October 16, 2012
Protecting Our Interest
This weekend we journeyed to Middlebury, Vermont to hear the Dalai Lama speak on Saturday morning. Because we were arriving so late the night before, and had to rise very early, we pseudo-camped for the night in the back of the trailblazer with a blow-up mattress and sleeping bags. It made me feel like I was ten again on the sailboat. After the long drive, Tom nodded off in about six seconds, so I watched part of another great Ted Talk.
It would be terrifying, but I would like to do a Ted Talk.
Anyway, the Dalai Lama was adorable and funny. I wasn't expecting this. In my research I learned that Dalai Lama means "ocean of wisdom", and this he is.
I was surprised to hear him tell a story about staying with a nice family while touring in the US. He said they had a delicious meal, in their lovely home, and then after eating he excused himself to care for his teeth. In the bathroom, the medicine cabinet was open just a crack, and he decided to have a peek inside.
What did he find?
Lots of valium. I forget exactly how he phrased it...but it was something like "This family seemed so calm and perfect, and suddenly I saw that this was not the case."
The toll of trying to be perfect. I love the quote Perfection is the the highest form of self-abuse by Tao Te Ching.
The Dalai Lama had lots of his own wisdom to share:
The importance of sleep. Sleep he says is the best meditation.
The reminder that we are all the same. That we are one.
He also spoke about self-discipline. He said that self-discipline is "protecting our own interest." I loved this distinction. I have always thought of self-discipline in terms of taking care of myself, of doing what needs to be done, of sticking with my commitments. For me anyway, to place the concept in his light, makes it more about making sure that we are doing what we want to be doing, in our hearts. Protecting our interest.
Or least that's how I interpreted it, or wanted to interpret it.
Here are some of my favorite Dalai Lama quotes I found on the web:
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.
When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, 'Oh yes - I already have everything that I really need.'
The concept of war is outdated.