Stories & Reflections
By Paulo Coelho
Carlos Castaneda was an author who left his mark on my generation – although in academic circles he was never considered someone worthy of attention. As a tribute to him, I present a summary of his most important writings:
The most difficult thing in this world is to adopt the spirit and attitude of a warrior. It is no use being sad, complaining, feeling unjustly treated, and believing someone is doing something negative. No one is doing anything, and certainly not to a warrior.
It matters not how we were brought up. What determines our way of acting is the manner in which we administrate our will. A man is the sum of all his wishes, which determine his way of living and dying.
The will is a sentiment, a talent, something which lends us enthusiasm. The will is something which is acquired – but it is necessary to fight for it one’s whole life.
From the moment we are born, people tell us that the world is like this and like that, this way, that way. It is natural that – for a certain period of time – we end up believing what we are told. But we must soon push these ideas aside and discover our own way of living reality.
The humility of a warrior is not the same humility as that of a servile man. The warrior does not lower his head to anyone, and nor does he allow anyone to bow before him. The servile man, on the other hand, kneels before anyone he believes to be more powerful, and demands that the people under his command behave in a similar fashion before him.
The bad thing about words is that they make us feel as if we were illuminated and understanding everything. But, when we turn and face the world, we see that reality is completely different from that which we discussed or heard. Because of this, a warrior seeks to act, and not waste time in useless conversation. Through action, he discovers the meaning of that which occurs in his day-to-day life, and takes creative and original decisions.
The ordinary man thinks that yielding to doubts and worries is a sign of sensibility, of spirituality. Acting thus, he remains distant from the true meaning of life, for his reduced reasoning turns him into the saint or monster he imagines he is, and before he realizes it, he is caught in the trap he has set himself. This type of person loves being told what he should do, but even more than that, he loves not following sound advice – simply in order to anger the generous soul who, at a certain moment, was concerned about him.
Only a warrior can endure the path of knowledge. A warrior does not complain or lament anything, and sees challenges as neither good nor bad. Challenges are simply challenges.
The world is unfathomable and mysterious, just as we all are. The art of the warrior consists of reconciling the terror of being a man with the wonder of being a man.
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