I began to muse on a topic and quickly realized that in my unfolding thoughts were more than I dare share in one day.
However, for the remainder of this week, I will be sharing on the topic of“treasure.” These thoughts stemmed from something I wrote about recently. I didn’t name it at the time but, I will call it “hyper-active humility”. Today let’s look at treasure on a personal level.
The history of the Golkonda diamond mines in southern India is a fascinating story most famously told in Russell Cornwell’’s speech Acres of Diamonds. It is the story of a Persian man named Ali Hafed. Here is an excerpt from the speech.
“Ali Hafed owned a very large farm; that he had orchards, grain-fields, and gardens; that he had money at interest and was a wealthy and contented man. One day there visited that old Persian farmer one of those ancient Buddhist priests, one of the wise men of the East.”
The priest told Ali Hafed a story of the origin of the world and described diamonds as “congealed drop of sunlight”.
The old priest told Ali Hafed that if he had one diamond the size of his thumb he could purchase the county, and if he had a mine of diamonds he could place his children upon thrones through the influence of their great wealth. Ali Hafed heard all about diamonds, how much they were worth, and went to his bed that night a poor man. He had not lost anything, but he was poor because he was discontented, and discontented because he feared he was poor. He said, “I want a mine of diamonds,” and he lay awake all night. Early in the morning he sought out the priest. I know by experience that a priest is very cross when awakened early in the morning, and when he shook that old priest out of his dreams, Ali Hafed said to him:
“Will you tell me where I find diamonds?”
“Diamonds! What do you want with diamonds?”
“Why, I wish to be immensely rich.”
“Well, then, go along and find them. That is all you have to do; go and find them, and then you have them.”
“But I don’t know where to go.”
“Well, if you will find a river that runs through white sands, between high mountains, in those white sands you will always find diamonds.”
“I don’t believe there is any such river.”
“Oh yes, there are plenty of them. All you have to do is to go and find them, and then you have them.”
Said Ali Hafed, “I will go.”
So, he sold his farm, collected his money, left his family in charge of a neighbor, and away he went in search of diamonds. He began his search, very properly to my mind, at the Mountains of the Moon. Afterward he came around into Palestine, then wandered on into Europe, and at last when his money was all spent and he was in rags, wretchedness, and poverty, he stood on the shore of that bay at Barcelona, in Spain, when a great tidal wave came rolling in between the pillars of Hercules, and the poor, afflicted, suffering, dying man could not resist the awful temptation to cast himself into that incoming tide, and he sank beneath its foaming crest, never to rise in this life again.
The story continues.
The man who purchased Ali Hafed’s farm one day led his camel into the garden to drink, and as that camel put its nose into the shallow water of that garden brook, Ali Hafed’s successor noticed a curious flash of light from the white sands of the stream. He pulled out a black stone having an eye of light reflecting all the hues of the rainbow. He took the pebble into the house and put it on the mantel which covers the central fires, and forgot all about it.
A few days later this same old priest came in to visit Ali Hafed’s successor, and the moment he opened that drawing-room door he saw that flash of light on the mantel, and he rushed up to it, and shouted:
“Here is a diamond! Has Ali Hafed returned?”
“Oh no, Ali Hafed has not returned, and that is not a diamond. That is nothing but a stone we found right out here in our own garden.”
“But,” said the priest, “I tell you I know a diamond when I see it. I know positively that is a diamond.”
Then together they rushed out into that old garden and stirred up the white sands with their fingers, and lo! There came up other more beautiful and valuable gems then the first. “Thus,” said the guide to me (Cornwell), “was discovered the diamond-mine of Golconda, the most magnificent diamond-mine in all the history of mankind, excelling the Kimberly itself. The Kohinoor, and the Orloff of the crown jewels of England and Russia, the largest on earth, came from that mine.”
Cornwell’s speech itself was a diamond mine. (You can get the 30-page pdf of the speech HERE). He was paid to delivered that speech over 5,000 times and garnered enough resources by doing so to start Temple University. You could read this story and conclude that all Ali Hafed needed was a smarter camel. (tongue fully in cheek) I personally like it most because it appears to be more than urban legend which makes its lessons even more weighty.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”
Ali Hafed’s peril didn’t come from seeking outside his own garden. It came from losing his contentment with the treasure he already possessed (before one diamond was discovered).
I think sometimes our hyper-active humility can blind us from seeing the value (treasure) in ourselves and in others.
Think for a few moments, which is more true of you – celebrating what you have or regretting what you don’t have? Imagine a spectrum line. Put delight on the left end and regret on the right end. Do you live more in the delight end of the spectrum or the regret end? The question is one of default focus. Is your “go-to” view of yourself more of honor or shame?
If you haven’t taken advantage of the free tool and gotten your LIFE IMPACT SCORE©, do it today. CLICK HERE. One of the statements is,
“If my thoughts towards myself were played out loud, I would be proud of them.”
I can think of 5 things that give treasure (of any type) its trade value (usefulness).
• Its Origin
• Its Scarcity
• Its Cost of Discovery
• Its Brilliance
• Its Audience
I will finish with the first of these – the origin of treasure.
One of my favorite scripture verses says.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 New Living Translation (NLT)
This verse is describing the condition of the Christian. The light is Jesus. The jars are the body. The treasure is the gift(s). A person (not just those who profess to be Christian) can look at this scripture and focus on any or each part of it. If you pay attention when people talk about themselves, you might begin to think they only see the fragile jar. I sometimes wonder if this is a clever tactic for avoiding accountability, but more likely is a lack of focus on the origin of the treasure and thereby missing its value.
Whether a treasure is internal or external, its author or source of origin is part of what gives it merit. One of my favorite art galleries is Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas, USA (think WalMart heiress Alice B. Walton). If you breakdown the elements of what covers the walls, you get mostly very cheap materials, a pile of wood sticks, some dried up paint, and woven cotton fabric. But if you visit Crystal Bridges, you will have the privilege of standing inches away from the most valuable painting by a woman. It is Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1. the oversize (48″ by 40″) 1932 portrait of a flower. Simple sticks, cotton and paint but its artist renown made Mrs. Walton pay $44.4 million for it.
Until we see the treasure in ourselves, we will have a difficult time seeing the treasure in others and we will do more to build a culture of shame rather than a culture of honor in our homes, workplaces, and communities.
You are worth the investment of your growth. The gifts, talents and special abilities were placed in you for a purpose. They were made to be shared.
PS What lessons do you draw from this? Fill in the blank. This is a great reminder of/to _______________. (Write me back and share your thoughts.)