If we do not cultivate the skills needed to control our thoughts the mind will create wants that do not serve our well-being. By quieting our minds through physical activity, controlled breathing and meditation, we can begin to hear what we truly desire. Happiness, joy and peace.
To me, this meant that Daniel accepted that humans are, undeniably, human, and subject to the confusion of outside forces. It's not that people are fundamentally "bad," it's that people often have challenging or unhappy life experiences that, unfortunately, cause them to behave unkindly.
"Concern with others' well being: that is compassion," the 77-year-old Buddhist spiritual leader declared. "Compassion must come from there," he added, pointing toward his heart.
In November 2011, the city council passed and the mayor signed a resolution committing to a multi-year Compassionate Louisville campaign. In doing so, Louisville (pop. 750,000) became the largest American city to make such a commitment.
In the midst of our wreckage that I speak to you, both as a Jew and as a New Orleanian, because survival is not just a matter of urban planning, or of financial aid, or willfulness. It is something deeper. It is of the soul.
It is my fervent aspiration that our culture will pay more attention to well-being, will include strategies to promote well-being with our educational curricula and within the healthcare arena, and will include well-being within our definitions of health.
"Health comes from inner peace" according to a talk I recently attended by the Dalai Lama. He makes it sound so simple. Doesn't inner peace sound easier than giving up French fries or learning how to make kale palatable? But how do we cultivate inner peace and thus health?
"Even Tibetan masters are beginning to realize, if you want real devotion and focus, you have to look to the nuns," Tenzin Palmo says.
The reason I choose to call the eightfold path an advanced teaching is that, while the definitions of each of the practices are relatively easy to teach and understand, their full application and integration takes a lifetime.
Will the global cause spearheaded by the quirky monk, with such Hollywood champions as Richard Gere and Harrison Ford outlive him?
Several practices and perspectives can help you move through self-absorption and toward the mentality, spirit and behavior that support healthy, continuous "evolution" in your life, psychologically and spiritually.
Thubten Chodron gave this short teaching well before the Boston Marathon Tragedy, but her words about "The True Meaning of Forgiveness" could not be more timely. If we hold on to anger, we hurt ourselves the most, and the violence will never end.
Those were the words written on the subway wall. Disappointment. Frustration. Fearfulness. Sums up the "state of affairs" in America, huh?
The papacy won't be a mamacy any time soon, but at least we know that Her Holiness is an option.
In order to be able to view anger as a dysfunctional emotion, we must develop in our lojong meditation practice the conviction that anger is a dysfunctional emotion.
The Karmapa offered my students, and me, a rare gift in inviting us to define how we will make our lives meaningful for ourselves and others.