The Fabric of Life
Not too long ago, I went to a funeral. At the cemetery, there were these little headstones: “Here lies. . .” I just had to stop. This isn’t just a headstone; this is a history. There was a person who was alive. Good things happened and bad things happened. There were rough days and smooth days; there were confusing days and clear days. There were days that went this person’s way and days that seemed so opposed to him. A journey was made.
What is the difference between this headstone and me? Am I more than a headstone with a name, some dates, and a few messages chiseled on it? Isn’t life more than that?
Isn’t it that there is this thing called existence that rises above it all? Above all the good and bad, right and wrong—all the judgments? Isn’t it that there is a kindness to be here? That this is a special moment called being alive? How much do I recognize this moment? What am I concerned about today? All the things that will happen? Am I the least bit concerned about something that is finer than the finest hair—that cannot be measured in width, height, or weight—and is the only difference between me and that headstone? Do you know what it is? It is this breath that comes in and out of you. That is the difference.
You cannot take a picture of it, paint it, make a statue of it; you cannot give it, buy it, trade it, or sell it. And it makes all the difference that you are. Because it comes, you are Mr. So-and-So, Mrs. So-and-So, Miss So-and-So, Dr. So-and-So, Captain So-and-So, Professor So-and-So. And because it comes, you have the capability to understand, to question, to reason, to observe, and to learn. Thanks to this gift of breath.
People say, “I’m a father, a mother.” You’re a human being. We don’t see human beings; we see everything else. I’m talking about the presence, the beauty that is within you. Through which you have everything, without which you have nothing. That is real. That is simplicity.
There is a peace, without which we would lose the very fabric of who we are. A peace that dances in the heart of everyone. That’s the peace I am talking about. The reality. The beauty. The joy. The true peace—not an absence of something, but the very presence of something. That is what is possible, even in the middle of war. A peace that cannot be disturbed. That is real peace. And one that cannot be taken away—that is real freedom.
Begin to acknowledge this existence in the simplest way possible—to go within. Not from ideas, but from understanding. Not measuring with the scales of “I do not have,” but understanding what you do have. What you have is right here within you, and it is everything. I mean everything. And it will be there to the very end.
For me, this is my opportunity. This is my time, my chance, because I am alive. My journey continues, and I learn. I love to learn. I love to understand. I’m thankful for every day. It’s my privilege, my joy, my honor, to remind people—to go around the world and tell people about the possibility of being in peace.