Dalai Lama on not giving up

Sometimes I fear I cannot keep up with my responsibilities. I worry that if I don’t meet my work deadlines I will disappoint others and put myself in jeopardy.

On really long days at my desk that turn into night shifts, I lose all sense of time. When dawn breaks I make another cup of coffee and take it to my bed. That’s when I tell myself I’m just going to give up.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has never been a quitter. In an article on coping with stress and depression he noted, “I write this as someone who lost his freedom at the age of 16, then lost his country at the age of 24. Consequently, I have lived in exile for more than 50 years during which we Tibetans have dedicated ourselves to keeping the Tibetan identity alive and preserving our culture and values. On most days the news from Tibet is heartbreaking, and yet none of these challenges gives grounds for giving up.” 

The beloved Lama keeps on being an example to so many of us. How can I possibly feel sorry for myself when he is undergoing heartbreak every day, yet keeping a smile on his face, and laughing joyously no matter what lies are told about him? His strength is contagious.

He explains, “One of the approaches that I personally find useful is to cultivate the thought: If the situation or problem is such that it can be remedied, then there is no need to worry about it. In other words, if there is a solution or a way out of the difficulty, you do not need to be overwhelmed by it.

The appropriate action is to seek its solution. Then it is clearly more sensible to spend your energy focusing on the solution rather than worrying about the problem. Alternatively, if there is no solution, no possibility of resolution, then there is also no point in being worried about it, because you cannot do anything about it anyway.”
 Jumping right into the difficulty is like diving off the high board into murky waters for me. But with years of practice, I manage to do it. Once I study the problem, I solve it like a puzzle. When it’s not solvable I accept and release it. Stressing over a problem prolongs the solution.

The Embodiment of Compassion further explains, “As a Buddhist monk, I have learned that what principally upsets our inner peace is what we call disturbing emotions. All those thoughts, emotions, and mental events which reflect a negative or uncompassionate state of mind inevitably undermine our experience of inner peace. All our negative thoughts and emotions – such as hatred, anger, pride, lust, greed, envy, and so on – are considered to be sources of difficulty, to be disturbing….

“When we act under their influence, we become oblivious to the impact our actions have on others: they are thus the cause of our destructive behaviour both toward others and to ourselves.” Never give up having compassion not only for others, but also for yourself.

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