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A Matter of Choice
It is good to, once in a while in this life, sit back and understand what is going on. Even if you live to be seventy years, that’s 25,550 days. If you live to be a hundred, that’s only 36,500 days.
You were born—and one day you have to go. Being born was the culmination of all these things that are around me, the oxygen, the hydrogen, carbon, calcium, nitrogen and phosphorus—this is what we’re made out of.
All these elements came together, all this dirt, all this oxygen, all this air, all this water, all this stuff came together—to create me. Me—you, me. And now, all this is going back to where it came from. So, it’s not like this. It’s like this! Where am I going? This is where I came from.
So, arrival was local—and the departure is also local. But it is this circle that separates the two. And this circle is called “life.” And it is the fundamental core, backbone of this being called “the self”—you, me: “the self.”
And then you, of course, hear, “Know thyself.” And most people, (and I can say this because I’ve been doing it for fifty years, so I’ve got experience), most people find that very mysterious, very philosophical.
After all, Socrates was a philosopher—so, philosophical: “I mean, and it’s just, what is the practical thing of, ‘Know thyself’? I mean, what? Of course I know myself. My name is dah-dah-dah; this is my cell phone number; this is my email—that’s my cat; that’s my dog; that’s my house. That’s my suit; that’s my shoes; that’s my belt.”
But think about it. If you truly knew yourself, you would know—you would know what all is in you—the good and the bad. But here comes the issue, “Have you made your choices? Have you made your choices? Have you actually made...?”
You are on this journey (if you want to call it “journey” or whatever). But you’re in this ring now. You were born—obviously. And so, life is afoot. Have you made your choices, by the way? Have you made your choices? Or are you ad hoc?
You get up in the morning—“And, ahh, I don’t feel good. I don’t like that guy; I don’t like this; I don’t like that; I know that, yeah, this is not right. I don’t want to go there; I don’t want to, yeah, but, ah-duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh....” Or have you made your choices? Have you made your choices?
It’s a very, very interesting question: “Have you made your choices?” You’re going to be living—that’s what the ring is—are you going to live this life without making any choices? Or are you going to live this life with a very particular set of choices?
But how can you make the choices if you don’t know what you have? So let me shed some light on what you have. You have in you, ignorance, fifty percent—and you have in you, knowledge, fifty percent. You have in you, darkness, fifty percent; you have in you, light, fifty percent.
Don’t give yourself too much credit—it’s fifty percent. Don’t go, “Forty-nine/fifty-one.” No, no. No, it’s just not true. It’s exactly fifty percent.
And by the way, the fifty percent that you have—is more than enough for you to live a life incredibly. Or—or that bad fifty percent is more than sufficient to destroy you—totally. And you have both. You have both.
You have in you, fear—and you have in you, courage. Fifty percent. But if you truly know this, then you can make a choice. You can make a choice: “I want in my life—I want to choose courage, not fear.”
So, instead of living in beliefs, you have to start to live in the “know,” in the knowing, in the knowledge. And this takes courage. And that’s the choice you have to make: “Do I choose courage? Or do I choose the fear?”
Fear is easy; nothing doing, it’ll.... Just lie on the bed and keep imagining the monster—and he just keeps getting bigger, and bigger. And the fangs get bigger; the nails get bigger; the eyes get bigger, and it gets more hungry, and it gets dangerous, and it’s under your bed, and it’s going to eat you without the ketchup.
But—knowing. “I want to know! I want to feel....” Because one thing is very obvious. One thing is very, very obvious. Life is incredible; life is precious; this breath is an incredible gift—since you don’t push a button for it, it is an incredible gift; it is given to you freely. Shouldn’t you be filled with gratitude? Naturally? Are you?
(I ask too many questions.) This life, should it not be filled with gratitude? But why isn’t it? Why isn’t it? Why is all this stuff that I’m talking about just not obvious? Shouldn’t it be obvious? Why isn’t it? Because maybe the choices have not been made.
You—had a phenomenal amount of courage. When you were a baby, you did something. You did not have a college education; you were not a scientist. You were not a physiotherapist; you were not a doctor; you were not a psychologist; you were not a psychiatrist; you were not an athlete, and you were not an athletic coach.
And you decided—you made a choice; you wanted to walk—so you tried. You tried—and it didn’t work. It failed; you failed! But you were not a failure. And you know why you were not a failure? Because you tried again.
And when you did, you failed. You failed but you were not a failure—so you tried again. And you kept doing this—till one day you did it; you walked.
Nobody could help you. Because the sense of balance is very personal; it has to be in you. Could it be that you were very clear, as a baby, of what you wanted to do? And now you’re not. Could it be that that one thing that can empower you is to know yourself? To know that you have choices?
Do you know you have choices? In your pain, in your suffering, in your confusion, do you know you still have a choice? Do you? That you have a choice—you always have a choice. And you can choose not to choose. (You even have that choice.)
And most of the time, have you not chosen not to choose? (The little masala of destiny....) What is in your destiny? If you don’t do anything, you are born; you will live the amount of days you will live—and then you will, “Cct,” go back. The elements will go back wherever they came from. You’ll be disassembled; when you were born you were assembled, and then you will be disassembled.
No. When the choices have been made—and from those choices, comes the gratitude because one witnesses the value and the amazing existence of this being on the face of this earth....
When the eyes are open, when the heart is full, when there are no dualities, when the questions have become answers, when there is a sweetness and a serenity that dances in one’s life, then peace manifests itself. And when that peace is felt, the heart overflows with gratitude—overflows with gratitude.
Find that heaven, the heaven that is in you—your heaven. Transform, awaken! Enjoy! Be! Exist! Adore the simplicity. There’s wisdom in that. There is wisdom in that.
When I first came to the West, everybody was like, “We don’t want to hear about peace; tell us how we can be rich.” And that’s such a game. I was asked—I was a teenager! I was a teenager! I was like, thirteen years old. I was asked, “Are you rich?”
And I happened to be in a really good mood and I said “Yes, I’m really rich. I am really, really, really rich—in the heart.” Money-wise, I only had twenty-five pounds. That’s all I could bring from India—and they wouldn’t allow any more; they gave everyone twenty-five pounds and that’s all we had.
What is twenty-five pounds? What is twenty-five thousand pounds? I mean, somebody could just have a little news—and that could be nothing. One day you have more than you owe, and one day, you owe more than you have.
I mean, I just love the certainty—you know, just, the certainty of this world is just amazing. If this kind of certainty was exhibited by my car, I would never drive it. And here this breath comes like clockwork, incredibly dependable.
You want to understand the definition of “dependable”—think about your breath. (Not about your dog.) Because it’ll come. It is the very thing that allowed you, if you were born in a hospital, to come home. And it is the breath, if you were born at home, allowed you to stay home.
Because if this breath was not coming, you were not coming home—and if this breath was not coming and you were born home, you were going to the?—hospital, pbbt. This is how it is. It’s simple; it’s profound: “Know thyself.”