"On my head pour only the sweet waters of serenity. Give me the gift of the untroubled Mind."
Once, as a young man full of exuberant fancy, I undertook to draw up a catalogue of the acknowledged "goods" of life. As other men sometimes tabulate lists of properties they own or would like to own, I set down my inventory of earthly desirables: health, love, beauty, talent, power, riches, and fame.
When my inventory was completed I proudly showed it to a wise elder who had been the mentor and spiritual model of my youth. Perhaps I was trying to impress him with my precocious wisdom. Anyway, I handed him the list. "This", I told him confidently, "is the sum of mortal goods. Could a man possess them all, he would be as a god."
At the corners of my friend's old eyes, I saw wrinkles of amusement gathering in a patient net. An excellent list," he said, pondering it thought fully. "Well digested in content and set down in not-unreasonable order. But it appears, my young friend, that you have omitted the most important element of all. You have forgotten the one ingredient, lacking which each possession becomes a hideous torment."
"And what," I asked, peppering my voice with truculence," is that missing ingredient?
" With a pencil stub he crossed out my entire schedule. Then, having demolished my adolescent dream structure at a single stroke, he wrote down three syllables: peace of mind. "This is the gift that God reserves for His special proteges," he said.
Talent and beauty He gives to many. Wealth is common place, fame not rare. But peace of mind-that is His final guerdon of approval, the fondest insignia of His love. He bestows it charily. Most men are never blessed with it: others wait all their lives-yes, far into advanced age-for this gift to descend upon them."