#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama did not say anything I had not heard before, and yet the experience was still powerful. Why is that? Because the Dalai Lama is centered within himself, and in this way he affects the energies of all who come near him. I saw many genuine devotees in the crowd, and some who were, at essence, I humbly suspect, simply rebelling against something in their own religious upbringing. (In other words, this was more about flouting Grandma’s rabid fundamentalism than any true belief they could honestly claim for themselves.) There is, of course, a major difference between joining a movement or catching a thought wave because we authentically identify with it, and doing it because we are opposed to something else. The difference is, to paraphrase Mark Twain, roughly the difference between a lightning bolt and a lightning bug. A choice made from a stance of rebellion is often not a true choice at all–it is a reaction, rather than a response. Again, lightning bolt/lightning bug. I believe we are born into a culture or situation for a reason, and that our job is to change said culture or situation, where change is needed, from within.

It is certainly a good thing to identify with other cultures and belief systems, that is the beginning of harmony, compassion and peace. But I wonder at the number of people who seem to want to abandon the cultural frame of reference into which they were effectively sent.

I wonder about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

We can only foment real change from within, by becoming catalysts. It is evident to me that external solutions rarely work, except when they stem from an internal shift.

I have great respect for the Dalai Lama, and for Buddhists in general. I was born into Christianity, however, and given a mission. All of us were, whatever our religious background. It makes sense to me to bloom where I was planted, but I could be wrong.

I was once, in 1957. (Just kidding.)

Meanwhile, have COURAGE.

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