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Hello, everyone. I hope you’re all well. And so much is still happening around the world—but again, I would just like to focus on the simplicity of your existence, of you, me, us, being on the face of this earth.
And what does it mean? Well, it is. Is it a gift—of course. Because none of us put a quarter or a dime or money in a vending machine and said, “Okay, this is what I want,” pushed a button and here we are. And how magnificent, because only through appreciation can you begin to understand what this is all about.
Now, whether you call it “enlightenment,” whether you call it “know-it-all,” whether you call it whatever people call it—but just a very simple appreciation, appreciation for existence, appreciation for life, appreciation for clarity, appreciation for joy....
Appreciation for being included in this beautiful, beautiful creation—of millions and millions and millions and millions of years of experimenting, from one species to another species to another species to another species, evolving. And every one of those species contributing something towards, ultimately, to what we are today as a human being.
So, this has allowed so much to happen. Just recently, not too long ago, they found that there were perhaps, other species, very much—Homo erectus, but other species living with us.
And that’s mind-boggling, from that to where we have come today, all those changes over millions of years, thousands of years, hundreds of thousands of years, changing, changing, changing, striving for something better, striving for something better, striving for something better. And in that striving for something better, today we find ourselves at this crossroad.
And in this crossroad, there is an amazing amount of peril. One thing is obvious; we are incredibly fragile. And this is very obvious—as the lockdown happens: “Can’t go here; can’t go there,” people getting very irritated. All of these things happening. And people, scared—human beings, scared what’s going to happen to them.
So, all that that we have created around us does not guarantee anything. All of a sudden, here we are at two thousand twenty, twenty-twenty.
When you think of 20/20 as “vision,” that’s perfect vision, great vision. And in the midst of 2020, so much confusion, so much fear, so much misinformation, so much doubt—that you really have to wonder; it’s like, “Wait a minute; did we, as a species, as human beings—did we actually make a difference? Did we evolve in any way?”
And yet, haven’t we evolved—only if we can accept what that simple and beautiful reality is—that we do exist. And maybe on the outside, we try to create a perfect world. (Maybe we will; maybe we won’t.)
You know, one of the things about this coronavirus—in no way does it seem like a blessing. But let me tell you, that’s what it took to clean up the air. That’s what it took to give a break to the whole nature.
All of a sudden, everything that was just clogged freeways, fumes, factories producing pollution, pollution, pollution, pollution, pollution, pollution, contamination, contamination, contamination, all of a sudden came to a grinding halt.
In our pursuit of the perfect world, we have actually ended up creating an incredibly imperfect world. Will we ever agree to that? Probably not. Because that takes a lot of guts; that takes a lot of strength; that takes a tremendous amount of courage to say, “Yes, maybe we were not on the right path for this perfect world.” Because it’s all about greed.
And yet, when you hunker down and start looking at some of the writings—of Kabir, for instance, of Nanak, of so many people who really took to heart that “being on the face of this earth was more than just the fulfillment of outer greed.”
Then they start to turn inwards in such a beautiful way, to say “No, indeed, there is—if you want to be greedy, then be greedy for that clarity. If you want to be greedy, then be greedy for that fulfillment. If you want to be greedy, then be greedy for peace.”
And you know, it really is a different mindset; it’s a very different way of thinking, that “Inside of me I carry the most profound. I look for it on the outside; I try to create it on the outside.”
Because when people talk to me about peace, they’re not thinking about an internal peace; they’re thinking about an external peace. “Can there be peace on the outside?” I don’t know. Can there be peace on the inside; yes, I do know. And that peace that is inside of me is what makes me. That’s what defines me: my peace. Not the peace outside.
If I went into a room and it was really, really quiet, will there be noise inside of me? Because that quietness of that room doesn’t define me. What defines me is the peace that I carry inside of me. I could be in the most beautiful place—and yet I could be angry inside of me. What will define me, the beauty of the place I am in—or the anger that I carry inside of me?
Someway, I can’t help but think that the time for all of us exists to really take in hand this idea of living consciously. That every day that we are in this situation of lockdown is a day to practice conscious living. To practice, to be conscious of “What is happening inside of me?” Of “Where am I at?”
You know, when anger comes—and I know when anger comes, it comes all too quickly. Before you can put the brakes on, it’s already there—and it’s already done the damage. How can I stop that? Well, you know, to get to that point where the anger can so quickly take over took a lot of practice, in little bits and little chunks and little chunks and little chunks and little chunks.
