The Need for Peace
Volunteer Peace Corps RELA
Prem Rawat addresses RELA, the Volunteer Peace Corps organization which has over 3 million members in Malaysia.
As a human being, I have a need—and the need is a need to be in peace. So when we forget our fundamentals, what happens? We become out of balance. I will give you a little story. (Stories are nice....)
So, there was an incredibly powerful magician, a sorcerer. And he had no children of his own, and his wife always asked him, “You know, somehow we could have a little child, it would be really nice.” But it didn’t happen.
One day the sorcerer was walking down the road, and he came across a little mouse. And this little mouse had been hurt. So he picked up the little mouse and he put it in his hand. Evoking his powers he turned the little mouse into a beautiful little girl.
And he took the little girl to his wife and said, “You know you keep asking me to have a, ‘bring a baby, bring a baby’—well, today I have. And here is this beautiful baby girl for you.”
She fell in love with the baby girl; he fell in love with the baby girl. And with great due diligence, they raised this daughter, taking care, giving her incredible education—and she was incredibly gifted. When she had grown up, she was not only very pretty but very wise, very educated, very beautifully-natured.
So, one day the sorcerer turned to her and said, “My dear, you have reached the age of getting married. Who would you like to get married to?” She thought about it and she said, “Well, what are the possibilities?” So the sorcerer said, “Okay, I will go and take the proposal to different people and whatever they say, I’ll tell you.”
So he went to the mighty mountain. And he said to the mighty mountain, “Would you like to marry my daughter?” And the mighty mountain said, “Oh my God, I have been watching her; she’s so beautiful; she’s so smart; she’s so kind; she’s so wonderful. I would love to have her as my wife.”
So he brought the proposal to the daughter: “Daughter dear, the mountain would love to marry you—and he’s powerful; he’s strong. Would you like that?” And she said, “Nooo, not really.”
Went to the ocean; proposed to the ocean, and the ocean went, “Oh, yes, I have seen her; she’s gorgeous. I would love to marry her.” Brought back the proposal to the daughter: “No, I don’t want to marry the ocean.”
Went to the king. And the king said, “Oh! I see; I have heard of her beauty; I would love to marry her.” “Would you like to marry the king? You will live like a princess for the rest of your life.” She said, “Nooo, I don’t want to marry the king.” “The prince,” “the emperor,” all these proposals were brought but she said, “No. No. No. No. No.”
So now the sorcerer was like, “Well, who, you know—I have brought you these proposals; they’re incredible proposals. And you have rejected all of them. So, is there anyone, anyone you want to marry?” And just then a little mouse happened to run by. And she looked at him and says, “Yeah, that!”
And the sorcerer realized that she, who she was.... Even though he had changed her into a human being and educated her and everything, but she hadn’t forgotten who she was; her nature was still the same. Through all the different things, the nature did not change.
And when she saw the handsome little mouse, that was far more attractive to her than the mountain and the king and the prince and emperor and the ocean and everything else. Because that was in her nature.
So, the point of the story is, we live in this world—technology has changed; so many things have changed—but we are still human beings. We are still human beings. And the issue here is, “What is a human being?”
When I ask this question around the world, you would think every human being would tell you exactly what a human being is, right? That’s not true. Human beings have forgotten who they are. And not only have they forgotten who they are, but what are their true needs? What is it?
You have to understand the difference between “need” and “want.” Need is something without which you cannot exist. That’s your need. (You need air; you need warmth; you need food; you need water.)
Television is your want. Without air you will die. If you don’t watch television, you won’t die. But, but, in our society.... In our society, we mentally have changed so much that we think, “If I don’t get to see TV, I will die.”
And I will give them all the value; I will give them all the importance, as the world gives importance to all that we do—but we do not give importance to what we truly understand.
So, when somebody like me comes and wants to talk about peace, I think it’s really sad. Because I shouldn’t be talking about peace. That should be already known to people—that peace is a necessity, and without peace, you cannot have happiness, and without that happiness, (and health, and money), you cannot have prosperity. Prosperity isn’t just one thing.
And for us on the face of this earth, the challenge is to get in touch with what we fundamentally are. Not of who we want to be. Because this is what we have gotten lost in.
And it’s the same thing with peace. People think they have to bring peace from somewhere else. People say to me, “I am searching for peace”—and I say, “Then you won’t find it.” [Individual: Yeah, you’re right about that.] Why won’t you find it if you’re searching for peace? Because you already have it.
You can search wherever you want to search. Because the assumption is, “Peace is not in you.” And that’s what inspires the search. But the assumption is wrong because peace is in you.
The good is in you; the bad is in you. The right is in you; the wrong is in you. People say—people say, “There is so much bad going on in this world. How is that possible?” I say, “Yes. There is bad going on in this world. But in every human being, there is the good too—and that has not been nurtured; that has not been watered; that has not been taken care of.”
So that’s the situation with the world—but what about you? We are human beings. And we are not all about money—but we are about kindness; we are about generosity; we are about love; we are about feeling; we are about understanding. And these are the gifts that you can give, not only to yourself, not only to your fellow human beings, but to your family and to anyone you want.
And the beautiful thing about the gift of generosity, the gift of love, the gift of kindness, the gift of understanding is, the more you give, the more you can give because it’ll only increase, not decrease.
Money is not like that. More money you give, less it’ll be for you. So that’s why everybody tries to keep it. But the gift of understanding, the gift of love, the more you share, the more you will have.
Peace begins with you. Simple as that, peace begins with you—you understanding who you are. It is no mistake what Socrates said, “Know thyself.” To know who you are.
So, this is all I wanted to really say because there’s going to be question and answers too.
I suspect that there is a relationship between all these problems that we’re talking about and peace. And maybe you can tell us how they affect each other?
Well, unfortunately, the sun doesn’t know about the night. Darkness doesn’t know about the light; light doesn’t know about the darkness. If peace was related to these problems, peace would have had no chance. But it rides above these problems. And it has nothing to do with these problems—because these problems will come and go. They will come and they will go.
People have problems—people have problems, they forgot to charge their cell phone. Three hundred years ago, people didn’t have that problem. So, we don’t understand, every time we solve a problem we create a new one.
But to me, thank God, problems are on one level and peace is on another level. And the peace doesn’t, isn’t going to touch our problems, and the—thank God that these problems are not going to touch peace. It’ll be. It’ll preserve its purity. It will preserve its purity.
This is like water. You can make water really, really dirty—but it’ll find a way to purify itself. This is the quality of water. It cannot be burnt! You try to burn water? It will evaporate—become steam, gone. Into the air, adiabatic cooling—you’ll see a cloud. The cloud will turn into a thunderstorm; it’ll purify the water and it will rain. It can purify itself. That’s its quality.
And if you knew yourself, you would realize that you don’t have to be in the cesspool of problems—that you are not your problems. You are somebody else; you are something else—and your problems are on a totally different level.
Unconsciousness will bring problems. Consciousness will remove problems. And peace will be dancing in the heart of every human being, waiting to be invited to show—because peace will be mankind’s finest achievement—not going to the moon or Mars. But peace will be the finest achievement of mankind.
Cuando el Desierto Florece
Author Event, Miami, USA
Let me begin with this question, “Who are you?” You are a human being. What does it mean to be a human being?
Some of us have created an idyllic platform for us—and in this idyllic platform, we are perfect; we are a certain way. And in this platform, we are the wise one; we have answers to every question there is. A solution to every problem except ours. [Individual: And yeah, you’re right.]
No, and this is really true—we do. We can solve the world’s problem—tomorrow we can solve the world’s problem, but not ours. Only been around for six thousand years, and we think we’re the masters—that we know everything; we’ve got it pegged.
Then, all of a sudden, something happens—and we find ourselves incredibly vulnerable. The might disappears. The idyllic platform crumbles....
So, what I’m trying to say here is, are we just our ideas? Or is there another reality that exists here? Who are you? And what do you practice?
Every day that you go about doing whatever it is that you think you have to do.... You will wake up—at least, five days out of that week, you wake up—and you have to do things that you may not want to do.
Get up in the morning—and it’s like, “Aaaagggh.” [Individual: And yeah, that’s right; we do that.] That’s why you....
See, it’s not about “what,” it’s about “why”—why do you have snooze function? What is this snooze function: “snooze?” Well, this snooze function is that when you actually do wake up, you’re not ready to wake up. And you would like “five more minutes.”
“Five more minutes”—and five more minutes, and five more minutes, and five more minutes, and you finally come across somebody you love and you are spending a little time with them—and “five more minutes....” My goodness, is your life all about that five more minutes? Is that what you are practicing? If that’s what you’re practicing, how are you ever going to be healthy?
Wellbeing—“well being”—but the “being” doesn’t know how to be. Forget about the “well.” At this point, the well is just a hole in the ground with the water at the bottom.
But when the being understands who the being is, then the process of the “well being” begins, and the well isn’t a hole in the ground with the water at the bottom. It means to thrive, to be that being that can thrive. Not somebody who is absolutely begging for “five more minutes.”
Okay, now I want to talk about “what is a human being”—because this is the most wonderful subject. So, what a human being actually is, believe it or not, (even though you do have that little “tail” thing), but besides that, you have something else; you have a heart. And in this heart, you have an ocean.
And you have the ocean of serenity. You have wisdom unparalleled. You have generosity, unbelievable. You have kindness that is fathomless. This too is you.
That you are alive is the greatest gift. It is also the gift that is given to the gorilla; it is also the gift that is given to the whale; it is also the gift that is given to all the monkeys—but you are that one monkey that can truly appreciate this gift and have gratitude in return.
This is what makes you special; this is what makes you different—not the lack of the furry little tail—that this is what makes you different. You have the possibility.... Now, a dog is very thankful for a bone. You can be thankful for being alive.
How amazing! You can be thankful for this breath; you can be thankful for this gift of understanding that you have. Question is, is that what you want in your life? Does that form the basis in your existence, of what you call “wellbeing”—true wellbeing?
I am offering here, a possibility, (even though it’s only through words at this point in time), but I am offering this possibility of being in gratitude, of being thankful every single day. For what? For being alive. For this breath.
And to discover all your treasures, the treasures that you have within you. I’m not talking about some abstract concept here. I’m talking about experiencing something real every single day in your life—in getting in touch with yourself, not in some idea, but this heart that you have.
What do you know of your heart? Who has taught you how to listen to the whisper of the heart? Do you know how to dance to the song that your heart sings to you every single day? Do you know how to respond to your heart? Do you know...? Do you know how to be sincere? Or is it an art—is sincerity an art that you have forgotten?
Then let me remind you that in the realm of your heart, there is such a thing as sincerity. That this is a beautiful reality. That it’s a beautiful saga that you are alive. The best thing that’ll ever happen to you, ever happen to you, is happening every day that you are alive.
It’s not winning a lottery ticket—sorry, it’s not. I know, I’m.... Some of you have that dream, “Oh, yeah, I’ll win the lottery ticket.” No, it’s not the lottery ticket. It’s being alive.
From all that is on this earth, to emerge, to be.... And to put it in context, you won’t always be here.
A long time ago I mentioned, there are the two walls. And you, we—this, to explain life: “the two walls”—and you come out of one wall. (It’s called “being born.”) And then you go, “Tik-tik-tik-tik, tik-tik-tik-tik,” and then you disappear in through the other wall—and that’s called “going bye-bye.” (You may have other words for it, but....)
And I know that you have heard the word “journey,” “life is a journey.” Right? I don’t know about “journey-werney.” But I know one thing—between that wall that I came through and that other wall that I have to go through, there is a road. And I must walk that road. I must walk that—I don’t have a choice. And that road is entirely made out of time.
But one thing I noticed about time, that it is totally impartial. I have never seen anything as impartial as time. Doesn’t care. I’m miserable? Same rate. Doesn’t care. I’m really happy? Doesn’t care. I’ve done something wrong? It doesn’t care. I’ve done something right? It doesn’t care. Just “keep moving, moving, moving, moving, moving.”
So, time is impartial. The road is impartial. The two walls are totally impartial; they don’t really care. Seems to me, on this journey you are.... On this road from that wall to that wall, the only thing I’ve got is this clarity. The only thing I’ve got is this kindness—that are my friends. The only thing I’ve got is this thirst. The only thing that I’ve got is understanding. And the only thing that I’ve got is the joy that is in me.
And I guess, the best way to really put this—is if I’m not practicing those things—even though technically I can’t do this, I am doing it; it’s called “wasting my time.”
So—so, practice joy; practice clarity; practice understanding; practice kindness. The point would be that you have become, through that practice, through that understanding, someone who truly appreciates and understands what this life is. Then you deserve it. Then you don’t have to beg for that five minutes—and everything begins to change.
Hello, everyone. I hope you’re doing well. I’ve been busy trying to get things ready. Pretty soon we should be announcing the Peace Education Program—and that, I’m looking forward to it.
But we are coming very close to chapter three of this coronavirus thing. It’s, I figured the chapter one was when it all started—and most countries were just gobsmacked of what’s going on; didn’t do anything.
And the second chapter was, you know, when they all jumped on it and started to finally take notice of it. And chapter three, kind of is coming out of it—and that’s, of course, been very, very interesting. And I do realize that that will open up the possibility for me to travel....
Of course, it’s going to provide its own challenges. I’m not going to have meetings in any way, shape, or form, where this coronavirus, COVID-19 could spread. So, that’s, you know, just looking at what can be done and how things can be done—but we’ll figure it out.
The main thing is for you to be focused on what really is happening. And what really is happening, by the way, is not this COVID-19 thing; it’s not this virus taking over. What’s really happening—that’s unique—it’s been happening for a while but it’s still unique.... And that is that you exist, that you’re alive.
What are you doing to address that? That’s the issue; that’s the question. Because in addressing that, a lot of things get put right. (“Get put right,” like what?) Like an immense amount of joy, immense amount of clarity, immense amount of understanding, immense amount of focus.
Because this existence, this “being alive” is more than just doing what the world has told you to do. You realize that you do what you do, not because you want to do it—but these are the customs, traditions, rules that you simply grew up with, and when you were a little child, you simply accepted them.
Your mother, father, told you “Do this, otherwise, go to your room.” And you decided after a while, “Room is no fun; I’ll cave in; I’ll do what my mom and dad want me to do.”
So, is that a bad thing? Is that a bad thing to cave into these rules and regulations? Of course not. We have to have some rules—we’re going to have rules. Even if your rule is not to follow those rules, that’s a rule. So, we’re going to—well, you’re going to end up with a rule anyways.
But there is another kind of rule that you need to pay attention to—and it’s not a rule, but it’s an opportunity. And the opportunity is that you’re alive. And that that means something. That that’s the unique thing. All this other stuff, it’s happened before. Nineteen-eighteen, Spanish flu, virus, Ebola. Many things, bird flu.
So, will there be more? Of course. Of course. Were there more before, that people didn’t, you know, get savvy to—of course. But what’s unique is, you are alive. And when is this going to happen again? Nobody knows. No one knows.
When are you going to come back? No one knows—could be millions of years, could be billions of years. But right now, here you are. You exist. And this is how it is.
The other day I came out and I was headed downstairs. And I looked up—and then I could see the stars, and I could see the moon—there was still a little bit of light; the sun was setting. It was beautiful.
And it just gave me a pause, just to think, “These heavenly bodies, these stars, these—the moon, everything out there, they have existed and seen....” And I don’t know if I can use the word, “seen.” Because I don’t think there is, you know, anybody out there looking at it and going, “Yeah, well, there it is,” so maybe “seen” isn’t the right word.
But they’ve been there as all these dramas played out. And geologically speaking, this is just that. Just that—just a second. Just a bat of an eye—and it’ll be over.
And in this “bat of an eye,” there you are. And in your life, in your existence, it isn’t about a “bat of an eye.” It is about you wanting, wanting something, wanting to be happy.
