Inspire Electronic Magazine Volume 2 Issues 46 - 92
The Prem Rawat Foundation Year 2005
- Peace is innate and necessary for our survival, for our well-being.
Inspire v2 i44, 6 January 2005: A Seed That Grows Translated from Hindi
Almost everyone is looking for something, running after one thing or another. It can get really frantic. But the person who is longing for what the heart wants has everything. That person has no need to be sad. Good wishes come every day in every breath. The person who feels gratitude for that celebrates each breath, each moment.
Traditionally, we celebrate birthdays with a cake and candles. However old we are, we place that many candles. We get very excited to blow out the candles, but what is being represented? If you think about it, it is all the years that are gone that are being blown away. And it's not just one year that's gone, it's every day—every breath—that passed by. How many moments, how many breaths, have we saved and appreciated? What we lose, we lose for a lifetime. Those moments will never come back. And what we save, we save for a lifetime.
This is about hope. You have the possibility to enjoy each moment. Look at the trees and plants that you see around you. They are the ones that made it. They came from the wisdom of the seed that grew. There were other seeds that didn't grow. They were in the same place as the trees you see, but they didn't take. You can be a seed that grows.
The whole world around us is made from what grew, not what didn't. Don't pay attention to what isn't. Pay attention to what is. So, what is? In the middle of our pain, our suffering, we have this life, this body. In the middle of all that, there is the breath that is coming in and out. We need to pay attention to that, to what is, not to the time that has passed. That's gone.
We don't have the time that hasn't come yet, either. We only have today. Tomorrow will come, and what will happen then? A breath will come and then another breath will come. The coming and going of this breath is the gift. It's not about what's gone; it's about appreciating this life, one breath at a time. It's about you—your life—not the life of the other people around you. It's just about you.
What is important is recognizing the gift you have. When you go to an airport or train station to meet someone, you wait until you recognize them before running up to greet them. Recognition is important. When there is no recognition of the heart's thirst to be fulfilled, what I am talking about doesn't make sense. When your heart starts to recognize that thirst, you can move toward joy in your life.
The greatest thing in life is that as human beings we can experience supreme joy. For people who want this joy, who want to fulfill their lives, there will be joy and more joy. Just relax and enjoy the journey of life.
Inspire v2 i45, 18 January 2005: Part of Us Translated from Hindi
When I talk about peace, many people ask, "What peace?" They don't understand the peace I am talking about. I'm not talking about a peace that has to be manufactured. I'm talking about a peace that has always been within us ever since we were born and will always be within us for as long as we live, until our last breath.
I am talking about you—personally. You are the one who experiences joy. You are the one who experiences pain. You cannot give your pain to someone else. And the joy that you experience cannot be experienced by anyone else, no matter who that person is.
Everyone's joy in this world is different. Everyone's joy is individual. When you feel hungry, it's you who feels that feeling. When you eat, that fulfillment, that satisfaction, comes to you. Another person can think about it, but the experience of hunger being satisfied can only be had by the one who is hungry.
It's a question of appreciation. In ancient times, when cities were constructed, it was essential that they be near a lake or river where water was available, because people realized the value of water. Water was needed for farming, to make bread, to grow food. A person needs water to drink, to take a bath, to wash, to put out a fire. Because people understood the importance of water, they acknowledged it. I ask people, "Have you ever thought about the water of peace that you desperately need?"
Many people say that if you want peace you must go to a mountaintop and become a hermit. Others say you can't have peace because you have to fulfill your responsibilities.
I'm not talking about sacrificing anything. Someone said to me, "I have a family. I have children. If I leave them, they won't be able to do anything." I said, "You don't need to escape your responsibilities—look after them as well as you possibly can. However, within you is a treasure of peace. No matter what is happening, no matter how much pain there is in your life, don't forget that the peace you're looking for is within you—always. It will be within you till your last breath. What is needed is that we turn inside and discover it."
Everyone, at least once in their lifetime, has felt incomplete no matter how much they have. There are so many misconceptions that what we are looking for is not within us, that it is somewhere outside and we have to look for it there. But the thirst is within us, and the water to quench it is also within us. Peace is a part of us. If we are able to recognize our thirst and reach that peace, we will find that we are complete.
EWhen you recognize your thirst, that thirst will lead you toward quenching it. Peace will always be within you. If you don't want it, it is still there within you. If you want it, then you can fulfill your life.
Inspire v2 i46, 28 January 2005: Timeless
Recently I was driving in very thick fog. We had to drive slowly because the fog was so dense, we couldn't see very far ahead. We were on a winding road going uphill, and soon the fog had completely shrouded everything from view. It was like soup. It reminded me of what happens to us. When the fog comes, it obscures our vision. It stops us from seeing what we need to see to proceed on this path of life.
This is important because we have but one life. This life is everything. It doesn't help to make comparisons between my life and other people's lives, or to compare today with yesterday. I exist. I am alive. I need to understand my own passion, what my heart is telling mein each moment, to be quiet enough so I can begin to hear what my heart is trying to tell me.
The world is a big place. A lot is going on, and many things call to me: "Do this; do this; do this." Other things disguise themselves as fun, and they call to me too: "This is fun. Do this; do this; do this."
But my life, my time, my existence is not about fun. It is about feeling contentment. It is about feeling joy. These are the needs of every human being. These are our desires, above and beyond everything else. How cleverly they get disguised.
What is true accomplishment? What is true reality? What is beyond the fog? When I woke up the next morning, the fog had lifted, and it was the most gorgeous sunrise you could possibly imagine. The light was incredible. What a contrast it was from fog to clarity, from what I couldn't see to what I could see.
People talk about noise pollution and air pollution, but there is another pollution. It's called thought pollution. We are constantly being bombarded by thoughts. It is so easy to allow yourself to get sucked into that river, just going with the flow. "Yes. This is important; that's important."
Yet everything will change. Nothing is exempt from the touch of change. Time has watched Earth being made. It has watched it cool down and watched the oceans appear. It has infinite patience. It has watched everything change and change and change.
Somehow, the human being was created and given the ability to feel. Of all the things I can feel, I can feel joy; I can feel peace. And I have in this life the possibility of not being affected by all the changes.
Without a worry about tomorrow or yesterday, I can feel fulfilled. When that fulfillment is there, it is timeless. Everything else is bound by time.
Most fortunate are those who say, "What I need to do today is to be in peace." For them no explanation is needed. They understand the possibility that they can be content.
Life is not a conflict. It's this beauty that is dancing for you. Witness this most marvelous dance. Witness the surprise. Witness the most amazing thing that will ever be. In your day, whatever else you do, be fulfilled. It is possible.
Inspire v2 i47, 4 February 2005: One Thing I Can Change
It is not an impossible objective to have peace in this life. It is very, very possible. That's what we are here for—to learn, to grow, to understand, and to make peace a reality.
You are alive. Be alive. What is the basic wish that has been given to you? Listen to it. Listen to that need, then you can fulfill it. Understand what it is saying—how it is addressing you. But first, know what it is. What is the most important thing to you?
Unless the most basic and fundamental need is fulfilled, all the explanations and ideas about peace can be there, but what's the point?
There is a thirst for peace because that thirst can be quenched. If there was no way to quench it, we wouldn't feel the thirst. But there is a way to quench that thirst. Quench it. Fulfill this life. That's what is important. That's why we are here. We are here to take another step toward consciousness, toward clarity away from the fog.
I need to understand the passion of my heart. When the heart is filled with the most beautiful feeling, the thirst is quenched. Every moment matters. There doesn't have to be chaos. There is a simplicity, a joy. Life doesn't have to be questioned. There is an answer.
This is something that each one of us has to do. Who else can we rely on? You have to understand that this is your life, and you can make the joy and the beauty happen every day. It really is very easy.
A lot of people think it can only happen if they change the world around them. They think they have to change their children, and by the time they've almost gotten there, the child's moved out. Then they think, "What else can I change? I'll get a job that I really like." They finally find a job they really like, and then they realize what they really like is the days off from the job. Then they say, "Maybe what I need to do is retire."
Waiting—just think of all the things people are waiting for. You don't have to wait anymore. You don't have to change all those things around you. You can't anyway, because when you do try to change them, they'll try to change you. And when they do, you won't like it.
I realized I can't change everything, but there's one thing I can change. All I need to do is change my list of priorities. The change has to come from within. That's why I'm saying it's easy. You don't have to throw anything out, just rearrange. Of all those things that have taken priority, put the priority to be content at the very top. That's all.
Yes, you can be fulfilled. That's what's important. The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of joy, the gift of peace. That is tops. And every step counts toward knowing the one thing you thirst for—that your life be fulfilled.
Inspire v2 i48, 10 February 2005: Feel That Joy
How many people compare themselves with others and say, "I wish I was like this. I wish I was like that. I wish I had this person's house, his car, his child, his wife." Why compare? How do you know he doesn't have problems? But we compare and measure. We want explanations.
You have a garden. Take care of your own garden. You've been taking care of other people's gardens, and the vermin have been eating yours. You can't have that. Take care. Prune. Don't let the weeds get out of hand. Take care of this beautiful garden, this beautiful life you've been given. How? By not finding fault with it, but accepting it. By not comparing it, but admiring it.
If you want to be in that joy, it's simple. Trade explanations for feeling and feel. Feel every day. It's not enough just to go through the motions. We have to get to the place of joy. Let your heart be fulfilled and appreciate what you have. The most fortunate person is the one who is in touch with that harmony and has understood it.
Problems will come. Everyone has problems. Problems have a very sophisticated system: They seek you out; they know where you are and how vulnerable you are. Have you ever noticed that the more vulnerable you are, the bigger your problem? They've got scanners that seek vulnerability. It doesn't matter how good a face you try to put on, "I'm fine, I have everything," it doesn't work. It really doesn't work.
The only thing that works is being able to enjoy the beauty within you. Will that make the problems go away? No. These problems have had billions of years to perfect themselves. They are far more evolved than we are. They've worked on mountains, oceans, bacteria, even dinosaurs. They're good. Can we flex a little muscle and make them go away? No. That won't happen. But we can go someplace where they can't come.
Feel that joy. Feel that simplicity. Feel that beauty within. Feel all that while you are living in this world, doing whatever you have to do. Be filled from the well within.
A lot of people say, "Don't journey through the desert." I never say that. I say, "Go through the desert, but take water with you because you will need it." It's not a matter of making the impossible possible; it is recognizing your own possibility. Contentment in your life is very possible. Recognize it. Understand it. Grow with it every day. There is room for growth. There are some things that never stop growing.
There is no limit to enjoyment. There is no limit to clarity, to joy, to the truest learning. There is no limit to understanding. You can never say, "I understand this too much." Ignorance has a limit, but what limit is there to understanding? Understand every day that there is a beauty you can fill yourself with again and again and again.
Joy is there.
Inspire v2 i49, 22 February 2005: No Limit to Joy
Recently, someone was asking for my help. He said that the fear, anger, and confusion in his life take up too much of his energy.
I told him, "It's simple. It is your choice. In your journey of life, get to the crossroads where you can really enjoy, because so often, you're going too fast and don't have time to choose which way you want to turn."
Whichever way the momentum is going, we go. Everything seems to be just going, going, going. Then what happens? Suffering happens. Pain happens. They are not welcome things in life. We find ourselves wondering, "Is this where I want to be?" We realize, "No. I don't want it to be like this. I don't want to be here. I want to feel joy."
If we want to get out of it, we can. Make the choice, because you have an option. A possibility is there for you. You don't have to be controlled by things you don't want. You can live this life and understand the value of your breath. In this life, being grateful, having the feeling of joy, is up to you. It's your journey. You determine the direction you want to go.
Sometimes we think, "I want that day back." We have one good day, and for the rest of our lives, we try to replicate that day. Every day holds a promise to be better than that day, but we miss it.
Accept whatever gift is being given today, because it is a gift. Receive it with great joy, and enjoy it. The day that we are looking for may come, and when it does, accept that, too.
The world teaches us to fear. Everything is fear. When we were little children, this is how our parents got us to do things, "Do this, otherwise this will happen to you." Then you go to school, and it's the same thing, "If you don't study, you will fail." And then the world just keeps after you, "Do this, otherwise this will happen; do this, otherwise this will happen."
In the world within, it's not like that. It is positive. Enjoy your life and be fulfilled. It's up to you. It's a beautiful journey, and it grows and grows and gets better and better and better. I don't know how that happens, but it does. Don't wonder how it's possible; just enjoy it.
Awakening is when you understand for yourself that you want your heart to be fulfilled. It's not so important when it happens, as long as it happens. When is never the issue. It may take a hundred years, but when you awaken, the ninety-nine years before are not lost. Whatever journey had to be taken, whatever had to happen, whatever it took—it happened.
No matter what happens, we can enjoy life. People give up. It's not over till it is. We can have joy till the last breath. This feeling is the only thing that will stretch to the last breath. Everything else breaks when you try to stretch it that much. But you can take this feeling to the last breath.
I can show you the place inside of you where you can dance. Dance. Dance in your heart and enjoy that dance. Enjoy this feeling. Enjoy this life. With an open heart, fulfill your life.
The heart has no limit to how much it can open, how much it can feel. There is no end to it.
Inspire v2 i50, 1 March 2005: Truest Gift
What I talk about is something that is simple and yet profound. Some might find it too simple, but that doesn't mean it is not important. I talk about the simplicity of breath and the coming and going of each day in your life. I remind people that each day that comes is one of the most valuable gifts they will ever receive. Incomparable.
For a lot of people that makes sense, and yet it doesn't make sense. We know each day is important, but that's not the way we accept it. The importance of a day is based upon what we have accomplished. Our life has been placed on a scale, and the weights that measure it have been given to us by this world. Everything is judged by failure or success. Yet we have been given a precious gift.
We have anniversaries and birthdays, and we give each other presents. But would you give a gorilla something precious like a
diamond ring? Why not? A gorilla has fingers just like you, but a gorilla would never understand its value. Give
a gorilla a diamond ring, and he will try to taste it, find it unappetizing, and probably throw it away.
Are we like a gorilla that has been handed the diamond ring of life? In many ways, we do the same thing—taste it and say, "My life is no good. I've got to do this. I've got to accomplish this. I've got to climb this. I've got to be there. I've got to have this title. I've got to have this and that in my life." And what is forgotten is the value of existence, the value of this breath coming every moment and blessing us. This is the blessing. But we don't know how to accept it.
We make everything conditional in our lives: "You're a good son or daughter if you do this, this, and this. You're a good wife or good husband if you do this, this, and this. And you're a good friend if you do this, this, and this." But breath has no conditions. When we are given breath, we are not told, "I'll give you this breath if you do this and this." It is given freely, without judgment.
When you look in the mirror, the face you are looking at is not asking for judgment; it is asking for admiration. It is asking for acceptance—acceptance of this life, acceptance of this breath, acceptance of the simple thirst of this heart.
The joy that you look for, that you search for every day, is searching for you—to embrace you, to accept you, and to fulfill you. I'm here to tell you that the peace you are looking for is inside of you.
Discover this life you've been living. Discover it the way it is meant to be lived—in joy, in gratitude, in beauty. Discover the potential of each day. Discover the rhythm as the sun shines on the horizon, light comes, and awakening happens; and then comes the sunset and sleep—everything is erased and another day begins. Discover that.
That's what this existence is all about. That's what peace is all about, because peace is not in yesterday and peace is not in tomorrow, but
peace is today. Tomorrow is anticipation. Yesterday is just memories. And today is the gift. The truest gift. The
most important gift.
Inspire v2 i51, 7 March 2005: The Most Convenient Place
The heart of every human being requires peace. It doesn't matter what their culture, religion, or politics may be, everyone on the face of this earth wants to have peace.
Maybe on the outside, the color of our skin is different, or our faces don't look alike. But lift the skin, and instantly the difference disappears. It could be anyone from any culture, any religion, any background. The difference is this extremely thin layer of epidermis. What we perceive as differences in people are, in fact, similarities, because ultimately everyone is looking for peace, for fulfillment, for joy—for the ultimate satisfaction in their life.
In this journey of life, it doesn't matter where we are, the wants are the same. Even though so much has changed in my life, nothing has changed. I have the same thirst for the same joy, for the same satisfaction, for the same contentment, that I have always had.
I want to open my eyes and admire the beauty of my existence, the simplicity of the being that I am, because it is here that the unfolding of the most magnificent is taking place. I want to play the instrument of life that has been given to me and hear what sounds it produces.
So many people listen to me, hoping I'll give them something magical —a word they can speak and suddenly their car that hasn't started for 15 years will start. It isn't a coincidence that the story of Aladdin and the magic lamp is told in every culture in its own way. How wonderful it would be if we could just rub a lamp, a genie would appear, we could say, "Do this," and it would be done.
But I tell people: You have something more than a genie in a bottle because you have a peace that is dancing on the stage of your heart, a joy waiting to embrace you. The ultimate wish has been fulfilled, because that ultimate wish is for peace, for joy. If you look at your existence, this has already taken place. I'm talking about a peace that is not just an absence of war, but is a state of being.
If we could only understand what we have been given, our thirst could truly be fulfilled. The message, "What you are looking for is within you," is a very old message. So many have said that. Look through the eyes of simplicity, not complication. Life is fascinating because of its simplicity, not because of its complexity.
When it comes to peace, people say, "Just sit down and think beautiful thoughts. That's all you need." What if you are hungry and go to a restaurant and order food, and the waiter says, "You don't need to actually eat anything. Just think of the most exquisite dishes you'd like, and your hunger will go away"? No, we have to be practical.
We need to feel peace every single day. And if we want to feel peace, we can turn within. We need air, and air has been supplied. We need peace, and peace has been supplied. We need joy, and joy has been supplied. And peace and joy are in the most convenient place possible: within us, wherever we go.
Inspire v2 i52, 14 March 2005: Accepting Happiness
Who are the heroes of this world? Actors, movie stars, play the parts of heroes. This is their occupation. Their job is not to tell us what is true; they are playing the role of someone else. It is a false situation. We watch them and think we are being entertained.
We want to be happy, yet all those things we really want in life we already have. If we want more, we need to see what we've been given. If we want more blessings, we need to count the blessings we already have. We get stuck in thinking, "I should have this; I should have that. It should be like this; it should be like that." This is what we've been taught.
Have you seen how happy a child is? Does he have a bankbook? All he needs is to be with his mother, whether he is sitting in a fancy car or in a simple cart. He doesn't care. When we start accepting what we've been given, our heart also becomes like that child. In that acceptance we can find real happiness. In each and every breath, so much joy is being given. If we could accept it, there is no limit to the happiness it would bring.
It is all a matter of learning and acceptance. If we really become a student of life, what can't we learn? Once there was a young man who had just graduated from university and was walking behind an old man. As he was just starting out in life, he thought maybe the old man could give him a few words of wisdom. The old man was walking weighted down with a big load on his back. The young man went up to him and asked, "Do you have any words of wisdom for me? I'm just starting out."
The old man stopped, looked at the young man, put the load down, stood up straight, and smiled at him. Then he put the load on his back again, hunched over, and walked away. Not a word was exchanged. I think it was the wisest thing he could have ever told him: The reason you walk like this is not from your load. That's all borrowed. If you want to stand up straight, then put the load down. What you have
been given, what is yours, is not a load. What is yours is truly a delight.
It is simple: The more we enjoy, the more joy we have. And the more we accept that joy, the more we
appreciate. Other things in life decrease, but this is one thing that keeps increasing. I have seen this again and again.
Bad things we understand easily. It is not so easy to understand a good thing. That is why someone is needed to help us understand. We understand about battles and bombs, but we don't understand that we only have one life and we shouldn't waste it. It should be a very easy thing to understand, but often we don't.
There is a war on the outside, and there is a war on the inside. The war on the outside will come to an end sooner or later, but the war on the inside can rage on for a lifetime. Unless that war has been resolved, nothing will make a difference. I am not here to talk about politics. I am here to distribute happiness. I want to bring this happiness to people; I'm working hard for this. Whether a person is hungry or has a full stomach, everyone should have happiness in their life. Joy is a good thing. Understand this simple thing and make your life successful.
Inspire v2 i53, 22 March 2005: A Matter of Heart (Translated from Hindi)
So many things are happening in our lives, and we think they are the reality. But they aren't. We try to fulfill our responsibilities, and we are so busy concentrating on this that there is a void inside. A voice within says: "Fulfill your life. Experience fulfillment." No one tells us this, but we know it. How? Who taught us how to laugh or how to smile? Who taught us to hear the voice of peace? These things we have known since childhood.
We have peace within us. This is our nature. We try to enjoy everything on the outside, yet we do not really. We need peace; we need absolute joy. Until the heart is at peace, we will not have peace. We think that the higher we climb the ladder of success, the happier we'll be. I am not saying, "Don't climb the ladder." If you can reach the top, then reach the top, but experience the peace that resides within.
Until your thirst is quenched, you'll try anything. That's why it's been said that the whole world has cataracts. Peace is there in the heart, but people cannot see it. There are so many excuses. Young people say: "We can think about these things when we are old." Middle-aged people say: "I don't have time. I'm busy." The elderly say: "I can't even walk. I get tired easily. I have high blood pressure."
What do you have time for? The real enjoyment is when this heart is fulfilled, when this heart is complete. If you really want to enjoy, quench your thirst and fulfill your heart. Only then will you be able to feel the real joy and calmness in your life.
It is the nature of things to come and go in this world—like the waves, sunlight, clouds in the sky. This is your life. Life is one day—a rising sun, one morning, one afternoon, and one evening. There was darkness before the sun rose, and there will be darkness again after the sun sets. What will you do with this day? This is your day—this life, this body.
The opportunity you have is yours today. The day will go, the sun will set. What have you felt today? Tiredness? There are so many people who get up early in the morning, go to work, come home tired, have their food, and go to sleep. Yet, like the day today, you have an opportunity—you have the great fortune to have this human life.
Wise are the ones who experience peace within, who experience joy. No matter how tired they are, when they go to sleep, they feel how beautiful the day was. The ones who know the riches of the heart are the richest of the rich. It's a matter of heart.
I have experienced peace, and if someone comes to me, I will help them experience that peace. For this, you need to dig your own well; the water that you are looking is within you. You need to dig until you are satisfied. It will be you who will know when that happens. Only you can say, "Yes, I have peace in my life." And if peace is not there, only you can see that.
In this life, it's already morning—the sun is there, and the day is passing by. As long as the sun is up, it's not too late to experience joy in your life.
Inspire v2 i54, 28 March 2005: Introduction to You (Translated from Hindi)
You have heard many introductions in your life, and I, too, want to introduce you to something—not to anyone else, but to yourself.
Who are you? You have a name. If someone calls your name, wherever you are, you look up. The introduction I want to give you doesn't have your name or face attached to it because you are not all these things. You may think you own the clothes you wear or the roles you play. But really, you are a traveler taking a beautiful journey. What you think is yours is not really yours. One day, you will have to leave this world. What will be left?
I look at pictures of myself when I was one year old, two years old. Where has that child gone? I don't look like that anymore. Everything has changed, but I am still breathing. I am what I am. The happiness, the peace, that I desired then, I want today. I still want to sleep when I'm tired and eat food when I'm hungry.
So, in one way, everything is changing, but in other ways, nothing is changing. Today, people look at their lives and say, "It should be like this; it should be like that." Was there ever a time when someone didn't say how things should be?
You are alive. You can see, you can hear, you can experience this world. A time will come when this body will not work efficiently, and slowly, slowly, the fair of life will be over. Have you ever seen a fair come to town? It comes with a great bang. Tents are pitched, and structures are put up here and there. Then it's opened to the public. People come to see the fair, to buy things, to talk with each other, to listen to the music. They come to enjoy. The day this fair is over, nothing will remain of it.
The fair is your life. One day, the fair will be over, and someone else's fair will be here. Then someone else will come, and someone else will come, and this grinding stone will go on and on. Things will go on changing—this is the nature of this world. If you want to change something, change yourself. Look at yourself and see what you really want.
Everyone needs peace—that is the law. People worry and worry and become old worrying. They worry about everything: "What will happen to me? What will happen tomorrow?" There should only be one worry for a human being—that in their life, they can experience peace, not just for one day, but every day. That's why it has been said that if you really want to worry, then worry about how to fulfill this life.
Understand the need of your heart and fulfill your life any way you can. All the riches we are looking for are within. The true wealth that will never end is within. And within is the one who can recognize it. Within, the music is playing, the fountain is overflowing. This is your introduction to you. This is who you are. There is a part of you that can be destroyed, but there is also a part of you that cannot be destroyed. This is the "you" that you have been searching for since you were very young.
Your truth is within you. Your true beauty is within you. Look for it. When you find it, accept it and fulfill your life. And if you don't find it, then come to me. I can help.
Inspire v2 i55, 9 April 2005: The Most Beautiful Story
Today, I'd like to talk about what we have—not what could be, not what isn't, but what we already have. So many of us would rather hear about a dream—how it could be, how something could change. But I talk about the most priceless thing that all the money in the world could not replace—your life. Do you know how to see the value of the gift you've been given?
First of all, we have to make a distinction, because we take all the things that happen in life—our problems, the good and the bad—mix it up with our existence, and say, "This is my life." But that is not the way to measure our lives.
We have a need. It is a need, not a want. Want is an ocean that will keep changing. Today you want a blue suit; tomorrow you'll want a gray one. How do I know? Look at all the advertisements: "This is what you need, this is what you want, this is how it should be." Everybody has been saying that to you all your life: "This is what you should be, this is what you need, this is what you want, this is how it is."
What do you really need? The time has come to ask that question of your own heart—the one thing that has been true to you since childhood. Experience it for yourself. We abdicate the most important thing we have—experience. Remember when you were young and your parents told you, "Don't touch that; it's hot." It didn't make any sense until one day you touched it and you knew. A lifetime of lectures does not equal one second of experience. So many people talk about peace. Either you experience peace or you think about it. Thinking about water won't quench your thirst. You have to drink water.
What does it mean to know your self? We know our friends better than we know ourselves. If you want to know your self, there is a way, and it begins by recognizing your existence, by recognizing your heart, by recognizing this possibility in your life. Take off the glasses of good and bad. See your self—and you will see the gift of an existence. All that remains is to truly accept that gift. When I can begin to see a most wonderful, precious reality, then my heart begins to dance.
Anything and everything that you could possibly want or need is right here. There is no question whether that beauty is within you or not—it's within everyone. The only difference is there are those who have experienced it, in whose life it has manifested, and there are those in whose life it has not yet manifested.
The greatest miracle is taking place in this moment called now—you are alive. This moment has the most beautiful possibility: you can fall in love with this breath that comes into you and brings you life, love, understanding, comfort, and everything you could possibly ever need.
The most beautiful story is unfolding, and that is the story of you. No one else can narrate that story. The request from your heart is very, very simple: Be fulfilled. Be in joy. Be in peace.
Inspire v2 i56, 19 April 2005: Abundance of Joy (translated from Hindi)
Today everyone is looking for truth. If someone searches for truth, first they need to be able to accept what is good and not accept what is bad. Here is something to understand: the nature of human beings is that the bad has more impact than the good. We will need to change this nature if we want to live life consciously.
Our nature is that though we have everything, we hold onto our pain. If after 100 years of somebody saying "I love you," they say, "I hate you," we will remember that more than all 100 years of "I love you." Yes, there is pain, but there is an abundance of joy and happiness as well.
Many songs in India ask, "What is the difference between a swan and a duck?" Whether it is true or not, they say that if you mix milk and water together, the swan can separate the milk from the water. It accepts what is good and leaves what isn't. The duck doesn't see the difference; he takes it all.
A human being's request should be, "What can I do for my life today?" There are people who think this is very selfish. But if a thirsty person quenches his thirst, is that selfish? If a hungry person satisfies his hunger, is that selfish? If a tired person sits down, is that selfish? And if the human being's heart wants to be fulfilled, how can that be called selfish?
If you truly learn to love your life, your nature will change. You will be able to receive what is good and let go of what is bad—to be transformed from a duck to a swan. Then whatever that person touches will turn to gold. For them, nothing will be lacking.
This is the opportunity for each of us. Many people try to look beautiful on the outside, but there is also a beauty within you. Allow that beauty to come forth—the true beauty of life. There is a place within you that is there wherever you go, and you can experience it. Whether you're young or old, it is always with you. Experience that. Then, no matter what you do, your life will be filled with that beauty, that enthusiasm, and love will permeate.
I go from place to place and I remind people: "Fulfill your life. Don't forget that. Whether you do anything else or not, fulfill your life." That's very important.
I remind people again and again about the lamp that is within. Everyone has their own lamp. The lamp is within you. I have my own lamp within me. The difference is that I have matches. So I go from place to place and I light up people's lives.
We are fortunate because we have this human body. Take full advantage of it. Fulfill your life. Whatever you need to do, do it. But there is one more thing you should definitely do, and that is to fulfill your life. Don't forget to do that as well.
Inspire v2 i57, 28 April 2005: Awakening
This is our time—the time each one of us has been given. Yet we get lost in semantics—what is good, bad, right, wrong. What do we forget? Everywhere, someone has a request, someone has a prayer. "Make this happen. Give me a better job. Give me a better life." We forget what we have been given.
Somehow, we are unable to look at what is in front of us—the most beautiful, the most magnificent. There is no greater blessing than the coming and going of this breath. This is what we have. Everything else is changeable by its nature. You want things to be good, and when they are, you want them to stay that way. But they can't. They will change.
The whole world is willing to talk about the future. Someone sees you are doing well and says, "You have a bright future." How bright a future can you have? One certainty in your future is that you're going to die. Everyone is saying, "Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up." What's waiting for us at the end? Nothing. Hurry up so you can meet nothing. But it's all acceptable to us. Why? Because the simple reality is ignored again and again—the reality that you are alive. You are who you are. And every day that comes, you are given an opportunity to recognize that.
The sun goes down, your body goes to sleep. The sun comes up again. You awaken. Here is your opportunity to forget the past and become busy with the present, but you don't do that. You go to sleep with the worries that have come from yesterday. This is who you sleep with. Some people wonder why their life is miserable. Look at the company you keep. You keep the company of memories that are gone.
Peace seems trivial now because you have a busy schedule. You have the whole world to take care of—all these responsibilities. But if you don't take care of your responsibility to the heart, what good is it? Your heart is a part of you, too. Unless you also use your heart—your inner wisdom—your life will not be complete no matter what you do.
Can you do that? Can you be conscious enough to understand the importance of this existence? Can you be conscious enough to allow your heart to fill with the gratitude that it wants? That's all. There are no other requirements. All you have to do is accept it.
This is the gift. Of all the billions of things that could be, this is you. You could have been an inch taller or shorter. Your face could have been a little different, but it isn't. This is who you are. Do you accept that? Or are you investing everything in what isn't? "I wish it was this way, that way." Is your investment in all that isn't or in all that is?
Awaken and open your eyes to the beautiful reality of being alive. Weigh every moment with the importance of this breath. With the sweetness, the beauty, the understanding, the clarity of your heart, take the steps needed in your life. And be content in the supreme joy that is always dancing within you. Let that become real for you. It is a beautiful process because life in itself is a beautiful, beautiful journey. Be fulfilled every day. This is what life promises: that we can be fulfilled every single day.
Inspire v2 i58, 5 May 2005: Peace Is Possible
There is a story of a man who loved parrots and wanted to raise special ones. So he bought three parrot eggs, and as they grew, he taught them music, physics, and mathematical formulas. When they were older, they could recite these formulas and quack Beethoven's symphony perfectly. But one day the man died, and someone put them in a tree outside. They crawled up the branches, looking around their new home.
Then they saw another parrot and said to him, "We know everything. We can recite this formula and that formula." The other parrot saw a cat approaching and said, "Do you know how to fly?" "Of course we know how to fly. When pressure is created at the bottom of the wing, and there is low pressure at the top, we can fly." He said, "No, not the formula—do you really know how to fly?" "But we know so much, what difference could it make?" "The one thing you don't know you really do need to know, and because you don't know that, all you know isn't going to do you any good."
What is the significance of this story? The significance is that we have accomplished a lot in this world, but if we haven't accomplished the one thing that is so fundamental to us, all that we have accomplished isn't going to help us.
People are crying out for peace. Peace is not a luxury. Peace is as important as breathing air, eating food, and having shelter, because it is the fundamental necessity of every heart on the face of this earth. Peace is not a new concept. As long as there have been wars, there has been a voice that has called out again and again for peace. True peace, real peace—a peace that is experienced by every individual.
Peace is our foundation, but we have not discovered it. We have learned the technology to go to the moon, but we haven't explored the inner self. This is where you will find your peace. This is where you will find
the reality that is with you wherever you go.
Peace begins with every individual and with the recognition of this heart, this life, this existence. We have always known that. It is time to stop hiding from the reality and open the gate for everyone to fulfill their fundamental wish for peace. This is our time.
Remember one thing: if human beings can start wars, they surely can make peace. There is no "they" that will bring peace to us. Peace is not going to come in a package or a box. Peace is not going to come as rain from the heavens. The possibility of peace has already been given to every human being on earth.
We have to discover it—discover within the need for peace—and then create an environment where people can be free to feel that peace in their lives.
It begins with each one of us. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. It will happen one step at a time, and that one step begins with you. If you can take that first step in your life, you can complete the journey of a thousand miles. And yes, peace is possible.
Inspire v2 i59, 12 May 2005: Reality Is Beautiful
There is pseudo-peace—a dreamt-up peace that you think exists but is not really there—and there is real peace. Which one do you have?
It's so important to build our life on what's real—to build our understanding from experience, not just ideas. Experience is something no one can take away from you. If you build a house of straw, the wind can knock it down. If you build a house of wood, it can be burned down. So build it from something substantial that will last.
You cannot just have a made-up peace. You have a heart that feels, so feel peace. Build your house from your experience, and then you can live comfortably there. Build it in such a way that you'll be sheltered. When it's windy, it'll be calm inside. Fires and earthquakes can come, and you won't have to worry. You can relax, living your life in the simple sanity of saying "I know," not "I don't know." That's very important.
It has been said many times, "Reality is more beautiful than you realize." But so many people are afraid to see what's really there. They would rather live in fear than see reality. And yet, reality is exceptionally beautiful. It is the sweet and simple breath that goes in and out of you. It is your song, your symphony—you are playing a very beautiful piece of music called your life.
It's a beautiful thing—the life that we have been given. Every day we have to acknowledge that we're alive. The day we don't acknowledge that we are alive, we are unconscious. We are doing things, but we don't understand why we are doing them.
Enjoy what you have been given. Enjoy this existence. Enjoy every breath. This is the nature of a human being: what we enjoy, we remember, and we don't get tired of it. So enjoy every breath. Things will happen—good, bad, right, wrong. Somebody says, "No." Somebody says, "Yes." Somebody says, "This way." Somebody says, "No, not that way."
In your life, do you want beauty and joy? Keep that focus, and you will have it. Don't waste your time, because time is something you can't recover. Don't misplace your anger. If you have to be angry, then be angry at anger. Maybe somebody did something wrong, and they didn't know it. Understand one thing: in this game of life, you get one opportunity. If you understand what this life is all about, that's all that matters.
There is so much potential. I see a vision. I don't see obstacles. I don't see problems. Problem-solving is a human being's forte. We can problem-solve, but it's very rare to have a vision. Yet it is the vision that is important.
Don't compare today to yesterday and don't compare tomorrow to today. It is what it is. Accept the fruit of your effort. Enjoy that, and more will come. When you accept, your heart is touched, and magic starts to unfold. When you don't accept, everything freezes. And when you accept again, your heart thaws out and begins to dance once more.
Inspire v2 i60, 20 May 2005: Wisdom
What I have to say deals with you as an individual—one human being on the face of this earth. It doesn't deal with ideas. It doesn't deal with philosophies. It doesn't deal with religions. It deals with one simple thing —this life, this existence.
We have come to believe in our differences. I want to tell you about the similarity of each human being wanting to be fulfilled. Besides all the things we do, all our responsibilities, we have one more responsibility, and that is to recognize the gift of life, to recognize the joy and beauty of life, because it is the only thing that can truly fulfill us.
We all have the same need to be content. We need to have a peace in our life that we can actually feel every single day. Every moment in our lives is the most precious, because it is the moment we have. Wisdom is not realizing the preciousness of something when it is gone. Wisdom is recognizing the preciousness of what we have.
There's a beautiful Chinese saying: "It is good intelligence to know your friends, but it is true wisdom to know yourself."
Outside, you are always changing. On the inside, there is no change. I have seen people who have gotten old—their face, their body, looks different. Inside, they're the same. Their heart is the same.
Why not find out what is within you? Why not get in touch with the perfection that is within you? Why not understand what your heart is trying to say to you? Why do we ignore our inner self and only try to do what the outer self wants to do? The inner self is a part of us, and if we have not heard that simple request, we have not heard the whole story of this life.
On this journey of life, make sure the heart is fulfilled. Experience peace. When you can experience peace, that's when peace will come into your world. People say, "In this world, there needs to be peace." I say, "No, in your world there needs to be peace, because if there isn't peace in your world, there isn't going to be peace in this world."
War does not grow on trees. War grows in the hatred in people's minds. Peace does not grow on trees. Peace grows in people's hearts.
That's where you will find peace. It is within you. Look for it. Do whatever is necessary to find peace in your life and be content. You have known this since you were a little child, but you forgot because everything else became important. I remind people what is important—to balance this existence. Feel the joy within you and be fulfilled.
When I say to people, "Peace is possible," people say, "No." All I know is, if war is possible, peace is possible, because it is the other side of the coin. You cannot have a coin with one side only.
If there can be war, there can be peace. And it begins not with countries. It begins not with nations. It begins not with governments. It begins with you, with me, with each one of us. This is what I can give.
Inspire v2 i61, 26 May 2005: Savoring Peace
What I have to say is really quite simple because it deals with every individual. I go around the world telling people that they are alive and that's what means the most. And it needs to mean the most to you. You, yourself, need to understand the preciousness of your existence.
Peace begins with the understanding of what we have been given—this life. This existence needs to mean something. When it means nothing, human life—the one thing that is irreplaceable—has lost its value. Causes become greater than life itself, and life becomes a meaningless commodity in this great market where things are being traded all the time.
Today the sun rose, and you awoke. What did you think about? Your responsibilities. How do I know this? Because that's what we all do. I'm not excluding myself. I need peace, too, like you. I am in the same boat as you are, and that's what qualifies me to talk about it. If I were in some other boat, it would just be ideas and theories, but I am in the same boat.
You hear about the frailty of life. Yesterday, somebody told me that a very good friend of mine passed away. I stopped and thought about it. And I understood in that moment—once again—how precious life is and that no day can be wasted. I understood once again that, of all the gifts I have been given, the greatest is the breath that comes into me every moment.
Every day is like one lifetime: the sun rises and I am born. All these things happen. Some things happen that I am in control of, and some things happen that I am not in control of. Some things happen that I like; some things happen that I don't like. But whether good or bad, right or wrong things happen, the sun does set again, the eyes close, and I fall asleep.
I want peace every day. This is my ambition. Everyone has their definition of what they are looking for, and they look in so many places for the one thing that is within. What we're looking for is happiness, what we're looking for is contentment and the avenues to get to it. So we search, and we search, and we do what is necessary. And in all our searching and all our doing—who do we forget? Ourselves.
Whatever the equation is that you have created, please include yourself in it, because without you, without your heart, without peace in your life, there can never ever be peace in the world. The solution lies within—in understanding that, yes, peace is a possibility. Peace begins with you. Peace is possible for you. Yours is this life—the gift you have been given. Awaken and accept it.
You are a tourist, and you have come here on an incredible vacation. What are you doing? Are you enjoying this existence in its truest sense? Or are you busy saying, "Let me fix the carpets, the walls, the window. Once I am through with this, I will really enjoy my vacation." By the time you fix all that, the vacation will be over.
Don't wait. This is your time. Grab the request in your heart for peace and find that contentment in your life. Peace is beautiful. Peace is real. Peace is that passion for existence when I am caught up in a feeling, an understanding, of what life means—every day, every hour, every breath. Then I can begin to savor what peace is all about.
Inspire v2 i62, 2 June 2005: The Oasis
Sometimes when I sleep, I dream that I'm talking to people. Here is one story that I dreamt recently: There was a man who bought a house, and he realized there was a serious shortage of water. So he did some research and found a place to dig for water. He bought a spade and started digging, but it was very hot and difficult. One day, it reached the apex. He had been working in the heat, and he was so thirsty that he realized if he didn't get water soon, he would die. So he started yelling, "Water, water, water."
Somebody heard him, came to him, and said, "Come with me. I will take you to water." Then that person took him by the hand behind his house and around the nearby mountain, and there was a huge river flowing with beautiful, clear water. When the man saw the water, he jumped into the river. He cooled himself, drank the water, and was content. Then he came out, thanked the person who had helped him, went back to his house, picked up the spade, and continued digging his well.
The river was not that far from his house. After he found the river, he didn't need a well, but he was so into digging that it became more important than finding the water itself. So much time and energy had been put into it that, even after finding water, he kept digging.
My experience says that if I have discovered a river, I don't need to dig a well. The river is much more beautiful. Maybe I didn't know that there was a river so close, and I didn't create that river, but somebody helped me discover it.
Like that river, there is a joy that is the same for everyone—the real joy. The real joy is not about accomplishments. The real joy is about discovering the peace within your own self. Find the river within you. Find the joy within you.
You might say, "I don't think there is anything within me; it's all outside." What about the people who for centuries have been saying, "What you are looking for is inside of you"?
Maybe you're digging the well, and you are hot. All I am saying is there is a river in your backyard. Would you really say, "River or no river, I'm going to dig this well. I have a spade, and I have already spent so much time on this. I can't stop now."
Our lives have been what they have been. In a desert, there is sand everywhere, but there are also incredibly beautiful flowers waiting for rain to come. Then it will become an oasis. Maybe in our lives all we have seen is sand, but let the rain of understanding come and turn this desert into an oasis. Let the seeds germinate that have been waiting and waiting.
Make your own decision how important peace is to you, how important it is to be fulfilled. This is a process of discovery. You can't say to a thirsty person, "But you've just had water." Not unless he's actually had water can he feel satisfied. It is the same way for you.
There is a wonderful possibility within you—not in a book or on a mountaintop, but within you. Discover that possibility, be fulfilled, and enjoy this existence. Learn while you can learn. Grow because you want to grow. And feel peace because you want to feel peace. If you want that, I can make it possible. This is what I do. I know peace is possible. Why? Because it resides within you.
Inspire v2 i63, 7 June 2005: The Umbrella
The life, this existence, is pure by nature. You are pure by nature. That is your nature. But there are things that come in and cause doubt and confusion. That's why it is so important to have someone who can clean, who can help you straighten out your priorities, put you back in touch with your heart, with what is important.
We look at our situation and say, "It's hopeless." I look at it and say, "No. Wash it. Here is the soap." When you wash it, the dirt is gone. Cleanliness isn't poured over the shirt. No. Soap has the capacity to bind with dirt and take it away as it is washed. And purity returns.
Let me give you an example. There is a tiny mouse that lives in Africa. This little mouse doesn't have big teeth or big claws to defend itself against the eagles or hawks that attack it. It has only one thing—speed. It can run really fast. But by running fast, it is very easy for this little mouse to stumble and fall and get swooped up. So this mouse has a strategy.
The strategy is to use what it has been given—speed—and to make sure the road is clear so it doesn't fall. It has researched all the routes from its home to the places it needs to go for food. Meticulously, it keeps those tracks clean—no twigs, no rocks, nothing. When it spots a hawk, it runs fast and makes it back home. The strategy works because they're still around.
It's only a cute little mouse, but can we learn something from it? That's what we need to do in our lives, too—keep those tracks clean. If we can keep those tracks clean, when that time comes that we need to use them, we'll make it.
There are people who will tell you, "Chant this mantra and clouds won't come." I say, "No matter how hard you try, clouds will come, and it will rain. You cannot change that. So carry an umbrella—the umbrella of clarity. When it rains, simply open up the umbrella." Why do you want to change the clouds or the
seasons? It's going to rain. When it does, open up the umbrella, and you won't get wet. Go out, but take the umbrella.
Some people say, "I don't need any help—my life is going nicely, my business is doing really well." I stand at the crossing and say, "It's going to rain. It's going to rain." Some people who don't know about the umbrella say, "I don't understand what he's saying. I don't get his message." Those who know say, "Thank you for reminding me. Let me go get my umbrella. I don't want to leave home without it."
There is so much that is waiting for you. Inside of you, there is joy, peace, fulfillment. Accept that. It can be there always, but remember, if it is raining, it is not just a question of having an umbrella. One, it has to be open. Two, it has to cover your head. You can't just hold the umbrella and say, "I had the umbrella open in my hand and I got wet."
I can just remind you. I cannot do it for you. I will never walk behind you with an umbrella. I don't do that and have never done that. But I can remind you, I can show you, and I can guide you.
Inspire v2 i64, 8 June 2005: The Greatest Gift
In this world, everyone has a different idea of what peace is. To someone, peace is when countries stop fighting, or when their neighbor is quiet, or Sunday morning when there is no traffic, or when the sun comes out and the birds start singing.
Let me tell you about a peace that is not bound by definitions, that is not outside. Outside everyone is screaming, "This is what's important. This is what's important." There was a time when the only thing that was important to you was what you felt from within—the want to be content that is so innate and fundamental. Even if your mother or father said, "Be quiet," you cried because you had a need. When that need was fulfilled, you were fine.
In my life, I want to feel joy, contentment, just like that child. Today, so much has come between me and that contentment, that simplicity, that beauty. And no one threw it at me; I invited it. I need to see clearly who I am. My desire for peace has to be crystal clear every single day. Nothing can come between that and what I feel. My heart is saying to me: Be content. This is a journey. You have come here. You are dancing, moving, seeing, thinking, experiencing. And one day, all of this will be no more.
Enjoy this time that you have—not in a fake way, but in the real sense. Not to say, "Look what I have," but, "Look what I have discovered." Discover what already exists within.
I talk about our similarity, not our differences—the thirst of the heart that is the same for every single human being. I have traveled this earth many times, and I have never come across anything called "the world." I have only come across people. This is who we are. We are this moving miracle, this dancing miracle—the miracle of all miracles.
You want to hear about a miracle? You are a miracle. In you comes this breath that is the kiss of the Creator coming into you, touching you, bringing you life. Life is the magic that allows you to see, to hear, to feel, to think, to smile, to be, and to feel happiness, joy, peace.
Peace is looking for you. Are you looking for peace? This is not coincidence or imagination. It has to be real, and peace has to be felt.
People say, "Isn't that selfish?" Is enjoying the sunrise selfish because the joy of the sunrise is within me? Is happiness selfish? When a baby smiles, is that selfish? Which grandmother, mother, or father thinks it's selfish when their little baby waddles up to them and gives them a big hug and kiss? That's not selfish. "Ah, he kissed me. He came to me!"
In the same way, this breath came and touched me. I embrace it back and feel the gratitude. When the heart is full, there is gratitude.
In your life, allow yourself to feel peace, to be filled with gratitude. Unwrap what you have been given—a gift you haven't opened for a long time. It's about you—your journey, your ship, your boat on this ocean. It doesn't matter how young or old you are, the time has come to open the greatest gift of all.
Inspire v2 i65, 8 June 2005: Music from the Heart
Human beings are not made for stress. What causes stress? Confusion. Lack of priority. When we don't know what is important. All of a sudden, we're running around all over the place, and the result is stress.
Some people say, "Do this, and it will take away your stress." I say you shouldn't be stressed. As a human being, get your life together. Understand what is important to you. You are not made for stress. Mentally and physically, you break down under stress.
That's why my message is unique. I say, "Go inside and experience that feeling that is within you. Experience that peace, experience that joy. Again and again, hone in to your basics, to your fundamentals."
Do you realize that you can experience happiness? Think about that. You can experience joy. That's really, really amazing. People wonder, "Can animals experience it?" You are an animal! You belong to the same group. And you can experience joy. There are all those experiences out there. Yes, you can experience pain, you can experience all those things, but you can experience joy. That should be amazing.
You are an instrument. Any instrument can play off-tune as easily as it can play in tune. It's easy to be off-tune. You can put the key anywhere, and it will be off-tune. To be in tune is a very narrow band. There's only one place, one tightness of the string, where it will be in tune. And that's where you have to be. Nowhere else. Otherwise, anywhere else, off-tune is off-tune, but if you want to play in tune, there's one place.
It is so important to have someone who can talk about the real peace and real joy, someone who can remind you again and again to be focused, be centered, and evolve. There is so much to learn about you and the value of the breath that comes into you—to fall in love with this existence you've been given and have a heart full of gratitude.
I am like the tuner. I'll make sure the instrument is in tune, but you play. After the instrument is tuned, I give it back to you and say, "Play." You play. With this instrument create the sweetest music you have ever created. Play like you have never played before. Play with your heart. For whom? Play for yourself. A lot of people don't understand that. "That's selfish." Do you want to know the secret of the best musicians in this world? They play for themselves. When they do, it sounds wonderful to anyone who hears it. But when a musician starts playing for others, the music is over.
A lot of musicians will be playing and then all of a sudden close their eyes. They don't want to see anyone. They just want to be one with the music because it has to come from the heart. It cannot come from the head.
Sing for yourself. Play for yourself. Play and enjoy. That's when real music comes out. You are alive. You have that beauty in you. Accept that. How fortunate you are to be able to feel that beauty and joy in your life.
Inspire v2 i66, 28 June 2005: Seeing Life as It Is
I talk about the possibility, the life we have been given. With all our responsibilities and the things people tell us, we forget what we have been given.
I have a little story, and it is about a man who used to dream of all the things he wanted in his life. He wanted to marry this beautiful girl, have a good-paying government position, have some land. He was very good at dreaming, but he had no sense of reality. Things would happen all day, people would send him letters, but he would ignore them.
One day, he got old. He looked at his life and thought about his dreams, lamenting that none of them had become a reality. Then he saw a big pile of letters and started opening them. To his amazement, there was a letter from his girlfriend who wanted to marry him. So he called her, and she said, "I waited for you, but I got no answer, so I went ahead and got married."
He opened a letter and it was from the king, offering him a great job. He called the king, and the king said, "I waited for you, and you never responded, so the job was given to someone else."
As he opened each letter, he realized that all his dreams had come true, but he wasn't there to accept them. If only he had seen the reality, he wouldn't be lamenting. He could be celebrating.
I'm telling you this story because it is like that with us. We also have our dreams, our hopes, and our aspirations. At the base of every hope and dream we have lies the wish to be fulfilled, the wish to be happy, the wish to be content.
A letter comes to us every day in the form of breath, but we don't open it because we're too busy dreaming, trying to come up with formulas and ideas of how we can be content. But happiness itself is included in each one of these envelopes of breath that the Creator gives us. When it is too late, then we look at them and start to open them. Then we say how precious they are, and we look at all the ones we have wasted.
It is so important that we acknowledge the reality of this existence. We get so busy painting our ideas of how this life should be that we actually miss what is really happening. We walk with a bag on one side that is good and a bag on the other side that is bad. Everything we pick up goes into either the good bag or the bad bag. Take away the good and bad, and it is what it is. When you can see it as it is, it is beautiful. When you were young, you had this ability. You could see something for what it was—not good and bad, right and wrong.
If you want that joy in your life, bring back the heart of a child. When we can once again see with the pure eyes of our heart, we can see what we have been given, that the gift of existence means something. Not "what I have accomplished" but "I am alive." Life unfolds, and the gift is presented again and again. If you open this package, in the heart of it all you will find beauty, simplicity.
Go within and feel that beauty, that contentment. Find your comfort, your joy, in this reality. Find your shelter in this beautiful place.
Inspire v2 i67, 7 July 2005: Peace: The Real Success
Peace is possible. That's a catchy little phrase, but it has incredible significance. For me, for you, for everyone to even begin to have the hope that peace is possible is tremendous. I've been talking about peace since I was very, very young. For me, every human being—not societies or countries, but every human being alive—has been given a gift, a possibility.
We have a heart that inspires us to be fulfilled, that reminds us to be in peace. This is the premise from which I say that, yes, peace is possible. This is not a formula. This is not about what we could create. I'm talking about what we do have.
In each one of us, there is a want, a drive, to be fulfilled. We give this all too many meanings and definitions. We say "success," but what does success really mean?
For our lives to be truly successful, peace has to be a part of it—not missing. In our formulas, peace has to be there. Part of the fulfillment we all aspire to includes the fundamental thing called peace. Every day, to feel peace in our lives.
Some people think peace is one of those things that you just kind of feel one day and it's good for your whole life. Nothing works like that. Food isn't like that. You don't just eat one day and say, "I'm set for life." No, you've got to eat any time you get hungry. And with thirst, also, whenever you feel thirst, you need water.
Look within you for those resources that are calling out to you for the real success in this life. Not the quantity, but the quality. Not the make-believe, but indeed, the reality. Not taking the sum of all the things and saying, "Everything is fine now," but to feel fine. To feel fulfilled. Not saying, "Aren't I fulfilled? I have this, I have this," and constantly having to take inventory of everything around you.
A lot of people say, "I've got everything. I don't need that." I say: Remember who you are. You are none other than a vessel floating on the water of this world. We all need a haven to come back to. That's where peace resides.
What kind of peace am I talking about? "Take away all my problems, and I will have peace." No, I'm talking about a rope tied to the dock that does not come off when the waves go up and down. I'm talking about the peace that is there even when I am in the middle of turmoil, the peace that exists even in the midst of my problems.
In you lies compassion. Maybe you have been introduced to traits like anger and fear. Let me introduce you to some of your other basic traits: compassion, love, understanding, the want and desire for peace, to be fulfilled. These are important things —feeling, experiencing, understanding, enjoying. The quest for this has always been there in your existence. This time, take steps not only outside, but also take steps inside and feel the peace that is dancing in the beautiful halls of your heart.
Inspire v2 i68, July 2005: Incomparable
You have heard about peace in many different ways. Maybe this is just one more perspective, but it is a perspective that comes from the heart.
Peace. We think, "Peace. Yes, something over here called peace." When I travel around the world and mention the word "peace," everyone has a different reaction. It ranges from "I've heard about that" to "It's a waste of time" to "I am interested in peace."
The most significant statement is: "I am interested in peace." I, as an individual, a person—not a label, not a box, not a globe—but a living, breathing, human being whose existence is priceless. This is the opportunity each one of us has been given.
Peace is a feeling—a feeling of non-duality, a feeling away from doubt, a feeling of me. Me understanding my existence. Feeling peace—not in turmoil, not in war, not in controversy, but in the serenity of existence.
There is more to you than you realize. There is another chapter here that hasn't been opened. Maybe there is a treasure trove that has not been tapped yet. Maybe there is another room to this villa, this mansion, this house, that has not been looked at.
The desire for peace transcends every barrier. Even those who have been incarcerated desire peace. Those who have little to eat also desire peace. And those sitting in giant mansions desire peace. Peace is one of those things: after a bowl of food, I still want to be in peace. The worst war is the war within a human being because there's no ceasefire to it. You can't put a brake on it; you can't negotiate with just one party. And the trouble with the war that rages inside is that, even if you win it, you lose because it's with yourself.
This is your life. Sometimes we forget what is being created here. This is no ordinary construction site. Done well, it will be better and more beautiful than the Mona Lisa, more grand than the Statue of David, more magnificent than the Sistine Chapel.
Who will be the admirer? Admiration and simplicity are the guardian angels of this beautiful experience called peace. They are the towers. In no uncertain terms, know the value of this existence, the value of this breath, the desire for peace that we carry in our hearts. There is a part of us that has beckoned us to be in peace again and again, that when we are in turmoil says, "This is no good. You don't want to be here. This is not acceptable."
I'm talking about the peace that can be even experiencedin the middle of war. It's not about the new or the fancy. It's about the good old heart that's always been there. It's about the good old breath that is as old and fresh and new as nothing I've seen. I cannot compare it to dew or to the rising sun or to a new star, because when that breath comes into me, it is so new that it is incomparable. That's my potential. I can be fulfilled like you can.
Inspire v2 i69, 20 July 2005: The Island
Peace is not a novelty. Peace is not a new thing. Peace is innate and necessary for our survival, for our well-being. We look at so many things, and sometimes we forget the very fundamental things.
There is a story of a man who inherited a beautiful island. And it was beautiful—beautiful beaches, trees, birds, flora, fauna. He could see the island, and his simple wish was to go to there, but he couldn't swim. He tried to go by boat, but he couldn't cross the reef. So he had a brilliant idea: "I'll make a bridge." He didn't know how to make a bridge, so he went to college to learn how to build it. He studied and studied and learned how to do it.
Then he realized that he needed money to build this bridge and he didn't
have any. So he went back to school to learn how to make money. He went through a business management course, got his degree, and started one business venture after another to build the bridge with his newfound knowledge. Some failed, some succeeded. But by the time he had made enough money to build the bridge, he could hardly see the island.
The point of the story is that every human being wants to be content, wants to be happy, wants to feel peace in their life. It's important. Excitement is fine, but there has to come a point when we can retreat within and feel the tranquility, the peace, and the joy in our lives.
If that one element is taken away, the person will ultimately stop enjoying everything. Success will look like failure. Failure will look like even a bigger failure. And everything that we are will come unglued.
I am here to remind you of something you already know—how important it is for all of us to be in peace. And yes, be in peace with all our differences.
That's the challenge, because if we say, "Peace will come when all our differences have disappeared," we're going to get old fast, and peace is not going to happen. The idea of peace is not new. There has been an effort to have peace in every single civilization. The question is: Why can't peace be in our lives now? The peace I am talking about is not a result of things on the outside; I am talking about searching for the peace that resides within.
What I really, really want is not somewhere out there, but within. I have to acknowledge my own thirst, my own feeling. I have to acknowledge what is knocking inside of me saying, "Be in peace." Not tomorrow, not day after tomorrow, but now. I need to feel that feeling of being fulfilled—with or without all the things that are going on.
Is peace possible? Yes, peace is possible because peace begins with you. Nobody's going to haul peace into your home. Peace is not pizza that can be delivered by a phone call. Peace is within you. It always has been. It's going to take addressing the feeling that is within. That's how peace is going to be felt.
Feel what is inside of you—the desire to be fulfilled. That is why peace is possible.
Inspire v2 i70, 27 July 2005: The Strength of Existence
What does it mean to be free? People want freedom, but people don't know what freedom is. A definition of freedom has been created, and this is what people strive for. Ask them, "Do you feel free?" And they will say, "Of course, I am free, because of this, this, this."
Freedom is being free from fear, free from ignorance, free from doubt. Freedom is not just that you can come and go from your house as you please. You can be free and still be imprisoned. At least in prison, sooner or later they let you go. But if you are imprisoned by fear, by doubt, by anger, you may never make bail or get a reprieve. That prison is much more difficult to get out of—you may never be allowed to leave.
Be fulfilled inside. Every day, prepare for this life to be lived the way it is meant to be. Not outside. It doesn't matter what is going on outside. Be fulfilled inside. Don't gauge your life by all the things that happen in it. Look at the world within because there something very beautiful and simple is unfolding.
The challenge of the world is what you can accomplish. The challenge of the heart is: How much joy can you withstand? How much can you take? How much can you be fulfilled? The challenge of consciousness is: How keen and how aware can you be?
The challenge is to be in peace in the middle of all the turmoil that is there. Some people ask, "Do you need to change the turmoil in order not to feel it?" I say, "You don't."
This life is beautiful. It is. That's why it has been given to you. Its beauty only begins to be appreciated the day you begin to accept it, not to question or challenge it. This breath is a beautiful gift. How you got it, I don't know. The point is that you have it, and its beauty will only begin to unfold the day you accept it, whatever may happen. There is always a "whatever." I don't think there has ever been a generation of people who haven't thought they were invincible. The pharaohs thought they were invincible. Wrong assumption.
Today people say, "We've been to the moon. We have done this; we have done that. We have accomplished this; we have accomplished that." People feel the same invincibility that every single generation before thought they had, only to realize one day how fragile it all is. If there is a strength, it is the strength of existence.
You exist. Accept it. Be. That's all you have to do—be. Be present and you will feel. You will understand the rhythm of that beautiful drum, so strong and so gentle. You are alive, and that needs to mean the most to you. The most. It's a time that's limited. You don't know when it's going to be over. You don't get to know, because it is not the end that matters; it's today that you're alive. It is today that this breath came into you. It is today that a heart is crying out to be free. That's what matters. Let it matter for you.
If you've been asleep, awaken. Awaken to the wonderful possibilities. Let your life sparkle. That's the possibility. Peace is the possibility. Joy is the possibility. Fulfillment is the possibility. Accept that in your life.
Inspire v2 i71, 27 July 2005: Paradise Within
Every day is important. What will you do today? A lot of people like to sit down at the end of the day and say, "Let me figure out what I did today." That's a little too late.
You wake up in the morning and think, "What am I going to do?" Maybe there are ten thousand things you have to do, but remember one: today I'm going to be content, I'm going to be in peace, I'm going to be in joy. And then do whatever you have to do—all the chores you have, the sad things you may have to do, even the bad things you will have to put up with. But remember one thing: today, I'm going to be content.
You go through your journeys in life, and hopefully, you come out wiser —not lacking something, but with something. That's what this life has
to be, because this is your life. Life is not about saying to somebody, "Look what you did to me."
You are the captain. This is your life. Enjoy every moment of it. It is incumbent upon you to facilitate that and never, ever—no matter what comes in your life—to forget it. You are unique. No one ever has or ever will be able to express the joy of this heart the way you do. Your hard times will pass, but the most important thing is your focus. When a person walks on a tightrope, through the entire journey from the beginning to the end, where is their focus? Are they thinking, "How much further do I have to go?" "How far have I been?" No. Their focus is on only one place: their balance. If their focus wavers, they will fall.
In our lives, we're walking a tightrope, too. Each day that goes by will never come back. It's gone. That makes some people sad. And some people say, "If that's really true, then every day is important." And it is. Every day is important.
Contentment has nothing to do with all those things that go on during the day. It really doesn't. When clarity isn't there and the focus isn't straight, everything matters—even red lights. "Look at this, I'm getting every single red light. Not one single green one." And when the clarity is there, it's another moment to remember something important.
This life is not about red lights and green lights or the bad things that happen. Regardless of all the bad, if there are more things that are good in your life, then it is good. So, for you, is it good or is it bad? There is one thing that tips the balance, and that's your clarity. If you are clear, then the sum of all the good things put together is better than the sum of all the bad things. And good it is.
A coconut floating in the ocean doesn't say, "How come there are waves?" It uses what it has been given. So, let there be waves. Probably the coconut gets to a point where it says, "The bigger the waves, the better, because that means I'll be thrown far inland." Everything switches; everything turns around. This is how we are meant to be.
There is a paradise within. You don't need to count all the problems.
Just say, "There is all that, but in the middle of it all, there is something so beautiful, so real." And the real is more real than the fake is fake. Reality is incredible.
Inspire v2 i72, 11 August 2005: Rewards of Joy
What I have to talk about is something very personal, something that has to do with you as an individual.
When I travel, people talk to me, and everybody seems to talk about the "world situation." "There is this happening in this part of the world, there is this problem and that problem." You rarely come across a person who says, "I'm very thankful because I am alive, because I have been given the gift of breath, the gift of today."
When I talk to people about peace, I don't talk about peace the same way that other people do, where everybody is walking around in an idyllic world with a big smile on their face, nobody's arguing with anyone, and there are white robes and peace symbols everywhere.
When I talk about peace, it begins with every single human being on the face of this earth.
If we are not experiencing that peace, that joy, in our lives, it really doesn't matter. The idyllic dream will stay idyllic and stay a dream. To realize it, we will have to go to sleep because that is the only time we can dream.
I am talking about being awake. Part of being alive is to be awake, not sleeping in an imaginary world, striving for an imaginary peace, living an imaginary life. Especially when what you have been given is so much better than anything you could ever dream of and infinitely more beautiful than you could ever imagine. That's the life I am talking about—where there is a real enjoyment. It cannot be an imagination. It has to be real.
Peace is good, joy is good, being conscious is good, and if you can practice being conscious in this life, that would be a wonderful thing. Imagine the rewards of being conscious. Imagine the rewards of happiness. Imagine the rewards of joy. Imagine the rewards of a fulfilled life. Imagine the rewards of a life complete—not empty. Not half, not three-quarters.
You have to be proactive if you want peace in your life. You have to usher in wisdom and consciousness every single day. You have to have a way to be able to go inside, because that is where peace lies.
I offer a way to be able to go inside. I go around and I try to make a difference. I try to bring joy to people's lives, to bring a little hope to people around the world.
Find peace in your life. A day without peace, without joy, is truly a waste of time. If you can't find it, look me up. I'm here, there, somewhere—traveling around the world and bringing a message of hope. Not a lecture, but a hope in earnest to people around the world.
Put the meaning back in this life with every breath you take.
Understand the value of breath while you still have it, because then you will be able to appreciate what you have. Wisdom is not a big thing. It's in the small details of life. The smallest detail of your life is this breath that comes in and goes out. It is so incredibly detailed because your existence dances around it. This is you. This is your gift. Be fulfilled. It will make the difference in your existence.
Inspire v2 i73, 12 August 2005: Partial to Joy
Just recently, I told a little Chinese story that I heard. There was an archer who came to town, and he was an incredible marksman. He was showing off—shooting one arrow after another, right on target. A man standing in the back of the crowd, instead of cheering him, kept saying, "Ah, it's just a matter of practice, just a matter of practice."
The archer thought a lot of himself and did not like this comment. He was expecting praise. So he went over to the man and said, "What do you mean, 'It's just a matter of practice'? Can you do what I can do?"
The man said, "No, but let me show you something." He used to sell oil, so he grabbed a bottle that had a very narrow tube at the opening and a large bowl at the bottom, took a big container of oil, and poured it through the little opening into the bottle, not spilling a drop. Then he looked at the archer and said, "Can you do that?"
The archer realized that, no, he hadn't had any practice doing that. So the man said, "I can't shoot arrows like you, but you can't pour oil like me. It's all a matter of practice."
The point of the story is: What do you practice? Whatever you practice, you'll get good at. If you practice complaining, you'll get very good at it. You will be able to complain about everything. When your friends are looking at the big harvest moon, everyone in awe of the beautiful evening, you'll be able to say, "Yes, but it's so dark!"
So what do you practice in your life? If you practice peace, you'll get very good at it. If you practice joy or happiness, you'll get very good at it. If you practice knowing yourself, you'll get very good at it. You will know who you are. When you begin to know yourself, you begin to realize what a gift you are and the value of every breath that you are being given.
What I offer is a way to connect to the beauty that is inside of you, not merely words. To stand on your own feet and judge for yourself whether you feel that peace, that joy, in your life or not.
This is not: "My Palm Pilot says I have had lunch, and therefore, my hunger is false." I don't believe in that. I believe in a very simple reality that I wasn't, I am, and I won't be. It doesn't make me sad that I won't be. It makes me very, very active in wanting to find out what is going on in my life in this moment. I don't have to take life in chunks of years, months, weeks, and decades. I can actually take it moment by moment. That is a gift.
I understand that fulfillment can be felt moment by moment. I don't have any control over time. I can't sit there and keep rolling the hand of my watch backwards. What I can do is accept my life as it is being offered to me, as it is unfolding for me.
It should be something that you have felt in your life that brings you joy,
because this is how you have been made. You are partial to joy. It's a beautiful life, and it needs to be enjoyed to the fullest.
Inspire v2 i74, 23 August 2005: Maharaji at Oxford University
What I have to talk about is really quite simple. It deals with one human being—one person, one individual, who breathes, thinks, wants to understand, wants to learn. Sometimes, in the pursuit of all that we pursue in this world, we forget about us. Who am I? Who are you? You are unique. There is no one like you. I cannot emphasize enough the uniqueness of every human being on the face of this earth.
Learning is a process that will happen for every single person. This is our nature. Learning will happen, but amongst all the things we learn, what is the most important thing to learn? Millions have come through these gates to learn, understand, and go on in their lives to be successful and prosperous. But there is one kind of prosperity that was talked about a very, very long time ago: Know thyself.
The idea of peace is not new. I've been talking about peace since I was a child, because I know that there is another face of peace. There is an idyllic face of peace that people paint in which nobody is fighting with anyone. But there is a face of peace that does not rely on boundaries. There is a face of peace that has nothing to do with obedience, nothing to do with your wishes. It is the face of peace that lies in the heart of every human being.
This is the possibility, the reality, that certain people have always envisioned: "Know thyself." The resource of the joy, the peace, you are looking for exists within you. You have the tools you need to accomplish the aspirations of your heart, regardless of all external circumstances.
Are you in peace? Are you content, not by thought, but by feeling? There cannot be a formula for peace: "I am content because I did this and I did that and therefore, everything is fine." It has to be a reality.
My message is not connected to a religion. My message is connected to getting in touch with your heart, to understanding the value and the preciousness of your existence. It is about addressing, rather than covering up, the fundamental needs that you have as a human being—needs that are the same for everyone.
Inspire v2 i75, 1 September 2005: The Reality of Hope
Hopefully, we can let go of our problems, troubles, and tribulations, and focus on the one thing that this existence is all about—the one thing that pleases your heart.
We do so much in this world to comply. We are told, "You must complythis is what being 'good' is." There is so much that we do that we know isn't real, but we do it because we need to comply. And we have a ton of justifications.
In the sea of unconsciousness, do we allow ourselves to be set adrift? What do we think about? What do we feel? What do we understand? Every day that we exist there is that movement of life inside of us. Everything begins with the fact that we have this existence, we have this life. This is not about creating. This is about understanding our assets.
When you hear the word "possibility," what does it mean to you? What is possible in your life? What would you like to happen? Think about it—what is it ultimately that you want? Some people say, "I would love to be rich." What are they trying to get? These are just interim bridges. People do many things for the "thrill" of it. Why can't a person achieve the same thrill by turning inside, finding the beautiful place within, and enjoying every moment?
True joy. When I say, "Enjoy your life," I'm not talking about a party. There is a fundamental enjoyment that lies within you. If you practice that, you will get good at it, and your life will change. If you find that your life is a bit like a cobblestone path going bump, bump, bump, this is no accident. Courtesy of you—you have placed the cobblestones.
People think, "No. Somebody else did it." "God placed the obstacles in my life. Now it is incumbent upon me to overcome them, and I'm having a hard time doing that. Why is God so cruel to have given me so many obstacles when other people don't have them?" Don't buy that. There is no shred of truth in that understanding. Everybody is born with their share of thorns and their share of flowers. The question is: what do you plant?
Sometimes when people are going through problems, I tell them the story of the phoenix. The phoenix is the mythical bird that rises from the ashes when everything is destroyed. But the spirit isn't destroyed. That's the most important thing. That power, that push, that want from the heart that drives a person toward contentment—when that is not destroyed, even if everything else is destroyed, the bird will rise. And it will be more powerful than ever.
Whatever you go through in your life, you have been blessed with an incredible spirit, an incredible power that drives you towards contentment. Let it rise. Trust in your ability to understand and truly trust in the reality of hope.
Do not mistake hope for wishful thinking. There is a real hope. That's why we exist. In the sea of impossibilities, we exist. And not only do we exist, we can think, we can feel. We have the ability to feel joy and fulfillment like nothing else. That's our forte. When your day is filled with confusion and doubt, there is something you can do about it: you can fill that time with joy and true understanding.
Inspire v2 i76, 2 September 2005: Outside the Cage
I was reading an email from somebody who had just seen me on TV. He said, "I just saw you for the first time, and I have never heard anything like that in my life before. And the way I feel, I have never felt like that before."
That's wonderful, because if I can free up that possibility for you, you can taste what real freedom is. Being able to turn left or right at will is not real freedom. Real freedom comes from a true understanding of what freedom is all about.
For the bird that was raised in a cage, its definition of freedom is a bigger cage. And the one that was raised in a bigger cage? Its definition is an even a bigger cage.
When somebody comes along and says, "Think outside the cage, not a better cage," it is not about a brand new cage, gold-plated cage, or leather-lined cage. The world says, "Flash your freedom! Show your cage! Let everybody know your status—that you live in a cage that has LEDs, plasma TVs, surround-sound stereo system, computers, all of these things."
This is what happens in our life, too. Every definition begins with a cage —a better cage. But a better cage is not freedom. Freedom is something else. Freedom is when you feel free, not because somebody says, "You are free!" And then we say, "That's true because I saw it on TV, I read it in a book." Why can't we decipher for ourselves what we feel? Do I feel free? Maybe I've got the fanciest cage and the latest plasma TV, but do I feel free?
When you go to that beautiful place within, that's where freedom is. Don't take my word for it—feel that in your life. When you actually experience it, only then will you be free. When you understand something, you go beyond the ocean of questions. Understand by knowing, not by guessing or taking somebody else's word for it. In earnest, feel. Then you can have the conviction to exist in a very different way, despite the good and bad that comes.
Many people try to get rid of the bad times so that they will never come. It won't happen, by the way, because it's the season. Seasons will come: there will be summer, and then there will be fall. Then there will be winter and spring, and then summer again.
It's not a question of good or bad. This is how it is. Nothing is constant in an inconstant world. All that you see as bad will eventually turn good. People are afraid. Don't be afraid. You have to understand, not be afraid, because fear is crippling. Understanding isn't. Understanding gives you the power, the courage, to look beyond that. You have an option. You can be afraid or you can understand.
That which is okay is always within you. The fear is within you, and the courage is within you. The darkness is within you, and the light is within you. The source of all the joy and wisdom is within you. To be able to go inside and feel that feeling with no limits, just beauty. A silence that is not silent, a feeling where everything comes to an equilibrium. No lists of undone items, no fears, no questions, no discomfort. And yet, a peace. That's what peace is. To be in peace. That is the possibility. It's up to you. Practice that, and you will get good at it.
Inspire v2 i77, 15 September 2005: Fulfillment in Every Breath
Every day that you exist, there is one wish from within that never changes —the wish to be content. No matter what you have gone through. No matter what you have had and not had. No matter what people have been in your life—loved ones who are there or have gone. With all the changes you have been through, that one inner desire to be fulfilled has never changed. And it will never change. You can count on that.
You have the ability to see; you have the ability to understand. Look at your life. Open your eyes. Open your heart. Open the gates of your understanding. It isn't a question of analysis. It's a question of observing what is. Understand what you have been given. You'll never be able to analyze it, but you can observe it. You can admire it. You can see its beauty, its simplicity.
If you're going to build your house, that is the place to lay your foundation. Don't lay your foundation in quicksand and then say, "What happened to my house?" Your house will be gone. Find that solid surface —the desire to be content. And build your house on that—as big as you want. Make big plans. Make it huge. It doesn't matter, because this is one ground that'll take anything you throw its way.
People think courage is required. It is, but what courage? Your ability to overcome your fear is your courage. There are thieves who have courage. Is that a good use of courage? There are people who climb buildings vertically. They overcome their fear. Is that what courage is? For what? There is an elevator. I can come up and down too.
This is how our world is set up. If somebody does something that most of us can't do, that's really special. Most people can talk, so if you hear somebody talking, it's not a big deal. But not all of us can sing, so if you hear somebody with a good voice, you think, "Wow! That's good." And it goes like that. If somebody went to the moon, you think, "Wow! You're really special; you went to the moon." Everybody wants to be special in their own way. They want to be different: "I can do something that nobody else can do."
But there is something that I can do and everybody else can do, too—that I can enjoy and everybody else can enjoy. I can find my satisfaction, my joy, my fulfillment in every breath. It is better than a song. It really is better than going to the moon. It is better than the best. And every human being on the face of this earth can accomplish that. That's what makes you special. Not just that you can sing, because one day you won't be able to sing.
Recently, I saw some old-time singers. They were singing, but they were out of tune. I'm sure they were incredible once. When all that goes, what remains? There is a connection with something within that will be there till the very end. Then being old doesn't matter because the heart is full. Fill this existence with that. Fill your life with that beauty.
I've learned a number of things over the years, and one of them is that not much actually changes. There are people who love their life, but they still love to complain. They complain because this is what they have practiced, and they've gotten good at complaining. I just wish they would have gotten used to appreciating, to gratitude, and practiced that. It's really important.
Inspire v2 i78, 22 September 2005: The Fabric of Life
Not too long ago, I went to a funeral. At the cemetery, there were these little headstones: "Here lies …" I just had to stop. This isn't just a headstone; this is a history. There was a person who was alive. Good things happened and bad things happened. There were rough days and smooth days; there were confusing days and clear days. There were days that went this person's way and days that seemed so opposed to him. A journey was made.
What is the difference between this headstone and me? Am I more than a headstone with a name, some dates, and a few messages chiseled on it? Isn't life more than that?
Isn't it that there is this thing called existence that rises above it all? Above all the good and bad, right and wrong—all the judgments? Isn't it that there is a kindness to be here? That this is a special moment called being alive? How much do I recognize this moment? What am I concerned about today? All the things that will happen? Am I the least bit concerned about something that is finer than the finest hair—that cannot be measured in width, height, or weight—and is the only difference between me and that headstone? Do you know what it is? It is this breath that comes in and out of you. That is the difference.
You cannot take a picture of it, paint it, make a statue of it; you cannot give it, buy it, trade it, or sell it. And it makes all the difference that you are. Because it comes, you are Mr. So-and-So, Mrs. So-and-So, Miss Soand-So, Dr. So-and-So, Captain So-and-So, Professor So-and-So. And because it comes, you have the capability to understand, to question, to reason, to observe, and to learn. Thanks to this gift of breath.
People say, "I'm a father, a mother." You're a human being. We don't see human beings; we see everything else. I'm talking about the presence, the beauty that is within you. Through which you have everything, without which you have nothing. That is real. That is simplicity.
There is a peace, without which we would lose the very fabric of who we are. A peace that dances in the heart of everyone. That's the peace I am talking about. The reality. The beauty. The joy. The true peace—not an absence of something, but the very presence of something. That is what is possible, even in the middle of war. A peace that cannot be disturbed. That is real peace. And one that cannot be taken away—that is real freedom.
Begin to acknowledge this existence in the simplest way possible—to go within. Not from ideas, but from understanding. Not measuring with the scales of "I do not have," but understanding what you do have. What you have is right here within you, and it is everything. I mean everything. And it will be there to the very end.
For me, this is my opportunity. This is my time, my chance, because I am alive. My journey continues, and I learn. I love to learn. I love to understand. I'm thankful for every day. It's my privilege, my joy, my honor, to remind people—to go around the world and tell people about the possibility of being in peace.
Inspire v2 i79, 22 September 2005: Saving the Best for Last
What I do is to remind people of something they already know. If you think about it, it is those things we know that we put aside. It is amazing how, in our lives, we save all that is good for last. Who came up with that idea?
Life is not like that. Life is a beautiful journey that takes place every day. It is calling you. It wants you to participate with it, not away from it—to actively accept every single gift placed before you every moment. Without judgment of good and bad, right and wrong.
In times of trouble, we forget the most important thing. The possibility of being in peace—am I saving it for last? If I am, a change of plans is required. I need to experience that peace every single day I am alive.
I go around the world talking about peace, and I have understood one thing: people don't even know what it is. Peace is not some abstract concept. Peace is a feeling; peace is real. It isn't about a flower giving off a blue hue. It is about a feeling inside of you.
Your life, your breath, your existence, is good. It has been given to you. Don't ever become suspicious of the giver of this breath and say, "I wonder why he gave me this breath? I wonder what his motive was?" The motive was kindness. Kindness.
We have forgotten what kindness is. Somebody replaces our tire, and we say that's kindness. We could have done it ourselves. Kindness is something beautiful. Kindness is exercised every single day as this breath comes into you, as your life unfolds. Belong. Be. Exist. Understand. Admire. Be filled with gratitude. If you're going to be filled with something —and most of us are full of something—it may as well be gratitude and understanding, because that will go a long way. It always does go a long way in making something wonderful happen.
You know that peace is beautiful, but now the time has come to actually feel that peace in your life. It's about us—the human beings on the face of this earth. We need peace.
There is the heart that inspires us, moves us for that peace, that clarity, that understanding in our lives. The heart has been telling us since childhood to be happy, to be content, to be fulfilled, and that is what is important. Somehow, through all the theory, we have said, "Peace, happiness—it is an important thing. I'll save it for last."
Please, don't do that. Begin, in your life, with the simple steps of understanding. This is your time to begin to understand, to start to realize that all you ever want, you have. You have freedom within you.
So what can I offer you when you already have all that you need within you? A mirror. What could I possibly give to someone who is truly beautiful? A mirror so they can see what I see every day.
Inspire v2 i80, 7 October 2005: The Sparkling Bowl
I'd like to relate a little story that actually happened. When I was in the Pacific on tour, somebody from Sri Lanka, one of the places severely hit by the tsunami, sent me a bowl. With it was a note explaining that this bowl had been in their family, and a few days before the tsunami, they had decided to clean it. They got into it, polished it, made it really shiny.
Then the tsunami hit, and everything they had was destroyed, washed out to sea. The next day, they went to see if they could find anything, and amongst all the garbage that had floated up was this bowl, shining in the sun. The ocean somehow had given back that bowl, and there it was in the sand, in the middle of all the garbage—shining.
Why is that story important? This is your life, your existence. Shine it impeccably, because you never know when that tsunami is going to hit. The question is not if it is going to hit—it is going to hit. And when it hits, so much that we are proud of, so much that we have stamped as ours, so much that we think belongs to us, gets lost. It is like a house made out of cards built upon each other. It is very delicate. One little wind will bring it down.
I see the contrast that, in the middle of devastation and garbage, a bowl is shining—not hiding itself—shining. And it's shining bright because somebody took the time to clean and polish it. Each one of us is a bowl. Is this bowl shining or not? Is it tarnished by all the good and bad, by all the ideas, by the list of all the things not there in our life? If it is, take the cloth and shine this bowl so that it can reflect the clarity, because that's what it is: clarity.
What is it that we have set out to accomplish? We are more interested in our agendas than the very thing that will facilitate all the lists we have made—life. Without life, there is no agenda. The things that we think are the glue in our life are not; they only appear to be. Regardless of what you do—whether you're trying to be good at business, be a good mom or dad, or be a good friendwhat is at the root that is driving you, that wants you to evolve?
What is the most important thing for you as a human being? The most important thing is the coming and going of this breath. That is it. Without that breath, for you there is nothing. "That's it?" That is it, because in that breath lies my truth, my wisdom. That is my clock, that is my rhythm, that is my song, that is my drum beating that I need to dance to.
This is all that I have been given. Everything else is like holding onto helium balloons. As soon as you let go, off they go. Away and away and away. Let me admire what I have been given. Let me clean my bowl so that it will shine and even the tsunami could not take it away.
Let your life be like that. Let it sparkle. That's the possibility. Peace is the possibility. Joy is the possibility. Fulfillment is the possibility. Accept that in your life. Understand that. This is what we are here for.
Inspire v2 i81, 13 October 2005: Celebrate
I go around the world and I ask people: What is inherent to you? You're a human being. You are alive. Let's put aside all the goods and bads and rights and wrongs for a minute. And let's just address you—you being on the face of this earth—because you being here is extremely unique.
Every one of us has been given an opportunity to feel contentment, to feel peace. Is there such a peace? Yes, there is. It is not just words. There is something that can truly take you inside and put you in touch with the reality that dances within you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. That is your reality.
We have many aspirations, and they all lead to being content. That's why we have them. Good job, good career opportunities, good family, good this, good that. So that one day we can be content. But we never take that one action to be able to find the contentment we have already been given. People hand us formulas, and we accept them. I make no claims to you except what I have experienced myself: that when I was able to look within me, I found a simple reality.
I have heard so much talk about peace. Sometimes you wonder, "What are you referring to? What kind of peace?" Because inner peace needs to be explored and discovered. It is dancing in the heart of every single human being. It is not away from you—it is with you. What is essential to you, what you need, has been given to you.
People see the conflict in their life, but they never see that simplicity that is dancing in their life. And it is a shame to have lived and never experienced that, because that is what you are all about. Search for that peace in your life and find it, because you need to have that peace. Not because I say so, but because in your own heart you have felt the need for that peace.
In this one life you have, you have the opportunity to say, "Yes, it is important to me to feel that joy, that happiness, in my life. I want to be conscious every single moment." We are here, and that is the most incredible reason to celebrate. This celebration is not about your friends coming together, or having decorations in your house, or having cake and drinks and napkins.
In this celebration, you celebrate being alive. Only one other is invited to the party—the one who resides in your heart. In that most magnificent place, the purest of all places—your heart. Someone resides there who is your closest friend, there for you always. No cell phone required, no language required to communicate. All is there within you. Other parties have to end, but this one has the possibility of going on and on for the rest of your life.
Come as who you are, what you are. This is not about your baggage, your accomplishments, your goods and bads and rights and wrongs and the judgment of this world. Let it be. But in that freedom and with that understanding of true gratitude, come. Take the step toward your own destination.
Inspire v2 i82, 19 October 2005: The Human Specialty
So many people are so busy trying to figure out what is good and what is bad. Someone once said that every being already knows what is good and bad. A fly knows what's good for it. It feels that flyswatter coming, and it lifts off. It doesn't sit there and say, "I wonder what this guy is really going to do? I bet you he's going to miss." It takes flight. If a bird feels threatened, it doesn't read a book to find out, "What are my chances statistically of getting hurt by this person?" Or think, "Let me figure out what the stars are like today." It takes flight.
There has always been the idea that the human being is superior. I don't know about that. You see the state of mankind: so much war, so much quibbling, so many opinions. So many more people are more educated now than ever, and we have more wars now than we ever had. More food is produced now, and there are more hungry people. There is more communication; the word "peace" is thrown around much more now, and there is less peace on this earth. It seems like somehow we forget our truest nature.
What is your specialty? What distinguishes you? The way I see it is we have become a very strange kind of problem-solver in our lives. The analogy is: Imagine a house, and outside that house is a tree. The tree touches the house, and the ants go up the tree, and from there, they go into the house. All of a sudden, there are ants everywhere, with plenty of food scattered everywhere for them to be able to eat.
Logically, one would say, "Just trim back the branches so that the ants don't have access to the house." But the way a human being would go about it in reality is not that. They will go out and buy little poison boxes. They will say, "Let's have electronic ant detectors and ultrasonic ant repellant. Let's discover which spectrum of light ants don't like, and let's invent a flying ant-killer robot. And let's come up with a kind of food that you can eat so when your skin exfoliates and the ants go to get it, they'll die." This may sound funny, but this is how the world approaches the problem.
All of a sudden, you've got hundreds of thousands of people going in their own direction trying to figure out how to get rid of the ants. Then somebody says, "Why don't you just trim back those branches?" And what will that person be told? "You're crazy. You're being too simplistic. You're impeding the progress of mankind! Here is an opportunity to really be on the forefront of the industry of ant destruction!" It sounds funny, but it's sad.
Trim back the branches in your life so that what you really want can happen. If you are looking for peace, that is a possibility.
It is for a limited time that we are here. Coming and going has to happen for every single human being. If you have found peace in your life, you can be in a place where you enjoy every day, every moment. This is what can distinguish you from being just caught up in the chores of every day. You can experience what it is really like to be alive.
Inspire v2 i83, 19 October 2005: The Fundamental Need
We talk about peace, but do we ever stop and wonder, "Where did this idea of peace come from?" Why do human beings across the face of this earth even want peace?
If peace is a luxury, then you can say, "Well, it would be nice to have peace." But it's an innate and fundamental desire, a need, a necessity that gets acknowledged in a human being. Something stirs from within and says, "Without peace, the whole equation is incomplete." Throughout the world's civilizations, peace has always been something that has been acknowledged.
The importance I am giving peace is that it is just as important as being able to breathe, just as important as being able to see, just as important as being able to exist. Something within each human being stirs every single day and says, "Let me feel, let me experience the state in which I am not burdened with conflict. It is important for me to feel that simplicity in my life."
Whether we live in what we call a free society or in prison, we need to feel something. What is so fundamental to us is not the boundaries of countries or even our ideals, for in the midst of the ideals, we have forgotten the fundamental human thing.
In this existence, we forget what the primary purpose is. What is the most important thing to you as a human being? To welcome that and not find it mysterious because it isn't mysterious, not to find it routine because it is not routine. To acknowledge that the life I have is an exquisite gift, and I need to make the most of it.
An empty pitcher, an empty well, cannot fill other vessels. A dry well? You can throw 10,000 buckets into it, and all that will come out is sand. And that's if you're lucky. For a lamp to light other lamps, that lamp has to be lit. For a candle to light other candles, that candle has to be lit. Peace is a noble objective; helping mankind is noble. But it has to begin with a lit lamp. First and foremost, peace has to be recognized in a person's own self.
Everybody's requirements are different when it comes to this world: somebody likes a blue car; somebody likes a green car; somebody likes a white car. I'm not passing judgment on that. That's fine. But there is one need that is the same for all. The name for water is different in different languages, but water in itself is not different. Its ability to quench thirst is not different. We are free to understand the gift that we have been given. That is a freedom no one can take away from us—not another government, not a terrorist. There is a peace that resides equally in the heart of every human being. It is not a peace that somebody hands us on a platter, because that peace can be taken away some day. This is a peace that no one can take away from us.
This is a peace that can be felt even in a battlefield—the innate peace, fundamental to everyone. The fundamentals of every human being: freedom, understanding, peace, joy, happiness.
Feel that peace in your life. Feel that joy in your life. Feel that
understanding in your life. Come from that place, and there will be no end to how much you can be filled with beautiful understanding and gratitude. Make it real, make it practical. Make it the way it is supposed to be—every life, everywhere touched because a lit lamp came by and was able to light the unlit lamps. This is the possibility for all of us, but first we need to be lit.
Is it asking for a lot? Probably. Is it impossible? Absolutely not. It is very, very possible. It will take a lot of effort, but then effort is one thing we can make. And it is up to us.
Inspire v2 i84, 3 November 2005: The Passage of Life
I talk about something very simple. These days, when you open up a newspaper or take a look at television, there are so many things one can talk about. Peace is an issue; hunger is an issue; poverty is an issue; social unrest is an issue. One would think I should be speaking about one of these topics.
But what I speak about is something you already know. It isn't about the world; it's about you. As a human being, what you are looking for is inside of you. This is who we are.
People say human beings are not born with instruction manuals. They are. But their instruction manuals are automatic because the instruction is: be content. It becomes obvious from childhood, and it stays there till the day you die. You do what you do to be happy. Whether you call it happiness or tranquility or peace doesn't really matter. Call it anything you want, because it is not in the names. Names came later. That beauty came way before the name.
What is your truest and most sincere desire? I know. Do you know how I know? Not because some angel came and told me. Not because one day I was sleeping and somebody whispered it in my ear. I know because I feel the same desire. I, too,want to be in peace. That's when it feels good to me. I want to be happy because that's when it feels good to me.
What do you want? What do you want? You have heard everybody in your life make requests of you. What do you want—not just today—but what have you always wanted?
People want true love in their lives, and true love is inside of us. Experience it. Understand it. Live your life in simplicity because that's who you are. Be conscious of every day that is given to you because that day is never, ever going to come back. That which you think is yours but can be taken away by someone else is not really yours. And there is one thing that is within you that no one can take away from you. That's yours.
The passage of life can be very complicated. People say, "When it rains, we don't want to get wet, so let us get rid of the clouds." I say, "Carry an umbrella." Sooner or later, it's going to rain. And when it does, you're going to get wet. If you don't want to get wet, open your umbrella. You don't have to get wet. It's as simple as that. That's your reality.
If you want to understand that reality, look within you. People think peace is the end of war. No, because another one will start. The peace that I am talking about can be experienced in the middle of the war. This peace is in the heart of every human being day and night. It is not a lack of something. It is a peace that is there for everyone—educated or non-educated, rich or poor.
There is a light burning inside of you. Do you really think you were sent in this world with a lamp that was not lit? No. That would be incredibly cruel. There is a lamp lit. And when it gets dark, you don't have to bump into things. Let there be light in your life, whoever you are.
Inspire v2 i85, 8 November 2005: Where Peace Resides
When it comes to learning, even a parrot can learn. A parrot can learn to say, "Polly want a cracker." But the parrot doesn't understand who Polly is or what a cracker is. All it understands is that every time it says something like that, it gets something to eat.
We need to go a little bit beyond that and understand what is really needed. We think that if we bring prosperity, riches, everything will be taken care of. But there is something more than all those elements. And that one most important thing for human beings is the aspiration and yearning for peace. It doesn't matter where we go, what religion we belong to, where we live, what we do. At the end of the day, we all need to experience peace. Why? This is the nature of a human being—the composition of a human being.
When you have something in abundance, you don't recognize its value. When it is taken away, all of a sudden you're enlightened as to how incredible this one thing is. We are in this world, we see things, we do things, but we don't recognize how important it is to be alive, to exist every day in fulfillment, to be grateful for what we have been given—every day. And to understand and recognize our fundamental need for peace.
When it comes to food, our hunger needs to be satisfied. When it comes to peace, it is the same way. We need to feel peace, not just say, "Peace, peace, peace," like a parrot. But peace needs to be felt by every single person. Fundamental. This is the heart that we have been given. Through our mind, we try to comprehend the universe. Through our heart, we can comprehend our own universe. Through the mind, we try to measure the depths of the ocean. Through the heart, we can measure our own depth.
Every single human being on the face of this earth is a universe unto themselves. Do you know how unique you are? There is no one like you, and there will be no one like you. The way you smile, the way you laugh, the way you cry, the way you hurt, the way you sing, the way you are joyful—every single intricacy is a gift of the Creator that you have been given.
Yet, how do we look at this gift? We look at its shortcomings. We say, "This is what I do not have." Our scales measure the negative, when we need to understand that every breath is a gift. It is a gift that has been given and given, and nothing is being asked in return.
No one can substitute for another person. Nobody can say, "You go feel peace for me." That would be the same as saying, "You go drink water for me. You go eat food for me. You go sleep for me." There are certain things you cannot send a replacement for. Can you imagine being too busy to go to your own wedding and saying to your best friend, "Go get married on my behalf"? It would not work.
So I say to people that it is incumbent upon you, and you alone, to reach out to that one place within inside of you where peace resides.
Inspire v2 i86, 17 November 2005: Walking the Path of Life
When you look at what we have been given, it is so beautiful and so simple. We've been given a life—no books, no baggage,
nothing. There is a saying that as we come into this world, that's how we leave: with nothing. Everything else that burdens us, we have picked up along the way and put it in our bag of tricks. We think these things are important. I'm not here to debate whether they are or not, because it would be an endless debate.
I have an analogy. Life is a path. It has a distinct start and a distinct end. As you walk this path, you plant seeds. There is no rule for what seeds to plant where, but you plant seeds. And as you keep walking and planting more seeds, all of a sudden, the fruits of the seeds that you planted earlier will begin to appear before you.
So the question becomes: what kind of seeds have you been planting? A lot of people say, "I haven't planted any seeds." That's not true. Every step you walk on this path of life, you plant a seed. You have no choice. If you have been planting seeds of compassion, love, kindness, gratitude, understanding, contentment, serenity, clarity, you will have a nice feast.
If you say, "I haven't been planting any seeds," that is the first seed of unconsciousness. And if you have been planting seeds of unconsciousness, anger, hate, confusion, doubt, questions, then you will have really bad food in this life. That is my experience of how it is.
Can anybody else eat from the seed of kindness that I plant? No. Only I will eat from it. Others plant their own. And those seeds that are planted from the feeling of the heart are incredibly delicious.
Walk this life taking every step deliberately. The opportunity we have is to fulfill ourselves, to experience joy, to experience peace every day. The real peace. The peace that nobody can take away from you, that cannot be cut, stolen, or diminished. That is the real peace.
There is an infinite treasure within you. The story of life begins and ends with you. This is your story, your path. Nobody else can come down this path of life you are walking on—you are the lone traveler on it. This life is a gift for you and you alone. You cannot give this breath, this time you have, to anybody else. No one is allowed to do so.
The one you truly are in love with is within inside of you, and by its very nature cannot leave you until the end of your life. By its very nature, the breath that is coming to you every moment is inseparable from you. Fall in love with it because it is beautiful. The reality of being conscious, of being alive, is simple. Peace is there. Truth is there. It has always been there inside of you. Pay attention to your life. It's the only one you've got.
You want to be a good mother or father? First, be a good human being. What does it mean to be a good human being? A human being needs to be in peace. That is my definition of a good human being. Everything else follows, or doesn't. It doesn't matter.
Inspire v2 i87, 25 November 2005: The Land of Possibilities
I once heard that when birds chirp, all they're doing is claiming their territory. "This is mine, this is mine, go away, this is mine." Then it changes. "Is someone out there? I'm looking for a mate." And then all of a sudden, they are silent because they're busy eating. Then they take a little nap, and then it all begins again. They have a little more food and then, "This is mine, this is mine, this is mine." Then they go to sleep for the night.
Do we go through the same motions? "This is mine, this is mine, this is mine. My day, this is what I have to do, what I have to accomplish. My schedules, my email, my this, my that."
What is our possibility? Those who have been given this human body can experience peace, can experience the ultimate joy. The possibility we have is to be able to be content, and more than that, to be in gratitude.
We have been given an infinite possibility, and with that infinite possibility, the time to materialize it—the time to make it real, to experience it, to be fulfilled. To get lost is a possibility, and to have peace is also a possibility. To understand is a possibility, and not to understand is a possibility.
What do we do with that possibility? We go off on tangents. We need peace in our lives. What have we done to achieve it? We think that, somehow, peace is going to happen, and then it will be there for everybody. But nobody can say that since lunchtime ends at 1:00, that means everybody has been fed. That's not how it works. Only those people who have had food will no longer be hungry. Those who have not had food, regardless of the time, will be hungry. Just because a well has been dug somewhere does not take away everybody's thirst. Only those people who have had the benefit of drinking water will have their thirst quenched. It
doesn't work any other way. It is a personal experience.
Why do people say countries need peace? Does a country need peace or do people need peace? Our euphoric idea of peace may not be possible, but that every human being on the face of this earth can experience peace—that is possible. Why? Because the peace I am talking about already exists within. That is the only reason it is possible. It is not a question of distribution. The thirst for peace exists within, and peace exists within. Nothing has to be manufactured. If there was a machine that manufactured peace, can you imagine trying to carry it from country to country? Going through customs?
All you need to do is turn within and accept the possibility you have been given. Every day. We think that once you have peace, that's it. No. Is it that way with breath? Do you get credit for all the years you have taken a breath? No. You need to breathe, and you need to make that effort every day, every moment.
Inspire v2 i88, 1 December 2005: Unlimited Joy (translated from Hindi)
The things we run after will one day be left behind. This is a human being's nature. When young boys see a nice car and a beautiful girl in it, they will turn around and look at her. Their necks start to bend. This doesn't happen to an old person. A time comes in a human being's life when they can't see properly or they are in pain when they turn their neck. Nobody is exempt from it; this will happen to everyone. The things you run after will one day leave you. Whether you lose them or not, they will lose you.
The things that are valuable for us we keep safe. What is the one thing we need to keep safe? It is our joy, our happiness, our heart. If we do not guard our joy, who will guard it? Everybody worries about their own happiness. It is not possible to worry about somebody else's happiness.
If somebody is uncomfortable, I can give him a cushion. If he is hungry, I can give him food. If he is tired, I can give him a bed. If he is thirsty, I can give him a glass of water. But if he is unhappy from the inside, what type of cushion can I get him? What kind of water can I give him? What can I do for him? Nothing. When he listens to his heart's cry and takes steps to receive joy in his life, then it will become possible for him to feel that joy.
The real joy is within us. That is who we are. Not experiencing this joy in life is like eating food that has no taste. You can have everything in life and still be missing that one thing that should be there. If a human being doesn't recognize himself, how can he recognize anybody else?
When I was growing up, we had a little dog named Tommy. He was so hot tempered that he bit everyone except my father, Shri Maharaji. When Shri Maharaji sat outside, if somebody came toward him, Tommy would start barking. Everybody teased that dog. If you put a mirror in front of him, he would start barking at it, and he could spend the whole day barking at it. Why? He couldn't recognize his own face. If he couldn't recognize himself, how could he recognize anybody else?
We do the same thing. We don't recognize our own face. We look
at everybody and ask: "Who is that person?" "He is black." "He is from India." "He is from China." That person is just like me. He feels pain and joy like I do. He gets hungry and thirsty; I get hungry and thirsty. He goes to sleep; I go to sleep. When it rains, that person gets wet like I do. The world has taught us how different we are. When you haven't seen your self, you will see the differences. Yet, we are all one.
How much joy can you feel? It's up to you. It depends on your effort. If you are thirsty and drink only a spoonful of water, that's how much your thirst will be quenched.
Fulfill this life. Receive joy. All the other joys have limitations, but the joy within has no limits. We are here for that joy, not for anything else —just for that joy. The outside joy will come and go, but the joy of the heart is stable. It is inside of you; it is happening, and it will stay with you until your last breath.
Inspire v2 i89, 1 December 2005: Choice
Whatever you want in your life, you have to ask for it. If you don't ask for it, you won't get it. You need to be able to say, "This is what I want in my life."
Happiness. We can assume that we all want happiness. Maybe we don't. But if we do want happiness, it's there. If we want sadness, it's there, too. If we want misery, it's there. If we want joy, it's there. You have the choice every single day. And you have to choose, even though some people would rather it be totally automatic.
That happiness is what you want in your life is fundamentally a choice that has to be made every day, every moment. For some, that is exquisitely beautiful: "This is what I'm choosing." And for some, it's not. But it cannot be just once: "I've smelled a rose once; that is enough." Every flower has its intricate way of being.
You look at trees. Once upon a time, the great-great granddaddies of the trees you see were all in the ocean. They made a step to come onto land. And when they did, they had problems because they could not continue their species. In water, they could just let off seeds, and the seeds would float along, and everything was great. On land, it didn't work like that. They had to form partnerships. They had to devise strategies that would work.
Some came up with pollen, a powdery substance similar to what was used in the ocean. Others wanted to be more selective, and they formed a partnership with bees. Others didn't have access to bees, so they formed a partnership with birds. And not only that, they formed partnerships with particular types of birds. There's a flower that only works with a hummingbird that has a really long beak that can reach the nectar.
And then there are eucalyptus trees. They devised the strategy of fire: "If we can sustain ourselves in fire, everything else will get burned off, and we'll survive." So they developed a bark that is so loose it burns off—like a fire suit. The outcome is other kinds of trees have disappeared, and the eucalyptus has continued. But they have to make a choice all the time.
Every tree, when its seed is planted, is in a state of peril. Will it get the right ingredients or not? And when the time comes, it cannot procrastinate. It cannot have philosophical discussions. If the tree next to it falls, it has to be ready to go. No questions asked. No selfishness involved. No religion involved. It is a basic impulse that has been given, that has been programmed, and it works rather well.
In our lives, we get caught in all the ideas, all the logistics of, "Is this right, is that wrong?" "Give me a proof—give me a rainbow." We start
to give meaning to things that are meaningless. "This is this way. This person looked at me this way. This means this.
This means this."
It can be really simple: ask. No assumptions. No philosophies. If you want help, ask. Ask, and it shall be given. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. But you have to knock. You have to ring the doorbell.
Inspire v2 i90, 22 December 2005: Joy and Gratitude (translated from Hindi)
The fact is you're alive; I'm alive. In this world, many problems come, and people get stuck in them: "This should happen to me," or "That should happen to me." I have seen it and experienced it myself. The thing is, if you have patience, even that will pass.
Life is trying to teach us. We need to learn, to understand. Again and again, no matter what happens, the question always comes: What is the most important thing to you? What do you want in your life? Do you want joy? Do you want the peace of your heart?
Pay attention to that. This is what life is teaching us. Whenever our attention is swayed from that, we feel pain. We wander here and there, trying to be free of that pain. Then it becomes clear that in our life we want true happiness.
People do so many different things to find it. Recently, I was reading a newspaper, and I thought, "The stories don't changejust the names." It's the same thing over and over again: Someone did this; someone did that. "I haven't done this; I haven't done that." That's all we keep thinking about: what we need to do and all the things we haven't done. We forget to express gratitude for the gift of this life, this human body.
Who can express true gratitude except a human being? Maybe all the insects and animals express it in their own way; I don't know if they do or not, but the human being can. And it is so important that from our heart we express gratitude for what we've been given.
Truly, only the person who has experienced it can do that. So, experience what has been given to you. Don't weigh your life by what isn't there; look at what you have been given. If we weigh our lives on the scale of the heart, we will see that we have been given so much that we can't even grab it all. There is no bag we can fill with what we have been given. And we are receiving every day, every hour.
One breath. Just one breath—coming and going—what is the value of it? It is priceless. There is no amount of money or gold or diamonds in this world that is equivalent to the value of just one breath. People have made so many different advancements. They have gone to the moon. But who can bring back a breath? Nobody.
Without doing anything, we are being given this gift. The Creator doesn't say, "You're a sinner. You did this; you did that." Whether someone is in pain or in joy, the Creator is giving the gift of life equally to everyone. But what if the one who is thirsty stops going to the water? How will their thirst be quenched? That's why thirst is there. It beckons us, reminds us. All our attention goes there so that we don't forget.
In your life, don't put aside joy, because if you lose your joy, what will be left? We can waste our breath in worries or we can accept joy in our life. The one who accepts it will understand and fulfill their life.
Inspire v2 i91, 22 December 2005: True Peace (translated from Hindi)
Is there a human being who doesn't want peace? Everyone wants peace. But today, people have complicated things so much that nobody knows what peace is. People say if there is no war, there is peace.
What is true peace? It is a peace that can be experienced even in the middle of a battlefield. It is not the peace that people talk about, that if this happens or that happens, peace will come. True peace resides in the heart of every human being. It can be experienced not just once, but again and again, just as we eat again and again. We don't just eat once and never need to eat again. When we are hungry, we need to eat.
Do you want true peace? It is up to each person. True peace can only happen when a person learns to stand on their own two feet and understand what is within them.
Our culture says, "Look outside." People want to find the truth. They search and search on the outside. There are so many books written,
some just to criticize other books. The more a person reads, the more confused they get.
You have to look for peace in the right place. You don't need to search for it on the outside. If you search the whole world, you won't find it, because it is within you.
Experience that for yourself. It is not selfish. Being selfish is doing something that benefits you but harms someone else. When you do something that benefits you and no one else is harmed, that is not selfish. If you steal someone else's food and eat it, that's selfish. But if you eat your own food to satisfy your hunger, it isn't. So, experiencing peace is not selfish. When you experience peace, you experience it for yourself. It is a very personal experience.
Who are you? This mind, this intellect, this body, this life, this experience—you are a compilation of all those things put together. You are who you are because of all of those things. This life that you've been given is an opportunity that won't come again and again. What do you need to do with this life? Be fulfilled.
The day will come when you have to leave. So fulfill this life now. What does it mean to fulfill this life? It means that your garden can be beautiful and green and lovely. For that, I will give you the seed. If you plant it and give it the water of trust, then definitely that seed will grow, and your garden will be beautiful. This you can experience. As long as you are alive, your garden can be beautiful. You can live in that peace. It's not just something that you heard or that was written somewhere. This is something practical.