Monday, May 7, 2007

Finding Inner Peace

We had such a wonderful experience yesterday. Our friends Joanne and Philip gave Paul and I tickets to see the 14th Dalai Lama with them (as a birthday present, back in March). Yesterday was the long-awaited day. We organised respective sitters for our kids and caught a cab downtown together to the Pritzker Pavilion. After standing in line for some time (thanks to Philip for finding the shortest line) and going through a security check (metal detector, physical search of all bags, no cameras allowed, etc.), we sat ourselves on the lawn and made ourselves comfortable. We ate our fantastic shared and impromptu picnic lunch, while we witnessed some traditional Tibetan dancing, singing, music and chanting. 

The Dalai Lama then came out and proceeded to chat to the audience in the most selfless, calm yet thoroughly charismatic and engaging way. The talk itself must have lasted well over 2 hours but seemed to fly – despite lying in the sun with full bellies. 

The Dalai Lama spoke of the most basic tenets for leading a peaceful existence – achievable by everyone regardless of policital / socio-economic / religious background.  He laughed that some believed he was capable of healing or had some mystic powers and reminded everyone that those in power or with a strong and influential voice were merely human. He spoke of his dealings with Mao Zedong in a disarming and personable way (I assumed he would really dislike the man!) 

The most important lessons I took away with me were: the importance of providing children with a ‘dialogue’ for life; the need to feel compassion for others; the necessity of a good nights sleep; the need to ‘physically’ remove from oneself, the anger / envy one might feel, (while appreciating these are human emotions).

                “When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. 
                  In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher” 

I had a basic understanding of the role of the Dalai Lama, but didn’t have an appreciation of the life of the current Dalai Lama and the calm manner in which he deals with what can only be an incredibly frustrating and difficult period for the Tibetan people. He deals with the vilification from the Chinese government with incredibly good grace and humour. 

The Pritzker Pavillion is a fantastic venue. The stage and seating area are under another wonderful Gehry statement piece while the lawn area has the most subtle acoustic system – in the form of suspended yet unobtrusive speakers – meaning that everyone could hear out in the open, without either straining to hear or having large speakers blaring in their ears. 

I love his philosophy towards life, his humility and calm and gentle demeanour. If asked whom I would like at my ‘ultimate dinner party’, I would have to choose the current Dalai Lama to be one of my guests. If you ever have a chance to hear this man speak, do it – he is way cool. 

Photo at top: At the moment, there is not much that comes any where close to being more exciting for Luc and Nicolas than earth moving equipment. Size does not matter. 

No comments:

Post a Comment