Today I found the Dalai Lama on Facebook, which means that posts like this one now show up on my wall:
Love, compassion and concern for others are real sources of happiness. If you have these in abundance, you will not be disturbed even by the most uncomfortable circumstances. If you nurse hatred, however, you will not be happy even in the lap of luxury. Thus, if we really want happiness, we must widen the sphere of love. This is both religious thinking and basic common sense.
…and once again I’m blown away by these times, when it’s possible to commiserate with old friends in Japan, Saskatchewan, Toronto, Peru, London, Regina, Vancouver, receive simple advice like this from the exiled spiritual leader of an ancient mountainous place, find the CEO of Facebook on Facebook – in the space of half an hour, while wearing my pyjamas. I believe I have Mark Zuckerberg to thank, for this gift. So thanks, Mark Zuckerberg. I like you.
The Dalai Lama has good timing (perhaps this is a large part of his job?)
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can observe, and it seems that the psychological, professional, social, cultural – hell, even geographical ‘climate’ is vice-grip intense right now. I look from micro to macro – overflowing tears & flooding of the Mississippi, Red River (to name but a few), uncontrollable anger & forest fires in Texas (http://wildfiretoday.com/) and Slave Lake (http://www.torontosun.com/2011/05/16/donations-flood-in-for-slave-lake-fire-evacuees), the nasty verbal abuse of a gay man in a small-town bar & Uganda’s death penalty for homosexuals (which, thank god, was NOT passed, but they will try again), the accidental fire above a much-loved local food store, which destroyed it (http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/PhotoGallery/PhotoGallery.aspx?abID=1255954&pageID=3) & the ‘incidental’ destruction of life, commerce and history in Tripoli (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8525041/Libya-Nato-attacks-warship-in-Tripoli-harbour.html), small but intentional damage to a (perceived) rival’s professional credibility & the character assassinations of Michael Ignatieff, of Strauss-Kahn, of how many others….
Not to mention Judgement day, which is 2 days from now, apparently, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF24k0dfAXE&feature=share. !!!! sheesh.
…read the news, and be overwhelmed. Then look back again from macro to micro. You can see how fragile we are – each of us, internally.
So I’m interested: how do we each meet and answer our own discomfort? This is really the only place where we ARE in command, where we DO have choice.
Sure enough – it should be simple to rise above negativity, to take the high road in uncomfortable circumstances. Nice thought, good rule of thumb. But these past weeks have presented challenges that have been profoundly complex & difficult to navigate. The stakes in many situations are quite high, and will affect many many people. In these circumstances, there is no clear right way to proceed, no policy for proper behavior or response to refer to.
The only solid, real, reliable tool is compassion, which requires that you think beyond your known boundaries of self. Not cleverness, not experience, not powerful friends, not political influence, just clarity, honesty and compassion.
This is why I found the Dalai Lama on FB, and ‘liked’ Mark Zuckerberg this morning.