Understanding the Power of Human Mind

photo by Helen Vink

photo by Helen Vink

Bright Now Festival Opens in Amsterdam with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

article by Klemen Kokelj of Knowmads, partner in the organization of the festival

photos by BHH Studios and Helen Vink

It is Friday evening, 7pm. I enter the Royal Tropical Institute. A luxurious marble hall with a flavor of historic sea adventures greets me. The staff are relaxed and have a look of love in their eyes, which gives me the feeling that the event is going to be powerful. People are gathering and the evening buzz is exciting. I head for the Great Hall where the honorable Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is giving a lecture about the future and challenges of our society. This is another amazing hall. The event opens up with two lovely opera songs that touch my heart and shortly afterwards the Sakyong is on the stage.

Opera singer, photo by BHH Studios

Opera singer, photo by BHH Studios

He starts talking about the fast pace of our modern lifestyle, the role of meditation and what connectedness truly means. I am deeply reminded to nurture all the relationships around me because we are the ones who build society. At the end of the day, after all, society is a relationship between you and me.

I was intrigued by his remark that Tibetans are practical people and that meditation wouldn’t have survived if it was impractical. “Meditation is understanding the power of the human mind,” says the Sakyong. It turns out that meditation is not just the act of sitting down, but is about truly connecting with yourself and then staying in the same frame of mind when you get up and dive into your life. By directing our thoughts we influence our psycho-somatic state, and it affects the way we raise up our children and even how we manage our economy.

How do you connect to yourself? By truly being present to who you are and what are you doing. By asking yourself every morning: “How am I holding myself? How is society holding itself?”

Sakyong Mipham at Bright Now, photo by BHH Studios

Sakyong Mipham at Bright Now, photo by BHH Studios

If you apply compassion in a situation, people think it is not strong enough. But actually it is an act of bravery and an invitation for another to do the same. Depending on that invitation, contact with another human being can be an experience worth living. Our actions can have a far bigger impact than we usually imagine.

What a powerful talk! I am so grateful to be in this place. The talk ends and I am standing in the marble hall again, drinking wine and listening to a mesmerizing jazz band and enjoying the atmosphere. I already feel a different level of presence.

photo by Helen Vink

photo by Helen Vink

I check the weekend schedule: 17 talks, 47 workshops. The topics range from mindfulness, education, psychology and Buddhism to leadership and money. Hmm. It looks like it is going to be an extraordinary weekend.

Stay tuned for more reflections on the Bright Now Festival….coming soon to the Shambhala Times!

This article was previously posted on Shambhala Times.

Posted October 10, 2014 in: Harvest 2014