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    The Cake Incident | Part 2 of The Dalai Lama’s Guide to Happiness

    enJanuary 03, 2023

    About this Episode

    The Dalai Lama makes a risky move. When confronted by a young American woman coping with incredible loss, he does something surprising and counterintuitive. The incident surfaces a question that is more urgent now than ever: As social media, tribalism, individualism, and a global pandemic conspire to keep us separated from each other, how do we maintain what psychologists call “social fitness”?


    In conversation with Dr. Richard J. Davidson, world renowned neuroscientist and longtime friend and collaborator of the Dalai Lama, we unpack the scientifically demonstrated benefits of the social connection embodied by His Holiness, and give easily accessible strategies to incorporate this wisdom into your everyday life. Also, Dan has a bit of an identity crisis. 


    Want more of The Dalai Lama’s Guide to Happiness? Download the Ten Percent Happier app wherever you get your apps.


    Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/dalai-lama-guide-539


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    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Prioritizing social connection is crucial for combatting mental health issues and increasing happiness. The Dalai Lama's emphasis on human connection and the community efforts in Dharamsala demonstrate the significance of social fitness.
    • To combat feelings of hopelessness in times of personal crisis, it is important to connect with others and offer compassion and support. Sharing stories and seeking guidance can be powerful tools for mental health advocacy and education activism.
    • Valuing personal and professional relationships, self-reflection, and a compassionate approach can lead to human flourishing. Encounters can have varying meanings, and skepticism is necessary to avoid losing it. Expert advice on relationships is available through podcasts.
    • It's natural to express love and care through physical touch, even in a professional setting. Compassionate leadership requires risks and breaking barriers for human connection, which can combat isolation and find joy in suffering.
    • Having someone to confide in is crucial for our wellbeing. Connecting with strangers through small acts of kindness can also boost happiness. Practicing appreciation and mindfulness can help bring positive connections to our daily lives.
    • Meditation is more than just a practice, it's a way of life. By improving our ability to be less reactive and aggressive, we can improve our personal and social fitness. Through guided meditations, we can learn to make peace with our selfishness and deal with difficult people, ultimately improving our mental health and wellbeing.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The Importance of Social Connection for a Happy and Fulfilling Life in a Challenging World.

    Social connection is crucial for human beings to survive and be happy. Despite challenges such as technology, political polarization, and individualistic consumerism, social fitness and quality relationships remain the most important variable for happiness and wellbeing. The Dalai Lama is a master at compassion and social fitness, and his emphasis on human connection is important for a happy and fulfilling life. Additionally, the importance of community effort for the well-being of both humans and animals is demonstrated in Dharamsala. It is essential to prioritize social connection to improve mental health and combat issues such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness that have increased during the pandemic.

    Connection and Compassion in Times of Crisis

    The key takeaway from the text is that in times of immense suffering, it is important to realize that we are not alone and to feel a connection with others. The young activists at the meeting shared their stories and questions, seeking guidance on how to cope with mental health advocacy and education activism. When Crystal McLeod from New York City shared her grief of losing her brother to suicide, the Dalai Lama responded by sticking his tongue out and feeding her cake. His gestures of unconventional compassion moved the audience, but also sparked intellectual wonder about Me Too concerns. In conclusion, feeling connected to others and helping them is important in reducing hopelessness in times of personal crisis.

    The Power of Relationships and Compassion in Action

    The quality of relationships is the most important variable for human flourishing. Personal and professional relationships, the relationship with oneself, and with aspirations and fears should be valued. The encounter with Crystal and the Dalai Lama exemplifies compassion in action. The meaning of an encounter differs from person to person, and group psychology can impose meaning on every encounter. However, skepticism is essential, and personal analysis is necessary to avoid losing it. Perception of an incident depends on the individual's background, culture, and identity. A compassionate approach to any situation can be helpful, as exemplified by the Dalai Lama feeding cake to Crystal, who was suffering. Podcasts like 'Just Curious Relationships' and 'This is actually Happening' offer expert advice on challenging situations.

    The Importance of Compassion and Human Connection for Well-being

    Compassion and human connection are crucial for physical and mental well-being. The Dalai Lama is an expert in expressing affection and compassion in different contexts, such as touching, hugging, and even playfulness. While some may consider some of his behavior inappropriate given cultural context, it is natural for him to express love and care through physical touch. The risky move of feeding cake to Crystal after sharing her personal story turned out to be a beautiful expression of compassion and playfulness. Compassionate leadership requires taking risks and breaking down barriers to human connection. It's possible to hold pain and grief without feeling isolated by connecting with others and finding joy even in the midst of suffering.

    The Importance of Social Connection for Mental and Physical Health

    Having at least one significant person in your life that you have a social connection with that you can confide in is important for our mental and physical health. Social connection is the key to human happiness, and even micro moments of connection with strangers can boost our happiness. Research shows that loneliness is more than twofold, the risk factor for mortality compared to obesity. Compassion can take many forms and even small acts of kindness can make a difference. Practicing appreciation and mindfulness can help us remember to bring these positive connections to all aspects of our daily lives, leading to a boost in happiness and wellbeing.

    The Benefits of Meditation for Personal and Social Fitness

    Meditation is not just about getting better at meditation, but about improving the overall quality of life by being less reactive, less aggressive, and more connected with people. The purpose of meditation is to improve personal social fitness, deal with difficult people, and make peace with selfishness. The interview with his holiness could be a test of social fitness and an opportunity to learn about the purpose of life, anger management, and meditation. The Dollar Lama's Guide to Happiness provides free access to video conversations and guided meditations to help make meditation a regular practice. Meditation can improve mental health and wellbeing according to the Wellbeing Project, which provides mental health services for change makers, including activists.

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