Changer le monde une personne à la fois

J’ai la ferme conviction qu’il est possible de changer l’évolution du monde tel qu’il est. Je comprend que cela doit initialement se faire chez chacun d’entre nous afin de permettre un retour à des relations humaines saines basées sur l’entraide et la compassion.

Je crois sincèrement que nous avons, chacun de nous, le pouvoir de changer la façon dont nous voyons le monde et d’influencer plusieurs autres personnes dans cette voie.

La compassion est au centre du discours du Dalaï-Lama et je pense que si nous traitons les autres de la façon dont nous voudrions être traité, que si nous leurs offrons notre sourire et notre écoute, que beaucoup de choses pourraient changer de manière positive.

Je vous invite donc à pratiquer le non-jugement, à ne pas vous baser sur les apparences et à explorer vous même ce qu’offre les gens autour de vous. Laissons de côté notre crainte d’être différents et d’être jugés, puisque se faisant, nous faisons que perpétuer ce cercle vicieux.

Namaste.

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Gratitude envers la vie

En ce matin de la Fêtes des Mères, je repense à tout ce que ma mère a fait pour moi, à combien de fois elle a été là pour moi sans jamais demander à être remercié. Cet amour inconditionnel est rare et parfois même incompréhensible, mais il existe.

Dans ses enseignements sur la compassion, le Dalaï-Lama nous suggère de voir chaque personne comme si elle était notre propre mère afin de nous aider à développer notre capacité à avoir de la compassion pour tout les êtres humains.

Cela dit, vous pouvez vous imaginer que ça puisse faire des drôles de scénarios des fois! Par exemple, le monsieur bedonnant à la moustache qui prend le même autobus que moi tout les matins, l’imaginer comme ma mère?! Ça fait sourire en tout cas!

En fait, selon le Dalaï-Lama, la première semence de compassion que nous recevons dans notre vie, nous la recevons de notre mère. La science a démontré que les nouveaux-nés, ne recevant pas d’affection de sa mère (ou de d’autres humains) et/ou pour lequel le contact humain est presque qu’inexistant, auront beaucoup plus tendance à développer des maladies graves et même à mourir dans les premières semaines que les nouveaux-nés recevant un niveau d’affection normal.

Prenons donc aujourd’hui un moment pour réaliser combien nous sommes chanceux et chanceuses. Ayons de la gratitude devant cette vie qui nous est offerte gratuitement et réalisons combien le rôle de chaque personne sur cette planète est essentiel à notre propre survie. Remarquez ce lien qui existe entre nous tous et choisissez de mettre de côté vos tracas, si ce n’est que pour quelques instants.

Finalement, remerciez votre Maman aujourd’hui de vous avoir mis au monde et d’avoir pris soin de vous pour vous donner les outils nécessaires (et continuer de le faire) pour faire face à la vie. Merci Maman, je t’aime :)

Meeting the Dalai-Lama

Where do I start? As I walked down to my seat I was already moved by the simple fact of being there! What an amazing experience. You can find out more about this event at www.tibet.ca/2012 and read his Teachings on compassion (click here!), and the speech he made in Ottawa yesterday here.

As his Holiness the Dalai Lama made his way to the stage, the crowd stood up to welcome and greet him with the utmost respect. Fortunately, I had already taken out a tissue as a precautionary measure for uncontrollable eye wateriness!!

It is with great modesty and an attaching personality that the Dalai Lama delivered messages of peace and compassion. He emphasized on the demilitarization of the world and the use of these large monetary resources towards education and the eradication of poverty. He explained and suggested ideas on how to bring more compassion into our lives and the importance to make decisions based on everyone’s interests and well-being for the future of our planet.

Smiling and laughing throughout the Teachings he shared with us this weekend, he spoke about the fear and anxiety that arises from individualistic behaviors. When we decide to take on an attitude of self-centeredness, we become weary of the others around us, resulting in further isolation. And so, although some actions may seem advantageous at the time, they may not be beneficial to us in the long run. This is why intention is key: are we doing so only for our own personal advancement, or are we thinking of the impact this will have on others around us?

He spoke about the advances in technology and the interest of science in spirituality, looking at the effects of meditation on the neurones and the body’s health. He shared his opinion on our current education system, suggesting that it should focus more on the development of the mind and on human relationships than on acquiring material goods. Although money is necessary, it is the use we make of it that could have a greater social impact.

Environmental consciousness and the need to protect our planet and consume more responsibly was also discussed at length. He emphasized on the reality of the relationship we have with the Earth, the fact that by destroying it we are bringing harm to all living things. That we must recognize our oneness, our unity with all life.

