Warrior of the Light


Full Title: Warrior of the Light: A ManualWarrior of the Light by Paulo Coelho
Author: Paulo Coelho
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (2003)
Number of Pages: 136
How long it took me to read: 1 week, 2 days
Where I bought this book: Although I would have wanted to be more resourceful and borrow it from a friend, swap it with someone on Goodreads, or buy it used on Amazon, I was pressed for time to get a copy of it before my flight to Maui. As with so many of the best things in life, everything happened at the last minute, all to the benefit of Barnes & Noble’s bottom line.
ISBN: 978-0-06-052798-3

Like a Moth to a Flame

It was my Women’s Spiritual (New Age) Book Group’s pick for this month.

Favorite Five

Whittling 15 down to 5…I propose that the top 5 quotes from this book are:

5. “A Warrior never picks fruit while it is still green.” (p.40)

4. “[A Warrior of the Light] rarely discusses his plans [for] he knows that whenever he talks about a dream, he uses a little bit of the energy from that dream in order to do so…A Warrior of the Light knows the power of words.” (p.98)

3. “[A Warrior of the Light’s] soul is as free as the clouds in the sky, but he is committed to his dream. On his freely chosen path, he often has to get up earlier than he would like, speak to people from whom he learns nothing, make certain sacrifices…[but] he knows that an open oven bakes no bread.” (p.47)

2. “The great victory, which appears so simple today, was the result of a series of small victories that went unnoticed.” (p.123)

…and my pick for the No.1 quote is…

1. “ ‘I’ve been through all this before,’ he says to his heart.
“ ‘Yes, you have been through all this before,’ replies his heart. ‘But you have never been beyond it.’ ” (p.10)

New Words

Words are wondrous creatures. Put them together and they paint a picture. Rearrange them and the scene changes. But to be able to see what they are saying, we must first know what they mean.

New Word: fray (noun)

Definition (Source: WordBook iPhone App): a noisy fight
Synonyms: affray, disturbance, ruffle
Origins (of the verb): circa 1405; from Middle French ‘frayer’; from Old French ‘freier’; from Latin ‘fricare’ to rub
As in: “A Warrior always returns to the fray. He never does so out of stubbornness, but because he has noticed a change in the weather.” (p.9)

New Word: obscurantism (noun)

Definition (Source: WordBook iPhone App): 1) a policy of opposition to enlightenment or the spread of knowledge; 2) a deliberate act intended to make something obscure
Origins: from Latin ‘obscurans’
As in: “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.” (p.44)

New Word: parry (verb)

Definition (Source: WordBook iPhone App): 1) impede the movement of (an opponent or a ball); 2) avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing (duties, questions, or issues)
Synonyms: 1) block, deflect; 2) hedge, fudge, evade, put off, circumvent, elude, skirt, dodge, duck, sidestep
Origins: circa 1634; from French ‘parez!’ (imperative of ‘parer’) ward off; from Italian ‘parare’; from Latin ‘parare’ make ready, prepare; non-fencing use is from 1718
As in: “Faith parries all blows. Faith transforms poison into crystal clear water.” (p.93)

Conversation with the Reader

While I read, I write, and as I write, I read. Here’s some of what I wrote while I read this book:

“As I finish reading the prologue, it strikes me that we spend an incredible amount of time and effort fighting to achieve. We determine what is to be done, and plow through all the divine messages that cross our paths in the name of our objectives. Perhaps it’s only after we’ve fought for long enough, lost a sufficient amount of blood in our self-imposed battles and come to terms with our permanent scars that we finally give in just enough to actually realize what’s around us.

“The pandemonium of modern day madness has become too much for us to control, so we turn to ourselves – not inward, but simply in the general direction of ourselves – and begin to prune. We snip away the illogical as we see it, we clip the creativity and shave the originality until we create sterility, all in the name of order. But it’s those longer branches and fallen leaves that grant us access to a broader perspective – one that includes passion, and joy, and courage to bet on faith. In this space of acceptance, achievement becomes a natural state, and the belief in the necessity to fight for whatever you believe should be yours is dissolved into the lush backdrop of humility, authenticity and grace.”

