From Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’

 [1] ” I’ve had this shop for thirty years. I know good crystal from bad, and everything else there is to know about crystal. I know its dimensions and how it behaves. It we serve tea in crystal, the shop is going to expand. And then I’ll have to change my way of life.”

            “Well is n’t that good?”

alchemist            “I’m already used to the way things are. Before you came, I was thinking about how much time I had wasted in the same place, while my friends had moved on, and either went bankrupt or did better than they had before. It made me very depressed. Now, I can see that it had n’t been too bad. The shop is exactly the size I always wanted it to be. I don’t want to change anything, because I don’t know how to deal with change. I’m used to the way I am.”

             The boy did n’t know what to say. The old man continued. “You have been a real blessing to me. Today, I understand something I did n’t see before: every blessing ignored becomes a curse. I don’t want anything else in life. But you are forcing me to look at wealth and at horizons I have never known. Now that I have seen them, and now that I see how immense my possibilities are, I’m going to feel worse than I did before you arrived. Because I know the things you should be able to accomplish, and I don’t want to do so.”

             …And as he smothered the coals in the hookah, he told the boy that he could begin to sell tea in the crystal glasses. Sometime, there’s just no way to hold back the river.

 X X X

             The Englishman was fascinated with the part about the progress achieved at the crystal shop after the boy began working there.

“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 always a positive force.

            He also said that this was not just a human gift, that everything on the face of the earth had a soul, whether mineral, vegetable, or animal – or even just a simple thought.

            “Everything on earth is being continuously transformed, because the earth is alive … and it has a soul. We are part of that soul so we rarely recognize that it is working for us. But in the crystal shop you probably realized that even the glasses were collaborating in your success.”

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