Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Fine words are meaningless when we come face to face with suffering.
(The Fifth Mountain)

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

It is important to take from what we see every day
the secrets that routine otherwise prevents us from perceiving.
(The Pilgrimage)

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Knowing how to listen to insults

By Paulo Coelho

In a kingdom of Arabia lived a queen called Layla. Her wisdom illuminated the land like the sun, her beauty blinded men, and her wealth was greater than any of her subjects.

One morning, her chief advisor asked to see her, and said:

– Great queen Layla! You are the wisest, most beautiful and wealthiest women in the world. But I have heard unpleasant things; some people laugh at or complain about your decisions. Why, in spite of all you have done for your subjects, are they still not content?

The queen laughed and replied:

– Loyal advisor, you know how much I have done for my kingdom. Seven regions are under my control, and all of them have enjoyed peace and prosperity. In all the towns, the decisions of my court are just and inspired.

"I can do almost everything I wish. I can order the frontiers to be closed, the gates of the palace to be locked, the treasury coffers sealed indefinitely.

"But there is one thing I cannot do: make the people shut their mouths. It matters not what false things people say; the important thing is to continue to do that which I consider to be true."

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Gift belongs to whoever chooses to accept it.
It is enough to believe –
and not be afraid to make mistakes
(By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept)

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Every person on the face of the Earth has a gift.
For some this is revealed spontaneously,
others have to work to find it.
(By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept)

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This will pass

By Paulo Coelho

The Sufi tradition tells the story of a king who was surrounded by wise men. One morning, as they talked, the king was quieter than usual.

"What is wrong, Your Highness?" – asked one of the wise men.

"I’m confused," replied the king. "At times I am overcome by melancholy, and feel powerless to fulfill my duties. At others, I am dizzy with all power I have. I’d like a talisman to help me be at peace with myself."

The wise men – surprised by such a request – spent long months in discussion. In the end, they went to the king with a gift.

"We have engraved magic words on the talisman. Read them out loud whenever you are too confident, or very sad," they said.

The king looked at the object he had ordered. It was a simple silver and gold ring, but with an inscription:

"This will pass."

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Whenever we need to make an important decision,
it is best to trust impulse and passion,
because reason usually tries to remove us from our dream,
saying that the time is not yet right.
Reason is afraid of defeat,
but intuition enjoys life and its challenges.
(Acceptance speech delivered to the Brazilian Academy of Letters)

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

You are now known as "the magician of words". Why your debut was at the age of forty? What was the incident that motivated you?

It’s true, it took me almost 40 years for me to become a writer. Before that I always dreamt of becoming a writer, but I never dared to take the necessary steps.
I did the pilgrimage to Santiago in 1986 but met my master in Amsterdam in 1982. He told me things back then that enabled my soul to slowly awaken and it was through a series of rituals that I was able, four years later, to embark on my pilgrimage.

Yet, it was only during my pilgrimage that it became increasingly apparent that I wasn’t happy and I had to do something about it – stop making excuses. I realized that you don’t have jump through a series of complicated hoops to achieve a goal. You can just look at a mountain and get a connection with God, you don’t have to understand the mountain to feel that.

When I first got back from the trip it was an anti-climax. I found it hard to acclimatize to my normal life and I was impatient to change my life immediately. But changes happen when you’re ready. It took a few months to realize that I must solely concentrate on writing a book, rather than trying to fill various roles as I had before. The pilgrimage was to be my subject and as I started I took my first step towards my dream.

Contemplating the desert

By Paulo Coelho

Three people passing in a small caravan saw a man contemplating the late afternoon in the Sahara desert, from the top of a mountain.

– It must be a shepherd who has lost a sheep – said the first.

– No, I don’t think he’s looking for anything, much less at sunset, when the view is hazy. I think he’s waiting for a friend.

– I guarantee that’s a holy man, and is looking for enlightenment, – commented the third.

They began to talk about what the man was doing, and became so engrossed in the discussion that they almost fought over it. Finally, in order to resolve the matter, they decided to climb the mountain and go to the man.

– Are you looking for your sheep? – asked the first.

– No, I have no flock.

– Then you are surely waiting for someone – said the second.

– I’m a lonely man who lives in the desert – was the answer.

– Since you live in the desert in solitude, you must be a saint searching for God’s signs, and are meditating! – said the third man, delighted.

– Does everything on Earth have to have an explanation? Then I shall explain: I am merely looking at the sunset. Is that not enough to give sense to our lives?

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Good and Evil have the same face;
it all depends on when they cross
the path of each individual human being.
(The Devil and Miss Prym)

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

What is the appeal of traveling and what do you receive from traveling? Are they reflected to your work? Please let us know what does traveling means to you.

