Tag Archives: philosophy

My Experience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

In October of last year, I went to Emory University to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I had procured tickets to one of the lectures in the series called The Creative Journey long in advance and was looking forward to such a humbling experience. I’m not too sure how, but I somehow ended up with tickets to another lecture called The Professor’s Hours which was to occur earlier in the day. Are you kidding me? I was seriously going to be in a fairly intimate setting with His Holiness all day?

I am not a religious person. I was raised as a Catholic but I can say with 100% clarity that I am not a Christian. However, that’s not to say that I am not a believer in something. I call myself an Agnostic Buddhist. Agnostics do not deny an existence of a “god.” They merely accept that it’s clearly impossible to determine if there is such a being or a concept. Buddhism is a practice of seeking enlightenment through conduct, wisdom and meditation. Though many view Buddhism as a religion, I view it in a more macro and holistic capacity. To me, Buddhism is a philosophical way to lead your life. When I add agnosticism to that, I see myself as leading a spiritual life in which I seek enlightenment through the positive choices I make, through the mistakes I learn from, through the wisdom I gain and through meditation while not accepting or denying an existence of “god.”

I used to consider myself an atheist until something miraculous happened in my life. Serendipitous events led me to a person who held my hand in hell, who spoke to me in a heavenly language that I understood and who saved my life while I saved his. Trust me when I say it’s one hell of a tale. I have to believe that there was something magic going on that brought us to each other. I have to believe that we saved each other for a cosmic purpose.

I sat in the seventh row and directly in front of His Holiness during The Professor’s Hours. How can one describe being in a room with His Holiness? I was so close that I could see all of his mannerisms and I was able to make out most of what he was saying. His accent is tough to understand. This might be the strangest adjective to use in describing The Dalai Lama but I will use it just the same: cute. His laugh and his facial expressions brought a child-like innocence to his immense wisdom and, yes, he was cute. During the second lecture, Richard Gere and Alice Walker joined His Holiness for a discussion on spirituality and creativity. I was truly taken aback by Gere’s intellect. What I enjoyed most about this lecture was watching the true friendship between a Hollywood actor and a man who took control of Tibet at age 15 and who is considered one of the most impactful spiritual leaders of our time. It’s evident that these men have a deep regard for one another.

I am adding both videos to this blog. Thank you to Emory University for posting them. Please, if you have the time, watch them…or even parts of them.

On Love and Dating

On Love and Dating

There’s a cave. Rusted nails hold broken and aged 2x4s in place. Ubiquitous cobwebs string from nail to nail and cracked edge to cracked edge. Do Not Enter and Danger signs stand large, warning all to stay clear. Though I love freely and unconditionally when it comes to family, friends and students, my heart is and has been completely closed off to the concept of love for years. It’s like an ominous cave with a sleeping dragon, half wasted on shots of whiskey, living inside of it. Beyond the dragon, miles into the tightly wound and dark cave riddled with stalagmites and stalactites, there lies a glowing orchid. If anyone is brave enough to attempt to ignore the signs, take down the boards, and walk in, they will easily be killed by the dragon. It happens.

There was only one who managed to get through. He was a sneaky and stealthy warrior who got by the dragon while it was piss-cocked drunk and not paying attention. When he reached the orchid, he saw how tender, how bright and how intense it could love and he would watch it for hours, almost as if he were protecting it from the dragon. He saw that the dragon, though a protector, was stifling the orchid. When the dragon awoke from its whiskey haze, it searched endlessly to find the intruder, to spray him with fire and destroy him. Didn’t he know that the dragon had been there to protect the orchid? This warrior, not brave enough to face down the dragon, had to sneak in to see what was there. He saw it, he loved it and then he walked away. The orchid, having felt the warmth of the warrior’s heart, cried upon his departure which infuriated the dragon. Saddened and broken, the orchid crawled farther into the cave and now lies, nearly drowned in its own tears and the dragon’s whiskey. Somehow though, it still glows.

Can I blame him for walking away is the question? I am not an easy person to get to. I know this. I have walls…thick and impregnable walls that protect me. I am loud, crass and sharp-tongued and I take no prisoners with my sarcastic wit. I am quite impossible to live with. I have my crazy, intellectual, artistic manias and my wallow-in-laziness moods. I listen to absolutely no one and I do whatever I want when I want without permission or compromise. If someone tries to tell me what to do, I rebel. I follow the Ellen bible, though catastrophically flawed as it is, and I refuse to walk to anyone else’s idea of how I should live my life. I am fiercely independent and I can’t imagine anyone able to come up against the dragon and successfully get through to the orchid. The dragon would win every time as it has for years. I suppose that’s why the crafty warrior had the gumption to sneak through, bypassing the dragon. When he touched the orchid, I fell. And, to be clear, I don’t fall. I often obsess, I often crush, I often seek out victims to play with but I don’t fall. I need to always have complete control of every situation I am in and I lost control with him. Honestly, he being a similar soul as I, I think he lost control too. Perhaps neither one of us can live without the control and that’s why we’re not together. To this day, he’s the only person who can make me cry. All I have to do is bring up a memory and…tears. I’m okay with that though. It’s safe. Imagine living with the one person in the world who can make you cry? Impossible. Imagine living with the one person in the world who rivals you in talent, who challenges everything you do, who can hold up a mirror at any time to show you your worst or your best, who can crush you with their eyes? Ugh, like I said…impossible! With that train of thought, I understand choosing easy.

And so, where does that leave me? Am I unlovable? Is it only ever possible to love me from afar? Will the dragon allow someone to even walk around in the cave? I don’t know. I do know that after ridding myself of Gracie’s dad, I have built myself into an even more fiercely independent being. After all, I am a single parent now and, truth be told, I am damn good at it. Not only do I have myself to protect but I have her to protect as well. Note: her dad is absolutely not the stealthy warrior I speak of! I’m pretty sure all he did was pace back and forth outside of the cave, wishing he could figure out a way in.

Perhaps it is time, after years of morphing into an asexual anti-dater, to allow for something. I’m not too sure what that something might or could be. I just know that I deserve to find a partner-in-life to kick it with. I don’t want anyone who wants to be my soul mate or my twin flame. I only want someone willing to be chill with. Does that make sense? Am I still sounding completely shut off to love? Perhaps. That’s something that I’m okay with though. Remember? I understand choosing easy.