Series | Lockdown
Lockdown, Day 14
Hello everyone; I hope everyone’s doing well—and safe, feeling good.
Today I thought I would just read a few comments and questions that have come from people who are attending PEP.
Oh, and by the way, yes, we are working towards the PEP, so you’ll just have to have some patience because usually when PEP is done—usually, you know, people come together and they all give their comments and thoughts, suggestions, ideas, obviously, but that’s not a happening thing.
So, we’re trying to do it so that I will do the lead on the—I’ll be the facilitator, basically. And then people will be able to write and send their comments or their findings and so on, and then I could read some of those to you. So, there’s a lot of prep that has to go on with it, but yes, we’re working on it. And it’s coming along nicely and I think it’s going to be fun.
So, here’s a question—and these are mostly from correctional facilities. And, “What does it mean to appreciate life, to savor each moment, to welcome each day as an opportunity for joy? There is love and kindness; there is hate and anger—but life is a gift. And I want to understand it as clearly as possible, to live every single day to its fullest.
“What grows in my garden of life will depend on what kind of life I live. Everyone has the power to transform, and this is my time.”
That’s what it means, actually—that you have answered your own question. Because to appreciate life, to savor each day, you have to start looking from a very different perspective. And, you know, this is—and this is going to be part of this training that I am putting together.
And one of the things that I came up with is called “un-change.” So, what does “un-change” mean? Un-change means that there was a time that you were in touch with all the goodness in your heart. Things were good! You had that eye; you had that perspective; you had that eye to look for the good. You didn’t look at things in a biased way; you looked at them from the eyes of reality.
Because we don’t see reality from the eyes of reality; we see them through our eyes. And by the time we start looking for that reality, our eyes that we are looking through are incredibly contaminated. But when we start seeing the reality with the eyes of reality, everything really changes—everything. The whole perspective really changes.
So, one of the things that you have to do is un-change, meaning there have been a lot of ideas that have been brought forth. And these ideas, some of them are okay—and some of them are not okay—and you have to weed out through them, you have to sort out through them, how you want to be. You have to make the decisions.
So, one of the things that the training is going to talk about—and I may be giving entirely too much away here—is “You have to be in control.” And you have to come from a clear perspective of “What do you want in your life?” What do you want; how do you want to be; how do you want to exist? Not how other people have told you, how other people would like it.
Because you see, it’s really a very weird little situation—because a lot of the demands on us, “We should be a certain way; we should be like this; we should be like this,” are actually made by society, so that we can fit into the society. Society wants to mold us.
But it actually backfires most of the time. Because in our molding, we start to lose ourselves and the more we lose ourselves, the more disoriented we become. And the more disoriented we become, then we start to go against what the society wants.
So, in fact, if you do know yourself, if you are in touch with that joy, if you are in touch with that beauty, you’re going to be a far better participating member of the society than the way the society approaches you to be a part of itself.
So, I’m not here for society; I’m here for you. And I want you to become strong; I want you to understand what it means “to appreciate life, to savor each moment.” And to do these things, you really have to develop, (or redevelop, I should say), because that’s the part of un-changing.
Because I am saying that you in your life, you know. And you have these powers in you. You have forgotten how to evoke them. You have forgotten how to evoke them and—can we come together and re-evoke those powers, that the criteria becomes kindness? And, you know, I don’t want to give more away of the training, but it looks like I can’t help it.
You know, and—and of course, we’re going to talk about this when the training happens, but to have patience with yourself, with your own understanding, because it takes a long time to walk out of that hole that we have put ourselves in. It takes a long time to start developing, redeveloping that perspective and start seeing reality with the eyes of reality.
So, that’s what it takes. “To welcome each day as an opportunity for joy,” you really have to become an opportunist. You have to really understand what this is all about. You really have to understand that concept of being in that shopping center—where you’ve got that limited amount of time and you’re not allowed to take anything with you....
You’re not allowed to take, physically, anything with you. So, this is the distinction you have to make; physically, you cannot take anything with you. You can have anything you want that’s in the shopping center—and that shopping center has just about everything. The only thing you will be able to take away.... And here is the trick. And the trick is to enjoy yourself in that....
