Because what is human, is not an established state.
It is a possibility. It is not a fixed state.
If this possibility has to be made use of,
there is a whole system of understanding
that needs to happen; understanding
the mechanics of how this life functions,
and what we can do with it.
we are referring to
I don’t know 🙏 what types of stuff you’re doing, but my experience in United States, particularly in California… A lot of people believe, yoga started in California. [Audience laugh] Yes? I met someone who seriously believed it was Madonna who started yoga! [Laughter] Yes?
So this mechanics of life, is as simple as this:
I’m sure almost all of you are carrying an instrument, some kind of electronic instrument… A phone at least. The more you know about this phone, the better you can use it. Is that so?
Last year , the cell phone companies in India made a survey.
India is the largest, you know, growing market for telecommunications right now. Every month we’re adding about five and a half million cell phones. Okay. In a year, about sixty million cell phones are being added to the service. Because everybody’s having three, four, five these days. [Laughter]
They made a survey…
[at this very moment, a ringtone goes off in the audience, making everybody burst into laughter]
That’s the second one; you haven’t heard the first one.
[Resuming] …They made a survey, and they found out that ninety-seven percent of the people are using only seven percent of the capabilities that are there in an ordinary phone. I’m not talking about the smart phone; I’m talking about the dumb phone. In the dumb phone, ninety-seven percent of the people are using only seven percent of its capabilities.
So they were contemplating:
If we remove ninety percent of the electronics, still most people will never know… And we can even give them a five-hundred-rupee discount! They will be happy, we will be happy…
You know? Maybe they’ve already taken it off; we don’t know… Only if you try to use all of them, all the functions, then you’ll realize, something is not working.
So, in a little gadget, you’re using only seven percent.
[Opens his arms]
is The gadget.
Every damn gadget
has come out of this.
How much percentage do you think are you employing this gadget? Just make a guess. [Looks around in the audience] Mm? How much percentage?
You’re being very generous to yourself. [All laugh]
It’s well below one percent. Because, for your survival process, to conduct your life in the material world, you do not even need one percent of what this is.
This is capable of perceiving
the whole cosmos.
If you prepare it properly,
if you hold it,
just like an antenna
[slightly shifts his torso],
if you hold it in the right position,
it can just grasp everything in the existence.
It is just that we are doing all kinds of things with it,
because right now, our whole perception of life
is limited to the physical nature of the existence.
Physical, is like the peel of the fruit.
It has no purpose of its own.
In the sense… if you have a fruit, the moment you eat the fruit, the peel goes straight to the trash can. Isn’t it?
The peel is only a package.
Only because the fruit is valuable,
package is important.
Right now as you sit here, this body is very important. You have to feed this, you have to clothe this, you have to decorate this… You have to pamper this, in so many ways.
Tomorrow morning, that something inside, which you never experienced, if that goes away, nobody wants to have any business with this. Yes? Only because the fruit is inside, this peel has become very valuable.
Now, yoga means, not just about twisting your body, not about standing on your head, not about holding your breath… All these things, a circus artist can do better than most yogis. Really. Yes or no? Don’t you think so? A circus artist can do far better than most yogis in terms of twisting the body, doing this, doing that, holding different positions… That is not the purpose of yoga. Unfortunately, if you utter the word yoga, people think you have to be in some impossible posture. Yoga is not about postures. It is just a minuscule aspect of yoga.
in your experience,
everything has become one 🙏
The word yog means “union”.
What is the union? What can unite with what?
As you sit here, your idea, and your sense, and your experience of who you are is very strong. You’re here, as an individual!
But what the trees are exhaling right now, you’re inhaling. What you’re exhaling, the trees are inhaling. Or in other words, one half of your lung is hanging out there. [Laughter] Yes or no?
This is not just in terms of breath. Today modern physics is proving to you that as you sit here, every subatomic particle in your body is in constant transaction with everything else in the existence. If this transaction stops, you will cease to exist.
So yoga means
to know it by experience.
Modern science is proving to you,
the whole existence is just one energy.
The religions of the world have been screaming for a long time that God is everywhere. Whether you say “God is everywhere”, or you say “Everything is one energy”, are we talking about the same reality? Or a different reality?
“God is everywhere”, “Everything is same energy”;
are we talking about the same reality or different reality?
