The Zen Series: No Shoes

Parsi Times presents our readers ‘The Zen Series’ by PT Columnist, Kashmira Shaw Raj – a professional Taichi and Qigong practitioner and teacher, as also a sought-after clinical psychologist and healer. If you’re looking to bring about a positive change in yourself, ‘The Zen Series’ will inspire, motivate and facilitate you in realizing truths about yourself and life, to ultimately set you on the path of growth, wisdom and happiness. To contact Kashmira, M: 9323874418 or Email:

In this seventeenth part of ‘The Zen Series’, a Zen master’s answer to a monk’s innocent question, reveals great wisdom to be applied in life!

Socrates believed that the wise person would instinctively lead a frugal life. He himself would not even wear shoes; yet he constantly fell under the spell of the marketplace and would go there often to look at all the wares on display. When one of his friends asked why, Socrates said, “I love to go there and discover how many things I am perfectly happy without.” – 101 Zen Stories

This short story encapsulates the wisdom of Socrates. There are those who find themselves surrounded by a million alluring things and rush to acquire them all. They think they cannot do without them. It may start with something small and then the list grows until somewhere down the line, we don’t know where and when to stop or simply can’t. Then there are others who can be amongst the most beautiful of things and still appreciate and enjoy them without feeling the need to possess any of them.

We all love to be surrounded by beauty and luxury. We are fond of our creature comforts. But sometimes we do not realize that these creature comforts start ruling our lives. The materialistic pull within us becomes so magnified that we cannot do without giving in to its demands. Pleasure and happiness end up being defined as that expensive holiday abroad, a huge house, a great promotion or a swanky car. Why is it that these come with their own set of issues to deal with then? 

A great promotion could make you spend more time at work than at home, a swanky car could give you maintenance and parking problems, a huge house would increase overall expenses on staff, etc. The more you spend, the more you need to earn to match up to your lifestyle. One fine day, you realise that you have only worked in order to spend. But besides that, what have you been left with? Who decides how much is enough? Who decides when to put the brakes on? Each one of us is his or her own master. 

What can you do to improve your quality of life?

  1. Decide what ‘quality of life’ means to you in the first place. Is it going to good dinners and parties or sitting at home with a great book or just chatting with loved ones?
  2. Decide what ‘success’ means to you. 
  3. Are you happy with the journey you have undertaken? Do you know your goal and do you like the road you have taken to achieve it?
  4. If you had a choice to let go something in life to make it better, what would it be?
  5. Would you be able to live without your creature comforts and still grow as a person?

Every so often, you need to step back and imagine life without the creature comforts – if you still have a smile on your face, then you know it’s only materialistic. Saying no to things coz you can’t them is different from saying no because you’re aware that after a point, these mean nothing. That’s the true test of your nature. Whatever you like you can choose – as long as you are aware and know where the road leads. 


Kashmira Shaw Raj is a professional Taichi and Qigong practitioner and teacher. Also, a successful clinical psychologist, psychic and healer, Kashmira runs ‘The Tai-Qi Touch’ with her husband, Dr. Brijesh Raj, a healer and a Vet. Taichi practitioners for over fourteen years now, they are instructors in Sifu Carlton Hill’s Tao Taichi Qi Gong organization, and Shibashi Instructors under Sifu Wing Cheung from the Feng Shui and Taichi Institute, Hongkong & Canada. 

The Tai-Qi Touch offers classes for adults and children at ‘Infinite Studio’ (Opp. Starbucks Café, Chowpatty, Mumbai). To contact Kashmira, M: 9323874418 or Email:

Leave a Reply