Baby faces

His Holiness

  • Last Friday I had the pleasure of seeing the Dalai Lama at the Vancouver Dialogues event at the Orpheum Theatre
  • I was initially intrigued by the man last year when I visited Dharamsala, India where he, the Tibetan government, and thousands of Tibetans have been exiled since 1959
  • While there I had the opportunity to meet a Tibetan monk who generously made us dinner, impressed us with his proficient use of a laptop computer, and awed us with the story of his risky and dangerous escape from Chinese rule in his own country (Thousands of Tibetans make the trek out of Tibet into northern India mostly by foot through the mountains in winter)
  • Despite the current circumstances, the Dalai Lama continues to brilliantly inspire his own people and millions of others around the world, Buddhist or otherwise, with his honest message of happiness and love

Smiling babies

  • I have a niece who is one year old and awesome and I can’t help smiling (often laughing) when I’m around her
  • I have always noticed how children share few of the pretenses and concerns of adults when it comes to socializing (they approach anyone) and appearances (they don’t care how they look), but this perception has now been magnified with my niece
  • At the Vancouver Dialogues session I attended, the Dalai Lama emphasized the importance of the bond between mother and child and nurturing this at an early age
  • Mary Gordon, President/Founder of Roots of Empathy, was part of a panel for the Vancouver Dialogues session I attended
  • She outlined how her organization puts infants into classrooms (from kindergarten to grade 8) to promote interaction with the students which has successfully reduced levels of aggression and violence while increasing empathy and compassion among the children
  • The importance of breeding a loving perspective towards others in the early stages in a child’s life is obvious, however it is never too late to become a better and more loving person

Practically speaking

  • Love and compassion can be expressed by everyone, regardless of their race, class, status, health and there are positive examples of this all around us (whether it be Mother Teresa or the humble servant at the local Salvation Army); There are always those with less than us that are doing more
  • Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, embrace and practice the Dalai Lama’s common sense wisdom of promoting happiness and compassion
  • Don’t get caught up thinking it takes too much effort to be compassionate and reach out to others
  • The simple act of treating others well (the way you’d like to be treated) can be clouded by stereotypes, perceived and established classes, religious denominations, and societal customs; A little love goes a long way
  • Look to children to remind you of the ease at which we should be accepting and loving towards others, regardless of who they are
  • These simple steps can be very powerful when one family, one church, one community, one city, one nation, and one world take the initiative to live, respect, love, and support those around them
  • And one of my favorites refreshment techniques (reinforced by my niece, but often overlooked and shunned by many), is to take an afternoon nap and enjoy the refreshment and clarity it can bring
  • Our friends in southern Europe have it right by taking mid-afternoon naps
  • Some might say things move slower and are less efficient in the south of Europe, and this may in fact be the case if you measure things monetarily; However their passion and love for family, friends, and celebrations are in my mind (and probably the Dalai Lama’s too) far superior to a focus on material wealth and ourselves