ספרייה ולימוד

ארבע קבוצות מצבי התודעה

ארבע קבוצות מצבי התודעה מתוך www.16 guidelines.org

How we think

‘Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habits.

Watch your habits, for they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.’

Johann Wolfgang Goethe (Germany)

Everything we say and do arises from our thoughts.

How we think lies at the root of every word we speak and every action we perform – where we live, who we choose as our friends, what job we do and how we spend our time. Our live are shaped by our thoughts from earliest childhood until the day we die. For this reason, recognising the power of the mind is the most important theme that underlies the 16 Guidelines for Life.

It is a natural instinct to experience the world as something 'out there'. This focus on external circumstances makes us vulnerable to their ebb and flow, which can never be completely in our favour. However, if you probe more deeply, it becomes clear that your experience of the world is significantly affected by what is going on 'inside' – by your state of mind.

One day, to see a man and woman embracing in public can make you feel relaxed and happy. On another, you might feel envious and miserable. We are also influenced by our cultural conditioning. In one country, an embrace between a man and a woman, whether married or not, is regarded as a natural show of affection. In another, it may be considered immoral and unacceptable. Our emotional reactions are driven by a complex mixture of experiences, attitudes and beliefs.

If you pause to consider, you can recognise that behind every emotion lies a thought. We are often not conscious of this, because events happen so quickly. An outburst of anger might come from the thought, "This person frightens me," "I'm going to get hurt," or 'I can't get what I want." When we are depressed, thoughts can pile up relentlessly: "I'm not good enough," "I've made such a mess of things," "no-one likes me," or "this will never come to an end." Even if the thoughts are exaggerated or untrue, our minds have the power to create a downward spiral of misery and dissatisfaction.

Therein, however, also lies an opportunity. Just as an athlete trains her body, we can train and transform our minds, and in doing so shift our habitual patterns and explore new ways of living. Cultivating humility, patience, contentment and delight offers us four ways to achieve this

How we act

‘If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try getting into bed with a mosquito.’ The Dalai Lama, Tibet

Every skilful action makes a better world.

Human lives are composed of nothing but billions of actions – actions of body, speech and mind which take place every minute of the day from the moment of birth until the second when we take our last breath. How you choose to act, therefore, defines and colours the very quality of your life and experiences.

Before taking a major action, such as choosing a job, where to live, or entering a new relationship, most of us will reflect quite carefully on whether it is likely to bring us the happiness we seek. Even when just planning a holiday, we investigate whether it will bring us the comfort, outdoor activities or good company we feel we need. First you think, and then you act. However, we perform countless small actions every day which do not receive this kind of focused attention.

Many small actions are driven by habit. This is most likely why you visit certain shops or restaurants, seek out or avoid different types of people, or read a particular newspaper. From our earliest years, we build up patterns of behaviour, and these bring corresponding results. Just as it takes an apple seed to grow an apple tree, the results of our actions will correspond to the causes that we create. But how often do you review whether your habits and patterns bring the results you seek? Do they still make sense? Will they lead to happiness and satisfaction?

How you choose to act is not only important for your own welfare, but also for that of others. Through our actions we have the choice to nurture friendships, families, community and society – or to bring pain and disharmony. Every little thing we do sets in motion a chain of events. The deeper we probe into this, the stronger is the call to pay intense attention to how we think and subsequently behave, because the consequences can be so complex and far reaching.

Both reason and experience show that certain actions help bring about a greater sense of well-being, while others just create mayhem and misery. Once this is acknowledged, we can no longer simply blame 'the world' or forces outside our control for our circumstances, but must acknowledge our own role in how things are, and take more responsibility for how we behave. Paying attention to the four actions of kindness, honesty, generosity and right speech will lay a solid foundation for contributing to the happiness of ourselves and others.

How we relate to others

‘We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.’ Martin Luther King Jr, USA

Every time we cherish others we are cherishing ourselves.

It is a simple fact, whether we like it or not, that we cannot get by on our own. Take a look at the act of eating breakfast. Half-asleep, or in a rush to get to work on time, it is easy to forget the people behind the scenes who make our existence possible. Whether it is the farmer who grew the seed for our bread, the engineer who brought the water for our tea, or the van driver who supplied the shop: your connections with others are endless. If you pursue the matter to its logical conclusion, you will find that you are linked to every being on the planet, past, present and future.

