Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | May 1, 2012

Paulo Coelho; The Aleph

A good friend sent me Paulo Coelho’s book, The Aleph, because I had mentioned the idea of taking off on a backpack journey across the United States, and she thought it was somewhat similar in that I was looking at this as a sort of contemplative pilgrimage.

My trip is still in its dream stages, but the book is very enjoyable. It was inspired a lot of good thinking, about awareness of images and events and people around us, trying to look into the synchronicity of things, to solve the puzzle, to find the hidden meaning in things, people and events. It is a wonderful exercise in reflection–why did this happen, why were these particular people in my life at particular times.

Coelho’s book focuses a bit more on the idea of reincarnation and fixing the wrongs done in a past life; fixing the whole karma thing. Personally, I’m not sure I buy into reincarnation as much. I did a past life regression once and toyed with it the other night(In the first many years ago I was a 19th century herbalist/medical student; in the most recent I was a sailor in the Pacific–which didn’t make sense because I might have still been alive when the now me was born, unless I was killed in action, but that’s neither here nor there).

In the end, it’s a quest to understand who we are and to connect with the deeper meanings of who we are, to experience the “knowing,” that’s deep within us, that we can only experience and not explain.

Coelho’s Aleph is a physical place which one encounters accidentally. it is a point in the universe where all points converge.

The monks pray, the guru does yoga, the tai chi player does tai chi. All are exercises in bringing us into the presence of the Divine, of the numenous, of an experience of satori, of understanding, of knowing.

Coelho uses a quote in his book, “those who know God cannot describe Him, those who describe him do not know Him.”

I have not experienced the mind blowing satori enlightenment, but in practicing tai chi I have experienced many mini enlightenments. The daily practice, like the monks who pray daily, like the yogi who practices daily, like the musician who practices daily, the practice itself is sublime and fruitful. And there are many times that you get the little enlightenments, God speaks to the monk, the yogi experiences a sense of oneness, the guitarist receives a new rift or song or chord progression seemingly out of no where, and sometimes, the tai chi player experiences that the entire universe is moving ith him.

How can I explain the deep experience, in perfect tai chi posture, moving together with everything else, and “knowing” that the answers to everything are in a sweeping circle and spiral of the arm and hand, generated from the dan tien?



  1. Emma Lihau, you have given me a better insight into what tai chi is with this passed on information but I prefer (mine)

  2. Picture this. The passion and determination is something they are born with ;it’s in their personality.Do like them to become like them .Work as if you didn’t need the money. So what’s your secret? You’ve got to know, you’ve got to be sure
    Why? Because that is what wealthy people do
    They know were they are going and what they are going to do when they get there. They have passion and drive and ambition and determination. They work because they want to

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