As a writer, my main interest is in what makes people tick. What makes animals tick, too. The workings of our mind is where the action is all at, from my perspective. With the underlying question being – how can we achieve a sense of fulfilment and wellbeing?
Apart from studying psychology, philosophy and spiritual traditions, it’s also interesting to look at people who find themselves in extremely unusual situations – including those who already possess all the things our society seems to tell us we need to be happy. People who already possess all the wealth, power and status one could possibly wish for. Do they find fulfilment in these things, or do they look elsewhere?
This was exactly the reason I chose to write about The Queen from the perspective of her corgi in my most recent book. And in it I suggested that it’s not material things that inspires Her Majesty, nor the grand gesture. It is, rather, our intentions or motivations which are the source of wellbeing. In the second chapter of the book, I introduce the theme of doing ‘small acts with great love.’
The Queen’s Corgi: On Purpose was published last September. So you can imagine my surprise when, on Christmas Day, I turned on TV to watch the Queen use her traditional Christmas message to encourage people to do ‘small things with great love’!
There were, in fact, quite a few themes in the book which she touched on in her address. Which delighted me, because her message seemed to confirm many of the assumptions I had made about her – as I do about The Dalai Lama in my Dalai Lama’s Cat books.
And it seems to me that Her Majesty and His Holiness speak as one voice on the subjects of mind being the source of wellbeing – not material things, and of motivation being more important than the scale of activity. Most of all, they agree that it is the expression of loving kindness in what we do and say that matters. More so that what we believe. His Holiness often makes this point, and it is interesting to hear Her Majesty give voice to exactly the same idea too. Benevolent actions are what makes us happy – not beliefs.
There are several parts of her message when it’s easy to imagine that the Dalai Lama might say exactly the same thing. So, for those of you who missed it, here is The Queen speaking for six minutes about what inspires her.
(I am afraid you’ll have to stand up first for the British National Anthem!)
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