There is a story of a mighty King that despite all of his wealth and power felt very unhappy. One day he sent word out to his subjects that he would give away all of his wealth to anyone who could give him peace of mind.
The King called personally upon the greatest philosophers, scientists, academics and poets. He searched far and wide yet peace of mind continued to elude him. Despite his best efforts he could find no solace, no joy, no peace. Holding a sack of all of the gold and jewels he owned he began to ask anyone, pleading for someone to give him peace of mind in return for all of his wealth. Watching the King was the town beggar, the village idiot so to speak, and a man no one respected or paid much attention to. As the King walked by him he ran up from behind and snatched the bag away. In shock he screamed hysterically in outrage running after him, cursing, trying to catch the thief but the King was so unhealthy from years of too much eating and drinking. He was used to always being carried around, never having to lift a finger so was unable to catch up with the man who had stolen all he owned.
As the King huffed and puffed his way in a failed effort to keep up with the beggar, he finally saw the man laying at the foot of a tree, relaxing, humming to himself, the bag of riches casually thrown to the side. In disbelief at his brazen attempt to steal his wealth, the King snatched back his sack from the village idiot and collapsed in a smiling heap of relief, joy and peace. The beggar just stared at him, laughed and said "Look at you, laying there clutching your precious bag of gold. A moment ago you were willing to give all of it away for some peace of mind. Now, here you lay, overjoyed with the much peace of mind you so desperately sought. And all it took was the fear of it being taken away from you..."
This is not so much a story about being grateful for what we have, though that is one aspect for sure. Rather I liken this story to how so many of us approach our health the same way the King approached his wealth. To me they are one in the same. Many of us don't appreciate or even recognise how rich we already are in the form of good health. We are so willing to give it away to bad habits, stress, indulgences, processed foods, refined sugars etc in search for some sort of high, comfort, pleasure or happiness we think we don't already have. Yet, it is only when the threat of it being taken away from us, ie: when we get ill, that we realise it is one of life's only true riches and without it not much else matters.
Perhaps it is just human nature or perhaps it is because we seemed to have evolved into a society that views money as the sole measure of wealth. Whatever the reason I often end my yoga classes with this thought: If you are feeling strong, in good health and at peace then take a moment to have gratitude for how rich you are. For it is only he who has a healthy body and sound mind who can truly consider himself a wealthy being.