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Warrior of the Light, Page 2

Paulo Coelho

  Body and soul need new challenges.

  The future has become the present, and every dream--except those dreams that involve preconceived ideas--will have a chance to be heard.

  Anything of importance will remain. Anything useless will disappear. It is not the Warrior's responsibility, however, to judge the dreams of others, and he does not waste time criticizing other people's decisions.

  In order to have faith in his own path, he does not need to prove that someone else's path is wrong.

  A Warrior of the Light carefully studies the position that he intends to conquer.

  However difficult the objective, there is always a way of overcoming obstacles. He seeks out alternative paths, he sharpens his sword, he tries to fill his heart with the necessary determination to face the challenge.

  But as he advances, the Warrior realizes that there are difficulties he had not reckoned with.

  If he waits for the ideal moment, he will never set off. The Warrior requires a touch of madness to take the next step.

  The Warrior uses that touch of madness. For--in both love and war--it is impossible to foresee everything.

  A Warrior of the Light knows his own faults. But he also knows his qualities.

  Some of his companions complain all the time that "other people have more opportunities than we do."

  Perhaps they are right, but a Warrior does not allow himself to be paralysed by this; he tries to make the most of his virtues.

  He knows that the gazelle's power lies in its strong legs. The power of the seagull lies in the accuracy with which it can spear a fish. He has learned that the reason the tiger does not fear the hyena is because he is aware of his own strength.

  He tries to establish what he can truly rely on. And he always checks that he carries three things with him: faith, hope, and love.

  If these three things are there, he does not hesitate to go forward.

  The Warrior of the Light knows that no one is stupid and that life teaches everyone--however long that may take.

  He always does his best and expects the best of others. Through his generosity, he tries to show each person how much they are capable of achieving.

  Some of his companions say: "Some people are so ungrateful."

  The Warrior is not discouraged by this. And he continues to encourage others because this is also a way of encouraging himself.

  Every Warrior of the Light has felt afraid of going into battle.

  Every Warrior of the Light has, at some time in the past, lied or betrayed someone.

  Every Warrior of the Light has trodden a path that was not his.

  Every Warrior of the Light has suffered for the most trivial of reasons.

  Every Warrior of the Light has, at least once, believed that he was not a Warrior of the Light.

  Every Warrior of the Light has failed in his spiritual duties.

  Every Warrior of the Light has said "yes" when he wanted to say "no."

  Every Warrior of the Light has hurt someone he loved.

  That is why he is a Warrior of the Light, because he has been through all this and yet has never lost hope of being better than he is.

  The Warrior always listens to the words of certain thinkers, such as these by T.H. Huxley: "The consequences of our actions are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men."

  "The chessboard is the world; the pieces are the gestures of our daily lives; the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us, but we know that his play is always fair, just, and patient."

  The Warrior simply has to accept the challenge. He knows that God never overlooks a single mistake made by those he loves, nor does he allow his favorites to pretend ignorance of the rules of the game.

  A Warrior of the Light does not postpone making decisions.

  He thinks a great deal before taking action. He considers his training, as well as his responsibilities and duties as a teacher. He tries to remain calm and to analyse each step as if it were of supreme importance.

  However, as soon as he has made a decision, the Warrior proceeds: He has no doubts about his chosen action, nor does he change direction if circumstances turn out differently from how he had imagined them.

  If his decision is correct, he will win the battle, even if it lasts longer than expected. If his decision is wrong, he will be defeated and he will have to start all over again--only this time with more wisdom.

  But once he has started, a Warrior of the Light perseveres until the end.

  A Warrior knows that his best teachers are the people with whom he shares the battlefield.

  It is dangerous to ask for advice. It is even more dangerous to give advice. When he needs help, he tries to see how his friends resolve--or fail to resolve--their problems.

  If he is in search of inspiration, he reads, on the lips of his neighbor, the words that his guardian angel is trying to say to him.

  When he is tired or lonely, he does not dream about distant men and women; he turns to the person beside him and shares his sorrow or his need for affection with them--with pleasure and without guilt.

  A Warrior knows that the farthest-flung star in the Universe reveals itself in the things around him.

  A Warrior of the Light shares his world with the people he loves.

  He tries to encourage them to do the things they would like to do but for which they lack the courage. At such times, the Enemy appears holding two wooden signs in his hand.

  On one sign is written: "Think about yourself. Keep all the blessings for yourself, otherwise you'll end up losing everything."

  On the other sign, he reads: "Who do you think you are, helping other people? Can't you see your own faults?"

  A Warrior knows that he has faults. But he knows too that he cannot do his growing alone, distanced from his companions.

  Therefore, he throws the two signs to the floor, even if he thinks they may contain a grain of truth. The signs crumble into dust, and the Warrior continues to encourage those nearest him.

  The philosopher Lao Tzu says of the journey of the Warrior of the Light: "The Way involves respect for all small and subtle things. Learn to recognize the right moment to adopt the necessary attitudes."

  "Even if you have already fired a bow several times, continue to pay attention to how you position the arrow and how you flex the string."

  "When a beginner knows what he needs, he proves more intelligent than an absent-minded sage."

  "Accumulating love brings luck, accumulating hatred brings calamity. Anyone who fails to recognize problems leaves the door open for tragedies to rush in."

  "The battle is not the same as the quarrel."

  The Warrior of the Light meditates.

  He sits in a quiet place in his tent and surrenders himself to the divine light. When he does this, he tries not to think about anything; he shuts himself off from the search for pleasure, from challenges and revelations, and allows his gifts and powers to reveal themselves.

  Even if he does not recognize them then, these gifts and powers will take care of his life and will influence his day-to-day existence.

  While he meditates, the Warrior is not himself, but a spark from the Soul of the World. Meditation gives him an understanding of his responsibilities and of how he should behave accordingly.

  A Warrior of the Light knows that in the silence of his heart he will hear an order that will guide him.

  When I draw my bow," says Herrigel to his Zen master, "there comes a point when I feel as if I will get breathless if I do not let fly at once."

  "If you continue to try to provoke the moment when you must release the arrow, you will never learn the art of the archer," says his master. "Sometimes, it is the archer's own overactive desire that ruins the accuracy of the shot."

  A Warrior of the Light sometimes thinks: "If I do not do something, it will not be done."

  It is not quite like that: He must act, but he must allow room for the Universe to act t

  When a Warrior is the victim of some injustice, he usually tries to be alone, in order not to show his pain to others.

  This is both good and bad.

  It is one thing to allow one's heart to heal its wounds slowly, but it is quite another to sit all day in deep contemplation for fear of seeming weak.

  Inside each of us there lives an angel and a devil, and their voices are very alike. Confronted by a problem, the devil encourages that solitary conversation, trying to show us how vulnerable we are. The angel makes us reflect upon our attitudes and occasionally needs someone else's heart to reveal itself.

  A Warrior balances solitude and dependence.

  A Warrior of the Light needs love.

  Love and affection are as much a part of his nature as eating, drinking, and a taste for the Good Fight. When the Warrior watches a sunset and feels no joy, then something is wrong.

  At this point, he stops fighting and goes in search of company, so that they can watch the setting sun together.

  If he has difficulty in finding company, he asks himself: "Was I too afraid to approach someone? Did I receive affection and not even notice?"

  A Warrior of the Light makes use of solitude, but is not used by it.

  The Warrior of the Light knows that it is impossible to live in a state of complete relaxation.

  He has learned from the archer that, in order to shoot his arrow any distance, he must hold the bow taut. He has learned from the stars that only an inner explosion allows them to shine. The Warrior notices that when a horse is about to jump over a fence, it tenses all its muscles.

  But he never confuses tension with anxiety.

  The Warrior of the Light always manages to balance Rigor and Mercy.

  To attain his dream, he needs a strong will and an enormous capacity for acceptance. Although he may have an objective, the path that leads to that objective is not always as he imagined it would be.

  That is why the Warrior uses a mixture of discipline and compassion. God never abandons His children, but His purposes are unfathomable, and He builds the road with our own steps.

  The Warrior uses that combination of discipline and acceptance to fuel his enthusiasm. Routine was never the leader of any important new movement.

  The Warrior of the Light sometimes behaves like water, flowing around the obstacles he encounters.

  Occasionally, resistance might mean destruction, and so he adapts to the circumstances. He accepts, without complaint, that the stones in his path hinder his way through the mountains.

  Therein lies the strength of water: It cannot be touched by a hammer or ripped to shreds by a knife. The strongest sword in the world cannot scar its surface.

  The river adapts itself to whatever route proves possible, but the river never forgets its one objective: the sea. So fragile at its source, it gradually gathers the strength of the other rivers it encounters.

  And, after a certain point, its power is absolute.

  For the Warrior of the Light, there are no abstractions.

  Everything is concrete and everything is meaningful. He does not sit comfortably in his tent, observing what is going on in the world; he accepts each challenge as an opportunity to transform himself.

  Some of his companions spend their lives moaning about their lack of choice or passing comment on the decisions made by other people. The Warrior, however, transforms his thinking into action.

  Sometimes he chooses the wrong goal and pays the price for his mistake without complaint. At others, he swerves from the path and wastes a great deal of time only to end up back where he started.

  But the Warrior never allows himself to be discouraged.

  The Warrior of the Light has the qualities of a rock.

  When he is on flat terrain, everything around him is in harmony and he remains stable. People can build their houses upon him, and the storm will not destroy them.

