What can you take with you?

There was a king who had three sons. He heard of an amazing garden in another kingdom and decided to send his three sons to visit the garden, learn about it then come back home and build a similar one. He also wanted to use the task as a test to see which of them would be a suitable leader to take his place as a head of the kingdom.

The three brothers arrived at the garden. The place had restricted access and the the guards told them “You can go into the garden, use and see anything you want, but you can only stay as long as we tell you and you cannot take anything out with you“. So the brothers went in agreeing to the terms.

The first one saw all the amazing fruits and started eating anything he could find. The tastes were amazing, nothing like anything at his home. They were incredible and he couldn’t stop. The second brother saw previous stones, gold and diamonds. He started stuffing his pockets, his socks, bags and anything he could find. He also dug holes to hide some with the intention to come back and get them later and to make sure no one else will have them. The third son decided to explore the whole garden. He walked all the alleys, tried some of the fruits and mainly observed how the garden was put together, what trees were there and how they complemented each other.

Time was up. The guards urged them to the exit. The first brother had stuffed his pockets with fruits and the guards got angry because he didn’t obey the agreement and beat him up, removed the fruits and threw him out of the garden. The second one they beat up even more because he was trying to steal so much. The beat him so hard that he died. The third one walked out without anything on him and without any problems.

When arriving home the king asked the first brother what he had brought back. When he saw that there was nothing and that his son had just stuffed his face and got beaten up the king told him “You are not good to replace me, you are only interested in gluttony and self-indulging, leave my presence”. The second son had died because of his ignorance and greed. The third son sat in front of his father and drew a detailed plan of the garden, explaining what species of plants and trees he had seen and how they were planted. The king was pleased with his son and made him the new king in his place.

Every day and every moment

This story is what happens to us every day. We have a choice where to put our focus and energy. We can choose to put it all in hands full with life – trying all the amazing tastes of life, consuming and entertain our palates with whatever we can. We can focus on attaining all the riches, the perfect house and fill the storage with food to the point where nothing else matters. Or we can choose to listen, observe, to be present and explore mindfully, appreciating, planning and living in balance, knowing that we can’t take anything with us but the experiences we make. This is the choice that stands in front of us in every moment and every day when we wake up.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to not work towards having the life of safety and comfort, rather to do it in balance and with the understanding that none of these you can take with you but the experiences, understanding and knowledge attained. Living every day with that in mind, you know where the most value for your focus is. We have a limited time in every day and we can’t take much into the next day with certainty but what we have learned.

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