Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - The Wisdom of Simplicity

ronniemcbrayer300 green2KENTUCKY (5/5/13) - In Paulo Coelho’s brilliant little book, The Alchemist, the author tells of a young lad sent by his father to a wise man to discover the secret of happiness. The wise man lived in a magnificent, faraway castle complete with sweet music, beautiful artwork, delicious food, and sprawling gardens. It was a wonder of the world.

After a long journey to the castle and waiting for hours to speak to the sage, the boy finally gained an audience. The wise man listened to the boy’s explanation for his visit, then answered, “I do not have time to reveal the secret of happiness to you.” Instead, he handed the boy a teaspoon with two tiny drops of oil in it, and instructed him to wander around the castle for two hours without spilling the oil.

The lad did as instructed, carefully climbing the high stairwells and creeping down the long hallways of the palace, his eyes always fixed on the teaspoon. When he returned to the wise man, he was asked, “Did you see my Persian tapestries, my extravagant gardens, my parchments in the library?” Embarrassed, the boy replied that he had not. He had been focused solely on the drops of oil in the spoon.

With this confession the boy was sent back to tour the castle, and this time he focused all his attention on the beauty that surrounded him. He returned to the wise man with excitement, thrilled at all he had seen. The wise man then asked, “And where are the two drops of oil I gave you?”

The boy realized that he had spilt them along the way. The wise man then revealed his “secret” to happiness: “Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.”

This parabolic story calls for a much needed balance: Joy is the product of being in tune with the world around us, while caring for the few precious things we have been given to carry on our journey. We cannot ignore the realities of our surroundings, and we cannot ignore our personal responsibilities.

But the real brains of Coelho’s story is that the wise man gave the boy only two drops to carry in his spoon; not a quart of oil, not a five-gallon bucket full, and certainly not a heavy, back-breaking tank of the stuff. It was only a couple of drops, revealing that happiness is maintained by keeping our personal load as light as possible.

Do you want to be happy? Lighten your load and simplify your life. The most deeply spiritual thing that some of us could do is have a garage sale. Purge our calendars. Resign from a few of our many activities. Our unhappiness isn’t related to a poor prayer life, the lack of reading the Scriptures, or going to church too little.

We are carrying too much baggage. We are trying to manage too much stuff. We have too many possessions, too many obligations, and too many batons juggling in the air. This is an unqualified recipe for misery. Because all of these weights and concerns of life – most of which we have assumed (they haven’t been put upon us by anyone else) – are choking out any real chance at being happy, as we simply cannot carry our self-loaded burdens or lift our heads to see the beauty around us.

None of us can live our lives, worship our God, enjoy our world, or take care of those who have been given to us to love (these are the few, priceless drops in the spoon by the way), if we are constantly looking at our own shoelaces, burdened with ourselves and our many concerns.

Thus, when we simplify, we are doing much more than getting rid of physical possessions or conserving our precious time. We are sharpening our emotional focus; we are making spiritual space. We are choosing to be happy. Happiness, after all, is an intentional choice, and it is the wisest choice of all.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

button coupons
button classifieds

In Other News...

SAR Planning 'Triple' Revolutionary War Patriot Grave Marking Ceremony in Muhlenberg

MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (11/22/14) ― The Col. Stephen Trigg Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution in Cadiz will… Read More

Light of Chance, Inc. Re-Launches New, Innovative Website

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (11/23/14) — Thriving nonprofit, Light of Chance, Inc. recently re-launched its website,… Read More

Most Read This Week

November 21, 2014 5217

Man Accused of Assaulting Coach During Basketball…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
November 18, 2014 5125

Couple Charged for Concealing Food in Infant Car…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
November 17, 2014 4617

Police Charge Woman for Drug Possession After…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
November 17, 2014 3807

Bremen Woman Ejected From Vehicle During Kentucky…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S.C. Recke
November 21, 2014 3193

Crashing Dump Trucks in Work Zone Cause Pennyrile…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
November 18, 2014 3121

Area Talent to Film Music Video at Merle Travis…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
November 19, 2014 3051

Three Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision on South…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gwen Smith
November 19, 2014 2849

Two Killed When Vehicle Becomes Airborne, Strikes…

in Local (Owensboro) Top News by Daviess County Sheriff's Office
November 21, 2014 2399

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed Down

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
November 21, 2014 2243

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Nov. 21, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

November 22, 2014 1559

One Injured in Two Vehicle Collion in Greenville

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Miria Thomas
November 21, 2014 1247

KSP Announces 'Cram the Cruiser' to Feed the…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Stu Recke
November 22, 2014 1139

SAR Planning 'Triple' Revolutionary War Patriot…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Geoff Baggett
November 22, 2014 1127

Greenville Representatives Taking Part in Austin,…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
November 21, 2014 1117

Kentucky Employers to Save About $112 million

in General News For All Sites by Cathy Lindsey
November 22, 2014 1063

Carve a Turkey Like a Pro

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
November 22, 2014 1022

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

in Hopkins News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
November 22, 2014 997

Pennyrile Dulcimer Players Demonstrate Unique…

in Top News For All Sites by Ron Sanders
November 22, 2014 898

P'Pool Among Top Performing Child Support…

in Hopkins News by Cabinet for Health and Family Services
November 21, 2014 859

Kentucky State Parks Winter Holiday Events

in General News For All Sites by Gil Lawson

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss