The first step I took into acknowledging that I’m a logical rationale being was as a child, when I accepted that I had to do something to make a difference in the lives of the poor. This thought of helping out the poverty-stricken in the world grew as a cancer would within myself to the point where my sleep was disturbed at the thought that I’m living (breathing, eating, sleeping, etc.) such a luxurious life while there are millions that are dying from so many causes, with the root as poverty.
There are countless times when I desire to go and bare an eye-witness account of how people live in poverty, only to truly be able to become a thankful being for what I have been granted. It is easy to drag on the list of endless desires, but it is hard to realize the uselessness of what one has if it cannot benefit oneself.
Materialism has reached to such an extent that I am saddened to see people finding “benefit” in buying something as the benefit lies within their own happiness. Fine, true, one should make oneself happy every now and then, but it is a sad fact to know that people are increasingly becoming more selfish with the same route of thoughts, that their happiness is within buying themselves products/services.
Now when I look back, one of the greatest days of my life was as a child, when it was born within me to find happiness with helping others. It is rare to find people that cherish the same definition of true happiness as I do (This definition is just my personal opinion, obviously there are many variations of true happiness and there are also additions to this happiness, which I did not encompass within this post).
There are many documentaries and movies that have moved me to feel greater sympathy for the poor, to name a few:
Born into Brothels, Right to Play, Peace Propaganda and the Promised Land, In the Pursuit of Happyness, Swades, and Akeela and the Bee.
I highly recommend that people watch these and many others to help build sympathy for the poor in more hearts and minds.
One thing I commend about the religion Islam is that every year the Muslims are required to fast in order to feel the hunger, thirst, dizziness and many other side-effects that are accompanied with the feelings of the poor. These actions grow feelings for the poor within their hearts and helps them be more thankful for what they have, and eventually, they learn to give more to the poor.
It is even more saddening for me to learn that there are millions of poor people residing in countries like India, which themselves are advancing forward as:
…the world’s twelfth largest economy by market exchange rates and the fourth largest in purchasing power, India has made rapid economic progress in the last decade. Although the country’s standard of living is projected to rise sharply in the next half-century, it currently battles high levels of poverty, illiteracy, persistent malnutrition, and environmental degradation. In addition to being a pluralistic, multi-lingual, and multi-ethnic society, India is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats and national parks. (Wikipedia)
I know for a fact that there are only two standards of living in countries like India: the rich, or the poor. There are no middle grounds in such countries. The middle category is very rare, hardly a sight. The rich like the fact that they are wealthy and to stay wealthy means the poor have to remain poor, many have to remain poor. This isn’t a troubling fact to them, nor a troubling sight as poverty is seen EVERYWHERE in such countries and it doesn’t bother the rich at all. Moreover, this has been passed down with generations of the caste system of having everyone do the same job – meaning, the poor stay poor and the rich stay rich. Instead of feeling sympathy, some of the rich enjoy that the poor live off of begging them for daily sustainence. The rich prefer to feed a whole poor village once in a blue moon, rather than teach them a skill so that they can “fish for life”.
True wealth is not found within one’s assets, but it is found within one’s heart. To be truly rich is to have enough space in one’s heart to find happiness is in the smile of the hungry.