Recently, I've been exploring the values of ethics, logic, compassion and caring in a more holistic sense. It started surprisingly, at work. When I joined a committee to build a more respectful workplace. It let me to this TED Talk video about moral skills and ethics.
The video changed how I viewed myself at the core. How could I be more respectful at work if I didn't first understand the skills I needed to be so? Moral skills. The ability to make judgement calls. The role incentives play on our moral character. These topics just jumped out at me and made me realize, I need to define the moral skills I need not only in work, but in life.
This video just led me further down the path of exploring ethics. I peered along my bookshelves until I found what I was searching for, My Spiritual Journey by the Dalai Lama. I purchased this book about a year ago at a random Costco trip but like many of the books I buy, some get read immediately, and others I save for a rainy day.
It's pretty clear, this book was calling out to be read now. I was stunned after reading the very first paragraph - it aligned perfectly with the words Barry Schwartz was saying in the TED Talk video.
The first paragraph reads:
My first commitment in life, as a human being, is the promotion of human values and those qualities of spirit that are key elements in a happy life, whether of an individual, a family or community. These days it seems we don't cultivate these inner qualities enough; that is why my priority is to develop them.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part dedicated to his life as a human being, and what it means to truly be human. The second part describes his life as a buddhist monk and what it means to live the life of a monk. Lastly, he focuses on being the Dalai Lama, exiled from his homeland in Tibet and governing the tibetan people from afar.
I found the writings about our common humanity the most fascinating. He speaks about compassion as just another one of us, as equals, as humans in this world. As much as we all want happiness and to avoid suffering, we have allowed ourselves to stray into paths that involve judgement and a sense of entitlement. His most powerful thought for me comes from his analysis that humanity is "one" and our only home is this planet. We take it for granted and rarely devote any time in our minds to practice compassion for what we have. The more time I spend online, in front of my tv, or downloading apps, the more I feel my human emotions become less vibrant and less colourful.
Regardless of if you are buddhist, or a supporter of the Dalai Lama, it's hard not to support his compassionate outlook on the lives of humans. Most distinctly because he himself, has experienced humanity's worst qualities through violence between Tibet and China. I don't know if there will ever be a free Tibet, a country without the grip of another on its land, but we can all be a part of transforming ourselves to support his cause. He calls on us to become peacemakers, to live more compassionately, so that a crime against a human is a crime against us all.
[Thanks for reading!]