"IF ONLY WE CAN GET UNADDICTED TO THAT CUP OF SORROW AND REALIZE THERE IS A BEAUTY OF INCREDIBLE PROPORTION WITHIN US, THEN WE CAN ACTUALLY BE A PART OF THIS INCREDIBLE FESTIVAL OF LIFE."
A Gift of the Heart
EXCERPTS FROM MAHARAJI'S PRESENTATION IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, FEBRUARY 21, 1988
What I'd like to accomplish tonight is to give you a little understanding about something that is not part of our daily curriculum. Something I call "Knowledge" - something fundamental that is present when everything else is stripped away.
People say, "I'm a lawyer," "I'm a doctor," "I'm a pilot." But who were you when you were born? What were you? I'd like everyone tonight to stop for a second and make a very simple distinction between who you are as a living, functioning, breathing entity and what you do.
Being a pilot is something that I do. But I am not really a pilot. I am a human being who can reason between good and bad. And something inside me pushes me towards the thing that is good, towards quality. We all want to feel good. Feeling good is inherent to human beings. But what does it mean to feel good? Well, let's look at it.
Have we fallen into a rut? Have we fallen into a trap where we go around continuously like so many people have before us and like so many probably will after us? We go to school, only to wait for weekends and holidays. Then we grow up and go to college or whatever and try to look for a job. And then the race begins. You have to get a better job. You have to improve yourself. And this goes on and on. It doesn't stop. We have these vivid visions of attaining things, and becoming somebody, leaving a mark on this Earth and making a difference in this world. Maybe not everybody has high ambitions like that, but some of us do. Then the time comes when society says, "Arrivederci. Goodbye. Please find a nice resting place. Relax, do your thing and wait." Wait for what? Well, wait for the inevitable. Because it's going to come. What is the inevitable? It's the last date on your tombstone. And the mark you wanted to leave behind? It has been left behind–on the tombstone. It's the dash between the beginning date and the end date.
If you could just stop for a minute and ask, "What is life? What do I have? Am I in charge of something around here?" Yes, you are. You're in charge of your life. Something, somebody, has given you this incredible tool. And there is also your body in which the Creator has given you an amazing capability to create at will or destroy at will. You can make and you can remake. You can create. You can destroy. You can imagine. And you can do what you want. Most people don't think they're in charge of their lives. They think somebody else is obviously "in charge." (Well, of course, one part of that is true – there's "The Boss" that's always in charge. When He calls, we come whether we like it or not).
People tell me, "There's misery in the world." I agree. But you have to also agree that there is great joy in this world.
Not too long ago I was in Dakar, Senegal. I told my driver that I wanted to see the place. Not the downtown where all the tourist attractions are. No. Outside the city where the real life was happening. We had to drive through part of the city, and we saw people you would definitely dub "happy" and "unhappy." But when we got outside the city, everything changed. There were people riding the bus and they were singing. There were people all around their little huts, talking and playing games and laughing and playing the radio full blast. Then I saw this little kid. He had a shirt on with holes in it. Didn't have any pants on or anything else. He probably hadn't taken a shower in a long time. But he had a toy he had made himself. It was a little coat hanger wire with a wheel on the end of it. This kid was busy. He had that wheel on the road and didn't care if traffic came or went. He didn't care if Russia or America had nuclear arms. He didn't even know that somebody in America was worried sick about him. All he cared about was his little wire wheel running on the side of the road. He was so happy.
You know, the guys we think are really miserable don't have the time to think about it. They don't have the luxury to sit around the living room, watch the news, sip coffee and say, "Ah, there's so much misery in the world." When they wake up in the morning, they want to get on with the business of living.
As human beings, we have choices. Choices that are real, not imagined. Choices we can make about whether or not to be with the beautiful quality inherent in every human being–something very subtle, but there.
I'm not here to judge what's right or wrong. I'm not a preacher. I have nothing to preach. I'm not a teacher. I have nothing to teach you. All I have is a very simple message about the fundamental thing inside each human being that allows us to enjoy. What about enjoying, for a change, the very thing that allows us to enjoy all the other things of life? What is this life that you have been given? What secrets does it hold?
How many times have people told you, "There's something good and wonderful inside you"? Well, it is possible to experience that thing. And the method that allows you to experience it is called "Knowledge." And that Knowledge is available. What does it take to get it? It requires a little bit of a process. What does the process require? Some trust. Trust in yourself. But tell me, when is it that we are ever really challenged to trust ourselves?
A survival instructor once told me what the hardest thing was about survival. "Being with yourself " he said. "You can't stand it." I told him I didn't think it would be that difficult. Then he said. "Look, what do they do in prisons? Solitary confinement. Being all by yourself drives you nuts."
That's a frightening thought–that we don't need anybody else to drive us nuts. We're capable of driving ourselves nuts.
I think the Creator has a lot of class. Can you imagine if we were given the task of designing the Earth? My God! Can you imagine the sky looking like the top of a Gucci Cadillac? Nobody would look at the sky anymore. Moon? It would pulse. Some of the other planets would probably tell time: "12:30 A.M. Universal Standard Time " You know how practical human beings get, right? But the Creator's got class. It created you, It created me. In style.
There's a quote from Kahlil Gibran that I really like: "God placed in the soul a cup of joy. " So far that sounds good, right? "Cup of joy." But then he goes on to say, "You may not drink of this cup," and everyone goes, "That's typical. First He gives you a cup of joy, then He says you may not. drink of this cup." But then Gibran adds, "Except when you have forgotten the past and renounced the future."
Heavy stuff. Sounds much easier than it is. Forget the past? How can we? We live there. That's where our villa is. That's where our family lives. And renounce the future? Are you kidding? That's where our bank is. Our destination is in the future.
Then he says, "God placed in each soul a cup of sorrow. Drink, so you may understand the meaning of joy." But then a big problem happened. We started drinking from the cup of sorrow and got
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"I'M HERE. I'M ALIVE. YOU'RE HERE. YOU'RE ALIVE. I'VE FOUND SOMETHING. YOU CAN FIND SOMETHING, TOO. IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT"
addicted to it. Nowadays, people go, "What cup of sorrow? This is good stuff. I like it. It's cheap, it's good. I don't need a cup of joy. That's for all the other seekers. Me? I like this stuff. I can brew it right at home.
Nonetheless, a gentleness, a kindness, has also been placed within us. Love has also been placed there. If only we can get unaddicted to that cup of sorrow and realize there is a beauty of incredible proportion within us, then we can actually be a part of this incredible festival of life.
"Laugh and the world laughs with you," the saying goes, "cry and you cry alone." Well, I have a modified version of it. "When you cry, you cry alone, and when you laugh, the world thinks you're crazy." Don't laugh for the world. Laugh because you want to laugh. Don't cry for this world; the world doesn't care. There's nobody out there. You know something? There's nothing called "world" out there that I have been able to point my finger at and say, "Ah, there's the world." I haven't seen this thing called "the world." It's just a lot of people– everybody trying to climb their own step-ladder, everybody making their little effort to enjoy this life more. And that's okay. In fact, that's where Knowledge comes in–to be able to enjoy that very basic thing.
Is there a charge for Knowledge? I wish there were. It would make life a lot easier. But there is no charge for it. Never has been and never will be. Because it's a gift of the heart. Not because I know you. I don't know who you are. But because we're all in the exact same boat.
I'm here. I'm alive. You're here. You're alive. I've found something. You can find something, too. It's as simple as that. Enjoy the gift you have been given. Enjoy the enjoyment.
Thank you very much and have a wonderful life.