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.’

Nota Oficial do PEN CLUBE

 

NOTA OFICIAL DO PEN CLUBE DO BRASIL   EM SOLIDARIEDADE AO ESCRITOR PAULO COELHO

O PEN Clube Internacional – seção Brasil, cumpre o dever de vir a público para se solidarizar com o associado Paulo Coelho, por conta de agressão intolerável de que não apenas ele acaba de ser vítima se não a literatura brasileira e o próprio país.

O fato de ter seus livros queimados em público por um casal que se diz em defesa da Federação Brasileira e de seu Presidente pelo fato (???) de que o mais reconhecido escritor brasileiro teria criticado posições adotadas pelo Presidente Bolsonaro.

O PEN Clube do Brasil, único órgão internacional de que dispomos em defesa irrestrita tanto da liberdade de expressão de quem escreve e emite opiniões, quanto de seus escritores e jornalistas, não apenas presta solidariedade ao seu mais traduzido escritor como repudia com veemência e asco a insanidade histórica do ato de queimar livros impensável violência aplicada ao se abrirem as trevas nazistas no sangrento ano de 1933.

Tanto a solidariedade a Paulo Coelho, integrante da Academia Brasileira de Letras e de clubes literários de todo planeta, quanto o gesto de usar a bastardia de tal censura, cujas origens medievais são sobejamente reconhecidas, não podem, em nenhum momento serem ignorados por nossa sede em Londres e por seus duzentos clubes associados nos cinco continentes.

Ricardo Cravo Albin

Presidente do PEN Clube do Brasil

Defeat

Does a leaf, when it falls from the tree in winter, feel defeated by the cold? The tree says to the leaf: ‘That’s the cycle of life. You may think you’re going to die, but you live on in me. It’s thanks to you that I’m alive, because I can breathe. It’s also thanks to you that I have felt loved, because I was able to give shade to the weary traveller. Your sap is in my sap, we are one thing.’

Does a man who spent years preparing to climb the highest mountain in the world feel defeated on reaching that mountain and discovering that nature has cloaked the summit in storm clouds? The man says to the mountain: ‘You don’t want me this time, but the weather will change and, one day, I will make it to the top. Meanwhile, you’ll still be here waiting for me.’

Does a young man, rejected by his first love, declare that love does not exist? The young man says to himself: ‘I’ll find someone better able to understand what I feel. And then I will be happy for the rest of my days.’

Losing a battle or losing everything we thought we possessed will bring us moments of sadness, but when those moments pass, we will discover the hidden strength that exists in each of us, a strength that will surprise us and increase our self-respect.

Wait patiently for the right moment to act. Do not let the next opportunity slip.

Take pride in your scars. Scars are medals branded on the flesh, and your enemies will be frightened by them because they are proof of your long experience of battle. Often this will lead them to seek dialogue and avoid conflict. Scars speak more loudly than the sword that caused them.

 

taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

1 MIN reading: the child within us

We must listen to the child that we once were, and who still lives within us.

This child understands about magic instants.

We can muffle his sobbing, but we can’t hush his voice.

If we aren’t reborn, if we don’t see life again with the innocence and enthusiasm of childhood, then there is no more sense to living.

 

There are many ways to commit suicide. Those who try to kill their body offend God’s law.

Those who try to kill their soul also offend God’s law, although their crime is less visible to the eyes of man.

 

Let’s allow the child within us to take the reins of our existence a little. This child says that one day is different from another.

Let’s make the child feel loved again. Let’s please this child – even if it means acting in a way that we’re not used to, even if it seems foolish in the eyes of others.

Remember that the wisdom of men is madness before God.

If we listen to the child we bear in our soul, our eyes will shine once more. If we don’t lose contact with this child, we won’t lose contact with life.

Warrior of the light meditations

If you have read one book by Paulo Coelho, I would guess it was, The Alchemist. The book has sold millions of copies all over the world and has been printed in many languages.

I picked up the book, Warrior of the Light, thinking that it would tell a story about strength and overcoming, similar to the Alchemist.

But the book was different than my expectations. Reading the Warrior of the Light I felt like it was a book that paired well with the Alchemist.

The book reviews how a Warrior of the Light builds him or herself to that standard.

The Manual

As I was reading the book, I picked up on many of the principles Paulo Coelho talked about. I also thought about different principles that were important to me.

Below I would like to share with you 101 principles, attitudes, believes and philosophies to help you overcome negative thoughts, feelings, actions and mindset.

I am in the process, and continue to be in the process, of learning how to apply these lessons to my life. Each day we face new challenges and the lessons below are opportunities for us.

 

101 Lessons from Warrior of the Light

  1. Sometimes you need to step away from the things that you obsess about before they can be realized.
  2. Show your gratitude to others and for others.
  3. Let others judge you. They are going to do it anyway. You keep doing what you know if right.
  4. It is important to have life experience versus theory from books.
  5. First prepare and then take action.
  6. If you have weaknesses, admit it. Only then are you ready to improve.
  7. [bctt tweet=”Every situation is a chance to learn something new.” via=”no”]
  8. Learn to be disciplined.
  9. Developing new abilities is the key to overcome old habits.
  10. Pick and choose battles carefully.
  11. It is nice to relax but do not have many days that repeating.
  12. Are you predictable?
  13. Play your role until you can get out of your circumstances.
  14. Do you have expectations of others? Don’t.
  15. What’s your purpose in life?
  16. The words you use when talk to yourself need to be positive.
  17. Talk to yourself and make sure you are doing what you need to do.
  18. Asking a higher power for advice.
  19. Be humble even when you do not want to be.
  20. Are you sharing your success with others? Why?

  21. Reflecting on the past.
  22. Pass the torch to the next generation.
  23. Do your goals keep you awake?
  24. Complaints do not go a long way. Why do you complain?
  25. What remains after you have worked all day?
  26. Your journey is different for the journey of everyone else.
  27. [bctt tweet=”New challenges are there once you get over the old ones.” via=”no”]
  28. Know your faults.
  29. Know your strengths.
  30. Looks at your opportunity not the opportunities of others.
  31. Motive others when you can.
  32. Show compassion for others.
  33. What do you fear? Why?
  34. Don’t focus on betrayal.
  35. Are you trying to walk someone else’s path?
  36. Do not focus on the trivial things.
  37. If you have no believe in yourself. Then your first job is to build it.
  38. Are you forgetting God?
  39. Who do you say Yes to and No to?
  40. Think about those you hurt in love.

  41. How are you improving yourself?
  42. Always finish what you start if it serves a purpose.
  43. Who is your teacher, mentor or coach?
  44. Share your heart with others.
  45. Share your thoughts with others.
  46. Who is not your teacher?
  47. Helping others is important.
  48. Help yourself first then help everyone else.
  49. Why do you fight with others?
  50. Use silence as your partner in guiding your direction.
  51. [bctt tweet=”Remember it will be done by you or someone else.” via=”no”]
  52. Do you show your pain?
  53. Where does your joy come from?
  54. How do you prepare to take action?
  55. What is your daily routine and why?
  56. Where are you going to be in 5 years?
  57. Take action on your thinking.
  58. Make mistakes and learn. Do not be discouraged at the first sight of failure.
  59. Be a strong foundation for others.
  60. Fight for what you believe in.
  61. Do you make up excuse in defeat?

  62. Be patient and enjoy the journey.
  63. Do not let real opportunities slip away while you focus on the wrong things.
  64. Remember you will be tested, so do not lose your heart in the journey.
  65. Remove hate from your heart.
  66. Look at the ways others carry themselves.
  67. Believe your intuition.
  68. Stick to what you believe in but be willing to change.
  69. Ensure you take care of the details.
  70. Don’t lose hope. Keep the faith.
  71. Never place blame on others.
  72. Use fear to motivate you not stop you.
  73. Know even when you are not doing anything, billions of things are still happening.
  74. [bctt tweet=”Believe wholeheartedly in the good you know about yourself.” via=”no”]
  75. Understand the tools you have and how to use them.
  76. Be a child at heart and a warrior on your journey.
  77. Deal with challenges and let go of negative feelings.
  78. Allow yourself to understand the decision, before you make it.
  79. Stand for justice. This means justice for all not just a few.
  80. People are always watching your actions.

