Prophet Mohammed, 7th century

Based on my message earlier this week – about the different languages of God – I would like to share with you this week some of the prayers that point in the same direction:

“Oh Allah! I come to you because you know all, even what is hidden.

If what I am doing is good for me and my religion, for my life now and later, then let the task be easy and blessed.

If what I am doing now is bad for me and my religion, for my life now and later, then keep me far from this task.”

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Question by the reader : Gerald

What has inspired you to write The Winner Stands Alone?

In this book I wanted to explore how dreams can be manipulated and how people get shattered in the process. I’m not condemning vanity – since all under the sun is vanity as Salomon said. What I am interested in is in how people allow themselves to be dispossessed of themselves.
In our current society there are collective standards that are completely anonymous and yet many try to subscribe to them. Some people believe their happiness is conditioned by money, fame, beauty… How does that happen? This book arose from this central question.

Epictetus to his disciples

Two things can happen when we meet someone: either we become friends, or we try to convince the other person to accept our convictions.
The same happens when the ember meets another piece of coal: either it shares its fire with it, or it is suffocated by its size and ends up extinguished.
As we are generally insecure at a first contact, we try indifference, arrogance or excessive humility.

The result is that we stop being who we are and things start heading towards a strange world that does not belong to us.

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The Dark Triad

by Quentin Fottrell

People who post selfies on social networks like Instagram and Facebook are more likely to exhibit what some psychologists call the “dark triad” of personality traits, according to two previous studies of nearly 1,200 men and women who completed personality tests and answered questions on their online habits.

This dark triad consists of

narcissism (extreme self-centeredness),

Machiavellianism (manipulation of others) and

psychopathy (acting impulsively with no regard for other people’s feelings),

they noted.

Constantly posting selfies not only intensifies peer pressure, it also provides an unrealistic mirror of our own lives, experts say.

“It’s not a wonderful personality constellation,” says Jesse Fox, assistant professor of communications at Ohio State University, and co-author of the aforementioned studies of 800 men — “The Dark Triad” — published in the April 2015 edition of “Personality and Individual Differences,” a peer-reviewed journal, and a similar paper studying 400 women.

Isaac dies

By Paulo Coelho

 

A certain Rabbi was adored by the community; everyone was enchanted by what he said.

Except for Isaac, who never missed an opportunity to contradict the Rabbi’s interpretations and point out faults in his teachings. The others were annoyed by Isaac, but could do nothing about it.

One day, Isaac died. During the funeral, the community noticed that the Rabbi was deeply upset.

– Why are you so sad? – someone commented. – He was always criticizing everything you said!

– I am not upset for my friend who is now in heaven – replied the Rabbi – I am upset for my own self. While everyone revered me, he challenged me, and I was obliged to improve. Now he has gone, I am afraid I shall stop growing.

 

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Character of the week: Brida


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EM PORTUGUES AQUI> Personagem da semana: Brida
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Choosing a path meant having to miss out on others. She had a whole life to live, and she was always thinking that, in the future, she might regret the choices she made now.
“I’m afraid of committing myself,” she thought to herself.
She wanted to follow all possible paths and so ended up following none. After her first romantic disappointment, she had never again given herself entirely. She feared pain, loss, and separation.
These things were inevitable on the path to love, and the only way of avoiding them was by deciding not to take that path at all.
In order not to suffer, you had to renounce love. It was like putting out your own eyes not to see the bad things in life.

“When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”

——-

“Don’t bother trying to explain your emotions. Live everything as intensely as you can and keep whatever you felt as a gift from God. The best way to destroy the bridge between the visible and invisible is by trying to explain your emotions.”

“But how will I know who my Soulmate is?” Brida felt that this was one of the most important questions she had ever asked in her life.
“By taking risks” she said to Brida. ‘ By risking failure, disappointment, disillusion, but never ceasing in your search for Love. As long as you keep looking, you will triumph in the end.”

————–

Nothing is completely wrong. Even a broken watch is right twice a day.

BRIDA is the real story of a young girl learning to follow the Tradition of the Moon

30 sec reading: change and renewal


When winter arrives, the trees must sigh in sadness as they see their leaves falling.

They say: ‘We will never be like we were before.’
Of course.

Or still, what is the meaning of renewing oneself? The next leaves will have their own nature, they pertain to a new summer that approaches and which will never be like the one that passed.
Living means changing – and the seasons repeat these lessons to us every year.

