Featured Topic: Techniques to Relieve Stress
Whether we are working in the business world, the field of education, medicine, information technology, or running our family, it is good to sit down periodically to take stock of our goals, how far we have met them, and how to set priorities towards their attainment.
It is helpful to stop and ask ourselves, “Where is our attention going? What are our priorities?” We may find that we spend too much time and attention on the monetary and financial aspects of our life or on our careers, at the cost of neglecting our families, our personal growth, and our spiritual growth. If so, we may want to look at balancing out our life.
There is a story about a young boy. One day, he was walking along the sidewalk when he found a penny. He picked it up and felt excited to have found it. He had no one to whom to return it, so he kept it as his own. He was so excited about finding that penny that wherever he went, he looked down to see if he could find more. Sometimes he would find other coins such as nickels, dimes and quarters.
As he grew up, he continued to walk looking down to see if he could find more lost money on the ground. Sometimes he was lucky enough to find a half dollar or dollar bills. Throughout his life, he continued looking down.
As he neared old age, he took calculation of all the money he had found on the ground. He had found hundreds of pennies, many nickels and dimes, and some quarters. The amount totaled to about $15. When he told his children about the total earnings of the money he had found, his perceptive daughter said to him, “You spent your whole life looking down and only made $15. But in the process, you missed out on seeing tens of thousands of sunrises and sunsets, hundreds of rainbows, hundreds of beautifully colored trees in the autumn and the brilliant buds of spring, beautiful blue skies, and the smiles of passing people. You have truly wasted the beauties of life.”
How many of us are in the same condition as the man in the story who spent his life looking to find money? We may not pursue money by looking down at a street, but how many of us become so absorbed in trying to amass money and possessions in our everyday life that we neglect other aspects of our lives? We may not only miss out on the beauties of nature and the joys of relationships with other people, but we may also be missing out on the greatest treasure of all — our spiritual riches.
There is nothing wrong with earning a livelihood. However, when earning money becomes all-consuming at the neglect of our health, our family, or our spiritual growth, then we may be leading an imbalanced life. It is important to lead a balanced life. We can attend to our responsibilities in the world and to our families, as well as to our spiritual development.
We may think in pursuing a spiritual path that we should spend all our time in meditation, but we do not want to be unbalanced in that direction either. If we look at the lives of the great saints and masters, we find they spent time in meditation, but they also spent time excelling in their jobs and in attending to the needs of their family, neighbors, community and society. They were well-rounded individuals who balanced worldly responsibility and spiritual growth.
There are 24 hours in the day. In setting priorities, we can devote some time daily to meditation, some time to selfless service, some time to our family, and some time to our jobs. Thus, we will find that we will excel in all these areas and will attain our goals in a full, satisfied life.