The soul of the world

A couple of lines
from my favorite book, which I am reading again.  The Alchemist by Paulo
Coelho.  Which I think are wonderful thoughts and
"I learned that the world has a soul, and that whoever understands that soul can
also understand the language of things.  I learned that many alchemists
realized their Personal Legends, and wound up discovering the Soul of the World,
the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Elixir of Life."
"But above all, I learned that these things are all so simple that they could be
written on the surface of an emerald."
    "A certain shopkeeper sent his son to learn about the secret of happiness
from the wisest man in the world.  The lad wandered through the desert for
forty days, and finally came upon a beautiful castle, high atop a
mountain.  It was there that the wise man lived.
    "Rather than finding a saintly man, though, our hero, on entering the
main room o the castle, saw a hive of activity: tradesmen came and went, people
were conversing in the corners, a small orchestra was playing soft music, and
there was a table covered with platters of the most delicious food in that part
of the world.  The wise man conversed with everyone, and the boy had to
wait for two hours before it was his turn to be given the man’s
    "The wise man listened attentively to the boy’s explanation of why he had
come, but told him that he didn’t have time just then to explain the secret of
happiness.  He suggested that the boy look around the palace and return in
two hours.
    "Meanwhile, I want to ask you to do something, said the wise man, handing
the boy a teaspoon that held two drops of oil.  As you wander around, carry
this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill.
    "The boy began climbing and descending the many stairways of the palace,
keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon.  After two hours, he returned to the
room where the wise man was.
    "Well, asked the wise man, did you see the Persian tapestries that are
hanging in my dining hall?  Did you see the garden that it took the master
gardener ten years to create?  Did you notice the beautiful parchments in
my library?
    "The boy was embarrassed, and confessed that he had observed
nothing.  His only concern had been not to spill the oil that the wise man
had entrusted to him.
    "Then go back and observe the marvels of my world said the wise
man.  You cannot trust a man if you don’t know his
    "Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and returned to his exploration of
the palace, this time observing all of the works of art on the ceilings and the
walls.  He saw the gardens, the mountains all around him, the beauty of the
flowers, and the taste with which everything had been selected.  Upon
returning to the wise man, he related in detail everything he had
    "But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to you? asked the wise
    "Looking down at the spoon he held, the boy saw that the oil was
    "Well, there is the only one piece of advice I can give to you.  The
secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget
the drops of oil on the spoon.
    The shepherd said nothing.  He had understood the story the old king
had told him.  A shepherd may like to travel, but he should never forget
about his sheep.
The Alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought. 
Leafing through the pages, he found a story about Narcissus.
    The alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who knelt daily
beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty.  He was so fascinated by
himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned.  At the spot
where he fell, a flower was born, which was called the
    But this was not how the author of the book ended the
    He said that when Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared
and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty
    "Why do you weep?" the goddesses asked.
    "I weep for Narcissus," the lake replied.
    "Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus," they said, "for
though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his
beauty close at hand."
    "But…was Narcissus beautiful?" the lake asked.
    "Who better than you to know that?" the goddesses said in wonder. 
"After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate
    The lake was silent for some time.  Finally it
    "I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was
beautiful.  I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could
see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected."
    "What a lovely story," thought the alchemist.
I love these
stories.  Especially the one on Narcissus.  Did they weep because they
saw the beauty that they could not otherwise see?  Which was brought about
because of Narcissus’ own staring and pride, or simply in the beauty of his
person?  Was the lake weeping because of the loss, or the astonishing
beauty it saw of itself.  The loss of seeing itself, or of finally seeing
itself for what it really was?  Which am I?
Lastly, what one of
the explanations I can provide about Amanda.
At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the
World surged within him.  When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that
her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, 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. 
Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert.  Something
that exerted the same force whenever two pairs of eyes met.  As had theirs
here at the well.  She smiled, and that was certainly an omen–the omen he
had been awaiting, without even knowing he was, for all his life.  The omen
he had sought to find with his sheep and in his books, in the crystals and in
the silence of the desert.
    It was the pure Language of the World.  It required no explanation,
just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time.  What
the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in
his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. 
He was more certain of it than of anything in the world.  He had been told
by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a
person before becoming committed.  But maybe people who felt that way had
never learned the universal language.  Because, when you know that
language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether
it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city.  And when two such
people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become
unimportant.  There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that
everything under the sun has been written by one hand only.  It is the hand
that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world.. 
Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.
    Maktub, thought the boy.  (Maktub means, "It is
What a powerful
explanation of the spirit of the world and of all things. 

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