Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Acres of Diamonds

The story is told of Ali Hafed, a wealthy ancient Persian who owned much land and many productive fields, orchards, and gardens and had money out at interest. He had a lovely family and at first was contented because he was wealthy, and wealthy because he was contented.
An old priest came to Ali Hafed and told him that if he had a diamond the size of his thumb, he could purchase a dozen farms like his. Ali Hafed said, “Will you tell me where I can find diamonds?”
The priest told him, “If you will find a river that runs through white sands, between high mountains, in those white sands you will always find diamonds.”
Said Ali Hafed, “I will go.”
So he sold his farm, collected his money that was at interest, and left his family in charge of a neighbor, and away he went in search of diamonds, traveling through many lands in Asia and Europe. After years of searching, his money was all spent, and he passed away in rags and wretchedness.
Meanwhile, the man who purchased Ali Hafed’s farm one day led his camel out into the garden to drink, and as the animal put his nose into the shallow waters, the farmer noticed a curious flash of light in the white sands of the stream. Reaching in, he pulled out a black stone containing a strange eye of light. Not long after, the same old priest came to visit Ali Hafed’s successor and found that in the black stone was a diamond. As they rushed out into the garden and stirred up the white sands with their fingers, they came up with many more beautiful, valuable gems. According to the story, this marked the discovery of the diamond mines of Golconda, the most valuable diamond mines in the history of the ancient world.
Had Ali Hafed remained at home and dug in his own cellar or anywhere in his own fields, rather than traveling in strange lands where he eventually faced starvation and ruin, he would have had “acres of diamonds” (story paraphrased from Russell H. Conwell, Acres of Diamonds [1960], 10–14).
Ali went in search of his happiness to a far off place and ended up with nothing. I sometimes find myself looking for happiness in a far-off time...."I will be so happy when I don't have to buy diapers anymore"; "I will be so happy when Nathan stops his tantrums"; "I will be so happy if I could lose 10 pounds"; "I will be the happiest person on earth when my house it paid off"...you get the idea. I need to search for happiness right here and right now. I need to treasure the little moments of bliss that come and just be happy NOW :) I am going to start harvesting my acres of diamonds by recognizing those moments of happiness more often.