Monday, December 31, 2007

Happiness for Sale

Mike Ghouse, December 31,2007

A sale transaction requires consideration for exchange of products and services. The consideration in buying happiness is your effort. Happiness is on Sale, it is on sale, because the effort required is minimal against the gain. Though a lopsided transaction, the supply is plentiful and does not take away anything from anyone but enrich every one with a heart felt smile.

Remember the last time you helped someone? You got some one up when he or she fell and you were thanked profusely for that act of kindness, do you recall that joy? You were beaming and your fellow workers and friends wanted to know what it was; you humbly shared the small experience.

Do you recall the twinkle in your eyes and wanted to praise those two that made the national news recently? When a man fell on the tract in New York subway, the other man jumped to save his life risking his own. Then a Bangladeshi student stood up against the bullies who beat up the subway passengers who wished Happy Hanukkah to that bully.

Life becomes meaningful and powerful when you do things for others; it is the anecdote against sorrow that surrounds us from time to time. That is the wisdom in Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jain, Jewish, Native religions, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, Zoroastrian and other faiths – living for the sake of others, a proven formula for happiness.

Way back in 1978, my Peugeot 504 failed me on a Saudi Freeway to Dhahran, I stood there in 116 degrees heat waving at every vehicle that drove on a full throttle going over 140 MPH. I was dying with thirst and blisters were all over my lips and my face, I looked like some one from the western movies. The drivers, who wanted to stop, could not do so within a walking range. After nearly five hours of eternity, a man finally stopped and drove his Toyota truck the full half mile in reverse. His Burqa Clad wife was with him on the passenger’s side and in the back were a couple of goats and sheep. I was imagining sitting with the goats and started feeling faintly, but he pulled his wife closer to him and asked me to hop in that little Toyota. I was too tired to worry where I was going. He gave me the life giving water and drove.

We barely communicated with my minimal Arabic and his English, we went to his home some where in the outer rim of the town of Abqaiq. His family brought in the tea and other refreshments followed by a huge dinner with several of his friends. He had one of his friends haul off my car and was getting it fixed; the fuel injection vehicles don’t work very well in that kind of heat. I had purchased that Car from Nick Gruev, an Albanian American friend out of Houston.

The Sheikh’s friends came were fixing the Hubbly Bubbly (Huqqa) and passing it between their friends, I was dreading to put that thing in my mouth should it come to me, sure enough it did and reluctantly I pretended puffing it. Around 8 PM, his mechanic friend drove up with my car.

As I was ready to leave, I thanked Shaikh Ahmed Al-Sabah profusely and pulled my wallet to pay, he pushed my hand and said “Aqhi, you are my guest and don’t even think of it.” I pleaded, it was the greatest favor a stranger has done to me and I asked, how I can pay.

He looked at me intently and asked, would you promise me something? In gratitude I said yes, but shuddered what now? He took time and looked at me again and said these life changing words to me “Next time, if you see some one needing help, would you stop and help?” I eagerly said Yes, satisfied; he asked again, are you sure? I gave an emphatic yes, to which he said, “Alhamdu Lillah (praise the lord) that is my reward.

I buy happiness at every nook and corner; it is very satisfying to see other people in their full human form when they give their beautiful smile. A genuine smile is the most beautiful thing on the earth, nothing compares to it.

Every day, you have those opportunities. Make an effort in doing things for others and see how easy it is to be happy.

Here are a few thoughts for you to ponder:

Push yourselves to be prejudice free against people from every meeting, incident, TV shows, and work or news items that you come across.
Find excuses to greet other people and wish them well, don’t worry what they think of you, just do it and see the response and counter response.
Work on bringing humility and fight off every thought and action that gives you the idea that your race, faith, nation, culture, language or life style is superior to others.
Commit to yourselves that your words and actions do not flare up conflicts, but mitigate them.
Commit yourselves that you are going to do your share of living for others, for starters one hour a week will enrich you with joy.
It does not take any money; it is your goodwill that brings you the joy. It is yours to keep and is on sale.

Best wishes for 2008

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion and civic issues. He is the founding president of World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at or (214) 325-1916

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