An interview in 1977 on WSRV TV, Pensacola, Florida transcribed from the PM Magazine Video.

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Welcome to another program emanating from the Kiril Laboratory at Pensacola Junior College. Since this is a career and life planning center, I'd like to talk today about identity, what are you, values and lifestyles, and how all of us can grow. Today we have the privilege of having with us in Pensacola the Peace Pilgrim. I can think of no one better to deal with this kind of subject than Peace Pilgrim.


Q: Would you begin, Peace Pilgrim, by telling us what your pilgrimage is and why you are in Pensacola at this time.

PP: Well, of course I am in Pensacola because I was invited to come by the Pensacola Junior College and other people. I am speaking of course at the college. Now a pilgrim of course is on a journey with a purpose. Not just wondering idly. A pilgrimage can be to a place or for a thing. And mine happens to be for a thing. Now it covers the whole peace picture. It's for peace - peace among nations, peace among groups, even peace with our environment. But most always I talk about peace among individuals and the very, very important inner peace. I talk about that the most.

Now my subject is really human potential. Most people only scratch the surface of their real potential they have no idea what their capable of. I started out 25 years ago on this pilgrimage. On the back of my short tunic is says, "25,000 miles on foot for peace" and that makes a lot of contacts for me. On the front it gives my name "Peace Pilgrim." And in 1964 I finished counting the 25,000 miles and I stopped counted although I did not stop walking. I have no visible means of support. This is part of a pilgrimage. I haven't got any money and I don't even accept any money. And I don't belong to any organization. And I don't own anything except what you see. This is me and my only earthly possessions in this chair. I walk until given shelter. I fast until given food. I don't even ask. It's given without asking. You know, people are GOOD. There's a spark of good in everybody, no matter how deeply it may be buried. And of course a pilgrim walks not only prayerfully, but as an opportunity to contact people. My short tunic makes my contacts for me - people are curious or interested they stop to talk and it's the kindest way to make contacts. It's the most effective way to make contacts. Let them approach you. And I also have an opportunity to share peace message with them which says in a single sentence, "This is the way of peace, overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth and hatred with love." Good sound psychology whenever it's used, it works.

Q: When did you start your pilgrimage?

PP: January 1, 1953.

Q: And where did take you to?

PP: The fifty states, 10 Canadian providences, parts of Mexico. I am on my sixth pilgrimage route. Well I actually finished my sixth pilgrimage route in Pensacola. And then head for California where I start a seventh pilgrimage route in the early spring.

Q: What lead you decide to upon this pilgrimage?

PP: I had a fifteen-year preparation period. Yes it wasn't in walking or speaking. It was inner preparation. My preparation for the pilgrimage began in earnest about 40 years ago. When I came out of my meaningless life of money and things, and started to life to give instead of to get. At that point my life blossomed out. I obtained the great blessing of good health. It's wonderful I haven't had an ache or a pain or a cold or headache for forty years. From that time on, I have known that my life work was going to be work for peace. And from that time on I was engaged in another growing up. Now I had already done the physical growing up, long ago. And I had done the mental growing up. I had sufficient knowledge to get along. And I could make my own decisions. I had done the emotional growing up. I could get along with people and myself. But at that point forty years ago, I started what I have come to call a spiritual growing up or a psychological growing up. It takes you from the self-centered life or the life governed by self-centered nature into the life governed by the nature which is centered in the good of the whole, which sees you as a part of the whole. And works for the good of the whole. It sees that your a cell in the body of humanity. That every cell, every human being has equal importance, equal potential, although in varied stages of growth (because we choose how much growing we do). And a job to do in the total scheme of things. That was my preparation for the pilgrimage. It took fifteen years. You know my hair had turn to silver when I started out on my pilgrimage. Oh I can remember my friends simply thought I had taken leave of my senses, when I told them I was going to across the country. Which I did the first year. But you know I don't walk on the energy of youth. It was gone when I started. I walk on that endless energy, it's amazing energy, which comes from having done the psychological, spiritual growing up with having found inner peace.

Q: I was going to ask the question about this energy and enthusiasm you have. I am aware that you have spoken many times on campus this week and many students have been amazed at how much energy and enthusiasm you have. What does it come from?

PP: Well of course it never runs out, you feel plugged in and it flows through you. Well it comes from the source of all energy. Being a religious woman I would say it was from God. You see there are conditions for plugging in. You know I was walking out of a town and a truck driver stopped to talk with me. He said I heard you say over air, something about that endless energy. And I just want to tell you that I had it one time. And I said, yes that's right sometimes under special circumstances it does become available. He said, well I was marooned in a town by a flood. And I got so bored I that I finally offered to help. And I got interest in helping people get out. And he said, "I worked with out eating. I worked without sleeping and I wasn't tired." "But" he said, "I don't have it anymore. And I said well, what are you working for now?" He said, "money." I said that should be quite incidental. You have that endless energy only insofar as you are working for the good of the whole. As soon as you start working for your selfish little self it's gone. That's the secret of it. In this world you are given as you give.

Q: Right, well you are. I notice students are amazed that you are hitch-hiking and walking so much. They wonder about the dangers. And their concerned a bit about your being in danger with your doing so much hitch-hiking and walking.

PP: I don't feel I'm at any danger because you see I have no fear. One of the things we're just coming to realize is that we create through thought. We constantly create through thought. We create our inner conditions. We create the conditions around us. Now if you're fearful, what will happen? You will attract things you fear. I fear nothing and expect only the good. So to me only good comes. But then of course I'm always thinking about the best that could happen and all the things that I want to see happen. Because those are the things I want to emphasize.

Q: Students often ask you too, about your age.

PP Yes, but I can't tell them. I don't know. You see I arrested my age 25 years ago. We create age of course through thought too. We have a habit of counting birthdays and thinking of ourselves as getting older. We do. I had sufficient age, I looked essentially the way I do look now, 25 years ago. At that point I said no more counting birthdays and hereafter I thought of myself as being ageless. And things stayed rather they way they were. I haven't gotten younger but I don't see any point in that. I could operate just fine as I am. You see when you have learned a lesson of the seasons of life before, you have no wish to return to a prior season of life.

Q: Right, but one of the explanations may be that you have eliminated a lot of the hang ups, and barriers and the channel is free for this flow of energy. Would you like to comment any further on that?

PP Oh yes, it's necessary to remove a whole lot of barriers of course to get rid of all your hang ups, your mind sets, and so on. Well this is a subject that if I dealt with it in short order I wouldn't deal with very adequately of course. I can tell you that it's a matter of living all the good things you believe in, in the beginning. Because we usually believe way beyond what we life. So that's the way I start it. I took them one by one and worked on them. And if I could think of something I was doing and knew I shouldn't be doing I would quit. For instance, I realized at one point that I wasn't living on what you would call a good health diet. So I quit that and started living on a good health diet. Started practicing prevention. All things known to be bad for health I simply cut out before I go sick. And then if you could think of something your doing you know you should be doing. You can easily cut it out. But there is a more difficult thing than that. When you think of something you know you should be doing and know you are doing and that might take a little more time. For instance, I wasn't being forgiving enough toward myself. Toward others YES, no problem there. But toward myself, if I did something that wasn't the highest, I would say to myself, "you oughta know better." And then one time I was looking at myself in a mirror as I combed my hair and I said, "you vain thing, why should you think you oughta know better when forgive everyone else for not knowing better. You are no better then they are. You must forgive yourself as readily as you forgive them and then take a further step. Use all that energy you have been using on condemning yourself - on improving yourself." And then I started to get somewhere because you know there's one person you can change and that person is yourself.

Now of course many have to get rid of things like worry habits, anger habits, fear habits. But there's another thing two. We must find our job in the life pattern. Because everyone of us has a job. We won't be happy until we find it. And you can work in two ways. You know it's your higher nature that knows what your job is. So put yourself into inspirational circumstances so you will have an awakening of your higher nature. And know what your job is. And the other way since you are undoubtedly had some awakening ask yourself "what do I like to do." Because if it's your job you will like to do it. And you will do it as easily and joyously as I walk my pilgrimage.

