Once upon a time, there was a carpenter who worked at home. Every day, he took joy in building some furniture or tools to sell. He merrily sang and hummed as he worked, content with life.
One day, his rich neighbour grew fed up with the noise the carpenter made when he hammered the wood. The neighbour had reached a point in which he could not take the noise anymore. The neighbour finally had a plan to quieten the carpenter. He took several hundred dollars and left it in an envelope at the carpenter’s workshop.
The neighbour thought that if he gave the carpenter money he would not have to work and he would stop his incessant hammering. The carpenter entered his workshop and found the envelope lying there. Instead of using it to take a break, the carpenter thought, “Someone left me several hundred dollars. What good fortune! I will take some of the money and invest in new tools so I can build bigger and better furniture and make more money.”
Thus, the money flamed the carpenter’s desire to earn more. He began working even harder, hoping to increase the newly found hundreds into thousands.
Even as he began to make more money, he was not content. He decided he wanted to turn the thousands into tens of thousands, and thus he worked even harder. The rich neighbour was annoyed that his plan had failed, that instead of silencing the carpenter, it merely increased the noise because now the man worked for longer hours.
When the carpenter had earned tens of thousands, he wanted to make a hundred thousand. He put pressure upon himself to work day and night and even on weekends. Soon, he stopped his humming and singing. On many nights, he was so stressed out that he could not even sleep. The contentment and inner peace he had when he was just a poor carpenter were gone in pursuit of making more money.
Consider our own lives. Do we find ourselves spending all of our time working to make money so we can retire? Do we work overtime to make more money? Do we find that we cannot take a day or a few hours off work without thinking about work? If this is what is happening to us, are we becoming like the carpenter? If we make all the money in the world but cannot enjoy personal peace and joy in our work, is it worth it?
If we find that we are devoting too much of our time to making money and not enough to our family, our hobbies, our spiritual pursuits and all those things we love, then we need to analyse if we are making the right choices.
It is good to save for the future, but is it worth using up our entire life in trying to have more than what we need?Who knows what the future will bring?
If we leave our spiritual pursuits until we have reached our senior years, who knows how much time we will have left or whether we will be able to devote time to spirituality at that stage. If we ignore our family until they are already grown and have children of their own, we miss an important part of their lives that can never be recovered.
Let us consider how we spend our time. If we have decided that certain goals are important, then we should try to find time for them throughout our life, and not put them all on the back burner in the pursuit of amassing more money than we need.
We should weigh our time and make sure that we do not lose our peace and contentment over the stress of being engaged in a mad pursuit for money and possessions. If we listen to our soul, we will find that inner peace and contentment are more valuable than all the riches in the world.