The Magic Mountain

I think that one of the most beautiful regions in the world is Languedoc, a part of the Pyrenees in southwest France. I have been there several times and its valleys, mountains, vegetation and rivers always impress me. However, as human beings are quite unpredictable, it was precisely in this magnificent place that the first great European “heresy” arose, Catharism.

Many books have been written on the subject, yet it is possible to summarize the Cathar philosophy in one simple phrase; the Universe was created by the devil, all this apparent beauty is a diabolic work.

According to the encyclopedia, they were dualists who believed in the existence of two gods, one of good (God) and one of evil (Satan), who created the material world. Because of this, they took a vow of chastity and had no intention of procreating and presenting the devil with more followers. They called themselves “perfect” and were disposed to martyrdom to prove the importance of their belief. The symbolic end of the movement, which triggered off the first crusades recorded in history, took place on March 15, 1244 in the fortress of Montségur. After a long siege when they were offered the choice of converting to Catholicism or else die, approximately 250 “perfect” men, women and children climbed down the mountain singing of their intent to throw themselves into the flames of the bonfire specially made for the occasion.

For a long time I was interested in Catharism. In 1989 I met Brida O’Fern (who later on became a character in a book of mine), who had been a Cathar in an earlier incarnation. At the beginning of that same year I had met Mí´nica Antunes, who at that time was just my friend, now my friend and agent.

Since for spiritual reasons I needed to go on the Cathar walk (a trail linking together the castles/fortresses of the “perfect ones”) I invited her to take part in a stretch of the walk.

Mí´nica and I reached the foot of the Montségur Mountain one August afternoon. We had planned to climb it the following day, and after dinner we went to chat in the place where the bonfire had been lit almost 800 years before (an insignificant monument marks the spot). The weather was overcast, with clouds so low that we could not even see the ruins at the top of the gigantic rock. Just to provoke Mí´nica, I said that it might be interesting to make the climb that very night. She said no, and I was relieved, imagine if she had said yes!

At that moment a car drove up, the same make and color as mine. An Irishman stepped out and asked, as if we were from the region, from what point the rock could be climbed. I suggested that he make the climb the next morning with us, but he was determined to go up that very night, he wanted to see the sun rise from up there, claiming that perhaps he had been a Cathar in a past life.

“I wonder if you could lend me a lamp?” he asked.

And everything seems to fit; Brida, the obligation of going on the Cathar walk, the joke with Mí´nica a few minutes before, and now this fellow, with a car just like mine. It is a sign. I go to the hotel in the village where we are staying and borrow a lamp, the only one they have.

Mí´nica seems scared, but I say that we have to go ahead. Signs are signs, I say. The newcomer asks where the path is. I told him it did not matter and to just start going up the path.

And for some time, (I cannot remember how long) the three of us climbed a mountain that we did not know at night and with the fog that only allowed us to see a few yards ahead of us. Finally, we penetrated the clouds, the sky filled with stars, the moon was full, and standing before us was the gate of the fortress of Montségur.

We entered and contemplated the ruins. I looked at the beauty of the firmament, wondering how we got there without any accident, and then I think it is better not to ask any questions and just admire the miracle. The Cathars contemplated this very same sky, and believed that all these stars were the work of the devil. I shall never understand the Cathars, although I do respect the integrity with which they dedicated themselves to their faith.

I have returned to Montségur and climbed the mountain several other times, but have never again managed to find the path that we used that August night in 1989.

Mysteries exist.

20 sec reading: The Drunkard Disciple

A Zen master had hundreds of disciples. They all prayed at the right time, except one, who was always drunk.

The master was growing old. Some of the more virtuous pupils began to wonder who would be the new leader of the group, the one who would receive the important secrets of the Tradition.

On the eve of his death, however, the master called the drunkard disciple and revealed the hidden secrets to him.

A veritable revolt broke out among the others.

“How shameful!” they cried in the streets, “We have sacrificed ourselves for the wrong master, one who can’t see our qualities.”

Hearing the commotion outside, the dying master remarked, “I had to pass on these secrets to a man that I knew well. All my pupils are very virtuous, and showed only their qualities. That is dangerous, for virtue often serves to hide vanity, pride and intolerance. That is why I chose the only disciple whom I know really well, since I can see his defect: drunkenness.”

Viva N. Sra. Fátima!

nossa-senhora-de-fatima

In the spring and summer of 1916, three children, Lucia Santos and her two cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, claimed to have experienced the visitation of an angel on three separate occasions. The angel appeared to them as they watched their sheep, taught them specific prayers to pray, to make sacrifices, and to spend time in adoration of the Lord.

On May 13, 1917, ten year old Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto were herding sheep at a location known as the Cova da Iria near their home village of Fátima, Portugal. Lúcia described seeing a woman “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”. Astonished they ran back to their village and told everyone. Further appearances were reported to have taken place on the thirteenth day of the month in June and July. In these, the woman asked the children to do penance and Acts of Reparation as well as making personal sacrifices to save sinners. The children subsequently wore tight cords around their waists to cause themselves pain, performed self-flagellation using stinging nettles, abstained from drinking water on hot days, and performed other works of penance.[citation needed] According to Lúcia’s account, in the course of her appearances, the woman confided to the children three secrets, now known as the Three Secrets of Fátima.

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 (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 that day. Prisoners held with them in the provincial jail later testified that the children, while upset, were first consoled by the inmates, and later led them in praying the rosary. The administrator interrogated the children and tried unsuccessfully to get them to divulge the contents of the secrets. In the process, he threatened the children, saying he would boil them in a pot of oil, one by one unless they confessed. The children refused, but 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.

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1 MIN READ: the Lord was creating mothers

EM PORTUGUES AQUI> Personagem da semana: A mí£e
EN ESPANOL AQUI > Personaje de la semana: La madre

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by Erma Bombeck

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of “overtime” when an angel appeared and said:
“You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?

* She has to be completely washable, but not plastic;
* Have 180 movable parts… all replaceable;
* Run on black coffee and leftovers;
* Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;
* A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair;
* And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

The Lord nodded.
“One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’
“Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know.
“And of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

“Lord,” said the angel, touching His sleeve gently, “Go to bed. Tomorrow…”

“I can’t,” said the Lord, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick
“…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger
“… and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

“But she’s tough!” said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

“Can she think?”

“Not only can she think, but she can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
“There’s a leak,” she said. “I told You were trying to push too much into this model.”

“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “It’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

And the Mother was created – a work of genius.

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In Search of the Dream

Those who dare having a project in life, foregoing everything to live their Personal Legend, will end up achieving anything. The important thing is to keep the fire in your heart and be strong to overcome hard moments.

Remember, the desires that are in our souls do not come from the nothingness; someone put them there. And this someone, who is pure love and only wishes our happiness, only did it because he gave us, together with these desires, the tools to make them happen.

What’s the price?

“Is the price of living a dream much higher than the price of living without daring to dream?” asked the disciple.

The master took him to a clothes store. There, he asked him to try on a suit in exactly his size. The disciple obeyed, and was very amazed at the quality of the clothes.

Then the master asked him to try on the same suit – but this time a size much bigger than his own. The disciple did as he was asked.

“This one is no use. It’s too big.”

“How much are these suits?” the master asked the shop attendant.

“They both cost the same price. It’s just the size that is different.”

When leaving the store, the master told his disciple, “Living your dream or giving it up also costs the same price, which is usually very high. But the first lets us share the miracle of life, and the second is of no use to us.”

The Search of the Path

“I am willing to leave everything. Please, take me as a disciple.”

“How does a man choose his Path?”

“Through sacrifice. A path that demands sacrifice is a true path.”

The abbot bumped into a bookcase. A very rare vase fell down and the young man threw himself to the floor to pick it up. He fell the wrong way and broke his arm. But he was able to save the vase.

“Which sacrifice is greater, to see the vase breaking down our breaking an arm to save it?”

“I don’t know.”

“So then, do not try to guide your choice through sacrifice. The path is chosen by our capacity of compromising with each step we make while we walk.”

20 SEC READING: Praying for everyone

A farm labourer with a sick wife, asked a Buddhist monk to say a series of prayers. The priest began to pray, asking God to cure all those who were ill.

