A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

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Part 1: Vulnerability, Intimacy, & Spiritual Awakening

We each live with uncertainty and the fear of rejection and loss, and we each are conditioned to avoid feeling or expressing that vulnerability. Yet intimacy with this unlived life is the gateway to connecting authentically with others, full aliveness and spiritual realization. These talks explore the ways that we defend ourselves, and the pathway to gently, wisely and intelligently disarming and freeing our hearts (a favorite from the archives).



Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle, Van Jones and more in this 10 day Free online Event. 



If I’m not free to fail, I’m not free to take risks, and everything in life that’s worth doing involves a willingness to take a risk. – Madeleine L’Engle

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love. – Rainer Maria Rilke

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I am surrounded by death but experience LOVE!

Death… it is the one journey we will ALL walk. 7.2 billion people on this planet will experience death, whether it’s the death of a loved one, a friend, a pet, or ultimately their own. It is an absolute!

As a Psychic Medium I am surrounded by death on a daily basis, whether it is through clients that come to see me for help to connect with their deceased loved ones, through the volunteer work I do with Find Me (a non-profit group that works with police and search and rescue teams to solve missing person’s cases and bring closure to families that have felt tragic, extreme loss) or in my own personal life through close family and friends that have died in heartbreaking ways.

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Dealing With Suffering and Seeing it as Grace

Question: What are some of the ways that I can deal with suffering and then start taking it to a place of Grace?

Ram Dass: For most people, when you say that suffering is Grace it seems off the wall to them. And we’ve got to deal now with our own suffering and other people’s suffering. That is certainly a distinction that is very real, because even if we understand the way in which suffering is Grace – and the way in which it can be a vehicle for our awakening, it’s quite different to look at somebody else’s suffering and say it’s Grace. And Grace is something that an individual can see about their own suffering and then use it to their advantage. It is not something that can be a rationalization for allowing another human being to suffer. And you have to listen to the level at which another person is suffering. And when somebody is hungry you give them food. As my guru said, God comes to the hungry person in the form of food. You give them food and then when they’ve had their belly filled then they may be interested in questions about God. Even though you know from, say, Buddhist training, or whatever spiritual training you have had, that the root cause of suffering is ignorance about the nature of dharma. To give somebody a dharma lecture when they are hungry is just inappropriate methodology in terms of ending suffering.

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Waking Up From The Matrix with Dr. Bruce Lipton

Summer is winding down and the Evolution is heating-up. Confrontation, strife and violence are becoming daily events. On the surface we see the fire, but beneath in the darkness and quiet, the seeds of a new world are beginning to germinate.

In the face of dysfunctional leadership, a planetary Grassroots Movement by-the-people and for-the-people is arising. The character of this upheaval is that it represents a bottom-up, nonhierarchical community of “ordinary” people taking back control of their personal lives and changing the collective world we inhabit. As the science continuously emphasizes, this is a participatory evolution.

The movie the Matrix is generally perceived as a work of science fiction. In truth, it is a documentary … for the first seven years of life, the mind of every human has been “programmed.” Unfortunately, most people are totally unaware of their own subconscious programming. “Unfortunate” because the vast majority of the invisible programming we acquired create behaviors that are disempowering, limiting and self-sabotaging. AND, they are responsible for shaping 95% of our lives!

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What Is Christ Consciousness?

Christ Consciousness is both too complex and too simple to define. So the only choice I see is to write around it, stimulate thought rather than limiting it.


For my purposes here, let’s leave out the historical Jesus. Jesus is important because he embodied Love, true Godly love, in his life and teachings. He is revered as God and Man as One.


And let’s leave out the various religious denominations, all of them, to consider Jesus as Christ.


Christ means Anointed, or the Anointed One. (It’s from Greek, Χριστός, Christos.) A stopping place for many Christians is that there are more paths to Heaven than one. (For more on this, see Joseph Campbell’s cornerstone book, The Hero of a Thousand Faces.)


“When he said son of God, he meant the infinite Christ consciousness with which he'd obtained oneness.” ---Goswami Kriyananda

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Ram Dass Reminisces about his Neuroses

Now, what happened in the late ’60s was that there was a bifurcation of people into political-social activists and spiritual seekers. In those days, they were the two different groups.

Both of them had had an experience of what was possible, and one group said, “For all of it to happen, you’ve got to change the way things are,” and the other group said, “I’ve gotta change me first, and in order to do that, I have to push everything else away.” That’s what’s known as the renunciate path, which says the world of desire, the world of politics, the world of drama is so thick and seductive that what I must do is draw my awareness back from that. I must renounce the forms in order to cultivate a space where I can hear the deeper truths, and quiet flutes of deeper truths amidst the screaming trumpets of my desire system.

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Finding Home

It seems that we are always getting ready for something. Always preparing for the next step, even though the next step will come whether we prepare for it or not. We think we have control of our lives but we don’t. We pack and unpack our memories, accumulating more and more—until death arrives to show us how memories fall away as does the illusion of control. To move from one place to another is to experience a death of sorts and a loosening of control. Every ending is an opening to something greater.

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Sharpening Your Awareness Skills: No. 2 Holding Focus

The complex issue of consciousness may seem abstract, but in daily life the the simple rule is, the more aware you are, the better. Awareness comes naturally, yet some people are more skilled at using their awareness than others. They have acquired certain skills, which in fact anyone can learn--and should.

This is the second in a series of articles about skills in awareness--the first was on how to remain centered. Being centered. Being centered brings you into the present moment. Having mastered this skill, you are not easily distracted, flustered, or thrown off balance. The next skill has to do with focus, sometimes called one-pointed awareness.

Whenever you really want something, keeping focused on it comes naturally. But does awareness have its own power to bring about results? In other words, leaving aside the work needed to create an accomplishment, can you find a quicker, easier path by being more conscious? To find out, you must use a special kind of focus, known as “clear intention.”

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What happens when we make assumptions about spiritual methods?

Good evening, my name is Ram Dass, which means, “Servant of God.” However, I also use it as an acronym for “Rent-A-Mouth,” because sitting up here implies something that I don’t really cop to.

It’s hard not to get into a model of who I am and who you are because of the way we’re sitting. And as far as I can see, you know what I know. It’s what Aldous Huxley calls the “perennial philosophy”. I know you know it because when I say the deepest thing I figured out, you’re out there going like, “yes, yes.” But we need to gather in these kind of ritualistic processes to say it to ourselves again. It’s like Satsang, or Sangha – to come and experiment in truth.

See, I don’t even have any idea who to be tonight because I’ve spent so many years becoming nobody that now I could be whatever somebody is appropriate, and since the lights are set up I can’t see you, so I’m basically talking to myself. That’s interesting. It changes the whole nature of the lecture, by the way, because the lights are up, I can see some people sitting there like someone else brought them and they’re having to be here.

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Name Dropping

So many unexpected events and experiences have arisen in the process of moving from Massachusetts to Florida, everything from the sale of the house where we rented there to finding a condo here that far exceeds anything we could have imagined. Probably the most surprising pop-up occurrence was finding out that I had to have my name legally changed in order to obtain a Florida driver’s license. What?! Well, you see, my mother named me “Peggy,” but she used “Margaret” on my birth certificate because the former was traditionally considered a nickname for the latter and not the real name. Of course, today no one cares much about that tradition, and you can name your child “Redwood” if you so choose.

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How can we stay grounded within a conscious relationship?

We can see that a lot of our spiritual practices are moving us from ego to soul. We’re clawing our way up and out of the darkness.

It’s a darkness which turns out to be not dark at all, but it seems shadowy from where we’ve been. So we claw up, and then when we’re at soul, and we’re established in soul-ness, we start to have that beautiful dialogue that Rumi and Kabir speak about, we’re intimate with the Beloved, with the guest:

“Where are you, old friend? Where have you been? Where can I find you? I hunger to be with you.”

It’s no longer a practice now. It’s like making love, a celebration of the many with the one. You’re constantly “Ahh, ahhhhhh.” I can only invite you to read that poetry to feel that the separation of you from all of it is not a mistake. It’s not a failure. It’s part of the dance of form and formlessness, so that you are “the One” and you are also “the many”.

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Reconnecting With Your Soul's Desires

I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. I have been in Greece for the past week or so. Although I have done a lot of traveling this year, my trips, although amazing, have been full of early morning wake-up calls and jam-packed itineraries. This trip was a true vacation, especially the last five days in Mykonos. I got up on my own accord and my biggest decision of the day was which beach club to explore. I enjoyed a wonderful beach read and basically flowed into each moment, one moment at a time.

 

Although most people like to stay connected when they travel, I reveled in the delight of disconnection.

 

Generally identifying myself as a person who loves structure and thrives on my ability to multi-task and accomplish so much in a day, I was shocked at how good I was at doing nothing! And I enjoyed it! Yet somewhere in between my third beach club and seventh Greek salad (yes, I was enjoying a feta-thon!), a very cool thing happened. As my life got quieter, I was able to hear a voice I hadn’t connected with in a while. I was able to hear the whisperings of my soul.

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Expanded Awareness and Success

Only about half of Americans tell pollsters that they still believe the American Dream is attainable. If the dream is the same as achieving success, perhaps there's a more optimistic way to think about the whole issue.

To have worldly success, do you have to be worldly yourself? Most people assume that the answer is yes. The poet Wordsworth may complain that "the world is too much with us late and soon," but modern life seems to demand total immersion in the race to the top. If you stop looking out for number one, no one else is likely to, and in a highly competitive workplace, there's only room for winners.

In earlier posts I've pointed out that the world's wisdom traditions don't agree with this viewpoint. The path to happiness isn't through obeying the demands of the ego-personality, with its constant focus on "I, me, and mine." But one must be realistic.

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What happens when your righteousness and mind trips disappear?

The predicament is that as you awaken you realize you have been the perpetrator of the conspiracy you’re caught in.

