Saturday morning I had a once in a lifetime experience to see the Dalai Lama speak at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis. From the moment I was informed His Holiness was going to be in town, I was incredibly drawn to hear him speak.
Leading up to Saturday, I was insanely excited for the special moment coming up I mentioned it more than a few times on Facebook. Friday, I wanted to post a picture of His Holiness and this is the one I found, the one that spoke to me…
I arrived incredibly early Saturday morning in order to have a good seat, which is exactly what happened. While I didn’t ever actually count it out, I’m estimating I was in the fifteenth row and couldn’t have been happier. This is one of those moments that will always be burned into my memory bank, so I took in as much of the atmosphere as possible.
The moment of truth finally arrived and when the Dalai Lama took the stage at the Minneapolis Convention Center, I became very emotional. Tears welled up in my eyes and I jumped to my feet to applaud for the great man, as did the rest of the audience. Throughout his entire speech and subsequent Q&A session, I fought back those tears, trying to focus on the message he was giving all of us lucky enough to be there.
By the way, for those interested, you can watch the speech here.
After he left the stage and the morning’s program was complete, I left the auditorium and was still on the verge of breaking down. I was that moved and, outside of appreciating the reality of seeing such an important man in human history, I couldn’t quite place why my emotions were so out of whack.
That is until I was able to go home and spend these past few days reflecting on the experience.
Quite simply, I didn’t feel I belonged there. I was not worthy to be in the presence of such a good man, who has done so much for the world, for humanity. After all, I am only me…someone who has done so little with my life, despite the impressions I give at times.
I mean, let’s get real here for a bit.
I am a man capable of quite easily shutting out those I love. I am a man capable of raising my fists in anger and hurting those I love. I am a man who constantly thinks only of himself, even after becoming a father. I am a man full of pride, an insane amount of pride. I am a man who very easily forgets about the good things in my life, taking them for granted until after they are gone.
I am a man who has been knocked to my knees countless times by events in life—and rightfully so—because I needed to be humbled. I am a man who doesn’t remember or live the lesson learned, and then repeats the pattern of needing to be knocked down again because my ego grew again. I am a man who struggles with not being in control, even though when I am in control, a vast majority of the time my choices have gotten me into trouble of some sort.
I am a man who constantly holds grudges against those close to me—or formerly close to me—who saw these things in me before I was able to see them in myself and called me on them. I am a man who has, essentially, chosen to fall into a depression spiral at times, using it as an excuse to separate myself from other people, rather than embrace them. I am a man who has chosen to play the victim quite often because it is easier to blame the things you don’t like on circumstance, rather than your own choices or actions. I am a man who has demanded respect, yet has rarely given any. I am a man who has chosen to withhold love as a weapon.
I am a man who is so ashamed of these and many more things I have both voluntarily and involuntarily done throughout my life that many times I don’t know what right I have to even write this blog and have those who read it or follow me on social media believe I’m such a wonderful person.
I have hit so many wrong notes on the keyboard that is my life, I struggle to understand why there is a single person in the audience as I take to the piano bench.
Shall I continue? I can very easily.
As all of these thoughts flooded to my mind, I looked back at my Facebook to relive the day in my mind. I posted pictures, was able to have my book signed by Arjia Rinpoche and had a wonderful time, but something jumped out at me as I looked back.
During His Holiness’ speech, there was only one quote which compelled me to immediately share it with Facebook. I posted this…
“If you want to die soon, meditate on pessimism.”
Why did this quote stand out so much to me I felt the need to post it immediately? Because, in the moment His Holiness spoke those words, there wasn’t another person in the audience. While he had no idea I, as an individual, was in the room, in the moment those words came out of his mouth, he was speaking to me.
THAT is the reason I was to be there. THAT is the reason I was so drawn to see the Dalai Lama…
To reiterate in my own mind my need to find ways to deal with my anger issues, with my past pain and to overcome the burdens I have in truly embracing the present moment with an open heart, mind and soul. To learn to forgive all of the people and events in my past which caused me pain and I’ve held deep in my heart throughout my life. To learn to truly forgive myself for all of the things I listed above—as well as the countless ones I did not—in order to honestly give myself a shot at believing I deserve happiness in my life.
While most times I try to preach love, happiness and good vibes to the readers and friends I have, not very deep down inside myself in “real life,” I am a huge pessimist. I believe bad things will happen before giving things a try, I constantly struggle with relaxing into the present moment and I constantly relive pains of my past, both the pain I have caused to others and the pain many others have caused to me.
I can see everything come full circle now.
Why did I easily find the photo I posted on Friday? Why did this one appear for me? Why was this the one I chose to post?
Because it is the one I was SUPPOSED to find. It was the one I needed to find.
To remind myself that although I’ve been on this journey of self-improvement the past year or so, I have made MAJOR mistakes since then. I am human and have an incredibly long way to go to become the man, the human being, the global citizen of the world I want to become.
Another lesson for me on this journey is there are those who are unable to forgive my past actions, despite my greatest of intentions in life now. That is their right and choice…and I have no choice but to accept that.
All I can do to move forward is to make the apologies I need to make, learn from my life’s success and, more importantly, the failures and grow as a human.
It was a reawakening after my reawakening and I will forever be grateful for that. Just as the photo I found was the one I was supposed to find, while I may not have felt I truly belonged in the presence of the Dalai Lama, I was supposed to be there Saturday to learn these lessons.
Now, it’s time to get to work.