Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

It is necessary to run risks, follow certain paths and abandon others.
No one can make a choice without feeling fear.
(Brida)

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – Something out of the ordinary

By Paulo Coelho

A warrior of the light always does something out of the ordinary. He may dance in the street as he walks to work. Or look into the eyes of a stranger and speak of love at first sight. From time to time, a warrior puts forward an idea which may sound ridiculous, but which he believes in.

The warriors of the light allow themselves such days.

He is not afraid to weep over old grievances, or to marvel at new discoveries. When he feels the time is right, he leaves everything behind and goes after the dream he has longed for. When he understands that he is at the limits of his resistance, he withdraws from the combat, without blaming himself for having committed one or two unexpected reckless acts.

A warrior does not spend his days trying to act out the part that others have chosen for him.

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Warrior of Light knows that everyone is afraid of everyone else.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light

By Paulo Coelho

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 just as insecure. 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 acts in the same way.

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In the wheel of time

I had proposed to publish here, once a year, texts by Carlos Castañeda, an anthropologist who influenced my generation with his tales of meetings with Mexican sorcerers.  For lack of space, I have not done so since 2004.  Today I woke up thinking: Castañeda, despite all his critics and all his work that later on seemed so disorderly to me, should not be forgotten.  So here we present some of his reflections.

Intention is the important thing: for the old sorcerers of Mexico, intention (intento) is a force that intervenes in all aspects of time and space.  To be able to use and manipulate this force calls for impeccable behavior.  A warrior’s final goal is to be able to lift his head above the rut where he is confined, look around him, and change what he wants.  To do so he needs to have discipline and pay attention all the time.

Nothing is easy: nothing in this world is given as a present: everything has to be learned with a great deal of effort.  A man who seeks knowledge must have the same behavior as a soldier going to war: absolutely attentive, afraid, respectful and utterly confident.  If he follows these recommendations, he may lose the odd battle but he will never cry over his fate.

Fear is natural: fear of the freedom that knowledge brings us is absolutely natural; however, no matter how terrible the apprenticeship may be, it is worse to live without wisdom.

Irritation is unnecessary: becoming irritated with others means giving them the power to interfere in our lives.  It is imperative to overcome this feeling.  By no means should the acts of others distract us from our only alternative in life: coming in touch with the infinite.

The end is an ally: when things begin to get confused, a warrior thinks about his death and immediately his spirit returns to him.  Death is everywhere.  Think of the headlights of a car following us along a winding road; sometimes we lose sight of it, sometimes it appears to be too close, sometimes the headlights go out.  But this imaginary car never stops (and one day catches up with us).  The very idea of death gives men the necessary detachment to go ahead despite all their tribulations.  A man who knows that death is approaching every day tries everything, but without feeling anxiety.

The present is unique: a warrior knows how to wait, because he knows what he is waiting for.  And while he waits, he wants nothing, and in this way anything he receives – however small – is a blessing.  The common man worries too much about loving others, or being loved by them.  A warrior knows what he wants – that is all in his life and that is where he concentrates all his energy.  The common man spends the present acting as winner or loser, and depending on the results he becomes persecutor or victim.  The warrior, on the other hand, worries only about his acts, which will lead him to the objective he has traced for himself.

Intention is transparent: intention (intento) is not a thought, nor an object, nor a desire.  It is what makes a man triumph in his objectives and lifts him up from the ground even when he has delivered himself up to defeat.  Intention is stronger than man.

It is always the last battle: the warrior’s spirit does not complain about anything, because he was not born to win or lose.  He was born to fight, and each battle is the last that he is waging on the face of the Earth.  That is why the warrior always leaves his spirit free, and when he gives himself to combat, knowing that his intention is transparent, he laughs and enjoys himself.

Conversation with the master – The personal legend

By Paulo Coelho

(Here I continue to reproduce excerpts from talks with my master, from 1982 to 1990)

– What is the Personal Legend?

– It is your blessing, the path God has chosen for you here on Earth. Whenever a man does that which gives him enthusiasm, he is following his Legend. However, not everyone has the courage to face up to his own dreams.

– Why is that?

– There are four obstacles. The first: he has heard, right from childhood, that everything he wishes to live is impossible. He grows up with this idea, and as he acquires age, he also accumulates layers of prejudices, fears, guilt. There comes a time when his Personal Legend is so deeply buried within his soul, he can no longer see it. But it is still there.

“If he has the courage to unearth his dreams, he then faces a second obstacle: love. He now knows what he desires to do, but he thinks he will harm those around him, if he gives everything up to follow his dreams. He does not understand that love is an additional impulse, not something which hinders one from going forward. He does not understand that those who truly wish him well are longing for his happiness, and are ready to accompany him on this adventure.

“After accepting love as a stimulus, a man faces the third obstacle: the fear of the defeats he will encounter along the way. A man who fights for his dream suffers far more when something doesn’t go well, because he cannot use the famous excuse: “oh, well in fact that wasn’t exactly what I wanted anyway…” He does want it, and knows he is putting everything into it, and also that the Personal Legend is just as difficult as any other path – the difference being that your heart is present on this journey. So, a warrior of the light must be prepared to be patient at difficult times, and know that the Universe is conspiring in his favor, even if he does not understand how.

– Are the defeats necessary?

– Whether necessary or not, they occur. When he begins fighting for his dreams, man has no experience, and makes many mistakes. But the secret in life is to fall seven times, and rise up eight times.

– Why is it important to live the Personal Legend, if we are to suffer just as much as others?

– Because after having overcome the defeats – and we always overcome them – we feel much more euphoria and confidence. In the silence of our hearts, we know we are worthy of the miracle of life. Each day, each hour, is part of the Good Combat. We begin to live with enthusiasm and pleasure. Very intense and unexpected suffering begins passing faster than apparently tolerable suffering: that drags on for years, eroding our soul without us noticing what is happening – until one day we can no longer free ourselves of the bitterness, and it accompanies us for the rest of our lives.

– And what is the fourth obstacle?

– After unearthing your dream, using the power of love for support, spending many years with the scars, a man realizes – from one day to the next – that everything he always wanted is right there, waiting for him, perhaps the very next day. Then comes the fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream he has fought for all his life.

– That makes no sense.

– Oscar Wilde said that we always destroy the thing we love the most. And it is true. The simple possibility of achieving that which we desire causes the soul of the common man to be filled with guilt. He looks around, and sees many others who have not succeeded, and so he thinks he does not deserve it. He forgets everything he overcame, all he suffered, everything he had to renounce in order to come this far. I know many people who, when they are within reach of their Personal Legend, make a series of silly mistakes and do not attain their objective – when it was just one step away.

“This is the most dangerous of the obstacles, because it has a certain aura of sanctity about it: to renounce to joy and the conquest. But if the man is worthy of that which he has fought so hard for, he then becomes an instrument of God, aids the Soul of the World, and understands why he is there”.

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