Adversity is a Gift

“Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.”
—William Shakespeare 

You lost the election.

You bet on the wrong stock.

You missed the game winning field goal.

You fell down face first into a pile of mud.

And it hurt. 

It still does sometimes.

But you weren’t meant to remain in pain.

The pain – the adversity, is an opportunity to grow, to learn, to prosper, but in the moments it happens it’s almost impossible to appreciate.

Adversity doesn’t feel good, but it carries within it a gift.

The gift of experience.

“Experience is the teacher of all things.”
—Julius Caesar

The gift may be hidden, but it’s there, waiting for you to find it, open it, & move forward – stronger, wiser, and ready for the next opportunity.

27 Empowering Quotes from Don Jose Ruiz’s Wisdom of the Shamans

1) Are there any areas of your life where you want to inflict your own beliefs on others? Do you try and control others? For instance, do you think the path of the shaman is the way for everyone? It isn’t. Other people are on their own paths and moving through life in their own time and at their own pace. 

2) One of the hallmarks of a shaman is that rather than adopting the beliefs of others, the shaman looks inside herself for the answers that are already there.

3) The shaman follows her own path, not one that was laid out by others. 

4) The story of our initiation also demonstrates how some shamans can commune with nature in a way that cannot be explained.

5) Despite the great interest in these miraculous occurrences, my father has never let these phenomena distract from the primary message of shamanism and his teachings: find your own personal freedom, heal yourself from the addiction to suffering, be of service to others. 

6) A power object, or what could also be called a totem, is a sacred object or symbol that a shaman forms a relationship with, which enables her to call upon the power of whatever the object represents. 

7) Animals live in complete awareness of the present moment without mitote or the parasite, and therefore they have direct access to silent wisdom. 

8) As I have been driving home throughout this book, the path of the shaman is about following your own truth, and yours will be different from mine. 

9) Am I honoring my own personal truth, or am I trying to live up to someone else’s ideals? 

10) For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, self-domestication occurs when you take the beliefs of others and punish or otherwise coerce yourself into following them, even when they go against your own personal truth. With self-domestication, you no longer need the domesticator to be in your life, as you have taken over that role. 

11) Finally, when he looked deep within himself and admitted his own personal truth, a massive weight lifted from his shoulders. All the internal struggle of trying to be something that he wasn’t disappeared. 

12) I don’t know if my grandmother knew any of these similar stories, but I do know that she was clear about one thing, and that is that God, the Great Spirit, the nagual, or whatever word you use to describe the Divine, resides in all of us.

13) While we can’t do anything to change the dream of others, our own dream is entirely within our power.

14) For instance, how do you treat people who don’t share your political or spiritual beliefs or other viewpoints you consider important? Do you try and subjugate them to your own perspective? Do you try to domesticate them to your way of thinking? By attempting to domesticate others, we feed our own addiction to suffering. 

15) One practice to reverse this within yourself is to consciously focus on the divinity in the human sitting in front of you, respecting their choices and point of view, and acting toward them from a place of love. 

16) If you want to have a sacred interaction with another, the first step is to really listen to them.

17) Listen without judging; listen without thinking about what you will say next. Just listen. By doing so, you will find out what this person’s message is for you and experience the sacredness of that connection in the process. 

18) …After many years, on the anniversary of his death, the woman began to make her customary pilgrimage, but this time, when she reached the top there was a great shaman sitting next to the waterfall. The shaman said to her, “It is wonderful to honor the dead, but who is it that you are honoring?” 
The young woman was confused. 
The shaman continued, “If you want to honor the dead, you honor the wrong person. Look in the mirror. It is you who are dead. You aren’t allowing yourself to go on with your life. Anyone who lives chained to the past lives in fear and grief. Regret isn’t living; it is dying.” 

19) During the Day of the Dead, we imagine a loved one coming from beyond the grave. They see how you are suffering, and they tell you, “Hey, you are alive! You are not dead, you are alive! C’mon, wake up and celebrate life! Stop being dead.” 

20) So often we search for our own personal freedom with such diligence and seriousness that we forget that the shamanic path is also about having fun.We can get so devoted to our inner and outer work that we forget that a strong belly laugh is one of the best cures for the mind’s addiction to suffering. 

21) Enjoying life and doing things for no other reason than to have fun is a part of maintaining balance.

22) In shamanism, celebrating life means having an open and grateful heart for all that life brings us. This open heart is what allows you to see beyond what the mind typically labels as “good” or “evil,” enough or not enough, even happy and sad. When you reside in the nagual that exists in all things, you find that you are able to keep your heart open even in the face of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or any other nightmare in the Dream of the Planet.

23) The alternative is to let these situations draw you back into the addiction of suffering, and that’s how the cycle of negativity continues. 

24) Celebrating life doesn’t mean you won’t experience the normal human emotions of sadness and grief. One of the beautiful things about being human is that we can have multiple emotions, positive and negative, at the same time. It means you feel those emotions without fighting them, without turning them into the emotional poisons of anger, a desire for revenge, or hatred. Embracing tragedies with an open heart is one of the most difficult practices to undertake. It takes great courage even to attempt to live in this way. 

25) So often we hold on to those old ideas of vice and virtue, enough or not enough. This is one of the things that cause us to live as though we were dead. In order to celebrate our perfection, we must give up the idea that we are a project waiting to be fixed or a goal that needs to be obtained. You are not damaged goods. You are perfect just as you are. 

26) There is nothing wrong with you, and this includes when you are in suffering or creating suffering. Suffering does not mean that you are in any way deficient or not enough or incapable.

27) Here is what is important to remember, a message directly from my heart to yours, truth to truth: You are perfect, my friend, exactly as you are. Celebrate it! 

Intro to Stoicism

Oxford Dictionary defines Stoicism as “an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium. The school taught that virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge; the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.

At its core, Stoicism is about trusting life as it is, not how we think it should be. 

It’s about focusing on what’s in our control — our lives, and acting virtuously, not being pushed and pulled by our emotions.

Practicing Stoicism helps us see life objectively, giving us an understanding that we are not the center of the Universe — That the Universe is indifferent to our thoughts and feelings, and that that’s perfectly okay. This knowledge helps us live less selfishly and more cooperatively.

Stoicism has been practiced for thousands of years by numerous people. Other than Zeno, a few famous early practitioners of Stoicism were Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus, about 2,000 years ago. The modern day leader in Stoicism is Ryan Holiday, who gave me the opportunity to intern with him; a modern day apprenticeship. There were many events that led to this, it didn’t just happen, which you can read how it all came to be here on Thought Catalog.

During this time Holiday deepened my knowledge of Stoicism, inspiring me to apply these practices into my life — which doesn’t make someone perfect, it just makes us more Stoic, which you can decide if that’s good or bad.

I contemplated Stoic ideas before knowing they were Stoic ideas, thinking they were just far-out thoughts. Then, when reading Holiday’s book recommendations, I came across Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and devoured it. It was one of those books that I got pulled into and didn’t want to leave. I highly recommend reading the whole book, but here’s a link to some of Meditation’s main ideas for now.

Below are 4 fundamental Stoic principles you can begin practicing today:

1) Asking, “Is this within my control?”

—If yes, ask, “How can I act virtuously in this moment?”
—If not, ask, “How can I act virtuously in this moment?”

Most of life isn’t in our control, but our response is.

2) Sympatheia

—This is the idea that all things are connected and mutually interdependent. 

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, in Meditations, wrote: 

“The universe made rational creatures for the sake of each other, with an eye toward mutual benefit based on true value and never for harm.”

Here is a YouTube video speech given by Carl Sagan to view life from a perspective outside of yourself, thus, growing in the practice of Sympatheia.

3) Amor Fati

—The idea and practice of loving your fate. 
—Things often don’t happen as we’d like them to happen, but we can learn to appreciate all that happens to us by practicing Amor Fati.

Here is a link to an ancient proverb, telling us a story that shows us how when we think something “bad” has happened, it can be good in disguise, and when we think something “good” has happened, it can be bad in disguise. It’s one of my favorite stories and has broadened my way of thinking.

Nietzsche is quoted saying, “my formula for greatness in a human being is Amor Fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it, but love it.”

Epictetus, born a slave, said: “Demand not that things happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do, and you will go on well.”

4) Memento Mori

—Remember you will die.
—This idea scares some people, but it inspires Stoics.  

