Friday, September 23, 2011

Excerpt from "Aleph": by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho is one of the most loved authors of our time. Being an ardent follower of his work I was waiting anxiously to get my nose into Aleph, since the day it has been announced through his blog and other means. As said, the author was going to cross the entire Russian federation through a train journey. The Trans-Siberian railway is one of the longest railways in the world, traversing through 76 percent of the country and passing through 7 different time zones. The route as shown in the book is from Moscow-Vladimir-Nizhny Novgorod-Kirov-Perm-Ekaterinburg-Tyumen-Omsk-Novosibirsk-Krasnoyarsk-Tayshet-Irkutsk-‘Ulan-Ude’-Chita-Birobidzhan-Khabarovsk and Vladivostok near pacific ocean.

Paulo Coelho with Hilal?
In the words of author; he started facing a grave crisis of faith, and seeking a path of spiritual renewal and growth to regain his kingdom. So, he decides to start over: to travel, to experiment and to reconnect with people and the world. In course of this journey he met Hilal-the woman he loved 500 years before, Yao his translator, and also accompanied by his editor and publisher.

It all starts with his conversation with J., his master, whom he first met at Amsterdam, in 1982, and asking about his failure to connect with God and with himself. J. suggests him to go out and experiment and re-conquer his kingdom, which has grown corrupted by routine. And for that all he needs to do is a commitment.

And Paulo exactly does that during a book-signing activity in London. He promised his publishers from various countries to pay visit for a book-signing activity. From there starts an incredible journey whose last leg was Trans-Siberian railways.

The Aleph is the first letter of alphabet in Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic. Mathematically it means the number that contains all numbers. In the magical tradition Aleph present itself in one of two ways. The first is as a point in the universe that contains all other points, present and past, large and small. We normally come across it by chance. For this to happen, the person or persons has to be in the actual place where the Aleph exists. We call that a small Aleph.

Sometimes we go to a place and find that we feel much better and safer in one part of the room than in another. That is just a very pale imitation of what the Aleph is. However everyone experiences the divine energy differently. Someone else might happen to be at the same place and experiences just a strange sensation, as if he suddenly knew everything, but he wouldn’t stop to examine that feeling, and the effect would immediately vanish. Probably millions points like this exist in the world. The small Aleph always appears by chance.

The second Aleph is the great Aleph. The great Aleph occurs when two or more people with a very strong affinity happen to find themselves in the small Aleph. Their two different energies complete each other and provoke a chain reaction. Their two energies are the positive and negative poles we get in any battery; the power makes the bulb light up and they are transformed in the same light.

The second Aleph also happens by chance when two people whom destiny has chosen for a specific mission meet in the right place. It  might also linked to a whole series of things that occurred in the past, and remained unresolved, and we need a new incarnation in order to finish something that was left incomplete.
The sign that guide us are extremely personal language that we develop throughout our lives, by trial and error, until we begin to understand that God is guiding us.

The book also talks about time. How it perceived and how it should be! We are accustomed to measure time in a way we measure the distance between two places, but that isn’t how it works. Time neither moves nor it is stationary. Time changes. We occupy one point in that constantly changing time – our Aleph. The idea that time passes is important when we need to know when a train is going to leave, but apart from that, it’s not very useful at all, not even when we are cooking. After all, however often we make a recipe, it always turns out different.

Here a question arises, are we the result of what we learn? And the answer follows that we learn in the past, but we are not the result of that. We suffered in the past, loved in the past, cried and laughed in the past, but that’s of no use in the present. The present has its challenges, its good and bad side. We can neither blame nor be grateful to the past for what is happening now. Each new experience of love has nothing whatsoever to do with past experiences, it’s always new. Love is beyond time, or, rather, love is both time and space, but all focused on one single constantly evolving point – the Aleph.

People are not used to that way of thinking. They want everything to stay the same and the consequence of that is pain. We are not the person the other people wish we were. We are who we decide to be. It’s always easy to blame others. We can spend our entire life blaming the world, but our success or failure is entirely our own responsibility. We can try to stop time, but it’s a complete waste of energy.

