The Four Forces
By Paulo Coelho
The Bali Times
Father Alan Jones says that building our soul requires Four Invisible Forces, namely love, death, power and time. It is necessary to love because we are loved by God. It is necessary to be conscious of death in order to understand life better. One has to fight in order to grow – but without falling into the trap of the power that we obtain in doing so, because we know that such power is worth nothing. And lastly, it is necessary to accept that our soul â€“ although eternal â€“ is at this moment caught in the web of time, with all its opportunities and limitations.
First force: love
Rabbi Iaakovâ€™s wife was always looking for an excuse to argue with her husband. Iaakov never answered her provocations.
Until one night, during a dinner with some friends, when the rabbi had a ferocious argument with his wife, to the surprise of all at table.
â€œWhat happened?â€ they asked. â€œWhy did you break your habit of never answering?â€
â€œBecause I realized that what bothered my wife most was the fact that I remained silent. Acting in this way, I remained far from her emotions.
“My reaction was an act of love, and I managed to make her understand that I heard her words.”
Second force: death
As soon as he died, Juan found himself in a very beautiful place, surrounded by all the comfort and beauty that he had dreamed of. A figure subject dressed in white came up to him:
â€œYou are entitled to anything you want.â€
Enchanted, Juan did everything he had dreamed of during life. After many years of pleasure, he sought out the figure in white. He said that he had experienced everything and that now he needed a little work to make him feel useful.
â€œThatâ€™s the only thing I cannot get for you,â€ said the figure in white.
â€œBut Iâ€™ll spend eternity dying of boredom! Iâ€™d much rather be in hell!â€
â€œAnd where do you think you are?â€
Third force: power
â€œIâ€™ve spent a good part of the day thinking about things that I should not think about, desiring things that I should not desire, planning to do things that I should not do.â€
The master pointed to a plant and asked the disciple if he knew what it was.
â€œItâ€™s belladonna. It can kill you if you eat the leaves. But it canâ€™t kill you just by looking at it. Likewise, negative desires can cause no harm â€“ if you donâ€™t let yourself be seduced by them.â€
Fourth force: time
A carpenter and his apprentices were traveling through the province of Qi in search of building materials. They saw a giant tree; five men all holding hands could not encompass its girth, and its crown reached almost to the clouds.
â€œLet’s not waste our time with this tree,â€ said the master carpenter. â€œIt would take us forever to cut it down. If we wanted to make a ship out of that heavy trunk, the ship would sink. If we tried to use it to build a roof, the walls would have to be specially reinforced.â€
The group continued on its way. One of the apprentices remarked:
â€œSuch a big tree and no use to anyone!â€
â€œThat’s where you’re wrong,â€ said the master carpenter. â€œThe tree was true to its own destiny. If it had been like all the others, we would have cut it down. But because it had the courage to be different, it will remain alive and strong for a long time yet.â€
Â© Translated by James Mulholland
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