Today people and countries are coming together to celebrate kindness and generosity. Practicing gratitude for what we have in our lives, as well as what we can do to help and be of service to others. I love the concept of a global day of giving for many reasons, two of which are proven to be key pillars of happiness...gratitude and generosity...service and kindness.
The Dalai Lama in his book, The Book of Joy, says, "As one of the seven billion human beings, I believe everyone has the responsibility to develop a happier world. We need, ultimately, to have a greater concern for others' well-being." He goes on to say, "Too much self-centered thinking is the source of suffering. A compassionate concern for others' well-being is the source of happiness. We have to take care of ourselves without selfishly taking care of ourselves. If we don't take care of ourselves, we cannot survive. We need to do that. We should have wise selfishness, rather than foolish selfishness. Foolish selfishness means you just think only of yourself, don't care about others, bully others, exploit others. In fact, taking care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life. So that is what I call wise selfishness."
The Dalai Lama starts each day by setting his intention for the day. His intention is for the day to be meaningful. For him, meaningful means, if possible, serve and help others. If not possible, then at least not to harm others. He believes that, "Everybody wants a happy life...and our individual happy life depends on a happy humanity. So we have to think about humanity, discover a sense of oneness of all seven billion human beings." The path of joy is connection and the path of sorrow is separation.
Bringing people and countries together to celebrate our oneness, our kindness, our gratitude, our generosity to care for, empower and lift each other up, creating a happy humanity.
When we see someone perform an act of kindness or of generosity it warms our heart. This warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you have witnessed human goodness is called moral elevation. Studies have found that the natural high of moral elevation makes people want to behave more altruistically toward others, causing kindness to be contagious. Elevation motivates those who experience it to open up to and assist others. Elevation makes an individual feel lifted up and optimistic about humanity.
Let's finish out this year of 2016 by intentional practicing giving, being of service, acts of kindness and of generosity. Let's create moral elevation, so we can all feel lifted up and optimistic about humanity and our future together.
What can you do over this next month to create moral elevation? What small act of kindness, service or generosity can you perform? What act of compassion will make someone else's day brighter and lighter? Let's practice wise selfishness instead of foolish selfishness during this holiday season. I invite you to join me in creating ripples of moral elevation.