I greatly admire the work and teachings of the Dalai Lama. He has explained that wisdom and compassion can be cultivated by deepening our understanding of what occurs around us – and we can become more compassionate by simply focusing our attention on compassion. Mindfulness helps us maintain our focus.
As mentioned in other posts on my blog, mindfulness is about being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment, without applying filters or the lens of judgment. Mindfulness can be brought to any situation in your life…it consists of cultivating a special awareness of the mind and body living in the present. Mindfulness can help you cope with stress, pain and illness. I encourage many of my clients to try to practice mindfulness to assist them in examining their habitual ways of thinking; to observe their thoughts in a dispassionate manner, much as a scientist would. Many of my clients tell me that when they step back and begin to examine their thoughts, they discover how crowded and busy their minds are. Many times we are not really living in the present and aware of ourselves, but rather are rehashing the past or planning for the future.
“An all too common example in Western culture is getting so caught up in the material world that we forget about love, compassion and generosity. The antidote is mindfulness: a simple and direct practice of moment-to-moment observation of the mind-body process through calm and focused awareness without judgment. As you come to see life as a process of constant change, you can begin to acknowledge all aspects of experience – pleasure and pain, fear and joy, with less stress and more balance.” (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Bob Stahl, PhD and Elisha Goldstein, PhD)
Below is a short list of “20 Instructions for Life” by the Dalai Lama, which I really love and thought I would share: