The Witch of Portobello, Paulo Coelho

No one lights a lamp in order to hide it behind the door: the purpose of light is to create more light, to open people's eyes, to reveal the marvels around

People are easily deceived. Certain superstitions, however absurd they may seem, remain in the human imagination and are often used by unscrupulous people.

I applauded when reason lost the battle, and all I could do was surrender and accept that I was in love.

If there is any possible consolation in the tragedy of losing someone we love very much, it's the necessary hope that perhaps it was for the best.

People who are on a spiritual quest don't think, they simply want results. They want to feel powerful and superior to the anonymous masses. They want to be special.

If a man we don't know phones us up one day and talks a little, makes no suggestions, says nothing special, but nevertheless pays us the kind of attention we rarely receive, we're quite capable of feeling relatively in love. That's what we women are like, and there's nothing wrong with that – it's the nature of the female to open herself to love easily.

Everyone's looking for the perfect teacher, but although their teachings might be divine, teachers are all too human, and that's something people find hard to accept.

Don't confuse the teacher with the lesson, the ritual with the ecstasy, the transmitter of the symbol with the symbol itself. The Tradition is linked to our encounter with the forces of life and not with the people who bring this about.

But we are weak: we ask God to send us guides, and all he sends are signs to the road we need to follow. Pity those who seek for shepherds, instead of longing for freedom! An encounter with the superior energy is open to anyone, but remains far from those who shift responsibility onto others. Our time on this Earth is sacred, and we should celebrate every moment.

The importance of this has been completely forgotten: even religious holidays have been transformed into opportunities to go to the beach or the park or skiing.
There are no more rituals. Ordinary actions can no longer be transformed into manifestations of the sacred. We cook and complain that it's a waste of time, when we should be pouring our love into making that food. We work and believe it's a divine curse, when we should be using our skills to bring pleasure and to spread the love of God.

The physical world and the spiritual world are the same thing. We can see the Divine in each speck of dust, but that doesn't stop us wiping it away with a wet sponge. The Divine doesn't disappear; it's transformed into the clean surface.

Things are never absolute; they depend on each individual's perceptions. And the best way to know who we are is often to find out how others see us. This doesn't mean that we should do what others expect us to do, but it helps us to understand ourselves better.

When fate is very generous with us, there is always a well into which all our dreams can tumble.

When I sit still, or when I'm feeling very agitated, I feel as if I were vibrating along with the whole Universe. And I know things then that I don't know, as if God were guiding my steps. There are moments when I feel that everything is being revealed to me.' faith.
Then she would correct herself: 'But that's wrong.'
Athena always lived between two worlds: what she felt was true and what she had been taught by her

All that it takes for the world to remain in harmony is for each being to follow the laws of nature.

All creative human beings have such experiences, which are known as 'possession by the sacred'. Suddenly, for a fraction of a second, we feel that our whole life is justified, our sins forgiven, and that love is still the strongest force, one that can transform us forever. But, at the same time, we feel afraid. Surrendering completely to love, be it human or divine, means giving up everything, including our own well-being or our ability to make decisions. It means loving in the deepest sense of the word. The truth is that we don't want to be saved in the way God has chosen; we want to keep absolute control over our every step, to be fully conscious of our decisions, to be capable of choosing the object of our devotion.
It isn't like that with love – it arrives, moves in and starts directing everything. Only very strong souls allow themselves to be swept along

The grandeur of God reveals itself through simple things

'I'm only happy when I think that God exists and is listening to me; but that isn't enough to go on living, when nothing seems to make sense. I pretend a happiness
I don't feel; I hide my sadness so as not to worry those who love me and care about me.

Sometimes love carries us into the abyss, taking with us, to make matters worse, the people we love.

It's possible to love more than one person in a lifetime. This, however, doesn't mean that you have to renounce all your past experiences, as long as you're careful not to compare your two lives. You can't measure love the way you can the length of a road or the height of a building.

When mouths close, it's because there's something important to be said

A saint is someone who lives his or her life with dignity. All we have to do is understand that we're all here for a reason and to commit ourselves to that. Then we can laugh at our sufferings, large and small, and walk fearlessly, aware that each step has meaning. We can let ourselves be guided by the light emanating from our hearts. In life, too, it's the culminating point, the goal of all those who, like everyone else, make mistakes, but who, even in their darkest moments, never lose sight of the light emanating from their hearts.

Loneliness gets stronger when we try to face it down, but gets weaker when we simply ignore it.'

Each of us contains our ancestors and all the generations to come. When we free ourselves, we are freeing all humanity.

People who are in love do have an effect on the environment in which they live

Sometimes I understand why most of my colleagues don't do very much in order to improve: if they don't succeed, they're called incompetent. If they do succeed, they have to keep improving all the time, a situation guaranteed to bring on an early heart attack.