‘Just a moment,’ said the farm labourer. ‘I asked you to pray for my wife and there you are praying for everyone who’s ill.’

‘I’m praying for her too.’

‘Yes, but you’re praying for everyone. You might end up helping my neighbour, who’s also ill, and I don’t even like him.’

‘You understand nothing about healing,’ said the monk, moving off. ‘By praying for everyone, I am adding my prayers to those of the millions of people who are also praying for their sick.

‘Added together, those voices reach God and benefit everyone. Separately, they lose their strength and go nowhere.’

The two drops of oil

(Standing above the little town of Tarifa is an old fort built by the Moors. I remember sitting here with my wife, Christina, in 1982, and for the first time looking at a continent from across a narrow stretch of water: Africa. At that time I could not dream that such a lazy moment in the late afternoon would inspire a scene in my best-known book, “The Alchemist”. Nor could I have dreamed that the story that follows, heard in the car, would serve as an excellent example for all of us who are searching for some balance between discipline and compassion.)

A merchant sent his son to learn the Secret of Happiness from the wisest of men. The young man wandered through the desert for forty days until he reached a beautiful castle at the top of a mountain. There lived the sage that the young man was looking for.

However, instead of finding a holy man, our hero entered a room and saw a great deal of activity; merchants coming and going, people chatting in the corners, a small orchestra playing sweet melodies, and there was a table laden with the most delectable dishes of that part of the world.

The wise man talked to everybody, and the young man had to wait for two hours until it was time for his audience.

With considerable patience, he listened attentively to the reason for the boy’s visit, but told him that at that moment he did not have the time to explain to him the Secret of Happiness.

He suggested that the young man take a stroll around his palace and come back in two hours’ time.

“However, I want to ask you a favor,” he added, handing the boy a teaspoon, in which he poured two drops of oil. “While you walk, carry this spoon and don’t let the oil spill.”

The young man began to climb up and down the palace staircases, always keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. At the end of two hours he returned to the presence of the wise man.

“So,” asked the sage, “did you see the Persian tapestries hanging in my dining room? Did you see the garden that the Master of Gardeners took ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?”

Embarrassed, the young man confessed that he had seen nothing. His only concern was not to spill the drops of oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.

“So, go back and see the wonders of my world,” said the wise man. “You can’t trust a man if you don’t know his house.”

Now more at ease, the young man took the spoon and strolled again through the palace, this time paying attention to all the works of art that hung from the ceiling and walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around the palace, the delicacy of the flowers, the taste with which each work of art was placed in its niche. Returning to the sage, he reported in detail all that he had seen.

“But where are the two drops of oil that I entrusted to you?” asked the sage.

Looking down at the spoon, the young man realized that he had spilled the oil.

“Well, that is the only advice I have to give you,” said the sage of sages. “The Secret of Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.”

Don’t scold the Lover

Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying:
“Lord, where are you? I want to help you, to fix your shoes and comb your hair. I want to wash your clothes and pick the lice off.
“I want to bring you milk to kiss your little hands and feet when it’s time for you to go to bed.
“I want to sweep your room and keep it neat. God, my sheep and goats are yours. “

“Who are you talking to?” Moses could stand it no longer.
“Only something that grows needs milk. Only some one with feet needs shoes. Not G’d!”

The shepherd repented and tore his clothes and sighed and wandered out into the desert.

A sudden revelation came then to Moses.

“You have separated me from one of my own.
“Did you come as a Prophet to unite, or to sever?
“I have given each being a separate and unique way of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.
“What seems wrong to you is right for him.

“What is poison to one is honey to someone else.
“Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship, these mean nothing to me.
“I am apart from all that. Ways of worshiping are not to be ranked as better or worse than one another.
“It’s not me that’s glorified in acts of worship. It’s the worshipers!
“I don’t hear the words they say. I look inside at the humility.

“Forget phraseology. I want burning, burning. Be friends with your burning.
“Burn up your thinking and your forms of expression!
“Lovers who burn are another.

“Don’t scold the Lover. The “wrong” way he talks is better than a hundred “right” ways of others.
“When you look in a mirror, you see yourself, not the state of the mirror.
“The flute player puts breath into a flute, and who makes the music?
“Not the flute. The flute player!

“Whenever you speak praise or thanksgiving to Me, it’s always like this dear shepherd’s simplicity.”
 
from Rumi’s “Moses and the Sheperd”, translated by Coleman Barks
 
 

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Alice’s quotes


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EN ESPANOL AQUI>>> Alicia
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I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!

If it had grown up, it would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin.

If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.

You are old, Father William, your hair has become very white. And yet you incessantly stand on your head – do you think, at your age, it is right?

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

The adventures first… explanations take such a dreadful time.

We are all mad here ( The Cat)

Alice is a magistral character, created by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll

10 sec reading Never be ashamed to feign weakness


A wise Chinese master has this to say about the strategies of the warriors of light:

‘Convince your enemy that he will gain very little by attacking you; this will diminish his enthusiasm.’

‘Do not be ashamed to make a temporary withdrawal from the field if you see that your enemy is stronger than you; it is not winning or losing a single battle that matters.’

‘Even if you are very strong, never be ashamed to feign weakness; this will make your enemy act imprudently and attack too soon.’

‘Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.

‘To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

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in WARRIOR OF THE LIGHT: A MANUAL

Paulo Coelho: 10 Quotes To Remind You To Grow Wilder

Paulo Coelho, the legendary author and writer, has inspired millions of people around the world with his stories of travel, love and spiritual lessons learnt along the way.

I read the Alchemist nearly twenty years ago.  The story spoke to my heart and inspired me to believe in the adventurous life!

Here are 10 Paulo Coelho quotes to remind you to grow wilder:-

1. “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?”

2. Be Brave.  Take risks  Nothing can substitute experience.

3. “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.”

4. “I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.”

5. “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”

6. “You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”

7. “Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.”

8. “Sometimes, we are so attached to our way of life that we turn down wonderful opportunities simply because we don’t know what to do with it.”

9. “That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.”

10. “The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don’t talk anymore, they don’t sit down to talk and listen. They go to the theater, the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, but they almost never talk. If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire and tell stories.”

28/5/1974

Washington Post

May 28, 1974: A group of armed men breaks into my apartment. They start going through drawers and cabinets — but I don’t know what they’re looking for, I’m just a rock songwriter. One of them, more gentle, asks that I accompany them “just to clarify some things.” The neighbor sees all this and warns my family, who immediately panic. Everyone knew what Brazil was living at the time, even if it wasn’t covered in the newspapers.

I was taken to the DOPS (Departamento de Ordem Politica e Social), booked and photographed. I ask what I had done, he says they will ask the questions. A lieutenant asks silly questions and lets me go. From that point on I’m officially no longer in prison — so the government is no longer responsible for me. When I leave, the man who took me to the DOPS suggests we have coffee together. He stops a taxi and gently opens the door. I get in and ask to go to my parents’ house — they need to know what happened.

On the way, the taxi is blocked by two cars — a man with a gun in his hand exists from one of the cars and pulls me out. I fall to the ground, and feel the barrel of the gun in the back of my neck. I look at a hotel in front of me and think, “I can’t die so soon.” I fall into a kind of catatonic state: I don’t feel afraid, I don’t feel anything. I know the stories of other friends who have disappeared; I will disappear, and the last thing I will see is a hotel. The man picks me up, puts me on the floor of his car and tells me to put on a hood.

[Read this in Portuguese.]

The car drives around for maybe half an hour. They must be choosing a place to execute me — but I still don’t feel anything, I’ve accepted my destiny. The car stops. I’m dragged out and beaten as I’m pushed down what appears to be a corridor. I scream, but I know no one is listening, because they are also screaming. Terrorist, they say. You deserve to die. You’re fighting against your country. You’re going to die slowly, but you’re going to suffer a lot first. Paradoxically, my instinct for survival begins to kick in little by little.

