Host of The SimplyBe. Podcast
So, a lot of the people that listen to my show are entrepreneurs, particularly women, who are really wanting to follow their passion and grow a career and a life on their terms. I am one of those women, right?—and I feel we’ve subconsciously gotten sucked into a very hustle-oriented culture and mindset.
And that it’s celebrated to be a “girl-boss,” or it’s to slay like a queen, right? These are all images that are actually, in my opinion, really masculine and sort of out of alignment with, with who we are. But yet women are rising and we are becoming more empowered.
And I think that—and I truly speak for myself—a lot of that innate peace and that softness and that stillness really gets deprioritized. And I would love to know how—speaking to the women, mainly, that listen to my show—what advice do you have for them-slash-me on how to really incorporate and prioritize ourselves, the way that you’re speaking?
Well, first of all, there is absolutely no conflict in, whatsoever, to have your ambitions fulfilled, the ambitions that you have. There’s no conflict. But you have to know one thing—and that one thing that you have to know is yourself.
You know a lot of things in this world. And you think that knowledge of these things will take you and fulfill you and fulfill your ambitions. But the thing is, that if you know everything but you don’t know who you are, who you are as a being, as that one person who took that first breath…
That you came out of your mother’s womb and you took that first breath, and you’re alive. And you’re alive. And that, one day, this whole chain of breath is going to keep on happening—and then one day this breath won’t be anymore. And everything you do, everything that you think will be gone one day.
But right now you’re alive. Who are you? That person that starts with that one breath—and their life ends with that other breath, that last breath—and in between, you have this fantastic possibility of life, of being alive, of being who you are, of fulfilling your dreams, of accomplishing all the things that you can, and only you can come up with.
And you are the one who, in your life, makes all the difference to yourself. Then, who are you? What are you? Not the dream fulfiller, but the dreamer. I’m talking about the dreamer, not the dream fulfiller.
And everybody wants to become the dream fulfiller. And nobody’s paying attention to the dreamer. I’m talking about the dreamer. I’m talking about the innate thirst that you have in you.
That you feel that by fulfilling all your ambitions, one day you will be fulfilled—that person who carries those ambitions, that’s the person I’m talking about.
And the rest of it, I don’t see a conflict, even though I talk about peace. And a lot of people might just go, “How can you say that?” Because I don’t—I don’t see a conflict, you know?
Somebody, one time, came to me and said, “Oh, look at—I just bought a Rolls Royce. And do you think I should have one? I’m looking for peace in my life; do you think I should have it?”
And I said, “So, what, what is the poor Rolls Royce going to do? It’s neither going to bring you peace nor is it going to take away your peace. Of course, enjoy it! You want to enjoy it, enjoy it. Do whatever you want to do.”
I’m not making any rules about what you should or shouldn’t do. All I am doing is saying one thing: “The dreamer that you are, you need to know that dreamer. You need to understand that dreamer.” Because if you don’t understand that dreamer, you won’t actually even know what that dreamer is trying to dream about.
I think it’s also gotten a lot more difficult to get in touch with who we truly are because of the sheer noise of life—technology, opportunity. The desire to know oneself is sort of trendy today. And I think that, in and of itself is overwhelming for people.
So, how do you tap in? What would be the first step?
You’re absolutely right! People are so caught up in everything else that they have forgotten who they are. And so our journey must begin with first establishing base with ourselves—not with other things, not with other solutions, but with us, with us, just as an individual, just as who you are.
Continuing onscreen text:
Jessica Zweig, Host of The SimplyBe Podcast.
Interviews Prem Rawat, Author & Global Peace Ambassador
The SimplyBe. Podcast is a collection of conversations about building a business by knowing WHO YOU ARE at your core, and showing up as your true, unapologetic, authentic self.
Jessica interviews thought leaders, CEOs, and some of the most magnetic personal brands of today.
A Common Thread
Welcome to my show Prem; thank you so much for being with me today.
It’s a great pleasure to be with you and with your audience and to share some insights. I’ve been doing this for quite a long time, and it’s just wonderful to help people all around the world who need help, who want to take some help.
