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  • Writer's pictureSona Parmar

The Starfish

I just had my first mini Magnum. It was yummy. But I am sad.

They are so small.

It totally brought up my scarcity mindset.

Then, realising that I could comfortably have another one, I am at ease. There is abundance in the world again.

And then my mind wandered to something Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, once said. He said that, on waking, one should beat the mind with a shoe a hundred times. He went on to say that, before retiring for the night, one ought to beat it a further hundred times, this time with a broomstick. He reasoned that this was the only way to keep one’s mind under control.

I’m wondering how much a broomstick would hurt.

I used to think it was my mind that was stupid. I felt better when I found out it was an affliction that affected all of mankind. And then I felt worse, because it meant we were all doing dumb things.

When I studied at the LSE, we were told that this was why so many economic models failed: there was no such thing as a rational human being. There it was again: we were all dumb.

I wanted to know how I could be less dumb. I also knew that I wasn’t the first person to ask this question.

Those other people found meditation. When we meditate, we pause. We realise that we’re having a dumb thought (a fourth mini Magnum?) and then we don’t follow through with a dumb action.

But it’s so tiring. 60,000-70,000 thoughts a day. How is a non-rational human being to keep up?

And with that, I remembered the starfish story:

Once upon a time, a young girl was walking along the beach, throwing back all the starfish that had been washed up in a recent storm. As she picked up each one, onlookers watched in amusement.

“How can you possibly make a difference?”, one man asked her.

She looked crestfallen.

And then, she picked up the starfish at her feet and hauled it deep back into the ocean.

“I made a difference to that one”, she said.

Inspired, the man joined in and slowly, so did others. Soon enough, all the starfish were saved.

This is how I will save my thoughts.

First, it starts with me. Next, my kids will ask me whether it’s my brain or stomach that wants more ice-cream (true story). I have three little broomstick-holders in my house.

And then, when they are not there, I do it for myself again.

One thought at a time.

But, in the meantime, I can at least have that third mini Magnum.

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