George Mao was a philosophy professor at the University of Maine, and he was miserable. His wife had left him for a pizza delivery boy, his son wouldn’t talk to him, and students avoided his classes. He considered his life meaningless and saw sickness and death his future in his old age.
From an academic philosophy magazine, he read of guru in India that was wonderfully wise, with a great many noted people willing to make a difficult pilgrimage just to receive his council.
George took academic leave and flew to India. The guru was on the top of an escarpment and the only access was a steep and dangerous trail that led to the top.
After hours of walking and climbing George found the guru sitting outside of his cave. George said, ‘Teacher, I am a philosophy professor, I have lived half of my lifetime and I am miserable. Please tell me why we are here. What is the meaning of life?’
The guru answered, ‘The meaning of life is a tea pot.’
George was furious. He said, ‘I have flown across the ocean, traveled across India and climbed this damn mountain and all you can tell me is the reason we are all here is a tea pot?
The guru thought for a minute, then said, ‘Well, maybe it’s not a tea pot.
George could have saved himself the trip and asked me – I would have told him, it’s the hokey pokey.