Covering the Sun With One’s Hand

A disciple went to Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav:

“I shall not continue with my studies of sacred texts,” he said. “I live in a small house with my brothers and parents, and never have the ideal conditions for concentrating on that which is important.”

Nachman pointed to the sun and asked his disciple to place his hand over his face, in order to hide it. The disciple obeyed.

“Your hand is small, yet it can completely cover the power, light and majesty of the great sun. In the same way, the small problems manage to give you the excuse you need in order to hinder your progress along your spiritual journey.

“Just as your hand has the power to hide the sun, mediocrity has the power to hide your inner light. Do not blame others for your own incompetence.”

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian author who has sold more than 100 million books, which include 14 short story collections and the novel “The Alchemist.” He has been a fan of the Internet since the early 1990s. He spends at least three hours a day online, writing e-mails back and forth with his readers and posting photos on Flickr, MySpace and a blog.

Coelho’s online activities also include promoting pirated copies of his own books. Since 2005 he’s been directing his readers to an online site where they can download his books, in languages from German to Japanese, for free. “I always thought that when, at the beginning of your career, you strive to be read, you can’t change your mind later and become greedy about it.”

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