According to the Dali Lama, this is the secret to joy. This allows his holiness’s ability to see love, laughter, potential, and joy in humanity even as he lives in exile and witnesses such pain to his people and the world at large.
In the Desmond Tutu/Dali Lama documentary I saw it in action as they “comforted” a child.
Setting: Desmond Tutu and his holiness are visiting a school for Tibetan children that had to leave their parents to travel to India for a better life at this refugee camp for Tibetan children. Some children as young as 4 are sent off on dangerous roads trekking for days without their parents who they will most likely never see again. All of these children live in a school where they are taken care of and are surrounded by love from monks and other Buddhists.
A young girl (11 years old tops) was presenting her story to the Dali Lama and Desmond Tutu. She broke into tears when speaking about leaving her parents and how hard it was. She was unable to speak. The two men sat in silence as the girl wept in front of them. Desmond spoke first and uttered an “I’m sorry” while the girl continued to sob. You could see his compassion and he personal hurt. You could feel it. Empath for sure. She nodded.
Then the Dali Lama spoke. He did not offer any such condolences. He did not acknowledge her pain at all. Instead, he said how lucky she is to be at the school to receive such an incredible education. How lucky she is.
How lucky she is?
Now that’s some cognitive reframing.
Definition: Cognitive reframing is a technique used to shift your mindset so you’re able to look at a situation, person, or relationship from a slightly different perspective.
Cognitive reframing does not come easy to this girl. Just watching the young girl cry, made me cry. If I was one of the educators in the room, I would have had that girl in my lap by then rocking her and covering her in “I’m sorrys.”
But I’m going to practice this technique.