In 2007 his holiness the Dalai Lama gave a talk at the Radio City Hall in New York City on how we can find peace and prosperity in today’s world. I remember living in the Big Apple at the time and wanting to go see him but unfortunately that was just not possible. So I was very glad to come across the DVD that the National Geographic recorded of the event. It was an incredible talk and I was very inspired to write a post about it.
What moved me the most was his definition of peace as well as his advice on how to attain it. He really got me thinking when he said: “Peace does not mean just the mere absence of violence. Peace is much more fuller.” I had never looked at that way but I completely see it now. He teaches us that true peace comes from inner peace, it begins internally. And we will only achieve world peace through inner peace.
Violence and non-violence are not manifested externally but born from motivation. The Dalia Lama provided two examples to clarify his point: one of a person using harsh words with a loved one in order to protect them or help them and in contrast the act of pretending to care about someone through false words and affections in order to selfishly get something from them. The first one is not an act of violence because it comes from love and compassion, from a sense of concern. But the latter, although externally appears to also come from love, the motivation behind it makes it an act of violence. When your motivation is to cheat someone, take advantage of them, cause harm, and you give gifts with ulterior motives not only are you not coming from a peaceful place but you probably do not have much inner peace either.
“Non-violence is an act of compassion.” ~His Holiness The Dalai Lama
The Dalia Lama stresses that conflict is unavoidable in our society with sophisticated minds and thinkers. That does not mean, however, that there cannot be peace. The main tools for peace are dialogue and compromise. The letting go of thinking in win-lose terms, that for you to win someone has to lose.
We need to remember that we are all incredibly interconnected and that “destruction of your neighbor is destruction of yourself”, in the words of the Dalia Lama.
The way forward is to make others interest intertwined with your interest. Focus on starting a dialogue and find a common ground. A way for both sides to be happy. Respect other’s interest and view. Use dialogue instead of force and try working at becoming a good listener.
Another thing he said that really got me thinking was that: “War is outdated. It has no use, no relevance.” What a true statement! How I wish our governments would realize that! Anger and violence only create more problems. It will never give us the happiness we desire.
The Dalai Lama ended by inspiring us to stop relying on just our leaders to create peace. He describes that as being lazy. His last words were: “we must think, we must make effort on an individual level, family level that can eventually become more effective on the global level.”
What are some ways we can start creating peace in the world around us?
And remember, it all starts inside each one of us, so ask yourself, how much peace do you feel you have inside of yourself?
Are you at war with your own self?
Would you be willing to call a truce?
What can you do today to start living a more peaceful and fulfilling life?
You can get a copy of the dvd at Amazon: