The Dalai Lama's Guide Through the Next Four Years

8 minute read

When it comes to spirituality and leadership, there is one name that comes to mind on both fronts: the Dalai Lama. As the leader of the Tibetan people in exile, the Dalai Lama has long been associated with advice, and spiritual living in the face of adversity and troubled times.  

With recent political changes in the United States, many people who agree with his message are facing doubt, anxiety, and fear. Thankfully, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning political leader has advice on surviving the next four years, for those who need some comfort.

The Dalai Lama points out that the president is a very important person, but the world belongs to humanity. This means that we need to remember that the nation belongs to the people.  

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A president is a position of power and leadership, but ultimately the country will be run by a collective and not one individual. America is a nation that takes pride in liberty, democracy, and rule of law, which forces us to realize that we must work together.  

As Abraham Lincoln once famously said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Older couple chat after bike riding

Spiritual Advice to Get Through Anything

Despite an understanding and acceptance that our nation runs on democracy, there will inevitably be times of uncertainty and fear, which is a completely normal part of change. No matter what happens in the country and the world around you, there are a few key things that the Dalai Lama recommends for you.  

This way you stay happy and at peace, no matter what.  

1. Always Do You

The first step is to develop compassion. To do so, you need to start with yourself.  

To truly feel happy in the world starts with your own mental attitude. The Dalai Lama states that so long as you remain truthful and honest about how you feel, you will always find happiness, regardless of what is happening around you.  

His ideology stems from the Buddhist concept of self-compassion and he believes that we will be happier when we learn more about ourselves and embrace who we are, flaws too. People generally have more compassion for others than they do themselves, and this needs to change.

Psychologists have shown that when you have compassion for another, you recognize and validate their pain, which allows you to develop feelings of kindness. Self-compassion is, therefore, when you are kind toward yourself, rather than critical.  

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Even when you make a mistake or when you are going through emotional pain, rather than being harsh on yourself or others, the Dalai Lama advises you to try to see the experiences as part of a larger picture and experience, so the event is not so isolating.

In these circumstances, it is healthy to keep your thoughts in mindful awareness rather than over-identifying and analyzing them.  

Elderly couple meditating together

2. Think About It

Feeling compassion becomes easier when you take time to reflect on your experience. You don’t have to meditate for five hours a day like the Dalai Lama, but ten minutes can help your thought process immensely.  

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Meditation can physically change parts of the brain that allow you to better handle stress as well as increase feelings of empathy. Longer meditation sessions can improve your mood, attention span and enhance memory too.  

The deeper you think, the more clarity of perspective you can obtain, so take time to put your feelings into context and watch negative emotions melt away.

3. Help Others

Being of service to others is a principal component to happiness. Helping others allows you to find happiness and self-confidence no matter what is going on around you.  

Helping can range from listening to someone who is upset to volunteering in a soup kitchen. It allows you to feel connected to those who feel lonely and isolated, thereby reducing incidences of depression.  

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Some studies even show that volunteering helps prevent high blood pressure, promoting longevity.  

Mature couple embracing

4. Get Rid of Anger

Whether it was the election that makes you angry or another situation, the Dalai Lama insists that you never let anger dominate your thoughts. Continual anger can cause depression, overeating, insomnia, heart problems, stroke, and even early death.  

Practicing compassion to yourself and to others, says the Dalai Lama, is a fantastic way to reduce anger, and your health will benefit from this as well. Most negative thoughts are rooted in perception, so you need to find a method to view your anger in a unique way, focusing on care and compassion. This activates the reward center of your brain.  

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The trick, he says, is not to ignore or deny the negative feelings or circumstances, but to hold the feelings in love.

Senior couple having ice cream and sharing a laugh

5. Act Like a Child

One of the most important facts to remember to promote a long and healthy life is to be playful and childlike whenever you can. The Dalai Lama reminds us that children are honest and accepting of all people without judgement.  

Children do not care about your religion, background, or nationality; they are compassionate at the most basic level.

Materialism and competition are all around us and can cause these compassionate feelings to go into hibernation. Playfulness is the best way to bring these feelings out again.  

The Dalai Lama loves to share stories of this nature and is always laughing when speaking on the subject. Studies support his beliefs by showing that adults who are playful have more positive relationships in life and better overall life satisfaction.  

Playfulness also leads to less anxiety and a healthier individual.

The Bottom Line

If the next few years are intimidating, daunting, or scary, remember to be compassionate to yourself and others, help wherever and whenever you can, and play as much as humanly possible.

The Dalai Lama lives by what he teaches and is generally regarded as one of the most peaceful and happy people on Earth because he believes that there is always something you can do.  

That alone gives you hope and will make your life worthwhile. It is important to remember that difficult circumstances are not predictable and can last for an unknown period.  

The better prepared you are, the easier these times will be, but you need to stay focused and committed. Small steps and changes completed with effort and consistency will reward you with satisfaction and eventually happiness in the face of any adversity.

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