The Alchemist….Paolo Coelho
For more than a week now I’ve been reading a very unusual book. The book is called “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho, it is unusual (to me at least) in that in as much as it revolves around the story of a simple shepherd boy it is not a book one should read lightly or straight through. The book requires contemplative reading; it requires that one should stop at certain points and just consider the message of the book and how it applies to their lives.
The book revolves around the story of a shepherd boy who had a dream about a great treasure. On the next village he came to he met a gypsy who told him that she would tell him the meaning of his dream if he agreed to give her 10% of the fortune he would find. On that village he also met an old king who told him how to find his treasure. And so the boy set off unto a journey to retrieve his treasure and along the way met an alchemist who guided him on his path; teaching him the way of the desert, the Language of the World and the path to the Soul of the World.
The book is also very symbolic in that it utilizes many symbols which the reader can easily overlook if he does not take the time to really seek out the meaning of the symbolisms presented. I can now understand why many critics consider this book a real treasure, a classic right up to the level of the Little Prince.
The book talks of faith, of perseverance, or believing in one’s self and learning to listen to the deepest whispers of your heart; for we are all born with a pure heart and that heart continually tell us where our destiny or path should lead us. It tells us who, what and where we are destined to be as God’s creatures but along the way the busy, insistent and noisy world drowns out the gentle murmurings of our heart that we begin to fail to hear the direction it is giving us.
The book encourages us to stop and really listen to what our heart is telling us – in the book the author calls this the Language of the World, the Soul of the World. When we stop long enough to listen we will find “omens” – signs that tell us where to go and what to do if only we are able to recognize these omens.
Along the way, the path may lead us towards a fork in the road, it may even throw distractions along the path to your destiny but one has to persevere towards your dream.
In the book the boy meets an alchemist, who orients him about the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life but unlike most books that talk about them in a material way; this book discusses the physical aspects of the two very common myths and yet it also gives us a deeper aspect of those two mythical things. It is said that these two famously mythical objects are a product of the Master Work – the purification of any metal at constant heat for many years. The Master Work is split into two things: the solid part of the Master Work is called the Philosopher’s Stone which can turn any metal into gold; and the liquid part of the Master Work is the Elixir of Life which is the key to immortality.
As these two objects are explained, so too it is given a deeper meaning. The Elixir of Life tells us about faith and understanding – it is the ability of man to adjust, to adapt to all things and learn all things in the universe so that he may achieve a unity with the world and understand/speak the Language of the World. To be able to understand the things and events around us without words is to be one with the universe; this sets that man apart from others and thus renders him in a sense immortal. For whoever understands the underlying message of the things around us allows that man to stay away from things that might hurt him.
The Philosopher’s Stone – the solid part of the Master Work – is the ability of man, his imbued skill to prosper in all that he does; it is man’s ability to turn all his efforts and endeavors into successes by perceiving and continually working towards the achievement of that dream no matter what the challenges and consequences may be.
When we are young our heart whisper to us our deepest desires, and if you would excuse the term – our fate. But as we grow older and think ourselves wiser we begin to lose that communication with our heart and so we exchange logic and immediate reward to that which we were destined for. And so some of us end up rich but unhappy; and even worst many end up poor and unhappy. But there are those few, who persevere and kept their sights upon the price so that when the time is right they are able to find what they truly desire.
I have always dreamed about being a well-learned, well respected professor; I wanted to achieve the dream of gaining my PhD. someone who’s opinion matter, someone who has the last word on important topics but life seemed to conspire against me. When I told my father I planned to further my study he just sneered at me. Then I got married, had kids and got separated. I really thought I would not be able to get back on that path once again. That PhD is just a dream I could never have. And somewhere along the way, fate threw me another line to hold on to. It showed me again the path I have to follow to get to where I want to be; it is very seldom that we are given a second chance I must have done something really pleasing to God for Him to give me another chance. And so I am back on my track, but whether I am able to achieve that dream will be up to me; all I have to do is keep working towards that dream.
Many of us find ourselves in jobs that we hate, we find ourselves in a life we don’t really like or a situation we would rather not be, but that’s because we failed to keep our eyes on the target. It is time for us to re-focus our vision and think about where we really want to be or what we really want to do – what is our heart’s desire, only then can we achieve real happiness. For a determined person the universe would conspire to help that person achieve his/her dream.