Roisin Traynor reviews Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, and argues that if you are feeling lost and unmotivated, the book may be just the help you need.
I have recently just finished reading Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist. It’s weird how I even came across the book.
My mam tried to get me to read it many times, but I never gave it a chance. I thought she was being “too spiritual” for the way I was feeling at the time! I wasn’t in the mood to read it.
I then started this blogging business and Pat Divily put me in touch with a writer from New York, Neelam Tewar. After skyping Neelam, I was inspired to start exploring literature. Along with others, one book she recommended to read was The Alchemist.
She believed that books find people at particular times of their life and find them for a reason.
I went into work the next day and spoke to a friend and English teacher about the different books she recommended. I told her The Alchemist is the next book I want to read.
“I have it here,” she said. Taking it straight from her desk and giving it to me. This proves that books find people. The Alchemist is about the journey of a boy who is in search of his treasure.
I don’t want to ruin it for those who have not read it yet, but here are three points from the book that I think stand out and make you look at life a little differently.
It makes you think about “the world’s greatest lie”
Do I believe it’s all down to faith?
Do we have control of what happens?
Is there a middle ground or is life that simple?
It’s difficult not to critique this thought. But this doesn’t mean I don’t believe it.
”When you want something, all the universe helps you to achieve it”
Your heart is linked to your dreams. Sequentially, not following your dream can hurt your heart.
Happiness is following what you desire
He talks about how the world tests your heart:
"Before a dream is realised... the world tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so we can, in addition to realising our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we’ve moved towards that dream. That’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one 'dies of thirst just when the palm trees have
appeared on the horizon'."
After being rejected so many times, interview after interview, I got to a stage of feeling complete failure and darkness. I even started saving a bunch of rejection letters, they stacked up.
Just as I was seriously on the verge of giving up and constantly second guessing myself. I got the job I wanted.
The Alchemist was worth a read for me. It might be too spiritual, too religious or even too cheesy for some, but I recommend it to anyone who is second guessing or struggling to find their journey, or simply someone who wants to look at the world in a different way.
"When I have been truely searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous, because I've known that every hour was a part of the dream.. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I've discoved things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try."