Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist

The book started about a dream of a boy named Santiago. He is contented with his life as an Andalusian shepherd in Spain until one day he has a recurring dream about finding a hidden treasure in the Pyramids. His curiosity urges him to seek someone to interpret this dream. He found a Gypsy who told him that dreams are prophecies that he must act and follow it. However, Santiago is happy being a shepherd and seeking treasure is not his cup of tea. Santiago meets a man named Melchizedek the King of Salem, who talks to him about Personal Legends and omen. Santiago was surprised that the King is able to read what’s on his mind. He told Santiago to pursue his Personal Legend and gives him two stones, Urim and Thummim which can interpret omens. Overwhelmed, Santiago decided to sell his flock and purchase a ticket to Tangier in Northern Africa.

He arrives in Africa but the odds are not on his favor when a thief steals all his money. He was devastated but with the help of stones that can interpret omens he decided to move on and look for ways to earn money so that he can return home. Santiago finds a work in a crystal shop. The shop owned by the merchant ventures a huge financial success. Santiago earns plenty of money to buy a flock of sheep and return home. The crystal merchant’s desire is to go to Mecca however decided not to pursue it. Santiago realizes that he can always go back to being a shepherd but he will not always be able to visit the Pyramids. He decided to move forward to fulfill his Personal Legend.

Santiago joins a caravan traveling to Egypt and meets an Englishman who wants to learn the secret of alchemy from a famous alchemist. He befriended the Englishman and learns about alchemy through his books. While traveling, Santiago learns the Soul of the World. They arrived in an oasis where he meets an Arab girl named Fatima and falls in love with her. The caravan leader told the travelers that the tribal war prevents them from continuing their journey. Santiago wanders through the oasis; he instantly recognized an omen and saw a vision of armies entering the oasis. He hurriedly told the tribal chieftain about his vision and they prepared for the invasion. Afterwards, Santiago confronted by the Alchemist and offers him to cross the desert going to the Pyramid with his aid.

They travel through the desert even in the midst of war. Santiago and the alchemist were captured by the tribal for three days then continued their journey. They arrived in a monastery and the Alchemist told Santiago to continue his journey without his support. Santiago travels alone and finally reaches the Pyramid. He falls to his knees and weeps. He doesn’t know where and how to look for the treasure. He found a beetle where his tears fell. He knows that it’s an omen and starts digging through the sand. While Santiago is digging, a group of thieves notice him. They searched Santiago and found a gold that the Alchemist gave him. The thieves assume that he buried more gold in the sand and told Santiago to keep on digging. Sadly, Santiago doesn’t find any treasure and the thieves beat him up badly. One of the thief told Santiago about his recurring dream about a treasure hidden under a Sycamore tree in Spain. But the thief is not stupid enough to cross an entire desert just because of a dream. Santiago pulls himself together and starts laughing.  He knows where the hidden treasure is.

The book speaks about following your dreams as well as the obstacle you will face in your journey towards it. If you're fully committed on following your dream, you will be severely tested first. It will be a rocky ride before you get there. Sometimes when everything goes haywire, you give up easily. You go back to the comfortable life you always knew and leave everything behind when in fact you're so close to reaching it. Those tests are only lessons that you will master when you move forward to what your heart desires. That's why those who passed the tests are greatly rewarded.

I've read and heard a lot of successful stories and most of them go through hardships. I truly admired these people who fully understand the price of following your dreams. This book has open my eyes to finally act on my dream that I've been putting off for awhile now. I realized what my dream was but I've been through times when I doubt myself just like Santiago in the book. I succumbed to my own fears. I will make this book as my guide and offer to God everything that I will do. I believe that whatever your heart desires, it speaks to you in your dreams. A life changing book that I’ll surely read over and over again.

Below are my favorite quotes from the book.

“And, when you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

“Why do we have to listen to our hearts?" the boy asked.
"Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.”

“Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.”

“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.”

Photos are from my Instagram account - Changbucad

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