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.”
On Being Human
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Today there are problems, a lot of problems. People are blowing up each other, killing each other, cheating each other, robbing each other. And everybody wonders what’s going to happen. Economic problems plague the world. People don’t feel safe.
And so you wonder, “Why? What happened? How did we become like this? Is this our nature; is this who we are?” Or is something else going on—that maybe we are so separated from our true self that we don’t understand our nature anymore.
And so, the question, “Who are you?” Not “What are you”—not “What are you,” (a doctor, a lawyer, a pilot, a farmer, an office worker). No, not “What are you.” “Who are you?” (Not “husband, wife, daughter.”) No, who are you? Who?
As a human being that you are, do you realize what you are, what you have been given?
On one hand, you are made out of six things: hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, calcium, nitrogen and phosphorus. Where do you find these things? Everywhere. Everywhere. You walk on it. You spit in it. And this is the stuff that, every day you come home, you try to get rid of it by washing yourself. But that’s what you’re made out of.
But truly, who are you? You have the capacity to know; you have the capacity to understand; you have the capacity to be fulfilled. You have the capacity to be in peace. You have the capacity to understand. You have the capacity to feel—to feel. You have the capacity to express. You have the capacity to smile. This is you. This is me.
So, the question is, “How fulfilled am I? How fulfilled are you?! How fulfilled are you?” If you have the capacity to be fulfilled, the question would be, “How fulfilled are you?” Because if it is not a hundred percent, something is wrong. If it is not a hundred percent, why not?
You have the capacity to feel in peace—and are you in peace? Every day? Have you really grasped what it is to be human—and have you brought this to the apex? Even a tree—even a tree tries to bring its fruit to an apex. What about you? What about you?
Or are you caught in the same formulas of anger, fear, frustration—confusion—with peace as a hope somewhere over here, way back here, “Someday...?” When the peace is always inside of you.
Anger is inside of you; forgiveness is inside of you. Hate is inside of you; love is inside of you. Joy is inside of you; sadness is inside of you. Confusion is inside of you; clarity is inside of you.
What is yours, is yours and only yours, and you cannot give it to anyone else because it is only yours—selfish or not selfish. It’s a fact. So now that it is yours and only yours—and you are the custodian till this breath comes in and out of you, what are you going to do with it? Are you going to be in peace?
So, people, you know, always go, “So where is peace?” In you. “Well, how come I don’t know?” Have you looked? Have you? Have you!? Or are you one of those people...?
Because I know there are a lot of people waiting for an angel that’s coming. (They’ve been waiting for that angel for three, four, thousand years....)
Peace is not the issue. You choosing the peace is the issue. Because the day you do—it’s within you! And people go, “No! No, it can’t be”—but, what do you think it is? You know, and exactly where do you think it is? In outer space?
So, when the astronauts are up there, they must feel really peaceful. “Duk-duk, duk-duk, duk-duk, duk-duk, duk-duk.” Every time a light comes on, every time something doesn’t work, “Ah-ah, oh my God.....”
You have that power—because you are human. The Superman is in you! You don’t need a Superman. You don’t need a miracle. You know why you don’t need a miracle? You know why? Because you are the miracle.
Dirt—can love? Can smile, can laugh, can understand, can have compassion? That’s not a miracle? Then what is? What is?
This? Not here forever. “Come. Go.” “Go where?” Right here.
I say to people—they look at me like, “What?” And I say, “What do you think—when you were born, the earth got heavier? And when you die, the earth is going to get lighter?” Uh-uh, it stays the same. It does get a little heavier, but that’s because so much dust keeps falling from space.... (To make a new eggplant, to make a new tomato, to make a new you!)
But it is to understand the power of this breath. It’s about you! This is the gift that you have, that is being given.
I say the word “gift.” This goes, “From whom?” Really? Really? Really?! There you are in the middle of the ocean. You have been swimming for two days—nothing around. All of a sudden, all of a sudden, there is a life preserver.
Are you really going to say, “Which ship—is it from my ship that crashed? Or is it—I mean, who does this belong to? Anyone? Anyone?” Really? Or are you going to go, “I cannot be so selfish as to take this life preserver. There may be another one behind me....” No! “Ahh, thank you!” Who are you thanking? Who are you thanking?
This is understanding. This is a process of simplicity. And this is the process of “knowing thyself.” (That’s what Socrates said, “Know thyself.”) This is the process of knowing yourself.
However, we have made it our occupation to know everybody else. “Let me, let me introduce you to”—and “so-and-so.” Have you been introduced to you?
So, “talk about peace, this and....” This is what I do. I introduce people to themselves. That’s what I do. And that’s all I need to do.
“Is that going to bring world peace?” The world doesn’t need peace. Believe me, there’s nothing wrong with the world. It’s, we human beings need peace.
This idea of “world peace” is bizarre. Hey, I’ve been doing this for fifty years—fifty years. I started.... I started when I was nine years old. And this year is the fiftieth anniversary. So, this comes from a lot of experience—the world doesn’t need peace; people do. The world doesn’t feel hungry; people do. The world doesn’t kill anybody; people do.
It’s about people. People have forgotten people. Politicians have forgotten people. In the name of “this and the that,” we have forgotten human beings—human beings. The peace happens to be in human beings. To understand it, it’s simple.
A Fifty-Year Endeavor for Peace
If somebody handed you a magic wand and said, “Here—here is the possibility. I give you this magic wand—this can make it possible for you to be fulfilled.” What would that mean to you? What would that mean to you? “That I give you a gift. And with this gift, (just like Aladdin’s lamp), with this gift, you don’t have to suffer anymore.” What would that mean to you?
That’s exactly what has happened. That’s what life means! Life isn’t this dreary thing that you have turned it into—it isn’t. It actually means receiving the most priceless gift again and again and again and again and again. And never, ever have to say, “That’s enough.”
All our life long, we’re enamored by our dreams. All our life long, we’re enamored by what people have told us. But we are never enamored by the call of our heart which says, “Be fulfilled. Experience peace. Experience joy. Experience that feeling that is within you. Not in your head, in you—that is always there, in good times and in bad. It is always there, regardless of your circumstances.”
Experience what it is to be alive. Because that’s your reality. That’s what makes you, you! This is who you are; this thing called “life” glues it all together. And as soon as that is gone, everything falls apart, and nothing is anymore....
If you introduce to me, the concept of heaven, the idea of heaven, I need to feel that heaven before I believe there is a thing called a heaven. No, we don’t do that. “Oh, yeah, and by the way, there is a heaven—and if you do good, you will go there. And if you do bad things, you will go to hell.”
And we already established poor Satan’s condition. He’s out of a job! Because the human beings have excelled him.
But what about heaven? Heaven is no more than that place where you can be content.
Many, many theories, many philosophies—why? Why so many theories? Why so many philosophies? Because they didn’t hit the mark. So then, another one, and another one, and another one, and another one. And do you think that will ever end? No.
The whole concept: “Somebody will come from the sky, (phshshhhhh), and fix everything.” Really? How long have you been waiting for this—whatever—to come? A few thousand years? Don’t you think that is beyond the reasonable limit of patience? I mean, really? Really?
If you went to the airport and you asked the information desk, “When does the flight take off?” “In a few thousand years.” I’m sure you’d be very pleased, right? “Wow, I can wait that long. I’ve been waiting for other things that long—not a problem; let me know!”
And what’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong with this picture is, the light that you’re looking for is inside of you, and you’re trying to light things that are not ever going to light. But the light is in you! The wisdom is in you! The clarity is in you!
Do understand that these are the things that I am talking about—I’m not talking about creating these things; I’m not talking about bringing this thing; I’m not talking about you changing! You—do you get that? I’m not talking about you changing—because you don’t need to change! Because this is already inside of you!
I’m not talking about you changing your religion; it has nothing to do with religion. So what does it have something to do with? You!
Do you know what your nature is? Your nature, your real nature, is to be in peace. This is your real nature. Your real nature is to be content. Your real nature is to be in joy. That’s your real nature.
And you can go through all these journeys, but given the opportunity, this is what you want to come back to. This is where you will feel at home—because it is home. This is where you will feel complete, because it is complete. And that is what needs to take place. You need—you need to let your true nature happen. This is what you ache for; this is what you want.
And in all your efforts in the whole world, all the changes you make, it is to make that happen. But the question is, “Is it happening or not?”
When Socrates says, “Know thyself,” there is no mistake; it’s very clear. Do you know who you are? Do you know what your nature is? Do you know what your need is? Do you know yourself?
So, this is what it means to be aware, to be conscious, to say, “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Let me find this out. Let me feel this; let me experience this.”
I say to you, “Peace is inside of you.” Do you agree with me? [Audience: Yes.] Do you agree with me because I am saying it, or because you have felt it? [Individual: I’ve felt it.] Clear as mud, huh? That’s, that’s it. That’s the point; “just because I am saying it....” That’s—just because I am saying it doesn’t make it true. If you feel it, then it makes it true. That’s reality.
Because the real truth is the fact that you are alive. And when you understand that, absolutely, you will be set free—because it is the truth. This breath that comes into you is the most precious gift. The day you understand that, of course you will be set free—set free from all those weird chains that you bind yourself with.
To awaken, to be awake—not just from a sleep, but to be awake every single day. To see the obvious. To see, to comprehend what is real. To understand the meaning of “now.”
Because there are not too many people who are happy with themselves. They want to be something else; they want to be somebody else. And that’s such a tragedy. Because you’ve got to be happy with who you are—who you are.
The good news is, there is good in all of us. There is wonderful good in all of us. And regardless of how much bad happens, it does not reduce, deplete, subtract from the good in all of us.
Now, I know a lot of you have this saying: “What can little old me do? Nothing. Right, what can I do?” You know, don’t look at “what you can do.” Just be in peace. Would you consider that as one of the most powerful things that you can do? If we could just make that the fashion, it wouldn’t take so long. It wouldn’t take so long.
Experience versus Beliefs
Sao Paulo, Brazil
You have chosen, today, to be here to hear about peace, to further your understanding of what it is to be alive. To take one more step. And what I want to talk about today, really is more to do with “Who are we? Who are we? What is a human being?”
On one hand, very simple—we’re made out of six things, six elements: oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus. That’s what you are.
Logically, this is what you look at. When you see another person, this is what you look at. And there’s no difference who you look at—this is what you see.
But that’s not true. We look at our mother—and we are not just looking at carbon, calcium, oxygen, and all these things; we’re looking at something else. We look at our father; we’re not just looking at carbon and calcium and nitrogen and phosphorus and hydrogen and oxygen. We’re seeing a father.
We see somebody we love—we don’t just say, “Oh, this is all you are.” We see somebody we love. So obviously, even though, technically speaking, this is what we’re made out of, that’s not the whole story. There’s something else.
And then there is another thing that is also involved—and that is our desires, our wants. We desire to be happy. We have an incredible tolerance for happiness. We can take two billion tons of happiness any given day—and it’s not a problem. We can consume all the happiness, and it does not give us a problem.
And all our dreams, our road maps that we make in our mind to achieve happiness, we draw little maps: “If I have this, I have this, I want this, I have this, I have this, then I can be happy.” These are our road maps to happiness.
It doesn’t matter. Whether you’re educated or you’re not educated, whether you have a job; you don’t have a job—you do, every day, you aspire to be happy. This is who you are.
Now the question becomes, “If this is who you are, this is what you aspire, this is what you want, why doesn’t mankind succeed? What happens?” The more we try to be happy, the sadder we get. The more we try to be free, the more frustrated we become.
Because we’re caught in the web like a fish—we’re caught in a net of definitions. And we believe in these definitions even when they don’t work. Even when they don’t work, we keep on believing. We have become believers.
You have heard of Leonardo da Vinci, no? Have you? [Audience: Yes.] Good. So, they found these notes of Leonardo da Vinci. And on one of the notes, he writes—and at the bottom, he signs it. And this is how he signs it; signs it, “Disciple of experience, Leonardo da Vinci.”
