THE DALAI LAMA, IRONING & COSMETIC SURGERY – A COMMON THREAD OF PEACE, RELAXATION & JOY
Who does not have worries, some physical or psychological strains that must be dealt with? Even the Dali Lama on his 80th birthday moved with difficulty to the podium during a recent birthday celebration. However, he imbues the essence of contentment and a beauty both in-ward and on his face.
Is there some mechanism or trick we all can muster up, learn or adapt to in order to gain personal peace and happiness? I believe we all desire tranquility, contentment and joy. Perhaps we have varying views on either how to obtain these or what they mean to each of us. Or is there a common thread that binds all humanity to the fabric of life’s joys?
Ironing is a fairly mundane task but potentially extraordinarily satisfying and quite essential if one wishes to be presentable. Perhaps if I had to iron all day in a humid environment for a few cents my views on the topic would take flip like a tossed coin. Yet; I find that the wrinkles that are effaced, erased and smoothed out of my shirts offer immediate gratification. Before my very eye, with my own hands and with the assistance of a steaming appliance, I can visibility alter and transform a crumpled piece of dyed cloth into to a shimmering palette of color.
Ok, perhaps this is a bit of an embellishment but when we are capable of finding appreciation in small acts then our minds can enjoy the contentment that arises from these tasks. For me, a shirt that is now wearable, a new painting that begins with a blank canvas and now overflows with color, or a face feature that I sculpt as a plastic surgeon, and will now glow with a new vibrancy, are but of few of the satisfactions that I garner.
It is the small acts of kindness and the opening of our minds, in order to shed compassion upon our fellow man; despite not always agreeing with or understanding their perspective on life, that enlivens us, that feeds our inner flame of warmth; that so nourishes our minds and bodies.
Earth shattering events, such as an economic collapse, typhoon or loss of a loved one are often beyond our control or comprehension. What is within our control is finding satisfaction in proficiently performing our chosen careers or even taking small pleasures in mundane tasks. Filling an ice cube tray with a liquid that will transform into a frozen solid may seem insignificant, but a world without ice would lack so much more than a cool drink on a warm summer evening.
It is the appreciation and awareness of what we normally take for granted that will elevate our contentment to a higher pinnacle in life. A blooming flower that emerges from sleep, the kindness of a word spoken, the expression of appreciation for a small favor, the warmth of a smile to a passerby or just finding a bit of joy in smoothing out wrinkles is what offers a respite from the daily maddening pace.
Jeffrey S. Rosenthal, M.D. July 2015