Tag Archives: Paulo Coelho

Many brilliant lights or one burnt one: What’s your perspective?

Once again, the insights of author Paulo Coelho inspired my writing.

During one Christmas Eve dinner, he spent time complaining about something that was not perfect in his life. His thoughtful wife pointed out the beautifully illuminated Christmas tree nearby with one burnt bulb among the brilliantly shining ones.

“It seems to me that instead of thinking of this year as dozens of enlightened blessings, you chose to look at the one light that did not glow,” she said.

What is the ratio of enlightened blessings to burnt bulbs in your life? 

My eyesight is not good. Most days I don’t consider this a blessing, but at Christmas I do. When I take off my glasses, a Christmas tree looks star-filtered to me. The lights lose their sharp edges and take on a starlight glow. When I admire a Christmas tree in that soft focus I think about how lucky I am to see a Christmas tree in a way that my sharp-eyed friends can’t.

Best of all, when I look at a tree that way, I couldn’t possibly pick out any burnt bulbs.  

This month, whether you enjoy Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, the solstice, or any other celebrations, may you bask in the glow of so many enlightened blessings that you don’t notice any dark spots.

Read Paulo Coelho’s post here: My wife and the burnt light

If there are burnt bulbs on this tree, I can't see them.

If there are burnt bulbs on this tree, I can’t see them.

Go to the fields and seek the unexpected

“Imagine, adorable, if we were walking through a beautiful field, in a beautiful day and suddenly a storm fell over our heads. How wonderful! Is there greater emotion than seeing the elements producing wild power and energy? Let’s go to the fields, Mary, and seek the unexpected.” 

—Khalil Gibran, from a love letter written to Mary Haskell, May 24, 1914

Imagine, readers, if we were walking through a beautiful field, in a beautiful day with a person we love and suddenly we decided to celebrate the “wildly ever after” instead of the “happily ever after.”

How wonderful!

Is there a greater achievement than successfully withstanding the wild power and energy produced by the elements?

Forget the fairy tale and the happily-ever-after ending. How dull! (And unrealistic.) Look with delight upon the storms that fall over your head and the wild power and energy of the elements.

Go to the fields and seek the unexpected.

______________

See more of Kahlil Gibran’s love letters to Mary Haskill at the  blog: Gibran’s love letters

wild-elements

 

 

The universe conspires with you

 

universe-coelho

I love the book The Alchemist, and I find its author, Paulo Coelho, inspirational as a writer and a human being. 

Many people don’t agree. I made a visit to the “1 star” section of the Goodreads reviews of The Alchemist and discovered myriad variations on the “What a load of tripe” theme.

Those readers didn’t fall in with the fabled story of a hero journey. They didn’t buy the life wisdoms like the one quoted above. After all, since when does everyone in the universe get what they want? And what about good people who end up suffering?

Coelho recently responded to those concerns with this:

“I realized that despite the fear and the bruises of life, one has to keep on fighting for one’s dream. As Borges said in his writings ‘there no other virtue than being brave’. And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.”

I think he means this: If you have the ability to complain about NOT getting what you want, then that means that you’re still breathing, and your story is not over yet. There’s still time. 

Get busy. Work hard. Stop whining, because if you don’t, all you’ll get is more of the same. Fight past all those things you fear. Don’t let them paralyze you into inaction.

If you do, you might be amazed at the machinations of the universe. 

___________________

Consider Paulo Coelho’s 25 Important Points. Read them here: http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2014/09/03/25-important-points/

The myth of psyche: Paulo Coelho

I am taking a summer blog break. While I’m refilling my creative well, enjoy the insightful writing of the incomparable Paulo Coelho. In “The Myth of Psyche” he ponders the elusive nature of love, and how he learned to follow the strange language of “signs.”

“Each moment shall be lived and enjoyed, but whenever we try to understand it, the magic disappears.”

