I finally got round to reading ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho and I loved it. It’s a book about a shepherd boy from Spain who travels the world in search of a treasure. It’s a story about life and following your dreams and it it’s just magical. Here are my favorite parts from the book.
I’m not going to review the entire book in this post, you should really just read it yourself. I thought I’d just share some of my favorite parts.
It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting
The book is about a young boy who gives up the life he knows to travel the world in search of treasure. He gives up everything to follow his dream with the confidence that, if it doesn’t work out, he can always come back and be a shepherd again.
Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny
I loved this part. It’s true that, for many of us, the world seems much easier when we are kids. We don’t second-guess ourselves or sit around worrying about our destiny. We do the things that give us joy and are constantly curious about the world. Dreaming doesn’t scare us at that point. It’s a shame that a lot of this is lost when we grow up.
When you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth
The book talks a lot about the ‘soul of the universe’ or the ‘soul of the world’, which is kind of like what New Age books call the power or magic of the universe, or the law of attraction. When you really want something, you go after it and the universe will make it happen.
“There is a universal language, understood by everybody, but already forgotten”
There is so much magic in this one line and there’s so much truth to it. As different as we like to believe we all are, we are all connected and in a sense we all speak the same language. It’s just something we need to be reminded of.
“I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man”
This is something I truly believe in and it’s why I’m so interested in mindfulness. I believe that’s essentially what this is about. We are all so focused on reliving our past and making sure our future is better that we forget the present. I believe the happiest people are those who are able to fully live in the present, which not many of us are able to do.
“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say. That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow”
I loved this part. With all the noise in our current lives, it can be quite difficult to listen to yourself and discover what it is you really want. We already have all the answers to our life questions, all we have to do is listen. Listen to your heart and don’t be distracted by all the noise.
People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them
Again, there’s so much truth to this. It’s not easy to dream and it’s even harder to go after your dreams. It takes guts and a lot of faith in yourself and your abilities. Letting go of those fears and moving forward is what makes life worth living.
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams”
Especially the second part of this quote is just amazing. We all worry endlessly about what may or may not happen and this fear is worse than any suffering we do endure. And we shouldn’t fear anything when we’re chasing our dreams, because that’s not really suffering at all. It’s growth.
Before a dream is realized the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up
I was reading this passage and it reminded me of a cartoon I saw a while ago (see below) and it reinforced my belief that failure only happens when you give up. You cannot fail if you don’t give up!
“Don’t give in to your fears”, said the alchemist, in a strangely gentle voice. “If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart”
The Alchemist. What an incredible little book, so full of wisdom. I haven’t read too many books by Paulo Coelho but I’m definitely going to add his books to my reading list (which is about 4 pages long already). Reading The Alchemist left me in a dreamy state where life is full of magic and endless possibilities. Highly recommend this book.