It’s about time I revealed all, I’ve kept silent for too long now! Through these few words you will better understand what I mean and I for one will be relieved. So here is a sort of « spiritual coming-out » with a few funny details thrown in.
I met the Dalai Lama in 1991, the year I graduated from high school. At that time, I was a just another teenager, a little lost, mistaking the street light for the sun. One day, a day like no other, I went to a neighbourhood library, walked through the sections to kill time and most of all to avoid thinking about the party I had attended the night before. Why did my hand grab that worn book? That’s a mystery this story will not clear up. On the cover there was a little man, tanned and smiling, dressed in a red robe – a man wearing a robe, that was already so hype! And this is where everything started.
Quick as a flash and without anyone noticing, I devoured it. A party animal who was reading, that was quite a surprising thing. Nonetheless, I took as much time to end the book as it took me to drink a pint of beer back in 1991 – my skills in this matter have drastically decreased and none of us will complain about it. Whatever happened after I read the book? I just put it back on the shelf. And then I looked around me with the incredible sensation that I was looking at the world for the very first time. There was the sky, the clouds, the trees, the people, and the dogs but all of a sudden, this landscape took on a reassuring outline.
I didn’t tell anyone. Space had opened up; a little red man had entered my life.
The little red man remained quite discreet during the years that followed. Like some sort of initiatory sentimental experience, I lived love stories after love stories, without ever telling the loves of my life that there was actually a third person in the couple. And every time I felt too infatuated with the man I was in love with – a habit of mine – my little red man would publish a book or give a conference – on audio cassettes… mind you! – that would put me back on the right track.
So I started trusting him and taking a closer look at how he lived, moved, talked, and laughed. As people from the NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming – would put it, I modelled him. Or rather I sucked him in, sucked the blood out of him, and acted like a praying mantis on him. Our symbiotic relationship lasted seven years. Seven years of arguments, break-ups, reunions and eventually seven years of happiness. When he published The Art of Happiness – with Howard Cutler – I knew it was the right moment to take action. I went on a Buddhist retreat, then on another one, and another one, and then I became a nun. It was meant to be, him and I, forever.
There was just one snag in the process, the colour! No deep red colour for me, I became a nun in a Zen School of Buddhism, dressed all in black – was that a karmic track of my gothic phase? His Holiness did not hold it against me. He kept on laughing, glowing with wisdom, watching over little nuns and monks of all colours, meditating day after day.
The Dalai Lama was in Strasbourg a few days ago. Faithful to our beginnings, I watch him from afar, laughing, and enjoying the law of interdependence that brings us so close to each other.