“Musings of a Malcontent” is a weekly op-ed by GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Carlyle Coash
Compassion. Altruism. Moral Discipline. Selflessness.
I have been learning a great deal about these practices for the past couple of weeks. I just returned from Washington DC, where for 11 days I spent time with the Dalai Lama – me and about 15,000 other people. Luckily the Jumbo-tron at the Verizon Center worked perfectly, so it almost felt like I was sitting next to him. Almost.
I must say that I am still in a bit of an altered state. There is a way in which the Dalai Lama manages to recalibrate your view of things – almost like hitting the reset button. You feel inspired to do something of value, to pay attention to things in a different way. At least this is the experience I had. Given the behavior of some of the 15,000 I am not sure that experience was universal.
His message perfectly fit the issues this website is trying to address. Pay attention. Change your patterns. Understand how you impact the world so that you can reduce the amount of suffering. So simple really – one would think.
Having the event in DC made for wonderful possibilities. I mean let’s face it – right now we could use a large dose of all four of the above mentioned practices in our world – and especially in DC. Throughout the event my dream was that all kinds of important officials would arrive at the Verizon Center searching for a dose of sanity. I could see them bringing all their conflict to him, asking for his genuine ability at conflict resolution to make things better. I imagined Tea Party members confessing to the crowd that they would re-think their caustic, hate-filled methods and find ways for all people to share common ground. Even Bill O’Reilly would take the Dalai Lama’s hand and vow – tears in his eyes of course – to engage everyone with love and peacefulness in his heart.
Ok – so I was a little out of my mind.
I was getting up every day at 5am – so I was seriously sleep deprived. My ability to make rational thought left something to be desired. Plus after a few days I thought anything was possible. Heck – he was hanging out with the Archbishop of DC as if they would always be best friends. Given that I thought Donald Trump would finally move to that secluded island and get out of our lives once and for all – giving all his money to the homeless.
What can I say – I was inspired.
As you can guess – all of my hopeful dreams did not occur. The Dalai Lama barely got a visit in with Obama. China, after all, had to be considered. They are tender and prone to fits, you see. Plus they feel just awful about leveling most of Tibet’s forests over the last several years – which is causing profound destruction to the ecosystem and the very landscape. Not to mention the systemic undoing of the Tibetan culture and community. China has terrible feelings about that – just terrible. So we need to think of them first. They are fragile.
Of course the fact that they have us by the short and curly’s has nothing to do with it.
What’s sobering is that George W Bush gave more support to the Dalai Lama – this frankly makes me speechless. He even gave him a Congressional Medal of Honor. It must be that Texas chutzpa. “I’ll show you China! They don’t call me W for nothing!”
During the retreat the Dalai Lama talked with great candor about taking responsibility, especially as a leader and someone in power. He directed this at his own person several times, questioning the very institution that supports him. He even suggested developing a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism that would focus on environmental practice. Throughout he was funny and supremely humble, clearly showing us that the world is complex and full of contradiction.
With the Exxon spills, nuclear meltdowns and Rupert Murdock hacking scandals – not to mention all the other horrors being foisted on our planet – it strikes me how much we need leaders willing to truly take responsibility for themselves. Yet what I see is an attitude of no ownership. When someone actually does take ownership there is a sense that it is all staged. Just publicity. Do the Clinton frown and stare at the floor – yet change nothing. Just get better at hiding it.
I think this is why I so appreciated the time with the Dalai Lama. He was honest. He made fun of himself and vowed to keep making it better. Improve and live in integrity. Can’t get any more direct than that. It is a start. I just hope we do not wait any longer to put it into practice. The earth may just run out of patience.