From the Appendix at the end of The Oasis Within, these are excerpts from a diary kept by the thirteen-year-old Egyptian boy, Walid, as he's crossing the desert in 1934 with his uncle Ali. At the end of the day, by the light of a candle or lamp, he writes down things he's learned from what he's heard, seen, and experienced. I'll provide some early samples here, and then comment.
An oasis is fun, safe, and relaxing. We can carry an oasis within us wherever we go, an inner place of calm and refreshment, by using our thoughts well.
We all have in our minds something like an emotional telescope. If we look through the end everyone uses, things will seem bigger than they really are. But we can flip it around and look through the other end. That will make things appear smaller and less threatening. So whenever anything looks big and overwhelming, say to yourself, “Flip the telescope!”
Almost anything needs interpretation. That’s where freedom begins.
Whether something is a big deal or not often turns on how we see it. If you think it’s a big deal, it is. But you can change your mind on many things and shrink them down to size.
Wisdom for life is about seeing things properly. It’s about perspective. This gives us power, because it brings peace to our hearts, and then we can think clearly, even in difficult times.
If I live most fully with my heart and mind in the reality of the present moment, I will feel better and be more effective.
Things are not always what they seem. In fact, they often aren’t.
Whenever life brings us a storm, we should use what we have, stay calm, and move quickly to respond well.
An oasis within us is a place of peace and power in our hearts.
We can learn the most from the most difficult things.
We can’t control the day, but only what we make of the day. We should always try to make the best of whatever comes our way.
Originally, The Oasis Within did not include Walid's Diary. A man I often see at the gym read the first draft of the book and he said, "It's amazing how many good ideas are in this book, really vital perspectives we all need. It would be really nice if there was some way to summarize the main points at the end, to help the reader remember all the great concepts."
I thought that was an interesting suggestion. But I had seen many books with summaries of chapters, or even of the whole book, that weren't very helpful, and were naturally very repetitive. I didn't want to add anything artificially to the book that had come to me, as if from outside me. So I waited. And then a little voice told me that Walid was keeping a journal during the trip across the desert. Sometimes he would record or summarize the wisdom he had gleaned from his uncle that day. Other times he would ponder it a bit more. And he would even have his own insights to add. And the journal began revealing itself, just as the chapters of the book had. Now, each novel in the subsequent series also has a diary at the end. To get these, I had to go into a zen meditative state and allow it to come to me. And it did.