A Common Thread

“I want to always bring it home—to ‘we need to know what life itself is,’ not ‘what you can accomplish because you are alive.’”
Apr 10, 2020
In this third segment of a 5-part interview, Jessica asks Prem how to practically mitigate against our problems and feel peace. Prem says that having our problems go away isn’t the real gift. The real gift is that we can be alive today. The entire universe has colluded to bring this gift of life home to us. This is what peace is.

Jessica Zweig:

You have been speaking to audiences since you were four years old, and you’ve been spreading this message of peace for a very long time.

And I think, today, more than ever before—and I wasn’t around fifty years ago—but there is just so much more to consume ourselves with. And I think it’s harder and harder to get in touch with that dreamer. And we don’t give ourselves the permission to do that.

You know, most of us wake up, check our phones, eat breakfast while we’re checking our phones, rush to work on our phones, get to our office and—and are, you know, inundated all day long. And then we come home and by the end of the day, we’re just exhausted.

And there’s—it’s just so hard, especially in modern society in America—in the West, at least, where finding this space to know the dreamer has just become harder. I would imagine, since the time you’ve started your career, you’ve seen so much more happening in the world. And how do we mitigate against that? How do we technically do that?

Prem Rawat:

Well, the thing is, there are problems that have arisen in society. And the problems that have arisen in society are that people are not understanding not only themselves, but they’re not understanding other people.

To me, you know, when people talk about the problems that are happening in.... The fire season is on in California, by the way. And I don’t know if, on the East Coast, they’re listening to the news that, you know, “This part of California’s on fire; that part of California’s on fire.”

And imagine, on one hand, you have California on fire. On the other hand, you have a bunch of refugees who are traveling from their country towards central Europe—and they are in dire straits.

And there is a person in California whose house is in fire and they’re in dire straits. And there is a tornado in the panhandle of Florida that has just demolished this person’s house. And they are emotionally distraught and they’re—everything that they worked for is just, this little tornado came and destroyed it.

Is there a similarity? Is there a similarity between that guy watching his house being burned down, another one in the panhandle who’s just watching his house being disintegrated, and a person who is of a totally different religion, totally different faith, on a boat, taking on the waves and in dire straits because, are they going to make it? And when they make it, are they going to be let in? I mean, they have no choice to go back. It’s a horrible situation.

Then you’ve got all these refugees who are not being allowed, being shoved further and further south of even, you know, Mexico and Honduras and so many other countries, and it’s like, “Go away; go away; go away.” Is there a similarity?

And is there a similarity in all the oceans being riddled with plastic? And is there a problem with the Amazon forests being destroyed, every square inch of them being potentially on the list of being absolutely destroyed?

And I say, “Yes, there is; there is a common thread. And the common thread is the human being. The pain and sorrow that is being caused, is being caused by human beings and is being suffered by human beings.”

And so, human beings are the common denominator in all these problems. And yet, what is the problem with the human being? I mean, isn’t it wonderful that we can do all these things that we have done? I mean, after all, human beings have done some pretty incredible things.

Mind you, we have wiped out a bunch of diseases that existed; we have gone to the moon; I mean, my God, we can communicate; we have done a lot of wonderful things.

But by the same token, have we done something that is wrong? And the answer to that is, “Absolutely!” And we continue to do it, because we don’t see it. We don’t see. What we don’t see, we cannot correct.

And what we don’t see in our lives so much is, “My life is limited. My life on this planet Earth is limited.” I mean, if you were to take.... Even if you were to live a hundred years, how long is that in days? Thirty-six thousand five hundred. Now, thirty-six thousand five hundred is not a very long time at all!

When you think about it—I mean, it’s like, “And wait a minute; maybe, maybe I misplaced a zero, right? Three hundred and sixty-five?” No! It’s actually thirty-six thousand five hundred. And that’s if you get to live for a hundred years—a hundred years.

