My 25 most important points

 

 

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

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.”

10 Powerful Life Lessons from The Alchemist

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.

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Christmas tale: The pine tree in St. Martin (ENG, PORT, ESPA)

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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

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

Character of the week: Santa Claus

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.

20 SEC READ: Together (ENG, ESPA, PORT)

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

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)

Too shy to dance

When I was an adolescent I envied the great ballerinos among the kids on the block, and pretended I had other things to do at parties — like having a conversation. But in fact I was terrified of looking ridiculous, and because of that I would not risk a single step.

Until one day a girl called Marcia called out to me in front of everybody: Come on!

I said I did not like to dance, but she insisted.

Everyone in the group was looking, and because I was in love (love is capable of so many things!), I could refuse no further.

I did not know how to follow the steps, but Marcia did not stop; she went on dancing as if I were a Rudolf Nureyev.

Forget the others and pay attention to the bass, she whispered in my ear. Try to follow its rhythm.

At that moment I understood that we do not always have to learn the most important things; they are already part of our nature.

When we become adults, and when we grow old, we need to go on dancing. The rhythm changes, but music is part of life, and dancing is the consequence of letting this rhythm come inside us.

I still dance whenever I can. With dancing, the spiritual world and the real world manage to co-exist without any conflicts.

The beggar and the guru

A baker wanted to get to know a great guru in his town a little better, so he invited him to dinner.

The day before, the guru went to the bakery disguised as a beggar, picked a bread roll off the display and began to eat it. The baker saw this and tossed him out into the street.

The following day, the guru and a disciple went to the baker’s house and were treated to a splendid banquet.

In the middle of the meal, the disciple asked, How does one tell a good man from a bad man?

Just look at this baker. He is capable of spending ten gold pieces on a banquet because I am famous, but is incapable of giving a piece of bread to feed a hungry beggar.

The 3 symptoms of killing our dreams

ESPANOL: Matando los suenos
PORTUGUES: Matando os sonhos

The first symptom of the process of our killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight the Good Fight.

The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those who are engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are fighting the Good Fight.

And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the Good Fight.

When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being.
We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise. What we sought to avoid in combat – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice.

And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of our Sunday afternoon

taken from THE PILGRIMAGE

 

Ninja training

The Ninja warriors go to the field where some wheat has just been planted. Obeying the trainer’s command, they jump over the places where the seeds were sown.

Every day the Ninja warriors return to the field. The seeds turn into buds, and the warriors jump over them. The buds turn into small plants, and the warriors jump over them.

They do not become bored. They do not feel it is a waste of time.

The wheat grows, and the jumps become higher and higher. In this way, when the plant is ripe, the Ninja warriors still manage to jump over it.

Why? As a result of their jumping over what many may have seen as insignificant, has allowed them to be keenly aware of their obstacles.

 

(taken from “Manual of the warrior of the light )

Why did I write The Archer?

(The Archer already in USA and in India  

You’re an archer yourself – what drew you to the sport? 

  • I thought it was very elegant when I was young. I said to myself, One day, I am going to do this. So I started living in the Pyrenees, where I had a small house, and I met someone by chance. This person started teaching me how to use the bow and arrows, and he taught me the basics of archery. It is going from an extreme tension to a total relaxation, in the very moment you open your hand. And it is indeed elegant, because you need the posture to shoot well. It is about learning how to focus and doing this kind of exercise not for the sake of doing exercise, but for the sake of doing something you want to do. And so I learned.

How did your experiences with archery inform your writing of this book?

  • It was, in a way, a breakdown of my experience in archery. And, of course, I had to have a guideline, a story. As you read, you learn everything I learned, everything I needed. Shooting arrows is not simply to hit a blank target, but really to try to see the world through the bow. The moment of total tension before you open your hand, the connection. Whether you reach the target or not is irrelevant. But what is relevant is to become the bow, the arrow, and the target its

Did a particular experience inspire you to write THE ARCHER?

  • One day I was sitting in my house in the Pyrenees and I thought how incredible it was, the archery, and I wanted to write a book about my experience. I wanted to write it at least for me to read, or to condense for myself. I tried to teach myself what I learned instinctively. Sometimes, when you learn, you have to sit down and understand what it was that you learned. In doing so, I wrote the book. It is in your hands now.

 How do you feel the Santiago de Compostela has influenced your books, and specifically, this one?

  • The Santiago de Compostela [pilgrimage] is this: you know your target, and you go towards there. It influenced me a lot in the sense that I knew I had to focus on one point and move ahead.

THE ARCHER provides simple guidelines for a life well lived. Do you think a fable or allegory is the most effective mode for teaching what you’ve learned about life’s essential truths?

