Inspire Electronic Magazine, Volume 6, Issues 164 - 177
The Prem Rawat Foundation
26/1/2009 - 22/12/2009 (very few articles after July 2009)
Inspire v6 i164, 26 January 2009: A Simple Story
I am here to tell you a story that is simple. This story is not about animals or kings and queens. It is not about the fulfillment of somebody's fantasy. This story is about you and me — as we exist, as we are.
It's not a story about aspirations, because people's aspirations depend so much on where they find themselves in this world. If somebody lost their child, they wouldn't pray for money. They would pray for one thing and one thing only: "God, can you please have my child returned to me?" That's it.
If somebody has been told by a doctor, "You have cancer, you're dying," what do they pray for? Do they pray for higher education? Do they pray for another child? No. They say, "God, either make this as painless as possible or take away my cancer." And if somebody finds themselves poor? They pray for money.
Where we find ourselves in our lives dramatically changes our viewpoint on what our needs are, what the world is all about, what religion is all about, what God is all about — what everything is all about.
But there is a reality: the reality that you are alive. This is the most beautiful reality there is. Whether you are poor or you are rich — what do you really want? In this story, this story about you and me, we have a chance to fulfill our real want. If we want this story to be nice, to have a happy ending, it can be so. So the question becomes, "What is our want?"
Do you know what you want, what you have always wanted, what you will always want? Other people's opinions and your own needs are two different things. If you have not looked at your real need, your want, all the opinions in the world are not going to take care of it. They are just opinions. What do you want?
Let me tell you about a possibility as one human being to another. I propose that what you want in your life does not need a name. You can call it peace, you can call it happiness, you can call it liberation, you can call it joy — not a problem. Why? Because these are just different names for the same thing. When the heart is content, there will be joy. When the heart is content, there will be peace.
What is the difference between darkness and light? In darkness, you cannot see. When you cannot see, you cannot avoid the obstacles. All of the stumbling blocks, all of the obstacles on the road do not disappear when the sun rises in the morning. But you can see them, and, because you can see, you can avoid them. Light doesn't take away obstacles; light illuminates them.
What do I give? I give an umbrella. I do not take away the rain. Rain cannot be taken away — it will rain. But that's not a problem if you have an umbrella. Without one, you will become wet, and you don't want to get wet.
I give an umbrella. Do I take away people's obstacles? No. I give them a lamp so that they can see, so that they can avoid what they want to avoid. That's how it is. That's what you need.
What does this being really want? This being has the most amazing aspiration it could ever have — to feel the infinite. This is the highest ambition: when a mortal wants to reach and touch and feel the immortal. That's an incredible but beautiful ambition.
Inspire v6 i165, 6 February 2009: Home Sweet Home
In this life, there's so much to understand, so much to learn. There are so many things that we measure ourselves by—whether it's age, accomplishments, things that are done, or things undone. But that's not the purpose of this life.
Things happen. People move on, and new people come. It is like the analogy of a home. We all know about home: "Home sweet home," "Welcome home." But what is a home? Home is where wonderful things happen. And it is also a place where horrible things happen. If you are lucky, home is where you will take your last breath. This is where, hopefully, you have cultivated a happy environment where you thrive, where you're not inundated with problems. It is truly a place of comfort—not only physical comfort but mental comfort and the comfort of knowing that you are at home. And the only way a place can become home is if you work on it. It is not which way the door faces. I have seen happiness, comfort, and joy in a hut built of mud, with a thatched roof and a little door that doesn't lock, but the people who live there are comfortable.
Why am I talking about home? This existence is your home. And it is incumbent upon you to make this home as comfortable, peaceful, beautiful as possible. Because in this home, the truest nurturing takes place. Good things happen, and bad things happen. You have to make sure that good things happen there, nurture them, and bring forward the true joy that this home can offer.
This home you have—there will be nothing like it again. I know it is hard to believe that you will be allowed only 15 minutes or so on the most magnificent stage of life. The curtains will not drop shut, but you will be asked to leave, and somebody else will come. And there will be another and another and another. For most people, this is extremely hard to believe.
I tell people who have lost someone close to them that it's okay. They have not gone anywhere; they are still with you. They live in your memories. You can see them, feel them, think about them. They dance with you; they are with you. Maybe it's not the same, but the companionship continues. Nurture that. Understand that. There is no shame or agony in that. It is the nature of things. Water is happy when it flows. It can play with life. It can harbor other life forms. When water is static, when fresh water is landlocked, it becomes saltier and saltier, and everything in it begins to die. All water wants is to flow, to go back again to being that clean, pure water.
Understand it. Don't fight it. Don't ask, "Why?" because it will never be answered. This gift of life unfolds effortlessly. You don't have to pull on a rope or push a button. This is the time that you have, the consciousness, the opportunity to know. The challenge is to understand the obvious. How? Listen to what the heart has to say. It is not a big philosophy or a big drum; it is a very short little statement: "Be in that existence." Be. Be.
Accept what you have been given. Could there be a miracle in just acceptance—that I simply accept my existence, and something great will happen? Yes. That's the obvious. Accept this breath that you have been given. Look in your heart and see and feel the desire to be content, to be in joy, to make this home as beautiful as you can. You will have to work on this. Garbage must go out. Begin with resolving not to bring the garbage in, because otherwise, you will keep throwing garbage out and bringing it back in. This is what we all do.
This home is so fragile. And yet, it is the very place that will protect you from the storms. It is so delicate and yet so strong that it is almost unbelievable. You may think that all you have to do is decorate it to make it look good. Decoration is okay, but first make sure it is a happy home. The day you find your home within is when you realize you can live without a lot of things. I want your home to be the best for you, and that you really feel at home there. You are here because the blessing of breath comes in and out of you. How magnificent is that? That is the core. And then to be able to feel, to be able to go inside. And let this home be beautiful.
