The Daily Democrat Woodland – January 8, 2011
Compassion will make you a happier person
By KHALID SAEED/Islamic Center Woodland
Not only we have just started a New Year, it is start of a new decade as well and I wish everyone a happy New Year and hope for peace and blessings in life for all.
Towards the end of last year we saw all major religions had their celebrations, Hanukah, Christmas, Eid-ul-Adha or Eid of Sacrifice and annual pilgrimage of Hajj in Mecca. Every morning when I wake up I thank Allah Almighty the Creator, for my life and its blessings. But life is such that while we enjoy holidays, happiness, we see a lot of pain, misery and suffering all around us. We see greed, selfishness, cruelty, bloodshed, wars, killings, lies and then we see the spin to make it look and sound pretty and tolerable.
Holiday season is an exciting time because it's time for visiting our family, gift exchange, parties and fun. But the holiday season can be a time of great sadness and stress for some people, specially the elders who may not have families or a close friend and may feel isolated and alone. Additionally, these days economic problems have hit many homes. Bread winners who have lost jobs feel angry, stressed and depressed.
All religions teach and preach of compassion and kindness towards other and it is specially needed in these times. We can show compassion to others in many ways. Sometimes a simple smile will help to brighten another person's day.
To show compassion means not just thinking about it but it means doing something positive to alleviate their hardship or help solve their problem. We should be kind to our own parents, children, spouses, other fellow humans and even animals. Compassion could also be being concerned enough to give a helping hand or looking for opportunities to help others. The compassion is not seasonal either.
Towards the end of 2010, we saw elections and watched budget fights in the congress. Most of our politicians do show compassion before elections when they need our votes, but, as a Chinese proverb says it is compassion like, "when a cat cries over a rat, it's a case of false compassion."
The politicians were huffing and puffing on both side of the isle maneuvering to achieve their self interest. Our defense spending budget which is bigger than some 30 countries combined passed without a hitch, but politicians were having problems extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans for another year so they do not lose their home and be able to put food on their table.
The American Muslim community additionally suffered through a high season of anti-Islam bigotry and Muslim-bashing around the country.
We saw the anti-Muslim frenzy, where a pastor who never read Quran wanted to burn it, there is no Islamic Sharia Law practiced anywhere in the world in its true form, but Oklahoma politicians made people believe that it was about to be implemented in the courts in Oklahoma.
These are just a few examples of acts of some self serving opportunist folks for which a Bible verse came to mind, "When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven." Nehemiah 1:4
Recently I received a spam email message: "Character Education: Learn to teach character & kindness. Get certified online today."
I was thinking may be we all need to enroll in that online program in character, kindness and develop compassion in our life. There are scientific studies that suggest there are physical, emotional and spiritual benefits to practicing compassion.
The main benefit is that it helps you to be more happy, and makes others around you to be more happy too.