  • It is a short book, you don’t need to complicate things.*Laughs* In fact, life is simple. We complicate a lot. And a fable or allegory talks to the hidden parts of ourselves. You learn the essence of life by paying attention to the simple things that surround you. This is basically the idea of THE ARCHER. I’m talking about everything from friendship and beyond: the importance of the bow, the importance of concentration. At the end of the day, it is life. You learn by living your life fully

Have you ever had a mentor like Tetsuya? If so, what teachings did you learn?

  • Not in the metaphorical sense that I use in my book. I had a mentor in the sense that I needed to learn the basics of how to shoot, how to avoid harming myself. I am very grateful to him because he was the one who taught me what I know. But at the end of the day, like I said, you learn by doing something. Something that you love. So really, you don’t need a mentor – you just need the steps. Once the steps are taken, you can move ahead, and you repeat and repeat until one day, it’s not that it becomes automatic, but somehow, your subconscious takes over yourself and go on

Do you try to follow Tetsuya’s example when you mentor younger writers?

  • I don’t mentor younger writers. Who am I to mentor anyone about anything? Of course, I get invitations for Master Classes, but I never accept because I have nothing to teach. I think writing is an experience in and of itself.

Can you tell us about the spiritual and religious influences on your writing?  How do you feel about THE ALCHEMIST being used by many readers as a spiritual guide, and do you see readers turning to THE ARCHER in the same way?

  • Of course, I hope that in the steps of THE ARCHER, people will see the same journey that exists in THE ALCHEMIST. Of course, they are different. THE ALCHEMIST is a travelling book and, though THE ARCHER is too, I hope people use THE ARCHER to help them learn the basics of life. I really do hope this.

What do you hope readers will get out of THE ARCHER?

  • It is impossible to tell what he or she hopes, because all readers experience the book in different ways. I get a lot of letters about my books, and sometimes, they see things that I didn’t see, and tell me about them. I am very glad to read these, because I learn from them. I learn with them, about myself.

 

 

20 SEC READ: How to live with some wounds (ENG, PORT,ESPA)

EN ESPANOL: Puercoespines
EM PORTUGUES: Os Porcos-Espinhos


During the Ice Age many animals died because of the cold. Seeing this situation, the porcupines decided to group together, so they wrapped up well and protected one another.

But they hurt one another with their thorns, and so then they decided to stay apart from one another.

They started to freeze to death again.
So they had to make a choice: either they vanished from the face of the earth or they accepted their neighbor’s thorns.

They wisely decided to stay together again. They learned to live with the small wounds that a very close relationship could cause, because the most important thing was the warmth given by the other.

And in the end they survived.

 

(taken from “Like a Flowing River”)

Character of the week: Teilhard de Chardin

Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed. The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of one’s self to others.

He that will believe only what he can fully comprehend must have a long head or a very short creed.
Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.

In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.

It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist.

Love alone can unite living beings so as to complete and fulfill them… for it alone joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.

Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.
Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world… Love, in fact, is the agent of universal synthesis.

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

The world is round so that friendship may encircle it.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

We are one, after all, you and I. Together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ (May 1, 1881 – April 10, 1955) was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest, a paleontologist and geologist

As much as it can be impulsive to worry about the future

 
 
 

Paul

Paulo Coelho. Credit: Das Blaue Sofa / Club Bertelsmann. (Flickr/creative commons)

Before I came across Paulo Coelho’s works, I assumed reading novels was a waste of time.

And as the biased human that I am, I look for evidence to support my naive assumptions. “My grades are heading rapidly down the pit.” “I don’t have enough money to buy the things I want.” “There’s a high rate of unemployment, how am I going to get a good enough job?” These are real problems, and the last thing I need to waste my time on is a figment of someone’s imagination. Or so I thought.

But as anyone who understands and loves to read great novels can tell, these are all flimsy excuses. In fact, the remarkableness of novels is in the ability of the writers to use their own experiences; moments of pain, joy, regret, ecstasy, to create a world in which we all can relate.

They bring all of us into their story, so we can see that, though we are all different physically, our wants, fears, struggles are similar. We read our stories even as we read theirs. The clarity and instructive nature of Coelho’s writings have made him win his place as one of the best novelists. I’ve learned a great deal from him, both from his personal life and his books, as both are usually intertwined. Here are five remarkable lessons I’ve learned from Paulo Coelho.

Success Is Less Attractive When You See How It’s Made

“‘So you’re going to give me electric shock treatment,’ I said to Dr. Benjamin Gasper Gomes…The next moment a curtain seemed to fall over my eyes; my vision quickly narrowed to a single point, and then everything went dark.”

This is an excerpt from Coelho’s diary which he wrote during his second stay in a mental hospital in 1966. As he revealed on the inspiration behind his book, Veronika Decides to Die, by the time he was 16, he had already been committed to a mental institution twice. Why? He just wanted to be a writer.

Apparently, in Brazil at that time, the word “Artist” was synonymous with homosexual, drug addict, communist, and layabout. It wasn’t cool. So when his parent’s attempt to suppress his devotion to literature failed, they took his rebelliousness as a sign of mental illness.

Coelho’s time in the mental institution was one of his worst points, but there were others. Before going on a pilgrimage to Santiago, he also went into the “hippie life,” doing drugs and living aimlessly. He was jailed three times for his political activism and subjected to torture in prison. The story about his early days wasn’t pretty.

Interviews are great to watch. Fame is very attractive. These things stimulate us to want to succeed. But the mere fact that only a few still succeed shows how we don’t realize success isn’t as attractive as it appears after it’s achieved. When we imagine being a bestseller, we don’t imagine being treated with an electric shock or being jailed three times. We see a fancy office and the signing of autographs.

This realization, no doubt, might strip away some of the mystique of the things you already love. But maybe if we focused more on what the “behind the scenes” looks like, we’ll have more patience, hope, tenacity, and the path to success will be more accessible.

Don’t Worry About How Your Dreams Will Come True

A major concept in Coelho’s novels is how his characters (like Santiago in The Alchemist and Maria in Eleven Minutes) have a strong sense of what they want but yet have no idea how they would get it.

The same can be said for Coelho, wanting to be a writer but having no idea what to write about. It’s a common theme in the life of everyone. We all feel we need to do something, make a contribution in some way, but often, we either don’t know which step to take or are too apprehensive about what the future holds.

What we should do (what Coelho tries to demonstrate with his characters) is to pay attention and take whatever step appears to be right today. As Arthur Schopenhauer said,

“Our life is like a journey on which, as we advance, the landscape takes a different view from that which is presented at first, and changes again, as we come nearer.”

There’s no way we can really comprehend what the future holds, or how much change we are going to undergo in the next few years or even weeks. Before Coelho went on his pilgrimage, he still was yet to decide what he wanted to write about. He just wrote lyrics for musicians. It was after his journey he wrote The Pilgrimage, building a unique style, using his own personal experiences to instruct through his characters.

As much as it can be impulsive to worry about the future, it’s only through paying attention that we can know the appropriate steps to take as our preferences and view of life changes.

The Process Itself Is the Reward

Though Santiago’s aim, in the novel The Alchemist, was to discover his treasure in the Egyptian pyramids, the real treasure was the process he had to go through first. In his quest to search for his treasure, he ended up working for a crystal merchant for years. He met an Englishman (who became his traveling companion), The Alchemist, and also fell in love with a woman to whom he proposed marriage.

Do not be in a hurry to get to the finish line. Do not let your need to quickly “make it big” make you miss the wonderful lessons and people that life will bring your way. When we become too fixated on only the end result, everything in between usually becomes drudgery; just a means to an end.

Therefore, cultivate your mind to see your daily rewards. Be grateful for that new connection. Be happy about the new lesson you learned from meeting one of your mentors. What about the person you’re becoming because of the struggles and challenges you’ve overcome so far? Let that mean something to you.

If Santiago never discovered his treasure, it probably wouldn’t have mattered that much to him. Why? The reward he got from the process, pales in comparison to whatever treasure that was in the Egyptian pyramids.

Follow Your Own Rhythm

In his collection of thoughts and experiences which he published in the book Like the Flowing River, Coelho tells of an experience he had with a pilgrim, Begoña. After giving a talk on The Road to Santiago, Begoña walked to him saying there was something he didn’t mention. Intrigued to know what this could be, Coelho invited her for a cup of coffee. She said,

At the start of my pilgrimage, I tried to keep up with my group, but I got tired. I was demanding too much of myself. I was tense all the time and ended up straining the tendons on my left foot. I couldn’t work for two days after that, and I realized that I would only reach Santiago if I obeyed my own rhythm.”

Sometimes we may want to go through life quickly, not because we are in a hurry, but because we want to impress. Even though we feel stressed and overworked and the tendons on our left foot are burning, we smile and keep up. The result? A high rate of stress and mental, emotional imbalance. As Goethe said,

“It is only men of practical ability, knowing their powers and using them with moderation and prudence, who will be successful in worldly affairs.”

Forget about keeping up and understand your own rhythm. Follow it and be content at your own pace. It took Begoña longer to reach Santiago. Sometimes she had to walk alone for long stretches. But it was only by respecting her own rhythm that she managed to complete her journey.

Accept That Those Who Can’t Hear Your Music Will See Your Dance as Insane

“If someone isn’t what others want them to be,” Coelho wrote, “the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about theirs.”

