Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Practicing Compassion

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. - Dalai Lama

It's that time of year again - the red kettle army is manning their stations in front of grocery stores and mall entrances, in hopes of obtaining much needed funds for programs helping people in numerous ways: from drug and alcohol rehabilitation to disaster relief. The Salvation Army is an institution that has been working hard for the betterment of poverty-stricken people since 1865. And that continues today, advancing into a new world by promoting their online Red Kettle. Already, I've donated quite a bit to the Salvation Army as I walk into a local grocery store (literally every time, which is at least four or five times since the first). Even when it seems there isn't any more to give, there is. And I feel good every time I do this. There are people who walk past very quickly, pretending not to notice. I once was one of those people, and the guilt of not sparing even some change stayed with me. This guilt is, of course, easily rectified.

In the most recent issue of Energy Times, the headline reads, "The Goodness of Giving". Of course, you'll notice from the cover that these words are overshadowed by the flashy, famous couple (the picture speaks for itself). Still, after reading the article within, you realize how absolutely important it is to be a participant in altruistic acts, and not just for the receiver of said acts.

Studies have proven that by participating in acts of kindness, positive emotions impact your physical body in a very real way. That good feeling you get from doing these selfless acts, whether it be delivering household items to your local Goodwill or volunteering time to the YMCA or other organizations, is actually helping you to become or stay healthy and happy, as well as giving you a sense of satisfaction.

In my first post last week, I wrote of the importance of giving. What you will notice is that once you've given of yourself, whether monetarily or through other means, the more you will desire to do it again. So, with that thought in mind, let the inspiration you receive today not rest in anything I write, but rather lie in your own personal act of random kindness.

Note: If you want to start with your own donation to the Salvation Army, consider clicking the Red Kettle to the right. I've made a goal of raising $250 this holiday season. Please help me reach this goal. Even a small amount is worthwhile. Thank you!