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Finding Hapiness through Service

Over 320 people gathered in Millis-Schmitt Auditorium, Case Western Reserve University to hear Acharya Vivek Gupta, speak on “Finding Happiness through Service” on Friday, August 14, 2015. The talk, followed by a Panel discussion was organized by Sewa International, Cleveland Chapter in association with Chinmaya Mission, Cleveland.

The Chief Guest, Dr. Susman, Dean, Northeast Ohio Medical University, College of Medicine (NEOMED), in his address explained how despite having one of the best healthcare systems in the country, many impoverished people are still unable to obtain affordable healthcare. He mentioned that NEOMED is emphasizing service and empathy in the medical curriculum.

The Key-Note Speaker for the evening, Acharya Vivek Gupta, Resident Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Niagara, mentioned that Happiness begins by making yourself successful first and providing your family with its basic needs of love, friendship, intimacy, financial well being and personal security. This is achieved by having a vision, mission and setting personal goals. Developing time management skills to achieve them.

Citing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs he advised that true happiness comes when we give back to the society, help and serve people in need. He observed that United States, despite being an amazing country filled with many opportunities, was not one of the happiest countries. This is because of our tendency to associate happiness only with material wealth. He said that this approach leads to ego that causes a feeling of separation from others.

However, selfless living instead of selfish one would connect us with others. Volunteering our time and resources to those in need, results in lasting satisfaction and happiness.

Todd Teter, Vice President and General Manager of Moen U.S. wholesale spoke from personal experience as to how he got involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research foundation’s Northeast Ohio chapter when his child suffered from type I diabetes. He went on to explain that the look he sees on the parent’s faces when they realize that they are not alone makes this service very rewarding.

Dr. Holy Perzy, Vice President, Metro Health, was asked how she found happiness. She said that she always wanted to be a doctor as this profession allowed her to reach out and help others. She is very concerned about the unequal access to medical care in this country to low income families. She is committed to correcting this.

Dr. Sanjiv Tewari, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Akron General Medical center, and President of the Lung allergy, and Sleep Centers of America, informed that in his hospital he places heavy emphasis on providing empathetic service to patients

Fareed Siddiq, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley, and a financial advisor, mentioned that helping families to find and achieve financial independence makes him very happy. In addition his heavy involvement with organizations such as the American Red Cross, The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, and other organizations gave him immense satisfaction.

Dr. Kristin Englund, a staff member of the Department of infectious diseases at the Cleveland Clinic and a volunteer at the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland and for MedWorks in the Cleveland area finds happiness by volunteering despite her hectic schedule.

Ratanjit S. Sondhe, founder of a materials science company who overcame many challenges and built it into an industry leader, advised that in times of difficulties, we should choose to face them head-on to succeed; and losing the opportunity, we will learn nothing.

    Acharya Vivek Ji answered questions submitted by the audience. He ended with an interesting take away. In some cultures when it is a person’s birthday it is customary to give something to others rather than expect others to shower the person with gifts.How much different would our lives be, if as we grow older, each year that is added to our lives, we spend as many hours volunteering weekly or donate percentage of our income to charity? That would make the world a better place.

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