What is Your Motive for Giving?

I read somewhere that ‘it is easier for smaller communities to live in peace and harmony than bigger communities.’ I cannot attest to the truism of this, but I know from personal experience that the less we have, the happier we become. It is normal to find people in my community giving to the poor and the needy. But is the motive of giving important?

What’s bad in the motive?

Growing up I knew it was nice to offer clothes and other items that I didn’t like or use anymore to the needy. I used to give to free up the space, to get new or trending items and replace the ones I had given out. Well, you may say: but what’s bad in that? Nothing actually, except for the motive. Motives help us analyse and evaluate the reason behind everything we do, why we do the things we do, and how they shape our actions. It took me a desire for inner peace and happiness to finally understand through the practice of mindfulness and meditation that the motives behind giving or sharing anything with anyone is what counts more than the mere act of giving. All motives stem from the mind ― good or bad ― as a result of what we feed our minds with daily and often unconsciously given that our lives are likened to our minds and often a reflection of each other. If we have thoughts of peace, simplicity, prosperity, harmony and love, it will be reflected in our lives by inner peace, less attachments, happiness, ability to manage stress and unconditional love for all living beings.

More space, easier to focus

Our ability to live happier lives doesn’t depend on how much we have or possess but on how well trained and cultured our minds are. You will agree that it is a way easier to manage a group of 10 people than a group of 100 people. Imagine then, if you are able to reduce all the thoughts in your mind and learn to focus on just one at a time, won’t that be awesome? That’s what I learned through the practice of mindfulness that changed my perspective about giving. My motive for giving had always been to create space to buy more but after training my mind to focus on one thought at a time I am now able to analyze my motives from different vantage points, clearly and more accurately. The more space we create in our lives and our thoughts, the easier it becomes to focus on the things that really matter to us with more clarity, focus and understanding.

Whoever wrote these words ‘it is easier for smaller communities to live in peace and harmony than bigger communities’ in my opinion translates to: it is easier to find focus, balance, harmony and peace by reducing the chaos in our minds and our lives.

You are just a click away from a life changing experience, learn more on how to simplify your life and find inner peace by visiting us  today.

Alafia II Fellowship: warm welcome, great impact

Everything that comes to an end marks in some form or another the beginning of a new. Alafia fellowship II has been an amazing, refreshing, and impactful event  gathering 25 participants from 18 countries in Ivory Coast from 12th to 14th of September. In the following lines, I give an account of my experience hoping it gives you a glimpse of the beauty that comes when like-minded young people gather to exchange, learn and find inner peace.

Ivorian in my past life?

Travelling from Cameroon with 3 other Buea Peace club members (Herdrine, Molinge and Mbua) made the journey very interesting as we had a mix of anxiety and excitement. Anxiety for the unknown and excitement for our expectations. Our flight lasted 2 hours.

Arriving at Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport and going through the routine checks, I was greeted with such warmth and friendliness which got me thinking if in my previous life I was an Ivorian. Surprised and pleased, I asked my other Cameroonian counterparts if they had the same experience and with a grin, they all said yes. “Akwaba” (Welcome) said the ladies holding the Peace Revolution banner as we stepped in to the arrival hall. After introductions, we were offered snacks by the volunteers at the airport so we could wait for other participants and leave as a team for Bingerville. During the wait we bought wifi codes that could enable us communicate with our families and assure them that we arrived safely, knowing we will have restricted access to our phones and internet for the next 3 days.

Welcoming and caring culture

Bonjour et bienvenue, je vous en prie pourrait partagez cet table avec vous, (good morning and welcome, can I share this table with you) said a calm voice behind me. Je vous en prie (you are welcome) I responded. My stranger and I began exchanging a dialogue, and I couldn’t help but ask her if naturally they are taught politeness and decorum or if it’s a special training just for the airport personnel in Ivory Coast. Generally Ivorians are very welcoming and caring, it’s not a special training, it’s our culture, she replied.

Abidjan is a beautiful city with kind people, I thought as we drove off from the airport to Bingerville situated about an hour from the airport. The open warmth of its inhabitants reminded me of Buea in Cameroon, often referred to “the town of legendary hospitality”. On our drive, we stopped to pick up 2 other Ivorian participants who were waiting by the roadside. Their presence in the bus reignited discussions as some recounted their experiences before and after they arrived in Abidjan.

Finally, we arrived at Domaine De La Sablière, Bingerville safely. The first group of participants already on site welcomed us and we all connected seamlessly like old buddies. Everyone was eager to identify their roommate but awed by the serenity of the environment, I dropped my bags and began to tour our home for the next 4 days….

(…to be continued)

Beyond Happiness, Above Rainbow

I remember way back while in high school, I would get sick just from worrying. I had a harsh inner critic that challenged most of the things I did and planned to do. It was very easy for me to appreciate and admire others but seldom did I find anything I did good enough. Even when people praised me for something I did, it didn’t make me feel any better or less depressed. This negativity that plagued me affected every aspect of my life and eventually I would go to sleep hoping to wake up in the skin of someone I admired. Often I would imagine myself chasing happiness like it is a rainbow, hoping to catch it―wear it round my neck like a shawl against self-loathing―then live happily ever after.

Most people can attest to have experienced depression, stress or anxiety at some point in life. It is the silent ail of humanity no one bothers to talk about because unlike cancer, it is not visual―maybe not as deadly―but this is a misconception. Daily we search for happiness. It is our human nature to do so, but too often, we get lost on our journey to finding it, habitually due to expectations from family, friends, work and relationships.  In an effort to please everyone we lose our focus and in the process; lose ourselves. To which I would say “There is no greater tragedy!”

In the words of Steve Jobs: “If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream!”

In our quest for social validation, we shift our attention to material possessions. We fill our wardrobes with designer clothes and shoes; get a fleet of cars, amass academic diplomas, get married, have kids, tick off every item in society’s happiness checklist. Still, we lack inner peace, that little ingredient that makes life valuable.

Because we are here to live our best lives, we owe it to ourselves to live consciously and deliberately and most importantly, wean ourselves from the delusion that happiness is a destination because it is not. Happiness is an infinite journey with beautiful surprises, it is you when you free yourself from worry and fear; it is you when you realize that your happiness depends solely on you. That is when you do not need to chase the rainbow anymore; – it is always there!

Photo by Leo Wieling on Unsplash