Hey, universe… A little help?

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

Does it, though?

When I read The Alchemist years ago, this particular quote stood out to me more than any other. It wasn’t just me, everyone spoke about Paulo Coelho’s declaration that the universe accommodates the dreamer. It was aspirational, and it led me to believe in myself a little more than I did before.

That was years ago.

As I grew up and dreamt of bigger and more worthy goals, I realised that the universe was far from helping me. It started to seem as if the universe was going out of its way to prevent me from reaching my heart’s desire. Every task turned sour. Every day, and every want became painful to swallow. I started channelling my anger and frustration at Coelho for stuffing my head with false promises when none of his claims worked for me. Not that I failed in all of my endeavours, but the process of achieving them often seemed like sheer luck or extensive effort. None of my successes came easy, and by the time I completed a tiny goal I was too tired even to celebrate. And for that I pitied myself and hated everyone else. Jealously crept through me as my colleagues and acquaintances succeeded without expending even half of my efforts. It infuriated me that they had life the easy way when I—who craved for it more than they did—struggled to stay afloat.

It was unfair.

Here I am stringing bits and pieces to capture the bigger picture while the undeserving got all the opportunity I should have.

I’m ashamed now, But I was so jealous then.

I still believe in Paulo Coelho’s aspirational words, but instead of trusting them in a blind way, I take them with a grain of salt.

I’ve realised that sometimes the universe tests us, torments us, and taunts us to see how much we want what we want. Sure, some people might not face challenges, but it’s the challenges and the way we meet them that determine how deserving we are. More often than not, we give up even before we face those challenges.

I’ve wanted to give up so many times—I’d considered all the negativity as a sign for me to stop trying. As if all the hurdles in the path towards my goal are omens telling me I shouldn’t pursue my goals.

And I think that’s where most of us fall behind. We get so close to achieving our goals, after striving for years, and as we encounter one more step back, we decide to step back altogether.

But if we hang on, persevere despite all the world telling us not to, the universe just might turn in our favour. It won’t happen in an instant, and it may not happen for a long time, but some time the horizon will come.

O Alquimista

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 

~The Alchemist~

Well, that’s the subject matter of  ‘The Alchemist’. It’s a story, simply portrayed; a story that conveys a not-so-simple message in a way that anyone can understand.

This is the tale of a young shepherd by the name of Santiago, who follows his recurring dreams all the way to Egypt and back again. His encounters with an old king, love, fears, an  alchemist and others carry the story.

We all have or would have had deep desires and ambitions. We abandon our desires for the fear of not being able to achieve it and then regret our decisions throughout our existence. Santiago was different. He gave up his comfortable life and became a shepherd for his love of travelling.

The best part of the story, in my opinion, is the fact that it gives a great piece of advice to all aspirants: “Listen to your heart.” It’s simple, yet powerful. The heart, like the brain, ‘is a many layered thing’ and has the ability to lead the body in the right path. (That is, if your heart is in the right place!)

It really is a book that should be read, enjoyed and passed on.

I’m just plainly glad that I read this story (even if it were only an abridged edition). It changed my life for the better. I have a feeling that, had I read the story earlier in my life, it would have had a better impact on me, but it’s never too late to read.