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What I Learned From The Alchemist

February 13, 2011

“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.”

~Paulo Coelho

Books. I love Books. They have the ability to change the range of our emotions in mere minutes. They can inspire, educate, make us laugh, make us cry and allow us to get lost in another world.

When it comes to my favorite books I’m all over the map. I have always been attracted by books that promise to inspire me whether fictional or not. So, ever since a wise friend handed me “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho when I was 19, it’s been an inspiration to me that I turn back to time and time again. I have read several other books by this author since and have enjoyed them as well but this one will always hold a special place in my heart.

So on this beautiful Sunday, I thought I would share some of the simple yet remarkable quotes from this book. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to have a great day and a great life.

. . . 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 horizons that 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 you arrived.  Because I know the things I should be able to accomplish, and I don’t want to do so.

When I had my sheep, I was happy, and I made those around me happy.  People saw me coming and welcomed me, he thought.  But now I’m sad and alone.  I’m going to become bitter and distrustful of people because one person betrayed me.  I’m going to hate those who have found their treasure because I never found mine.  And I’m going to hold on to what little I have, because I’m too insignificant to conquer the world.

. . . 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 the sun rises.

If you start out by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work toward getting it.

It’s [your Personal Legend] 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.

When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize his dream.

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.

One is loved because one is loved.  No reason is needed for loving.

There is only one way to learn . . . It’s through action.  Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.

Wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.

Treason is a blow that comes unexpectedly.  If you know your heart well, it will never be able to do that to you.  Because you’ll know its dreams and wishes, and will know how to deal with them  You will never be able to escape from your heart.  So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.  That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow.

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.

. . . the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.  And 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.

When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.

Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. warwick permalink
    February 13, 2011 11:42

    Wow that is wild. I went for a walk this morning and began to think of the wisdom of the Alchemist and I come home and check my email and see a link to your blog on the same subject. Trippy!!

    I was thinking of it in relation to changing stuff…we cannot just rely on changing EVENTS…going to exotic loctions and meeting loads of cool people. Whenever I have done this there always seems to be a bar and people getting high. This is because the most important thing to change is our inner state. All the people (myself included) at the bar want to do exactly this and with booze and drugs it works really well and fast. Problem is that it does not last and leads to a big come down.

    We need the alchemy to raise our consciousness and let us feel alive, unafraid and real. Sometimes we need an event change to kick us in the butt to get the STATE change. Or it might just be doing something simple like preparing a salad.

    Alchemy is exactly talking about the state change…changing base metals into gold in a metaphorical way. I recently read something on the esoteric meaning of the Cross. One meaning is that “Now” is at the intersect. It is only from here that our consciousness can be lifted ie ascending up the vertical part. So to change our consciousness and turn waking up from the base metal to the higher state of gold we need to start from being present in the Now…otherwise we are lost in our imagination …which is all the past and the future is.

    I did a one hour loop walk and tried to be in the present. Thoughts would come and transport me into the future or the past…then I remembered that I was trying to be present. My footsteps and rhythmic stride. Making the effort and checking out my senses one by one….did not quite make it to Gold but got the feeling sometimes that it was not so far away!


    • February 13, 2011 19:26

      Hello Warwick,

      Thanks for the great in-depth comment. It sounds to me like you are well on your way to being more conscious or in the present moment. Most people don’t even realize that they are asleep most of the time.
      That said, it certainly isn’t an easy thing to do and takes constant practice.
      Change is good as it helps snap you into the reality of the present moment and maybe that’s most people don’t do well with it.
      Keep on breaking the boundaries and heading for your “Gold.” And enjoy the journey getting there 🙂


  2. February 13, 2011 16:18

    Jess The Alchemist is one of my favorite books of all time! And I too was introduced to it at 19. I had told a friend I really loved Life of Pi and they said if I loved that I’d love The Alchemist.
    They were right! I’ve read The Alchemist in both ENglish & Spanish twice! haha. I just love its message and optimism, ya know?

    You would love Life of Pi if you haven’t read it. The ending is awesome. Also, The Pilgrimage by Paulo is absolutely wonderful too. It’s a little different, but has some wonderful inspiring lessons in it as well. And, as you may have guessed, is about a grand journey. I actually really want to reread it now that you’ve reminded me! 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing these quotes! It was just what I wanted to read to start off my Sunday morning!!!!

    Oh, and I’d love to see what othe books you’v eloved that have inspired! I’m looking for more! Possibly an upcoming blog post?! 🙂

    • February 13, 2011 19:42

      Hey Laur,

      It’s funny you mention the Life of Pi because I bought for someone as a gift ages ago but have never actually read it myself. Will now definitely add it to my list:)
      You know when I first started learning Greek and had a pretty good handle on the basics I decided to attempt and read The Alchemist in that language. So far I’ve read the book in English, Greek and French.

