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This post was written by my friend Julie de Lagarde. She is an incredible woman. Julie holds a black belt in Tai Chi, is an avid surfer, an author, practices acupuncture and blogs at Real Fit Mama. She is one of the most peaceful, happy and generous people I know, and I was so excited when she offered to share her experience of seeing the Dalai Lama speak with my readers. I know you will enjoy her post!
10 Steps to Living a Happy Life
by Julie de Lagarde of Real Fit Mama
Yesterday I was very moved to hear the Dalai Lama speak to a large audience in Inglewood, an area Los Angeles known to be one of the most violent parts of what can sometimes be a very violent city.
He spoke for 45 minutes on the importance of compassion and nonviolence in the 21st century, and though I was 8 rows back and shared the arena with thousands of others, his words touched my heart deeply and profoundly.
I want to share with you what he shared with me yesterday.
The Dalai Lama has spoken about happiness to people all around the world, for decades. If you feel moved, curious, or inspired by his ideas, I encourage you to check out some of his books and audio books. I read some of his books in my younger years – mostly my twenties, and after a couple more decades of living (and having become a mother), his words proved timeless and struck me more powerfully than ever.
During his talk yesterday, the Dalai Lama spoke about how anxiety and depression are extremely widespread now, and that it is a very important time for us all to be more connected with each other. He also said that while more and more people are struggling to find happiness, increasing one’s own happiness and encouraging one another’s happiness should be our greatest concerns.
The Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and he is a great spiritual leader for our times. His words resonate to all of us – beyond borders, nationalities, religious preferences, and whether rich or poor. The Dalai Lama himself has overcome great adversity in his life. If you are interested in his story, I recommend reading this book.
10 Things the Dalai Lama Recommends to Build Happiness:
1) Love yourself and others.
Be loving. Sounds easy enough, right? But being human means it isn’t always easy. As he was speaking to us, the Dalai Lama repeatedly suggested that we avoid acting and speaking from a place of self-concern or selfishness, and keep others’ happiness and well being in mind.
2) Have compassion, for yourself and others.
All compassion starts with ourselves. Our emotions are an excellent way to practice compassion for ourselves. Once we experience that sympathy for our own ups and downs, it is easier to be generous with others.
3) Show affection to others.
There are 7 billion human beings on earth, and all of us are very much the same inside – emotionally, mentally, and physically. 7 billion people had a mother, and the Dalai Lama spoke a lot about the relationship with the mother being the paradigm for all human relationships. Babies NEED their mothers for affection and survival. He believes we all need each other for affection and survival as well, and encouraged us all to be more affectionate in general.
4) Experience your anger, fear and worry, and allow them to pass.
The Dalai Lama also spoke about how anger, fear and worry are widespread in human experience, and how these emotions eat us up from the inside and make us sick. He also spoke about how happiness in our hearts lessens stress and makes us healthy.
5) Be warmhearted.
The greatest thing we can do for ourselves and others is to practice being warmhearted. Sociologist Brene Brown also has an amazing TED Talk about the importance of vulnerability and warmheartedness. I have to admit, it feels really good to be warmhearted, once I get over that initial impulse to be stingy and protect myself first.
6) Grow your happiness.
The key to growing your own happiness is to be kind and help others experience happiness. So much of the Dalai Lama’s advice sounds simple, and is also quite complex when applied to real-life human experience. Oh, so I’m just supposed to grow my happiness. No problem, right? What he discussed a lot yesterday was remembering that happiness comes from the inside, and that nurturing that inner
happiness is more important than achieving outer happiness and materialism. While he didn’t frown upon materialism at all, he did emphasize that materialism is widely out of balance today, and that it is important to keep in mind that inner happiness does not come from material happiness. He also talked about how the US is considered the richest nation in the world, but that we are by no means the happiest nation.
7) Be good to others.
According to His Holiness, the key to happiness is in being good. When you are good to yourself and to others, it is easy for your heart to be happy. Several times he repeated – the key to happiness lies in goodness. Simply put, we need to be good to each other on a regular basis. He said if you cannot be good to someone or help someone, simply do no harm to them, and that that is also good.
8) Trust builds happiness and depends on transparency from all sides.
The Dalai Lama also discussed the importance of trust. He said that for us to all work together, trust is mandatory, and that the way to create trust with one another is to be fully transparent. Everyone puts everything on the table or out in the open to be seen. He talked about being trustworthy as a way of not doing harm to others and of being good.
9) Help lift each other up.
During his speech yesterday, the Dalai Lama told the story of a man he had met years ago in Soweto, South Africa. The man did not believe that he could get an education, complete it, and make a good living for himself – after a lifetime of oppression. For hours the Dalai Lama argued that yes, he could do it and that he simply HAD to believe in himself. Finally the man said “Ok, yes, I SEE now what you are saying! I CAN do it and I will!” The Dalai Lama said we all need to encourage others in our lives to grow and live up to our possibilities. He said that this will bring us happiness to lift each other up.
10) Believe in yourself, have courage, and rise up beyond adversity.
Finally, the Dalai Lama recommended that we all believe in ourselves and have courage in our lives to rise up beyond the limits or adversity we experience. He strongly urged that everyone in the world should have an equal chance at education, regardless of race, nationality or income level. There were over 1000 young school children in attendance yesterday, and he ended his speech with a powerful urging for them to be compassionate and to be leaders. He said it was up to them to improve the world and teach that through compassion for others comes true happiness, and through compassion, we can accomplish anything.
Julie de Lagarde is an acupuncturist, an athlete, and a Mom. She writes regularly on family wellness, real food, and fitness at realfitmama.org. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, or join the Real Fit Mama mailing list to get regular emails.
For more information about Julie’s e-book, Real Fit at Every Age, Click HERE