Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The price of hate and pardon

Author: Paulo Coelho

In my notes for the year 1989 I come across some sentences jotted down from a conversation I had with J, whom I call my “master.” At that time we were talking about an unknown mystic called Kenan Rifai, about whom little has been written.

“Kenan Rifai says that when people praise us we should watch how we behave,” says J, “because that means that we hide our faults very well. Finally we end up believing that we are better than we think and then the next step is to let ourselves be dominated by a false feeling of security that will eventually set up dangers all around us.”

“How can we be attentive to the opportunities that life gives us?”

“If you have only two opportunities, learn how to turn them into twelve. When you have twelve they will multiply automatically. That is why Jesus says: “he who has a lot will have a lot more given. He who has little will have that little taken from him.”

“That is one of the harshest sentences in the Gospels. But I have noticed throughout my life that it is absolutely true. So how can we identify the opportunities?”

“Pay attention to every moment, because the opportunity – the “magic instant” – is within our reach, although we always let it pass by because we feel guilty. So try not to waste your time blaming yourself: the universe will see to correcting you if you’re not worthy of what you’re doing.”

“And how is the universe going to correct me?”

“It won’t be through tragedies; these happen because they are part of life, and they should not be thought of as punishment. Generally the universe shows us that we are wrong when it takes away what is most important to us: our friends.

“Kenan Rifai was a man who helped many people find themselves and to achieve a harmonious relation with life. Even so, some of those people proved to be ungrateful and never even turned their head to say ‘thanks’. They turned to him only when their lives were in a state of utter confusion. Rifai helped them again without mentioning the past: he was a man with many friends and the ungrateful always ended up on their own.”

“Those are fine words but I don’t know if I am capable of pardoning ingratitude so easily.”

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