Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
A national news program did a piece on something called the“Happiness Project.” The book by the same title, which started out as one woman’s quest to find habits that would increase her happiness, became a blockbuster bestseller and spawned a national movement of small groups that meet regularly to discuss their happiness habits. The book described habits that are consistently reported by folks in the pursuit of happiness. One of these is making a list each morning of three things for which they are grateful, and another is meditating and/or praying for 20 minutes each day. Finally, respondents reported doing at least one random act of kindness each day. These are the “musts” they have found are needed to be happy.
In Jesus’ teachings found in Matthew 5:1–11, a portion of his Sermon on the Mount referred to today as the Beatitudes, the word rendered “blessed” in many Bible versions is sometimes translated “happy.” As we see in many Old Testament stories, the conferring or receiving of a verbal blessing was a highly valued Jewish cultural and religious practice. People celebrated with joy when they had been blessed; happy, many no doubt went on to share that happiness with others. The practice of meditating upon how God has blessed us and then passing forward our gift in order to bless another is a practice that not only brings us happiness but forms us into the kind of community of love that is pleasing to God.
Breath Prayer Inhale | Be Exhale | a Blessing
Focus Pose: In the ancient yoga teachings karma yoga describes acts of kindness—the practice of selfless action. Regardless of what you call it, this week add into each day at least two acts of kindness to another: one toward a person you know and the other toward a stranger. In both cases perform the kindness without thought to being thanked or even noticed. Perhaps you might offer the last available shopping cart to the person behind you at the grocery store. Or you might wait for another car to pull up to the only open gasoline pump at the station. Maybe you pick up your neighbor’s newspaper that has fallen into the street and place it on his or her front porch. Being a blessing is a powerful practice that both enriches the world and nourishes our own souls.