Friday, June 24, 2022

A Perpetual Gift of Happiness and Peace

A teaching by Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong at the Kadampa Meditation Center Phoenix on virtuous mindsets had a profound impact on me. Many of us think that if we work hard, then we'll earn a lot of money and we'll be happy; or if we find our soul mate, then we'll be happy; or if we get our dream job (dream home, dream body etc), then we'll be happy. The reverse can be true also. If we never have to seen this [individual, job, object...], then we'll be happy. What happens when these wish(es) come true? We find ourselves not has happy as we thought we'd be. The big house didn't make us happy; neither did the dream job, nor the dream partner.  However, we can adopt mindsets that are perpetually giving and the more we cultivate these mindsets, the the happier we become. We can practice these mindsets now, everyday, and all the time. One of these mindsets is compassion. Compassion is to understand another being and then act in a positive way to improve their well-being. How do we do this? A simple compassionate act we do is to wish them well. I've come to learn that this simple mindset (to wish someone well) has been so effective in improving both the relationships I care about, and more importantly, this mindset has helped with relationships that create discomfort for me. Sometimes, we don’t jive with for whatever reasons with someone, and you might avoid interacting with them because of the awkward nature of those moments. For example, I work with a colleague at work. We are cordial to each other but there is some tension that exists because of a shared project that didn't quite go as expected.It’s  easy for me to get upset, disappointed, or rationalize in my head why the ball got dropped, and point the fingers. However, none of these thoughts help me, the other person or the project. Now, instead, I say in my head "may s/he be happy, may the project success to achieving its goals, and may we move forward together, and with ease". After I say that compassionate statement to myself, all of the sudden, the tension ease, the frustration softens, and mind clears.  If someone cuts you off in the freeway, then instead of cursing or flipping out,  you can cultivate compassionate thought "may s/he be safe, be happy; may the desire that led them to cut me off turn out to be okay for them." You can do this all day long and with all interactions, good or bad, neutral or borderline. When you find yourself passing a judgement/ harboring  a negative thought/ boiling up with  anger, then you can replace that with a compassionate mindset.  This approach helps you, helps others, and gives peace and happiness every single time, with every act, every word, every thought, and every actions.  Over time, the cumulative effect on this simple habit can transform us and bring inner peace and joy that unparalleled to none. All involved share in on the benefits. Now, when I find myself tense thinking about someone, or witness an unpleasant action or hear dismissive words, then I pause, and wish them well. 

Cultivating these positive mindsets is critical because I think people can sense and know how we feel about them without having to say a word. Our thoughts somehow sends an invisible but very palpable vibe to those around us, even when we are not directly interacting with each other. The mindset that we adopt often gets translated in our body language, tone, and our demeanor.  Sometimes, when I'm passing a judgement, I often feel like the other person can read my mind and I get nervous  even though I've said nothing. Now, when I adopt the compassionate mindset, then my body, expression and demeanor relaxes, and I bet the same invisible but positive vibe is felt by the individual.  This approach has completely transformed my day to day interactions especially with the challenging ones. When I interact with a trainee at work that I used to feel equivocal about, instead of adopting a semi-avoidant behavior, I say to my "may I be the best teacher possible, so that this individual may learn, and be effective, etc". My mind and feeling shift immediately, and I feel comfortable around the trainee, and inevitably, the interaction turns positive and productive. When I don't get a request that I've submitted at work, then I say to myself "may this person have the resources s/he needs to be an incredible leader, and to support all those s/he leads.". I even do this with strangers, like our cleaning crew.  I try to wish them well and send them compassionate and positive thoughts and vibes as I pass them by. The power of compassion is endless. With each cultivation of compassionate thought, the happier and more peaceful we become. Try it out. Replace your negative reactions with positive compassionate thoughts; replace your judgements with well-wishing; replace your neutral position with active well meaning  thoughts; share and spread your compassionate vibes to people you know and don't know, and do it with every interaction, and everyday. You'll transform yourself and will increase your peace and joy immediately, with cumulative effects that magnify over time. 

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