There was an aborigine tribe in Australia. And one day the tribespeople got together with the chief and said, “Chief, the winter is coming. Is it going to be a really cold winter?” And the chief said, “Okay, I’ll have an answer for you in a few days.”
So he goes, finds a phone, calls up the Met Office and says, “Is it going to be a cold winter?” And the Met Office said, “Oh, yes, it’s going to be a cold winter, we think.” He comes back, says, “Oh, it’s definitely going to be a cold winter, and you’d all better start collecting wood, so you can light the fires and stay warm.” So they all go out and they collect wood.
A few weeks later, as they have been collecting wood, they go back to the chief, and they say, “Chief, how cold is it going to be?” The chief says, “I’ll get back to you.”
He calls up the Met Office, and he says, “And how cold is it going...?” He says, “It’s going to be really cold. It’s going to be really cold.” So he tells all the tribes, “Well, you better go collect more wood! It’s going to be really, really cold!”
A few weeks later the crowd gets together again, “Chief, really, exactly how cold is it going to be?” This chief calls up the Met Office, “So, how cold is it going to be?” The Met Office says, “We don’t really know exactly how cold it’s going to be. But every time we see through the satellite the aborigines collecting the wood, we know it’s going to be really cold.”
So, one triggers the other! One is going for the other. And this is what happens in our lives.
Because, if you want to begin to understand what hope is, you have to begin to start to understand what “today” is. Now, how do you understand today!?
So, if you want to experience “today,” then from today, remove yesterday and tomorrow, and you will be left with today. And you will find that today is more profound that you ever imagined.
- Prem Rawat
So, how do I understand “hope” in my life? How do I realize hope? Very easy, very simple. There are four points—and of course, the first point is, “Know thyself; that’ll bring you peace.” “Know thyself” will bring you peace. And the other three points will improve the quality of your life, will bring you happiness.
So, again, the first point is, “Know yourself.” Second point is, “Have gratitude in your life.” Third point, “Don’t care about what other people think of you.”
So, “My God!” you know? The thing is, what you have to realize—that person isn’t thinking about you. You know what they’re thinking about? They’re thinking about what other people think about them.
They’re not thinking about you; it’s just that you, you are caught up in this little silly game of thinking about, “Oh, what’s that person thinking about me?” They don’t care. They really could care less! But we create this whole thing.
So, anyways—and then the fourth thing: “Every time you fail, don’t accept failure.” This is about hope! And people look at me like, “Huh? Every time I fail, don’t accept failure? I, I’ve been accepting failure all my life. How can I not accept failure?”
The thing is, when you are a baby learning how to walk, you failed many, many times. Because here is a peculiar situation. You, you want to learn how to walk! Obviously, you can’t read. And you like your mother’s voice but don’t understand really what she’s saying....
And here you are. You have to accomplish what you have never done before. And no amount of training can be given to you. You cannot go onto your iPad, onto YouTube, and try to write in a URL “teach me how to walk,” because you don’t know how to type yet.
And it’s just up to you. So you get up—shaky, very shaky because your legs are not—the muscles aren’t built up enough to let you walk. And you get up, and you’re shaky, and you try to take the step, and you fall down. And if that was you today, you would go, “I tried. I failed? I don’t want to talk about it.”
Right? Complete shut-down. “Failure accepted”: boom! Door closed! “Don’t remind me of it. It’s a bad day. It was a terrible day. I don’t want to remember this day. I failed.”
No! Just because you wouldn’t accept failure, you saw hope. And you got up, and you tried again.
But you still didn’t.... And you failed. But you still didn’t accept failure. What you were left with—when you don’t accept failure, what are you left with? You’re left with hope!
And all this time, because you kept accepting hope and rejecting failure.... As soon as you take away “failure” from “fail,” “fail” doesn’t carry that much power anymore. But if you have “failure” coupled with “fail,” ooooh, that’s everything. That’s everything!
But you will fail, because there isn’t an instruction manual for everything in this life. There will be things happening to you and around you that you will face, that you have never come across. And whether it is in a hurry that you make those decisions, or unknowingly make those decisions, you may make a decision that is wrong and you fail....
And you fail—and it’s okay. Nothing in the world changes; nothing in the world says, “Uh-uh, uh-uh, uh-uh-uh!” No! Nothing changes; get up and move! Up to you—or stay there. Up to you.
- Prem Rawat
In my life, in your life, the quintessential miracle exists. Just because we have an inability to see it, experience it, feel it, does not mean it isn’t there. And having said that—having said that, you are quite capable of feeling that miracle in your life every single day.
What does it take? There is a subtlety. There is a subtlety. We always assume when something is good, it’s the big flashing lights; it’s the big driving sound. But actually, if you want to feel what is within you, you are going to have to be very, very quiet. Do you know how to be quiet? Have you ever been quiet?
