The Zahir

The Zahir

The Zahir

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? — Luke 15:4

We can harness the energy of the winds, the seas, the sun. But the day man learns to harness the energy of love, that will be as important as the discovery of fire. — Teilhard de Chardin

Others will dream that I am mad, and I [will dream] of the Zahir. When all men on earth think day and night of the Zahir, which one will be a dream and which a reality, the earth or the Zahir? — Jorge Luis Borges

I accept the Zahir, and will let it lead me into a state of either holiness or madness. — Paulo Coelho

Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused. — Paulo Coelho

The person you love leaves, walks out of your life. You are heart broken. Why?

You walk down the street, you see her, your heart stops. Then you realise it is not her.

Why is the sun shining? Why is it not dull to match your mood? Why are people smiling, looking happy? Do they not realise your heart is in torment? But then on second thoughts, they do not look happy, they are not smiling, maybe they have problems too.

Your phone rings. Once again your heart stops. But no, it is not her.

The pleasures of life are gone, your life is empty.

Bob Geldof in a recent reflection on his life, spoke of the unbelievable pain when his wife left him. One way he was able to cope was to go into a studio and lay down tracks for a new album.

Meeting Myself Coming Back
Bob Geldof: ‘Life without love is meaningless’

You think of suicide. What point is there in going on?

Thoughts go round and round in your mind.

You loved her more than you thought possible. Could she not see that? Why did she say that not matter how much you loved her it was nothing to how much she loved you, then walk off like a thief in the night?

You would give anything to see her lovely smile, to see the love in her eyes, to see her face light up when she sees you.

Slowly slowly you are going mad.

The Zahir is an Islamic tradition. A thought occupies your mind until you can think of nothing else. It is the route to holiness or madness.

When I had nothing more to lose, I was given everything. When I ceased to be who I am, I found myself. When I experienced humiliation and yet kept on walking, I understood that I was free to choose my destiny. Perhap’s there’s something wrong with me, I don’t know, perhaps my marriage was a dream I couldn’t understand whilst it lasted. All I know is that even though I can live without her, I would still like to see her again, to say what I never said when we were together: I love you more than I love myself. If I could say that, then I could go on living, at peace with myself, because that love has redeemed me.

Divine love is that from God.

The Zahir is a love story, it describes the pain a man experiences when his wife leaves him. A man whose life not dissimilar to that of the author Paulo Coelho. It is a journey, a journey to find the lost wife but also a spiritual journey of understanding into himself.

Critics do not like Paulo Coelho. They write the same garbage, only the title of the book changes. One of the worst was a review of The Zahir by Adam Mars-Jones in The Observer. Less a review, more a vitriolic hate-filled attack on Paulo Coelho. With crass comments like ‘Paulo Coelho hurtling towards stupidity as he reaches for wisdom in The Zahir’ and ‘Paulo Coelho writes because he wants to be loved. I read because I want to be interested. At this point it’s hard to say which of us is the more disappointed’, you get the picture! And so it goes on and on and on …

The Zahir was my introduction to Paulo Coelho. I was sitting outside a pub by the River Wey in Guildford and got chatting with a beautiful girl who was engrossed in The Zahir. I was curious what had her so engrossed. At the time Paulo Coelho was an unknown author to me.

I was sufficiently impressed by The Zahir, that I walked into a bookshop, bought their entire stock of hardbacks, then gave them all away to friends as gifts.

For my lovely friend Sian who I miss.

Love Wins
The Pilgrimage
The Alchemist
By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept
The Witch of Portobello

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5 Responses to “The Zahir”

  1. keithpp Says:

    My inspiration for reading The Zahir was a beautiful Lithuanian girl. Today I repaid the Favour Bank by giving a copy to a beautiful Black girl who was curious to know what The Zahir was about!

  2. marionkatrina Says:

    I am inspired.

  3. Nkatha Says:

    The Zahir is an amazing bk! my favorite is the alchemist, closely followed by brida.

  4. Sergio Says:

    Great post. I like the book very much and it was nice to read your thoughts about it.

  5. keithpp Says:

    Thank you Paulo for your kind words on twitter

    Great post, thank you @keithpp The Zahir!/paulocoelho/status/99220430728073216

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