We know what you’re thinking. What the heck does the Dalai Lama know about living in an apartment? We challenge you to read on and be enlightened!
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”-Dalai Lama XIV
Never has such a simple statement held such relevance when it comes to living in an apartment. Happiness (and peace and quiet) is not something that comes automatically, it comes from how you treat others (specifically your neighbors and friends). Think of it, maybe by not turning your TV up so loud during a movie night, that would do the trick? Or possibly, when you’re having guests over for a celebration, you may want to take the time to knock-on your neighbors’ doors and let them know you’ll be having a small get-together, but assure them it will only take place between certain hours, and you’ll be happy to wind-it-down before their child’s bedtime. Little actions like this can go a long way towards a peaceful co-existence with the neighbors in your apartment building.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.” ― Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness
Luxury apartments are not the type of luxuries we are talking about here. Love and compassion are! For example, maybe one of the neighbors in your apartment complex is going through a rough patch. Rather than ignoring that person, why not mix up a batch of cookies and leave it by their doorstep with a little note that says, “Just thinking of You!” Or, if you know one of their children needs looking-after while their parents are busy at work, offer up your spare time. Doing these things will surely make you a hero to your neighbor/s and give you a feeling of fulfillment and love that you might not otherwise feel. Don’t ignore the problem, offer compassion and love no matter how passive or subtle.
“Silence is sometimes the best answer” ― Dalai Lama XIV
Sure, your neighbor has children that stomp around when they have play dates. Or maybe a dispute took place in the apartment next door and it disturbed your dinner one night. Showing restraint and not sending a nasty email or written letter to your neighbor or landlord might be your best first course of action! Sometimes, it’s best to take a breather, let things cool down and we bet you’ll notice that these things have a way of resolving themselves. You may even find that-that playdate or disagreement-was just a “one-off” and the folks upstairs are the best neighbors you could ask for!
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.” ― Dalai Lama
This is one of the most important lessons we can learn when it comes to apartment living. Remember living in an apartment on Long Island or NYC is a communal lifestyle. You are sharing spaces, basically living together. You are not as isolated as you may think. Reflect on how we all come together in times of crisis and tumult (9/11 and the recent pandemic are just two examples that come to mind). Humans, by nature, are communal beings and thrive on personal interaction and communication, these attributes are no more apparent than living together in an apartment building or complex. So, in the words of another wise man Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Offer help, simply just “be there” for your neighbors, your apartment building (and your heart) will thank you.
“A genuine, affectionate smile is very important in our day-to-day lives.” ― the Dalai Lama
Apartment renters in Queens and Brooklyn can sometimes be misunderstood. Most folks think just because you’re quiet or withdrawn that you want space and you’re not really into communicating. But that doesn’t mean while in an elevator or in the lobby of the building you couldn’t just share a quick smile to show you care. To be sure, one does not have to go all out or be overly friendly and gregarious with their neighbors, sometimes just a gentle smile while your walking past each other in the hall or helping one of your neighbors who may be overloaded with packages, will be just enough to loosen someone up. Who knows, you may even end up becoming friends!