One 2 One, No. 16 – In Charge of Your Time

“Between birth and death, this is the time that you have. And you should be the first person to dictate what happens with this time.” —Prem Rawat


Prem Rawat:

All stories begin with “Once upon a time.” The story that I really want to tell you also begins like this, but there is a small difference—and the difference is, “Once upon this time there lives you.”


Once upon this time there lives You.



NO. 16

Prem Rawat:

Hello, everyone. I hope you’re all well, healthy, and most importantly, thriving instead of surviving. And that’s what, you know, in one of the last videos that I did, I was talking about. That a lot of times, (and I just want to clarify this too), that a lot of times we look at a situation, and whatever our situation is, we look at the difficulty. And not the objective but the difficulty.

So, let’s just talk a little bit about being human, and what does that mean? Well, it means a lot of things, and it means a lot of things to a lot of people. I mean, there are scientists who have looked at it and it means something else to them. They have a different viewpoint.

There are people who are farmers, and they have a different viewpoint. There are people who work with wood; they have a different viewpoint. There are people who work with statues; they have a different viewpoint. There are cooks; they have a different viewpoint. There are pilots; they have a different viewpoint. There are politicians; they have a different viewpoint.

So, trying to narrow it down to one thing would require that a lot of things that happen in our lives have to be excluded. And then you narrow down to just who or what a human being really is. So, you get down to the fundamentals—you need to breathe; you have an innate desire in you.

And a long time ago I had seen this documentary and it was about the Albertine rift. And when that took place, the monkeys were basically divided into two. And those monkeys that ended up with the gorillas, (because the gorillas needed to eat a lot), ended up always fighting for food, always competing for food.

And then those monkeys that did not end up with the gorillas had plenty of food and they would share food—and scientists named that “the peace gene.” And apparently, we as human beings have this peace gene! So, something very deep inside of us is calling—and calling all the time towards peace, towards being content.

Now, again, peace, the word “peace,” it means so many things to so many people. But then to find out what really peace is, you have to disregard all those other things—and come down to what really peace means.

And to understand that there is an innate desire in every human being to be in peace—and this is extremely important. That you can try to distract yourself—and people do! You know, you have technology; you have communication; you have this; the, yeah, all the stuff….

And, “Distract me, distract me, distract me.” And one of the things that has become so obvious in this time of pandemic—that people just cannot be with themselves! They want to socialize; they want to be with somebody else—but not with themselves.

And there would have been a time that human beings would have rather been just with themselves. You know, and a lot of the change of language and written language and all of that, this is relatively all new. This is not old stuff; we’ve been around for a really long time—and in very hard, very difficult circumstances. And something drove us; something moved us forward.

And that, that one thing that—the betterment, to be better. To be better at so many things. Not just one thing, but to be better as being a human being: “How can I be a good human being?” Not looking at it from the rules of the society—but my innate thirst that I have as a human being, (that peace gene in action), is it fully able to manifest its self?

So, peace, then, is not fulfillment of wishes—but it is something much more fundamental. It is to be content; it is to be in clarity. It is to feel that joy inside; it is to be happy. It is to be clear. All these things are the same facets of peace.

These are—maybe they sound all different but they’re not. They’re just—it’s, peace is like a beautiful, beautiful diamond—and it has many sides; it has many facets. And this is what makes it shine.

And there’s clarity—there’s understanding; there’s compassion; there is joy. There is empathy. There’s forgiveness. These all start to become different facets of that diamond. And it’s not like you can just say, “I just want one facet”; no, it’s part of the whole package. 

So, if that’s peace—and you as a human being are going to have, always, a desire to feel that—now, mind you, I’m not saying that you’re not going to want to feel other things! Yes, you’re going to want to feel this world; you’re going to want to try this; you’re going to try that. And you have become very good at that.

I mean, just imagine, a few thousand years ago, that if somebody wanted to go from London to Los Angeles, what that would entail. If they wanted to go from London to New Delhi, what that would entail. I mean, it would be a journey that you took once. And you would be extremely lucky if you got to Los Angeles from London in one piece.

I mean, before there trains, before there were ships, how would you even go? And, well, you know, the kind part of that is, you probably didn’t even know that there was any place called “Los Angeles” because there wasn’t!

But to travel meant like, everything that you had to do! And yet, it’s amazing. It’s absolutely amazing—today, no sweat; no problem. We can fly from Los Angeles to London, (eleven hours, twelve hours) and we can fly from London to Los Angeles, (maybe thirteen hours, twelve hours, fourteen hours, something like that, depending on the headwinds).

So, all this has been accomplished—and we have become very good at that. But what about that other part of us, that gene that is waiting to also be fulfilled? The curiosity gene in us is one hundred percent. The discovery gene in us is going overtime; the communication gene in us is going at it. The socializing gene is full force ahead—but what about the peace gene?

And unless all of these things…. And that peace gene is—that request that it has—is accepted and fulfilled, life is going to feel like something is missing. And indeed, something is missing. That clarity about who you truly are is missing!

So, there are people—and they look at themselves, “And I am so-and-so.” But they’re not “so-and-so”; they’re a human being. So let me, let me just put it in perspective and maybe this is a bad example—you know, because I’m not trying to play down anybody for, for any reason. And that’s not the point of my example.

But my point is basics. So, say, I have a friend. And he has never been to any college; he’s never been to any school; he, he knows very little about, so far the world is concerned—but he’s a farmer. He grows food; he keeps cattle. He’s a simple man—and we’re friends. We talk to each other and—and he grows—you know, he has his farm and he does quite well.

And in our community, in our neighborhood there are professors; there are scientists; there are, you know, people who are artists. There are musicians—at top of their game.  

And then one day there’s a horrific earthquake. And all of a sudden, all the communication is dead; electricity is gone. Everything—no schools, no universities, no restaurants, no nothing—I mean, everything is finished—finished.

But as a human being, you’re still going to feel hungry—if you are still alive, you’re going to feel hungry; you’re going to thirsty; you’re going to need sustenance; you’re going to need something.

And maybe when everything was thriving, when everything was incredible, everybody else had some part to play. The musicians had some part to play. They could entertain us. There were actors; they could, they could entertain us. If we wanted to know something, we could be taught!

But now that all, everything is shut down, who, all of a sudden, has become incredibly important? And I—for me, at least, from my viewpoint, that farmer. Because he continues to grow his vegetables. For him, he was never plugging in his plants into electricity for them to grow. Everything came from nature. And this is what he had learnt!

And his learning, at this point in time, becomes extremely crucial—and I wouldn’t be surprised if everybody from the community beats a road to his house, his hut. Because he has, at this point in time, in the very basics, that which the community and the individuals in the community need.

So, all of a sudden, his level, when everything was “a certain way,” quote-unquote, was very low, relatively speaking—and everybody else, very high. And now that the society isn’t the same way, it has switched. So, somebody who may not fulfill all those “quote-unquotes” of the society—but he has something to offer which is incredibly important—sustenance, becomes extremely important.

The same way, when the world is a certain way, maybe we get distracted and we see “This is important; that’s important; that’s important; that’s important.” But we really cannot lose, and we cannot afford to lose the focus of what truly is important.

It is like a mother who may be watching a movie on television and very distracted by that. And her baby is crying. And she wants to focus on the movie, not on the baby. How long is that going to go on? It is an imbalance! Because the first priority needs to be for that mother to be with that baby.

Why? This is not a rule that was written by society; this was a rule that was written by nature. A long time ago, nature made—not that nature made babies cute. But nature made sure that when we look at a baby, we think the baby is cute. We think—we immediately sympathize with that baby. We become compassionate when we see that face. We become compassionate.

I mean, even—and this not only goes to baby human babies but also to other animals! And you look at the kitties—and they’re so cute! You look at puppies and they’re so cute! And, you know, you have to ask yourself, “Well, why do they look so cute?” It’s because we have in us this natural tendency to view it that way—because it’s important.

And so, yeah, but you know, we live in this world today and we’re like, “Oh my God, you know, we’re so different.” But we’re not—all this just is very recent.

And the way it has been going on for a very, very long time is that the human beings have really tried to better themselves and better themselves and better the societies and better the countries and “better and better and better and better,” and we cannot lose that focus.

It is not just the responsibility of a few—to make the society better. It is the responsibility of all of us to make the society better. And this needs to be understood; this needs to be remembered.

So now, coming back to my original point, you as a human being have this desire to be in peace, to be fulfilled, to be in joy. And this is so innate, so fundamental.

I’m not talking about a “designer human being,” by the way. Because these days, it’s like, “Oh, yeah, do this and you will become this, and do this and you’ll become this, and this is trending. And this is important, and this is this way and this is that way.” I’m not talking about a designer human being; I’m talking about fulfilling the fundamental part of you as a human being.

So, what, in my opinion, is a designer human being? It’s like, “Oh, yeah, you wear clothes a certain way; you have your hair a certain way; your beard is a certain way; you talk a certain way.” And people are like, “Okay, that means this, and that means this, and that means this, and I have achieved this, and I have achieved this”—that this is what we get into.

So, as a normal human being, we’re nobodies. Basic? “Nobody. Yeah, you have to do this; you have to do this; you have to….”

I mean, you know, and when I was little, I had a bicycle. And I would decorate that bicycle. I wanted that bicycle to be beautiful! I wanted that bicycle to have everything! And I bought a horn for it, an electric horn, and then I modified it so that every time you put on the brake, the horn would go off.

