On Serendipity, Divine Order and The Dalai Lama
Serendipity is, according to Webster’s, “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for….”
Divine Order isn’t in the dictionary, so it is somewhat more challenging to define. To me, the presence of God, the Creator/Source, is dynamic rather than static. We were given free will to work within the flow of the Divine, not to sometimes have the right to choices, and other times have no choices. With free will there is always choice. Therefore, placing something in Divine Order is choosing to grow in harmony with the larger view; the overall plan that God has for us. A part of that plan is decision making and choices—without it we are merely puppets. When we choose to proclaim “Divine Order,” or “give it back to God” we are choosing to ask for help. We are saying that we trust God to put into motion that which will be best not only for us, but for all concerned. We each have the opportunity to steer around the difficulties and discover the part of the plan we had mistaken, tried to remove, or simply couldn’t understand. Through Divine Order—the dynamic organization we request when we clutter up our path—God re-issues the instruction book we lost along the way, the map we discarded; the means whereby we can remove the clutter, fix the broken vessel.
So…… given that serendipity is finding something unexpected and Divine Order is God helping me clean up messes I’ve made from time to time, what does the Dalai Lama have to do with any of this?
In March of 2005 I was laid off from a position I had held for over three years. Shortly thereafter I accepted a short-term position as an editor and graphic designer. This gave me income while I continued to search for permament full-time work. I had several interviews and then several second interviews. Yet in the end, offers were not made. The "why?" resounding in my heart was a challenge, especially regarding a position in e-learning and the teaching of reading which would have combined my initial training from the seventies (to be a teacher of English, Literature, Creative Writing and Reading); my many years in office environments; along with my more recent studies and excitement concerning graphic design in general and working the world wide web, in particular. The position was not offered to me. I became increasingly depressed and frustrated.
Nearly a month after what should have been the end of my temporary assignment, the entire staff of the company was told that His Holiness, The Dalai Lama would be visiting the owner of the company at his home; and that we (and our families) were invited. I was floored, entranced, and excited.
The day arrived. (September 18, 2005) There were about 30 of us –including Tucson’s Mayor, Federal Agents (His Holiness IS the Exiled Head of a Foreign State) and Tucson Police. We lined a wide hallway and waited. When His Holiness entered the house a potent silence --of honor, respect, and awe ensued. The Presence was palpable.
His Holiness walked slowly down the hall. We had been told we could not approach him; that if he wanted to speak to us he would come to us. He walked with a slight stoop, in his saffron robes and thongs.
He had a medical mask, in the same colors of his robes, hanging from one ear. At first glance, I thought it was a Tibetan spiritual ornament, but in fact it was an color-coordinated, medical mask for his own protection. He did not, however, wear it – well except for hanging from one ear. This amusing and yet infinitely dear image will be with me forever. He chose to greet us without it, even though his health would have been better served with it in place.
Once past the initial dignitaries and company management the first individual he saw was a young girl; Ashley, six years old, the daughter of the receptionist. His Holiness’ face immediately lit up and in one fluid movement he knelt to her eye level. Frail or not, he is very flexible, all that sitting in lotus position I suppose! His grin was huge, he giggled that trademark giggle of his, and it was obvious he was delighted to see a child. She looked him full in the eyes and said with great pride: “My name is Ashley. This is my Grandma, and THIS is my Mom, Victoria.” He loved it. As he rose again with amazing ease and fluidity, he patted Ashley on the head and said “Beautiful, beautiful” and reached out his hand to Ashley’s Mom and then to her Grandmother.
He continued down the line, making a point of greeting each and every person in the group: One. By. One. Each was given a little nod and smile as he offered his hand in our American custom. He didn’t say hello or speak, but he reached out to every person.
When he got to me, I bowed and said “Namaste.”
This, as many of you know, is a greeting in Sanskrit; one I first learned in Yoga classes thirty years ago. Literally, “namas” comes from the root “nam” which carries meanings of bending, bowing, humbly submitting and becoming silent. “Te” means “to you.” Thus “Namaste” means “I bow to you.” It has come, however, to mean “The God in me greets the God in you”.
The moment the word, Namaste, was spoken the whole room seemed to vibrate with intense Light –Light that emanated from His Holiness. Within this Light and with a marvelous grin on his face he bowed and said, Namaste, to me! As he came out of the bow, he reached toward me and put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed and patted, friend to friend, delighted. I was immersed in this incredible brightness; this Light that filled the room to the point I literally don’t remember being able to see anything else, not even the Dalai Lama, for he WAS the Light. I felt his hand as he squeezed my shoulder and slowly the Light faded and he, still with his hand on my shoulder, was grinning at me—this huge, loving grin. I think I grinned back, but I was a little dazed. All of this took, maybe sixty seconds? Ninety seconds? I think time stopped.
This was my moment of exquisite joy.
Ashley and I were the only ones in the entire group to whom he spoke, but he reached his hand to everyone. We did not see him again. He spent some time in meditation with the owner and the owner’s family and then returned to his hotel.
Meeting the Dalai Lama was serendipitous—valuable and unsought; and oh so profound. Being laid off unexpectedly early in 2005 was Divine Order. The temporary/full-time position was Divine Order. Not being able to find another permanent full-time position was Divine Order; for had any of those seemingly perfect full-time employment positions been offered to me, I would never have been able to stand in the Light radiating from the Dalai Lama.