Inspire Electronic Magazine, Volume 1, Issues 1 - 43
The Prem Rawat Foundation
January 2004 - 29/12/2004
Inspire v1 i1: Starting the year on a high note - Fort Lauderdale
"What is this life like? It is not the pieces of gold you did not pick up that will make you wealthy; it is the ones that you did. It is not the moments you lost that will bring you gain; it is the moments you captured.
Every day we look at what we don't have. Life is not about lost opportunities. It is about the opportunity taken. A painting is not about the strokes that were not there; it is about the strokes that were. A picture is not about all the things that are not on film; it is about what was there when the shutter opened. And for us, it is not about the days that have been swept under the bridge. It is about the days that are coming that we can gather in our bucket.
If you can understand just this much–that what you have matters–your whole outlook on life can change. Then it can become a gift because it is based on what you do have, not what you don't have.
My prediction is that there are some incredibly good times coming. Incredibly good times. And I'm going to try as hard as I can to prepare you for them. Because if it is true that what counts is what you have, not what you don't, then you have to be ready for those times because when they come, you have to save them.
What will those good days be? Will they be the fulfillment of some concept? Of course not.
When fulfillment happens, it is based upon something real. And it transcends even our wildest dreams. Sometimes it is as subtle as a flute playing in the distance. And we listen. Something gets stirred and something is fulfilled. Sometimes it is as big as the world itself or as small as a little speck of dust blowing in the wind. It is not what it is that matters. All that matters is what it brings. And that is coming your way. How do I know? Because it has come before. And it will come again, and again, and again. Be ready."
Inspire v1 i2: Maharaji addresses forum of distinguished business and government leaders - India
"What I have come to talk about today is very simple–it is the one thing that our heart is looking for. I don't assume that people are looking for peace. Many people tackle their responsibilities, manage their businesses, spend time with their family, and they are quite content with that. But whether people are looking for peace or not, their heart is looking for peace.
So many people are trying to make sure that nothing bad happens to them. They go to great lengths. But good and bad is the law as long as we are alive. Good will happen; bad will happen. Right will happen; wrong will happen. It's like a wheel that goes around and around. But in the good, we can know the source of peace, and in the bad, we can still know the source of peace.
Success and failure are so close together. No success is far from failure, and no failure is far from success. There's a very fine line between darkness and light, sadness and joy, good and bad. They're all neighbors. But if we can understand that in our darkness, light is right there and that in our sorrow, joy is right there, then the only thing remaining is for the bird within to be able to stretch its wings and fly.
Breath comes and it goes. And when it comes, it brings everything. It makes the trees green and the sky blue. And it fills us with the most precious thing there is, called life. Because it comes, I am a husband, an uncle, a father, a friend. And when it stops coming, I'm not a husband, an uncle, a father, or a friend. I am nothing.
And when it comes, not only does it bring all those things, but it brings something else that is priceless: It brings joy. It brings peace. It brings not what my mind desires, but what my heart desires. The thirst is innately within me, wanting to know, wanting to be content. Ten thousand solutions and one that is simply pounding, pounding in my heart to be content.
Everything has been given to us, everything we could possibly want. It's already there. That's the possibility. That's what can happen. That's what I facilitate for people who want peace in their lives."
Inspire v1 i3: Young Leaders Forum of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
The Young Leaders Forum of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry invited Maharaji to address an audience of distinguished business and government leaders at Sirifort Auditorium, Delhi's premier auditorium.
Speaking from a simple stage, Maharaji stated that while we tend to think we are free, our heart cries for freedom. There are many bars in our life, he said, behind which we are imprisoned without even knowing it–bars of ignorance, sorrow, doubt. Without knowing it, we are trapped in a cage of doubt. And yet the bird in our heart wants to fly. How can we afford to give this bird in our heart a chance to fly?
Emphasizing that the peace he speaks of is not connected to any worldly situation, Maharaji told a story. Once upon a time, he said, God told a person: "Tell me what you would like, and I will fulfill your wishes." The man replied: "A good job." So God gave this man a good job. A few years later, the man prayed again and told God: "I would like to have a good wife." So God gave him a good wife. A few years later, this man asked for a few good children. So God gave him a few good children.
More than twenty years passed, and the man asked God to give good spouses to his children. So God gave good spouses to his children. A few years later, the man prayed again, and God asked him, "What would you like this time?" And the man answered, "Peace." Then God asked: "But when you started praying to me a long time ago, you said you wanted a job."
And the man replied: "I asked for a good job because I thought this would allow me to be rich and to find a good spouse, and I asked for a good spouse because I thought she would allow me to have a good family, and I asked for good children because with all this wealth and family, I thought I would have peace. But from the beginning I wanted peace." "Why wait so many years?" said God. "Why didn't you ask for peace in the first place?"
Maharaji expressed that the Knowledge he offers does not necessarily make people successful in their external lives. He encouraged people in the audience to pursue this kind of success if they want. And if they needed help finding success in the form of peace within, he invited them to come to him for help.
He emphasized that, while we have to take care of our worldly responsibilities, there is one responsibility that we have towards our self, and that is our personal venture to find peace in this life.
A high point in the address was when he stressed the importance of each person finding peace whether they are interested in Knowledge or not. Every person, he said, must find peace–not a fake peace, not a peace made of worldly formulas, but real peace–the peace that is felt in the heart and that is independent of circumstances.
Maharaji concluded by saying that the Knowledge he offers is unlike any other knowledge because it is the one knowledge that allows a person to take the senses that are running outside and to direct them within. And when the focus goes within, he said, then joy, peace, fulfillment manifest from within.
Inspire v1 i4: The fundamental need
"There is a basic need of every human being, and that is to be fulfilled. Regardless of who we are–whether we live in a poor village or a seventy-story building– we want to be happy. We want to be content. We want to be fulfilled. It doesn't matter what we call it–we have the same purpose.
We came from the same place and landed on the same dock–Earth. Then we got caught in the web of what we should be doing. The wind of this world scattered us–and we see our differences, not our similarities.
What is our heart saying? Once again, we need to hear and identify the call, the voice, the want, the need of our fundamental being. Not formulas or ideas. We need to feel. That's how we are made.
It comes down to very simple fundamentals. The voice of our heart is saying, "Be fulfilled." When the heart is full, there is enjoyment. When doubt is replaced by clarity, when questions have been traded for answers, when duality has been replaced by singularity, then there is the most content heart. Then there is joy. Then there is a human being on an incredible journey of life.
In the middle of adversity, the human being seeks peace. In the middle of questions, the human being seeks answers. In the middle of doubt, the human being seeks clarity. This is the nature of the human being. This is the need to fulfill.
The happiness that we are looking for is inside of us. Something needs to be felt within. Peace happens to be one of those things. Joy happens to be one of those things–not a joy that comes and goes, but a joy that permanently resides inside. Not a happiness that comes and goes, connected to the outer world, but a happiness that is always there. Even in the darkest moment, that joy resides within me. There is a solid feeling of peace when we go within and find that place."
Inspire v1 i5: Maharaji in Mumbai
Maharaji had first come to Mumbai as a child, barely four years old, and addressed audiences there before his father came on stage. On this visit, the stadium, set in the middle of one of the noisiest, most bustling cities in the world, was filled with tens of thousands of people, patiently waiting under a scorching sun. When Maharaji walked on stage, he was welcomed by a standing ovation, soon followed by an extraordinary silence as everyone became all ears.
Maharaji explained that all people have needs. Some are basic needs such as thirst, hunger, or sleep that need to be satisfied. Numerous businesses have been created to satisfy these needs. In many ways it could be said that the world is need-driven. On the other hand, many needs, he said, have been created by society, and it is society that tells us we should fulfill them. Trying to fulfill these needs that are not our real needs often becomes stressful. We long for more money or for a better job, but these are not our fundamental needs. They are dictated by the society, and they will never be satisfied completely. He explained that the true need is the need that the heart believes to be true. Since we cannot fulfill all our needs, at least we need to fulfill the one main need we can fulfill, the one need that the heart knows to be true.
The true need, he said, is within the heart, and it is up to the heart to say what it is. It needs to be experienced for oneself. Unless peace is experienced in the heart, he continued, a person will remain unsatisfied. When the heart is at peace, on the other hand, the need to satisfy a long list of needs is replaced by an expression of gratitude for being alive.
He added that however deep the darkness may be, a lamp is always burning within us, and that within us are the answers that we are looking for. We search for questions because we think they will lead us to answers, but at some point we need to search for answers. If we find answers without the questions, he concluded, that would be very good.
Inspire v1 i7: Maharaji addresses a record audience of 275,000
Maharaji told the story of a poor farmer. The farmer wanted to go to town, make money to feed his family, and come back with some savings. As he was about to leave, his wife prepared four sweets for him and slipped a gold coin into each of them. "Do not eat these sweets unless it is an emergency, and you are very hungry," she told him. He promised her that he would do as she said.
As he traveled to the big city, he became hungry, but he remembered his promise and did not eat the sweets. He had fruit instead. A few months passed, and he had never touched the sweets. He was roaming the city looking for work. In spite of all his efforts, he was not able to make a living. Much time passed and he became even poorer and hungrier. He remembered the sweets, but thought, "These are only for an emergency," and he did not eat them. Before long, without ever having touched the sweets, he died of hunger.
The story of our life, Maharaji said, is like this man's. If he had looked into the sweets that had been given to him, he would have been rich. We have also been given something very beautiful within: Within our heart is peace, happiness, just like the gold coin in the sweets. We keep saying, "Not today, tomorrow" to happiness. And our precious time passes.
He said that now is the moment to enjoy the riches that have been given to us, and he gave the example of seeds in the desert. They wait a very long time for the rain, and when the rain comes, they do not say, "I am busy now. Maybe later. Come back." Whenever it rains, they accept the rain, and they grow. Maharaji said we should be like these seeds.
He went on to speak of the preciousness of this breath: Unless we understand this breath, we are like the farmer who never understood the wealth he was carrying. The real human being, Maharaji said, is not the one who carries lists of what he would like to acquire, but the one who is thankful for what he has been given, the one who is thankful for having been given everything in this life. He asked everyone not to have blind faith, but to understand their thirst, their hunger; practice this Knowledge; and experience for themselves that the gold coin of happiness we are looking for is within.
Inspire v1 i8: A gold mine
Maharaji told the story of a queen who was taking a bath one day. She took off her necklace and put it on a table. A crow saw the necklace through the open window, flew into the room, grabbed it, and flew away. The crow brought it to a tree where he then tried to eat the necklace. When the crow did not find the necklace to his liking, he just left it there lying on a branch.
The queen was desperate: her favorite necklace was gone. When the king came back home that night, he found her in disarray. He offered to get her a better necklace, but she said that no other necklace would do. She wanted that necklace. The king announced that whoever would find the necklace would get a reward. Some people in his kingdom looked for the necklace but could not find it. The king increased the reward. More people looked, but still could not find it. In despair, he said that the person who would find the necklace would get half of his kingdom. Everyone in the kingdom started searching.
There was a canal filled with dirty water near the palace, and under a tree, someone saw a reflection of the necklace in the water. So the person took off his clothes and jumped into the dirty water. When some other people saw him jump in, they suspected that he had found the necklace and they jumped in, too. Soon, some police officers passing by saw what was happening and jumped in, too. The head of the police who was passing by jumped, too, hoping he would be the one to find the necklace. None of them could find it. They all saw that the image was still there, and so they concluded that it was an illusion.
A saint walked by. He asked all these people, "Why are you all jumping into this dirty water?" They told him. He replied, "What you are looking for is not in this dirty water; it is up there in the tree. It is simply a reflection."
Maharaji said we are the same. The real love is within, but we look outside for it. We try to look for it in this world's dirty water. Many people take off their clothes and jump into the world's dirty water in the hope of finding the love that they are looking for. When they do not find what they are looking for, they say that they will find it after they die.
But, he said, if what they are looking for can be found after they die, why do they have life now? What sense does this make? Why were they created? Why does this breath come and go into them now? Why is it that within us there is a thirst for love, if love is only to be found after death?
Maharaji observed that everyone wants their life to be successful. Not a single person does not want to succeed, in their own way. For some people, success is having a large family; for others it is amassing wealth or gaining a position in society.
Maharaji said the role of the teacher is to remind people that what they are looking for is inside of them. He challenged the people, asking them if they realized how much they have received already. So much has been given already, he said, what is needed is to accept it. Gifts started with the first breath that was given to us. Each breath that comes is the touch of the creator. Sadness, he said, is when the breath comes and we do not recognize it. The biggest heaven is here. Those who do not recognize that are in the biggest hell because, while they have the capability to recognize, they do not.
Maharaji reminded everyone how precious life is. While we came empty handed, he said, there is no reason to go empty handed. It is important that no day, no moment, goes wasted. He reminded everyone of how important it is to have peace in their life. To do that, he said, we need to stop cheating and hiding ourselves from ourselves.
Whenever there has been a call from our heart to find fulfillment, to find joy, we have said, "No. I am busy now. I have other things to do." If this is not cheating the self, what is?
One day, he said, all that came from this earth has to go back to this earth. What once was ash will be ash again. Each of us is sitting on a gold mine; there is a gold mine within each breath. If we dig into this mine, we will be richer than we can imagine.
He concluded by saying that we should make our life successful. We should be rich. Richness, he said, is love inside. Richness is peace in the heart. The day we are clear about this, all the questions will go away.
Inspire v1 i9: A Successful Life
People seem fascinated by success.
Thousands of magazine articles, television biopics and newspaper stories around the world each week focus on "successful" people and how others can achieve such success.
However, the problem with success, as it's generally defined, is that not everyone can achieve it. There is only one "best in class"; only one person who gets the leading role in the movie or becomes CEO of the company; one championship team; one winning runner.
Prem Rawat speaks about a different kind of success, one that comes from inner fulfillment. He travels throughout the world encouraging people to find contentment in their lives through a process he calls Knowledge. The inner feeling of success this brings is, he says, accessible to anyone–regardless of talent, resources, or educational and professional background. Over the past thirty years he has spoken about it to more than 5.5 million people in more than 250 cities in 50 countries.
"We all have the same quest to be in peace, and we all have the same quest to be content. Within each one of us lies not only
the thirst to be fulfilled, but also the very well that holds the water that can fulfill the thirst."
People from all walks of life, from CEOs to laborers, who have taken him up on his offer claim the experience of Knowledge brings a profoundly grounded balance to their lives.
Jose Gabriel Aldea, partner and executive director of BBDO Chile, a branch of a global advertising agency, says he finds in Knowledge a way to cope with the stresses of a high-powered job.
"My job is fascinating," he says, "but often very stressful and demanding. Knowledge helps me find peace of mind and high spirits even in the middle of the storm. Since I've been practicing Knowledge, I have learned to trust in myself and aspire for excellence in all things. I now enjoy life fully."
For Stefania DiFilippo-Ponti, who manages assets for high-net-worth clients in one of the oldest private banks in Switzerland, having a successful inner life has been "like money in the bank, and inspires trust in others." She explains, "As I develop relationships with clients, they can see that I am happy and self-confident inside."
Norwegian computer graphics consultant Arne Jacobsen calls Prem Rawat "one of the few people who has never disappointed me."
"I don't count success in dollars or kroners," he says. "What gives me a thrill is the constant learning and improving of my skills. For inner learning, Prem Rawat is a well-qualified guide."
We went to Prem Rawat for fresh insights into success:
In your view, what makes a person's life a success?