It is just that a scientist has never experienced this;
he has arrived at it through mathematical deductions.
A religious person has not experienced it; he believes it,
because it’s written somewhere, or it’s said by somebody.
If you are a hard case,
that you’re not willing
to settle for deductions
or belief systems, then
you become a yogi.
Yes, if you’re a very hard nut,
you want to know it yourself.
Then you become a yogi.
You want to know the union of the existence.
You want to know the oneness of what it is.
Not believing it.
Like you experience the five fingers of your hand,
if you can experience everything around you,
then we say
Sadhguru transcribed by Leon Hieros
What I feel from what you’ve described, is that you immediately judged this sensation, as being… or named the sensation, as being an expression of the separate self; and you want to get rid of it.
That’s the problem. That’s the only problem, actually. It’s that you’ve made an enemy of the sensation, and everything you do, from then on, is going to make it worse. So you find yourself in this kind of double bind, where you want to get rid of it, but everything you do to get rid of it, just makes it worse.
Yes, it’s exactly what’s happening.
It’s very simple.
Befriend the sensation.
Instead of the habitual response,
“This is uncomfortable”, “This is bad”, “This needs to be got rid of”,
take the opposite approach.
Be happy that this residue of the “separate me” has been flushed out of one of its favourite hiding places, the heart area; and has been exposed.
And totally allow it, invite it, to come even closer.
Instead of saying “You’re my enemy, I want to get rid of you”,
say to it: “You’ve been there, buried in my heart most of my life; I don’t even really know you. I’ve been so busy trying to get rid of you, or at least trying to suppress or avoid you, that I don’t really know what you are.”
So, totally open the door.
Let it come.
Be interested in it.
Yes. Thank you. And to maybe go along a little further is… is…
That’s what I’ve… I’ve been doing, and sometimes successfully…
When you say “successfully”…
[All burst in laughter]
… this little desire to get rid of it…
… has crept in again.
Yes; I was just gonna talk about that a little more. Because as… as… as much as I consciously can, what I’m trying to say is, I try to face it, I try to do that, but it’s like there’s a part that is not in my control…
Yeah; and then you try to welcome it and befriend it, in order to get rid of it.
So and then… and… this… and…
You know what I am talking about, obviously, so…
There’s a very simple test;
and that is, to test whether or not you’re really allowing the sensation;
or whether you’re allowing it with a secret agenda to kill it as soon as… to get rid of it.
And the test is this.
You ask yourself:
“Could I live with this sensation for the rest of my life?”
And the answer must be Yes.
The answer is No.
When somebody else… The same question…
Well that’s good, that you see the answer is No.
Because the question exposes your agenda with the sensation.
That’s good; you’re honest; you say,
“No, to be honest, I don’t want this sensation”.
So then, turn around and face the sensation again, and go on facing it; go on with this process of facing it, allowing it, asking yourself the question,
“Could I really… Am I totally at peace with it?”
Until you get a genuine Yes,
– and it’s not just, as you’ve discovered, it’s not just
“Oh yes, OK; now I’m going to work on this sensation; OK, I can live with it for the rest of my life.”
It’s not like that.
It takes time. There are layers.
First of all, there will be a “No, I can’t.”
And then the No will get softer.
And you keep doing it. It… it’s a process. It takes time.
And it’s good that you… It’s good that you don’t too readily say “Oh yes, I can live with this for the rest of my life.”
Because it’s… It takes some time.
There is such a habit in us… such a deeply ingrained habit in us… of rejecting, suppressing, avoiding these uncomfortable sensations… That habit is not just got rid of through understanding “Oh yes, I just have to work on my experience.”
In practice it takes time.
Go there again and again and again
and the No,
the “No, I don’t want this”,
will get thinner and thinner;
it will… it will dissolve.
Thank you. Yeah.
Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros
I find myself sometimes – and particularly when I go simply into a situation where I know I give my true self, or… My ego comes up, quite strongly, and then… It’s a situation with a certain character of person that is quite forceful and kind of… I would describe as a bully. And I immediately go into “There is something wrong with this person”, I immediately go into the person…
Something wrong with you…
… or something wrong with the other person?
Ahm, both! Haha
And in the moment, I completely respond from that ego. Ahm… And I completely believe the story that there is something wrong with me.
And this has been a pattern in my life because I had it similarly when I was a kid, with my brother who was quite older than me, and there was… I can see it coming back, and… So this particular situation that I’m in the middle of right now, I actually then invite it in, because I recognized, there is something in there for me to see that I’m not. It almost… It’s like shining the light into the creatures on the bottom of the well, and so I felt that it was time to deal with this creature, which now looks like a monster when it comes up.
And, so my question is… It’s kind of twofold; I would really like to know how to stay in that true self; and what is it that I’m not seeing here? There is something that’s escaping me… ahm… which I guess is the reason why the pattern keeps coming back. Ahm… And I keep dealing with it in the same way, which is not very productive at all.
When you say, “How can I stay in the true self”, you give the sense that staying in the true self is something that needs to be maintained, with effort, and you want to know what effort you need to make and how much effort you need to make in order to stay there. And it’s because you think like that by yourself, that you feel you have to make an effort, to stay there.
You can’t… It’s what you are; there’s no question of staying there, or not; it’s what you are. It’s what you are now, it’s what you always, are.
Yes, and I…
Yeah. I say that I lose sight of that.
As you walk around here during the day, or during your life, how much effort do you have to make, relatively speaking, to stay located in your body?
No effort. It doesn’t matter what clothes you dress up in, each morning; it doesn’t matter what activities you undertake; it doesn’t matter what you encounter, in the world; you never have to make an effort to be yourself, by yourself, in this… as “I am in…” relatively speaking, your body.
You may forget, from time to time, that you are yourself. So if you do forget that you are yourself, all you need to do is remember yourself.
But you don’t have to make any effort to stay there.
You just keep reminding yourself, and each time you remind yourself, each time you go back to yourself, you… you erode the old pattern of forgetting yourself, or allowing your experience to veil yourself.
And after a while, you just begin to feel yourself at peace, in your self.
Doesn’t mean to say you always have a broad smile on your face, or you always go around singing and dancing. Your life circumstances may be difficult, you may have to deal with them, they may be challenging, they…
But, behind that, or, in the heart of that, you feel your essential self, and its innate peace.
Although on the surface of your life, there may be disturbances, there may be difficult situations, there may be conflicting relationships, there may be grief, or loss… I’m not suggesting that all of that just goes away. But, but… All of that continues, more or less; it diminishes gradually, but it continues.
But underneath all of that, you feel just this, the quiet presence of your own being.
When I answered Steward’s question, “I feel this ninety-five percent of the time”, I don’t mean to imply that I live in a bed of roses and I go around singing and dancing all the time. No. I meant that this… just this quiet presence of my own being, is eclipsed by fewer and fewer experiences in my life. I still have challenging situations to deal with, as does anybody. But they, increasingly, situations increasingly lose their capacity to veil this innate peace. Sometimes this innate peace bubbles over, as laughter and dancing, and then it’s more expressed. As Yvan Amar once said, “Happiness is peace in motion. Peace is happiness at rest.” So, sometimes this peace bubbles over in the form of happiness and joy. But when it’s not bubbling, it’s just felt as peace in the background, or at the heart of experience.
Yes. So, ahm… So what I’m understanding is, ahm… It is like this, that I will forget… It will; it will very likely still happen, and, just this, as soon as I remember…
And do whatever you need to remind yourself, often. And each time you walk yourself back to yourself, you erode the old habit of forgetting. Until you begin to feel that you live in yourself, you don’t just visit yourself from time to time. You begin to feel you’ve moved in;
and then you begin to feel that fewer and fewer situations and circumstances have the capacity to pull you out, or pull you away, or take you away from yourself.
Yes. I was also…
So, for instance –sorry to interrupt– just going back to this recurring theme in your life of being dominated or bullied by a forceful character which in the past has kind of overwhelmed you; it’s caused you to collapse. So, at some point, this… you may still encounter these experiences, you may still attract these kinds of experiences, but you begin to feel that there is something in your self that is no longer able to be manipulated; no longer able to be overwhelmed, or bullied. So even in the face of this behaviour, you feel that something in you remains intact; unscathed; undisturbed.
And that, if you feel that, you will be surprised what a powerful message it will send to the one who is treating you in this forceful way. Something of the peace of your being will communicate itself subliminally, to this person, and it will have an effect on their behaviour; to a degree; depending on the person.