Inspire v6 i166, 2 March 2009: Perfume of God
I go to many different places, and what I talk about is peace. The other day I was thinking, "What is peace?" And I understood something: Peace is the perfume of God. When God is close to you, you smell this perfume. And this perfume is exquisite. It is beautiful. The senses dance, and life in that moment becomes complete. This beautiful aroma, this beautiful perfume, is what this heart desires — again and again and again. Peace and love are funny. The more you have, the more you want. You cannot satisfy yourself by saying, "I felt love once, and so that's enough."
Now, having spoken about the perfume, let me say something about God. Somebody was talking to me about how many religions there are and asked if that is a problem.
I said, "Excuse me. God is not the problem. The definitions of God are definitely problematic."
Look at the flower that blooms in the garden. This is what you are. If you desire peace in your life, it is not an accident. If you require fulfillment in your life, it is not an accident. I know there are people who ask, "How can there be peace?" Do you have any options? What I am talking about is real. It's viable, and it can last for the foreseeable future. It's called peace.
War is not a viable option, and it is not foreseeable, because if people keep fighting there'll be only one person left. One. And that's because he was hiding. So, what is this peace I talk about? What is this fulfillment I talk about? The peace that I talk about is the peace that resides in you, that resides in your heart. The reality of your existence is not what you think it is.
Some have said, "This body is dirt. And this dirt will one day become dirt again." I know nobody likes to think like that. I don't either. But it puts me in my place. You see, one thing I understand: This is not about me. This is not about my ideas. I want to be the voice of those millions and billions of silent people who pray in their own little way every day and hope — hope and hope and hope silently that one day there will be peace on earth.
The day you begin to accept the sweet reality of your existence—underline the sweet reality of your existence—is the day you will understand the importance of peace. That day you will begin to understand the simplicity of being alive. That day you will understand what this is about.
You understand the value of money, and you understand it even more these days, now that some of it is gone. When will you understand the value of breath? Why is it that we understand the value of a person only when they go away? Why is it that we understand the value of this breath only when we cannot take one anymore? What is the value of this breath? The value of this breath is that it is what allows you to be you and not dirt.
Is that valuable? Yes. And what is it? It is a gift. From whom? From God—the one that cannot be defined. That God. So my question to you is this: This breath is a gift from God. In this breath, have you smelled God's perfume? Do you want to? To feel in this breath the presence of peace? To feel this heart rejoice? To see with the simplicity of a child? To understand—not the question, but the answer?
What you are looking for is, and always has been, inside of you. Not somewhere else.
What I am saying did not come from a book; it comes from my heart. And it is not for your mind, but it is for your heart. If you want to know more, you can. If you want to find the peace that I have found, you can. It's all simple. When it gets dark, light the lamp. That's not rocket science, is it? But you've got to know where the lamp is and how to light it while it's still light. Be still. Be still, and you will understand, because with all the movement in this world, there is a magnificent stillness inside of you. You don't have to give up anything. You don't have to give up your religion or your family or your job to find peace inside. It's already within you.
You light incense so that your house will smell good. There is another incense already burning in this house. Smell it. It is the perfume of God. And be content.
Inspire v6 i167, 23 March 2009: Q & A with Prem Rawat in Sicily
On a recent visit to Mazaro del Vallo, Sicily, Prem Rawat was awarded honorary citizenship. Following that ceremony, several high school students came to the microphone one-by-one to ask him questions. These are excerpts from that exchange.
Q: "Life is a journey, and the journey of life is so beautiful that it does not require a destination." I read this quote of yours, and I wanted to ask: without a precise destination, don't we run the risk of drifting away?
A: Every journey has to have a purpose. Now, in some journeys, the purpose is to reach a particular place or destination. But in the journey of life, the purpose is to enjoy. And that in itself is the destination of the journey—to enjoy being alive. Yes, I agree with you that we cannot drift away from the enjoyment of this life. That is the purpose of this journey.
Q: How and when did you begin to have the desire to become an Ambassador of Peace?
A: The title was given to me in Brazil, for which I am very grateful. But ever since I was very young, I wanted to bring happiness in people's lives. Not a joy of two minutes, but a true happiness. That people can find a beautiful fulfillment in their lives—this is all I want. This is what I was trying to do before I was given the title and what I have been doing since. I want to take this message of hope and possibility of peace to as many people as I can. And I hope that I can continue to do so till the very last breath. I have dedicated my life to this. Whether I have these titles or not, what really matters is opening one heart and another and another to the possibility of peace in their lives.
Q: Intolerance has manifested itself in societies throughout the ages, and this often degenerates into fanaticism. Can fanaticism, which feeds on irrational passion, be fought by reason?
A: Let me tell you a little story. A long time ago in India, there was a great emperor called Akbar. He had a friend, a courtier named Birbal. One day, Akbar challenged his friend. He drew a line and said, "Make this line smaller without touching it." Birbal grabbed the pen and drew a bigger line, and the emperor's line automatically became smaller. Yes, there is fanaticism; yes there is cruelty. If we want to make them insignificant, the only way is to make the voice for peace much, much greater. Today, people are not reasonable; they see violence as a viable alternative. The problem is that it's on both sides. And when it is violence answering violence, it will only become more violent. Our only hope, I feel, is to have the voice of peace greater than the voice of violence.
Q: Seneca, in his treatise On Tranquility of Mind, speaks of peace as a state that can be attained by detachment from worldly worries. Is this achievable in our day and age?
A: There are so many formulas. Some people say that if we get rid of all our worries, we will have peace. I can only speak from my own experience. If I feel hunger, and somebody says to me, "Stop thinking about food," will my hunger go away? I don't think so. If you have peace in your life, you will have happiness. If you merely have happiness, you may or may not have peace. Happiness is a result of having peace, contentment inside of you. As long as you are alive, you will be worried about something. The peace I talk about can be experienced in the middle of a war, in the middle of a prison. If I can find the peace inside of me, worries will come and go, but I will have peace in my life.
