Smiling Leper 060809

It isn’t in what we receive outwardly that we find happiness.

It is in knowing we are doing the right thing. 

Let’s examine the roots of happiness. The big house, the nice car and the successful career are merely the trappings of success. Once attained one finds they are not the source of happiness. What then is?

You can be rich and happy and you can be rich and unhappy. Likewise you can be poor and happy and you can be poor and unhappy. I recall the two lepers I passed each day in Mcleod Ganj in India over twenty years ago. In outward appearance there was little difference between these two beggars. Each demonstrated the ravages of his disease in their fingers and other extremities. Yet, every morning the one man greeted me with a genuine smile and the other displayed the look of a beaten man. Why? What had the one found which had eluded his friend?

May I suggest you search for something that transcends your individual wishes and desires? Find a cause bigger than yourself to hitch your wagon to.

There have been well known people who have done this. I’m thinking of the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa. Each of these three modern day saints worked tirelessly for the benefit of others. But we don’t need to become famous to be fulfilled. We just need to be ourselves and to undertake that which we came here to do; to use our unique gifts to complete our Divine Mission. Simple, isn’t it?

Vocation derives from the Latin vocare: meaning ‘to call’. I would venture to say we’ve for too long focused on career rather than on the vocations which are calling us. Find your vocation. Find your calling and right livelihood and a meaningful career will follow.

It isn’t in what we receive outwardly that we find happiness. It is in knowing we are doing the right thing. It is in the giving, in the service to others, that we find the supreme satisfaction which has eluded us in the trappings of success. Why was one leper happy and the other sad? Had the first discovered he could serve me and others who crossed his path with a real, heartfelt smile? His shrivelled body precluded gainful employment. Yet he found ways to give within the framework of his circumstances. He could have felt sorry for himself, just as his friend did. He didn’t. He glowed with the innocent joy of all those who give without expecting anything in return. He saw his challenging life script as an opportunity. He rose above his weaknesses. You can too.

Commit yourself to a cause greater than your desires. You too can serve and give at anytime and under any circumstance. Make your commitment to give, rather than to get. Avoid the desire for the trappings found on the surface of life. Dive deep and discover the gems hidden within your character. Find your unique gifts and apply them in service to your fellow man and to the other beings you share this beautiful planet with. You can always choose to smile at the circumstances of life. Rise above them. You are bigger than they are. Be happy. It is a choice. Will you make it?


I Am here to serve and I do so wholeheartedly.


Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See

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Here’s a link to a related blog on Gross National Happiness.