I’m taken to the torture room with a raised floor. I stumble on it because I can’t see anything: I ask them not to push me, but I get punched in the back and fall down. They tell me to take off my clothes. The interrogation begins with questions I don’t know how to answer. They ask me to betray people I have never heard of. They say I don’t want to cooperate, throw water on the floor and put something on my feet — then I see from underneath the hood that it is a machine with electrodes that are then attached to my genitals.

Now I understand that, in addition to the blows I can’t see coming (and therefore can’t even contract my body to cushion the impact of), I’m about to get electric shocks. I tell them they don’t have to do this — I’ll confess whatever they want me to confess, I’ll sign whatever they want me to sign. But they are not satisfied. Then, in desperation, I begin to scratch my skin, tearing off pieces of myself. The torturers must have been frightened when they saw me covered in my own blood; they leave me alone. They say I can take off the hood when I hear the door slam. I take it off and see that I’m in a soundproof room, with bullet holes on the walls. That explains the raised floor.

The next day, another torture session, with the same questions. I repeat that I’ll sign whatever they want, I’ll confess whatever they want, just tell me what I must confess. They ignore my requests. After I don’t how long and how many sessions (time in hell is not counted in hours), there’s a knock on the door and they put the hood back on. A man grabs me by the arm and tells me, embarrassed: It’s not my fault. I’m taken to a small room, painted completely black, with a very strong air-conditioner. They turn off the light. Only darkness, cold and a siren that plays incessantly. I begin to go mad. I have visions of horses. I knock on the door of the “fridge” (I found out later that was what they called it), but no one opens it. I faint. I wake up and faint again and again, and at one point I think: better to get beaten than to stay in here.

I wake up, and I’m still in the room. The light is always on, and I’m unable to tell how many days or nights went by. I stand there for what seems like eternity. Years later, my sister tells me my parents couldn’t sleep; my mother cried all the time, my father locked himself in silence and did not speak.

I am no longer interrogated. Solitary confinement. One fine day, someone throws my clothes on the floor and tells me to get dressed. I get dressed and put on my hood. I’m taken to a car and thrown in the trunk. We drive for what feels like forever, until they stop — am I going to die now? They order me to take off the hood and get out of the trunk. I’m in a public square filled with kids, somewhere in Rio but I don’t know where.

I head to my parents’ house. My mother has grown old, my father says I shouldn’t go outside anymore. I reach out to my friends, I look for my singer — nobody answers the phone. I’m alone: If I was arrested, I must have done something, they must be thinking. It’s risky to be seen with a former prisoner. I may have left prison, but prison stays with me. Redemption comes when two people who were not even close to me offer me a job. My parents would never fully recover.

Decades later, the archives of the dictatorship are made public, and my biographer gets all the material. I ask why I was arrested: an informant accused you, he says. Do you want to know who reported you? I don’t. It won’t change the past.

And it’s these Years of Lead that President Jair Bolsonaro — after referring in Congress to one of the most heinous torturers as his idol — wants to celebrate on Sunday.

28 abril 1974 (reprodução livre)

28 de maio de 1974: um grupo de homens armados invade meu apartamento. Começam a revirar gavetas e armários – não sei o que estão procurando, sou apenas um compositor de rock. Um deles, mais gentil, pede que os acompanhe “apenas para esclarecer algumas coisas”. O vizinho vê tudo aquilo e avisa minha família, que entra em desespero. Todo mundo sabia o que o Brasil vivia naquele momento, mesmo que nada fosse publicado nos jornais.

Sou levado para o DOPS (Departamento de Ordem Política e Social), fichado e fotografado. Pergunto o que fiz, ele diz que ali quem pergunta são eles. Um tenente me faz umas perguntas tolas, e me deixa ir embora. Oficialmente já não sou mais preso: o governo não é mais responsável por mim. Quando saio, o homem que me levara ao DOPS sugere que tomemos um café juntos. Em seguida, escolhe um táxi e abre gentilmente a porta. Entro e peço para que vá até a casa de meus pais – espero que não saibam o que aconteceu.

