk levou seus discípulos até a oficina de um pedreiro.
“Reparem o comportamento deste homem”, disse. “Porque ele consegue entender-se bem com o Senhor”.
Sem notar que estava sendo observado, o pedreiro terminou seus afazeres e foi para a janela. Tirou dois pedaços de papel do bolso, e levantou-os para o céu, dizendo:
“Senhor, numa folha escrevi a lista de meus pecados. Eu errei, e não tenho porque esconder que Te ofendi várias vezes.
” Entretanto, no outro papel está a relação dos Teus pecados para comigo. Exigiste de mim além do necessário, me trouxeste momentos difíceis, e me fizeste sofrer. Se compararmos as duas listas, o Senhor está em débito para comigo. Mas como hoje é o Dia do Perdão, Tu me perdoas, eu te perdôo, e continuaremos juntos o nosso caminho por mais um ano”.
En el Día del Perdón:
En el día del Yom Kyppur, el rabino Elimelekh de Lisensk llevó a sus discípulos adonde trabajaba un albañil.
-Fijaos en el comportamiento de este hombre –les dijo, -pues él consigue entenderse bien con el Señor.
Sin darse cuenta de que estaba siendo observado, el albañil concluyó sus tareas y se acercó a la ventana. Sacó del bolsillo dos pedazos de papel, y los levantó hacia lo alto, diciendo:
-Señor, en una hoja he escrito la lista de mis pecados. He cometido algunos errores, y no tengo por qué esconder que Te ofendí en varias ocasiones.
“En el otro papel está la relación de Tus faltas para conmigo. Me exigiste más de lo necesario, me trajiste momentos difíciles, y me hiciste sufrir. Si comparamos las dos listas, estás en deuda conmigo. Pero como hoy es el Día del Perdón, Tú me perdonas, yo te perdono, y continuamos juntos nuestro camino durante un año más.
Every warrior of the light has been afraid to enter a combat.
Every warrior of the light has betrayed and lied in the past.
Every warrior of the light has lost faith in the future.
Every warrior of the light has trodden a path which was not his own.
Every warrior of the light has suffered because of unimportant things.
Every warrior of the light has doubted that he is a warrior of the light.
Every warrior of the light has failed in his spiritual obligations.
Every warrior of the light has said yes when he meant no.
Every warrior of the light has hurt someone he loved.
That is why he and she are warriors of the light:
They had endured all this without losing the hope to improve.
The warrior always hears the words of some wise people, such as those of T.H. Huxley:
“The consequences of our actions, are the scarecrows of fools, and the beacons of lovers.
“The chess-board is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe.
‘The rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature.
‘The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always fair, just, and patient.”
It is up to the warriors to take up the challenge.
They know God will not allow His chosen ones to pretend not to know the rules of the game.
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.
in in WARRIOR OF THE LIGHT: A MANUAL
From now on – and for some centuries to come – the Universe will help the warriors of the light, and boycott all those who are full of prejudices about people who dare to follow their dreams.
The energy of the Earth needs renovating.
New ideas need space.
The body and the soul need new challenges.
The future becomes present and all the dreams – except those that involve prejudices – will enjoy the chance to manifest themselves.
Whatever is important will remain; whatever is useless will disappear.
For that reason, when lots of people gather to give their opinion on how we should act or behave, we must ignore them, as our life on Earth leaves us no time for explaining everything we do.
And we must also avoid commenting on the behavior of others: in order to have faith in our own path, we have no need to prove that the path of the other is wrong.
Those who act like this have no trust in their own steps.
Once someone asked me:
“What do you want to be your epitaph?” [ text on your tombstone]
I answered:” I will be cremated, but if I ever had an epitaph, it would be:
‘ Paulo Coelho died while he was alive.” ”
The person said “Why this epitaph? Everybody dies when he or she is alive.”
I said, “No, this is not true. If the same pattern is repeated over and over again, you are not alive anymore. To die alive is to take risks. To pay your price.”
“Don’t Try” Charles Bukowski
The best is yet to come.” Frank Sinatra
“I had a lover’s quarrel with the world” Robert Frost
“Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m Free At Last.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough” Alexander the Great
“Truth to your own spirit” Jim Morrison
SO, HERE IS MY QUESTION
What should be written in your tombstone?
