There is a saying, “If you don’t get what you want, you’re not happy.” It’s true! If you don’t get what you want, you’re not happy. “If you get what you don’t want, you’re not happy!” You didn’t want it, and you got it! And even if you get what you do want, you are not happy because you can’t keep it, because it changes.
You don’t want things to change, but things are going to change. You are changing, and you are changing all the time. Sorry. Everything around you is changing, and changing, and changing, and changing, and changing, and changing. Why? Because that is what it does.
But, because of this change, here we are today. Because of this change, here we are. Either love it or hate it, but change is here to stay. And this change is changing. Not only this earth—this is the entire universe—it’s in the grip of change.
Constant. And there is a change in you! But for right now, this change is the coming and going of this breath. And it’s powerful! And it brings the gift of life.
Somebody once asked me a question in one of the interviews: “You’ve been traveling for fifty years; you have met a lot of world leaders, a lot of important people. Could you tell us about who made the most impact on you?” So I said, “Certainly.” So I told them what happened to me once.
I said…I was driving in India, and they had packed a lunch for me, but forgotten to pack any water. So of course, I had lunch, and after lunch I got very thirsty. So as we were driving along, we saw a man, a very poor man, pulling water from a well.
But he’s standing there; he’s pulling water from the well, and we said, “Sir, could you please give us some water? We’re thirsty.” And he said, “Oh, sure, sure, sure!” And he dumped the water he had pulled, and he went in there and got the freshest water from the well that he could, and he brought it up and we had water!
And then, we had our fill, and we thanked him. And then he said, “Listen, I have a little hut, not too far from here. I have last night’s bread and some pickles. I would be honored if you came to my hut and accepted that.” So, of course, we said, “No, we have had lunch. Thank you, and thank you so much for…for this water.” It was his pleasure, he said.
So, of course, the interviewer was looking at me like, am I nuts? I mean, the world leaders I have met, and all these important people I have met, and this is the person I remember? I can’t forget. I cannot forget his generosity. He had nothing to offer, but he offered all that he had. And in that, he has made himself immortal.
He would have never imagined leaving India, but he did, here. Here, he left India, and he has traveled around the world. And I don’t even know his name. I never did ask him his name. But his generosity touched me.
And I’m here to tell you that, regardless of what the report card of the world is, generosity will never go away. It is there…it is there inside each one of you! And this is your blessing. Kindness is your blessing.
There’s no monopoly on compassion. This is the beauty. Compassion can be exercised by a person who is poor or who is rich. Compassion can be exercised by a person who is illiterate or a professor with the most degrees possible. Anybody—whoever wants to exercise this compassion—can exercise compassion—because that is right.
Michel Klamph, who volunteers as producer of the Peace Education Program (PEP) monthly broadcasts, recently interviewed Scott Polenz for The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF). Scott resides in Fresno, California, where he volunteers as a PEP facilitator. He is a psychotherapist maintaining a full private practice who enjoys writing, art, music, and baking in his spare time. A cancer survivor, Scott reports that he tries to live each day to its fullest and, “If the feeling of gratitude is relatively close in proximity, I feel I am heading in the right direction in my life.”
Here are excerpts of their conversation:
How did you get involved in PEP?
I was on my own, and I could not find anyone else near me who could help. So, Sally Weaver, a volunteer PEP facilitator from Thousand Oaks, California, touched base with me and said she was coming up my way because she had already made contacts at some of the state prisons in the Fresno area. This was the boost I needed to get the Peace Education Program started! We met with community resource managers at several prisons. I was fortunate enough to pick up the ball and start running with it.
I began the first PEP in September, 2015 at Valley State Prison, Chowchilla. Shortly after that I started one in Pleasant Valley State Prison, Coalinga, and then Avenal State Prison. An intern who has helped me facilitate PEP classes since 2015 is also enjoying the workshops.
I have been asked to do a special PEP for veterans imprisoned at Chowchilla. And I’m also starting a PEP for the larger community on Sunday evenings, too.
In Chowchilla, the PEP classes are rotational. Once we complete the 10-week course, we start over again. There is a long wait list of people who want to get into the class. The word has gotten out. It has been fun. There is no shortage of participants, which is great.
What has been the response of participants to the PEP workshops you are offering?
It has been amazing. There are always going to be some who come to get a prison credit for attending. About the fourth or fifth week you can feel a shift, where people start to realize the workshop is about something valuable. They become enthusiastic and eager. They are already lined up when I get there.
There’s a tone that starts the first night. It evolves over the ten workshops. The inmates have the whole week in between classes to contemplate, read the supplemental articles, talk among themselves, and talk in the yard—part of the word of mouth that is going on.
I have had participants tell me, personally, how much the PEP is affecting them and changing them in practical ways. They give specific examples of how their behavior or response to a situation is based on what has been expressed in the workshops, and what they hear Prem Rawat say in the videos (on topics such as inner strength, contentment, self-fulfillment).
The inmates are taking it to heart. It’s contagious. In the classroom, there’s a reflections segment, where they have an opportunity to talk about their understanding. Hands go up, and then more hands go up. Before you know it, there’s a lively discussion among the participants. I love that. The less I say, the more they get going. To me that’s what it is about. It‘s cool.
Is there any advice you’d like to give people interested in facilitating a PEP?
I’m not one to give advice, but I’d say try to be clear on your own intention and commitment to what you are doing. Be aware of the impact this can have on the different individuals hearing about the possibility of inner peace.
At first, I wasn’t comfortable being a facilitator, talking in front of a class of 50 people. But it gets easier as time goes on. Be real, if that makes sense.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
It was my pleasure. As a psychotherapist, I work with a lot of people who struggle with problems, and deal with that during the week. In contrast, the PEP is very different and lighthearted, so I’m appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to spread a little good cheer and a little love.