There are so many ‘happiness solutions’ out there today – from books to seminars to pills – promising that joy is just a spend away. We all want happiness as if it’s something that we have to save up to buy or earn.
In fact, I had a conversation with a mentor recently about finding peace through sacrifice. She looked at me as if I’d lost my mind, “What?”
“I mean, there are so many people that need so much and I can help. I feel selfish if I’ve got some downtime and I’m not using it to help someone in need or contribute in some way,” I said, “I mean if I want to be a truly spiritual person, shouldn’t I always be looking at how I can be of service? Look at Buddha, Jesus, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, and everyone else who sacrifices themselves for others.”
She looked at me, and said, “We can’t all be Jesus. And, I think that you doing things that bring you joy (whatever that is) brings joy to everyone around you. And that joy ripples through everything you’re connected to.”
And there it was in my face. I realized that I was afraid to just do things that made me happy for fear that I was being less of a spiritual being.
We work so hard to achieve happiness, and yet, it’s always with us. Peace isn’t something that we have to earn by suffering, it’s there in spite of suffering. We’re living longer and yet, don’t live much at all.
To quote George Carlin, “We’ve added years to life not life to years.”
Do you have to stop ‘giving back’? No. But you can be of service in so many ways without sacrificing your own health and happiness.
No matter how someone approaches me or what they ask, I try to think to myself, “How can I be helpful?”
Sometimes that means I stop what I’m doing, and help carry something heavy for my neighbor, help a friend, or donate money or time.
And sometimes being helpful to others starts with being helpful to yourself first.
– Your Charmed Yogi