His holiness the Dalai Lama embraces John after his performance of "Save Some Time To Dream" in Bloomington on May 13th, 2010. Photo by Kessara Dhana
John's solo acoustic performance of "Save Some Time To Dream" last Thursday at a small luncheon gathering at the Tibetan Cultural Center in Bloomington prompted the Dalai Lama to reference the song's lyrics in his informal remarks prior to taking questions from the invited attendees.
First Elaine, who accompanied the spiritual leader from the airport and is a staunch supporter of the center, thanked him for his visit to Indiana and "all his words of inspiration." She then introduced her husband simply as "a recording artist" who would sing a song in his honor.
"Save Some Time To Dream," of course, is a key cut on John's forthcoming No Better Than This album. The Dalai Lama was particularly taken by the second verse:
Save some time for sorrow
Cause it will surely come your way
Prepare yourself for failure
It will give you strength some day
Try to keep your mind open
And accept your mistakes
Save some time for living
And always question your faith
"I don't know what to say now," the Dalai Lama said, laughing, after John's performance. Clearly moved, he continued.
"In your lyrics, one of the things you pointed out was 'save some time for sorrow, sorrow will come your way anyway.' And you spoke about the possibility of learning something from sorrow. This reminds me of a Tibetan expression that says one should be able to turn adversity or tragedy into an opportunity."
He then suggested that a life "without much problems" is one that is "soft." "Obstacles" and "difficulties" may lead to loss of hope, and pessimism--and a self-acknowledgement of failure. Yet if one remains "firm with your principles," such obstacles "are actually very helpful" and lead to "inner strength [and] inner peace."
He then turned to the song's last verse.
Save some time to think
Oh before you speak your mind
Many will not understand
And to them you must be kind
"Another line from your lyrics reminds me of another expression of the Tibetan tradition," the Dalai Lama continued. "You spoke of the need to think before you actually speak and this reminds me of Tibetan advice which says that when amongst many, guard your speech, [and] when alone, guard your thoughts!" Again, he laughed.
"In fact, this advice, when among many guard your speech, is advice I personally need," he laughed. "Because my habit is I always express whatever I feel!"
He laughed once more, then observed that "the same time that the audience is really in love with my frankness," perhaps it is also "a little bit reserved." That is, he was sensitive to the fact that his audience "may feel that it is somewhat strange" for him to be so unguarded in his habitually honest speech.
"So perhaps your song advises me!" he concluded, now laughing heartily.
The Dalai Lama concluded his visit to Indiana with a speech Friday before 10,000 at the Conseco Field House in Indianapolis. This time John introduced him, following Elaine's welcoming remarks.