Discovering Peace

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.

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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 simple—and 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?

Maharaji at Sanders Theater, Harvard UniversityLook 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.

— Prem Rawat