1 min reading: the law and the fruits

law-and-fruitsmall

Illustration by Ken Crane
In the desert, fruit was scarce. God called one of his prophets and said:

- Each person may only eat one fruit a day.

The custom was obeyed for many generations, and the ecology of the place was preserved. Since the remaining fruit supplied seeds, other trees appeared. Soon, the entire region was turned into fertile soil, which was the envy of other towns.

But the people continued to eat one fruit a day – they remained faithful to what the ancient prophet of their forefathers had told them. However they never allowed the inhabitants of other villages to take advantage of the abundant harvest with which they were rewarded each year.

The result was that fruit rotted on the ground.

God called a new prophet and said:

- Let them eat as much fruit as they like. And ask them to share the abundance with their neighbors.

The prophet came to the town with the new message. But he was stoned – for by now the custom was ingrained in the hearts and minds of each of the inhabitants.

With time, the younger villagers began to question the barbaric old custom. But, since the tradition of the elders was unbending, they decided to abandon the religion. Thus, they could eat as much fruit as they wished, and give the rest to those in need of food.

The only people who remained faithful to the local church, were those who considered themselves saints. But in truth they were unable to see how the world changes, and recognize how one must change with it.

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Weekly Free Association : The Book

Dear Readers,

The symbol of the book is considered sacred when it transmits God’s revelations to men. Islam for instance places specially importance on the written word given that a Muslim is supposed not only to read but also to copy the Qu’ran. In Christianity, the apostles are currently depicted holding a book, which symbolizes the message of Christ. The king of the World, the Pancreator, is usually portrayed holding a book in which contains the lives of men as well as the Alpha and Omega of the Universe. In Ancient Egypt, the Book of the Dead, ridden of magic and sacred formulas, is said to guide the soul in the afterlife.

The book as we can see has mainly a positive connotation in written cultures. Yet, the book can be seen as an enemy of memory. Indeed, in certain oral traditions, the book is seen as an enemy since it destroys the effort of learning “by heart” the oral teachings.

Now you take the floor: what do you associate with the book?

In search of the lost path

By Paulo Coelho

We go out into the world in search of our dreams and ideals, although we often know we put away in inaccessible places, all that which is within our reach. When we discover our mistake, we start to think we’ve lost too much time looking far and wide for something which was nearby; and this is why we allow ourselves to be overcome by a sense of guilt, for past mistakes, for the useless search, for the grief caused.

But that’s not really true: although the treasure is buried in your home, you’ll only find it when you distance yourself. If Peter hadn’t experienced the pain of negation, he would never have been chosen as head of the Church. If the prodigal son hadn’t abandoned everything, he would never have been joyously received by his father.

There are certain things in our lives that carry a seal which says: “you will only understand my value when you lose me – and recover me.” It is no use hoping to shorten this path.

The Cistercian priest Marcos Garcia, who lives in Burgos, Spain, commented: “sometimes, God takes away a certain blessing, so the person can understand Him beyond the favors and requests. He knows how far to go in testing a soul – and never goes beyond this point.

“At such moments, we never say God has abandoned us. He never does so; it is we who at times abandon Him. If the Lord puts us to the test, he also always provides enough graces – more than enough, I’d say – to get us through it. When we feel far from His face, we should ask ourselves: are we making the most of that which He has placed along the way?”

In Japan, I was invited to Guncan-Gima, where there is a Zen-Buddhist temple. When I arrived, I was surprised: a fine structure was situated in the middle of a great forest, but had a vast waste land beside it. I asked the reason for this, and the person in charge explained:

- It is the site of the first construction. Every twenty years, we destroy this temple you see before you, and rebuild it next door.

“In this way, the monks, be they carpenters, bricklayers or architects, have the opportunity to exercise their skills, and teach their apprentices in practice. We also show that nothing in life is eternal – and that even temples are in a constant process of refinement.”

If what you are following is the path of your dreams, commit yourself to it. Don’t leave the back door open with excuses: “this still isn’t quite what I wanted.” This sentence – heard so often – contains the seed of defeat.

Embrace your path. Even if you need to take uncertain steps, constantly destroy and build, even if you know you can do better than at present. If you accept the possibilities of the present, you will certainly improve in the future.

Master Achaan Chah was given a fine piece of land so that he might build a monastery. Chah had to go away for a time and left his disciples in charge of the building work.

When he returned – five months later – nothing had been done. The disciples had already ordered several plans from local architects.

One of them asked Chah:

- Which of the projects should we go ahead with? How should we go about taking the right decision?

Chah answered:

- When one desires that which is good, the results are always good.

Free of the fear to make mistakes, the decision was taken and the result was magnificent.

Face your path with courage, do not be afraid of other people’s criticism. And – above all – don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by self-criticism.

God is the God of the brave.

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

God exists wherever He is Allowed to enter.
(The Alchemist)

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Lord only demands of us what is within our capabilities.
(The Fifth Mountain)

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The Dream of God

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Dear readers, rather than asking you a question I would like to ask your opinion on the following subject.

The Toltec, a pre-Colombian culture, stated that we are a dream of God. We can also be his nightmare and what distinguishes the good dream from the nightmare is our presence in this world. In a way, fulfilling our personal legend brings us closer to the good dream of God.

Yet many don’t do that and they blame others for this frustration: they put the blame on their family, on their boss, etc… Of course, all these excuses prevent us from doing what can truly fulfill us.

So, share here your opinion on this issue: where is society heading to? Are people fulfilling their personal legend or do you think that – on the whole – people are still paralyzed by the fear society infuse in them?

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Lord smiles contentedly
because this what He wants,
that everyone should take responsability
for their own lives.
(The Fifth Mountain)

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The heart never suffers
when it goes in search of its dream,
because every moment of the search
is a step towards encountering
God and Eternity.
(The Alchemist)

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Believe in yourself

John Lennon in his song “God” makes a list of things he doesn’t believe in to then say to all – he, who was the idol of his time – that he only believed in himself and Yoko.

So here’s my question : do you think that in order to believe in yourself you have to renounce first to all other beliefs?

In Moses’ footsteps

By Paulo Coelho

Rabbi Zuya wanted to discover the mysteries of life. He therefore resolved to imitate the life of Moses.

For years, he tried to behave like the prophet – without ever achieving the results he hoped for. One night, tired of so much study, he fell into a deep sleep.

God appeared in his dream:

- Why are you so upset, my son? – He asked.

- My days on Earth will end, and I am still so far from being like Moses – answered Zuya.

- If I needed another Moses, I’d have already created him – said God. – When you come before me for judgment, I will not ask whether you were a good Moses, but who you were. Try and be a good Zuya.

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Do you believe in God?

Of course. And I hope that God also believes in me and my work.

The stories of the desert priests

By Paulo Coelho

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

Work in the field

A young man crossed the desert and finally came to the monastery of Scete. There, he asked to hear one of the abbot’s lectures – and was granted permission.

That afternoon, the abbot’s discourse was about the importance of work in the field.

After the lecture, the young man said to one of the monks:

- That was amazing. I thought I would hear a fine sermon about virtues and sins, and the abbot spoke only of tomatoes, irrigation and so forth. Where I come from, all believe that God is merciful: all one must do is pray.

The monk smiled and replied:

- Here we believe that God has already done His part; now it is up to us to continue the process.

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The stories of the desert priests

By Paulo Coelho

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 town on the far side

A hermit from the monastery of Scete went to Abbot Theodore:

- I know precisely the objective of life. I know what God asks of man, and I know the best way of serving Him. Even so, I am incapable of doing everything I should in order to serve the Lord.

Abbot Theodore remained silent for a time. Finally, he said:

- You know that there is a city on the far side of the ocean. But you haven’t yet found the ship, nor have you loaded your bags, nor crossed the sea. Why spend time commenting on what it is like, or how one should walk through its streets?

“Knowing the objective of life, or recognizing the best way of serving the Lord is not enough. Put into practice that which you think, and the way will be revealed all by itself.”

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The stories of the desert priests

By Paulo Coelho

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 middle way

The monk Lucas was walking through a village accompanied by a disciple. An old man asked the man from Scete:

- Holy man, how can I come closer to God?

- Enjoy yourself. Praise the Creator with your joy – was the reply.

The two went on their way. Just then, a young man came over.

- What must I do to come closer to God?

- Enjoy yourself less – said Lucas.

When the young man left, the disciple commented:

- It seems to me that you are not sure whether or not one should enjoy oneself.

- A spiritual journey is a bridge with no railings across an abyss – replied Lucas, – If someone is too near the right hand side, I tell him ‘left a bit!’ If he approaches the left side, I say ‘right a bit!’ The extremes veer us away from the Path.

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Warrior of Light pays attention to small things because they can severely hamper him.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

You mention that none of your characters in 11 Minutes know what sex is about. But the writer is like God in that he always knows what goes on between the lines and outside the brackets. So what is sex about?

The writer is not God, but a human being in search of his own identity. And sex was the way that God choose to manifest the mystery of creation. In eleven minutes you can be the instrument of creating a new soul.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The warrior of light
knows that intuition is God’s alphabet
and so he continues listening to the wind
and talking to the stars.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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