Crown House, 27 Old Gloucester St, London, WC1N 3AX

Is The Epidemic Of Mental Illness Due To A Lack Of True Affection

The Dalai Lama recently wrote an article in which he spoke about the purpose of life.

In the wake of the powerful March for Our Lives, it is a culturally relevant topic to consider seriously. The Dalai Lama is certain that each and every individual human being wants to be happy from the moment of birth. He even suggests that the desire for happiness is hard-wired into us.

Considering how many people are addicted to watching the news and numbing themselves with inane content, it wouldn’t appear that we have discovered the way to achieve happiness. In fact, it would appear that the world, or at least some parts of it, are crazier than ever.

The Importance Of The Affection Of Others

The Dalai Lama confirms this when he writes, “Recently I met a group of scientists in America who said that the rate of mental illness in their country was quite high, at around twelve percent of the population. It became clear during our discussion that the main cause of depression was not a lack of material necessities but a deprivation of the affection of the others.”

This underscores what we have heard over and over – that Love is All We Need. The Dalai Lama says, “The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence.” Increasingly, we humans have focused on ‘us versus them’ and ‘you’re either with us or against us.’ We are not conscious of our interdependence with one another, our primordial need for connection. And the Dalai Lama concurs. He writes, “Whether or not we are consciously aware of it, from the day we are born, the need for human affection is in our very blood. Even if the affection comes from an animal or someone we would normally consider an enemy, both children and adults will naturally gravitate towards it.

No Need To Be Religious Or Believe In An Ideology

I once read that “we cannot hurt another without hurting ourselves, and we cannot help others without helping ourselves.” I don’t remember where I read it, but some sources point to Ralph Waldo Emerson as saying something similar. Anyway, this quote highlights our interconnectedness with all life. We must eliminate self-loathing and learn to love ourselves not only so that we can more purely love others but also to ensure the survival of our species and this beautiful planet that is our home.

Recalling the Dalai Lama’s article, he states, “I believe that at every level of society – familial, tribal, national and international – the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in an ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities.

Do Your Best

That breaks the task down to something every individual can do and, hopefully, embrace. As long as you stay alert to be compassionate with yourself first and do your best to live as your highest self – that’s all that matters. Try baby steps. Acknowledge those, celebrate those. Eventually, we will each discover the true source of happiness. In the meantime, if you are open to new ways of discovering what makes you sing – your happiness – perhaps I can help.