I was recently lucky enough to attend a public talk given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama – a simple lecture about practicing compassion and using wisdom during difficult times. Just being in his presence was amazing in and of itself. His sense of humor and joy is infectious. He opened his talk by saying that he was just a person like the rest of us, and had no power to heal. I thought that this was a funny paradox, since his message could heal the entire world – but what he was trying to say is that being enlightened is a matter of self-discipline, practice, and mindfulness.
He pointed out that he has no special powers to heal, using his own gall bladder surgery as an example. That statement made the crowd chuckle, of course. However, he did say that because his mind was at peace, he was able to heal faster and recuperate at a quicker pace, because he could control his mind to reduce stress and worry. He contributed anxiety, worry and envy to an unhealthy mind, which of course affects the body.
The Dalai Lama also spoke of issues on a global level, and how we must be aware of our state of minds to implement peace from within. If entire groups of people could adopt this rightful thinking, it could very well be the seed that could promote world peace. If everyone had inner peace, would there be a need to take over another’s country or station in life?
He spoke of world hunger, and compassion for those of us who can’t take for granted that there will be a meal every day; even those of us who are struggling in this economy.
He said that a Christian friend had once introduced him as a great Christian, which isn’t far from the truth. He embodies the charity, kindness, and goodness of any religion, in their purest forms. He did discuss how wrong-mindfulness leads to discord, even wars, amongst the power hungry within such religions.
He spoke of losing his homeland, and that though this was sad, it had led to other opportunities, chance meetings and other destinies. This is a huge way of looking at our smaller problems. Can one imagine a greater suffering than this?
His talk was largely about putting things into perspective, both globally and within ourselves.
Why worry about a problem when you can’t control the outcome – or, if you do know the outcome, why worry?
The mind is powerful and can overcome such challenges, and we as a human community all share these challenges. This goes back into the loop of compassion. Suffering is everywhere and in all lives. If we can understand this, and look outward and help others, it brings us happiness and joy.
Compassion, whether given or received, is what brings us happiness, not the externals, such as material wealth, belongings, status. Giving compassion makes us feel good. It attracts others to us. It keeps us from becoming an island, and reminds us that we are a community of people on a similar journey. If we could all embrace this fact, we would feel more harmony. And that is a nice reminder for all of us.
I feel more peaceful having just been there.
What are your thoughts on the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion?