How to Live Wild and Free

This is a transcript of ‘How to Live Wild and Free' a video featuring Tiaga Prem of The Dharma Temple.

Don't be contained. Don't follow a model. Grow wild. And you're gonna face way more push back doing that. But just being like “Nope I'm just gonna be completely free as me and I don't care.” I mean I'm gonna behave in a benevolent way. It's not like I don't care in a malevolent way like I'm going to plow you over if you get in the way. I'm not going out of my way to hurt anybody but I'm also not gonna conform to anything. Because that's the expectations of what's been done before. So it's like being wild in a benevolent way.

That's a creative life.

And people are gonna go “Oh yeah I can't, you can't do that and this and that.” But there's a lot of people who are gonna go “Oh yeah I'm gonna do that too.” Don't you want to live in a world where people are wildly creative and benevolent? Who really care about each other? That's how I want to live. I don't want to live in a world where everybody's just kind of normal and just being nice.

Nature will just keep restoring the balance. That's why I mean it's not something to be really concerned about, “what are we gonna do?” People go into that place. We're in really serious trouble and we're doomed to kind of mentalities like “that can't happen.”

It can happen if you think this way: “Humans are the most important thing on planet Earth.” Sure, you could feel like that. It's not true. They're not the most important thing. What's the most important thing on planet Earth? Planet Earth as a whole.

It's a whole bunch of symbiotic relationships.

Without these plants, humans aren't here. But humans could go away or they could stick around. So it's like there's always going to be a balance.

But as soon as you start identifying with, “My personal life is the most important thing,” there's a disconnect.

So if you allow yourself to be free and wild you're just living like nature does. Do you think these trees are growing in a way where they have some expectation that they're supposed to behave a certain way?


Are they growing in a way where they're trying to cause harm to the world because they're selfishly going to take over?


They're just growing.

Question: So what do you recommend as a mentality or a way of thinking about balancing a wild life with a life in the marketplace?

Well you just learn to play the game and you treat it as a game. You don't treat it as this is the supreme reality. It's like you have these things: you have a personality, you have a mind. You have the capacity to make money, you have the capacity to create. We don't look at it as “if I don't do this what will people say?” or “will I be validated?” You just go out and you make tons of mistakes and you have tons of successes. And you see who you are in relationship to. That's freedom. Isn't that how you want to live?

It would be nice if everything that you did went really well and you made money and all your family was just happy. And everybody had a great time. That's the goal but it's not gonna happen like that. And actually, that's a wonderful thing even though you may think, “Why is it wonderful?” I don't want to go through all of those pain and suffering.

But you watch nature; it needs that. Sometimes the forest needs to be burned to the ground for it to grow up.

When I was in new New Mexico, somebody was saying that some of the trees there in the desert get so hot that they'll actually explode because they're holding so much heat. Well if you looked at it from an individual standpoint like this tree is the most important thing in the desert, then you think isn't that terrible? But the reality is that tree is part of the whole ecosystem. And the heat needs to come out of the earth in some way so it came out through the tree. It's no big deal, it's just nature being nature.

And you're lucky because you're human and you have this capacity to do all kinds of things. These trees have a very limited way that they can create. They’re beautiful and wonderful. You have so many possibilities and if you go, “Oh I'm just going to stay here and play small and not go out and play the game” or “What will people say about me if I wear this or don't wear this?” or “If I'm thinner then people will really love me.”

What if you could just shake all of that off and just be like “I'm living. I'm alive!”

In theory it's easy to go “Okay let's just do that.” And you're still gonna come up against that pressure. And maybe coming up against that mental pressure and pushing through it, maybe that's how growth works. Maybe that's the process. Maybe that's how it goes. And so instead of avoiding it be like “Great! another barrier to break through,” and you crash through it. It’s a very Western thing also to the way we even treat nature like nature must be conquered and we have dominion over it. And aren't humans important?

I love the maid whiz services from China and Japan where it'll be like man drinking wine by moonlight. And it'll be this huge painting and all you'll see is jungle and mountain. And if you look really close, there's like a tiny little guy sitting on a bench drinking wine. And you think it really represents our attitude towards nature especially as a Western person versus the eastern person. It's like you are a small piece of all of this. And if you acknowledge that and embrace the wild side of that and be yourself, there's freedom in that.

The stories we've been told

And we've been told that we need to control it. And we need to contain it. Look at the practices that we've taken on with farming. And the way we treat the planet Earth. And the way we've disconnect ourselves from who we are. It's absurd. It's like your flesh and bones are the earth. You're made of water. Your brain is made of 90% water. Your brain is not made of thoughts; it's made of water.

So the more we can connect to this, the more free you are. And then you can live within the city and create things and enjoy your capacity to do it. But you do it from a very free way, the way nature functions.

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