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
MC: [Graeme Richards]
"How can you love yourself when you’ve started to believe that you’re ugly and a failure?"
Well, fortunately it is not a fact; it’s only your belief. Beliefs can change.
Belief is like this—and I used to give this analogy. If I’m sitting with somebody, I can say, “Make believe there is a cow here. No harm done; just make believe there’s a cow here—and this cow gives a lot of milk. Just believe that, okay?”
No harm, right? [MC: Right.] But if I’m having tea, real tea, and I want some milk, rest assured this make-believe cow cannot give to my real tea. Now if I’m having make-believe tea, this make-believe cow can give a little bit of its milk for my make-believe tea. But if I’m having real tea, it doesn’t work.
There is another phase after “believing,” and that phase is called “knowing.” It’s living in reality, not just—because a lot of people say to me, when I talk about what I talk about, “Oh, come on; be real.” And the thing is, with all their fear, they’re actually the ones living in fiction. They’re the ones who are living in fiction.
You can believe anything you want, but what is the reality? What is the reality? The reality is that darkness is never far from light.
Last time you flipped on a switch and turned on a light in a dark room, how long did it take for that darkness to disappear? You turned on the light bulb, and it’s just like, djjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj, like, you know, a drain? Or like a toilet flushing, tschhhhhhhhh? No! Voom? Boomf.
Darkness is never far away from light; light is never far away from darkness. Joy is never far away from sadness, and sadness is never far away from joy. They ride together.
When you go into a bathroom and you lock the door for privacy, do you think it’s private? No, your anger, your fear, your doubt have come with you. Even though you book only one seat for yourself on a bus or an airplane, your anger, your fear, your doubt, they’re always there. Always, always!
But, so is kindness, so is understanding, so is gratitude. These things are also there, because they are the other side of the coin.
And you need to know this—that if you have only experienced your ugliness, then you haven’t flipped the coin. You need to flip the coin. Because the other side of that coin is incredible beauty.
And what is the beauty? What is the beauty? Somebody who is symmetrically shaped? A movie star? What is the beauty? Because, you know the reality of it is, how many movie stars that are drop-dead gorgeous, spend hours sometimes looking at themselves in the mirror, going, “Oh my God. Am I? Am I?”
You are the beholder. If you feel in you—and see, I keep going back to this, and this is a great question, because this gives me more ammunition for my book—that’s why you need to know yourself!
Socrates said, “Know thyself.” You need to know yourself. Why do you need to know yourself? Because that is when you will be able to experience the true beauty that you are. That’s why you need to know yourself.
There’s a billion reasons, I think, 7.5 billion reasons on the face of this earth of why you should know yourself. Because if each one did, I think we would have a very different situation in this world; if the beauty that you conceive in your mind is beauty, that is different than you truly are.
See with the eyes. See the wonderment. The children—and, gorgeous! They look at something incredible, and they’re in awe! In awe!
And of course, the stupid parent going, “That’s the moon.” They could care less. They fell in love with the moon before the stupid dad said—or stupid mom said—“That’s the moon.” They saw the moon that doesn’t have a name, and they loved it. That’s beauty—and you have that beauty.
Whatever other people tell you, you are worse than them, because you constantly sit there and tell yourself, “I’m not beautiful; I’m not beautiful; I’m not....”
This beauty will be gone one day. The same thing that people come and kiss, they will be like, “Huh-huh, no way.”
So, it’s not here—this is not the “beauty” part. The beauty part is here, in your heart, in yourself.
- Prem Rawat
MC: [Graeme Richards]
One of the questions that was posed is, “If forgiveness is difficult for you to begin with—forgiving someone else is hard enough—turning it inward to the person that you know better than anyone else, the person that you probably judge more than anyone else—how do you forgive yourself?”
Well, that’s a wonderful question. Because that is so important, to be able to forgive yourself. And let’s just not even bring “you and somebody else” into the picture. Let’s just talk about forgiveness, what “forgiveness” is.
And a lot of people think “Forgiveness is granting license to mediocrity, granting license to somebody’s mistake.” That is not forgiveness. “Forgiveness” is to sever the relationship with that action that is dragging you down.
So, now, whatever—and, you know, somebody did something to you that was terrible. And that happened a long time ago. But, that person still has a clutch on you. They still have a clutch on you. Because every day that you wake up, perhaps, and in a solitary moment, you curse that person; you think of that person; that person is still connected to you.
And forgiveness is saying, “No more. You will not have control over me. I want my life back. I want my life back, and I do not authorize you, any more, to haunt me.” That’s what forgiveness is.
So, it’s not going around saying, “Oh, yeah, I, I, I know you, you....” I mean, uh! And this is the way I see it. This is the way I see it. I mean, one time a horrible thing happened to me. And then, every time I would think about it, it was like, “Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God.”
And then I just said, “You know, that little punk still has control over me. And I’m not even in his country anymore. And I’m not going to let him have control over me.” And I said, “That’s it. Gone!”
That’s what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is very powerful. It’s really saying, “No, I’ve got my life. Thank you very much.”
Regaining—it’s regaining. Because, if you don’t, then the clutches will still be there. And what it does to you—what this clutching does to you, these claws that are buried inside of you, to infuriate you—it causes anger; it causes fear; it causes you to shut down; it causes you to stop moving forward; it stops appreciation.
And you live in fear. You live in fear! And that person is gone, but the clutches are still there. And it’s saying, “No more, thank you!”
And when you start to look at forgiveness that way, it takes on a whole different meaning. Because, up till now it’s been, it’s like, “Oh, uh, I, I forgive you, and you know, it’s okay. Eh, and you did this to me, and it’s like....”
But you know, there are things that can happen to you in this life that, if you are talking about acceptance of somebody’s actions, it’s not going to happen. It’s just not going to happen! Because you cannot accept some of those actions. They are so heinous!
And you cannot allow yourself to be a victim. Some of the things, you will never be able to say, “Oh, yeah, I’m fine with that.” But! It’s up to you whether you allow the talons of that person and that activity still to be gripping you. Because if you don’t, then use the sword of forgiveness and free yourself. You move on.
So that’s how I see forgiveness. Not saying, “Oh, yeah, okay, you did this.” Because, some of the actions are so heinous! And you see that. You see that happening, so many places.
Another way to understand this is, one day Buddha was out walking, and all these people were saying very bad things about him. So his disciple who was with him came back, and he said, “Buddha, all those people were doing terrible things, saying terrible things to you. Aren’t you affected by that?”
And Buddha said, “Okay, well, see this bowl? Whose bowl is it?” It was Buddha’s bowl. And he said, “Yeah, it’s your bowl!” So then he took the bowl and he scooted it towards his disciple a little bit. He says, “Whose bowl is it now?” The disciple said, “It’s still your bowl.” He scooted it a little closer. “And whose bowl is it now?” Scooted it in a little closer. “Whose bowl is it now?”
He kept going like that, and then finally he took the bowl and put it in his disciple’s lap. He said, “Whose bowl is it now?” He says, “Buddha, it’s still your bowl.” He said, “Exactly. Exactly! I don’t have to accept this. The day I do, it becomes my bowl. But if I don’t, it’s still theirs.”
You know, and I understand—I mean, sometimes these stories are easier said than actually translated into your life, but at least, if you begin to chisel away....
I mean, maybe the rope is so thick that you won’t be able to cut it in one day. But at least, you start severing it, start understanding the dynamics—that you have the power to sever that rope, that this is what forgiveness means.... That, ultimately one day you will weaken that rope; that it will, it’ll be severed.
But you need to begin. You need to start understanding that.
- Prem Rawat
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
Have you seen those plastic candles—those digital plastic candles; they’re about this big, and you just have an on-off switch; you can just put it.... When I first saw that, I said, “This is it! This is great! No fire danger. No problem. Want candle, just turn this on....” And now they even flicker, and they do everything.
But then I said to myself, “There is something that a candle does, that this can never do.” Do you know what it is? A candle that is lit, can light another unlit candle. This digital candle can never do that.
You as a human being, if you are a lit candle, you can light another candle. Maybe peace is not that impossible. Maybe peace is not that difficult—if we can change our way of looking at peace. Because the most beautiful news is this: “It doesn’t have to be created. Peace is already there.”
If it had to be created, then we have truly a very big challenge afoot. The good news is, peace doesn’t have to be created—it is dancing in the heart of every single human being, regardless of religion, regardless of race, regardless of color, regardless of whether they are rich, whether they are poor, whether they’re educated, whether they are uneducated—whatever the circumstances may be, the peace is dancing in the heart of every single human being.
It’s here. Peace, my friends, has to be discovered! Not created. And that’s the peace that’s going to make the difference.
– 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