Kindness for the Health of It

Each year my friend Sam Juliano takes a book-by-book look at Caldecott Medal contenders and pens engaging reviews. One of his recent posts showcased Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain written by Jacqueline Jules with illustrations by Durga Yael Bernhard.

The captivating story offers a powerful global message that for me brought to mind the Dalai Lama’s statement: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

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Numerous scientific studies correlate kindness with physical and mental health benefits:

  • Decreased intensity and awareness of physical pain.
  • Enhanced emotional resilience.
  • Increased sense of optimism and self-worth.
  • Strengthened immune system.
  • Reduced incidence of high blood pressure.

Kindness begets kindness.” — Greek proverb

Have you been a recent recipient of kindness?

© Laurie Buchanan

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The Spiritual Practice of Play

During lunch with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in April 2012, one of the things he shared was that he learns best when he laughs.

Our spirits need celebration! What feels joyful to us encourages us along the path of personal growth and expansion.

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” — Michael Pritchard

Play is the exuberant expression of our being, it fuels our joy and wonder. Play provides the energetic space we need to feel alive; it taps into unlimited possibility, inspiring us; it resides at the heart of our creativity and our most carefree moments of devotion. Play is a powerful way to feed our soul.

When was the last time you stepped into the transformational space of play?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

Bodhisattva

During my cross-country driving adventure in September, I got to enjoy 29 miles in the state of Arizona—just a snippet. The only photograph I took during that brief segment was of this Joshua tree, part of the Yucca family.

I’m not sure why, but standing in the company of this tree brought to mind a quote that I’d read in my planner by the Dalai Lama:

Even those who do not know much about spiritual development can appreciate that those who possess an other-directed attitude have great power of mind. In Buddhism, such beings are called bodhisattvas—those who are heroically intent (sattva) on achieving enlightenment (bodhi) in order to help others more effectively.”

Pronounced boh-dee-SAHT-vah, this person has the wisdom to become a Buddha, but refrains from doing so in order to help others find salvation.

Do you know a bodhisattva?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
                — Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com and our Facebook page

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Tonglen

Tonglen by Len Buchanan

Tonglen by Len Buchanan

Tonglen is an active practice of loving-kindness; a breathing meditation of sending and taking. Performed by Tibetan Buddhists and other spiritual traditions, Tonglen is a positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing way to care for other people. The heart of this practice is compassion; to breathe in another person’s pain—physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual—and breathe out strength, joy, and peace of mind; whatever gives relief.

Tonglen can be done for people individually—a person who is ill, fearful, in sorrow, or in pain. Or it can be done for people collectively—people in a geographic area that has been struck by a natural disaster such as tornado, earthquake, flood, or famine. Tonglen can be done anywhere, anytime. It can be formal like you see me doing in the photograph, or it can be done while you’re driving, or in bed.

Tonglen — the active practice of lovingkindness. Here's how it's done. Click To Tweet

When the Dalai Lama was touring the United States, he recommended the practice of Tonglen. He made it very simple. “Tonglen is giving and taking. As you inhale, take on the suffering of others. As you exhale, give out to them all your gifts, virtues, and positive qualities.”

He suggests beginning the practice with equalizing, which means, “To realize that each and every sentient being wants happiness and does not want suffering, just like you.”

With that in mind, he imagines that this practice actually reduces suffering in the world, but he says that “Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense.”

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com