Logos on children’s clothing:
End violence against children
I am the voice of children too afraid to speak
Ending Violence Against Women and Children
16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM
Individual 1: [male]
To me, violence is basically hurting someone, whether it be physically or emotionally.
Individual 2: [female]
Violence is when you oppress someone—and it’s not only physically and emotionally, but like, psychologically and otherwise.
16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM IS AN INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS RAISING CAMPAIGN
IT TAKES PLACE EVERY YEAR FROM NOV 25TH TO DEC 10TH
When I say to people, “You need peace in your life,” don’t think of it as a luxury—but there is no other option. Without it, the very fabric of society is falling apart; the very fabric of humanity is falling apart.
FOUNDER OF THE PREM RAWAT FOUNDATION AND THE PEACE EDUCATION PROGRAM
This is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.
ONE IN THREE SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN WILL BE RAPED IN HER LIFETIME
Can you explain the importance of, you know, peace, especially over the period of 16 Days of Activism in South Africa?
See, we have all these symbologies. So, symbolically we come in and say, “Okay, we have sixteen days and we’re going to talk about this,” or “we’re going to make an effort.”
No, no, these kinds of efforts, whether it is violence against children, violence against women, violence against each other, this is a continuous effort and it requires a continuous effort. It cannot just happen for one day, sixteen days, thirty days; it’s an effort that has to happen all the time.
IN 1948, EXISTING POLICIES OF RACIAL SEGREGATION BECAME OFFICIALLY ENFORCED
Individual: [male, voiceover]
I cannot get used to it. I must reject it.
Onscreen text: apartheid
UNDER A SYSTEM CALLED APARTHEID, MEANING “SEPARATENESS”
DESPITE STRONG RESISTANCE AND OPPOSITION TO APARTHEID, THESE LAWS REMAINED IN EFFECT FOR 50 YEARS
Onscreen, newspaper headline:
4 DEAD, 11 HURT AS KIDS RIOT Police clash with protest marchers
THE SOWETO UPRISING
Tumi Mahasha: [MC]
This is not just a Catholic Church but it’s also the church of the people.
Visible onscreen, sign:
THE SOWETO UPRISING WAS A SERIES OF PROTESTS LED BY BLACK SCHOOLCHILDREN WHO FELT THEY DESERVED TO BE TAUGHT EQUALLY TO WHITE SOUTH AFRICANS
IN 1976, 10,000 TO 20,000 BLACK STUDENTS PROTESTED AT ORLANDO STADIUM THE POLICE BEGAN TO SHOOT DIRECTLY AT THE CHILDREN
Visible onscreen, inscription:
TO HONOUR THE YOUTH WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY
Sign: REGINA MUNDI
Tumi Mahasha: [MC]
Regina Mundi Catholic Church played a major role during the apartheid regime. The children gathered inside this church, hiding from police, police that were shooting, shooting inside the windows through the roof, telling the children to “leave this place.” At that time in life, they were fighting for their freedom.
Joburg a world class African city, Soweto
TWENTY YEARS AFTER THE APARTHEID VOILENT CRIME HAS NOT BEEN TAMED
Open your heart to yourself. Only then will you be able to open it to others.
PREM SPEAKS AT REGINA MUNDI CHURCH
When you cannot love you, you cannot love another person. We try to educate people, “Domestic violence is not good,” but who are you talking to? First, people need to discover their own love, their own courage. Then and only then can they offer courage and hope to others.
Father Bonkis: [onscreen]
First things first, I would like to thank you for giving me this clarity that you have given me.
I’m very hopeful because of the transformation that you have brought into my life. I was a young woman living with anger. I was aggressive. I was short-tempered. But since I was introduced to this program, my life has begun to change.
There is bad in us; there is good in us. And it is incumbent upon, not only the individuals but the society, as much as they can, to promote that good in everyone, so that that good will prevail. This is the only way.
What is forgiveness? What is forgiveness? Is forgiveness to accept the mistake of a person? Think about it—is a mistake this person makes—you, and most people think that forgiveness is to accept his mistake and forgive him for his mistake.
And that’s not forgiveness. Forgiveness is the day you realize you no longer want to be affected by that person’s mistake. Forgiveness is not setting the perpetrator free, but forgiveness is setting yourself free [Audience: Yeah, right, yes!] from the perpetrator.
And that’s the reason people have such a hard time forgiving. Because, to me, people ask me, “Somebody did that to your daughter; somebody did that to your wife; somebody did to that to your sister, would you forgive them?” And I, answer is “No.”
But I have to forgive myself because I want to be free. I don’t want this person who has already done harm to my family to continue doing harm to me. So I set myself free of him—and that’s what forgiveness is.
What is needed, not only in South Africa but in the world today? There are—just recently when I was in Japan, I had a meeting with a professor, and the professor’s specialty is “peace, happiness, betterment of people.” So, when he read one of my books, he wanted to meet me.
So, I went and I sat down and we talked for a long time—and a lot of fun. And the conclusion of that meeting—“We, as human beings, need four things in our lives.” Four things. One, we need hope. If we don’t have hope, it’s no good. We need hope.
Two, we need gratitude—we need to be thankful. We need to be thankful to be alive; we need to be thankful for our friends; we need to be thankful for people we love; we need to be thankful for the sun; we need to be thankful for the earth; we need to be thankful for the river; we need to be thankful for the wheat; we need to be thankful for the seasons.
We need to be thankful for this breath that we receive every day; it’s a gift! We need gratitude. What is gratitude? You accept. You accept. When you accept something, you have gratitude. When you don’t accept—when you don’t accept the sun; when you don’t accept the seasons; when you don’t accept this life; when you don’t accept this breath, you cannot have gratitude.
So, this gratitude is important. Self-reliance is important—if you want to be whole; if you want to be happy? What do I mean by “self-reliance”? People care about other people, of what those people think about you. Am I right? [Individuals: Yeah. Yes.]
Not good—drive you crazy. [Individuals: Uh-huh! Yes.] Completely drive you crazy. “What does he think about me? What does he think about me? What does he think about me? What does he think of—does he like me? Does he like me; doesn’t he like me?” You know?
What do you think about yourself? Do you like you? No, because you don’t know you. Sorry! You know everybody else. You wear the green dress—because you know your aunt loves the color green. But what color do you love? Do you know?
And the most important thing is to have peace in your life. So, what is peace? What is peace—is it something that is created? Or does it already exist?
If we have to create peace, (and this is what everybody thinks has to happen: “We have to create peace”). No! This is how it works, my friends. First, you find peace in you. And because you have found peace in you, you make peace with yourself. Then you make peace with this world—and then you get “world peace.” But it begins with you. It begins with you!
And what we have lost is our civility. Now, all the little fish want to be like the big fish—and that’s all they care about: “I want to be a big fish. I want to be a big fish.” And when they cannot be a big fish, even for a moment they are willing to take a gun; they are willing to take a knife so that, in those few minutes, they can be the big fish. They can have what they want. This is erosion of civilization.
If you want civility, to be civilized, then you must decide you don’t want to play the game of the jungle rule—ever. And this is a decision that every human being on the face of this earth has to make. There, the civilizations will be preserved where the civilized rule will also be preserved.
Then we can begin to focus on hope! Then we can begin to focus on gratitude! Then we can focus on self-reliance. Then we can focus in knowing ourselves. And when this will manifest, you will feel peace in your own heart. This is hope—this is about hope.
Do you know, all of you, at one time in your life, failed many times—but you did not accept the failure. You know when that was? When you were learning how to walk. When you were learning how to walk, your legs were not strong enough; your muscle was not strong enough yet. You got up—and you went like this and bonk—you fell. Did you accept failure?
You failed—but you did not accept failure. You did not need a motivational speaker—did you? [Individual: No, I never did.] You did not go read books. You did not climb on top of a monastery? No. What did you do? You tried again.
And when you tried, you failed. And when you failed, you still did not accept failure—and you kept going, and you kept going, only because you did not accept failure. You kept failing but you did not accept failure.
And one day you got up—and you walked! And when you walked, what did you accomplish—walking? No, you unlocked the whole world for yourself. Now you could go wherever you wanted to go!
This is how you need to be today—“Fail but don’t accept the failure. Get up again—and take another step.” Your mother could not lecture you: “Oh, you should get up, you know; don’t be—because it’s okay; it’s okay; we all fall.” You wouldn’t understand. You just did it.
I see so many young people who have lost hope! Don’t they remember when they were learning how to walk? They had a sense of purpose; they had a power; they had a feeling. And they had wisdom of all the sages and wise men of this universe: “Fail but do not accept failure.”
And that strategy of “Okay to fail, but not okay to accept failure” saw success, because you could walk—and only because of that reason.
People should not, in their lives, accept failure. You have so much hope, not out there, but in here! Your heart is full of hope; open it. Open it. Open your heart to yourself. Only then will you be able to open it to others.
The Three Pillars of Peace
So, I’m here; you are here—I’m glad we could make it. And what I have to talk about, in a way, is really, really simple. And if I can remind you of something, if I can tell you something new, they would be the same.
And what I want to tell you that is new, and what I want to tell you again that you have already heard—that what you’re looking for, you already have inside of you.
Inside of you, you have amazing assets that you need in this war of life. Yes, it is a war. Who are you fighting; who is your enemy? Ignorance. Who are you fighting? Doubt. Who are you fighting—fear. These are just some of the enemies that you have—that for you to win this war, you’re going to have to overcome.
Now, what do you have for soldiers; what do you have for an army; what do you have that you’re going to fight this war with? And what you’re going to fight this war with is clarity.
So, the question now is this: “Why is this war going to even play out—why?” When clarity, understanding, joy, wisdom, serenity, these powerful elements are on your side, (that’s what you’re going to fight this war with), well, what is this war all about? Why, why is there going to be a war?