My God, that’s still, you know—anybody who crosses the hundred-year boundary—at least, in Japan—gets a, you know, recognition from the government.

So, it is still a novelty, and yet it is such a short time on the face of this earth. Well, who are you? What are you all about? Are you about all your problems? Are you the creator of all your problems in your life and that’s it? Or are you something more? Can you offer yourself some help?

And what I’m saying is that “Of course you can—and you are your salvation.” You are your salvation. You don’t need an angel to come down from the heavens to take care of your problems. You are the ones who are going to take care of your problems.

And the way you’re going to do it, it’s by starting to look around; it’s by starting to see—not close your eyes, but by looking around.

Your life, your understanding, every single day, saying, “Who am I? What am I about? What is my relationship with everything that I live in? In my house, my children, my husband, my boyfriend, my person who I work with, what is my relationship with these people?”

And to really bring it home that you are here—and you can make a difference and you’re going to make a difference. But the difference you’re going to make is from the simplest little things in your life. And that’s where you’re going to begin.

Jessica Zweig:

Yes, so true. It’s beautifully said. I’m just so aligned. Because I literally just recorded an episode myself of my show about the power and the responsibility that we all have to impact the world, ourselves—that we actually have the ability to do that.

And, you know, my show is about personal branding and giving people the tools to help them put themselves out on a stage, whatever that stage might be, with a positive message that comes from their hearts.

But what I love about what you’re saying so much, Prem, is that finding peace within yourself isn’t a passive act, actually; it’s a very empowered decision. And that taking true responsibility for yourself is your biggest job.

I can speak to a retreat that I took, a women’s retreat I went on a few years ago, and I was in total victim mentality, thinking that everything was happening to me. It was my husband’s fault; it was my job’s fault; it was the weather’s fault; it was the time of the year’s fault—it was everyone else’s fault but mine.

And I was probably the most depressed I had been in a long time. And in just a matter of a few days in this retreat, I worked with, you know, all of these amazing women coaches who kind of woke me up—that it’s no one’s, no one’s fault but mine to let myself be and feel this way. And that taking total, unapologetic, radical responsibility for your life is the path to peace.

Would you agree with that?

Prem Rawat:

I would like to add something to it. I mean, once you have defined that something is wrong—and then you say, “Okay, I’m going to correct it,” that’s not peace. Peace is much more fundamental than that.

Because these situations—for instance, you know, if your relationship with your husband is really bad and you go, “Okay, if I fix my relationship with my husband, everything will be fine.” But there was a time you weren’t married. And you still needed peace. And how will you get peace if you’re not even married and you can’t fix that problem because you don’t have a husband?

But peace goes beyond that threshold. And peace gets to the very fundamental of life itself. What is life itself? What is your definition of life itself?

When you wake up in the morning, you think about all the things you’re going to do. Do you think about all the things that you have to do—and that one fundamental thing that you have to do, just to breathe? And if you were just to stop breathing, you would be dead?

I mean, do you understand your existence, that you are alive? That this is a gift that you are being given? It has taken the whole universe to collude so that you can be alive today.

That you can be alive today! You were in the making for millions and billions and billions and billions and billions of years. Do you accept that as a gift? Do you even see that as a gift?

Or do you see your problems going away as a gift? Because, if you see your problems going away as a gift, you’re missing on life. You’re not missing on your, you know, what’s happening because you are alive, but you’re missing out on what life itself is.

And I want to always bring it home—to “we need to know what life itself is,” not “what you can accomplish because you are alive.”

There is a driver, and the driver has to pay attention to what the car is doing. There may be other passengers who can roll down their window and say, “Look over there; oh my God, oh my God,” but not that driver. The driver has to enjoy what he can enjoy whilst he is paying one hundred percent attention to his driving.

Because if he starts to lose that focus, an accident is imminent. And that accident that is imminent is the way I see the problems in our lives today. We’re having mini-accidents. Because we are not taking into account what is really, really important. And that thing is paying attention to who we really are.

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