I’m a pilgrim writer and that inevitably appears in the way my characters deals with space. I’m in constant movement and very often I find that my characters need to equally find themselves in a journey. I believe that we are constantly experiencing transformation and that’s why we need to let life guide us. That’s what the main character in The Witch of Portobello, Athena, for instance, does: she runs the world in order to discover herself.

The physical journey mimics the psychological one in the sense that it’s only through this experience that she is able to grasp the deeper meaning of her life, the reason for her wanderings.

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Before and after you became an author, you continue to travel around the world. Which travel was most influential to you? Would you please describe when, where, and what was most shocking and devastating to you?

Today. All wanderings are important since you can extract from anything in life a teaching, something that will make sense to you.

You have to look at life itself is a pilgrimage. Every day is different, every day can have a magic moment, but we don’t see the opportunity, because we think: “Oh this is boring I’m just commuting to work.” But we are all on a pilgrimage whether we like it or not and the target, or goal, the real Santiago, if you like, is death. You must get as much as you can from the journey, because – in the end – the journey is all you have. It doesn’t matter what you accumulate in terms of material wealth, because you are going to die anyway, so why not live? When you realize that you can be brave and that is the first tenant of any spiritual quest – to take risks.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

Anyone who interferes in the destiny of others will never discover his own.
(The Alchemist)

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

There is no such thing as a single chance.
The Lord gives us many opportunities during our lifetime.
(The Fifth Mountain)

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

A warrior of light
is capable of understanding the miracle of life,
fighting to the end for something
in which he believes and, then,
listening to the bells that the sea sets
ringing on the seabed.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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The three cedar trees

By Paulo Coelho

My grandmother told the following story: three cedar trees sprouted in the once beautiful forests of Lebanon. As is known, cedar trees take a long time to grow, and these trees spent whole centuries contemplating life, death, nature and mankind.

They witnessed the arrival of an expedition from Israel, sent by Solomon, and later saw the earth covered with blood, during the wars with Syria. They saw Jezebel and the prophet Elijah, who were mortal enemies. They watched the invention of the alphabet, and enjoyed seeing the caravans passing, laden with colorful textiles.

One fine day, they decided to talk about the future.

– After all I have seen – said the first tree – I wish to be made into the throne of the most powerful king on earth.

– I’d like to be part of something that turns Evil to Good forever – commented the second.

– Myself, I’d like it if every time someone looked at me, they thought of God – replied the third.

More time passed, and some woodcutters came. The cedars were felled, and a ship carried them far away.

Each of those trees had a wish, but reality never asks what to do with dreams; the first was used to build a shelter for animals, and what was left over was used as a prop for bales of hay. The second tree was turned into a very simple tree, which was soon sold to a furniture tradesman. Since the timber from the third tree had no buyers as yet, it was cut up and stored in the warehouse of a large town.

They lamented woefully: "Our wood was so good, and no one found anything fine to use it for."

Some time passed and, one starry night, a couple with nowhere to stay, decided to spend the night in the stable which had been built from the first tree. The woman groaned, in the throes of labor, and gave birth, placing her son between the hay and the wood propping it up.

Just then, the first tree understood that his dream had come true: that this was the greatest king on Earth.

Years later, in a modest house, several men sat around the table which had been made from the second tree. Before they ate, one of them said a few words about the bread and wine before them.

And the second tree understood that, at that moment, it hadn’t just been supporting a goblet and a piece of bread, but the union between man and Divinity.

The next day, two pieces of the third tree were taken and assembled to form a cross. It was left to one side, until, hours later, a cruelly beaten man was brought in and nailed to the wood. Horrified, the cedar lamented the barbaric destiny life had left it.

Before three days had passed, however, the third tree understood its destiny: the man nailed there was now the Light which illuminated all around. The cross made from its wood was now no longer a symbol of torture, but became a sign of victory.

As always with dreams, the three cedar trees from Lebanon had fulfilled the destiny they desired – but not in the way they imagined.

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Emptying the cup

By Paulo Coelho

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master in Kyoto, in search of knowledge. While the monk served tea, the professor commented exercises, analyzed writings, interpreted stories and traditions, and deliberated on the ancient processes of meditation. He did everything to impress his host, in the hopes that he might be accepted as a disciple.

As he spoke, the monk continued to fill his cup, until it overflowed, and tea began to flow across the whole table.

– What are you doing? Can’t you see the cup is full, and that nothing more will fit in it?

– Your soul is like this cup – replied the master. – How can I teach you the true art of Zen Buddhism, if it is already filled with theories?

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