In the words of Einstein, “Only a life lived for others is worth living.” I often meditate on this phrase as it makes so much sense to me. It gives me happiness to be helpful to people, no matter how small the effort may seem. Helping people is an element of my daily life and there are countless opportunities to get involved. The only tools you need to be successful are a positive attitude, willingness to help, and a little faith in humanity. I decided, long ago, that I would pay it forward and help those in need as often as I could.
I would like to dedicate this piece, with gratitude, to a girl (name unknown) who helped me push my trolley bags to the bus station in London as I was running late to board the bus from London to Norwich. As I was walking towards the bus station, I was really struggling with my bags, helpless, filled with fear that I might miss the bus and potentially my flight home. Thanks to the helping hand of this kind stranger, I was able to board the bus and catch my flight. This is my story of how I paid it forward.
A few years ago in India, I was on my way back from Lachung to Sikkim, a beautiful location near the lower Himalayan mountains, when I saw an old lady carrying a little girl, backpack and lunch bag a short distance up the road. I walked briskly to catch up with them. The older lady stopped and smiled, I noticed she was tired and struggling. The little girl, in her school uniform, starred at the bunch of wild flowers I had in my hand. I smiled at the child and gave her the flowers. Then it suddenly occurred to me that I could offer to help the woman. I tried speaking to them in Hindi, hoping they would understand, but unfortunately no such luck. I began using my version of sign language, making gestures, trying to ask them where they were going. The old woman pointed her finger to the top of the hill. I gestured to her that I would help carry the little girl up the hill. I squatted down and motioned for the girl to jump on my back and proceeded to climb up the hill. The woman’s face lit up with a smile – a priceless one, and the little girl giggled the entire way.
Once we got to the top of the hill, I dropped the little girl off near the house and turned back to look at the teary-eyed woman with hands folded in Namaste. I touched her hands and said it was ok and that I was glad to help. The old lady normally carried the little girl up the hill every day, but today was different. She was able to rest her back, as a mere stranger carried her little girl up the hill. Even to this day, I never forget the impact my simple gesture made. I had made a difference in her day, in a small way I must admit, but that mattered. I gave a sliver of my time to those in need and it gave them a few moments of joy. As I started my trek back down the hill, I turned back and waved at them, thus capturing the smiles on their faces in my mind forever.
Helping someone without having expectations of them helping you in return is the best feeling. You never know when someone needs your help or is in need of a little kindness. A few simple words, a helping hand, a smile that says, “don’t worry, everything will be alright,” a little gesture to rekindle hope in whatever situation, providing warmth when the world seems cold and gloomy is priceless. Try helping someone you don’t know TODAY, I am sure you will not regret it.
A universal peace prayer in Sanskrit
ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः।
सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु।
मा कश्चित् दुःख भाग्भवेत्॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
May all be prosperous and happy
May all be free from illness
May all see what is spiritually uplifting
May no one suffer
Om peace, peace, peace
Helping others and being selfless in serving others is more than a penance. Make it a habit that you will never want to quit. May you all experience the pleasure and immense happiness of helping others in this project and pay it forward. Dear Readers, Let’s make the world a better place to live. Shall we?