What does this life mean
if we don’t leave it happier
for having lived it?
And how can we leave life happier
than how we found it
if we aren’t living for those
with whom we share it?
Every day wake up grateful for waking up,
and be grateful for opportunities to be generous.
You are more powerful than you could ever know,
but knowing that you have this power to give
is a great start.
If you knew that living from
your most enlightened self
would bring indescribable joy
to yourself and those around you,
wouldn’t you choose to know that self
completely and to shine its light
out into this whole world?
Your light might be obscured
by your thinking sometimes
the way the sun is obscured behind clouds,
but make no mistake,
your light is always there.
Make it a point to know your light
and to live your life shining it
You are truly beautiful,
powerful, and wise beyond measure.
Let us see this most authentic self
and know the light and the joy of your being.
It’s finally sinking into my thick skull
that in order to be truly happy,
I need others in my life
and that giving to others
is an act of giving to myself.
To see those around me glowing with happiness
is a greater gift than words can describe,
and to know that I had a part in that happiness–
It’s a paradox that the more you give away
the more you have,
but this is the way it works
when your heart takes the lead.
Living in the paradox with an open mind
life opens up and hidden mysteries are exposed,
drops of dew glistening in the morning sun,
here and then gone. Let go of all of it.
What I once thought was real fades away
to reveal something even more beautiful,
graceful, precious and kind,
the way the chrysalis fades away
once the butterfly emerges.
Be still and watch as the world spins around you.
You are the center of your own universe,
a divine creator, more powerful than you could know.
Now, what shall you spin out from your center,
what will you weave into the fabric of your life?
Each day a new thread appears.
Can you follow it back to your center and rejoice?
If the quickest path to misery
then the quickest path to joy
is placing your attention on others,
seeing what you can give,
how you can help,
where you can go
to enrich the lives of others.
At the end of your life,
is it the piles of money
you will have amassed,
or the big house
or the fancy car
that will matter?
will you be able
to say with confidence
I gave all I had
and I loved with my whole heart.
I feel complete now,
knowing that I brought joy
to the people in my life…?
Each day we choose
one or the other…
or the kind of selflessness
that can heal the whole world.
Your actions matter.
The love you give matters.
Now, more than ever,
the world needs you.
Will you answer the call?
I have found that the greatest degree of tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success. —His Holiness The Dalai Lama
If you start the day thinking
What about me?
How will you notice the sunrise?
If you go through the day thinking
What about me?
How will you see the blessings
pouring down upon you?
If you finish the day thinking
What about me?
How will you feel anything but loneliness?
What kind of life is this?
Shift your focus from asking
What about me? to asking
What about you?
Notice how different this feels.
Suddenly, not so self-absorbed,
the whole world opens up
and you see how your presence
can bring great benefit to others.
Find the courage to move beyond
Look around and ask
What about you?
Here I am again,
just two days before another workshop,
feeling unprepared, anxious,
a bit panicky
and self-critical, asking myself,
Why didn’t you pace yourself better?
When are you going to grow up
and stop procrastinating?
The topic of the workshop is generosity.
And as with all things that are important in life,
I must experience it first
before I can hope to teach anyone else about it.
So I start with myself.
I am generous with compassion
for the tired mother
who is trying to make everyone happy
and who often forgets about her own needs in the process.
I blanket her in forgiveness and reassurance.
I let her know that she is worthy of love and happiness
regardless of the outcome.
I remind her that her self-worth is not at stake here
and that she has done the best she can
in the midst of the chaos of daily life.
Okay, this looks good on paper,
but these are just words,
and talk is cheap.
Now let me practice it for real.
I’m teaching about generosity
a week from tomorrow
so I figure I better learn more
It turns out that performing a generous act
stimulates the same part of your brain
that is stimulated when you:
eat fatty food
Instead of getting off on
and instead of looking
to sex or new information
to feel fulfilled,
you can get off on giving,
you can be fulfilled by giving.
Instead of focusing on
your own singular pleasure,
you can derive pleasure
from helping someone else.
And when you help someone else,
the whole world benefits.
My studies bring me to the subject of generosity,
and I’m looking at myself and my life
through the lens of giving and receiving.
I see that it is not so much about the objects given
although they are certainly important–
it is much more about the kind regard,
the compassionate understanding,
offering the benefit of the doubt,
placing a comforting hand on
the shoulder of someone who needs reassurance.
It is a genuine smile,
a willingness to be patient,
to overlook the inconsistencies
of actions and deeds
and to see to the heart of a being.
It is not conferring wealth
but inferring the profound worth
of each person,
and treating everyone–
from the greatest to the smallest–
with the respect one would show for royalty.
For we are all rulers of our own domain,
we are all kings and queens in our own right.
The difference between the generous person
and the impoverished one is this:
while the impoverished person
organizes everyone in a hierarchy of importance,
the generous person sees
the royal nature of all beings.