  81. Become the master of your thoughts and emotions.
  82. Be the same with everyone.
  83. Who are your friends and why?
  84. Don’t give up. Fall and get up one more time.
  85. Understand the battle ahead.
  86. Are you selfish or do you practice selflessness?
  87. Be a slave to your dream.
  88. Know when and how to work with others.
  89. [bctt tweet=”Who inspires you from the past and in the present.” via=”no”]
  90. Do you give others second chances?
  91. Get wisdom from those who lived before you.
  92. Where do you get courage from?
  93. The first step is important.
  94. Do you know how to feel?
  95. Have faith in God and yourself.
  96. What will you leave the next generation?
  97. Timing is everything
  98. Surround yourself with the best people you can find.
  99. What strategy do you consider before you take action?
  100. Do you have self-trust?

  101. Know the world is random insanity.

Summary

The 101 lessons are only a small part of the knowledge you get from the book, Warrior of the Light. Everyone is going through something different and your situation can help you see the wisdom in a different light.

I recommend you focus on one principle each day. In one year, you focus on each principle at least 3 times. Continue to find new ways to apply the lesson in this book.

Take Action

Of the 101 steps, which one will you focus on first?

Leave a comment below and share why you will focus on it. Check out other articles in this post.

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Vacations!

Although I enjoy my work a lot (once I tweeted: “if you do what you love, every day is a holiday”) I need to stop being in front of the computer – and this is the main reason for taking vacations.

I will be back by the September.

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Paulo

Those who were never defeated

Those who were never defeated seem happy and superior, masters of a truth they never had to lift a finger to achieve.
They are always on the side of the strong. They’re like hyenas, who only eat the leavings of lions.

They teach their children: ‘Don’t get involved in conflicts, you’ll only lose. Keep your doubts to yourself and you’ll never have any problems.
If someone attacks you, don’t get offended or demean yourself by hitting back. There are more important things in life.’

In the silence of the night, they fight their imaginary battles: their unrealised dreams, the injustices to which they turned a blind eye, the moments of cowardice they managed to conceal from other people – but not from themselves – and the love that crossed their path with a sparkle in its eyes, the love God had intended for them, and which they lacked the courage to embrace.

And they promise themselves: ‘Tomorrow will be different.’

But tomorrow comes and the paralysing question surfaces in their mind: ‘What if it doesn’t work out?’

And so they do nothing.
Woe to those who were never beaten! They will never be winners in this life.
 
 
taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

How to discover if something is important

The master was strolling through a field of wheat when a disciple came up to him: “I can’t tell which is the true path. What’s the secret?”

“What does that ring on your right hand mean?” asked the master.

“My father gave it to me before dying.”

“Well, give it to me.”

The disciple obeyed, and the master tossed the ring into the middle of the field of wheat.

“Now what?” shouted the disciple.

“Now I have to stop doing everything I was doing to look for the ring! It’s important to me!”

“When you find it, remember this: you yourself answered the question you asked me. That is how you tell the true path: it is more important than all the rest.”

30 seec read: The right question

Gun-Zai and his disciples were walking in the country and talking about God’s miracles, when it began to rain.

They all ran to a cabin that stood close by.

When they reached there, the master turned to his pupils and said: “I shall only let you in if you give me the right answer.”

Intrigued, they all remained there under the downpour, not knowing how to please Gun- Zai.

They trembled with cold, but could not find the right answer.

Finally, after nearly two hours in the rain, one of them said: “Master, you haven’t asked any question, and here we stand like fools, looking for explanations.It isn’t wise to look for problems if we weren’t posed any problem.”

“Congratulations, that’s how we should behave in life. You may come in,” said the master, opening the door.

20 SEC READ: The camel, the painter, the poet and the critic

Aa painter, a poet and a critic were crossing the desert.

One night, to kill the time, they decided to describe the camel that was accompanying them.

The poet  took ten minutes to describe the animal’s nobility in beautiful verses.

In a few rapid strokes, the painter offered his friends a drawing.

Finally the critic entered the tent.

He came out two hours later, by which time they were all annoyed at how long he was taking.

“I tried to be quick, but I discovered flaws in the animal,” said the critic.

“It doesn’t run. It’s uncomfortable. It’s ugly.”

And he handed his friends a wad of pages with the title:
“The perfect camel, or how God should have made the camel.”

 

(Arab oral tradition)

Guadalupe

Juan Diego is walking towards Mexico City when he sees a lady covered in light.
juan-diego-virgen-guadalupe
“Go to the Bishop; I am the Virgin, I want to be honored here,” says the apparition.

