Mindfulness, presence, or as Ram Dass expressed this experience of a certain state of conscious awareness as “being here now;” is this a meditative practice that could change the world? Could it be that easy, that true happiness, experienced through meditation, is changing your mind and in so doing changing the world?
This was the discussion, to make the world a happier and healthier place, at the 2013 “Change Your Mind, Change the World” conference held in Madison, Wisconsin.It was there in Madison that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and a panel of experts, came together to discuss how to help create a happier world.
While mindfulness or remaining focused was the primary element that this panel of experts discussed, Richard Davidson, co-host of the event and lead researcher, explained that well-being is a practice that is learned and developed and that he outlined five elements to help us cultivate well-being.
1. Well-being is a skill that is learned, can be taught and evolves with practice.
2. There is an inverse relationship between mindfulness and happiness.
3. There is a mind-body connection; activities in the mind or in the body, through the process of emotion, have the ability to affect each other.
4. Well-being creates balance and harmony.
5. Generosity or compassion is necessary of well-being.
In an article on “dalailama.com,” Davidson, talked about happiness and well-being…
(Richard) referred to findings that changes in the body can be attributed to stress, but that there is new work to show that happiness and well-being have positive effects on the body too. His Holiness asked how you measure well-being and Richie said they rely on self-report. His Holiness was asked if he had advice on how to make well-being more widespread.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, continued…
“I think you already know what I think.” he replied, “But these people in the audience may not have heard it before. At this point everyone here feels at ease, but if I think of you as somehow different from me, if I think that I’m Tibetan, I’m Buddhist, an Easterner, I’m a monk or even something grand like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, this kind of thinking automatically creates a gap between us. It results in a sense of unease. On the other hand, if I consider you as another human being, just like me, then that source of anxiety disappears.
“I’m very happy and encouraged to be here. Some scientists don’t even accept the existence of mind, they think there’s only the brain. If that were the case we ought to be able change the way we live through surgery. However, the proper way to train the mind is by using the mind itself, not in connection with the next life or anything like that, but focussing on a healthy society and a happier humanity here and now. Everybody wants a happy life and a peaceful mind, but we have to produce peace of mind through our own practice.
“Modern science’s interest in mind or consciousness is new, and so is the public interest in mind and emotional training.” Continue reading here…
The Dalai Lama, noting that the world is under a high degree of stress and that survival of the human race is in the balance, said we are in need of a “more compassionate world.” And Richard Davidson, quoted Gandhi’s teaching, “There is enough for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed.”
In the end there was a unanimous call for global change through personal responsibility. As his Holiness said, “This initiative must start by the individual’s inner peace.”
Inner peace or true happiness is changing you mind. Yes it can be that simple.