I'm a big fan of the famous Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho. I first read his best-selling book The Alchemist and from then on, I became a fan. His thoughts and ideas are just exceptional. I'm simply amazed on how his mind works and how and where he gets his ideas. And when I found his Official Site and left a message, I was more impressed when he replied to my message. I'm not sure if he was the one who read my message and replied, but still, he or the one maintaining the site took the time to reply to one of the millions of fans leaving a message for the author.
I haven't read all his published works yet, since I'm always in front of the computer, books are second things for me because I still have dozens of stories from Fictionpress that I've saved to read. Anyways, I've read Veronika Decides to Die but I think I have to re-read it again since I wasn't totally into that book.
And last night, while I was searching about him, and some works he has written, I discovered Maktub, which is a collection of his best columns published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, according to Wikipedia. So I'd like to share some very moving quotes from the collection:
“If a decision needs to be made, it is better to make it and deal with the consequences. You cannot know beforehand what those consequences will be. The arts of divination were developed in order to counsel people, never to predict the future. They provide good advice, but poor prophecy. “In one of the prayers that Jesus taught us, it says, 'God's will be done. ' When His will causes a problem, italso presents a solution. If the arts of divination were able to predict the future, every soothsayer would be wealthy, married and content.”
“A man who seeks only the light, while shirking his responsibilities, will never find illumination. And one who keep his eyes fixed upon the sun ends up blind.”
“What we do will be raised to His heart, and will be returned to us in the same form. God acts as the echo of our own deeds.”
“When we sense that the time has come for a change, we begin -unconsciously -to run the tape again, to view every defeat we have experienced until then. And, of course, as we grow older, our number of difficult moments grows larger. But, at the same time, experience provides us with better means of overcoming those defeats, and of finding the path that allows us to go forward. We have to play that second tape on our mental VCR, too. If we only watch the tape of our defeats, we become paralyzed. If we only watch the tape of our successes, we wind up thinking we are wiser than we really are. We need both of those tapes.”
Do not always try to be consistent. Saint Paul, after all, said, “The wisdom of the world is madness in the eyes of God.” To be consistent is always to wear a tie that matches one's socks. It is to have the same opinions tomorrow as one has today. And the movement of the planet? Where is it? So long as you do no harm to another, change your opinion once in a while. Contradict yourself without being embarrassed. This is your right. It doesn't matter what others think -because that's what they will think, in any case. So, relax. Let the universe move about. Discover the joy of surprising yourself. “God selected the crazy things on the earth so as to embarrass the wise men,” said Saint Paul .
“Those who embark in a new direction and want to keep a bit of the old life, wind up lacerated by their own past.”
“Many people are fearful of happiness. For such persons, to be content in life means they must change a number of their habits -and lose their sense of identity. Often we become indignant at the good things that befall us. We do not accept them, because to do so causes us to feel that we are in God's debt. We think: 'Better not to drink from the chalice of happiness, because, when it is empty, we will suffer greatly. ' Out of a fear of shrinking, we fail to grow. Out of a fear of weeping, we fail to laugh.”
"Often, we can afford to take our time. But there are occasions when we must roll up our sleeves and resolve a situation. In such cases, there is nothing worse than delay.”
We are all concerned with taking action, doing things, resolving problems, providing for others. We are always trying to plan something, conclude something else, discover a third. There is nothing wrong with that -after all, that is how we build and modify the world. But the act of Adoration is also a part of life. To stop from time to time, to escape one's self, and to stand silent before the Universe. To kneel down, body and soul. Without asking for something, without thinking, without even giving thanks for anything. Just to experience the warmth of the love that surrounds us. At such moments, unexpected tears may appear -tears neither of happiness nor sadness. Do not be surprised at that. It is a gift. The tears are cleansing your soul.
“We must care for our body. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and deserves our respect and affection. We must make the best use of our time. We must fight for our dreams, and concentrate our efforts to that end. But we must not forget that life is made up of small pleasures. They were placed here to encourage us, assist us in our search, and provide moments of surcease from our daily battles. It is not a sin to be happy. There is nothing wrong in -from time to time -breaking certain rules regarding diet, sleep and happiness. Do not criticize yourself if -once in a while -you waste your time on trifles. These are the small pleasures that stimulate us.”
