His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke at UC Irvine today on how to face our current challenges -- those that occur on a family, community, national and planetary level. Here are a few of his simple, yet profound suggestions:
1) Look at reality objectively, without being bound by emotions.
2) Look at reality (or the reality of a problem) in a holistic manner.
3) Cultivate a calm mind. A calm mind is objective, self-confident, free of fear, and open to experience. With a calm mind we can use human intelligence properly.
4) We can properly address and overcome problems if we deal with them with a calm mind, a sense of responsibility, and moral values.
5) Moral values such as compassion and stewardship are not just for "religious-oriented" people. Moral values should be cultivated by all. If we teach our children these values, how to cultivate a calm mind, and especially warm-heartedness, then we will raise responsible leaders in the next generation.
6) Honor your body and its changing states. The body is not the same from year to year. Too much worry, frustrations, stress and anxiety creates sickness. We must pay attention to our health.
7) When recovering from illness, the calm mind is very important.
8) Self-centeredness creates stress and loneliness, which causes sickness in the body. Cultivate warm-heartedness and focus on serving others and you will experience connectedness, calm, and create health.
9) Believing in a Creator, God, or Higher Power connects you with something greater than yourself, which reduces self-centeredness.
10) We need leaders with, among other things, vision. When the mind is calm, visions come easily.
11) We must cultivate self-confidence and trust. Trust comes from speaking the honest truth.
12) In most cases, our experiences are the results of our own actions. Therefore we should examine our actions and their effect on our experience.
13) We should practice secularism in our approach to dealing with challenging community and global issues. Secularism is respecting the religious practice and views of all spiritual traditions, and also of non-believers. We should debate with others on important issues with respect for their background, beliefs and point of view.
14) Your enemy is your greatest teacher because he gives you the opportunity to practice compassion.
Special thanks to former student, Raquel Buckley, who provided the opportunity for me to attend this event.