So I was reading one of Paulo Coelho’s books. Again. I love his writing and have read several of his books, several times. This one, Like the Flowing River, I bought while travelling in Greece a few years back, it’s a collection of very short stories and reflections, all of which are deeply wise and absolutely lovely.
One of them, obviously written years back, made me think about the progress we as humans have made. Or if we really are regressing instead. Maybe as individuals we evolve more than what is noticeable on a collective level. I can’t tell.
No matter what the truth is, these 16 points made me think about which values seems to be the dominant ones in our world today where we are well into the new millennium. And it made me think about the way I live my life.
1. We are all different, and should do what we can to remain so.
2. Each human being was given two possibilities; action and contemplation. Both lead the same place.
3. Each human being was given two qualities; power and the gift. Power directs us towards our destiny; the gift obliges us to share with others what is best in us.
4. Each human being was given a virtue; the ability to choose. Anyone who fails to use this virtue transforms it into a curse, and others will choose for them.
5. Each human being has his or her own sexual identity and should be able to exercise that identity without guilt as long as they do not force that sexual identity on others.
6. Every human being has a personal legend to be fulfilled, and this is our reason for being in the world. This personal legend manifests itself in our enthusiasm for the task.
7. One can abandon one’s personal legend for a time, as long as one does not forget about it entirely and returns to it as soon as possible.
8. Every man has a feminine side, and every woman a masculine side. It is important to use discipline with intuition, and to use intuition with objectivity.
9. Every human being should know two languages: the language of society and the language of signs. One serves to communicate with other people, the other serves to understand God’s messages.
10. Every human being has the right to search for happiness, and by ‘happiness’ is meant something that makes that individual feel content, not necessarily that makes other people feel content.
11. Every human being should keep alive within them the sacred flame of madness, but should behave as a normal person.
12. Only the following items should be considered to be grave faults: not respecting another’s rights; allowing oneself to be paralysed by fear; feeling guilty; believing that one does not deserve the good or ill that happens in one’s life; being a coward.
13. All religions lead to the same God, and all deserve the same respect. Anyone who chooses a religion is also choosing a collective way of worshipping and sharing the mysteries. Nevertheless, that person is the only one responsible for his or her actions along the way and has no right to shift responsibility for any personal decision on to that religion.
14. It is hereby decreed that the wall separating the sacred and the profane be torn down. From now on, everything is sacred.
15. Everything that is done in the present affects the future in the form of consequence and affects the past in the form of redemption.
16. All statutes to the contrary are revoked.
Most of the above I agree with, some of it I would have phrased a little differently and a small part of it I am still undecided on. What matters the most, though, is that all of it makes me reflect on this life; on what I want to do with it and how I want to do it.
For me, Paulo Coelho’s writing is sparking new thoughts, shifting my attention to another level of consciousness and connecting me with a deeper peace.
Just something that I felt like sharing..