I could not agree more. And it is; the honor and privilege is mine. I know you have a prolific career, over fifty years traveling the globe, speaking in over 250 cities, probably more, on this topic of peace and the universal desire that we all have for it. And I’d love for you to speak to that—why, why peace, Prem?
Well, but, you know, so much of the education that we receive.... Because everything that we think we know is really something that has been added to us; this is not fundamentally what we knew when we were born.
We knew one thing when we were born, which is, "Give a cry if you need something, and if you are happy, go to sleep." And that’s how our lives actually started. And then it’s like, "Oh, I have to do this; I have to accomplish this; I have to succeed in this." All this was learnt later on.
And what does it mean when we learn all these things? Do we make a separation between these things and who we are? We don't! We think, "This is my idea; this is what I have to do." [Jessica: Umm.] And on we go!
And then, before you know it, we find ourselves in a very complicated situation. And the situation might be that we even have a job that’s bringing home the bread and butter, but we hate it; we hate it. And we hate going to our work every single day.
And there we are, caught in this paradox of “What do I do now?” Because I know that I have to get bread and butter home; maybe there are other people in my household who are relying on me to bring that bread and butter home, but something in me doesn’t want to do it. I don’t enjoy what I’m doing; I don’t enjoy being who I am; I don’t enjoy—"This is too much pressure; this is too much...."
And a lot of people, they go, "Okay, ahh...." All of a sudden one day, they find themselves walking on a road. And they find that a shoe that they’re wearing is full of a very sharp rock.
And instead of taking the time to remove the rock from the shoe and comfortably go on walking, they are like, "Well, give me an aspirin; give me something that’ll take away my pain; give me a band-aid; give me something because this is horrible."
And somebody comes along and says, "Well, you know, why are you taking all this medication? Why are you doing all this? Do you know why you’re doing this, because you don’t have to. All you have to do is take away that rock that’s in your shoe, and you will be comfortable again."
And sometimes it sounds so simple when you say it, but it's so complicated. With all the challenges that we have in our life, we find ourselves nailed against the wall sometimes. And we’re looking for a solution out of this misery. And yet it's just like, the more solutions we look to, the more complex those solutions are.
You know, it’s like, "Okay, sit down in a room—and don’t think about anything." And it’s like, "Control your thoughts."
And I remember, when I first came—I was a teenager when I first came to America; I was thirteen years old. And people much older than me and much more educated than me would sit down and go, "Okay, how do I control my thoughts?"
I said, "Well, why do you want to control your thoughts? I mean, what do you think you’re going to gain by controlling your thoughts? Don’t you understand that the desire to control your thought is a thought in itself?" [Jessica: Right.]
You’re still attached to the thought, and you’re going to be sitting there in some room, going, "Am I controlling my thoughts? Have I controlled my thoughts? Have my thoughts gone away?" And you’re going to be thinking about your thoughts going away. And so, how have you become thoughtless? You’re not thoughtless; you're still thinking.
And that just goes to the quintessential essence of it. Because we need to understand who we are as a human being. And if we understand who we are as a human being, we can understand our limitations, and we can also understand our strengths.
And this is what we don't know; we don’t know our strengths, but we finally have learnt our limitations. [Jessica: Yeah.] And the world is frustrated because of that.
Right. Well, I think it's also gotten a lot more difficult to get in touch with who we truly are because of the sheer noise of life—technology, opportunity. The desire to know oneself is sort of trendy today. And there are all of these different ways in which we can explore that. And I think that, in and of itself is overwhelming for people.
So, how do you tap in? What would be the first step? Because I agree with you; it's really, really simple—but it's still so hard for people.
Yeah. And you know, it's like, in a way, exactly what you said and it's very true. But at the same time, it's like, "Well, I can't smell myself. I can smell the flowers and I can smell the bees and I can smell everything else, but I can't smell me."
And it's like, "Well, but excuse me. You don't know who you are? I mean, you are in you—and you are attached to you. And yet you are so alienated from you. How can that be?" Wait, what's going on here? What mirror are you looking at? Who are you looking at, if you cannot find yourself amidst this huge ocean?
