Everything I learned from my week with the Dalai Lama

Author, speaker and mindfulness expert Padma Coram knows a thing or two about living your best life... something that her time spent studying with the Dalai Lama only strengthened even further
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Everything I learned from my week with the Dalai Lama

Being born into family that has been involved in spiritual, physical and emotional wellness for centuries should mean that I’m nonchalant whenever something that seems impossible happens. Instead, I still reel from amazement every single time. In my experience, the laws of attraction and intention seem to consistently win over the law of probability, and whenever it happens, my heart can’t help but sing.

One such example was my visit to see the Dalai Lama near Leh Ladakh in the Himalayas this summer. It was so unplanned and I was so unprepared both physically and practically that it’s a true wonder that it happened at all. I had all of three hours to buy tickets, cancel my existing holiday to Norway, pack and completely reroute my trip

Landing in Leh Ladakh with zero prep meant altitude sickness at its worst. Euphoria mixed with a swollen face, headaches, nosebleeds, breathlessness, body ache, fever, nausea… you name it, I had it. But nonetheless, incredible things kept manifesting everywhere. As the saying goes, the stars were aligned.

The Dalai Lama was teaching in his Potala Palace, which is a fair trek uphill from Leh by car. My son and I were given the honour of sitting within a few feet of him while eating Tibetan food and drinking Tibetan tea made from yak milk, butter and salt which, I must say, took some getting used to.

I had met him before backstage in Washington DC where then-President Obama was the main speaker and both the Dalai Lama and I spoke after him. But I always wanted to study under him, and had always dreamt of drinking Tibetan tea since the age of eight. My sister Charu used to read bedtime stories to me about the Tibetan monks, so I believe I manifested this trip into fruition.

Meeting him, getting his personal blessing, learning from him and being initiated - mantra and all - brought back memories of being with Mother Teresa. Both peaceful figures have the same vibrant, positive, loving energy. Sitting on the floor and have him teach us directly, supervising our text books and food was like having a loving big brother taking care of us with deep compassion and knowing. He shared his knowledge, love and food without any expectations, all while radiating love.

I learned more by being there and observing the truth than in any of the text books. But if I had to condense it down into five points, they would be…

1. Be willing to share. Goodness and greatness will follow

The more you share, the more powerful you become. This might go against all that appears to be true today, but the Dalai Lama is living proof that giving from a place of pure love and joy - not ulterior motives - means you will receive. It’s a universal law; give and you will get. But intention matters.

2. The only way to gain respect is to be worthy of it

Consistency, reliability and hard work is not just meant for some of us. Being in his mid-80s and having worked from the age of three, the Dalai Lama has every reason to step down. Instead, he has never taken a break. If you want maximum results, don't wing your way, cut corners or do the bare minimum. It is short-lived. Earn your space. Every plant and animal has to earn its presence and we are no different.

3. Silence, meditation and inner awareness are the engines of life

These three things are a sure-fire, direct route to freedom and joy. The Dalai Lama's specialised mediations and mantras have serious power. Amazingly, stress and problems melt away when we follow this system, so we should spend more time trying to understand who we are and what we want, rather than living life through trial and error.

Preparation is king, and meditation is nothing more than preparation for our next steps in life. No gold medal was won without preparation.

4. Change the negative into a positive

We all encounter negative situations, but how we handle the situation is the secret weapon to change the outcome.

The Dalai Lama roars with laughter often, and doesn't take himself too seriously. He does, howevever, take his role very seriously, but laughter and a positive outlook seem to work wonders. Don't give power to negativity, no matter how trying it appears. It's an illusion. We are more powerful than the negativity we encounter.

5. Believe in the wonder of the universe

The universe always delivers. We need to know how, when and what to ask for, though. The Dalai Lama taught a class on Quantum Physics and Spirituality (my favourite one), and what I came away with is that where there is light there has to be darkness, but that with our mind we can manoeuvre our life to how we want to live it. Life is a big shopping mall. Which shop we decide to enter and what we buy is our choice.

Padma is a meditation and wellness therapy specialist based in Belgravia, London. Padma practices locally and globally. Visit www.padma.live for more information.

Photos: Supplied