  When, however, he is placed on a slope, and the things around him show neither balance nor respect, then he reveals his strength; he rolls toward the enemy that is threatening his peace. At such moments, the Warrior is a devastating force, and no one can stop him.

  A Warrior of the Light thinks about both war and peace and knows how to act in accordance with the circumstances.

  A Warrior of the Light who trusts too much in his intelligence will end up underestimating the power of his opponent.

  It is important not to forget that sometimes strength is more effective than strategy.

  A bullfight is over quickly because the bull quickly learns that it is being tricked, and its next step is to charge the bullfighter. When that happens, no amount of brilliance, argument, intelligence, or charm can avert tragedy.

  That is why the Warrior never underestimates brute force. When it proves too violent, he withdraws from the battlefield until his enemy has exhausted himself.

  The Warrior of the Light knows when the enemy is stronger.

  If he decides to confront him, he will be destroyed instantly. If he responds to his provocations, he will fall into a trap. So he uses diplomacy to resolve the difficult situation in which he finds himself. When the enemy behaves childishly, he does the same. When he challenges him to a fight, he pretends not to understand.

  His friends say: "He's a coward."

  But the Warrior pays no attention because he knows that all the rage and courage of a little bird are as nothing to a cat.

  In such situations, the Warrior remains patient--the enemy will soon go off in search of others to provoke.

  A Warrior of the Light is never indifferent to injustice.

  He knows that all are one and that each individual action affects everyone on the planet. That is why, when confronted by the suffering of others, he uses his sword to restore order.

  But even though he fights against oppression, at no point does he attempt to judge the oppressor. Each person will answer for his actions before God and so, once the Warrior has completed his task, he makes no further comment.

  A Warrior of the Light is in the world in order to help his fellow man, not to condemn his neighbor.

  A Warrior of the Light is never cowardly.

  Flight might be an excellent form of defence, but it cannot be used when one is very afraid. When in doubt, the Warrior prefers to face defeat and then lick his wounds, because he knows that if he flees he gives the aggressor greater power than he deserves.

  In difficult and painful times, the Warrior faces overwhelming odds with heroism, resignation, and courage.

  A Warrior of the Light is never in a hurry.

  Time works in his favor; he learns to master his impatience and avoids acting without thinking.

  By walking slowly, he becomes aware of the firmness of his step. He knows that he is taking part in a decisive moment in the history of humanity and that he needs to change himself before he can transform the world. That is why he remembers the words of Lanza del Vasto: "A revolution takes time to settle in."

  A Warrior never picks fruit while it is still green.

  A Warrior of the Light needs both patience and speed.

  The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip. To avoid this, the Warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes, or other people's opinions.

  The caliph Moauiyat asked Omr Ben Al-Aas the secret of his great political skills: "I never get involved in something without having first worked out my retreat. Then again, I have never gone into a situation and immediately wanted to run straight out again."

  A Warrior of the Light often loses heart.

  He believes that nothing can stir in him the emotion he desires. He is forced to spend many nights feeling that he is one of the vanquished, and nothing seems able to restore his enthusiasm.

  His friends say: "Perhaps his fight is over."

  The Warrior feels pain and confusion when he hears such remarks because he knows that he has not yet reached the place he wante
d to reach. But he is stubborn and refuses to relinquish his aims.

  Then, when he least expects it, a new door opens.

  A Warrior of the Light always keeps his heart free of any feelings of hatred.

  When he goes into battle he remembers what Christ said: "Love your enemies." And he obeys.

  But he knows that the act of forgiveness does not mean that he must accept everything; a Warrior cannot bow his head, for if he did he would lose sight of the horizon of his dreams.

  He accepts that his opponents are there to test his valor, his persistence, and his ability to make decisions. They force him to fight for his dreams.

  It is the experience of battle that strengthens the Warrior of the Light.

  The Warrior remembers the past.

  He knows about man's Spiritual Quest and that this Quest has been responsible for some of history's finest pages.

  But also some of history's worst chapters: massacres, sacrifices, and obscurantism. It was used for personal ends and has seen its ideas used to defend the most terrible of intentions.

  The Warrior has heard people ask: "How am I to know that the path I am on is the right one?" And he has seen many people abandon their quest because they could not answer that question.

  The Warrior has no doubts because he follows one infallible saying:

  "By their fruits ye shall know them," said Jesus. Following this rule, he never goes wrong.

  The Warrior of the Light knows the importance of intuition.

  In the midst of battle, he does not have time to think about the enemy's blows, so he uses his instinct and obeys his angel.

  In times of peace, he deciphers the signs that God sends him.

  People say: "He's mad."

  Or: "He lives in a fantasy world."

  Or even: "How can he possibly believe in such illogical things?"