And yet you are absolutely right. People are so caught up in everything else that they have forgotten who they are. And so, our journey must begin with first, establishing base with ourselves. Not with other things, not with other solutions, but with us, with us, just as an individual, just as who you are. Not how you should be—but who you are. [Jessica: Right.]
And begin with that—and that is the very first step.
Discovery Not Creation
Radio Interview Excerpt
Umhlobo Wenene FM Radio
Johannesburg, South Africa
Zizo and KCi
Interview Prem Rawat
Zizo Tshwete: I’d like to know, when you go around and you teach the principles of having peace, do you think it's important that the leaders of nations buy into the idea so that it filters through to the people, or do you speak more to individuals?
Well, let me just clarify one thing: I don't teach and I don't preach, and that's absolutely out of the question for me. All I want to do at most is to say things to people that will cause them, that will evoke something in them to start thinking for themselves, to start understanding, “Yes, peace has always been inside of me.” If I don't feel that peace, it is because of the obstacles that I have created, not somebody else has created. I have created for myself.
You know, distraction. You have to be attracted to a distraction. Because a distraction might be doing something, but then you get attracted to that distraction and that attraction takes you away from where you want to be attracted to. To be fundamentally sound, a building is built on a foundation. You don't see the foundation. Nobody decorates a foundation because it's buried. But the integral structure of that building, actually the integrity of that building depends not on what you actually see, but what is the foundation.
So, what is the foundation of a human being? You know, do you want to be happy? I don't see anybody going to any church, any temple, any God, and saying, “God, I've had too much fun. I'm too happy. Please do something to reduce this happiness.” When we get sad, we do do that. We say, “This is too much sadness. I want to get rid of sadness.” What does that tell you? That tells you that we like to be content, that we like to be happy, that we like to be in peace. We like to be in joy. We like to be in clarity.
And we don't like confusion. We don't like anger. We don't like fear. We don't like these things, but they're both in us absolutely.
I mean, if I may, I can tell you a little story, if that's okay. Once upon a time, there was a settlement. And in the settlement a lot of people were living and there was a chief. And one day the chief was approached by a young kid and he said, “Chief, I have a question. I'm confused. I have a question.” And the chief said, “What?” He says, “Sometimes I see that people are good. And sometimes I see the same people who are good, they are bad. How can this be? I mean, either a person is good or a person is bad.”
But he says, “No. Sometimes people are good. And then sometimes they're bad.” And the chief said, “That's because there are two wolves in us, a good wolf and a bad wolf. And they're fighting each other.” So, the boy thinks about it and said, “Why do they fight?” So, the chief says, “So they can have control over you. They can have supremacy over you.” So, the boy thinks about it and he says, “So, chief, tell me, which wolf is going to win?” And the chief said, “The one you feed.” Zizo Tshwete: Mm. Hmm. Prem Rawat: So we feed the bad wolf.
The bad wolf will get strong. And a lot of people think we should beat the bad wolf. Beating the bad wolf is not going to help the good wolf. The good wolf has to be fed. Doing things to the bad wolf is not going to help anything. And sometimes we just get caught up. And it's like, if we could just remove the darkness from the room, there will be light, right?
No. You know, you cannot take a bucket and try to remove the darkness and then hope there'll be light. No. Bring in the light and the darkness will automatically go away.
So, how do I get there somehow? Obviously, there'll be sacrifices along the way.
No, no sacrifices. Because you already have it. See, there's a huge difference in trying to create peace in your life and trying to discover peace in your life. And I'm talking about discovery, not creation. Anything that we have to create that means that is not in us already, but peace is in us already.
Wow, this is deep.
It’s more like finding peace in something that is already there.
Exactly. It's discovery. It's discovery, not creation.
Prem Rawat speaks with DJs Fresh, Somizi, and Tigi at Metro FM during the Fresh Breakfast weekly show on conflict solutions. He offers pertinent tools for finding peace in a turbulent South Africa. “You are your constant source of peace and joy when you know yourself.”
