An Essay for English Teachers and Literature Teacher

What is happiness to you?

In Coelho's The Alchemist, a wise man told the shepherd boy,

"[I don't] have time to explain the secret of happiness. So [I suggest] that you (the boy) look around the palace and return in two hours.

'Meanwhile, I want to ask you to do something,' said the wise man, handing the boy a teaspoon that held two drops of oil. 'As you wander around, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill.'

The boy began climbing and descending the many stairways of the palace, keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. After two hours, he returned to the room where the wise man was.

'Well,' asked the wise man, 'did you see the Persian tapestries that are hanging in my dining hall? Did you see the garden that it took the master gardener ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?'

The boy was embarrassed, and confessed that he had observed nothing. His only concern had been not to spill the oil the wise man had entrusted to him.

'Then go back and observe the marvels of my world,' said the wise man. 'You cannot trust a man if you don't know his house.'

Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and returned to his exploration of the palace, this time observing all of the works of art on the ceilings and walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around him, the beauty of the flowers, and the taste with which everything had been selected. Upon returning to the wise man, he related in detail everything he had seen.

'But where are the drops of oil I entrusted you?' asked the wise man.

Looking down at the spoon he held, the boy saw the oil was gone.

'Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you,' said the wisest of wise men.

'The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

When people ask us what makes us grin from ear to ear and seem utterly in heaven; we stop to think, what really makes us happy? What fills that void deep down, so to speak. Most would fill it with worldly things eagerly succumbing to our instant materialistic desires. Nothing wrong, I must say. Others would seek other wishes, like travel – giving the eyes its own sight of satisfaction and giving back – filling that big ego space within us wanting to be embraced and enveloped with self-recognition. Whatever it is, I advocate doing the things that make us come fully alive. Things that, when doing it, leave us absolutely guilt-free, unfettered by boundaries and conscience and all other worries, as if we live on a world of our own. These are the things we so dearly love, wte just so find ourselves at peace and are comforted while doing it.

My son loves books so much he buys them all the time much to my wallet's dismay. My daughter loves the outdoors; she seldom is around in the house. My husband, adores Chowking and Dimsum, it's what we eat almost every Sunday when he comes home. I, on one hand, find sunflowers simply amazing; I even collect things with them on it.

What is the spirit that threads our self-proclaimed seemingly sweet success… squeezing in day-to-day’s busy-ness, spinning here, there and everywhere, mastering local and international scenes… soaring high , sky-rocketing awards and achievements, suiting in souvenirs, filling every space … mind and matter …

Success scenery. Health. Wealth. Abundance. We can’t take it all at one time, all at once but step by step…Taking a spoonful of daily dosage … John C Maxwell elucidates... “Success is defined by what you do daily..”

Some have dreams big enough to take the world by storm. Some effortlessly equate happiness with success. Who would not be glad about achieving finally one's goals. It's a lifelong dream.

But whatever that BIG thing is, the little things, the tiny drops of oil in the spoon, should never be forgotten. Be it a smile from our loved ones after a day's work, a ray of sunshine in the morning, or a serene walk in the sandy beaches on a windy day, or a breathtaking sunset view; these are things innate to us and things we too give much value.

Another adage puts it, “We should see the trees in the forest”. The Bible incites: “What is better for a man to gain the whole world than lost his soul”? Filipino financier’s count in, ‘Every peso comes from a lowly centavo”. A 1980 ballad belts out “I’ve been to paradise ... but I’ve never been to me… ”

Covey categorically demonstrates “Is the glass half-filled with water or half-emptied with airspace”?

So what’s really inside happy people threading success? Bucketfuls of laughter, spoonfuls of soul enriching moments & relationships, a sea of smiling faces; a second to while away … STOP and SAVOR filled spaces, fielded scenes, erstwhile, full spoons.

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