Yes, I’m very glad you say that, because I had not realized or remembered that it’s starting to happen, in a very small scale. And… and it confirms for me that it’s… this is… even though it is something painful to invite it back, because I know… If I didn’t know, that there’s something in m… in here… that who I really am is… cannot be harmed, I would not invite it; I would not invite this person back in my life.
I see, yes. Well, you also have to be careful. Don’t… You shouldn’t feel that, “Because there is something in me that is unharmable, therefore I should be able to tolerate any kind of behaviour.”
Be careful that you don’t… ahm… use this understanding to allow yourself to remain in an abusive relationship. Even with this understanding, there is a case for saying to someone, “This behaviour is not acceptable. I am no longer willing to live in a relationship that is abusive, in this way.” And it’s reasonable to walk away from it.
Yeah. It is…
I’m sure many of you here, or some of you anyway, have heard that story I sometimes tell, Francis’s… the story of Francis, used to tell him of… ahm… It was a question he was asked, by a woman who was… an elderly woman who was sitting on a bench on Hampstead Heath, in North London; and there was some youths playing around her, being obnoxious and using foul language and… She was sitting there, thinking that there is… feeling that there was something in herself that is untouched by all this obnoxious behaviour and this foul language, and really that she should be able to sit there in perfect peace and unmoved or unconcerned with any of it. And eventually, after twenty minutes or so, she couldn’t bear it any longer and she got up and left. And she said to Francis, “What would have been the enlightened response?” And Francis said, “To have moved sooner.”
So, it’s good that your primary intention is to remain in touch with the imperturbable peace of your own being, but this does not mean that you cannot take appropriate actions in your life. And if you are in a… –I’m not suggesting you’re in an abusive relationship– but if you’re in a relationship that was in some ways abusive, and you do everything you can, to, to, to… ehm… to work with that, to bring your relationship more in line with love and understanding…
But at a certain point, there is the time for saying,
“I’m sorry, I’ve tried everything. And I’ve tried everything once, I’ve tried everything twice, I’ve tried everything three times… It’s not working. That’s it. I’m off. I’m not willing to… This is beneath the dignity of myself. Not myself a person, but it is beneath the dignity of my Self, the divine being that I know I am, and beneath the dignity of you, your Self, to behave in this way, and I’m no longer willing to tolerate it.”
Yes. And, it’s a business relationship, and the… Yeah. If that happens, that I need to say “This is it”, I would like to do it from a place of love,
[simultaneously; emphatically] Of course!
not to come from a reactive…
Yes. OK; still… Do it –you’re quite right– do it from a place of love, not from a place of reaction, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll do it with a sweet smile on your face. You may, depending on the person; you may have to say it firmly. A sweet smile may not be enough to get the message across: “Your behaviour is not in line with love, justice, integrity, honesty, truth… And I’m no longer willing to tolerate it.”
Ahm… And of course if it’s a business relationship, then it has implications. And it’s also absolutely legitimate to take into account the consequences of your actions, and so… you have to… I’m not suggesting you just go back to work and walk out the next day… You have to… to tailor this understanding to your situation. But yes, whether it’s an intimate relationship, a business relationship… whatever kind of relationship… Obviously you do your very best to bring love and understanding to bear on the situation. But when you’ve done your very best, and… if it’s a close relationship, we have to do our very best not just once, but twice, and three times…
But when we’ve really done our very best, there comes a time when we say,
[so beautifully] “I’ve done everything. It’s time to separate.”
[with sweet gratitude] Thank you.
Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros
I got a question about concentration… or attention… It seems to me that this is a function of the mind, and that the attention, or concentration, can’t be placed on awareness; on the subjective. Is that correct?
By the mind yes, that’s correct. Yes, yes. That which places the attention on awareness, or the intention, is love; is grace.
And then this love and grace…
So, it’s beyond the mind. You find yourself interested in the Truth, but it’s something that has happened, just as you got your flu, in a sense. In other words, the alleged “person” has nothing to do in this business with becoming a Truth lover.
And this concentration on our true nature, or the zooming in, onto our true nature, corresponds to a zooming out, of the body, the senses and the mind. So it corresponds to a decrease in interest for everything created; for every thing which is phenomenal.
So it’s a shift, of the desire, in fact; and the desire is the engine, so it could be said it’s a shift of energy, of the direction of our living force, or life force, away from the world, back to Presence.
