Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

My 25 most important points

Author: Paulo Coelho

 

 

Paulo Coelho’s fans often refer to his books as inspiring and life-changing. His words speak to everyone in a different way and everyone has their own favourite passages – as demonstrated by the number of quotes from his books that can be found all over the internet.

Photo: Alex Stephen Teuscher

1. When you want something, the whole universe conspires to make it happen.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

2. Detach from all things and you will be free.

“When I had nothing to lose, I had everything.”

Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

3. We are all here for a purpose.

“No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

 

“Everybody has a creative potential and from the moment you can express this creative potential, you can start changing the world.”

4. The only thing standing between you and your dream are your fears.

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

5. Mistakes are part of life.

“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?”

From: Eleven Minutes

6. Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies meet.

“Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other. Generally speaking, these meetings occur when we reach a limit, when we need to die and be reborn emotionally. These meetings are waiting for us, but more often than not, we avoid them happening. If we are desperate, though, if we have nothing to lose, or if we are full of enthusiasm for life, then the unknown reveals itself, and our universe changes direction.”

From: Eleven Minutes

7. Every experience, either good or bad, comes with a lesson.

“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.”

From: The Fifth Mountain

8. Do not seek for love outside of you.

“Love is not to be found in someone else but in ourselves; we simply awaken it. But in order to do that, we need the other person.”

From: Eleven Minutes

9. When you change, the whole world changes with you.

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

From: The Alchemist

10. No reason is needed for loving.

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

From: The Alchemist

11. Mind your own business.

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

From: The Alchemist

12. When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.

“No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.”

From: Eleven Minutes

13. Love is an untamed force.

“When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.”

14. Wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

From: The Alchemist

15. Judge not.

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”

16. Children have valuable lessons to teach you.

“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.”

From: The Fifth Mountain

17. Appreciate the contrast of life.

“’Never be ashamed,’ he said. ‘Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.’ ‘How will I know which is which?’ ‘By the taste. You can only know a good wine if you have first tasted a bad one.’”

From: Brida

18. Nobody’s responsible for how you feel or don’t feel.

“In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel.”

From: The Alchemist

19. Your beliefs shape you and make you who you are.

“You are what you believe yourself to be.”

From: The Witch of Portobello

20. Let go of the need to explain yourself.

“Don’t explain. Your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you.”

21. Love changes everything.

“It is not time that changes man nor knowledge; the only thing that can change someone’s mind is love.”

From: Eleven Minutes

22. Don’t mistake elegance with superficiality.

“Elegance is usually confused with superficiality, fashion, lack of depth. This is a serious mistake: human beings need to have elegance in their actions and in their posture because this word is synonymous with good taste, amiability, equilibrium and harmony.”

23. When you do work from your soul, the critics won’t hurt you.

“I write from my soul. This is the reason that critics don’t hurt me, because it is me. If it was not me, if I was pretending to be someone else, then this could unbalance my world, but I know who I am.”

24. Each day brings a miracle of its own.

“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.”

25. Embrace your authenticity.

“You are someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that in my view is a serious illness. God chose you to be different. Why are you disappointing God with this kind of attitude?”

From: Veronika Decides to Die

 

“If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule – Never lie to yourself.”

HAPPY 2021 !

10 sec read: The umbrella

Author: Paulo Coelho

As tradition dictates, upon entering his Zen master’s house, the disciple left his shoes and umbrella outside.

“I saw through the window that you were arriving,” said the master. “Did you leave your shoes to the right or the left of the umbrella?”

“I haven’t the least idea. But what does that matter? I was thinking of the secret of Zen!”

“If you don’t pay attention in life, you will never learn anything. Communicate with life, pay each moment the attention it deserves – that is the only secret of Zen.”

by The Utopian Life

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of the best-selling books in history, with over 65 million copies in 56 different languages. The story of Santiago, the shepherd boy on a journey to realize his “Personal Legend” has inspired people all over the world to live their dreams.

Here are ten of the most popular passages and lessons to apply to your life:

1. Fear is a bigger obstacle than the obstacle itself.

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.

Any new pursuit requires entering uncharted territory — that’s scary. But with any great risk comes great reward. The experiences you gain in pursuing your dream will make it all worthwhile.

2. What is “true” will always endure.

If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.

Truth cannot be veiled by smoke and mirrors — it will always stand firm. When you’re searching for the “right” decision, it will be the one that withstands the tests of time and the weight of scrutiny.

3. Break the monotony. 

When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.

Gratitude is the practice of finding the good in each day. Life can easily become stagnant, mundane, and monotonous, but that changes depending on what we choose to see. There’s always a silver lining, if you look for it.

4. Embrace the present.

Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.

There’s no point dwelling in the past and letting it define you, nor getting lost and anxious about the future. But in the present moment, you’re in the field of possibility — how you engage with the present moment will direct your life.

5. Your success has a ripple-effect.

That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.

Growth, change, and evolution are weaved into the fabric of reality. Becoming a better version of yourself creates a ripple effect that benefits everything around you: your lifestyle, your family, your friends, your community.

6. Make the decision.

When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he has never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the unknowns and finer details of your dreams. Actions will flow out of having confidence in your decision; sitting on the fence will get you nowhere.

7. Be unrealistic.

I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.

Some of the greatest inventions would not have happened if people chose to accept the world as it is. Great achievements and innovations begin with a mindset that ignores the impossible.

8. Keep getting back up.

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

Because the eighth time could be your breakthrough. Some of the greatest novels in history were published after receiving hundreds of rejections. Thankfully, those authors never gave up.

9. Focus on your own journey.

If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

It’s easy to be influenced by others, but you’ll be miserable if you end up living someone else’s life. There’s nothing wrong with taking advice and learning from others, but make sure it aligns with your desires and passions.

10. Always take action.

There is only one way to learn.
It’s through action.

You can study, read, and listen until you turn blue in the face, but the full experience is when you take action, and let the rubber meet the road. Once you’re done aiming, pull the trigger.

________________
PARA LER EM PORTUGUES CLICAR AQUI> O pinheiro de St. Martin
PARA LEER EN ESPANOL CLICAR AQUI > El pino de St. Martin
________________

On Christmas Eve, the parish priest of the little village of St. Martin, in the French Pyrenees, was getting ready to celebrate Mass when he began to smell a delicious perfume. It was winter, the flowers had disappeared a long time ago – and yet there was this pleasant smell as if springtime had appeared out of season.

Intrigued, he went outside to look for the cause of such a marvel, and came across a boy sitting in front of the school door. By his side was a kind of golden Christmas tree.

“But what a beautiful tree!” said the vicar. “It seems to have touched the sky, for it gives off such a divine scent! And it’s made of pure gold! Where did you find it?”

The young man did not seem very happy at what the priest had said.

“It’s true that what I carry with me was growing heavier and heavier as I went along, and the leaves did get harder. But it can’t be gold, and I’m afraid of what my parents are going to say.”

The boy went on to tell his story:

“This morning I left to go to the big city of Tarbes with the money that my mother gave me to buy a nice Christmas tree. But when I was going through a village I happened to see a lonely old woman who had no family to spend the great feast of Christianity with. I gave her some money for her supper, because I was sure that I could get a discount on the tree I was going to buy.

“When I reached Tarbes, I passed in front of the big prison and there was a bunch of people waiting outside to visit the inmates. They were all sad, for they would spend the night far from their beloved ones. I heard some of them commenting that they did not even have enough to buy a slice of Christmas cake. Right there and then, moved by the romanticism of people my age, I decided that I would share my money with those people, who needed it more than I did. I would keep just a very small amount for lunch; the florist is a friend of my family and he would surely give me the tree, and then I could work for him all next week to pay off my debt.

“However, on reaching the market I found out that the florist I knew had not come to work. I tried as hard as I could to find someone who would lend me money to buy the tree elsewhere, but it was all in vain.

“I convinced myself that I would be able to think better what to do if I had something to eat. When I approached a bar, a foreign-looking boy asked me if I could spare him some money, because he had not eaten in two days. Since I imagined that the child Jesus must once have been hungry, I handed him the little money that I had left, and returned home. On the way back I broke a branch off a pine tree; I tried to make it look nice by trimming it, but it just grew as hard as metal and it’s far from being the Christmas tree that my mother is expecting.”

“My dear boy,” said the priest, “the perfume of this tree leaves no doubt whatever that it has been touched by Heaven. Let me tell you the rest of its story:

“As soon as you left that lonely old woman, she immediately asked the Virgin Mary, a mother like herself, to return to you such an unexpected blessing. The parents of the prisoners were certain that they had come upon an angel, and prayed thanking the angels for the Christmas cakes that they bought. The boy that you met gave thanks to God for satisfying his hunger.

“The Virgin, the angels and Jesus heard the prayer of those who had been helped. When you broke the branch off the pine tree, the Virgin bathed it in the perfume of mercy. As you walked along, the angels touched the leaves and they turned to gold. Finally, when everything was ready, Jesus looked upon the work and blessed it, and from then on, whoever touches this Christmas tree will have their sins forgiven and their wishes fulfilled.”

And so it was. The legend goes that the sacred pine tree is still there in St. Martin, but that its force is so great that all those help their brothers on Christmas Eve, however far they may be from the little village in the Pyrenees, are blessed by it.

(inspired by a Hassidic tale)

Book excerpt: The Spy

Author: Paulo Coelho

Dear Mr. Clunet,

I do not know what will happen at the end of this week. I have always been an optimistic woman, but time has left me bitter, alone, and sad.
the-spy-paulo-coelho-cover-244.jpg
Knopf

If things turn out as I hope, you will never receive this letter. I’ll have been pardoned. After all, I spent my life cultivating influential friends. I will hold on to the letter so that, one day, my only daughter might read it to find out who her mother was.

But if I am wrong, I have little hope that these pages, which have consumed my last week of life on Earth, will be kept. I have always been a realis­tic woman and I know that, once a case is settled, a lawyer will move on to the next one without a back­ward glance.

I can imagine what will happen after. You will be a very busy man, having gained notoriety defending a war criminal. You will have many people knock­ing at your door, begging for your services, for, even defeated, you attracted huge publicity. You will meet journalists interested to hear your version of events, you will dine in the city’s most expensive restau­rants, and you will be looked upon with respect and envy by your peers. You will know there was never any concrete evidence against me — only docu­ments that had been tampered with — but you will never publicly admit that you allowed an innocent woman to die.

Innocent? Perhaps that is not the right word. I was never innocent, not since I first set foot in this city I love so dearly. I thought I could manipulate those who wanted state secrets. I thought the Ger­mans, French, English, Spanish would never be able to resist me — and yet, in the end, I was the one manipulated. The crimes I did commit, I escaped, the greatest of which was being an emancipated and independent woman in a world ruled by men. I was convicted of espionage even though the only thing concrete I traded was the gossip from high-society salons.

Yes, I turned this gossip into “secrets,” because I wanted money and power. But all those who accuse me now know I never revealed anything new.

It’s a shame no one will know this. These enve­lopes will inevitably find their way to a dusty file cabinet, full of documents from other proceedings. Perhaps they will leave when your successor, or your successor’s successor, decides to make room and throw out old cases.

By that time, my name will have been long for­gotten. But I am not writing to be remembered. I am attempting to understand things myself. Why? How is it that a woman who for so many years got everything she wanted can be condemned to death for so little?

At this moment, I look back at my life and realize that memory is a river, one that always runs back­ward.

Memories are full of caprice, where images of things we’ve experienced are still capable of suffo­cating us through one small detail or insignificant sound. The smell of baking bread wafts up to my cell and reminds me of the days I walked freely in the cafés. This tears me apart more than my fear of death or the solitude in which I now find myself.

Memories bring with them a devil called melan­choly — oh, cruel demon that I cannot escape. Hear­ing a prisoner singing, receiving a small handful of letters from admirers who were never among those who brought me roses and jasmine flowers, pictur­ing a scene from some city I didn’t appreciate at the time. Now it’s all I have left of this or that country I visited.

The memories always win, and with them comes a demon that is even more terrifying than melan­choly: remorse. It’s my only companion in this cell, except when the sisters decide to come and chat. They do not speak about God, or condemn me for what society calls my “sins of the flesh.” Generally, they say one or two words, and the memories spout from my mouth, as if I wanted to go back in time, plunging into this river that runs backward.

One of them asked me:

“If God gave you a second chance, would you do anything differently?”

I said yes, but really, I do not know. All I know is that my current heart is a ghost town, one popu­lated by passions, enthusiasm, loneliness, shame, pride, betrayal, and sadness. I cannot disentangle myself from any of it, even when I feel sorry for myself and weep in silence.

I am a woman who was born at the wrong time and nothing can be done to fix this. I don’t know if the future will remember me, but if it does, may it never see me as a victim, but as someone who moved forward with courage, fearlessly paying the price she had to pay.

From “The Spy” by Paulo Coelho.

2021

Author: Paulo Coelho

Character of the week: Santa Claus

Author: Paulo Coelho

One of the problems we have in this world is that too many adults believe in Santa Claus, and too many children don’t
Lee Lauer

A critic is a man who found out when he was about ten that there wasn’t any Santa Claus, and he’s still upset.
James Gould Cozzens

Santa Claus has the right idea: visit people once a year
Victor Borge

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.
Shirley Temple

Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it.
Richard Lamm

Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus! There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.
Francis P. Church

Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he bestows.
Edwin Osgood Grover

Let me see if I’ve got this Santa business straight. You say he wears a beard, has no discernible source of income and flies to cities all over the world under cover of darkness? You sure this guy isn’t laundering illegal drug money?
Tom Armstrong

There are three stages of a man’s life:
He believes in Santa Claus.
He doesn’t believe in Santa Claus
He is Santa Claus.

EM PORTUGUES: A brasa solitária
EN ESPANOL: La brasa solitária


Juan always attended Sunday services at his parish. But then he began to find that the pastor always said the same things, so he stopped going to church.

On a cold winter’s night two months later, the pastor paid him a visit.

“He must have come to try to convince me to go back,” Juan thought to himself. He imagined he could not tell the real reason: those boring sermons. He had to find an excuse, and as he was thinking he pulled two chairs up close to the hearth and began talking about the weather.

The pastor said nothing. Juan, after some vain attempts to start up a conversation, sat in silence too. They both sat there without speaking, just looking at the fire for close to half an hour.

Then the pastor rose, and with the help of a branch that had not yet burned, pulled an ember aside and placed it far from the fire.

The ember, without enough heat to go on burning, began to go out. Juan quickly tossed it back into the middle of the fire.

“Good night,” said the pastor, rising to leave.

“Good night and many thanks,” answered Juan. “No matter how bright it is, an ember removed from the fire will end up going out quickly.
“No matter how clever a man may be, far from his neighbors he will never manage to conserve his heat and his flame.”

Tobacco kiosk

Author: Paulo Coelho

by Fernando Pessoa ( Portuguese poet, 1888-1935 )

I am nothing
I shall always be nothing
I cannot wish to be anything.
Aside from that, I have within me all the dreams of the world.

Windows of my room,
The room of one of the world’s millions nobody knows about
(And if they knew about me, what would they know?)
Open onto the mystery of a street continually crossed by people,
To a street inaccessible to any thought,
Real, impossibly real, certain, unknowingly certain,
With the mystery of things beneath the stones and beings,
With death making the walls damp and men’s hair white,
With the Destiny driving the wagon of everything down the road of nothing.

Today I am defeated, as if I knew the truth.
Today I am clear-minded, as if I were about to die
And had no more kinship with things
Than a goodbye, this building and this side of the street becoming
A long row of train carriages, and a whistle departing
From inside my head,
And a jolt of my nerves and a creak of bones as we go.

Today I am bewildered, as one who wondered and discovered and forgot.
Today I am divided between the loyalty I owe
To the outward reality of the Tobacco Kiosk of the other side of the street
And to the inward real feeling that everything is but a dream.
I have missed everything.
And since I had no aims, maybe everything was indeed nothing.

I go down from the window at the back of the house.
I went to the countryside with grand plans,
But all I found in it was grass and trees,
And when there were people, they were just like other people

I step back from the window and sit in a chair. What should I think about now?

I have dreamed more than Napoleon did.
I have held against the hypothetical heart more humanities than Christ.
I have secretly created philosophies no Kant has ever written.
But I am, and perhaps always should be, the one from the attic
Although I don’t live in it;
I shall always be someone not born for this;
I shall always be the one who just had qualities;
I shall always be the one who has waited for a gate to open next a wall without a door
And sang the song of the infinite in a poultry-yard,
And heard God’s voice in a blocked-up well.
Believe in myself? No, not in me and not in nothing.
May Nature be dissolved on my feverish head
Her sun, her rain, the wind that ruffles my hair,
And the rest, let it come if it must, it doesn’t matter.

Hearts in thrall to the stars,
We have conquered the whole world before leaving our beds.
But we were awakened and it was opaque,
We rose and he was strange to us
We left the house and it was the whole world,
And also the Solar System, the Milky Way and the Indefinite…

Eat chocolates!
Know there are no metaphysics in the world but chocolates.
Know that all the faiths don’t teach more than confectionery.
Eat, dirty one, eat!
If only I could eat chocolates with the same veracity you do!
But I think, and when I lift the silver paper of a leaf of tin-foil
I let everything fall to the ground, as I have done to my life.)

Musical essence of my useless verses,
If only I could face you as something I had created
Instead of always facing the Tobacco Kiosk across the street,
Forcing underfoot the consciousness of existing,
Like a carpet a drunkard stumbles on
Or a straw mat stolen by gypsies and worth nothing.

But the Tobacco Kiosk owner has come to the door and is standing there.
I look at him with the discomfort of an half-turned head
And the discomfort of an half-grasping soul.
He shall die and I shall die.
He shall leave his signboard and I shall leave my poems.
His sign will die, and so will my poems.
And soon the street where the sign is, will die too,
And so will the language in which my poems are written.
And so will the whirling planet where all of this happened.
On other satellites of other systems something like people
Will go on making something like poems and living under things like signboards,
Always one thing facing the other,
Always one thing as useless as the other,
Always the impossible as stupid as reality,
Always the mystery of the bottom as powerful as the mysterious dream of the top.
Always this or always some other thing, or neither one nor the other.

But a man has entered the Tobacco Shop (to buy tobacco?),
And plausible reality suddenly hits me.
I half rouse myself, energetic, convinced, human,
And I will try to write these verses in which I say the opposite.

I light a cigarette as I think about writing them,
And in that cigarette I savour liberation from all thoughts.
I follow the smoke as if it were my personal itinerary
And enjoy, in a sensitive and capable moment
The liberation of all the speculations
With the conscience that metaphysics is a consequence of not feeling well.

Afterwards I throw myself on the chair
And continue smoking.
As long as Destiny allows, I will keep smoking.

(If I married my washwoman’s daughter
Maybe I should be happy.)
Upon that, I rise. And I go to the window.

The man has come out of the Tobacco Kiosk (putting change in his trousers?).
Ah, I know him: he is Esteves – without metaphysics.
The Tobacco Kiosk owner has come to the door.
As if by a divine instinct, Esteves turned around and saw me.
He waved hello, I greet him “Hello there, Esteves!”, and the universe
Reconstructed itself for me, without ideal or hope, and the owner of the Tobacco Kiosk smiled.

(I could not find the name of the translator)

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