I think it’s also gotten a lot more difficult to get in touch with who we truly are because of the sheer noise of life—technology, opportunity. The desire to know oneself is sort of trendy today. And I think that, in and of itself is overwhelming for people.
So, how do you tap in? What would be the first step?
You’re absolutely right! People are so caught up in everything else that they have forgotten who they are. And so our journey must begin with first establishing base with ourselves—not with other things, not with other solutions, but with us, with us, just as an individual, just as who you are.
Continuing onscreen text:
Jessica Zweig, Host of The SimplyBe Podcast.
Interviews Prem Rawat, Author & Global Peace Ambassador
The SimplyBe. Podcast is a collection of conversations about building a business by knowing WHO YOU ARE at your core, and showing up as your true, unapologetic, authentic self.
Jessica interviews thought leaders, CEOs, and some of the most magnetic personal brands of today.
A Common Thread
Welcome to my show Prem; thank you so much for being with me today.
It’s a great pleasure to be with you and with your audience and to share some insights. I’ve been doing this for quite a long time, and it’s just wonderful to help people all around the world who need help, who want to take some help.
I could not agree more. And it is; the honor and privilege is mine. I know you have a prolific career, over fifty years traveling the globe, speaking in over 250 cities, probably more, on this topic of peace and the universal desire that we all have for it. And I’d love for you to speak to that—why, why peace, Prem?
Well, but, you know, so much of the education that we receive.... Because everything that we think we know is really something that has been added to us; this is not fundamentally what we knew when we were born.
We knew one thing when we were born, which is, "Give a cry if you need something, and if you are happy, go to sleep." And that’s how our lives actually started. And then it’s like, "Oh, I have to do this; I have to accomplish this; I have to succeed in this." All this was learnt later on.
And what does it mean when we learn all these things? Do we make a separation between these things and who we are? We don't! We think, "This is my idea; this is what I have to do." [Jessica: Umm.] And on we go!
And then, before you know it, we find ourselves in a very complicated situation. And the situation might be that we even have a job that’s bringing home the bread and butter, but we hate it; we hate it. And we hate going to our work every single day.
And there we are, caught in this paradox of “What do I do now?” Because I know that I have to get bread and butter home; maybe there are other people in my household who are relying on me to bring that bread and butter home, but something in me doesn’t want to do it. I don’t enjoy what I’m doing; I don’t enjoy being who I am; I don’t enjoy—"This is too much pressure; this is too much...."
And a lot of people, they go, "Okay, ahh...." All of a sudden one day, they find themselves walking on a road. And they find that a shoe that they’re wearing is full of a very sharp rock.
And instead of taking the time to remove the rock from the shoe and comfortably go on walking, they are like, "Well, give me an aspirin; give me something that’ll take away my pain; give me a band-aid; give me something because this is horrible."
And somebody comes along and says, "Well, you know, why are you taking all this medication? Why are you doing all this? Do you know why you’re doing this, because you don’t have to. All you have to do is take away that rock that’s in your shoe, and you will be comfortable again."
And sometimes it sounds so simple when you say it, but it's so complicated. With all the challenges that we have in our life, we find ourselves nailed against the wall sometimes. And we’re looking for a solution out of this misery. And yet it's just like, the more solutions we look to, the more complex those solutions are.
You know, it’s like, "Okay, sit down in a room—and don’t think about anything." And it’s like, "Control your thoughts."
And I remember, when I first came—I was a teenager when I first came to America; I was thirteen years old. And people much older than me and much more educated than me would sit down and go, "Okay, how do I control my thoughts?"
I said, "Well, why do you want to control your thoughts? I mean, what do you think you’re going to gain by controlling your thoughts? Don’t you understand that the desire to control your thought is a thought in itself?" [Jessica: Right.]
You’re still attached to the thought, and you’re going to be sitting there in some room, going, "Am I controlling my thoughts? Have I controlled my thoughts? Have my thoughts gone away?" And you’re going to be thinking about your thoughts going away. And so, how have you become thoughtless? You’re not thoughtless; you're still thinking.
And that just goes to the quintessential essence of it. Because we need to understand who we are as a human being. And if we understand who we are as a human being, we can understand our limitations, and we can also understand our strengths.
And this is what we don't know; we don’t know our strengths, but we finally have learnt our limitations. [Jessica: Yeah.] And the world is frustrated because of that.
