Program Review: Dalai Lama Fellows

Guest Blog: Nathalia Scherer, Brazil

Through my participation in YBY, I was nominated to be a Dalai Lama Fellow. That was just the beginning of a transformative journey for me.

In 2014 when I was awarded as a fellow, I had the opportunity to deepen my leadership skills by merging social innovation with contemplative values, ethics, and compassion – lead by the lessons from the Dalai Lama. 

For me, what makes the DLF stand out from the several other programs I've been part of is the focus on each fellow. They embrace the belief that change starts from within and present a truly rich program to the fellows.

Starting six weeks before new Fellows arrive at the Ethical Leadership Assembly (hosted in Petaluma, CA), they asked us to work on ourselves. Through a set of reflective exercises, they greatly led us to deepen their capacity to balance power and love in service of others.

This begins with the first of the three core curricular competencies – self-mastery.

At Dalai Lama Fellows, we see self-mastery as comprised of 8 parts.

  1. Being Present: Being fully aware and awake in the present moment – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
  2. Compassion: Having acceptance and kindness to oneself and others, and an intention to alleviate suffering and promote well-being.
  3. Suspension and Letting Go: The ability to experience a thought or emotion without reacting or responding right away.
  4. Personal Power: Using one’s energy and drive to manifest wise actions in the world.
  5. Holding Paradoxes, Multiple World Views, and Ambiguities: The ability to sit with ambiguity and hold multiple perspectives when working with others.
  6. Intention Aligned With Higher Purpose: Using what moves you at your core to assist others in the world.
  7. Whole Self Awareness: The life-long process of paying attention to all aspects of your self.
  8. Sense of Humor: Light-heartedness and never taking oneself too seriously.

Working on that set of competencies itself was already a huge help for me, specially considering that I was in a big phase of exploration and discovery in my life. 

But the learning process was just getting started. That year, the fellows and a wonderful group of mentors spent a week at the Institute of Noetic Science in Petaluma, CA in their Ethical Leadership Assembly exchanging experiences, leaning skills and nourishing the strong community that was starting to be built there. 

Following the ELA, we then have monthly calls with our program directors who support us as we develop our own selves and projects.

I feel extremely fortunate for being part of this program and recommend it for you that truly want works towards a world that tends to the good of the whole as well as of the individual.