The day is made up of twenty-four hours and an infinite number of moments. We need to be aware of each of those moments and to make the most of them regardless of whether we're busy doing something or merely contemplating life. If we slow down, everything lasts much longer. But why not use that time to think about pleasant things and to feel glad simply to be alive?'

Joy is infectious, as is enthusiasm and love. Or indeed sadness, depression or hatred – things which can be picked up “intuitively” people. In order to improve performance, we have to create mechanisms that keep these positive stimuli alive.

Why is patience so important?'
'Because it makes us pay attention.
If your soul could communicate with your brain, you would be able to change things.

Before the word comes the thought. And before the thought, there is the divine spark that placed it there.

Everything, absolutely everything on this Earth makes sense, and even the smallest things are worthy of our consideration.

What is a teacher? It isn't someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.

Many people in this world are merely playing a role, unaware that there is an Invisible Hand guiding them.

You know the effort it took to sit in the correct position, to quieten your soul, keep your intentions clear and respect each letter of each word. Meanwhile, keep practicing. After a great deal of practice, we no longer think about all the necessary movements we must make; they become part of our existence. Before reaching that stage, however, you must practice and repeat. And if that's not enough, you must practice and repeat some more. The moment will come when you no longer need to think about what you're doing. You become the letter, the ink, the paper, the word.

If all the words were joined together, they wouldn't make sense, or, at the very least, they'd be extremely hard to decipher. The spaces are crucial.

The important thing is to allow fate to intervene in our lives and to decide what is best for everyone.

Like all storms, it brings destruction, but, at the same time, it soaks the fields, and the wisdom of the heavens falls with the rain. Like all storms, it will pass. The more violent it is, the more quickly it will pass. I have, thank God, learned to weather storms.

The ways in which fate changes people are always favorable if we only know how to decipher them.

Don't be alone in the search, because if you take a wrong step, you'll have no one there to help put you right.

Everything is at once so simple and so complicated! It's simple because all it takes is a change of attitude: I'm not going to look for happiness any more. From now on, I'm independent; I see life through my eyes and not through other people's. I'm going in search of the adventure of being alive.
And it's complicated: why am I not looking for happiness when everyone has taught me that happiness is the only goal worth pursuing? Why am I going to risk taking a path that no one else is taking? After all, what is happiness?
Love, they tell me. But love doesn't bring and never has brought happiness. On the contrary, it's a constant state of anxiety, a battlefield; it's sleepless nights, asking ourselves all the time if we're doing the right thing. Real love is composed of ecstasy and agony.
All right then, peace. Peace? If we look at life, it's never at peace. The winter does battle with the summer, the sun and the moon never meet, the tiger chases the man, who's afraid of the dog, who chases the cat, who chases the mouse, who frightens the man.
Money brings happiness. Fine. In that case, everyone who earns enough to have a high standard of living would be able to stop work. But then they're more troubled than ever, as if they were afraid of losing everything. Money attracts money, that's true. Poverty might bring unhappiness, but money won't necessarily bring happiness.
I spent a lot of my life looking for happiness, now what I want is joy. Joy begins and ends. I want pleasure. I want to be contented, but happiness? I no longer fall into that trap.
When I'm with a group of people and I want to provoke them by asking that most important of questions: 'Are you happy?', they all reply: 'Yes, I am.'
Then I ask: 'But don't you want more? Don't you want to keep on growing?' And they all reply: 'Of course.'
Then I say: 'So you're not happy.'

Desires are never satisfied, because once they are, they cease to be desires.

Simply believe – don't doubt anything. You're alive, and this candle is the only point in your universe. Believe in that. Let go of the idea that the path will lead you to your goal. The truth is that with each step we take, we arrive. Repeat that to yourself every morning: “I've arrived”. That way you'll find it much easier to stay in touch with each second of your day.'
Believe. Believe in your abilities; believe that you have already arrived where you wanted to arrive.

Faith is not desire. Faith is Will. Desires are things that need to be satisfied, whereas Will is a force. Will changes the space around us.

You needed to know that you're not alone, that other people are in contact with the same thing as you. Just knowing that allows you to believe that you're on the right path, arriving with each step you take.'
'What path? You'll only discover that when you start to teach. When find a student. You need to teach what you don't know, what God wants to reveal through you.
Teach people to be different. That's all!
That is joy. Happiness would be feeling satisfied with everything you already have – a lover, a son, a job. And you weren't born for that kind of life.

When we step out of our normal world and leave behind us all the usual barriers and prejudices, we tend to become more adventurous.

