Open focus of the mind leads to new knowledge and life skills
His Holiness the Dalai Lama joins author Pico Iyer in a video-conference from his residence in Dharamsala India on June 17, 2020, as part of the Jaipur Literature Festival’s Brave New World series.
Throughout my 30+ years as a person. Not once in my life have I stopped learning something new each day. Whether it is just from daily occurrences or from being someone who takes pride in learning new knowledge and skills, from therapy, dancing, singing, cooking, skating, sciences, multiple languages, esoteric practices… There is much more to life and so many things you can learn and keep your mind busy in a productive and life- enhancing way, I often question people who find life ‘a bore’.
Today, I was so happy and excited by the fact that His Holiness the Dalai Lama covered the aspect of education in his interview with Pico Iyer, on top of that, he covered the subject of compassion; his words are educational to all in different levels.
On the topic of compassion – Compassion can be to yourself and to others. It is an act of openness to yourself by enduring the good and the bad experiences, reflecting on them and accepting what changes are needed for you to grow. Once you can love yourself in a compassionate way, you are able to apply compassionate care to others in what you do. This compassion can be from learning skills that enhance your current life skills, knowledge in a specific field or even just skills applicable to the well-being of yourself that can be shared with others. This is seen more recently in the corona lockdown as therapists, yogis and many others are reaching out and sharing their insights and skills virtually. Admittedly, you can also see where some are struggling through current complexities too, but often people put their emotional and material needs in front of the compassion for themselves due to the way society is built. It is hard to find that balance between money and necessities. This is where you will be able to spot those who have sound foundations and have that extra compassion that spills out to others.
Empathy – do not get this mixed up with compassion for others. It is important to be able to feel empathy and connect to others on various levels. However, in certain work fields, especially in care, people are often suffering ‘compassion fatigue’ because they allow their empathy to become an emotional attachment, which builds up into an energy-zapping block in our mental and physical health. This is something we can only learn from direct experience.
Our world is full of oppression in various societies on this planet, due to people who feel the need to control others and subdue thoughts for ‘ultimate power’, making people follow without questioning the ‘why?’, ‘why this?’ ‘why that?’ and blindly following. In the video the Dalai Lama gracefully and nonchalantly covers this topic. Something that myself and others feel strongly about. Occlusion of knowledge is similar to indirectly blocking the heart and mind of individuals by omitting information, flooding people with biased views or setting barriers in learning. I highly recommend watching the video. I do not believe that you must be religious or interested in any form of esoteric practice to watch or listen to his broadcasts. Like all things in life, I believe that it is important as an adult to apply the openness of a child and learn things like a sponge, allowing our knowledge from life dissect information giving us intuitive, influential and important decisions.
As a person who has learnt a variety of things IT, holistic therapies and now working on my Master degree in Osteopathy… You are never too old to learn anything. The only thing that stops you from learning is the initial thought of ‘I can’t do…’. Learning comes with where your mind and heart focuses. If your mind is cluttered with other problems and barriers, then you will find it difficult to learn the knowledge and skills you may find useful in life. Through my years of studying in classes, books, media, people watching on the streets… It still motivates and inspires me when I see people from as young as 1 to the age of 100+ learn new things. I say 100+ because I was fortunate enough to meet a spritely old lady by the name of Alice who was full of life and continued to learn until she passed away at 102.
One last thing I would like to share with you is a story of a poet whom we were taught about when at Sunday Chinese schools when I was very young. It taught us about determination and learning and how just from a few minutes or hours each day, we can eventually reach our goals. I hope you enjoy this video too, despite it being in Cantonese.
Have a wonderful day or evening wherever you are. Remember that you are never too old to learn and that learning is a form of compassion to yourself.