You know, I’m not going to go into what happiness is—but wanting to be happy, wanting to be content. And if we just remove the word “happiness” and just say, “Basically, you want to feel good.” That you don’t want to be worried—worried about tomorrow, about the consequences.
But you just want to feel alive, feel good. You want to be able to look at the moon, and admire its beauty and take it in. You want to look at that beautiful sunset, admire its beauty and take it in. And feel a part of it—because that same dirt that that moon is made from, that that sun is made from, you are made from.
And you want to be free; you want to be free from all the encumbrances you feel, all the weight that you feel on you. And if somehow, this life could be, not about tomorrow, but about today—about where I give action to my thoughts.... And when I take those thoughts and convert them into actions, now they become irreversible, unchangeable.
And I just want to feel good—that I lived for contentment, that I lived for happiness, for joy—that I lived for those reasons that are worth living! And I understood why I am here. That it wasn’t a mystery; that I didn’t live in this mystery, but I lived in clarity.
And it was obvious. Huh? “Obvious,” yeah, that’s the keyword, obvious. Not that somebody told me—and so I believed it: “I read it in a book, so I believe it.” No, it became obvious—clear. And then, living this life is (taah) so simple—becomes full of joy.
So, is that the way it is for me every day? No. All of those other things, all of those things of this: “What’s going to happen here; what’s going to happen here; who said that, person said that; oh, well, what’s this; what’s that...?”
But when I am not in that, and I have that moment of clarity.... You see, clarity isn’t about hours, and clarity isn’t about minutes, but a moment will do—because its consequences are long; the effects of that clarity are long.
That I can feel that I am alive, that I live. And I regard that feeling of being alive as the most precious feeling. That it’s important to me. That I understand that my little world revolves around that, of being alive. Then I know. Then I understand. Then it’s okay. Now I don’t have to look.... And I don’t have to drown in the sea of “why.”
“Why, why this; why that; why that; why that; why....” Because “why,” it—hey, when I was little, maybe it started off as “Why, why, why do I have to do this; why do I have to do that; why is the moon there, why is the sun there; why is the earth round; why is this; why the….”
Oh, no, no, no, no, no, and then by the time I get older, it—all that changes to “Why, why am I sad; why...?” See, it gets—from wondering what moon is like—and “why the moon...?”
Because somebody asked that—that’s, somebody asked that question. And it’s like, “The universe doesn’t care. Why am I here?” Why are you here; you don’t know? Because obviously, there is a reason. This much you must understand.
The person actually wrote, it’s like, you know, “The universe doesn’t care.” It’s not about the universe, my friend. It’s about you looking at the universe that matters. This is what has been made possible—not the universe looking at you, you looking at the universe.
This is what it’s about. Me being alive; you being alive. Us understanding our existence. This is the beautifulness, the beauty, the joy! Every day, to wake up to this possibility. Every day, wake up—to wake up! Because everything else that we associate with, everything else that we give as a “meaning to our lives” with, that’s not it. That’s not it.
Somebody once brought a very expensive car. And I said, “Oh, what a nice car you have.” (And I, I’m into cars; I like cars.) And that person said to me, “So, should I be driving one of these?” (It was a, rather an expensive car.) And I said, “You look good in it. Why not? Absolutely, if that’s what you want to do, do it.”
But it’s not about that. That’s not the reason why your life is important. Because you run a big business, that’s not the reason.... Is there a problem running a big business? No. It’s all about all of that that you do—but also do that that has become a possibility because you are alive on the face of this earth.
So, what is that? That is you, (not your kin, not your friend), but you filled with joy.
Yeah, somebody, it’s like, “Oh, yeah, you know...?” But I see people—and sometimes they’re devastated because they’ve lost everything they had. This one guy, a long time ago, came to me and he says, “Oh, I’ve got a problem.” And I said, just said, “But yes, what’s your problem?” And he said, you know, “I lost my business.”
I said, “Umm, tell me something. You were born with this business?” And he goes, “No, no, no, I built it up.” And I said, “I bet you learnt a lot, building it up, huh?” He goes, “Oh, yeah, I learnt a lot; I made a lot of mistakes.” So I said, “Good. You learnt a lot—now do it again. Do it again—build your business up—and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes; you will do it quicker.”
So, he looked at me like, you know, “Okay.” And I said, “But there’s something else. You think you are here for this business? That your happiness is associated with this business? It’s not.
“Your happiness has something to do with you, with your resources that are within you. And if you can find them—and you can find the joy that resides in you, then you can run your business—and you will not be looking for that one thing that your business can never give you. You will not be looking at this world for what this world can never give you.”
And that is, my friends, that clarity, that joy, that fulfillment. This world, there’s nothing.... I mean, the world can give you a lot of good things. Umm-umm, you know, ice cream is pretty good. Oh, and yeah, samosas, those are good. Pecan pie, that’s great.
But there’s something greater than all of that. And it is buried in every breath that you take, in your existence. When you look up to this universe with bewilderment, with fascination, with “Wow,” that’s what it’s all about. When you can turn to the universe within—and go, “Wow,” then you got it. Then you have it. Then that’s what it is all about.
That’s what true freedom is. Free—because you know the source of you, of your joy. Now you’re free to choose. Ah, you’re free to choose. And choose wisely, my friend. Choose that which you are made for.
