He turned 78 last Saturday and still says he meditates for three hours every day, starting at 4 am. He says he is just a simple monk and that kindness is his religion, calling for love and compassion to promote world peace. When we met with the Dalai Lama he was standing on his veranda overlooking the beautiful Himalayan Mountain range, smiling and waving for us to come. We went to bow as is the tradition but he lifted us, took our hands, and said: “We are all equal here.”
We really didn’t know what to expect as he walked us into his sitting room. We imagined this spiritual leader to millions would be a serene Buddha-like figure sitting on a throne, yet he sat between us on his couch, still holding our hands, for forty-five minutes. He was the most ordinary person we ever hung out with. The world’s greatest meditator was simple and unassuming, he felt like our best friend, and he laughed a lot.
Just by sitting with the Dalai Lama we realized the effect of his years of meditation, as his very presence emanated all those qualities that meditators seek, such as inner peace, loving kindness, authenticity and mindful awareness. This is particularly seen in his devotion to ahimsa, non-injury and his policy of non-violence, which is why he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
Research, such as that conducted by neuroscientist Richie Davidson, a friend of the Dalai Lama’s, at Wisconsin University, and shared in our book Be The Change, proves how meditation actually develops the part of our brain that increases compassion and loving kindness. ”By training the mind, we can actually change the brain toward greater contentment,” says Dr. Davidson in Be The Change, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World. “There is certainly evidence to show that meditation practices designed to cultivate compassion and loving kindness change the brain in many positive ways.” (MORE)