For 10 days during an Introduction to Buddhism course, we recited the words of the Dalai Lama.
There were 100 students, and each morning, before our first meditation session, we said these words out loud together. For many of us, reciting anything in the morning wasn’t part of our usual routine.
We might peek through our phones, have coffee, or run straight to work. The first time our teacher asked us to recite his Holiness’ words, I didn’t see the point. I wasn’t aware of how these words could transform my day.
Day by day, I started to understand why we were asked to say them. When the course ended and I went back home, I printed the paragraph out and hung it on the wall in my room. To this day, I read it before doing anything.
The Dalai Lama says:
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
What I once thought was a futile practice has turned into my morning routine. These powerful words from the Dalai Lama are valuable because they remind us of things we tend to forget.
When we say something out loud, we must remember that the universe has ears. By reciting the Dalai Lama’s words, we send out an intention that can turn into our motivation for the day. Whenever we feel like slipping back into old behavioral patterns, we can remember what we said in the morning and start again.
What intrigues me the most about his words is the reminder that we have a precious life. This might be something difficult to digest, especially when life gets tough and things don’t go our way. We might curse our situation or slip into self-destructive habits. We focus so much on what’s not working out and forget about what is.
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.”
When we recite these words, we remind ourselves that life is meant to be treasured—no matter how challenging or unexpected it can be. The fact that we are breathing and walking on this earth means that we are lucky enough to be part of a tremendous evolution.
We are surrounded by nature, animals, and other living things. And we have been blessed with the power of choice. It doesn’t matter what we have, what matters is our perception.
We must learn to be grateful for what we have—even simple things, like our health, shelter, and access to food. As the Dalai Lama says, we must promise ourselves to not waste this blessing that we have been given—the blessing of life.
He also urges us to open our hearts and be compassionate toward all living beings. To be kind is our universal purpose. Since we are fortunate to be alive, we should share our fortune with those around us. We shouldn’t think badly of them or judge them in anger—by finding the good in people, we expand the goodness within us.
You can save the Dalai Lama’s words on your phone or print them out, as I did. Close your eyes for a few minutes before reading them and bring your attention to your breath. Focus on centering yourself so you can feel the words in your core and incorporate them into your day.
Then say the words out loud and try to feel the meaning behind them.
May they be of benefit.
Bonus: 5 Mindful Things to Do Each Morning
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina