ISN'T IT A KINDNESS
TO BE ALIVE?
ISN'T THIS A SPECIAL MOMENT?
HOW AWARE ARE YOU
I think I had a sandwich, page 25
ADI MEANS ANCIENT: BEING OLD IN WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE; DATING FROM A REMOTE PERIOD; OF GREAT AGE; HAVING THE QUALITIES ASSOCIATED WITH AGE, WISDOM, OR LONG USE; VENERABLE.
PREM RAWAT AND HIS MESSAGE OF PEACE
As an advocate for peace, Prem Rawat, widely known as Maharaji, has dedicated his life to helping people find peace within themselves – not as a utopian ideal or an absence of conflict, but as an immanent personal experience.
Born in 1957, he began his mission of peace and humanitarian outreach as a young child. By the age of 13, he started addressing global audiences in response to invitations to speak in London, Los Angeles, and other major cities around the world.
Over the course of his life, Prem Rawat has personally delivered his message of peace to over 12 million people in more than 50 countries. From small, informal gatherings to major international events, from university auditoriums to open-air stadiums seating hundreds of thousands, his message has been welcomed by people from all walks of life.
Currently, his award-winning television series, Words of Peace Global TV, reaches over 115 million households globally, with subtitles or translation in more than 20 languages.
In 2001 he founded The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing his message of peace to people around the world and providing vital food, water, and emergency aid to people most in need.
Recently, Prem Rawat talked about how we rarely see the foundation of things. For example, when we look at a building, we don't see the foundation. And he asked the question, "What is the foundation of a human being?" He offered the answer, that breath – the power of life – is the foundation for each and every one of us. Then he went on to ask, "What is the foundation of society?" Again the answer was simple: "Human beings are the foundation of society."
It is in that light that Prem Rawat talks about what is happening in the world. In this issue of ADI (Tranquility in a violent universe, page 14), he says: "What I have to say is not about what's going on in the world. It's about what's going on in your life. It's about what you see, what you feel… Who are you? What is this life all about? If I were to say, 'It's about you,' would you believe it?"
Would you? Would I? It all comes down to a quest, and this quest is not new. It was expressed with the famous words, Know thyself, which were engraved on the entrance to The Oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece. It is in knowing oneself that one discovers what life is about.
This timeless message of knowing oneself is the subject of ADI. It is one of the oldest and most vast of subjects. And while there is a seemingly endless number of books on this subject, the articles in ADI are about knowing oneself through one's own experience. This is what is so refreshing, so hope-giving, in Prem Rawat's talks. He says that knowing oneself is not attained by a complicated intellectual pursuit, but rather by each individual's personal experience, a direct awareness of their own existence.
Who are you? What are you?
Now, here's a question people
hardly ask: What is it all about?
The door to you, page 36
During a year of almost constant traveling on all continents, Prem Rawat delivers his message of peace to many different people – young and old, rich and poor, and those from cities and villages alike. The articles in ADI MAGAZINE are Prem Rawat's spoken words from these occasions. They have been edited for brevity and readability, but still maintain the flow of speech. The pictures of people in ADI MAGAZINE have all been taken at events where Prem Rawat spoke, but not necessarily the same events that are featured in this issue.
If you would like to write your reflections on the content of ADI or share your thoughts about the magazine, e-mail the editor at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor: Ole Grunbaum
Editorial staff: Mary Wishard and Sherry Weinstein
Art direction: Rasmus Olesen
Photo editor: Marie-Catherine Toulet
Photographers: Christy Blake, Mehau Kulyk, Jacques Masraff and Marie-Catherine Toulet
ADI Magazine is printed on FSC-certified paper, from responsibly managed forests and verified recycled sources.
MEET THE ONE WHO HAS EVERYTHING PAGE 7
What is it that we are all looking for? What does this heart of ours want? It wants peace, but not the kind of peace that is temporary. The thirst to be in peace has always been inside of me. It is the one thing I never had to learn. It is the one thing that I have always known and always will know. And to my last breath, I will endeavor to have peace in my existence.
TRANQUILITY IN A VIOLENT UNIVERSE PAGE 14
What's a human being good for? Fighting wars? No. Why? You get killed. When you take a deeper look at it, you understand that the human body is the vessel through which peace and joy can be attained. Everything else you do that does not bring you joy and does not bring you peace, is not what this body was made for.
I THINK I HAD A SANDWICH PAGE 25
People stand in front of the Mona Lisa and say, "Beautiful." There should be a mirror! Because there is no one like you. And there will be no one like you after you're gone. This is your time to understand. And here is the concrete thing: to start to realize that all that you ever wanted, you have. You have that freedom and that peace inside of you.
THE DOOR TO YOU PAGE 36
All your life you have seen two doors. The door you came through the day you were born is the first door. The door that you'll go through when you leave is the second door. But there is another door. And that door is the door to you. I offer help to open that door. I call it Knowledge, a way to be able to go within and feel the feeling that is inside.
TREES IN THE GARDEN OF LIFE PAGE 41
When we come into this world, we're given seeds. There is a seed of anger, but there is also a seed of kindness. There is a seed of love. And there is a seed of doubt. Whatever seed you have sown in your garden of life determines the tree you're going to sit under. How restful it will be
depends on what kind of seed you have sown.
There is a peace that exists in itself. It does not need the absence of war to manifest. That is the peace that we are all looking for. Peace is the one element that, by its nature, is the most accessible to us, and yet it is the one we miss the most. It is so readily available, and yet it so far away. It is so close at hand and yet so unknown. It is so present and yet so absent.
All we have to do is begin by a simple introduction. You have been introduced to a lot of people except for one. And that person is you. So, let me introduce you to you.
How does one introduce the possibility of peace when peace should need no introduction? Peace should be in the heart of every single human being. It should already be understood that each of us needs – not just wants – peace. Let me define what that need is. As the desert needs water, as the sailboat needs wind, as the river needs to flow – that is how much we need peace in our lives.
But what happens? We become so familiar with the complexities of life, all that happens every day, that our focus turns to trying to decipher what is good, what is bad, what is right, what is wrong. We become problem-solvers. Of course, nobody points out to us that we are the ones who create the problems. So every time you see an award given for solving problems, there should be another award for creating the problem in the first place.
HOW DO I KNOW?
Life becomes more and more intricate, more and more complex, more and more difficult. And then people say, "There has to be something more." Right. There always has been something more. But you have ignored it. I'm not blaming you. I'm not saying, "You always had it and then you lost it," even though that's true. Because what you have been looking for has always been inside of you. You might say, "That's very presumptuous of you. How do you know what I have been looking for?"
You do not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that a person who is thirsty needs water or that a person who is hungry needs food. If there was a man in the desert gesturing, would you say, "I really don't understand what this man wants. Why doesn't he just say it in plain words? It would be so much simpler." No. If you had water, you would offer it to him, and he would say, "Yes, this is what I want."
So, what is it that we want? What is it that we are all looking for – not as a group, but each individual on the face of this earth? What does this heart of ours want? It wants joy, but not the kind of joy that is temporary. It wants peace, but not the kind of peace that is temporary.
A lot of people think that peace is the absence of war. As long as people are fighting, the absence of war may not happen. But that should not preclude the possibility of peace, because there is a peace that transcends any war. There is a peace that exists in itself. It does not need the absence of war to manifest. That is the peace that we are all looking for. That is the peace the heart wants.
This peace is the one element that, by its nature, is the most accessible to us, and yet it is the one we miss the most. It is so readily available, and yet it is so far away. It is so close at hand and yet so unknown. It is so present and yet so absent. And all we have to do is begin with a simple introduction. You have been introduced to a lot of people except for one. And that person is you. So, let me introduce you to you.
I may not understand all the ways in which you are different from me, but I understand how very much you are like me. You have the same quest I have; you have the same thirst I have. We may not speak the same language. It doesn't matter. We may not look alike. It doesn't matter. We may not have the same preferences in food or clothing. It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is the one preference that you have, that I have, that everybody has. And that is the thirst for peace. That is what is real. That is what is true.
Truth is not easy to handle. In this world, you can say anything you want, and you will not be considered controversial, except if you speak the truth. If you speak the truth, you are going to be controversial. Speak lies all day long, and it's okay. I know this. Year after year, I see so many people who are not speaking the truth. And everybody's saying, "They don't speak the truth." "Oh, it's okay. Mind your own business." But if somebody speaks the truth, even a little bit, people say, "Agh! How can he say that?!"
Truth irks people because we would all like to be happy with our own little truth and say, "I'm okay. I don't need anything. I don't need peace. I'm fine." Then I come along and say, "It's not about what you need. It's about what your heart needs." And people say, "Huh?! I know what my heart needs."
As the desert needs water,
as the sailboat needs wind,
as the river needs to flow
– that is how much we need
peace in our lives.
How do you discuss this? Truth is so private. It is easy to hide from your friends. Just go to the bathroom and lock the door. But how do you hide from yourself? That's the problem, isn't it? Wherever you go, you go with you. So does your heart, so does your quest, so does your thinking, and so does your understanding. Everything follows you wherever you go. And that's why this issue needs to be resolved. It needs to be understood, and it should not be feared because that peace – the fulfillment of this heart – is the greatest bringer of joy. We are talking about joy unparalleled.
When you really start to understand that what you are looking for is inside of you, you discover that it is very difficult for most people to accept. "What do you mean it's inside of me? Where is it?" Well, it's the same way with pain. You can go to the doctor and say, "Doctor, I have a pain in my arm." And the doctor could say, "Show me. Where is your pain? I don't see any pain. All I see is your arm. So you are lying to me. You don't have any pain."
So goes the story of us and our trials and tribulations to understand what is true. And all this time, the truth is not that far away, because it is inside the heart of every single human being. There lies the truth. And truth is not a statement in words. Truth is a feeling. Truth is a reality. Truth is beautiful. So is that joy, so is that peace, so is this life.
And because it gets too close to comfort, we say, "If you want the ultimate truth, you have to give up all these little things you enjoy in life; you cannot have both." Why not? Why can't I watch a baby take his first steps and also be content in my own existence? Why not?
In India, where I was born and raised, this is very much the idea: you must give everything up, go on top of a mountain somewhere, and then, maybe…
BECAUSE OF THAT BREATH
The thirst for happiness was not created by me. I was born with it. The thirst to be content was not learned. I was born with it. The thirst to be in peace, to be in joy and satisfaction, has always been inside of me. It is the one thing I never had to learn. It is the one thing I never had to study. It is the one thing that I have always known and always will know. And to my last breath, I will endeavor to have peace in my existence.
This is such a strong quest. Undeniable. Mountains can be moved. But this quest will not be moved. Oceans can be parted, but this quest will not be budged. This quest will stay, and its only possible conclusion is for you, for me, to be fulfilled. If it is a challenge, then accept it. If it's a wish, then fulfill it. If it's a cry, then console it. If it's a need, then satisfy it. Because there is no escaping who you are. You are beautiful. Why? Because you are alive. Not because of what you have accomplished. You are beautiful because breath – the most divine gift of all – comes into you.
With no judgment of good or bad, no judgment of right or wrong – every day, every moment, breath comes into you. As personal as it possibly can be. Touching only you. You can be in a crowd of a hundred thousand people, and of all those people, it will come and touch you. It will come into you and bless you.
Because of that breath, you have a family. Because of that breath, you are you. Because of that breath, you can smile and you can cry. You can walk and see and hear. You can appreciate. Because of that breath, you have a moment, an hour, a week, a year. And, indeed, because of that breath, you have a lifetime. A lifetime. You. All that you have is because that one gift comes into you.
Do you know the difference between were and are? Compliments of breath. Breath: you are. No breath: you were. Breath: you can feel. No breath: nothing – not even nothing. All that you are – your fears, your joys, your strengths – are because of that breath. In each breath is your sanctity. In each breath is the pillar of the most amazing strength known to human beings. It is that singularity in which you can exist free of doubt, in which you can be in the greatest strength that you have.
I'm not talking about weakness. So many people will tell you what you are not. I tell you everything that you are. Some people will tell you everything that's wrong with you. I tell you everything that is right with you.
TO KNOW FOR YOURSELF
Remember when you were a baby? You were the king, the queen. The world revolved around you. You didn't know that, but it did. You opened your eyes, and you looked. In great majesty, you accepted the day because it was not for anyone else but you.
And in the things you did, you had no inhibition. One passion you had was to find things out for yourself. You wanted to taste the ball, and there were your mother and your father with all their logic saying, "You can't taste the ball; it doesn't taste good. This is terrible." But you were biting it anyway. You had an incredible passion. And it helped you grow up. Your mother said, "This is hot; don't touch it." You did and said, "Ouch!" because you had to find out for yourself.
And then, you gave up your great passion. Somebody could come along and tell you, "That's no good," and you would repeat, "That's no good." Why is it no good? "I don't know, but he said it was no good." And that was sufficient. To know for yourself was a right you had. It was a power you had that you abdicated.
Today, I would like to remind you of that power. I want you to get it back, because the day you get it back, you will stand on your own feet. That is the day you will start to say, "I need to know. I want to know. I must know for myself." Not just have an idea of peace. No. You must know. You. I am not here to say, "If you don't have peace in your life, you are not going to get to heaven." What I am talking about is not an ideology, not a concept. Those who are able to go beyond concepts are the ones who know. And those who know walk on their own feet.
A REAL POSSIBILITY
I'm not telling you that they walk on softer carpets or that they walk on roads that are all going downhill. No. They walk the same roads as anybody else, but they walk on their own feet. They make a simple determination, not of words, but of feeling. That's what you need in your life – that feeling, that understanding.
So, what does this all come down to? It comes down to good news: It's possible to have peace in this life. Sacrifice everything? No. "So, what do I have to give up?" Nothing. What I am talking about has nothing to do with all the things you collect in your life. As long as the heart is full, good! Because that is the only thing you can take with you. Nothing else will go with you. This joy, this beauty, this peace is the only thing you can take with you. Everything else, you will have to leave behind. That's how it is.
You have a choice. You can either be lonely or be full. My recommendation: be full. Be full every minute. Why? Because the possibility exists that you can be full every single minute. You can be content. You can be in joy. The possibility exists. What does it take? Understanding.
When you don't have understanding, you carry thousands of little ideas with you. Because you don't understand, you have questions, questions, questions. Then, when you find the understanding, all the questions vaporize. All the ideas, gone. And the only thing that is left is understanding.
Understanding is so much easier to carry than the millions of questions you have in lieu of understanding. Understand. That's all it takes.
Be the gift you are. I know there is such a desire in people to be like somebody else. But be the gift you are. And do all that is humanly possible to have peace in your life. Maybe everybody can't become a doctor, or a lawyer, or a pilot. But everybody – and I mean everybody – can have peace in their lives. It is a fulfillable human need.
It is a possibility that is real: peace in your life, in your lifetime, in your existence. Understand how important it is for you to have that peace. It cannot be any other way. It's not a question of good or bad, right or wrong. It is a necessity. You must fulfill the need, and the means to do that are within you.
Such should be the blessing that everyone on this earth receives: that the heart be filled with gratitude, that the heart be filled with joy. And this is the time. This is not someone else's time; this is our time. It is our time to be content. It is our time to be in joy; it is our time to be in peace. Not ten years from now and not twenty years from now, but now.
So even if you do nothing else, be fulfilled. You owe it to yourself. Be in that joy; be in that simplicity. Of all the things you didn't understand, understand this: the quest of your heart. Of all the things you didn't like, like this one: the peace that exists inside of you.
And that is the introduction to you – the one who has everything, because you have this breath.
This is such a strong quest.
Mountains can be moved.
This quest will not be moved.
Oceans can be parted.
This quest will stay.
And its only possible conclusion
is for you, for me, to be fulfilled.
If it is a challenge, accept it.
If it's a wish, fulfill it.
If it's a cry, console it.
If it's a need, satisfy it.
Because there is no escaping
who you are.
TRANQUILITY IN A
There are hundreds and hundreds of millions of people who just want to live in peace. They want a little elbow room. They want to be left alone. They just want to exist and enjoy their lives. They're willing to take their plows and plow their fields and grow some vegetables. They're not looking for handouts. Don't want them. A simple life is good enough for them. But they are not going to be left alone. Why?
I really don't have any problem with religions. My only problem is when people start fighting over them. Because whenever war happens, who suffers the most? Innocent people who had nothing to do with it.
I talk to a lot of people. And everybody seems to have a bubble around them – their ideas about what everything is. They exist in this sphere, totally isolated, unfortunately, from reality. And they protect their bubble, fearing that what's outside of it is terrible, horrible.
The reality is quite different. What's outside the sphere, what the reality really is, is gorgeous, beautiful, incredible. It's real. It changes, it dances, it moves, it inspires. And it's your reality. Yours.
Who are you? What is this life all about? If I were to say, "It's about you," would you believe it?
I was watching a video from a TV series about the universe that I had downloaded on my computer. It was absolutely incredible to watch because they were showing that the universe is very hostile. Things are always exploding: planets, stars. Huge
heavenly bodies are being decimated. And these explosions stretch over light years. Earth is a speck of dust in comparison.
Outside of this Earth, supersonic winds are being radiated from the sun, and Earth is being blasted by them. Here, if there are fifty-mile-an-hour winds, people say, "Wow, it's windy!" Here, people are concerned about getting too many X-rays because of radiation. Out there, there's so much radiation that if you left the surface of Earth, you'd get cooked on the spot. Literally.
And yet, have you ever looked at the stars in the night sky and said, "It's so beautiful, so serene, so tranquil"? See, this life is about you. You've been placed on this Earth, and you have been isolated from the forces of the universe because you couldn't handle them. You would die. You'd vanish. But for this period called a lifetime, everything has been put in proportion for you, so you can actually look out and not see the violence, but see tranquility.
Looking at the ocean, you might say, "It's beautiful. It's so serene." But underneath, fish eat fish, bigger fish eat smaller fish, and even bigger fish eat big fish. Just violence. And yet, for you, there is tranquility.
WHAT IS A HUMAN GOOD FOR?
And then, take a look at what's happening with you. You create your own violence. You create your own turmoil. You don't need anybody else to do that. You just need your own misunderstanding of what life is about. You take what is so obvious and utterly destroy its obviousness, making it mysterious and distant. That power, that energy, whose nature is peace, whose nature is joy, is so approachable – and you make it so unapproachable.
If you put a chili into a frying pan with hot oil in it, the chili is going to get fried. The nature of the frying pan is that it'll conduct the heat and keep the oil from running down into the fire. It holds the oil and the chili, and it conducts the heat through the metal to the oil. The oil's nature is to hold the heat, and the chili's nature is to fry when it comes in contact with hot oil. Isn't that simple? Isn't that clear?
So. What is your nature? Your nature is that when you come in contact with that power that's inside of you, joy springs forth, peace happens.
Now, what else is a frying pan good for? You could hit somebody over the head with it, and it would be an effective weapon, I suppose. But that's not what the frying pan was built for. You could possibly use a frying pan to dig a hole, but that's not what it was built for. You could try to use a frying pan as a hat – put it on your head and walk around holding the handle. It would work, but that's not what it was built for. So if you are wondering what a frying pan is good for, the answer is obvious – for frying, heating. That's what it's built for.
So then the question becomes, What's a human being good for? What were you built for? Fighting wars? No. Why? You get killed. Destroyed.
What is a human being good for? When you take a deeper look at it, you understand that the human body is the vessel through which peace and joy can be attained. And what you do in your life to attain that is the proper use of this human body. Everything else you do that does not bring you joy and does not bring you peace, is not what this body was made for.
Now, that's a very big statement and I'm sure there are people who'll say, "Well, you've got to have your job, and you've got to earn money so you can have a house and all those things and take care of all your responsibilities." Excuse me. Let's get some facts down first. How many coins does it take to make a mango tree grow? And how many coins does it take to put a mango on the branch? We live in a system that somebody created, but there was a time when this system didn't exist. If people felt hungry, they went out, gathered food, and ate it. Somewhere along the evolution of human beings, the idea of ownership came about. Before that, it would have been, "Own what?" What people ate was grass. Wheat is basically grass, but over a long period of time, human beings have cultivated and modified it. Before that, it grew wherever it grew, and people went and gathered it. And they survived just fine. That's why we are here today.
And not only are we here, but now our ego is so big that we look at those people – our ancestors – and say, "Oh, I wasn't like that." Yes, you were. And the bad news – or the good news – is you still are. This civilized society is far closer to the brink of extinction than were the ones we call primitive. They survived on this Earth for a much longer period of time than we have as this civilized society where everywhere you turn, one country after another is justifying destruction.
With a frying pan, you can at least dig a hole. With some of these modern weapons, you can't do anything with them but destroy. And we think about all this. But our reasoning is not used for peace. Absolutely not. Our reasoning is used to rationalize wars. Utter destruction. Our creative power is not used for something beautiful; it is used to create weapons that are supposed to decimate faster, quicker, better, and, as we are told, "with great precision." What do you mean by "precision"? Precisely what? You're talking about destruction. When the bomb blows, it blows. Indiscriminately. Now, that's the situation in the world.
But what I have to say is not about what's going on in the world. It's about what's going on in your life. It's about what you see, what you feel. Do you feel your heart? Do you feel a passion for peace in your life? Do you feel a passion for joy, contentment, understanding, clarity in your life?
What's a human being good for?
Fighting wars? No.
Why? You get killed
What drives you every day? Is it all your reasoning – "But I have to, I have to, I have to" – or is it the desire from deep within you to be fulfilled? Because if you listen to that desire, if you acknowledge that in your life, then it becomes your companion. It becomes the force that shapes you, that evolves you, that turns you toward what you were made for.
Ultimately, the main question is, In this life, what do you have to do? You are here for a very short period of time, an extremely short period. And as you were growing up, there was a part of you that was simple and innocent, trying to enjoy. That's all you cared about. Then, all too soon, you were being taught "responsibility."
It was not that you were irresponsible. You understood responsibility very well. But you thought that your responsibility was to have a good time. Whatever it took to do that was what you had to do. That was your agenda. Then you were taught, "No, no, no. You must learn to obey others. If you can learn that, then you will be a good, responsible person."
Now that you've grown up, you hate this idea. When somebody tells you, "You have to obey," you don't want to. You see street signs that post the speed limit at fifty-five miles per hour or seventy or eighty kilometers, and you don't like that. You want to go the speed you want to go. You want to do what you want to do. That is the biggest illusion there is.
Why is that the biggest illusion? Because you already have been told to obey, and it is ingrained in you. From morning till evening, you obey, and obey, and obey. What you don't obey is what your heart is trying to tell you – to feel free.
Why is it that the idea of freedom, the word freedom, is so appealing? Because you know intrinsically that you're not free. You have learned to live within the walls; you have learned to obey. And now it's ingrained in you.
THE HEART IS YOUR MESSIAH
There is something that happens every day of your life. The sweet, sweet beautiful breath comes into you. It comes in and goes out, comes in and goes out, all the while bringing you the abundance of existence, consciousness, awareness.
If you can be aware that you are alive, that you exist, then, even though there is unbelievable violence in the universe not that far away, here on the face of this Earth, for you there can be unbelievable tranquility and beauty.
When you can feel that the coming and going of this breath is the blessing in your existence, that's the day you become free. That's the real freedom. That is the day you will say, "I have been blessed. All my prayers have been answered."
In every religion they say, "The messiah is going to come" – their own messiah. What if God said, "All right, all you messiahs, out of here. Go down there at the same time"? Do you realize what a mess that would be?
Could you consider the possibility that the messiah, in the form of a heart, has already been placed within every single human being? And whose message does this heart give? Do you really expect a messiah to come and pick up the Bhagavad Gita and say, "Let me quote this"? People would say, "We've already read that." If a messiah picked up a Bible and said, "Let me read to you chapter three, verse four," people would scratch their heads and say, "What kind of messiah is that?" And if the messiah said, "Forget about that and let me tell you something new," they would all say, "But he doesn't quote from scripture. What kind of messiah is this?" I think that's what happens to messiahs. Then they go up to heaven, and God says, "You want to go back down?" and they all say, "No!"
If a messiah volunteered to go down, even God would say, "Man, you're really dumb. Didn't you learn the first time? They hacked you to death, they nailed you to a cross, they did this to you, they did all that to you, and you want to go down there?"
Why would anybody want to repeat that? But the messiah you're looking for is here in the form of your heart – and has always been here. And what this messiah speaks of is what you need. This messiah speaks of joy, of tranquility, of peace to help you understand the importance of every single day of your life. To help you understand the importance of being alive, to help you understand the importance of the thirst inside of you to be content. To recognize that beauty again and again and again.
People are allured by heaven, but you are in heaven here. Your god resides within you, and by virtue of that, your heaven is within you. You look for truth. The truth is that you are alive. The truth is that you exist. The truth is that you can feel peace. The truth is that you can feel clarity in your life – that is the truth, your truth. And the day you understand that, you will be saved.
When you come in
contact with that power
that's inside of you
–joy springs forth,
Saved from what? What do you need saving from? You need to be saved from unconsciousness. You need to be saved from confusion. You need to be saved from doubt. These are your enemies. These are the elements that eat away at you because they rob you of the presence of knowing your existence. These are the things that make you forget you are alive.
Take away the confusion and unconsciousness, and the pain and suffering will be gone, because the day you begin to acknowledge your life, you begin to understand that this life is the blessing.
And in this incredible, magnificent creation, this garden has been created. Superb. What an incredible garden it is!
One of the songs of Kabir says, He has created everything that needs a foundation. And yet, in itself, it needs no foundation. He is away from all his creation, andyet he is in every fiber of that creation.
How sweet. How beautiful. It is there but not obtrusive. It is present but invisible. Even what cannot be seen with these eyes is present in the eyes. These are your truths. These are your realities that you need to embrace every day. And that's what clarity is.
Do you have clarity in your life? There's a saying in aviation: "The outcome of any maneuver should never be in question." Is your life like that – that the outcome of whatever you're doing shall never be in question? I don't think so. We like to take our chances. "What are you doing?" "I don't know. Let's hope for the best."
People pray for a lot of things. Anything happens, "Let's pray." These days, it's absolutely incredible. They're saying, "Let's go kill all these people." And they actually pray to God that they kill them all successfully.
Do they think God has forgotten about everything? He went on a vacation, slipped on the floor, hit his head on something, and now has no clue that we're even here on planet Earth, that there's nobody really looking after us, so we need to constantly ring his bell and say, "This and this, and this, and this…"
What if a pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome aboard Flight such-and-such. Right now, we really need to pray to God that he will help us reach that magical fifty feet above the runway as we take off. This airplane has just been in maintenance. So, will you please join me, close your eyes, and pray: 'God, we really need your help today to get off the ground, so please help us. Amen.'"
If I heard that, I wouldn't care about the consequences. I'd open the emergency exit and step out of that airplane. I shouldn't do that; they'd put me in jail. But, hey, it's okay. At least I wouldn't be on that airplane.
I really don't have any problem with religions. My only problem is when people start fighting over them. Because whenever war happens, who suffers the most? Innocent people who had nothing to do with it. They lead simple lives; they are innocent. They work on their fields, get enough food for two meals a day, and are satisfied. Yet they're the ones who get killed every time.
People try to legitimize war: "That's a good war" or "That's a legit war." And this is what I don't like – to make people fight with each other in the name of God. That's just plain wrong. Right now, all the religions should be among the foremost proponents of peace. Uncompromisingly. All the religions should be united behind one cause: peace and prosperity for all people. But they've become the dividing lines.
What is this life all about?
If I were to say, "It's about you,"
would you believe it?
What's going to happen because of this? It's only going to escalate. I know there are hundreds and hundreds of millions of people who just want to live in peace. They want a little elbow room. They want to be left alone. They just want to exist and enjoy their lives. They're willing to take their plows and plow their fields and grow some vegetables. This is fine with them. There are a lot of people like that. They're not looking for handouts. Don't want them. A simple life is good enough for them. But they are not going to be left alone. Why?
Do you pray to God in troubled times? What does God say? "Find your peace, find your contentment, find your joy." What does God say if you pray in good times? "Find your peace, find your contentment, find your joy." You want to pray, but you don't accept God's replies. How does God reply? "You're fortunate. You are alive. Here is my blessing. My blessing to you is this breath." Do you accept that? Do you prepare yourself for this blessing every day?
