Mixed – up Priorities

Mixed – Up Priorities
December 1991 / January 1992

Arvind Vyas came to Canada 17 years ago, originally from Gujarat, India.  He  is an Engineer, speaks 3 languages and loves sports, painting and teaching

As they say “Life is but a journey from cradle to grave”. It is simple and straight. Then why do we see all the complications ? I remember a farmer’s story my good friend used to tell me:

“This farmer had a dog that followed his master every day from the house to the farm and from the farm to the house. One day when the farmer was returning home from the farm, as usual, his dog was with him. The dog was totally exhausted and gasping for air. Seeing the dog half-dead, a passer-by questioned the farmer, “How could you make your dog run all the way? Don’t you have any mercy ?”. The farmer replied, “My good man, the farm is not too far from here and this dog is not tired because of that short distance. He had many distractions on the way, he chased so many cats and dogs and rabbits in his path, that he is now exhausted”

Ours is a similar situation, isn’t it ? Life is simple and straight and yet we also run after every attraction and distraction, exhausting our lives. We all ask ourselves, “Why do we chase and fall in the ruts ?”

“Mixed-up priorities”, you say ? Right, but I am not mixed-up. I know exactly what I need and I don’t sit quietly until I get it. You may ask me, what do I do when I get what I want ? Well I think about something else I want and try to get that.

This means an endless pursuit to get one thing or the other. Sometimes it seems that I am after something even though I have no real need for it. I am driven by the mere desire or just because others have it, whatever “it” may be.

This ‘not knowing what is good for me’ really keeps me at it. Sometimes it keeps me so occupied that I forget to do the right things. The famous saying “Simple living and High thinking” starts twisting to “High living and Simple (or worse):

NO thinking”. This leads to no peace of mind. You may have heard me quite frequently saying “I don’t have time”. In reality, I don’t have time to do the right thing at the right time or even anything at anytime. Prompted by further dissatisfaction, I am driven towards the pursuit of aimless tasks, leading to more dissatisfaction … an endless cycle … I know that I am like that farmer’s dog who was exhausted due to useless chases. I must break this endless cycle.

Satisfaction is the key to peace of mind. I must learn to work hard but be happy with what I have, recognize what is important in life and pursue only that. I know everyone is contemplating the same problem. All I can say is, let’s straighten out our mixed-up priorities !