The time has come, perhaps, to really take this opportunity and practice something else, practice living consciously. To see, to know, “What is it—what is it that I want to accomplish? How will I use the tools that I have today? In this day that I have, how will I use the tools that are already inside of me? How will I summon peace inside of me?”
Because it’s too easy to just, you know, put it on somebody else, “They are the ones who are disturbing my peace; they are the ones who need to be in peace.” But it’s not about them; it’s about you. Living consciously is all about you, not about other people.
And that takes practice, just like everything else takes practice. If somebody is out of shape and they want to get in shape, one day is not enough. And that’s not going to do.... If they went on an exercise bicycle and they went on a treadmill—and then they jogged, you know, tried to jog—well, the reality of it is, if they’re not in shape, they’re not even going to be able to do too much of that.
But everybody knows that every day, repetition, practice, practice, practice, repetition, practice, practice, practice, is what’s going to, one day, take them to that level, to that threshold where they can accomplish some amazing things.
But it’s going to take that patience; it’s going to take that effort; it’s going to take that want; it is going to take that conscious living every day—to say, “Okay, I want to summon peace in me; I want to feel peace in me today. How will I contribute to my peace today? How will I react to everything that happens today, from inside of me?” More importantly, in here.
Very, very simple, if we can look at it one little bit at a time. There is such a concept for peace; there’s such a concept for being good that it can happen at an instant flash. It doesn’t happen at an instant flash. Because even being bad takes training. Even being bad took time. Even being bad had to have a lot of practice behind it. The good is going to require at least that much amount of practice.
Is it possible? Yes, it’s possible. But it’s incumbent upon you. Can you summon those things that are inside of you? At one of these talks, I already talked about “You feeling comfortable with yourself.” Do you feel comfortable with yourself?
Because if you’re not in comfort with yourself, if you’re not okay with yourself.... If you want to be somebody else, you see yourself as somebody else—if that is your goal, (not you as you, but you as somebody else), then there’s a problem. Because you cannot be somebody else. You are you. And you have to be comfortable being you.
Not with your mistakes or this or that, but just in the most fundamental, most simplest way you can imagine, being comfortable with you. And that’s what it takes. That’s the kind of understanding you are going to have to garner.
You know, I really see that, of course, this is not a pleasant time for anybody—to be in lockdown, to be in this situation; it’s like, you know, Groundhog Day, (which is, of course, a movie where the same day keeps repeating itself again and again and again in the...)
In this movie, actually, that day keeps repeating itself again and again—and he’s so bored with that day. And he wished he could have another day. He tries bad things.
All of a sudden, then finally it starts to dawn on him that, “Okay,” maybe it’s going to be the same day again and again but he can make a difference. He can make a difference for himself. And when he starts to do that, he comes out of that “again, same day; again, same day; again, same day,” and something wonderful transforms him in this movie, the Groundhog Day.
And sometimes, you know, when I—that’s one of my favorite movies, so I watch it quite a bit. Because sometimes we get stuck—and then it’s like, “Oh, yeah, it’s the same day again and again and again and again and again.”
But when you turn inside and you take on the challenge of transformation, you are willing to live your life consciously, you’re willing to practice living that life consciously, then something amazing is going to happen; something amazing is going to transform, transform you, that peace will be so much more closer to you than you have ever realized.
The joy will dance at your door, will knock at your door. Your life will be pleasant—pleasant, rewarding. You will then understand why so many have said, “Life is a gift.” You will understand their enthusiasm for that peace, for that joy, for that fulfillment of life, because you understand and finally you would have seen life like it is meant to be seen.
Not weighed against all your list of problems and list of desires and list of wants and list of failures and list of what you consider to be “success”—but against something else, a comparison against what it really, really is.
To see life through the eyes of life itself. To see this world that you live in, that world that has the sun, that has the moon, that has the oceans, that has the stars—to see all of them through the eyes of the creation itself.
To admire. To admire each day that you are alive. To admire each moment that you’re alive. What if you were obsessed, obsessed with that admiration, that you were obsessed with that joy, that you were obsessed with that gratitude? What would it be like if you were obsessed with peace that resides and dances in your heart? Well, it would be a very different world for you, for me, for all of us.
Thank you. Be safe—be well. Be.