Alchemy is the art of Transformation.
Metaphysical Truisms in Coelho’s “The Achemist”
I just finished reading “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho; I received it as a gift from a friend for my birthday. It’s one of those stories that is almost too obviously metaphorical/symbolic/allegorical, and yet, you love it for all the truth that spills out across its pages, like a gospel. So much truth, in fact, that I decided to
just write a brief description and analysis of my three favorite beliefs woven through this story. When I describe them, they may come across as “complicated” and “philosophical”, as if I thought too much about it. But I experience metaphysical truths very simply; it’s like I can see their truth very clearly in my mind, like solving Proofs in Trigonometry.
Firstly, in order for me to discuss this book without doing a summary, there is one concept that governs the language in the book, and that is the idea of Maktub. “‘Maktub’ is an alchemist term (arabic word) which literally means ‘it is written’. From mystical point of view, it points to the fact that whatever happens is already known to the One. It signifies that Destiny exists. It points finger to the fact that everything is already known to God” (mysticsaint.info). It’s necessary to understand this because the main character in the story, Santiago, learns to speak the Language of the Universe by entering the Soul of the World, something that transcends words, and yet, the story itself must go on in literarily.
Here are my 3 favorite concepts:
1) “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” (74).
Yes. Because the Universe is infinite, everything that Is, already Was, and Will Be. Where the past and the future meet is called the Present and it’s the only thing that’s real. We can travel, intuitively, to the past and the future through the present because it is in the present that both of these exist; it feels like a paradox but it’s really not. If you let yourself, you’ll feel this truth intuitively. The Future is History. Wow, now there’s a cool concept. Anyway, we are all connected through one basic thread of the Infinite itself, and therefore tapping into any other space and time is as “easy” as tapping into another part of yourself. It’s really just a matter of letting go. (Isn’t everything?)
2) “People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them . . . my heart is afraid if will have to suffer.”
“Tell your heart that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity” (130).
Firstly, we’ve all heard the motivational line about not pursing our dreams because we’re afraid of failure, blah blah blah. But what I like in those first lines is the concept that what we’re afraid of is success. Why would we be afraid of success? Mostly because somewhere inside of us we don’t believe we deserve it. This subconscious belief grows throughout lifetimes, much of it happens early in this life as well. I’ve dealt with this frequently throughout my personal evolution over the last few years; I also wrote a blog about it earlier, The Spiritual Ozone Layer; it’s about making sure to remember not to just pray for your dreams to come true, but also for the strength to believe that you deserve them.
The boy then says what we’re all thinking, “my heart is afraid to suffer.” Here’s a metaphysical truth: what you resist persists. By resisting the state of suffering, you suffer. The alchemist reminds the boy, “The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” Everything is self-fulfilling; what are you filling yourself with?
Then the alchemist tells the boy that by pursing his dreams, his “Personal Legend”, it is impossible to suffer because “every second of the search is an encounter with God and eternity”. This is because there is your will, and there is God’s will. When your will is aligned with God’s will, everything that’s happening is real; it’s taking place in the Soul of the One. Your dreams and desires were planted in you so that you would pursue them, so every second that you are on that path, your heart and God’s heart are One. Amen.
3) “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” (151).
Again, this is very obviously clear and true. Everything on Earth can be reduced down to one metaphysical state: existence. To be. You and a Rock both exist. You are, somewhere in the biggest “big picture”, part of One thing. And therefore when you grow in integrity and in spirit, you increase the overall vibration of the Soul of the World, which even though may technically be “minute” in comparison, is still billions of times bigger than you can imagine. When you raise your vibration, the vibration of everything around you raises, and ripples through existence.