“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” Albert Camus, Intuitions, October 1932
Risk looking stupid
Risk personal embarrassment
Risk making mistakes
Risk offending people
Risk having your feelings hurt
To be smart
To acquire skills
To win praise
To avoid mistakes
To help people
To be happy
A friend, a CPA, once told me this story. There was a man who was yearning to know the meaning of life. He studied diligently, all of science and philosophy, read broadly in the humanities, and had long discussions with religious leaders. Still the meaning of life eluded him.
He heard there was a yogi who lived on top of a mountain in a faraway land who knew the meaning of life. The journey took him a year. He was exhausted when he reached the site but he had no time to rest. He hired a guide to help him climb the mountain. The guide warned him to choose his questions wisely.
“The yogi answers only two questions, never more.”
When the man arrived at the top the colors were exquisite. He saw a tall tree. High in the tree sat the yogi who knew the meaning of life.
The man’s heart began to pound. This was the reason for his difficult journey. This is why he had come. He couldn’t wait any longer so he yelled out to the yogi at the top of the tree.
“Holy man, Oh wondrous yogi, I have come to find the meaning of life. Can you tell me?”
There was no answer. The man waited at the bottom of the tree, but the yogi did not speak.
“You must climb the tree to ask to him,” said the guide.
So, the man climbed slowly to the top until he was side by side with the yogi who knew the meaning of life.
The yogi wore only a loincloth. His hair was long and matted. His skin was weathered from exposure to the elements. His eyes were closed, his breathing imperceptible.
“I have come on a long and difficult journey. Please, please tell me the meaning of life.”
The man’s throat was so dry he could hardly utter the words.
Slowly as if waking from a trance the yogi opened his piercing blue eyes. His chapped lips slowly parted revealing his dry and cracked tongue. Then, slowly, three words emerged from his mouth, the meaning of life.
“Make no mistakes.”
After he spoke, the yogi’s eyes closed and he went back into a trance.
“That’s it!” thought the man happy at last. “Make no mistakes, that’s the meaning of life.”
He laughed to himself as he climbed down from the tree. But, when he reached the ground he quickly became confused. He looked to the guide for help.
“Make no mistakes? What could that mean? How does one make no mistakes? ”
“I don’t know, sir,” said the guide. “You must go back up and ask the yogi, but remember, you can only ask him two questions. This will be your last chance.”
The man’s hands were shaking as he climbed up the tree again and waited for the yogi to open his eyes.
“I have one last question oh wise man. How do I make no mistakes?”
These two final words emerged from the cavern of the yogi’s mouth. Afterward, he went into a deep trance from which he would not awaken for many days.