You know, and my premise is that it’s like a lottery; you have won a lottery—and this award that you have won is that you get to spend an X amount of days in this shopping center. And this shopping center has shops that are just amazing. But you’re not allowed to take anything—when your time ends, you’re not allowed to take anything with you. So, what are you going to do?
Well, the strategy here is to enjoy every single day as much as you can—so that what you take with you when the time is over is that gratitude, is that thankfulness, is that enjoyment that you have had, “That, wow, that was wonderful; that was wonderful being there.” That’s the trick.
And it takes time. It takes time to come around to it, because it’s taken a long time to deviate from what our true potential is.
Another question—and this is a women’s correctional department, “Prem, how did you find peace?” Well, the same way you’re going to find peace, within me! I mean, I had to start—and you know, again, it takes a long time to start focusing inside. And my father was kind enough to give me a way, a mirror, that when I had that mirror, I could then take a look and see the true me, the real me.
So, then, of course, the comment is, “This is my favorite class. I try never to miss it. Happiness is not what we have, is what we feel.” You got it. That’s it! “Happiness is not what you have—but what you feel,” because happiness is about feeling.
Peace is not what you have. Peace is about what you feel. Joy is not about what you have—but joy is about what you feel. Love is not about what you have—but it is about what you feel. Clarity is not about what you have—but it is about what you feel. Brilliant. That’s it; you’ve got it.
“We look outside for fulfillment when we need to look inside.” Absolutely right. And this is from a university, adult education: “How can I separate myself from my worldly worries?”
Are you your worldly worries? The worries are—this is the point of it—the worries are always going to be there. It’s not like, if you took a vacation from your worries for two minutes, that they would disappear and you would have to go looking for them. No, they will find you. Don’t worry about losing your worries. They will always be there.
What you have to do is you have to be able to separate. It’s exactly like when sleep comes. And so, there you are; you may be sitting in a bus. And so the bus is full; it’s full of strangers. And of course, if you have ever seen a bus, you know, it is not exactly the most aerodynamic thing; it is not the most quietest thing.
And yeah, you know, bumps come; then it bumps up and down and a lot of times on the busses, the seats are not that comfortable....
Now comes sleep. So, you have noise—all the things that are going against you; you have noise; you are in the middle of the strangers, (not a very suited environment, well-suited environment to be falling asleep). You’re sitting in a stupid little chair that is not very comfortable. Again, not inducive to sleep, because you should be lying down. But here comes sleep.
And what happens? Well, what happens is all those other things that are not suited for it go right out the window—and slowly and slowly and slowly and slowly your eyes start getting heavier and heavier and heavier and you fall asleep.
That’s what has to happen here, too. The need, understanding the need, (not the want, the need), becomes so good; the thirst, (and I talk about it as “thirst”), thirst becomes so powerful that it supersedes all those other things. All those worries, all those, all the things that are not conducive for peace, it supersedes them. That’s what it’s all about.
Question is, “It’s important to know what’s going on in the world, but it’s not as important as what’s inside. How do I step back and do that?” Again, it’s a matter of habit. Because at one point in time, you didn’t care about what was going on in the world—because you were too young. You didn’t care about the world; you didn’t know what the world was. All you cared about was you.
Now you have learnt this behavior. And I would not say that, you know, you need to stop worrying about the world. No, it’s nice to know what’s going on in this world. But it’s also nice to know what’s going on inside of you. And this is, again, that un-change that has to happen.
Question, “He makes it sound so simple. The world is so un-peaceful. How do we go back? Is that even possible?” Well, yeah, of course, it is possible. If it isn’t possible then I’m just wasting my time. But I know I’m not, because I know I make the difference.
And as, that was the questions, but here are some of the comments: “I thought this class would be a philosophy on how to bring peace to the world, but Prem talks about a peace that’s already inside.” Yes. “The more I find peace within myself, the more it spills out to others.”
Yes, that’s what I’m saying. That’s that first thing that I talked about, you know, “where the society tries to mold you in a particular way....” But that’s not necessary because when you become whole....