See, for most of us, "Yeah, I didn’t speak for five minutes; I was quiet." Something else was speaking! "De-de-de-de, de-de-de-de, de-de-de-de, de-de-de-de, de-de-de-de, de-deh. Did you, we, what-what about this? Well, I have.... Have you been quiet; have you been quiet? Are you really quiet? I—are you really quiet? Are you quiet; are you quiet? Ah.... Do you feel quiet? I’ve been—you’re not speaking, so you must be quiet...."
We look at this world, we look at ourselves, we look at our lives, and the first thing we do is we compare: "How come that person is like that? How come I am not like that person?" Oh, it—oh, by the way, it goes both ways!
Oh yeah! There are people who are looking at another person for want of being rich—or they’re looking at a very “spiritual” person....
Because a lot of people come to me sometimes, and they say, “Oh, I wish I was like you.” And I’m like, “Why? Why do you want to be like me? You have no clue who I am! You have no clue what goes on in my head! Why do you want to be like me?" But, that's it: “Oh! You can talk about peace. I want to be like you."
That’s exactly the point—peace is nothing to talk about; peace is something that needs to be felt. Do you feel peace? Have you ever been quiet enough to feel peace? What if I was to tell you that, peace does not come from somewhere else; it comes from within you. And right now it is within you. With all your problems, it is within you.
First thing you must be dedicated to, is the joy that dances in your heart. The first thing you need to be dedicated to—is to be certain, not in doubt. To favor clarity in your life, rather than confusion. To be dedicated to knowledge, instead of ignorance. To be dedicated to being fulfilled, rather than empty.
And if you were dedicated to these, surely they will reward you by bringing you the most exquisite gift of peace, of joy, of understanding.
- Prem Rawat
It was a Greek philosopher who said once, “You are never happy if you get what you don’t want.” Tricky words. If you get what you don’t want, you’re not happy. And even if you get what you do want, you still won’t be happy because you won’t be able to keep it. That’s the problem.
So many families, finally they get everything going and the husband dies. “Oh, terrible, what’s going to happen now?” Children grow up too fast; they start bossing you around. You’ve been bossing them around? Wait! You will get a taste of your own medicine. They will boss you around. They will start telling you things.
You had the child because you wanted a child—because you thought all these beautiful, lovely thoughts about having a child, “How sweet the child will be.” And now you are going to be on your bed without a second of sleep, thinking, “Where are they? Why are they not home? It’s already past midnight. What are they doing?” You can’t keep it! Can’t keep it!
You finally got your promotion; you finally got your promotion that you had been waiting for, waiting for, waiting for. And after you have got your promotion, you realize that there are twenty other people wanting the same chair. The one before, there were only five wanting that chair. This one, twenty more....
And if you go to the next one, it’ll be forty more, and if you go to the next one it’ll be a hundred more. And now it’s a matter of, you make one mistake—one mistake—and your chair is gone; promotion is gone. Because you can’t keep it! You can’t keep it; you can’t keep it; you can’t keep it.
Because there is a change afoot, and you don’t like changes. You don’t want changes; you don’t want anything to change. You, even though you want your son who is three years old to grow up, you don’t! You want that child to just stay that way. And you want your wife who’s so pretty to stay that way. And you want your husband who is young to stay just that way.
But everything is changing, changing, changing, changing, changing—and so are you. But you don’t know. Why don’t you know? Because you don’t know yourself. You know your friends; you know your neighbors; you know other people, but you don’t know you.
That’s what Socrates says, “Know thyself.” Knowledge of the self! “All knowledges are good; knowledge of the self is the supreme.” When you know yourself, now you know who you are.
– Prem Rawat
But what is a conflict? You see, conflict does not begin on the outside; conflict begins inside. The war begins in the minds of human beings, and then you see the outside expression.
And what is the outside expression? Innocent people die, destruction, lives and families ruined, prosperity gone. All the things that we don’t want become the outside expression of the conflict that is inside the human beings.
First thing, first thing…we have to learn how to respect. Respect who? First, you have to learn how to respect yourself. Now, most people think “respect” is good manners: “Oh, hello, how are you, thank you very much,” smile, this and that....
That’s just manners, good manners. There’s nothing wrong with good manners, but respect is different. It’s more than just manners. And that respect has to begin with you. When you respect yourself, then you can respect other fellow human beings.
Right now, people are ready to kill each other because of differences of opinion. “You believe in this; I believe in this. I don’t like you; I’m going to kill you.” Well, what is the point of your belief if it is destroying other human beings? What is the point of having something that promotes conflict, when just as easily you can have the peace which resides inside of you?
You know, is darkness truly far away from light or light far away from darkness? No! It’s like one coin: one side is darkness; the other side is light. Which one are we picking?
Religion has its place. Absolutely, religion has its place, and politics has its place. But so does humanity. You are human, first. If you lose your humanity, you lose everything. Then you become poor; then you become weak.
But so far that, on the face of this earth, we do not lose our humanity, we will be strong enough to help each other.
– Prem Rawat