If you are in search of a worthwhile read, or if life feels too busy and you feel a real void in daily inspiration, well then, I urge you to read The Alchemist.
Paolo Coehlo writes a timeless story of importance that reminds us of one universal truth: the power we hold within our own selves. Written in language that is tender yet profound, this book will nourish your spirit with a new love of the world. Through the story’s young shepherd, Santiago, I remembered the art of being curious. I remembered that all of the power is already invested in me when it comes to pursuing my dreams. I remembered that it is a gift to be alive--to be a conscious, thoughtful being. Most of all, I remembered to stop and listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world.
The central message of The Alchemist is introduced through a young shepherd boy, Santiago, in search of his own “Personal Legend.” Santiago is an inquisitive shepherd eager to fulfill his life’s purpose. The book follows along as he goes in search of some of life’s most philosophical answers. Naturally, as with any great pursuit, he is often met by failure and uncertainty. As the reader, I found Santiago’s challenges to be so familiar. I’d ask myself “Well..what is my purpose? What am I good at? What do I want to do with my one wild and precious life?” I enjoyed this process of reading and thinking and reflecting. It made the book feel personal, as if it were written specifically for me.
It is important to note that a unique feature of this book is it’s tone. Coehlo creates a fairy tale that is rare in adult fiction, especially when reading texts that deal with mysticism or philosophy. Instead of being complex, the pages read in a way that is accessible.
Symbolism and deeper meaning are revealed simply so that the reader resonates in very significant and personal way. For instance, when Santiago is faced with a love complex, he finds himself struggling to follow his personal interests. He fears it might hinder his chance at true love. I imagine most of us have been challenged by this exact experience, during which we start to believe that in order to have the love we desire, we must give up our own personal goals in some way. Softly, The Alchemist reminds us “You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit it’s because it wasn’t true love..the love that speaks the Language of the World.” And there it is, the answer to one of life’s greatest confusions: love yourself and listen to your true purpose.
Simple but enlightening, the answers of your life, like The Alchemist, are not always so complex, so hidden. If you want to find purpose, perspective, and love--simply look within. Or, look and look again at this story and it’s message to live a life authentic.