Thomas F. O'Neill
I have been following the news about what is going on in the US regarding the Coronavirus outbreak there. I was shocked by the number of people who have contracted the virus and the number of deaths in America. It is sad and frightening to see, but many Americans have risen to the challenge to combat the virus and their stories are truly inspiring.
At the same time everything here in China, to some degree, is back to normal. We still need to show our green code that the Chinese Government issued to us that shows we are clear of the Coronavirus. The code was sent to my smartphone and when I enter a public place it must be scanned prior to entering. But one great thing for me is facemasks are optional, not mandatory. I have preferred not to wear one not out of vanity but out of comfort, especially, when I am in the classroom teaching.
I have gotten emails and text messages from people in the US asking why I stayed in China during the coronavirus outbreak here? There were certainly opportunities for me to return to America that much is true. However, this was my email response to the question –
Every person at some point in their lives needs to ask themselves this simple question, “what is my true purpose in life?”
A purposeful life will help you find something more meaningful — in the things you do for yourself and others. It can also help you achieve what you most want in life – true happiness. People, throughout the world, have the same deep desire — to be happy.
For me, happiness is not something that is given to me with each passing day. It is something I try to bring to each passing day. In other words, happiness is not found in the things we want to get from life. But rather happiness is found in the things we give to life.
There is an old Buddhist saying, “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
I like to tell my students here in China, that there will be times when the burdens of life make us feel as if we are carrying them on our shoulders but without life’s pressures diamonds will never appear.
Helen Keller once said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” On our life’s Journey, things may not always go as planned but that does not mean there are not greater opportunities before us.
I like to remind my students, that the most precious things in life, cannot be built by hand, bought, or sold by man. They can only be experienced through a wondrous soul and shared from one heart to the other. Happiness can only be experienced once it is shared with those around us.
There is also an old Chinese proverb, “Fools seek happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under their feet.” We all want happier lives and the material things we seek, and desire may, in fact, make our lives a little more comfortable. But the material things we acquire in life – will never provide us with a meaningful and purposeful life.
There are also things in life that we can give away and keep, our word, a happy smile, and a grateful heart. There is an old saying, “It’s not happiness, that leads to gratitude, it’s gratitude that leads to happiness.”
Our greatest achievements in life, will not consist in fame or glory, but in the unremembered, unrecognized, and undetected acts of loving-kindness that were bestowed on others. That is where our true purpose and the meaning of life resides.
I am a firm believer in the universal law – what we give to others is returned to us a thousand-fold. I also like to remind my students that kindness and love are the greatest forms of wisdom and love itself is the afterglow of life.
I have added a video taken at ‘South Main Street,’ also known as ‘Bar Street’ in the City of Wuxi, China - as you can see in the video there is little social distancing going on there now.
'South Main Street' also known as 'Bar Street' in Wuxi, China
Link: 'South Main Street' also known as 'Bar Street' in Wuxi, China
Always with love from Suzhou, China
Thomas F O’Neill
U.S. Voice mail: (410) 925-9334
China Mobile: 011 (86) 13405757231
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