It’s not real paranoia, it’s not like, “They did it to me. They’ve got this terrible conspiracy.” You’re it. You are it. We are it. We are the conspiracy, and the interesting question is, when you extricate your awareness from being part of the conspiracy, what happens? A mature person isn’t in the conspiracy, and is not in the conspiracy even to the point of putting down the conspiracy. They’re just not in it, and then them not being in it, buying it, becomes freedom they are able to offer others, for them to also not get caught in it all.

It’s as if we meet through our prison cells.

To see the maturity of being able to extricate your awareness from entrapment in a role, and then, without violence, still fulfill the role, it requires coming from a different place.

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How can we balance solitude and socialization on the spiritual path?

Maharaji said to me, “Ram Dass, you shouldn’t be with people very much. You should be alone. You should take your food alone. You should eat alone. You should just be alone.”

So I went back to the hotel where all of the Western devotees were hanging out, and I put up a sign on my door that said, “Do not disturb,” and I stayed in my room. Two days later a couple that was with us had a fight during the night. The next morning they were with Maharaji and he said, “You were fighting? When? Well did you tell Ram Dass?” and they said, “No, he had that sign on his door saying DO NOT DISTURB!” He said, “Oh… you didn’t go to Ram Dass? He wasn’t there for you?” He said this and looked at me in disgust and I was about to say to him, “But you said I was supposed to be alone.”

 

In those conflicting messages I found a message, that at first you have to be alone by pulling back from people, before you can understand what the game is. Then, finally you see that the game is to be with people, yet always be somewhat alone.

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How Reality Is Made: The Play of Consciousness

It’s a peculiar part of being human that we have both a mind and consciousness but cannot tell them apart. The difference is that the mind is constantly in motion, producing sensations, thoughts, images, and feelings, while consciousness is the basic “stuff” of the mind, which remains unchanged no matter how active the mind is. By analogy, paintings are produced by endlessly combining colors in new ways, while “color” itself is unaffected. A painting can neither create nor destroy color.

 

This inability to know the difference between mind and consciousness has created a trap that we all fall into. We create something from the “stuff” of consciousness and then forget that we created it. The trap becomes obvious with something like a dictatorship, when an ordinary human being becomes a figure of total belief and worship. From outside the ideology, you can see the deception—the very people who feel powerless before the dictator in fact created him and then felt powerless before him. But similar deceptions in everyday life escape our notice, and in that way, we trap ourselves.

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What is our purpose on earth at this moment?

When you as an individual feel threatened, one of the things you do is feel power through a group identity.

You feel power through identifying with a country, “We’re Americans,” and all of what that represents. When the Jews faced the Holocaust, which placed the individual life so utterly at the whim of a dark force, the people, as millions of them were destroyed, increased their identification with the group rather than with the individual, because although that group was still vulnerable, it was less vulnerable than the individual.

 

It’s important that compassion exists in our hearts for whatever changes go down. We have to be able to deal with uncertainty, change, chaos and loss of power without the depth of the fear that makes us go into massive denial and massive violence to other human beings.

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What are some methods to help us inhabit the fullness of our being?

The interesting question is, “How do I manage this temple for consciousness? How do I take care of my body? How do I do it without being trapped by taking care of it?”

 

You will see that the minute something is wrong with you, if you’re not very careful your consciousness will narrow, until you’re busy being your symptoms. The minute you start to cultivate these techniques of mindfulness, you begin to see the game that you’re playing, the life that you’re living, the way it’s unfolding, the roles you’re in, and you listen more deeply into your life, so that you hear what roles are. What you’ll learn is that you have a unique karmic predicament and that will manifest in certain ways at each moment, and to the extent that you push against the manifestation, it takes a lot of juice. Ultimately what you’re doing is dancing deeply, but lightly. There’s no clinging.

 

The statement, “Hold lightly, let go lightly,” is to be in it without clinging. And to differentiate, it’s interesting because when we love somebody we want to possess them, we want more of them, we want to collect them, we keep wanting to hold on while we keep getting these old moldering dead butterflies in our collection. You know – old loves that were a moment of love, and then we destroyed them through possessing them – and the letting go of holding your interpretation of the moment too tightly.

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From Human Doing to Human Being – Part 1

Like Sisyphus eternally pushing the boulder up the hill, we can spend many moments busily trying to manage our life. This two-part talk explores how we can awaken from our non-stop doing, including the incessant inner narrative, and discover the mystery, love and freedom that arises in Being.

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Anandamayi Ma: Serving the Formless Through Forms

I’d like to share with you two bits of wisdom from one of my favorite saints, Anandamayi Ma.

For those of you who have been on our circuit together for years, you may have many pictures of her by now, because we usually hand out pictures of her. The reason I like these quotes is because they convey two different planes of consciousness, one of them in which she exists ‘in form’ and the other in which she’s ‘beyond form.’ In each of these, when she’s speaking, she’s speaking from that place at that moment, and it gives you a chance to hear, which is not so frequent, from a true ‘free’ being on different levels of consciousness.

 

So, when she is in the level of ‘form,’ she has millions of devotees and beings in her presence. For me, it was like being with a wild deer or fox or something like that, just an intimate, non-human connection, non-social.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind