NOTE: Happy Memorial Day Friends! Today’s blog will complete our series on compassion using Daniel Goleman’s book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World. I have been working on community projects that have kept my schedule tight, but fun over the last 6 weeks. Our next series is exciting and we shall use the book, Practicing Servant-Leadership: Succeeding Through Trust, Bravery, and Forgiveness by Larry C. Spears and Michelle Lawrence as our guide. I appreciate all of you who continue on this journey with me as Servant Leaders! I will take a week break and then come back to jumpstart our summer series! Cheers!!
NEVER GIVE UP
No matter what is going on
Never give up Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country
Is spent developing the mind Instead of the heart
Not just to your friends but to everyone
Work for peace In your heart and in the world
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up
~Dalai Lama XIV
Servant Leaders understand that action speaks louder than words. In this sense, compassion is expressed in many ways and the desire to do something that is – act now – as a force 4 good is what the Dalai Lama argues in the book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, by Daniel Goleman in the final chapter, chapter twelve, Act Now.
The message the Dalai Lama has shared with us is two-fold; taking control of our destructive emotions rather than acting from them and acting on our concern for the well-being of others from the sense of the oneness of humanity. The Dalai Lama’s vision is one that suggests the what and how of compassion, but also his core lesson to us is that we should cultivate a warm heart, and foster human values. We must act now, and persist. We should act even if the cause seems hopeless – and never give up.
The Dalai Lama’s vision for shifting our consciousness and our social reality begins inside each of us. We can start with ourselves and then help transform our society person by person or project by project. The Dalai Lama argues, “Start with yourself, but don’t stop there. Act for others, with positivity.” Our efforts should be voluntary knowing that we can accelerate the transformation of our society by transforming ourselves first.
Each one of us can transform by shifting our emotional center to become better vessels for compassion.
And to help that we can revamp education to include tools for this inner shift for the younger generation.
Take it to Scale
Activism is key for people who are a force 4 good. Dekila Chungyalpa, the McCluskey Fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies puts it this way, “Almost every activist I know is actually an optimist at heart.: You really have to believe that the society will be better off. I think there is a natural ebullience, an enthusiasm that cones from inside. We’re convinced, no matter what the odds are, that we will win.”
The Dalai Lama advises us to think and go BIG. Spreading the good you do as far as possible is key. If we embark on some good work (like the community work that I have been doing for the last 6 weeks or more) we should do it well and with maximal impact.
In short, go to scale.
And sometimes when we consider the enormity of the challenge, we may feel like throwing in the towel, giving up. But, we must remember that each act that we do, no matter how simple or insignificant it may seem, when it is multiplied by others (10, 100 or 1 million of us) we can have an enormous impact.
The Human Connection
The Dalai Lama believes the pathway from thought to action is through making a commitment to other people. We must work with one another, commit to one another, and act with one another.
Indeed, compassionate acts are contagious. Thomas Jefferson coined it, “moral elevation,” this sort of inspiration we feel to help when we witness random acts of kindness. Many psychologists have verified this feeling through a plethora of studies, but we all know the feeling.
Think, Plan, Act
The Dalai Lama believes far more in the power of individuals to make an impact over huge top-down changes, whether from an organization or government. And, he believes that you can’t force people to be compassionate. His call to action for us to not wait for society to change. We can start now, wherever you are. “Everyone can find a context in which they can make a difference. The human community is nothing but individuals combined,” says the Dalai Lama.
At the end of the day, the Dalai Lama’s vision, Daniel Goleman’s book, and this blog has one core point: Seize the opportunity NOW.
As Servant Leaders, we are a Force 4 Good. All is Well. We are Complete. And So It Is.