The Pilgrimage of “Who Am I?”

A short conversation with Brazilian author Paolo Coelho

Thanks to Krista Tippett for this conversation from Becoming Wise—short extracts from OnBeing, in the time it takes to make a cup of tea.

Krista Tippett: I’ve had hundreds of big conversations, and my conversation partners share wisdom I carry with me wherever I go. I love how Paulo Coelho reframes the practice of pilgrimage as a journey into the tricky question, “Who am I?”

It seems to me that, really, just a core theme that runs through all your writing is life itself as a pilgrimage, writing as a pilgrimage for you, but also reading as a step on a path to pilgrimage for modern people. So interesting.

Paulo Coelho: Absolutely. I also do believe that we have this possibility of doing a pilgrimage every single day—because a pilgrimage implies—in meeting different people, in talking to strangers, in paying attention to the omens—basically being open to life. We leave our home to go to work, to go to school, and we have every single day this possibility, this chance of discovering something new. So the pilgrimage is not for the privileged one who can go to Spain and to France and walk this 500 miles but to people who are open to life. A pilgrimage, at the end of the day, is basically—get rid of things that you are used to and try something new.

Krista Tippett: It’s lovely. I have to say, something that has intrigued me in my life of conversation—and I think it seems like a paradox—that when someone is able to be most particular, articulate about their life, that in those moments, what they say can be most universally heard and felt. It seems to me that this paradox is very central to your life of writing and the reach of your writing. You’ve said that the driving question behind all of your writing is, “Who am I? Who is Paulo Coelho?”

Paulo Coelho: Yes, which is a very tricky question. Right?

Every morning, I find myself a different person. I’m always a mystery to myself. If I knew in the first hours of the morning what I’m going to do, what is going to happen, what attitude or decision should I take—I think my life would be deadly boring because, well, what makes life interesting is the unknown. It is the risks that we take every single moment of our day, of a single day.

So, to be totally honest, I don’t know who I am. And I don’t think people ever will know who they are. We have to be humble enough to learn to live with this mysterious question, “Who am I?” I am someone who is in this pilgrimage from the moment that I was born to the day that will come that I’m going to die. This is something that I can’t avoid. So what I have to do is to honor this pilgrimage through life.


Paulo Coelho is the author of many books including The PilgrimageVeronika Decides to Die, and The Alchemisthttp://paulocoelhoblog.com

Total
0
Shares

#94 One Human Family

Podcast with , , ,

In this episode we present excerpts from the recent conversation (June 2024) as part of SAND’s “Conversations on Palestine” around the premiere of the film Where Olive Trees Weep hosted by the directors of the film and co-founders of SAND, Zaya and

Trauma and Awakening for Highly Sensitive People

Article by

There are still several unanswered questions surrounding the relationship between trauma and Highly Sensitive People

#92 Gaza & the Bodhisattva Path

Podcast with ,

A conversation from the <em>Where Olive Trees Weep</em> premiere on Palestine

The Heart Goes Rogue

Article by

May you find the beauty everywhere and the perfection in the apparent imperfection

Suzuki’s Waterfall: On Separation and Death

Article by

Whether it is separated into drops or not, water is water

Living with a Courageous Heart in Times of Crisis

Video with ,

More than ever, we need the inner reflections and meditations that help us connect with our capacities for clarity, bravery and openheartedness.

#90 Dancing in the Fire

Podcast with , , ,

A panel from <em>Where Olive Trees Weep</em> exploring Muslim Spirituality Illuminating the Path to Freedom

#89 Arab Jewish Mysticism

Podcast with

Deep connections in Arab Judaism, mysticismm science and activism

Support SAND with a Donation

Science and Nonduality is a nonprofit organization. Your donation goes towards the development of our vision and the growth of our community.
Thank you for your support!