Even people opposed to religion need calm minds and compassion to make their work more effective. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
This quote talks about how calm minds and compassion is useful to everyone, even those who do not have religious beliefs or are opposed to religion.
Compassion does not require religion to function. All that is required is a functioning heart. Note that compassion doesn’t require you to rescue everyone everywhere, every minute of the day.
But if you can feel compassion, you can most likely convey the compassion as well, and that helps build connections.
Calm minds do not require religion either. Calm minds can withstand the swirling emotions surrounding them and find the proper balance, and then clearly state their point.
For the most effective use of the mind and spirit, all that is required is our awareness, regardless of religion.
Why is a calm mind important?
I’ve worked with the love and compassion side of a similar quote before, so I will refer you to this blog post for review, if you so desire.
Today I will focus on the power of a calm mind, which is quite useful regardless of religious affiliation, or lack thereof. As was noted in the opening, the calm mind is able to withstand the storm of emotions around them, and can find and capture that which is useful.
It can also notice and reject that which would otherwise be harmful. Consider your typical movie “mob of people”. They are little more than a storm of emotion. Well, that and torches and pitchforks. Sometimes they are talked out of doing something very harmful by someone with a calm mind, right?
And that is just one of the powers of a calm mind. That is just one of the things the calm mind can do for other people. But what can it do for you? While there are times when a wild roller coaster ride can be fun, that’s not how I want to live my life.
The same idea can be applied to the mind. Do you want every day to be stormy or full of ups and downs? How well can you deal with the infamous ‘one more thing’ when your world is stormy? Would a calm mind help? I find that it does, and in fact, I believe it is very important to have one, at least some of the time.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Having a calm mind does not mean that you spend the rest of your life like a robot. Having a calm mind does not preclude having a sense of humor. Having a calm mind does not mean that all you deal with is strictly in terms of logic. In fact, the quote includes an emotion, compassion, as part of the package.
So what is a calm mind, now that we’ve gone over some of what it is not. To me, a calm mind is the rock or foundation on which you build your life. A leaf, blown by the winds, doesn’t get to build much. A rock, firmly set against the winds and storms, that’s a much better place to build.
A calm mind is a place of refuge from the storm. It is a place from which you can go out into the storm, to either help someone else, or grab something useful you spot blowing by. A calm mind can evaluate what is going on around it and spot those opportunities or hidden gems in what is otherwise a nasty storm.
Take a moment and consider when in your life having a clear mind helped you in some manner. Perhaps you were able to see something you had missed before. Perhaps you were able to talk sense into someone who was trapped in their own personal storm. What was it like? Was a calm mind something useful to have available to you?
Now consider all the times you wish you had a clear and calm mind. The times when the sounds of the storm drowned out that quiet voice which tried to reach you. The times something slipped through your fingers because you didn’t see it in time. What was it like? Would a calm mind have been useful to you?
Like so many parts of our lives, practice is key. We are what we regularly do. If we are used to the storm, and being carried away by it, we might begin to think it is normal. By practicing, we can find other places which can become normal for us to spend our time.
I believe you have proven to yourself that a calm mind has a place in your life, right? So how does one practice? One way is to start when things are already calm, such as meditation. That can lay a great foundation, and be useful even when things are not calm. There are plenty of books and blogs on those subjects.
Another way is to feel the storm approaching. If you can do that, you have already started with a calm mind. It might not last long, but you have to start somewhere. As the storm approaches, consider how you might resist, or what you wish to accomplish. After all, sometimes it’s fun to play in the rain.
Life is crazy. Compassion and a calm mind can help keep it to a fun and useful kind of crazy. Learning how to harness their power can make everything you do more effective. Compassion can reach the emotional centers of others. A calm mind can help you reach the logical centers of others. Together, they are very effective.
How can you use these tools to help yourself and to help others? What can you do with them today?