No caminho, o táxi é fechado por dois carros; de dentro de um deles sai um homem com uma arma na mão e me puxa para fora. Caio no chão, sinto o cano da arma na minha nuca. Olho um hotel diante de mim e penso: “não posso morrer tão cedo.” Entro em uma espécie de catatonia: não sinto medo, não sinto nada. Conheço as histórias de outros amigos que desapareceram; sou um desaparecido, e minha última visão será a de um hotel. Ele me levanta, me coloca no chão do seu carro, e pede que eu coloque um capuz.

O carro roda por talvez meia hora. Devem estar escolhendo um lugar para me executarem – mas continuo sem sentir nada, estou conformado com meu destino. O carro para. Sou retirado e espancado enquanto ando por aquilo que parece ser um corredor. Grito, mas sei que ninguém está ouvindo, porque eles também estão gritando. Terrorista, dizem. Merece morrer. Está lutando contra seu país. Vai morrer devagar, mas antes vai sofrer muito. Paradoxalmente, meu instinto de sobrevivência começa a retornar aos poucos.

Sou levado para a sala de torturas, com uma soleira. Tropeço na soleira porque não consigo ver nada: peço que não me empurrem, mas recebo um soco pelas costas e caio. Mandam que tire a roupa. Começa o interrogatório com perguntas que não sei responder. Pedem para que delate gente de quem nunca ouvi falar. Dizem que não quero cooperar, jogam água no chão e colocam algo no meus pés, e posso ver por debaixo do capuz que é uma máquina com eletrodos que são fixados nos meus genitais.

Entendo que, além das pancadas que não sei de onde vêm (e portanto não posso nem sequer contrair o corpo para amortecer o impacto), vou começar a levar choques. Eu digo que não precisam fazer isso, confesso o que quiser, assino onde mandarem. Mas eles não se contentam. Então, desesperado, começo a arranhar minha pele, tirar pedaços de mim mesmo. Os torturadores devem ter se assustado quando me veem coberto de sangue; pouco depois me deixam em paz. Dizem que posso tirar o capuz quando escutar a porta bater. Tiro o capuz e vejo que estou em uma sala a prova de som, com marcas de tiros nas paredes. Por isso a soleira.

No dia seguinte, outra sessão de tortura, com as mesmas perguntas. Repito que assino o que desejarem, confesso o que quiserem, apenas me digam o que devo confessar. Eles ignoram meus pedidos. Depois de não sei quanto tempo e quantas sessões (o tempo no inferno não se conta em horas), batem na porta e pedem para que coloque o capuz. O sujeito me pega pelo braço e diz, constrangido: não é minha culpa. Sou levado para uma sala pequena, toda pintada de negro, com um ar-condicionado fortíssimo. Apagam a luz. Só escuridão, frio, e uma sirene que toca sem parar. Começo a enlouquecer, a ter visões de cavalos. Bato na porta da “geladeira” (descobri mais tarde que esse era o nome), mas ninguém abre. Desmaio. Acordo e desmaio várias vezes, e em uma delas penso: melhor apanhar do que ficar aqui dentro.

Quando acordo estou de novo na sala. Luz sempre acesa, sem poder contar dias e noites. Fico ali o que parece uma eternidade. Anos depois, minha irmã me conta que meus pais não dormiam mais; minha mãe chorava o tempo todo, meu pai se trancou em um mutismo e não falava.

Já não sou mais interrogado. Prisão solitária. Um belo dia, alguém joga minhas roupas no chão e pede que eu me vista. Me visto e coloco o capuz. Sou levado até um carro e posto na mala. Giram por um tempo que parece infinito, até que param – vou morrer agora? Mandam-me tirar o capuz e sair da mala. Estou em uma praça com crianças, não sei em que parte do Rio.

Vou para a casa de meus pais. Minha mãe envelheceu, meu pai diz que não devo mais sair na rua. Procuro os amigos, procuro o cantor, e ninguém responde ao meus telefonemas. Estou só: se fui preso devo ter alguma culpa, devem pensar. É arriscado ser visto ao lado de um preso. Saí da prisão mas ela me acompanha. A redenção vem quando duas pessoas que sequer eram próximas de mim me oferecem emprego. Meus pais nunca se recuperaram.

