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Advaita Vedanta is the school of thought propounded by the 8th century spiritual leader Adi Shankara and furthered by such recent spiritualists as Krishnamurti, Eckhart Tolle, and Adyashanti. Advaita means "not-two" in Sanskrit, referring to the identity of the true Self, Atman, which is pure consciousness and beyond duality, the oneness that pervades everything and is the essence of all forms. Advaita Vedanta draws upon the Vedas, ancient texts in some cases dating back 5000 years to the time of Krishna which predate most scriptures from around the world.

Today modern science is supporting the truth of this notion of unity, that despite apparent differences of body, place, degree, time, etc., all is one. New research has come out which shows that giving to others boosts the donor's mood as well as the receiver's.

A study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that people who pursued a specific altruistic goal - making a someone smile, for instance - felt better than those assigned, vaguely, to make someone happy.

And spending time with others helps one to avoid the stress that comes from the harried feeling of not having enough time, and who doesn't feel rush in this day and age? A study in Psychological Science found that those who were instructed to write a note to a sick child felt as if they had more time on their hands than those told to complete a mindless task, even though both activities took the same amount of time (5 minutes) to complete.

Spending time on others enhances one's confidence in the ability to get things done. Finally, a report in Current Directions in Psychological Science reveals that college students who received money to spend on someone else reported being in a better mood throughout the day than those who spent it on themselves. And in South Africa, where more than 1 in 5 lack enough money for food, those who bought bags of treats for hospitalized children reported being happier than those who indulged their own sweet tooth.

So give a little today. By helping others, you help yourself. And remember, it starts at home.


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