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?
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.
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?
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.
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.