Thousands of candles can be lit from a single one, and its life will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. – Buddha
What does that mean?
This quote reminds us that there are two kinds of things in the universe. The stuff you lose when you give it away, and the stuff which when given away, costs us nothing.
Cake or cookies are the sorts of things which when you give them away, they tend to go fast, and you don’t get them back. The best you can hope for is for some of the recipients to reciprocate at some point in the future.
However, happiness can be given to an infinite number of people, and your happiness will not have been diminished by the slightest bit. And you may find that you have even more happiness after you give some away.
Happiness can be like that. It has an amazing tendency to multiply when it is shared. To me, that is something that the quote is hinting at, even if it never comes straight out and says it.
Why is the sharing of happiness important?
Happiness, joy, and laughter are three emotional states that are both fun to have, and are quite contagious. This sharing seems to be one of the core human activities.
I believe it was an important activity for our ancient ancestors gathering around a campfire (or even a group of modern people out camping). Consider what you do when you’re feeling down or want to feel better.
You go to where the happiness, the joy, and the laughter can be found. For those of the appropriate age, a bar can be a frequent destination. The house of a popular friend is also a place where people congregate, right?
Social institutions have sprung up to help with this need. Pool halls, dance halls, church groups, fraternal orders, and clubs for people with similar interests exist for the simple act of sharing happiness. And what could be more important than that?
Where can I apply this in my life?
I imagine you already do this in your life. Every time you cheer someone up, you have lit their candle from yours. Is yours diminished? Only if you choose to allow it to happen. Sometimes a sad story can leave you with a feeling of sorrow, but your happiness is still there, if you look for it.
We each have a place, or places, we go when we need to get charged up again. That is different than the place to which we retreat when we need to calm down, focus, or re-center ourselves.
Do you have a favorite place where you go? A place where you get joy from just being there? A walk in a park or beach? A quiet rooftop for a view of the sky or a sunset? I believe even the Universe has a candle which it is willing to share, if we but ask.
Do you have a friend whom you call or with whom you chat when you’re feeling down? Is there a gathering place where like-minded souls gather? The library might work for the more bookish among us. A cafe or bar might also be a place to gather. Do you make use of any of these?
And what of the times when you see someone who looks like they’re not having that great of a day, and you say “Hi” to them? Perhaps it’s just a smile, and they smile back. But you have shared the flame of your candle with them, have you not? Did you feel diminished for the act? I never have.
Have you considered yourself a lighter of candles before this post? Do you like the thought, even if the title is a little less than impressive? Other than being nice to others and taking a little time to assist others, what could you do to help spread the happiness, the joy, or the laughter?
It’s usually easier to start with your friends, but you might want to smile at a stranger every once in a while. You might also try to remember, the next time you are feeling grumpy, that the person trying to talk to you isn’t trying to further annoy you, but to spread a little happiness.
This saying applies to you, both as the candle doing the lighting, as well as the candle in need of a light. Take a little time today to think about that, and how you have helped others recently, and how others have helped you.
From: Twitter, @MylesWray
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/buddha417367.html
Photo by Nickolas Titkov
- Life Lessons from Buddha (chaitanyaiimc.wordpress.com)
- The Gift of Laughter/Tears (wordsthatserve.wordpress.com)
- “Happiness” – and what it really means! (tenshiie.wordpress.com)
- #BestBirthdayEver (minuteswitharavind.wordpress.com)