My Day with the Dalai Lama

When I opened my inbox six months ago and found an invite from the Dalai Lama I assumed it was SPAM.  I mean really, email? What’s next; text messages from the Pope?

A few clicks later, my jaw hit the floor – it was real! Not real as in, “Hey Kath, I’ll be in town on the 18th, coffee?” –  but real as in –  “His Holiness will be speaking in your area, enter the lottery for tickets.”  OK, a lottery – not a guaranteed ticket, but a shot, and here’s the cool part. His Holiness was appearing at Western Connecticut State University, Hubby’s alma mater and a bonus inroad for tickets.

Me and my Golden Ticket! (I am such a nerd.)

Chances were slim, but we entered and waited patiently. (Disclaimer: Patience/Me/Not-So-Good).  Much to my delight, the 11th hour lottery Gods pulled our name and Hubby and I were off for an afternoon of enlightenment!

His eagerness to attend surprised me. The venues he frequents tend to come with balls, pucks or giant foam fingers, thus his willingness to open his mind and spend the afternoon with me, a religion junkie, warmed the cockles of my heart. (What the heck is a cockle anyway?)

So there we were on the massive security line, when I noticed the incredible demographic waiting for pat down.  From the very young to the Willard Scott repeat visitors – the people watching was insane!

Surrounding conversations varied: (Yes, I eavesdropped.)

Power Suit Guy: “I anticipate he will address the crying need for transcendental thinking among our elite class.”

My Inner Voice:  Huh?

Long Beard Guy: “This is the 10th time I’ve seen him.”

Long Beard Guy’s Date:  “Killer. You must be stoked?”

My Inner Voice:  Killer? Stoked? She knows this isn’t a Phish concert, right?

Husband to Wife: “Do you have the tickets?”

Wife to Husband: “Of course I have the tickets; I’m not a (BLEEP)!”

My Inner Voice: Somebody needs a little inner peace.

Entering the packed auditorium to a sea of prayer flags and anticipatory faces, we took our seats. Crammed like cattle into the Fluff-n-Nutter tight bleachers, no one minded the closeness; we were too busy absorbing the awe. (However, I did take note of my neighbor’s love for Polo cologne.)

It was everything I expected and so much more, but here is what surprised me most – the Dalai Lama is a funny guy! His self-deprecating humor and infectious giggle swept away any preconceived notion I had about the holy man. Turns out, he is just like you and me – and that was the premise of his talk.

His words were simple, profound, and without religious slant.  “Forget religion,” he encouraged, “it is unimportant. Remain compassionate to all, including those non-believers.”

What did I pack away in my goody bag of insight?

“Anger ruins physical health.”

“Intelligence controls emotion.”

“Prayer alone is not the key to inner peace. You must make an effort, put prayer into action.”

And direct to my writer heart: “Do not use force, use dialogue.”

Thanks to Hubby for a special day I will always treasure – you rock my inner peace!

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2 comments on “My Day with the Dalai Lama

  1. Jane Sadek says:

    Way cool. I’m with him on forgetting religion, but I still have to work sometimes at living my faith without waxing religious. I don’t think any of us resent someone having faith, but like everyone else, I can slip into judging how well someone else is doing that. I am human, you know?

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