Series | Lockdown
Lockdown, Day 24
Hello, everyone. I hope you’re all well. And the days are slipping by, slowly and slowly. And I, of course, was thinking of, “What can I tell you that will, (well, I guess), enhance or make it easier somehow for you to be able to look at this time and take the most of this time?”
Because whatever the facts may be, certainly with this coronavirus, this period of time that we have with this, there’s no rewind button on it. It is time—and it is just as precious when we’re doing something else. It’s just as precious when we were born; it is just as precious as it was a decade ago, a year ago. And indeed, now that we’re in the midst of all this, it’s still precious.
So my thinking is, “How can we make the most of it?”—not in terms of accomplishing something on the outside, not in terms of fulfilling some objective, but for ourselves, that we feel, we who are caught in this, we feel that we’re making the most of it. That it’s not just time that is being just dwindled away in some idea, some concept, some, (against our wishes), lockdown and so on and so forth.
So, you know, one side consequence of this coronavirus lockdown, globally, around the world, has been spectacular for nature. Even in the big parks in the United States and the beautiful parks like Yosemite, the creatures living there, the animals living there are taking over—because people aren’t there—and they have the whole place to themselves.
The other day I was watching this beautiful documentary, (or a little segment), and it was showing how beautiful Delhi is. And certainly, I remember in Dehradun, the sky used to be a dark pitch blue sky that apparently, you can’t see that anymore.
But due to this coronavirus, even in Delhi you can see a dark pitch blue sky, clear sky. And it’s a boon for all the animals. And it’s really a boon for all those things that we hold so special in our lives, a beautiful day, a sunny day, a warm day....
In fact, I sometimes wonder—you see me wearing a sweater—and it’s like, you know, “Where am I?” Well, here I am in California, and in Southern California it’s cold. It’s not even—yeah, the temperature sometimes hovers around sixty-five, sixty-seven. So it’s quite cold—and when the wind blows, it’s really quite cold.
But anyways, getting back to the point, so it’s been quite a boon—quite a boon. And somebody just sent me a picture from France, from Paris, where the river is just spectacular because there are no boats on it. It’s just still, very still—and you can see the reflection of the clouds. And of course, he’s a professional photographer and sent me this picture and it’s beautiful. And it’s something unique.
So, what’s my point? Well, my point is this—that when we, as human beings, do what we do, what are whatever we consider our “natural, everyday activities,” (and I’m not talking about going to the bathroom.)
But you’ve got to get transportation and get to your job, and then go to your job, find a parking spot. Then reverse the whole thing, come back home. And, you know, this whole shunt. And it’s, “Go for lunch somewhere, go for this, go for that,” all this stuff that we have to do.
And when you take a break from it, everything becomes very quiet; everything becomes very still. And as a consequence of that, (and maybe we don’t even realize that), every day, all the things that we do have such a profound impact on the nature around us. But it does.
So if you look at this nature as the ecosystem—and look at us as this newcomer, relatively newcomer that’s driving everything insane, that’s disrupting everything—then that would be a fairly good assessment of what really is going on.
Because something is being disrupted. So, how does that relate to what I want to talk about? Well, this is how it relates to it—that in our life, in our existence, there’s also a beautiful nature that wants to be, that wants to really come forth.
And whatever, up here, we have decided that we have to do, all our little routines, all our little understandings, all our little things that we think are important are nothing but this obnoxious noise....
That when that is quietened, something beautiful happens; something beautiful comes forth; something beautiful emerges; the birds come out; the creatures that are always so shy and so afraid, they start to come out. And you see the vibrance; you see what it really is like, that it’s beautiful!
That, when I saw those pictures of Delhi, I was shocked. Because I haven’t seen Delhi like that in years—actually, I’ve never seen Delhi like that.
And being a pilot, I’ve flown in India. And my goodness, you know, the visibilities are always horrible, whether you’re coming in by airplane, whether you’re flying with a helicopter. Unless you get way out of Delhi, you know, go east, way out of Delhi, then the visibilities start to come up a little bit.
But in the heart of Delhi, to see this beauty, that, “Wow, it is really beautiful. It is something that we do that is making it not so beautiful.” And so, from a practical standpoint, from a very practical standpoint, so much disruption is caused by this. All the pollution in Delhi, you know, makes people die young and affects children seriously.
And if we were to take that and apply to us, that all these things that we are doing without thinking, without thinking of what the effect of these things is on our lives.... That, off we go—“And we’ll do this and we will have this little thought and we will have that little thought, and we will have this little relief; we will have that little relief....”
But what are the consequences? What are the consequences for us of not knowing ourselves? It is like polluting this existence, polluting the purity of what can be, of what should be. And that understanding gets very confused, gets very twisted.
Because right now, because of this coronavirus, it is not a “do or die” symptom; it’s like, no, you can’t—you’ve got to stay in isolation, otherwise you’re going to get sick. And all those explanations, “Oh, what about your job? What about going to your job; what...?” It’s like, “Hey, no! No-no-no-no, no,” you don’t go to your job. Cool it. This is more important, for you to be alive.
And what can I add to that? I can add to it that it is more important for you to be healthy—not only physically, but mentally, within you, not be polluted by all this pollution that we create. But have the clarity of understanding, of knowing, of joy, of fulfillment.
So, sometimes we wonder, “Why is it like this; why is it like that; why, why is this happening to me; why is that happening to me?” But we never look that we have created such a pollutive environment for ourselves, inside of us—we have polluted ourselves with so many concepts.
You know, the concept could be very, very small. The idea could be very, very small. It’s like that girl in Cambodia, (and it was quite a few years ago; she’s probably a lady by now), but that girl, at that point she was going to school—and she’s devastated because she lost her phone.
That’s the kind of pollution I’m talking about. That’s pollution. She didn’t need to be devastated. She could have gone on. But the pollution of it, just contamination from all the different ideas. It’s because “it’s so important....” From her understanding, it is so important to have that channel of communications with her friends.
Where did that come from? Certainly, it didn’t come from when she was born. She could care less about those friends; she didn’t know about those friends.
But as we grow old, we allow all these things to come in. And they create an immense amount of pollution, but we are not aware of that, because every day we justify how “we need these things.” Every day we justify “how this is important for us”—when what is really important for us is to be in that clarity, to be in that purity of being a human being.
You know, we live in a society—and believe me, I’m not trying to put down society; I know there are wonderful things that have been done in the society. I mean, after all, so many diseases have been overcome; so many technical marvels have been created; so many things have been done. I mean, you know, we could be, on a hundred-degree day, out in the desert and be cool inside.
I mean, all those things, I appreciate that. But alongside of it, we have allowed other things to come in which are actually harming us, which are actually hurting us. And we don’t give that a thought, that “How are these things hurting us; how are these things actually affecting us?”
As a society, yes, we have accomplished these things, but we also have jails full of people—full of, not just people we found on Mars, not just people we found on the moon, but human beings from this earth. What is it?
There is a story about Solomon. One time a thief was brought in front of the king. And the king asked, “What is his offense?” He said, “He was stealing bread.” The king turned to the man, to the thief and said, “Why were you stealing bread?” He says, “Well, I didn’t have anything to eat. I was hungry—and I saw the bread and I couldn’t resist it.”
So the king said, “What you did was absolutely wrong. You have to be punished by being whipped a hundred times, a hundred whips.” The man started crying. He said, “Don’t cry; it’s okay,” Solomon said. “That whipping is not for you. That whipping is for those people in the society that allowed you to be hungry.”
That’s why Solomon is known to be the wise king—that whatever happens in our little world, we are part of it. And at no time.... At this point in time, you can see what the importance of just even one person is.
If one person in a household.... Say, if you have fifty people in a household, and everybody is in isolation and one person decides to break that isolation and go out there—and he could be contaminated—he could be; you don’t know. He could be contaminated—everybody will be scared of that one person: “the power of one.”
I tried to make that abundantly clear to people, but I think I have miserably failed to make the power of one—but this coronavirus has done that for me. The power of one is now very clearly understood.
And this is how it goes. Does it have to take tragedies like this for us to awaken? It shouldn’t be—it shouldn’t be that it takes tragedy for us to awaken, that it takes tragedy for us to learn; it takes tragedy for us to say, “Whoa, I take on the responsibility; I am responsible. And there is something that I can do.” Yes, there is. There’s always been something you can do.
I mean, you know, you look at this coronavirus thing and, you know, this is just a side observation. A long time ago I was in Lucknow—a long time ago; I was a little boy then. And I went to see this palace, and it was the palace of the landlord of Lucknow. And so I was told a story—and apparently, it’s a true story.
So, the Nizam was watching in his palace; he was watching a dance—and all the music was playing and he was watching these girls dance.... And his security guys came and said, “Nizam, you know, you’d better get out of here—but we can see the British army is on the horizon; we can see the dust and everything else, so you’d better get out of here.” He said, “Naah, don’t worry about it. It’s okay.”
A few minutes later they said to Nizam, “You’d better get out of here. The British army is at your front door—of the city!” And he goes, “Ahh, don’t worry about it. Not a problem. You know, it’ll go away; everything will be fine.”
