During the winter break of his school, Ankush heard his friends talk about new year resolutions. From studying a little extra to reducing Netflix time, from eating less junk food to exercising more and saving up pocket money – their list of resolutions had a lot of self-promises. However, Ankush did not have any such list yet.
Nothing seemed striking to him, especially given his past record of unaccomplished resolutions. One evening, Ankush heard his father and brother talking about cars. He went on to listen to them.
“So how do you take better care of the car?” his father asked.
“By taking it for regular service and keeping it clean. That should do, right?” Ankush’s brother answered.
“Yes that’s certainly important but that’s not all,” explained his father.
“You must understand that while cleaning the car regularly from both the inside as well as the outside is important, the good condition of it also depends on the person handling it as well as the fuel you provide to the machine.
“Hmmm but we were talking about healthy living, how come we are discussing cars?,” asked his brother.
“Just like a car, our body also needs regular cleaning not just from the outside but also inside. “The good condition depends on the mindfulness of an individual towards his/her body and what he/she feeds his mind, body, and soul. Aiming for healthy living is not solely about how you look but more about how you feel from within. So you must look at all aspects.
I can think of ways to work on my physical health, I can list the exercises and the food which will work as an appropriate fuel for my body.
“What about mind and soul?,” Ankush questioned. “How do I improve that, Papa? Any good fuel for the soul?”
“Yes, I would suggest Seva.”
“As in community service or volunteering?,” Ankush asked.
That is one aspect of it. Seva is about being mindful of your surroundings, your capabilities, your opportunities, your responsibilities. It is about being connected to yourself but not attached to it and doing small things that can make a difference to make your surroundings or someone’s life better in any manner. It can just begin by making your bed yourself every day, folding the sheets after you get up, keeping the house and society clean, and encouraging your friends to do the same for the domino effect.
Isn’t it more about helping others? How exactly is it fuel for the soul?
While it involves going beyond our own interests, seva actually stems from the intention within us, which is why an act of seva can impact someone else in a good way and at the same time leave you feeling fulfilled and in bliss. Don’t necessarily look for large opportunities, just begin with small acts every day, the impact will follow.
Ankush was thoughtful now, but he now knew what he had to do. This year, his resolution list was going to be an everyday list of living better.
This article was originally published in the January 2021 edition of ‘The Plus’ magazine by IGenPlus. Read here.