Ram Dass shares his heart-centered wisdom in each episode featuring excerpted lectures given throughout the last 40 years, with an introduction from Raghu Markus of Ram Dass' Love Serve Remember Foundation.
In this dharma talk from 1993, Ram Dass answers questions about navigating our spiritual path and working with practices that can bring us into union with the One.
With the floor open to his live audience, Ram Dass touches on topics such as his own spiritual practice, methods for bringing us closer with the One, losing faith, working with a guru and more.
Celebrate the theatrical release of Becoming Nobody, the quintessential portal into Ram Dass’ life and teachings, with this collection of teachings featured in the film.
Becoming Nobody, from director Jamie Cato, represents the core arc of Ram Dass’ teachings and life. Through historic clips balanced with engaging conversation, Ram Dass shares the tools available to get free from our old roles and disguises.
Find screenings in a city near you beginning September 6th, including special events featuring Q&A with Jamie Cato and special guests like Sharon Salzberg, Mirabai Starr, Producer Raghu Markus and more at becomingnobody.com
In this talk from 1992, Ram Dass looks at how quieting the mind allows us to accept life how it is, including all of the love, suffering, joy, and discomfort that comes with it.
It is all happening as it should in our lives so that we can grow to become free. Ram Dass shows us how cultivating spaciousness and trust allows us to sit comfortably with all life has to offer and connect with the inner truth that guides us.
In this early talk, from 1970, Ram Dass talks about the methods of purification necessary for waking up in this lifetime, illuminates the traps that lie within these methods and explores what is waiting for us in the ever-present moment.
Ram Dass is joined live on stage by Krishna Das and Raghu Markus for a conversation that explores generosity as a path of practice and the value of being part of a community that supports each other on their spiritual paths.
Find links, show notes and the video version of this podcast at https://beherenownetwork.com/ram-dass-here-and-now-ep-138-were-all-just-saving-each-others-asses/
Ram Dass is joined by Noah and Raghu Markus for a conversation about meeting injustice with compassion and the importance of inner social action.
Find show notes and links here: https://beherenownetwork.com/ram-dass-here-and-now-ep-137-the-importance-of-inner-social-action
In this talk from 1995, Ram Dass looks at how we can fully inhabit our roles with joy and emptiness instead of taking ourselves so seriously.
Find show notes and resources here: https://beherenownetwork.com/ram-dass-here-and-now-ep-136-how-to-inhabit-roles-lightly-with-joy-and-emptiness/
Ram Dass explores one of the most difficult teachings he was given by Maharaj-ji, accepting the perfection of the unfolding all things, and explores the curriculum of life that unfolds when our attachment to ego begins to dissolve.
Find show notes and resources here: https://beherenownetwork.com/here-and-now-ep-135-creation-creativity-and-spirituality/
In this talk from 1981, Ram Dass explores the fierce but liberating path of relationships that bring us to a place where we can become one with another person.
Find show notes and resources here: https://beherenownetwork.com/ram-dass-now-ep-134-relationships/
Mirabai Bush and Raghu Markus join Ram Dass to celebrate the release of Ram Dass and Mirabai’s new book, Walking Each Other Home, and share a conversation about how embracing death can allow us to live more fully.
Pick up your hardcover copy of Walking Each Other Home and learn to embrace the mystery of death with compassion and love: Walking Each Other Home
In this talk from 1994, Ram Dass investigates the many roots of suffering and how our perception shapes our experience of that suffering.
Find show notes and links here: https://beherenownetwork.com/here-and-now-ep-132-roots-of-suffering/
On this episode of the Here and Now Podcast, Ram Dass and Raghu answer questions from members of the community around some of the difficulties and roadblocks we encounter while navigating our journey of awakening.
Daniel Goleman and Raghu Markus join Ram Dass to talk about the power of meditation that they were exposed to in the East and what Western science has begun to understand about consciousness and meditation practice.
Ram Dass has a discussion with Raghu Markus about the fine line between efforts driven by ego and the dharmic efforts that, with faith, bring us closer towards merging into the spacious love that exists beyond duality.
On this episode of Here & Now, Ram Dass asks us to honor our incarnation and live on this plane as if “we” are all “us.”
Ram Dass talks about integrating a sense of oneness into all planes of consciousness, challenges us to honor our incarnation and explores Eastern systems of practice through the lens of science.
Ram Dass is joined by Raghu Markus for a conversation around wrestling with difficulties and uncertainty.
From dogma to physical suffering to our own Dharma, Ram Dass and Raghu talk about wrestling with our difficulties and overcoming them through practice.
Recorded at Naropa University in 1974, Ram Dass joins Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, John Baker, Jim Green and Duncan Campbell for a conversation around the notion of ego and personal identification.
In this panel discussion, the group explores the concepts of ego in both Western psychology and Eastern traditions. Exploring what the notion of ego really is, and isn't.
Ram Dass gives a moving talk on the Guru's grace and the story of how he received a true secret teaching from his own Guru.
Recorded in June 1973, Ram Dass leads a discussion around the concept of Dharma, or one's path in life, and how he discovered his own Dharma through secret teachings from his Guru. We may go to great lengths to avoid our path, but our inner voice continues to bring us back. Ram Dass also explains the role of karma yoga and what it means to 'die into service.' We learn to work with our desires and move right into the fire. Through this work, we free ourselves from attachment and find a deeper connection with God.
Live Awake; this special talk given at the 1994 Psychedelics Symposium at Chapman College follows Ram Dass's history and thoughts around psychedelics.
Psychedelics have guided the course of Ram Dass's life. Ram Dass shares the history of his relationship with the experience, its possibilities and limitations.
Ram Dass is joined by Roshi Joan Halifax, Raghu Markus and the author of “The Five Invitations,” Frank Ostaseski, to talk about his book and how death offers a path to radical transformation.
Frank Ostaseski is a leader in contemplative end-of-life care. His book, "The Five Invitations," gives practices for anyone navigating any sort of loss and shows us how to wake up fully to our lives. Frank leads the group in a discussion about death and dying in the context of these Five Invitations.
In this rare talk, Ram Dass reports on the geography of the journey of awakening.
Ram Dass gives this talk not long after returning from India where he began to learn the geography of the journey. He describes the cycles of the journey and the tools used along the way to access higher states of being.
On this unique episode of Here and Now, Ram Dass discusses seeing God in all things and how the true revolution is found through the evolution of consciousness.
In both parts of this episode, Ram Dass imparts wisdom on transformation. We look at transforming our world by transforming our worldview. Ram Dass shows us that the true revolution starts by changing our inner world.
In this talk from 1976, Ram Dass talks about what we are beyond this lifetime and asks, "Who are you?" Time after time we have experienced a cycle of birth and death. Each time we are born into a new identity and cling to that incarnation as if it was all we had, until the moment we get a glimpse of something more. Ram Dass explores our journey of awakening and returning to the one.
Ram Dass and Raghu have a conversation around social action and keeping our quietness and love in 2017.
Ram Dass talks about balancing ourselves, social responsibility, why he puts President Trump on his puja (prayer) table, and cultivating love for everyone no matter their beliefs. Ram Dass leaves us with perspective and insight on keeping our quietness and love in the coming year.
Ram Dass is joined by a young Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield for a meaningful talk about mindfulness and food. This discussion is part of the Naropa University Bhagavad Gita Sessions of 1974. We are shown a new perception of what it is that we are eating. Ram Dass, Joseph, and Jack help us to understand that there is a connection between what sustains us and who we are.
In this lecture from 1974 at Naropa University, Ram Dass talks about our unhealthy preoccupation with our individual differences. We grow up with the identity of a separate self, building an entire character around that separate self. From this, we begin identifying others based around our character development. In this episode, Ram Dass gives insight on how our practice helps us move beyond our patterns and perception of individual differences.
On this episode of Here and Now, Ram Dass has a Sunday hangout session with Raghu Markus. The two chat about the concept of the 'soul-complex', how Ram Dass manages his suffering, as well as duality and devotion. Ram Dass and Raghu discuss the 'soul-complex' and the transition process between lives. They also consider the similarities between duel and non-duel systems. Explaining how the limitations of one are complimented by the other, and how the two have different means to the same end. "In life, the 'soul-complex' is never for two consecutive moments the same, but is, like the body, in constant change. There is thus a series of successive, and, in one sense, different states, which are in themselves but momentary. There is still a unifying bond in that each momentary state is a present representative of all those which are past, as it will be the generation of all future transformations potentially involved in it. This process is not interrupted by death."
How would you answer the question of, "Who do you think YOU are?" You probably believe that you are somebody, but that somebody is the ego. On this episode of Here and Now, Ram Dass talks about our separation from the One, getting back to God, and what we must do to make it happen. "We can be righteous, but we cannot be righteous and be one with God." -Ram Dass
On this special 100th episode of Here and Now, Ram Dass and Raghu Markus talk about imagination, faith, and gratitude. Ram Dass teaches us to see through our own delusions that mislead us and weigh us down with fear. Ram Dass brings insight to several important questions. How can we learn to trust our intuition without fooling ourselves? Where does gratitude come from? Explore these questions and more on this episode of Here and Now.
Raghu introduces a new outstanding essential teachings course from Ram Dass entitled – Being Here Now: An Odyssey into the Essential Teachings of Ram Dass. After a deep dive into the Ram Dass audio archives, Raghu gives us a preview of the never before published Ram Dass content. Being Here Now is an eight-week audio course with a companion guide written by Rameshwar Das. The course also features a big bonus current video of Ram Dass. Raghu gives us a taste of each week, and shares wisdom on some of the topics featured in the course. This course is brought to you in partnership with Tami Simon and Sounds True. Being Here Now: An Odyssey into the Essential Teachings of Ram Dass Identifying with Our True Self From the moment we incarnate as a human being we are identified with our body, feelings and thoughts. Yet, beyond our thinking mind and sensory perceptions, there is a vast realm of the soul which is pure consciousness, love, joy and peace. Our individual soul is part of that unitary consciousness, whether we call it God, Buddhahood, or the One. It is our origin and where we shall return. Sometimes just a subtle shift in perspective or point of view can remind us of this true nature of our being. Witness and Awareness The gateway to our true Self is our own awareness. Becoming an impartial observer of each instant of our incarnation allows us to be present in the moment and at the same time to extricate from our desires, thoughts, attachments and the time-binding of regrets about the past and worry about the future. Awareness and love, loving ourselves with full awareness of each thought and feeling, even of negative emotions, begins to dissolve our identification with the ego and allows us to live in our soul. Methods and Purifying the Mind Meditation means going within to bring the mind to one point in order to quiet the cacophony of thoughts, emotions, and desires. Patanjali, the sage who wrote the Yoga Sutra, starts with, “Citta vritti nirodha,” or, consciousness arises when thoughts dissolve. Our guru, Maharaj-ji, said, “Bring your mind to one point and wait for Grace.” There are many methods of meditation. Find one that works for you and develop a regular practice. Suffering and Disturbing Emotions Physical, emotional, and mental suffering is a reality of life. Thoughts, emotions, and sensations come up constantly to disturb the essential peace of the heart and mind. While we cannot avoid the difficult challenges of life, how we deal with and experience them can magnify or reduce their impact. We can find a spaciousness in our encounters with suffering- we can actually make friends with our suffering. Cultivating Love and Compassion Love is the emotion of merging, or becoming one. Compassion is being with another’s suffering, experiencing our inter-relatedness in the most direct way by opening our hearts to one another. The Buddhist practice of metta or the Hindu devotional practices of Bhakti yoga can help with that heart opening. Ram Dass teaches Loving Awareness meditation that brings together love and awareness. We have to start from where we are. Only when we truly love ourselves can we become beacons of love to others. Relationships and the Spiritual Path Transforming the karma of relationships into grist for the mill of the spiritual path is a challenge. Discriminating between love and attachment, personal desire and unconditional love, is part of everyone’s spiritual evolution. Karma Yoga Transforming everyday work and activity into spiritual practice is karma yoga, often expressed through seva, or selfless service. The Bhagavad Gita is one of the great wisdom sources for karma yoga. As it says, ultimately we bring our lives into harmony by surrendering the fruits of our actions to God. Love and Death Our ego fears annihilation because of the identification with our body. Living in faith that we are truly a soul helps transform fear. The grief of losing a loved one yields to the certainty that though bodies pass away, love does not die. If we live fully in the present moment, death is just another moment.
When it comes to Spiritual Practices, Ram Dass poses the question, “why do we practice?” Raghu reads a passage from The Wisdom Teachings and Good Wishes of the Adi-Buddha Samanta-Bhadra which poses that the reality which is “the foundation of all is uncreated, uncompounded, independent beyond mental concept and verbal definition.” Not knowing this we humans get overwhelmed by the darkness of unconsciousness, from which comes ignorance and error, of course what arises is us and them, together, or I and others. Which spawns an unbroken current of samsaric (illusion) evolution, so the root source of error among sentient beings is thus unconscious ignorance Raghu suggests this is pretty good motivation for spiritual practice. Ram Dass gives another motivation, which is, change generates fear. Fear generates contraction, contraction then generates prejudice and bigotry, and ultimately violence. What’s the antidote for this? It’s consciousness that does not respond to change with fear. So how do we get that consciousness? It takes spiritual practice. Once you start to practice, the journey to awakening starts to dominate the terrain. “Everything in your life becomes grist for the mill of awakening. You learn to trust the deepest inner message you can hear.” Ram Dass also says: “if you’re thinking you should meditate, don’t bother, go out and lust some more. You need an honest approach to the path, you can’t be phony holy.” Raghu talks about his own experience on sitting on a regular basis, even if he’s tired or cranky. The beauty of a true spiritual journey is that it keeps unfolding from inside yourself.
Ram Dass talks about disturbing emotions that may arise is potential wisdom the moment you relax into your natural mind. Look directly into it, don’t deliberately reject it, regard it as a fault, or indulge in it concretely or, regard it as a virtue. Ram Dass talks about experiencing his life as a dance of balance of cultivating the qualities of spaciousness, of equanimity, of peace, of happiness, we fear the passions of life because they take us away from that balance. We have to find a balance between intuitive heart and thinking mind. Because the tendency in the spiritual journey is to denigrate the thinking mind into it and we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. In this talk, Ram Dass speaks on making human relationships our yoga. Let us help each other awaken. Ram Dass tells us an exquisite story about Ramana Maharashi that exemplifies the possibility Of a being who is not trapped, but are always living in that spacious awareness-- of compassion or emptiness. Miracles remind you that what you think is reality is not truth. That frees you to think about what is true reality. When you wonder how it is, you’re hooked.
Raghu and Ram Dass do a live hang out on Skype. Raghu reminds Ram Dass of the first moment they met in Montreal and how that moment defined a trust for him that led to meeting the Guru. Ram Dass talks about his first encounters with trust through the sacred mushroom and Tim Leary. For the first time Ram Dass tells the real story of how he came to coin Be Here Now while searching for the Guru in India. Ram Dass talks about intuition and imagination as a method to connect with the Guru- and Raghu quotes from Ram Dass' book Journey of Awakening in relation to meeting the Guru- " When needed the Guru appears. It's a benign conspiracy". Finally Ram Dass talks about contentment and the fact that he has been living in a "stroked" body has not deterred him from being in the moment and being content.
Ram Dass talks about the value and limits of psychedelics – when they can enhance the spiritual path and when there can be risks. From ancient times there has been the idea of an elixir sometimes called Soma and the use of natural herbs to effect spiritual transformation. The experience that humans have is the ability to see the universe from a different vantage point- now we could experience the deeper part of our beings that lie behind the thinking mind. Our monitoring system gets turned off so we can have a completely fresh view. When the boundries break down we begin to see the inter-relatedness of everything. We see the way in which it’s all connected- the mystery that lies behind the apparent phenomena. These psychedelics give us an inner validity to our intuitive voice. Ram Dass talks about the original playbook laid out in the early days on set and setting when taking ethneogens. “When I broke through, what I saw was the reality I thought was real was only relatively real- not absolutely real. What happened to my mind was a shift in consciousness.”
In tracing our spiritual journey, we have gone from a psychological, economic and political universe into a spiritual universe. And in the course of that transition, we have rejected the psychological, economic and political aspects of our lives.
We have to finally honor our incarnations, god manifests through form and we have to love the form that we were incarnated into, and give that form space to be what it has to be.
We need to stop taking a stance to protect ourselves from the supposed contamination of the world on our so-called ‘spiritual purity’.
What we are should be able to play in all of the fields of our lives. As long as we have the desire to be ‘special’ we are pushing life away out of fear. Afraid of dying into the universe for fear it will contaminate us.
Ram Dass illuminates the trap that many of us fall into as we grow up - which is the idea that we are our thoughts.
The more accurate view would be, "I am and I think.”
Thinking is a power that we have - “Intellect is a great servant but a lousy master.”
Most of us live almost entirely within the projections of our thinking mind.
Intellect is only one way of knowing the world, but the intuitive mind and heart is a more profound way of "knowing" the universe than the analytic intellectual linear mind.
The more you think inwardly and self reflect, the more you become an object to yourself until the whole universe is made up of objects.
We need to change the relative power positions of "intellect" and “intuition" so that we develop greater balance and freedom to grow on the spiritual path.
Ram Dass brings up a meeting he had with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche during which Rinpoche said to him, "We have to accept responsibility,” to which Ram Dass replied, "God has all the responsibility,” and Rinpoche replied, "Ram Dass, you are copping out.”
Ram Dass explores the way in which we experience everything as a free choice but in some way it's part of a determined law:
You have a choice of identifying with your incarnate creation (your body, personality, social entity) or You as the creator (God that resides within each one of us) of that creation.
The creative spark - that's what is responsible. We accept that we are part of the One, and that we are in fact creating our universe.
Ram Dass tells the story of Maharaji arranging the reunion of a barber and his son by appearing in two places at one time and says, "More profound than miracles is the quality of His presence - His unconditional love was so intense that it cut through cynicism, doubt and separation. Imagine a place where someone is living in that presence of unconditional love all the time with everyone - and everyone you see is their Beloved. A fully conscious and realized being is that - there are no conditions and no attachments.”
On the other hand we all live within limits which prevent us from loving freely - we are conditional lovers.
How do we transform? Not by destroying our bodies, thoughts or emotions but by getting beyond the attachments that prevent us from being free and unconditional lovers.
The Bhagavad Gita says, “The greatest birth is in a family of Yogis.”
That would reflect people who are not caught so much in the illusion of separateness. Small children, when in the presence of parents who are spacious and aware, allow the child to develop a “somebody-ness” but not at the level that it entraps them. Rather, it becomes a functional “somebody-ness” not an entrapping “somebody-ness”.
As parents, we should cultivate with our children as quickly as possible the notion that we are fellow travelers, that I am in a role of caretaker and you as child, and slowly we are going to emerge as two friends. Then you become a Dharmic parent.
Ram Dass talks about being socialized out of any recognition of who we were. Everyone wants to believe they are who they think they are.
Through the use of psychedelics we recognized we'd been had.
Where your mind is in relation to the game is what creates or relieves suffering-your's and everyone else.
Ram Dass also leads a short three breath mindfulness meditation for practice anytime during the day.
On this special Here and Now podcast, we feature our new book ‘Love Everyone’, stories of the Westerners who heard about Neem Karoli Baba through Ram Dass and went to meet him.
The author, Parvati Markus, introduces some of the stories from the book from her interviews that form the backbone of ‘Love Everyone’.
Raghu introduces a very special Ram Dass talk from a radio interview after he just got back from India in 1972, and described for the first time what it was like being with Neem Karoli Baba in extraordinary detail.
As a bonus, Raghu introduces a never before told story of Maharajji saving someone from drowning, and the family never knew it was him until 60 years after the incident.
Everybody that has asked to be free has called down upon themselves Grace; that is through their Guru, Guide,
Guardian Angel or Spiritual Friend. That being, whomever it may be, is your guide to liberation. This is called forth by your genuine asking- if you don't ask they don't even notice you.
But the minute you do ask to be free- you call down Grace and your whole life becomes a dialogue with that being.
It takes but a flick of a look in a person's eyes to see who it is you are to them. Which level of reality you exist upon. A conscious being has no attachment to any level, neither busy denying nor affirming, neither saying "I am this" nor "I am not this" - neither protecting nor justifying. Once you get a peek at the reality of who you really are, you cannot go back to your former identity, try and try as much as you will. When the pursuit of your true nature is the only game, everything in your life becomes an instrument for getting free.
Ram Dass’s precise enquiry into the real nature of purification and liberation – jumping into your own individuated Dharmic fire, not ignoring your weaknesses and neuroses. The bliss is one part, the reality of life on Earth at this moment is another – he firmly suggests embracing all of it. There is “no irrelevancy in the whole system” he says and this includes suffering and loss and major difficulties. Ram Dass’s expliqué of the long, incarnational progression is particularly exquisite in this talk – detailing the gradually emergent, awakened embodiment and then the ineffable potential of the bodhisattva manifestation.
Ram Dass takes a number of questions on how to navigate our paths in life. He talks about how to deal with fear and sit with it, watching our reactivity, wanting to create resistance against what we are afraid of. Allow yourself to notice the resistance and keep softening, embrace it into yourself. The resistance against something makes the fear more intense. See the fear as a process that comes out of conditioning and identification. Ram Dass talks about “out of body” experiences and suggests that one does not preoccupy oneself with what the experience is. It’s more about what the experience is offering in terms of a deeper understanding that one can use in personal growth. Remember, the intellect wants to know it knows. Intuitively, one can feel the validity of the experience and that validity colors our future life.
When we have any kind of mystical or ineffable experience, it upsets our apple cart. It upsets the security of our separateness.
We get attached to our separateness and become afraid of losing it. And out of that comes greed, lust, anxiety and fear.
The main quality of that separateness is suffering, which is why it’s called “the veil of tears.”
This birth, which looks to you as a kind of chaotic, random, somewhat morbid humor of God, has an absolute exquisite perfection of the unfolding of your being in an evolutionary direction towards you becoming fully conscious of who you are, which turns out to be God.
Ram Dass takes questions from the audience on a variety of topics including letting go of boundaries, "What is the Guru?", psychedelics, methods as traps and the human agenda to name a few.
“Trust your intuitive heart - everyone has an inner guide. Maharaji is my inner imaginary playmate - I talk to him all the time - He turns out to be real and I’m the imaginary one.”
“We move in and out of our roles in life. And finally as we get true detachment we are free to play the roles without being trapped in them.”
“It’s up to the most conscious person in a relationship dynamic to let go the soonest.”
“As Gandhi said, My life is my message."
We keep closing off the door of entry to a higher state of consciousness because of the fear of the implications of a true spiritual journey. We have embarked on a game that is much more profound than we usually think we are in - we’re ready to slip by and make everybody feel good. As in the metaphor for the Bhagavad Gita - Arjun fights an army of attachments - attachment to family, to a secure and comfortable life, to the prestige of habit and comfort, to shine in society - they may have served as guides and teachers in the past but they have been part of what has kept us from God.
The soil into which spirituality from the East was planted was not so rich in the early days. In India, everyone believes in re-incarnation and sees life from that perspective. In the West words like "Guru", "devotion" and "surrender" have a hard time being digested. Most of the people who are Saints in India would be hospitalized in the West. Now there seems to be a shift where we can honor these traditions in a way that does not water them down.
In this episode Ram Dass' satsang family Mirabai Bush, Raghu Markus and Danny Goleman hang out and talk about Danny's new book with HH Dalai Lama- A Force For Good- which coincides with HH's birthday. Also remember the days they spent together in India with Neem Karoli Baba and what transmission they brought back to the West and how that has affected their individual offering in their work and lives.
When you begin to awaken, you are not coming from such a needy place when you enter into a relationship, not looking to “lock in” so quickly. Your need is still there as a human incarnation - but you are not so identified with that need and because you are already resting in a place of love, and you can experience the sharing of love and oneness without fear.
You don’t need a person to get into that space, you are already in it.
"Renunciation is internal dropout, not external dropout" This is often in direct contrast to the Western model of achievement oriented success. But we are not required to move off into a cave in order to find enlightenment. Through complete devotion to our work and our love for that process, we can absolutely move in the direction of realization. "By letting go, everything gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning" Through cultivation of the witness we move out of the melodrama and into the place of pure perspective and peaceful awareness
Ram Dass answers questions from the audience on the predicament of Grace and Karma- the predicament of judging- the predicament of social responsibility. Also same sex relationships and the relation to divinity. “Only when you are honoring the plane on which it is all totally perfect just the way it is, can you assume on the other plane the responsibility to change it; recognizing that the desire in you to change it is part of the perfection of it all."
Dan Ellsberg tries scare tactics to get Ram Dass to take social action. Ram Dass says –“In fact nuclear weaponry are out of balance with the way of things - The Dao - so you don’t have to cajole or coerce people into acting. You can’t milk it through fear. You can just trust people’s gut. They will react through their own intuitive sense of being in tune with the way.”
“Quiet mind-open heart- we do what we can to relieve suffering” - Ram Dass
“It’s the freedom of consciousness that hears the impeccable act that brings about the healing of the planet and all it’s people so that you are an instrument for the relief of suffering; Even though at another level you can see that suffering is part of the nature of things. And the perfection is that we act to relieve the suffering while acknowledging that both the act and the suffering are part of one mosaic.” - Ram Dass
In this wide ranging interview by Radio For Peace, Ram Dass talks about satsang/community and how it can uplift us as well as become a trap.
“The possibility is there in spiritual community to die into the truth. But people die very hard and as a result fall back on structures that can enhance separateness.”
There is pressure in satsang to conform to the median and that pressure to conform can get individuals calcified. Institutions that are optimum for the spirit are totallt creative and imaginative. We are in the process of dissolving and being creative every moment.”
Ram Dass also talks about belief and faith- “Faith is an aspect of the nature of being. Belief won’t help you when you are facing death.”
In this podcast, Mickey Lemle, filmmaker and director of the Ram Dass documentary Fierce Grace, talks with Ram Dass about the power of storytelling.
Writing sometimes doesn’t allow spiritual concepts to come across fully. Storytelling can convey the direct human experience of spirituality in a more personal and immediate way.
Join Ram Dass and Mickey Lemle as they relive their stories together.
Surya Das joins Ram Dass for a puja side chat at Ram Dass' home on Maui. Surya Das is a bhakta as well as an American Lama. They explore questions like, "What is our true sadhana (spiritual practice)?" - "Are we egos or dharma masters? Or are we simply two brothers on the path to the Guru's feet?" Ram Dass talks about doing practices consciously, giving the example of yoga, where each pose is "shaking hands with God." Surya Das asks, "What keeps us from remembering God in each moment of our lives?"
How far do you have to go to get through the layers of psychology, of defenses, of personalities in order to get to the root of a being, behind those veils where the spark is - the overriding faith in reality beyond the senses.
We are both separate and one. Creator and created. The question is, “Can we allow for free will and at the same time acknowledge that everything is determined?” The trick is to neither identify nor deny either of them.
The confusion of the paradox you find yourself in is that you are in an incarnation that’s totally dedicated to the preservation of it’s own separateness, and at the same time you are awakening to the realization that the entire domain of separateness is but another illusion. So you find yourself marching in the opposite direction of everything you've learned, against everything your body is telling you, against all of the deepest structures of the ego.
Forms are created and exist and disappear into the formless. Methods are the ship crossing the ocean of existence. You entrap yourself in them in order to burn out karma that keeps you from being free. You know that the method works when it self-destructs.
As long as you perceive love as a verb, you are thinking of another person as a separate object to give love to. When we are truly in love, we are in a simple state of “being” love. As an incarnation, you have to understand what it means to live outside of time and space. You have to understand what it means to see a continuing process of which a human birth is but one very minor segment…
We can be the biggest somebody in the world when we have no attachment, but we have to start from somewhere, we can’t start out being nobody. The force of “somebody-ness” that develops the survival mechanisms (social, physical, etc.) is our starting point. It is in the freedom of non-clinging to models about self and other that you begin to tune to and hear the way of things, called the Dao or the Divine Law. When you respect that tuning in yourself, actions that flow from you start to become dharmic. They are acts that release beings from suffering and do not perpetuate the illusion of separate self.
Each of us has in us a psychic DNA memory of the quality of life in the Sat Yuga (the age of truth and purity), where people generally and naturally help each other. This represents an organic flowing of a healthy human heart.
- We are living in the Kali Yuga (Age of Destruction) not the Sat Yuga, where truth does not abound, but isolation, fear and separateness is prevalent. Still there are moments and times when there is a natural expression of helping each other.
- The ultimate alienation is thinking about yourself all the time so you become an object to yourself, you can’t even help yourself.
- Getting over the barrier of “us” and “them” is very tricky.
- If you want to live in a peaceful world, you better be peaceful. If you are full of anger, you won’t bring about much peace. The qualities in yourself determine what qualities manifest in the world.
- When you pit yourself against the way of things, you better expect that it’s going to cost you.
Change is an opportunity for growth, but it requires consciousness that holds an inner quality of equanimity and openness to the unknown. A certain way in which the chaos of the moment doesn't undercut you because you are not dependent on the external for your equanimity. You and I are in training to be instruments in a society where we can be stable in the presence of change, not holding onto the old system, but being able to move into the unknown without fear.
Ram Dass hosts his long time Buddhist friends- Jack Kornfield, Catherine Ingram and Wes Nisker at his home in Maui for an intimate chat on their first meetings - the gathering of the "soul pod" - In the early 70's these westerners took in the essence of Hinduism and Buddhism from the East, deepening their understanding of true nature, and brought it back to the West. The group also discusses "spiritual bypassing", the meaning of suffering and Ultimate Reality.
The whole design of your incarnation is like an incredible computer program that sets you into the exact life situations to move you forward towards true awareness. It’s all perfect. Every part of the birth you are taking is part of the unfolding of the karma you need to burn through. There is not one experience you are having or could have or have had that is not part of that process.
The meaning of honoring Shiva is to give space to ALL of the forces of the universe. To recognize them all, to allow them to be, to not try to shove anything under the rug. It's all Grace: sickness, fatigue, pleasure, pain, there's nothing left in my life other than the teachings that bring me into union with the Divine.
At the moment of orgasm, you transcend your separateness and there is a moment when you merge together. For most people that is the direct route to a spiritually transcendent state. What you learn to do in a lot of yoga forms is awakening the sexual energy, not to the point of orgasm - but just to the point where you draw the energy up the spine into the upper chakras, and you use your partnership to keep awakening that energy.
The more evolved you become spiritually, the less boundaries there are between my energy and THE energy. When your energy is used in a way that is destructive, meaning that it creates suffering to you and other people and creates pain of separation, you want to keep working to move that energy in other ways, to create a more compassionate environment.
Can we take anticipated future suffering and turn it into something that enriches the present moment?
For those of us who want to approach future suffering with some degree of equanimity, mindfulness and open heartedness, the earlier we start, the better.
The more we come into the presence of these phenomena, working with these struggles even though they are not ours yet, the more we will have eaten what we have to eat and digested our reactivity to be able to keep our hearts open.