“If everything is ephemeral, what does matter? Right now matters. Being a good person and doing the right thing right now, that’s what matters and that’s what was important to the Stoics. Be humble and honest and aware.”
Ryan Holiday

We all know we are going to die one day, but it is a subject rarely talked about. We’d rather ignore the fact of death instead of embrace it, so it ends up scaring the hell out of us. Let’s start discussing the topic of death. Let’s let it inspire us to live life wholly, focusing on what’s important, keeping in mind we won’t live forever, and that’s okay.

Here are some inspiring Memento Mori related quotes:

“Every third thought shall be my grave.”
William Shakespeare

“People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”
Marcus Aurelius

“So this is how a thoughtful person should await death: not with indifference, not with impatience, not with disdain, but simply viewing it as one of the things that happens to us. Now you anticipate the child’s emergence from its mother’s womb; that’s how you should await the hour when your soul will emerge from its compartment.”
Marcus Aurelius

“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?”
Marcus Aurelius

“To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.” 
Michel de Montaigne

“Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.”
Buddha

These are just a few Stoic principles you can begin practicing today. I recommend checking out dailystoic.com for more articles on Stoicism, reminders to:

Act virtuously.
Trust the unknown.
Love your fate.
Remember death.

“If” Inspirational Poem by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you   
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;  
 

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Intro to A Panda’s Journey

The word “panda” originates from the Sanskrit word paṇḍita meaning ‘learned, wise’.

A Panda’s Journey incorporates Spirit & Mind with Quantum Physics to reveal the power within you. 

The power within us all.

The power of realizing you are in control of your destiny.

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21 Best Buddha Quotes Showing The Power of Your Mind

1 — “The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

2 — “All experiences are preceded by mind, having mind as their master, created by mind.”

3 — “All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”

4 — “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind.”

5 — “To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”

6 — “He is able who thinks he is able.” 

7 — “What you think you create, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you become.”

8 — “Everything is based on mind, is led by mind, is fashioned by mind. If you speak and act with a polluted mind, suffering will follow you as the wheels of the oxcart follow the footsteps of the ox.”

9 — “There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind.”

10 — “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.” 

11 — “Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.”

12 — “What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.”

13 — “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

14 — “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, not to anticipate the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

15 — “Irrigators channel waters; fletchers straighten arrows; carpenters bend wood; the wise master themselves.”

16 — “Delight in heedfulness! Guard well your thoughts!”

17 — “You are a seeker. Delight in the mastery of your hands and your feet, of your words and your thoughts.”

18 — “In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”

19 — “The external world is only a manifestation of the activities of the mind itself, and the mind grasps it as an external world simply because of its habit of discrimination and false-reasoning. The disciple must get into the habit of looking at things truthfully.”

20 — “Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.”

21 — “Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.”

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Intro to Alan Watts

Born—January 6, 1915, England.

Growing Up

—His grandpa on his mother’s side of the family was a missionary.

—Alan had interest in storybook fables, mysterious tales, and the idea of “ultimate things” – likely influenced by his mother’s religious family.

—At an early age he was interested in Buddhism.

—Alan became an Episcopal priest in the United States in 1938, before moving to Millbrook, New York.

—He wrote a number of books.

—Moved to San Francisco in 1951, teaching Buddhist studies.

—He became a worldwide spiritual speaker, with the help of his radio show “Way Beyond the West” giving lectures, writing books, living zen, throughout his days.

Written Books

—The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for the Age of Anxiety

—The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

—The Way of Zen

—Become What You Are

—The Meaning of Happiness 

—Out Of Your Mind

—This Is It

—What Is Tao?

—In My Own Way: An Autobiography

—The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness

—Nature, Man and Woman

These are only a small amount of all his publications, which you can find here at the Alan Watts Organization.

Alan Watts is known for multiple things, some of them are for bringing Zen and Buddhist teachings to the West.

He not only spoke of his beliefs, he manifested them, because he knew who he was at a deep universal level.

He knows how difficult those ideas are to be comprehended, but he explained it well so that if you listen enough, you might get it, but also that there’s nothing to get 🙂

One of the many ways he has influenced my life is getting me to wonder what I would do if I didn’t have to worry about money.

Here is Watt’s 3 minute speech on the above idea that changed my life.

He has so many other works that you can find on YouTube, bookstores, anywhere online. 