Live your life in that joy that has been made possible because you are alive—just that, because you’re alive. Be fulfilled because you’re alive. See that clarity because you’re alive. Know that beauty because you are alive. And be free from the slavery of ignorance. Ignorance—that you don’t know what you have buried within you, not knowing all the treasures you carry within you.
Pretty soon the Peace Education Program is going to be ready, so that’s going to be coming on. Again, looking at all the countries that are going to start opening up, looking at the possibility of traveling....
And I want to—I want to come and see you all. And I want to look into your eyes—and I want to see your smile; I want to see your smiling eyes.... And that would be wonderful. And this is what I am looking forward to.
Of course, I have to do it judiciously; I don’t want anybody to get sick from this. And not, certainly, from my actions—I mean, still it is the same thing: “Don’t give it to anyone and don’t get it from anyone,” just to exercise that caution.
And, you know, and it’s not a big deal. We can do things if we know where to look for that joy inside of us. And that you could be busy being happy. How’s that; how’s that? In this life, in this world, you should always, always, always be busy being happy.
So, thank you very much. And I’ll talk to you soon. Take care; be well; be safe. Most importantly, be.
A Message of Hope
Ipswich Times Interview with Wendy Hughes
Journalist, Ipswich Times
What is different in Australia—I know you talk in prisons, and you do the PEP program, and you’ve been to some very poor countries.... But is there a need for peace in just, middle Australia, the people that are struggling to pay their bills and—is there a place for your message with them as well?
Yes, because, you know, we come in this world. There are two things that are given, one that we were born—and the other one is, one day we have to go. And the drama, trauma and everything is between those two walls. [Wendy: Umm-hmm.]
And, to me, once you understand the preciousness of life, the preciousness of every day, it only would make sense to understand, “Now, how can I take advantage of it to the max?”
Yeah. I look at the “Peace is Possible” message—[Prem: Umm.] and I saw the big artwork that’s in London. And I just think that’s such a beautiful, succinct three words, isn’t it? [Prem: Yes.] It sounds beautiful and it looks beautiful, and I imagine that everyone that sees that must go, “Ah, well, that’s hopeful. [Prem: Yeah.] That I’m glad I saw that in my day.”
But, do you really think that it is possible? Do you think that it’s—do you truly believe that we could have a peaceful planet one day?
Well, let’s take a look at that—that’s a very interesting question. Because I’ve thought about this, and people have asked me that: “Do you really think [Wendy: Umm-hmm!] peace is possible?”
So, there are things in this world that happen that make us believe that “maybe not.” But those things that make us believe “maybe not,” are they something that dropped out of the sky, or are they created by us?
And I have looked at it—and I see that “These are things that are created by us.” So that’s good news—because if they’re created by us, we can change them. [Wendy: Yeah.] And that’s where peace is possible. [Wendy: Nice.] Because the quest for peace comes from within us. [Wendy: Yeah.]
We have a history of war. We don’t examine the history of peace. [Wendy: Umm. Yeah.] But there have been longer periods of time of peace on this planet Earth than there have been of war.
Why do people focus on the negative? Yeah, how do you get everyone to slow down when our lives are all geared to be fast? And we’ve got appointments and we’ve got our phones, and everyone’s tapped into this bigger thing all the time; well, how on earth...?
Well, and what I have found—is that if we focus on you, me.... [Wendy: Umm.] Socrates, a long time ago, said, “Know thyself.” What does that mean? “Know your self.” We know our phone—do we know our selves? We know our responsibilities—but do we know our selves? We know what we should be doing—but do we know our selves?
And the thing is, you can have a lovely map—and most detailed map you can possibly imagine—but if you don’t know where you are on that map, how are you going to get wherever you want to go? [Wendy: Umm-hmm.] And that’s what knowing yourself is about. And once you start knowing yourself and understanding who you are, you start to see the relationship of everything around you.
The reality is never going to change—you were born one day, and one day you have to go. And between these two walls is this beautiful thing called “life.” And the thing is, to even understand that—you will. When you get really close to that wall, you’ll get it. [Wendy: Umm, wow, yeah, really?] Because I’ve seen that since I was a little kid.
It sounds like you had a, quite an extraordinary childhood—[PR: Yes.] that, and not many people on this planet would have experienced.
Well, at four years, I was already talking about peace to people. [Wendy: Wow.] And getting up on the stage and telling people these things....
That in itself is extraordinary. Like, well, and where did that inspiration come from?
Well, it happened.... Well, it came from within me. [Wendy: Umm-hmm?] I felt that—that there was something more than just the drama and the games and the, everything else. That everything was bigger than I could have perceived at that time. And I liked it; I liked it that it was beautiful.
You know, a lot of people can go into, “What is it that was...?” But to me, it wasn’t like I could figure out what it was.
So it was like, I loved the idea of peace—and if somebody was to ask me “Why?” I couldn’t tell them why—but I was enamored with peace. [Wendy: Umm.]
But what I was telling people is not much different than what I say today. [Wendy: Wow!] “That this is your life. [Wendy: Yeah.] You have been given an opportunity; this is a gift that you have been given. And the possibilities—of all the possibilities that are possible, one of them is that you can have peace in your life.” [Wendy: Umm.]
Because I still believe that. I mean, it’s not even a belief; I know that. I know that; I’ve experienced it.
What keeps you doing that now? You know, what keeps you getting up every day and doing this?
It’s that, it may appear very tiny, but the consequences of it are very big. When you can bring a smile to somebody’s face, (because you have the ability to), when you can cause somebody to think, when you can bring some sense of relief to a person—not everybody has that.
You know, and there are people who can sing—I can’t sing. There are people who can sing, and they can sing beautifully. And they bring something to that person. There are people who can play piano; this, magnificent—violin, magnificent. Paintings. Everybody has a gift.
Mine just happens to be—that I can bring something: contemplation, thought about peace, a reality about life.
You know, and I was—this is one of the things that I was explaining to them. It was like, “Look, there’s a rule.” And the rule is, “If you bring one lit candle and one unlit candle together”—[Wendy: Umm!] and this is the rule—“the unlit candle won’t put out the lit candle, but the lit candle will light the unlit candle.”
And, yeah. And yeah, that’s great. Umm-hmm.
Because it, that’s, [Wendy: Umm-hmm.] that’s what you have to become; you have to become a lit candle. [Wendy: Mmm.]
And so many of the inmates who are going through the Peace Education Program, then after they graduate from it, they actually end up becoming facilitators for other people.
Yeah. It’s a fact that there’s a huge population at some of those big prisons—that obviously, something’s broken somewhere that has led them to be in prison, [Prem: And yeah.] but in such great numbers. Is peace something that can solve that problem as well?
Yes, because—I think the number must be something like ninety-five percent of them say, “If we had this [Wendy: On the outside, umm....] outside, I’d not be here.” [Wendy: Yeah.]
And they plead with us, “Take this to our families.” [Wendy: Yeah.] This is the gift they want to send from prison to their families, so that they will not end up walking the same path and end up in these prisons.
Umm, umm-hmm. And how many prisons have you taken the program to now?
Well, it’s going to.... [Paul Bloomfield: Hundreds and hundreds—I mean, there’s nearly a thousand.]
Really! [PR: And, yeah!] Wow. [PB: Must be, yeah.] Umm, that’s incredible.
But it’s not just in prisons—the veterans coming from the war [Wendy: Yeah.] have been going through it. Because they come home; they’re totally devastated. [Wendy: Ummh!] You know, there is no ticker-tape parade for them.
It’s like, they realize it’s, they’re coming to a country in which people don’t even have any sense of what just, what they went through. [Wendy: Umm, mmm.] And they’re devastated. And they’re going through the Peace Education Program.
In England.... And in Zonderwater, in—I mean, in South Africa, it’s destined to go to every single prison. [Wendy: Umm.] And people see—people see the difference.
And this all got picked up by the University of San Antonio, Texas. Because in San Antonio, the Peace
Education Program was happening, and the university is very interested in monitoring all the programs. And they looked at all the programs and they looked at all the statistics, and they said, “This program has the least rate of return. What’s going on?”
So I ended up going there to San Antonio and talking to all the professors, and so on and so forth. And the professor said—and this was actually on the second trip—he said, “I get it. I think I get it. Your message is about you—and like, not about me, but about you, about the individual: ‘Know thyself.’” No other program addresses that. [Wendy: Umm-hmm!]
Because, when the inmates come, they’re blaming everybody else. [Wendy: Yeah.] “Oh, my family got me here; the judge got me here; the police got me here; the this got me here; the that got me here.” But they’re not looking at themselves.
And this program causes them to look at themselves, and as soon as they start looking at themselves, the transformations begin.
A few pennies drop.
Too many pennies drop, I think. [Wendy: Oh, but that’s amazing....] But that’s the power of it.
Yeah. [Prem: Yeah.] It’s very nice; it’s great. One more question—I was told that you like food—and a bit of a foodie?
Well, I—yes, I do. Absolutely, I do. [Wendy: Do you cook or...?] Yes, yes, I do, yes.
Really? What things do you cook?
I like to.... Well, I know a few basics, so that’s one thing—but I like to innovate, invent: “What can I do; how can I take a dish and [Wendy: Make it your own.] make it my own?” So, I’ll tell you a little story—this is a cute little story.
There’s a person in South Africa, a very dear friend of mine. And so she comes to me one day and she goes, “Prem, you’ve got to help me.” And I said, “What?” She says, “I’ve joined this club,” (it’s a cooking club), “and I don’t know anything about cooking. And I have got to submit a dish....”
So I realized what was going to happen here—that she was asking me to cook something. [Wendy: Yeah.] So I said, “Okay, I’ll make you a dish.”
So, of course, I made her the dish, and sent it to her and—she entered it with her name. [Wendy: And she won!] She won the first prize. People were eating it, [Wendy: Oh.] going, “Oh my God, you know, how, [Wendy: Wow.] and what is the recipe behind this?” And of course, she didn’t know. [Wendy: Oh, oops. Umm, funny....]
So, I—and she told me that and I said, “Well, now you have to learn how to cook yourself.”
Yeah, yeah, umm.
I think that cooking is very nice, because I think everybody should be aware of what they’re putting in their mouth. [Wendy: Yeah.] You know, and since God has given the ability to taste, “Let’s put something together that’s truly unique, that’s you—your signature, that you can do.”
Stories for Life
Author Event, Munich, Germany
All stories begin with “once upon a time.” The story that I really want to tell you also begins like this, but there is a small difference—and the difference is, “Once upon this time, there lives you.”
