It wasn’t supposed to be a wave, no it wasn’t. It was supposed to be soaking in his presence for one whole hour and then a wave, maybe I would even shake his hand at the Penguin Annual Lecture 2011. But, even though I had passes from two weeks ago, and even though I arrived well before it began, I was sitting in the winter sun watching the lecture on a screen, just outside the Stein Auditorium. Alas!
But, it didn’t matter, and it shouldn’t for the Dalai Lama is an incredible man. He is what I would call truly spiritual- religion neutral, a loving heart, a curious mind…
And, that day he taught us the Art of Happiness. In a world like ours, you would think happiness is hard to come by. But, he was effortlessly calm, and cheerful and composed…and when you looked at him, you would imagine happiness as the easiest thing in the world.
It is a thing of the mind, the Dalai Lama says. Happiness is self love, and self confidence yet thinking about others. It is extending love to the world around you, expressing concern, acting out of the benefit of someone else. It is music, and all things pleasurable but it is more than that. It is about staying happy after the music is over. It isn’t prayer, it is understanding. It isn’t anger or fear, it is compassion. It is coming closer to God.
And, then he put forth so casually the easiest definition of God: Infinite Love, All-Knowing.
So unlike so many belief systems that encourage you to detach from the world. And, so unlike so many religions that force definitions of the mystery that is God…
As the convoy drove out of the India Habitat Centre, I waved, then clicked a picture for posterity.
A man came in the way.
It really wasn’t my day. But, I had learned to be happy anyway!