Decadas depois, os arquivos da ditadura são abertos e meu biógrafo consegue todo o material. Pergunto por que fui preso: uma denúncia, ele diz. Quer saber quem o denunciou? Não quero. Não vai mudar o passado.

E são essas décadas de chumbo que o Presidente Jair Bolsonaro – depois de mencionar no Congresso um dos piores torturadores como seu ídolo – quer festejar nesse dia 31 de março.

“Things As They Are”

by Paulo Coelho

“Of course things don’t always happen they way we wish they would. There are moments in which we feel we are seeking something that is not meant for us, knocking on doors that don’t open, waiting for miracles that don’t manifest themselves. Fortunately that is the way things are – if everything went the way we wanted, soon we would no longer have anything to write about, nothing to guide our daily thoughts. This script serves our dreams as nourishment, but to our battles as energy. And as it always happens with the warriors that spend all their energy in the Good Fight, there are moments in which it is best to relax and believe that the Universe is still working for us secretly, even if we cannot comprehend it.And so, let us allow the Soul of the World to fulfill its mission, and if we can’t help, the best way to collaborate is to pay attention to the simple things in life; the sunset, the people in the street, the reading of a book.

However, in many cases, time continues passing and nothing exceptional happens. But the true warrior of light believes. Just like children believe. Because they believe in miracles, the miracles begin to happen. Because they are certain that their thoughts can change their lives, their lives begin to change. Because they are certain they will find love, this love appears. Sometimes they are disappointed. Sometimes they feel hurt. Then they hear the comments, “You are so naïve!” But the warrior knows it is worth the price. To each defeat, there are two conquests in his favor.”

20 SEC READING: the best temptation

 

Illustration by Ken Crane
A group of devils were trying to enter the soul of a holy man who lived near Cairo; they had already tempted him with Nubian women, Egyptian food, Libyan treasure, but nothing had worked.

One day, Satan passed and saw his servants’ efforts.

– You’re hopeless – said Satan. – You haven’t used the only technique no one can resist; I’ll teach you.

He went over to the holy man and whispered in his ear:

– Remember the priest who studied under you? He’s just been made Bishop of Alexandria.

Immediately, the holy man was filled with rage, and blasphemed against God’s injustice.

– The next time, use this temptation – said Satan to his subjects.

“Men can resist almost everything, but they are always jealous of the victory of a fellow man.”

 

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Kindle (four languages) HERE

 

25 Quotes

by Flavia Medrut

Paulo Coelho is one of the best-selling contemporary novelists. The Alchemist, the book that brought him worldwide fame, is one the few novels to be translated across the globe, with readers from all backgrounds praising it as a life-changing, inspiring piece of literature.

Coelho had a very unique way of thinking even as a child, and constantly opposed the traditional ways and the restrictions they impose. Yet his rebelliousness came with a price. A son of highly rigorous parents, Coelho’s behavior was rarely tolerated, his parents ending up committing him into a mental institution — from which he managed to escape three times. No, he wasn’t crazy and his parents never meant him harm. As we’re already painfully aware, people can be quite rigid to less conventional ways of thinking, and sometimes, the more different your ideas are, the harder will be for others to accept them.

Confident and charming, Coelho is an author who rejects the self-help label and writes for his own heart. Written with a touch of madness, here are 25 Paulo Coelho quotes filled with life changing lessons.

 

Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.

 

No one can lie, no one can hide anything, when he looks directly into someone’s eyes.

 

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

 

Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering.

 

Love is a trap. When it appears, we see only its light, not its shadows.

 

You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.

 

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

 

You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.

 

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

 

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.

 

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

 

paulo-coelho-secret-of-lifeThe secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

 

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.

 

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

 

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

 

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.

 

Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

 

Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.

 

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.

 

Tears are words that need to be written.

 

Now that she had nothing to lose, she was free.

 

paulo-coelho-quote-you-are-who-you-believe-to-beYou are what you believe yourself to be.

 

I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.

 

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.

 

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.

