Stories & Reflections
By Paulo Coelho
The transitory and the definitive
All paths in the world lead to the warrior’s heart; he dives without hesitation into the river of passions, which flows unceasing through his life.
The warrior knows he is free to choose that which he desires; his decisions are taken with courage, detachment, and – at times – with a certain amount of madness.
Accept your passions and delight in them intensely. Know that one must not renounce the enthusiasm of the conquests; they are part of life, and please all who take part in them. But never lose sight of the enduring things, and the solid ties created by time.
A warrior knows how to distinguish between that which is transitory, and that which is definitive.
A type of strategy
A Chinese wise man says of the warrior of the light’s strategies:
“Make your enemy believe he will not benefit greatly, should he decide to attack you; thus, you diminish his enthusiasm.
“Do not be ashamed to withdraw temporarily from the battle, if you notice that the enemy is stronger; the important thing is not the single battle, but the outcome of the war.
“Nor should you be ashamed, if you are strong enough, to pretend to be weak; this will cause the enemy to be imprudent, and attack too soon.
“During a war, one’s capability to surprise the adversary is the key to victory.”
When to take risks
A warrior of the light, before entering an important combat, asks himself: “up to which point have I developed my skills?”
He knows that the battles fought in the past always provided him with a lesson. However, many of these teachings caused the warrior to suffer more than necessary. More than once, he wasted his time fighting for a lie.
But the victorious do not repeat the same mistake again.
A warrior cannot refuse to fight; but he also knows that he must not risk important feelings, in exchange for benefits which are not worthy of his love.
This is why the warrior only risks his heart from something worthwhile.
Belonging to the world
The warriors of the light maintain the glint in their eyes.
They are in the world, are part of the lives of others, and begin their journey with neither a bag nor sandals. Often they are cowardly. They do not always act correctly.
The warriors of the light suffer for useless things, act niggardly, and sometimes believe they are incapable of growing. They frequently think they are unworthy of any sort of blessing or miracle.
The warriors of the light are not always sure about what it is they are doing here. They often stay up all night, thinking their lives have no meaning.
This is why they are warriors of the light. Because they err. Because they question. Because they seek a reason – and they will surely find it.
The best and the worst
A poet says: “the warrior of the light chooses his enemies.”
The warrior knows what he is capable of. He does not need to go around telling others of his qualities and virtues. Nevertheless – just like in the Old West – someone always comes along wanting to prove that he is the better man.
The warrior knows there is no “better” or “worse”: each has the gifts necessary for his individual journey.
But some people insist. They provoke, offend, do everything they can to irritate him. This is when then warrior’s heart says: “do not accept the insults, they will not increase your ability. You will tire unnecessarily.”
A warrior of the light does not waste his time listening to provocations; he has a destiny to fulfill.
Using one’s own madness
A warrior of the light studies very carefully the position he wishes to conquer.
However difficult his objective may be, there is always a way to overcome the obstacles. He verifies the alternative routes, sharpens his sword, and seeks to fill his heart with the perseverance necessary to face the challenge.
But, as he advances, the warrior realizes there are difficulties he had not foreseen at the outset.
If he waits for the ideal moment, he will never move from his position; he sees that a little madness is needed for the next step.
The warrior uses a little madness. Because – in war and in love – one cannot foresee everything.
The warrior of the light does not always have faith. There are times when he does not believe in anything at all.
And he asks his heart: “Will all the effort be worthwhile?”
But the heart remains silent. And the warrior must decide for himself.
So he seeks an example. And he remembers that Jesus endured something similar – in order to live the human condition in all its fullness.
“Take this cup away from me,” said Jesus. He too lost heart and his courage, but he did not stop.
The warrior of the light remains faithless.
But he moves forward nevertheless, and his faith will return.
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