How can a human being choose compassion over hatred? How can a human being choose love; how can a human being choose wisdom over ignorance? How can a human being choose light over darkness? How?
I have a story—it’s also in the book that has come out. And this story is about an archer. He goes from town to town, displaying his skill of his archery. And he’s very good, very good. He picks up an arrow and sends it, and it hits the target right in the bullseye. Next arrow whoosh—tears the first arrow apart.
People come from the villages, all stand there and clap, applaud him. And of course, this makes the archer feel very good.
One day he is exhibiting his skill, and all of a sudden everybody is clapping, applauding, “Wow, this is amazing! This is amazing!”—and he hears somebody singing at the top of their voice, singing, “It’s only a matter of practice.” Singing! “It is only a matter of practice.”
He did not like that. He’d like to think that he was the best! And it was special for him—and it wasn’t just a matter of practice, but it was him!
So, after the show was over, he went looking for who was singing, “It’s only a matter of practice.” So he goes, and he sees this man sitting there with two very large pots, very large clay pots full of oil in the front, in the back. A pole. And he says, “Were you singing?” And he goes, “Yes. I was singing.”
“So what do you mean, it’s a matter of practice? Don’t you see how many people come to see me? They come; they applaud. I am so special; I am…I am so good.” And he said, “Look. You are good at archery because you practice. Let me show you something that I practice.”
So he picked up a big clay pot of oil, took an empty bottle, put it down; picked up the big clay pot and poured oil from the big clay pot through the neck of the bottle and filled the bottle without dropping a drop. Then he said to the archer…he said, “Now, you try it.”
The archer said, “I understand. I could not do that. You practice pouring oil, and you are good at it. I practice archery; I am good at it.”
So my question is this: “What are you good at?” If you practice kindness, you will become good at kindness. If you practice compassion, you will become good at compassion. If you practice hate, you will become good at hate. What do you practice?
How long does it take you to become angry? How long does it take you to become disappointed? How long does it take you to lose hope? How long does it take you to doubt? Because if you do this, then this is what you’re practicing.
And more you practice, the better you will get. The better you get at the wrong thing, you will not realize your potential.
Today is your day. You can be kind. Today, you can live with completeness, with fullness. Today, you can live with understanding. Today, you can feel alive.
– Prem Rawat
If you have ever seen a magician perform—and you have to pay attention to how they do what they do—it’s very interesting.
Because whatever they do (if they’re hiding a coin or whatever), they distract you from what’s really happening, and they’ll do something else with the other hand, and you’re looking at that hand, whilst they’re doing what they’re doing.
And it’s so smooth that—you go, “Oh my God, what just happened? How did he do that? How did he produce, you know, this dollar bill out of his shirt?” I mean, you have to think. Yeah, And people will sit there and people will applaud.
And obviously, I mean, if he could do that for real—make hundred-dollar bills come out of his sleeve—why would he be doing this performance? He could be having a nice vacation on a Caribbean island somewhere, you know, sipping his umbrella drinks.
But he’s not doing that. He’s traveling, town to town, place to place, trying to make a meager living while fooling the audience—and this is the point of it. He’s actually fooling you, and you’re applauding being fooled.
This is the same problem I have with people when they’re watching a movie, and then they start crying! And I’m like, “But this really didn’t happen.”
And it’s bizarre watching TV in India, because that same actor could be in four different movies. And you switch a channel and it’s like, (ha,) and he’s there, and kissing another girl, and then running away with another girl—and it’s like, “What’s with this guy?”
But, we get fooled! And we have a propensity to get attracted to something that takes us away from where we truly should be attracted to.
So, distraction is actually another attraction, but it’s taking you away from what you should be attracted to. You should be attracted to your existence. Why? Because it is the most precious thing there is. There’s nothing more precious than being alive. This is one thing that nobody is selling and nobody can buy!
– Prem Rawat
Peace—either you feel it in your life or you don’t feel it in your life. If you feel it in your life, enjoy it! If you don’t feel it in your life, find out how you can get to that peace. And that’s the only area where there is something to say: “How can you get to it?”
And the first step is, what is peace? What is this elusive thing that we are all trying to pursue? Is it an idea? You know, it’s like somebody who makes statues. Maybe they take a pencil and they draw their idea on a piece of paper, but that’s obviously not a statue—it’s just an idea.
And then they take the chisel and a hammer and a piece of marble that is the size of that statue that they want to be, and what do they do? They create a statue. Okay. But what is the process of creating the statue?
The process of creating the statue is to remove all the unwanted marble, so that what is left is the true expression of the artist, of what he really feels.
Could it be that peace is no different? That it is removing all those things that do not belong there, leaving only that that the intent of the artist has.The questions that begin to form are, “Is what we are doing what we really want to do?” Because, what has gone away from peace? Why do you not think that the peace is a happening thing?
The individual is missing from the equation of peace. Peace is not social. It’s an individual…it is an individual phenomenon. And this is what has to be understood! That, if we want peace, we have to look at our own thirst, explore our own thirst for that peace.
This is what will drive the drive that is needed to find peace in our lives. And we search—because we, as human beings, we do not want these wars. We, as human beings, do not want this confusion. We, as human beings, don’t want all of this stuff. All we want is the simplicity. All we want, truly, truly, truly….
