Alexander was a great Greek king. As a military commander, he was undefeated and the most successful throughout history. On his way home from conquering many countries, he came down with an illness. At that moment, his captured territories, powerful army, sharp swords, and wealth all had no meaning to him. He realised that death would soon arrive and he would be unable to return to his homeland. He told his officers: “I will soon leave this world. I have three final wishes. You need to carry out what I tell you.” His generals, in tears, agreed.
The Three Wishes
- The best doctors should carry my body.
- All the wealth he had accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery; and
- his body should be covered in a shroud with only his hands visible, swinging in the wind, palms up, carrying dust.
One of his generals who was surprised by these unusual requests asked Alexander to explain. Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:
- I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal.
- I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth.
- I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is TIME.
TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life.
Which power do you truly seek? That which involves you with the snarling dogs of the world? Or the power of peaceful tranquillity which draws people to you? Which love do you really wish for? The phantom love of wealth and riches or ego and its control of others? Or the infinite power of the heart? Do you wish to succeed by competing against the lines drawn by others? Or do you wish to blaze forth in the creative expression of your own eternal genius? Do you wish to conquer the world and gain only ashes? Or the enduring powers of self-conquest and of one who has served? Do you wish to create and live in fear of the ghosts of past and future? Or to dwell in the city of clarity of the moment?
If you seek conquest, seek first the power of self conquest. Then seek that power which is service to others. Seek the power to benefit and comfort the many. For only such a power will be remembered. And even if you yourself do not gain from this power, be sure that generations of people to come will benefit from it, and you will be truly blessed.
Wish for, strive for, the true powers of tranquillity, love, inner genius, service and clarity of each moment.
May you have plenty of TIME.