New York Times Magazine piece about the Dalai Lama floated into focus and I decided to test myself and try to read it. Like many people of my acquaintance, I too have fond, if brief, recollections of encounters with the Dalai Lama. I read the piece (sort of) with that twinkly fondness in mind.
I was dogged. The piece went on and on and on and on and on and I could remember times when every spiritual hangnail the Dalai Lama might have was of keen interest: What he did, where he went, what he said, how he affected others, the problems of the world and his assessments, his mystical depths, what his daily schedule might be, his humor, his seriousness ... on and on and on and on and there was a time when I soaked it up greedily. What a shining light.
But reading the piece -- or rather, skimming it -- I realized I didn't much care. I liked the Dalai Lama and was grateful to the stimulation he once brought to my life, but ... but I was content with my inconsequential encounters. They were enough. Reading the piece was a little like running into an old girlfriend with whom there had once been fire but now there were merely pleasant embers. It wasn't something to ignore, but it also wasn't anything to write home about.
What a nice guy. Isn't that enough?
Strange to think how fierce the attraction once was and how lazily banked the flames were now. Not dismissive or critical, particularly, just a topic that others might jump up and down about but I no longer could. A serious and silly man and I like silly and serious people, flawed or otherwise.
What a nice guy.