I had heard about The Zahir from Coloured In Sepia, but I thought it was a poem so I never bothered with it because I am not a poetry fan unless it is written to me 🙂 She gave it to me when she was flying out, and I began reading it.
The Zahir by Paulo Coelho is a book about a renowned author whose wife suddenly disappears mysteriously without a trace. She was last spotted with a young Khazakstanian who goes by the name of Mikhail. The author embarks on a journey to figure out what made his wife leave, what role he played in making her leave, where he is going to find her, and basically he examines his relationship with his wife in his quest to figure out what went wrong.
Mikhail helps him discover the divine energy of love and how to relinquish his personal history in order to come one step closer to the woman he loves.
The Zahir is something which once touched or seen, can never be forgotten, and which so gradually fills our thoughts that we are driven to madness. The author’s wife Esther became his zahir.
What I liked about the book was that it was not only entertaining, but enlightening as well. Here are a few excerpts that really stood out for me from the book.
‘Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose—and commit myself to—what is best for me.’
‘Our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.’
‘The energy of hatred won’t get you anywhere; but the energy of forgiveness, which reveals itself through love, will transform your life in a positive way.’
‘That is the Mongolian creation myth: out of two different natures love is born. In contradiction, love grows in strength. In confrontation and transformation, love is preserved.’
‘The world will become real when man learns how to love; until then we will live in the belief that we know what love is, but we will always lack the courage to confront it as it truly is.’
‘Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.’
‘We can harness the energy of the winds, the seas, the sun. But the day man learns to harness the energy of love, that will be as important as the discovery of fire.’
‘If someone is capable of loving his partner without restrictions, unconditionally, then he is manifesting the love of God. If the love of God becomes manifest, he will love his neighbor. If he loves his neighbor, he will love himself. If he loves himself, then everything returns to its proper place. History changes.’
‘God does not play dice with the universe; everything is interconnected and has a meaning.’
‘When we are on the right path, we follow the signs, and if we occasionally stumble, the Divine comes to our aid, preventing us from making a mistake.’
‘If just one person changes, the whole human race is changed.’
‘People are sad because they are the prisoners of their personal history.’
‘Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.’
‘In order for the true energy of love to penetrate your soul, your soul must be as if you had just been born. Why are people unhappy? Because they want to imprison that energy, which is impossible. Forgetting your personal history means leaving that channel clear, allowing that energy to manifest itself each day in whatever way it chooses, allowing yourself to be guided by it.’
‘That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability, or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.’
What I really loved about this book was that it made me take a look at myself, gave me a great deal of things to think about as compared to most of the other books I read which do nothing but fuel my fantasies and entertain me momentarily.
Thanks to The Zahir, I am definitely going to search for more Paulo Coelho books.