This interview excerpt of Prem in Cape Town, South Africa paints a picture with words. What is missing in the world is that we have lost touch with our humanity. Understanding is the interwoven cord that binds us all—beyond words and labels.
During his recent visit to London, Prem was interviewed
by Tony Wrighton, host of Zestology, about the
launch of his new book, Peace Is Possible.
Zestology is a popular podcast focused on
wellbeing and life optimization.
The show features some of the world’s most
respected and well-known experts in health,
medicine, science, and wellness.
Prem, great to see you. We are recording. How are you? [Prem: I’m good; how are you, Tony?] Very good thanks, yeah. Your schedule is pretty mad over the next few days, isn’t it? I know you’re doing an event in Manchester, and you’re doing loads of interviews today.
I thought that one of the interesting things that we could do is to start off by kind of introducing you to Zestology listeners a little bit, for people who have heard about you, but also people who haven’t. [Prem: Sure.] And then, go with some of the work that you’ve done in your life.
And then I’m reading the book at the moment and I’m really enjoying it, and I thought we could look at a couple of the stories in the book. And I need to ask you some questions about the stories as well. [Prem: Yeah, yeah, sure.]
So, let’s start with you, then. When you meet someone at a dinner party and they say, “What do you do,” how do you answer?
Well, “I talk about peace.” And that’s been my endeavor since I was nine years of age; I’ve been talking to people about peace, because I think that’s an important ingredient that we’re missing.
You know, there’s nothing in the world that sets us up to really recognize ourselves, who we are. Socrates talked about this: “Know thyself.” And yet, what is there in this world—once in a while you might come across Socrates, and only by mistake.
And then, what is the value of that, you know? What reflects in our social media; what reflects in our world that we go about every single day that says, “Oh, by the way, you—did you, today, know yourself; do you know yourself today? Do you understand who you are?”
“Do you”—you see the whole world in a way that you have been trained to see: “Yeah, I’ve got to wear clothes; I’ve got to wear this kind of clothing; I’ve got to do this; I’ve got to do that; I’ve got to take this with me; I’ve got to do this; I’ve got to contact this person.” But what about contacting you, you as a human being?
And a lot of times we say, “Okay, why is my world so strange sometimes?” Well, but could it be that you’re looking at a map, and you’re saying, “Well, the map is good. [Tony: Hmmm!] I love the map. And I’ve got where I want to be on this map marked in a big X!”
But the big question is, “Where are you on the map?” Because if you don’t know where you are in the map, that map is useless to you. Because how are you going to plan your navigation to where you want to be? So, everybody is going around on their map marking the X’s, “I want to be here; I want to be here; I want to be here!” But where are you? And who are you?
And so this is the message, because I think that that can profoundly change the world. Because I see that change happen in peoples’ lives, people who are in prisons, people who are in a job like a police officer, where they are just, every minute, really getting hammered by people who are not behaving themselves.
And just imagine the viewpoint that they have. They’re seeing the worst of the worst of the worst of the worst—and every day, every day.
And yet, there is some goodness in this humanity—and each one of us. And we have to do something to bring it out. We have created a society in which, literally, the worst of us comes out without a problem, but we haven’t really created a society in which the best of us comes out.
I wonder—I’m interested in knowing your perspective on distraction, and distraction in this particular moment in time. Obviously, your beginnings and your upbringing were of a very different culture and a different time as well.
And I feel like distraction is—it’s just worse than ever at the moment, isn’t it? And the technology has a lot to blame for that. And because of that, it’s actually harder to get those reminders—because you’re not with that, kind of, peace and quiet around you. [Prem: And, yeah.]
What’s your perspective on distraction, technology, and how we, kind of, almost take our minds away from those natural reminders that might bring us back to the straight and narrow?
Yeah, that was a great question—because I was asked this question about four months ago, five months ago: “With all this social media and all these crazy things in this world, you know, people are more distracted now than ever,” and da-da-da-da.
So I started thinking about it. At first I agreed with it, and it was, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, and you know, we, we need to be centered in ourselves.”