Q: We emphasize in the Kiril [check spelling] Laboratory that one should know their interest or personality to begin to look at these possibilities. Also the values, the important goals of life that are imparted to people. Who are you and what are you? You indicated there's a higher self and a lower self. Sometimes this is referred to as ego on one hand and a higher self, the transpersonal self, the potential self that we could become. The real, the non-phony self, the non-role playing to find that real self that wants to express.

PP It's given all kinds of names. You're right.

Q: But we tend to have the energy for those things that were interested in aren't we?

PP: Of course this is true. And it is quite true that your higher self, your self which is, well I would say God-centered being a religious woman, or centered in the good of the whole you see. That self is your real self. The self-centered nature isn't your real self at all, you see. It's the other that's your real self.

Q: So getting to the higher self instead of the lower self to get rid of the hang ups there really is.

PP: Oh yes, I should say when that governs your life all these things are gone. But on the other hand before it governs your life there are techniques that you can use to rid of some of the hang ups. Because that will help you do enough inner peace growing, you see. So that your life will be governed by the higher self.

Q: Of course you travel quite a bit and you observe a lot of young people in different kinds of lifestyles. One of things now, medical doctors are saying is that we choose our habits, conditions or styles we live. Now this along with preventative medicine. Now you have mentioned eating. You're a vegetarian.

PP Oh yes, have been for 35 years.

Q: And you attribute this somewhat to your good health. And how about exercise? Doctors are saying everybody should exercise.

PP I get plenty of exercise walking. And of course I am not only a vegetarian. And let me give you one good reason for being a vegetarian. My original reason was that I don't ask anyone to do for me, things I would do for myself. Do you know that it takes many, many times the land to raise the creature and eat the creature. As it would to raise the vegetables, or fruits or grains and eat them. And I would want to see the maximum number of people feed. That's another good reason to becoming a vegetarian. I have also cut out things like white flour, and white sugar and fried things and highly-seasoned things. And of course, I live mostly on fresh fruits and fresh vegetables and nuts and seeds, the whole grains. I guess the best form of milk products would be yogurt and buttermilk, probably. I do eat cheese, real cheese.

Now also certainly I get enough exercise - everybody should. I also get enough rest - everybody should. But you see aside from this I think no negative thoughts. This is so very, very important. And of course also, a path of service is extremely important.

Q: We try emphasize that work can be a path of service in all of our lives. And that we can express ourselves and fulfill ourselves in serving one another. This is where the real enjoyment comes. And persons who, perhaps, do not find their calling, and maybe don't have the positive attitude toward work are the ones who are bored and frustrated. And it does affect their entire lives.

PP Your right, of course. I express that anytime you feel rather low (as people say), then go out and help somebody else. Find something you can do to help somebody else and it will pick you right up.

Q: You mentioned lack of forgiveness or a form of energy turned within and the quick renewal of fear and anxiety. All these things, I think your saying they live in us as our enemy.

PP Of course.

Q: In other words we have to forgive ourselves and rid ourselves otherwise we suffer the consequences, won't we.

PP Yes, of course, and what happens is that we hurt ourselves constantly by getting ourselves out of harmony. Now if the someone would do the meanest thing to me, my automatic reaction would be of the deepest compassion for this out-of-harmony person who is able to do mean things. And I would never hurt myself by a wrong reaction of bitterness or anger. You see, we really have complete control over whether we will be hurt psychological or spiritual or not. Because you know you can only be hurt by our own wrong actions. And we have control over our actions. Or our own wrong reactions which are tricky but we have control over them too. Or our inaction in some situations that demand action of us. And when we realize this, of course, why if we have good sense. We simply just stop hurting ourselves. And start always thinking things on the positive side. And doing things on the positive side. And saying things on the positive side.

