PEACE SUMMIT: Educating the Heart

Laughing at our insecuritiesI was among the many who packed into the Orpheum theatre today to hear the Dalai Lama and others speak about creativity and educating the heart, part of the Peace Summit happening in Vancouver.  This three day event brings together the Dalai Lama, Nobel Laureates and leaders in various fields to discuss issues related to building peace and compassion in the world. 

As we entered the Orpheum, ushers handed us clown noses.  Excitement rippled through the crowd, this was to be no ordinary event.  Before long, Blue Man group took the stage.  Blue Man group, for those who don't know, is a multi-media performance trio that's part theatre, part music and part shamanic journey.    Chris Wink, one of the founding members, talked about their creative process and the formula they've developed which they're now applying to a new type of elementary school education. 

Creative MindsetsI was really inspired by their idea of 6 different creative mindsets and how we need to find a way to bring them all together in order to effectively flex our creative muscles.  While he talked, Blue Man group members demonstrated these mindsets, turning the podium into a drum and dancing on the speakers' chairs. 

The other interesting insight was about how we lose touch with that creative part of ourselves when we're kids.  We begin to fear other people's judgement; this is reinforced in school where we quickly learn there is only one right answer.  He wanted us to take all those insecurities and feelings of self consciousness, turn them into a ball, and put them on our noses.  That's where the clown noses came in.  Giggles and laughter erupted throughout the theatre as we shared in a comic catharsis.  

The rest of the event was by equal turns funny and inspiring.  Spiritual leader Echart Tolle talked about the importance of going within, to access the place where universal power resides.  The Dalai Lama responded to the panelists, calling the 20th century a century of war and bloodshed and that now the young people must lead us forward towards a compassionate and just future.  He emphasized having a calm mind, which will allow us to see reality as it really is, with objectivity and clarity.  

Not long after leaving the theatre, the sky opened up and released a torrent of rain.  As I walked through the wet streets, instead of feeling the rain, as I usually do, as an annoying inconvenience, I felt oddly calm.  I thought about the responsibility we all share, to bring these ideas and this awareness into reality.  And that truly, we must cultivate peace inside ourselves so that we may, through our actions and our words, radiate this out into the world.