Sunday, February 07, 2010

Thoughts from The Alchemist

Well, philosophy self-help etc. has never been my favorite genre...But this was the first and one of the very few inspirational novels that I've liked. An oversimplified depiction of philosophy and mysticism. To sum up, it's an exciting fable that bursts with optimism!

Kind of novel that may appeal to everybody. Skillfully combines the words of wisdom, philosophy and simplicity of language, to narrate the shepherd boy's journey in search of his destiny. Very beautifully captured in the line "if you want something, the whole world conspires in helping you to achieve it".

Here a compilation of some of my favorite quotes from the book:
On blessings: Every blessing ignored becomes a curse. 
On hope: The darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn. 
On future: God only rarely reveals the future. When he does so, it is for one reason: it's a future that was written so as to be altered. 
On learning: There is only one way to learn. It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey. 
On appreciating: When each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises. 
On intuition: 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. 
On fear: We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand. 
On decisions: Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. 
On suffering: Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives. 
On reason: A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such speed. It feels an impulsion ... this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond the horizons. 
On life: When someone sees the same people every day, they wind up becoming part of that person's life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own. 
On dreams: Why do we have to listen to our hearts? Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure...Naturally it’s afraid that, in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you’ve won...Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you’re thinking about life and about the world. 
On desire: One’s Personal Legend is what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend 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 Personal Legend….whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.....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 obligation. 
On love: This is why alchemy exists, so that everyone will search for his treasure, find it, and then want to be better than he was in his former life. Lead will play its role until the world has no further need for lead; and then lead will have to turn itself to gold. That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too…it’s not love to be static like the desert, nor is it love to roam the world like the wind. And it’s not love to see everything from a distance. Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World…it was like other aspects of creation, and had its own passions and wars. It is we who nourish the Soul of the World, and the world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse. And that’s where the power of love comes in. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.

PS: Picture courtesy Google.