This is an excerpt from "By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept", a book I highly recommend, as every word is simply divine, and hits home if you are healing, emotionally, from either a loss, a sense of isolation or a heartache. I am always amazed at how Coelho weaves his sacred artistry to show me my strengths and weaknesses so kindly, intertwining words that comfort the very soul in me. Here, he explains "The Other" as apart from our true self, the self we long to find, and journey through lengths to meet.
I post a lot of excerpts from Paulo Coelho's novels because he is my hero. He has healed me in so many ways. I cannot tell you how many of his books I have read and re-read through the years. His works continue to heal me and cleanse my soul like endless flowing water from a spring. I share this with you in hopes that you may feel the same sensation, and be transported to a magical time and place, and remember who you are... just like what happens to me whenever I immerse myself in his books.
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THE EXERCISE OF "THE OTHER"
Man runs into an old friend who had somehow never been able to make it in life. "I should give him some money" he thinks. But instead he learns that his old friend has grown rich and is actually seeking him out to repay his debts he had run up over the years.
They go to a bar they used to frequent together, and the friend buys drinks from everyone there. When they ask him how he became so successful, he answers that only until a few days ago, he had been living the role of "The Other".
"What is the Other?" they ask.
The Other is the one who taught me whatI should be like, but not what I am. The Other believes that it is our obligation to spend our entire life thinking about how to get our hands on as much money a possible so that we will not die of hunger when we are old. So we think so much about money and our plans for acquiring it that we discover we are alive only when our days on earth are practically done. And then it's too late.
"And you? Who are you?"
"I am just like everyone else who listens to their heart: a person who is enchanted by the mystery of life. Who is open to miracles, who experiences joy and enthusiasm for what they do. It's just that the Other, afraid of disappointment,kept me from taking action."
"But there is suffering in life," one of the listeners said.
"And there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggle for your dreams than to be defeated without ever even knowing what you're fighting for."
"That's it?" another listener asked.
"Yes, that's it. When I learned this, I resolved to become the person I had always wanted to be. The Other stood there in the corner of my room, watching me, but I will never let the Other into myself again----even though it has already tried to frighten me, warning me that it's risky not to think about the future. From the moment that I ousted the Other from my life, the Divine Energy began to perform its miracles."
~ Paulo Coelho (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
Photo by Arienette