How do you start your day?
If you’re like most people, it involves hitting the alarm clock 5 times before struggling out of bed.
But perhaps there’s a better way.
According to The Dalai Lama, if instead, we told ourselves at the start of the day that we’re going to make the most of every minute and we’re going to help others, we’d live a pretty fulfilling life.
Check out how the Dalai Lama’s recommends starting your day:
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
According to the Dalai Lama, the best way to live a happy and fulfilling life is to focus on what you can do to help others.
He says that a lot of the problems we experience come about because we focus on ourselves too much. But the minute you start focusing on others, your mind expands:
“If we think only of ourselves, forget about other people, then our minds occupy very small area. Inside that small area, even tiny problem appears very big. But the moment you develop a sense of concern for others, you realize that, just like ourselves, they also want happiness; they also want satisfaction. When you have this sense of concern, your mind automatically widens. At this point, your own problems, even big problems, will not be so significant. The result? Big increase in peace of mind. So, if you think only of yourself, only your own happiness, the result is actually less happiness. You get more anxiety, more fear.”
“If you shift your focus from yourself to others, extend your concern to others, and cultivate the thought of caring for the well being of others, then this will have the immediate effect of opening up your life and helping you to reach out.”
The key to living a fulfilling life is inner peace
The Dalai Lama says that inner peace is what we should be striving for, rather than happiness anyway.
“Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility…without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed, or unhappy because of circumstances.”
“I have found that the greatest degree of inner 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 a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life.”
(To learn more about Buddhist philosophy and how it can help you find inner peace, check our best-selling eBook on Buddhism here)
Morning mantras can change the structure of the brain
If you decide to adopt a morning mantra like The Dalai Lama suggested, it could help you in more ways than one.
Research has found that a personal mantra (a phrase you repeat silently to yourself) can benefit your brain in the short-term and long-term.
Published in the Journal of Brain and Behavior, the study found that silently repeating a positive personal mantra “quiets the mind and reduces self-judgment”.
It’s no secret that most of us have a tendency to dwell or ruminate on negative thoughts.
However, this only serves to strengthen those connections in the brain, and the more you dwell on negativity, the more the brain becomes negative.
But repeating a positive mantra to yourself puts a stop to negative thought patterns, and the neurons that fire when you repeat a positive mantra become strengthened.
According to the research study:
“The pattern of neural activity that constitutes your silent thought becomes easier to conjure over time and becomes increasingly effective in countering negative thoughts or feelings.”
For more inspirational wisdom from the Dalai Lama, check out these articles:
- The Dalai Lama explains how to practice meditation properly
- 78 powerful Dalai Lama quotes on life, love, and happiness
- If you’re ever questioning your self-worth, just read these words from The Dalai Lama
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