Book: The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho
Who should read this book: EVERYONE.
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The Alchemist: Lessons for Life
This incredible little book is filled with wisdom. You can read it at any time in your life and learn something from it. It’s a story about following your dreams, about love, about not getting caught up in what you don’t have, about enjoying the process and not just focusing on the end goal. It’s a book about life and how everything good takes time. I’ve read this book three times now, and each time it speaks to me in a different way. This time the book told me to enjoy the process of my Personal Legend. To stop worrying about where I want to be, and focus on the incredible place where I am.
The story is about a teenage boy named Santiago, he is a shepherd in Spain. He has a modest herd of sheep and he travels with them through the countryside. He is headed to a specific town where one year before he had seen a beautiful girl, the daughter of the town merchant, and he plans to return to the town and marry her.
He has a dream one night about a buried treasure near the Pyramids of Egypt. He asks a gypsy woman to interpret the dream and she does. She tells him the dream is true, that he will find treasure if he goes to the pyramids, and that he must give her one tenth of the treasure when he finds it. He doesn’t believe her and leaves. In the next city he meets an old man that tells him the same thing about his dream. He tells him how to read the omens and gives him two rocks in exchange for one tenth of his sheep that will help him read the omens and get to the pyramids. Santiago believes him and heads out to follow his Personal Legend.
The rest of the story is about the struggles he goes through travelling in a foreign country and all the lessons he learns along the way. In the end he reaches the pyramids, he finds true love and he finds his treasure, but it’s not what he expected.
When Santiago is crossing the desert, he has a conversation with the wind and the sun. This section of the book although fantastical, makes me think about my relationship with nature. Have you ever had that serene moment in the woods, or at the top of a mountain, or looking out at the ocean, where you feel incredibly connected to nature and to the planet? I most often feel this way when I’m surrounded by trees. I feel like the trees and I are sharing a moment. That just like how the trees cleanse the carbon dioxide from our air, they cleanse the negative vibes from me. That connection with nature is so important to me and I feel renewed every time I seek it out.
During his time traveling with the alchemist, Santiago learns many lessons. One that really stood out for me was the lesson in enjoying the process of your journey.
Santiago ask the alchemist, “why do so few alchemists succeed in turning lead into gold?”
He replies, “they were looking only for gold…They were seeking the treasure of their Personal Legend, without wanting actually to live out their Personal Legend.”
This is something I often struggle with. I’m a big goal setter, I have like 8 on the go at all times. And I too frequently get caught up in reaching the end and frustrated with myself for not getting there fast enough. When really I need to be enjoying the path and the smaller accomplishments along the way.
The love story of the book is small but powerful. On the way to the pyramids Santiago stops in a town and meets Fatimah and he falls in love with her at first sight. I’m going to share two quotes with you that are my favourite from this section.
“When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke–the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding, in their heart. It was love.”
“And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.”
The moral of the story, in my opinion, is that you already have your treasure inside you, you don’t need to go looking for it, it’s where you are now. The present moment, that’s where the treasure lies. If you haven’t read this book yet, please do. It will tell you what you need to hear in your life right now. It is a little book of wisdom.
Overall Rating: 10/10