Qual seria o seu epitáfio?
USE COMMENTS BELOW TO ANSWER, ALLOWING PEOPLE WHO ARE NEITHER IN TWITTER NOR IN FACEBOOK TO READ IT
| USE “COMMENTS” ABAIXO PARA RESPONDER, PERMITINDO QUE GENTE QUE NAO ESTÁ NO TWITTER OU FACEBOOK POSSA LER TAMBEM
They don’t allow themselves to be intimidated by silence, or by rejection.
They know that – behind the icy mask people wear – there is a heart of fire.
That is why the warriors risk more than others.
They tirelessly seek love – even if this means hearing, many times over, the word ‘no’, returning home defeated, feeling rejected in body and soul.
Warriors don’t allow themselves to be discouraged. Without love, living has no meaning.
in WARRIOR OF THE LIGHT: A MANUAL
They plunge unhesitatingly into the river of passions always flowing through their lives.
The warriors knows that they are free to choose their desires, and they make these decisions with courage, detachment and – sometimes – with just a touch of madness.
They embrace their passions and enjoy them intensely.
They know that there is no need to renounce the pleasures of conquest; they are part of life and bring joy to all those who participate in them.
But they never lose sight of those things that last or of the strong bonds that are forged over time.
A warrior of light can distinguish between the transient and the enduring.
in in WARRIOR OF THE LIGHT: A MANUAL
When they go to fight, they always remember Christ’s words: “love your enemies”.
And the warriors obey.
But they know that the act of forgiving foes does not force them to accept everything.
Warrior cannot lower their heads – otherwise they lose sight of the horizon of their dreams.
The warrior notes that the adversaries are there to test our persistence, our ability to make decisions.
Adversaries are a blessing – because they force the warriors of light to fight for their dreams.
Love your enemy. But never forget: he is not your friend.
in WARRIOR OF THE LIGHT: A MANUAL
The Claddagh Ring is believed to have originated in the fishing village situated near the “shore” or “Claddagh” of Galway Bay.
The Claddagh outside the City Walls, and further separated by the River Corrib, was exclusive community or fisher-folk forbidden to use spade or hoe and ruled by a periodically-elected “King” whose sole distinguishing mark was his right to use a white sail on his fishing hooker.
The ring shows two hands holding a heart which wears a crown. This motif is explained in the phrase: “Let Love and Friendship reign”, and ideal poesy for a wedding ring used by a small community for over four hundred years.
This distinctive design is associated with one of the Tribes of Galway, the Joyce family. Margaret Joyce married Domingo de Rona, a wealthy Spaniard, who, when he died, left her his fortune, which she subsequently used to build bridges in the Province of Connacht.
Margaret, who later married Oliver Of Ffrench, Mayor of Galway 1596, was providentially rewarded for her good works and charity by an eagle which dropped a gold ring into her lap. This fanciful legend had a more factual opponent in the story of Richard Joyce, or Joyces.
Richard en route to the West Indies, was captured by Algerian corsairs and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith who trained him.
Released from slavery in 1689, at the demand of William III of England, Joyce, in spite of substantial inducement to stay, returned to Galway and set up as a goldsmith. His work marked with an anchor signifying Hope and initials R.I. still exists.
The Claddagh Ring motif is attributed to him.
The Claddagh Ring became popular outside the Claddagh about the middle of the last century, especially as it was the only ring made in Ireland worn by Queen Victoria and later by Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII.
These rings were made and supplied by Dillon of Galway to whom the Royal Patent was granted. This tradition has been carried on to this day.
The tradition of how to wear this ring is very distinctive. If the owner of the ring wears it with the crown pointing towards the finger nail, he or she is said to be in love or married. To wear the ring with heart pointing to the finger nail, he or she is said to be unattached to anyone.
A Warrior of Light needs patience and speed at the same time.
The two biggest mistakes of a strategy are
a]to act prematurely
bto let the opportunity pass by.
To avoid making these mistakes, the warrior copes with each situation as if it were unique, and applies no formulas, prescriptions or the opinions of others.
Caliph Moauiyat asked Omar Ben Al-Aas what was the secret of his great political skill:
“I have never gotten involved in any matter without first studying the way out;
“on the other hand, I have never become involved and wanted to get out right away,” was his answer.
My latest uploads