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The Art of Happiness by His Holiness Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler

This very well written book and easy to read, has so many parallels to another teacher, Saul-Paul.

Dalai Lama considers “the turning toward happiness as a valid goal and the conscious decision to seek in a systematic manner can profoundly change the rest of our lives”.

1. First step in seeking happiness is learning (p38). Learn how negative emotions and behaviour are harmful to us and how positive emotions are helpful.

Paul of Tarsus – Galations 5: 22

“The fruit of the Spirit is charity (love), joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self discipline (self-control)…”

Learn about the different mental states, classify them according to whether they lead to happiness or not. (p39)

Dalai Lama considers Constructive vs Destructive emotions such as hatred, fear sense of insecurity.

Personally I think its wise to learn about different emotions especially after I underwent coaching training, I begin to realise that Ps 128 talks about fear of the Lord, when I read the Hebrew word, it translates to “awe, reverence, wonder” and not the paralysing fear we talk about.

I agree with Cutler’s point that rather than classify mental states, emotions as “greed is sin” or “hatred is sin”, Dalai Lama classifies emotions as positive or negative to whether they lead to our ultimate happiness.

If happiness is simply a matter of cultivating more positive mental states like kindness, why are so many people unhappy?

Dalai Lama’s advice is that various techniques such as developing positive motivation:

“I will use this day in a positive way. I should not waste this very day.”

“Did I use this day as I planned”

Yes, rejoice.

No, regret and critique the day.

Although Dalai Lama claim these as buddhist practices, they are not solely, and are found in Catholic/Christian texts and Chinese philosophical texts. But what Dalai Lama is excellent in doing, is use scientific research, eg neuroplasticity of mind to underpin buddhism text.

Psalm 1 talks about how your social company can influence your ways. In Chinese proverbs, the saying goes that when you immerse silk in red ink, it becomes red. When you immerse it in black ink, it becomes black.

Through training, meditation practice, we can transform our mind, says Dalai Lama.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 (Paul)

How do we renew our minds? Do not be conformed to the patterns of the world and with supernatural intervention. Although it is not fully explained in the Bible, as Christian Bible is limited to 66 books. Where Christian text differs is the belief that God has given the Holy Spirit.

Usefulness of Compassion

Dalai Lama: once you accept that compassion is worthwhile, realise its deeper value, then you immediately develop an attraction towards it, a willingness to cultivate it… Once you encourage thought of compassion in your mind, then your attitude towards others chsnges automatically….. But without the attitude of compassion, if you are feeling closed, irritated or indifferent, then you can be approached by your best friend and you just feel uncomfortable.

Paul: (Charity, Lovingkindness) Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. … And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13

Further reading on cultivating compassion, joy, read Theresa of Lisieux and Teresa of Avila “The Interior Castle”.

With covid 19 and the rise of loneliness and depression, Cutler’s question to Dalai Lama on whether he felt lonely seems useful to me. (p70). Unlike investigators suggestion that the strategy to overcome loneliness is to work on improving social skills such as self disclosure, picking up conversational skills, Dalai Lama’s strategy is to bypass social skills and work on cultivating compassion.

Practice: Meditation on “our dependence on others”.

Do you wonder how many people are involved in making your shirt? The salesperson who sold the farmer the tractor, the people who grew the cotton, who sewed the cloth. Virtually every aspect of my life is the result of others efforts. Before we use the word “supply chain” and logistics realise our interconnectedness.

Although I was raised in a Buddhist family, with my grandmother and aunts living in temples and monastery, Dalai Lama’s interpretation is so different from what they taught in buddhism. I can only say his text is closer to Paul of Tarsus and influenced by his personality and staying outside of Tibet.

Cutler cites intimacy as being important in maintaining good emotional health from psychoanalyst Erich Fromm that humankind’s most basic fear is the threat of being seperated from others (p 79). Experience of seperateness and rejection is the source of all anxiety in human life.

Dalai Lama’s approach and that of St Paul, hands the locus of control back to the individual. Unlike American or French definition of intimacy as passionate, sexual relationship or attachment, it is a compassion of honor, respect, tenderness towards the other person.

Having heard the Dalai Lama over the internet, I can only guess that like Milton Friedman and the great saints, he possess an ability to cause trancelike state beyond human logic. Over the internet, I had difficulty understanding him and needed the help of translators like Ripoche. This has spurred me to learn more about NLP and how I can change my communication style to lessen others suffering, and if possible to bring joy.

Practice: Meditation on Compassion

1. Visualise a person who is acutely suffering, someone who is in pain or in an unfortunate situation. Reflect on the individual’s suffering (3 min).

2. Relate to yourself thinking “that individual has the same capacity for experiencing pain, joy, happiness and suffering that I do.

3. Allow your natural response to arise, natural feeling of compassion to that person.

4. Think how strongly you wish for that person to be free from suffering.

Comment:

I have difficulty releasing forgiveness. However, starting with thought of how the person is suffering releases me from having negative feelings to that person. In truth, we all have suffering. Difficult to believe that Bill Gates has suffering. That he causes others to suffer is easier to believe.

The difference is the starting point of what we believe and our thought pattern which sets us free.

Through lives of Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Marcel Proust, Mozart, Charles Darwin, Greene creates 48 laws of achieving Mastery.

My second time reading it after 10 years with fresh insights from self reflection. In my first reading, this book was too heavy. Now, with reflections, many of my challenges make so much more sense.

Seven deadly realities: Envy, Conformity, Rigidity, Self Obsessiveness, Rigidity, Laziness, Passive Agressiveness and Flightiness

Social Intelligence: Speak through your work. Craft your appropriate personna- if you are not careful others will attribute qualities of you that correspond to what they want to see, See yourself as others see you. Suffer fools gladly. It is part of human comedy, nothing to lose sleep over. Neutralise the harm they do by keeping steady eye on your goals.

Creative-Active: have the patience and discipline to endure an extended apprenticeship. Focus deeply on problems and ideas.

Although children are naturally creative, they never lead to inventions and substantial discoveries. Why so?

My 3 intentions:

1. Absorb as much as I can, from books and beings

2. Discipline and Diligence

3. Playfulness and experiment. Dont be defensive.

Beware of emotional pitfalls: complacency, boredom and arrogance

1. Connect to the Environment -primal powers

2. Play to your strengths – supreme focus

3. Transform yourself through practice – fingertip feel ( or 10,000 hrs of muscle memory)

4. Submit to the other – Inside/Out. Get inside the brain of the people we are trying to understand. Listen.

5. Synthesise all forms of knowledge – Jung’s Universal Man/Woman

Rodial

Not another self help book.

For the entrepreneur in social media world with influencers like Kadarshians, MH is an entrepreneur and guides readers how to build a brand from product creation to personal branding.

Helpful How tos at the end of each chapter. Her recent books are now available as eBooks. She is certainly using her covid downtimes very efficiently.

#Rodial #entreprenuer #start up #career

As I was walking to the neighbourhood stores, a thought struck me. What if I do the boring stuff, ie visit the same place 30 days in a row.

I started thinking, what if I visit the library, 10 mins walk away and borrow a different book every day.

And so my adventure begins, without taking a flight. Of course I can borrow eCopies from the digital library. But physical store has the pleasure of flipping through aisle by aisle.

Road less travelled, expand my mind. Books I normally will not pick up. Easy to read.

The first book I found using “coach” as key word was “Vladimir Putin: Life Coach”.

Seeing with new eyes

Except for what I read from American newsfeed, I do not know much about Russia. Granted, I studied history in school, have visited Siberia twice and been on trans-Siberian railway.

Written tongue in cheek, eg “Show your gentle side”. To win respect, you must be ruthless. To win love, you need to show a soft side. Putin’s approach is to help his country’s cutest animals at every opportunity.

He’s been photographed feeding a baby elk outside Moscow … and shaking hands with a walrus in Vladivostok.

Be more Vlad. If you’re known as a workplace meanie, show your colleagues you’re actually quite nice by booking a day off and hiring a professional photographer to join you on a trip to the petting zoo. Then share the photos far and wide with plenty og squidgy emoticons. Be sure to wait at least twenty minutes before returning to your hardass persona. (Sears, p119)

Rob Sears, the author, writes comedy. I cant wait to read his book on “The beautiful poetry of Donald Trump”. I can see how this experiment of picking up books I normally would not read, will help “re-imagine me” as Humour is not on my resume. If I were to teach “leadership topics”, this book will help inject a bit of humor on the complexity of leadership behavior.

