The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is famous for his well phrased, unique insights. Always enunciating difficult concepts into simple arguments with examples universally relevant. Tenzin is probably one of the most open minded, international spiritual leaders. Most of the speeches he delivers isn’t specifically aimed for strict Buddhists or about Buddhism. His words are obviously powered from a Buddhist point of view, but he successfully broadens his topics and arguments to be understood by anyone.
During an interview he was asked what surprises him the most. His answer was quick and profound.
“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Like most things His Holiness says, this is plainly worded. His truths are so obvious that most of us need to take a moment and let it set in.
What he is describing is a great example of the monkey mind. The monkey mind is a general phrase that refers to the lower aspect of the mind, the one wrapped up in desire, powered by fear and not truly tied to the moment. This is the mindset of too many people in modern times. All of the screeching distractions and ever present noise prompting emotional responses for commercial uses, can bleed out a person’s sincerity if they aren’t paying attention.
As I read this quote, I thought about how most people are stretched between dealing with the past and anticipating the future. This leaves them in a weird context that can look like the present but is in actuality a illusion. One fed by their fears and desires.
As you read this quote, how did it resonate with you? Did any examples of this cyclical living sound familiar when compared to examples from your experience? If your like me, after reading this I worried that I was doing this to myself with out realizing it. Forcing myself to breathe, I examined my fears and what I was doing about them. I looked at my average day and figured how much I was sacrificing my health and happiness for no sustainable reason. If you follow these steps, make sure you are willing to accept the answers, and not simply asking to continue to feed your illusions.