“And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”
The prophet tells the story of a man called Almustafa, a man who has stayed on an island called Orphalese for 12 years waiting for the right ship to take him home. He is considered to be a great intellectual by the local people and thus when his ship arrives and he is about to leave, they ask him to share his wisdom about the philosophy of life. Crowds gather around for what he has to say and his messages form the basis of this incredible work of literature.
The book gives us invaluable insight into all aspects of life ranging from love and relationships to crime and punishment. Covering each and every topic in this summary would be tedious so I’ll share the 3 most valuable lessons I learnt from this book in hope that you will benefit from reading them.
1. On Love
Gibran’s philosophy on love entails complete surrender. Rather than resisting or being hesitant in your expression, “when love beckons to you follow him.” After all, we live such a short life. To do anything other than to yield fully into love would be to starve ourselves of the emotions and experiences that make for a fulfilling life.
This merges in with the idea that once you lose something, you appreciate it more. There are no guarantees for what tomorrow brings. Gibran makes it clear that love has its’ ups and downs.
“Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning”
Resist the influence of your ego when it comes to love. The need for possessiveness and stability takes you further away from the ability to experience true love. Truly surrendering involves being fully aware of and accepting the negative sides of love, even if they do wound us. This inevitably involves an element of bravery and courage, but in my humble view, anything worthwhile and fulfilling in life also requires bravery and courage.
2. On Work
The view presented on work in this book is a refreshing and encouragingly optimistic way of looking at our daily activities. Contrary to common beliefs that work is simply a means to an end and something we have to put up with, Gibran preaches that work is what makes our life meaningful and fulfilling. Regardless of your profession, you are completing your purpose on Earth and providing value to people.
“Work is love made visible”
Gibran teaches us to celebrate life regardless of the circumstances we live in. Be grateful for the experience of living itself and express this through your work. By being committed and focused on your work, you can attract peace and happiness into your own life as well as for the people around you.
3. On Pain
This is the chapter that I most resonated with. It focuses on emotional pain rather than physical pain with Gibran stating that “Much of your pain is self-chosen”. We often resist emotional pain and suppress it within us leading to long-term suffering. If we choose to fully accept and surrender to the pain, fully allowing ourselves to experience it we can consciously allow it to pass through us with awareness and learning.
“It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self”
Gibran teaches us to trust our inner “physician”, relating it to our intuition which comes from beyond us. Whether you want to believe that it’s the work of God, the Universe or any other Natural Law is up to you but trusting this instinct is important to avoid being pulled into a downward spiral of suffering. This relates strongly to the ideas in “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle which I have also reviewed and you can further delve into these concepts here.
The Prophet has been translated into over 20 languages across the world and is regarded by many as an invaluable guide to living a happy and fulfilling life. The 26 chapters address every aspect of life and give important philosophical insights on how to approach them. I hope my brief summary of the 3 topics I treasured most from the book helped you to understand why it is a book that should definitely be on your reading list.
If you’ve read the book or have any thoughts about it, feel free to leave a comment down below. I’d love to discuss it with you.