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Compassion – A Western Buddhist’s diary..

When we are walking on the street and look around us, what do we see ? People being busy with their own thoughts, being busy with their own lives,
perhaps small groups of friends or family that have gathered together. That’s how I experience living in a Western society,
 when it comes to being in public spaces,
we are living in our own bubble, where sometimes a bit of air comes flowing
 through. As that is where I live, so I can’t speak for other parts of the world.

There is a lot of freedom here in Denmark compared to some countries, which I am very grateful for, yet there is something missing.
A sense to not just be worried about our image and ego; how we look, what kind of car we drive, what clothes we wear and what kind of phone we have,
or to worry about what WILL THEY THINK OF ME, that seems to be the biggest concern these days, instead of genuinely caring about others.

Most of the time we don’t even look, we don’t even notice who is walking beside us. Occupied minds.
Or we are afraid we can’t trust the people we pass by. Of course you have to be on your guard a little, as there always are people out there to take advantage of kindness,
but overall that shouldn’t make us so closed as we are today. Next to that there should be a growing awareness of selflessness, not just caring about your own needs, but
also considering other peoples feelings, thoughts and ideas, even if you don’t know them so well. Be open to debate and not argument, open to share and perhaps help them out a little when they are in need. Sometimes a simple cup of coffee and a nice conversation and a listening ear, can do the magic. 

Your own attitude towards others will be of course a gradient to what you will get back. But I have to say, even as I tried to be open minded and kind, there can be
these big barriers to overcome. I have friends and for me I also like meeting new people, but still something seemed missing. 
There was also a part of me that felt like giving up, to not look around anymore and just mind my own business, as that’s what society seemed to expect from us.

But then I saw something that gave me hope.
I was always interested in Buddhism and the Dalai Lama, and I found out that there was going to be a lecture in Copenhagen in a few months time.
That seemed like a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge and also perhaps get in touch with others who where also looking for like minded people,
who felt something was missing in society.
The title of the magazine coming with his lecture was ‘My religion is simple, my religion is kindness’. That made me be immediately inspired !

The people in the audience where settled down, and after a beautiful flute solo as an intro, the Dalai Lama appeared. His whole being was just radiating with love and happiness.
Next to that he also appeared to be a man with a great sense of humor.
Even though at that moment in his own country Tibet, there was a brutal crackdown by the Chinese Communist Regime on Tibetan monks, he remained calm and peaceful.

I enjoyed listening to him and I noted a few things down that he said :

* Tolerance is the key to love and compassion.
* When you hate somebody see they are a way to practice tolerance.
* Find inner calm and peace of mind.
* Don’t be afraid, as fear creates hate, so release all fears.
* Be humble.
* Be kind to others.
* Don’t be extremely self centered but open up and see and ‘feel’ other people.
* Intelligence and wealth don’t mean you are a good person. Having a good heart is much more important, is key to everything.
* When you have power, don’t become power hungry. I have a high position, yet place myself equal or even ‘below’ others.

The whole audience was in such a peaceful state of mind, and also feeling the positive energy that when I walked out of the building,
I felt like I wanted to hold on to that feeling of oneness. I decided that even though around me people seem occupied, I will stay how I am,
I will be kind to those that I meet, I will send out positivity and try to be tolerant (which isn’t always easy, when you meet rude people, it’s a new lesson everyday).
And hopefully it will have an effect on those that I encounter anywhere.

I want to show people who might read this, that there is always someone who cares. Even though it doesn’t seem so or the number of people around you seem
self-absorbed, there is always someone in that bus, store or shopping street who looks around and sees and hears others. Just open your own eyes and heart
and you will find them. Taking your time to get to know people who open up and have wonderful stories to tell that you didn’t expect,
and would never have known if you stayed in your own little box.


 

Anne Meijers is an educator based in Denmark.

 

 

 


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