And when I read that, I had to ask myself, “Are you a disciple of experience? Is this what you follow—experience? Or do you follow beliefs?” Now, and this is a big difference, huge difference. Because one says, “I follow what I know.” And the other one says, “I follow anything.”
What questions do you ask? What questions should you be asking? Do you ask the question, “Am I blessed? And if I am blessed, do I feel it every single day? Every single day. Am I alive? Do I feel alive every single day? Or do I feel, in my emotions, jealousy, anger, fear, doubt?”
If you don’t feel jealousy and fear and anger and doubt, you should be put in a museum. You should be stuffed and put in a museum to say, “Here is a person who doesn’t feel anger, fear, doubt, confusion....”
But the thing is that if there is fear in you, there is freedom in you. If there is anger in you, there is compassion in you. If there is confusion in you, then there is clarity in you. If there is pain in you, there is joy in you.
In you! Do you understand what that means, “In you”? Most people hear what I am saying, but it doesn’t compute: “In you!” Because for most people who are the believers—for them, this comes from up there.
What does fear do to you? What does fear do to you? It destroys you; it can destroy you. What does confusion do to you? It can destroy you; it can destroy your moment; it can destroy a whole day just like that.
So, heaven is here. (What do you think? You believe? Or you know? Know or believe?) [Audience: Know!] Know? [Audience: Know! Yes!] Yes? No? And, yes? Yes! [Individual: Yes, because of you.] And do you know? Not because of me. No-no-no-no-no. I disagree.
I am a mirror. Does the mirror make up the face? [Individual: No.] I am a mirror! I don’t make up your face. You can experience heaven, not because of me, but because you are alive. If you are not alive, there can be nine million of me—and we cannot help anyone.
Because it’s you. You have in you the Divine. What could you ask for, more, in your life than the Divine being in you? Closer than any friend, closer than your wife or your husband, in you? The one that will accompany you wherever you go.
In the darkest place, the Divine is with you. On top of the mountain, the Divine will go with you. In confusion, the Divine is with you. In your troubles, in your sorrow, in every emotion that you consider hell, the Divine is with you. Do you celebrate this? Do you thank? Do you thank the Divine for being with you?
Your friend—if you do not acknowledge your friend, your friend won’t be your friend for very long. At some point in time, you have to tell your friend, “I like you. Thank you for being my friend.” What do you say to the Divine?
These are the paradoxes that we should be working on. Because when we do, the resolution of these paradoxes—knowing—this is truly, truly knowing the self. “Know thyself?” But here’s a very good reason why you should know yourself. Because this is who you are.
You have a mind—and you have a heart. You’re balanced. You’re balanced. If you learn how to use both of them equally, not only will you be in peace but you will prosper in this world.
But most people only know how to use one—the heart, they don’t understand. I say “the heart”—and people go, “What is a heart? What are you talking about?” I’ll tell you what a heart is.
Heart is the place where the human courage resides. Heart is the home of your clarity. Heart is the place where the Divine in you belongs and exists. Heart is the place from where you seek the truest gratitude of your existence. Heart is the place where the love because of reasons—no reason, that love resides.
Heart is the place where, in you, the thirst to be fulfilled is. That place that contains all this that is good is called “the heart.” That’s what a heart is. The courage. The courage to seek clarity in the midst of confusion. When everything is going wrong, the courage to say, “No. No. I want clarity; I want to be fulfilled.”
Have you experienced this courage? Have you felt this courage? Have you understood this courage? This is your power—it’s your power! It’s your power to thrive in this world—to thrive! To shine! To be!
A Process of Discovery
Conference on Multiculturalism, Tolerance & Peace
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, first of all, I would like to just say, it’s a great honor to be here. And it is great to be in the company of those people who are interested in peace.
Because when things happen in this world that are not conducive for us to go on, (wars, the refugee problems, the destruction of natural resources), we have to ask one question. “Why?” I know that I read in the newspapers, “We have a problem; we have a problem; we have a problem; we have a problem.”
But of course, I have to ask, “Why do we have this problem?” What’s wrong here? What’s wrong in this picture; why do we have these people who are called “refugees”—who have left their home where they were raised, their families, their assets—and they have to go somewhere else to a new land, to a new place, to be able to survive. Why? Why do we have these wars? Why do we fight?
And I know, around the world, everybody has an explanation: “Oh, we’ve been fighting for a long time, so it’s okay.” Really? That’s good enough?
I mean, can you—just do it someday when you have some time—sit down and make a list of how many things we have that just divide us. This is how we see each other—“division, division, division, division. You are from India; you are from Australia; you are from England!” Come on.
The truth of the matter is, all of us, ninety percent, ninety-nine percent of us are made out of the same thing. It’s oxygen, carbon, calcium, hydrogen, nitrogen, and phosphorus—all of us. Man, women, child, educated, non-educated, rich, poor, we’re all made out of the same thing. These are the elements we are made out of.
And as human beings, we have a desire for peace. Why? That’s very simple too. We’re very vulnerable. Peace is something we actually need. Why are we vulnerable? We don’t have claws. We don’t have claws like lions do. We don’t have those big fangs like the lions do. We are not well suited to fight—you know why?
Because our most vulnerable area (that all the other animals protect) is completely wide open. We are an open invitation, “Come and kill me.” And not only one way—“Ah, let me show you quite a few different ways that you can do it. You can try here; you can try here; you can try here; you can try here, you....”
I mean, we’re vulnerable. Peace is something we have sought out in our situation. But we have fallen victim to greed. We have forgotten our passion. We have abandoned our passion for compassion—and we have adopted a very strange logic.
When I say “peace,” people ask, (I’m sure, and they don’t say it. But I know this is going on in their head), “How do you propose—how do you propose, Mr. Rawat, to bring peace to this world? And how do you propose this? With the world in disarray, with the problems in this world, how do you propose...!”
Ah, so let me explain something to you. This is how I “propose....” Peace—is already inside every single human being. And because it is inside every single human being, nothing actually needs to be done. Nothing needs to be created—nothing! It is a process of discovery, people discovering peace within.
To have a war, (because of our vulnerability, not being very good at fighting at anything).... I mean, if we punch too hard, we’ll break our hand—I mean, this is how bad we are at fighting.
So, what do we need, to fight? Do you know what we need, to fight? We need trillions of dollars to fight. We can’t fight! We need trillions of dollars to fight; we need armies to fight; we need machine guns to fight. And you know that to fight, everyone has to be trained? (Even if you’re going to punch somebody, you really have to be trained?)
This is how bad you are. All this idea, the logic of fighting, the logic of actually declaring a war, you have to be taught! But peace is inside of you. Always was. No teaching is required. No teaching is required. All you have to do—it’s like Socrates said: “Know thy self.” And when you get to know yourself, you understand that this peace that you are looking for is inside of you.
We are not understanding the potential of the human being. We are saying, “Oh, human beings make mistakes.” But human beings, for other human beings, have the biggest heart. They can love—and when they decide to share kindness, it’s unparalleled. Unparalleled.
In the past three interviews now, people have asked me, “You have met a lot of dignitaries. Who do you remember?” And then I tell them a little story.
The one I actually remember wasn’t a dignitary. It was this person.... And one day I was in India; I was driving in my car. And they had packed a lunch but they forgot the water. And so we had lunch—and go, “We’re very thirsty.”
So, we saw a farmer pulling water from the well in a musk. So we stopped the car; went over to him. And he asked—we asked him, “Could you please give us some water?”
I remember this man as clearly as I’m looking at you today. (This happened quite a few years ago.) He said to me—he said, “I don’t have much. But my hut is right over there. And I have some bread from yesterday and a few pieces of pickle. If you are hungry, it would be my honor to offer you this.”
Generosity—yes! This is all he had. We took the water; we had the water. We thanked him. And to this day, that has made a mark on me. And I will never forget. I’ve traveled the world many, many times; I have met a lot of people—but I don’t forget him ever. Why? Because of his kindness.
This is the level of humankindness that there can be. This is the level of a human achievement, to walk with peace. These are all possibilities—and demonstrated in this world.
This is our possibility. This is our possibility. This is our understanding; this is our moment; this is our chance. But as mankind looks at its achievement, then all I can say is that “Man’s, human being’s finest achievement will be peace.”
And that the humanity looks back—and say to each other, to say to their children, to tell them a little story, not about the three bears. But you know, to be able to say this: “Do you know, we established peace.” In perhaps the most impossible odds, “We established peace.”
The thirst for peace unquestionably crosses every single barrier there is. I have seen that. It crosses language; it crosses religion. It crosses all that long list of differences we have—it completely bypasses them. And the thirst for peace is in every human being.
Could we understand the dynamics of that effort that that baby makes, that each one of you made, by the way, by the way...? That baby once was you. And you got up, you got up and you fell! You fell—and the kindness to give you encouragement was there.
This is about us. This is about us understanding—and us making the effort, and us making it possible to have peace in our lifetimes.
The Gift of Life
In this life, you try to make a picture. And we have no understanding of what life is—none. Zero. Because whatever little piece of information that we do have about life, it doesn’t come from us—it comes from other people. Because we’re in the middle of it, right? We don’t know what it’s like. We don’t know what really happens.
All we know is that we have a desire, a want to be happy—because when we’re happy it feels good! So now, we find ourselves in this life. We know “it’s nice to be happy. It’s nice when things are good.” But our version of happiness? We don’t even know what that is—because it’s usually just this—so far things go our way, “Everything is good.” If things are going our way....
What is “your way?” You’re doing eighty miles an hour in a fifty-mile-an-hour zone. The police officer pulls you over. And he says, “You know you were speeding?” And you say, “Oh, I didn’t know I was speeding.” You’re absolutely, blatantly lying.
But then the police officer says, “Oh, I’m so sorry; I didn’t realize you didn’t realize how fast you were going—pardon me. Please be on your way. A thousand, thousand pardons to have delayed you on your way to something obviously very important.” (“My way.”)
So what is “my way”—your way, our way? Unnatural. Unnatural. And you’re running a little late? The sun rises a little late. If you’re running a little late and it’s getting too dark, (especially like in winter, it gets dark too early), the sun slows down. “Wow!”
And this little, funny little act keeps on going all the way till you hit the other wall. And what do I mean by “the other wall”—it’s where I have this, my two walls, right? The one that I came through—and the one that I’m going to disappear through.
Anywhere else it would be called “procrastination.” Because what’s inevitable is going to happen anyways, and you’re just trying to delay it. It’s like, “Heeah, haah, my God....” So, when that wall comes, “H’eah, one more day, two more days? Three more days, four more days, five more days?”
I’m sure Death sits there laughing his head off. Because you don’t realize, you are the one with the limited time, not Death. Death has all the time in the world. Time doesn’t matter to Death at all. “Whenever! I’m ready. I’ve got your number the day you were born!” The only one who doesn’t have your number the day you were born is, you know who? You.
And this is what I talk about. It is—this message of mine is entwined with peace. Yes, it is not faith-based—no. It is not, you know, you have to have a certain “set of beliefs” and then everything falls in place. This is all about experiencing it for yourself. Understanding it for yourself. Living this life every day with understanding, for yourself.
Not some formula. Not somebody’s interpretation. Not a quote from a book. But you, you as a human being. That’s what it’s all about, folks.
You see this earth? You see those mountains out there? You see those rivers? You see that sun? You see those stars? You see the Milky Way? You see the snow, see the deserts? You know what that’s all about? It’s about you. You. You get to exist; you get to witness; you get to admire. You get to fall in love. You get to be in awe. It’s about you.
But you don’t think it’s about you. (It’s about everything else—not you.) But it’s about you. And you’ll be gone! And for you—for you—all that you were in awe of will also be gone. And then there’ll be somebody else. And it’s, it’ll be about them—and about them, and about them, and about them, and about them, and about them. But right now, it’s about you.
The divinity? This is your chance, your only chance to understand what divinity is. This is the only chance you’ve got to experience what is fundamentally called “joy.” That’s it. It’s about you!