Then I started thinking, “Wait a minute! Buddha talks about ‘Don’t be distracted! Your mind wanders.’ Kabir—incredible poet—he goes, ‘We are constantly wandering with our mind in the three worlds. Sometimes we think about the gods; sometimes we think about people who are on the same level as us, and sometimes we are wondering about all the demons and everything else.’”
Ah, but, why are they talking about that we are distracted? They didn’t have cell phones then. [Tony: Umm-hmm.] They didn’t have all this technology then. Then I realized it is the human nature to get distracted. And what is distraction? Distraction is not distraction; it is being attracted to something else.
So, because it’s about attraction to something else, we get attracted very easily. You know, we are monkeys—somewhere in there—and so something shiny starts to shine, and we start looking at that instead of the road. And, you know, I see that all the time! People are driving, and their one hand is not eating a hamburger, but doing their text message.
Oh, that’s terrifying, yeah.
It’s terrifying. But they do it. And if you were to stop that person, pull them out, and say, “You know what you were doing is really dangerous?” they will agree with you. But they’ll do it again.
So, to me, it really becomes important to understand that we are going to be distracted, and it is not just the technology that’s doing it. This has been going on since the time of Buddha; this has been going on since the time of Kabir. And it’s the same situation—and this is history, by the way, and it’ll repeat itself again and again and again.
And even though there are a lot of people who are saying, “You know, these things are really not very good!”
And we really need to tone down the technology in a way where human beings can function as a human being, because human beings are being changed in that way. But that’s history too! We’ve been changed; we’ve been changed; we have been changed.
There was a time when the first car started to be on the streets, and people said, “That will never work. It’ll never happen, because the horses are so much better.” Well, it changed; it changed; it changed. Now we can’t even imagine it.
Even though the idea was we would get to places quicker, it doesn’t quite pan out in cities. And the traffic jam is worse; you can watch people on foot walking much faster than you, and arriving at their destination before you do. [Tony: Ummm!]
So, we never ever look at these things and say, “Is this actually working for me? Or not working for me?” We don’t do that. And we need to be reminded, “Hey! What does your report card say for today?” You’ve come home—say it’s seven o’clock in the evening. Do you have a report card? “What happened today?” We don’t! And yet we want a fulfilled life!
Well, unless you’re taking some cognizance of what really happened today, it’s like a car without a speedometer. Well, you will never know how fast you are going. A car with no temperature gauge; you don’t know how hot it’s running.
What is your gauge—at seven o’clock in the evening that says, “You did well”—or, “No, you didn’t do so well”?
Is that something you’d encourage people to do? Actually, maybe not write a report card at the end of every day, but perhaps sit down and take a couple of moments to say, “Oh, okay, well, what have I done well, which I know normally works?”
Exactly! “Did I—did I spend time with my family? Did I listen to them?” What happened to our listening power; do we listen to each other? No! You have something to say? That’s it! So far you get to say it, you don’t have to listen. And it’s the other person’s problem if they don’t listen, you know? And, that can’t be.
“What did I do—what did I do for me? What did I do for this humanity; what did I do for my family? What did I do that I would love to do again tomorrow? What did I do today that I can wholeheartedly look forward to doing tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that?”
So, where is the gauge? We don’t have a gauge. And then it’s like, okay, you’re—you know, at the end of the day, “Oh my God, I am bushed; I’m tired; I just need to go to sleep.” And then hopefully we’ve got our alarm clock set, and then pull the cover over our head and it’s like, “Yeah, off I go.” But life can’t be like that.
I mean, you talk about reminders. And it’s occurred to me, reading your book, actually, it’s like a series of little vignettes, little small little stories, and kind of tasters of your life and thoughts. And they are like little reminders; you could pick it up when you want that little bit of inspiration. And some of the stories, some of the chapters are very short.
What is perhaps one of your favorite parts of the book? I mean that I mentioned the parrot story which I liked, and I really liked the chapter about coconuts. [Prem: And, yeah?] I really like coconut, and I eat “coconut everything,” so that’s why I liked that. [Prem: Yeah.]
But, what is something that kind of stands out to you in the book? That kind of resonates with people and resonates with you?
