‘I’d have a big house in the Bahamas and play golf all day’ said the guy in B&Q today as he was mixing my paint.

My wife and I are in the process of decorating our house, and we are trying out some different coloured paints in those little tester pots. One colour we wanted to try was not available off the shelf, but an extremely helpful assistant offered to mix a special pot of that colour up for me. We went over to a small counter where he pushed a few buttons and a special mix of paints was squirted into a small pot of white paint. He then put a lid on it and popped it into a machine the size of a small fridge which proceeded to vigorously shake the paint to mix it up.

As we looked at the machine I told him how amazing it was that it could produce any possible colour anyone wanted.

‘I wish I had invented it’ he said wistfully, ‘Then I wouldn’t be working here; I’d have a big house in the Bahamas and play golf all day’.

I looked at him and gave a little shake of my head. ‘You’d get bored.’ He stared at me. ‘It might take a year or so, but you’d get bored’. He thought about it for a moment and came back with ‘I’d have more than one! I’d have houses all over the world!’

I gave him a slightly sad look. ‘It doesn’t matter how many houses you’d have. You’d get bored’. He looked at me in astonishment. ‘It doesn’t matter how much money you have, you’d just end up bored’.

‘Do you speak from experience on this then?’ he asked.

‘No…’ I said ‘but I’ve given it a lot of thought and I know it’s true.’

And my friend in B&Q knew it too. That’s why he said he needed more than one house in the Bahamas. I mean – wouldn’t one big house be enough? No it wouldn’t, because there is no amount of money or houses that can satisfy our desires – there is always SOMETHING we will need which would make us that bit happier than we are now. Most of us don’t have enough money, so it’s easy to think that if we had more we would be happy and all our problems would go away. But if we look at the lives of rich people, we can see that they have just as many problems as we do!

My B&Q assistant is skewered by a dream of golf and big houses, and this dream causes him constant unhappiness. Every time he mixes paint, he dreams his dream, and comes down to earth with a stab of sadness in his heart.

Dharma teaches us that happiness does not lie in exotic lands, playing games or other distractions. It lies in inner peace, and only Buddha’s perfect teachings can reveal it to us.

We have a choice – we can be like the paint guy, and spend our life dreaming and suffering, or we can turn to the Three Jewels, and to freedom.