A few minutes later they came and they said, “You’d better get out of here. They are at your front gate, at your palace’s front gate.” And he goes, “Ahh, don’t worry about it.” A few minutes later they said, “They’re about to enter this room!” And that’s when Nizam turned to his servant. And he called out to his servant and he says, “Bring me my shoes.”
Well, the servant had fled—so there was no servant. So the Nizam started running. And the British caught up to him, arrested him. And he said to the British; he said, “If only I had my shoes, you would have never caught me.” Apparently, this is a true story. This is how arrogant, arrogant, arrogant he was.
This thing, this coronavirus was a long time coming. Nobody paid attention. It starts up in China; nobody pays attention. You know, it’s not like this is the first one; there has been SARS; there has been the MERS, (which is amongst the camels); there has been the swine flu; there has been the bird flu. So, you know, a long time, “something, something like this can come.”
There is the Ebola outbreak; you know, that has to be taken care of. So the possibility of this happening, there were ample, ample, ample warning signs that something like this could happen.
But in our arrogance, what do we do? We don’t care. What do we care about? We care about going on every day, making two lousy bucks, two more lousy bucks that we’re, none of us are going to take with us. Absolutely not. You think all this wealth that we are accumulating, we’re going to take with us? Nobody can take anything with them.
Consequence? Consequence is we are losing so many people. It is absolutely astounding how many people have died needlessly, needlessly—needlessly, that those deaths could have been avoided. But it’s the arrogance that does not allow you to see the obvious.
And that same arrogance that doesn’t allow you to see something obvious on the outside, does not allow you to see something obvious on the inside. It does not allow you to see that 36,500 days is all you have, even if you live to be a hundred. It doesn’t allow you to see that.
It doesn’t allow you to see that you are vulnerable; you are fragile. That you’re not, you know, made out of iron or steel. Indeed, you are a human being. And so far you are on the face of this earth, you will always be a human being.
It doesn’t matter what you have in your hands, whether you have a machine gun, whether you have a bow and arrow, whether you have any—it doesn’t matter. You are a human being and there should be no amount of arrogance that does not allow you to see your humanity, your frailty, your, you, as you truly are.
I hope, you know—I mean, it’s something to think about. Because it’s nothing like you have to go out and do and press a button. You know, there isn’t a button, like, across the street that you have to go push. No, it’s just some awakening; that’s what awakenings are—they’re little things that happen inside of us; the puzzle starts to fall in place.
There is a picture. And that picture is all divided up into little puzzles. What is it, you can’t tell, not by looking at little pieces. You start to put pieces together; some pieces go together very easily; some pieces don’t go together very easily.
There is a picture. When all this puzzle is put together properly, (not forced, properly), there is a picture. And you will see that picture and perhaps you will even enjoy that picture.
It’s the little awakenings that need to happen for us to be fulfilled. That’s what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about, you know, pain and torture; I’m talking about joy; I’m talking about fulfillment.
As a human being, all the things that we are trying to accomplish, we will not be able to accomplish. Look, in history, we will be chastised for our arrogance. We had so much going for us—and at the end of the day, what happened was this pandemic. Is that what we want? Is that how we want to be remembered in history?
Or do we want to be celebrated: “That these human beings were wonderful. They came together; they had made good preparations.” It is in the time of plenty—it is in the time of plenty that you prepare for the times of the bad, of scarcity, of the famine, of the drought. It is in the time of plenty that you prepare for it.
But when the whole humanity is sunk in greed—and not looking at the obvious, then unfortunately it’s going to be, “If I only had my shoes, you would have never caught me.” I mean, I remember that story and it was like, “Is that guy for real,” you know? But he was. That’s the way people used to be; they were incredibly arrogant.
This arrogance isn’t going to take us anywhere. This arrogance is—you know, this little, invisible little virus is rubbing our nose into it; it’s like, “Yeah, well, what are you going to do about it?”
And, you know, we are at its mercy, of all the doctors and everything else out there—to the breaking point. The medical staff, to the breaking point. I mean, they’re working so hard, to the breaking point. And all those resources that we were always proud of, to the breaking point—to the breaking point.
Is this what we have created, ultimately? Well, if this is what we have created, then let me tell you that there is another possibility. And that possibility is about being fulfilled, about kindly being looked down in history.
And said, “No, those human beings had learned something. They stood for something, something that was good. They understood their humanity. They understood themselves. They lived their lives consciously. And they had a heart full of gratitude.” Maybe that’s a possibility. Maybe that is a possibility.
Be well; be safe. Be. I’ll talk to you later. Thank you.