The Secret Santa was recently profiled on msnbc. What an amazing thing this is. Something unique in present-day Western society. As the spirit of giving is very much alive in other part of the world--from the Middle-East to South Asia, giving is part of our daily life.
You step out of the home in the morning to go to work or take your lunch break, or leave work to return home. You surely will end up handing out a few rupees to the poverty stricken homeless folk who are commonly found hanging around traffic signals.
This spirit of given is not new, it is in fact something part of all traditions and cultures---whether it be Christian traditions, Jewish traditions, Hindu traditions or the Muslim traditions.
However, due to todays fast pace lifestyle and heightened materialism most of us have forgotten this basic teaching and trait of our respective cultures and traditions. Particularly in Western Society it is a lost tradition, a tradition which corporate marketing/PR engines tend to abuse to there advantage. These corporate entities are like vultures, preying upon a public who are disgruntled, unsatisfied and have a longing for a gentle smile or touch from someone or something. Most people are hungry for emotional gratification, as a result they go out and buy buy buy like there is no tomorrow. All in an attempt to try and satisfy this emotional void within themselves.
Our present-day society is extremely goal oriented, the focus is on action items, running all the time with little or no time to stop and breath. Action item to action item, meeting to meeting, conference to conference, workshop to workshop, and the saga continues. No time to stop and "chill" out, kick back and do nothing. Yes, doing nothing is a great luxury; to be able to do nothing, not even think. Just BE and feel heart beathing within your being, follow your breath as it traverse in and out of your wind pipe.
Thank you secret santa for reminding us the value of life, the value of sharing, the value of giving back. A value which is inherently part of the the Muslim tradition, manifesting itself in the form of Zakat, and Sadaqah.
So here is another commonality Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Bhuddist, etc have. There are more commonalities than differences, whats all the fuss about? Aren't we all one people, sharing one planet, a lonesome planet in the vastness of the cosmos. The only planet for lightyears around that can sustain life as we know it. So what is wrong with us? What is all the fuss about? We as a planet need to relearn the spirit of giving and sharing, a quality which we are born with. Children understand this spirit very well, however as they are introduced to society, through their schools, social circles, clicks, gangs, etc they start to forget. Which is perfectly understandable as one learns very early in life that people are not all that they appear to be. Someone may appear to be very generous, loving or helpful, but can in reality be the complete opposite. People may make you think you are there WORLD for them, but then the very same people will turn around and act as if you are nobody to them.
So this year we should make it our New Years resolution to GIVE. Give back to society, give back to our respective communities. Give to our local schools and homeless shelters. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we have several organizations from RAHIMA FOUNDATION, San Jose Education Foundation, Hidaya Foundation, Lets rekindle this spirit of GIVING which is ingrained in our human DNA from birth. It is part of who we are. Corporations have learned that giving back to their respective communities is good for business, good for profits. However, don't give for expecting something in return. Your Return on Investment (ROI) is the inner satisfaction and gratification that will fill up the void within you, the void which many of us try and fill through conspicuous consumption. And don't forget to take time out each day. Take time out and relax, kick back and do NOTHING.
Copyright C. Abdulrahman Rafiq