If we are selfish we cannot be happy
Daily Mirror Editorial
Jan 27, 2011

The globalised capitalist market economic system which bought up virtually the whole world from the 1970s appeared to have a lot of wealth-producing policies with glittering or glamorous lifestyles and other attractions. But the ‘trickle-down’ policy apparently did not work for the common good and mainly helped multi-millionaires to become multi-billionaires while billions of people were forced to languish on or below poverty lines.

The system is now crumbling with the economies of most western countries in depression or recession with millions of people unemployed or depressingly under-employed and some countries even going bankrupt.

A deep and honest reflection on this economic crisis will show that it is crumbling like a sand castle in a storm because it was built on a foundation of selfishness or self-centredness, greed and other vices though these were covered up by sophisticated euphemisms like initiative and enterprise.

We need to repeat, if we are selfish we will never be happy. When we are caught up in selfishness we will wake up in the morning depressed or disturbed wondering how we could cope with all the problems of the day and how we could achieve our selfish aims or agendas. But if we are experiencing inner liberation from selfishness we will wake up in the morning relaxed and happy counting our blessings, counting them one by one and thinking of how we could help people who are in need. That is the wisdom of being a Good Samaritan -- putting the needs of others above our self-interest -- and it will bring us deep and lasting happiness.

This vital lesson of all religions and world history is particularly important for political leaders. They are elected by the people to be good stewards of the country and to serve the people. That means servant leadership. It appears to be a contradiction in terms, but true spirituality is a sign of contradiction and goes against worldly ways. Unfortunately instead of servant leadership and sincere service, what we see in most politicians is a desire for personal gain and glory. To achieve this we often see them indulging in hypocrisy and also using religion to achieve their aims in a deceitful spirit of self-righteousness. Instead of serving the people and giving to them, the politicians plunder and pillage the resources of the country through rampant corruption as we see in Sri Lanka and most other countries. If we are selfish we will not be happy. Those who are not happy cannot make others happy and instead produce misery and hypocrisy. No nation can be built on such vices. It is only if and when our political and other leaders acknowledge this that we could build a happy, wealthy and healthy Sri Lanka.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka