Colm Holland-Blog

By Colm Holland - author of The Secret of The Alchemist

The Archer - another masterpiece by Paulo Coelho

I was part of the team that published The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in English in 1993 and I have revealed the secret of the art of alchemy hidden within that book in The Secret of The Alchemist by Colm Holland in 2020.

You can imagine my delight upon receiving Paulo’s latest bestseller in the mail this week - it is a wonderful book for several reasons.

It’s a beautiful keepsake volume with inspiring illustrations by award-winning illustrator Christoph Niemann that are in perfect harmony with the subject of this book: inspirational meditations on Zen and the art of archery.

Zen Buddhism can, for those of us growing up in the west, be very difficult to grasp in it’s multiple paradoxes, but this book eases the reader into the very essence of the philosophy through the analogy of archery.

As Paulo says in his blog, ‘It is a short book, you don’t need to complicate things. In fact, life is simple. We complicate a lot. And a fable or allegory talks to the hidden parts of ourselves.’

Why did Paulo choose the art of archery as the analogy to reveal the life-art of Zen? Besides being a weapon of war, in many ancient texts on Buddhism, listed among the sacred implements is the bow and arrow. The premise is simple; by understanding the art of archery, we can learn the art of Zen - which is the art of life.

In addition to this, archery is Paulo’s favourite sports pastime, so he has a knowledge of the intricacies of the skills needed.

What can we learn from archery about Zen and the art of life? Through his poetic and soulful thoughts. Paulo offers insights into a number of key lessons from Zen:

Know and respect your allies in the contest, while learning from their successes and failures.

The bow is your greatest asset and is the source of your energy.

Your intention is within the arrow.

The object of your focus is the target.

How you execute a successful shot - from your posture, through letting fly the arrow, to hitting the target - is the same as the skills you need in life.

The Archer will not leave my bedside and my guess is over many years, I will subliminally commit most of the wisdom it imparts to memory. Even if I never become a full time student of Zen Buddhism, I will at least have learned to adopt it’s most essential life enriching lessons by making this book my daily companion.

Thank you Paulo!

The Archer by paulo Coelho is available from all good retailers,

Colm Holland is the author of The Secret of The Alchemist

Author and Speaker Colm Holland

A member of the team which published Paul Coelho's The Alchemist.

Colm teaches the art of alchemy in everyday life, and he has devoted his life to true empowerment through inner transformation.