I had the honor of seeing, His Holiness, the Dalai speak in person a few months ago. I also had a great conversation last night, with my cousin and brother, Bobby. I’m going to share both of those experiences with you.
But let’s set the context first:
Stress. Anxiety. Worry. They are like 3 hooded monsters lurking in the forest of thoughts, which is our mind. Most, if not all people, suffer from some varying degree of anxiety, or worry. We continually try to destroy, or run away from these dark creatures, within our forest of thoughts.
Happiness. Joy. Peace. They are like 3 lucent, illuminating figures that shine within our forest of thoughts, creating a beautiful landscape of perfection within our lives. In this beautiful landscape with the light shining, those dark creatures cannot exist.
How can we remove these three ferocious freaks – stress, anxiety, and worry?
How can we can acquire, and keep these three lucent, illuminated, and peaceful powers – happiness, joy and peace?
It has been a question, for the ages.
Sorry, I don’t have the almighty answer. I’m not a sage, I’m not a prophecy, and I don’t have the mysterious answers to life’s mysterious questions.
Well, screw it. Let’s go for it, come what may.
Focus less on yourself. Focus more on other people. Remove self-centeredness. Help other people – in any small way you can. The specifics do not matter.
A few months ago, I experienced seeing The Dalai Lama Speak live, at The University of California, Berkeley.
He began his speech with asking, “Why people have stress, anxiety, or worry?”
His answer: “Self-centeredness.”
When people are self-centered, worry and anxiety creep in. They are always analyzing themselves. They are analyzing their own thoughts, socio-status, material items they have or don’t have, or self image and looks. Or the money they have or don’t have, comparison to others, what others think about themselves, or what someone did unfairly to him or her.
It’s normal. And it’s selfish. It’s being self-centered, as the Dalai Lama put it.
His Holiness continued; if you want to remove the worry, fear, and anxiety, stopping focusing on yourself, and focus on others. Focus on helping others, focus on being kind to others, focus on making someone smile – and magically your worry and anxiety will go away.
It focuses your attention away from yourself into the life of someone or something else and brings happiness into someone else’s life.
It indirectly brings you back to who you truly are. And you are truly peace, happiness and love. You feel the same emotion of happiness as the person being helped.
I had a great conversation with my cousin, Bobby last night. He’s like a brother to me, and we talked about this same thing the Dalai Lama was expressing.
We talked about helping people. How it’s a special gift to be aware to, and be able to give. To give a random act of kindness.
It doesn’t have to be a huge thing – you don’t have to travel around the World and build cities, or feed a million people. It’s the small things, and they make an impact. It’s having a conversation with someone who needs a listener, helping someone who is injured or struggling through the door, buying someone coffee standing next to you, smiling at someone – genuinely.
My cousin said to me, “You can work on yourself all you want – work out, read books, do your job to make money all you want. And those are all good things, but none of those things compare to how you feel when you help someone, or make someone happy in that moment.”
It’s so true.
Bobby continued you to say, “You help yourself just as much or more, by helping others.”
What your self-centeredness was trying so desperately to achieve – happiness, joy and peace – was found – how? By NOT being self-centered! Ironic-yes, counter intuitive-yes, and most importantly, effective-certainly a yes.
Stop focusing so much on yourself – your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and perfection. And start focusing on other people.
That was the Dalai Lama’s message. That was the message my cousin and I realized last night.
So I raise this question for both you and I, alike:
What will we do……………………………………………for others?