Diego obeys her, but nobody pays him any attention.

The lady asks time and time again, but the Bishop says that Juan is lying.

“You could have picked someone more respected and educated – that’s the only way the Church will listen,” complains Juan to the Virgin.

“I shall send them a sign,” she said.

And flowers bloom in the middle of the desert.

Juan fills his poncho with the flowers and takes them to the church.

They still do not believe it.

When Juan opens his poncho to leave the flowers on the table, the image of the Virgin is imprinted on the cloth.

This image became known as the Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of the Americas.

Until this day, all the tests to prove it false have been negative.

The story of the pencil

in “Like a flowing river”

Respect for mystery

Paulo Coelho

I had to live for many years before I realized that love is an act of faith in another person, and its face should continue to be wrapped in mystery. It should be lived and relished at each and every minute, but whenever we try to understand it, the magic vanishes.

When I accepted this I also began to let my life be guided by a strange language that I call “signs”. I know that the world is talking to me, I need to listen to it, and if I do so I shall always be guided towards what is most intense, passionate and beautiful. Of course, it is not easy and at times I feel like Psyche at the cliff, cold and terrified, but if I can pass through that night and deliver myself to the mystery and faith in life, I will always end up waking in a palace. All I need is to trust in Love, even though I run the risk of making a mistake.

To conclude the Greek myth: desperate to have her love back, Psyche submits to a series of tasks imposed by Aphrodite (or Venus), the mother of Cupid (or Eros), who is envious of her beauty. One of the tasks is to deliver some of her beauty to Aphrodite. Psyche grows curious about the box that was supposed to contain the Goddess’ beauty and once again is unable to cope with the Mystery, so she decides to open it. Inside she finds not beauty but rather an infernal sleep that leaves her inert and immobile.

Eros/Cupid is also in love, regretful for not having been more tolerant towards his wife. He manages to enter the castle and wake her from her deep sleep with the point of his arrow and once again tells her: “You almost died on account of your curiosity.” That is the great contradiction, Psyche sought for security in knowledge and found only insecurity.

The two of them go to Jupiter, the supreme god, and implore that their union will never be undone. Jupiter passionately pleads the cause of the lovers and succeeds in gaining the support of Venus. From that day onwards, Psyche (the essence of the human being) and Eros (love) are always together. Whoever does not accept this and tries to find an explanation for magical and mysterious human relations will miss the best part of life.

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30 SEC READ: Rumi

 

 

by Rumi, Persian poet (1207- 1273)

Lord, said David, since you do not need us,
why did you create these two worlds?

Reality replied: O prisoner of time,
I was a secret treasure of kindness and generosity,
and I wished this treasure to be known,
so I created a mirror: its shining face, the heart;
its darkened back, the world;
The back would please you if you’ve never seen the face.

Has anyone ever produced a mirror out of mud and straw?
Yet clean away the mud and straw,
and a mirror might be revealed.

Until the juice ferments a while in the cask,
it isn’t wine. If you wish your heart to be bright,
you must do a little work.

 

Question by the reader : Maria Edwards

My question is, can you tell us more about this quote of the day, “Anyone who gives help also receives help and needs to teach what he has learned?” How can we share the light we’ve found with people in our lives who may not have found their own path yet?

Firstly by trying to understand why they are acting the way they are. Before judging if a person is or not in their path, first we need to understand why they thread in the current path they are threading.
Of course, if a person is unhappy and they let you know about this – then you can actually say what you think. But remember, while giving your opinion you need to leave very clear that you are doing this out of love and nothing else.
The best way to reach someone is by letting them know that they have reached your heart first.

 

Emotional independence

 

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).

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”.

30 SEC READ The Warrior Of Light and Faith

The warrior of light, once he has learned how to use a sword, discovers that his equipment is still incomplete – he needs armour.
He sets off in search of this armour and he listens to the advice of various salesmen.
‘Use the breastplate of solitude,’ says one.
‘Use the shield of cynicism’, says another.
‘The best armour is not to get involved in anything,’ says a third.
The warrior, however, ignores them. He calmly goes to his sacred place and puts on the indestructible cloak of faith.
Faith parries all blows. Faith transforms poison into crystalline water.

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