That night I slept not so soundly. I was confused. My dreams made even less sense that usual. You’ve seen these, quacks…telling people what their dreams mean. Running from a predator represents not seeing the lover in a friend or whatever. Mine never have such meaning.
I was in a hotel and for some reason – you know how dreams are – I felt it necessary to change my bedding in the middle of the night. It made noise – I don’t know why the house-bot wasn’t helping – and I disturbed the hotel owners who burst in with my brother.
I explained that I wanted to change the bedding. They took no offence but seemed content to let me continue – evidently in the dream-world hotels do little for their customers. Then my brother picked up a letter opener from a table, grabbed one of the hoteliers, placed the knife to his neck and demanded.
“Put on the regional news now!”
What in the hell does that mean? For one thing my brother isn’t even interested in the news regional or otherwise. Well I woke up and my first words as I awoke were, “What the hell!”
I ordered breakfast to my room that morning. I didn’t feel like speaking to anyone and it was just as well as half way through my second slice of toast there was a knock at the door.
“It’s open,” I said.
The door swung inwards to reveal a burned orange MEMP1. It had a bulb-shaped top with curved sides and a green glow at the bottom. These pods had first been used in war. Now though they had been stripped of their weapons and were use by diplomats, entrepreneurs and religious leaders.
“Hello,” the Dalai Lama’s voice emanated from it.
“Hello,” I said. “Now it is I who am sorry I can’t offer you anything.”
“Don’t worry,” it said, “I have full life support and all I need in here.”
“Nice pod,” I said. I was suddenly aware that I was only wearing a flimsy nighty – but then it had been a celibate monk for most of the last few centuries and was now alien, so the embarrassment was probably only mine.
“Thank you. I picked the colour myself.”
“The same as your robes would have been.”
“Have you thought about what you’re going to do?” I asked,. “What you’re going to say to your people?”
“Not yet. It’s why I came. I thought maybe you had some thoughts about that and that you could think more clearly when you’re not conscious of your air supply.”
“Ah,” I said. I nibbled the rest of my toast as I considered a response to its inquiry. “It is difficult. How do parents do it I wonder. There comes a time for them when they must let their children go – where the children learn to stand alone – that’s what you want for your people.”
“But with children,” I continued, moving around my room, “they want to leave the nest – so to speak – they want to be able to live freely.” I smiled, “even if it’s something as simple as watching the film they want or…”
My head turned to face it so fast I nearly got whiplash. “Not the statement I expected from someone in your position.
“I suppose not.” The pod moved across the room. “But it is not an evil thing as some would have us believe. With monastics, though their devotion is a great thing, the only thing to do once they fly the nest, to come out of the metaphor, is enlightenment – which cannot happen till they let go of me as their alpha and omega.”
“I think no matter what you do they won’t let go,” I said. “People have a way of ignoring even bad things about someone they like. The reverse is also true. Often people when they have decided on a view point are immovable. I read it once somewhere – a woman is told of a great crime being committed and she says of the perpetrator: ‘He’s evil. Lock him away and throw away the key.’ But when it’s revealed to be her son, her response is: ‘He must be ill. There must be something wrong with him.’”
“Yes,” it said. “That has been the problem because I am me what I do is by definition acceptable. It has become easier to worship an enlightened being rather than to become an enlightened being.”
“You are not blinded however. Help me.”
How could I refuse such a request. I didn’t. We headed down to the lobby of the hotel where the monks were waiting. Secrets are so hard to keep and it seems that doesn’t change just because you travel a quarter way across the galaxy.
“I can not do this for another life,” the Dalai Lama said. “You all must stand alone.”
“Alone?” Dorje said.
“Because you will never reach enlightenment while looking up to me the whole time.”
“Through you we will.”
“No.” It turned its pod from side to side in substitute for shaking its head, “I am not a bridge. The student must surpass the master for there to be any hope. Kira understands this. Follow her example. Meditate, be kind, be aware. I will be here as guide. I will travel to you all in three years – so I will see you in six.
At that moment it left the hotel and for the rest of the time we were there we never saw it again. The others attempted communication but I never did.
We have been back for just over a year. The monks went back to their meditation and I went back to my life. I still practise and think and sing. There is no hole in my life and I am complete. The new Dalai Lama uses Twitter, like many before, under a code name though, that only I and a couple of others know: PodOfDirection. His latest Tweet was:
Remember no one can control your destiny. Whether you believe in heaven and hell or reincarnation, it is up to you. Be Kind. Be Aware.