Living Truly

living truly

‘Esther asks why people are sad.

‘ “That’s simple,” says the old man. “They are the prisoners of their personal history. Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs of if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.”

‘Esther remarks that many people say to her: “You’re lucky, you know what you want from life, whereas I don’t even know what I want to do.”

“Of course they know”, replies the nomad. “How many people do you know who say: I’ve never done what I wanted, but then, thats life. If they say they haven’t done what they wanted, then, at some point, they must have known what it was that they did want. As for life, it’s just a story that other people tell us about the world and about how we should behave in the world.”

“Even worse are those people who say: I’m happy because I’m sacrificing my life for those I love.”

‘ “And do you think that the people who love us want to see us suffering for their sakes? Do you think that love is a source of suffering?”

‘ “To be honest, yes.”

‘ “Well, it shouldn’t be.”

‘ “If I forgot the story other people have told me, I’ll also forget a lot of very important things life has taught me. What was the point of struggling to learn so much? What was the point of struggling to gain experience, so as to be able to deal with my career, my husband, my various crises?” ‘

‘ “Accumulated knowledge is useful when it comes to cooking or living within your means or wrapping up warm in winter or respecting certain limits or knowing where particular bus and train lines go. Do you believe that your past loves have taught you to love better?”

‘ “They’ve taught me to know what I want.”

‘ “I didn’t ask that. Have your past loves taught you to love your husband better?”

‘ “No, on the contrary. In order to surrender myself to him, I had to forget all the scars left by other men. Is that what you mean?”

‘ “In order for the true energy of love to penetrate your soul, your soul must be as if you had just been born. Why are people unhappy? Because they want to imprison that energy, which is impossible. Forgetting your personal history means leaving that channel clear, allowing that energy to manifest itself each day in whatever way it chooses, allowing yourself to be guided by it.”

‘ “That’s all very romantic by all kinds of things: commitments, children, your social situation….”

‘ “…and, after a while, by despair, fear, loneliness and your attempts to control the uncontrollable. According to the tradition of the steppes – which is known as the Tengri – in order to live fully, it is necessary to be in constant movements; only then can each day be different from the last. When they passed through cities, the nomads would think: The poor people in the cities probably looked at the nomads and thought: Poor things, they have nowhere to live. The nomads had no past, only the present, and that is why they were always happy, until the Communist governors made them stop travelling and forced them to live on collective farms. From then on, little by little, they came to believe that the story society told them was true. Consequently, they have lost all their strength.”

‘ “No one nowadays can spend their whole life travelling.”

‘ “Not physically, no, but they can on a spiritual plane. Going farther and farther, distancing yourself from your personal history, from what you were forced to become.”

‘ “How does one go about abandoning the story one was told?”

‘ “By repeating it loud in meticulous detail. And as we tell our story, we say goodbye to what we were and, as you’ll see if you try, we create space for a new, unknown world. We repeat the old story over and over until it is no longer important to us.”

‘ “Is that all?”

‘ “There is just one other thing: as those spaces grow, it is important to fill them up quickly, even if only provisionally, so as not to be left with a feeling of emptiness.”

‘ “How?”

‘ “With different stories, with experiences we never dared to have or didn’t want to have. That is how we change. That is how love grows. And when love grows, we grow with it.”

‘ “Does that mean we might lose things that are important?”

‘ “Never. The important things always stay; what we lose are the things we thought were important but which are, in fact, useless, like the false power we use to control the energy of love.”

This above passage is taken from the book The Zahir written by Paulo Coelho.


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March 12, 2012 · 10:32 pm

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