We gobbled down our cereal and while we sipped on our hot tea, Dharma asked me a question. "Irwin, do you consider yourself a rich frog?" "Why not at all, Master, you know that I live rather simply. Why do you ask me such a thing?" Dharma thought for a moment and then spoke. "Son, the real measure of a frog's wealth is how much he's worth when he loses all his money." And so began my lesson for this week.
Dharma explained to me that true wealth shouldn't be measured by how much money you have in the bank or by the number of possessions you own. Rather, it should be measured by the things that are of real value, the things that are important and are lasting. With that statement, Dharma listed 5 things that make us frogs, and you humans as well, wealthier than money ever can.
1. Physical, mental, and spiritual health. Good health is worth a lot. As someone once said, "There's no point in being the richest man in the graveyard." Boy Howdy! Isn't that the truth! Being in good mental and physical health is worth more than any amount of money. And being spiritually at peace can give us more hope in difficult times than a pile of cash. All the money in the world can't buy that kind of comfort. So what's the cost of being healthy cost? Nothing. We can all take advantage of the great outdoors and exercise for free. We all have to eat so why not choose to eat healthier. that decision costs nothing. And as for your own personal form of spirituality? That costs nothing either. Churches are free and both the library and internet are full of free resources and books on spiritual teachings...whatever you believe.
2. Family. We may not always like our families but we should always love them. These are the ones that love us no matter what; they make us laugh and cry and are there when life gets tough. When we're young, we don't always realize how important our families are, but as we grow up and move away we begin to notice the void they leave in our lives when we don't see them as often as we used to. So what's the cost of loving and appreciating your family? Zero. Zip. Nada.
3. Friends. These are the ones you love to spend time with. Sharing a joke or spending time with your best buds doesn't cost a thing. Even if they now live far away, you can send them an email, make a phone call, or contact them through Facebook. They're always as close as that. How awesome do you feel after a visit, or a simple chat, with your friends? I know I always feel really good and very, very lucky to have them in my life. If you have good friends, you are very rich indeed.
4. Being of service to others. There's no better feeling in the whole world than being able to help someone else. Whether it's volunteering for your favorite charitable organization or helping the elderly couple next door by mowing their yard for free. Being o service is all about making someone else's life a little better just by being around. This reminds me of the classic Christmas story, "It's a Wonderful Life." If you look back over your life, can you see the difference you've made? If not, it's never to late to start. At the end of life, we all want to feel that we've made a difference. making a difference doesn't mean bequeathing a pile of money to some museum. It just means being a good Samaritan from time to time. The cost? Nothing.
5. The things that bring you joy; your hobbies and interests. Out of all the things on this list, it's really the only one that can potentially cost you money. Yet many hobbies can be enjoyed for little or no cost. Books are available for free. So it's most music. Great videos on how to do almost anything are free on YouTube. Love art? No need to visit museums all over the world to see it. You can enjoy from the comfort of your home (or the public library). All you need do is look at books or check out your favorite artists online. Some museums even have a free day each month.
As Dharma and I finished up our lesson, and as he prepared to hop away for another week, he turned and asked me one last question. "Irwin, do you consider yourself a rich frog?" This time my answer was a resounding "Yes!" I know that I may be poor when it comes to ready cash, but I am rich beyond my wildest dreams. I enjoy helping others and I have many hobbies that occupy my time. I have friends, family, and love. And these are what make me the richest frog in all of Lily Pad.