________________

“The Myth of Psyche”

http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2012/08/20/the-myth-of-psyche/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PauloCoelhosBlog+%28Paulo+Coelho%27s+Blog%29

 

Christmas traditions and why you may, or may not, need a cat

 Are you trapped in your traditions? Do they serve you, or do you serve them?

I pondered this question after reading a Paulo Coelho blog piece about an ancient Japanese story, which I will paraphrase here:

A great Zen Buddhist master had a cat. The cat was his constant companion even during the meditation classes he led. When the old master passed away, another disciple took his place and continued to allow the cat to join in meditation. When the original cat died, the disciples missed its presence, so they found another.

Disciples from other regions heard about the cat who attended meditation classes, and spread the story around to others. These disciples believed that the cat was the reason for the greatness of the Zen Buddhist master. Other temples began to bring cats to class.

Eventually, writings began to appear about the importance of cats during meditation. A university professor studied the issue and wrote a thesis about the effects of cats on concentration and energy. Disciples began to believe that cats were essential to meditation.

Soon, an instructor who was allergic to cats decided to remove the animal from his daily classes. Other disciples were aghast and reacted negatively, believing the cat to be essential to their success. But his students made the same progress even without the cat.

Generations passed and, one by one, monasteries began removing cats from meditation. After all, it was a burden feeding all those cats. In fact, students began to study the benefits of meditating without animals.  More time passed until “cat,” or “no cat” was no longer a matter of consideration. But it took many years for the full cycle, because “during all this time, no one asked why the cat was there.”

Christmas is one of the most tradition-bound times of the year. Christmas trees, shortbread, gifts, overspending on gifts, turkey, family gatherings, family fights, church services, candles, crèches, Santa, pageants, parties with too much rum eggnog, carols . . . These things have been part of our current version of the holidays for so long we have started to believe that Christmas is not Christmas without them. If we were to suggest not including them, people would react with aghast negativity.

Why are those “cats” in the room? Is feeding them becoming a burden?

Christmas means different things to different people. For me, it recalls the birth of a compassionate movement toward “all is one.” It recalls the birth of a man, an activist, who sought social justice and lived the idea that every person contains the divine spark. 

As I meditate my way toward Christmas this year, whether I invite some of those “cats” to join me or not, the movement toward “all is one” by those of us lit with the divine spark continues regardless.

 

Learning how to receive with grace

Very cool photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/publikaccion/

If someone offers you gifts, do you accept with gratitude?

Do you sometimes turn them away?

Some people find the graceful act of receiving difficult.

Author Paulo Coelho, in his latest book, Aleph, writes about the reluctance some people feel when accepting gifts. They think: “If someone is giving us something, that’s because we’re incapable of getting it for ourselves.’ Or else, ‘The person giving me this now will one day ask for it back with interest.’ Or, even worse, ‘I don’t deserve to be treated well.'”

Have you ever offered a gift only to have it rejected? How did you feel?

When offers of a helping hand or heartfelt gifts get rejected, the giver might wonder, Did I get it wrong? Do they not like it? Is it not good enough?” Or else, “I hope they don’t think they’ll need to repay the favour.” Or, even worse, “Is it personal? Do they not like me?”

Gifts and offers of assistance come from the place of compassion in the heart. People give because they see a need that is most easily filled with their help. They give when they see an item that is just right for someone they love. They give without strings attached and out of love, joy and gratitude.

It’s our job to learn how to receive with grace.

My friend, Bruce Henderson, has a name for gift recipients: givee. Bruce is a reformed reluctant givee. He wrote this poem about the importance of being a good givee.

Grace of the Good Givee

Bring me your gifts,

I will be strong,

strong enough to take them.

Yes, I have room for your gifts,

in my hands, in my home, in my heart,

I welcome you in—to my infinite yin.

There is a time to give and a time to get,

and every Giver needs a Good Givee.

I am ready to accept,

to receive your loving kindness;

the warm message of your gifts.

In joy we will celebrate

the power of your act.

When you reach out

I will not try to run away.

Come spirit,

grant me the grace of the Good Givee.

©2010 Bruce Henderson