You see, the thing is, when you are lit as a lamp, when you are lit as a candle, a lit candle can light unlit candles. If you take an unlit candle and rub it or bring it right to that fire that is on a lit candle, that unlit candle is not going to extinguish the lit candle—but quite the contrary; the lit candle will light up the unlit candle.
That is the most powerful rule—and that is what I bank on to bring peace to people in this world.
“Prem said that, ‘All you want is to be at peace,’ which was very profound. You look and look and look—and it’s in you.” Yes, it’s in you. “There is a song that goes, ‘People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.’ Prem would say, ‘People who know themselves are the luckiest people in the world.’” Absolutely, you got that right.
“This Peace Education course has surprised me because it’s not what I thought it would be. I look back at decades that went by when I wasn’t that conscious. What Prem is saying is simple, that it’s already here. It’s a matter of looking inward and finding contentment.” That’s right. That’s right; that’s right; that’s right; that’s right! You got it. See, it’s so simple. It’s so simple.
“A lot of us have never asked these questions Prem poses. We may have started off being inquisitive about ourselves, but then life happens. Prem helps me to be more open and reflective. Everything he says directs me back to my heart.” I hope so. I hope so.
This is, again—this is from a church, a Missionary Baptist Church. “I always pray for peace. Even with sexism, racism and other social ills, I want a peaceful nation.” We all want—we all want a peaceful place to stay. Believe me, we all want that; it’s not unique; this is your need! This is not a want; this is your need—and it’s very important.
“Do you think the way we are raised brings us into conflict with others?”
It’s not how we are raised; it’s how we are indoctrinated that brings us conflict with others—and that’s the indoctrination that has to get reversed. And that’s why I call it, not “the change,” but the “un-change” that needs to happen. And it’s a very powerful thing, the un-change—and hopefully, if we do have that training, that’ll come out.
And another question that was, “How can I better help teenagers?” Don’t treat them as teenagers; treat them as human beings and you can help them. Believe me, teenagers don’t want to be treated like a teenager. That’s what it is all about; remember when you were a teenager? You didn’t want to be a teenager; you wanted to be an adult!
You know, it’s a child making the leap to be wanting to be an adult. Don’t treat a teenager as a teenager and you will be their friend. Treat a teenager as a teenager and you will be their enemy. This is how simple it is. (Close to “enemy.”)
This is the Metro Reentry Facility. “It matters what I understand and what I don’t understand. My clarity is so important.” (That’s an expression.) “I can nurture kindness by treating others how I want to be treated.” Yes, of course.
“My four-year-old son was describing his new friend to me, saying that he likes transformers and his favorite color is green. ‘Anything else?’ I asked. He said, ‘His skin is darker than ours.’ For me, that would have been the first thing. But for my son, it was the last.” Absolutely. This difference of color, difference of this, difference of that, difference of language....
When the—but before you knew how to speak, what language was it? And you could communicate with anybody. You were communicating with your mother; you were letting her know, “I’m hungry.” You were letting her know, “Something is uncomfortable.” So, you know, this, of course, it’s very, very powerful, very beautiful stuff.
“I had an eye-opening”—and this is from a transitional center for women—“I had an eye-opening moment when Prem said ‘Your potential is a seed that lies dormant.’ I always thought peace was something to grow into. I didn’t realize it already exists in me.”
Another one, “I’m thriving, not just existing. Then my life can be really something.” Absolutely.
“Prem talked about ‘the dance of life.’ Sometimes the least little things can make us wobble. I want to stay strong with inner strength. Then I can say ‘I’ve got it.’”
Absolutely, that’s, the inner strength is what it’s all about, that you have—you have all those things already inside of you; you need to evoke them; you need to know how to get in touch with them. And that’s what knowing yourself is all about.
“If I know who I am on the inside, then forgiveness and joy never have to leave me. Everything else changes except who I truly am.” Absolutely. And especially in these circumstances, this is very true. “If I know who I am on the inside, then forgiveness and joy never have to leave me. Everything else changes except who truly I am.” That’s right.
Other things change, not you. And that’s why the un-changing. That’s why the un-changing.
“I would do anything for love. I looked for it everywhere but inside. Until we started looking within, we don’t know who we are.” Absolutely. Absolutely. You nailed that one.
“I grew up”—this is another one—“I grew up with horrible things happening to me, and I can’t forget. But it is my choice to forgive and to find out who I really am. I’m growing every day.” Yes, whatever happens.
Because this is what I talk about: “forgiveness.” What is forgiveness about? Forgiveness is not “accepting the other person’s actions”—or forgiving them. Forgiveness is you cutting the cords so that you can be free, so that you can go on. That’s what forgiveness is.
“Forgiveness is important. I am not doing it for the other person; I’m doing it for me.” Exactly; that’s what forgiveness is. You’re doing it for you, not for other people. So, it’s not about, “Oh, I will look, you know, great to the other people.” It’s really to cut those strings so that you can be free.
This is from Greece, (of all places), a women’s prison. “I was curious about the Peace Education Program and decided to check it out. At first, I could not understand. But with time, the program felt very necessary. And I learnt to love and understand myself. Because of this, I speak better and behave with respect toward other people around me.”
See, this is what I talk about—what the society wants you to do, they give you indoctrination to do that, but it doesn’t work out that way because if you don’t know yourself, it’s not going to work. But as soon as you start knowing yourself, you become much more whole; you become much more complete.
“Because of this I speak better and behave with respect toward other people around me. I have been positively influenced by this program and what I have learnt is now part of my everyday life.” Wonderful.
Another person saying, “Entering the prison’s doors a few days after losing my favorite family member, I said to myself, ‘Everything is finished.’ I wondered ‘Why her and not me?’ My peace was covered by the black veil of sadness and my soul was mourning. Something inside said, ‘Do something, my girl.’ That’s when I registered for the Peace Program.
“One day, I heard Prem say, ‘Humans live an average of 25,550 days.’ This is our time on earth. Then I realized that I still have time. He said not to be influenced by the worries, as long as the gift of breath is moving back and forth inside of me. I will persist, knowing peace is inside. I dream of a better tomorrow and try to remember that today is my reality.”
If you can know today—and know that today is your reality, tomorrow will be great, believe me. Because tomorrow, when that “tomorrow” comes, it’ll come as today—and what will you be busy doing? Looking at that tomorrow as “today,” in the reality that exists inside of you. That’s the way to do it.
“I attended the Peace Education Program and it has influenced me to do many good things in my life. I found peace deep inside. It might be a small seed but it is so beneficial. I can express it as love or as a hug because this is the way that it makes me feel inside. Every day I feel full from all I have been taught in this program and wish everyone could be influenced by peace.”
“Listening to Prem, I found peace inside of me. When I started to take care of the seed of peace, it started influencing my everyday life. I now wake up with joy and gratitude for everything. As I thirst for water, in the same way, I long for the feeling of peace.” Well, you know, what can I say? That’s, that’s the way to live. That’s the way to live.
This is from North Carolina, a women’s correctional facility. “The peace class was such an eye-opener. I really like learning about inner wealth and being content, no matter what the circumstances. Thank you.”
Another one, “Just listening to Prem gives me a sense of peace.” Thank you. And, “I learned from the Peace Education Program that I have peace inside and the power to make my own destiny.” Yes.
“Coming to the peace class is the best part of my day; it’s wonderful. During this time that our facility is on lockdown from the outside world, it is becoming especially evident how meaningful your service is to the women. This program, classes that you provide, are greatly missed during this time.” And that’s from the Correctional Program Supervisor.
So, I thought, you know, “Why not talk about that today with you,” because these expressions come and we don’t always get a chance to share that. So, I thought, you know, “Today, take a few moments and share that with you.”
These are people that, in a way, have been in lockdown, are in lockdown. And, you know, maybe soon this coronavirus thing will be over and we’ll be out and about, moving—but these people will still be in lockdown. And how important it is for them to feel peace.
So, I hope you feel peace. I hope you feel well. So, be well; be safe—but most importantly, be. Thank you.