Sitting down after sharing his thoughts with us, he answered questions sent in prior to this event. On a question about parenting, he reiterated the necessity for the presence and demonstration of affection by both parent’s in the child’s development, this affection being the seed of compassion. That in order to create a better world for tomorrow we must start now by teaching our children compassion, by showing them the importance of others and the necessity to respect them and to let go of our self-centeredness and fears.

In the end, it is hard to describe this encounter with words that appropriately reflect the feelings I felt, but I will start with these: moved, inspired, relieved, joyful, unity, peace, calm, at ease, and many more. It was a lot to take in and I am glad, honoured even, to have met such a remarkable human being.

Namaste.

The Path to Peace of Mind

Maitri ~ Karuna ~ Mudita ~ Upeksha | Friendliness ~ Compassion ~ Contentment ~ Indifference

मैत्री करुणा मुदितोपेक्षाणांसुखदुःख पुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातः चित्तप्रसादनम् ॥३३॥

“All that is mutable in human beings (chitta) is harmonized through the cultivation of love (maitri), helpfulness (karuna), conviviality (mudita) and imperturbability (upeksha) in situations that are happy, painful, successful or unfortunate” ~ sentence 33, Samadhi Pada, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

There are 196 Yoga Sutras or aphorism (an original thought written or spoken in a concise form). Written around 100 BCE, the Sutras describes the Eight Limbed path or steps to happiness. According to Sri Patanjali, Maitri, Karuna, Mudita and Upeksha are the four great virtues one needs to cultivate in order to gain peace of mind.

Maitri / friendliness ~ Loving yourself before being able to extend that love to others. Accepting others and ourselves for who they {we} are, without judging or labeling. It constitutes the base of human relationship, without which these cannot exist. Although friendliness may not be so difficult, sometimes, accepting who we are, good and bad sides equal, is where the challenge lies.

Karuna / Compassion ~ Being helpful, providing assistance. Recognizing that we are all important to others, that we all have a role to play, and realizing that without others we would not be. True compassion is “when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them” (Tenzin Gyatso, XIVth Dalai Lama).

Mudita / Contentment ~ Similar to the Fifth Yama Aparigraha, this is the concept of non-coveting, rejecting jealousy and greed as a behavior that is acceptable. If someone has more than you, be happy for them. If you have more than others, share with them. Do not cultivate feelings of superiority or inferiority. Be content and grateful for the abundance you already have and acknowledge it. By being aware of what you have, you will be more easily able to grab onto the opportunities as they present themselves.

Upeksha / Indifference ~ Or, imperturbability. When you come across wicked and mean-spirited people, be indifferent to them. On the other hand, in any relationship you are bound to see someone’s lesser personality; remember that it does not make you better than them and that you also have your flaws. When you judge others you do not define who they are, you define yourself.

Peace of mind, for me, is the foundation we should strive to build on. By having such a strong base we become anchored and grounded people. Just as the long roots of the Lotus flower allows it to ride the waves, they always bring it back to its center. Namaste.

What’s happiness about anyway?

Chatting with a friend, we came to talk about the main idea or subject of this blog: happiness. More accurately, how we can bring more happiness into our lives. We both agreed that it’s all about the little things. We get so caught up by all the things we have to do and the many other things we think we need: we are blinded.

What I would like to suggest to you today, is for you to take a step back, really look around you and see what you have (life, health, family, friends, a sense of smell, etc.). See and realize the beauty that surrounds you each and everyday, even when it’s grey. It made me smile to read a recent wall post where someone had written that even though it’s wet, cold and grey, it’s still so sweet – talking about Ottawa in the middle of winter.  The way you choose to look at things is the key.

I know it’s hard not to get caught up, but as Stephens writes it so beautifully in the Wisdom of Yoga, what you practice gets stronger. This is true for everything. Think about it. If you’re grumpy, find that everyone else should smile at you but the vibe you send out into the world is this grim negative and pessimistic view and attitude, I don’t know why it be so surprising that this is how you will be greeted.

On the other hand, if you genuinely are grateful, compassionate and happy, this is what you will attract. Of course this is not something that happens overnight, but shifting your own perspective and understanding that it really might be you who’s influencing the way people address you, will create immense changes in your life. I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the most amazing life changing book I have read on this was the Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute. Not a spiritual book, not a yoga book, simply a book about the way everybody acts and reacts – everybody.

I am not saying that you should always be happy no matter what – or pretend to be – and you can read this article I published in the elephant journal if you want my take on this subject. In the end, what I am saying is that happiness is within you to find and it is really up to you to take the steps to find it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Namaste.

