This week I’m reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The main character is a shepherd from Spain. He has reoccurring dreams about a treasure that he is to find. He goes to a dream interpreter who is of little help but then he meets a “King” who tells the him all about the boys past and future. After this meeting, the boy decides to go to Egypt to find his destiny—the treasure.
Upon arriving in Africa, the boy is robbed of all his money. He finds a crystal shop and ends up taking up employment. He does great things for the shop owner, turning his dying business in to a flourishing one. After 8 months, he has saved enough money to go home. But, he doesn’t go home. He decides to head out across the desert to find his treasure.
The boy joins a caravan and sets off through the dangerous sand dunes. There is talk of war and it doesn’t seem likely that the caravan will make it safely to the oasis. There is fear in the group. The boy notices that the camel driver he has been journeying next to does not seem afraid. He inquires to the camel driver about his lack of fear. This is the man’s response:
“I’m alive, he said to the boy, as they ate a bunch of dates one night, with no fires and no moon. “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. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heaven, and the tribes of men fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party to you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.”
Two nights later, as he was getting ready to bed down, the boy looked for the star they followed every night. He thought that the horizon was a bit lower than it had been, because he seemed to see stars on the desert itself.
“It’s the oasis,” said the camel driver.
“Well, why don’t we go there right now?” the boy asked.
“Because we have to sleep.
Dwelling on the past will cause guilt, shame, and depression. Worrying about the future causes anxiety and fear. The past is gone and the future is out of our hands. Why not let this moment be our only concern?