Emptying the Bucket


When I travel and talk to people, what is my challenge? Of course, what I say has to come from my heart. It’s not a written speech; it's not from a book. But my challenge is for you to empty your bucket.

It’s not about saying wise things, believe me. People think I will tell them something that’s going to help them. And I do, apparently, because people write back and say how they've been helped since they’ve been listening to me. But that’s not what I try to do, because I cannot push wisdom into somebody’s head. All I try to do is to help people to empty their bucket.

Our biggest limitation is our imagination. I’ve never said this before because I know people will immediately say, “No-no-no, we can imagine some outrageous things!” Yes, you can. But there is something so amazing that exists beyond your capacity to imagine. I call it the peace and joy that reside in your heart.

The brain is a funny thing. It tries to fill in as much as it can. If we see an object that we have never seen before, our brain gets very confused. It responds, “What is this?” Imagination can only take you so far. But in the realm of the heart, in the realm of this inner beauty, there is something that is indeed divine, not by our making, but by its very nature.

Prem Rawat

I’m not talking about conjecture. You see, I’m not going to answer your questions. Is that a favor to you? You bet. All I will keep saying is to empty your bucket, and when you do, you will finally make room for answers to come. Because you see, the answers are inside of you.

Do you believe that? We live in a society where if we want to know something, we search on the Internet to find out. But have you found out?

Where is the understanding in this world? People are more educated now than they’ve ever been. Everybody has their reasons for why things are as they are. But understanding is not about reasons. Understanding is about what you have understood, what you have felt. It’s not about preaching. It’s about reaching and grabbing the answer and realizing, “Yes, now I understand.”

That’s what I want for you. I don’t want you to say, “Now I have been given the answer.” That’s pointless. I want you to be able to say, “Now I understand. Now I know.” That's the way it needs to be—because that is the cry of your heart.


There is an opportunity, a simple opportunity—if you can see it. How can you see it? Empty your bucket. How do you do that? It’s easy. Just start throwing out all that’s not yours, and I guarantee you the bucket will be very, very empty. Because nothing in that bucket is yours.

In your life, you were told things and you said, “Okay.” Every time you agreed, something was placed in the bucket, again and again. Unfortunately, it has gotten to a point where there’s no room for anything else. It’s full.

What’s in the bucket? Part of all that goes around in this world. People fight over God. Nations get polarized. Human beings express anger towards one another just for their opinion. We have created a world where, instead of saying, “Okay, we’ll never be able to figure God out. Let’s just feel God, respect God, and sing God’s praises.” No. It can’t be as simple as that. “Let’s give God a gender.” Do you think God needs a gender? “Let’s give God hands.” Does God need hands? That power, that energy is everywhere: nowhere to come from and nowhere to go to. Does that power need legs? Think about it.

Maybe I’ve inspired you to empty your bucket. Or perhaps I've given you a notion to at least look at your bucket and see how full it is. See if you can recognize that those things are not yours. You never put them there. They are the voices of the people before you, who told you how it had to be. And you said, “Okay.”

I’m not saying that’s good or bad. I’m saying this is your bucket. At least, it should contain what you think should be in it. Because this life is about you. This gift of life has been given to you. When you accept this gift, it fills you with amazing joy. It brings unparalleled clarity. And then your life is filled with gratitude, gratitude to be alive. Could you think of a better story? Could you think of a better ending to a day? Could you think of a better start to a day than to be filled with gratitude? This is the ultimate gift.

— Prem Rawat