Reflections on Life – When to be practical

By Paulo Coelho

This story is attributed to the wise Mohammed Gwath Shattari, who was held in high esteem by Emperor Humayun. He died in 1563, and there is a temple built in his honor in Gwalior.

As three travelers crossed the mountains of the Himalaya, they discussed the importance of putting into practice everything they had learned on a spiritual plane. They we so engrossed in their conversation that it was only late at night that they realized that all they had with them was a piece of bread.

They decided not to discuss who deserved to eat it; since they were pious men, they left the decision in the hands of the gods. They prayed that, during the night, a superior spirit should indicate who should receive the food.

The following morning, the three men rose together at sunrise.

– This is my dream – said the first traveler. – I was taken to places I had never visited before, and enjoyed the sort of peace and harmony I have sought in vain during my entire life on earth. In the midst of this paradise, a wise man with a long beard said to me: “you are my chosen one, you never sought pleasure, always renounced all things. And, in order to prove my allegiance to you, I should like you to try a piece of bread.”

– That’s very strange – said the second traveler. – For in my dream, I saw my past of sanctity and my future as a master. As I gazed at that which is to come, I found a man of great wisdom, saying: “you are in greater need of food than your friends, for you shall have to lead many people, and will require strength and energy.”

Then the third traveler said:

– In my dream I saw nothing, went nowhere, and found no wise men. However, at a certain hour during the night, I suddenly woke up. And I ate the bread.

The other two were furious:

– And why didn’t you call us before making such a personal decision?

– How could I? You were both so far away, finding masters and having such holy visions! Yesterday we discussed the importance of putting into practice that which we learn on a spiritual plane. In my case, God acted quickly, and had me awake dying of hunger!

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – When evil appears

By Paulo Coelho

Sometimes evil pursues the warrior. So, he calmly invites it into his tent.

The warrior asks evil: “do you want to injure me, or use me to wound others?”

Evil pretends not to hear. It says it knows the warrior’s soul inside out. It touches unhealed wounds, and calls for revenge. It reminds him that it knows many subtle tricks and poisons, which will help the warrior destroy his enemies.

The warrior of the light listens. If evil becomes distracted, he makes it talk some more, asking for details of all of its projects.

After listening to everything, he stands and leaves. Evil has spoken so much, is so tired and so empty, that it hasn’t the strength to follow him.

A warrior must pay attention to evil, if he wishes to do Good.

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – In difficult moments of silence in life

By Paulo Coelho

The warrior knows that sometimes the combat is interrupted. It is no use forcing the struggle; one must be patient, wait for the forces to confront each other once again.

In the silence of the battlefield, listen to your heartbeat. Note how tense it is. That it is afraid.

The warrior takes inventory of his life: he sees that the sword is sharp, the heart satisfied, and faith fires his soul. He knows that maintenance is just as important as action.

There is always something missing. The warrior makes the most of moments in which time slows down, to better equip himself.

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – Finding allies

By Paulo Coelho

The warrior knows that no man is an island, isolated in the middle of the ocean.

He knows that he cannot fight alone; whatever his plan, he will always depend on other people. He must discuss his strategy, ask for help and – during times of rest – have someone to tell stories of combat around the fire.

But he does not allow people to mistake his camaraderie with insecurity. He is transparent in his actions, and secret in his plans.

A warrior of the light dances with his companions, but does not transfer the responsibility of his steps to anyone.

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

What memories do you keep from the days when you were a lyricist?

Excess. But as William Blake once said “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”

Is it wise to be smart?

Today, while browsing the electronic pages of the New York Times, I found this interesting editorial

The Cost of Smarts
By Verlyn Klinkenborg

Research on animal intelligence always makes me wonder just how smart humans are. Consider the fruit-fly experiments described in Carl Zimmer’s piece in the Science Times on Tuesday. Fruit flies who were taught to be smarter than the average fruit fly tended to live shorter lives. This suggests that dimmer bulbs burn longer, that there is an advantage in not being too terrifically bright.

Intelligence, it turns out, is a high-priced option. It takes more upkeep, burns more fuel and is slow off the starting line because it depends on learning “” a gradual process “” instead of instinct. Plenty of other species are able to learn, and one of the things they’ve apparently learned is when to stop.

Is there an adaptive value to limited intelligence? That’s the question behind this new research. I like it. Instead of casting a wistful glance backward at all the species we’ve left in the dust I.Q.-wise, it implicitly asks what the real costs of our own intelligence might be. This is on the mind of every animal I’ve ever met.

Every chicken that looks at you sideways “” which is how they all look at you “” is really saying what Thoreau said less succinctly: you are endeavoring to solve the problem of a livelihood by a formula more complicated than the problem itself. Thoreau himself would not dispute that he was hoping to recover the chicken’s point of view. He went to Walden Pond “to remember well his ignorance.”

Research on animal intelligence also makes me wonder what experiments animals would perform on humans if they had the chance. Every cat with an owner, for instance, is running a small-scale study in operant conditioning. I believe that if animals ran the labs, they would test us to determine the limits of our patience, our faithfulness, our memory for terrain. They would try to decide what intelligence in humans is really for, not merely how much of it there is. Above all, they would hope to study a fundamental question: Are humans actually aware of the world they live in? So far the results are inconclusive.

This editorial refers to the following article : Lots of Animals Learn, but Smarter Isn’t Better

Reflections of the Warrior of the Light

By Paulo Coelho

The warrior of the light is not afraid of appearing to be mad.

He talks aloud to himself even when he is alone. Someone taught him that this is the best way of communicating with the angels, and he ventures this contact.

To begin with, he notes how difficult it is. He thinks he has nothing to say, that he will do nothing but repeat nonsense.

Nevertheless, the warrior persists. He speaks with his heart all day long. He says things he does not agree with, talks nonsense.

One day, he perceives a change in his voice. And he understands that he is channeling a greater wisdom.

The warrior appears to be mad, but this is only a disguise. He has dared to seek the information he required from his angel, and has succeeded in obtaining it.

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light

By Paulo Coelho

A warrior of the light does not put off his decisions.

He reflects properly before acting, considers his training, his responsibility, and his duty to the master. He seeks to maintain serenity, and analyzes each step as if it were the most important one.

But at the moment of making a decision, the warrior moves ahead: he no longer has any doubts about his choice, nor does he alter course should the circumstances be other than those he imagined.

If his decision was the correct one, he will win the combat – even if it takes longer than planned. If his decision is wrong, he will be defeated, and will have to start over again – with more wisdom.

But when he starts out, the warrior of the light follows through to the end.

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