My Funny Valentine

Love isn’t just for Valentine’s Day anymore. Or for lovers. It’s not even reserved for family members any longer. And for that, I am grateful. Somehow between my teens and my fifties we have collectively begun to transfigure the concept of love on a global scale. In the center of this massive shift in a Warrior’s world stands the most unlikely figure. His Holiness the Dalai Lama embodies the biblical adage of one voice crying in the wilderness; a plea that is most assuredly being heard.

I don’t mean to step on toes here, in fact I’m all in favor of anything that improves one’s outlook on humanity, one’s peace of mind and perceptions of the planet in general. That being said, most organized faiths – try as they might to elevate mass consciousness – possess at their base some pretty mercenary underpinnings. The Orthodox let it all hang out, from leaders bedecked in robes, crowns and jewels to magnificent worldwide halls of worship. (A love of architecture has drawn me inside many of these breathtaking structures.) There are also fundamentalist sects that invest coffers of tithing in order to manipulate political agendas. Then there are the holy wars, which Christ himself could never have imagined – and history notes these are not the sole purview of Islam. Take the Roman Empire, for example. Or the bloody backstory of the British Isles. Power and money corrupt, from the top-down.

Fast forward to the twentieth century, when a simple monk from a newly conquered nation located in the hinterlands of Asia emerged onto the world scene – embodying The Redeemer as thoroughly as anyone imaginable – praying for his country’s enemies, the Chinese, while simultaneously living in exile in neighboring India. We as a nation perked up and took notice. We as a world began drawing nigh to his aura of kindness and compassion. Enraptured, We the People pasted Free Tibet bumper stickers on our cars and on road signs and buildings – even as our country launched into yet another series of wars in foreign lands. Blue-white-red-green-saffron flags began appearing in profusion. We who marched and shouted, fists in the air – or tuned in and dropped out – now Listened in a generally clearheaded fashion. [Even the Beatles, who were duly credited for a mass transit into Eastern thought and borders, were still exploring concepts through mind-altering drugs. And no judgment – many were doubtless swept along in readiness for that which was to come.] If we wanted Peace (and countless in our numbers did), we began to anchor an understanding that this was to be a quiet process which needed to take root in each individual.

What I can say with abject certainty is that my generation’s most altruistic aim really was to bring Peace to the People. We got our revolution. And while many of us pondered retrospectively thinking it might have failed, at the same time we couldn’t help but notice seedlings pushing persistent heads up through cracks in the concrete: Women’s rights to their own bodies and voices. A reduction in the number of volatile nuclear energy plants. Safe houses for victims of domestic violence. A change in the 4-foods grouping. A softening of the macho image, giving men permission to accept more of their humanity. Awareness of global warming and our part in it. A need for sustainable living. Holistic medicine. A Black President. The popularization of Quantum Physics. The Occupy Movement. A new kind of Hero in an unassuming man from Tibet.

I’m not sure everyone shares my view that the man with the smiling eyes is conquering the world with his humble presence. But tell me: when was the last time you used or heard the word compassion? A cursory survey of my own mental landscape assures me next to never, before the Dalai Lama strode onto the scene. Now it is ingrained in my daily consciousness, even though I am not a practicing Buddhist. Those I love benefit from it, and those I don’t claim to like very much may benefit far more. For I now possess an awareness as never before that even my thoughts have the power to heal or harm. It might be the product of aging and life experience, but I’m pretty sure it is in large part due to the life’s work of this unselfish, unpretentious soul.


Q: What is the thing about humanity that surprises you the most? A: Man -because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn't enjoy the present, and as a result he doesn't live in the present or the future. He lives as if he's never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.


14 thoughts on “My Funny Valentine

  1. Bela, This is one of the most beautiful and meaningful posts I have read. I do agree with what you said, and am a great admirer of the Dalai Lama. We went to New York to hear him address a group, and the sight of him filled me with awe. He has the most peaceful, happy expression on his face and seems so at peace and comfortable with his identity and with his purpose in life.


    1. Well good morning, Ronnie! Thanks for your kind words. I had the opportunity two decades ago to see the DL while on Moloka’i, and thought, “Why would anybody want to see this monk from the East?” I’ve eaten those words many, many times over the years. For we could have listened to him in a very small group of people. Sigh. Still, his message came through, loud and clear. So happy he’s here on the planet.