Our tendency to overlook or ignore these infinite connections is not only unrealistic, but a major obstacle to happiness. There is a deep rooted inclination to see ourselves as separate individuals who have worked hard to be 'self-sufficient' and 'independent'. Advertising slogans give the message that it is OK to be self-centred, to 'look after No. 1' and to prioritise our own needs and concerns. At school or at work, on the TV and in the newspapers, we are encouraged to compete rather than to collaborate. The result is often isolation, loneliness, anxiety and depression.

It does not take much effort to see that the happiest people we know are those who acknowledge their interdependence, and who nurture warm and appreciative relationships with the people around them. On a day-to-day basis, this is probably the most immediate cause of happiness or suffering for any human being. Nobody likes to be criticised or disliked – the sour taste of disapproval can linger for days or even years. In contrast, someone who is a genuine source of support and encouragement for the people around them is never short of friends. To be kind to others is a kindness to yourself.

At the root of the strongest and most lasting relationships is a sincere wish for the other person to be happy. Cultivating this thought sets in motion a chain of events in which you naturally learn to act with more warmth and kindness, and they in turn are more likely to respond positively towards you. Even when you get it wrong and behave unskilfully, the fact that you did not intend to hurt will often soothe the situation.

The four qualities of respect, forgiveness, gratitude and loyalty are a powerful tool to strengthen our relationships with the people around us. Since our own happiness ultimately depends on their happiness, this is one of the most direct and effective routes to a happy life.

How we find meaning

‘Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.’ Steve Jobs, USA

If everything is changing, anything is possible.

Change is all around us. It is a law of nature. As the world revolves, day turns to night, seasons come and go, food grows and decays, machines are invented and become obsolete, and new clothes once the height of fashion become faded and worn. Across the millennia, even mountains and continents are on the move.

Living beings are also caught up in a constant process of change. The atoms that make up our bodies are in flux. We are born, we grow up, we reach adulthood, and then we get old and die. In every moment, our thoughts and emotions are shifting, often faster than we can realise.

Everything that is produced and created has a life-cycle that is subject to change and decay. Ignoring this basic truth traps us in illusion, clinging to the idea that things endure and remain stable, despite all the evidence to the contrary. We forget that a treasured cup will break, a loving relationship may falter, a flower will wilt, or that our family, friends and pets will grow old. When we fail to appreciate this, our lack of understanding can cause incredible discomfort and pain in our lives.

Even if we know deep down that things will change, we try to ignore the fact. Change can be scary. What will the future hold? Will it be better or worse, easier or harder, more sad or more happy? Yet a life without change would be unthinkable, devoid of opportunity and hope. We would be stuck just as we are, without the opportunity to grow or develop. If we can make wise decisions about how to spend our time and energy, change is something to be welcomed and embraced. There is infinite potential in every moment – and it is up to you whether you choose to grasp it.

Your search for meaning will depend on your ability and willingness to explore new and unfamiliar territory. This is why it is often called a 'path'. It is a challenge to venture deep into yourself, to explore your inner strength and longings, and find out how to use them to create a happy and fulfilling life. The process may be tough, demanding and exhausting, but also thrilling, liberating and profound. Who are you? What are you doing here? How can you make the best of the years you spend on this earth?

The role models in this section are people who went on this personal journey, and who found meaning through abandoning a narrow and self-centred view of themselves and the world. They demonstrate how developing aspirations, principles, service and courage can help you to find happiness for yourself and others.

ספרייה ולימוד

ספרים בהוצאת ידידי הדהרמה

"מעבר לדת"

כבוד הדלאי לאמהּ ה-14  

כבוד הדלאי לאמה פורש בספרו תוכנית פורצת דרך הפונה גם אל מיליוני האנשים שאינם רואים בעצמם חלק משום מסורת דתית אך עדיין כמהים לחיים שיש בהם סיפוק רוחני ועשייה למען עולם טוב יותר. למידע נוסף ורכישה