This is the only time you will be able to experience clarity. And it’ll touch you. And serenity, and it’ll touch you. And joy, and it’ll touch you. And when they do, you know what will emerge?—is the sweetest, most profound gratitude—which is not about manners. It’s not that stuff that your mother told you to say for every piece of candy you received.
It’s about you! Because you can connect with it. You can connect with this universe. You can sit. You can look at your hand—and you can admire that skin. Because the material that it is made from is no different than what this entire universe is made with. How powerful is that? How incredible is that? How joyful is that?
So, when I talk about peace, “peace” is talking about what you should be truly attracted to. So, let me tell you what you should be attracted to. You should be attracted to this breath. As it comes into you, it brings you the gift of life. The gift of life. Life—without which you have nothing! You are nothing.
Your most incredible brain that can solve problems—only works because you’re alive. It doesn’t work on its own. (Wish it did—but it doesn’t.) It only works because you’re alive. And the bringer of that gift of life is this breath.
Your ability to love someone is only possible because you’re alive. Your ability to have relationships, (have somebody be your uncle, be your brother, be your sister, be your father, your mother, your son, your, whatever), is only possible because you are alive.
So, you need to be alive to be able to enjoy yourself—and what brings you the gift of life? The breath. All the things that you want to do and you want to do well, you fundamentally have to be alive to be able to do those things—and guess what brings you the gift of that life? It is your breath. And what do you know about it? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
We’re about the coming and going of this breath, and we have no understanding of it and this is a catastrophe! And I want to avert it. I want to avert it for everyone on the face of this earth who will listen to me—I want to avert it because this is a catastrophe.
You know everybody else but you don’t know you. This is a catastrophe. You need to know who you are. You need to know your being. You need to understand your existence. Do you know it? Before it’s too late, before it’s gone! Believe me, this goes by all too fast.
And the lamp—nothing sadder than to see a lamp that was unlit—thrown away, cast away. This lamp needs to be lit! So you can be and feel and understand who you are.
Sometimes we suffer. Some of us have gotten really good at accepting the suffering, have we not? Our excuses: “Oh, God wants me to suffer. He wants me to learn something. I haven’t learnt anything in my whole life. But, you know....”
There is a song in Hindi. And it goes (the other day I was listening to it), and it’s like, “The pain and sorrow are our friends. So, why bother; why are you worried about sorrow and pain—because they are our friends.” And I’m like, “Really?” No. No!
Life that you have, your existence? That’s what it’s all about. A lot of people are like, “But isn’t that a very egoistical way of looking at it?” No. It is the humblest way of looking at it.
Because you look at reality—reality is humble, and it is profound at the same time. As you look at the sun, you realize its beauty; you realize its power. You’re humbled in front of it—and yet you are so glad it’s there. It’s not like “one or the other.”
Things will change in your life—of course they will. Why? Because that’s their nature. You try to hang on; it won’t let you. But do you know, with all those changes, you can still be happy? This is what I mean by “knowing yourself.” When you know yourself, you can say, “Oh, and by the way, all this can change—and I can still feel contentment.”
So, do you know what you need? Do you know what the difference is between a want and a need? Uh-uh. You don’t. Knowing yourself, that’s what it’s all about—figuring out what is just merely a want, and what is a need. Knowing yourself: “Know thyself.”
That no matter what happens in your life, you need, (not want), need to know the value of this breath, the value of being alive, the value of this time that you have.
Because we’re celebrating life; we’re celebrating existence as it is, as it has played out for so many thousands of years on the face of this earth—and a message that has always honed in, regardless of all the things that were going around, “That you are alive, and you are very fortunate.”
See, I talk about breath. There was an inmate in South Africa. And he kept hearing me talk about breath and breath and breath, so one day he went back in his cell.... (And this is what he told this fellow who was bringing him Peace Education videos and so on.)
And he said he’d just lay down—and he started to focus on his breath, feel his breath. And he said, “All of a sudden, the same bed that I had lain on many days, tormented—I begin to fill with peace. And the more I felt my breath, the more I filled with peace.” And he goes, “After a little while, I felt peace like I have never experienced in my life.”
It’s really worth knowing yourself, believe me—because it’s a wonderful thing.