Everything starts with yourself. You are the one who chooses how to perceive things.  You are the one who chooses how to react to them.

Many times, we know, if we react humbly, patiently, with loving-kindness, the result will be that we are going to be in a much happier state of mind. In this way, our attitude will, also, be moved and so forth. Everything starts aligning.

If you are aware and dedicated to consolidating this kind of pattern, slowly, the mechanism will become automatic.  What we are experiencing now is the cause-related result of our karma.

Many times, what happens is the opposite case.  Why? Because we invite the ego. We invite these destructive emotions. We allow in those uninvited guests. We let them into our way of thinking. We accept them. We give them power. We let them just, you know, rampage. Then, afterward… Oh, we regret what we have done… We are sad… We have to say, “Sorry,” to whomever we have hurt or offended.

Of course, learning is a process. If we do not change that habit, if we do not change that, then, we are just repeating something, again and again. It is not having any constructive functionality.  You are just not having any positive results. Positive results are what we are looking for. We are looking to be able to improve as a person.

We do not need to compare ourselves to anybody because everybody is different from each other. Everybody knows differently. Everybody has been living in different circumstances.  They come from different perspectives including cultural backgrounds, childhood upbringing, social influences, etcetera.  Right?

Like there is nobody who knows more than another person. I am sorry to say this, ok? At least, this is how I see things from my point of view. Everybody just knows differently because it is from their perspective.  The way they understand things is from their perspective. 

If I say something, I am never going to understand exactly what you are going to understand. You will never really be able to know exactly what I am trying to say. That space in between, that is something that we must just accept.  Okay?

It is like when you read. The writer may intend to say something.  We will never fully comprehend the complete message of the writer because we have our perception. So, there is always a big space in between the two. There is a big space between one perception and the other.

That is, also, one of the difficulties with communication. That is why it is, also, so important to listen more than to talk in communication.

Listening is the more important part of communication even though it may not seem right.  “Oh, no, communication is about talking, isn’t it?”

No. It is about listening. So that is something, also. It is an art.  Listening is an art. I think listening is a huge aspect of empathy because it is showing, “Oh, I care. You exist. I want to understand you. I want to be able to relate to you.”

Most people listen to the answer. Maybe the person has not spoken…  Maybe the person has not finished speaking, yet, but we are already interrupting them.  We are already talking over them to answer. That is how we are wired. That is the ego. The individual is more important. We are the center of the universe. Everything goes around us.

That is the thing.  You are not the center of the universe. I am not sorry to say this.  We are not. We are little…  We are not even a little grain of sand. 

I mean, but we have great potential. We can make a huge difference. We do make a huge difference.

It is about a… balance between one and the other. It is like this…

Be proud because you are. Be humble because you belong.

You are part of something. You are part of the interdependent in constant motion collective of humankind living in nature

So, I think that is incredibly wise words from a friend of mine who told me that. He is a leatherworker. He has worked the leather for 50 years, now. He makes amazing leather crafts. He creates these animals and boxes.  He will make a huge eagle, a real life-size turtle, or any kind of animal or whatever from just pure 100 percent leather, all by and with his hands, layer by layer. Amazing. He will take months to do it. He even made motorbike helmets. Yeah.  They were tested. They were even better than the normal helmets because the leather would absorb the impact. His work is professional. Anyway, he is an incredibly wise man and one of my mentors. Selim is close to my heart. I was an apprentice working the leather with him for some time.

I like craftsmanship, art. I have tried a little bit of everything, you know. For me, it was important to do that because, in the monastery, I never really got a chance. In the monastery, almost everything was prohibited but study and prayers.  So, it is good for me.

I am grateful for the opportunity I had. I am happy that I had the tools of what I learned in the monastery. Once I was living in the wide world it became so precious as practical day to day advice. It helped me to be able to adapt easier to situations.

Had I not had those tools, I think it would have been difficult for me to adapt to western culture. This is especially true with my mentality. I did not understand anything about society.  I was just… basically in a bubble.

So, yeah, it is so important. Confront yourself always. Confront yourself every morning.  Confront yourself every night.

Every morning when you wake up, motivate. Try to understand what your motivation is. What are you going to do today?

We are all trying to find happiness, right?  I think we agreed on that.  Uh… so, how do we… get to that happiness? That is the question.

The first step is understanding that happiness can only be the result of being loving compassionate with oneself and, in this way, to all others.

So, at least maybe there are some things we have to stop doing which becomes our motivation.  Do you understand?

As long as our intention, as long as our motivation is ego, being self-centered, attached, clinging, moved by selfish interests, it is impossible to be happy.  We will most likely be unhappy.

As long as my intentions are around ME… I, want to be happy, then, forget it. That is not the path to happiness.


  1. claudio cipullo

    Tx, Lama You look like bramzi Mahakala, in this picture.
    May this new year bring You happiness, success and realizations of Your Holy wishes!
    Claude cipullo.

  2. Michel Sherab

    Thank you dear Osel for sharing this few words about communicating.
    It is true that listening to the other is the base to relate to each others with geniune interest and empathy – not self interest. Oftenly, we are reacting or answering straigh away, without actually really listening and being aware of the other.
    I like also the “Be proud because you are. Be humble because you belong.” Useful to think more about it!

    All the best

  3. Andy Wistreich

    So glad we have all this excellent advice in language and examples we can relate to. It’s so important how it’s expressed. Even the best advice expressed in an obscure way, fails to communicate. Your communication is clear and direct. Thank you so much for giving yourself like this. I appreciate it, for myself, and all who read it. May you have much happiness and good health in 2021. Much love, Andy

  4. Margaret Bachtler

    Dear Osel,
    I was excited to read this teaching because I knew I would hear words of wisdom and sure enough you delivered. Thank you Osel. One of the gems for me was your equation for happiness. Loving compassion to self and all others = happiness. Throughout the centuries many have pondered this question and the Buddhist teachings succinctly give the answer. Good to know.

  5. Rosalyn Williams

    There are certain sentences that mean a lot so I would like to copy them, so that I can think about them
    Second paragraph
    ‘If we react humbly, patiently, with loving kindness then over time we will find a shift in our attitudes and things will start to align. I like this paragraph because I do believe to have all those values I was taught as a child from the head of the family which I never believed in or saw their worth . But I do admire others who have gentle, kindly speech with a touch of humour and know there is a whole world to explore with this person , and at the same time know you can never really know that person , due to ongoing changes within and without. It’s kind of ongoing and I end up not exploring but following that to which I am devoted and which hopefully produces results.

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