“If you are traveling the road of your dreams, be committed to it. Do not leave an open door to be used as an excuse such as, 'Well, this isn't exactly what I wanted. ' Therein are contained the seeds of defeat. “Walk your path. Even if your steps have to be uncertain, even if you know that you could be doing it better. If you accept your possibilities in the present, there is no doubt that you will improve in the future. But if you deny that you have limitations, you will never be rid of them. “Confront your path with courage, and don't be afraid of the criticism of others. And, above all, don't allow yourself to become paralyzed by self-criticism. “God will be with you on your sleepless nights, and will dry your tears with His love. God is for the valiant.”
We go out into the world in search of our dreams and ideals. Often we make inaccessible that which is within our reach. When we realize the error, we feel we have wasted our time, seeking in the distance what was close at hand. We blame ourselves for making such a mistake, for our useless search and for the problems we have caused. The master says: “Although the treasure may be buried in your house, you will find it only if you leave in search of it. If Peter had not experienced the pain of rejection, he would not have been chosen as the head of the Church. If the prodigal son had not abandoned everything, he would not have been given a feast by his father. There are certain things in our lives that carry a seal that says: 'You will appreciate my value only after you have lost me... and recovered me. ' It does no good to try to shorten the path.”
“Just as I succeeded in finding all the answers, all the questions changed.“ We are always concerned with finding answers. We feel that answers are important to understand what life means. It is more important to live fully, and allow time to reveal to us the secrets of our existence. If we are too concerned with making sense of life, we prevent nature from acting, and we become unable to read God's signs.
“Often it is easier to love than to be loved. We find it hard to accept the help and support of others. Our attempts to appear independent deprive others of the opportunity to demonstrate their love....As a result, the waters of love do not spread. You should accept a gesture of love from someone. You have to allow others to help you, to give you the strength to go on. If you accept such love with purity and humility, you will understand that Love is neither giving nor receiving -it is participating.”
“When we decide to act, it is natural that unexpected conflict should arise. It is natural that we will be wounded as a result of such conflict. Wounds heal: they stay on as scars, and that is blessing. Such scars stay with us for the rest of our lives, and are of great help to us. If at some point -for whatever reason -our desire to return to the past is strong, we have only to look at our scars. Scars are the marks of handcuffs, and remind us of the horrors of prison -and with that reminder we move forward again.”
“One's personal destiny is not as simple as it appears. Not at all. It may even call for some sort of dangerous action. When we want something, we put into motion some powerful energies, and we are no longer able to conceal from ourselves the true meaning of our life. When we want something, we make a choice and we pay a price. To follow one's dream carries a price. It may demand that we give up old habits, it may create problems for us, and it may bring disappointment. But, no matter how high the price, it is never so high as at we pay for not having lived out our personal destiny. Because one day we will look back and see everything we have done, and hear our own heart say: 'I wasted my life. ' Believe me, that is the worst phrase you can ever hear.”
If you are dissatisfied with something -even a good thing that you would like to do, but have not been able to -stop now. If things are not going well, there are only two explanations: either your perseverance is being tested, or you need to change direction. In order to discover which of those options is correct -since they are opposites -make use of silence and prayer. Little by little, things will become strangely clear, until you have sufficient strength to choose. Once you have made your decision, forget completely the other possibility. And go forward, because God is the God of the Valiant.
One of the most powerful exercises in interior growth consists in paying attention to things we do automatically -like breathing, blinking our eyes, or attending to things around us. When we do this, we allow our brain to work with greater freedom -without the interference of our desires. Certain problems that appeared to be insoluble wind up being resolved, and certain pains that we thought could never be overcome wind up dissipating effortlessly. The master says: “When you have to confront a difficult situation, try to use that technique. It requires a bit of discipline... but the results can be surprising”.
Mystics say that when we begin our spiritual path, we want to speak often with God -and we wind up not listening to what He has to say to us. The master says: “Relax a bit. It is not easy. We have a natural need always to do the right thing, and we think we can do that if we work unceasingly. It is important to try, to fall, to get up and try again. But let us allow God to help. In the middle of a great effort, let us look at ourselves, allow Him to reveal himself and guide us. Let us sometimes allow Him to take us onto his lap.”
Very inspiring collection. I'm going to read The Zahir and Eleven Minutes next, I've read great reviews on them. I hope I won't be disappointed. :)