The Sixties (2007-2016)
During his sixties, Coelho moved forward in strengthening the accomplishments and achievements of Stage 5, the “paradoxical-conjunctive stage”. He celebrated his birthday in solitude with Cristina and St Joseph’s day in public (Morais, 2009). He showed his ability to integrate his Catholic belief with other religious rituals and unified various spiritual traditions (Fowler, 1981).
Coelho published constantly during this decade, from „The winner stands alone (Coelho, 2008a), “My life” (video documentary, Coelho, 2010b), “Aleph” (Coelho, 2011), “Manuscript found in Accra” (Coelho, 2012) to “Adultery” (Coelho, 2014b). “The winner stands alone” (Coelho, 2008a) dealt with multiple perspectives on the concept of love, celebrities and the intra-psychological contradiction of a person who destroyed lives in the name of a greater love (Coelho, 2008a). The book inherited a societal critique in terms of the manipulation of the individual by society and a plea for the individual to overcome personal and societal limitations and live one’s dream, which is one main insight into this stage (Fowler, 2001). Chhajed (2012) emphasises that the book examined deeper moral and spiritual questions on the obsession of society with power, fame, celebrity and an “insatiable need for stardom”. It referred to the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of the complexities of the world, things within the world and above (Fowler, 2001).
The individual deals with paradoxes on different levels and learns how to deal with conscious and unconscious complexities (Fowler, 1981). Coelho used his writing process as a surprise, as a natural work and as a miracle of creation (Coelho, 2010b), which was foundational for exploring the conscious and the unconscious complexities of the world.
Life was worth living for Coelho when “you focus on the small things in life” and when a person “sees everything is one thing” (Coelho, 2010b, 42:00 min.), then the person understood the “miracle of life” (Coelho, 2010b, 43:00 min.). Coelho increased his awareness of things, and the recognition of the dependence and independence of relationships (Fowler, 1981). He (Coelho, 2010b, p. 19, p. 25) realised his responsibility as a world-famous writer to comment on what he observed in the world, such as wars. He highlighted that artists and writers have the responsibility to build bridges across cultures: “We only had the cultural bridge. We have to take care of it. When it breaks, there is no way to communicate with other cultures” (Coelho, 2010b, 21:15 min.). Fowler (1981, 1984) mentions that during this stage, opposites and contradictions are reconciled while the individual can stand the pressures and tensions. Coelho reunified and balanced the contradictions and paradoxes within himself, he built bridges without judging, which is emphasised as important for this stage (Fowler, 1981), while living according to Christian principles (Arias, 2001).
At this stage, the individual is aware that the unconsciousness is highly influential and that the conscious power of the individual, the group and society is limited (Fowler, 1987). For Coelho (2010b, 12:40 min.), the only way forward was to learn to live with the light and the shadow and to accept it, to grow consciously and to create awareness.
In “Aleph” (Coelho, 2011), he referred to the mystical space of aleph (Mihaly, 2012), which he experienced while travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway. The book was categorised as a reconstructed biography, semi-fictionalised with autobiographical elements. Coelho emphasised that he had reached a feeling of a deep crisis of faith, a stagnation of his spiritual development and dissatisfaction with his spiritual growth (Purwandoyo & Kurnia, 2013). This discomfort is usually the point - as described by Fowler (1981, 1986) - to transform from Stage 5 to Stage 6 in faith development.
Coelho (2011) felt discomfort with his spiritual development, which is a major force in adult identity formation. He needed to increase his awareness of the self and others, engaging with connectedness with the divine, nature and humanity and defining new relationships with God, the community of believers and nature (Furqon & Mustofa, 2014). Coelho’s spiritual journey was based on the question of meaningfulness and the exploration of the meaning of his spirituality by conducting identifications, exploration, experiments through magical and religious traditions to discover his personal spiritual path and his new identity (Furqon & Mustofa, 2014). In “Aleph” (2011), Coelho’s story gained a new quality: It included the idea of reincarnation and karma and its consequences within this lifetime. Sari (2013) highlights that the book connects existentialism with Coelho’s biography. Purwandoyo and Kurnia (2013), focus on the underlying aspects, highlighting that Coelho’s journey is rather a “reflection on how a human is naturally driven by their own subconscious towards things”. The subconscious topics addressed through a new quality are based on redemption, forgiveness, reconnecting with people, travel, spiritual renewal and growth. Furqon and Mustofa (2014) conclude that Coelho moves through various stages (based on Erikson), such as exploration, actuality and mutu?ality, adaptation, virtue and centrality, crisis and despair in terms of the clash of spiritual and religious values, and ego integration (religious and spiritual values), and a healthy and holistic spiritual identity development, as described as integration by Fowler (1981, 1987).
Coelho released his book “Manuscript found in Accra” (Coelho, 2012), which contained his life philosophy and integrated the ability to see the limitations of the personal belief system, while recognising concepts, symbols and meanings beyond his own faith traditions (Fowler, 1981). The book included a kind of “universal wisdom” that integrated the philosophies of Khalil Gibran, Osho and Indian mysticism (Kamrani, 2013). Coelho reintegrated various spiritual concepts in the context of accepting the human condition:
These values are not related to this or that religious system. However, some people in society, some religious groups try to say ‘no, my religion is the best one.’ I think every religion is heading toward the same light and that light is God. (...) At the end your life it is not what God you believe in, but how did you live your life? You may not believe in God, but you believe in love, and love goes beyond everything (Reuters, 2013).
Finally, the book, “Adultery” (Coelho, 2014b) was, once more, a societal critique on Western societies and the phenomenon of boredom, frustration and depression, moving away from spirituality, but rather describing hopelessness and frustrations, which can be overcome by faith and transformation (McAlpin, 2014).
In Coelho’s recent blogs (2014b) he wrote about his spiritual journey and the recognition that “God is in life, and life is in God” (Coelho, 2014b). With this recognition, the sacred harmony of the daily experiences were defined as divine tasks that showed humble awareness as well as an understanding of a multi-layered complexity and the strength to see and uphold opposite tensions (Fowler, 1984).
According to Fowler, an individual moves to the next and final stage when he/she experiences discomfort and longs for a transformation (Fowler, 1986).