Changing means going through a period of depression: we still don’t know the new and we have to forget everything we used to know.

But if we are a little patient, spring ends up arriving and we forget the winter of our hopelessness.

Change and renewal are the laws of life.
It is best to get used to them and not suffer about things that only exist to bring us joy.

taken from Manuscript found in Accra

The duck and the cat

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“How did you start your spiritual life?” asked one of the Sufi master Shams Tabrizi’s disciples.

“My mother used to say that I was neither crazy enough to check in into a mad house nor saintly enough to enter a monastery,” Tabrizi answered.

“So I decided to devote myself to Sufism, where we learn through free meditation.”

“And how did you explain it to your mother?”

“With the following fable: someone entrusted a little cat to take care of a duck. The duck followed his adoptive mother everywhere until the day both of them reached a lake. Immediately, the duck plunged into the water while the cat yelled at the border: ‘get out of there! You’ll drown!’”

“And the little duck answered: ‘no, mommy, I discovered what is good for me and I can tell I am in my environment. I will stay here even if you don’t know what a lake means.’”

Inner and outer values

Abu Muhammad al-Jurayry used to say: “Religion has treasures that enrich us. There are five inner and five outer treasures we should strive for. All of those who follow the spiritual path must be aware of them.”

“These are the inner treasures: own the ability to be truthful, exercise detachment from our possessions, display humbleness in appearance and strive for both, balance to avoid disagreements and strength to react to them.”

“And these are the outer treasures: discover a supreme Love, be intelligent to see our own flaws, be conscious of everything that happens in life and be grateful for the received blessings.”

A conversation with the author of The Spy

In the form of a letter, Paulo Coelho’s 2016 novel, The Spy, tells the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to break the conventions of her time, and paid the price. Here he answers some questions about the inspiration behind telling this story, and discovering the voice of the famed French dancer, Mata Hari.

Who was Mata Hari, and why did you choose her as the subject for your new novel?
Mata Hari was one of the icons of the hippie generation – the bad girl, the different, the stranger, wearing all those fancy dresses – and we were all fascinated by her. Forty years later, I was having din­ner here in Geneva, Switzerland with my lawyer, and he mentioned the many cases of innocent people who were condemned to death during World War I, which we are only learning about now because they are declassifying many wartime documents. Mata Hari was only one of his examples, but because she had always interested me, I did some quick research online when I got home.

This research led me to a lot of these documents, and to more and more information about her. The next day I bought some books and spent my weekend compulsively reading anything about Mata Hari. I did not know then that I was (sort of) doing research for a book; I only realized it when I decided, as an exercise of imagination, to put myself in her shoes.

How did you research her life and that era? What did you find most surprising about her life?
The most surprising thing is how a woman who had been abused till she was twenty could overcome this situation and become who she became. As for the Belle Époque Paris, it was an era of ‘everything is possible.’ I was very intrigued by it, and I worked to keep the book centered in its main character. The tendency of a writer is to describe too much. I give an idea about her era, and I try to situate the reader without overloading them with information.

At the end of the book, you say that you stuck to many of the facts. Where did you stray from the historical record, and why?

The facts in the book are correct, the historical track is correct, but I did put myself in the shoes of someone else. It is hard to say ‘where did I stray?’ in my imagining of Mata Hari’s final letter. But I be­lieve I was very, very close to what she was thinking. About two months ago, a museum in the Nether­lands made public some new letters of Mata Hari, which she wrote in Holland, before she went to Java. One reviewer said that it was as if I had ‘channeled’ her.

Why did you choose to make this an epistolary novel?

When you write a letter, it gives you the opportunity to describe your own life to someone who is seeing it from the outside.

How did it feel to write from Mata Hari’s perspective?

She became my companion, night and day, while I was reading about her era. And I began to under­stand how, being who she was, she would justify her attitude.

Mata Hari was something of a celebrity, gaining fame as a femme fatale. She created her celebrity using both talent and lies. What are the lessons we can learn from this complicated woman?

That 1) every dream has a price; 2) when you dare to be different, be ready to be attacked; 3) even when you face a hostile (masculine) world, you can find a way to circumvent this.

What led to her execution by firing squad? Can you imagine a different outcome for her life?

I never speculate about ‘if’ or about what could or could not be. She fulfilled her destiny, and that is what counts.

Destiny’s Road to Heal

by Nuggets from books

Portuguese novel or international writing? Defying cultural paradigms, through his allegorical novel – The AlchemistPaulo Coelho brings in the front line the most disturbing and challenging topic that concern humanity: destiny.