Well, the first question is: what is success? We can be successful in business, in our professions, in sports; we can become whatever we want. In the eyes of the world we could be perfect. But which competition can we truly win? There is one ultimate competition in which we don't compete with anyone but ourselves–the competition to succeed in making our life complete. In this competition we succeed when we have understood the value of this life and have found fulfillment. That is when we have real success, and that is a challenge. It is not just a matter of believing in fulfillment, but of experiencing it for ourselves.
So you are speaking about inner achievement. Could you describe the distinction between inner and outer achievement?
On the outside we are very much like a hat rack. We have so many roles: parent, employer, brother, worker. First there is one hat and then another and another. All day long, the hats are coming and going,
all different sizes and types. That is what we are on the outside. But on the inside, there is an unchanging self. The hat rack is always changing, but on the inside our thirst to be fulfilled, our inherent desire to find peace, our quest for satisfaction, has never changed.
In our lives, we learn to be responsible, to take care of our problems, but problems come and go and then come back again, like a wheel that keeps turning. When we understand the nature of the self, then we can begin to understand how beautiful it all is. Life is not about all our problems. It's not about guilt or fear, or right and wrong. It is about an incredible response to the innate desire to be happy.
What is unique about your message?
Some teachers say, "Let's see what you can accomplish. How can we make you a success?" I focus much more on the person. Rather than show people what they could do, I say, "You have been given the gift of life. You have been given a treasure within you. Why don't you address your own treasure? Why don't you address your innermost feeling?"
What are your needs? Not the needs of society, but your needs? What is your aspiration? There is a fundamental aspiration true to every human being regardless of who they are, where they live, what they do, or what they think. Every being has an innate desire to be content. What I offer is a practical way to address that deepest desire
that is common to us all. It is an individual process for personal success in enjoying life independent of circumstances.
Does that mean that outer success is not important?
Not at all! We can always be more successful. Whatever we have achieved, we can do better. And we are more important than our successes. We are also more important than our failures. We are more important than everything that happens around us and everything that won't happen; we are more important than the histories that will unfold, the wars that will be fought, and the peace that will be made. The sum of all of that is less than the existence of each human being. And we need to become aware of that.
In today's world we have so many problems to deal with. Finding personal fulfillment seems like a luxury.
You could say just the opposite. Consider a person who sets out to go across a desert. He probably has a purpose in mind, an adventure or something he wants to accomplish. Then he runs out of water. Before long his thirst narrows his focus down to just one thing–water. Maybe at first he thought, "It would have been nice if there was an oasis here," or "I wish I had brought more water with me." Then his focus becomes very singular. Very precise. It no longer matters who is the head of the
country or how the stock market is doing. Complications have become a luxury.
We're not responding to life like the thirsty person responds. We think we have that luxury, but we don't. We have a thousand distractions in our life, but there is also the call of our heart that is saying, "Peace. Be fulfilled. Be fulfilled with every step that you take in your life. This is something you cannot leave for later." Our heart is calling us. Do we hear it?
Many people speak of inner peace and contentment as distant and somewhat vague possibilities. Is there something practical a person can do to achieve the inner success that you describe?
What I offer is as practical as a glass of water to a thirsty person in the desert. I offer a way of connecting with the peace and contentment that is within each of us, and I call that Knowledge. It is like a bridge from the outside to the inside. Knowledge is not meant to fix anything; it is for those who, out of their free will, want to enjoy peace within them. This is as practical as it can ever get. If a person wants that, I can help.
This article first appeared in América economía magazine, Chile. It has been edited and reformatted for reprinting purposes.
Maharaji started by reminding the audience that, as long as we do not experience a satisfaction that quenches our inner thirst for contentment, questions will keep coming to us. Hence the first priority is to quench our thirst. Each breath that comes and goes, he said, is a gift. He described the human body as a boat to get across an ocean of doubts and illusion. He described the role of a teacher as someone who helps guide this boat across to the other side–a difficult task which the right teacher can render easy.
Knowledge, he reminded the audience, is a subject that is beyond the comprehension of the mind. This can be a hard concept to grasp, since the mind is the only tool we have to make sense of things. No label can be put on Knowledge, he said. All a person can do is experience it for themselves through the techniques which Maharaji shows.
To a question from a person asking him how to get hold of the joy in every breath, Maharaji explained that Knowledge is needed. Knowledge is what allows us to catch this joy. This is not a joy that can be thought about, he said; it is a joy to be witnessed, to be felt.
The difficulty in doing so, he said, is that we have bad habits: We are used to looking on the outside for what we need. When it comes to looking for joy, we think it is on the outside, too, and that's where we look for it. We like to think that joy and peace are far from us. We like to point at them as if they were in the future or in some remote, distant place. All we need to do, he said, is remove the curtain. It is just like a person who wakes up in the morning, opens the curtain to let light come in, and then can see what is inside the room.
To a question from a person wanting to know the difference between real joy and salvation, he said that, with Knowledge, a person gets joy from a place within where there is everything. When that place is reached, a person experiences a deep joy that is a door to salvation.
To a question about whether Knowledge helps a person worry less, he replied that what matters is not so much whether one worries, but what one worries about. There are good worries, he said, like worrying about finding joy within or catching joy in each breath. Human beings worry, and we can link our worrying with pain or joy.
To another person who asked whether it would be advisable to relinquish all worldly possessions and responsibilities to dedicate himself to experiencing this Knowledge, Maharaji replied by emphasizing the importance of taking care of worldly responsibilities and of the even greater importance of remembering our most fundamental responsibility. Our fundamental responsibility, he said, is to fulfill the purpose for which we have been given this life. As to whether it was advisable to be a recluse, he said that he was not able to answer this question since he was neither a recluse nor a hermit. Maharaji explained that all he had done was recognize something beautiful within himself and surrender to that. To find joy, he said, it is not necessary to be a recluse.
A person who said he was a devout follower of his religion asked Maharaji about how to have an experience within, something he said he had not been able to get from his religion. Maharaji likened Knowledge to water. The experience that we are looking for is within, he said, and the teacher can help put our hand on the glass that holds the water we are looking for–the glass from which we can drink and experience the water. Until that time, we only know that there is water. With Knowledge, we can put our hand on the glass and drink.
The next question came from a person who said he was "neither educated nor intelligent." He said that he had realized that he had many flaws and wondered if someone like him could learn this Knowledge. Maharaji replied that no one could be more intelligent than a person who recognizes his flaws. He asked this person not to belittle himself. Often, Maharaji said, the more people are educated, the less educated they are. He told the person that he had everything he needed, and that if he wanted joy in his life, this was possible, too.
Inspire v1 i10: The Universal Quest for Peace
An interview with Prem Rawat
Corporations quest for greater market share, higher stock prices, and increased profit margins. But what do individuals quest for?
Prem Rawat travels the world several times annually to address this very topic. He offers inspiration, guidance, and–for those who wish it–a practical means to make peace a reality in their lives which he calls Knowledge.
Knowledge is a way, accessible to each person, to experience peace by focusing within. Prem Rawat charges no fee for Knowledge. He says that Knowledge puts people in touch with an experience that is already inside them and that he simply shows how to get in touch with it.
Satellite Communications Engineer Claudio Lisman, from Argentina, is a practitioner of this Knowledge. Responsible for large-scale high-technology implementations, he usually works under tremendous pressure. "Being anchored in a place within where peace exists provides me with a unique perspective," he says. "When I am centered, when I experience a peaceful feeling, I make clear and practical decisions."
Prem Rawat, a child prodigy, began speaking publicly at age three, and his addresses were first published in his native India when he was four years old. When he was only thirteen, he was invited to speak in Europe and the United States. Since then he has conveyed his message to more than 5.5 million people worldwide and has instructed hundreds of thousands of individuals in the practice of Knowledge.
He said recently to an audience in the United States, "The tools that I give are to look within, to turn within. That's all. If you can benefit from my clarity, great."
Marta Montoya, manager of one hundred employees for a Colombian engineering firm, encountered Prem Rawat's teachings after a long search in books and spiritual practices. She says that through Knowledge she has found what she was looking for. "After I began to experience peace and contentment from within, I stopped trying to extract joy from my family, job, and friends. Oddly enough, this increased my appreciation for them."
Prem Rawat, also known by the honorary title Maharaji, is a successful investor and receives no compensation for teaching the techniques of Knowledge.
Packed audiences have heard him at London's Albert Hall, the Opera House in Sydney, New York's Lincoln Center, the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, and many other well-known venues.
His yearly itinerary typically includes speaking engagements in South America, with occasional visits to Chile.
We went to him for answers about learning and peace:
You have addressed literally millions of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. Do you see a common denominator in people everywhere?
All of us, wherever we live and whatever we do, have the same yearning. We might have different names, different skin colors, and different lifestyles, but, fundamentally, we are all alike. We tend to see our differences. I talk about our similarities. Our responsibilities are very similar, and our plight is very similar. What we are trying to achieve is exactly the same–to be fulfilled in our life, to make it meaningful, to feel alive, to feel joy.
Business by necessity is future oriented. Yet you say that the key to success for human beings is learning to totally appreciate the "now." Would you comment on this apparent paradox?
There is only one thing about the future we can be sure of: One day we will be no more. Of course it is important to make plans for the future, but it is in this moment called now that the most incredible thing is happening–our life. Yesterday can only come and go: It begins as tomorrow, and
once it is gone from the present moment, it becomes yesterday. It is here in the now that life is dancing a beautiful dance, in awe of the magnificent, yet simple, beauty of existence.
Our validity comes from now. If we are in the future or in the past, we don't exist. Now is when we exist. Now is where everything is in motion, and now is when we need clarity.
We can plan for tomorrow, but we don't need to be afraid of tomorrow. If we are firmly embedded in the moment called now, we can find the strength to face tomorrow. Tomorrow will take the shape that it has to take. If we are embedded in the moment, tomorrow holds no power over us. We hold the power over tomorrow.
You speak a lot about peace. What kind of peace are you speaking about? And how can it be found?
There are many ideas about peace, but the peace that each one of us can know for ourselves, can feel for ourselves, is in our heart. We can find it within.
Our ideas of peace may sound wonderful, but they're just ideas. We are the ones who need peace. We are the ones who struggle, we are the ones who feel pain, and we are the ones who yearn for peace. Yet each one of us has the potential to find the reality of peace within.
Finding peace is not up to someone else. No one will come with a magic wand and bring peace. Governments and institutions are not going to bring peace on this earth–only people will. Peace begins with every single one of us, and it begins with recognizing the importance of being alive.
Right now in this world there are a thousand explanations for why we should have wars, but hardly any of why we should have peace. So much research is done on how to efficiently destroy one another. What about some research on how to efficiently save each other? Peace is something that people have always wanted. It is not a new request. There needs to be a recognition that it is the heart that wants peace and it is the heart that can feel peace.
Are you saying that logic and rational thought are not necessarily the best tools for finding peace?
Logic abounds in our world, and yet we have become better and better only to become a little worse. While the technological advancements on the outside have accelerated, advancement on the inside has not happened.
Theory has its place, but when it comes to the essentials of life, theory will not suffice. Theory will not address our longing for peace, our desire to be free from confusion. Only experience can satisfy that thirst.
We need to use the mind for what the mind is good for. But we need to rely on the heart
for what can only be felt. Peace needs to be felt. Love needs to be felt. Joy needs to be felt. Feeling is our fundamental reality–whether we like it or not.
What kind of help do you offer people who want that kind of peace?
If you want peace in your heart, if you want joy in your heart, I offer a tool that I call Knowledge to go inside, to connect, and to feel.
This is where my message is dramatically different. I can show you the place inside you where there is always food–the food that the heart needs–so that wherever you venture and whenever you feel that hunger, you will have a place to go and feast.
Knowledge doesn't tell you how to live your life, nor does it say, "You must be happy." All it says is, "Here, turn on the light." And then you see what you always wanted to see. You see what your heart desires. You feel the thirst and understand what you are thirsty for. Each human being has the gift of being able to feel that peace.
This article first appeared in Capital magazine, Chile.
It has been edited and reformatted for reprinting purposes.
"In life, there are so many distractions, so many roads–hundreds and thousands of them. If you don't have a destination, they're all valid. But if you have a particular place you want to go, the only one that is valid is the one that will take you there.
So often we are not sure what we want in our life. We are not clear about the possibility. We open the window and see everything that is out there: 'That's intriguing. That's interesting; I wish I had that; I wish it was this way or that way.' From the time our head hits the pillow to the time it rises from the pillow, something is forgotten. Who am I? What is this life? What is this existence? What is it all about?
Many people start off on a good footing: 'This life is precious, this is wonderful, this is incredible.' Then off they go–and this includes me–off they go into explanations. We all have our issues and our problems.
How can we say what it means for breath to come into this body, bringing the gift of life? For something so simple to occur, for something so fantastic, so amazing to occur, that every single human being on the face of this earth gets touched by this magic? The magic of this breath coming in, the magic of life as it unfolds, as it dances every day.
Human beings try to hang onto everything they can, not realizing what they should hang onto. The perfect analogy would be that of a boat that has started to sink. When you realize the boat is sinking, you grab onto anything you can. But don't grab onto the boat because it will take you with it. If you hang onto something that isn't floating, you're going to go down, too.
That's what happens in our lives every day when we are not able to distinguish the nature of the things we are surrounded by. Then there is something that is totally different. Along comes a message that says: 'Be in peace.'
What does it mean to be in peace? That's what we need to understand. Yes, there are doubts. There are all those things. But none of those are the vessel the gift of breath comes into. Life is not about my problems. It is about my need to be fulfilled, my need to quench my thirst. This is what I want more than anything else. My most fundamental need is to fulfill what my heart wants fulfilled in my life–not just once, but again and again. I need it every day. I need it as much as possible.
The question always comes up: 'I don't have enough time. I have so many responsibilities.' You don't have to abdicate even one responsibility. Whatever you do and however you are and whatever you are, you can still feel peace.
We live in a world where we can do multiple things. We are in a multiprocessor society. We want to do as much as we can. But that doesn't mean we're clear about what it is that we really want to do. We need clarity about what we fundamentally want in life.
How much gratitude do I feel that I am alive? How clear am I that it means everything to me that this breath came into me and I was able to recognize it? Just even one. Feel the feeling–every breath as it manifests. It is the feeling of peace."
There are two questions that I hear from people again and again. "Why am I here in this world?" and "Who am I?" Two very fascinating questions. The most important one is, "Who am I?" If I can understand that, I can also understand why am I here.
The world constantly pushes labels onto us. "You are so-and-so." It started in school with the teacher calling attendance. Is that who I am? A name? Or am I what I do? Am I a doctor or a lawyer or a captain? A graduate of this or that school?
On one hand, I have a body with blood, cells, nerves, brain, eyes–all of that. Then, distinctly inside of me, there is something that is allowing me to exist. The feeling that it brings is not only the feeling of being alive, but the feeling of being in peace. It brings the feeling of joy, of tranquility. There is something that stays untouched by everything that happens around me. I get affected by good days and bad days; the thing that is keeping me alive is apart from all of that. This is who I am. I'm not just my body, and I'm not just my accomplishments. I'm more. All of that put together is who I am.
It comes back to what is important. There is an option in life to be fulfilled. Good and bad will happen. That's not the point. When it is raining outside and you open up an umbrella, the purpose of the umbrella is not to make the clouds go away. All the umbrella does is to prevent you from getting wet as much as it can. Your feet might get wet, but it will at least keep your head dry. That's what fulfillment is like.