“The things we repeat seem to be what we most wish to avoid. Building safeguards to distance ourselves from history reinforces the bridges that lead us to repeat it. The only way to break a pattern is to do something different. What have I done? Rather than continue to mourn the shoes I wore out during my last journey, I choose to embrace the opportunity to feel the soft blades of green grass between my bare toes.”

“If it’s true that only those dreams that are devoid of preconceived ideas will have a chance to be heard, then where will these dreams come from? Not from the mind, for that is where ideas are born. It must be from another place – one that doesn’t think nor judge nor wonder why; one that feels instead of thinks.”

“[You]: Could it be that with faith, hope and love, anything is possible? Is it true that these three are the eternal sources of all the tools and resources we need to accomplish all we desire?

[Warrior]: Yes, as long as what you desire comes from the heart.

“[You]: So if it is that simple, why isn’t everyone prospering?

[Warrior]: Because in order to truly possess faith, you must be willing to lose everything. The only way to be hopeful is to believe in the unbelievable, and love can only exist where hearts are open to both bliss and sorrow, for only in the middle does the finite become the infinite. Not everyone is willing to let go…not quite yet.”

“[You]: Where can I find answers to questions everyone asks?

[Warrior]: Beneath the subtle surface of illusion. When change becomes too demanding, look to the trees for advice on how to remain flexible. When uncertainty becomes paralyzing, turn to the grain of sand that so effortlessly finds its way amidst all the winds, and waves and walkers tossing it to and fro. And when the questions become too numerous to count, turn to the stars and lose yourself in their vastness, for only in the incomprehensible can we silence the mind for long enough to tap into the true source of knowingness.

“[You]: How can we know when we’ve attained our dream if our journey keeps changing us with each step we have the courage to take?

[Warrior]: Change is certainly inevitable, but it only affects the roles you play and the scripts you choose to enact. Change is designed to eventually teach us to shed the many characters we play on our journeys toward self-discovery. Dreams – the ones that survive the journey – come from the soul. The soul will know how to recognize the realization of its mission. Have faith. It will know.

“[You]: How do I release myself from a past that still haunts me in my present?

[Warrior]: It is not an act of release that you seek. It is an act of union. Call back the parts of yourself that you forgot to pack in your luggage – the parts that still roam the streets of your photographs in search of the you of today. Open your heart to accept them back in as you leave those memories to rest. You can either choose to close the chapters of your memories now, or while you go through the process of closing the book of this life, but one way or another, it is work that must one day be done.

“Sometimes, the Warrior within lays dormant, garnering strength from his deep well of courage in preparation for the next stage of his pilgrimage. Sometimes, the Warrior sits next to us, quietly moving in the direction of his goal, accepting the blows of his opponents and thanking them for the opportunity to strengthen his stance. Sometimes, we are each other’s teachers.”

What have I been reflecting lately?
What has life been reflecting back to me?

A myriad of colors, some dimmed by the sun’s rays, others darker than the shadows cast by the wilting willows swaying above the calm waters of the neighbor’s brook.

When I don’t want to, I choose not to see, in an effort not to be reminded of the flaws that just won’t erase.

When I can’t see, I wish for more surface upon which my reflection can reveal itself, even if it’s just a shard of shattered glass from a changing room mirror.

Today, it seems as though all the tangerine oils that sprayed my skin as I peeled strings of zest from their little bodies smudged my view of the world ahead, for all I see is a cloud of questions with only time to clear it away.

“As I try to find feeling in the things I no longer feel, I wonder what will fill the space of those memories.
If memories are the feelings of the mind, then what are the thoughts of emotions?
Where do feelings go when they’re no longer needed?
Do they flow out through the breath and travel through the air until they land on the petal of a freshly bloomed blossom, garnishing it with sparkling refreshment,
Or do they burst a glistening bubble striving to rise beyond our heights,
Thus ending its technicolored journey toward the stars?
I suppose it depends on us.”

“[You]: How many times have my lips said yes when my heart whispered no?

[Warrior]: You haven’t learned to count that high yet. Perhaps you’d best practice if you wish to find your answer. Start by counting the blades of the lawn in front of the school where you pretended to learn the things you already knew. Then move on to the grains of sand along the shores of the isles you wished never to leave. When you’re done, come back and tell me whether you still wish to speak with your lips and we shall see if you need to continue counting.

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