The Different Values Of East And West

Being a mix of cultures, parents from India and Middle East, while being born in Montreal myself, and having lived in various countries for the past 20 years, I see the world split in two cultures or mentalities, East and West.

Today, I am in Cambodia, and have observed the different people, locals in the streets, and tourists in the hotel. I am a very friendly person, and since I am alone I like to approach people because, for me, people are very valuable and interesting to talk to so I learn and grow more each day.

Yesterday at breakfast, I approached two people from Canada and started to chat with them. I asked to join them to visit a couple of charity organizations that they are supporting. We spent a very nice day together, I helped support the organizations, we had a nice late lunch and all was fine. This morning at breakfast, the Cambodians all smile and say hello in their limited English, but the Canadians sat at the next table to me and literally ignored me. I smiled and the fellow just turned away.

I have no idea what went wrong, but certainly something did. I think it was because I was friendly with the woman he was with, they are not a couple as such, just working together. He may be jealous or what I have no idea.

I find this to be a common theme in the west, people are very sensitive and can easily be upset, then keep it inside and just shut down. It is so strange to me. Life is so short and precious, yet people tend to waste it with their anger and fears, cutting off potential joy and good companionship.

Many people are looking for that special purpose, or job that will fulfill them. I always say that it is not what you do but who you do it with that matters most. If you live with a very sensitive or cold manner, thinking you are protecting your self, you just shut down your heart and never open up to the right person or people, which is the key to finding a fulfilling life.

In the poor countries, people have nothing, and I mean literally nothing sometimes. All they have is each other. They share what little they have, five people living in one room, but they are happy. Life is difficult beyond any western person’s nightmares, but they have each other, they have a heart, and that means they have a life worth living.

It is not hard to have a heart, to live with love and emotion, and feel satisfied with yourself. All you have to do is smile at everyone you meet. Do not keep negative feelings, thinking that person is bad or insulted you. Let people be what they are, and you just smile and feel open rather than bitter and closed.

Holding on to negative feelings will not help anyone or anything. Trying to ‘get back’ at that person who you think insulted or hurt you by your rejecting them and shutting down towards them is only hurting yourself. Certainly you may hurt them as well, but the cost is that you have to drive the knife through your own heart in order to stab them. It makes no sense. People who do this are just suicide bombers killing one person at a time but living a life where they kill themselves and are reborn in pain only to kill themselves yet again and again.

Maids, servants and toilet cleaners are people too, they have a heart and a love that often the rich and famous do not have. Smiling at them will be retuned with a sincere smile back and you can feel the love they hold in their heart simply because they do not hold fear and distrust.

When you see their smile, you will know the difference between sincerity and the false smiles in the Western cities. Then you will know what it is you feel when you can’t put your finger on it but you know something is wrong. This is your opportunity to open your heart that you may not have realized is so closed.

The more you have the more you need to protect. If you feel that everyone is out to get your money then you will distrust everyone and close your heart, and you suffer, just like the super successful people, actors or musicians, who commit suicide. We wonder, how could someone so rich and famous suffer so much that they need so many drugs to keep going and eventually get so depressed that they cannot live in their palace and private jet? But the poor have nothing to loose, and so they have nothing to protect. But I would like you to consider what is worth more, your possessions or your heart and the quality of your entire life.

Define quality. Material luxury or emotional fulfillment.

Of course not everyone is the same, but I am learning from the ones who set a good example, the ones who are deeply happy and you can feel the simple purity of joy that they project.

The poor people work wherever they can, do whatever they can, get a few pennies for the day, and then they can eat. No work, no food. it is that simple. Life can be difficult, but they have no fears of other people, their emotional contact is pure.

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