the treasure and the key

Robert Falcon Scott said, “Each man in his way is a treasure,” and Louisa May Alcott seems to be on the same page, “A faithful friend is a strong defense; and he that hath found him hath found a treasure.”

Rereading these thoughts have sent my mind on a treasure hunt of sorts in which I have recollected a number of beautiful thoughts on what constitutes the treasures within us and the world around us. Joseph Campbell seemingly went on a similar pilgrimage, “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” Buddha ties Alcott and Campbell together, “A good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals a secret of hidden treasure.”

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self; of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the last to be dug up.” This process of uncovering is not for the faint hearted. As Carol Lynn Pearson puts it, “Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.” Once we have discovered the treasures within ourselves we also have the responsibility to steward and share them. George Sand said, “Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.”

Our memories and experiences are also treasures, to quote Thom Gunn, “As humans we look at things and think about what we’ve looked at. We treasure it in a kind of private art gallery.” But perhaps the ultimate treasures are still truth and love. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men.” I’m going to let Yakov Smirnoff have the last word on this one, “If love is the treasure, laughter is the key.”

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