Saturday, February 18, 2006

True Happiness

A learned Buddhist teacher and friend asked me to clarify this point on happiness.
All those who suffer in the world do so because of their desire for their own happiness.
All those happy in the world are so because of their desire for the happiness of others.

My father often said his lifetime of volunteer service was a selfish act, since it made him happy to make others happy.
He was the kind of guy who worked directly with the people themselves, always seeking the more effective ways to empower and encourage people to be independent, productive and fulfilled.
Even a trip to the grocery store turned into an event of listening, laughing making someone smile and feel better.
For him life's meaning was found in making others happy.

I was raised in a family of volunteers, meaning we all contributed to those who are "less fortunate". From infancy, I was called "Mommy's little helper". At nine months, I learned to walk, so my Mom (bad back and pregnant with my younger brother) would not have to lift and carry me.

Of course I helped with diapers and bottles and soothing him when he was born. I spent some summer time with a family of 7 and learned from their farm Mom to care for the new infant and younger children. At 10 I spent the summer as a Mother's helper daily taking care of the infant daughter and helping teach the 2 year old cerebral palsied child to walk and feed himself. As a Girl Scout and church youth group leader, I worked with the elderly, the disabled, mentally and physically challenged, in hospitals and in the "slums" of Wilmington, DE.

I always felt deeply for others, compassion and a profound desire to help, to serve, to make their days a little brighter and their opportunities a little greater. Never did I feel pity or look down on those I served. I was grew up feeling and thinking and "knowing" we are all equal. To this day, I see everyone as equal to me with no one less and no one more. Some of us are born into lives of difficulty, danger and seriousness.

Humanity is one family.
We are One People and One Planet.
When we reach out, we must know we are caring for our own brothers and sisters.
Love is our natural state.
Love is not rescuing or providing for others.
Love is helping others to help themselves.
Love is giving a child a chore to earn money for a special purchase.
Love is teaching a man to plant corn so he can feed his family.
Love is providing education and jobs so people can learn how to support themselves.
Love is having compassion for others to eliminate needless suffering.
Love is giving the best we have to serve and encourage the best in others.

We all have gifts of love and happiness to give.
When we give freely and unconditionally, we always experience more love and joy.
Life is forgiving…….Forgiving our judgments, fear and separation.
Life is for giving……..Giving our creativity, service, encouragement and love.
We are the gifts……..When we give our talents, wisdom, nurturing and inspiration, they increase.
It is in giving that we realize and strengthen the gift we are.
In full appreciation, all things and people grow and expand.

Where are you giving and to whom?
If you experience sacrifice, martyrdom and loss when you give, fill yourself with whatever you need first.
What are you giving and what is the price?
If you seek what you can get from your giving, you are not giving but exchanging.
Give only that which you would value receiving, your very best.
Know that in exchange, you will sometimes be disappointed.
Your worth is not measured by what you receive but rather by what you freely give.
What you give must be given with a full heart and your gifts become your investment for true happiness and a blessed life

Loving you,
Betty Lue