What is the reality? You are alive. That's the reality. What's going to happen tomorrow? Don't worry. Something will happen. There are two possibilities: one, you might die. If you die, you don't have to worry about tomorrow because you'll be gone. If you don't show up for your job because you're dead, and your boss says, "Why did that person do that?" you don't have to answer. Even if you have a lot of unpaid parking tickets, it's okay. It's not like they're going to chase after you. It's over.
The other possibility is that you'll be alive. And you can do something about that. You can prepare to greet tomorrow with consciousness, with clarity, with understanding, with a heart full of joy.
I THINK I ATE A
You went into a restaurant, sat down, ordered a sandwich. You waited and waited, and then the waiter brought you the bill. You said, "But where's my sandwich?" And he said, "I brought you the sandwich; you ate it." There are actually people who would pay the bill and walk away totally confused. All day long they would keep thinking, "Did I eat the sandwich? I'm still hungry. Maybe it was a little sandwich. Did I really eat it?"
I try to remind people of something they already know, because those are the things that we put aside. It is amazing how we take all that is good in our lives and save it for last. Who came up with this idea?
Maybe it started with desserts. I can understand that. Maybe some food tastes so pathetic that a "sugar hit" at the end is what you really need. But life is not like that. Life is a beautiful journey that takes place every single day. It is dancing. It is calling you. It wants you to participate in it – to actively accept every gift that is placed before you every single day. Every moment. Without the judgment of good and bad. Without the judgment of right and wrong.
Recently, I was driving with someone who kept getting lost, even though the car had a navigation system. The next day, he said, "Oh, yesterday was a disaster!" No, it wasn't. Why wasn't it a disaster? Because he was alive. How easy it is to judge all the things that happen in our lives and throw away the value of breath, throw away the value of existence.
Not too long ago, I went to a funeral. I had known that the time was coming close for this person, so before I left on a very long trip, I went to see him. I wanted to say good-bye while he was alive, because I really don't think you can say good-bye after someone's gone.
There's no one like you.
And there will be no one
like you after you're gone.
So I went to the funeral, and in a way, it was shocking. It wasn't this person leaving that was shocking, because that's what's going to happen to everyone. But at the cemetery, it was very obvious what all the headstones were representing: "Here lies a person."
I had to stop and reflect. This isn't just a headstone. This is a history. This was a person who was once alive. Good things happened and bad things happened. There were rough days and smooth days, confusing days and clear days. There were days that went this person's way and days that seemed to oppose him. A journey was made.
What is the difference between this headstone and me? One day, I, too, will be reduced to a headstone, with a name, a couple of dates, and a few messages chiseled out – and that's it. But am I not more than that?
Isn't life more than that? Doesn't existence itself rise above all the things that happen – the goods, the bads, the rights, the wrongs, the judgments? Isn't it a kindness to be here? Isn't this a special moment – this moment called being alive? How aware am I of it? How much do I recognize it?
What am I concerned about today? Am I the least bit concerned about something that is finer than the finest hair – something that cannot be measured in width, height, or weight and that is the only difference between me and that headstone? Do you know what it is? It's the breath that comes in and out of me.
You cannot take a picture of it. You cannot paint it. You cannot make a statue of it. You cannot give it, buy it, trade it, or sell it. And it makes all the difference between you and your headstone. Because breath comes, you're intelligent. Because it comes, you are Mr. So-and-So, Mrs. So-and-So, Miss So-and-So, Dr. So-and-So, Captain So-and-So, Professor So-and-So. And thanks to this gift of breath, you have the capability to understand, to question, to reason, to observe, and to learn.
IDEAS OF PEACE
Am I saving the possibility of being in peace for last? If I am, time out. A change of plans is required. That is not what I want to put off till the end. I need to feel peace every day that I am alive.
I go around the world talking about peace, and I have understood one thing: People don't even know what it is. Nobody has a clue.
Some people think that peace is when people put flowers in their hair and dance in the streets, and when they meet, they hug each other. When they go to a restaurant, if the waiter was good to them, then after they're finished, they pay the bill and give the waiter a hug – no more tips. That is their concept of peace.
Other people think peace is when all the fighting has stopped. Nobody will fight with anybody else. If your neighbor does something annoying, you'll just sit there and pout. And some people think that peace will be the day the trains stop running and dogs stop barking.
Some people think peace is being on top of a mountain overlooking a beautiful lake at sunset. When you hear crickets, you say, "Oh, it's so peaceful." Next time you see a cricket, don't just shoo it away – it's associated with peace. Of course, if that same cricket ends up in your bedroom, then peace is over; you declare war on it. And it is not a question of "wanted: dead or alive." You want it dead!
The peace I am talking about is the peace without which we would lose the very fabric of who we are, the peace that dances in the heart of everyone. The reality. The beauty. The joy. The true peace – not an absence of something, but the very presence of something. That is what is alive. That is what is possible. Even in the middle of a war, a person can experience this peace.
Some people think freedom is when you get away from your house for the weekend. To teenagers, freedom is when they leave their parents' house. Freedom to parents is when their teenagers actually leave. Not just threaten to leave, but actually leave. Is that freedom?
Freedom from my troubles. Is that freedom? Freedom from my concerns. Is that freedom? Freedom from my responsibilities. Is that freedom?
I talk about a freedom that can be felt even in a prison. That's the freedom that no one can take away from me. Peace that cannot be disturbed – that is real peace. Freedom that cannot be taken away – that is real freedom.
We create and define our systems. People are still trying to define what God is. One of the definitions is, "God is indefinable." So we say, "Let's define that." One person says, "Be free of those ideas and concepts." And the other one says, "No, I love my concepts. There's nothing wrong with them." It becomes very personal. People get so caught up in definitions, ideas, and concepts. And then the world engages in a fight: "There's only one God. But my God is better than your God." Do you find that logical?
We have two ways of taking in information. One is theoretical; the other is practical. And between the theory and the practical lies a big mountain called understanding. On one side of the mountain is theory – keep talking, keep defining. On the other side of the mountain lies this wonderful phenomenon of feeling. So what is the difference between the two?
Let's say you went into a restaurant, sat down, and ordered a sandwich. You waited and waited, and then the waiter brought you the bill. You said, "But where's my sandwich?" And he said, "I brought you the sandwich; you ate it." There are actually people who would pay the bill and walk away totally confused.
All daylong they would keep thinking, "Did I eat the sandwich? I'm still hungry. Maybe it was a little sandwich. Did I really eat it?" They would go home, sit down with their wife, and say, "Honey, is it possible to eat a sandwich and not know it?" Then they would go to the library. "I think I had a sandwich, but I really didn't have a sandwich – do you have a book on that?" "No." "Okay. I'll go look at the self-help section." That'd be a great book: You Thought You Had a Sandwich, but Did You? It would be a big seller. People could relate to it.
You are the only one who can decide whether or not you are feeling peace. It is not dependent on somebody saying, "By the way, you're experiencing peace. So keep quiet." No. You have the last word. You have to feel that peace, that freedom, not just write "I feel free" three hundred times.
Some people say, "I heard his speech; it was nice, but he didn't
give us anything concrete." What can I give you when you
already have all that you need within you? It's like, what could you possibly give to a beautiful woman? If she's really beautiful, you could give her a mirror and tell her, "See what I see every day." I think that would be a romantic compliment.
Maybe it is possible that the woman would take it the wrong way and ask you, "Why are you giving me a mirror? What's wrong with me?" It's funny, but that's why we look at ourselves in the mirror – to see the faults. "Is my tie crooked? Is something stuck in my teeth?"
People stand in front of the Mona Lisa, and they all gawk and say, "Beautiful." There should be a mirror! Because there is no one like you on the face of this earth. Not even if you have a twin. There's no one like you. And there will be no one like you after you're gone.
This is your time to begin to understand. And here is the concrete thing: to start to realize that all you ever wanted, you have. You have that freedom and that peace inside of you.
This is what I offer people – a mirror. What else can you give to someone who has everything? You have everything! That which is within you is, by its very nature, divine. By its very existence, it is the most beautiful symphony. By its very existence, it is the most beautiful play ever written. You are the actor, and the most incredible script has been written for you. There is love. There's a little bit of action. There's a little bit of clarity and a little bit of confusion. It's an amazing script. How well are you playing it? How well do you know your lines? How well do you know this play? Do you need somebody in the orchestra pit to read you the script?
When you don't know, you need somebody to whisper your lines. How many of you know about the people who are whispering your lines in your life? And when two of them start speaking at the same time, what happens? Family feud? "I want you to be this way," "I want you to be that way," "I want you to do this for me," "I want
Peace that cannot be disturbed
that is real peace.
Freedom that cannot be taken away
that is real freedom.
you to do that for me," "I trusted you." No. You expected. Don't bring trust into it. You don't even know what trust is.
Trust is meant to be for the coming and going of your breath – that it will come and it will go. Trust, not an expectation. Will tomorrow come? Are you expecting it to come? Or are you trusting it to come? Think about it. If it doesn't come, there's nothing you can do about it. You can't argue. You can't complain. Wise are the ones who begin to understand the value of what they have been given while it's still being given. Understanding the value of something when it is gone is too easy.
Begin to acknowledge your existence in the simplest way possible – by going within. Not from ideas, but from your understanding. Not measuring with the scales of what you do not have.
Understand what you do have. Because what you do have is right here within you, and it's everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything.
THE TIE BUSINESS
People say, "I'm a father." No, you're a human being. They say, "I'm a mother." No, you're a human being. But we don't see human beings; we see everything else. We think a person is important because he's wearing a tie. I know this tie business really well. The tie is an amazing tool. Put it on, and you're somebody; take it off, and people won't even hold an elevator door for you.
We have trained ourselves to see the differences – our color, our height. The taller you are, the more likely you are to be successful. At what? Banging your head? You will do a lot of that.
We look at all the differences. See the similarity. You were born. That you are alive is a blessing unparalleled. You exist. Understand that.
I'm talking about the presence of a beauty that is inside of you, through which you
have everything and without which you have nothing.
You are so fortunate that you are alive. That is simple. That is real. I just wanted to remind you of that because in times of trouble, we forget the most important thing. And that's what gets us into trouble.
You know this. You know everything I have said. You know that peace is beautiful. Now the time has come to actually feel that peace in your life. Nobody is too young, and nobody is too old. Now is the time to understand. Understand. Then you won't need all the explanations. When understanding kicks in, that's all you need.
In life, know. In life, understand. Let every step be real. Not somebody's instruction from the orchestra pit: "Now say this." Because this is a matter of life. You have one
life. One existence. One incredible gift that you have been given.
I love to learn. I love to understand. A long time ago, my father showed me how to look within, and I did. And I'm happy I did. I'm thankful I did. I'm thankful for every day. And I'm still learning the art of unlearning how to be distracted.
It is crucial to remember what is important. The more important something is, the more important it is to remember it. And you must also understand how likely you are to forget it. That's how we are.
It is my privilege to remind you. It is my privilege, my joy, my honor, to go around
the world and tell people about the possibility of being in peace.
It is a message of the heart. I don't prepare my speeches. If you had asked me what I was going to talk about when I came here, I wouldn't have known. I come, I open my heart, and with a sense of clarity, a sense of understanding, and hopefully with humility, I present what I have to say. I have nothing to sell. Some people always think, "Oh, there must be some hidden motive." Do you live like that? Every time you're nice to somebody, is there some hidden motive?
Your life, your breath, your existence is good. It has been given to you. The motive is kindness.
Peace is not an abstract concept. Peace is a feeling. Peace is real. It isn't about a flower giving off a beautiful blue hue. It is about feeling a feeling inside and saying, "Yes!" because you have felt it. Not like that person who says, "I think I ate the sandwich," but like the one who says, "I know I ate the sandwich," and being happy because you enjoyed your sandwich. Not walking around wondering, "Did I really eat that sandwich? Where is that sandwich?"
There's no room for that in this life.
"Did I really eat that sandwich?"
THE DO I
All your dramas, all your ideas, all the things you like and don't like, all the things that happen that you judge your life by are but a dream. Just a dream.
And in the middle of these dreams, there is a reality that is so amazing, so incredible. There's a place where you can truly be awake. In that awakening, there are no issues of good and bad, right and wrong. There is just a beautiful reality that you are alive.
In this path of existence, we don't know what the questions are. And if we don't know what the questions are, how are we going to find the answers? Historically, a clue has been given: walk on this path with eyes wide open. You don't know where the answers will come from. You don't know when they will come. You don't know what they will be like. And you don't even know if you had a question that the answer belongs to.
Who are you? What are you? What is life all about? Now, here's a question people hardly ask: What is it all about? Well, here you are. Congratulations. Wonderful, great. It's incredible that you are, because at one point you weren't. And one day, you won't be. But now, you are alive. And all your dramas, all your ideas, all the things you like and don't like, all the things that happen that you judge your life by are but a dream. Just a dream. Dreams are not to be taken lightly. I'm sure you've had dreams where you woke up with your heart pounding, "Oh, my God!" But they are still dreams.
And in the middle of these dreams, there is a reality that is so beautiful, so amazing, so incredible. There's a place where you can truly be awake, and it's very beautiful. In that awakening, there is no judgment. There are no issues of good and bad, no issues of right and wrong. In that awakening, you are not being judged. There are no yardsticks, and there are no races. Nobody is standing there with a checkered flag saying, "You won" or "You lost." Nothing of that kind. Nothing.
There is just a beautiful reality that you are alive. That you have the ability to understand. That you have the ability to know. That you have the ability to admire.
Look at your day. Living in this world, which of your qualities get used every single
day? Let me backtrack a little bit. What are your qualities?
You have the ability to get angry. And you have the ability to be calm. You have the ability to be in turmoil. And you have the ability to be in peace. These are all qualities you have. Which ones do you use the most in your life? Frustration? Anger? Disappointment? These are qualities that we use a lot.
Once in a while, under very special circumstances, you actually find yourself happy. And when you are happy, it is a big deal. You will talk about it and remember it and think about it for years to come. And when you get older, your short-term memory goes bye-bye, and what you will be left with are these little segments of long-term memory: "I remember when I was there. And, oh, that was so beautiful."
That's what this whole business of digital photography is about. Little cameras. Cameras on the phone so you can capture a moment that was just wonderful and remember it again and again because those moments are so few and far between.
You have some other qualities as well. You are able to appreciate this existence, to truly be happy. Happy as in timeless. Camera not needed. Special circumstances not required. You can just be happy. You can be in the joy that springs from your heart every single day.
People are trying to understand their mind. They have been trying to do that for an extremely long time. And they never will because the mind is always one step ahead. Make no mistake about who's the leader and who's the follower. Mind leads, you follow. Even when the mind comes along and says, "Conquer me," and you say, "Okay," it's like a dog trying to pull on its leash without getting ahead of its master.
People write books – trying to understand. They say beautiful things, but it doesn't go anywhere. It's like having a garden that looks spectacular from a distance, but on close examination, every flower is made out of paper and every tree out of plastic. Now, there are advantages to this garden. You never have to water it. All the grass is Astroturf, so you don't ever have to cut it. It looks the same forever.
The disadvantage? Flowers don't bloom; spring never comes. Birds have no business being there. Bees never fly around in it. No nectar is collected. And no flower has a beautiful aroma. The trees do not sway in the wind, and even though it all looks pretty, it is static – static as in dead.
What I am talking about
is within you.
'always was; always will be.
That is why it is so important to have a living experience. Living. Breathing. Existing. Feeling. Thinking. Understanding. Knowing. That's what's real.
We get used to being frustrated. We get used to being angry and upset. We get used to living in ignorance. And 99 percent of people accommodate and facilitate this. "Don't worry about it; it's okay." What is okay? Is being lost okay? Is ignoring my own nature okay? Is being away from myself okay? Is not recognizing myself okay? And people will say, "That's life. Good times happen; bad times happen. It's all okay."
That's why every one of us needs clarity so desperately. We need to understand that there can be no compromises – that an effort needs to be made every single day to be clear, to understand, to accept. To see and to feel what you and I have been given. From the heart. From the very basic being in each of us.
HOPE AND MEMORY
You have learned a lot of things. As you progress in your life, invariably a time will come when most of what you know will have little bearing. Maybe all your life you were a pilot, and one day you go to a doctor and he says, "You can't see; you can't hear – you shouldn't fly!" Maybe you were an artist all your life. The time will come when you hold the brush and your hand will shake too much to actually paint. Maybe you drove trucks all your life. The time will come when it will be hard to climb up that step that you have climbed thousands of times before without thinking twice.
Know that a time will come when all that will slowly fade away. When that happens, what will remain? You will remain. And you will still be able to experience. But all those things that you experienced before will no longer plug into the same socket. The socket has changed.
Do you know that this erosion, if you want to call it that, is afoot every second you are alive? It happens so slowly that you don't notice it, but it's afoot. Everything is forging on. Every day, every second, it forges on. Marches on.
Is that good news? Is that bad news? Wait a minute. Don't go there. It's all good news because you are alive. And until the day you are no longer alive, it is good news because you can go inside and feel joy. That's what makes it good news.
THERE'S ANOTHER DOOR
All your life you have seen doors. The door you came through the day you were born is the first door. The door that you'll go through when you leave is the second door. Everything is being measured between those two doors.
But there is another door. And that door is the door to you. It's pointless to measure things against those other two doors because there's nothing you can do about them. You cannot do anything about the fact that you were born. You were born. That's it. Your life has started. And one day, you will get close enough to the other door, and you will be gone. One swing, voom, voom. You don't have to push it. It's totally automated. As soon as you arrive – elegantly, inelegantly – it opens up, and everybody says, "What happened?"
But there's another door. And maybe you don't realize this, but every opportunity that your heart gets, it knocks on this door. So, open up. Feel, see, understand, realize, know. Be in that joy, be in that feeling every moment. That's true wisdom. That's true understanding.
I offer help to open that door to you. I call it Knowledge, a very practical way to be able to go within and feel the feeling that is inside. I give four techniques to those who want that Knowledge. There's a very simple process of preparing for it, and then you will have that possibility to go inside and feel that feeling.
There are people in prison who have received this Knowledge, and it works for them. There are people who have received it who have gone to war, and in the middle of the war, they have been able to experience the joy that is inside of them.
What I am talking about is within you. Always was; always will be.
I'm not saying, "Take the techniques I offer you; otherwise, you will suffer." I am saying, "You can have that experience if you want to."
Knowledge is like a lamp. Whenever it is dark, you can light it, and there will be no more darkness. It doesn't matter how dark it gets. And there is no storm that can put this lamp out if you know how to light it.
The point of Knowledge is not that darkness can never come. Darkness will come. But you don't have to be affected. Knowledge is the know-how to be in that joy, to be in that clarity, whatever is happening.
TREES IN THE
GARDEN OF LIFE
You are too busy cleaning the sap from the Anger Tree, the Misunderstanding Tree, the Hate Tree. However it is, do not sow seeds of unconsciousness anymore. Really nasty stuff. Stinks. Sow consciousness.
Nurture kindness in your life, and you will be rewarded with the gift of kindness. Sow the seed of love, and you will be rewarded with that most incredible feeling of love dancing in your heart. Sow the seed of understanding, and you will be rewarded with understanding. Sow the seed of clarity, and you will be rewarded with clarity.
This is a metaphor, but it's true: When we come into this world, we're given seeds, and the question is, What will we do with these seeds? And what are these seeds?
There is a seed of anger, but there is also a seed of kindness. There is a seed of love and a seed of understanding. And there is a seed of doubt and a seed of confusion. Whatever seed you have sown in your garden of life ultimately determines the tree you're going to sit under. How restful it will be depends on what kind of seed you have sown.
There are a lot of eucalyptus trees in Australia. One variety is called the widow maker, because it has a habit of dropping its branches unannounced – the branches tend to be rather heavy, so if you're sitting underneath them and they hit you, your wife would become a widow.
There are certain trees that have beautiful flowers, but they produce a sap that does not allow grass to grow beneath them. Every seed has a particular quality, something that it offers. When it is sown, and it grows and becomes a tree, it will have very particular characteristics that you may or may not like.
I'm not passing judgment or saying what kind of seed you should have sown. I merely point out some of the characteristics of different trees. You are capable of making that decision for yourself. You have enough intelligence to choose – from a place of clarity – what will benefit you the most. Human beings, as long as they can see clearly, will make the right decision.
THE TREE OF ANGER
It is not only a question of sowing the seeds, but also nurturing them, watering
them, protecting them, taking care of them so that they grow.
Most of us have sown the seed of anger. There seems to be no hesitation to go near it, but we don't like the droppings from this tree. And you promise yourself you will never go near this tree again. But either you forget or you have become so used to living unconsciously, that there is no hesitation to go right back to that tree and get its sap all over you again. It's disgusting, and sometimes this sap is so nasty that it can take a lifetime to get rid of it. Two people love each other, and then each one in turn visits their own little Anger Tree, and then it's, "I hate you. I wish you were never born."
So, that is a good example of a seed and a tree. If you planted a seed and nurtured it, there will be a tree. If you want to know what you have been nurturing, just open the window and look in your garden, and see the trees that are there.
THE TREE OF DOUBT
People plant the seed of doubt: "Is it really going to happen?" The tree of doubt comes. It is also disgusting, because dust comes off of it that gets all over the place, and it takes what could be beautiful and turns it into nothing.