Why don’t the elements of doubt, of pain, suffering, understand that you have joy on your side—and they should just merely surrender; that there’s no contest. It’s like somebody in a game of chess has managed to move four pawns into the last row, and has four queens. And it—and the game is over!
So, it doesn’t make any sense to me that this war should ever happen. When such strong adversaries are going to face off—and the ones that are on your side are so much stronger than the other adversaries, why this war? I mean, I don’t get it; I just don’t get it—do you? It just doesn’t make any sense.
If serenity is on your side, what ails you? Why are you bothered? If clarity is on your side, if courage is on your side, why do you fear fear? Why are you afraid? How could this be?
So, there must be a problem somewhere. Somebody is very misinformed of what’s going on—right? That’s the only way. Somehow you have been told—or you are convinced, or you have managed to convince yourself—that fear is stronger than courage. And I am here to tell you “It’s not.” The courage that you have is, fortunately, incredibly strong.
If I were you, I would be talking “mercy”—“We need to be merciful to these elements called ‘anger’ and ‘fear’”—and I mean, we’d just destroy! Instead, we are—we feel victimized by them. So, we are not, we’re not aware. We don’t understand how powerful clarity is, how powerful joy is, how powerful serenity is.
Indeed, how powerful the divine is—who happens to be on your side. How do you know that? Because the divine is within you.
And now, don’t get carried away by what your definition of “divine” is. When I say “divine,” I’m talking about that power, that beauty that is the maker of this whole universe. I’m talking about that divine that—and the only divine that I know of—that can’t go from there to there.
You know the divine can’t go from there to there? You know why? Because the divine is there and there at the same time. Can’t come; can’t go—there is no place without the divine. There is no place where all that goodness does not exist.
You happen to be a field—not a field like a field of magnetic energy, but a field like a battlefield, a place where you have consciousness. And you being conscious, you can choose; if you are conscious, you can choose.
You can choose to solicit the power, the energy, the wisdom that you have inside of you—if you want to, if this war means something to you, if being alive every day means something to you.
I know there are people here who have heard me many, many times—and there are people here who are hearing me for the very first time. I’ve simplified things. I say to all of you, “Do three things—this is all you have to do.” You want peace? Do three things. You want clarity? Do three things. You want joy in your life? Do three things. You want to win this war? Do three things.
Three—just only three. One: Know yourself. Two: Live your life consciously. Three: Have a heart full of gratitude. It’s all you have to do.
That’s all you have to do. It’s all you have to do—nothing much. Everything, everything you have ever heard is covered in these three things. Knowing yourself—that’s the Knowledge of the self: “Know yourself.” “Live your life consciously”—bring on the clarity.
To be aware! To be aware that I have in me that beautiful serenity, that I have in me that beautiful joy, that I have in me that courage. That I have in me the wisdom, the wisdom of a billion books that have been written. I have in me the wisdom of thousands and thousands of saints that have blessed this earth. All in me; all in you. You have that.
And when you begin to live your life in that clarity, when you begin to live your life in that joy, when you begin to live your life—when you begin to simply live your life, not fulfilling the expectations, not trying to do this, not trying to do that.... If you can live your life consciously—see, live your life—finally begin to live your life, then your heart will be full of gratitude.
And then the gifts you receive from the heart—oh! Too much. Too much. You may not get a chocolate truffle, but the satisfaction and the sweetness in your mouth of that chocolate truffle—the satisfaction, true satisfaction—that, you will get. That, you will get.
Three things: “Know yourself. Live your life consciously. And have a heart full of gratitude.” It’s all you need to do. It’s all you need to do.
Practice peace; change your world. Change this world. Take it from pain and suffering—to joy. Change yourself. Don’t be afraid; no need for fear. You don’t need to be afraid to change yourself. Why? If you don’t like it? You can always go back.
If you don’t like.... If you don’t like fear, you can try to change. If you don’t like the courage, you can always go back to fear. It’s not gone; fear will never leave you; don’t worry. Confusion will never leave you—they will always be there.
Harness? Then harness clarity. And this is all you have to do. This is all you have to do.
In this life, truly, every single day that you have, this life that you have is a gift, is a possibility to be fulfilled. Fulfill it. Win the war. It’s a walk in the park. Believe me, once you know what you’ve got, it’s a walk in the park. That’s how I began—and that’s how it should be.
Finding the Balance
Hear Yourself Author Event
I know you have problems, troubles, challenges—and sometimes these challenges, these issues weaken you.
And I always remember that when we are faced with this big mountain, we look at the mountain; we look at the sheer size of the mountain; we look at the height of the mountain—and we’re overwhelmed: “What’s going to happen? How am I going to survive this? How am I going to be able to take care of the challenges that I have?”—whatever the challenge may be.
And in that moment, I want you to remember that nowhere, going on top of the mountain is the challenge. That’s not the objective. To get to the other side of the mountain is the objective. And to get to the other side of the mountain, you don’t have to go through the mountain, and you don’t have to go over the mountain. You can go around the mountain.
Because at the end of the day, the story becomes very simple, (even though it seems like it becomes very complicated). You, as a human being, need to understand what every day is. I know; I know it’s, that doesn’t sound right: “Every day?”
Well, wait till you hear what I really have to say. I go way beyond every day—I go down to every moment! Because every moment that you are alive, that you exist, is the most amazing possibility, most amazing occurrence that’s happening, most amazing thing that’s taking place.
What a blast; what a—what a trip to have come through that one wall and to be here—and then it goes on and on, every day, every moment....
You want to extend your life? You want to live longer? [Audience: Yes.] Yeah, there is a way. Cut it down to size, as many little pieces as you can, called “moment.” Get it as every moment—it’s going to seem a lot more. It just is!—because you’ve been enjoying every single moment.
To understand in your life that this gift of breath is unparalleled. And the wisdom to enjoy it, you have been given that too. Like I said earlier, you look at one mirror, but learn to look at another mirror that’s there. And in that mirror, you will see a lot more of who you truly are.
That you’re not without wisdom; you have incredible wisdom inside of you. You’re not without the thirst; you have incredible thirst inside of you. You are not without courage; you have incredible courage inside of you.
Why am I using the word “courage”? What has courage got to do with anything? Well, to accept wisdom, it takes courage—it takes courage. To love takes courage! To understand takes courage. To be kind, it takes courage. To be free takes courage. To choose peace takes courage.
None of this stuff is for the weaklings, no, no, no. This takes the real human being, that super-human that you are. That’s what it takes. It’s a reality. Your reality isn’t the pain and sorrow and the suffering. But on the other side of the coin of that pain and sorrow and suffering is the joy, is the clarity, is the understanding, is the wisdom—beckoning you, calling you.
This is why you have a heart! “What heart are you talking about?” Oh, you know that little thing—that says, “Yeah, be kind,” that says, “I love you,” that says, “It’ll be all right,” that says, “Don’t worry”—that’s called a heart. You have it.
And all you need to do.... I’m not saying to shut down the mind. I’m not saying that. That would be nice, but you can’t do it.
I used to say that when I was ten years, eleven years old; people used to come to me and every morning, you know, the setup—but I, but actually, I was thirteen then when I came to England—every morning, we would have a session; I would sit down; people would sit down. And they would ask questions every day.
And the questions were, “I can’t shut down my mind.” So but why are you trying? You don’t need to shut down your mind. You need your heart to come out and balance your life! If your life does not seem balanced, it’s because it’s all mind, no heart.
And what does the mind do? “You’d, you blew it. You didn’t do that right. Oh, you could have done it better. Oh, you are going to get it. Oh, you are not going to succeed. Oh, you will never make it. Oh, you are useless. Yeah, oh, and nothing good will come of you.” Already the tape is playing.
What do you think is that thing? You haven’t taken the test yet, right? You’re sitting there to take the test—and are you nervous? And why are you nervous? Because something has already introduced the idea of failure in you. “Failure. Failure.” And you have bought it; you have accepted it.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to adjust to the light that was inside of you—so you could see the courage; you could see the clarity; you could see the understanding; you could see the wisdom that you have in you?
But we do get bored—because we don’t have the patience to let these eyes adjust to the sight within. If you could have just that much patience, oh, so little patience, you will be the king of your universe for the rest of your life.
Just that’s all it takes. Then joy will be yours; understanding will be yours—and gratitude will be yours. To be thankful every single day—every single day, nay, every single moment will be yours. “Thank you. Thank you for this life. Thank you for this existence. Thank you for this breath. Thank you for joy. Thank you for clarity. Thank you”—for all that is good in your life.
Educating the Heart Event
Prem spoke to students at Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Did you ever ask the question, “What is the heart?” Did you? Is it this thing that pumps the blood, “Thum-thum, phum-phum, phum-phum?” Is that the heart? Is that where peace lives?
Nothing lives there except blood—and valves, “tou-ku-tou-ku, tou-ku-tou-ku, tou-ku-tou-ka....” Sometimes it stops; they give it, you know—the paramedics come and give it an electric shock, “Dzunk,” and it starts up again. Sometimes it stops; they put stents into the arteries. Is that the heart?
No. Let me tell you what a heart is. The good in you is the heart. The courageous in you is the heart. The place where the clarity dwells is the heart. The place which is the spring of understanding is the heart. The place where the thirst to feel the Divine comes from is the heart. That is the heart. And its address is you. Is you!
Every human being is fifty percent good, fifty percent bad—exactly. Not forty-nine/fifty-one. Exactly fifty percent good, fifty percent bad. Always.
If you are in touch with your good, the good is what will shine. If you are in touch with your bad, then bad is what will shine. There are no favors. If I don’t use this arm, and only use this arm every day, what will happen? This arm will become weak; this arm will become strong.
So, I ask you again, which arm in you is strong, and which arm in you is weak? Which fifty percent is strong and which fifty percent is weak?
Let that fifty percent that is darkness.... You have to remember one thing—darkness is never away from light. When you light a lamp, right underneath it—you know where the wick comes out and it burns and gives the light? Right underneath it is darkness.
It’s never far. It’s never far. But what’s going to effect, has to be the light, because the light removes the darkness. You, if you allow in your life, welcome in your life the good, the conscious, the reality—what is the reality? Is reality...?
In one sense, it’s very simple. One day you were born—and you had no control over that day—you had no control over that day. You did not decide, “Uhm, I would like to be born on a certain time, certain date....”
No. And one day you have to go. Young people don’t like to hear that. “Aah-aaaah, don’t talk about going.” One day you have to go—and you have no control over that day either.
You have no control over the day you came and you have no control over the day you’re going to go—but you have control over every single day in the middle of the day you’re going to come and go. That’s all.
Do you know that? Do you know that? Do you understand that? That every...? And how many days is that, by the way?
Even if you live to be a hundred years old, you know how many days that is? Thirty-six thousand five hundred, that’s all. Not three hundred and sixty-five thousand, nah-nah-nah-nah, nah. Just thirty-six thousand five hundred. A hundred years, two zeroes? Just add it to 365; what do you get? Thirty-six thousand five hundred—not three hundred and sixty-five thousand.
You wish it was three hundred and sixty-five thousand. And you have been living your life like you’re going to live forever—but you’re not. Thirty-six thousand five hundred is not that many days. But you have control over every single one of those days.
Are you dependent for your happiness on you—or somebody else? It’s a good question. Because most of us work on our friends; we would like to have certain kinds of friends for our happiness. We would like to go to party for something like that. That we, our happiness depends on that. Our happiness depends on success.
But it doesn’t. Your happiness depends on you. And unless you understand that your happiness depends on you, not on other people, you will never truly be happy.
We can give up everything—but what really matters is what we have given up, here. If we have given up the anger, then that matters. If we have given up ignorance, then that matters. If we have given up anger, then that matters. But if we have not given up those things, then we haven’t given up anything. If we haven’t given up ignorance, then we haven’t surrendered anything.
Today there is a possibility. When you woke up this morning—when you woke up this morning, what was the first thought that came to your head?
How many of you woke up to an alarm clock this morning: “Drrrrdrdrdrrring, drrrring-aring-aring-aring-aring-aring-aring”? How many? Quite a few. So, I know exactly what your first thought was. “Not already!?”
I know how that works. If you wake up before your alarm clock, you turn it off. [Audience: Yeah, we do that.] You don’t want to hear that stupid sound. This is how you start your day? And you want peace? And you want life to grab you and embrace you? And you want to be conscious? You want to be aware? You want to celebrate your existence?
And you want “Five more minutes, ahaaaarrrr’huuuhhhh....” [Audience: Yeah.]
What if the sun did that: “Oh, give me five more minutes”? The world would be in chaos. Nature works methodically—in harmony.
I went; I was—very, very recently I was in Japan. And when I was in Japan, I went to this most beautiful garden, very beautiful garden. And I was with a professor, and he was also in charge of that garden.
So he said, “It’s very peaceful here.” And I started thinking about that. And I listened—and it wasn’t quiet. There were crickets; there was a waterfall; there was rustling of the wind. There were a lot of noises! There were birds chirping. There were crickets going at it; there was a waterfall; there were the trees in the winds....
And I realized, it wasn’t that it was quiet—but it was harmonious. The sound of the crickets chirping went with the sound that the birds were singing—and the sound of the birds went with the water falling, and the sound of the water falling went beautifully with the leaves rustling in the wind. It was harmonious.
So, have you been to a concert, or have you seen on television, people playing music? Somebody playing drums, somebody playing flute, somebody playing guitar, somebody playing cymbals, somebody playing, you know, piano?
You know that all that could sound really absurd—you know that, right? If the drummer was playing to some other song; the guitar was playing some other song; the piano was playing some other song, how would it sound? Would it sound good? No. The same instruments playing to the same song—sounds harmonious.
How harmonious is your life? How harmonious is your life? Do you feel that your life is a symphony—or do you feel like your life is, every day, somebody is playing another song on the piano; somebody is playing another song on the flute; somebody is doing something; somebody’s doing something, and there you are going, “Oh my God, I feel so tired....”
How many of you ultimately end up saying, “Oh, God help me; please, help me; help me”?
Consider one thing: when you were born, what allowed you to come home? If you were born in a hospital, what allowed you to come home? If you were born at home, what allowed you to stay home? Do you know? Do you know? You don’t know? I’ll tell you. That’s why I’m here; that’s why I’m asking the questions. This is not a quiz.
“Your breathing, your breath.” When you were born, everybody in that room was only paying attention to one thing. Not what your lines were on your hands, not if you were a boy or a girl. They were paying attention to only one thing: “Are you breathing or not?”
And as soon as they found out you were breathing, “H’eaah, aaaah. Okay—is it a boy; is it a girl?” And because you were breathing, you could come home. Because you were breathing, you could stay home. If you were not breathing, you’re not going to come home. And if you are not breathing and you are home, you’re not going to stay home—you’re going to go away.
That’s how powerful this breath coming into you is. So far this breath is coming into you, you are somebody’s daughter; you are somebody’s mother; you are somebody’s aunt; you are somebody’s uncle; you are somebody’s friend. And if this breath is not coming into you, you are nobody. Nobody wants you.
Do you understand the power of this breath? Do you understand the power of this breath? Would you say that the coming and the going of this breath is a blessing? What do you think? Is it a blessing? A blessing?
Do you recognize the blessing? Do you? Right now. Right now! Just now! Just now, the breath came. And there comes another one. And there comes another one! And don’t you find it remarkable that the first breath you ever take begins with you taking the breath in? And the last breath you will ever take will be the breath going out.
This blessing—in your bad times it comes; in your good times, it comes. And if you have, ever you have a doubt—ever, whether you are blessed or not, there is your proof. There is your proof!
And that’s what you need to be thankful for: “I am alive. I have a choice. Because I am alive I have a choice! And the choice I have is either I can live in ignorance or I can live with knowledge.” Make the choice. Make the choice. And every day, you have to make the choice.
What Do You Choose?
Peace is Possible Event
Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.
What is this thing called “life?” What is this thing called “being here,” what is this thing called “peace,” what is this thing called “existence”?
And like I say many times, you’ve got two walls. And I’m going to put this as simple, as simply as I can put it—you’ve got two walls. You came through one wall—that was when you were born. And there is a lot of stuff going to happen between the two walls—a lot.
And then, you hit the other wall—and it’s all gone; it’s all done; it’s finished. No more. No more drama. No more paying the credit cards. No more wondering about what life is about. No more wondering, “Is there really a Satan? Is there really a God?” No more wondering, no more philosophizing, no more—nothing! As quiet as a quiet, a person can be. And that’s it; it’s over.
You exist—but you don’t understand what existence is. You live—but you don’t understand what life is. You know certain things, but you don’t know what wisdom is. And all that you do in your life sooner or later comes back and haunts you, tortures you, bothers you—and you wonder.
Birth and death that encompasses the start to the end—has been going on on the face of this earth for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. And it doesn’t seem to matter what happens in between, whether you drive a Chrysler or you drive an Italian chariot—something has you figured out.
You were born; one day you have to go. Whatever you do in between, it’s up to you. And what have you chosen to do? What have you chosen to do?
Have you chosen in your life to experience joy, joy? Joy. Have you chosen in your life to experience peace? Have you chosen in your life to experience the serenity? Have you chosen in your life to swim the beautiful waters of tranquility? Have you chosen to sit in the shade of the tree of understanding, to bask in that simplicity of life, of existence, of who you are?
Elation, clarity. Not desperation. Not confusion. Not revenge. Not misunderstanding. Not anger, not fear. Not hate! Not judgment. (Don’t you love judgment?)
We love to be unconscious—but we don’t like the consequences of being unconscious, so we look for people who can give us a way out of the consequences that happen when we are unconscious. And I am saying, “That is not possible.” You want to avoid the consequences of being unconscious, then you will have to be conscious.
Is there a shortcut for clarity?—no. Can you have clarity in your life? Of course. Is there a shortcut for love?—no. Can you have love in your life, of course. Is there a shortcut for joy? No. Can you have joy in your life? Of course.
And what will it take? It will take that you will have to pay attention to yourself. You will have to learn how to go within you—and feel. And feel; feel the magnificence that dwells in you; feel the knowledge that you’re filled with; feel the simplicity of the child that you are; feel the gratitude of this heart that you are. Feel all that that is so good, that is so wonderful, that is so beautiful!
And that is the way to live this life—not burdened by problems. I say to you, this, not because I am sitting on this chair—but I have been burdened by problems, and I know what it is like, as it pushes on your shoulders, as it pushes on your body, on your being. And what does it do? Drives you so far from you, into another world, dark, dingy, weird, absurd. No hope. No hope.
And then you realize, “It’s not me. That’s not who I am. That’s not how I want my life to be.”
And you look, and you turn inside—and it’s like coming home; you come home. And everything that is the most familiar begins to greet you. There’s a welcoming that you have never experienced—and it’s to come home: “Welcome. Come on in. Come on in. Be, exist, flourish, nurture, rest, relax, understand, see, feel, think, experience, joy, love, understanding.” And it’s like, “Yes. Yes.”
And this welcoming is the most profound. And then my focus shifts from my problems to my life, to my existence. And now I know what is valuable. The valuable that I have is the day today.
The moment that I have been given—and the value of this moment is not the moment itself, but the fact that I can do anything in that moment—including being miserable, or being elated. That’s why a moment is powerful, my friends.
You want a ticket out of your problems? You have one: it’s called “now.” Because now holds the power. And you can have it either way—you can make yourself as miserable as you want, no holds barred—or as elated as you can be, no holds barred.
The power of now is so powerful that if you want to connect with the divine that is in you, you can. (Wow.) So powerful, if you want to understand the oneness that you have with this universe.... (Universe? Yes, universe.)
In this whole game between the two walls, coming from this wall you had no choice, and when you hit that wall you won’t have a choice—granted. But everything else in between these two walls, you have a choice. What do you want?
Easy to say “I want to be happy.” Easy to say “I want to be happy”—hard to say, “I wonder how I can be happy.” And the day you can—easy to say, “I want to be clear,” but hard to say “I wonder how I can be clear.” And the day you say that: “I wonder how I can be happy; I wonder how I can be clear,” look me up—because that’s the day I can help you.
How do I do it? Very simple—very simple. I put the focus on you—not your problems.
There’s one journey that, all the things that are happening in your life—that is one journey—and then there is another journey that is happening in you. And it is the coming and going of your breath. That’s a journey too. Each breath comes in; what does it bring you? Oh, it brings you this thing called “life, existence, being alive”—brings you that.
There are a lot of people in this world—but there’s no one like you. You’re alone. Your journey, that’s what matters—and that’s what should matter to you, your life, your existence, your now, your now—and what did you ask your now to bring you? What did you choose in that now? When that now said, “Your wish is my command,” what did you choose?
Did you choose clarity; did you choose joy; did you choose understanding in your life? Because if you did, you would understand, then, exactly what I’m talking about.
I’m here to tell you about the power you have, the power of being alive, the power of all that is so good that dwells in your heart. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget that. Will you come across hard times? Absolutely. Will things look difficult, yes. Will there be darkness, yes. Does it have to continue like that? No.
Awaken; open your eyes; look around; see—and most importantly, see who you are. See the light that is in you—and the darkness will be gone.
Because the day you hit that wall, not everybody else is going to hit that wall. There’ll be other ones coming out of the other wall as you hit that wall. This is your story. The world’s trying to make it its story. You have to refrain from that happening; you have to make sure that it stays your story and yours alone.
No mixing, no meddling—that it remains your story. That’s what it has to be. Anything else is a compromise, not fit for existence, not fit for life.
There’s your heart: feel it, understand it, accept it—and you will then be so filled with gratitude, thankful, thankful to be alive, thankful to have this breath, thankful to have had this time on the face of this earth. Then it’s not about the two walls anymore. Then it all becomes about you, about the good, about the life, about the real, about the divine, about the universe that you are. That you are.
Your message of peace, since your early childhood, has taken you all around the world, into your adulthood—which brings you here today in the Los Angeles County Jail Twin Towers.
TWIN TOWERS JAIL
And on that note, thank you, Los Angeles County Jail Sherriff’s Department.
EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ADMIN
This is the largest, actually, mental health jail probably in the world. So, almost everyone in here has some kind of mental health issues. We have, in Los Angeles County, in our jails—we’re larger than most prisons....
Twin Towers Jail is the largest in the world with 18,000 in any one day incarcerated.
Dr. Yael Hellman:
It really is that self-discovery and hopes, having a fulfilled life, that is so important, within or outside of the jail walls.
It’s just so good to have you here with us today in the City of Angels. And thank you for coming—and I just want to say that you come to my mind as a modern-day hero, giving flowers to people all around the world saying, “Have a nice day.” But your flowers are of words of peace. Thank you.
GLOBAL PEACE AMBASSADOR & AUTHOR
I, I have to say, because that word that you used, “hero”.... There is only one hero in your life—and there will always be just one hero in your life—and that’s not me, and that’s not Superman, and that’s not Wonder Woman. It’s you.
Your Story Unbound
Prem Rawat speaks to inmates at Twin Towers
I want to tell you something—one of the key messages is about knowing yourself, and why is that important.
And if you have a map, amazing map, most detailed map, most incredible map—and it’s got all of this stuff; it’s got all the details of where everything is, where this is, where that is—and you have some idea of where you want to go, and you want to use this map. And it’s a very good map; it’s a very detailed map.
What is the most important thing you need to know when you look at that map, to be able to navigate? And that is, “Where are you on that map?” If you don’t know where you are on that map, that map is useless—with all its detail, with everything on it. You can look at it, but you don’t know where you are? Then how are you going to figure out where to go?
That’s what I’m talking about: knowing your self. If you don’t know who you are, what do you do? What do we all do? We look at other people to identify us, who we are: “Am I a good person? Am I a bad person? Who am I?”
We create our friends; we create our social circles; we create all these people and we look at them—we want to appease them. We want their approval. Because we don’t know the possibility that lies here.
Life is like a book. The first cover was moved when you were born; it opened. Every day you get a new page—every single day you get a new page—there’s nothing written on that page; you write what you want on that page.
And that page will turn automatically—and it’ll present a new page every single day till the book is finished and you will have the last page close the whole book.
You are writing chapters of life. Are you ready for the day when you wake up in the morning—or are you just full of expectations of what you would like to happen? Are you ready for that day; are you ready for the possibilities?
Because when this breath comes into you and gives you the gift of life, that is a very powerful thing. It is more powerful than all the stuff that is going on around this world.
You find yourself here—how you got here, everybody has their story. Everybody has their—see, I go to a lot of places where there are people who are incarcerated. And they look around them and they go, “That’s wrong, and that’s wrong, and that’s wrong, and that’s wrong”—all their life.
