“A little long but man!…I believe this one drives it home.” 🙂
There was young man who set out on a quest because he wanted to find the secret to happiness. He went to different places hoping someone out there could give him the secret to find that elusive happiness that he longs for.
It was while passing a small village that he learned about an old hermit that lives by the mountain who knows the secret to happiness. Excited, he asks how he can go to this man. He arrived there by nightfall and the old man was eating alone in his humble home. He motioned for the young man to enter and shared with him the food on his table.
After eating, the young man asked the hermit about the answer to his quest, “I have come from afar searching for the key to finding this happiness. I want to know how can I achieve this.”
The old hermit looked beyond the window and into the darkness beyond. Taking out his pipe, he spoke slowly to the young man. “Tomorrow, at the first streak of light in the horizon, go to the top of the mountain and look at the ground that you will be standing. There, you will discover the key to what you are looking for.”
Excitedly, the young man went to sleep and woke up the next day. His thoughts were filled with so many beautiful things that he expects to find at the ground at the top of the mountain.
The sun is already shining its brilliance when the young man reached the top of the mountain. Too excited to take a rest, he started checking the grounds that he is standing. Thoughts of gold and buried treasures make his heart started to pound with anticipation.
After hours of searching and digging, he eventually gave up. Feeling cheated and fooled, he went back to the old hermit and confronted him.
“I did what you exactly told me. I checked the ground that I stood upon and dug till my hands hurt, yet I haven’t seen the key to happiness that you have been telling me I will find there.“
The old hermit lighted his pipe, then after taking a few puffs, looked at the young man in the eye and asked. “You haven’t seen anything?”
The young man replied irritatedly.
“No! I haven’t seen anything except that damned shadow of mine.”
“My son, you have been searching for something far too long, that little by little you are starting to get blind. Happiness is an elusive thing to those who search for it. Mainly because as they continue their search, they started to create a certain condition that has to be achieved in order for their own happiness to be found.”
“I knew a young man very much like you. He left his family because he too wanted to find happiness. While trying to decipher how he could find the key to happiness, he saw a group of travelers passing by. And that moment on he decided that he would be happy if only he would have the freedom just like those travelers. So he packed his clothes and left his family to join those travelers. Still he could not find in his heart the happiness he thought he found…..
….On their journey he saw a wealthy man and decided that he would be happy if only he become rich. So he worked for years and years till he was able to have all the money that he thought would make him happy. Still, happiness was nowhere to be found…...
…..Feeling lost, he walked and walked, the days became months until he found himself back into the village that he left years before. Suddenly, he felt alive at the thought of seeing his wife and son. He hurriedly went to their old hut and was stunned to learn that his wife died months before and that his only son left with his new wife…….
….Feeling his world starting to crush above him, he sat under the shade of an old sycamore tree. Staring ahead, he saw a young woman collecting dried clothes from a clothesline and he noticed the movements of her shadow as she moves. And suddenly, tears welled up in his eyes, for the answer to his quest was right there all along.“
The young man was pierced with a gaze so direct he was unable to look away from those eyes. Old eyes that held so much wisdom that he felt his heart starting to beat with anticipation for what he was about to learn.
“Happiness is like a shadow. The more you try to hold it within your grasp, the more it will escape you. But if you turn your back and forget about it, it will follow you wherever you go.“
The eyes that a few moments before pierced him with its gaze, suddenly became tired and misty.
“I was that young man. I was too busy searching for my own happiness that I failed to notice that it’s already within my grasp. And when I was able to realize that, It was already too late for me.“
An old gnarled hand touched the young man’s shoulder. “You are young my friend. You have plenty of time for you to be able to hold it within your grasp. Do not be like me, you go on your way now that there is still light; because once that light starts to fade, your shadow of happiness will soon be engulfed by the darkness to be lost forever.”
The young man felt misty with tears that he could only look at this old and lonely man.
“Thank you”, he said brokenly. The old man smiled, for the first time in many years. “No my son, I thank you. Because just by making you realize the answer to your quest, I know that the young man I was before, was able to finally see a hint of a shadow starting to form behind him.“