Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho

The Pilgrimage

Author: Paulo Coelho

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; 1995

Price: RM39.90

Distributor: Kinokuniya, KLCC

In 1986, Paulo Coelho sets out for The Pilgrimage towards Santiago de Compostela. "In those days' Paulo's spiritual quest was linked to the idea that there were secrets, mysterious ways, and people who are capable of understanding and controlling things, which would be unavailable to mortals. His journey gave him great insights and experience, to which Paulo was transformed as he learns to understand the nature of truth through the simplicity of life.

The Pilgrimage details Paulo Coelho's journey along the legendary road of San Tiago across Spain. In The Pilgrimage, Coelho recounts the spectacular trials that lead him to discover personal power, wisdom, and a miraculous sword that seals his initiation into the secret society of the Tradition. With his enigmatic mentor, Petrus, he follows a legendary road travelled by pilgrims of San Tiago since the Middle Ages, encountering a Chaucerian variety of mysterious guides and devilish opponents. Coelho's experiences and his mentor's teachings impart the spiritual wisdom that reveals itself as the true purpose of their exciting journey.

The story shows that love can make us stronger and it is this strength that allows us to make the right decision at the right time. The search of truth is assimilated to a personal search for meaning, for the things that we need in life such as truth, agape, enthusiasm, and spirituality.

Some interesting abstracts:

"Don't lose sight of your objective. Don't forget that you still have a great deal to learn before you find your sword."

"Almost always that people who are fascinated by details forget what they are after."

"When you are moving towards an objective, it is very important to pay attention to the road. It is the road that teaches us the best way to get there, and the road enriches us as we walk its length. You can compare it to a sexual relationship: the caresses of foreplay determine the intensity of the orgasm."

"Time isn't something that always proceeds at the same pace. It is we who determine how quickly time passes."

"Changing the way you do routine things allows a new person to grow inside you."

"Wherever your treasure is, there will be your heart."

"We must not stop dreaming. Dreaming nourishes the soul. Many times in our lives we see our dreams shattered and our desire frustrated, but we have to continue dreaming. If we don't, our soul dies, and agape cannot reach it."

"The first symptom of the process of killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to what they are required to do. The second symptom is our uncertainties. Because we don't want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of warriors. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what's important is only that they are fighting the good fight. The third symptom is peace. Life becomes a sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to pay. In this state, we think of ourself as mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. But deep down in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams. When we renounced our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being. We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That's when illness and psychoses arise. And the dead spoit dreams make us difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. We need to learn to fight the good fight. We need to accept adventures and challenges that life provides, but we still want to deny anything that is extraordinary. The only way to rescue our dreams is by being generous with ourselves. Any attempt to inflict self-punishment - no matter how subtle it may be - should be dealt with rigorously. In order to know when we are being cruel to ourselves, we have to transform any attmpt at causing spiritual pain - such as guilt, remorse, indecision, and cowardice - into physical pain. By transforming a spiritual pain into a physical pain, we can learn what harm it can cause us."

"We are only able to be kind to ourselves when we need severity."

"We are always trying to convert people to a belief in our own expectation. We think that the more people there are who believe as we do, the more certain it will be that what we believe is the truth. This is mistaken behavior."

"There is no religion that is capable of bringing all of the stars together, because if this happen, the universe would become a gigantic empty space, and would lose its reason for existence."

"What appears from down here to be a huge number of bodies that are similar to each other are really a million different things, spread over a space that is beyond human comprehension."

"Fans who lack faith can make a winning team lose a game."

"It appears that a newlywed do really love each other. And they believe that their love will grow. But shortly, they will be alone with each other, struggling to earn a living, build a house, and share their misadventure. For he will begin to feel that he's not free enough to express all of the eros; (the feeling of love for another) all of the love that he has for other women. She will begin to feel that she had gave up brilliant career in order to be her husband. So, instead of creating something together, each would begin to feel robbed of the means to express eros and the spirit that unites them would begin to reveal only its negative side. And what God had provided to humans as their noblest sentiment would become a source of hatred and destructiveness. Eros therefore makes us feel apart from the world, trapped in our solitude."

"Philos is love in the form of friendship. It is what we feel towards others. When the flame of eros stops burning, it is philos that keeps a couple together.

"Agape is both eros and philos. Agape is total love that consumes. The love that consumes makes everything else - absolutely everything - lose its importance. It is the love that consumes the person who experience it. Agape is much more than liking. It is a feeling that suffuses, that fills every spaces in us, and turns our aggression to dust. Whoever knows and experience agape learns that nothing else in the world is important - just love. This is the kind of love that can shook the stars and change the course of history and enables us to accomplish things that kings, armies, and empires could not."

"Enthusiasm is another form of agape Enthusiasm is agape directed at a particular idea or thing. Enthusiasm carries us toward our goal.

"We blame the world for our boredom and for our losses, and we forget that it was we ourselves who allowed this enchanting power, which justifies everything, to diminish - the manifestation of agape in the form of enthuisiasm."

"The messenger helps you, but there is one thing that is beyond the messenger's control, beyond his desires, and beyond you, as well. It is the divine spark, what we call LUCK!"

"A threat leads to nothing if it is not accepted."

"When we sense the presense of something positive, your imagination, concluded that someone had arrived to help you. And this, your faith save you even though it was based on an assumption that was absolutely false."

"When I asked if you wanted to, I was not testing your courage. I was testing your wisdom. But you wanted to be brave, when it is enough to have been intelligent. Wisom is only valuable if it helps us to overcome obstacles."

"Good teachers only are able to demonstrate how you can deal with problem, and how to win. Teaching only demonstrate what is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself."

"Once a problem is solved, it's simplicity is amazing."

"Death is inevitable. Death is our constant companion, and it is death that gives each person's life its true meaning. Actually, we should be more frightened by the way in which we would die than by death itself."
Philosophical and eruditing. A must read!


Ustadi Creations said...

cool review man :) should do one on "The Alchemist" by the same author.

Rins said...

Really motivational and new outlook towards life...and this moment I am really looking for same stuff to read that can really help me out to explore the inner side of me. So after reading this abstract, i am going right to buy this.....

Marj Anne said...

a transforming fiction book i have read aside from The Alchemist...
it's really good to know such kind review...others there should try books written by Paulo Coelho,,,you'll totally acclaim for the things beyond this world you've known for..

preranajeevi said...

Good review.I feel one has to read 'The Alchemist' by the same author before exposing oneself to the overwhelming stream of thoughts that seem to erupt from the long buried subconscious self...which manifest the ultimate reality,be it the relationships or mere existence.

bhaskar said...


ian martirez said...

FICTION? see the references of the events.. it's real and paulo only wants us to think it's fictional but as you apply it, we found it real. ritual only makes sense when they are performed by common people.

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