My struggle with the concept of Value…and the Old Old Wine

I struggle with the concept of VALUE. It has always been challenging. What is the value of anything? What makes something important to one person and totally useless to another? Where should I focus my effort and time? The same contemplation across any given topic or ‘thing’ can have myriad effects. The value of anything can fill one person with joy, another with sadness and yet another with fear. You could overflow more than a few libraries with books on “how to determine value”: where to spend time, where to spend money, where to focus your heart and your mind, your energy …or your essence. So what should we value? Hopefully, anything we do is based on the fact that we value it enough that it becomes worthy of our time…this very moment…which is all we are sure of, all we really have.

I struggle with this topic because too often I have found myself more concerned about the value OTHERS put on some thing, some act, some topic, or some way of BEING, than I would. I can become more concerned about preserving the value THEY perceived. I valued what they valued so much, I too often forgot what I value. That distorted the reasons that supported where I spent my time, where I focused my heart, my energy, my essence…my way of BEING. I wasn’t making me happy. It was sapping my energy; distorting my perception of value to a point where I wasn’t sure what was valuable anymore…

I can say with certainty that I am not totally free from tendencies to ignore myself, but I know I am getting better. I will keep getting better by listening to my heart, and being true to myself. I am not always sure how to determine the true value of anything. It’s a journey where I expect to continue to make progress…because if nothing else, I believe, anyone is much better off when they believe that wherever they spend their time, their energy and their essence has value to them. Having said all of this, I still value the need to have an open heart and mind to what others may find valuable…I just need to ensure it doesn’t distort or diminish what I find valuable.

One of my favorite passages that demonstrates perspectives of value is by Kahlil Gibran, called The Old Old Wine

Once there was a rich man who was justly proud of his cellar and the wine therein. And there was one jug of ancient vintage kept for some occasion, known only to himself.

The governor of the state visited him, and he bethought him and said “That jug shall not be opened for a mere governor.”

And a bishop of the diocese visited him, but he said to himself, “Nay, I will not open that jug. He would not know its value nor would the aroma reach his nostrils.”

The prince of the realm came and supped with him. But he thought, “It’s too royal a wine for a mere princeling.”

And even one day, when his own nephew was married, he said to himself, “No, not to these guests shall this jug be brought forth.”

And the years passed by, and he died and old man, and he was buried like unto every seed and acorn.

And upon that day he was buried, that ancient jug was brought out together with the other jugs of wine, and it was shared by the other peasants of the neighborhood, and no one knew its great age.

To them, all that is poured in to a cup, is only wine.

I thank you for finding this valuable enough to spend time reading it …

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