Getting lost, and that's the best way to discover interesting places. Try to fill your life again with a little fantasy; above our heads is a sky about which the whole of humanity – after thousands of years spent observing it – has given various apparently reasonable explanations. Forget everything you've ever learned about the stars and they'll once more be transformed into angels, or into children, or into whatever you want to believe at that moment. It won't make you more stupid – after all, it's only a game – but it could enrich your life.

Whenever a religion tightens its rules, a significant number of people break away and go in search of more freedom in their search for spiritual contact.

Try to feel good about yourself even when you feel like the least worthy of creatures. Reject all those negative thoughts and let the Mother take possession of your body and soul; Everything is worship if your mind is focused on the present moment.

Let God speak through you and making discoveries as he speaks. And as you make those discoveries, you'll manage to fill in the blank spaces that all those writers left there on purpose to provoke the reader's imagination. And when you fill in the spaces, you'll start to believe in your own abilities.

Some day, all that you have shall be given away. The trees give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.'

When we're interested in something, everything around us appears to refer to it
(The mystics call these phenomena 'signs', the skeptics 'coincidence', and
Psychologists 'concentrated focus'

Jung used to divide individual progress into four stages: the first was the Persona – the mask we use every day, pretending to be who we are. We believe that the world depends on us, that we're wonderful parents and that our children don't understand us, that our bosses are unfair, that the dream of every human being is never to work and to travel constantly. Many people realize that there's something wrong with this story, but because they don't want to change anything, they quickly drive the thought from their head. A few do try to understand what is wrong and end up finding the Shadow.
The Shadow is our dark side, which dictates how we should act and behave. When we try to free ourselves from the Persona, we turn on a light inside us and we see the cobwebs, the cowardice, the meanness. The Shadow is there to stop our progress, and it usually succeeds, and we run back to what we were before we doubted. However, some do survive this encounter with their own cobwebs, saying: 'Yes, I have a few faults, but I'm good enough, and I want to go forward.'
At this moment, the Shadow disappears and we come into contact with the Soul.
By Soul, Jung didn't mean 'soul' in the religious sense; he speaks of a return to the Soul of the World, the source of all knowledge. Instincts become sharper, emotions more radical, the interpretation of signs becomes more important than logic; perceptions of reality grow less rigid. We start to struggle with things to which we are unaccustomed and we start to react in ways that we ourselves find unexpected.
And we discover that if we can channel that continuous flow of energy, we can organize it around a very solid centre, what Jung calls the Wise Old Man for men and the Great Mother for women.
Allowing this to manifest itself is dangerous. Generally speaking, anyone who reaches this stage has a tendency to consider themselves a saint, a tamer of spirits, a prophet. A great deal of maturity is required if someone is to come into contact with the energy of the Wise Old Man or the Great Mother.
'Jung went mad,' said my friend, when he had explained the four stages described by the Swiss psychoanalyst. 'When he got in touch with his Wise Old Man, he started saying that he was guided by a spirit called Philemon.'

Don't let yourself be weighed down by what other people think, because in a few years, in a few decades, or in a few centuries, that way of thinking will be changed. Live now what others will only live in the future.
What do you want? You can't want to be happy, because that's too easy and too boring. You can't want only to love, because that's impossible. What do you want?
You want to justify your life, to live it as intensely as possible. That is at once a trap and a source of ecstasy. Try to be alert to that danger, and experience the joy and the adventure of being that woman who is beyond the image reflected in the mirror.
Living as a human being and as a divinity. Moving from tension into relaxation. From relaxation into trance. From trance into a more intense contact with other people. From that contact back into tension and so on, like the serpent swallowing its own tail. It was no easy matter, mainly because it requires unconditional love, which does not fear suffering, rejection, loss.
Whoever drinks this water once can never quench her thirst at other springs.

People learn twenty-five per cent from their teacher, twenty-five per cent from listening to themselves, twenty-five per cent from their friends and twenty-five per cent from time.

Changes only happen when we go totally against everything we're used to doing. One of the most aggressive things a human being can do is to go against what he or she believes is nice or pretty

Knowing that you are capable of love is enough. If it isn't him, it will be someone else. You've discovered a wellspring, simply allow it to flow and it will fill your world. Don't try to keep a safe distance so as to see what happens. Don't wait to be certain before you take a step. What you give, you will receive, although it might sometimes come from the place you least expect.

The future, however, is unreliable because it is guided by decisions made in the here and now. Keep the bicycle moving, because if you stop pedalling, you will fall off.

It isn't enough to say “yes”, you must put your life at risk, and without giving it much thought either.

'Charisma – the divine force that manifests itself in men and women. The supernatural power we don't need to show to anyone because everyone can see it, even usually insensitive people. But it only happens when we're naked, when we die to the world and are reborn to ourselves.

