Friday, May 9, 2014

The Simple Chat

The Simple Chat

A burning coal against the flesh - 
who has not felt this, from news that reached you,

or the shock to your nerves from bearing
eyewitness to horrific events? 

Avalanches come, but the simple chat will return. 
May it last long, and be realized as precious. 

       This is a very interestingly worded poem. It suggests that the atrocities of the world come and then "normal" life returns. Except, after such a reflection is provoked, Hafiz concludes "may it be realized as precious". The day-to-day happenings of our lives, the simple chat, should indeed be recognized as valuable treasures. In Skiing with the Dalai Lama in last week's (May 2nd) edition of The Week the following story was told:

"We rode the lift down and repaired to the lodge for cookies and hot chocolate. The Dalai Lama was exhilarated from his visit to the top of the mountain. As we finished, a young waitress with tangled, dirty-blond hair and a beaded headband began clearing our table. She stopped to listen to the conversation and finally sat down, abandoning her work. After a while, when there was a pause, she spoke to the Dalai Lama, "Can I, um, ask you a question?" "Please." She spoke with complete seriousness, "What is the meaning of life?" 

In my entire week with the Dalai Lama, every conceivable question had been asked - except this one. People had been afraid to ask the one - the really big - question. There was a brief, stunned silence. The Dalai Lama answered immediately. "The meaning of life is happiness." He raised is finger, leaning forward, focusing on her as if she were the only person in the world. "Hard question is not, 'What is meaning of life?' That is easy question to answer! No, hard question is what make happiness? Money? Big house? Accomplishment? Friends? Or..." He paused. "Compassion and good heart? This is question all human beings must try to answer: 'What make true happiness?'" 

          Obviously, this story is very powerful, but something additional stood out to me in their "simple chat". The Dalai Lama shutting out the rest of the world, focusing solely on the person he was conversing with, trying to sympathize and care about her interests, her questions. Shouldn't we all strive to behave like that in our own simple chats?

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