A lot of people think fulfillment will change the whole world for them. It won't. What it will do is let you know where your true home is. The reality is that peace is within me whether I am a beggar or I'm a king. It doesn't matter to peace. We see such a big difference between the two–a beggar and a king. But think about it. What does the beggar really dream of? Becoming a king. And what does a king dream of? "I wish my life was simple like that beggar."
So different, yet so similar. Both are looking for peace. The beggar thinks, "If I become the king, I will have peace." And the king says, "If I become the beggar, I will have peace." These are differences that we have created.
There is one simple similarity we all share. Peace is within all of us. And if we want, we can experience that.
A lot of people talk about the past. And yes, there have been great times, but the past wasn't better than today. We just have to see how fortunate we are to be here, keep our eyes open and see what's happening now, because it is incredibly exciting.
Come from a simple place in your life. When you recognize the thing that is within you that has made its temple inside of you, then you will begin to understand the value of being human. That temple is in the heart of every human being, and it exists within you. Don't paint it red; don't paint it green. Don't stick a statue in it. It's not worth it.
The value is in being alive and recognizing that. Sainthood is for people who have died. We are alive now. Feel the triumph in your life. That's all that matters. It's a matter of understanding. If someone were a saint, that person would be recognized for their gratitude, their understanding, their fulfillment.
In this life, we need to understand our selves. Life is thrusting us to move forward every single day. Life is transforming us. That's the challenge. That's what is being offered–to keep evolving, to shine.
A lot of people focus on their troubles and problems. If we could only look at ourselves and see that something has protected us and saved us again and again. Even if it is just for a fraction of a second that we are reminded what is important in life, that's enough.
Everybody is taking a journey. I look at each person's face and everybody has a story to tell. Every wrinkle has a story to tell. Every tear has a story to tell. Every smile has a story to tell. Every person has a story to tell. They really do. Their expression of what they are feeling in their lives tells a story.
Be with this gift of life, of understanding, and we'll fight whatever fight there is to fight. We're not going to go looking for darkness, but if it comes, we'll light so many lamps it won't know where to be. That's what we have: we don't have swords, but we've got lamps and we'll light them. Confusion and doubt don't have to come in our lives. That's the possibility.
I'm not saying that we never get confused. But the possibility exists that we don't have to be confused. There doesn't have to be doubt. As we live and exist, life can be experienced in its true purity, its true beauty, without all the chaos and the drama. Life is saying, "Come across the river, and you don't have to get wet. You don't have to fall in the river. Enjoy the ride."
If you've taken that challenge in your life to be fulfilled, see it through. It takes the same amount of energy to doubt your experience as it does to experience it. Fall in love with what your heart wants you to do. Synchronize with it. Get together with your heart. Make that heart and you a team. When we become a team with confusion and doubt, we don't get anywhere. Though they promise us that we will win every game, we lose every game. Get together with the heart. When the heart and you have become a team, that's incredible. So stay with it. It's important.
The doors are open. This is a very specific training. It is a training to take the most advantage of every breath. This is not somebody coming along and delivering a written speech. No. There's a lot more to this.
Be with yourself and enjoy this life. Keep the focus because you can go really far. I'm very proud of those people who make an effort to be fulfilled. Very, very proud.
You have everything. You really do. You have this life. Begin with that. I know that some people are cynical. You might think you are a particularly difficult case. A lot of the things we tell ourselves are the things we have been told by other people: "Don't do that. If you do, this or that will happen." Then you think you are a difficult case. Who told you that? Doesn't breath come into you? Don't you have a heart? Aren't you alive? Just on the merit of these three things alone, you are not a difficult case. That makes you a human being, just like me, just like anyone else.
Look at an ant. An ant should be cynical. Have you seen an ant try to go through grass? It has to crawl up and down. Danger is everywhere. It would have a right to be cynical, but it isn't. With its little legs, it marches off. And it marches and marches. It has a focus in life.
Start to see, to appreciate. I'm not trying to tell you that everything is beautiful. But see and experience the beauty for yourself. Allow–give yourself the chance to accept that in your life.
It's like a door, and behind it, incredible magic has been happening. We say, "I don't know what's behind this door and, therefore, I'm not going to open it." And then we look at the room we're in and it's not that great. I say, "Open the door. Go! I'll give you the key, but you must open the door."
When you feel joy, don't you want to be there all the time? It's not a wish. Just wishing won't work. Something has to happen. We have to understand, "This is where I want to be," and know that, not just say, "I don't want to be miserable." Just saying, "I don't want to be miserable" does not automatically put us in a good place. This is the law of nature. If I say, "I don't want to be here," what good does that do? But if I realize where I want to be, then it will pull me there.
There is a place within you that brings you joy. You have to trust yourself just as much as I trust you. And you have to see the possibility in your own self just as much as I see the possibility in you. Maybe for the first time say, "I'm not going to sit there all my life saying where I don't want to be. I'm going to clarify for myself where I do want to be." That's when I can help you.
If you go to the airline counter and say, "I don't want to be here," how are they going to help you? I am like that airline. If you say, "Take me to the place where I can be in peace, where I can be in joy," then I can tell you, "This way. Which seat would you like?"
We have life. That's the biggest passport. This breath is marching every moment. Breath doesn't assume anything. Every moment it comes. Very precise. Then it goes, and it comes again. It doesn't assume: "I've been there for a long time. You'll be okay if I don't come for 45 minutes." It comes every moment, every second.
We have mercy in our life, so many blessings, so much love. It's a matter of uncovering, discovering all the things we have been given.
A lot of people are fascinated by misery and just can't leave it. They complain about everything–about God, the weather, everything. Sometimes there are thunderstorms or it's hot. That's the joy of being here. You can't say, "No thunderstorms, please. No heat, please. No this or that, please."
We have to be strong in this world. To be safe, to be conscious, to be real in this life comes from inside. I can't fix the political system. What I can do is help people get in touch with their heart. I go around the world telling people they can have peace in their life. I started helping people when I was very young, and this is what I've been doing all my life. The dream was to be able to go from place to place, village to village–and that is becoming a reality.
Every day is new. And that's wonderful. Enjoy your life, every moment. That's how it should be. Don't lose the shield of hope. Learn how to hold onto it. You want that hope.
Sadness will always be there; sadness doesn't go away. All the sadness that you will ever feel is within you. And all the love that you will ever feel is within you. It just depends which door you want to open.
You have everything. Let me help you discover all those things again, how to hold onto the shield of hope. The world has pushed it away. But every day we can have hope. We can learn to smile again. We don't have to be sad. I can't tell anybody that their business will be better. But I know one thing: a centered person is what the whole world is looking for, because that's what we all need. So, just enjoy the ride.
There is a great beauty in understanding and recognizing the nature of what this life is. You are more than the sum of all the things that happen in the world. You are more than all your failures and your successes. The sun rises in the sky each day, and if you can truly appreciate what message it brings you as a human being, you can awaken and start again.
The other day, I looked at a bird that was just outside the window. I thought, "Once upon a time, this used to be a giant dinosaur." When it was that big, it would have trampled everything around it, including me. But through the years, it has transformed. To human beings, it seems like a negative transformation. It was big, and now it has become small. That's not true. It has become something so much better. It's smaller and more vulnerable, but it can fly.
In the nature of things, we have been given this body, this life. What is it good for? It may have a lot of problems, but one thing it's good for is it can help you experience joy. Today is the day, once again, you get to accept life, enjoy it, and be fulfilled. It gets better and better. Just let it happen.
You need to enjoy. Just enjoy. That's the most important thing. You have this opportunity to be alive. Accept that. It's an incredible gift. Nothing is impossible. You may have a dream, and people dampen it. But you have to hang onto that dream even if you don't know how it is going to happen. Even if you just know, "That's what should happen," it's a very different feeling.
I'm glad that there is a dream. Somewhere there is a dream that peace will happen. And someday it will. That's why it comes about–because of the dream.
There is darkness and there is light, always. What you have to decide is that you want clarity in your life, that you want joy in your life. Things will happen. That is no surprise. But it's your life. Breath comes into you.
Suppose I am playing the flute in an orchestra, and there are four people who are playing flutes, too. If one person is playing off-key, I don't have to play off-key, too, do I? If I know how to play the flute, I can still play even though someone else is off-key.
This is my flute, this is my breath, these are my fingers. It's my expression. So much happens in this world. People we really love pass on. It's sad. Of course, it's sad. But what you have to do is remember what this person was all about. They were about life. They were about being. We can learn from that, that there is not a moment to waste. Not a moment to waste.
When there is darkness, you need to light your lamp. You need to have trust and fly. Fly. If thousands of birds around you start flying, that doesn't mean you will fly. You have to flap your wings. If others are not flying and you want to, it doesn't make any difference. Flap your wings and you will fly.
In this life take that flight. The possibility is there for each one of us to be fulfilled. Don't even think about darkness. You have your own lamp–just for you. When the lamp is lit, it lights up just enough for you to see, so that you can keep walking, keep going in your life.
It's a powerful lamp. You give the effort to light it and no wind can put it out. That is its power. It glows only as much as you need to be able to see. It won't glow for somebody else. It will only glow for you. Its power is such that, if you keep it lit, no storm can put it out. It will be there.
So make the effort to be fulfilled and enjoy yourself. Enjoy this life. You will appreciate more and more. Don't waste another moment on a wasted moment. That's what we do. We waste one moment and then we waste four more on that moment. Go forward.
Rule number one is: Don't put yourself down. When you see a beautiful tree, that tree is about the seed that worked, that germinated, not about the one that didn't. Your life, your breath, your existence is about what worked, not what didn't.
So light the lamp. Enjoy this life. This is what you have been given. This is your opportunity. Some things in life will be bad and some things will be good. Life is not about the bad. The most important thing is that you have this opportunity to be alive. Just accept that. It's an incredible gift. Enjoy this life. It's so important that you do.
Everything is there to make the impossible possible.
Most of what we hear in life is about either how it was or how it could be. Especially when we get older, we think back to how it used to be when we were young. And then, we look to the future and think about what might be, and that's what we work for–our dreams, our aspirations. We think, "Someday in the future, I'll be happy. I'll be content."
I talk about a different dimension, another time. This time is not in the past, and it is not in the future. It is now, in this moment. At this very second, breath came into you heralding the possibility of immeasurable joy. In this moment called now, all your wants and wishes are being fulfilled. Who is this "you"?
It is this "you" that allows you to be a father or a mother, a husband or a wife, a teacher or pilot, doctor or lawyer. It is this "you" that allowed you to be a child, that allows you to have a job, and will allow you to retire. One day, this "you" will be no more, and nothing will matter.
What does matter is whether you recognize the "you" that allows you to be everything you are and will allow you to be everything you will be. What is this breath, this life, this existence?
When you have it, you have everything. When you don't have it, you have nothing–not even nothing. You don't have to work for it or earn it; you have it. What do you have? It begins with the fundamental understanding of you–understanding what you do have, not what you could have.
The world says if you want to be happy, this is what you must do, but it never shows a person who did that and was really happy. What the world gives you is a formula with no equals sign at the end. What does it produce? Nobody knows. I'm not criticizing anything. What I am saying is, the key ingredient missing in all of this is you. In your life you have all your responsibilities, but what about the responsibility to recognize what you have been given?
Have you heard the call of your heart? Pay attention because the request is about peace, about joy, about being fulfilled now–not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.
To be complete. Not "almost complete." The painting that is almost complete does not express what it could. Its potential has not been realized. The song that is almost complete does not express what the writer wants to express.
In this life we, too, are almost complete. Not quite. It is like the bridge that is magnificent, but it has another eight feet to go. Nobody can use it because it's not complete. It is almost complete–not quite.
How do you become complete? What does it take to complete this existence? It is so simple. Recognize what you have been given. That's all you have to do. After that, what happens is automatic. The unfolding begins, the discovering of the home within you begins.
So much is changing around me all the time, and it will continue to change. But there is one thing that has not changed. The breath coming in and the call of my heart have always been the same. Not a single beat has been missed. The call of the heart has always been, "Be fulfilled. In every moment, be fulfilled."
What you are looking for is within you. In every breath lies the possibility of being fulfilled. Listen to that sweet song of life. You've been saying, "I think I have everything, I think I have everything, I think I have everything." Know. Know that in every breath lies the possibility of being fulfilled.
Walk in certainty towards the well that will quench your thirst. If you don't know where that well is, then look within you, not outside. You have looked outside for too long. You have found many things, but you haven't found the one thing you were looking for, the one thing that started the search of a lifetime. What is that one thing? I don't need to tell you. You know.
You are the one who is searching. When you are attracted by the sign on the side of the road, you are searching. When you look at the shop window, you are searching. When you look at the beautiful full moon shining in the sky, you are searching. And you will be searching till you have found it.
All you need to do is read what is written in the chapters of your heart. It's your book. Is it interesting? Nobody will know that except you because it is your book and only you can read it. Every day take a little time to read it because the book being written is the book of life. Hopefully, it will be joyful to read because it is your words that will be written. This is the possibility.
This is about joy–the true joy, the joy of the heart. Once the thirst of the heart has become clear, the purpose of the well becomes very clear. Until then, without the thirst, it's only speculation. Don't live this life in speculation and uncertainty. Every step, every breath should be taken in certainty. Life is too precious a journey to miss.
How will you know when you are fulfilled? The day the call of the heart changes from, "Be fulfilled" to "Thank you." When you start to feel gratitude, you will know you are being fulfilled.
People say they want peace. Then they ask: "How will you bring peace?" They forget where peace is. Peace has always been within us. What we have been searching for is how to access that peace. But in search of the tool, we went further and further away from the fundamental reality of where peace exists, where joy is, where fulfillment is.
When I say to people, "What you are looking for is within you," it often comes as a surprise. They realize they knew that, but they have always looked somewhere else.
The idea that it is within has become alien to us. We think: "It can't be within me. Something has to happen. Someone has to come along. Some book has to be read. Some pilgrimage has to be made. Some seminar has to be attended. Something like that has to happen, and then maybe I can get peace."
I often give the analogy that, to understand the value of water, you have to understand thirst. If you don't have thirst, it is very hard to understand what water is all about. These days water comes in many different kinds of bottles. There are companies that promote their brand of water–water from the mountains, water that is good for you, water in a blue bottle, water in a green bottle, water in a white bottle. None of this is what water is all about. Water is not about blue bottles and green bottles. Water, as it relates to me, has the possibility of quenching my thirst. This is what is most important.
In Europe, when you go to a café and ask for water, they will ask you, "Do you want it with gas or without gas?" When you are not thirsty, you think about it. You might ask, "Do you have French water? Do you have Spanish water?" But water is actually about quenching the thirst as it relates to me. It has other uses–in rivers, in dams, in the ocean, all of that–but what I am talking about is the water that has the possibility of quenching my thirst.
We get caught. Our focus becomes: "Will this thirst be quenched by cold water? Distilled water? In a green bottle or a blue bottle? French? German? English?" And all of the conversation that inevitably ensues is because people have forgotten–they really have forgotten–what water is all about.
Everywhere you go there are people just like us. They are living their lives, just like we are. They are looking outside for answers that are on the inside, just like we are.
Go back to the simplest of possibilities, the simplest of understandings–understanding about you. So many people say, "You talk about peace, but this world is so crazy. How can there be peace in this world?" I agree that the world is crazy, but the subject here is not the world. The subject is you.
The issue here isn't the world; the issue is you. The issue isn't the rotation of the earth. The issue is the coming and going of the breath in this vessel. The issue isn't the thirst on the outside. The issue is the thirst on the inside.
It is individuals that matter. It is you that matters. It is in you that the gift of breath comes. It is in you that there is consciousness. It is you who can see the good and the bad. In you lies the ability to appreciate. In you lies the ability to enjoy.
Wherever you have been in the journey of your life, you have always carried a huge box inside full of joy. This is the joy you can get in touch with. And if you want to do that, it will be your personal journey. You can't take it with anyone else. It is too personal because it is a journey inside.
There is a joy, and it is the joy of existence–not what is happening in existence. They are two different things. There is the joy of existence, and then there is the joy of what is happening in existence. What is happening in existence we try to control and manipulate.
Sometimes things go our way. Sometimes they don't.
But then there is another joy. That joy has been there through all the years of your life, waiting to be discovered. And that joy will be there for as long as you live. It is the simple, simple joy of being alive.
In my life, there are good days and there are bad days. The days I call good are the days when everything goes according to my plan. The days when things do not go according to my plan, I call bad. Yet every day that I have been given is above and beyond being good and bad. Each one has its own meaning and its own beauty. And I can get in touch with that beauty. My plans will change. Sometimes the days I call bad actually end up being good. And some days when everything looks like it is going according to my plan turn out to be a disaster.
Good and bad. Life is not just about good and bad–it is beyond that. When we begin to understand that, we begin to understand that it is a privilege to be alive. It is a privilege for which this heart needs to be filled with gratitude. What we have been given is far more precious than all the good and the bad put together. All of that is transitory.
We can know that which isn't transitory, that which will be here as long as we are alive. That is our solace. That is our harbor. That is where we need to be when the storms come.
Give Peace A Chance
Wars happen when intolerance needles epic proportions, when the reasons for war becomes greater then the sanctity of peace. Wars happen when we fail to realize the value of being alive.
World leaders try to bring peace, but it is not an issue of institutions. It is human beings who start wars. Before a war begins outside, it starts inside.
The war on the inside is more dangerous because it is a fire that may never be put out. Wars are being fought because peace is not being found within, because it is not being allowed to unfold.
We are all searching for something, we may call it success, peace, love, or tranquillity. It is the same thing. What we are looking for has many names because we do not know what we need.
To find what we need, we look around us. To know where to find what we are looking for, we first need to ask ourselves where we can find it. Have we considered looking within?
Living is not an easy task, especially if we want the best of it. We have to mine for it. Mining is not easy. We have to take out what we need and leave the rest. If we want to mine for peace, then we have to seek what is precious and discard what is not.
The thing that we are searching for is not outside of us. It is within us. It always has been and always will be. Contentment feels good and it is not an accident. It is not an accident that peace feels good. Peace is already here, and resides in the hearts of all human beings.
Peace is something that has to be felt. One of the most incredible powers we have is that we can feel. When we place peace in front of that power to feel, we feel peace. We are here to be filled with gratitude, love and understanding. We carry a lamp within so bright that even in the darkest night it can fill our world with light. This light is waiting to be found.
Peace makes no distinctions. It does not care if we are rich, if we are poor, or what religions we belong to. It does not care which country we live in. Peace is waiting to be found. Waiting to once again feel whole, not separated by all the issues that divide our lives.
Peace is when the heart is no longer in duality; when the struggle within has been resolved. When peace comes to the heart, serenity follows. Love comes flooding in, uncontrolled. Joy cannot be held back. It bursts through because it is right. That is peace.
Peace needs to be felt, love needs to be felt, truth needs to be felt. As long as we are alive, the yearning to feel good, to feel joy, will always be there and as long as it is there, there will be a need for it to be discovered
Life is a journey. We are passengers in a train called life and we are alive in the moment called now. The journey of life is so beautiful that it needs no destination.
On this journey, we have been given a compass. The compass is the thirst to be fulfilled. The true journey of life begins the day we begin to seek to quench our thirst. This quest is the most noble one.
For many centuries, a voice has been calling out "What you are looking for is within you. Your truth is within you, your peace is within you, your joy is within you." In our hearts, peace is like a seed waiting in the desert to grow, to blossom. When we allow this seed to blossom inside, peace is possible outside. We have to gave peace a chance.
Will we give peace a chance?
This article has been edited and reformatted for reprinting purposes
I would like to introduce the possibility of peace. How does one go about that when peace should be in the heart of every human being? Peace should need no introduction. It should already be understood that each one of us needs peace. It is not just something that would be nice to have. We need peace. Let me define what that need is.
Our need for peace is like water is to the desert, like wind is to the sailboat, like flowing is to the river. If the river doesn't flow, it becomes clogged and dirty. It needs to flow to keep itself clean. Our need for peace is like the sun is to the moon. Without the sun, the moon would never shine. When you look at the beauty of the moon, remember that it is coming from the sun. That is how much we need peace in our lives.
What happens is that we become so familiar with the complexities of this life–all the good and the bad that happens every day. Our focus turns to trying to decipher what is good, what is bad, what is right, what is wrong in our life. We have become problem-solvers. Nobody points out to us that we are the ones who create the problems, and then we want an award for solving them. Every time you see an award for solving problems, there should be another one for creating the problems in the first place. Life becomes more and more intricate, more and more complex, more and more difficult.
What is it that we want? What is it that we are all looking for–not as a universal thing, but each one of us as an individual? What does this heart of ours want? It wants joy, but not the kind of joy that is temporary in nature. It wants peace, but not the kind of peace that is temporary in nature.
A lot of people think the absence of war is peace. What I have come to understand is that, considering how long people have been fighting, the absence of war may never happen. That should not preclude the possibility of peace. Why do I say that? War has nothing to do with peace, and peace has nothing to do with war. There is a peace that transcends war. There is a peace that exists in itself. It does not need the absence of one thing to become the presence of another. That is the peace we are all looking for. That is the peace we want–the peace this heart wants.
Peace is by nature the most accessible to us and the most missed by us–two extremes. It is so readily available,and yet it is so far away from us. It is so right there, and it is so unknown. It is so present, and yet so absent. All we have to do is begin with a simple introduction to ourselves. So let me introduce you to you! You have been introduced to a lot of people, except for one. You have never been introduced to you.
You are beautiful. Why are you beautiful? You are beautiful because you are alive, not because of what you have accomplished. That's not what makes you beautiful. You are beautiful because this breath–the most divine gift of all–comes into you. This breath comes in unchallenged, without judgment of good or bad, right or wrong. Every day, every moment, it comes into you–as personal as it possibly can be, touching only you. You can be in a room full of a hundred thousand people, and it will come and touch you. It will come and enter you. It will come and bless you.
Many people will tell you what you are not. I am here to tell you everything that you are. People will tell you everything that's wrong with you. I am here to tell you everything that is right with you.
Remember when you were a baby? I don't know when you realized you existed. It was probably at a very young age. "I am here." The world revolved around you. You didn't know that, but it did. It was day, and you opened your eyes and you looked. In great majesty, you accepted this day because it was not for anyone else but you. Ideas of other people weren't there. You had no inhibitions. You had an incredible passion for one thing. It is what helped you grow up. That one passion you had when you were a baby was to find out for yourself. This was your passion. Your mother said, "Don't put that dirt in your mouth." For you, it was: "What's the big deal? I had to find out. Now I know."
At some point, you gave up your great passion. Then anybody could come along and tell you, "That's no good." And you would say, "Okay, that's no good." Why was it no good? You didn't know. He said it was no good, and that was sufficient. This was a right you had. This 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 two feet. That is the day you will start to say, "I need to know. I want to know. I must know for myself."
You must know, not just have an idea or a concept. Those who are able to go beyond concepts are the ones who know. They are the ones who walk on their own feet. It's not that they walk on softer carpets or only on roads that go downhill. They walk the same road as anybody else, but they walk on their own feet. They make a simple determination in their lives, not in words, but by feeling. That's what you need in this life–that feeling, that understanding.
The possibility exists that you can feel fulfilled every single minute. You can be content. You can be in joy. What does it take to make this possibility real? Understanding. When you don't have the understanding, you carry thousands of little ideas with you. Questions, questions, questions. When you find the understanding, all the questions vaporize. All the ideas are gone. The only thing left is understanding. That's it.
It is a possibility that is real. This is about peace in your life, in your existence. If nothing else, understand the importance of this: You must have peace in your life. It cannot be any other way. It is not a question of good or bad, right or wrong. You have the necessity and you must fulfill the necessity. The means to fulfill this necessity are also within inside of you.
You owe it to yourself to be fulfilled. If you can do nothing else for yourself, do this.
So often peace is defined as the absence of war. There is war that happens between two countries. There is war that takes place between two people. There is war that doesn't even require two people; it takes place inside of a person. For a war on the outside, maybe a cease‑fire can be negotiated. Between two people, maybe an understanding can be negotiated. But even in the absence of those kinds of wars, there is a war that takes place inside a human being–a much more ferocious war that devastates the very elements that are the foundation of a person. Which of these wars will become absent so that one day we can stand up and say, "Now there is peace"?
Those people who have talked about peace in earnest have said, "What you are looking for is within you. You are the source and you are the resource for peace on the face of this earth." This is the realization, the understanding, and the challenge of feeling peace in this life–not being distracted by all our agendas, but accepting and understanding the agenda we have been given with the opportunity to be alive.
Maybe we cannot create breath, but we have the potential to appreciate breath. Maybe we cannot create love, but we have the potential to experience love. When we begin to look at our own possibilities, at what we have been given and what potential we do have, we can also begin to shine in our lives, just like that beautiful full moon. All of us have that potential. It begins with fundamental understandings. It begins with understanding our similarities, not our differences.
Right now in this world, we look at what country people are from, what language they speak, what they do. In a survival situation where, let's say, people are in a life raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean somewhere, they're not talking about where they are from. Anything that is unnecessary is dropped in favor of what is necessary to survive. It is necessary to collect water, to stay away from the hostile elements, and to have food.
With all our differences, we're not that different. Our quests are similar. The need for peace is not created by a document. It is created by a fundamental desire innate to all human beings, regardless of whether they are rich or poor, successful or unsuccessful. It is that innate desire that has, throughout history, pushed us again and again to find peace. The want, the concept, the idea of peace did not start this year or last year or the year before.
Peace is so fundamental that, for as long as people have been on the face of the earth, this is what they have looked forward to. This is what they have wanted.
The precedence for peace has to begin somewhere; it cannot just be ignored. There is plenty of precedence for ignoring peace, and it has brought so much misery. It is incumbent upon us to have the strength to say, "Peace today, not tomorrow." It would be sad if another generation were to go by ignoring the very basic and fundamental call to have peace on this earth.
This is a vessel and we are its inhabitants. We have the possibility of making a difference. I am not telling anyone what to do so there will be peace. I am saying, "Whatever it takes, let us have peace. Whatever it takes." If we can go to the moon, we surely should be able to figure that out. Why does it have to be such a mystery? Why is it that, when it comes to going to the moon, nobody has a problem, but when it comes to having peace, everybody has their own opinion? Why can't we put aside our differences? Why can't we put aside our opinions for the sake of peace? What is so wrong with peace? What is so bad about having peace?
Is it a dream? It cannot be. Dreams only happen when you're asleep. Peace will only happen if we awaken. People say, "I have too many responsibilities." But this is your responsibility, too. You may be fulfilling all the other ones and ignoring this very fundamental one. Let today be the day when you take a step toward yourself in the truest and most earnest way of looking for peace. The day you start looking for peace, peace will start looking for you. The day you start recognizing your potential, your potential will start recognizing you. This is how it works.
Whatever it takes, find that peace, and for the rest of your life, enjoy that beautiful peace that has been lying in wait within you. It begins with you. You are the source. You are the source for the thirst, and you are the well in which the sweetest water resides. Within you are both the thirst and the means to quench it. Begin by accepting this possibility in your life. That is where your answer lies. You have had the question for a long time. Now it is time to get the answer and get on with your life–in joy, in harmony, and with understanding. Now is the time to begin to enjoy the rest of your life.
Enjoy every day for the rest of your life. If there ever was a gift, this is the gift. If there ever was a time, this is the time. If ever there was an opportunity, then this is the opportunity. This is my message.
It begins with each one of you. It will be everyone's effort that will make peace possible–each one of us. And yes, peace is very, very possible. I see the possibility, and you need to see it, too.
After all, wherever you go and whatever you do, your heart will not leave you alone because it, alone, holds the quest for peace. You cannot run from it. You cannot evade it. Be sincere toward this existence. Be sincere toward today. Be sincere toward tomorrow as it comes and unfolds itself into today. All those promises will only come together today, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is just an idea. Today is when all tomorrows manifest. In today, find your reality; in today, find your courage. And today, find the possibility of being in peace, being in joy, being in the reality that you are.
I'd like to talk about something very simple–the story of every human being. This story is quite interesting because it definitely has some action, some drama. Sometimes there is comedy, sometimes a little tragedy. That makes it interesting. So, what is the story? I don't have to tell it. You already know it because it is your story. It's about you, not about me. It is not about a king, a lion in the jungle, or a little mouse. It's about you.
As long as breath comes into you, as long as you are alive, the story is not finished. It is still evolving. At least one part of its evolution depends upon you. Some people say, "I am bound by destiny. Whatever happens in this world, I'm not responsible for it. Whatever I do, somebody up there is pulling the strings and I am dancing–I'm a puppet."
I'm not going debate that because it would be pointless. What is not pointless is that a certain part of the story is dependent upon you. You control the outcome of part of the story–not all of it, maybe, but a certain part of it.
The part of the story you control is about real joy, happiness, contentment. It is also about recognition and about looking within and finding answers to the questions that you may not yet even have asked.
This story begins with you: "Once there was a living, breathing, unique person." There is no one like you. There may be someone with the same hairstyle or someone who has the same clothes, but there is no one who smiles the way you do when you are happy. No one can smile like you. No one can be thankful quite like you. It is your expression of gratitude, of joy, that makes you unique. You have been given your own palette of expression. Even if a person doesn't want to, they express. You don't have to know a person's life history to see that they are sad. You don't have to know about the person's life history to see that they are happy, and you don't even have to see a person's teeth to see that they are smiling. You can look in their eyes and see the expression of joy.
What we feel inside, we can express. What can we feel? We can feel the ultimate contentment; we can feel peace. This is what we have the capacity to feel. Therein lies the reality of what is possible.
All these things point to the beauty within you that is waiting to shine. You recognize beauty because you are familiar with beauty. You understand joy because you are familiar with joy. These things are not unknown to you. What do we do in our lives? We ignore. We ignore what is real and we ignore what the heart is saying. No one tells us, "This should be your priority." Everything else is our priority.
Here is an analogy. You are going on a long journey through the desert, and you have done a very good job of packing. You have packed clothes, shoes, a little tent, and food. You have even packed a little hat with a solar fan to keep you cool. You have already packed fifteen suitcases of things.
Then I come along. You are very proud of everything you have done. Everything you have packed shows meticulous planning. Then I ask, "Did you pack some water?" People have different reactions to this. Some say, "Thank you. Thank you for reminding me to bring water. In making this incredible list and being so immaculate in packing, I completely forgot." They pack some water and they have a great journey.
In this life, keep it simple. Keep it real. Keep it so you can walk with pride every day and not be burdened with so much unnecessary stuff that you carry with you.
In this life, we need to stand on our own feet. We need to stand proud because we are alive. We need to stand straight, not hunched over by the burdens we have accumulated. Of all the things we need to pack, we need to pack that which is essential, and we need to know what is essential.
Let me take water wherever I go so that, when I am thirsty, I will be able to drink and quench my thirst. Let me take food with me wherever I go so that, when I am hungry, I can eat and satisfy my hunger. Let me take an umbrella with me so that, when it is hot, I can open it and sit in the shade and rest a while.
Understand in your life the meaning of being alive. Then understand the need of your heart to have peace in this life. Peace, you need. A story is being written. My suggestion is that you start writing it, because it is going to be written whether you write it or not.
Why not have a beautiful, happy ending to this story? It's your pen. Change the tragedies. Joy? Give it more. Humor? Give it as much as you want. It's your story.
It's up to you. Peace, you need. Ask your heart. Your heart will tell you. This is what the heart has been saying since you were very small. You have ignored it, but you don't need to. I am here to remind you about that.
Some people wonder, "If I attain peace, will I still love my family?" Of course. Some people think that, to attain peace in this life, you have to give up everything. No. You don't have to give up everything. All you have to give up is your sadness, your hate. All you have to give up are things you don't want. If you really want them, you can still keep them and have peace, because peace is not an absence of something. Peace is very real in itself.
The main thing is that you need to have peace in your life. Write the story right. The person who is going to read it is you. Make it good; make it interesting; make it real. Make this breath count. Make this day count. Make this life count. It is a gift unparalleled.
I would like to talk about something very simple. I would like to talk about what you have, not what you don't have. Somehow, we live in a time, in a society, where the belief that we all have to improve ourselves is very prevalent. We have to become better. There are seminars, books to read, places to go, all based on the premise that we have to improve ourselves.
There was a gentleman who had a ranch in Australia. He was very poor. He had to sell many things just to stay afloat. Then came a time when he couldn't really afford anything. Ultimately, he decided that he was going to sell the ranch itself. Things had become so bad for him that his family had to eat whatever was available in nature, as there was not enough money to buy food in a store. On one of the very last days before the ranch was to be sold, out of frustration or whatever it was, the man started digging. When he started digging, he found a gold mine.
This gold mine had always been there. Nobody put the gold mine there on the very last day. He needed to dig, and when he dug, he found something beyond his imagination, something he couldn't comprehend. All the time he had been involved in his drama, in his yearning, in his prayers to make things better, all that he had been looking for was right there. It always had been.
Digging was the one thing he hadn't done. Maybe he had prayed and searched and asked his friends for help. He had probably spent many a night lying sleepless on his bed, hoping, wishing, "Please, give me better times. Give me the power to continue on." But nothing happened. There were no signs, no writing in the sky, nothing. Everything just kept evolving. The day finally came when he was going to sell the ranch, but with a little bit of digging, all his prayers and questions were instantly answered.
I cannot help but feel that each one of us is exactly like that. We have this ranch of life. It has seen good days and bad days. It has seen times of prosperity, rain, and bumper crops–and it has seen drought. We, the farmers, have spent many a night lying in our beds, wishing, hoping, thinking that the good days will come again, that somehow things will improve again.
This story can take any shape you want. The farmer can be lying there hoping that somehow he will be a better farmer–something many people do. They want self-improvement. But all it really takes is to dig within and find the gold mine. Peculiarly enough, we have the ambition for self-improvement, but we are not really qualified for it because we don't know the self.
We get caught in trying to visualize what the improvement might be, but if we don't recognize the self, how can we improve it? What has to be discovered and understood is that all we are looking for is within us.
If we have ever desired peace, there is an infinite mine of peace within every single one of us. If we have ever desired unconditional love, within every single human being there is an infinite supply. If you have ever desired joy in your life, within you is immeasurable joy–deeper than the ocean. There is immeasurable joy within every human being.
This is the reality. Peace and joy are not new. They have been talked about again and again throughout history. This little drama that we find ourselves caught in is nothing new. The suffering you are trying to run away from, however big or small it may be, is the same. Generations change. I know that a hundred years from now, people will be playing with gadgets I cannot even imagine. When the gadget doesn't work, the frustration will be exactly the same as it is today.
If what we are trying to run away from is within us, then what we are trying to run toward is also within us. What we don't want is within us, and what we do want is within us. Understanding of the self is not complicated. What it means is the understanding of you by you, not by somebody else.
Listen quietly and hear. Hear what your heart is saying. It is not going to ask you to go to the moon. It is not going to ask you to buy a new car. Your heart is going to ask you for peace. It is going to ask you to be filled with joy. It is going to say to you, "Do that which will bring gratitude to me today." Will today be that day? Can today be that day? Shouldn't today be the day I have been waiting for in my life?
We think we have the luxury of this thing we call time. We don't understand how little time we have until we run out of it. When we are not running out of it, we think we have all of it. When we start running out of it, we wonder, "What happened?" Nothing new happened. This has been happening to everyone. When our thirst becomes so clear that we are no longer involved in luxuries, it becomes simple. We don't even need to speak the language to ask for water.
There comes a time when thirst becomes so great that the need for water supersedes all barriers. It is clear. It is like flying a kite when there is no wind. As long as you run with the kite, it goes up, but as soon as you stop running, it comes right back down.
As long as the wind is blowing, you can fly the kite and make it dance. When the wind stops, there is nothing you can do. The wind has to be there. The wind is your thirst, and you are the kite. If you want to fly, there has to be wind. Catch the wind and go. As long as the wind is there, fly. You belong there. You don't look good wrapped up in a box. You look good flying. That's how it needs to be for everyone.
I say this to you because it is possible to be fulfilled in your life. It is possible to have understanding and peace in your life.
v1 i22: The Right to Be Fulfilled
In a world where so much is going on–where there are so many issues, ideas, inventions, and technology–why am I talking about peace? I talk about peace, not as an option in life, not as something that would be nice to have, but as a fundamental feeling we all need to feel every day we awaken, every day we exist. When I say "we," what I'm talking about is each one of us–despite our barriers or differences.
We begin to believe in our differences. Sometimes when I am piloting an airplane, I make an announcement, just for fun, that just below you can see the border between two countries. Amazingly enough, people start to look. The world teaches us differences and we begin to believe in them. "You are from this country, and you are from that country. You speak this language, and you speak that language. You like this, and you like that." We forget that the fundamental thing that drives us all is the same. We forget that we may be speaking different languages, but what we are saying is exactly the same. "I am thirsty" can be said in many languages. It means exactly the same thing.
When the desire for peace is fundamental to each one of us, should it be such an alien thing? The question isn't whether we want peace. The question is: Do we feel the thirst for peace? The question isn't whether the treasure exists. The question is: Has it been discovered? Once the thirst for peace is understood in a human being's life, that person will look for water, for peace. They will look within.
I see thousands of labels in this world, and I don't know why they are there. Many labels were put on things way before I was born. People believe in them. Nobody questions these labels. When people hear that the definition of peace is the absence of war, they say, "Yes, that's true." There is a war that rages on inside a human being that is far more ferocious than any war on the outside. This war continues way past the cease-fires. The outside war is the manifestation or the reflection of the war within. We have a sense of imbalance, but we don't recognize what is causing it.
I have to acknowledge what I need in my life. If I want peace, I have to acknowledge it. I have to say to myself, in the simplest of words, "Yes, I feel the thirst for peace." I can use fancy words to impress other people, but I cannot use fancy words to impress myself. If I want to impress me, I have to speak the truth. Maybe to the world, truth is a scary word, but truth is what the heart wants to hear. That thirst needs to be quenched. Peace is what the heart needs to feel.
The world descends upon me and says, "You should be this; you should be that." Who just tells me, "You are alive, you exist"? Is that too simple? As soon as my alarm clock goes off in the morning, thoughts come about all the things I have to do.
We keep forgetting what is important. Does not the journey to peace begin with the acknowledgement–in earnest–of those simple things we keep forgetting? The gratitude for life. The gratitude for this existence. The gratitude to be.
Why is this important? It is important because it is the only way you can find your balance. Without that, our life is not balanced. On one side is a simple breath, and on the other side are disproportionate problems.
Look around you. The dissatisfaction you see on the outside lines up with incredible satisfaction on the inside. The poverty you see on the outside lines up with incredible richness on the inside. The doubt you see lines up with amazing clarity on the inside.
When we begin to acknowledge that peace is inside of us, there will begin to be a difference. The day that becomes an earnest truth for us, not just a passing fancy, we can start to feel at peace.
Where does it begin? It begins with acknowledgment. It begins with understanding. Where does it end? Hopefully, it ends with quenching the thirst that you have discovered within you.
What kind of thirst is that? It is a thirst for the water that also lies within you. The completeness is so incredible. Maybe you have never heard of anything like that before. Both the elements are within you. Both the thirst and the water that will quench the thirst are within you. Joy is within you, and the want for joy is within you. It is by looking through the glasses of simplicity that we can even begin to understand this. What you are looking for is within you. There is nothing to buy, nothing to conquer. There is only something to acknowledge.
I hope that, whatever happens in your life, you find peace within you. It is there, and the thirst for it is there. I look at it in a very simple way. I have traveled around the world, and I know a lot of people see a lot of different things. I see something very simple. I see people. Every human being has the right to be fulfilled.
v1 i23: Only One Place
What I talk about is so incredibly simple that, when we try to look at it from our complicated ways, we totally miss it. What I address is not an invention. It's not as though last night I had a fantastic dream in which I came up with a new way of making everybody a billionaire. This is not an invention of a pot that will cook without heat or a bulb that will light without electricity.
We are always looking for shortcuts, and these shortcuts start to become our miracles. They become a way to break free–to reach out for dreams that are more fantastic than we could ever imagine.
Fortunately, reality is more beautiful than any of my dreams. The thirst I have within me is simple and real. It is a thirst for the water I already have within me. This is the beauty of what I address. I'm sure you've gone to seminars or lectures or listened to them on that magic box called the television. It is amazing. Somebody is always trying to sell you something even though you don't need it.
I travel the world and tell people what they already have. Society isn't set up for that.
In our lives, how long do we continue living on what we don't have when what we do have is amazing? What do we have? Let's begin with the simplest of things. Let's begin with breath. Breath is amazing. It comes one at a time–not a hundred or fifty at a time, but one at a time. It touches you and brings you this thing called existence. Because you exist, you are an uncle, a father, a mother. You see green and blue and yellow and purple. You care about summer. You prepare for winter. Because you exist, you can say, "I love you." Because you exist, you can say, "I hate you." Because you exist, you can say, "I need you." Because you exist, you can say, "I adore you." It is all because you exist–compliments of the breath that comes and fills you again and again and again without judgment.
In our lives, in our societies, we are judged, and we return the favor by judging everything mercilessly. Because we are judged, we judge right back in return. We judge so much that we can judge even when we're asleep. We don't even need to be awake. Every day we judge: good/bad, right/wrong. "This is terrible. This could be different. Why is it this way?"
You've heard of the word "gift." The gift of breath redefines the word. It does not come packed, tied with a silly ribbon. It comes openly to you. All you need to do is to be aware of your existence. You are alive and this thing called breath is coming into you. All you need to do is to be conscious that you are surrounded by the most precious gifts. These gifts are being given. Take them. Take them and keep them.
There is a thirst that is not for water, but for something else inside of you. The question is: How apparent is it? It needs to be incredibly apparent before you will take any action. This is not a thirst for water or for soda. It is the thirst for peace, for contentment.
This is your existence. This is your life. It is unique and you are here. There are three laws that existence follows: you weren't, you are, and one day you won't be.
The magic of existence is in the middle where you exist. That's where you can feel. That's where you can understand. That's where the possibility exists to take on the challenge of fulfilling one's self. Not on the outside, not in this world. It is on the inside.
In your darkest hour there is a candle, and the candle is lit. If you want proof, take a breath. There is your proof. The candle is lit, and even in your darkest hour, you do not need to experience the darkness. Even in those moments where there is pain and suffering, there is a place inside of you that dances and expresses joy. In the middle of sadness, there is joy. How appropriate.
For a lot of people, the formula for bringing light into their lives is to remove the darkness. It doesn't work like that. You cannot take a bucketful of darkness and throw it out the window. Try the other way–just bring in the light, and the darkness will automatically leave. In the middle of mayhem, in the middle of a fiasco, there is clarity. There is a rhythm that is so amazing, so sweet. Again and again it has knocked on your door and asked you to let it through.
In our adult lives, we get quite busy. What does "busy" really mean? While we are redefining things, let's redefine "busy." Being busy is another way of ignoring something. Sometimes we use those words when somebody asks us to do something we don't want to do. We say, "I am busy." True, you are busy, but doing what? You are busy ignoring that thirst, busy ignoring the call of this heart.
Liking joy is not something I learned from anybody. It is something my Creator placed so fundamentally within me, within you. Nobody taught me how to laugh, and nobody taught me how to fall in love with laughter.
There is something so fundamental inside of me that wants to be busy enjoying. The good news is I can be. A lot of people have the misconception that, if you want peace in your life, you have to hand over everything you have. You do not.
There is only one place left where you can have true peace, and it happens to be inside of you. That's the good news. You don't have to give up anything. All you have to do is turn within.
What is there that is really simple?
As we live our lives, there are many complexities. We have relationships. We have judgments–good, bad / right, wrong. Sometimes it seems we are going forward, and sometimes it seems we are going backwards. Some days are easy and some are tough. Looking through this complex window, it doesn't seem as though anything could be simple.
People ask me many questions about the complex: "Why is my life this way?" "If we have peace inside of us, why don't we already know it?" I ask them to stand back, take away all that is unnecessary, and just look at life, at existence. In this existence, breath comes: No judgment, no prerequisites. No forms to fill out, no queues to stand in. No waiting games, no dot.net or dot.com to log onto. It comes.
The life of being alive dances, plays out every day in the most serene, simple way possible. Every morning that comes, you are. You exist. Not through the avenues of this world, but just you–this face, this smile, this body, this breath, this heart, and this time.
People say, "What about all the problems? Aren't we all trying to find solutions to them? We don't have peace in this world, so we have to find a solution for that."
Here is an analogy. There is a person who was born and raised in a castle. It is a nice place, but one thing this person has never done is to look at their reflection. There is no mirror, no way to see their own reflection. Everything else is there: Great food is there, a nice bed, good entertainment. There is everything except a device like a mirror that they can stand in front of and look at their own reflection.
This person has a lot of dreams, but one thing that this person really wants to do is to become beautiful. In fact, this person is really beautiful–not only beautiful, but exquisitely beautiful. But every day this person laments, "Oh, I wish I could be beautiful," and there is no way they can see that they are.
This is my passion. I go around the world talking to people. I do not give written speeches. If you asked me what I was going to talk about before I began, I would have told you I had no idea except that I wanted to get in touch with my passion so that you could see yourself in a mirror. If you could, you would see how beautiful you are. You would see how incredibly beautiful you are. You would see that you have thousands of drawers filled with things that promise to make you look beautiful. That is what your whole life is about.
Beauty touches each one of us whether we like it or not, just like we have two legs whether we like it or not. You could make an argument for four legs so that you could run faster, or for two short and two long, but what you have is two.
You also have a quest. It is not a quest that you started, but a quest that was already started for you. It is a quest that says, "Peace." A quest that says, "Love." A quest that says, "Understanding." A quest that says, "Joy." This is not a quest for the joy that is on the outside, but for the joy that is on the inside. This quest is not for the peace that is on the outside, but for the peace that lies within. That's the good news. What you are looking for, you already have. The beauty that you are looking for, you already have.
