Day 296 Question 296:
Who do you admire?
Today is Election Day in the great country of the United States. I use the word great kind of loosely here. I will not disclose whether I voted or not because that is my personal business. I do hope that this country does take a step in the right direction regardless. While relaxing watching the boob-tube last night there was one slander ad after another and I just grew sick to my stomach. I will not say I am not proud to be an American because I feel lucky to live in a country with so many advancements and so many opportunities but the mindset has really disgusted me. We are a country that is supposed to be united and we could not possibly further divided. We have not been able to find any compromise to continually advance but still hold onto family values and the importance of the American individual. It seems like it is always one or the other and money has made our country so ugly. I guess sometimes I just want to be noticed as an individual as opposed to just a number among the masses…I want to believe that the government is not made up of a bunch of corrupt liars….but I believe it is too late for that.
So, after all of that political jibber jabber you may ask who I admire and for years now I have always looked to the words of the Dalai Lama to bring me back to my place of belief and natural state of being. The Eastern philosophies that he practices are beautiful and so peaceful and it is his way of life that I admire. He focuses not on the material or the superficial but instead on the soul of the individual. He focuses on peace over war and believes solely in happiness and compassion. It may sound silly to many but I truly believe that if all (or at least the majority) people were to take time in their day to meditate or rest and clear their mind and allow it to just work naturally that we would see a much more calm, peaceful world. I practice Transcendental Meditation daily and the state of calm that I have experienced is overwhelming just due to this state of mind and body rest. I wanted to share some excerpts for people to check out and hopefully think about. I admire the Dalai Lama because of his selflessness and his ability to be an icon and a mentor without even trying to or wanting to. He is a man of peace that has a vision of world beauty and his modesty is enchanting. I never would want to force anyone to believe anything because I believe we must go with what feels natural to us….I just would suggest (if open to the idea) for people to read The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. This book has changed my life and allowed me to see the world in a different light…it has helped me ease my angst and my stress and focus on the love and compassion that is most important.
“The purpose of our existence is to seek happiness. It seems like common sense, and Western thinkers from Aristotle to William James have agreed with this idea. But isn’t a life based on seeking personal happiness by nature self-centered, even self-indulgent? Not necessarily. In fact, survey after survey has shown that it is unhappy people who tend to be most self-focused and are often socially withdrawn, brooding, and event antagonistic. Happy people, in contrast, are generally found to be more sociable, flexible, and creative and are able to tolerate life’s daily frustrations more easily than unhappy people, and, most important, they are found to be more loving and forgiving then unhappy people. Researchers have devised some interesting experiments demonstrating that happy people exhibit a certain quality of openness, a willingness to reach out and help others.”
“Underlying all the Dalai Lama’s methods there is a set of basic beliefs that act as a substrate for all his actions: a belief in the fundamental gentleness and goodness of all human beings, a belief in the value of compassion, a belief in a policy of kindness, and a sense of commonality among all living creatures.” – Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
“I believe that the proper utilization of time is this: if you can, serve other people, other sentient beings. If not, at least refrain from harming them. I think that is the whole basis of my philosophy. So, let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that. The purpose of our life needs to be positive. We weren’t born with the purpose of causing trouble, harming others. For our life to be of value, I think we must develop basic good human qualities – warmth, kindness, compassion. Then our life becomes meaningful and more peaceful – happier.” – The Dalai Lama
“In discussing an approach to bringing about positive changes within oneself, learning is only the first step. There are other factors as well: conviction, determination, action, and effort. So the next step is developing conviction. Learning and education are important because they help one develop conviction of the need to change and help increase one’s commitment. This conviction to change then develops into determination. Next, one transforms determination into action – the strong determination to change enables one to make a sustained effort to implement the actual changes. This final factor of effort is critical.” – The Dalai Lama