Died — November 16, 1973, California.

“I had a discussion with a great master in Japan…and we were talking about the various people who are working to translate the Zen books into English, and he said, ‘That’s a waste of time. If you really understand Zen…you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because…the sound of the rain needs no translation’.”

“And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words… As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning.”

“If you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water…You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

“So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.”

Here are 69 of Watt’s best quotes. I wrote down many of his quotes before numbering them and it just happened to be 69. Enjoy.

A Parable on Peace: “This too will pass”

According to an ancient Sufi story, there lived a king in some Middle Eastern land who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency. The slightest thing would cause him great upset or provoke an intense reaction, and his happiness would quickly turn into disappointment and despair.

A time came when the king finally got tired of himself and of life, and he began to seek a way out. He sent for a wise man who lived in his kingdom and who was reputed to be enlightened. When the wise man came, the king said to him, “I want to be like you. Can you give me something that will bring balance, serenity, and wisdom into my life? I will pay back any price you ask.”

The wise man said, “I may be able to help you. But the price is so great that your entire kingdom would not be sufficient to pay for it. Therefore it will be a gift to you if you honor it.” The king gave his assurances and the wise man left.

A few weeks later, he returned and handed the king an ornate box carved in jade. The king opened the box and found a simple gold ring inside. Some letters were inscribed on the ring. The inscription read. This too will pass. “What is the meaning of this?” asked the king. The wise man said, “Wear this ring always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription. That way you will always be at peace.”

This too will pass. What is it about this simple words that makes them so powerful? Looking at it superficially, it would seem while those words may provide some comfort in a bad situation, they would also diminish the enjoyment of the good things in life. 

“Don’t be too happy, because it won’t last.” This seems to be what they are saying when applied in a situation that is perceived as good.

…this story points to the fact of impermanence which, when recognized, leads to non-attachment. Non-resistance, non-judgment, and non-attachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.

Those words inscribed on the ring are not telling you that you should not enjoy the good in your life, nor are they merely meant to provide some comfort in times of suffering. They have a deeper purpose: to make you aware of the fleetingness of every situation, which is due to the transience of all forms- good or bad. When you become aware of the transience of all forms, your attachment to them lessens, and you dis-identify with them to some extent. Being detached does not mean you cannot enjoy the good that the world has to offer. In fact, you enjoy it more. Once you see the transience of all things and the inevitability of change, you can enjoy the pleasures about the future. When you are detached, you gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them.

I first heard this story from Eckhart Tolle.

30 Marcus Aurelius Quotes on Other People and Why You Should Focus on Yourself

1) “Don’t pay attention to other people’s minds. Look straight ahead, where nature is leading you, through the things that happen to you through your own actions.”

2) “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and unfriendly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.”

3) “Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”

4) “God did not intend my happiness to rest with someone else.”

5) “Welcoming wholeheartedly whatever comes- whatever were assigned—not worrying too often, or with any selfish motive, about what other people say, or do, or think.”

6) “Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good.  It will keep you from doing anything useful.  You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind.”

7) “You want praise from people who kick themselves every 15 minutes, the approval of people who despise themselves…why do you want approval from people who don’t know where or who they are on this planet?”

8) “The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say, or think, or do. Only what you do. Asking yourself: Is this fair? Is this the right thing to do?”

9) “Why do unskilled and untrained souls disturb souls with skill and understanding?”

10) “So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine.”

11) “So remember this principle when someone threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to endure it and prevail is great good fortune.”

12) “When someone seems to have injured you: ‘But how can I be sure?’ And in any case, keep in mind: —That he’s already been tried and convicted-by himself, like scratching your own eyes out.—That to expect a bad person not to harm others is like expecting fig trees not to secrete juice, babies not to cry, horses not to neigh—the inevitable not to happen.”

13) “When people injure you, ask yourself what good or harm they thought would come of it. If you understand that, you’ll feel sympathy rather than outrage or anger.”

14) “If they’ve injured you, then they’re the ones who suffer for it.”

15) “People do things that upset you, but it can’t harm your mind. People do boorish things, what’s strange or unheard of about that?? Isn’t it yourself you should reproach—for not anticipating that they’d act this way??—It was you who did wrong by assuming that someone with those traits deserved your trust.”

16) “Other people’s mistakes? Leave them to their makers.”

17) “Leave other peoples mistakes where they lie.”

18) “If anyone can refute me-show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective—I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.”

19) “People out for posthumous fame forget that the Generations To Come will be the same annoying people they know now. And just as mortal. What does it matter to you if they say x about you, or think y?”

20) “When faced with people’s bad behavior, turn around and ask when you have acted like that. When you saw money as good, or pleasure, or social position. Your anger will subside as soon as you recognize that they acted under compulsion.”

21) “If someone despises me—that’s their problem. Mine—not to do or say anything despicable. If someone hates me—that’s their problem. Mine—to be patient and cheerful with everyone, including them. Ready to show them their mistake. Not spitefully, or to show off my own self-control, but in an honest, upright way. That’s the way we should be like inside, and never let the gods catch us feeling anger or resentment.”

22) “That kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere—not ironic or an act. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight—if you get the chance—correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do you harm..
‘No, no my friend. That isn’t what we’re here for. It isn’t me who’s harmed by that. It’s you.’ And show him gently without pointing fingers that it’s so.”

23) “That it’s not what they do that bothers us: that’s a problem for their minds, not ours. It’s our own misperceptions. Discard them. Be willing to give up thinking of this as a catastrophe…and your anger is gone. How do you do that? By recognizing that you’ve suffered no disgrace.”

24) “That you don’t know for sure it is a mistake. A lot of things are means to some other end. You have to know an awful lot before you can judge other people’s actions with real understanding.”

25) “It never ceases to amaze me: We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

26) “The despicable phoniness of people who say, ‘listen, I’m going to level with you here.’ What does that mean?? It shouldn’t even need to be said. It should be obvious—written in block letters on your forehead. It should be audible in your voice, visible in your eyes, like a lover who looks into your face, and takes in the whole story at a glance. A straightforward honest person should be like someone who stinks: when you’re in the same room with him, you know it.  But false straightforwardness is like a knife in the back. False friendship is the worst. Avoid it at all costs. If you’re honest and straightforward and mean well, it should show in your eyes. It should be unmistakable.”

27) “Or is it your reputation thats bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands. The people who praise us-how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region in which it all takes place. The whole earth a point in space-and most of it uninhabited.”

28) “To live life in peace, immune to all compulsion…Let them scream whatever they want.”

29) “Not to be distracted by their darkness.  To run straight for the finish line, unswerving.”

30) “Don’t be put off by other people’s comments and criticism.”

4 Encapsulating Messages from the Book “The Alchemist”


“…That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

 

“What is an alchemist?”
“It’s a man who understands nature and the world.”

the-alchemist-coacht.blog_


The book The Alchemist follows the story of a boy, Santiago, who becomes a shepherd to pursue his dream of traveling to “know the world,” he says. 

Santiago’s parents wanted him to become a priest but he insisted on following his passion of traveling. When he told his parents he wanted to travel and not be a priest his father was against the idea at first but ended up supporting his son with 3 gold coins.

 

 

“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

During Santiago’s travels as a shepherd he encounters a woman who interprets dreams. He has been having a reoccurring dream so he decides to have her interpret it, although he is hesitant in trusting her. 

She tells him “dreams are the language of God” and after hearing his dream she tells him he must go to the pyramids in Egypt where there is a treasure for him. Santiago was disappointed in her interpretation so he left but his journey continued…


The next person Santiago encounters is a king:

Santiago: “Why would a king be talking to a shepherd?”

King: “For several reasons. But let’s say that the most important is that you have succeeded in discovering your destiny…”

“The boy didn’t know what a person’s ‘destiny’ was.”

King: “It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny 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 destiny.”

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“The old man(king) pointed to a baker standing in his shop window at one corner of the plaza. ‘When he was a child, that man wanted to travel too. But he decided first to buy his bakery and put some money aside. When he’s an old man, he’s going to spend a month in Africa. He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.’”

“’What’s the world’s greatest lie?’ The boy asked…
It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.’”

 

Santiago’s decision to live a life that he wanted rather than what his parents wanted for him sent him in the direction of living his dreams. He followed his intuitive voice within and that made all the difference.

