On a practical level, nothing alleviates suffering like reaching out to another person who is suffering. Go and help, be of service if only in the smallest way. Each of us feels timid about reaching out to others; our society speaks of community but mostly we drift like atoms in a void. It isn't easy to reach over the walls built from around our isolation, but any gesture - whatever you feel safe to do - is a step toward healing.

After the Pentagon and World Trade Centre attacks, thousands of citizens from all walks of life volunteered to assist in search, rescue, support, and other efforts. Hundreds of thousands responded almost instantly to the call for blood donors. It would be impossible to single anyone out, but I was moved by one woman who rode her bicycle down to the disaster site in order to find her niece and nephew, which, miraculously, she did. The next day, she was drawn again to the site - as so many people said they were - by an invisible force. She found a few other women who also felt the call to help, so they started making sandwiches for the rescue teams, at first a few at a time, but these quickly grew to be hundreds. Within few days, she was managing entire truck deliveries of meals and leading dozens of volunteers.

"I had an extraordinary experience, one that I hope won't be misunderstood," she later said. "This turned into the best five days of my life." The reason tragedy turned to light for her was that she made a heart connection with others; a human thread now linked her to the life we all share. It is this connection we crave the most.

But it is up to us to find the will to weave the first strand.

- from The Deeper Wound: Recovering the Soul from Fear and Suffering, by Deepak Chopra

If you can't find a local branch of the charity or organization you would like to help in the list below or in this section of This Is A, telephone or email them and ask if they know of any local branches or similar organizations near you or if they can recommend people to contact who would know of organizations near you that could use your help. And if you can't find an organization near you, start your own!

Your help is needed throughout the world to let others recover happiness from pain.

In helping others, you not only contribute to your world becoming a better place, but you can have a whole lot of fun. I'm serious. It doesn't matter how young or old you are, how sick, how short, how tall, whether you're talented or not - you have everything to give.

This isn't altruism; it's sheer selfishness. The joy you will get from contributing will one of the most intense pleasures you will ever know.

- the creators of This Is A

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