These are some of my favorite excerpts from the book The Zahir by Paulo Coelho. This book has indeed helped many lives to gain an in depth understanding about love, life, happiness, and spouse and continues to change lives of millions. A must have on the shelf. Recommended for those who love spirituality and philosophy.
Zahir, in Arabic, means visible, present, in capable of going unnoticed. It is someone or something which, once we have come into contact with them or it, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else. This can be considered either a state of holiness or of madness.
Freedom continues to be the thing I prize most in the world. Of course, this has led me to drink wines I did not like, to do things I should not have done and which I will not do again; it has left scars on my body and on my soul, it has meant hurting certain people, although I have since asked their forgiveness, when I realized that I could do absolutely anything except force another person to follow me in my madness, in my lust for life. I don’t regret the painful times; I bear my scars as if they were medals. I know that freedom has a high price, as high as that of slavery; the only difference is that you pay with pleasure and a smile, even when that smile is dimmed by tears.
We humans have two great problems: the first is-knowing when to begin; the second is-knowing when to stop.
“I don’t know if everyone is unhappy. I know they’re all busy: working overtime, worrying about their children, their husband, their career, their degree, what they’re going to do tomorrow, what they need to buy, what they need to have in order not to feel inferior, etc. Very few people actually say to me: ‘I’m unhappy.’ Most say: ‘I’m fine; I’ve got everything I ever wanted.’ Then I ask: ‘What makes you happy?’ Answer: ‘I’ve got everything a person could possibly want—a family, a home, work, good health.’ I ask again: ‘Have you ever stopped to wonder if that’s all there is to life?’ Answer: ‘Yes, that’s all there is.’ I insist: ‘So the meaning of life is work, family, children who will grow up and leave you, a wife or husband who will become more like a friend than a real lover. And, of course, one day your work will end too. What will you do when that happens?’ Answer: There is no answer. They change the subject.”
“No, what they say is: ‘when the children have grown up, when my husband—or my wife—has become more my friend than my passionate lover, when I retire, then I’ll have time to do what I always wanted to do: travel.’ Question: ‘But didn’t you say you were happy now? Aren’t you already doing what you always wanted to do?’ Then they say they’re very busy and change the subject.”
Paulo Coelho’s Official Blog: