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‘We are travelers on a cosmic journey…’ What a long, strange trip it’s been.

cosmos

So a few months ago I came across this quote and fell in love with it:

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of Infinity. Life is Eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in Eternity.”

Beautiful, right? Everywhere I looked online this quote was credited to Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist. So on the power of that one quote, I ordered the book immediately and took it on vacation with me. And I read. And read. And read, waiting for the moment when that beautiful quote would be put into context. Every time our intrepid protagonist met someone new, I thought: This is it.

When I finished the last line of the epilogue without ever finding this most wonderful quote, I figured I’d finally lost every last brain cell in my head. I mean, how could I buy a book for a singular quote, read the whole thing and not even notice it passing by? Wow, good thing I don’t have to go through college at this age. So I skimmed through the entire book a second time. I was obsessed. Nothing.

Upon returning from vacation, I started doing more Google searches. Over and over, Paulo Coehlo’s name came up. The Alchemist was credited everywhere for this line of poetry meets philosophy meets prose. But the journalist in me would not rest. I needed to know the real deal. This quote was not in that book, so where did it come from?

Finally, deep in the bowels of my Google search, I found a thread where someone equally obsessed put the question out there: “Where is this quote in this book? I can’t find it.” Aha! So I’m not crazy after all. And little by little, after wasting too much work time on something totally unnecessary, I found one little reference to Deepak Chopra. Bingo. Switching gears, I began my search anew and found something that said this quote was really from Chopra’s book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. So I requested the book from my library and waited.

I’m holding it in my hands now. Turned to the very last page and there it was, not  the exact quote in the exact form I found online and first fell in love with, but there nonetheless. It belongs to Deepak Chopra, inspired by Buddha. Amazing how the internet can lead us so far astray and transfer “ownership” of those words from one famous author to another.

Here’s the full quote from Chopra’s book:

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of Infinity. Life is Eternal. But the expressions of life are ephemeral, momentary, transient. Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism once said,

‘This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance. A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky, rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain.’

We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.” — Deepak Chopra, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

There. Now I can finally rest. But in the end it all comes back to this one beautiful thought: We are travelers on a cosmic journey and this moment is just a little parenthesis in eternity.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Daisy #

    I. Love. This.

    Thank you for getting to the bottom of it. Like you, I just about bought The Alchemist based on this quote. The proper context and actual quote is so much more beautiful. Thank you!

    January 2, 2014
  2. HM #

    Ah, thank you! I am writing an essay on the Alchemist for school and I really wanted to use this quote. But since it is not in the book after all, I guess I won’t. Thanks!

    August 13, 2014

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