But it is not something that we decided, we say, “Oh, right now for ten minutes I’m going to shift my attention away from the world back to Presence”, you see? No, that’s not how it works. As I said, it’s like the flu; at some point, you realize, “Well, for some reason, for some reason which is always in fact mysterious, I find myself less interested in the world and more interested in God / in Truth / Consciousness…”, whatever form this interest seems to take.
It is really the meaning of the word conversion. M? To convert? It means con-, “together”, and vert, “to shift”. So it’s a shift of the direction, and at the same time, a conversion of the energies. So that’s the meaning of conversion.
So conversion doesn’t mean [threatening look] “You are going to convert, otherwise…” [throat-cutting gesture; audience laugh]. No. That’s not what it means. That’s not… [Francis laughs too] Or… or to send people to do proselytism all over the world, you know, with white shirts. No. [All laugh]
When these moments of grace happen, and, I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks, just… the attention pops… a thought pops up; “Ah, yes!” And the mind will then, mostly out of curiosity and out of interest in that, will turn towards “Where did that come from?” Eh… Is there value in that? Or just… enjoy as it comes?
It comes from the peace. So yes, you can discover it came from the peace.
There… There is an initiation, or an initial moment of this conversion, an initial moment of grace.
Which is, in fact, the true meaning of initiation. To initiate means “to start something”. So there is a starting point. That is in fact a glimpse of our true nature. That is… [sweet expression] And that’s the true meaning of initiation.
Again, it’s not the rite, and… and everything that is done in various religions or traditions. No. That’s exoteric initiation.
Esoteric initiation is this first recognition.
Then, this transfer of desire from the world to Presence, is something that takes place incrementally; over, often, a period of years.
And we can, somehow, facilitate the process, we can, of course, yes, accelerate it.
But the way we notice it… In the beginning, we don’t notice the peace. We have just a few moments, when we are reminded, and then at a certain point, we realize that the Presence becomes more tangible, in a sense, because… becomes more…
In my case, I was feeling it very intensely when I was with my teacher; in his presence; and less intensely when I was on my own. But then, over the years, that changed.
So ideally, we… we want to be in this peace, all the time.
But there is not a sudden shift.
A sudden shift is with the initiation.
And sometimes this initiation is even hardly noticed by the mind.
And sometimes it can be a big event that then demands notice, that you see it.
Or, the initiation may have taken place, and then down the road at some point, a big event takes place also that gets noticed, by the mind, and that is believed to be the initiation, whereas the initiation had taken place earlier on.
This… To try to analyze this process, is kind of useless, because the only thing that matters… is the end game. Right? That is to be happy and at peace.
So that’s that which we have to recognize in hindsight and ask ourselves, you know, “Am I better off now than I was four years ago?”
The question comes out of a very real desire to employ the mind, in service of this…
The use of the mind is about belief systems. If by mind we mean what I call “the intellect”, which is the rational aspect, the use of reason, and the use of reason enables us to liberate ourselves from all kinds of belief systems we are attached to, of all kinds, and to become… kind of indifferent to those, and see that these have only very relative value, that they don’t have absolute value.
And then, the investigation of the body and of the resistances there, is important.
That’s the way to facilitate the process,
to live the Truth in our lives.
That’s by far the most important.
We have to think the Truth,
we have to feel the Truth,
we have to live the Truth.
To think the Truth is important… And to think the Truth, what it means is not that much… although in the beginning, it corresponds to thinking about the Truth, but later on, To think the Truth means “Not to think the untruth”. It means not to hold the notion of being a separate person; not to be attached to it; not to keep it; just, whenever it arises, to drop it right away. And then it stops arising. So that’s what it means. Therefore, in the beginning, the investigation is necessary, because it is our understanding that fundamentally eradicates this belief to be a separate consciousness. But once we are very open to this possibility, then all that it takes is to stop thinking along the old lines of thought, to stop thinking along the line of being a separate person. And then we become more aware of the feelings in the background, in the closet, so to speak, that were triggering this personal type of thought. And, again, we allow for these feelings, we don’t want to kill those feelings, but we want to look straight at them. So we see them for what they are: bodily sensations. And then they are not telling us any longer, “You are separate”. They are simply sensations that appear in something that is limitless.
That’s what I could call, To feel according to the Truth. It means “Not to feel the untruth”, the untruth being, to be separate. And what it means; it means every time I feel that I am separate, to look at these feelings, straight. Then we realize it’s just a bodily sensation that doesn’t tell me anything –regarding the question whether I am limited or not, separate or not– as Consciousness.
And finally, To act according to the Truth means –same thing– “To stop acting according to the untruth”. Just to stop the actions that are rooted in the belief to be a separate person. To pause before you take such an action. To become acutely aware… to become… to discriminate between the actions that are natural, normal, like having a good time, or putting… filling up the tank of your car… paying your taxes… whatever. All these actions are part of life, they are natural, you see what I mean? [Lowering his voice] Taxes I’m not sure, but…
So that’s how you can… support, if you will, the peace.
And the more you… you think, you feel and you act according to the Truth, the more vibrant the peace becomes; in your life.
And the peace is telling you:
And the peace takes care of many things in your life, as a result; of many issues. You see? If you leave it to the peace to… Not that you don’t act; you do your best, but you act always in this… according to the Truth. And then what seems impossible for you to achieve, with your feeble… with your very reduced power, the peace will finish the job for you.
The third part of that, putting into life as action, I’ve noticed that there are actions that have both an impersonal motive as well as a personal. Do you have any advice on… how to… I don’t know… purify those, or…
[to himself] How can I say that?
What… what matters… is not… what a rationale for an action seems to be. But what it is.
Now. There are only two possibilities. Either consciousness is personal, or it isn’t. Therefore, if the rationale for one action is that consciousness is personal, the rationale cannot be that consciousness is impersonal. And conversely. Are you following me?
I understand… I don’t see how… Eh… That doesn’t seem to be how to experience… the… the motives. I can’t give you anything…
Let me take another example.
I, out of love, you know, and desire to celebrate, and my friend is visiting, I buy a bottle of champagne, because I know that my friend loves champagne, and I love champagne too. And… OK, then you could say, well, this action is both impersonal, because it’s celebration, it’s love for the friend, but it’s also personal, because I love champagne.
Right? So that would be an example of an action that seems to be both personal and impersonal.
But to see it as both impersonal and personal, is mistaken.
Why? Because when I say, “I like champagne”, it’s not me. In fact, it’s this body that likes champagne. Right?
So by… The real reason for that, I mean if my friend wasn’t visiting, I wouldn’t have a bottle of champagne. Right? So, the determining reason was the visit of my friend. Right? So ultimately it was celebration. Right? Celebration of friendship, which is celebration of love. And the fact that the body of my friend, and my body, both like champagne, is just the reason in the first place why, you know, impersonally I chose to buy champagne; and not garlic!
So I think, if you… So, that which was confusing in the example I just gave, between personal and impersonal, that… There are two levels; there is the level of the body – and it’s perfect; if the body is happy, why not? In other words, an action which is impersonal, ah, can bring about pleasure for the body! Why not? It’s not a crime, you see what I mean?
But that which matters is the…
that the ultimate motivation for it,
be love, truth, beauty.
And in this regard, even if you eliminate the friend, if you are on your own, and you are going to cook dinner, and you are going to the grocery store to choose what you are going to eat… Well, it’s not a personal action that you want to feed this body well, with the proper type of food and the food that the body enjoys; you see what I mean? It’s not personal! Because you are the manager of your body, and you are the good manager of it. And you want to; your body is like your child, in a sense; you want the body to be happy. You are the only one who is involved in this decision, so why not? You see what I mean? It doesn’t qualify necessarily as a personal decision.
However, if you go to a restaurant, and if you feel that your happiness is dependent on that, of going to that specific restaurant, and if that one is closed on that evening and you are desperate because of that, then you’ve got a problem.
In religious terms, they have a beautiful saying; they say, “It is intention that sanctifies the action”. For it is… –in my… using my vocabulary– it is the impersonality of the decision that qualifies the deed.
Francis Lucille transcribed by Leon Hieros
vibrations, the best of
what you’ll hear down there,
will be faint echoes of this glory.
Be patient. Be present in your life.
You shall start sensing our presence;
our aura yours each time you need it
👼 👼 👼
Gathered here, sweetly humming,
fine-tuning us to wear a garment,
they make sure we’ll remember:
unreachability or reachability
shall be but brief illusions.
