A few years back, a scientist decided to do an experiment—and he took a huge mirror and he put it in the jungle. And of course you know monkeys are the most curious, right? So they came! And they stood in front of the mirror—and they started screaming! Showing their teeth, hitting the mirror—and freaking out. Then they would run away.
Then ... a big gorilla came, and he went in front of the mirror, and he screamed! And he beat his chest to say, “Who are you?”
And he was angry! He was very angry. And he screamed, and he beat his chest again—and he paced back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth—why? Do you know why? Do you know why? [Audience: No!]
He did not recognize himself.
That gorilla he was seeing was not an enemy—it was him!
Are we seeing ourselves in the mirror, and not recognizing ourselves? When we kill each other, we kill ourselves! When we rob from each other, we rob from ourselves! Because you ... and you, and you, and you, and you ... are my reflection. You, and you, and you are each others’ reflection in that mirror.
When you become angry at each other, you become only angry at yourself! When you tell a lie, you tell a lie to yourself! When you harm each other, you only harm yourself! Because you do not recognize it’s you.
– Prem Rawat
MC: [June Sarpong]
So, the next question is quite a poignant one—and again, this is from an audience member. And then she says, “My mum just died. Someone I loved so deeply is no longer here. I feel the pain of parting. Can you help me come to terms with this?”
Yes, I think I can help. When she was alive.... And first of all, you know, my heartfelt condolences, because it is very difficult to lose somebody that you love. And there is a process of sorrow—and of course, you should go through it—because that’s when, in this sorrow, you reconcile your existence.
But understand something—that when she was alive—and sometimes she would get up and go somewhere else! Right? And when she would do that, you knew she wasn’t here, but she was somewhere else! Right?
Well, not that much has changed. One, she will always live in you—always! In your memories, she will be. She will laugh; she will dance; she’ll call you affectionately. This you can embrace. This you can embrace.
And make peace with yourself; make peace, because this is the law of nature. And nobody can change it. Knowing yourself—knowing yourself is also understanding her—because she lives in you.
And it is not the final story by any stretch of the imagination. We are a part—she was once a part—you weren’t born then—but she was a part of this earth. She had no shape of her own; she had the shape of the earth.
And you, do you know, right, that you’re seventy percent water? That’s mostly all of you—I mean, that’s thirty percent left for everything else—that includes guts and bones and nails and hair and eyeballs and—I mean, you’re seventy percent water!
And that’s what she was; she was this earth, indistinguishable—the dust, the water that flows in this, on this earth. And from there, from this, temporarily emerged this being—gave birth to you.... And now she has gone back to being exactly who she was, part of this earth.
When you celebrate your existence, you celebrate her existence. When you celebrate your joy, you celebrate her joy.
Do not underestimate how concerned a tree is for its seed. The strategies that trees have adopted to make sure that that seed exists and goes on; it is unbelievable, unbelievable. The only difference between us and trees—well, you know what the difference, really, the only difference—and this is coming from an expert, not from me, an expert—is we move; they don’t.
And the strategies that they have adopted so that they can live on—and this is you! You see, you, you, you, you—your mother was the tree; made you—and you live. And so far you do....
And when you thrive, she thrives—because she’s inseparable. And when you are happy, she’s happy—because that tree made you. And when you express kindness and when you express appreciation and when you express joy, she expresses joy. Don’t you see how connected you are?
So, now you are in sorrow because you see the separation—right? And the day you start seeing reality, you will see the connection. And when you do, the world will change—for you. Make the connection. Make the connection.
What is darkness? Is it something in itself? No! It’s the absence of light. To remove darkness, what do you do? Do you open the window; do you have a bucket? You go into a dark room, fill the bucket with darkness, and then throw it out the window? No. That’s not how you...you can’t, because it’s nothing.
So, if this is true—that darkness is absence of light and it is nothing in itself—light is something; darkness is nothing—then this would be also true for sadness. Sadness is nothing; it’s just lack of joy. Bring in the joy; sadness will be gone.
Same thing with ignorance! Bring in the knowledge and ignorance will be gone, because ignorance is only the absence of knowledge. Knowledge is something; ignorance is nothing.
So, then that will also be true for unhappiness and happiness: unhappiness is nothing; happiness is something. Bring in happiness and unhappiness will be gone.
And if this is true, then when you get unhappy, don’t you try to remove the unhappiness? When you get sad, don’t you try to remove the sadness? Well, that’s just like taking a bucket, going into a dark room, trying to fill the bucket with darkness, opening the window and throwing it out.
Because this life, full of fear, full of anger, full of jealousy, full of disappointment—that’s not the gift you were given. That’s not life. That’s not real. That’s not how it needs to be!
There’s a saying, “To fly, you don't need wings! You just have to cut off the chains that are holding you back.” There’s another saying: “Don’t curse the darkness; light the candle.” But this is what people do! They curse the darkness! They go, “Ah, this is so bad, the darkness, oh, but the....” Light the candle. And the darkness will be gone.
If you want to fly, you’re looking for wings! You don’t need wings. You have everything. Everything you need, you have. When you get to know yourself and you understand it’s all there—you have been gifted with everything—you have been blessed. Every breath that comes into you is a blessing.
In fact, peace lies neither in the realm of science nor in the realm of religion. It lies in the realm of human beings. It lies in the realm of people who feel—feel—in the realm of the heart, in the realm of you being alive. And that’s the realm of peace. That’s your realm. So far you are alive, that is your realm.
– Prem Rawat
So, one day I’m thinking about hope. So I say to myself, “Well, what is hope? What’s hope?” So I grab my trusty iPad, (I’ve got a dictionary app), type in “hope.” I was standing up. I was actually standing in my office.... Yeah, I was going to, “Some inspirational meaning will come out of this dictionary....” And what it says is, “A desire to have your dreams fulfilled.”
So I sat down! I thought “hope” was this gigantic thing! It’s not! All it is—I’m not talking about whether we need it or not—but I’m just talking about what hope is. According to the dictionary, it’s “a fulfillment of our dreams!”
As human beings, we are the most unqualified creatures to have a good dream. Our dream is very, very trivial! What do we hope for? “I’m half an hour late to catch my flight, and I’m hoping the flight too is half an hour late.” That’s your—that’s your dream? That’s your hope? You’re walking down the road; you see a very beautiful girl—and what’s your hope?
You know you didn’t study in school, in the class, for that particular year—farted around. Well, you go to take the test, and you “hope you pass!” (I’m just talking about mankind’s hope—mankind’s dream! How can you talk about mankind’s hope if you don’t understand what mankind’s dream is?)
So this “fulfillment of dream” almost seems to be this entire anti-nature twist that we want accomplished—an exception to the rule, not the rule itself. We want exceptions.
That girl that’s walking down the road, you want her not to pick all the eligible people in this world, but you—when you know you’re not eligible. “Exception to the rule.”
So, our dreams, our prayers to even our God, are asking for an exception. “I don’t want to work. I don’t want to do anything; I don’t have enough brain power to make any money—but God, make me rich.”
When wishful thinking starts to merge with perceived reality, weird things happen. So, there we are; we’re walking along in the path of our life, and we just, “I want this, and I want this, and these are our hopes”—hopes!—the exception to every rule that has been made. And if it wasn’t for those rules you wouldn’t be here.
Bring together all those elements, come out of this wall, receive the gift, the blessing of the breath—and there is a thing that starts to happen, and it’s called “life.” This thing starts to move; this thing can think; this thing can grow; this thing can appreciate; this thing can laugh; this thing can understand; this thing can do amazing things. It’s called “life.”
And ninety percent of you will ponder, most of your life, “Why does it have to end?” See, because all your life you have thought about the exceptions, not the rules—because your hope is actually tied to the exception!
What is your hope? “I hope I’m going to die when I’m eighty years old. I hope I die when I’m ninety years old. I hope I die of old age!” I’ve heard that: “I hope I die of old age!” Now, tell that to Death! You won’t find it anywhere to have a conversation with, “And, hey, when are you coming for me?”
Every morning that you wake up, you wake up with two possibilities. And every moment that you live on the face of this earth, you always live with two possibilities—one is you’re alive, and one—you could go.
You don’t understand life. You attempt to make some kind of understanding happen in your brain about what death is—but you don’t understand death either.
So, heaven? In you. Hell? In you! Confusion, in you. Clarity, in you. Anger, in you. Kindness, in you! Sadness, in you! Joy, in you!
Ignorance, in you; knowledge, in you. Do you really get that? Naah. Yeah, and see that—that’s the problem! That—and yeah, and see, that is the problem. Well, if you really got that, your entire equation would change!
Because right now, “You are the cause of my anger. You are the cause of my anger; you are the cause of my anger; you are the cause of my anger.” And when you start to understand yourself, it’s like, “No, I am the cause of my anger.”
“You are the cause of my joy; you are the cause of my happiness.” And no, when you understand that, “I’m the cause of my happiness.
“You may be a catalyst, but I’m the cause of my happiness.” (Some people are not swallowing this; “I have never operated like this. And I don’t understand what you’re saying.”)
This is what knowing yourself is all about! That’s what enlightenment is all about.
Neither abandoning this world, nor accepting this world, has anything to do with your happiness.
- Prem Rawat
When you get angry.... Mmm, do you ever get angry? Only three or four people in Benin get angry? Wow! I’m moving here. I mean, come on! How many of you get angry? I’m raising my hand.
And when you get angry, where does it come from? Where does it come from? In you? Wow. So, that means.... Oh, do you get angry after you leave home, ever? Mmm? After you leave home, you can get angry? Yes or no? Yes? So that means you don’t leave an-ger at home.
That means, wherever you go, the anger goes with you. Wow! So next time you go in the bathroom and close the door and think it’s private, just remember, anger just came with you. Frustration came with you. Confusion came with you. Joy came with you. Clarity came with you. Understanding came with you. Kindness also came with you.
All these go wherever you go. Do you know that? Wherever you go! This is all... This is you. See, it’s not just you. You look at yourself in the mirror and you go, “That’s me.” No, no, no, no, there’s a lot more going on. There are other ones. There’s another one of you. It’s an anger. You don’t see it in the mirror, but it’s there.
And there is one that has joy, clarity, understanding, and beauty, and kindness, and all these things. And the opposites of all of them go wherever you go. Now, the question is, what do you practice the most? Do you know what that means?
What do you practice? Every day, what do you practice? How long does it take you to get angry? Oh, so you must...you’re good at it.
You’re good at getting angry. So, if you’re good at getting angry, what does that mean? You practice anger? Oh, how long does it take for you to get afraid? How long does it take for you to get afraid? Not very long. Oh, so you practice fear?
That’s why you’re good at it. How long does it take you to lie? Did I ask a personal ques-tion? How does it take you to lie? Not very much, does it? It can just flow right away.
At home, you don’t even say “bonjour” to anybody—your wife, your friends, your chil-dren. You go outside? And it’s “Bonjour.” That’s what you practice, telling lies? You have become good at it.
So I say to you, if you start practicing courage, you will get good at it. If you start practicing kindness, you will get good at it. If you start practicing understanding, you will get good at it. If you start practicing clarity, you will get good at it. And if this is what you want in your life, that’s all you have to do. Practice what you want.
If you practice knowing yourself, you will become good at it. If you practice peace in your life, you will become good at it. That’s the magic formula. That’s how you do it.
– Prem Rawat
Those seeds lying in the desert know one thing: rain will come. This they know. This is not a guess! Rain will come. When? They don’t know.
So, instead of looking at a calendar—like we do—they have adopted a beautiful strategy, beautiful! And it is based on one thing: rain will come.
Stop looking at the calendar. Seeds don’t look at the calendar. They just know the rain will come. And when it does, “Be ready!” So, no guesswork, no speculation. Absolutely everything known, known, known: rain will come. Be ready! And that’s what they do.
That’s how the desert blooms. You look at a desert, and it looks, “nothing,” like nothing. One color. Hiding underneath are these incredible little seeds. “Rain will come. Be ready.” And then, rain does come. And when it does, they bloom!
And when the desert blooms, it’s not monotonous anymore. It has got the most exquisite colors everywhere, the gentle hues of pink and blues and yellows and reds and green. You can’t even see the sand. It will happen.
You too can look at your life, look at the monotony of your life. But remember, in your heart there are some seeds. We’re going to talk about seeds here today quite a bit. There are some seeds. Rain will come. And the desert will bloom.
It’s happened, not once. Not once—again and again and again, and these seeds that lie dormant are the seeds of the success story from the last blooming. Those flowers that bloomed, they left these seeds behind. And this is their proof, “It does rain—and be ready to bloom.”
And, if in my life, instead of facing all the chaos that I face, all the challenges that I have created for my own self, and I start to really understand life as this incredible journey that I have, this incredible gift that I have, this incredible opportunity that I have.
- Prem Rawat