Jivan Mukti

I find this to be such a beautiful concept that I wanted to share it with you. Translated from Sanskrit, the term jivan mukti, a philosophical concept in Hinduism, is this idea of “fully living here and now in a state of self-realization and liberation” ~ Svetasvatara Upanishad.

The ultimate goal of Hinduism is the liberation from the rebirth cycles. In the Advaita school of Shankara however, humans are already liberated and the soul is already free. One only has to realize (and accept) this freedom. Liberation, or moksha, releases us from the suffering of reincarnation. Moksha is seen as a final release from the illusion of self. Then, takes place a loosening of the shackle of experiential duality, and the realization of one’s own fundamental nature: sat (true being), and cit (pure consciousness).

Liberation can also be understood as detachment from material existence. Quite simply, I think you will find that we attach way too much importance to things, appearances and titles. In fact, we define ourselves by our job, the car we drive, the clothes we wear and the things we own. The question is, if these external things were absent, who would you be? Are you just the girl with the nice Gucci purse? I don’t think so, but you have to realize the lesser importance of such things to gain liberation, moksha.

In Hinduism, self-realization refers to a profound spiritual awakening where there is an awakening from an illusory self identify image (Ego), to the true, divine, perfect condition that the individual is. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, defines self realization as: “a connection with your self or the first encounter with reality”. I find that practicing yoga opens this door for further exploration, and that even though I know so little, I sometimes get a glimpse of this reality.

In the Merriam Webster’s dictionary, self-realization is the: “fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one’s character or personality“. I think that this latin expression that a friend recently shared: “A Posse, Ad Esse“, translating approximately to “from possibility to reality“, is enlightening in this sense.

And so, jivan mukti, to me, is a world of possibilities for knowledge, for happiness and to end suffering in our own lives. Fully living here and now, is engaging ourselves in the life that we are living rather than being a victim or a passenger. For this however, a true shift in perspective is a necessary step in living a happier life. As the Dalai-Lama says: “all humans have the same potential: we only have to seize the opportunities“.

Therefore, only you can decide to rise above restrictive emotions generated by fear, anger and hatred. You can enjoy life if you choose too, everyone can, your soul is already free. So love, be compassionate, share, and laugh, because life offers a world full of opportunities.

Namaste.

To strive to live by

A few weeks ago I was writing about Life’s Code of Conduct. Since then, I’ve had ample time to reflect and to start thinking about my own Code of Conduct. And so, today I share with you six of the many concepts I strive to live by.

Non-judgement; Trying not to have preconceived opinions and to approach others with an open-mind, whatever they look like and whom ever they are. This also means that I will not support someone else’s imposed judgement of others. When people judge others, I find it only creates discomfort and tension in interactions. As Dr. Wayne Dyer says: “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”

Honesty; I am repugnant of hypocrisy, of people who are fake and who are more concern about the image they project then the truth of their actions. In dishonesty, there is no solid base for establishing relationships, as it creates stress and fosters feelings of anger and hate. This also means to be honest with myself, to speak my mind respectfully, and to refuse to subject myself to situations I don’t feel comfortable with or to people who promote dishonesty.

Compassion; For me, this means to care for other’s well-being and to have no hesitation in lending a helping hand or providing a listening ear. It also means to see all humans as equal, all striving to live their lives, only wishing to be happy. And so, it is with compassion and an open heart that I wish to approach others.

Generosity; A very important and intricate concept to me which does not necessarily mean to give money away. Rather, it is the generosity of self, by sharing a positive attitude, and generosity of spirit, by offering my time and by listening or helping someone in need. In thinking about the Spiritual Laws of Yoga, the Law of Giving and Receiving is also very relevant here, in being able to accept gifts, compliments, help from others, and even a seat on the bus, acknowledging others’ generosity.

Respect; For the environment and for our elders, for other people’s beliefs and decisions. Respect for myself, by the food I choose to ingest, by how I treat my body and to what I subject my mind too. But all and all, it is also honoring such things as Life.

Enthusiasm; As a way of life and a general attitude in life. I admire kids for this. I enjoy life and I try not to let chores and trips to the grocery store drag me down! I wish to make the most of every moment, to see the beauty in all things, while remaining grounded to the reality of life. I like to smile.

And so, these are some of the important concepts I wish to continuously strive to live by. Of course there are many other things I could write about, but I’ll stop here for your sake! Knowing this helps me regain perspective on life when things get hard, like the anchor to a boat, or in my case, like the roots of my lotus flower. Namaste.

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