Dalai Lama's Atlas of Human Emotions

A tool to help us find calm, peace, happiness and compassion

Ok, I admit it. I sometimes get caught up in the day-to-day. The Dalai Lama is hoping that we will all aim a little higher – to become more self-aware, compassionate people.

He wants the 7+billion people in the world to attain peace, happiness… and ultimately compassion. He thinks that modern humans can be selfish and materialistic (this is hard to argue with). Emotions, especially sub-conscious emotions, can be trouble makers for humans. The Dalai Lama asserts that compassion begins with self-awareness and an understanding of our complex blend of emotions. He has built an online tool to help us. It is called The Atlas of Emotions.

He collaborated with psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman and his daughter Dr. Eve Ekman to create a visual journey through human emotions. The point is to understand your emotional self – and re-discover basic human nature – which is compassionate. Dr. Paul Ekman advised Pixar on the movie “Inside Out”.

The Atlas of Emotion is a visual guide to the complexity of human emotions:

There are Five basic emotions: enjoyment, sadness, fear, disgust and anger.

We take Actions because we are driven by emotions.

Triggers spark our emotions.

We experience Moods as a result of our emotions.

The Atlas of Human Emotions is an intriguing visual guide to ourselves, but it is also a thought provoking guide to what is driving some world leaders today – and many have a long way to go to achieving compassion.

dalai lama' atlas-of-emotions-five-circles-pngThe Dalai Lama and Dr. Ekman suggest that each human may experience a mix of all five emotions at the same time. The Atlas displays the map of emotions with colors and circles of various sizes and intensities. The mix and intensity of emotions in each of us changes all the time. In the next few images, I explore the emotion “Enjoyment”.

Dalai Lama's states-of-intensity-pngWithin each emotion,there are states which relate to the intensity of the emotion.

Dalai Lama's actions-pngIn response to emotions, humans have an array of actions they may take – some intrinsic and some intentional. When experiencing enjoyment, we might exclaim, gloat, savor, seek more… you get the picture.

Dalai Lama's Human atlas triggers-png

I have heard of ‘triggers’ in the context of situations to be avoided if a person is struggling. There are also positive triggers for each of us. For instance, some of us find that social interaction triggers enjoyment. Some find enjoyment in helping others and others take a long walk. There is always chocolate!

Dalai Lama's Human atlas moods-pngThe Atlas describes the moods associated with the five emotions:

Enjoyment – Elation
Anger – Irritable
Fear – Apprehensive
Disgust – Sour
Sadness – Feeling Blue

Life is busy. Why spend time thinking about emotions? The Dalai Lama promises that calm reflection on emotion will lead to greater compassion. That is worth a few minutes of thought. Now if we can just find the time….

Dalai Lama's experiencing-calm

From the Atlas of Emotions