Finding Your Dream and Creating Your Miracles

Journey to Pyramids

by Jayaram V

This essay is about the symbolism and the transformative wisdom contained in the book, the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, is about the journey of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago from his native place in Spain to the desert in Egypt in search of treasures hidden in the pyramids. Throughout the story you will be presented with many allegories, metaphors and hidden gems of wisdom which suggest that if you have a dream or desire and it is strong enough, you will find help along the way in various forms and guises.

The book has become so popular that it is one of the most translated books in the history of the world. Its main theme is summarized in the words of an old man who tells Santiago, the main character, “To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only obligation.” He further adds, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

In other words, you must find your true calling according to your deepest yearning or predominant desire. Once you find it, you must set yourself on a journey of a lifetime to achieve it with single-minded determination, putting your heart and soul into it, and fine tuning yourself and your decisions according to the lessons you learn and the messages you receive from the universe. It is your mission. It is all you are meant to do, why you are born and exist here.

Life is a journey in a world that is never the same and in which nothing is ever the same. We all are pilgrims in this sacred journey of life. We may be different and unique but we all seek personal legends and hidden treasures in the world of opportunities according to our upbringing and circumstances, amidst distractions and events that seem to be beyond our control. Most people may not find all the treasures they seek or may give up even seeking. Yet, life goes on rewarding those who strive and ignoring those who do not.

Paulo Coelho himself led a tumultuous life. He did not achieve instant success and suffered from many setbacks and personal failures, starting from his childhood. Yet, his life is the proof that if you have faith, courage and conviction and if you pursue the path of your own greatness or uniqueness, you too will find “meaningful treasures” along the journey “that are at once natural and magical.” Sometimes, you may be reluctant to continue the journey or become distracted, but help comes in the form of a friend or a well wisher, who reminds you of your duty or obligation and help you return to your journey.

The path is never easy. The book does not give any illusions about it. It is a perilous, unpredictable and uncertain path which requires that you keep your mind wide awake and eyes wide open so that you can look for signs from the universe to guide yourself or find yourself. Sometimes, you may be duped, distracted or compelled by people and circumstances to delay your journey or make difficult choices and sacrifices.

Yet, you must not lose heart or stop your search. You must accept life as it is given to you and persist in your effort to find your treasures, drawing strength, hope and courage from within and centering yourself in the present reality. Along the way, you will also learn many lessons about the journey, about yourself and the mysteries of life. You have to actively seek them and learn from them to achieve the required transformation or the alchemy and thereby your cherished goals.

Realistically speaking, Paulo Coelho’s principal argument that the universe conspires to help you is a possibility, but not a certainty because nothing is certain in this universe, including the uncertainty itself. The outcome of your journey entirely depends upon your convictions and your determination or perseverance. The journey of transformation and self-discovery is neither smooth nor easy. You will make mistakes along the way, from which you must be willing to learn and recover. Every failure has a purpose and a hidden message, and you must be intelligent enough to understand them.

Understanding your relationship with the world and its role in shaping your life and destiny is another important aspect which you learn from the book. You have an inseparable connection with the universe. It manifests in your life as people, things, events and circumstances. Everything in it is interconnected, arises from it and forms a part of it. We all exist in it and are never separate from it, nor can we ever be.

The universe plays its role with precision to ensure the orderly progression of life. It does not discriminate in the application of its laws, while people may approach it differently with different attitudes and mindsets. It is your silent witness and active partner in all that you do and seek. In the journey of your life and in search of your dreams, you must learn to communicate with it and decipher its cryptic language in which it constantly keeps sending hints of possibilities and opportunities and the decisions that need to be made.

As Santiago learns during the journey,  the universe does its best to communicate with us through omens, signs, coincidences, chance happenings and mysterious events, which conspire to create the miracles of our lives. They constitute the language of the universe. One must learn to read it and understand it by paying attention and listening to one’s heart or intuition. Paulo Coelho said, “Following your dream is like learning a new language.” To follow your dream, you must learn the language.

The idea that the universe mysteriously and miraculously works for you to help you manifest your strongest thoughts and desire is not new. Many people in the past spoke about it. They recognized the power of thought in manifesting our dreams and desires through inner alchemy and believed in the possibility of positive outcomes by summoning the powers of the mind. The Vedas also affirm similar ideas.

They envision God as the personification of the universe and each being as a replica of the universe itself, and suggest that to seek the help of God, you must make him your inseparable Self and serve him with your mind, heart and soul. Similar ideas were echoed in the past by many wise men from different traditions and cultures who spoke about the material and spiritual rewards of flowing with the flow, being in harmony with oneself and others, living with mindful awareness, seeing God in all and all in God, knowing oneself, being true to oneself and so on.

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