I bought a light for it—and it was one of those generators that, you know, when the tire went around, the generator produced the electricity and the light came on. And then, of course, I would put balloons on it so that it would make the noise of a motorcycle.

So, having the basic bicycle was not acceptable. That was nothing! Something, some improvement had to be made on it. And somewhere, we have gotten on that tangent of “improvement, improvement, improvement, improvement, improvement”—to, what is original, what is basic means nothing to us.

So what is that basic human being? What are that basic human being’s needs? (Not wishes and wants but needs?)

If you were there in the 1960s—and you just, you know, having come from this time and you said, “Where is my phone?” Everybody would look at you; it’s like, “What do you mean, ‘And where is your phone?’ Your house has a phone; you have a landline. It’s not your phone.”

It’s, whoever is living in that house or household, however many members, they all share that phone. You’re talking about your cell phone—and there were no cell phones at that time. Not—at least, people didn’t have them.

So, all these wishes that we have, change with the time, change with the inventions. There was a time that you couldn’t—you couldn’t buy a car with an automatic transmission. And now, you know, most of the cars have automatic transmission. So, our wishes, our wants change with the time.

But as fundamental as we are as a human being, the needs haven’t really changed—and they won’t. So we need to put nutrition into our bodies, yes! And that should be not harmful to us, yes. And we should—we need to drink water and that water should satisfy our thirst, yes. And it shouldn’t be harmful to us. Yes!

And should we be aware of what’s around us? Yes! And should we do things that are harmful to the nature around us? No! No.

And so, all these things then also come and march very slowly and very beautifully to that one thing which is peace. Should we have peace in our life—is that a wish? Is that a want? Or is that a need? This is where everything changes. Because there are people who, through the years, have said, “It’s not a wish; it’s not a want; it’s a need.”

Today our attention is so distracted—you know, we’re thinking about this, thinking about that. We’re just, we’re not even focused anymore. And we need to be focused. And it takes a very little bit of that time to focus in ourselves, within ourselves—and feel that feeling that is in us.

And that little bit of time spent with yourself is so powerful, is so incredibly powerful—that wandering all day—and it’s balanced. “Wow.” Just a little bit of time spent—it’s like, of twelve hours, one hour spent with yourself can balance out the eleven hours of just completely being out there. That’s quite a deal, I think. That’s an incredible deal.

And people—even then, you know, and then I’ve been a part of it for such a long time, listening to this: “Oh, but I don’t the time; I don’t have the time; I don’t have the time.” Yes, you do. It’s your time.

You should be the first person to dictate what you do with your time. You’re the one who was born and you’re the one who’s going to die. And between the birth and the death, this is the time that you have—and you should be the first person to dictate what happens with this time.

There are other people who would like to dictate! And they should not be allowed to dictate. And your boss wants to dictate how that time should be used? Well, do whatever it takes to make the boss believe that he is dictating your time. But you be clearly, in your life, be in charge of the time that is yours.

Maybe the story sounds very complex; maybe the story sounds very complicated to some people—but it isn’t. It’s really simple. And even if, in the midst of this pandemic, there is a simplicity and a want to be fulfilled, to be filled with joy, to be content, to be filled with clarity—and it needs to be addressed.

And if I can remind you of that? Wonderful. Great. That’s how it should be. If I can remind you of that which makes sense to you—if I can remind you of that which you know to be true, then that’s a very good reminder. That’s a very, very good reminder.

You know, pilots have to follow checklists. And it’s a good idea to follow checklists. But what is a checklist? The thing is, the pilot knows that he has to do these things. But the checklist is just to make sure that they happen. That’s what a reminder is. Because it is the habit of human beings to forget. To forget. And it’s no reflection….

There was a bomber and it was being tested by these pilots, and they were all crack, top-top-top pilots—but they didn’t follow a checklist. And they did not remove the control locks, and they went barreling down the runway, tried to take off, and the plane didn’t take off; they all crashed; they all died.

So, there were people at that time saying, “Oh, the airplanes have become so complicated that, you know, normal human beings can’t fly them.” And then when they really sat down and studied the whole thing, what they realized was that “There needs to be a checklist.” Wow. You know?

Kabir was writing checklists. And he was writing checklists in forms that people could remember! There were no airplanes at Kabir’s time. But Kabir was writing checklists. Guru Nanak was writing checklists for mankind—to remember those things that are important.

So, be reminded—and accept that reminding as a wonderful gift. And enjoy it; enjoy being reminded. Enjoy that feeling of certainty—because that’s what happens. When you follow a checklist, you know you have done what needs to get done.

Stay safe; stay healthy; I’ll talk to you soon.

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