ONCE UPON A TIME THERE IS A HUMAN BEING
Everybody has their little story. What story would you tell that would be your story? You, being alive on the face of this earth is maybe the most trivial thing to you. Maybe you say, “I’m alive. So, big deal?” But it is a big deal, in fact the biggest deal there is. And this comes down to the difference between being and doing.
All your life, you’ve been told, “Do something!” When you were young, if you ever sat down somewhere for too long, your mother or father would come and say, “Don’t just sit there. Do something! Play! Study!”
So, you’ve been very busy doing something. And then you also learnt that if you weren’t busy it was very important to look busy for other people. So, of course, you got very good at that.
In my school some of the students would have their book open, and they’re reading. And inside the book they have their comic book. So if the teacher ever happened to walk by, all the teacher would see is the book being read very intently, very focused, very nicely, whilst we, the students knew what they were doing.
And of course, the students had a code of conduct amongst themselves: you don’t say anything—because you may be the next person doing that.
So in your little story, you have been very, very busy—doing what? Accomplishing what?
If you were to just take a moment (don’t be lazy, but just take a moment,) and understand what’s happening here, then you would see, that there is this incredible place called planet Earth.
All your life, you’ve been told, “Do something!” So you’ve been very busy doing something.
And then you also learnt that if you weren’t busy
it was very important to look busy for other people.
When something is unique, it is very prized. When something is one of its kind, it’s really prized. Like one painting by Van Gogh is worth a lot of money. Well, this planet Earth is one of its kind—amongst billions of planets.
It’s unique. It’s unparalleled. It’s the only one known to support life. They’re still looking for other planets with life on them. They’ve been looking for years and years and years, and searching not five square miles, but the amount of space that they have been searching can only be expressed in light years. So far, they haven’t found anything.
So here you are on this incredibly amazing planet that supports life, and is incredibly beautiful. And then on top of that, you’re alive. Alive—is that part of your story? Or is it, “I went to Australia. And I had my picture taken with koala bears”?
Just recently I went to a restaurant with my wife and my daughter—and they asked, “What is the occasion? Is there something special” And I said, “Of course there is. We’re alive.”
To be alive doesn’t mean anything anymore. But it is simply the most amazing thing there is. Not what we can do whilst we are alive—but that’s where our focus is. That’s the story that we have written: “Oh, I did this. I did that. I went here. I went there. I accomplished this. I accomplished that. I am this. I am that.”
People write their resumes when they apply for a job. They are the most well- articulated lies that have ever been put on one piece of paper. They go on and on and on because you have to impress the other person.
Nobody’s impressed by truth—so you have to lie. If you just wrote on the resume, “My greatest accomplishment since I have been born was, I was alive; I am alive and I appreciate being alive,” you will not get the job.
Being alive doesn’t mean anything. “You’re alive, that’s your problem. What do you have to offer? What have you done—what have you accomplished?” That’s what they want to know, “What are you good for?” Being alive is not good for anything but if you have done this, and you’ve done that, that means something.
RULES OF NATURE
“Becoming something”—that means everything. So, you come into this world, and what do you become? On one hand, what you are ultimately going to become for that the dices have already been rolled, the cards are already set.
As we age, the hearing starts to go. Everything has to be a little louder, for you to be able to hear it. The sight starts to go. The teeth become loose.
Nobody’s impressed by truth—so you have to lie. If you just wrote on the resume,
“My greatest accomplishment since I have been born was, I was alive; I am alive and I appreciate being alive,”
you will not get the job.
What you could do before, like running, you cannot do anymore. If you are seated, it is better to stay seated. If you are standing up, do you really want to take the chance of sitting down, because you may not be able to get up again?
“Wow! With all my accomplishments, that’s what’s going to happen to me?” Yes!
Once, traveling the world was a big thing. I started traveling the world when I was twelve. And this is what’s going to happen to me—the hairs starting to turn gray, the eyesight starting to dwindle, the hearing starting to go, my legs starting to give in? Of course, it is!
There is no discount for traveling the world. The rules of nature are very clear; neither good nor bad. This is the fixed part of the story. But in this story, there is a “once upon a time.” And that’s where this story starts to get really interesting.
Right now the story goes: once upon a time there is a human being. And this being has all the possibilities. No limits. And of all the choices that the human being has, he can choose, she can choose clarity.
In your life story, how many times would you be clear? How many times are you confused? How many times do you not understand? How many times do you ask yourself, “Why am I here?” How many times do you wonder, “What’s going to happen to me?” How many times in a day do you live in insecurity?
How many times have you chosen strength? How many times do you allow yourself to be subdued by doubt? How many times in a day do you allow yourself to be buried in confusion? How many times during the day do you let the sadness overcome you, when you can choose happiness for every single moment?
You can choose clarity for every single moment of your life. You can choose the confusion because both are in you. How much? Exactly, fifty-fifty—not fifty-one or forty-nine. Fifty, fifty.
In you is also strength and weakness. How much strength do you have in you? Exactly, fifty percent. How much weakness do you have in you? Exactly, fifty percent.
And you have to choose.
Have you heard about the sunflower? Most plants need the sun because they need the light for the photosynthesis, this is what makes them alive. And the sunflower is called so because in its dramatic beginnings it chose that it will follow the sun all day long from East to West. And at night, turn around and wait till it comes again, from East to West. This is what it chose.
In your life story, have you chosen to follow the clarity?
Where does it begin? Doesn’t it begin from the strength? Right now, look at the situation of the world. The situation of the world is shocking but not surprising. And the reason why it’s not surprising is, everything that’s happening, the seeds of this were sown a long time ago. And now, ‘surprise!’ Here is the present.
Instead of understanding the present that truly is—your life, your existence—here is the other present: disaster, chaos, and fiasco, because the seeds that were laid were not the seeds of clarity. They were the seeds of greed.
How much greed do you have in you? Exactly fifty percent. How much generosity do you have in you? Exactly fifty percent.
This world is not being run on generosity. It’s being run on greed. And as long as the world keeps running on greed, we are going to pay for it.
The situation of the world is shocking but not surprising.
And the reason why it’s not surprising is, everything that’s happening,
the seeds of this were sown a long time ago. They were the seeds of greed.
PURITY IN A BOTTLE
I asked somebody for a glass of water, and they brought a bottle of water. I was told, “The water from the taps is contaminated. So you need the bottled water.” Why?
When I was studying for my pilot’s exam, I had to study meteorology. This is how it works: the sun heats up the surface water of the ocean; that water, because of heat, forms a vapor; vapor, being a gas, which is lighter, starts to ascend.
As it ascends, there is something called adiabatic cooling—every thousand feet, there is a temperature drop. As this warm air ascends, it cools and forms a cloud. And then, as this condensation is cooled, liquid drops starts to form in it. And then the cloud moves over to the land, and it rains. And incidentally that is the purest form of water—the purest, distilled water.
Now, do you pay for the sun? No. The sun heats the ocean. Do you pay for the ocean? No. Do you pay the heating bill of the ocean? No. Do you pay for the cooling of the air that occurs? No.
Do you pay for the cloud eventually reaching its maximum potential of how much water it can hold in it, and then dumping it, which is called “rain”? No. So there comes the pure water—all for free. Then, who contaminated it?
If you look closely, you will see that it’s the same people who are selling you the bottled water.
But you have a desire to live longer. So you want the pure water that you get in a bottle. This means you’re health-conscious. You’re not conscious of why it got dirty in the first place but you’re health-conscious. And besides, the bottled water must be good because it’s not free.
Does this defy every logic? Absolutely. Do we keep doing it? Absolutely. Is that living consciously? Absolutely, not. And what are people’s excuses? “What other alternative do we have?”
Is that the story of your life: you were born; you did things that nobody else really cared about; and then you died; and then you disappeared; and that’s it?
The pharaohs were going to live forever. They built monuments to themselves that are mind-boggling. I saw the bones of one of the pharaohs when I was in Egypt. They did not look like a pharaoh. They looked like bones and skeleton; could have been anybody’s.
So I ask you, what is your story? Do you, in your life, know your self? Not, the idea of yourself, but “Do you know yourself?”
Just recently I was watching a documentary where a photographer, an artist, took a huge mirror—it was a safe mirror, like a plastic mirror; could not be shattered or broken—and he took it and put it out in a jungle.
The gorilla came; he jumped down. And he saw the other gorilla in the mirror. And the gorilla immediately challenged this gorilla that he saw—“Oh, man! Come on.” And of course, when he challenged this gorilla, this gorilla challenged him back.
And the gorilla that he saw, that challenged him was big—really big. So eventually, he backed down.
When I was growing up we had a little Lhasa Apso dog. And he had a temper. My father was the only one that he was fine with. The postman was completely afraid of him—and he was just a very small dog. But everything that moved was something to be ripped apart.
One day, when everybody is taking a siesta, this dog is barking. And they all think, “Who’s out there? What’s wrong?” So, they all came out to see.
And there he is, this little thing—in front of a mirror that somebody had left outside. He saw himself in the mirror, and he wanted to tear that other dog into little bits and pieces, and just chew him and bury the bones for later.
It was very funny for us boys to watch—it was like, “But doesn’t he know that’s him?!” And the answer is, “No!”
That’s what happens to you as well, when you don’t know who you are. That’s what is happening to whole world, when we don’t know who we are. Instead of having the strength, to overcome greed for generosity, people succumb to greed— because it requires strength to choose generosity. It requires strength to be in clarity. To be confused, weakness is required. Not strength.
In your life story, where are you strong in your understanding? Do you understand that this is the most precious time, that life is the most precious gift, the most incredible miracle of all miracles?
Some people pray for miracles. I want to say, “Please, wake up. This dirt that you stand on is a miracle! And this dirt in your shape can even talk!”
Do you know that that’s what you are? Dirt!
We are made up of the six most common ingredients on the face of this earth, every one of us. People are so much into, “You are a female. You are a male.” No. We’re all the same. But thank God, we look different—it gives a little three- dimensional-ness in our existence. But what we are made of is exactly the same. Earth is seventy percent water; you are seventy percent water.
Do you have any idea what keeps you alive? The breath coming in and going out of you is an incredible miracle that takes place, right under your nose.
When you were born, if you were born in a hospital, because you were breathing you could come home. If you are home and you stop breathing, you don’t stay home. It’s, “Out.”
By the courtesy of this breath everything is—for you. A little air everywhere, but you don’t see it—comes into you, brings you something. Leaves; comes again, comes again, comes again. How did your life begin? With the first breath coming in. How will your life end? With the last breath going out. Not coming in. Out.
And in-between that breath coming in and going out, there is a story.
Some people pray for miracles. I want to say, “Please, wake up.
This dirt that you stand on is a miracle! And this dirt in your shape can even talk!”
This is what we hear: somebody got lost in the middle of the ocean; there is a story. Somebody got lost in the middle of the desert; there’s a story. Somebody was really rich; they lost everything; there’s a story. The homeless person won the lottery; there’s a story.
But between the breath that came in the first time and the breath that went out the last time, there’s a story of stories And it’s your story. And it’s the only story that you know for sure is your story. And it’s going to keep on unfolding till that last breath.
Do you get to tell your story? Yes. To whom? To you.
To you, whilst you can listen. And it’s not ended—till it has. A lot of people say, “Oh, but I’m sick; I’m dying.” No, you’re not dead till you are. That’s life. It is till it is.
A lot of people give up. I say, “Don’t give up. Be—till you can be.” Why? For billions of years, nature worked on making you be. To take the dirt, (which is plenty out there,) compress it so it can be the earth, and the oceans, the volcanoes, the rain, everything, so that you could be.
The power behind that “Be” is amazing. And in your story, you need to acknowledge that. And not only in your story, but every single day do you need to acknowledge that.
Between the breath that came in the first time and the breath that went out the last time, there’s a story of stories.
It’s your story. And it’s the only story that you know for sure is your story. And it’s going to keep on unfolding till that last breath.
Do you get to tell your story? Yes.
To whom? To you.
MAKE HEAVEN HERE FIRST
A few years back, do you remember the doomsday was coming? And somebody in my office said to me, “What if it really ends?”
It does not take strength to be confused. It takes weakness. And I said, “I don’t know when they found out about doomsday. But it is, of course, going to end. One day it’ll end for you; one day it’ll end for another person; one day it’ll end for another person.”
And a few billion years from now, the big “doomsday” is going to happen. But it’s going to happen in a different way, according to the scientists. The earth is going to get parched, because the sun is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And therefore it’s getting hotter and hotter and hotter.
And pretty soon, it’s going to become very impractical to be on planet Earth. People still could survive. They could go in caves, do this, do that.
But then ultimately, like all scientists agree, everything that has been created will be destroyed. The sun was created; it will be destroyed. The earth was created; it will be destroyed. So of course there’s going to be a doomsday.
But this whole thing that some shaft of lights is going to come down and zoom you up … but actually, that’s going to happen, too! But it’s going to happen, one day for this person, one day for that person, one day for that person, one day for that person. No light—but, zooms; and they go somewhere.
And why is it always “up?” This idea started a long time ago. Good things came from “up.” Rain came from above; sun came from above. Strange things came from down below; they had legs, they had forked tongues.
So, everything down below was bad. Up above, everything was good. So heaven got put up there. Hell got put down below. But the earth is rotating. So if you keep pointing up, you will eventually be pointing down.
But people believe. And they want to go to heaven after they die. It’s a great idea to go to heaven. So I ask, have you made your heaven here?
I ask all the religions to say one thing. Just add this extra bit—it’s not going to change their religion at all. It’s not going to damage the religion. Nothing bad is going to happen.
I want them to start telling their followers: “If you want to go to heaven after you die, make heaven here first.” That’s all. If they did that, this would be a different world. With just that little statement: Make heaven here first.
YOU ALREADY KNOW
But you are alive. This is your story. Write it well. Articulate it well. This is not the monkey story. This is your story. The story of a human being who is alive. Not was. Is! Once upon a time there is a human being.
Everything I have told you—you already know. I pride myself on that. Anyone can tell you something new. But to remind you of what you know is important.
Because it’s important what you know. It’s very important. You know that something in you wants to be happy. That’s important. You know that you do want your heaven here. That’s important. You know that you have the strength in you—that’s important.
You know that you want to be clear in your life; that’s important. You know that you don’t want to waste your days; that’s important. You know that you are alive; that’s important. That is very, very important.
I’m not telling you, “Don’t be responsible.” I’m saying, “Don’t be so irresponsible that you do not accept the responsibility that comes with being alive.”
There will be changes. Things will change; you will change. That’s how it is. Do you think anything is new here? This saga of life has played out on the face of this earth again and again and again and again.
So, what’s so different? This one: Once upon a time there is a human being. Not 7.5 billion. You! Just you. There is a human being.
I don’t know how this story goes after that. I know my story, how it goes after that. You know your story, how it goes after that. Make it interesting. Keep it interesting because it is very interesting.