When what is complex is removed, the beauty is there. Complexity is full of doubt. Doubt is like a virus. Should we learn to live with it? Or should we learn to understand the very thing inside that says, "You do not need to be in doubt; you can be in clarity." You have clarity because the clarity you want and need is within you.
Be free to meet yourself. There is no one else like you anywhere. Even twins see things differently. There is a difference in your smile and in what you smile at. The difference is the feeling of joy, the feeling of peace, the feeling of tranquility, and the way that you can express that in your own way to your own self–not to someone else. This is not about writing a book or a poem. The real poem is the one you say to yourself. The best book ever written is the book you write to yourself. It's clear. It does not need an introduction, or a preface, or footnotes. It is yours. Yours is the poem that sings out in your heart and awakens the joy. This is the greatest poem ever.
The day you start to understand the ocean of possibilities that exists within you is the day you take a step closer to your own life. The possibilities are endless. Endless. They are the possibilities of answers without questions. The world is full of questions without answers. The heart is full of answers without questions. You can accept those answers, not the answers that the world is trying to give.
The ultimate truth is not in words; it is in feeling. The ultimate reality plays out right in front of your eyes. You are here. This is the truth. You exist. You can feel, and you can understand, and you can be fulfilled.
Do you see why I have passion for this? It's so beautiful. Maybe you see how you and I are different. My skin, my face, and my hair all look a little different. Aside from that, we are alike. I wasn't, I am, and I won't be. The time when I wasn't doesn't count for me. The time when I won't be doesn't count either. What counts is: I am. Because I am, I have access to something, and I want to have that access every day of my life.
Take away what is complex, the shells and the wrappers, for here lies a gift that is so perfect it does not need to be wrapped. Take that challenge. There is no paper in the universe perfect enough to wrap this gift of life that you have been given. There is no bow that is pretty enough to do justice to what you have been given. The challenge in your life is to know you. The challenge in your life is to understand the beauty that lies within you and to have access to it whenever you want. That is the ultimate gift.
When it comes to theory, peace is a very complicated thing. I figured this out from pure deduction. I figured that it took a lot to put a man on the moon. It really did. It involved a lot of technology. And sure enough–on behalf of humanity–man was placed on the moon. But peace still eludes the world. So peace has to be really complicated–more complicated than going to the moon. If it's that complicated, I figured, then it's just like riding a bike–too complicated to explain. The only thing you can do is to inspire people to find the way to feel peace. And that begins with presenting the picture of a possibility.
Each person has a version of peace that applies to them. What is it? If you are a city dweller, you hear horns honking, sirens blaring, and everything going on all day and part of the night. Then on the weekend, when you go to that quiet little place and there are no sirens, you say, "Ah, this is so peaceful." That's not peace. Absence of sounds is not peace. Absence of taxicabs honking is not peace. Absence of screeching tires is not peace. But getting away from that situation seems peaceful. These are the individual variations of peace that people have.
If somebody has lost something precious to them, and they are going crazy thinking about it all the time, and you ask them, "What is your version of peace?" their answer will be, "If I found what I'm looking for, I would find myself in peace."
The resolution of conflict alone is not peace. You won't hear this other places. What you will hear is, "Peace is nice. We should all find it and get on with our lives." But it has to be very clear what it is we are looking for, because if somebody's version of peace is no more sirens, then it is a totally different thing.
So, what is real peace–peace that is common to every single human being on the face of this earth? The generic definition of peace is the absence of war, but there is a peace that has nothing to do with arguments and nothing to do with wars. There is a peace that resides in the heart of every human being on the face of this earth. There is a peace that is not temporary, not tied to politics, not found in the formulas of what the world thinks ought to be. It is not somebody's vision, but resides within the individual, whether they are rich or poor, good or bad, right or wrong–even in their darkest hour, even when they are surrounded by an ocean of confusion and doubt.
This peace is not the absence of anything. Real peace is the presence of something beautiful. Both peace and the thirst for it have been in the heart of every human being in every century and every civilization.
This is the good news: the thirst is within you, and the water that will quench that thirst is within you. The good news is that what you are looking for is within you and the means to get in touch with that is also within you. There is a reality that is so sweet–not buried in conflicts and pain, not buried in doubts and questions, but in fact dancing–dancing within every human being because you exist, because you are alive.
I propose that you take on that thirst. I propose that it is the sweetest and most wonderful thirst you have ever had in your life. That thirst is one of the noblest causes a human being can ever have. With all the things we can achieve in our lives, there is one more that is incredibly noble: we can be fulfilled.
A lot of people say, "Isn't that very selfish?" An extinguished lamp can never light anything. It can neither light the area around it, nor light another lamp. The prerequisite for either of these things is for the lamp to be lit.
Light your lamp. People say, "But if I light my lamp, then it'll go out." That is reality. It is going to go out, but while you have the chance, light it. Let there be fulfillment in your life. Let there be certainty in your life. Let there be clarity in your life.
You exist, and because you exist, you have the possibility of being fulfilled. It is incredibly simpleand simply profound. This is what existence is: this breath comes and this breath goes, and it comes again and it goes again. And I walk my life one step at a time.
A lot of people ask, "Tell us something that will give us peace. What can we do to get this peace?" We have a problem here. Usually when you hear about something nice, you want to go and get it. What I'm talking about, you already have. You already have peace inside of you. You don't have to go out somewhere and get it. You already have it. Discover it. Do you know what it is like to discover?
Look at this breath like you have never seen it before. Look at this life like you have never seen it before. Look at this existence like you have never looked at it before. Look at peace like you have never looked at it before. Look at this moment like you have never looked at it before.
Even in the middle of turmoil, peace exists. How does this affect this world? Do you know what this world is? It's a screen. You are the projector, and what you see as the world is just a big screen. So when you see things on the screen, don't look at the screen, look at the projector. That's where it's coming from. The display of the inner fight turns into the outer fight–it always has and always will. When there is tranquility inside, that is when peace begins. Peace here in my heart. That's the possibility.
How is it possible? I can help. Look around this world. If you are interested, search for peace. If you find it, good. And if you don't find it, look me up. I can help. This is what I do–I go around the world talking to people about peace. People say, "Nice words." And I say, "Do you want it? I can make it possible." How can I make it possible? I have that peace in my life. I am aware of that peace in my life. Does that mean I don't have problems? Of course not. I have problems. Does that mean I don't get angry anymore? Of course not. I get angry. Am I a vegetable? No. These are excuses: "If you have peace, then you'll completely change," or "You will have to change your religion." Why would you have to do that? Does your religion say you can't have peace? Of course it doesn't. Your communication to your God in your style, in your way, is beautiful. Why should that preclude the reality that peace lies in your heart? It's already there.
Inspire v1 i26, 19 August 2004: The Greatest Play on Earth
This world is the stage–planet earth. On this stage, a play is going to happen. In this play, you are both actor and audience. It is a very unique play. In this play, you can sit down and watch, and then you can actually get up on stage and see if you can do it better. Then you can sit down and watch, then get on stage again and play, and you get to see the end. You also get to do something else. This "something else" is what I talk about.
What is it? It is enjoyment of this life, of this existence–being here, being alive, being the actor and being the audience. In my opinion, that is the most profound subject and the one we miss out on. Nobody clearly tells us about it. It's called enjoyment. There has to be that real enjoyment.
What does peace have to do with enjoyment? Everything. We need peace to satisfy a thirst. I'm talking about a thirst that is within and the water that is also within to quench the thirst. I'm not saying, "You have a thirst, and by the way, the water is 7,000 feet under the ocean. Let me teach you the art of diving." Or, "You have a thirst, and the water is on top of Mt. Everest, so let me get you physically in shape so you can climb it and partake of the water."
That's what happens. People say, "What you're looking for is over there, over there, and over there. You have to do this for it and you have to do that for it." I'm saying, "What you're looking for is within you. It always has been and always will be." I'm talking about fundamentals. I'm not trying to create peace. A peace that is created will one day be disturbed. The nature of things that are created is like that.
Every person needs to start looking at themselves for answers, because the answers lie within. This isn't a horrendous world created with no purpose and just randomness everywhere. For those who can see it and appreciate it, there is a delicateness to every human being. Everyone has been touched by an amazing thirst–a thirst to be content, a thirst to be in peace, a thirst to be in joy. Nobody has to teach you that. You know it. You feel it.
This is what I'm here to talk about: know thyself. You are here on this planet earth, and this is a very special occasion. The most magnificent stage ever designed has been built. It has the best lighting of any stage in the world. There is a ceiling, but no pillars. It's the work of a genius. You have been invited onto this stage to enjoy. Every time you enjoy in the truest sense–in the most earnest way–this incredible recording device called the heart enjoys it.
What a beautiful promise and possibility exists for a peace that lies not away from me, but within me. That's the peace I want–not the peace I have to run for, but the peace in my heart that I can get in touch with every day. That's the beauty of it: you cannot be without it.
It will require your effort. To be clear requires effort. To be conscious requires a unique and a beautiful effort. That effort is called real enjoyment. That is what it requires.
When there is enjoyment, nothing is a chore. When there's no enjoyment, everything becomes a chore. It is as simple as I have put it. It really is all about you and the enjoyment of the greatest play on earth–you.
Inspire v1 i27, 26 August 2004: The Reward Called Fulfillment
What I talk about, you already know. I'm not here to tell you something new, but hopefully to evoke that one beautiful feeling, that one simple voice that has been so persistent in your life, even though you may have done an amazing amount of work to silence it.
The idea of peace did not start in recent times. The idea of peace has been there for as long as people have been around. Everyone has their own picture of peace.
To some people, peace becomes an alternative to our problems. That's not what peace is. Peace is a feeling that exists within every human being. The thirst for peace has always existed in our life, and the water to quench that thirst has also always existed within. That is the peace I am talking about.
A lot of people give up. When we give up, there is a
vacuum, and we fill that vacuum with the reasons we can't have peace in our life or why truth does not exist for us. Some of the reasons sound so clever and so legitimate that it is very hard to tell they are just reasons.
The only person who can tell is the person who has not given up. To them, it is not a matter of how good a reason might be. It is a matter of not giving up on having the feeling of peace in their life, of having joy. It is a matter of having a commitment for that. Whether you call it joy or peace, happiness or contentment–all those words are names for the same thing.
People want to win, but they don't know what the race is all about. What are you racing toward? There are a lot of races going on and they all offer rewards, but have you looked at what the rewards are? These rewards are not ones you can keep. You can get your picture taken with an award, but you don't actually get to keep it. All you get is a picture you can hang on your wall and say, "I won that."
What I am talking about is the reward called fulfillment, that is called peace, that is called joy. If there is a race for that, that's the race I want to enter, and that's the one I want to win. That is the race I know I can win. All I need to be is true to my heart. True to my thirst. True,
indeed, to myself.
What is the first step you can take? Make this life, this existence, a priority–make contentment a priority. Begin with that. Make the thirst for fulfillment a priority, and things will begin to blossom. You will find flowers where you never imagined it was possible for anything to grow.
Even in the desert, the most delicate flowers bloom. As harsh as it is, they lie in wait for the rain. Let the rains of understanding fall. Understand the priority of existence. Let each seed sprout so you may stand and gaze at the amazing beauty that lies before you. Feel good. Feel happy. Be. And let that be for the rest of your life. This is the possibility for everyone.
Inspire vi 128, 10 September 2004: See a Wonder
Peace has to be felt. It is not just a subject of conversation. There is a peace that is fundamental to all of us. Beyond all those little differences we have–skin color, shape of the face, hair, clothes–there is a commonality to all of us. We exist. We are alive.
We all thirst for peace. If we really want to see that basic aspiration, we have to put down all the different-colored glasses we wear and see that one fundamental thing that is so simple and so beautiful that exists in the heart of every individual. I'm not talking about creating anything or achieving anything. I'm talking about what already exists within us. You don't have to get it; it's already there. It is a matter of discovery.
Peace is that joy, that serenity, inside every human being. Peace is not a concept or an idea, but a reality waiting to be discovered, a joy waiting to be felt. Feel peace in your life.
Make that the priority in your life. Include peace among those things that are important to you. Make sure that
peace is not just a dream, some nice thing that someday you will have, but that peace has become a reality in
Your life, every day that you live it, is a consciously struck note. The instrument you have been given is called life. The possibility of peace dances upon the stage where a heart full of contentment and gratitude can exist. Instead of complaining, "Here are all the things that are wrong" or "I wish things were this way or that way," how about looking at things the way they are?
This existence is your home. Be in that serenity, that contentment, that joy. Don't let a moment go by. Play this instrument to express that feeling that you are alive–that this means something to you, that it isn't a story about a person who got everything and kept nothing.
Changes happen, and changes will happen, but there is one thing that has never changed: your thirst for peace, your thirst for joy. Ever since you were a little child, it has been there, and for as long as you are alive, it's going to be there. Fulfill it. Be fulfilled.
I'm talking about really enjoying yourself. I'm talking about waking up in the morning and saying, "What an agenda I have–I get to live today." You get to exist today. What you are looking for, you already have. If you ever want to see a wonder, I suggest you take a look at yourself. You should be excited that you are alive, despite all the problems you have and all the problems still to come. It isn't written, "A problem means lack of joy." If that is your definition, then it is a definition that you have created for yourself. That's a misunderstanding.
Let problems be what they will be. Do your best to fight against them, but that doesn't mean you have to lack the joy that dwells in your heart. Let there be joy. Let there be that peace in your life every single day.
Inspire v1 i29, 16 September 2004: Opportunity and Success
Many realities manifest during a day. If bad news comes, that's a reality. If there are responsibilities to take care of, that's a reality. Of all the realities in this ever-changing world, there is one that remains steadfast despite everything that happens. That reality addresses me. It is the reality of my existence.
I have a name that I associate with myself. But who am I? What am I? Is life really as complicated as I have made it? The good and the bad, the person who's going through a crisis–is that really me, or am I something else? Who I am is not the complicated, but the simple within me. Not the scales, not the weights, but an ocean of joy. Simple, beautiful. With one thirst–the thirst to be content, to be in peace, to be in joy, to understand.
The need for peace, the attraction to peace, is not created. It is innate within every human being. There are ups and downs, but there is a place inside that is neither up nor down, a place that is steady. Peace is within and the thirst for peace is also within.
You don't have to search for peace, because you already have it. How do you find something that has been with you every day of your life? It lies in the realm where breath comes and goes and brings the gift of existence. You are alive. You can feel pain, but more importantly, you can feel joy. You can feel turmoil, but most importantly, you can feel peace. You have the ability to feel contentment.
Know yourself, this beautiful symphony that you are, this beautiful poetry that you are, this beautiful story that you are. Knowing what is within brings peace.
This peace is not the story of desperation–the trauma and drama of what is lacking. Learn to measure this existence by what you have, not what you don't have. What you have is so much more powerful than what you don't have. There is a feeling of peace dancing within you that is more beautiful than you could ever imagine.
The heart nudges you–not to back up, but to go forward. So many of us would stand at the pinnacle of our life and just look back. The heart says, "Turn around and go forward." Follow the river of time. It will take you places you have never been–places that are simple.
Turn down the volume. Something is whispering. Let it come closer and closer to you. This whisper, this wish for peace and contentment, can be heard. The voice inside has always asked for one thing, and that is peace. It has been there ever since you were little, and it will be there for as long as you live. Listen to what is being said. This is the story of your life. It is not new, but it is so exciting. This is your opportunity.
