They'll be hanging flags in New Orleans this morning . . .
From the lampposts. From the trees. Outside shops and offices. Outside homes. They'll be colorful, the flags. Traditional too, Tibetan Prayer Flags that are not often seen in these parts. They'll signify peace. They'll signify hope. Post-Katrina, life in The Big Easy has been hard. For once, for the people, there's something to celebrate.
You see, next month, for the first time, the Dalai Lama is coming to town. He will bring with him messages of compassion, kindness, optimism and peace. It is hoped that his much-anticipated visit might be the thing that can turn the tide at last.
'It is said that after he has graced a city, there is a great potential for positive change to occur,' explains event co-ordinator Gael Thompson. 'We're focusing on principles of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance and non-violence. The Dalai Lama's people have had to deal with great hardship and prejudice, as in our city, [and] we have similar problems [here]. The Dalai Lama brings to all of us a universal message of tolerance and compassion. Here in New Orleans, we have our own unique flavor of resilience, compassion and connection [and we hope that the visit will] remind us of the profound interconnectedness and interdependence of all living beings'.
Here at OM®, as we've detailed in previous posts, the Dalai Lama has done a great deal to shape our outlook on life and to inspire our efforts in the studio. Things such as kindness and community, compassion and connection - qualities that are poured into everything that is done here - relate to Tibetan teachings. That people in Louisiana are embracing events so (the initial batch having sold out, additional flags have been ordered in recent days) heartens us all here.
The Dalai Lama, who is to receive an honorary doctorate from Tulane, is scheduled to speak at length during a visit that has been titled 'Resilience: Strength Through Compassion and Connection'. It is a shame that we won't be there, but already, a ripple effect is being experienced throughout Louisiana and far beyond.
It has reached us here in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, where, since hearing about the Dalai Lama's imminent arrival in New Orleans, we've been giving much thought to the messages that mean the most to us: 'Be kind whenever possible. It's always possible'. 'Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive'. 'Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we seek'. To consider such things is to realize just how much he has touched our lives and influenced our attitudes. This in itself has been a lesson to us here at OM®, reminding us about the things most important and underlining that, no matter our efforts, there is always room for improvement.
The Dalai Lama talks about cause and effect, pointing out that 'all things and events arise in dependence on a complex web of interrelated causes and conditions. If his forthcoming visit to New Orleans can be considered the cause, the effect (in the immediate vicinity and far, far beyond) promises to be quite extraordinary.
We might not live in Louisiana, we might not witness his presence in person, but we can all welcome the Dalai Lama and the things he stands for into our lives and into our hearts. Things like peace, kindness and compassion. Things like interconnectedness and interdependence. It's not just in New Orleans that they'll be hanging flags this morning . . .