Q: "When you begin to look for peace, peace will begin to look for you." This is one of your quotes. Do men truly desire peace?
A: We look at ourselves by our nametags, by the hats and uniforms that we wear, but we are all human beings, and human beings desire peace. Is peace a luxury or a necessity? This is a fundamentally important question. We know that breathing is not a luxury; water is not a luxury. They are necessities. I say that peace is a necessity, not a luxury. That's what people want. But when the elements of greed, fear, anger and confusion come in between people and their own desires, everything becomes very convoluted. We look toward institutions to solve the problem. We need to solve the problem. Right now, there are not too many places in the world where people have the spirit to unify, to come together. When there are, there will not only be peace on earth, but in the heart and the mind of every human being.
Q: Is there a question you have never been asked and you would have liked to answer?
A: People have been asking me questions since I was seven years old, but nobody has ever asked me, "How does it feel to bring peace to a person?" And the answer is: When a person experiences peace in their life and I had some role to play in it, in that moment, the purpose of my life is fulfilled—that is how good it feels. This is what I want to do. So many people have expressed their gratitude to me for bringing peace in their lives. Their gratitude not only humbles me, it brings me an immense amount of joy.
Inspire v6 i168, 10 April 2009: Decisions
Recently, I was asked a very good question: "When life dishes out so many challenges, and decisions have to be made—some critical, some less so—how do we know what to go with? Do we look in our hearts or do we use our mind to tell us what's right and what's wrong?"
My answer was, first of all, we have to understand something in our lives when things come our way and things happen to us. Bad things do happen. Sometimes things get really bad, and we wonder, "Why is this happening to me?"
The best way to make a decision about which way to go can only be made by a person who is calm and collected, not a person who is panicking. Not by making a random choice: "Okay, let's throw a coin." What is calmness? Imagine there is a pond where you see your reflection. If you throw a rock in it, you will see ripples, but you won't see your reflection anymore. The ripples are there, but the reflection is gone. When the pond is still, the ripples are gone, and the reflection returns. You have to be still to see how it really is.
Going within, being calm, is the best possible thing you can do to be in that neutral position where you can look at the whole picture and not just a bunch of ripples, because the ripples are not going to show you the situation as it really is.
As a pilot, every six months I have to take a refresher course and go into a simulator. And, of course, things happen. When you lose an engine, you have to be very calm. You can't start pushing buttons or doing a lot of things. You have to just be calm and think, "What do I need to do right now? Let's get out the checklist and start that engine again."
When we get confused or hurried, we lose the priority of what is important. I have seen a mother in a busy shopping mall carrying bags, and her child is crying, "Mommy, help me." And you know the mother is frustrated, "If I drop my shopping bags, somebody will steal them." Yes, but if somebody steals your child, it will be a lot worse. What is your priority?
So, in this life, what is your priority? I don't care what the problem is—whether this has to resolve it or that has to resolve it, it is important to be calm. Calmness does not come from the head. It comes from only one place—within you.
This calmness can give me time to understand, "Do this and do that, because this is the priority." In my refreshers, when we get into the airplane, the instructors throw things at us that are absurd—right down to both engines quitting. What is my priority? Staying alive.
Have you seen people driving on the highway and they realize that they're about to miss their exit? Suddenly — pow!They've lost their priority. You may miss your exit, but drive safely. Go to the next exit, turn around, and come back, instead of swerving to drive across the lanes to the ramp.
Calmness comes from the heart. This head can never be calm. It will drive you crazy—like a ping pong ball. "If you do this, this will happen, but then if that happens …" What is important?
It's from calmness that the priority can be perceived, not from turmoil. The head is very good at turmoil. And this heart is very good at calming. So come from here, then decide.
Inspire v6 i169, 4 May 2009: Introducing … The Human Being
Some people think if you feed the hungry, that's it—there'll be peace. Some think, "Oh, remove poverty. Make everybody rich." That will bring peace. Others think, "No, no, no. End the wars."
I'll tell you a little story about this. One time, four blind people were walking down a road when they heard an elephant coming. In India, a bell is often tied to an elephant to let people know. Soon, they heard the man who was driving the elephant say, "Please, move out of the way! The elephant is coming!"
The four people stopped and said, "Please, we are blind, and we have never seen an elephant. Do you mind if we just feel your elephant?"
And the driver said, "No problem. You can feel the elephant." So he stopped, and one blind person felt the leg. One went to the back of the elephant and felt the tail. Another touched the trunk. The fourth grabbed the ear. Of course, the driver was very curious as to what their assessments would be, because each had touched only the leg, the tail, the trunk, or the ear.
So he said to them, "Please, would you mind telling me, in your opinion, what is an elephant?" The one who had grabbed the ear said, "Oh, that's easy. It's like a banana leaf." The one who had felt the leg said, "No, no, no. It's like the trunk of a tree." The man who had felt the elephant's trunk said, "Oh, no—it's like a big, thick root hanging from a banyan tree." The last one said, "It's just a tail, with a little bush on the end—like a cow has."
This, of course, is just a story. Yet, when it comes to peace, it isn't any different. Everybody sees their own need and associates it with peace. But these needs will change. Then what will happen to peace?
So, I want to clarify what I mean by peace. Let's begin with the basics. The fundamental thing is: you are a human being. When was the last time you were introduced as a human being?
I find it funny. I have many hats that I put on, and people introducing me say, "This is Captain Rawat," or "This is Prem Rawat, speaker about peace," and so on. But who introduces me as a human being? I have been to many functions where we introduce each other as, "This is so-and-so, so-and-so, and so-and-so." Fine. Not a problem. But who is introduced as a human being? You see, a cow may not recognize a donkey, but it will definitely recognize another cow. A fish may not recognize a crow, but it will definitely recognize another fish. Who will recognize you or me as a human being, except another human being?
To see a human being as a human being takes a very special eye. It takes the eye of simplicity. It takes the eye that looks at who you are, acknowledges your pain. We don't want our pain acknowledged. "Yes, yes. We are all perfect. We have no problems. I mean, how could we have problems?" Excuse me, we do. It might be as simple as your cat doesn't listen to you. Or it might be as complicated as your wife hates you or your business is about to go under. That's what's happening in this world.
So, who needs peace? The human being needs peace. When all the hats are off, and you are left with who you are, this human being needs peace. You. Me. The real peace. Not the imagined peace.
When that recognition begins, that's when we can seriously start understanding what peace is about. That's the day you relate to peace not as something for someone else, but for you. When I was very young, people used to say to me, "The world needs peace." I would say to them, "You need peace." And a lot of people were shocked. "What?! I need peace?" Yes.
The need for peace isn't just social. It is to find the root of who truly we are. If you understand that peace is within you and the thirst for peace is within you, you have just taken the biggest step toward realizing peace in your life.
Whatever may happen, whatever may come, the reality is that your want for peace will be there. The reason for peace will be there. And the way to be able to fulfill that peace will also be there.
Inspire v6 i170, 30 Jul 2009: Mind over Matter?
The most important thing that I can do is to cause you to reflect, contemplate what you have been given, and make you think about the possibility of having peace in your life.
In some ways, you are very much like me. As human beings, we have a need. It is not a need created by society or by religion. It is a fundamental need to be fulfilled, to be in peace. It is easy to toss around the word "peace." But what is peace? Is it just hearing wind chimes? No traffic? No airplanes or trains buzzing by? To some people, that's exactly what peace means. And it's sad that external noise pollution becomes so irritating that when we find ourselves in the absence of it, we call it "peace."
Or is peace a feeling? An undeniable feeling not born of thought. Everything that comes to us is born of thought. We get good news, "Things are going my way." We get bad news, "Why is this happening to me?" It doesn't take much for us to get unsettled. It happens when we're in traffic and somebody honks their horn. Even if they are honking at somebody else, we get irritated, "How dare you honk at me."
Your son or daughter tells you, "I failed," and you get upset. So is peace simply not being upset? It's sad but true that some people think when you don't get upset you must be in peace. Well, there are people who are in a vegetative state, and they don't get upset over anything. So, what is peace?
Something that is not born of thought, but felt. Something that resides in the ocean of answers, not in the ocean of questions. We have learned to question everything, but we have not yet learned how to accept the answer. Your life. Your being. What does it mean to be here, to be alive?
People read books. I'm not against books. One wall of my office is just filled with books. But what am I looking to the books for? Can they really give me that answer? Can a book really satisfy my hunger? There are beautiful books of water scenes. Can that satisfy my thirst?
You cannot just say, "I'm not hungry. I'm not hungry. I'm not hungry." The other day, I got up early, had a small breakfast, and went to speak. And my stomach was growling. I was thinking, "You're not hungry, you're not hungry…" but it didn't quit. You can say, "Oh, it's mind over matter." But not for the basics, not for those things that really matter.
One time, my father visited a place where there were a lot of holy men. One of the men was standing on one leg praying to God. There was a sign saying he'd been standing on one leg for so many weeks and hadn't spoken a word. My father went right up to him and said, "Oh God, why did you give him a second leg? He doesn't use it. And why'd you give him a mouth? He doesn't use that, either." This man got so upset he said, "How dare you say this!" And the second leg came down.
So, what is peace? I can't tell you what it is. I have felt peace, and I can feel it every day, but I can't tell you what it feels like. Just like I can't tell you what sugar really tastes like. If you want to know what I am tasting, you need to taste it, too. Then and only then will you understand what I am talking about.
This life is a gift. I want to understand it as clearly as possible before I lose the ability to understand it. I want to know what this miracle is. A miracle requires an eye to behold it—a person who truly understands what a miracle is. The most amazing miracle is the coming and going of this breath. Out of nowhere it comes, and to nowhere it goes. From this breath comes the gift of life. And life makes all the other miracles possible: You can be. You can admire. You can be thankful that you exist. You can feel and give kindness.
To know in life that all is well. We only think of this in times of trouble. Do you know that you're fine? You always were and always will be. We live in a world of fear. But there is something within you that you should not be afraid of, and it is the ability to enjoy this life, to appreciate this life.
Inspire v6 i171, 9 July 2009: Something Is Going On
Life is simple. This existence should be simple. True love is simple. All the things that are good—in you, about you, and around you are simple.
Peace is also simple, but if I ask, "What is peace to you?" everyone will give a different answer. If I ask, "What is God?" the answer will be based on your religion, your upbringing, what your parents told you, what your friends and other people told you.
You have always wanted to feel good. Your desire to feel good goes back a long way. In fact, it goes back to when you were an infant. You wanted to feel good —that was it. You didn't have big agendas. When you didn't feel good, you cried.
Who taught you to cry? This started from day one. When most people are born, the first thing they do is cry. If you didn't, a doctor held you by the legs and gave you a little slap until you did. And most importantly, who taught you to be quiet when all was well? When you are satisfied, nothing needs to be done or said or expressed. All is well. This is you.
This is essentially the way you still behave. When all is well—great. When all is not well, it's, "Why did you leave that door open? What's wrong with you? Why are you looking at me? Why are you talking to me?" The very existence of another human being whom you actually may love can irritate you, just because all is not well. When all is well, everything is very simple, because life is simple.
Some people say, "You cannot say my life is simple. I have all these problems. My cat has left me, my wife is threatening to leave me, my kids keep sending me their bills …"
The complications that we bring into our lives—the good and the bad, right and the wrong, love and hate, doubt—are what make our lives so complicated. We all want simplicity. We have a relationship with joy, and simplicity has a unique way of bringing joy. The question is, how do we get it?
There is a joy that comes from the outside, and there is another joy that comes from inside. I'm not ignoring the joy that comes from outside. But there is a joy that comes from the inside, and it only comes when there is simplicity in your life.
It's simple because since the day we took our first breath, this energy resides in us. All this time, even if we don't know about it, it continues to reside in us. How utterly simple is that?
Life wants to be content. Life wants to be happy. You want to be happy. Something is going on here, isn't it? You can move, you can talk, you can think, you can smile, you can cry. Something is going on here, and one day it won't be. What is this thing that is going on? Is it your appointments? Is it your job? Is it all the things you do? Is it all your likes and dislikes?
There is something that keeps happening in my good days and in my bad days. All the things that I call good or bad are irrelevant to the fact that something else is going on. The coming and going of this breath is automatic, and due to this magnificent thing, I am alive. All the complicated will one day go away. So will you. The challenge seems to be to find the simple and hang onto it for dear life while you are alive.
Does this sound like a challenge to find it and hang onto it for the rest of your life? It is possible. The joy that you have in you needs to be honored. The love needs to be honored. The greatest of all gifts, this most subtle and most beautiful breath, needs to be honored. Recognize it for what it is worth. Acknowledge this most magnificent but simplest of things in your life.
What happens when you honor this life within you? The energy within returns those honors, and the homage that is paid to you is called peace. Peace is your reward. It's also called joy, understanding, clarity. This is how simple it is.
Inspire v6 i172, 23 July 2009: The Arena of Knowing
I'd like to talk about something very beautiful: you are alive. That's incredibly beautiful. And when we talk about the self, we are talking about recognizing, understanding who you are. When you think, "I am an Australian; I'm a New Zealander; I am English, Scottish, Irish," you are forgetting who you are. You are a human being.
We hear about superheroes who have reached the ultimate state of being. What if I said that you have reached the ultimate state of being? You are alive. That's the ultimate state of being. There isn't a higher state than being alive. This is it.
People go to the movies to be entertained, for some action, some drama. They have a whole ritual of getting their popcorn, their candy, their soft drinks. Talk about planning! The army could learn a thing or two about discipline from these people. They know exactly what and how much to get. Then they sit down in their chosen seat. The movie starts, and the line between reality and the artificial blurs. Some people even start crying. If they could see the real shoot, they'd be laughing, because what they're looking at is maybe the fifteenth take of the same scene.
We believe. Let's believe for a minute that there is a cow in front of you, and the cow moos. Maybe there's no harm in believing in it, but when you need milk, remember one thing: If this cow does give milk, it's only make-believe milk. It's not real. You won't be able to drink it. You can imagine it, you can pretend you're drinking milk, but it won't satisfy your thirst. Everything about it has to be make-believe, because it's all a fantasy.
In the arena of knowing, there's no make-believe. You experience. This is what I talk about. It's not a fantasyland. There is a longing within a human being so deep that it leaves you dry and, in the same moment, fills you up. It's a magical dance of quenching the thirst within.
Have you ever had water when you were really, really thirsty? Water becomes sweet. The focus is on nothing else but to take that water and drink, drink, drink. After you finish drinking, you say, "Ah!" You're satisfied.
What is water? It's something that has no identity. It isn't square and it isn't round. It takes the shape of whatever contains it. It has no color. It flows out of the ground, sometimes out of rocks—unbelievable places. If you were to try to describe water for its physical appearance, you could not do a good job, because it would always sound insignificant. Yet its power is so incredible that nothing can stand in its way—no mountain, no rock. Over time, water will carve what we think could never be carved. Yet water has tenderness, gentleness, softness. It's the softest feeling, and it can destroy mountains.
The lack of water has wiped out civilizations. Yet water has a clear understanding and sense of purpose. It comes from the ocean, it travels through the land, but water clearly knows its destination. It knows it has an appointment, a love affair with the ocean. When it merges with the ocean, its identity is gone. It's stripped of all that it was. It's home again.
Why am I telling you all this? How is this going to help you? Because you can learn from it—about the passion, the desire, the want in your life. You have a thirst in you. You have a thirst to be fulfilled, but many people don't acknowledge it because they're afraid. Why? Because they don't know what will happen to them. They have some concept that if they really acknowledged this thirst in their lives, they might become a vegetable, they might become irresponsible, or they might not be able to hold down a job.
What you do in this world, you do. It has nothing to do with your inner passion, because it will never satisfy that inner passion. They are two different things.
I'm here to tell you to listen to that sweet thirst. How could you not desire true peace in your life? Understand the passion for peace and satisfaction in your life. You have been thirsty. Throw your bucket in the well. And when that bucket is full, reel it in, and you will have a reward. Your reward will be satisfaction.
Inspire v6 i173, 14 August 2009: The Greatest Show
This is a fact: today is whatever date it is. Here is another fact: it will never come back—never, ever. It cannot happen.
What does that mean to you? You woke up; it's another day. We look at our calendars—the years, the months, the weeks—like it doesn't mean anything. I talk about "the moment called now." Well, by the time you finish saying "the moment called now," it's not "now" anymore. It's gone. Time is a force that is so powerful, it just moves, moves, moves. And it touches you. But the question is: what do you do in this time?
Do you act like a human being? Or do you try to be somebody else? A robot. Acting. We are all actors, acting someone we are not. You might think, "I'm not an actor. I'm a responsible person. I have my duties, my schedules, my agendas." But we pretend, "I am so-and-so." On the scale of this universe, you are nothing, absolutely nothing. And yet, in your universe, you are the supreme leader. You want to shape, understand, and control your destiny.
What is your destiny? If you want to know your destiny, you can. But the destiny you have is the destiny of a human being, and you will have to become a human being first, not an actor. Not the imaginary king of an imaginary kingdom in an imaginary time far, far away from the kingdom of reality.
What do I do? I'm not here to preach to you. I have some tickets to the greatest show on earth. I look for people who want the tickets, and they look for me. You are the venue, but you need a ticket. I have one. I'm not selling them; I'm giving them out—compliments of one human being to another.
Who's playing? The most magnificent is playing in this theater for a limited time. How long? As long as you are alive. When can you see the show? Whenever you want. Will you like it? It is a performance of performances, the impossible drama playing out. The infinite, the Divine, has decided to come and join you on this journey.
Recently, somebody asked me, "Why is life difficult?" I said, "Suppose you have a brand new car right out of the factory that runs fine. Then you take the tires and put them on the roof, take the engine and put it in the trunk, take the gas tank and put it where the engine is, and ask the dealer, 'Why doesn't this car run?'"
What have you done to your life? Please, come down to earth. It's not a bad place. Being a human being is not so bad. It's actually very good, very profound. You can accept. You don't have to live in a world of make-believe.
Sometimes I give this example. Make believe there is a cow—black with white spots, cute, small. Does this cow have problems? Yes. It's there, but it exists only through a belief. Can this cow give milk? Yes, but you have to believe it; you can't drink it. In belief, it even moos, winks, has big eyelashes. In belief, this cow is just gorgeous, and she gives a lot of milk, but not any that you can put in your tea. And her milk makes a lot of butter for toast, as long as you believe it's there. But you and I have no use for an imaginary cow. It can't give milk that we can drink.
If this is the only place you're going to live all your life, what's the point of the rest? You are so fortunate to be alive. This is the grandest of all blessings. Make-believers don't understand this. They're looking for the make-believe toast so they can have the make-believe butter from the make-believe cow that gave the make-believe milk. They dream of heaven when they are already in heaven: "I have to work really hard. I have to do this, and I have to do sacrifice this, so when I die I'll go to heaven." You know what the big problem with that heaven is? You have to die.
The beauty of this heaven is: You don't have to die. All you have to do is open your eyes. Stop dreaming, start looking, and you will see what a heaven this is. You don't have to make believe. Truth, joy, is within you. Inherent kindness is ever-present. Every day. Explore the gift you have. It's about discovering, feeling. You really should consider that ticket. It will take you to an incredible show of shows. Within you.
Inspire v6 i174, 22 September 2009: Forgotten Opportunity
I hope what I have to say is going to help you in this journey of life. If it could simplify your life even a little bit, that would make me very happy. I'm talking about something that is so simple—your life, your existence, the gift of breath that comes into you, leaves, and comes again. The fact that you're alive is so simple.
How did it get so complicated? Even though I can say it's simple, and it is simple, how is it that it doesn't feel simple, that it feels very complicated? There are all the things that you have heard, that you think about, that you look forward to or don't look forward to. How does it get so complicated?
Look at the simplicity, and it's there. The breath comes. You wake up in the morning, and you find yourself alive. It's not like you have to put in a bunch of coins: "Let me be alive, I've got the money." You find yourself awake. Then you start thinking about all the things you have to do that day, all the schedules you have to keep, all the things you have to remember, all the things that are important and not important. Thus begins your day. And somewhere, the simplicity of being alive is lost.
Make it simple. Exist, accept, understand this moment now. What's going to happen, what's not going to happen—just take it one moment at a time. Begin with the basics of who you are.
Look around you. Do you realize there is no other planet like earth for light years around? There are planets that are full of dirt, too hot, too cold, too far, too strange, too violent. The one you live on is magnificent. This one glows blue, has beautiful clouds, lightning you can see from outer space.
Can you ignore and not be thankful for even one minute, one day, that you exist on this beautiful planet? That you are who you are? On this beautiful earth you are alive. See the goodness in you; recognize the goodness in others. You and I get to be alive. People say, "Nah, I've got this problem, that problem." You are devotees of your problems. This is what you think about.
We are on this magnificent earth, with technologies you cannot imagine: vapor rising from the salty ocean, wind blowing it and carrying it over land, then sweet fresh water raining down. A planet so incredible that all you need is a few seeds and a little water, and it'll feed you. It'll take care of you.
Here, the perfect distance from the sun is a beautiful light for night called the moon; the breeze, the ocean, the birds, the fauna and the flora—divinity dancing in the wind. Beauty. Out of nowhere. A show of all shows. And for me to exist in this time, I cannot help but to feel gratitude. Don't ask me for whom. The gratitude wells up, a letter that needs no address. It is a matter of the heart from where this letter comes and to whom this letter will go. But it is my letter to express my gratitude every single day. We have forgotten what it means—the opportunity to be alive, to have the privilege to be able to take this breath.
A lot of people say, "That's too simple. Talk to me about something my brain can dig into." I don't want to. Your brain has already done enough damage in your own life. You have forgotten what you were searching for. You look, and every day you hope. Then all of a sudden, everything comes tumbling down. This is what is going on right now. Optimism and dire panic. Failure and non-acceptance of failure. Greed. Economic crises happen because of greed. As long as there is greed, there will be crises happening again and again and again.
When you recognize this breath, your heart will fill with gratitude, and when it does, you will be successful. That's true success. Not doubt, not fear. But clarity, simplicity, understanding. I want to enjoy every day I have, all the days I can.
Inspire v6 i175, 10 October 2009: The Triumph of a Human Being
Have you ever heard someone say, "You won't believe what just happened to me"? We hear this and think, "Somebody's going to tell me something that happened to them, but why are they saying, 'You won't believe what just happened to me'?" The keyword is believe because if you had been there, you would know and not have to believe.
Now, belief is okay, but you give it much more credence than it deserves. Knowing deserves the credence you give to belief. Knowing is certain. It's clear. There are no ambiguities, no hypotheses. This is what happened. But when you don't know, is belief sufficient?
I can just imagine a long time ago, a person standing on a ridge, looking at the stars, wondering: "Who am I? Why am I here? What is this all about?"
I call these the questions. Even though since then there have been a myriad of religions, textbooks, stories, ideas, philosophies, wars, contemplation, inventions, exploration of outer space, these questions still exist. They are asked in one way or the other by every human being. Maybe they're asked in times of trouble or in times of plenty—but they are asked.
Until these have been answered for you personally in a clear, concise way, you will not understand the need you have for peace, the need you have to be happy. And once you understand that the desire for peace is innate—not learned—you will pursue it.
Ultimately, you came into this world and you're going to leave this world. And you have a belief system. You do. And whether you have courage to hear it or not I have the courage to tell you that you are here to experience heaven. You have always believed that heaven is something you're going to get to after you die, if you are good. You learned this. The desire for peace, to be happy, to be in joy—nobody had to teach you. You have had this since you were a little baby.
You have been given this body—the ultimate experiencing machine. That's all it does all day long: "Wow. Beautiful. Hot, cold, soft." If you were to make a list of the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the touches that it can appreciate—that list would be huge.
You have this most incredible thing called life. All of a sudden, you can move. You can understand. You can dance. You can smile. You can cry. You can think. You can feel. All this has come together, and while you are alive, you can know. And when you know, peace comes, the truest joy comes. Your life has to evolve around knowing—not just believing. Clarity. Your life has to evolve around this desire from your heart, from within you, to want to know.
What does your life want? People make all kinds of effort, "I have to do this, and I have to do this." Then tragedy strikes, and they lose everything. Then they say, "I just want to be happy." Maybe that's how it is supposed to be. The building block of your achievements needs to begin with the achievement of peace, of joy. Build on it a tower as high as you want, and it'll never fall down because it is built on solid ground. It is tied to the most stable thing in your life. You have taken care of the essentials in your existence. And then, having gratitude is natural. It's not a belief, "I believe I'm happy."
Truth isn't some mysterious thing sitting on top of the mountain. Truth dances in you. Clarity is not something you dig out of a goldmine. Clarity and understanding are not buried somewhere; they are inside of you. They need to be evoked. They need to be invited into your life. They need to be called upon; they need to be nurtured, they need to be truly invited and welcomed. All the answers you want are inside of you. All the wealth you want is inside of you. All the wisdom of the ages is inside of you.
Understand, accept—discover those things that are inside of you. When you experience that joy in your life, it is something special. And when you experience peace, it is the triumph of a human being. You have won every war. You have succeeded. The moment you feel peace, you have fulfilled your destiny.
Inspire v6 i176, 28 October 2009: Days of Our Life
Who are you? Let me give you a bit of an economy lesson here. If I were to say you were going to receive $25,550, is that a lot of money? For some people, it's a lot. For some, it's not. It won't buy you a house, a car, a refrigerator, a washing machine, and pay for your food for too long. These days, $25,550 is just not that much. If this is all you had, it's not going to last that long.
What does the number 25,550 have to do with you? Well, if a human being lives for 70 years, which is an average, that's how many days you get. That's it. That's it? Only 25,550 days?
That's what my calculator says. A measly 25,550 days, some of which just blew past while walking around in diapers and trying to learn how to walk. Then others blew past me as I was trying to learn how to count up to 25,550. Then when you get to the last 550, it comes in nickel and dimes. You just go day by day, and that's it. And every day I lose a dollar. There's nothing I can do to hang onto it. All I have is 25,550.
When I speak, I don't want to make people feel guilty. I just try to give a sense of urgency because people have so much going on that I want to call their attention to themselves and their existence. After me, will this world go on? You bet. Will flowers bloom? Yes. Will rain come down? Yes. Will the sun shine? Of course. But the thing is, I won't be there to enjoy it.
And so, 25,550 is a good way to bring it to a point where you can start to see the urgency of this life—how precious, simple, and beautiful it is. Whether you decide to spend it or not, the dollar will be gone. What do you want to buy with the dollar that you get every day for 25,550 days? Me? I want to buy the truest joy, the sincerity that only a human being can have towards the infinite that resides in me. I want to be free.
A person who is happy can spread happiness. If you want to do some good, learn how to be fulfilled. Finding a way to be fulfilled is the most incredible art there is. Why? Because what you are looking for resides within you and always has. That's how the 25,550 came to be. And the departure of that thing will be the end of the 25,550. But though you never lost it, you search for it.
Many people tell me, "I've been searching for a long time."
I say, "But you never lost it."
"Oh, good. Then show me where it is. Is it in that drawer? That cabinet? The glove compartment?"
"No. No. No."
"Is it in my bedroom? Is it in my car? Is it over there?"
The more places you have searched, the longer your list is because you want to verify that it's not there, not there, not there—because you want to be able to say, "Well, I've already looked there."
Where is it? Within you. And what I am saying is you need to know it. In this life, you have to know. There are no other alternatives. You are like an amplifier. Amplify the knowing. Amplify the fulfillment. Amplify the joy of this heart. Bring into your life the beauty of existence itself.
Your life cannot be just for the fulfillment of the ideas of what life is about. The show that you are attracted to will go on. You are walking in this fairground of life. When you are gone, others will come, and they will continue to come for a long, long time.
Understand the opportunity that you have been given. In this vessel, the most amazing gift of breath comes. What will tomorrow be like? In one sense, it will be no different than today and no different than yesterday, but if you are fulfilled, it will be unique. And then you won't have to count the 25,550 because it won't matter. Each one is making you infinitely rich.
To have lived a lifetime and not know is a tragedy. In your life, know and be fulfilled. If you don't find it, I'm here. But the main thing is to find it. What you are looking for is inside of you. If you are alive, that's your lottery ticket. You won. On average, it'll come in 25,550 times. You don't ever have to be poor again. This is the gift: 25,550. It still gives me shudders every time I think about that number. That's all? It's not enough! But whatever you have is the ultimate blessing in your life. Kindness has been given. Capture it. Be in joy. Be fulfilled.
Inspire v6 i177, 16 November 2009: Perspectives
I travel a lot, and I have to cross borders. Some days, I go through three or four immigrations checks. Someone asks me, "How long are you going to be here?" "Just a few hours." "What are you going to do?" "I'm just coming to speak." He has to look at me and look at the passport and say, "Okay. That's you." But I am me. This is somehow to verify. There is some practicality to it, but couldn't it be another way? Where my integrity is intact not because I have a little piece of paper saying I'm really me? But that's how it is.
When you go to school, you are tested on the subjects somebody else has decided you should know, not on what you do know. And if you know everything else except what this person thinks you should know, you fail. Maybe you just forgot one thing, but you have to prove to someone that you know it.
It seems we live in a world that is diametrically opposed to the integrity of just one individual who desires to be fulfilled. I remind people: what you are looking for is inside of you. If you need somebody to hold up a mirror, this is what I do, not define how you should look.
What qualifies me? Well, I don't have a rubber stamp. I started when I was very young. My feeling was, "Maybe I can bring some happiness, some joy to people." My perspective is very down to earth and simple: One, you are alive. This is the best news you will ever receive. Secondly, you didn't come with a manual, but one was built into you. No need to have a printed manual when within you has been placed the want to be fulfilled. Can this want be fulfilled? Yes. So you are alive, the want has been placed within you, and the wish that you carry within can be fulfilled. What's the problem?
Perspectives. Why has the most fundamental need of fulfillment been so drastically changed to, "It's not possible"? People don't address their needs; they address their ideas. And today, ideas have become more important than our needs.
It begins with every individual. No world leader is going to come, shake your hand, and "ta-da," it's done. No. The next time you look in the mirror, understand that lighting this world begins with one candle—you.
This world is said to be an illusion. The illusion is "me and mine, you and yours." The problem with illusion is it looks so real that you can't point out what is fake. For all those people who perform magic, what is the key to their illusion? Distraction. They have to distract you. You look over there while they do the switch here. So, in your life, are you distracted? Oh, yes.
If you have never understood the value of breath, you've been living in a state of distraction—the greatest illusion. You came, and all too soon, it will be time to go. When you were young, the clock ran slow. Every five minutes, you asked, "Are we there yet?" Then, as you get older and older, whoosh, another year is gone. I know that time doesn't change; it is our perception of time that has changed.
Here's a little story about that. Once there was a man who prayed and prayed to God.
And one day, God appeared. "You've been praying to me. What do you want?"
The man was shocked, but he had some questions. "God, How long is your day?"
God replied, "Well, actually, millions of your years are but a second to me."
"So God, how much wealth do you have?"
God said, "If you took all the wealth in the universe and multiplied it millions and
millions of times, that would be just one cent to me. Anything else?"
So the man said, "God, could I have a cent?"
And God said, "Just a minute…"
The want, the wish, the perspective of time. Do you know that you live on the most special place in this galaxy—the most amazing planet around? And, amongst all the creatures that exist on this earth, you are included. All that looking here and there is the distraction. Look within you. Understand the pulse of your existence. Understand what you're about. Understand your thirst. Enjoy that feeling you have inside of you. Live your life fulfilled, not in some idea but in reality. You will find the reality of this life to be extremely beautiful.
Inspire v6 i178, 22 December 2009: About You
I'd like to take a little bit of time and talk about you. How do I know you? You are, at a fundamental level, no different than I am. I'm not talking about your achievements or potential, or the things you have been through. But on the level of a human beingwhich you are and I am—there is something we have in common.
I am alive; you are alive. A breath comes into me; a breath comes into you. Your quest is for happiness, regardless of the means you think might bring it to you. Happiness, joy, peace—this is what you yearn for; this is what I yearn for. So, I speak to you on that fundamental level, not as a professor, preacher, or even a teacher, but from one human being to another.
We are caught in an incredible tornado of change. Everything around us is continuously in a state of change. Thoughts change, ideas change, and perceptions change. And you change—and change and change—all the while trying to fight the changes. At some point in your life, maybe you come to this conclusion: enough of fighting these changes—let them come.
In the middle of all these changes, could there be something that doesn't change? You are not wrong to be looking for that thing that doesn't change. It is inherent in you to seek it out so that you can have something in your life called stability—to be able to recognize change and still have the dignity of who you are.
Who are you? You have been incredibly blessed to have this life. This is much bigger than you realize. A lot of people say, "I'm me. I've done this; I've done this. It's no big deal."
Well, let me tell you, you are completely unique. There's no one like you on the face of this earth, and actually, you know this. The way you smile, the way you see, the way you think, laugh, cry, walk, the way you know and don't know—is completely unique. Once you are gone, you will never be replaced—ever.
The miracle is that this breath came into you and you are alive. You can think and understand and feel. These are miracles, and they take place inside every human being.
When the sun rises or sets, it strikes a chord of appreciation in you, and you say, "That's beautiful." When a guitar is played in tune with feeling, it strikes a note in you. Now, let me ask you: could it be possible that you have peace in you too, but you haven't found what will evoke it? Could it be that simple? No world conference? No "leaders" coming together and making proposals for peace?
I am telling you that peace is already inside of you, that what you are looking for is inside of you. Could it be that you are more complete than you realize? Could it be that peace has been put inside of you, right within your heart, so you will know where to find it?
What you need is the drum of clarity playing in your life, which will evoke the rhythm of peace. Your assets are not the things you think they are—your assets truly are the clarity that resides in you—your consciousness, your capability of understanding the peace that resides in you. These are your assets. Without these, without the recognition of the Divine that dwells in you, you will search and search and search. And the more you search, the more disappointed you will be.
These things that I am saying to you, you know, and not because somebody told you, but from the fundamentals that exist within every human being—the stuff you really are, not your ideas.
Peace is a reality. The joy that is inside of you is a reality. What do you need? You need someone who can show you the way inside, somebody who can put a mirror in front of you so you can see who you are. This is about actually seeing. You can write a book about water or about a glass. But the quenching of thirst is an experience that you have to have.
What you are looking for is inside of you. If you need help finding it, I can help. That's it. It's simple, it's beautiful—by design—that you are here. Understand that simplicity, that beauty, what it means to be alive. Learn to enjoy that which is most enjoyable. Fulfill your life.