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What Does Peace Mean to You?

May 16th, 2011

Dalai Lama photo credit: Claudia Heitler

May 16, 2011 — Did you know that if you have a happy friend, you’re 15% more likely to be happy? And if your happy friend has a happy friend — who you don’t even know — you’re going to be an extra 10% happier? How can it be that people we don’t even know influence our happiness? *

These were some of the ideas discussed over the weekend in Newark, New Jersey at a Peace Summit that brought experts from all over the world to talk about how to make the world a better place.

The most famous speaker was a man called the Dalai Lama (sounds like Dolly Lama), a 75-year old, Nobel Peace Prize-winning Tibetan monk who says his religion is Kindness. Tibetans believe he is Holy.  But for all of the Dalai Lama’s accolades and hard work on the serious subject of Peace, he has a wonderful presence, a warm smile, and is very funny.

The Chinese government does not recognize Tibet as a separate country from China

In the Dalai Lama’s view, having peace in the world starts inside each of us. He said if we’re peaceful inside ourselves first, then it’s easier to be peaceful toward others. So, how do you do that when your brother or sister annoys you, or you’re have a bad day? He understands the potential for conflict is always there, but he said it’s about how we handle it. Talking situations through patiently and kindly is the answer, he said.

He also said, you don’t have to like someone’s actions, but that doesn’t mean you should have bad feelings about them as a person. He said that’s an important distinction to make.

He added that adults have a lot to learn from children. Children, he said, generally forgive each other and get back to being friends quickly.

You can watch a 2-minute clip of the Dalai Lama talk about Compassion from a different event:

The youngest speaker at the event was an 11-year old, 5th grader from Newark who said that Peace wasn’t just one quality, that it included many qualities such as loving and caring, and that it takes work. She also urged that bullying stop.

However it’s defined, most agreed that Peace was more than just the absence of violence, but that absence of violence was a good place to start.

What does Peace mean to you? I would love to hear from you.


* according to Dr. Deepak Chopra through the Gallup Organization

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