He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

Over the course of the book Santiago meets a number of other people who all seem to be in his life for a reason beyond his momentary understanding. He learns lessons as he faces obstacles and setbacks which come when any person chooses to pursue their dreams.

“He read the lives of the various people who have succeeded in doing so…They were fascinating stories: each of them lived out his destiny to the end. They traveled, spoke with wise men, performed miracles for the incredulous, and owned the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life.”

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Santiago learns many things throughout his journey like to persist in following his dreams although he is continually tested, to trust life and the process, and that the “soul of the world” is a world beyond words.

“‘That’s the principle that governs all things,’ he said. ‘In alchemy, it’s called the Soul of the World. When you want something with all your heart, that’s when you are closest to the Soul of the World. It’s a positive force.’”

Learn more about The Alchemist in the following 4 sections of encapsulating messages:

1) Follow your Dreams
2) You will be Tested
3) Trust Life and the Process
4) The Soul of the World
5) Favorite 23 Quotes from The Alchemist

 



coacht.blog dream1) Follow your Dreams


“But what if I can’t?”
“Then you’ll die in the midst of trying to realize your destiny. That’s a lot better than dying like millions of other people, who never even knew what their destinies were.”

He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

“Why don’t people’s hearts tell them to continue to follow their dreams?”

“Because that’s what makes a heart suffer most, and hearts don’t like to suffer.”

“If a person is living out his destiny, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“And what went wrong when other alchemists tried to make gold and were unable to do so?”
“They were looking only for gold. They were seeking the treasure of their destiny, without wanting actually to live out the destiny.”

“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 that it will have to suffer.”
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering it self. 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.”

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”

“…When I have been truly searching for my treasure, Ive discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.”

“It’s true; life really is generous to those who pursue their destiny.”

“To do that successfully, I must have no fear of failure. It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the Master Work. Now, I’m beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years.”

“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him,’ his heart said. ‘We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them—the path to their destinies, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”

“And anyone who interferes with the destiny of another thing never will discover his own.”

“The boy told himself that, on the way toward realizing his own destiny, he had learned all he needed to know, and had experienced everything he might have dreamed of.”

 

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2) You will be Tested 

“The closer he got to the realization of his dream, the more difficult things became…In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, not impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.”

“He realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.”

“‘I had to test your courage,’ the stranger said. Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World.”

“…You must not let up, even after having come so far. You must love the desert, but never trust it completely. Because the desert tests all men: it challenges every step, and kills those who become distracted.”

“‘Once you get into the desert, there’s no going back,’ said the camel driver. ‘And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.’”

“It’s only those who are persistent, and willing to study things deeply, who achieve the Master Work.”

“What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’”

“…Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”

“To show you one of life’s simple lessons. When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”

“When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

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

“In his heart, he felt a strange sense of joy: he was about to die in pursuit of his destiny.”

 

coacht.blog-alchemist-trust.jpg3) Trust Life and the Process

“Well, maybe I just want to know the future so I can prepare myself for what’s coming.”

“If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise. If bad things are, and you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they even occur.”

We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it. But the old king hadn’t said anything about being robbed, or about endless deserts, or about people who know what their dreams are but don’t want to realize them.”

“In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left for you.”

“There’s no such thing as coincidence…”
The boy knew what he was about to describe though: the mysterious chain that links one thing to another, the same chain that had caused him to become a shepherd, that had caused his recurring dream, that had brought him to a city near Africa, to find a king, and to be robbed in order to meet a crystal merchant, and…”

“He had not a cent in his pocket, but he had faith.”

“The camel driver, though, seemed not to be very concerned with the threat of war. ‘I’m alive,’ he said to the boy. ‘When I’m eating, that’s all I think about. If I’m on the march, I just concentrate on marching. If I have to fight, it will be just as good a day to die as any other. Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.”

“When you are in love, things make even more sense.”

“Don’t forget that everything you deal with is only one thing and nothing else. And don’t forget the language of omens. And, above all, don’t forget to follow your destiny through to its conclusion.”

“Don’t think about what you’ve left behind…Everything is written in the Soul of the World, and there it will stay forever…If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.”

 

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4) Soul of the World

“He learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.”

“It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time.”

I learned that the world has a soul, and that whoever understands that soul can also understand the language of things.

“You already know about alchemy. It is about penetrating to the Soul of the World, and discovering the treasure that has been reserved for you.”