  1. The concept: The wisdom of simplicity.

The simplest things in life are the most extraordinary and that only wise man are able to understand them”.

  1. The concept: The inevitability of fate, the world’s greatest lie

That at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate”.

  1. The concept: The soul of the universe

          “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

  1. The concept: The crossroad of thinking

He realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure. “

5. The concept: The power of a dream

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

6. The concept: The desert’s lesson

The desert is so huge, and the horizon so distant, that they make a person feel small, and as if he should remain silent.” 

  1. The concept: The language of the heart

He learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke – the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.” 

  1. The concept: The Arab alchemist

There is only one way to learn,” the alchemist answered. “It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey”

  1. The concept: Like the wind

“Because it’s not love to be static like the desert, nor is it love to roam the world like the wind.” 

  1. The concept: The treasure

He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have”

In 1987 Paulo Coelho wrote The Alchemist in only two weeks. The story was already written in his soul – he said.

This will be the feeling that you will probably may have during reading this book. You’ll have the strange but pleasant sensation that you are not reading it with your eyes. That you are reading it more with your heart.

The hope and the boldness will guide your mind through a whole new perspective over the life, over dreaming to achieve what you really want for yourself.

 

Viva N. Sra de Fátima!

apparitions_fatima_13

On May 13, 1917, the children purportedly saw a lady “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun”. The woman wore a white mantle edged with gold and held a rosary in her hand. She asked them to devote themselves to the Holy Trinity and to pray “the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war”.[3] While they had never spoken to anyone about the angel, Jacinta divulged her sightings to her family despite Lucia’s admonition to keep this experience private. Her disbelieving mother told neighbors as a joke, and within a day the whole village knew.

The children said that they had been bidden to return to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of the following month. Lucia’s mother sought counsel from the parish priest, Father Ferriera, who suggested she allow them to go and bring Lucia to him afterward that he might question her. The second appearance occurred on June 13, the feast of St. Anthony, patron of the local parish church. On this occasion the lady revealed that Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to Heaven soon but Lucia would live longer in order to spread her message and devotion to the Immaculate Heart.[3] As the account of this meeting was written after the deaths of Francisco and Jacinta, it may be an instance of retrospective prophecy.

At this same visit, the lady told them to say the Rosary daily in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace and the end of the war. (Three months earlier, on April 21, the first contingent of Portuguese soldiers had embarked for the front lines.) The lady also allegedly revealed to the children a vision of hell, and entrusted to them a secret, “that was good for some and bad for others”. Ferreira later stated that Lucia told him that the lady told her, “I want you to come back on the thirteenth and to learn to read in order to understand what I want of you. …I don’t want more.”

Thousands of people flocked to Fátima and Aljustrel in the following months, drawn by reports of visions and miracles. On August 13, 1917, the provincial administrator Artur Santos[7] (no relation to Lúcia Santos), believing that the events were politically disruptive, intercepted and jailed the children before they could reach the Cova da Iria. The administrator interrogated and threatened the children to get them to divulge the contents of the secrets. Maria’s mother hoped the officials could persuade the children to end the affair and admit that they had lied.[5] Lúcia told him everything short of the secrets, and offered to ask the Lady for permission to tell the Administrator the secrets. That month, instead of the usual apparition in the Cova da Iria on the 13th, the children reported that they saw the Virgin Mary on 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption, at nearby Valinhos.

The three children claimed to have experienced in total six apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary between May 13 and October 13, 1917.

John Paul II credited Our Lady of Fátima with saving his life following an assassination attempt on the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima, 1981. He donated the bullet that wounded him to the Roman Catholic sanctuary at Fátima, Portugal and it was placed in the crown of the Virgin’s statue.

Mindfulness Meditation

(by Curejoy)

We often hear people complaining about their unsuccessful attempts at meditation. That’s most often because there is a misconception that meditation involves thoughtlessness; they are trying to quell the thoughts while meditating. Mindfulness is not thinking, interpreting or evaluating. It is mind’s nonjudgmental way of observing the things that happen around it.

