Saturday, April 03, 2010

Pursuing the spiritual path to happiness, tranquility, and success

Last year, saw a TED video about "we can all become Buddhas." The premise of Bob Thurman's talk is the pursuit of enlightenment in life, satisfaction in what we have, live happily, and be compassionate to others. That video struck my curiosity about the Dalai Lama.

One thing I learned earlier on was non-attachment to monetary form of wealth and religious doctrines.  On people whom I fell in love or become enemies with, although easier said than done, learned to build close or special friendship without being possessive, dependent, defensive, or offensive.

We all have our share of trials in life. Change takes time. Somewhere along the way, we get distracted in the process and pick ourselves again returning to desired path. My spiritual journey started quite a long time ago and it has been tough. A continuous process.

Finding the right change master is challenging. I’m thankful to have a new insightful resource to complement learnings picked from others.

The past three weeks, have read several books. For this feature, will focus on: “The Essence of Happiness: A Guidebook for Living” and “The Dalai Lama’s Book of Daily Meditations”. Was able to also watch video documentation feature “10 Questions for the Dalai Lama: One man’s journey through the northern Himalayas”.

According to the 14th Dalai Lama, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, “Enlightenment is the ending of rebirth, which means a complete non-attachment or non-identification with all thoughts, feelings, perceptions, physical sensations, and ideas.”

To contextualize the meaning of enlightenment, here are fifteen (15) quotes I’d like to share:

1. “The greater the level of calmness of our mind, the greater our peace of mind, the greater our ability to enjoy a happy and joyful life.”

2. “If you want to know what you were doing in the past, look at your body now; if you want to know what will happen in the future, look at what your mind is doing now.

3. “The very purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to criticize others.”

4. “To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in somebody else. “

5. “Whatever we say, let us speak clearly and to the point, in a voice that is calm and pleasant, unaffected by attachment or hatred. Look kindly at others, thinking: It is thanks to them that I shall attain Buddhahood.”

6. “Compassion in terms of a state of mind is non-violent, non-harming, and non-aggressive. It is a mental attitude based on the wish for others to be free of their suffering and is associated with a sense of commitment, responsibility, and respect towards the other. There is danger of confusing compassion with attachment and intimacy.”

7. “The factor that sustains a genuine friendship is whether or not the two people have mutual feelings of love and affection.”

8. “If you find yourself slandering anybody, first imagine that your mouth is filled with excrement. It will break of the habit quickly enough.”

9. “If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is desist from harming them.”

10. “We can consider our enemy as a great teacher, and revere him or her for giving us this precious opportunity to practice patience. When you are truly patient and tolerant, forgiveness comes naturally.”

11. “Since patience and tolerance comes from an ability to remain firm, steadfast, and not be overwhelmed by the adverse situations or conditions that one faces, do not see tolerance as a sign of weakness or giving in, but rather as a sign of strength, coming from a deep ability to remain firm.”

12. “True practitioners remain independent, fear nothing, and are never at odds with themselves. Always peaceful, they are friendly with all, and everything they say is helpful.”

13. “Do not consider someone as a teacher or guru until you have certain confidence in the person’s integrity. If some unhealthy things happen, you have the liberty to reject them. Students should make sure that they don’t spoil the guru.”

14. “If we want to die well, we must learn to live well."

15. "The true antidote of greed is contentment."

Achieving enlightenment, summarize from the 15 quotes, made me realize:
  1. Learn to have a calm mind by letting go of negative feelings and thinking that blocks your spiritual path.
  2. We must look at others in a positive light, have compassion, and wish everyone happiness, freedom from suffering, regardless whether they are friends or enemies.
  3. Don't immediately believe or dismiss any person for what they are capable of. Take time in getting to know them.
  4. Look at the action of others with the best intentions and benefit of the doubt. Don't let your emotions overwhelm you from making a sound judgment. More importantly, ask when feelings are most intense, "Is my desire for love (or authority or money or recognition) taking advantage of my blind side? Am I being greedy or arrogant without me knowing it? When apologizing, am I sincere or just using the opportunity for my benefit?"

Another book I read was "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" by Deepak Chopra. It contained advise on how to apply the 7 laws in daily lives. It synchronized with books read earlier from Tenzin Gyatso.

From it, came up with 14 customized application statements. Hopefully serve as a useful reminder to others too.

1. Sit alone in silent meditation at least twice a day for 30 minutes in the morning and thirty minutes in the evening. I will lovingly nurture the god or goddess in embryo that lies within my soul.

2. Practice non-judgment. I will begin my day with the statement, “Today, I shall judge nothing that occurs,” and throughout the day I will remind myself not to judge.

3. I will ask myself daily, “How can I serve?” and “How can I help?” Wherever I go, and whoever I encounter, I will bring them a gift. The gift may be compliment, a flower, or a prayer. Today, I will give something to everyone I come in contact with, and so I will begin the process of circulating joy, wealth, and affluence in my life and in the lives of others.

4. Today I will gratefully receive all the gifts that life, nature, and others has to offer me. I will accept people, situations, circumstances, events as they occur - as they are – and not as I wish they were.

5. I will make a commitment to keep wealth circulating in my life by giving and receiving life’s most precious gifts: caring, affection, appreciation, and love. I will silently wish the people I meet happiness, joy, and laughter. I will allow myself and those around me freedom to be as they are.

6. I will witness the choices I make in each moment and bring them to my conscious awareness. I will ask 2 questions: “What are the consequences of this choice that I am making?” and “Will this choice bring fulfillment and happiness to me and also to those who are affected by this choice?” If the choice feels comfortable, will plunge ahead with abandon. If not, I will pause and see the consequences of my action with inner vision. This guide will enable me to make spontaneously correct choices of myself and for all those around me.

7. I will take responsibility for my situation and for all those events I see as problems. This means not blaming anyone or anything for my situation, including myself. I shall take this moment and transform it into a greater benefit by knowing that every problem is an opportunity in disguise.

8. I will refuse to allow obstacles to consume and dissipate the quality of my attention in the present moment.

9. I will relinquish the need to defend my point of view. No need to convince or persuade others to accept my point of view or impose my idea of how things should be. I will remain open to all points of view and not be rigidly attached to any of them.

10. I will make a list of all my unique talents, the things I love to do, desires, and carry this list with me where I go. Will look at this list before I go into my silence, meditation, and sleep at night. I will look at it when I wake up in the morning.

11. I will release this list of my desires and surrender it to the womb of my creation. Trust that when things don’t seem to my way, there is a reason, and that the cosmic plan has designs for me much grander than even those that I have conceived.

12. I will accept the present as it is and manifest the future through my deepest, most cherished intentions, and desires. I will step into the field of all possibilities and anticipate the excitement that can occur when I remain open to infinity of choices.

13. I will express my talent and use them in the service of humanity. Will participate in everything with detached involvement. Relinquish attachment to the result.

14. I will factor in uncertainty as an essential ingredient of my experience. In my willingness to accept uncertainty, solutions will spontaneously emerge out of the problem, confusion, disorder, and chaos. The more uncertain things seem to be, the more secure I will feel, because uncertainty is my path to freedom. Through the wisdom of uncertainty, I will find my security.