An Audience with HH the Dalai Lama

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An Audience with HH the Dalai Lama

dalai2His Holiness The Dalai Lama -
The Embodiment of Compassion

I was fortunate and honoured to be part of the Press group with the Dalai Lama when he visited the UK in 2008, there’s a full conversation with him on the Your Ultimate Resource site, this is a summary of his message.

Listening to the Dalai Lama sharing His experiences and thoughts, one of the aspects which most impressed me was the amount of laughter – both from himself and from His audience.There is warm heartedness, humility and a lightness of spirit which is very apparent in His way of speaking, and His words are aimed directly at the hearts of His listeners. His message of compassion and loving kindness is based on common sense and practical living, and he is clear in asserting His belief that:

“The purpose of life is for happiness, to survive happily”

 

One of His central teachings about the development of compassion is based on the importance of childhood influences, particularly the effects of parenting. He reflects on His own childhood, and says he believes that mothers are the starting point of loving kindness. He describes His own mother’s simplicity, an uneducated village woman from a farming background, and immensely warm hearted. Contrasting her love and gentleness with the more disciplinarian approach of His father, he concludes that had he spent more time in His early years with His father he would probably not have been the same person.

“I believe that my altruistic mind and my compassion – the very seeds of that mind I got from my birth and the next few months and years with my mother – that was the real starting point to raise my model of loving kindness.”

He goes on to say to parents:

“What I say is this – give maximum affection to your children.
That is very essential to bring us a happier humanity.
The main hope for humanity relies on our future generations.
So families with children have a special role –
to give maximum affection to your children.
And parents – particularly mothers – spend more time with your children.”


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© Christine Miller All Rights Reserved

For Fathers

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In February 2012 I was invited by the shopping channel QVC UK to be their resident poet and take part in a ‘Love Letters’ project to encourage people to write romantic, appreciative  verses and letters to their loved ones, expressing gratitude for their presence and the joy they bring to life. It was a wonderful experience, producing over 100 poems in two days, and this one written for a much-adored father seems very fitting for Father’s Day today, June 17th 2012.

With Love and Appreciation to all fathers, everywhere.

For Fathers

Full of love,
Strong, courageous,
A father’s wisdom,
Treasured;
Your lifetime gift,
A priceless gem,
Enduring.

Source of wonder,
Giver of life,
Precious,
Embracing with warmth,
Laughing,
Strong.

I am grateful,
Eternally,
For your care,
Your gentleness,
Your being and heart,
For My Life
Expressed.

Christine Miller
February 2012

How to be Happy

Christine Miller & Dadi Janki Inner Wave Pic

A Mote of Dust Suspended in a Sunbeam…

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 BIGGER PICTURE

I'm prompted, even provoked, today by the horror and human helplessness in the face of what's happening in Japan and the Pacific. In spite of being probably the best prepared country in the world for such events, there's little or nothing that can be done about the repercussions. 

It's easy to get wrapped up in the mundanities of life, fretting about details in the moment. Then something massive comes along and refocuses the attention in a much bigger arena and we realise what minute specks we are.

This photo of the earth as a pale blue dot, taken from Voyager in 1990 from around 6 billion kilometres away shows just what a tiny presence we really have in the universe.

 

FRAGILE HUMAN ENDEAVOURS

We are reminded also how fragile our human endeavours are in the face of natural forces. The empathetic feelings evoked by today's earthquake in Japan, with the Tsunamis relentlessly wiping out careful human constructions and carrying them off in epic tides that resemble a science fiction monster devouring huge objects in black treacly horror points up our physical impermanence.

Someone on TV said that he didn't think the Japan earthquake was connected to the recent New Zealand Christchurch earthquake. What? All that shifting, seething, abrading rock, lava and heat under the ocean, those faultlines along the Pacific Rim that make it the most volatile area for seismic activity on earth – not connected? 

To me, it's all connected, and it's all moving… all the time. 

I love Carl Sagan's account below. A moving experience and very timely. No further words needed from me. 

PALE BLUE DOT

 

Here's the transcript:

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

Loving East London?

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Until I met Alison White a couple of weeks ago at an Olympic Legacy reception at the House of Commons, I associated ‘Elba’ with the Italian island famous for Napoleon’s first exile and the somewhat hackneyed palindrome attributed to him from that time - “Able was I ere I saw Elba…”

Not That ELBA

ELBA, however, is a completely different thing – the East London Business Alliance – which is dedicated to creating possibilities in East London.  I suppose they could be described as an island of opportunities where plans are hatched and put into action, so they do have that in common with Napoleon and his time in Elba, and certainly their ventures are bold and far reaching, but they are certainly not isolated or remote from the realities of life in East London.

I Love the DLR

I popped over to see Alison to explore how we might be able to collaborate on projects for local people. Their offices are in the docklands area, so I got to travel on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) which always pleases me, I love it, it reminds me of a kind of cute ‘toytown’ rail service! Of course I wasn’t using it in rush hour so regulars who travel at peak times might have a different perspective when it’s crowded.

Alliance of Major Organisations

ELBA has around 123 member organisations including some big household names, (e.g. Barclays, AXA, BT, Thomson Reuters) who support both financially and in kind on a wide range of initiatives to improve local life in this very diverse area. ELBA have volunteering, employment and legacy programmes, and can and do guide investment so that it is delivered where it is needed most and to a high standard.

They’ve been around for over 20 years, so they have much experience and local knowledge. I had a very refreshing time talking with Alison and some of her team about initiatives for helping those who are hard to reach and difficult to place in work, and the links they have forged that bring local people together with volunteers. We hope to be able to bring you more information about their work in the near future.

Contrasting Views

I also enjoyed strolling around the docklands area – it always inspires me with the stretches of water with birds, boats and floating restaurants, the cafes, the people and the varied architecture.  In what many might think of as cold,  unfriendly London, someone stopped to make sure I was okay when I was pausing on the pavement to check my map on the way there.

The stark juxtaposition of Canary Wharf with its amazing buildings and symbols of financial wealth with some of the poorest parts of East London remains an extraordinary experience. 
Hats off to those who are working to redress the balance.

Although there is of necessity a lot of activity and talk about the Olympics and their legacy, it’s good to know that the team at ELBA are there as a longstanding and enduring resource for making a positive difference in the community.

Watch out for more news soon!

 

How to have better relationships with your teenagers

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Resourceful Little Treasures

© Christine Miller

In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest and concern in relation to children’s emotional and mental health. Media stories about bullying in schools, excluded children, disaffected youths creating mayhem in their communities, concerns about child pornography and the safety of the internet – all have been presented in the nation’s living rooms, and whether we judge the publicity good or bad, it is now important to recognise that the well being of our children is of widespread interest and concern. Some years ago, a government report, “Promoting Children’s Mental Health within Early Years and School Settings” (DfES[i]: 2001) stated that “the mental health of children is everyone’s business”, and that adult society as a whole needed to recognise the importance of children’s mental health and emotional literacy.

Self-esteem

Sense of identity

Strong family relationships

Good communications with teachers and peer groups

The above are widely acknowledged as key elements in children who are resilient, and the risk factors for mental ill-health increase with every element missing from the list of desirable conditions.

[Read more...]