Imagine a moving train that didn’t break in time and there was a fatal accident. All those moments in train will seems to be lost in time like tears in the rain. But actually nothing disappears; everything is stored up in time. Like the first kiss of anybody remains hidden in some part of their brain. It is more alive than ever and one will never forget it. It’s there all around and forms the part of their Aleph.

But there is all kind of problems we need to resolve now. They lie in what we call the “past” and await a decision to be made in what we call the “future”. They clog our mind and slow us down, and won’t let us understand the present. If we rely only on experience, we’ll simply keep applying old solutions to new problems. There are lots of people who only feel they have an identity when they are talking about their problems. That way, they exist, because their problems are linked to what they judge to be “their history”.
It takes a huge effort to free ourselves from memory, but when we succeed, we start to realize that we’re capable of far more than we imagined. We live in this vast body called the universe, which contains all the solutions and all the problems; we should visit our soul, not our past. The Universe goes through many mutations and carries the past with it. We call each of those mutations “a life”, but just as the cells in our body changes and we remains the same, so time does not pass, it merely changes.

We think that one day our personal time will come to an end? Our love ones and we will one day disappear. But actually death is just a door to another dimension. We never lose our loved ones. They accompany us; they don’t disappear from our lives. We are merely in different rooms. Every night we shift into another plane while we’re sleeping. We talk with the living, with those we believed dead, with those who lived in another dimension and with ourselves, with the people we once were and the people we will be.

What we call “life” is a train with many carriages. Sometimes we are in one sometimes we are in another, and sometimes we crossed between them, when we dream or allow ourselves to be swept away by the extraordinary. I can’t see who is in the next carriage, but it contains people travelling in the same time as ourselves. The fact that we can’t speak to them or know what’s going on in that another carriage is completely irrelevant. They are there is important.

Love always triumphs over what we call death. That’s why there is no need to grieve for our loved ones, because they continue to be loved and remain by our side.

We are all souls wandering the cosmos and, at the same time, living our lives, but with a sense that we are passing from one incarnation to another. If something touches to the code of our soul, it is remembered for ever and affects whatever comes afterwards.

The journey continues through many rituals, experiences, revealing itself shockingly and finally to a point where complex questions were answered, faith was restored in order to regain the lost kingdom of wandering soul.

What I consider as special mention is his words; “only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risk and do what you really want 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”.

And lastly about Chinese Bamboo; “it spends 5 years as a little shoot, using that time to develop its complex root system. And then from one moment to the next, it puts on a spurt and grows up to 25 meters high”.

With thanks from “Aleph”, a book by one of my favorite author, whose words will always remain life changing experience.

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The End


  1. The kind of language used in Aleph is very inspiring and motivating for the average people who have not really persevered at achieving anything in life.They will find all this fluff very mystical and will believe that their past has nothing to do with their present or future or in their spiritual development. But this is not true for example take the case of Yesudas all his past dedicated training in music is the foundation on which his spiritual fulfilment rests. If Yesudas were to write a book on a similar theme it would it would be an inner Odyssey with great inner truth with the past shaping the present and contributing to spiritual bliss.It would surely be a very different book from Coehlo's wanderings with girls on long train journeys for obtaining epiphany. Great book for mediocre people who wish success to happen to them without commitment to anything. Anyway there are enough of these lazy fools in the world to believe in Coehlo and make him rich.Yesudas can write a better spritual treatise than Coelho anytime and surely it will be more inspiring and truthful.But in our flimsy world people only appreicate flimsy conmen like Coehlo who can deliver flimsy instant spiritual fixes.

  2. Aleph speaks about it being wrong to imagine to travel in time as if traveling a distance from one place to another, yet we find Coelho speaking about Aleph to an audience in Tunis.Tunisia, and saying that since he has traversed the full length of the lecture time he cannot entertain anymore questions from the audience and that he must hurry on to the completion of the lecture as if he were arriving at his destination while on travel by train. Is there a contradiction in this or is it simply my imagination.I simply believe that the entire Coelho business is like that of the King's new clothes.