What an incredible treat it was to see the Dalai Lama in person in Washington, DC a couple years ago. I’m not sure what I expected, but simply being in the same room with this wise and kind master deeply moved me. He spoke of all the word’s religious traditions and how important it was for us all to be familiar with the beauty in all of them.

Repeatedly, I have heard him tell students to stay precisely where they are in their own traditions; to glean wisdom from the 2500 year old Buddhist practices and allow what they learn to enhance–not detract from–their own teachings on love and compassion. It’s a rare leader who can hold such an open space for his “competitors.” The reason he authentically pulls this off is he simply doesn’t see other religions as something to compete with… which leads me to a question for my own heart: where is there room for enlightenment in my own web design business here in Santa Fe? How do I view my competition, and what state of mind and heart truly cultivates a worthwhile, rewarding and sustaining career?

Certainly, the notion of not competing may rub some business people the wrong way. What? Is he nuts? It’s a dog eat dog–a rat race world out there? I think the Dalai Lama knows what he’s talking about. He neither wishes to be a carnivorous dog, nor a marathon running rat. Rather, he’d like to be exactly what we all are at our cores: good, kind and compassionate human beings – human beings who are vulnerable to fear and a sense of isolation which causes us to find strange and ineffective ways to create happiness. The bottom line is compassion towards this human condition – to my frailty and yours – allows our hearts to widen and brings the freedom we all wish we could enjoy.

And don’t think for a minute the Dalai Lama has had it easy. As a leader who had his country taken away and has witnessed and heard countless stories of his people being tortured and killed, the guy knows a thing or two about difficulties in leadership. This is why this morning’s article on Scott Elbins’s blog: What I Learned About Leadership from the Dalai Lama, piqued my interest:

Finally, the Dalai Lama’s approach to leadership and peace starts with an emphasis on individual action and relationship building. Here are a few (highly paraphrased) ideas he shared in his talk:

  • The biggest mistake people make is looking externally for happiness. Happiness starts with a calm and peaceful mind.
  • Too much formality creates barriers to communicating on a person to person basis. We should practice heart to heart interaction instead.
  • Warm heartedness leads to self confidence. Humans are social animals. We need to interact. Self centeredness is counter to true human nature.

It seems to me that if more leaders consciously followed some of these ideas, we’d have a lot less toxicity in many organizations.

Please do read the entire story on Scott Eblin’s Next Level Blog.

Susan J. Preston is a web designer residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Find out more about our work in our portfolio, or take a look at the article, How to write a website RFP for help with getting your web design/redesign started.

Photo Courtesy:
Friends of Tibet (www.friendsoftibet.org)
Pankaj Mistry (www.pankajmistry.com)
Image: Hind Swaraj International Centenary Conference, Nov 19-22 (Surajkund, Delhi) – For more information please visit : www.hindswaraj.co.cc


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