You'd think I might have had a few intelligent questions for him. Maybe even a cup of tea. Well if you thought that you'd be wrong. But he's a patient guy and he just waited out my performance anxiety. OMG what will I ask him now that I have a chance?
When I finally settled I asked, "what is this anxiety all about? Why do I get anxious about the same old things over and over? Isn't that the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? You'd think I'd learn? What can I do about this? He looked at me quietly and deeply. I felt a great sense of peace emanating from him. He was apparently okay with my anxiety.
And I wondered, "why is it so hard to just accept things as they are? How do we do that? How can I work on acceptance?" So many times a day I see myself wishing in small and large ways that things were different, silently (or not so silently) rejecting things as they are. I wish it were sunny today, I wish my health was better. Sadness and concern for natural disasters and seemingly dangerous political unrest in the world, and so on and so on. It was obvious from his stillness that acceptance filled his heart, concern was in his eyes, yet the corners of his mouth were swept upward.
I asked him, "why is it so hard to be present for long swaths of time?" He smiled that serene smile that steals your heart and empties your mind and simply modeled loving presence for me. Wise teacher. I realized he has been practicing since he was a young boy and many previous life times. I was encouraged by that.
"What is the best way to make a contribution to this world?" Might as well ask the big questions, and the personal now that I've got him here, I thought. He looked thoughtful and centred, with that deep sense of wisdom and gentle strength he exudes. This is what he brings to the world, I thought. This is why he is loved wherever he goes. He didn't answer because he has faith in me that I can answer this question for myself, I thought. Is that not the supreme vote of confidence. I sat a little taller in my chair.
And the questions went on like this for sometime. We spent a lovely, contemplative afternoon together. I was uplifted by his warm, easy presence, eased and calmed by his natural sense of equanimity and inspired by his wisdom. It's not everyday you get to have the Dalai Lama sit in your living room. What would you ask him, if you had the chance?