I guess it was his insistence that we are all the same that struck me most because for some inexplicable reason, by the end, I actually believed him. That’s how good he is.
He emphasized it over and over as he spoke. “I want you to understand that when I look at you, I see my sisters and my brothers. We are not different.” Most of us were younger, some a little older, different countries, religions, language barriers; but still all the same. “I am no different than you.”
Collectively we thought Yah, sure, we’re all the same as you… You who tells us the real destroyer of our inner peace is fear and distrust. You who says things like Reduce the gap between reality and appearance. You who wrote the sentence When you live your life truthfully, then you can act transparently.
But he backed up his declaration with a story about that time, years ago, when he was on a long car trip across the U.S. The group stopped at a wealthy family’s home for a decadent lunch. Sprawling greens, a pool, fancy cars, the mansion and its inhabitants dripping in riches. He excused himself to the bathroom and did something none of us would ever expect him to do. He peaked inside their medicine cabinet.
After all, the dude is just a dude.
And then he giggled. “Hee hee! Maybe that was illegal!” The cutest, sweetest, most delightfully disarming giggle emanateded from his belly. “I did not have permission!” Ha ha!
When he finished laughing he got slightly more serious. The medicine cabinet had been lined with anti-depressants. Pointing his finger out towards us he said in his wacky old-Asian-man-who’s-been-living-in-India-since-1959-and-also-sounds-a-little-like-Yoda voice,
“You see from that, money does not make us happy.”
I didn’t expect him to remind me so much of my grandmother.
I didn’t expect him to intentionally crack up the front row with his maroon Velcro old man visor and transition tint sunglasses.
I couldn’t have fully believed he would wear absolutely no trace of persecution or scorn.
Completely humbled yet so completely included, my afternoon soaking up the love of His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet ranks high on my list of Time Best Spent.