Right. Well, I think it's also gotten a lot more difficult to get in touch with who we truly are because of the sheer noise of life—technology, opportunity. The desire to know oneself is sort of trendy today. And there are all of these different ways in which we can explore that. And I think that, in and of itself is overwhelming for people.
So, how do you tap in? What would be the first step? Because I agree with you; it's really, really simple—but it's still so hard for people.
Yeah. And you know, it's like, in a way, exactly what you said and it's very true. But at the same time, it's like, "Well, I can't smell myself. I can smell the flowers and I can smell the bees and I can smell everything else, but I can't smell me."
And it's like, "Well, but excuse me. You don't know who you are? I mean, you are in you—and you are attached to you. And yet you are so alienated from you. How can that be?" Wait, what's going on here? What mirror are you looking at? Who are you looking at, if you cannot find yourself amidst this huge ocean?
And yet you are absolutely right. People are so caught up in everything else that they have forgotten who they are. And so, our journey must begin with first, establishing base with ourselves. Not with other things, not with other solutions, but with us, with us, just as an individual, just as who you are. Not how you should be—but who you are. [Jessica: Right.]
And begin with that—and that is the very first step.
Discovery Not Creation
Radio Interview Excerpt
Umhlobo Wenene FM Radio
Johannesburg, South Africa
Zizo and KCi
Interview Prem Rawat
Zizo Tshwete: I’d like to know, when you go around and you teach the principles of having peace, do you think it's important that the leaders of nations buy into the idea so that it filters through to the people, or do you speak more to individuals?
Well, let me just clarify one thing: I don't teach and I don't preach, and that's absolutely out of the question for me. All I want to do at most is to say things to people that will cause them, that will evoke something in them to start thinking for themselves, to start understanding, “Yes, peace has always been inside of me.” If I don't feel that peace, it is because of the obstacles that I have created, not somebody else has created. I have created for myself.
You know, distraction. You have to be attracted to a distraction. Because a distraction might be doing something, but then you get attracted to that distraction and that attraction takes you away from where you want to be attracted to. To be fundamentally sound, a building is built on a foundation. You don't see the foundation. Nobody decorates a foundation because it's buried. But the integral structure of that building, actually the integrity of that building depends not on what you actually see, but what is the foundation.
So, what is the foundation of a human being? You know, do you want to be happy? I don't see anybody going to any church, any temple, any God, and saying, “God, I've had too much fun. I'm too happy. Please do something to reduce this happiness.” When we get sad, we do do that. We say, “This is too much sadness. I want to get rid of sadness.” What does that tell you? That tells you that we like to be content, that we like to be happy, that we like to be in peace. We like to be in joy. We like to be in clarity.
And we don't like confusion. We don't like anger. We don't like fear. We don't like these things, but they're both in us absolutely.
I mean, if I may, I can tell you a little story, if that's okay. Once upon a time, there was a settlement. And in the settlement a lot of people were living and there was a chief. And one day the chief was approached by a young kid and he said, “Chief, I have a question. I'm confused. I have a question.” And the chief said, “What?” He says, “Sometimes I see that people are good. And sometimes I see the same people who are good, they are bad. How can this be? I mean, either a person is good or a person is bad.”
But he says, “No. Sometimes people are good. And then sometimes they're bad.” And the chief said, “That's because there are two wolves in us, a good wolf and a bad wolf. And they're fighting each other.” So, the boy thinks about it and said, “Why do they fight?” So, the chief says, “So they can have control over you. They can have supremacy over you.” So, the boy thinks about it and he says, “So, chief, tell me, which wolf is going to win?” And the chief said, “The one you feed.” Zizo Tshwete: Mm. Hmm. Prem Rawat: So we feed the bad wolf.
The bad wolf will get strong. And a lot of people think we should beat the bad wolf. Beating the bad wolf is not going to help the good wolf. The good wolf has to be fed. Doing things to the bad wolf is not going to help anything. And sometimes we just get caught up. And it's like, if we could just remove the darkness from the room, there will be light, right?
No. You know, you cannot take a bucket and try to remove the darkness and then hope there'll be light. No. Bring in the light and the darkness will automatically go away.
So, how do I get there somehow? Obviously, there'll be sacrifices along the way.
No, no sacrifices. Because you already have it. See, there's a huge difference in trying to create peace in your life and trying to discover peace in your life. And I'm talking about discovery, not creation. Anything that we have to create that means that is not in us already, but peace is in us already.
Wow, this is deep.
It’s more like finding peace in something that is already there.
Exactly. It's discovery. It's discovery, not creation.
We're lost. Why? Everything we look for on the outside—the goodness, outside. You will never find it. And that's what people are looking for. Peace on the outside—world, they don't want personal peace. They want world peace. And I tell them, “World doesn't need peace.”
The crows are perfectly happy; the squirrels are perfectly happy; mangoes are perfectly happy. And if there is somebody that is bothering the crows and the squirrel and the mango? It's you, us, nobody else, nothing else. You need peace.
But do you understand that necessity? Do you understand this need that you have to be in that part of yourself that is good, that is beautiful by nature, by design, by the very fact that yes, light is the opposite of darkness? Understand this relationship between darkness and light, and you will understand a lot in your life. Believe me, believe me. I started talking about peace when I was four years old. At nine years of age, my father passed away and I took over the responsibility of taking this message around the world. Since then, I have been doing this. I have talked to people; when I was young, people used to come to me and they would ask me these questions, and I would give them an answer, what I felt, what I understood. What I tell you today is so that you can benefit in your life, that this life that you have is the most precious thing there is. Nothing will be more precious than this life that you have. The tragedy, the tragedy is to have this life and not know it, to have the wealth and not recognize it, to have the Divine and never find it. That's a tragedy. That's a tragedy. Looking for what you always had and you never found it because you didn't need to look–you needed to discover.
You have these eyes; these eyes see everybody else's eyes, don't they? But do they see themselves? These eyes can see everybody else's face but not yours. How come? Ah, but if you have a mirror, if you have a mirror, then these eyes can see you too. Then these eyes can see themselves as well.
And this begins with understanding that when you are in that darkness, when you are in that pain, when you are in that suffering, understand something: that joy, happiness, that beauty, that light is not far from you.
- Prem Rawat
In our lives, we want to hear about how we can be prosperous, but really it takes a little bit of thinking. But there is no way that you can be prosperous without peace.
How many of you take baths? Thank you. How many of you like to go swimming in a swimming pool? So, it’s nice. It’s nice to be in that water. It’s nice. So, it’s nice to soak. It’s nice to swim in that water. Flex the muscles and feel that warmth or the coolness of the water. It’s refreshing, isn’t it? And how many of you would absolutely love to be in this beautiful Caribbean place – crystal clear water, cool wind, nice perfect temperature water, step into it and just float? Because of the salinity and feel the rejuvenation of the salt - and the water – and the wind. How many of you would do that?
Okay. So let’s take that one step further. So now I have established that you do like the ocean. If I were to take you and put you in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from any land, would you like that?
So wait a minute, here we go. We do like the water, but there has to be something that has to be available as the comfort factor. And that comfort factor is land.
Well! In my analogy, peace is that land. Prosperity is the water. It feels good; it’s warm; it’s cool; it’s this, it’s that. The waves, the frolicking, the this, the that. I mean all of that good stuff. That’s all fine. So far it is in the context of something because you are not water based. Even though seventy percent of you is water, but you are land based. You need to breathe the air. You need to be on the stability of earth.
Terra firma under your feet when all is said and done. And in the same way, peace, joy, tranquility, serenity, clarity, understandings are your “terra firma.” When you are with these, all is truly well. And you may venture away from this, only if you are able to come back to it. Because this has to be readily available at all times.
MC and host: [Sara Powell]
I just want to get straight stuck in if I may. Something that we’ve had a couple of questions about, and something that really spoke to me from what you said, was “the noise”—that chatter that is constantly there. And I wondered, “What’s the best strategy for coping with it? How do we quieten it down, the noise?”
Well, these are the questions you have sent—I mean, over 200 questions came in—and some of you who have, probably, cell phones that are from different countries, probably are still coming in through, you know, because they go round robin, yeah....
Yeah, you’ll be getting them till Wednesday, yeah!
And, yeah, exactly. So, the question is, where does this noise come from? I mean, who is the perpetuator of this noise; who is the generator of this noise, and where is the stage that it ultimately plays out on?
So, the stage where it ultimately plays out on is you! But where does it come from? Well, it is something that started a long, long time ago, right from your parents.
Because, whose voices are there? They are included too, and the friends are included, and the boss, and the friends, and the friends of the friends, and the, everybody who has two-cents-worth of advice, and it just gets recorded,
But then the question becomes, “Why did it get recorded? Who had the record button pushed in?” Right? And we allow this to happen. We don’t think we have a choice. Because we don’t live our lives by that tactile feel.