Here’s how you do mindfulness meditation:

  1. The first and foremost thing to do is to choose an ideal location for meditation. Choose a spot where you are least likely to be disturbed.
  2. Equally important is the time you choose to meditate. Find a quiet time. Start with 5 to 10 minutes of practice, gradually increasing the duration as you get comfortable with the practice.
  3. Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. You can even take the support of a wall or a pillow to prop your back up if you are not used to sitting upright for long.
  4. Close your eyes and focus on your breath; pay attention to your inhalations and exhalations. Alternatively, you can chant a mantra and focus on it instead of your breath.
  5. It is natural for thoughts to come and affect your concentration. Let the thoughts flow; observe them in a nonjudgmental way without dwelling on them. Label them “thoughts” and let them go. When your focus shifts, bring your mind back to your breath.
  6. Observe the smells, sounds, and sensations around. Label them “smell”, “sound”, etc and passively observe them without indulging in them or the thoughts around them.
  7. Slowly move your attention to subtle body sensations like tingling, itching and let them pass. Similarly, observe your body sensations from head to toe.
  8. It is natural for emotions to interfere. Simply observe these emotions without judging them. Name the emotions as “happy”, “crazy”, etc in a relaxed manner. At any time your focus shifts, bring your mind back to your breath.
  9. Stay with the practice as long as you can. Slowly increase the duration as you get comfortable with it.

Conversations with my master – The mystery

By Paulo Coelho Capture

(from my notebook, August 1982)

– What are we doing on Earth?

– Truly? I don’t know. I have looked in many corners, in light and dark places; today, I am convinced that no one knows – Only God.

– That is not a good answer, for a master.

– It is an honest answer. I know many people who will explain to you in great detail, the meaning of our existence. Don’t believe them, these people are tied to an ancient language, and only believe in things which have an explanation.

– Does that mean there is no reason to live?

– You do not understand what I am saying. I said I don’t know the reason. But of course there is a reason we are here, and God knows it.

– Why doesn’t he reveal it to us?

– He reveals it to each of us, but in a language we often do not accept, because it has no logic – and we are too accustomed to directions and formulas.

“Our heart knows why we are here. Whoever listens to his heart, follows the signs, and lives his Personal Legend, will understand that he is taking part in something, even if he doesn’t comprehend it rationally. There is a tradition which says that, the second before our death, we realize the true reason for our existence. And at that moment, Hell and Heaven are born.

– I don’t understand.

– During this split second, Hell is to look back and know that we wasted an opportunity to honor God and dignify the miracle of life. Heaven, at that moment, is to be able to say: “I made some mistakes, but I was not a coward: I lived my life, and did what I had to do.” Both Hell and Heaven will accompany us for a long time, but not forever.

– How can I know that I am living my life?

– Because, instead of bitterness, you feel enthusiasm. That is the only difference. Apart from that, one must respect the Mystery, and humbly accept that God has a plan for us. A generous plan, which leads us towards His presence, and which justifies these millions of stars, planets, black holes, etc. which we see tonight, here in Oslo (we were in Norway) .

– It is very difficult to live without an explanation.

– Can you explain why man needs to give and receive love? No. And you live with that, don’t you? Not only do you live with it, but it is the most important thing in your life: love. And there is no explanation.

“In the same way, there is no explanation of life. But there is a reason we are here, and you must be humble enough to accept that. Trust what I say; the life of each human being has a meaning, although he commits the error of spending the greater part of his time on earth seeking an answer, and meanwhile forgets to live.

“I can give you an example from a time when I came close to understanding all this. I had arrived at a party to commemorate 50 years since my graduation from high school. There, at the school where I studied as a teenager, I found many friends. We drank, told the same jokes as half a century ago.

“At a certain moment, I looked out onto the schoolyard. There, I saw myself as a child, playing, looking at life with amazement and intensity. Suddenly, the child that I saw began to take form and came over to me.

“He looked at me and smiled. Then I understood that I hadn’t betrayed my youthful dreams. That the child I had once been was still proud of me. That the reason to live that I had as a child, was still alive in my heart.

“Try to live with the same intensity as a child. He doesn’t ask for explanations; he dives into each day as if it were a new adventure and, at night, sleeps tired and happy.”

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On roses

by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (1841)

These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day.
There is no time to them.
There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.
Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less.

Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike.

But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future.
He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.

Joining the spiritual path

Many emotions move the human heart when it decides to dedicate itself to the spiritual path.
This may be a “noble” reason – like faith, love of our neighbor, or charity.
Or it may be just a whim, the fear of loneliness, curiosity, or the fear of death.

None of that matters. The true spiritual path is stronger than the reasons that led us to it and little by little it imposes itself with love, discipline and dignity.
A moment arrives when we look backwards, remember the beginning of our journey, and laugh at ourselves. We have managed to grow, although we traveled the path for reasons that were very futile.

God uses loneliness to teach us about living together.
Sometimes he uses anger so that we can understand the infinite value of peace.
At other times he uses tedium, when he wants to show us the importance of adventure and leaving things behind.
God uses silence to teach us about the responsibility of what we say.
At times he uses fatigue so that we can understand the value of waking up.
At other times he uses sickness to show us the importance of health.
God uses fire to teach us about water.
Sometimes he uses earth so that we can understand the value of air. And at times he uses death when he wants to show us the importance of life

Remember this when for some reason you feel unable to continue on your path

Being merciless

I am wearing a strange green outfit, full of zips and made from a very tough fabric.

I have gloves on too in order to avoid cuts and scratches. I’m carrying a kind of spear, almost as tall as I am: the metal end has three prongs on one side and a sharp point on the other.

And before me lies the object of my attack: the garden. With the object in my hand, I start to remove the weeds growing among the grass. I do this for quite a while knowing that each plant I dig up will die within two days.
The soul is like a landscaped garden. Save it from the weeds

The soul is like a landscaped garden. Save it from the weeds

Suddenly, I ask myself: ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ What we call a ‘weed’ is, in fact, an attempt at survival by a particular species which took Nature millions of years to create and develop.

The flower was fertilised at the expense of innumerable insects, it was transformed into seed, the wind scattered it over the fields round about, and so, because it was not planted in just one place but in many, its chances of surviving until next spring are that much greater.

If it was concentrated in just one place, it would be vulnerable to being eaten, to flood, fire and drought. But all that effort to survive is brought up short by the point of a spear, which mercilessly plucks the plant from the soil.

Why am I doing this? Someone created this garden. I don’t know who, because when I bought the house, the garden was already here, in harmony with the surrounding mountains and trees.

But its creator must have thought long and hard about what he or she was doing, must have carefully planted and planned (for example, there is an avenue of trees that conceals the hut where we keep the firewood) and tended it through countless winters and springs.

When I moved into the old mill where I spend a few months of each year, the lawn was immaculate. Now it is up to me to continue that work, although the philosophical question remains: Should I respect the work of the creator, of the gardener, or should I accept the survival instinct with which nature endowed this plant that I now call a ‘weed’?

I continue digging up unwanted plants and placing them on a pile that will soon be burned. Perhaps I am giving too much thought to things that have less to do with thought and more to do with action.

But then, every gesture made by a human being is sacred and full of consequences, and that makes me think even more about what I am doing.

On one hand, these plants have the right to broadcast themselves everywhere. On the other, if I don’t destroy them now, they will end up choking the grass. In the New Testament, Jesus talks about separating the wheat from the tares.

But, with or without the support of the Bible, I am faced by a concrete problem always faced by humanity: How far should we interfere with Nature? Is such interference always negative, or can it occasionally be positive?

I set aside my weapon also known as a hoe. Each blow means the end of a life, the death of a flower that would have bloomed in the spring – such is the arrogance of the human being constantly trying to shape the landscape around him.

I need to give the matter more thought because I am, at this moment, wielding the power of life and death. The grass seems to be saying: ‘If you don’t protect me, that weed will destroy me.’

The weed also speaks to me: ‘I travelled so far to reach your garden; why do you want to kill me?’ In the end, the Bhagavad Gita comes to my aid. I remember the answer that Krishna gives to the warrior Arjuna, when the latter loses heart before a decisive battle, throws down his arms, and says it is not right to take part in a battle that will culminate in the death of his brothers.

Krishna says, more or less: ‘Do you really think you can kill anyone? Your hand is My hand, and it was already written that everything you are doing would be done. No one kills and no one dies.’

Encouraged by this recollection, I pick up my spear again, attack the weeds I did not invite to grow in my garden, and am left with this morning’s one lesson: When something undesirable grows in my soul, I ask God to give me the same courage mercilessly to tear it out

39 SEC READ: The natural order

Narusidin2A very wealthy man asked a Zen master for a text which would always remind him how happy he was with his family.

The Zen master took some parchment and, in beautiful calligraphy, wrote:

“The father dies. The son dies. The grandson dies.”

“What?” said the furious rich man. “I asked you for something to inspire me, some teaching which might be respectfully contemplated by future generations, and you give me something as depressing and gloomy as these words?”

“You asked me for something which would remind you of the happiness of living together with your family.

“If your son dies first, everyone will be devastated by the pain. If your grandson dies, it would be an unbearable experience.

“However, if your family disappears in the order which I placed on the paper, this is the natural course of life.

“Thus, although we all endure moments of pain, the generations will continue, and your legacy will last.” –

 

(illustration: Ken Crane)

5 tips to defeat cynicism

(excerpts from a post in The Daily Mind)

The Oxford English Dictionary defines cynicism in a very enlightening way: “…a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions…”

The main thing to notice about the definition is the presence of negativity. A cynical person will almost always choose to doubt, disbelieve or discredit, even when there is no logical reason to do so.

So why do people think and behave like this? There are many schools of thought on the matter – some regard cynicism as a personal defense mechanism whereby people prevent themselves from opening up to love and friendship for fear of being hurt. Others say it comes about due to a traumatic event that occurred in childhood and caused a person to “close up”.

Here are some super simple things you can do to get yourself on the path of positive thinking and away from those habits of cynicism:

1. Recognize the problem
As with all problems the first step is in the recognizing. Some people go their whole lives not realizing that they are horrible people with miserly outlooks and cynical views of the world. Thank yourself lucky that you have had the good fortune to recognize the problem and do something about it. This is the first step.

2. Recognize each cynical thought
Once you have realized that you can be a cynic the task is to start realizing it more often. Think of this as a bit of a mindfulness meditation. The idea is to become attuned to your own mind and thoughts and start to become aware of every cynical thought that you have.

3. Use logic to debate the cynicism

Logic is a wonderful thing. Logic allows you to overcome destructive emotions and other negative things in your life. Why? Because 99% of the time the reason for your depression, anxiety, hatred or other negative feeling is illogical. If you debate the negative feeling using logic you will often find that the negative feeling gets weaker.

4. Make a definitive choice to be positive
Everything good in life comes from a choice. When you make a choice to do something you do everything that you can to make that thing come about.

5. Focus on people’s qualities
The last method I want to give you is the one that has worked the best for me. It is the simple art of choosing to look at people’s qualities instead of their negative attributes.

if you are a cynical person and you find that you have no friends, a bad job, poor social life and are generally unhappy then you could conclude that the results of your cynicism were bad. This is the type to avoid. If, however, you find that your cynicism helps you to avoid trouble then you can conclude that it is a good type.
Make sure you learn the difference.

In search of my island – Part 2

Paulo Coelho

[continuation of the previous post]

Shaken by these alarming thoughts, I find a strength and a courage I didn’t know I had: they help me to venture into an unknown part of my soul. I let myself be swept along by the current and finally anchor my boat at the island I was being carried towards. I spend days and nights describing what I see, wondering why I’m doing this, telling myself that it’s really not worth the pain and the effort, that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, that I’ve got what I wanted and far more than I ever dreamed of having.

I notice that I go through the same process as I did when writing my first book: I wake up at nine o’clock in the morning, ready to sit down at my computer immediately after breakfast; then I read the newspapers, go for a walk, visit the nearest bar for a chat, come home, look at the computer, discover that I need to make several phone calls, look at the computer again, by which time lunch is ready, and I sit eating and thinking that I really ought to have started writing at eleven o’clock, but that now I need a nap; I wake at five in the afternoon, finally turn on the computer, go to check my e-mails, then remember that I’ve destroyed my Internet connection; I could go to a place ten minutes away where I can get on-line, but couldn’t I, just to free my conscience from these feelings of guilt, couldn’t I at least write for half an hour?

I begin out of a feeling of duty, but suddenly “the thing” takes hold of me and I can’t stop. The maid calls me for supper and I ask her not to interrupt me; an hour later, she calls me again; I’m hungry, but I must write just one more line, one more sentence, one more page. By the time I sit down at the table, the food is cold, I gobble it down and go back to the computer – I am no longer in control of where I place my feet, the island is being revealed to me, I am being propelled along its paths, finding things I have never even thought or dreamed of. I drink a cup of coffee, and another, and at two o’clock in the morning I finally stop writing, because my eyes are tired.

I go to bed, spend another hour making notes of things to use in the next paragraph and which always prove completely useless – they serve only to empty my mind so that sleep can come. I promise myself that the next morning, I’ll start at eleven o’clock prompt. And the following day, the same thing happens – the walk, the conversations, lunch, a nap, the feelings of guilt, then irritation at myself for destroying the Internet connection, until, at last, I make myself sit down and write the first page…

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