Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Aleph" by Paulo Coelho

I always pick up books by Paulo Coelho, my favorite author.  So of course, I had to pick up Aleph.  I didn't think that I would like it.  It's one of his more mystical, spiritual books about his personal journey.  I don't feel like I can relate much to his other books along those lines.

Surprisingly, I really liked Aleph.  Although a lot of the book seemed a little spiritually foreign to me, it did have a lot of good quotes.

"In India, they use the word 'karma,' for lack of any better term.  But it's a concept that's rarely given a proper explanation.  It isn't what you did in the past that will affect the present.  It's what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future."

"We will always ask ourselves the same questions.  We will always need to be humble enough to accept that our hearts know why we are here.  Yes, it's difficult to talk to your heart, and perhaps it isn't even necessary.  We simply have to trust and follow the signs and live our Personal Legend; sooner or later, we will realize that we are all part of something, even if we can't understand rationally what that something is.  They say that in the second before our death, each of us understands the real reason for our existence, and out of that moment, Heaven or Hell.

Hell is when we look back during that fraction of a second and know that we wasted an opportunity to dignify the miracle of life.  Paradise is being able to say at that moment:  'I made some mistakes, but I wasn't a coward.  I lived my life and did what I had to do.'"

"Seek out people who aren't afraid of making mistakes and who, therefore, do make mistakes.  Because of that, their work often isn't recognized, but they are precisely the kind of people who change the world and, after many mistakes, do something that will transform their own community completely."

Overview from Barnes and Noble:
In his most personal novel to date, internationally bestselling author Paulo Coelho returns with a remarkable journey of self-discovery. Like the main character in his much-beloved The Alchemist, Paulo is facing a grave crisis of faith. As he seeks a path of spiritual renewal and growth, his only real option is to begin again—to travel, to experiment, to reconnect with people and the landscapes around him.
Setting off to Africa, and then to Europe and Asia via the Trans-Siberian railroad, he initiates a journey to revitalize his energy and passion. Even so, he never expects to meet Hilal. A gifted young violinist, she is the woman Paulo loved five hundred years before—and the woman he betrayed in an act of cowardice so far-reaching that it prevents him from finding real happiness in this life. Together they will initiate a mystical voyage through time and space, traveling a path that teaches love, forgiveness, and the courage to overcome life’s inevitable challenges. Beautiful and inspiring, Alephinvites us to consider the meaning of our own personal journeys.

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