Q: Now we mentioned about eating properly. And exercising on foot - walking and jogging is highly recommended. What do you think about the meditation need that we may have and course the positive thinking. I think those are the dimensions.

PP Yes, well we mentioned the positive thinking. And I would say that if you do not know your way, especially, then what you call meditation (silent receptiveness) in inspirational circumstances would be invaluable to you. But some people would prefer to listen to beautiful uplifting music and some people would prefer to read a few beautiful words and ponder upon them, and some people might prefer to do what I did. I walked receptive and silent amid the beauties of nature. And these wonderful insights would come to me - which I would put into practice. So do have an inspirational time, by all means.

Q: Well I was going to comment that, you know the word that... Medical doctors use the word "inspire" in other words inspiration is to breath in and to expire is to breath out. It happens that passing out of this life is expiring or passing out the breath. But the inspiration the intake of thoughts and feelings is associated with the intake of breath. And I thought perhaps you'd want to comment on that.

PP: Oh well, of course, they do associate this. The breath of life is very important the soul enters and leaves with breath. I realize that as far as the breathing is concerned. I got a whole lot of things at once when I walked receptive and silent amid the beauties of nature. From the beauty around me - I got my inspiration. From the silent receptiveness -I got my mediation. And from the walking - not only my exercise but my breathing. And you see you can't be too pushy when you're doing four things at once. Some of these things should be handled very gently. You know I always think of the bud of the flower. If you give proper conditions it will open to a beautiful flower. But if you become impatient and try to tear the pedals apart, you permanently injure the flower or the earth life.

Q: Another analogy may be that in acorn there is tremendous potential, but it may take 40 or 50, 60 years of patience and being feed and providing shade for this majestic oak to develop. And if it had been rushed it would never become the majestic oak.

PP: That's absolutely true. And just so with human beings. You see, look at all the growing there is to do. It took me fifteen years to do a growing I didn't even know existed beyond the usual growing that we know of. And then I kept on learning and growing even beyond that. Learning and growing never ceases. But the struggle ceases between the two natures with the two different viewpoints and you can learn and grow harmoniously without struggle. And the first lesson I learned is "receiving." I had been on the giving side for fifteen years. Now I needed to learn to receive as gracefully I was able to give. In order to give the other fellow the joy and the blessing of giving.

Q: Well one of the things we try to do in the Kiril laboratory is help young people establish goals - like what is important in your life. And you may want to share with the persons watching this program two important goals that you feel are worthwhile for realizing the human potential.

PP: Well, of course, I set priorities in my life from the time that I was a child. I remember my priorities at that time were my homework and my chores. And I would get them done. And I would remember also that I always really enjoyed other things. My girl friends didn't always - they were too often worrying about their homework which wasn't done. But my homework, my important things that was always done. And so I enjoyed other things. Now this taught me self discipline. And it lead to a very orderly life. I still have priorities in my life today. And then the pattern of choosing to be free. Not all people choose this. In fact we choose for ourselves a variety of enslavement. I remember when I was a child, I was offered real cigarettes from a package which I didn't smoke but my friends did. In high school I was offered every kind of alcohol you can thing of. Which I didn't drink but my friends did. Now I faced a test in this regard just beyond my student days. All my friends at that time used both alcohol and tobacco. And with this push toward conformity those days, they actually looked down on me because I didn't. I gathered in someone's living room I said look, "life is a series of choices, nobody can stop from making your choices, but I have a right to make my choice too. And I have chosen FREEDOM." And then I went right on to chose freedom form other enslaving things like negative thinking, meaningless activities, unnecessary possessions. It stayed right in that pattern all through my life.

Q: Is there really freedom without self discipline?

PP There cannot be. You see you are definitely not free if you do not have self discipline. Actually self-centered nature is never completely free. Because it is governed by the wishes for comfort and convenience on the part of the body, by demands of the mind and by the outbursts of the emotions. It is only the higher nature that can control body, mind and emotion. And of course, constantly in your early life, your going through that struggle between body, mind and emotions, and the self-centered nature which is using them to some extend without ever being able to fully control them.

