As we enter the first weekend of Easter, today will be the first post in what I’m hoping will be 40 days of thoughts on friendship, life, happiness, and humility. Each day I will post a quote from a well-known author, philosopher, or religious leader for reflection and follow it with a short commentary.
In what may seem like an unusual way to start an Easter inspired series, I’ll begin by referencing The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. If you haven’t read anything by the Dalai Lama, please consider doing so at some point, not necessarily the how-to books, but more the high level philosophical books like this one. He has a way of putting things in perspective that I haven’t found elsewhere.
“Human beings by nature want happiness and do not want suffering. With that feeling everyone tries to achieve happiness and tries to get rid of suffering, and everyone has the basic right to do this. In this way, all here are the same, whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, Easterner or Westerner, believer or non-believer, and within believers whether Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and so on. Basically, from the viewpoint of real human value we are all the same.” – The Dalai Lama, taken from Kindness, Clarity, and Insight’
As we get caught up in the day-to-day rigors of life, it’s very easy to lose sight of the impact we have on those around us and it’s even easier to begin to resent those around us who are different from ourselves, whether that be by religion, status, or race. As the Dalai Lama says, when you really break it down we all have one commonality, we’re all human and want happiness. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked.
How many times in the past week have you actually seen those you come in contact with and considered them as people? The barista in the coffee shop, the man asking for change while huddled under a blanket downtown, the coworker who you’ve never spoken to… They all have their own lives and stories. They all have good days and bad. Some are happy some are not. The American lifestyle of go, go, go makes it easy to pass through the day so focused on ourselves and our own lives that we miss out on the human interactions and human feelings of those around us.
Has there ever been a time when you’ve been so focused on something that you were caught off-guard by a kind word or gesture from a stranger? Imagine how good you felt and the happiness that stuck with you throughout that day… Now try to think of the last time you did this for someone else… Can you come up with an example? We’re only as alone as we let ourselves become.
This weekend, I urge you to take a step back, slow down, and consider the impact you have on others. Happiness begins with you.
~ The Hatter