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Issue nº 236

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The Aleph

The Aleph

William Blake used to say that we can see the infinite in a grain of sand and eternity in a flower.

In truth, a simple moment of inner harmony is enough for that to happen.

That is where the great problem resides: we almost never allow ourselves to realize that the present moment in itself holds all the glory.

Sometimes, it expresses itself in a completely casual manner. You are walking in the street, sit in a certain place and suddenly the entire universe is right there. The first thing that comes up is a huge desire to cry – not for sadness, neither for happiness, but simply to show emotion. You know you are comprehending something, even if you are not even able to explain it to yourself.

In the magic tradition, this type of perception is known as “diving into the Aleph.” Human beings have an enormous difficulty in concentrating their minds on the present moment; we are always thinking of what we have done, how we could have done it better, what the consequences of our actions will be and why didn’t we act as we should have. Or still, we worry about the future, what will we do tomorrow, what measures will we have to take, what dangers are waiting for us at the corner, how to avoid what we don’t want and how to attain what we have always dreamed of.

And so, we begin to wonder if there is really something wrong with us.

Yes, there is. It is called routine. You think there is something wrong because you are unhappy. Others live for their problems; they keep talking compulsively about them – problems with children, husbands, school, work, friends.

They don’t stop to think: I am here. I am the result of everything that happened and that will happen, but I am here. If there is something wrong I have done, I have the power to correct it or at least apologize for it. If there is something I did right, that makes me happier and I feel more connected to the present moment.

Concentrate yourself in your Aleph and you will see that a little confidence in life doesn’t hurt at all – much on the contrary, it will allow you to experience everything with much more intensity. The things that disturb your life lie in the past and are awaiting your future decisions. They numb you and they pollute you and they don’t let you understand the present. Working with experience only means repeating old solutions on new problems. I know many people who are only able to have an individual identity when they start talking about their problems because these problems are connected to what they judge to be ‘their story’.

Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, a well known martial art, used to say, “The search for peace is a way of praying, which ends up generating light and warmth. Forget a little about yourself, know that wisdom and compassion lay in that warmth. As you walk through this planet, seek to notice the true form of the heavens and of the Earth; it is possible if you don’t let yourself be paralyzed by fear and decide that all your gestures and attitudes will correspond to what you think.”

If you trust life, life will trust you.

The Aleph is main theme of my new book, to be published world wide in 2011. You may read here the comments of the Brazilian readers.

Issue nº 236
Agenda: if you want to know where Paulo Coelho will be this month, please click here