In this week’s blog post, I’m actually going to share an article I wrote for work…that dreaded, corporate 9-5 that allows me to put food on the table, keep a roof over my head, and most importantly guitars in the studio! 🙂 I think the article is timely as we continually see people being downright ugly to each other in social media and in public. I would love to see this change for the better…so here we go:
A Candle’s Flame and the Power of Support
Written by Daron Macke
While browsing the Internet the other day, I saw a meme that caught my attention. It read:
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
As we all know, the Internet can be a vicious place nowadays, but this particular post made me pause and consider what I’d just read. I closed my eyes and visualized the scenario of lighting a thousand candles with the flame of just one, and it made sense. The flame of the first candle would continue to burn even after ‘giving’ part of itself to another candle. I wondered if this analogy was something that someone made up, or perhaps it had roots in an established philosophy.
I started keying in pieces of the quote, hoping to find the origins of this beautiful concept. Before long, I landed on a site with a curiously funny name (fakebuddhaquotes.com) and began reading. The quote comes from a Japanese book on Buddhism called “The Teaching of Buddha”, and was actually derived from a much longer, yet equally lovely passage, which reads:
“An act to make another happy inspires the other to make still another happy, and so happiness is aroused and abounds. Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. Those who seek Enlightenment must be careful of each of their steps. No matter how high one’s aspiration may be, it must be attained step by step. The steps of the path to Enlightenment must be taken in our everyday life.”
I began thinking of ways that I could incorporate this concept into my daily life, and I found that it was surprisingly easy. Every time I had the opportunity to offer support or encouragement to a family member, friend, co-worker, acquaintance, etc., I took a moment to offer praise or recognition for whatever this person had done or was sharing with me. If someone just needed to vent, I willingly offered my attention, let them get something off their chest, and offered encouragement with regard to their current situation. And guess what…it didn’t hurt one bit. As a matter of fact, I found that I felt better about life in general and my place in it. My light hadn’t dimmed at all.
In today’s highly charged and polarizing atmosphere, it’s easy to get caught up in the wave of emotion that has become a part of our culture. If we step outside of this environment and see each other for what we are, human beings, it’s easy to find moments where a little bit of our own light could help light a candle that is struggling to shine.