Words of Wisdom
On the 13th of April, my friend Linda Byrne and I were invited to represent IWA at a special youth event called Possibilities.ie, held in the City West Hotel, Co Dublin.
The event was organised by three groups: Afri Action, Spunout.ie and Children in Crossfire. It was attended by over 2,000 people from all over the world, and as Linda and I joined the long queue to enter, the excitement began to hit us.
The event was intended to be both thought-provoking and fun-filled, with entertainment from traditional bands, choirs and theatre groups, as well as poetry readings, gospel music and children's groups.
The serious part began with presentations explaining more about the three groups involved in the event. Next former President Mary Robinson delivered a speech on human rights and climate change, for which she got a well- deserved standing ovation.
The highlight of the day for me was when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama arrived. He was accompanied on stage by his friend Richard Moore from Derry. Richard was shot and blinded by a rubber bullet when he was 10-years- old, but he has since become friends with the soldier who shot him. It was Richard who set up the charity 'Children in Crossfire', and he spoke about his life and the importance of forgiveness.
The Dalai Lama, who travels the world promoting peace, justice and happiness, talked about our "selves",our communities and the global world. "We need to be like bees and ants and work together in our communities to bring about change, both locally and globally, for the good of all our world," he said. "Taking care of the well-being of others is the only thing that will give you inner peace, friendship and trust." He answered questions, joking informally with us and with his friend Richard on stage. I found him to be an inspirational person and, despite the hardships he has suffered, he came across as very good humoured. During the event, he shared many illuminating thoughts with us, including that "Respecting all forms of life ‚ - flowers, animals, etc. ‚ - will in turn help us to respect all human life."
When the Dalai Lama was finished, instead of going backstage, he came down the steps of the stage and went over to greet a few people at the front. Just before he went back, he suddenly turned and came down to Linda and me. He hugged and kissed me on the forehead, talking to me for a few minutes. When he touched me, I felt a real sense of positive energy coming off him. When I went home that evening I just couldn‚Äôt stop smiling and afterwards, when I told people about the day, I was shaking with excitement. It was a wonderful experience which I will never forget.