In that journey where suffering seemed to be the only rule, I struggled for things for which there was no point struggling. Like love, for example. People either feel it or they don't, and there isn't a force in the world that can make them feel it. We can pretend that we love each other. We can get used to each other. We can live a whole lifetime of friendship and complicity, we can bring up children, have sex every night, reach orgasm, and still feel that there's a terrible emptiness about it all, that something important is missing. In the name of all I've learned about relationships between men and women, I've been trying to fight against things that weren't really worth the struggle.

That's fine; people need to give free rein to their imagination and to go through certain stages. Anyone who gets through those stages without being deceived will eventually get in touch with the Tradition.
The real Tradition is this: the teacher never tells the disciple what he or she should do. They are merely traveling companions, sharing the same uncomfortable feeling of 'estrangement' when confronted by ever-changing perceptions, broadening horizons, closing doors, rivers that sometimes seem to block their path and which, in fact, should never be crossed, but followed.
There is only one difference between teacher and disciple: the former is slightly less afraid than the latter. Then, when they sit down at a table or in front of a fire to talk, the more experienced person might say: 'Why don't you do that?' But he or she never says: 'Go there and you'll arrive where I did', because every path and every destination are unique to the individual.
The true teacher gives the disciple the courage to throw his or her world off balance, even though the disciple is afraid of things already encountered and more afraid still of what might be around the next corner.

When you grow tired of being what you're not, go and have fun and celebrate life, hammering metal into shape. In time, you'll discover that it will give you more than pleasure, it will give you meaning
How do I follow this tradition
Through symbols. Start doing what you want to do, and everything else will be revealed to you. Believe that God looks after his children and never lets anything bad happen to them. I did that and I survived. I discovered that there were other people who did the same, but who are considered to be mad, irresponsible, superstitious. Since time immemorial, they've sought their inspiration in nature. We build pyramids, but we also develop symbols.

I know that God is putting me through the fire of afflictions. I've accepted the blows that life has dealt me, and sometimes I feel as cold and indifferent as the water that inflicts such pain on the steel. But my one prayer is this: “Please, God, don't give up until I've taken on the shape that You wish for me. Do this by whatever means You think best, for as long as You like, but never ever throw me on the scrap heap of souls.

My protector said: 'I, too, get scared, but it's at such moments that I discover a wisdom that is beyond me, and I go forward.'
So I take each step with courage and fear, combining technique and inspiration. And I'm careful who I say these things to, because I might get dubbed a witchdoctor, and then many lives I could have saved would be lost.

We all have a duty to love and to allow love to manifest itself in the way it thinks best. We cannot and must not be frightened when the powers of darkness want to make themselves heard, those same powers that introduced the word “sin” merely to control our hearts and minds. Jesus Christ, whom we all know, turned to the woman taken in adultery and said: “Has no man condemned thee? Neither do I condemn thee.” He healed people on the Sabbath, he allowed a prostitute to wash his feet, he promised a thief that he would enjoy the delights of Paradise, he ate forbidden foods, and he said that we should concern ourselves only with today, because the lilies in the field toil not neither do they spin, but are arrayed in glory.
What is sin? It is a sin to prevent Love from showing itself

What did you gain from all that?
Today I can see people's auras. I can awaken the Mother in my soul. My life now has meaning, and I know what I'm fighting for
'What else have you gained?'
The joy of being alive. I know that I'm here, and that everything is a miracle, a revelation.'

I don't think I stumbled and fell. I think I'm being tested again, and that my next step will be revealed to me.

At such moments, a teacher must say nothing, only bless the disciple. Because, however much the teacher may want to save her disciple from suffering, the paths are mapped out and the disciple's feet are eager to follow them.

In order for us to liberate the energy of our strength, our weakness must first have a chance to reveal itself.
In order for us to understand the powers we carry within us and the secrets that have already been revealed, it was first necessary to allow the surface – expectations, fears, appearances – to be burned away.

Now that I've found my path, there will be no more difficult moments. After all, I have a mission to fulfill, I'm loved, wanted, protected.

In the future, people will be able to tell what is true and what is false.

We are not the slaves of our feelings, but their masters.

Many of us are returning from a long journey during which we were forced to search for things that were of no interest to us. Now we realize that they were false. But this return cannot be made without pain, because we have been away for a long time and feel that we are strangers in our own land.
It will take some time to find the friends who also left, and the places where our roots and our treasures lie. But this will happen.

Love is not a habit, a commitment, or a debt. It isn't what romantic songs tell us it is – love simply is. is. No definitions. Love and don't ask too many questions. Just love.

1 comment:

  1. Hello!

    I’m a big fan of Paulo Coelho! You will love this! He’s the first best-selling author to be distributing for free his works on his blog:
    http://www.paulocoelhoblog.com

    Have a nice day!

    Aart

    ReplyDelete