Maintaining inner peace through right speech and action

When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.

The Dalai Lama
Photo by Sunilkumar Krishnamoorthy on Pexels.com

When I read this quote by the Dalai Lama, I thought about the times that I’ve lost my patience and said or done something that I immediately regretted. The embarrassment and guilt from those types of situations can sit with me for days while I rehash them in my mind and wonder about possible outcomes.

Obviously, there’s another problem there of living in the past instead of living in the present, which isn’t healthy on its own, but all actions have consequences. I think this is something the Buddha was aware of and is an important part of the idea of karma. The things we say and do that we might wish we could take back not only create guilt and bad feelings between us and other people, but, according to Buddhist teachings, they also add negative karma which can come back to visit us in this life or the next.

So, sure, live in the present, but it’s also important to help that along by not doing things that anchor us in the past. In other words, spending more time listening and thinking before speaking or doing so that we don’t get stuck in a cycle of worry and anxiety. I’m not saying that to preach to anyone. It’s more of a personal reflection and a reminder to myself to be vigilant as a means of improving my mental clarity, focus, and quality of sleep.

I’ve come to believe that simplicity is best, and the simplifying process doesn’t have to be restricted to discarding or giving away unused goods, it can also be a simplification of mental burdens by removing unnecessary worries and stresses by doing and saying the right things at all times. It’s like that old adage about not lying, so you don’t have to maintain the mental burden of remembering which lies you’ve told to which people.

As for what the right thing to do and say is, well, that’s more subjective and depends on context.

Burning Out Stress on the Running Track

East River Park Running Track
East River Park Running Track

When I was living in Singapore, my wife and I would go jogging 3 times a week or more.  Even though it was hot over there all the time, even at night, it was exhilarating.  Besides being in good shape, every time we would run and hit our target, it gave us a sense of accomplishment.  Participating in the first Run350 event on Pulau Ubin Island and finishing the 5k in 31 minutes, despite the god-awful big hills on the course, was amazing!

Something I probably didn’t think too much about at the time but realize more now is that jogging is also a great way to burn stress.  Last semester was hell for me.  I took on way too many classes and had way too many assignments due.  I’m still sleeping almost 11 hours a day recovering from the lack of rest, especially over the last few weeks.

Despite the time crunch I was under, I still took time to jog.  Why?  Because it gave me an opportunity to stop thinking about due dates and complicated research questions for just an hour or two and gave me a sense of achievement and accomplishment when I met my running goal.  Every successfully completed run was a pat on the back that motivated me to not only keep running, but to get back to my classwork as well.

The bonus on top of it all?  It’s an opportunity for my wife and I to bond.  She runs too and we almost always run together.  This month is going to be a little different.  She’s working full time and I’m busting my ass to get my master’s degree as soon as possible, so I’m taking summer classes.  The summer class I have this month is at night so on Wednesdays we’ll have to run solo like I did yesterday.  It wasn’t as much fun, because I enjoy the competitiveness of running with my wife.  She’s almost as fast as I am, so she keeps me moving when I start to get lazy.