There once lived a person who had a very strong faith in G-d. He prayed most of the day and felt that the world of action was not something that he wanted to involve himself with. He judged those who worked hard to achieve success. People, he thought should not interfere with G-d’s plan by toiling at earthy matters. “You do not have to do anything, G-d will take care of it all” he preached.
Then came the day when his philosophy was put to the test. There was a great flood in the city and its citizens started to run for their safety. “Come with us”, called out his neighbors who were trying to escape in their truck. “No” said the man, “I will stay in my house and wait for G-d to save me from this flood”. The water was getting higher and higher and the man had to climb on the table. He saw his other neighbors escaping on a small boat. “Come with us and we will save you” called out the neighbors. “I will not come with you. I will wait for G-d to save me” yelled the man. In few more hours the water covered the whole house and the man climbed on the roof. He saw a helicopter flying on top of the nearby houses, looking for victims of the flood. When the helicopter flew over his house, it dropped down the ladder. “Climb up” the pilot yelled out, “I will save you.” “I do not want your help” shouted the man, “I am waiting for G-d to save me.” As time went by, the water slowly covered the roof of the house, taking the man’s life.
After the man drowned, he was brought before G-d. “Why did not you save me, G-d?” cried the men “I believed in you so much!” “What do you mean by that?” G-d replied. “I provided you with so many chances to save yourself. I sent the truck, the boat and finally the helicopter. All you needed to do was to recognize that I sent it for you and take advantage of it. You did not use the gifts that I sent your way because you did not believe that you are my partner. Together we created your destiny. Your life ended prematurely because you did not take control of it. You needed to recognize that every opportunity that you had in life was my gift to you. You needed to take advantage of those opportunities in order to become a co-creator of your own destiny.”
Once there lived a very wealthy, yet a very unhappy man. He traveled the world in search of different religions and philosophies, but he still could not attain the feeling he was so much craving for. The man was willing to pay enormous amounts of money to anyone who could give him advice on how to acquire true happiness.
One of such journeys brought him to a remote village on top of a mountain. There lived an old man that seemed to possess the secret on how to experience happiness. “My child” said the wise man, “you must find the happiest person on the face of this earth and ask him to give you his shirt. When you will put this shit on, you will experience the feeling of true joy”.
And so the man wet on a journey, looking for the happiest person on earth. He mat many happy people but no one felt that they were the happiest of all. Each one of them had problems and challenges that kept them from true happiness. Many years have gone by but the man was not willing to give up until he found what he was looking for.
One night there was a heavy rain that prevented further travels and so the man had decided to stay in a small inn near the forest. He was awoken by someone singing. It was very early in the morning and so he rushed outside to see who it was. He was surprised to see a handsome young man taking a swim in a river nearby. “Hello there,” yelled the man. “The sun is just coming up. Why are you singing so early in the morning? “The young fellow got out of the river, looked at the stranger and smiled. “I am singing because there is a whole day ahead. I am happy to be alive and to be able to enjoy every moment of my time. Actually, I am so joyful that I think I am the happiest person on the face of this world”.
The traveler stood in completed disbelief. Finally, he gathered all his senses. “I spent most of my life looking for you” he exclaimed. “Please I beg you, sell me you shirt. I will pay any amount of money for it. Just name you price.” The young man smiled at the traveler. “I do not need your money. I live near the inn in peace with all the creatures of the forest. I would have loved to give you my shirt as a gift, but I have no shirt to give you. I have no need for it and so I do not have one.”
“Oh no!” sobbed the man. “The secret to my happiness was supposed to be hidden in the shirt of the happiest man on earth. What am I to do now?”
“My friend,” replied the young gentleman. “You needed to find the happiest person on earth to tell you that the secret is not in anything one possesses and it is definitely not hidden in anything or anyone. It is inside of you. Look within to find the answer to you own happiness. You are the only one who has a key to your own heart”.
One Breath of Air
There once lived a man who wanted to acquire wisdom. He spent his nights reading and studying many different volumes of books from around the world. Yet, his life was busy with another important ordeal, acquiring wealth. So his time was divided between studying and working. He knew in his heart that he could live more modestly, and therefore spend more time on his other goal. Yet, he seemed to always get distracted by new business opportunities, which took time away from gaining knowledge.
So one day the man went to a famous sage to find out how to find time for his true goal of acquiring wisdom. The old man looked and the businessman with his wise eyes. “I do not think you really want to possess wisdom, for if that was your true goal then that would be all that you would think about day and night.” “This is not so. I try to find time…” “Come with me!” interrupted the wise man.
The two men came to a river. “Put you face inside the water and do not take it out until I finish counting to one hundred” commanded the sage. Hesitantly, the man got on his knees and put his face in the water. He heard the old man counting ‘thirty one…forty four…sixty seven…’ as he was holding his breath under the water. By the time he heard ‘one hundred’ he could barely move. The old man pulled him out of the water as he was desperately trying to catch each breath of air. “So what were you thinking about under the water? Perhaps you were thinking about wealth or other important possessions?” “No” replied the man, “All I thought was about a breath of air”.
“This, my son is the meaning of true yearning. Just like you were longing for a breath of air, you must long for what is truly important to you in life.”
There once lived a farmer, together with his wife, their ten children and an old father. There was a drought in the country and the family had nothing to bring to the market. As time went by, they used all their savings and so the family decided to sell their home and move inside a small farm house with just one tiny room.
This move made their family life almost unbearable. There was hardly enough room for thirteen cots that they put out each night. Both the farmer and his wife got very depressed. The farmer came to his wise father for advice on what to do about the family’s living conditions. “Listen to me my son,” said the father “You might find my advice to be unusual but promise me that you will do as I say.” The farmer promised his father to take the advice. “You need to bring the rooster from the farm inside the house”. This suggestion seemed rather unreasonable but the farmer gave his word to his father and so he did as he was advised.
A week has gone by and the life of the family became even more frustrating with the rooster in the house. Meanwhile, the father called the farmer for a talk. ‘My son, I need you to listen to me and take another advice. This will make our life a lot easier. Promise me that you will do as I say.” Again, the farmer gave the word to his father. “My child, bring a goat and a sheep from the farm into the house”. The farmer was outraged but a word is a word. And so the farmer moved the two animals inside their tiny home. Now the family had to sleep on the floor, since there was no more room for their cots. With the rooster waking them up very early in the morning and both the goat and the sheep stepping over them at night, their life became absolutely intolerable.
Another week went by and the old man called his son for another word of advice. “My son, I have noticed that you have not being sleeping much with the animals in the house. You and your wife seem more tired and depressed then before. For this reason I would like to offer you my final suggestion. Let all the animals out of the house and back into the farm.”