Success is opportunity observed, opportunity taken. If you want to be successful in your life, you have to be an opportunist. If you see this life as an opportunity for peace, an opportunity to be content, take it. The plaque on the wall is not success. The plaque in the heart–that is success. On this inner wall, frame the beautiful poetry that awakens you every day and inspires you to take the opportunity to be in peace. It is possible to have that in your life.
Inspire v1 i30, 24 September 2004: What Each Breath Tells Us
We get caught in so many of the dramas that happen in our life. Life is full of them. It's just like driving down the road a little too fast and coming to a stoplight. You come to a screeching halt because the light is red. People are turning right and left, going in different directions. Someone is running into someone else. There is a little drama here and a little drama there. Life is very much like that.
With all the dramas that are taking place, there is one thing we cannot afford to forget: The happenings in life are not what life is all about. The coming and going of breath is not about a drama. If you find yourself in the midst of a drama, remember what your life is all about.
Imagine a flight captain who is a very sociable person. Once he's taken off, he gets up to talk with the passengers. There he is, talking to one person about one thing and to another person about something else. The flight is only two hours long, and the time passes quickly. Forty-five minutes go by, then an hour-and-a-half, then an hour and forty-five minutes. The captain is still socializing. Now he only has fifteen minutes to get the plane on the ground. He has to remember what his main focus is. Even though all this socializing is wonderful, what is the main point of the journey?
What is the main point of the breath that is coming into you?
The main point happens to be fulfillment. When we are fulfilled, we are the most beautiful. That's when we attain our purpose. When a flower blooms, it is no mistake that it looks beautiful. This is how it is supposed to look. This is when it is supposed to be the most attractive–so it can attract the bees. It's no mistake.
An instrument sounds best when it is tuned. That is the nature of its design. I don't know how to tune a guitar, but someone once told me that the secret is to tune each string slightly sharp or flat. My first reaction was, "Wait a minute." But that is what makes the harmony, and the main point of a guitar is the harmony it can produce.
What harmony can you produce? When there is harmony in a human being, we call it peace, we call it love, we call it fulfillment. A human being is finely tuned when they understand that existence has been given as a gift.
We try so hard to understand why we are alive, when all we want is to feel thankful. Gratitude automatically happens when the heart is full. Gratitude will flow, and there is nothing you can do about it. Just try stopping it. Right now, you may have a problem remembering that, but when gratitude comes, try stopping it.
Each breath that comes to us is saying, "Make it happen." With the gentlest persuasion imaginable, each breath is saying, "Be fulfilled in this life." Life is not about dramas and traumas. Life is about fulfillment. This is your possibility. This is what can happen.
Inspire v1 i31, 30 September 2004: Giving and Receiving
Life itself is an opportunity–the truest opportunity. We only have one. The breath coming into us–this is the definition of opportunity. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that to keep our focus clear, to remember what is real.
In this vast jungle, it is not necessary to cut down the trees or learn the art of walking through forests and mountains. Do what you have to do. Go over whatever mountains you need to go over. Go around all the trees that you have to go around. Find your way around the rivers, through the gorges. Build your bridges. Do whatever you have to do. Just remember one thing. Remember your direction. If you lose your direction, you'll go around in a big circle.
So often that's what we do. We don't have a built-in compass. As soon as we lose our direction, we end up making a giant circle and then find ourselves in exactly the same spot we started. For some people, this happens again and again. The first thing to learn from that is that you have lost your direction. You have forgotten your priority in life–to be content.
Breath brings a sweet message to you again and again: "Keep your priorities straight and be content in this life. This is what you can achieve; this is what you should do." But there's a whole world out there, barking at you, "Ah, but that's not all. You should do this and you should do that. Make more money. Get better at this and get better at that."
What message is there reminding you what each breath means? Think about the Titanic when it was sinking. As long as the hull was not compromised, the beautifully set tables, the music, and the gourmet food were wonderful. When the hull was compromised, and tables and pianos started shifting, it was a different story. When the chandeliers started coming down, no one was saying, "What a beautiful falling chandelier." All these things had become a liability. It can happen in a flash.
When the priority in life is straight, all these beautiful things are assets. When the basics of life are compromised, everything becomes a liability. What do you want in your life?
We just have to remember that life is a beautiful journey. We need to learn the art of receiving and giving. If you only know how to receive love but not how to give it, you cannot love. If you only know how to give love but not how to receive it, you cannot love. You have to know both. When you do, you will know what love is all about.
If you only know how to receive breath but not give thanks, you will never understand the value of breath. Each breath deserves gratitude. It is a feeling. "Yes. It happened." When you can feel that gratitude, you will truly start receiving in your life.
What is so beautiful about this is that it is happening every day. Receive and give. Give your gratitude and receive the ultimate gift in existence. Learn to receive; learn to give. Learn to understand. Then the cycle flows.
Inspire v1 i32, 7 October 2004: The Answers of the Heart
We live our lives and there are so many complexities. We have relationships, and we have many judgments. Sometimes it seems like we are going forward. Sometimes it seems like we are going backwards. Some days are easy, and some days are tough.
Looking through this complex window, it doesn't seem like anything can be simple. But step back and just look at this life. The breath comes. It makes no judgment. We don't have to do anything to get it. There are no forms to fill out, no queues to stand in, no waiting games. We don't need to log on to some dot-net or dot-com to breathe.
Life dances and plays out every day in the simplest, most serene way possible. You exist, not through the avenues of this world, but just as you are. Just you–this face, this smile, this body, this breath, this heart.
A lot of people focus on all the problems in the world and say we have to find solutions to all those problems. I say that we have a quest. It's not a quest that you or I started. It is a quest that was already started for us. It's a quest for peace, a quest for love, a quest for understanding, and a quest for joy.
This quest is not for the joy found on the outside. It is for the joy that is found on the inside. This quest is not for the peace on the outside, but for the peace that lies within.
The good news is that what you are looking for, you already have.
Who has introduced us to us? We're always being introduced to somebody else. No one asks, "By the way, have you met yourself?" Meeting yourself is the difference between being free and being stuck. If you don't want to meet yourself, you are stuck with yourself. The day you want to meet yourself, you become free.
I will tell you about the best book ever written. It's the book of thoughts that you write to yourself. It's clear. It does not need an introduction; it does not need a preface. It does not need footnotes. It is yours. It is the poem that sings out in your heart and awakens the joy. That is the greatest poem ever–joy. And it is your poem, an expression to yourself. That is the ultimate gift.
This world is filled with questions without answers. This heart is filled with answers without questions. We can accept those answers, not the answers the world is trying to give us.
The answers of the heart are very, very different, because the heart says, "Awaken and rejoice. Awaken and be alive. Awaken to the possibility of being fulfilled."
Inspire v1 i33, 15 October 2004: How Close
When human beings build monuments to their accomplishments, they belittle people. When people stand in front these buildings, they feel tiny. They have to look up to see them, and they find themselves very small by comparison. That's called grandeur.
In the creation of your heart, the monument is in proportion to you. Within you is the grandeur, where you are held in awe. It is the being that needs to be held in awe. This is the vessel from which love comes.
Peace is not going to manifest on some wall. Peace is going to manifest within. That's where we most need it. It is the lack of inner peace that causes the wars on the outside. When peace manifests within, we begin to understand what peace means.
Peace has to be felt. Joy has to be felt. Truth is not found in words. Truth is a feeling. The ultimate truth is within, and the ultimate reality plays out right in front of us. We are here. That is the truth. We exist. We can feel. We can understand. We can be fulfilled.
The life we have needs to be apparent. It's not something we can do on the side. Clarity also needs to be apparent to us, not just to some people who have been given the responsibility of "being clear." I say stand on your own two feet. People say I am controversial. I know what it means, but out of interest I looked it up in the dictionary to see what the formal definition was. Basically, it means somebody who walks the other way.
I'm going in another direction, but not just to simply walk against the crowd. I cannot be foolhardy in this life. Each breath is too precious. Each moment in this life is too precious. I cannot afford to take chances. I need to walk in the direction I know and to walk with clarity, not ambiguity.
How do I know? I have a compass, and I call it the heart. It's a wonderful compass. It is precise, and it is so real. It points us in the direction of life. People ask if I'm talking about hearing voices from inside. No, the heart doesn't tell you what kind of car to buy.
The heart is that cry, that call, that says, "Be fulfilled. Quench this thirst. Live this life consciously. Extract everything that this breath has brought, as much as you can. Be alive. Exist."
Some of us have gotten good at the "ostrich syndrome." We dig a hole, bury our head, and think the problems will go away. That's not living. Living is when we feel from the inside out the joy of being alive.
What I talk about is each one of us being in peace. That is number one. There is no substitute for that. We need to have peace in our life. These are not empty words. This is real. This possibility is very, very real. Let your heart be the judge. How far away from you is it? It is within each of us. That's how close it is. What we're all looking for ultimately is within us.
Inspire v1 i34, 20 October 2004: Simple Reality
When we were very young, we wanted to feel good, we wanted to be happy, we wanted to feel love. But we didn't have any words for it. Then, as we grew up, we got the words. Now we can say, "Peace, understanding, contentment," but we have lost the feeling.
What I talk about is the feeling, not the words. It boils down to your thirst, your need for peace in your life. What you are looking for is already within you–not something you have to get or create. Not something you have to jog for or diet for. Not something you have to sit endless hours in a seminar for, taking notes and figuring out what it is.
We have reasoned what this life is all about. We have reasoned what is good, what is bad. We have reasoned what is right, what is wrong. But we have sacrificed one of the most important things we haveand that is the ability to feel.
In our reasons, the word peace has come to mean something that is either possible or not possible. Love has come to mean something that I either have or I don't. Reason is necessary when you don't have the feeling. When you have the feeling, you don't care what it is called. When you are in love, you don't need to ask, "Am I in love?" When you are hungry, you don't need to ask, "Am I hungry?" You know when you are hungry and when you are thirsty. Shouldn't the feelings of peace be as innate as hunger and thirst?
Life itself is unfolding–not just the things that happen in it. There is this thing called existence that is boiling, turning, churning, manifesting. It brings joy unparalleled, tranquility that has no end, peace that is absolute, clarity that is singular–no doubts, no confusion. This is what is getting whipped up every time breath comes.
All this is happening, and you could be having a cup of tea saying, "Boring. Nothing is happening. Quiet day." If you know where to look, it is not so quiet. Even in that quietness, there is the sound of you. Even in the stillness, something is stirring. It's stirring because of the joy, the reality. And it is happening courtesy of life.
Peace is a feeling that is already within you. You exist. Your existence is the note that was played. Looking for success when you are the most successful? Looking for the very love that resides in your heart? Looking for peace when peace resides in your heart? Looking for contentment when you have more than you can ever imagine?
That thirst within your heart can be satisfied–again and again and again. A musician doesn't learn to play the piano just to quit. A cook doesn't learn to cook just to quit. You didn't learn to ride your bike to quit. You went on to pedal every day with great joy.
Every day, you need food when there is hunger and water when there is thirst. Whenever that comes, again and again and again, let it be. In your life, be true to that feeling, true to that thirst, and be fulfilled. That much you owe yourself.
Inspire v1 i35, 20 October 2004: See Reality
There's entertainment going on within you–life. It isn't about the alarm clock that gets you up and that you check before you go to sleep. That's not life. Life is about waking up and being thankful for the day, understanding that the day means something.
I've heard people described as having "such a gusto for life." What is meant by that? It isn't about jumping off mountains or diving in the deepest trenches. It isn't about flying as high as you can, or going as fast as you can. It isn't about the number of activities you do. It's about true enjoyment–enjoying this life. This day is a gift given to me, and I accept it as a gift.
Instead of passing time, enjoy your time. Instead of just being there, victimized by everything that happens, feel freedom in your life. Real freedom. Real joy.
You've seen photographers. When there's action happening, they've got to be right there. They're waiting and ready to take that picture. They know that the only way it can happen is if they are ready. Last-minute fumbling won't do it. When breath comes into you, are you ready to take that snapshot? Are you ready to be fulfilled? That's the promise it brings. Because breath comes, you can be a friend or an enemy, a father or a mother–so many things. You can enjoy your hobbies, the things you do, your career. But breath makes possible one other thing as well. And that is fulfillment.
Do you want to be fulfilled? This is a choice you have to make. Either you are taking a snapshot of that breath, enjoying and appreciating it, or you are not. It's up to you.
Beauty is in you, in this human form with this human heart, in this very human condition, in this very human world. You. I'm not speaking about the alligator or the crocodile or the snake. They need their own person to tell them they're beautiful, because I'm not doing that. See what you've been given and what you are–not in terms of either divinity or frailty. See what you are with no judgment; see that reality just as it is.
Come with eyes that are hungry to see beauty. And see the beauty. Judgment exists for everything: "You are young; you are old. You are pretty; you are ugly. You are this; you are that." That's not what human beings are. That's ideas. That's judgment.
There's a beauty. There's a simplicity. There's us. We exist. Who are we? What are we? See that. Feel that. Why? Because none of the definitions do it justice.
Once I heard a photographer talking about taking pictures. He said, "Have your camera ready, but don't have any preconceived ideas. Look through it, see what you see. Then see if that does something for you." I thought, "That's the advice I give." If you want to take a picture, don't come with preconceived ideas. Just look and see what you see. See if that does something for you. If it does, then let it click. The picture will be taken and will be there for the rest of your life. It will be beautiful. It will be a picture you have taken, not something that was created. It will be your picture.
This life is too precious to be living in a boxed world. There's freedom waiting to be discovered. Not randomness, but freedom, because the breath comes into you and you are alive. There is the possibility to be in peace. You should be in peace. Look at yourself–not with ideas, but from a very beautiful, simple reality.
Inspire v1 i36, 4 November 2004: Feeling the Tranquility Within
There is a richness within every human being. There is a possibility to feel peace within every human being–the peace that we were born with and that will be there for as long as we live.
Feeling is the most important thing. What a remarkable change it would be, not to be dependent upon the way things are in life for your happiness. You have something else–another possibility within you.
Imagine you're in a sailboat that's bobbing up and down with the waves. You hate going up and down. So you've tied a long flat board in front of the boat, and you're trying to slap down every wave. Obviously, it's not working, but there you are trying to flatten the waves, thinking that then you'll have a really nice journey in life.
Within you lies a very tranquil ocean. Sail there and you will feel the tranquility. Life should not be about just ideas and thoughts. Life should be about feeling–really feeling the tranquility within. Feel peace from your heart, not just, "I think I feel peaceful." Really feel peace, and be independent of all the outside circumstances for that peace, for that joy. It exists in your heart.
Feeling is real. Thoughts are created. They come and go; they change, disappear, and become totally invalid tomorrow. Feeling doesn't. It stays. Theories are great to read, but don't ever trade them for feeling, because you have to feel, too.
This is about your heart. You cannot fool your heart. You can fool your mind, and the mind can fool you, and it does. But the heart cannot be fooled, and the heart does not fool you.
So the heart has to be the judge, not the mind. A change of priorities has to occur. Simplicity. Feeling. Feel every step that you take. Feel every day that you live. It isn't just that a day comes and goes. It is that in this day you exist. Do you feel that? When that begins to change, understanding comes.
Here's a little story. One day a man was walking down the road, and he saw something shiny. He picked it up, looked at it, and thought, "This is a very sharp piece of glass. I'll toss it aside so that no one gets hurt." A few hours later a jeweler walked by and was also attracted by this shiny thing on the side of the road. He picked it up, examined it, and realized, "I am so fortunate. I've found an incredible diamond."
