My Spiritual Journey by The Dalai Lama
My Spiritual Journey by The Dalai Lama
The point of Buddhism is to transform the mind so that we free ourselves from suffering and its causes. First, you must know your mind, then how it functions so that you can eliminate the 3 mental poisons: ignorance, desire, hatred. You must analyze the stream of consciousness.
Lessons from the Dalai Lama
1 – We are all just human beings. When it comes down to it, we all want the same things in life – love and happiness. No matter where you are from or what your background, we are all alike – we are all seeking happiness and avoiding suffering. We all want to be free and to decide our own path in life. Realizing this creates empathy because you see that everyone is just like you. We’re all just trying to do our best to get by in this crazy world. When you look at someone else, see this in them. See that they simply want the same things that you want as well.
2 – We are all connected. We are all brothers and sisters. Technically speaking, we are all at least 50th cousins, so we really are family. Even if you don’t want to accept that as fact, do as the Dalai Lama does – treat every person like an old friend. This is a great mind-set to have with strangers you see throughout the day. Treating everyone like an old friend or a distant family member has helped me personally. I used to have the worst road rage. I was a real asshole! I would get so wound up anytime someone wronged me on the road. If you change your mind-set to see everyone as an old friend or a distant family member, you become much more kind. When someone cuts me off in traffic now, I just say to myself, that’s one of my distant cousins… that person is family. You will be surprised at how much more forgiving you are to other drivers if you think in this way.
3 – Have a compassionate (kind, peaceful, and gentle) attitude.
The highest level of inner calm comes from the development of love and compassion. The more concerned we are with the happiness of others, the more we increase our own well-being. Friendliness and warmth toward others relax mental tensions and help us to dissipate fears or insecurity so that we can overcome obstacles. This is the ultimate source of success in life.
Even when faced with another person’s negative behavior – practice compassion. Practice compassion even with your enemies. This creates a warm and relaxed atmosphere where you welcome someone and show them understanding. In life people reflect your behavior. If you attack, they will become defensive. If you are open, they will let their walls down. An attitude of compassion is one that is calm, patient, and able to reason. Compassion is a sign of strength.
On the other hand, anger is a sign of weakness. Is it easier to have an outburst or is it easier to control yourself and use reason and patience? We’ve all snapped before, so I think this one is pretty obvious. Being compassionate takes skill – so practice, give it time, and learn from your mistakes. Be sincere and think of solutions. Compassion leads to other positive emotions like forgiveness, tolerance, inner strength, and confidence.
No doubt some people will try to take advantage of you attitude. If your calm seems to encourage unfair aggression, be firm, but with compassion. If it turns out to be necessary for you to prove your point by severe countermeasures, do so without resentment or bad intentions.
4 – Always look for the good. Everything is relative, so try and adopt a holistic perspective in order to see the good in bad situations. Focusing on what’s good about life can change your whole outlook. Asking what you’re grateful for can train your brain to appreciate the abundance we have rather than the lack. Remember, what you focus on grows, so pay attention to what you’re focusing on throughout the day. Are you complaining or seeing the opportunities?
5 – Learn to develop peace of mind. There are two kinds of suffering – mental and physical. Suffering is usually of the mental variety, so we need to focus on developing peace of mind.
Meditation can help you here. The Dalai lama meditates, prays, and studies for 5 hours a day. He meditates on emptiness, interdependence, and the impermanence of life. You can meditate on the same things. Meditating on each will bring different insights. For example, awareness of interdependence brings about less violence. Meditating on death and accepting death as a natural process of life can help you become clear on what you want your life to be about.
Focus on creating an inner temple. Don’t be so consumed with the external world of possessions and things. Material progress can only get us so far. It can improve our daily life, but it can only make us so happy. In order to move past that barrier, we have to work on our inner development.
“Material progress and a higher standard of living improve comfort and health but do not lead to a transformation of the mind, the only thing capable of providing lasting peace.”
“Desire for possession is very powerful; it crystallizes attachment to the self and what is mine.”
Happiness comes from a spiritual place rather than the fleeting pleasures of material gains. Grasping material goods reinforces self-centeredness.
Watch your mind. Observe how it behaves. Watch your stream of consciousness throughout the day. When some form of negativity enters, treat it like a thief in the night and cast it out. You also want to abandon negative actions, let go of ego, and abandon all extremes, opinions, and concepts.
6 – Realize that there is no self. We are in fact, all one. The ego creates this sense of separation, so see beyond the desires of the ego and tap into that deeper consciousness – the soul, spirit, God, or whatever you want to call it. The part of you that has always been and will always be – your deepest being beyond your personality and mind. When you realize that we are all one, you can’t possibly have hate towards another because there is no other… There is only I. If all this sounds a little crazy and far fetched, please, please, please check out The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and The Impersonal Life by Joseph Benner.
Egocentricity reinforces isolation and separation. How do you fix this? Stop saying I, me, or mine! Egoism is against nature because it ignores interdependence.
7 – Be more nature minded. Earth is our only home, so we must protect it. Practice moderation, respect nature, and don’t act against it. We come from nature, we are nature, so why act against it? Live in balance with it. See again that we are all one, see the interdependence of it all, and see that without nature, we wouldn’t be.
8 – Choose the way of peace – This requires determination and patience but it’s better than the alternative. The world can’t become peaceful through force. That just creates more injustice.
9 – Be tolerant of other religions and ideologies. All spiritual traditions are good and help millions of people. They all have their place and their particular view is helpful to certain people. We must accept the truth of other traditions, even if it is against ours because it has its own reason for being. Keep your mind open and tolerant. We need brotherly exchanges between religions – this is what will create mutual understanding and respect.
10 – Laugh often and smile – It’s contagious.
11 – Practice altruism. Living a life of selfishness is very dark and lonely.
“The root of happiness is altruism – the wish to be of service to others”.
Some final notes:
1 – Everyone must assume responsibility. In order to change the world, you must first start with yourself. If we ourselves haven’t transformed, how can we help others to transform? It starts with you.
2 – We need to have kindness and compassion in everything we do throughout life. If what you’re doing isn’t in alignment with kindness and compassion, you need to rethink it.
3 – Don’t just read and understand these insights, apply them. They need to become part of your every day life. Progress a little bit every day. Study, reflect, and meditate daily and implement the wisdom you have acquired.