Respect for mystery

     The Greeks were great masters at describing human behavior through small stories that we usually call myths. All the generations that came after them, from Freud’s psychoanalysis (with the Oedipus complex, for example) to the films of Hollywood (like Morpheus in “Matrix”) ended up drinking from this source.
     For a good part of my life, one of those stories left me very intrigued: the myth of Psyche.
     Once upon a time ... a beautiful princess was admired by all but nobody dared to ask for her hand in marriage. In despair, the king consulted the god Apollo, who told him that Psyche should be left alone, dressed in mourning, on top of a mountain. Before day broke a serpent would come to meet and marry her. The king obeyed, and all night the princess waited, in terror and dying of cold, for her husband to appear.
     She finally fell asleep. When she awoke she was in a beautiful palace, transformed into a queen. Every night her husband came to her and they made love, but he had imposed a sole condition: Psyche could have all she desired but she had to show utter trust and could never see his face.
     The young woman lived happily for a long time; she had comfort, affection, happiness, she was in love with the man who came to her every night. However, now and again she was afraid she was married to a horrid serpent. Early one morning, while her husband was sleeping, she shone a lamp on the bed, and saw lying there by her side Eros (or Cupid), a man of exceptional beauty. The light woke him up; he discovered that the woman he loved was incapable of respecting his only desire, and disappeared.
     Whenever I read this text, I used to wonder: can we never discover the face of love?
     I had to live for many years before I realized that love is an act of faith in another person, and its face should continue to be wrapped in mystery. It should be lived and relished at each and every minute, but whenever we try to understand it, the magic vanishes.
     When I accepted this I also began to let my life be guided by a strange language that I call “signs”. I know that the world is talking to me, I need to listen to it, and if I do so I shall always be guided towards what is most intense, passionate and beautiful. Of course, it is not easy and at times I feel like Psyche at the cliff, cold and terrified, but if I can pass through that night and deliver myself to the mystery and faith in life, I will always end up waking in a palace. All I need is to trust in Love, even though I run the risk of making a mistake.
     To conclude the Greek myth: desperate to have her love back, Psyche submits to a series of tasks imposed by Aphrodite (or Venus), the mother of Cupid (or Eros), who is envious of her beauty. One of the tasks is to deliver some of her beauty to Aphrodite. Psyche grows curious about the box that was supposed to contain the Goddess’ beauty and once again is unable to cope with the Mystery, so she decides to open it. Inside she finds not beauty but rather an infernal sleep that leaves her inert and immobile.
     Eros/Cupid is also in love, regretful for not having been more tolerant towards his wife. He manages to enter the castle and wake her from her deep sleep with the point of his arrow and once again tells her: “You almost died on account of your curiosity.” That is the great contradiction, Psyche sought for security in knowledge and found only insecurity.
     The two of them go to Jupiter, the supreme god, and implore that their union will never be undone. Jupiter passionately pleads the cause of the lovers and succeeds in gaining the support of Venus. From that day onwards, Psyche (the essence of the human being) and Eros (love) are always together. Whoever does not accept this and tries to find an explanation for magical and mysterious human relations will miss the best part of life.


With persmission from Author Paulo Coelho
"Warrior of the Light, a www.paulocoelho.com.br publication."

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