What I learnt from The Alchemist

Everyone should have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

Everyone believes the world’s greatest lie. That at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what is happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.

Everyone, when they’re young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear & 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. It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your destiny.

The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy. To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one.

And when you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

People never truly realize that they are capable, at any time of their lives, of doing what they dream of. Take for example shepherds and bakers. Bakers have homes, while shepherds sleep out in the open. Parents would rather see their children marry bakers than shepherds. In the long run, what people think about shepherds and bakers becomes more important to them than their own destinies.

Treasure is uncovered by the force of flowing water, and it is buried by the same currents. If you start out by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work towards getting it. Everything in life has its price.

This is the story of a little boy. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to, and something he wanted to have. The boy felt jealous of the freedom of the wind, and saw that he could have the same freedom. There was nothing to hold him back except himself. The sheep, the merchant’s daughter, the fields of Andalusia were only steps along the way to his destiny.

The principle of favorability. When you play cards the first time, you are almost sure to win. Beginner’s luck. Why is that? Because there is a force that wants you to realize your destiny; it whets your appetite with a taste of success.

Omens. Butterflies. Urim & Thummin. The black signifies yes and the white no. When you are unable to read the omens, they will help you to do so. Always ask an objective question. Don’t forget that everything you deal with is only one thing and nothing else. Don’t forget the language of omens. And above all, don’t forget to follow your destiny through to its conclusion.

The story of the boy and the wise man and his marvelous castle atop the hill. The wise man said “As you wander this castle, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill”. The boy went, came back, and the oil was gone. The secret of happiness is to see the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon. A shepherd may like to travel, but he should never forget about his sheep.

I’m like everyone else- I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does. There were certain things one shouldn’t ask about, so as not to flee from one’s own destiny. I promised I would make my own decisions.When the boy became the victim of a thief, he realized he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief, and as an adventurer in the quest of his treasure. He chose to be the adventurer.

The boy came across a candy seller. He was happy aware of what his life was about. He wasn’t making candy so that he can later travel or marry a shopkeeper’s daughter. He’s doing it because it’s what he wants to do. He felt he could sense whether a person was near to or far from his destiny. There must be a language that doesn’t depend on words. He had that experience with his sheep, and now it was happening with people. If he could understand this language without words, he can learn to understand the world.

He met a merchant who sold crystal. The merchant said ” It’s the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. That’s what helps me face these days that are all the same, these mute crystals on the shelves, and lunch and dinner at that same horrible cafe. I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go on living.” The merchant said to the boy, that he was different from him, because he wanted to realize his dreams. Not everyone can see his or her dreams come true the same way.

The boy wanted to help the merchant serve tea in crystal to thirsty customers atop the hill. The merchant said if we did so, the shop was going to expand, and he would have to change his way of life. He doesn’t know how to deal with change. He’s used to the way he is.

Every blessing ignored becomes a curse. I don’t want anything else in life. But you are forcing me to look at wealth and at the horizons I have never known. Now that I have seen them, and now that I see how immense my possibilities are, I’m going to feel worse than I did before. Because I know the things I should be able to accomplish, and I don’t want to do so.

There had been a time when he thought that his sheep could teach him everything he needed to know about the world. But they could never have taught him Arabic. There are probably other things the sheep can’t teach him. All they ever do, really, is look for food and water. And maybe it wasn’t that they were teaching the boy, but maybe that, the boy was learning from them.

There was a language in the world that everyone understood. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.

Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he or she is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. Everything in life is an omen. There is a universal language, understood by everybody, but already forgotten. The mysterious chain that links one thing to another. The closer one gets to realizing his destiny, the more that destiny becomes his true reason for being.

‘Hunches’, his mother used to call them. The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.

The boy went on a caravan journey across the desert in search for his treasure in Egypt, with camel guides and an Englishman. What the desert teaches you. No matter how many detours and adjustments it made, the caravan moved toward the same compass point. Once obstacles were overcome, it returned to its course. The stars lighted the direction for the guides as well. It was only the Englishman who was unaware of all this; he was, for the most part, immersed in reading his books. The boy found it much more interesting to observe the caravan and listen to the wind.

Disaster teaches you one thing: People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.

We are afraid of losing what we have, our life, possessions, & property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand. Once you get into the desert, there’s no going back. When you can’t go back, you only have to worry about the best way of moving forward. The rest is up to God, including the danger. We make a lot of detours, but we’re always heading for the same destination.

The Soul of the World, the principle that governs all things. When u want something with all your heart, that’s when u are closest to the Soul of the World. It’s always a positive force. Everything on the face of this earth has a soul, whether the mineral, vegetable, or animal, or even just a simple thought. Everything on Earth is being continuously transformed, because the earth is alive, and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognize that it is working for us. In the crystal shop, even the glasses were collaborating in the success of the boy.

The caravan and the desert speak the same language, and it’s for that reason that the desert allows the crossing. It’s going to test the caravan every step to see if it’s in time, and if it is, it will make it to the oasis. All things are the manifestation of one thing only.

The boy talked to the Englishman about alchemists, the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life. The alchemists spent years in their laboratories, observing the fire that purified the metals. They gradually gave up the vanities of the world. They discovered that the purification of the metals led to a purification of themselves. The boy thought it was a good thing for him to clean the crystal pieces, so he could free himself from negative thoughts. He became convinced that alchemy could be learned in one’s daily life.

The boy learned that the world has a soul, and that whoever understands that soul can also understand the language of things. He also learnt that many alchemists realized their destinies, and wound up discovering the Soul of the World, the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Elixir of life. But above all, he learnt that these things are so simple that they could be written on the surface if the emerald.

Everyone has his or her own way of learning things. His way isn’t the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we’re both in search of our destinies, and I respect him for that.

The camel driver said “I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival. because life is the moment we’re living right now. They reached and could see the oasis not far away at nightfall. The boy asked why not go there now. The camel driver said “Because we have to sleep.”


And so I will stop my words here, and continue the next part coming up.



About jnatomy

An anatomy of the soul, through the lenses of a camera.
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