Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Looking for the tree of immortality – Part 2

Author: Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho


On his way back, on climbing a little hill, he remembered that a wise man lived there, and thought: “I have lost all hope of ever finding what I wanted, but at least I can ask for his blessing and beg him to pray for my destiny.”

On reaching the wise man’s house, he could bear it no more and burst into tears.

– Why are you in such despair, my son? – asked the holy man.

– The king charged me to find a tree that was unique in the world, one whose fruit makes us live for ever. I have always fulfilled my duty with loyalty and courage, but this time I am returning home empty-handed.

The wise man began to laugh:

– What you are looking for exists, and it is made of the water of Life that comes from God’s infinite ocean. Your mistake was to try to find a form with a name.

“Sometimes this is called “tree,” other times “sun,” or “cloud,” we can call it anything that exists on the face of the Earth. However, to find this fruit, one must renounce form and seek content.

“Anything that has the presence of the Creation is in itself eternal, nothing can be destroyed.” When our heart stops beating, even so our essence transforms into nature around us. We can become trees, raindrops, plants, or even another human being.

“Why dwell on the word “tree” and forget that we are immortal? We are always reborn in our children, in the love that we show to the world, in each and every gesture of generosity and charity that we practice.

“Go back and tell the king that he need not worry about finding a fruit from some magic tree. Each attitude and decision that he makes now will endure for many generations. So ask him to be fair and just to his people, and if he does his work with dedication, no-one will ever forget him. His example will influence the history of his people and stimulate his children and grandchildren always to act in the best possible way.

And he added: “all those who look for just a name will always be stuck to appearance without ever discovering the hidden mystery of things and the miracle of life.”

“All the fighting that goes on is on account of names: property, jealousy, wealth, immortality. But when we forget the name and look for the reality hiding behind the words, we will have all that we desire – and peace of mind too.”

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