Lama Zopa Rinpoche is an internationally renowned master of Tibetan Buddhism who works and teaches ceaselessly on almost every continent. He is the spiritual director and co-founder of The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, an international network of Buddhist projects. He is the author of many books including Dear Lama Zopa.
Meditation is a spiritual practice that enables us to subdue our minds. According to Lama Zopa, the dissatisfied mind is one of the main causes of stress. We burden ourselves with expectations that are basically selfish. "The sun of real happiness shines in your life only when you start to cherish others," writes Lama Zopa. He suggests that when we get up in the morning, we think of our responsibility to others. Eating breakfast we can think of the food as medicine to keep us strong so we can serve others. And whatever work we do during the day we can dedicate to the well-being of all people.
Lama Zopa emphasizes the importance of compassion and its link to happiness:
"Even for our own happiness, even for our own survival, compassion is the most important factor. It is the most precious thing, more precious than all the wealth in the world. The good heart is more important than friends, lovers, wealth, fame, or anything else. Practicing the good heart is more important than all other forms of education. Practicing the good heart is the most important form of meditation."
As the Dalai Lama often reminds us, we all want happiness and the cessation of suffering. We can move along this path when we acknowledge the presence of buddhas and bodhisattvas who guide us, when we ignore our own hallucinations, when we stop believing our labels of problems as "bad," and when we experience every moment of life as precious.