spirituality

It Starts with You: The Never-ending Gift of Happiness

The other day I was feeling pretty low.  Pretty discouraged with human beings in general.  Do you know this feeling?  Sometimes I joke with my boyfriend and I tell him that we’d better wrap up all our karma because I’m not coming back to this planet where people treat each other so horribly.  Yep.  That’s the state I was in.

In this state, I was walking out of my seemingly five millionth trip to the Food Lion for milk and cereal for my kids.  It was hot outside and I was grumpy with my thoughts.  And then I saw an old woman carrying too many groceries, inching bit by bit to her car.  And suddenly a light shown bright in my heart, and I thought to myself “Louise…it starts with you.”  And I walked up to this woman, carried her groceries, packed them in her car, helped her find her keys.  She was absolutely elated.  I felt so happy myself.  She drove away and I felt such a strong optimism in life and humanity.

This is not a pat yourself on the back kind of tale.  It’s my story of realizing how important it is to stoke the flame of the heart and share it with others.  In this very small act of kindness, I resonated with love for this woman and vice versa.  And it was just that simple.  That spark of kindness broke through my grumpy despair in humanity.  The lady felt better, I am sure.  But I felt a million times more energetic and hopeful.

Happiness is Limitless

Happiness is something that can be shared exponentially.  It has no limit.  We just have to tap into the flames of the heart, the connection to God, and our highest selves.

I love this idea.  The Buddha says “One candle can light 1000 candles without diminishing its own light.”  I actually found another version which reads “An act to make another happy, inspires the other to make still another happy, and so happiness is aroused and abounds.  Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

Both of these interpretations of the Buddha’s ideas lead us to the understanding that each of us, individually, can always be a beacon of light for others.  In fact, it is our awesome responsibility.  And our awesome gift.  We can constantly refuel by sharing the flame of our heart with others.

In order to share our heart flame and share happiness through acts of love we have to stoke our flames.  What do we do to stoke the flames of our heart?  Do we hang around people who inspire us?  Do we read beautiful poems?  Do we work on practices that fuel our heart?

We are constantly invited to tap into our heart and help others by sharing our love.  We are love and as a result, this sharing is reciprocal.  It benefits us as much as it benefits those we help.  Those we love.

That’s the gift of it all.

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