Eleven Minutes (Paulo Coelho) – The Search for Love
I admit that I am a fan of Paulo’s and I can’t help it. His words, his thoughts, are just so profoundly inspiring – he takes the reader on a journey of self-realization and discovery, allowing for the essential step of going inside one’s soul. Through this particular novel, he focuses on the search for love, which is so inherently embedded within us, but this love he focuses on is more of a profound love between two people who are equals. Let me explain a bit about that – what I mean by equals is that the level in which they view life, their values are similar. Their connection with each other is necessary for their growth and their life mission, however they do not “need” each other to be happy, in the sense that their individual happiness come from within themselves but being together adds to that happiness.
The woman in this novel, Maria, does become a prostitute but ultimately she is searching for the person that she can love and share life with. You are probably thinking that it is not possible in that circumstance, however if you are open and ready, love can be found anywhere. The person that is your equal can be found anywhere, though not particularly when you are “searching” for him/her. Searching illicits a type of emotion that is of lack, for the truth is that you don’t need someone else to make you happy, being with someone else will not make you happy – it will add to your happiness.
The search for love requires letting go of fear, the fear of being rejected, the fear that the love will not always be as perfect as it seems at the beginning, the fear that the person will not like you anymore when they discover all of who you are. These are things that we all encounter when we are in the awe and reality of love, however they are necessary to confront if we want to experience the love we desire. Maria does have to go through these nuances of fear and letting them go, however she learns through her various encounters with different men more about who she is. Therefore, none of those experiences she regrets – and that is a message in itself. Don’t curse anyone that you had a love relationship with – you were with them for a reason – recognize that reason – learn from it – and send love still to that person.
Lastly, I want to add that sex (making love) is a counterpart of love but not a path to love.
In his own words:
Eleven Minutes does not set out to be a manual or a treatise about a man and a woman confronted by the unknown world of sexual relationships. It is an analysis of my own trajectory. It took me a long time to learn that the coming together of two bodies is more than a response certain to physical stimuli or to the survival instinct. Sex is a manifestation of a spiritual energy called love.
Some quotes from the book:
“Love is not found in someone else, but in ourselves; we simply awaken it. But in order to do that, we need the other person.”
“Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other.”
“If we are full of enthusiasm for life, then the unknown reveals itself, and our universe changes direction.”