You have a story that you have been writing since you were born, but you haven’t read it. You are part of this story that is incredible, unbelievable. For you to be alive today means something—and it is greater than the sum of all the things you have accomplished; it is greater than your ambitions, and yet somehow we’re not even aware of what this possibility is.
To find out, to know this possibility, has to be the greatest story ever told, so far you are concerned.
Is this a story about sadness? Only if you decide to write it so. Because it is destined to be a story about success, if you let it play out. When we look back, millions and millions and millions and millions and millions of species contributed to this story.
Over billions of years of transformation, from that algae from the ocean, to making it possible to come to land, and going through all the problems of being on dry land, not being in water—we actually encompass that in this being. The position of the eyes, the position of the ears, the way our skin is, where our heart is, how the body could be—and all of this has come together to allow a story to take place.
We share nothing in common with each other except for one thing—like all stories, (like all stories, like every story), this story too has a beginning and an end. But no story is about the beginning and no story is about the end. The story is what happens from the beginning to the end.
And today we look at the world and we say, “Oh, look, look at this problem; these people are fighting.” Yes, there are people fighting. But there are a lot more people who are? Not fighting.
The rule of predators—you know the rule of predators? The rule of predators are, (or is), there don’t get to be that many predators—and very few. They get to be predators; they get to be on top of the food chain—but there are a lot more wildebeest than there are lions. There are a lot more wildebeest than there are alligators.
End of the day? Wildebeest will go on. And they will cross that river like they have, many, many times. It will happen again and again and again.
And us. Somebody asked me once—it was about three years ago, “What will happen? What will happen?” And she was a politician; she just said, “What, what will happen?” I said, “People will win.”
Because there is a lot of goodness in this world—that’s why you are here, interested in peace. People say, “We have been fighting—and fighting and fighting and fighting for a long time”—actually that is not true.
Some of the recent discoveries that have been made—most people actually opted for peace. And assimilation, when they had plenty, (to eat)—when they had plenty to eat, assimilating different societies, different people who were hungry was not a problem. We welcomed them, “Come on in.” And that’s why these cities went “Powkh!”
It’s only when the river would start to change its course, or the water became very difficult to have, where you couldn’t have irrigation, this is when people would have the wars. This is when people would have the fights.
So, when things were good, it is the nature of human beings to welcome. Because we do. Look, this is how we are. So, yes, we can know so much in our lives, but do we understand who we are? Do we understand what is the meaning of this breath?
I say this. Just recently I was in Delhi, (just before Pune, I was in Delhi)—and I did an event and there were 200,000 people at that event. And then last year, I had done an event; there were four hundred thousand people at that event. And I said to them; I said, “Do you know the meaning of this breath?” It was beautiful, just hush, shhh....
So, when you were born—when you were born in that room, as you had come out.... I know you don’t think of yourself as that, you know—there are people here I see who shave; there are people here who have a beard; who trim their beard. It takes a little bit of doing every day; they’re looking good; they’re looking smart—you all look good; you all look smart—ladies included, you know?
So, there you were, totally naked, slimy, wet—and everybody’s focus was on one thing. Not if you were a boy or you were a girl, only on one thing: “Are you breathing or not?”
Then the doctor will take a pump syringe and put it in your mouth, suck out the water—“Are you breathing—or not?” Then if that doesn’t do it, hold you upside down and “Whack.”
Now that whack is not to teach you a lesson. That whack is to jostle you into “cry.” You cry; you need to breathe. And obviously, you took that breath. You are here.
Had you not taken that breath—and if you were born in a hospital—if you had not taken that breath, guess what? You were not going home. You got to go home, courtesy...?
And the first one is amazing; it always comes in—has to. It comes in.
And all the time you’re going to be alive, that breath is going to come in, and it’s going to go out, and it’s going to come in, and it’s going to go out, and it’s going to come in. And you won’t even know how many times. And you will fall asleep and it’ll be happening. And you will do all your entertaining and it’ll be happening. And you will do your thinking and it’ll be happening.
And you will be crying and it will be happening, and you will be laughing; it will be happening—and it’ll be happening and it’ll be happening. Like a good friend, through good times and bad times, it’ll be there with you, bringing you, every step of the way, the gift of life every day.
And then?—like a good story, it will have an ending. Then there will be that time—and then the last breath you will take will not be breath in, but it’ll be the breath out.
So, somehow you share a story—and the story begins with that breath coming in, and it ends with that breath going out. And in between is the saga that you get to write every single day.
Do you want to explore of what you are all about? Then let me tell you, you have in you, the ocean of answers. And why should you know that you have this beautiful ocean of answers in you—is because, on those days when things are hot and you are tired, you can turn within and feel the cool breeze and see the clear waters of understanding of the self.
Because there will be those times; there will be those times when things are not going right. There will be those times when things are not going according to your plan; there will be those days when you don’t have enough meat—and reaching into tomorrow seems elusive. And all that you try to do, it doesn’t really look like the road you have taken goes anywhere—there will be those days.
We need to know who we are. Who we are, what this breath is, what this possibility is. To know that even though we experience our problems within us, the solutions to our problems are also within us. These, my friends, are not empty words; I stand behind them.
This book represents a small effort to convey to you again and again and again.... There are people who have never come here and ever listened to me live. And one of these gentlemen told me that he keeps my book, (I know him), keeps my book right next to his night bed stand. Something is bothering him; he just picks it up and finds an appropriate story, reads it—and it gives him some solace, gives him some comfort.