When you're not ready to admire this life as it is, it's just a piece of glass. You take it and say, "It's nothing," and toss it. But there are those who learn how to recognize. They learn the value of life. They learn the feeling. They learn about understanding.
As human beings, we need to be in peace. People say, "Peace is not possible." To me, where there is a will, there is a way. Maybe the very first step just needs to be acknowledgment, seeing the possibility that life is not a piece of glass, but is, in fact, a diamond.
Life is not a joke. We've been given a very special gift. Maybe seeing that is the first step–a small step, but that's where it begins. Once the first step has been identified, you'll take all the rest of the steps, because what lies at the end is the fulfillment of a lifetime.
Inspire v1 i37, 14 November 2004 :The Missing Piece
The other day I was asking someone who has also traveled a lot whether they had ever come across a thing called the world in their travels. He said, "No," and I said, "Neither have I." You come across countries, immigration, customs, people, taxis, animals–it depends where you go. But world I have never seen. It is people. It is people like you and me who need, not want, peace in their lives. It is not a luxury. This is the missing piece of the puzzle.
What we cannot imagine today will happen tomorrow.
Technology will move on. Things we could never imagine will happen. What doesn't change is the need. The wants change, but the needs do not. Maybe you are not comfortable with your bed so you want a new mattress. The want may change, but the need is to go to sleep, and that does not change. Maybe you go shopping and you see a new water glass. You want the new glass, but why you need the glass does not change. That stays the same. Need and want.
A lot of people are under the misconception that they want peace. It's a misconception because peace is not something you want; peace is something you need in your life. Every day you wake up, something within you yearns to be fulfilled, to be happy, to be in joy. We create formulas for how to achieve that. Everyone has a formula: "I think if we do this, we can achieve it."
But how? Look at the thirst for peace. If the thirst for peace is within you, then peace is within you. If that want wanders in this world for different things, it is because the want is processed by necessities that are created on the outside. Look at your heart because that is a part of the puzzle.
I am not saying you should sacrifice one for the other. This is another wonderful excuse that people have: "I cannot engage in this search for peace because I have a family, and I have responsibilities." I say to them, "What makes you think for a moment that you have to sacrifice one for the other?"
Peace is inside you. Wherever you go, peace goes with you. When you climb on a bus, peace goes with you. When you are fighting, peace goes with you. When you are asleep, peace is within you. When you are frustrated beyond imagination, peace is in you. No matter what you do, there is no place you can go where peace will not come with you. Because it's within you.
Through technology, we want to improve our lives. What I am saying is that the real improvement begins with you. I am not saying to sacrifice technology or to sacrifice your responsibilities. Accept your responsibilities, and while accepting those responsibilities, find peace, find joy in your life.
Inspire v1 i38, 18 November 2004 True Gratitude
In our lives, we cannot get rid of all the bad. Your bad might be someone else's good. Good and bad are relative, but there is one good that is not. There is one right that is above all the rights and wrongs. It is not what happens in this worldall the waves that come. Your reality is the breath that comes into you. Your reality is that you are alive.
Every day, we have an opportunity to learn how to really be alive. The world's definition is: You do this, you do this, you do this. That's not being alive.
People say, "You can't live in enjoyment. You have to accept what the world has to give, and that's it." That's one
extreme. They say, "Do what you are supposed to do, what you are told to do–these are your responsibilities, your duties." The other extreme is, "Forget about it all–go live in the Himalayas, shave off your hair, and just retire. That's it."
No one says, "It doesn't matter." The person who has left everything and gone to the Himalayas wants to be happy. And the person who is in the middle of this world doing whatever he does wants to be happy. Happiness and the desire for happiness exist for both.
There are so many interpretations, and they are all based on the premise that you are confused. You cannot afford to be confused. There needs to be a distinct clarity in every step you take. You are not the master of this existence; you are an apprentice.
Be an apprentice. Learn something from life every single day because life is giving you the opportunity to learn. The value of each breath is being taught. The value of this existence is being taught. How important it is for you to be in peace is
As an apprentice, you learn and learn, and you do your best every day. Every day, you make that effort. Every day, you try to be a little more conscious. As an apprentice, you're not there to pass judgment: "Today was a bad day!" It was a day.
Learn that, and when you begin to understand, the most amazing thing takes place. A real gratitude emanates from the heart, not from concepts. There's a gratitude that doesn't get covered by "please" and "thank you" because it's so real. It moves me. It involves me–not a society or a concept–but me. It evokes my hunger, my thirst, my reality, my existence. When I feel that true gratitude, there are no words for it.
You will benefit from that consciousness. You will benefit from that realization. And yes, it is possible. You can have that joy. You can have peace in your life. It is possible amidst all the problems in the world.
Inspire v1 i39, 25 November 2004: The Most Beautiful Sound
It's always a great honor to talk to those who want to learn something about this life. I am going to tell you a very simple story.
Once, there was an exquisite musical instrument. When it was played, it made the most beautiful sound. Then people started looking at "new and different" instruments and invited other musicians to come and play. The musicians came and brought their drums and their flutes and their guitars.
Soon no one knew how to play this one very special instrument, and people began to wonder, "What good is this instrument?" It was beautiful, and it would spark their curiosity, but slowly it started to collect dust because it was ignored and had gotten out of tune.
Then one day, someone came and said, "Why have you cast aside this most beautiful instrument?" People looked at him wondering, "Which instrument? The drums are all in tune, the flutes are great, the violins are perfect, the piano is in tune." He said, "Don't you remember this instrument? It is because of this instrument that you even became interested in music, built this place, and gathered to listen to it. Now that your curiosity has led you to the new and different, you have been ignoring it."
"What is so special about this instrument?" they asked. The man said, "Let me show you." He cleaned the instrument, and it began to shine. We forget. We only see the dirt on the surface. The person who knows can see beyond the dirt. He can clear away the dust and renew its beauty, its spark, its glamour, its glory. Then he did the most important thing–he tuned it. If the instrument is going to sound good, it has to be tuned.
After he tuned it, he gave it back to the people and said, "Now, you play." They said, "We don't know how to play." "Strum," he said, "and it will begin to play. Listen. You will hear." When they began to play, they were mesmerized by the beautiful sound. Here was an instrument that could truly touch the heart.
What is the instrument? You are. In your race for the "new and different," you have forgotten yourself. Everything is all about the glamour of "new and different," except for this instrument, this life. Except for this heart. Everything else has priority. From morning till evening, you say, "I have to do this. I have to do that." Are you anywhere on that list? Number 10? 20? 100? No. Nowhere.
When this instrument is tuned, and you begin to play, you will hear a melody–the melody of breath coming to you. It's very simple. What you are looking for, what you need, is within you, but because of neglect, it has gone out of tune. When it is tuned, you will be able to enjoy the potential of that instrument.
This is your life. Find that contentment. This much you owe yourself. If you want to be rich, begin with you. The first debt you have to pay is the debt to the heart–its request, its want to be fulfilled. It's not a big request. It is simple. Be fulfilled.
Inspire v1 i40, 6 December 2004: Where We Can Find Joy
The frequency of problems never goes up or down; the problems just change faces. It's as though the problems don't ever want you to get bored with them, so they reinvent themselves in different ways so your life will be exciting–with the problems.
This life is not about fighting the problems. This life is about being in the joy that is real. This life is about accepting the joy that you have been given.
Look at your life. For everyone else, you make time. Time is a chunk that is given to you. It's been given; it's in storage, and you're using it. You won't get any more of it or any less of it. All of it has been given to you. Now it's up to you how you use it.
You can't give your time to anyone else. How can you? But you throw it away on other people. "I'll do this, I'll do this, I'll do this," and then there's no time left for you.
Time is one of the most precious things there is. You can't buy it and you can't rewind it. It is the same for everyone. No one has more or less of it. Everybody gets what they get. We have fractionalized time for our convenience, but time isn't fractionalized. No two moments in time are the same. That's how unique it is.
There is a value to time, and that is to be inspired every day. In that time, focus inside with your heart, not your mind. The request from the heart is very simple: "Be fulfilled, and I will give you joy and peace in return." Mind says, "Fulfill me, and I will try to give you satisfaction"–which you won't get. The very nature of mind says, "Now try this; now try that." Understand that nature. Is that good or bad? That's just how it is. The heart has the cry to be fulfilled. That's not good or bad either.
This is a wonderful thing to understand, because sometimes you have bad days right from the start, as soon as you get out of bed. Just remember, "This is what I've been given–this breath, this peace, this joy." All of a sudden, the worst day becomes beautiful. There is no judgment. The right and wrong are the grids of the world. The only thing that's really right is that I am alive.
We are alive. This is what makes everything so exciting. This is our time. This is not a page from history; it's the present. If all your days have been miserable, today doesn't have to be miserable. The potential is there. You are alive, I'm alive–that's what makes this magic. We are living, we care about this life. That's what's real.
In the book of the living, heroes don't get any mention. There are no monuments to them. But you have a heart. And with that, as you live, you can feel the joy. Your joy is your reward. Your gratitude is your reward. Your peace is your reward. Go for that.
If someone wants peace in their life, they can have it. If they don't want it, they don't have to have it. The river doesn't pull people into it; it just flows. Those who want to quench their thirst can. Those who don't want to can let it go by. The river goes its way; it makes its journey. The fact that it flows means there is a possibility. All I am doing is presenting that possibility. This isn't about converting people; it is about inverting people. This is about turning within. There's a big difference between the two, because what we are looking for is within, and that's where we can find it.
Inspire v1 i41, 10 December 2004: The Need for Peace Translated from Hindi
Most people are proud to be human beings. We are proud of what we have attained, and many receive awards and titles for what they have accomplished. I have received many myself, but I haven't even hung them up.
When a person is dying, we check their pulse and see if they are still breathing. Then we say, "He's still alive." That's the title"alive"–that has been given to everyone. One day that title will be taken away. Right now we all have that title, but we don't recognize it.
It's just like seeing someone we know after many years and thinking, "I've seen this person somewhere before. Who is he? I don't recognize him." Don't we also look at ourselves and wonder, "I have seen you somewhere. It feels like I know you, but I don't recognize you"?
Recently I was speaking about peace, and someone asked me what I would say to the poor people in this world. Why? Don't poor people need peace? Is peace only for the wealthy? People think that a hungry person only needs bread. I've been hungry. I'm not saying that I didn't and don't need bread, but I also need peace, because this world does not exist only to fill the stomach.
Who needs to experience peace? Peace is not needed by trees. Peace is not needed by cats. Peace is not needed by dogs. Peace is needed by human beings because we can experience peace. We need it. Peace needs to be experienced in our hearts. Whether there's peace in the world or not, peace is definitely possible in our hearts.
Today, we don't look at our faults; we look at everyone else's faults. We don't look at our weaknesses; we look at other people's weaknesses.
Peace is not a philosophy. Peace is something that has to be experienced. Unless a person experiences it, everything is empty. No matter what you have done in your life, if you have not experienced peace, then everything feels empty, incomplete.
In this life, we can light the lamp of peace. We can decorate the heart with the lamp of peace every day. Learn how to light that lamp. You can call to that peace, that joy, so that it comes to you.
All those corners where there is darkness can be filled with joy. Joy doesn't look at anyone's age, whether they are young or old. No matter what their condition, it is possible for every human being to feel joy. If you need to make an effort, then the effort should be to light the lamp of joy. This life should be filled with light, not darkness.
This is not for someone else. Every human being can fulfill their heart, can fulfill this life. This is the most beautiful thing that is possible in this life.
Inspire v1 i42, 17 December 2004: Endless Gifts Translated from Hindi
In our lives, an environment is created that directs our attention outward toward the entire world rather than toward us. When we go outside and see something we've never seen before, the first thought we have is, "What is this?" In India when something is happening somewhere, people just gather to see what is going on.
A human being can also point toward himself and say, "What is this?" This life–this time, this intellect, this heart–is an opportunity that we have. There are not too many people who look at that, who recognize that.
People love miracles, but when a cow eats green grass and gives white milk, it isn't considered a miracle. It would only be a miracle if the milk came out of a rock, which shouldn't happen because rocks were not made to give milk. In this body, without any effort, breath comes in and out. No one sees that as a miracle, but that is the real miracle. Until we recognize that, we will not understand what we have been given.
It is like a person having a treasure chest of gold in their home, but not knowing about it. If they have no understanding or recognition of it, they could be poor their entire life even though they have the possibility of being a millionaire.
What is possible? What can I attain? If I don't recognize the possibility in my life, then it will just be that I came, I was alive, and one day I had to leave. That is nature. As human beings we look at things from two sides: either good or bad, right or wrong. Every day we wonder, "Will this be a good day or a bad day?"
Good will happen and bad will happen. You can't avoid that, but there's something that is neither good nor bad. It is beyond that. That thing is your life. In this life, as the breath comes in and out, the possibility is there to receive a flood of joy. You can dive into an ocean of joy, and your heart can say, "Thank you so much for this life, this opportunity. I recognize that what I wanted to know is within me."
That's the opportunity being given: to attain that joy and to fulfill this life. We have come here, and one day, we have to leave. People say, "You came empty-handed, and you are going to leave empty-handed." I say, "You have come empty-handed, but you don't need to leave empty-handed." Take something with you. What will you take? You can't take your memories. If you're able to take something, it is that peace. You can fill your heart.
Until now, you've only seen what's missing in your life, what's lacking in your life. Start to recognize that which is complete. Start recognizing all the things you do have, the endless gifts you've been given. If there's some good news in life, the good news is that we can be fulfilled.
Inspire v1 i43, 29 December 2004: When the Heart Stays Full Translated from Hindi
People take many different journeys, but the day we understand our heart's thirst to be in joy, to be fulfilled in our life, a beautiful new journey begins. Everyone has their own journey to take, depending on the thirst that they feel.
The goal in life should be to have joy in your heart. That is what your heart longs for. If you make the effort, you can definitely experience that. Then, the story of your life will be that you came, you enjoyed, you filled your cup, and then you left. The first page and the last page of your story are already written, but the middle pages are empty. Those pages are for you to write.
The most important thing we can do in life is to light the lamp of joy. If that lamp continues to be lit, the wealth of joy will come to us. Everything has been given to us. There's nothing left to be given. It is up to us to take it, to pick it up.
So often we don't see what we have been given. That is the malady of this world. People have their imagination of what they need: "I should have this. I should have that." There's nothing wrong with that, but they haven't accepted what has already been given. If we are not able to appreciate what we already have, we haven't understood the value of it.
Joy is something that a person can experience till their last breath, but it is important not to get caught up in the idea of the "last breath." We don't know when the last breath is going to be. What we do know is the one that's coming and going right now. Focus on that. Enjoy that.
Sometimes people ask me what I can do to help people who are very poor and may not have enough food or a place to live. Peace within doesn't have anything to do with how poor or wealthy a person might be. Poor people need peace too. They also need that joy.
If there are four or five clay pots sitting before you, are they empty or full? If you are only looking at them from the outside, how can you tell? The only way to know is to go up to them and look inside. There are many wealthy people who experience pain, who are empty inside. And there are poor people who experience joy. No matter where you are, or what your environment is, you can take advantage of the experience of peace within.
This is the message I bring to people. I remind people that what they are looking for is within. Some people listen to me and like what they hear, but don't pursue it. Others like it and want to explore it further. If you know that what you want is to be fulfilled, I can help.
It is possible to be fulfilled in this life. When the heart stays full, life is fulfilled.