January 4


Today's quotation:

As a doctor, I studied survivors--people who got sick but exceeded expectations.  Many of those exceptional patients had been given little time to live, yet they were some of the happiest people I'd ever met.  They knew, or they discovered through their illness, which became their teacher, that if you want to be happy, you must answer some key questions.  What are you here for?  And how do you want to spend your limited time?  If your answer is that you are here to love, to serve others and not to be served, then you already have everything you need to be happy.  If you wake up in the morning, that's enough; you are grateful for life and the opportunity to contribute in your way.

Bernie Siegel

Today's Meditation:

Making our contributions--how many people are frustrated with life because they're unable to contribute on their terms in the ways that they feel they should be contributing to life and other people?  How many are frustrated because people don't accept their service in exactly the way they feel they should accept it?  Love and service both should be unconditional if we want them to be true.  I cannot put expectations of how others will react to my love or my service if I want my love or service to be true.

If people who are sick and even dying from illnesses over which they have no control can find happiness and meaning in love and service, how much more can we as healthy people make our lives brighter and more fulfilling by using the wonderful powers that we've been given to help others?

Have you asked yourself the key questions that Bernie mentions?  What are you here for?  And how can you love and serve?  Everyone has different ways to do so--personally, I'm not so good at serving face-to-face, so I've developed a website that I hope will be helpful to people who might need some encouragement or motivation.  Others serve by playing music or by making artwork or by rooting cuttings of plants and giving them away.  Others have learned the power of the compliment and a kind word or three.  Others coach sports in a way that builds up their players' confidence and self-image rather than in a way that focuses on winning at all costs.

How do you want to spend your limited time here on this planet?  Personally, I've found that I've been much happier when I've tried to focus on helping others, and I believe that since I'm going through life consciously trying to strengthen that focus, I will continue to grow as a human being and to make a difference (however small) in the lives of others.  And I hope--but don't require--that they pass that helpfulness on as they make their ways through life.

Questions to consider:

What are you here for?  How can you give your life a broader sense of meaning?

Why is it that people with terminal illnesses so often have a much healthier perspective on life, even though they're faced with the imminent threat of losing their lives?

Do you want to wait until you're about to die or until you narrowly escape death before you ask yourself some of the important questions about life?

When you do something for someone else, what kind of expectations do you have of how that other person should react to your help?

For further thought:

Everybody can be great. . . because anybody can serve.  You don't have to have a college degree to serve. . . . You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

more thoughts and ideas on serving others



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