I hope that you find that comfort in this book—because in this navigation of life, on this journey of life, it’s important to live this life comfortably inside, feeling good inside, because this life deserves nothing less.
Los Angeles, USA
Gratitude is extremely important. And why is it important? I mean, of course, we all know gratitude, right? You know what gratitude is. We’ve been taught “gratitude” since we were very young—“Say ‘Thank you.’” Is that gratitude? (“Say ‘Thank you’”?)
A little kid—the mother, the father: “Say ‘Thank you.’” The unfortunate thing is that for so many of us, that’s all we know of gratitude. We don’t know any more!
And today, I’d like to open up a whole another world to you, and it’s called “the world of gratitude.” Because what does it take to feel gratitude?
First of all, gratitude is a feeling—and a feeling cannot be coerced. Either you feel it—or you don’t feel it. It’s not one of those things, “Sit down—and let me talk you into hunger.” Hunger is, either you feel hungry or you don’t feel hungry. Thirst is, either you feel thirsty or you don’t feel thirsty. Happiness is, either you feel happy or you don’t feel happy.
So, for a lot of people, when it comes to this one thing of gratitude, it’s a mystery—“What are you talking about? Yeah, of course I have gratitude; I say ‘Thank you’ all day long! When the flight attendant brings me the horrible food, I say ‘Thank you’”—and you don’t even know where it’s been.
And there are so many people who keep telling you about “recycle, recycle, recycle—and that’s good; that’s green.” And is this food recycled too? And there’s something suspicious about it because all the galleys are so close to the bathrooms. (And in India that would be a no-no—you cannot have a bathroom close to anywhere you’re preparing food.)
So, we say “Thank you.” We haven’t tasted the coffee, (and the coffee might be horrible), and we say “Thank you.”
“Have a great flight!” (How do you know? Are you a meteorologist; are you the captain?) And where is the turbulence? You know, did the captain get a good sleep last night? Is he feeling okay? Is it the copilot’s turn to fly? But “Have a good flight,” and you go “Thank you; I will.” So we think, somehow, we can just talk ourselves into gratitude, feeling thankful—but that’s not the case.
So, what would make you thankful? Is there something naturally going on inside of you that would make you thankful? Is true gratitude a head thing or a heart thing?
You’re thinking, aren’t you? I can hear you thinking; I can hear you going, “Nobody has ever asked me that question, ‘Is gratitude a heart thing or a head thing?’” Because your contact with gratitude has been a head thing—and that’s not the gratitude I’m talking about. Those are good manners. Manners has nothing to do with gratitude. Otherwise, the word “thank you....”
Say, you are in a situation which is horrible—horrible situation—and somebody gives you a glass of water—you’re not even thirsty—and he says, “Drink it.” Should you say “Thank you”? Shouldn’t you say “Thank you”? (You’re thinking again, aren’t you?) And that’s a million miles away from gratitude—has nothing to do with the situation.
It is not that you are rich, that you should be thankful, and it is not that you are poor, that you should be thankful. It is not that you are healthy, you should be thankful; it is not that you are sick, you should be thankful. It is not that you are young, you should be thankful; it is not that you are old, you should be thankful.
It is not any of these things. Gratitude happens when you realize in your life, what you have been given—innately, without requesting, without pushing a button, without making a call, without putting a request form in—so, what have you been given? You have been given life.
If you’re here and you’re listening to what I am saying—and you hear my words, obviously, you’re alive. And if you are alive, do you recognize what that means? That that is the first gift that you have been given for which you need to be thankful for.
And when you feel that life, when you feel like you are alive, you don’t have to create gratitude—the gratitude naturally flows from within you. And this is the essential gratitude—the basic, the core gratitude. The real gratitude, the true gratitude.
And without it, you cannot even begin to truly enjoy your existence. All you live in then is a peril of all these dualities, all these ideas, all these definitions which keep changing, year to year to year to year.
Today, I go around the world and people talk to me about peace and I talk to them about peace. For the life of me, one thing I have not been able to understand is, “How can it be that, well, this is an English word—it’s simple; it’s called ‘peace’—and nobody has any idea what it means?” How can that be?
But here we are, and in this world is so much crazy stuff.... “Gratitude?” Shouldn’t I be talking about how you can press an acupuncture point on your body and it completely relaxes you when you see the headlines of the newspaper? Shouldn’t I be talking about some antidote that you could use when you accidentally turn on the television and happen to just flash through a news channel?
No, because in reality, because you are alive, the most beautiful thing is happening, even with all the craziness in this world. And it can get ten times crazier. And even then, in the midst of all the craziness, there is something beautiful taking place.
And the greatest message in that, is that “Even in the middle of this craziness, there is sanity. Even in the darkness, there is light.”
There is a truth that remains defiant to all the lies that one faces in their life. That there is a power in the power of this breath, that this breath comes into you, even though you are surrounded by all those things that would steal it—defiant.
That there is a wisdom inside of you that defies all the ignorance that you may be surrounded with. There is a light inside of you that defies all the darkness around you. There is a well inside of you that is perpetually full of beautiful, clean, sweet water, and it defies all the droughts around it.
And the day you discover this well, the day you discover this wisdom, the day you discover this light, the day you discover this beauty, you will be filled with gratitude—and that will be the truest, most real gratitude there is.