Little things in life

Small things, small tasks are as important as the ‘great’ things of life


Have you heard the beautiful song which goes like this…

Little drops of water, little grains of sand

Make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land!

It is the little things in life that count! But alas, in our mad rush for bigger and greater things, we ignore those little things that make life truly meaningful. Look at the huge banyan tree which spreads its leafy green branches so wide that dozens of people can rest comfortably under its shade. Do you realise that it has come out of a tiny seed? Let us take care of the little things of life—and it is out of these little habits that our life is shaped.

Small things, small tasks are as important as the ‘great’ things of life. A perfectionist is one who pays as much attention to small details as to great tasks. Such a person peels an orange with as much care as he implements an important project.

Do not raise a storm in a teacup over trifling issues. It is only our inflated egos that lead us on to take offence over every trifling issue.

The boy who played Paderewski’s piano

There was a little boy who showed great interest in music. His mother arranged for him to take piano lessons. When the famous Polish pianist Jan Paderewski came to their city for a concert, the mother decided to take her son to the concert so that the little boy could draw inspiration from the Master. They arrived early and found their seats. Spotting a friend in the audience, the mother went up to greet him. Left alone, the little boy decided to explore the grand auditorium and wandered off on his own. Finding a door ajar in a corner, he walked through, unaware of the red letters above the entrance which carried the warning: No Admittance. When the lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin the mother returned to her seat and was horrified to find her little boy missing. Imagine her shock when she saw the velvet drape curtains parting to reveal the stage, where her son was seated before the magnificent Steinway piano, strumming the keys of the only tune he knew, which was “Twinkle, twinkle little star.”

The audience gazed in wonder at the strange sight before them, when the spotlight focussed on Paderewski who made his entrance on stage. At a glance, the Master understood the situation. He quickly moved to the piano and whispered in the little boy’s ear, “Just keep on playing, son! You’re doing wonderfully well!” The little boy smiled, and continued to play the familiar tune, blissfully unaware that a thousand pairs of eyes were staring at him in disbelief. Leaning over, Paderewski began playing the bass part with his left hand. The youngster was delighted at the beautiful music emanating from the piano. With a radiant smile, he focussed on the keys before him, playing the tune with great care.

Soon, Paderewski brought his right hand around the other side of the young pianist and added a running obbligato to the simple tune. The novice and the Master had transformed what could have been a potentially embarrassing situation into a wonderful, triumphant creative experience. The audience was transported by the music, and gave a standing ovation at the end of this marvellous rendition. Paderewski was indeed a Grand Master, who took the serious lapse on the stage in his stride. He had respected the enthusiasm of the little boy and taken his playful effort seriously. What started off as a mistake had been turned into a miracle!

Take little things in life seriously

Do everything in the spirit of offering to the Lord. It does not matter how lowly your station may be; it does not matter how humble the task you perform.

There was a spiritual seeker—Jignasu—who was told about a holy man, a sage who lived on a lonely, remote mountain-top. It was believed that this wise man had an answer for every question—the solution to every problem. Merely by spending a few minutes in his presence, one’s life would be changed forever. Naturally, the seeker was anxious to meet such an evolved soul. “If only I could just see him,” he said to himself, “I would count myself blessed! If only I could share a few seconds with him, I would feel truly enlightened!”

He decided to set out in search of the sage’s abode. For days together, he walked across hills, rivers, valleys and streams to locate the mountain where the great guru lived. After a tough and exhausting climb, he finally arrived at the sage’s front door. Trembling with intense emotional excitement, he knocked at the door. It was opened by a lowly man in poor clothes, whom he took to be a servant. The servant greeted him and led him through the house. They passed through several corridors and rooms, and the servant kept on talking as they walked. However, the seeker’s mind was so fixed on the experience ahead of him, that he hardly paid any attention to what the man was saying. The servant glanced at him as he talked and finally, they both arrived at a locked door. He opened the door which led on to the back yard. Wordlessly, he indicated that the visitor should leave the house.

“But I’ve come all the way to meet the guru,” the seeker protested. “I must have at least a few minutes with him!”

“You just did,” answered the sage as he let the man out and shut the door firmly.

We are so preoccupied with ‘big’ issues; we have no time to spare for the ‘here and now.’ Our answers, the solutions to our problems are not always to be found on a mountain-top; they may be staring you in the face right where you are.

Take serious things lightly

Whenever the great inventor, Thomas Alva Edison felt lost and helpless and found it impossible to proceed with a difficult experiment, he would adopt a unique way out of the stressful situation. He would go to sleep on a couch holding tightly on to a rock in his hand. As he dozed, he would dip into his subconscious mind, where he knew the answer to his problems would be found. As he slipped into sleep, his hold on the rock would be loosened, and it would fall down with a thud. The noise would awaken Edison and he would spring up, awake and alert—the solution to his problem now available to him. He would quickly write it down and proceed with his interrupted experiment.

The noise, shout and shows of the world often distract us from the inner spirit, with its vast and deep store of wisdom. This inner genius can be tapped through deep relaxation. A good night’s sleep or a relaxing, short nap will clear the cobwebs of your mind, and allow your inner wisdom to shine forth.

People seek fame and fortune in the world outside—as they believe that if they become rich and famous, they will also be happy and contended. They have got themselves slightly mixed up; if they do what makes them truly happy, appreciation and contentment will naturally follow.

This was first published in the March 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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J P Vaswani
J P Vaswani (2 August 1918 – 12 July 2018) ), affectionately called "Dada", was a spiritual leader with a difference. His message of love and forgiveness resonated deeply with millions of people around the world. He spearheaded Sadhu Vaswani Mission, which he took over after the passing away of his master T L Vaswani. The mission has centres around the world and continues to do humanitarian work. Dada has received the prestigious U-Thant Peace Award for his dedicated service to the world peace.