The Real Riches

person standing and holding lamp inside cave

From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – Here is a story that I recently heard about a monk travelling in the wilderness when he happens upon a remote cave. Inside of the cave he finds the most beautiful, magnificent and huge ruby. He delights in its beauty, places it in his satchel and carries on his journeys.

A while later, the monk meets another traveller and they talk about the cave and the wonderful discovery. The traveller remarks on the beauty of the ruby and asks how to get to the cave so that he, perhaps, could find his own. The monk simply tells him that there is no need to find the cave because he will gladly give the ruby to the traveller. The traveller is ecstatic and goes away, dreaming of the riches that can be leveraged by the valuable gem.

A few weeks later the traveller happens upon the same monk and asks if the monk could give him something else. The monk is a little disappointed that this man’s passion for possessions was so huge, but smiles and asks what is being sought from him today.

The traveller quietly explains, “I want whatever it is you have that allowed you to so freely give away that priceless ruby without a thought of what riches you could have had.”

What does it mean to live life where material possessions have no power? How does life shift when not saving up for a nice new couch or car or pair of shoes? What a difference it could make if, when seeing someone else’s car, couch or shoes, I am simply happy that they have them and do not compare them to my shabby car, couch and shoes.

We are probably not going to find a million dollar gem in a cave to test whether we could give it away or not, but maybe we could try just enjoying what we do have, revelling in the joy of others having things they love and not keeping track of what there is yet to acquire. Maybe that would make a beautiful, magnificent and huge difference in how we feel and how much joy we collect … and that would be priceless.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on

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