I finished The Alchemist last night, and here is some of what I learned:
As I mentioned in my last post, one’s “Personal Legend” is something like her purpose in life, or her deepest desire. Maybe it was a dream she entertained tirelessly as a child, but then came to believe was impossible. Or, maybe it is something that she has discovered and is aspiring to right now.
Regardless, if we believe that a Personal Legend exists for each of us, then we also believe that our lives, and The Universe, act wholly in service to it. But how can The Universe conspire to make your Personal Legend come true when it seems that there are so many obstacles in the way? I suppose we might view these obstacles in a threefold manner.
For one, they test your will. How dedicated are you to pursuing your Personal Legend?
For another, each challenge might seem like a roadblock in the moment, but actually it is a stepping-stone. It is there to help you move forward; without it, you could not achieve your goal.
And finally, intimately tied with your Personal Legend are the lessons you learn about God and The Universe as you attempt to achieve it. In other words, acknowledging your true desires allows you to move closer to what Coelho calls “The hand that wrote it all”. With every step you take, and every challenge you overcome you get closer to God.
Seeking one’s Personal Legend is not just about achieving the desired end, but also about movement toward “The Soul of the World”. What this implies is that these desires are, necessarily, earthly in nature. But that is not something to worry about, because our sincerest desires are “pure”, if you will. They do not mean to harm others. In fact, often times they are in service to humanity in some way, even if that service is small. But what is more, getting closer to “The Soul of the World” means getting closer to “The Soul of God”.
What if we were actually capable of fully envisioning our passages through life like this? What would change? If you know that The Universe (or God, or The Hand) was truly working in your favor, then you will not give up easily. If you know that every obstacle is actually a necessary step in your progress toward your Personal Legend, then you will suffer less. If you understand that your challenges are getting you closer to God, then you might be more willing to let God in, and to resonate with the meaning of your immediate present. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
So what about you? Have you discovered your Personal Legend? If so, what is it and what challenges do you face as you attempt to achieve it?
(Note: The books seems to imply that each person has only one, true Personal Legend that is supported by a whole host of other very strong desires. Maybe a person can have several Personal Legends throughout her lifetime, but I think it is an interesting exercise to try to narrow it down to one.)