Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Conversations with the Master : The language of the signs

Author: Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

– What is the language of the signs?

– Every man has his own personal way of communicating with God and with his own soul.

– So man doesn’t need religion?

– The religions are very important, because they allow us to adore collectively, and to share the same mysteries. But the spiritual search is the responsibility of each of us: if you stray from your path, it is no use blaming the priest, the minister, the rabbi, the pastor – the responsibility is yours alone. That is why an alphabet exists which your soul understands, and which will show you the better decisions along your path.

– How to learn this language?

– Like you would any other. First, with the discipline to educate oneself to notice the signs. Then, with the courage to practice the language. Thirdly, never be afraid to make mistakes while practicing.

– What is it makes us so often follow the wrong sign?

– But of course, how else to learn the right signs?

– Could you give me an example of a sign?

– No. As I said, the language is individual. If we begin to generalize the signs, they turn into superstition.

"Many masters have made the mistake of using their signs in order to guide their disciples. What happens is that when people begin the spiritual search, they enter unknown waters, and feel insecure. So they try grabbing hold of the first thing held out to them – and in doing this, they abandon the aspect of adventure, only to become slaves to the hand guiding them. "

– How can I be sure of recognizing a sign as a true one?

– You never can. But, generally, if you begin seeing this world beyond convictions, you will see that your intuition will start to lead you towards the better choice – however absurd it may seem. Gradually, this language becomes incorporated within you, and although you will continue to make the odd mistake, you are already at peace with your soul, and make the right decisions.

"Often the sign is more practical than we imagined, and I’ll tell you a story about this.

"A man once dreamt about an angel, who said to him: tomorrow it will start to rain, your village will be flooded, but you will be saved.

"And sure enough, the next day it started to rain. An emergency team went from house to house, evacuating the inhabitants, since there was a danger of flooding. All left, except that man, who said: "I had a dream about an angel, who said I’d be saved."

"The next day, the water rose to the first floor of the houses. A second emergency team came to try and save the man, who again refused to leave, claiming to have received a sign from an angel, and that he had to show the world his faith.

"By the third day, the situation had become critical, and the man was alone, perched on the roof of his house – as the waters continued to rise nonstop. Making an enormous effort, a rescue team again tried to remove him, but again he refused, calling them the devil, shouting that they were trying to force him to deny the angel’s sign.

"A short while later, the water covered the house and the man was drowned. Since he was a good Christian, he went to heaven and met St. Peter, who invited him to enter. The man refused, saying that God had tricked him; He had sent an angel who told him he would be saved, when in fact he was the only villager who had died.

"St. Peter told him that God never lied, and promised to return with an explanation. He entered Paradise and returned half an hour later, saying:

"It is true, God did indeed send you an angel to tell you that you would be saved. But He said you refused, three times, the salvation He sent you in the form of rescue teams!""

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