Meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.  ~His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

This is the story of the day I met the Dalai Lama.  It's a story about love and sweetness and the happiest person I have ever met.  

This summer His Holiness was in Madison for an event called "Change Your Mind, Change the World" which was sponsored by the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the Global Health Institute.  It was a remarkable day, and I was fortunate enough to be able to work at the event. 

I had no expectations or ideas that I would actually personally meet the Dalai Lama, just being in his presence was what I was looking forward to.  He didn't disappoint.  The event was fantastic.  There is something special, magical and transcendent about being near this man.  The energy he exudes is so soft and calm, so full of love.  The best part was how everyone who was at the event was intoxicated by this energy and you could feel it rub off on people as they moved around the event.  People seemed calm (even around the intense security).  People seemed to be patient and loving with each other ("excuse me for bumping into you" "oh, no, it was me...are you enjoying the day?")  Pure magic.  

Before I knew it, like a gift from the Divine, I was standing in front of him.  This beautiful man who has had a huge impact on my life was standing right before my eyes.  He took my hands in his, we bowed deeply.  His head touched my head.  A felt a shiver down my spine. 

Now, let me interrupt this story to tell you that I have a terrible, terrible tic.  When I get in front of famous people, I blurt out semi-inappropriate things.  Like the time I met Sheryl Crow in a lingerie store in Austin and screamed, "Sheryl, HI, it's me.....Katie."  or the time I met Usher in an airport lounge and couldn't stop staring at him until he caught me and I said "Hi, you look familiar, have we met before?" (yikes, palm to forehead!) There are more of these stories than I ever care to share. 

So, meeting my spiritual guru was no different.  With tears in my eyes, I said "Your Holiness.....I LOVE YOU."  

He giggled a little bit, and looked me in the eyes.  

"Oh, I love YOU" was his reply.  

And that was it.  Better than hot chocolate after sledding, better than hot butter on popcorn. That was the day my heart blew wide open.