I was watching a show where they were showing this person who was challenged with the sight. And as he moved around the room, he had to feel everything—and where it was and how it was—and there were no assumptions.
And we, the ones who have eyes, are most likely to have that chair pulled out from underneath us or even miss the chair. But not this man, because he knows he has to have that feel. Every step that he takes in his life is taken deliberately. Not just, “Uh, let me see what’s over there.” Do we live our lives like that?
You know, and maybe the noise is a consequence of living a very unconscious life. That if there was a conscious life, then you would say, “Okay! Since I have a tape recorder....” Don’t fault the tape recorder, by the way. That’s really good that you have a tape recorder. It’s the content of the tape recorder that’s bad.
“So, can I put in nice stuff? If I’m going to have noise, let me have some really lovely noise, something that inspires me, something that gives me courage....” Because we all need courage. That’s why courage is there—hmm—because we need it!
Because in life, the mountains that you have to sometimes cross, that we have created for ourselves, are no ordinary hills. Mind you, they are indeed mountains of extraordinary proportions, and it requires nothing shy of courage to even take on the challenge to do so.
So, you know, this is, in a way, what I do. Because, you look at the Peace Education Program—and when it goes to the prisons, their voice, their tape recorder is going, “I am here, and it’s the fault of that person, and that person, and that person, and that person.”
And they go through the Peace Education Program, and they start to realize, “Hey, look at yourself.” And when they do, then they realize that they are standing at a threshold where they can change.
And it is no mistake or an accident that people who go through the Peace Education Program—at least, the inmates who go through the Peace Education Program—have the lowest rate of return back into the prisons.
So, we’re not inmates, are we? I mean, we’re not in a prison system, are we? The prison system you are currently in.... The other prison system, they’ll get out after two years, three years, four years, five years. The prison system you are in, you don’t get to get out till you die—sorry. Huh! You’re in for life.
Folks, it’s really time to start creating your heaven, because there are no options here. The wall is there—and there are no options! And getting rid of that noise and putting the nice noise on is up to you. It truly is—because you’re the one who is doing it: who’s buying into this noise and keeps: “Ah, push play again, please.” And, you know, and has it on “repeat,” so it just keeps repeating and repeating and repeating and repeating.
Life has the possibility of creating your own playlist—your playlist that you like. Do you want to accept that challenge? You know, the issue isn’t just the noise. We can replace it with something beautiful, something wonderful, something you like. Not what I like—you like! Because I want to create my playlist of something I like. You create your playlist, something you like.
- Prem Rawat
Who am I? Seventy percent water and I can talk? Seventy percent water and I can actually see things? Seventy percent water and I can think?
When was the last time water thinks? Does that come across the news: “We have thinking water.” And we have thinking water right here! So, who am I? This tourist that has to go one day? Who? What?
What is this life all about? Why do I want to be happy? I mean, well, what is this crazy thing: “I mean, well, I just want to be happy.” Even when I’m sad, I want to be happy. It’s not like when I’m happy, I want to be sad. Then I’m crazy. Then I need to see a psychiatrist.
But why is it, naturally, that when I am happy, I want to remain happy and when I am sad, I want to be happy? Clue? Sherlock Holmes, clue? What is the clue? That I am biased.
“Oh, but, and no human being is born with an instruction manual.” Maybe we don’t need it—because the instruction manual is obvious!
Nobody goes to the church, nobody goes to the temple, nobody goes to the mosque to pray to God, “Too much happiness; please take it away; I can’t stand it.” Too much sadness? “Oh, please, too much sadness; take it away.” Too much happiness? Not a problem. Too much joy, not a problem. Too much clarity, not a problem.
So if this is who you are, what have you done about it? If you are hungry, you need to eat! Or do you need a scientific discourse?
Socrates said, “Know thyself.” Why? Why? I mean, why know yourself? Isn’t your name enough—on a card? Isn’t it? Isn’t it?
But is that who you are? Somebody else had that name, and somebody else will have that name.
“Within you,”—the “Paras” is this mythical stone in India, that when you take this stone and touch it to metal, it’ll turn the metal into gold, the alchemist’s metal, the alchemist’s stone, the famous stone—“that that’s within you too, and the pearls are within you too, and the one who understands the value of these is also within you.” The appraiser is also within you.
“Within you resonates the silence”—the silence. “And within you springs the spring of hope, of joy, of knowledge, of wisdom.”
- Prem Rawat