  2. Hi Bela, The tile of this post reminds me of the song, “My Funny Valentine.” Then, as I read further, “compassion.” Strange but true, I was also looking up on this subject a night or two. Great insight here. You have a happy Valentine’s Day Bela. Best Regards. !!!

    1. Michael, heh-heh, that was my aim, to remind folks of that song. But I love wordplay, and “funny” in this sense means “strange.” Cool that you were contemplating compassion, proving my theory 😉
      Have a wonderful day yourself!

  3. Morning Bela, you are right, things are ramping up on the farmy, and I have been doing more reading and less messaging, Good for you for leaving me a wake up message.. this is a lovely piece of writing. Compassion is like kindness, vastly under-rated and hard sometimes! Thank you hon.. c

    1. Yes dear, I missed your voice, but also knew you were busy with your photo contest. I simply love all your photography – and constantly urge folks to visit your wonderful farm blog. Glad to hear you are well and to see your smiling face, once again!

  4. I was touched by the seedlings of hope you talked about in the fourth paragraph. I didn’t know that this was a Buddhist teaching, ‘….even my thoughts have the power to heal or harm’. Is it?

    Bela, as I read the second paragraph, I thought I caught undertones of similarity to what I wrote about in my recent post, ‘Is there Divinity in Silence?’ Then I read on and realised yours is a holistic world view. Then the quote at the end was why I just had to write this comment to you. It’s a version of another post I had recently written in my blog. I would appreciate it if you would read them and let me know your thoughts.

    ‘Imagine’ – that was an excellent choice of song.

    1. Aloha, Idealist Thinker! Thanks for coming by and taking time to comment.
      The origination of the idea that thoughts have the power to heal or harm is unknown to me – but the Tibetans I have come in contact with have spoken of it – and it is either stated or strongly inferred in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche (it’s been awhile since I’ve read it, so …). No matter – my point was that, due to the teachings, I am more aware of it than ever before.

      Interesting that we’ve intersected on the thoughts shared in paragraph two, though doubtless they’re not unique perspectives. I’ll have to check out your blogpost mentioned and I’ll give you my thoughts there. I have been a longtime professional Intuitive, so what I’m saying is what I’ve ‘been’ saying for many years – it just gets tossed up in the air and precipitates down in various ways. I try and possess equanimity in most things, but get a bit more opinionated on this blog because it’s a personal forum. (I also have a professional blog on my website if you’re interested – I link to it on “Sites I Visit” in the right-hand menu (scroll down).) Thanks again for sharing.

  5. Bela, this is soooo FULL. (I am very far behind and only came to this now.) It would be a fabulous link on Thursday’s Occupy Blogosphere. Feel free to link it next Thursday.

    Know what really cinches my love for this post? You aren’t even a Buddhist. That’s the Whole Point Of Unity!! You’ve just exemplified it.

    Many thanks.

    1. Ahhh, souldipper, thanks once again! You are too kind. I’ll try and remember Thursday, but if I forget, you certainly have my permission to link it yourself, should you desire.

      Yes, for sure I am a voice for unity – since the age of fourteen, I’ve eschewed organized religion of any kind and sought to explore all the spiritual boundaries I could. Mostly I listen to that still small voice within, guiding me to, among other things, a path of recognizing what is similar across borders and boundaries. I did lots of this in my 9 years of radio as well.

      Blessings to you, dear one.

  6. Bela,
    I love this post! I have since passed along the Dalai Lama quote to friends and family. I’ve posted it at work and brought it to the attention of a Wellness Committee that I’m a part of. Some of the Dalai Lama’s quotes can be a bit humorous. I have a book, “The Path to Tranquility, Daily Wisdom” which features 365 days of Dalai Lama quotes arranged from January 1st to December 31st. I found this one amusing and hung it up in the break room at work: “At the moment when strong feelings of anger arise, no matter how hard one tries to adopt a dignified pose, one’s face looks rather ugly. The vibration that person sends is very hostile. People can sense it, and it is almost as if one can feel steam coming out of that person’s body. Indeed not only are human beings capable of sensing it, but pets and other animals also try to avoid that person at that instant.”

    1. So true! AND his description reminds me of a Haruki Murakami character in his new book 1Q84, Aomame. She’s a ‘pretty’ woman, but when she contorts her face, children run away and adults are frightened. This truly is a quote worth keeping! Thanks, MaryLee!

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