Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Learning From the Dalai Lama

by Jillian Maas Backman

There are certain leaders on this planet that have the uncanny ability to encourage normal people to set aside human-made restrictions. Convince total strangers world-wide to lay down their religious, cultural and social differences to cultivate inclusive global love and promote futuristic spiritual values. One of these living icons right now is his holiness, Dalai Lama the 14th representing six million people of Tibet.

Thankfully, I was gifted a ticket to listen to his public presentation on non-violence here in Chicago Illinois several weeks ago. After fighting through my star-struck groupie disposition, I was able to sit back and watch this historic event unfold before my very eyes.

He delivered a frank and uplifting dissertation on the state of world peace and non-violence. To be honest with you my stomach becomes a titch squeamish when anyone brings up this subject for debate. I would not call myself a septic by any means, but do proceed with caution aligning with movements that seek such pie in sky global aspirations. It does seem a tad out of reach when some people can’t even get along with their neighbor, let alone the entire freaking planet………

However, after hearing this man’s worldly professional reflections on the matter, my mind is shifting ever so slightly to believe this spiritual possibility can become reality. He was very authentic and truthful when sharing his global observations on the status of world peace. He was quick to point out collectively we have made monumental strides towards personal non-violence from the past. Yet there is more elevated spiritual work which still lies ahead. To his credit, he should know. This man has dedicated his entire life to bringing passive methodical teachings into some of the most hostile places on this planet. Countries who have banned this kind of etheric conversations are now allowing the subject to be broadcast in public forums. He explained my generation has been responsibly busy planting seeds of inspirational ideas of peace. Those seeds are starting to take root and insure the children of tomorrow may play in these eternal blooming gardens of non-violence and peace for life.

He was extremely down to earth with his approach to non-violence and shared dozens of simple suggestions. I have taken the liberty to highlight excerpts from the presentation that struck a personal soul cord.

We are all bonded together with one another through our commonalties. (His message)

Common Experiences, Science and Common Sense

Common Experiences:

This one in particular touched every soul in the audience. We all have only one birth mother in a lifetime. A connection, an inceptive union between two people no person can ever destroy or deny. A sacred sacrificial life-force experience passed from ancient mother to contemporary child one family at a time. A universal bond which ties every human being together in one perpetual body and soul. One could say:
As violence strikes one child, it is as if violence has struck my own. (jmb)


He mentioned the emotional feeling of compassion several times over. It’s a commonly used word to describe empathy we have for others. In this instance he added his own flair by tying compassion together with science. Citing several European physiological studies created to observed and document brainwave activity while experiencing compassion for another. They were able to track spikes of brain activity anytime this emotion was identified by subjects. By the end of the experiment they were able to draw the conclusion that most human brains basically register human feelings/ emotions, compassion, in the same duplicative patterns ilregardless of their social, spiritual or regional backgrounds. We are all truly connected by science.

Common Sense

I have always been of the opinion when you start talking about global peace it’s just too hard for people to imagine. This is why I was so excited to hear his thoughts on the subject of non-violence. It is a more relatable subject than global peace to our daily lifes. Violence is something we have all experienced at one time or another in some sick kind of capacity. When this occurs there are only two individual choices to make, withdraw or retaliate.

He reminded us that once upon a time long long ago there were no cities. People lived in small isolated villages spread across the world. Individual survival depended on the survival of the tribe and vice-versa. Every person played an interregnal part of each other’s health and wellness. Violence was not tolerated because every member was essential for their continued existence. Your neighbor’s wellness literally affected the whole. This kind of interdependence created a sense of compassion, respect and love we simply cannot relate in contemporary societies.

For the most part we have become segregated from core groups and left to our own devises for survival. Long gone are the isolated country villages which are being replaced by sprawling cities with cookie-cutter subdivisions. Locking their owners away in single dwelling homes and not to be seen for days. Is this what we have aspired to become? We no longer have to depend on others for individual happiness. Does that mean we have also lost our communal feelings of compassion for others by way of prideful cultural sophistication? We’re just too busy and important to help.

Friends, if we truly want to believe in the miracle of a peaceful world we have to start to recapture our village roots. Even though our petite villages have exploded to expansive civilizations doesn’t mean we are off the hook for feeling compassion for our fellow citizens. It only means we have to make a consertive effort to do so. Define compassion for yourself. What it feels like to have empathy for someone you love and for those you do not yet know. Adapt the ways of ancient communities.

As the Dali Lama stated: "Some things never change, our brainwaves, our single birth mother and the sheer common sense of compassion and spiritual survival."

After it was all said and done for the morning presentation I realized it wasn’t the way in which he said we could reach a peaceful planet, it was his angelic mannerism that struck me so deeply. His weathered round face and contagious smile set the perfect backdrop for his unconscious confident in all of humanity that we can do this.

Sending loving non-violence grace,


Jillian Maas Backman, Author, Beyond The Pews, Breaking With Traditions and Letting Go Religious Lockdown and host of the radio show, CHANGE ALREADY! Your Future, Your Choice!  

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