Jaime Jaramillo , or Papa Jaime as he is better known in his country Colombia, is an example that one person can make a difference! Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, he has devoted the last 40 years of his life to helping street children of Bogotá. A life’s mission in which he rescued over 80 000 children from the streets and sewers and transformed their lives.
Today, he travels around the world hosting workshops, conferences and seminars helping others rediscover the potential that lies within them.
In this interview, Papa Jaime talks about his life’s mission and shares what he’s learned on living a life with passion and purpose.
Meet Papa Jaime:
Antonia: What inspired you to take on this life mission?
Jaime: It was 1973, Christmas time. I was walking along the street, when someone driving by threw away a Fischer Price empty box from their window. Three street children ran towards the box. One of them, a little girl, picked up the box. She was so happy, so excited and was looking at me. As she was looking at me, she didn’t see this big truck coming. It hit her and smashed her against the road. When I saw her little broken body lying on the street, I realized what I was born to do, my calling; to help the street children.
That day, I bought 100 cheap presents and got a Santa Claus costume. I went out in the streets and gave them the presents. This is how I began working with them and living my mission.
Today over 80 000 children who were on drugs, depressed and wanted to kill themselves, have rediscovered their life through inner peace and unconditional love. As soon as they discover these 2 things from within their being, they emanate happiness and joy. They start to enjoy every single moment and every single thing they do.
When you do what you love and you love what you do, you don’t work, you enjoy life!
Before being able to do this, it’s very important that inner peace and love comes from and are inside of you.
Antonia: When you started, you were alone. People kept telling you that it was impossible for one person to do. How did you respond to this?
Jaime: I never paid any attention to them. To me they are criminals of hope. They steal your dreams.
They always ask the same questions;
Why are you doing this?
Are you a priest? – NO!
Are you a politician? – NO!
Are you a social worker? – NO!
Are you married? – YES!
Do you have children? – YES!
I always tell them the same thing.
When you fight for your mission in life, the meaning of life gives you whatever you want. The joy and happiness inside of you, is the result of what you have done. Whatever you do, will come back to you, ALWAYS!
Antonia: A couple of years ago, you began another organization, ‘Papa Jaime Leadership’. Via, conferences, workshops, seminars and books, you continue to help others rediscover the potential that lies within them and to change their lives. How did you take your mission to this next level?
Jaime: I realized that most people’s suffering is in their imagination. Not even your worst enemy can cause you as much harm as your own thoughts. So, it was about helping them handle their feelings and their thoughts. Being master of their own heart and master of their own mind to have awareness and consciousness.
When you realize what you are born to do and find what you want, things change. You have to have a dream! If you don’t know what you want, you will find and be in a place that you never wanted to be in.
You must have a dream. You will get there with Faith, Passion and Love.
These 3 things are important. Faith in God, but besides God, faith in yourself, Passion and Love!
Antonia: A few years ago, your passion for paragliding nearly took your life. You came face to face with death. You spoke about thoughts. In that moment, what were your thoughts? Did you think you were dying?
Jaime: I was unconscious, but could hear the doctors saying, “Let’s not operate on him, he’s going to die.” I couldn’t say anything, I could just hear them. I would say that 3 things helped me a lot:
First, my thoughts were not on “Why?” My thoughts were on “For What?” What do I have to learn from this? There is always something to learn.
Secondly, meditation. Just like the sun shines outside, in meditation, it shines inside when you are connected with your soul.
The third thing is to appreciate little things. If I had concentrated on things I lost, I would have died. By concentrating on what I have and appreciating it, by saying thank you, thank you, thank you for the little things, I gave myself the will to survive.
Antonia: We all face difficulties, whether it’s an illness, loss of a job. As you said, we ask, “why me,” “why this,” “why now,” so, you feel that we can get past this by achieving an inner peace first, right?
Jaime: Yes, because peace can only come from inside, not outside. The problem is that we were programmed to deposit our happiness in other people, in other things. When you deposit your life on the outside, you have already lost it. When you work within your own soul and start observing your emotions, because your emotions indicate your sensations, you start living. What you have in your heart comes from what you are thinking. What you are thinking comes from approximately 70 000 thoughts per day. When you take in consideration that these thoughts come from beliefs and you analyze those beliefs, you’ll see that these beliefs are made by fear. That fear is the problem. When someone is suffering or experiencing fear, they do things that they don’t want to do and say things they don’t want to say. They start living in a way which they never wanted to live. This happens through fear, the opposite of love.
When you can connect with love, things can change.
Antonia: It’s like your book “Te amo, pero estoy feliz sin ti. “I love you, but am happy without you.” a best seller. You talk about people’s attachment to things. How does this attachment reflect in our lives?
Jaime: We were programmed to be attached to people, things, results… So, we are constantly trying to change the things we are attached to. Trying to change other people, things, results. When you realize that your life doesn’t depend on what other people are saying, thinking or doing, you make your own plan of action and start living, enjoying.
When you sacrifice yourself and stop being who you are, you begin a journey of anguish, frustration and desperation. When you deposit your happiness on the outside, you already lost it. Because your happiness no longer depends on you, instead now it depends on that other person or thing.
People tend to sacrifice themselves for someone or something; for their children, family, money or possessions. What I found from traveling all over the world is that 95% of the people, from the richest to the poorest, waste their lives doing what? What do you think they waste their lives doing?
Antonia: They are searching to find meaning or purpose. They are searching on the outside to find it.
Jaime: What I found from traveling around the world is that 95% of people waste their life trying to impress other people. 95% waste their money trying to impress others, looking for their applause and what others say or think about them. Life, which is full of wonders, passion and energy, passes them by. When they lose their family, friends, money, it becomes too late. That’s why it’s important to be conscious of what you are doing, what you want, what is your dream. If you have a dream and you don’t take action towards that dream, then the dream becomes a nightmare. The spark of life and the passion disappears. When you’re trying to get recognition from other people, you’re working for them.
Antonia: From your life experience, what would you say is the most important thing to live a life with passion?
Jaime: The most important thing is to reconnect. Everyday, you have to stay in contact with nature. The sunrise, the sunset, the animals and with little things like breathing, meditating, helping others, enjoying life and appreciating wherever you are. This gives you passion. If you are just connected to a computer or a TV, for sure you’ll be depressed and feel emptiness. Because we operate as a robot instead of what we think and our inspirations.
When you are inspired, you connect with your spirit, your soul, your love and to your consciousnesses.
Antonia: It’s so hard to be present in the moment with all the distractions around us. How would say, with everything that’s around us, that we stay and be in the present moment? Instead of thinking about the future or the past.
Jaime: The past is gone. There’s no way it’ll come back to you. The future doesn’t exist. The only moment you have is the present. Whatever you do today, is what you’ll collect tomorrow. That’s why it’s important to know what you want. You have a body, a mind and spirit. Your body needs exercise and good food. It’s important to protect your body because it is connected to your spirit. Your mind needs air, meditation, reading…Your spirit needs not only praying and meditation, your spirit lives from helping others. When you help others, your spirit opens its wings and flies so high.
When you have a balance between body, mind and spirit, your passion comes through.
Antonia: Thank you so much Papa Jaime. I would like to invite everyone to visit your website papajaime.com where you share weekly inspirational messages. Also, to click on the Fundacion Ninos de los andes and see how they can be a part of it.
Jaime: Thank you and one final most important thing to remember.
Never, Ever, Never, Never, Ever, Stop Dreaming!
Let Papa Jaime know how his message has helped you in the comments. Do you have a personal experience on living your life with passion? Please, share it with us; we can all continue to grow from it!