Indeed, Coelho’s life is a manifestation of this remark. Being completely misunderstood and thought to be insane by his parents who, assuming they knew what was best for him, were only bent on making him into what they wanted.

Anyone who is driven to achieve anything will face the risk of being misunderstood, or even worse, being seen as a threat. When Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, launched his first start-up Viaweb, many thought it a stupid idea because they didn’t fully understand how it worked. As he revealed in one of his 2008 essays, Six Principles for Making New Things,

When we launched Viaweb, it seemed laughable to VCs and e-commerce ‘experts’… Since Viaweb was the first web-based app they’d seen, it seemed to be nothing more than a website… It sounded serious and difficult.”

But yet, Viaweb ended up crushing all its competitors. “Any great idea,” Goethe said, “is a tyrant when it first appears.” But not just great ideas. People will always push against anything they don’t understand.

This, however, doesn’t mean you’ll have huge success whenever you go against what’s conventional. But it means you’ll learn a priceless skill of referring less to others when you want to decide what’s best for you. It means you’ll be decisive; you’ll own your decisions, making you learn from them even when things don’t work out.

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Conclusion

All the lessons I’ve learned from Paulo Coelho couldn’t possibly be compressed into an article. But I hope these five will be helpful to you as you continue to live your own personal legend.

  • Success is less attractive when you see how it’s made.
  • Don’t worry about how your dreams will come true.
  • The process itself is the reward.
  • Follow your own rhythm.
  • Accept that those who can’t hear your music will see your dance as insane.

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Emotional independence

“At the beginning of our life and again when we get old, we need the help and affection of others. Unfortunately, between these two periods of our life, when we are strong and able to look after ourselves, we don’t appreciate the value of affection and compassion.  As our own life begins and ends with the need for affection, wouldn’t it be better if we gave compassion and love to others while we are strong and capable?”

The above words were said by the present Dalai Lama. Really, it is very curious to see that we are proud of our emotional independence.  Evidently, it is not quite like that: we continue needing others our entire life, but it is a “shame” to show that, so we prefer to cry in hiding. And when someone asks us for help, that person is considered weak and incapable of controlling his feelings.

 There is an unwritten rule saying that “the world is for the strong”, that “only the fittest survive.” If it were like that, human beings would never have existed, because they are part of a species that needs to be protected for a long period of time (specialists say that we are only capable of surviving on our own after nine years of age, whereas a giraffe takes only six to eight months, and a bee is already independent in less than five minutes).

We are in this world, I, for my part, continue – and will always continue – depending on others.  I depend on my wife, my friends and my publishers. I depend even on my enemies, who help me to be always trained in the use of the sword.

Clearly, there are moments when this fire blows in another direction, but I always ask myself: where are the others? Have I isolated myself too much? Like any healthy person, I also need solitude and moments of reflection.

But I cannot get addicted to that.

Emotional independence leads to absolutely nowhere – except to a would-be fortress, whose only and useless objective is to impress others.

Emotional dependence, in its turn, is like a bonfire that we light.

In the beginning, relationships are difficult. In the same way that fire is necessary to put up with the disagreeable smoke – which makes breathing hard, and causes tears to pour down one’s face. However, once the fire is alight, the smoke disappears and the flames light up everything around us – spreading warmth, calm, and possibly making an ember pop out to burn us, but that is what makes a relationship interesting, isn’t that true?

I began this column quoting a Nobel Peace Prize winner about the importance of human relationships. I am ending with Professor Albert Schweitzer, physician and missionary, who received the same Nobel prize in 1952.

“All of us know a disease in Central Africa called sleeping sickness. What we need to know is that there is a similar disease that attacks the soul – and which is very dangerous, because it catches us without being noticed. When you notice the slightest sign of indifference and lack of enthusiasm for your similar, be on the alert!”

“The only way to take precautions against this disease is to understand that the soul suffers, and suffers a lot, when we make it live superficially. The soul likes things that are beautiful and profound”.

Meditation: warrior of the light

Memories and salt

I arrive in Madrid at eight o’clock in the morning. I will only be here a few hours, so it’s not worth phoning friends and arranging to see them. I decide to go for a walk alone in my favourite places, and I end up sitting smoking a cigarette on a bench in the Retiro Park.

‘You look miles away,’ says an old man, joining me on the bench.

‘Oh, I’m here,’ I say, ‘but I’m sitting on this same bench with a painter friend of mine, Anastasio Ranchal, 24 years ago in 1986. We are both watching my wife, Christina, who has had a bit too much to drink and is trying to dance the flamenco.’

‘Enjoy your memories,’ says the old man.

‘But don’t forget that memory is like salt: the right amount brings out the flavour in food, too much ruins it. If you live in the past all the time, you’ll find yourself with no present to remember.’