For that star IS us; our
Waaa… wu wu… Waaaaaaaa…
(“This is Impossible!”)
✨ Because we all know where home is (from the first three-fourths of this marvellously enjoyable video below)
✨ It’s about how many shining eyes I have around me
✨“But when you played that Shopping piece…”
Think of it! Sixteen hundred people –busy people; involved in all sorts of different things– listening, understanding, and being moved by a piece by Chopin.
Now, that is something!
Am I sure that every single person followed that, understood it, was moved by it? Of course I can’t be sure! But I’ll tell you what happened to me.
I was in Ireland, during the Troubles, ten years ago, and I was working with some Catholic and Protestant kids on conflict resolution, and I did this with them [what you are about to see and feel]. Tricky… risky thing to do; ’cause they were street kids!
And one of them came to me the next morning, and he said,
“You know, I’ve never listened to classical music in my life,
but when you played that Shopping piece…”
He said, “My brother was shot last year, and I didn’t cry for him. But last night, when you played that piece, he was the one I was thinking about. And I felt the tears streaming down my face, and you know it felt really good to cry for my brother.”
So I made up my mind, at that moment, that classical music is for. Everybody.
Now, how would you walk…
–because you know, my profession, the music profession, doesn’t see it that way; they say three percent of the population likes classical music; if only we could move it to four percent, our problems would be over–
How would you walk? How would you talk? How would you be? If you thought…
([mumblingly regressing and obsessing] Three percent of the population likes classical music… If only we could move it to four percent…)
How would you Walk?
How would you Talk?
How would you Be?
If you thought…
EVERYBODY LOVES CLASSICAL MUSIC!
They just haven’t found out about it yet!
See, these are totally different worlds.
Now. I had an amazing experience.
I was forty-five years old, I’d been conducting for twenty years, and I suddenly had a realization:
The conductor of the orchestra doesn’t make a sound! My picture appears in front of the CD [silently strikes some of his hilariously exuberant conducting poses; laughter in the audience], but the conductor doesn’t make a sound.
He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.
And that changed everything for me. It was totally life-changing!
People in my orchestra came up to me and said, “Ben, what happened?”
That’s what happened: I realized:
my job was to awaken possibility in other people.
And of course I wanted to know whether I was doing that.
And you know how I found out?
You look at the eyes. [Enthusiastically walks around the audience, stooping and looking into their eyes.] If the eyes are shining, you know you’re doing it…
[Stops and touches the shoulders and face of a man] You could light up a village with this guy’s eyes!
Right. So, if you… If the eyes are shining, you know you’re doing it.
If the eyes are not shining,
you get to ask a question.
And this is the question:
“Who am I being, that my players’ eyes are not shining?”
You can do that with our children, too:
“Who am I being, that my children’s eyes are not shining?”
That’s a totally different world.
Now, we’re all about to end this magical on-the-mountain week, and we’re going back into the world. And I say, it’s appropriate for us to ask the question:
“Who are we being, as we go back out into the world?”
And you know? I have a definition of success.
For me, it’s very simple.
It’s not about wealth and fame and power;
it’s about how many shining eyes I have around me.
So now, I have one last thought, which is that
it really makes a difference, what we say…
the words that come out of our mouth…
I learned this from a woman who survived Auschwitz; one of the rare survivors.
She went to Auschwitz when she was fifteen years old, and… ehm; her brother was eight.
And the parents were lost.
And she told me this; she said,
“We were in the train, going to Auschwitz.
And I looked down and I saw my brother’s shoes were missing. And I said,
‘Why are you so STUPID! Can’t you keep your things together?!? For goodness sake!!!’
the way an elder sister might speak to a younger brother.”
Unfortunately it was the last thing she ever said to him,
’cause she never saw him again.
He did not survive.
And so when she came out of Auschwitz, she made a vow.
She told me this; she said,
“I walked out of Auschwitz into life, and I made a vow, and the vow was:
I will never say anything
that couldn’t stand
as the last thing I ever say.”
Now. Can we do that?
No, and we’ll make
and others wrong,
but it is a possibility
to live into.
[Applause; audience stand up and applaud enthusiastically]
[Deeply moved] Thank you…
Benjamin Zander transcribed by Leon Hieros