In life, one of the biggest lessons you have to learn – and this is going to sound funny since we're talking about doubt – is that you have to give every single new day the benefit of the doubt. This is a positive doubt. Negative doubt is, "Oh, my God. Something is wrong." Positive doubt is, "You know what? I have been in this world for so many years. Maybe what this person is going to say to me today will be different."
But that is not the nature of the tree of doubt. It doubts everything. It doubts your ability to understand your experience, your life. All because a seed was sown – a seed of doubt.
ME AND MY SHADOW
If you look in your garden, you may not see a tree of understanding. So you might say, "Hmm. Which tree is that?" But that is because that seed never got sown. But the beautiful thing is, no matter when you sow these seeds, they will sprout. It's never too late.
But what is the tree of understanding? We are taught to believe, to "take a leap of faith." But you don't have to do that. It could be very risky. Instead of just believing, you can actually understand what it means to be alive.
You might think, "I know what it means to be alive." No, you don't. You associate your life with your job, with the things that happen around you. That is not your life.
There is a big difference between your shadow and you, is there not? Yes, you have a shadow, but you are not your shadow. This is the distinction you have to remember. Some things exist because you exist, but they are not your existence. They may appear and disappear, but you will still be.
How unfortunate it is that we start associating ourselves with those things until we think, "They are me; I am them." No. They are there, but you aren't them. We have a huge stew cooking, and everything is in it. After it has cooked long enough, we won't be able to tell the carrots from the peas or the potatoes from the onions.
The hub is your existence. Your life. Your understanding. Your steps, your journey. Your elation and the process of filling your heart with utter and total contentment.
Most of us have sown the seed of
anger. But we don't like the
droppings from this tree.
The tree of doubt is also
disgusting. Dust comes off of it
that gets all over the place.
If you want to know what
you have been nurturing
just open the window,
look in your garden, and see
the trees that are there.
SATISFIED OR CONTENT?
Do you want to be satisfied? Or content? Which one? You can learn to be satisfied,
but contentment comes naturally.
Contentment is a feeling that emanates from within you – from your basic core. It is not the same as being able to say, "I don't need anything anymore." That is being satisfied. And many people confuse being satisfied with being content. They say, "People who are content don't want anything else, and therefore, they have given up the world, their children, their houses, their jobs. They've given up everything. They live on some mountain and have become holy." Have you ever seen a "holy" man in his "holy" wardrobe? Every day, he wears special clothes to let people know he has renounced the world. Is he not thinking of the world when he puts his clothes on? Of course he is. He needs to announce that he has renounced.
Somebody asks you, "Are you satisfied?" You can say, "Yes. I have a good job. I have a good family. I have a good car. I have great friends. And even my pets listen to me. So I must be satisfied." Ah. But are you content? "Mmm, I don't know, but I'm satisfied." But are you content? Did you sow the seed of contentment?
THE SEED OF LOVE
Did you sow the seed of love? I'm not talking about lust. I know you have sown that. Those are the first ones that get sown. Anger begins early. Frustration, early. Lust? Early – or semi-early.
Love is different. What is the difference between a butterfly and a kite? Both fly. A kite is tethered to the kite string. Without that string, it will falter and fall.
A butterfly, on the other hand, is not tethered to a string, and it flies. And, if you were to tie it to a kite string, it would falter and fall. Love is like a butterfly. Lust is like a kite. Big difference between the two.
Love dances in the heart of the one who loves. Love not only makes the one who feels it feel good, but all those who are around also begin to feel it. There's a saying: "The world loves a lover." Because that is how love is.
Have you sown the seed of joy? What are the seeds of joy? Does joy have anything to do with bank accounts? No. A bank account equals convenience. It's convenient to have enough money, that's all. Were the Roman emperors really happy? Never. There was a stretch of time when one emperor after another was assassinated. I mean, they knew what was going to happen to them. They always had to watch their backs and try their hardest to get rid of anybody they thought was their enemy before the person could kill them.
SEEDS OF UNCONSCIOUSNESS
And then, people look for reasons for everything. And karma becomes really popular with people who are suffering. "Why is this happening to me? Must be my karma, something I did in a past lifetime." It wouldn't have anything to do with what you have chosen to do in this life, would it? All the unconsciousness that you bred?
If your job is to milk venom from a king cobra, don't be too surprised if one day the cobra bites you. That is its nature. Maybe the cobra is agitated that day. Maybe he knows what you're going to do, and he doesn't really want to donate his venom. Maybe the last time you did it, you squeezed his head a little too hard, and he's mad at you. Maybe he thinks you're bringing food. Who knows?
But we breed unconsciousness, and then we wonder what happens to us in our life. It cannot be. Look again at those seeds you have been given and make some simple decisions. Especially if you look in your heart and find that a few trees are missing that you think should've been there, that you assumed were there. No problem. It's never too late. Seeds are in hand; sow them. Take care of them.
Nurture kindness in your life, and you will be rewarded with the gift of kindness. Sow the seed of love, and you will be rewarded with that most incredible feeling of love dancing in your heart. Sow the seed of understanding, and you will be rewarded with understanding. Sow the seed of clarity, and you will be rewarded with clarity.
Then in this life, every day, a tribute of gratitude can be paid. Right now, you don't have time. You are too busy cleaning the sap from the Anger Tree, the Misunderstanding Tree, the Hate Tree.
However it is, do not sow seeds of unconsciousness anymore. Really nasty stuff. Stinks. Sow consciousness, and the reward will be a simple and beautiful reality.
Enjoy this life, because that's one thing you can do with it. And it's good. It's all very good. But not through the eyes of doubt, not through the eyes of anger, not through the eyes of hate. I'm not saying you should love everyone and walk around saying, "I love you, I love you, I love you." That's not what I am talking about.
The tree of love is not planted in your neighbor's garden. Don't even try going to your neighbor's garden to plant that tree. The tree of love is planted in your garden. And why should you plant it? Maybe you think you should become kind so that other people will be kind to you. That's not the reason why you should be kind.
To feel kindness. To feel true love. To understand what it is like not to be in doubt. To understand that there is a place where there are answers – this is something you do for you, not for other people.
Then, of course, some people say, "Isn't that selfish?" Is it? When I understand something, am I robbing somebody else of that understanding? Is there only a limited number of understandings, so that if I get one, somebody else won't get it? If that is how it is, then it is selfish, and you shouldn't understand something, because somebody else might need that understanding more than you do.
But that is not how it is. When you understand something, you're not depriving anybody of that understanding. When you receive an answer, you do not deprive anybody of that answer. The other person can receive it, too. That is what is so beautiful. It is not at somebody else's expense; it is just about you. Your journey, your existence. Your heart, your contentment. Your life. And you are not depriving anybody of anything by taking as much as you can.
Do whatever you have to do in your life. But do this, too: sow the seeds that you want to sow. Nurture them. Garner them. Help them grow. And then you will be able to enjoy the trees in your garden of life.
Sow the seeds that
you want to sow.
Help them grow.
And then you will be
able to enjoy the trees in
your garden of life.
You might think,
"I know what it means to be alive."
No, you don't.
You associate your life with your job, with the things that happen around you.
That is not your life.