Paulo Coelho

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Seventh deadly sin : Sloth

Author: Paulo Coelho

Here we are, almost in the middle of the year. I’ve never believed in coincidences, but feel that having written the series about cardinal sins without thinking about the calendar, and noting that sloth ends up being published when many of our decisions on January 1 are already underway or abandoned, should be a sign for all of us.

Dictionary definition: feminine noun, from the Latin Prigritia. Aversion to work, negligence, indolence.

For the Catholic Church: all live beings that move should earn their daily bread with the sweat of their face, and not be always thinking about safe and immediate results. Sloth is lack of physical or spiritual effort, which degenerates the soul and leads to sadness and depression.

An old fable passed on orally: As soon as he died, Juan found himself in a very beautiful place, surrounded by the comfort and beauty that he had dreamt of. A person dressed in white came up: ‘you have the right to whatever you want: any food, pleasure, fun”, he said.
Delighted, Juan did everything he had dreamt of during life. After many years of pleasures, he looked for the person in white:
“I’ve already done everything I wanted to”, he said. “Now I need some work, to feel useful”.
“I’m very sorry”, said the person in white, “but this is the only thing that I cannot get for you. Here there is no work”.
“To spend eternity dying of tedium? I would prefer a thousand times to be in hell!”
The person in white came up, and said in a low voice:
“Where do you think you are?”

According to Winnie Albert: How can a society survive if it is increasingly more focused on frozen foods, instant photographs, mashed potatoes, speed reading and electronic calculators?

Sociology of sloth: Both he who overworks, and those that refuse to work, are reacting in the same way – trying to get away from the natural problems of any human being, avoiding thinking about the close reality and about the responsibilities inherent to a normal life (Source: The compulsive worker, Oxford, 2001)

According to Buddhism: Traditionally, sloth is one of the principal obstacles to awakening the soul. It is manifested in three ways: the sloth of comfort, which makes us stay always in the same place. Sloth of the heart, when we feel discouraged and unstimulated. Finally, the sloth of bitterness, when nothing matters more to us, and we are already not part of this world (Source: Pema Shodron in Shambala Sun, November 1998)

Comment from the Tao Te King: A man on the path adapts to the Path. An upright man adapts to Virtue. A man who loses something resigns himself to the Loss. He who adapts to the Path is happily accepted by it. He that is upright is accepted by Virtue. He that resigns himself to the loss is accepted by the Loss.

Therefore, already almost in mid-2007: We are accustomed to asking ourselves: Where does inspiration come from? Where is the joy of living? Is all this effort worth while, because during all the year gone by I tried to go beyond my limits, I sustained my family, I behaved as well as possible, and even so I did not arrive where I wanted to?
A warrior of the light understands that awakening is a long process, and that it is necessary to balance contemplation and work to get where one wants. It is not reflecting on what one did not get that he will change; quite the contrary, in these questions is the germ of inaction, of lack of incentive. Yes, perhaps we have done everything right and the results are not visible, but I am certain: there are results. They will surely be revealed as we go along- if we do not give up now.
Happy work to everyone.

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