How would I convey to another why I suffer when I desire something?

Contributed by Isabel Hernández Negrin from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.

Today I offer you this story so that you can draw your own learning.

Anonymous Desires: Arab World

An emperor was going out of his palace for a morning walk when he came across a beggar.

He asked, “What do you want?”

The beggar laughed and said, “You ask as if you could fulfil my desire.”

The king laughed and said, “Of course I can fulfil your desire. What is it? Just tell me.”

And the beggar said, “Think twice before you make the promise.”

The beggar was no ordinary beggar. He had been the emperor’s teacher in a past life. And in that life, he had promised him:

“I will return and try to wake you up in your next life. In this life, you have not achieved it, but I will return… ”

He insisted: “I’ll give you anything you ask for. I am a very powerful emperor. What can you possibly desire for that I could not give you?”

The beggar said, “It is a very simple wish. Do you see this bowl? Can you fill it with something?”

“Of course,” said the emperor.

He called one of his servants and said, “Fill this man’s bowl with money.”

The servant did so… and the money disappeared. He threw in more and more money, and as soon as he threw it in, it disappeared. The beggar’s bowl was always empty.

The whole palace assembled. The rumour ran through the entire city and a large crowd gathered there. The emperor’s prestige was at stake.

He told his servants, “I am ready to lose my entire kingdom, but this beggar must not defeat me.”

Diamonds, pearls, emeralds… the treasures kept on emptying. The bowl seemed to have no bottom. All that was placed on it, disappeared immediately. It grew dark and the people were assembled quietly. The king threw himself at the beggar’s feet and admitted his defeat.

He said, “You have won, but before you go, satisfy my curiosity. What is your bowl made of?”

The beggar laughed and said, “It is made of the same material as the human mind. There is no secret… it is simply made up of human desires.”

Can desires really lead us to the happiness or to the intelligence?