“…And then there were the others, who were interested only in gold. They never found the secret.”

“What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’”

“At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him.”

“He realized: If I can learn to understand this language without words, I can learn to understand the world.”

“This Soul of the World allowed them to understand anything on the face of the earth, because it was the language with which all things communicated.”

“No. It’s like the flight of those two hawks; it cannot be understood by reason alone. The Emerald Tablet is a direct passage to the Soul of the World…”

“Love is the force that transform and improves the Soul of the World.”

“The boy reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was a part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles.”

“‘Everything in life is an omen’, said the Englishman… ‘There is a universal language, understood by everybody, but already forgotten. I am in search of that universal language, among other things. That’s why I’m here. I have to find a man who knows that universal language. An alchemist.’”

“All his life and all his studies were aimed at finding the one true language of the universe.”

“How do I immerse myself in the desert?”
“Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.”

“‘The desert takes our men from us, and they don’t always return,’ she said. ‘We know that, and we are used to it. Those who don’t return become a part of the clouds, a part of the animals that hide in the ravines and of the water that comes from the earth. They become a part of everything…they become the Soul of the World.”

“In the silence, the boy understood that the desert, the wind, and the sun were also trying to understand the signs written by the hand, and were seeking to follow their paths, and to understand what had been written on a single emerald. He saw that omens were scattered throughout the earth and in space, and that there was no reason or significance attached to their appearance; he could see that not the deserts, nor the winds, nor the sun, not people knew why they had been created. But that the hand had a reason for all of this, and that only the hand could perform miracles, or transform the sea into a desert…or a man into the wind.”

“He had only one explanation for this fact: things have to be transmitted this way because they were made up from the pure life, and this kind of life cannot be captured in pictures or words. Because people become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.”

 

coacht.blog Alchemist quote

5) My Favorite 23 Quotes from The Alchemist

1) “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

2) “…That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

3) “The old man pointed to a baker standing in his shop window at one corner of the plaza. ‘When he was a child, that man wanted to travel too. But he decided first to buy his bakery and put some money aside. When he’s an old man, he’s going to spend a month in Africa. He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.’”

4) “But what if I can’t?”
“Then you’ll die in the midst of trying to realize your destiny. That’s a lot better than dying like millions of other people, who never even knew what their destinies were.”

5) ) “If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

6) He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

7) “My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer.”
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering it self. 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.”

8) “And what went wrong when other alchemists tried to make gold and were unable to do so?”
“They were looking only for gold. They were seeking the treasure of their destiny, without wanting actually to live out the destiny.”


9) “He learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.”

10) “To show you one of life’s simple lessons. When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”

11) “It’s only those who are persistent, and willing to study things deeply, who achieve the Master Work.”

12) “In his heart, he felt a strange sense of joy: he was about to die in pursuit of his destiny.”

13) “‘I had to test your courage,’ the stranger said. ‘Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World.”

14) “What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’”

15) “Well, maybe I just want to know the future so I can prepare myself for what’s coming.”
“If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise. If bad things are, and you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they even occur.”

16) “There’s no such thing as coincidence…”
The boy knew what he was about to describe though: the mysterious chain that links one thing to another, the same chain that had caused him to become a shepherd, that had caused his recurring dream, that had brought him to a city near Africa, to find a king, and to be robbed in order to meet a crystal merchant, and…”

17) “‘Everything in life is an omen’, said the Englishman… ‘There is a universal language, understood by everybody, but already forgotten. I am in search of that universal language, among other things.'”

18) “It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time.”

19) “When you are in love, things make even more sense.”

20) “How do I immerse myself in the desert?”
“Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.”

21) “Don’t think about what you’ve left behind…Everything is written in the Soul of the World, and there it will stay forever…If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.”

22) “He had only one explanation for this fact: things have to be transmitted this way because they were made up from the pure life, and this kind of life cannot be captured in pictures or words. Because people become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.”

23) “The camel driver, though, seemed not to be very concerned with the threat of war. ‘I’m alive,’ he said to the boy. ‘When I’m eating, that’s all I think about. If I’m on the march, I just concentrate on marching. If I have to fight, it will be just as good a day to die as any other. Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.”

 

I hope you enjoyed these messages from The Alchemist!

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