Sunday, January 01, 2006

the Zahir...

One of my colleagues recommended a book written by Paulo Coelho entitled Eleven Minutes. When we went to A Different Bookstore in Eastwood about two weeks ago, I didn't have the cash to buy the book, I said I would withdraw some cash first and get the book later. But I got lazy. On Dec 29th I had the will (haha) to go to the bookstore (after getting a tall cup of peppermint hot choco at the Starbucks located right beside the store). However, the book was sold out. I bought The Zahir instead -another book by Paulo Coelho - and I'm loving it! Last night I was having hesitations though if I should be reading the book, right at the midst of the holiday season and my emotional turmoils. Then I realized that reading the book would give me a good excuse as to why I have been shedding some tears lately so I read on anyway. But yeah, I guess Paulo Coelho won my heart hahaha! Here are some exerpts from the book that I want to share with you...

Here's the meaning of Zahir that Coelho quoted at the beginning of the book.
According to the witer Jorge Luis Borges, the idea of the Zahir comes from Islamic tradition and is thought to have arisen at some point in the eighteenth century. Zahir, in Arabic, means visible, present, incapable 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. -Faubourg Saint-Peres, Encyclopaedia of the Fantastic (1953).
These moved me...

The inspector says I'm free. I'm free now and I was free in prison too, because 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. (p.10 - I AM A FREE MAN)
More from Coelho...

And the cathedral withstood it all.

I walk through the skeleton of the cathedral, studying the restration work currently being carried out: this time the architects guarantee that they have found the perfect solution. Everywhere there are metal supports, scaffolding, grand theories about what to do next, and some criticism about what was done in the past.

And suddenly, in the middle of the central nave, I realize something very important: the cathedral is me, it is all of us. We are growing and changing shape, we notice certain weaknesses that need to be corrected, we don't always choose the best solution, but we carry on regardless, trying to remain upright and decent, in order to do honor not to the walls or the doors or the windows, but to the empty space inside, the space where we worship and venerate what is dearest and most important to us.

Yes, we are all cathedrals, there is no doubt about it; but what lies in the empty space of my inner cathedral? (p.52 - HANS'S QUESTION)
"..what lies in the empty space of my inner cathedral?" I have yet to find the answer to this question (when all along I thought I have an answer to that).

Another year has come! And this time, I know I have assessed my priorities and set my limitations. I'm excited, scared, anxious and ecstatic all at the same time...