#coach #humour #Russia #80books #TIME #Treasures #NLB #leadership

Highly recommend: 🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋

Category: Humour, Leadership

Yesterday I conducted a coaching demonstration.

I struggled.

Striped bare.

Wintry cold.

Naked.

Thank you for the feedback

Oysters cry

Cliched Caterpillars die

Wrapped in White

I wiped away tears of humiliation

I am an island

For whom the bell tolls

Today I celebrate my weakness

In my weakness

I will be made strong.

I can see no way out but through

For whom the bell tolls?

It tolls for me.

Dont feel sorry for me.

At Tajimaya during Restaurant Week

Tip: Best cure for feeling sorry is to celebrate. And feed off another’s creativity. Shout out to the young chef who cooked tis meal. Notice the handcrafted mushroom from radish.

Yesterday my neighbours T&D gave me a box of Alphonso mangoes which they acquired from Little India- Tekka Market ahead of India’s lockdown. Good thinking.

I was the lucky beneficiary as they know I like the lovely fragrance of Alphonso. But I declined saying I will only take one or two as they spoil easily. Not to be deterred, the resourceful T gave me suggestions of pressing them to juice, making lassi – Indian yogurt drink.

I decided that I shall cut one immediately. To my surprise, I realised that the firm Alphonsoes are already ripe. Unlike Thai mangoes which are sour when firm, Alphonsoes are sweet when ripe.

I have been keeping them past their shelf life, no wonder the previous box had to be thrown away.

Recently, someone, on hearing that I was taking another certification reflected. You dont need another course. Its time to just do it.

Why do we hoard? We hoard to store for a rainy day. Some items are perishable, and cannot be hoarded. They spoil or past their prime. We say No to chocolate cake. I dont like chocolate, its too heaty for my body. Extra calories with no enjoyment. I say no to alcahol and cigarettes. I say no to risky behaviour that I will regret at leisure. I say no to losing my temper.

I say yes to …

What am I saying yes to…

Do it. As Nike yells!

Now! My self-coach is yelling.

Now.

Thank you T & D for your message in the mangoes!

#mango #now #TIME #procrastinate #validate

I am appreciating how conversations can be nourishing. Often, I’m hopeful for solution focused futures. Having started my career in the diplomatic service and later venturing into headhunting and the human capital field, I’ve learnt that choice of words can make or break conversations.

Unhelpful comments, unintentional or otherwise, can prevent conversations from moving forward:

Accusing: “You need to ask yourself if the problem is you?….

Blaming: “I did this for you..” or “because I was helping you… [negative event happened]

Globalising: “You always …. ” “You never …”

Interrogating (tone): “Why did you do this?...”

Demeaning: “You are not joking...” “Good luck to you…”

Preaching: “You should…” “When I was your age….” “When I was [doing this job],...”

Threatening: “You better ...”

Judging: “You are not interested in making this work..” “You don’t care about...”

Excusing: “Dont worry, things will get better“.

Instigating: “He said you disrespected him

Tone of voice including sarcasm or anger. Non-verbal cues like rolling of eyes or twitching of mouth or sniggering, “humph”, interrupting the flow.

“What in the world were you thinking of?”

Joanne Koo

Director, Centre for Solution Focused Futures

To nourish dreams for a sustainable future

“Its not only the desire for wealth and position that debases and subjugates, but also the desire for peace, leisure, travel and learning. It doesnt matter what the external thing is, the value we place on it subjugates us to another … where our heart is set, there our impediment lies.”

– Epictetus, Discourses, 4.4.1-2; 15 (from The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman).

Ryan Holiday asks “surely Epictetus is not saying that peace and travel are bad, is he?” No, he explains. But ceaseless, ardent desire is filled with “potential complications”.

I am reminded of a verse in Bible that money is not the root of all evil. The love of money is.

When we pine for something, we set ourselves for disappointment. We can lose our self control in response.

Authors suggest that a good goal, like “love or a noble cause” can set you up just as well.

My self reflection: this verse jumps out at me and helps explain something Im going through, have been going through, esp with manipulative family members.

Coaching question of the day

Are you in control of your desires, or are they in control of you?