Saint Joseph’s Day

St joseph

 

PORTUGUES Faze Senhor, que o trabalho nos purifique 

ITALIANO Preghiera a San Giuseppe

ESPANOL Glorioso San José

FRANÇAIS Saint Joseph, priez pour nous

 

I will be with my wife in a small village, and I will pray at 8:30 PM the prayer below. Plase fell free to join me in this prayer, or – what is better –  to find one in your mother tongue and to pray on your  time zone. Let’s cover this planet with positive energy!

You can go to the search here in my blog, and find the previous celebrations (and prayers)
May St. Joseph bless your family and your work

Glorious St. Joseph
model of all who are devoted to labor,
obtain for me the grace
to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations;
to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor
the gifts I have received from God,
to work methodically, peacefully,
in moderation and patience,
without ever shrinking from it through difficulty to work;
above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness,
having unceasingly before my eyes
the account I have to render of time lost,
talents unused, good not done,
and vain complacency in success.
St. Joseph, inspire and guide me for the time to come.
 

1 MIN READING: The Favor Bank

‘What is this Favor Bank?’
‘It was an American writer who first mentioned it. It’s the most powerful bank in the world, and you’ll find it in every sphere of life.’

‘What favors could I do for anyone?’

‘That doesn’t matter in the least. Let me give you an example: I know that one day, you’ll be very influential. I know this because, like you, I too was once ambitious, independent, honest. I no longer have the energy I once had, but I want to help you because I can’t or don’t want to grind to a halt just yet.
I start making deposits in your account – not cash deposits, you understand, but contacts. I introduce you to such and such a person, I arrange certain deals, as long as they’re legal. You know that you owe me something, but I never ask you for anything.’

‘And then one day…’
‘ One day, I’ll ask you for a favor. You do what I ask, I continue to help you, and other people see that you’re a decent, loyal sort of person and so they too make deposits in your account – always in the form of contacts, because this world is made up of contacts and nothing else. They too will one day ask you for a favor, and you will respect and help the people who have helped you. You’ll know everyone you need to know and your influence will keep on growing.’

‘I could refuse to do what you ask me to do.’

‘You could. The Favor Bank is a risky investment, just like any other bank. You refuse to grant the favor I asked you, in the belief that I helped you because you deserved to be helped, because everyone should recognize your talent. Fine, I say thank you very much and ask someone else into whose account I’ve also made various deposits, but from then on, everyone knows, without me having to say a word, that you are not to be trusted.

‘And…’
‘You’ll grow only half as much as you could have grown, and certainly not as much as you would have liked to. At a certain point, your life will begin to decline, you got halfway, but not all the way. Neither frustrated nor fulfilled. You’re neither cold nor hot, you’re lukewarm, and as an evangelist in some holy book says: “Lukewarm things are not pleasing to the palate.”‘

___________________

as told to the main character, the writer, in THE ZAHIR

20 SEC READING: How poor we are

EN ESPANOL AQUI: Que pobres somos
_________________________________________
 

Illustration by Ken Crane
One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return from the trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”
“It was great, Dad”.

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yes”, said the son.
“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered:
“I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
“We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden and they have a creek that has no end.
“We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

“Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
“We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

“We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
“We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added:
“Thanks, Dad for showing me how poor we are.”

story sent by Sangeeta

Copying the teacher

By Paulo Coelho

A disciple who loved and admired his teacher decided to observe his behaviour minutely, believing that if he did everything that his teacher did, then he would also acquire his teacher’s wisdom.

The teacher always wore white, and so his disciple did the same.

The teacher was a vegetarian, and so his disciple stopped eating meat and replaced it with a diet of vegetables and herbs.

The teacher was an austere man, and so the disciple decided to devote himself to self-sacrifice and started sleeping on a straw mattress.

After some time, the teacher noticed these changes in his disciple’s behaviour and asked him why.

‘I am climbing the steps of initiation,’ came the reply. ‘The white of my clothes shows the simplicity of my search, the vegetarian food purifies my body, and the lack of comfort makes me think only of spiritual things.’

Smiling, the teacher took him to a field where a horse was grazing.

‘You have spent all this time looking outside yourself, which is what matters least,’ he said. ‘Do you see that creature there? He has white skin, eats only grass and sleeps in a stable on a straw bed. Do you think he has the face of a saint or will one day become a real teacher?’

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