      And You are definitely reading my mind mentioning “The Pilgrimage” as I read it a long time ago and have just started reading it again. Walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela is on my Life List. My husband and I have been mapping out starting at St Jean Pied the Port in the Pyrenees and heading into Spain. It would take about 21 days walking on average 14 hrs/day. It’s an experience I sure don’t plan on missing. You should come:)

      As usual, thanks for your great comment and as for the book post I’m thinking of keeping them going on a weekly basis as fuel for inspiration as it surely inspired me writing them and I have so many more books I would like to share. BTW if you keep on reading my thoughts exactly you will totally freak me out:D

      Hope your having an Amazing Day


  3. February 13, 2011 19:32

    Isn’t it amazing how new layers of meaning and depth emerge from words you’ve read before? I read The Alchemist years ago, but as I read through the snippets you put here my understanding seems to have grown & changed to a place that is so different than it was when I first read it. I think when I first read it, it seemed so magical. Now that I’ve experienced more of what it talks about, I see it as reality. A reality I understand and strive to live from the place it describes.

    Thanks for sharing…I might need to pop open my copy again!! Have you read The Witch of Portobello? I think that was my favorite of Paolo’s!


    • February 13, 2011 19:54

      Bonjour Quinn,

      Happy the quotes helped you realize or see how much you’ve grown:)

      I know what you mean about having a new perspective in regards to the messages of the book. At 19, it did seem so magical to me as well. Now when I read it I take new things from it each time that make see how I’ve evolved.

      I have read the Witch of Portobello and I remember it having a profound impact on me at the time. I particular like the following quote; “No one lights a lamp in order to hide it behind the door: the purpose of light is to create more light, to open people’s eyes, to reveal the marvels around.”
      Now that you’ve reminded me I think I’d like to read that again and see how I view it now:) One sunday morning you may awake to my favorite quotes from that one…

      Hope you have a lovely Sunday as mine comes to an end..:D


  4. February 16, 2011 20:23

    I wanted to reply but I’ve been searching and searching for the quotes I took away from The Witch of Portobello and I finally found the lost journal. I read the book when I took a brief weekend to the Aran Islands in Ireland. I was on an island all by myself with probably 10 other people. Not one of them I knew. I was by myself reading this book and roaming the amazing landscapes. It was beautiful.

    I practically wrote the whole book down in quotes in my journal, but this one stands out:
    “Simply believe–don’t doubt anything. You’re alive, and this candle is the only point in your universe. Believe in that. Let go of the idea that thep ath will lead you to your goa. The truth is that with each step we take, we arrive. Repeat that to yourself every morning: ‘I’ve arrived.'”

    I’m so happy you reminded me of Paulo! I was able to dig this journal out of the many and am now re-exploring that time in my life. I think I’ll have to read it again too 🙂

  5. February 17, 2011 09:59

    Paulo Coelho is in my top three, right after Kahlil Gibran. My first read of his was Veronica Decides to Die, followed by The Alchemist. I’ve since read almost all of his books, but specifically reading those two books at that point in my life was an amazing journey. I truly believe it helped my find something that my life was missing.

    Thank you so much for the quotes. They are a reminder for me not to forget what I’ve learned and to never stop trying.

    • February 17, 2011 10:27

      Hi Rachel,

      Sounds like we both love the same books. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran’s is such an inspirational book talking about the truths of life and I plan on including it in one of my literary posts one of these weeks.
      I’m curious, what other author makes it into your top 3?
      And thanks for reminding me about Veronika Decides to Die, another one that deserves to be included at some point. Thanks for stopping by and reminding me of some great books that deserve a second glance.
      It’s great that the reminders we get from books that have inspired us, teach us so much about ourselves.


  6. February 24, 2011 00:50

    The Alchemist and The Prophet are among my favorites too. I love the books, filled with gems of inspiration and wisdom, that you can pick up over and over, and always take away something new. After I read the Alchemist, I started an (almost daily) practice of talking to my heart. I tell my heart that I am listening to it, and I want to follow it, because I know that my deepest, most beautiful dreams are held within my heart.

    • February 24, 2011 10:53

      Hi Leah,

      So happy to see you here:)

      The alchemist is what first led me on my journey to unlock the dreams in my heart. Once you do that you can never turn back.
      Stay strong and follow your path Leah, you will make it. 🙂

      I see you are from Victoria, B.C. It has always been my favorite place in Canada. I lived in Mill Bay for a few months many years ago, but I have always found something magical about Vancouver Island. Do you plan on studying nutrition there?


      • February 24, 2011 19:36

        Hi Jess,

        Yes, I do plan to study here. Thanks for the encouragement, it is an exciting time! 🙂

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