It’s like that beautiful saying, “Give me a tall ship and a compass to steer by.” That compass…
– Prem Rawat
There is something in you that wants to be generous. See, it’s not only that you have generosity in you, but there is something in you that wants to be generous. Not only that you have love in you, but there is something in you that wants to love—and something that wants to be loved. But this is buried under garbage.
In life, as you grow older, you always have to keep focus and perspective on what is important. This garbage that we accumulate in our lives, what does it do? The biggest harm it does is it frustrates us. And when a human being starts to feel the frustration inside of them, they can no longer see straight; they can no longer prioritize; they can no longer understand; they can no longer see beyond the realm of their problems.
And that’s why problems become the biggest thing. And the things that are important will get buried in garbage. You’ve got to keep your house clean—every day if you can—every day; every hour if you can. But if you can’t, at least, every two days—and that’s to sit down; be with yourself!
And say, “Okay, what is important to me?” Not to the world. Not the world’s expectations of me, but, “What is important to me? I want to feel good; I want to be in peace—and I want to help the ones I love, that I want to be there for them.” Once you have this? This is your “house cleaned.” You know where everything is—and do it! Because you can!
And that’s the simplest wisdom, you know, simplest wisdom—and you have that in you. Of course you have that in you. You always have that in you—you have the ability to vacuum-clean up, and make your life shine! And that’s what you should do!
Not be victimized by all the garbage that everybody keeps—because once the room, once the house looks like garbage, people are going to dump more garbage in it! That’s what’s going to happen! And then everybody will come, “Oh, we know a place to dump the garbage....” And that’s what happens.
Clean, clean, clean. That’s called “conscious, being conscious, being aware.” Being aware.
– Prem Rawat
Have you made your choices? You are on this journey—if you want to call it “journey” or whatever—but you’re in this ring now. You’re born—obviously—and so life is afoot. Have you made your choices, by the way?
Have you made your choices? Or are you ad hoc? You get up in the morning—“Nah, I don’t feel good. I don’t like that guy; I don’t like this; I don’t like that; I don’t, and this is not right; I don’t want to go there; I don’t want any of it; I, duh-duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh....” Or have you made your choices? Have you made your choices?!
It’s a very, very interesting question: “Have you made your choices?” Are you going to be living—that’s what the ring is—are you going to live this life without making any choices? Or, are you going to live this life with a very particular set of choices? But how can you make the choices if you don’t know what you have? So, let me shed some light on what you have.
You have in you, ignorance—fifty percent. And you have in you, knowledge—fifty percent. You have in you, darkness—fifty percent. You have in you, light—fifty percent. Don’t give yourself too much credit—it’s fifty percent. Don’t go “forty-nine/fifty-one”—no. No, it’s just not true. It’s exactly fifty percent.
And by the way, the fifty percent that you have is more than enough for you to live a life incredibly. Or…or that bad fifty percent is more than sufficient to destroy you— totally. And you have both. You have both.
You have in you, fear—and you have in you, courage. Fifty percent. But if you truly know this, then you can make a choice. You can make a choice: “I want in my life, I want to choose courage, not fear.”
In your pain, in your suffering, in your confusion, do you know you still have a choice? Do you? That you have a choice—you always have a choice. And you can choose not to choose. You even have that choice.
And most of the time, have you not chosen not to choose to be in peace? A lot of people think peace is some thing—and you get hold of it, like yeast, or bread, or peas. That’s not peace.
When the choices have been made, and the choices are good...! A lot of people ask me, “Are you in peace all the time?” So, as soon as I hear that question, “Ding!” No idea what peace is. Never felt it—can barely spell it. And that’s how close a person has come to it.
No. When the choices have been made and from those choices comes the gratitude, because one witnesses the value and the amazing existence of this being on the face of this earth....when the eyes are open…when the heart is full, when there are no dualities, when the questions have become answers, when there is a sweetness and a serenity that dances in one’s life—then peace manifests itself. And when that peace is felt, the heart overflows with gratitude.
– Prem Rawat
How many times are you confused? How many times do you not understand? How many times do you ask yourself, “Why am I here?” How many times do you wonder, “What’s going to happen to me?”
How many times during the day, the sadness can overcome you—when you can choose happiness for every single moment?
That you can choose clarity for every single moment of your life.
That you can choose the strength because both are in you—how much? Exactly fifty-fifty. Exactly fifty, fifty, (not fifty-one or forty-nine) fifty, fifty.
How much confusion do you have in you? Exactly fifty percent. How much clarity do you have in you? Exzzzzzzactly fifty percent.
And you have to choose. You have to choose.
Have you heard about a sunflower? You know most plants—they need the sun; they need the light the photosynthesis—this is what works makes them alive.
So, the sunflower in its dramatic beginnings chose something. And you know what the sunflower chose? The sun. It will follow the sun from east to west—and at night, turn around and wait till it comes again, from east to west. This is what it chose!
“Sun flower.” Is this what you’ve chosen too? To follow that clarity?
Tomorrow, Monday will come. Responsibilities will come. I’m not here to tell you “don’t be responsible.” But I’m here to tell you, “Don’t be so irresponsible that you do not accept the responsibility that comes with being alive.”
– Prem Rawat