Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Dalai Lama & Peace of Mind

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, delivered a public talk on Peace of Mind in Troubled Times at the Long Beach Arena at the Long Beach Convention Center on Saturday. I had the privilege of being in that audience and felt it was a positive experience to share.

The Dalai Lama was sponsored for this event by the Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Ling ("Land of Flourishing Dharma") a center for the study of Buddhism and the Tibetan culture.

The Dalai Lama is a powerful teacher in the line of Tibetan Buddhism. He speaks around the world appearing with many spiritual and political dignitaries. His words carry the refrains of nonviolence, compassion and human rights. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

I was intrigued to find out that he would be speaking to the public and felt compelled to attend. When we arrived at the Wyland Whale arena the lines of people snaked around the building and well into the parking lot. The crowd was eclectic and diverse with many dressed casual, some in ethnic attire and others complete with designer six inch heels and the like.

The energy was calm and patient yet excited despite those excruciating lines to be searched to enter. There was of course one dissenter who barked his discourse even as he was regulated to be near the rows of portable toilets outside.

I heard some people say they had skipped work and traveled from many places in Southern California as well as other states and even Canada to be there. Comments ranged from “It is an opportunity of a life time,” to “I would not miss this for the world.”

Inside with an audience of close to 10,000, there was a prelude of a wonderful flute performance and one of my favorite actors, Richard Gere, introduced the Dalai Lama. His Holiness radiated a calm, mischievous and benevolent grace as he sat in the lotus position in his chair. He immediately relayed that the chair was so comfortable that he could sleep in it.

The Dalai Lama spoke English during his talk often aided by his interpreter who sat next to him. He was funny, and open almost like your grandfather telling stories in a humble way. His words held the audience in sway.

The gist of his talk could be summed up in that people who are in mental pain sometimes do not have a compassionate heart. When they are not compassionate they are judging and mistrustful which leads to other problems in society.

The key he summed up is to be in detachment and have mental peace. He related that it does not matter your spiritual perspective, your physical environment nor your physical state or property if you do not have this mental balance. He spoke a bit about nonviolence stating that it must also include condemnation of wrong actions.

It was a powerful event which seemed to touch and inspire the many attendees. I always encourage people to be in the presence of such teachers, and others when they come into town.

Some Ways to Obtain Mental Clarity

The Dalai Lama spoke about this mental peace yet he left it to the audience to discover the ways to find it. Of course the Dharma of Buddhism teaches how to obtain clarity. Yet many do not follow this spiritual practice.

I have found that meditating in the form of sitting and relaxing the mind or with actions such as writing, painting, creating, exercise, walking, dancing and cooking are helpful for a better mental attitude. Cleaning out our homes of clutter and getting rid of and releasing unused things also detoxes the mind.

Self-reflection, classes and workshops on personal development as well as talking to counselors, spiritual advisors and healing friends can help also. Our thoughts create, heal and empower us as well as others therefore it is important to be aware of our thoughts.

The Dalai Lama left us with a simple message which is that peace starts within each of us.

By Debra Campbell, The Laguna Nigel Patch Network, April 23, 2012