Easy to do that, right? Hard to look at the three other fingers, isn’t it? Because that’s saying, “What about you?”
The day you make that transition—that this book isn’t about other people; that this book is about you, your life will turn. Your life will change—I’ve seen it—your life will change. Because it isn’t about other people. You don’t have to look for the approval or the disapproval. You find that satisfaction of being alive in you.
Now I know you’re all thinking, “Eh-beh-but-but, but-dah-dah-dah, is it, but-but-but-but, but-but-but-but.” Listen to what I’m saying; it’s very, very simple. It’s a fact; it’s not fiction: “You are alive.” You are alive. What were you yesterday? What can you be tomorrow?
Who does that depend on, your fate? The society? The world? Or you? We are told, “Oh, yeah, the world, society has to change.” When I go to people and I say, “Peace is possible,” they look at me and they go, “Are you crazy? What are you talking about; how is peace going to be possible?” I said, “One lamp at a time, lighting one lamp at a time, that’s how peace is going to happen.”
Then I asked them, “Why do you think peace is impossible?” “Oh, there’s so much greed in this world.” I said, “Excuse me, did human beings create greed—or is there a mountain somewhere where ‘greed rain’ falls and then it goes around the whole world?”
No, these greeds are created by human beings. What is the good news? What human beings do can also be undone. That’s how peace is possible. Human beings make war? Human beings can also undo war.
This is a fact; this is not fiction; this is not a philosophy. My whole premise of the Peace Education Program is to really shed the light that you are alive! And every day that you are alive is the most incredible hope there is, is the most incredible possibility there is!
It may not look like it, but this book, the pages are being flipped every single day—and one day that last page will go “bdoomp” and that’s it. That’s it! That’s it! No more.
Is that good? Is that bad? Is that terrible? No, that’s how it is. And it is like that for everybody on the face of this earth, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, powerful, weak—male, female—everybody; this is the law!
So what have you got? What you’ve got is today. Because tomorrow is going to come as—today. It’ll never come as tomorrow; it’ll come as today. At midnight, that “tomorrow” turns and becomes today, and you will have today.
And the next day you will have today, and the next day you will have today, and the next day you will have today, and the next day you will have today, till one day you won’t have that today anymore.
The urgency, if there is one, is to recognize the preciousness of each day, the gravity of time—that there is no rewind button on time. It doesn’t matter; there is no rewind button. You must take the next step, and you must take the next step consciously, with full awareness, with full understanding of its gravity, and full understanding of its potential.
You don’t have to be a victim of all that goes on. You can be the victor within. You can be free—not on the outside, but free within.
Everybody is imprisoned by something. Everybody—even those people who are walking out there, they’re imprisoned too—by their ideas, by their dreams, by their effort, by their work, by their boss, by all the drama that plays out every single day in their lives, as well.
You want freedom? Then you will have to turn within. You are the source of that freedom.
You are your worst enemy, and you are your best friend. Who have you kept company with, your enemy or your friend? Find that friend—and you will find yourself. Find yourself, and you will find that friend.
Arguments, revenge, anger, fear, doubt—they don’t come from outside; they’re in you all the time. When you’re locked in your cell, guess who’s there with you? Your anger is there; your fear is there; your doubt is there; your sorrow is there. Do you know who else is there? Your joy is there. Your clarity is there; your understanding is there.
What if I told you that the darkness and light are two sides of the same coin? Darkness is never far from light and light is never far from darkness.
How long does it take for darkness to come when you turn off the light? It’s not like you turn it off and it goes, “Uhaah, dah, dah-heaah-dah”—no, it’s not coming from anywhere. It’s always there; turn off the light—and it gets dark. And how long does it take for the darkness to be removed when the light is turned on?
Both are in you. Joy is in you; sadness is in you. When you are sad next time, think about that—think about that—that immeasurable joy is also within you. When you’re confused.... Things don’t look clear; things don’t make sense—stop—and understand that incredible, unlimited clarity is also within you.
Learn to garner, to collect what is good. Little understandings, (it doesn’t matter how little they are), go a long way in making this life good—in making this life good, in making this life enjoyable, an enjoyment that is centered within you. If you can understand that? If you can grasp what I’m trying to say, (which is very simple). Believe me, it’s incredibly simple.
You know, one of the things I’m sure you have noticed—the Peace Education Program is not complicated. It’s not complicated. It’s not like, “Oh, well let’s figure out how many stars there are....” No, it’s just about you, you, and you.
And to me, that’s your strength. You need strength. But you don’t need the strength of revenge. You don’t need the strength of show. You need the strength that comes from within you, for you. For you!
You have another life, another page coming. Your book doesn’t begin and end here. Hopefully, one day you will be out—what then? What then? Those pages will still be coming—and you’ve got to write on them. And what are you going to write?
Is this book going to be a book of memoirs? Or hopes and aspirations? Or successes? Or about your understanding, the understanding of the self? This is up to you. It’s totally up to you. This isn’t about anything; this is about you.