A few weeks ago I had the privilege to see a man that smiles through his eyes. I heard His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama speak at a public event and weeks later I am still thinking about many of the simple but profound messages he shared that day.
The Dalai Lama shared the message that the purpose of life is to be happy and that from the moment of birth all human beings seek happiness and do not want suffering. He shared that in order to achieve happiness we need to think of both physical and mental happiness. He also shared the perspective that unless we are either seriously ill or deprived of basic needs, our physical health plays a secondary role in life. The mind however, registers every moment, no matter how small and that we should devote our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace. The greatest degree of mental happiness and inner tranquility comes from love and compassion not only for others but for ourselves.
The Dalai Lama believes that anger and agitation make us more susceptible to illness and that if the mind is tranquil and occupied with positive thoughts; the body will not easily fall prey to disease and can heal faster. The Dalai Lama was not able to heal his own physical body to prevent having gall bladder surgery, but he does believe that inner peace and compassion allowed him to recovery from surgery at a rate that amazed his doctors (especially for a man in his 70’s).
As a dietitian much of my schooling and time spent with clients involves educating about physical happiness and less attention is directed to mental happiness. On a personal level, I also know that taking care of my physical health is easier than taking care of my mental happiness and being kind and gentle to myself. I struggle with inner peace and calming my mind. While I have tried yoga, meditation and quiet time, I now understand that what is missing is the art of compassion and being less self-critical and hard on myself.
Is your struggle with inner peace and mental happiness like mine? Is your physical health not where you want it to be? I challenge you to join me in a challenge to be more compassionate. What are you saying to yourself when you aren’t paying attention? Comments like “I’ll never be successful or I’m not good enough” are powerful negative words that hinder mental happiness. What would happen if you could catch self-critical thoughts and choose instead to say “I am doing the best I can, imperfect is perfect and I am good enough”.
Thanks for reading!
“The Chocoholic Dietitian”
Have a comment or question about this article? Post your thoughts and read more information on our new BLOG:www.healthstandnutrition.com/blog/