“Whatever you practice most, you get good at it.” And if that’s the way things are—because that’s how it happens! We, whatever we practice the most, we get good at it.
And so, look around in your life: how long does it take you to get upset? So, is that what you’re practicing, getting upset? You know? And how long does it take you to just relax? Well, it’s like, “Huh-uh, breathe deeply; sit down....”
But getting angry? Getting mad? You don’t need to sit down to get mad. You don’t need to breathe deeply to get mad. You can get mad just like that. So we’re practicing that. You’ve got to break the bad habits. If you don’t break the bad habits in your life, those will perpetuate, and they will shape your life and your future.
Yeah. I mean, I feel very zen in your company. But do you have any bad habits?
Oh, everybody has bad habits. Everybody has bad habits, and that’s why we need to live our lives consciously.
I didn’t call home yesterday. I was busy; I was coming here. I have an excuse. [Tony: Umm-hmm!] I have an excuse. And so sometimes we get really good at making excuses, and we practice that more than doing what we should have done.
This is what’s important. And I’ve been working on another book. And so, reading that book started to change me—I mean, for the good. I mean, it was like, “Wait a minute; wait a minute, you know, you’ve got to take charge of your life. This is your life!”
Why have you relegated who you are, and what you have to do, to everybody else? Your life is dependent on all these people, but not on you. So where is your strength? Well, is this pillar just shaking with everything, or is it standing firm? Because if it doesn’t, whatever is dependent on this pillar is also going to fall down when this pillar falls down.
And we know that. But in my life, I need, I need to be reminded. And I need to perpetuate good things.
You know, if I was to come onstage—and I make this point very clear—if I say “I’ve already done all of this,” at that point you’re talking to a gorilla. But, because I have to understand that I too have to make the same effort that I am asking other people to make, it makes me relevant. [Tony: Umm!]
There are people who come and who say that “Yes, I have attained the supreme state of being.” [Tony: Yeah.] Well, very hard to talk to—and very hard. And yeah, well, they haven’t, but they’re very hard to talk to. [Tony: Yeah.]
Because there’s a curtain drawn: “It’s done; it’s over! You are not like me and I’m not like you, and so don’t talk to me.” [Tony: Yeah.] No, for me, it’s the other way. I’m just like you, and you’re just like me. And so what I say can be relevant to you, and what you say can be relevant to me.
Yeah, there’s a great charm in listening to people and following people who kind of admit their frailties. I think Brits are often quite good at doing that. We’re good at putting ourselves down—but in a very self-deprecating way.
So this podcast is about energy and vitality, and there are a couple of questions that I ask people every time. And one is, “What is one recommendation that you would have for people to live their lives with more energy and more vitality?”
For energy and vitality, as long as you’re doing what you were made to do, your body will take care of you. You see, and this we forget: the first doctor is our body. The first lab is our body. It’s constantly performing chemical tests saying, “This is correct; this is correct; this is correct; this is correct; this is correct; this is not right.”
So, even before you see another doctor, you’ve got a doctor built in. And if this doctor is not working right, you’ve got a big problem, because the other doctors have to work with this doctor. This is the doctor that’s going to do all the healing for you. [Tony: Ummm!]
So, if things are correct—you know where you are on that map; you know where you want to go on that map; there’s a routing that’s clear—vitality will be there; enthusiasm will be there. You don’t need the alarm clock; you’ll wake up. Because you’re just so excited about the day.
You know, remember when you were young? It was your birthday or it was Christmas, or something special? And you just couldn’t fall asleep, much less anything else. And you woke up, bam! And there it was.
Well, start collecting things that make sense to you, start collecting things that you’re enthusiastic about, start collecting things that you like in your life—and vitality will follow.
Yeah. Well, Prem, look, it’s been a real privilege and a pleasure to talk to you. I feel like I’ve had a load of little reminders. [Prem: Good to meet you.] And good luck with the book, and good luck with the bigger global message for peace, which is obviously such an important one. [Prem: Thank you, Tony. Thank you.]
And yeah, thanks for all you do. [Prem: Thank you.]