Q: Now I have often said that if one isn't disciplined from within (and that's the best discipline one can have), then there has to be some external control. Certainly when their children. One of the problems of our society seems that we don't make a transition from external control to self discipline. So what we grow up take charge of our lives or we should. Again we have permissiveness, lack of control either external or internal.

PP The children when there is external control learn best through example. It really doesn't matter what you say. It's what you do that the child follows. So I would wish for all children, of course, that the adults around them are always very good examples.

Q: I know some comments have been made this week that you are living the laws of the universe. You are facing reality. Would you like to comment on that?

PP Well, of course, naturally I am living in accordance [to God's laws].

Q: See often times people think that reality is what I can see and taste and feel.

PP: Worst then that they think if your a realist what your doing is living by the dictates of the self-centered nature. And I would say that this isn't being a realist. This only doing a tiny bit of the growing that your able to do. If your a realist you live up to highest light you have which makes you an idealist. So you see I don't see that their that far apart.

Q: I think that what we get caught up in, in society we say that, that which is material is real. I can touch it. It's tangible. What you're saying is that which is endearing is real. That which has eternal value is real. Now why (and I don't want to get into an area that would take a lot of time) but why do you feel that this track of thinking and thought. The eyes may blind us and the ears may deafen us. What was the creative purpose of this. In other words having to find that real self, having to find [this?] and all. It seem like it's difficult because the easy way is the way of material wealth, sensory experience.

PP You know of course that the self-centered nature identifies with the body and material things. It's only as you transcend the self-centered nature that you get beyond identifying with the body with material things. So it's quite natural at the beginning to feel this way. When your getting into college and studying philosophy or something like that, why it is to realize that in most essentials actually being a realist is living up to the highest light you have. Just as being an idealist is. The only difference is there some validity to saying if you are a realist you understand that growing takes time. You see, and you're willing to have the time and the patience for the growing. Where as if you are a idealist you sometimes want to grow just like that. You see. Now there is validity, perhaps, in saying a thing like that. But I would think that if you grow enough you would come to the point where you see there is only one thing that is real in this universe. Of course I would say God is real. And within you it is only the higher nature that is real. Even the self-centered nature can be transcended. The body, certainly is very transient.

Q: So your saying that to realize the real person we have got to aspire toward the perfection and really the idealism. The ideal is to become what were capable of becoming. Which requires effort and require a journey in goals. But perhaps the enjoyment and fulfillment in life is in that journey and in that discovery.

PP: Why of course, what are we here for, but to learn and grow. This is our purpose being here. The earth is a school and so do all the learning and growing you possibly can. And do all good serving and the giving that you possibly can.

Q: You think this applies to everyone. Everybody is here to serve.

PP: Oh of course, of course we are. We're cells in the same body of humanity. We all sink or swim together. The lessons on the outer level that we need to learn are the non-killing of human by human and the lesson of sharing, you see. These are obviously our lessons. And I believe that things are better when they were when I started. When I started people excepted war as a necessary part of life. Whereas now I am on the popular side. When I started there was little interest in inner search. Whereas now there is almost a universal interest in the inner search. Which to me is the most hopeful sign of all.

Q: Peace Pilgrim our time is about up. Would you like to give a parting word, a message to people who are watching at this time?

PP: My magic formula. There is a magic formula (I say that fictitiously) for resolving conflict. It is this. Have as your object the resolving of the conflict - not the gaining of the advantage.

There is a magic formula for avoiding conflict. It is this. Be concerned that you do not offend - not that you are not offended. That works between individuals, between groups, between nations.

Q: Thank you Peace Pilgrim for being on our campus, all the things that you've done and shared and inspired this week. And you are going to be back in Pensacola in about six or seven years. We look forward to having you.

PP: Six years. I look forward to it. And in the meantime - peace to all.

Q: Thank you, bless you, and peace to you.

PP Thank you.

Q: Thank you, very much.

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