"We not only have to know how to see happiness in our lives, but we also have to be careful with regard to it, and not spill it. There is an oriental fable on this theme. A certain youth asked his father, “What is happiness?” And his father sent him to a well-known wise man. So, the young man went to the famous teacher expecting to see an ascetic, but the man turned out to be rather wealthy, possessing a fine palace filled with works of art. The youth came to the palace and asked the wise man, “Teacher, tell me what happiness is.” The teacher gave him a small spoon filled it with olive oil, and said, “Walk around my palace, look at all the treasures and beautiful works of art inside it, and when you return tell me what you saw. But in doing so, make sure that you do not spill the oil from the spoon.” In a little while the youth returned and told the man all about that he had seen, adding that as he looked around at the treasures, all the oil spilled out of his spoon. Then the wise man filled the spoon again with oil and repeated the request. When the youth returned and the teacher asked him what he had seen, the boy said, “I couldn’t see anything in your palace because I was making sure not to spill any oil.” And truly, he brought the spoon back without spilling a drop. “Happiness is in this,” said the wise man. “In being able to preserve the gift that you have, and not waste it.” This parable tells us that by looking at all the wealth and beauty that does not belong to us, that was not given to us, we are not only unable to see them clearly, but we also loose what we do have."
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