Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

« You came so that you could learn about your dreams”, said the woman. And dreams are the language of God. When he speaks in our language I can interpret what he has said. But if he speaks in the language of the soul, it is only you who can understand. »

The literary world is filled with many wonderful and extraordinary books one should read throughout life. Some can be truly overwhelming, deeply meaningful, moving, and some can change lives. The Alchemist is one of these books. You cannot go through life without reading it.

So many people advised me to read this book, and I’m glad I finally did. I found it very sweet, heartwarming and extremely moving. There are many ways to read this book and I think it could affect you differently each time you read it. For sure, The Alchemist is a book to read again and again throughout your life. And if you read it when you were a kid, you might consider reading it again — I’m sure it would be a very interesting experience.

The Alchemist is a philosophical tale on the pursuit of one’s destiny, of one’s dreams and leads you on to the right path to follow throughout the journey. Along this pursuit of destiny, The Alchemist invites you to listen to your heart and soul, as it is within yourself you shall find the truth you are looking for.

The little Spanish boy, Santiago, had become a young shepherd to travel around the country. But one day he decides to consult an old woman who can read dreams as he’s been having this recurring dream about Pyramids. As the woman tells him to go to the Pyramids of Egypt because a treasure is awaiting for him there, Santiago embarks on a spiritual and adventurous journey across the desert. Along the way, he makes several encounters : the King, the crystal merchant, the English man, Fatima and the Alchemist. All these encounters enrich Santiago’s journey spiritually, emotionally and humanely.

The journey has to be understood as much as an adventure from Tarifa-Tanger-Faiyum to the Pyramids, as a spiritual journey of elevation and understanding of one’s inner soul and connection with the World. Though the Pyramids appear to be the culminating point, the treasure itself hides inside his heart and soul. The several characters along the story give Santiago the keys to penetrate his heart : patience, peace, love, meditation, and most importantly he learns to speak the Language of the World — which is the Language that can be spoken without-or beyond- Words. When he finally gets to the Pyramids, he immediately knows the secret of his heart. From being a young shepherd looking after his sheep, Santiago becomes the spiritual Alchemist who can communicate at once with Nature, God and the rest of the World.

Thus the story itself is an invitation for whoever is in search of its destiny or whoever wants to follow their dream(s), to listen to your heart as there lies the truth about yourself and there will you find the answers to your questions. And to do so, you must embark on a journey that does not compel you to meditate exclusively on yourself. Like Santiago, you have to embrace every obstacle that comes in – or along- your way in order to bloom and be at peace with yourself.

Paulo Coelho writes in the most simplistic manner about a way of thinking that can be very obscure and hard for some people to portray. Perhaps the main character being a child and embodying itself the concept of hope, innocence and positivity makes a more powerful life-changing impact on its readers.

« My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer”, the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

“Every second of the search is an encounter with God” the boy told his heart.“When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous, because I’ve known that every hour was a part of the dream that I would find it. When I have been truly searching for me treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve. »

What The Alchemist teaches you :

– Your heart and soul are not to be taken for granted. Taking care of them is taking care of yourself.

– Listen to your heart unless it’s afraid to suffer.

– Take risks.

– Don’t give up on your dream because someone has crushed it. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Never lose track of your dream. Always intend pursuing it.

– Be patient.

– Pay attention to the World.

– Listen.

– Be confident. Trust your instinct (or the omens).

– Be positive.

The Alchemist was first published in 1988 by a small Brazilian publishing house and didn’t sell very well and ended the contract after a year. Although, it was soon welcomed by another publishing house, then by the American HarperCollins and it is now translated and sold worldwide as Paulo Coelho did not give up on his dream to publish this book.

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