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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Saying “Yes” – Meeting Your Edge and Softening

Our habitual ways of avoiding unpleasant experience keep us from intimacy with our inner life and with each other. This talk helps us recognize these often unconscious patterns that keep us identified with a separate, threatened self, and offers guidance in saying “yes” to the life we encounter. As we release resistance, we discover the creativity, wisdom and love that express our unbound, true, nature.

Listen to the accompanying meditation: Saying “Yes” to Life.

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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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The Answer Was Easy

I arrived home with suit cases to unpack and responsibilities waiting for me. Occasionally after traveling, there is a slight lag in my enthusiasm for house hold chores. Other times, I love opening windows, lighting candles and getting to work. It just depends on how I’m feeling.

 
That day, I had to do something to stir up the energy, not just in my mind, but my body. It felt like low energy was filling up the space around me. I needed a little something to make me feel awake, alive and inspired. I put the challenge out to my family, what activity were they up for? We all love being outside, but I needed something out of my comfort level. I knew that if I did something with a little fear factor, it would wake me up. 

 
The answer was easy... Zip lining. I have always declined zip lining on family vacations. I don’t like the height, or the lack of control. Perfect; two things for me to work on, letting go of control and letting go of my fear of height. 

 
Reservations made! I unpacked my suit case and began to look forward to a new adventure. As soon as the commitment was made, I felt better. My body and mind responded to the idea of an adventure. I felt lighter. A heaviness disappeared and things began to flow. 
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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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Do we “get” diseases or create them?

I know this can be a very controversial topic… I’ll share my thoughts on it below and I would love to hear your thoughts as well on this statement:

If there is no source of illness, why are there so many sick people? It is because they have found lots of excuses to hold themselves in vibrational discord with wellness. They are not letting it in. And when they don’t let it in, the absence of it looks like sickness. And when enough of them do it you say, “Oh, there must be a source of sickness. In fact, let’s give it a label. Let’s call it cancer. Let’s call it AIDS. Let’s call it all kinds of terrible things, and let’s imply that it jumps into people’s experience.” And we say it never jumps into anybody’s experience. It’s just that people learn through trial and error, and — through banging around with each other — patterns of thought that don’t let it in.
—Abraham


So, they way I see it, and I remember when I first heard this concept, it seemed too far off, not true and I had a lot of resistance to it. However, over the past 20 years I have come to learn, through experience, that it is VERY true. I see it everyday, not only in my own life experience but in that of my clients and students. To simplify it, I would say this…

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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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What Is It Like Being You?

Compassion is hard wired in our organism, and can be cultivated. This talk helps us identify the blocks to compassion—our outmoded survival equipment—and using RAIN, offers practical guidance in mindfully attuning to others’ emotional experience and awakening our natural tenderness and care. This talk includes a short introduction to the meditation: The RAIN of Compassion.

Empathy is the ability to feel what other people feel… compassion includes empathy, and it also has the quality of caring and concern that wants to help. Compassion means “to suffer together,” but it is really defined by a quivering of the heart that wants to help…

Compassion is our evolutionary potential. We have a capacity for affiliative care, to tune in to each other and to care about each other. And, really, this capacity is the hope of our world…

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Freedom from your past

Sometimes your viewpoint can cause unnecessary suffering. When you see the past as experiences that were done to you, then you become the victim. When you take the stance that that person did this to you, he said that to you, she thought that about you, you view life in a false way. No one is ever doing anything to you. No one has that power. Everyone is showing up exactly, yes exactly as they must show up FOR you; for your evolution and expansion and realization.

This is quite difficult for some to believe, especially if you experienced abuse and trauma at the hands of another. Everything in life is happening for your awakening. It is you that places a limited judgment upon it and by doing so you set limitations upon yourself. These limited judgments disempower you. No one can disempower you except yourself. It is a choice stemming from the viewpoint you attach to your past.

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The Answer to Dying

The answer to dying is to be present in the moment. And the way in which you die is by being conscious at the moment of dying and saying, ‘Right! Look at this! Far out! Look at this energy!’

Be fully conscious now. People say to me ‘Is this the Aquarian Age do you think? Do you think the Apocalypse is about to occur? Are we in the dark as part of the Kali Yuga? What do you think?’ And I say ‘I have no idea!’ ‘Are the dark forces going to win? Is somebody going to push the button? Have you noticed that as you go around the world the tremendous resurgence of the living spirit?’ All I say is that as I get higher I notice highness every where I look, but that’s just my projective system I don’t know what’s going on out there. But the further point it that I don’t care, that’s my predicament. I’m not waiting for the Messiah, I don’t care whether there’s an avatar or if there isn’t an avatar.

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Do you feel as if your mind is spinning out of control?

  • Are you feeling overwhelmed?
  • Are you beating yourself up because you’re not doing what you said you would do for this year?
  • Are you overloaded at work so much, that you don't have time for yourself?
  • Is your mind running, running, running with negative thoughts, which can so easily become self-destructive?


Firstly, it’s important to realize that your soul has been trying to get your attention – possibly for a long time! As a psychic and a medium, I believe that most of the drama in our lives manifests when we don’t live in accordance with our inner-guidance. Your soul knows what it wants and what it needs. If you’re not in alignment with it, then your life can easily become off-balanced and the outside world then manifests what’s happening on the inside.

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Looking Through the Eyes of Another – Transforming Separation into Shared Consciousness

I often talk about how suffering arises from the unseen, unfelt parts of ourselves. Only when we become aware of what is here and bring presence to what we have been running from can we discover wholeness and freedom.

The same is true when we explore our relationships to each other and the world. We cannot be free if we are pushing anyone out of our hearts. If we are discounting, rejecting, or turning away, we are not living from our wholeness. It creates suffering. When we live in resentment, we have separated ourselves and pulled away from our belonging.

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Using Mantra to Connect to the Sacred

A word, a name of God, or a spiritual phrase that is repeated over and over again is known as a mantra.

The practice of mantra is an effective way to concentrate your mind. But as important as concentrating your mind is what you concentrate on. Although the mind can focus on anything, only certain words can qualify as a mantra. A mantra must connect you with the sacred. Most of them focus you on God through repetition of a divine name. A mantra provides a boat with which you can float through your thoughts unattached, entering subtler and subtler realms. It is a boat that steers itself – to the threshold of God.

The use of mantra sets up one thought, one wave, that repeats over and over again, dislodging your attachment to all other thoughts, until they are like birds gliding by… Offer all your thoughts as a sacrifice to the mantra. If you think, “This isn’t going to work,” take that thought and imagine yourself offering it to the mantra on a golden tray with a silk handkerchief, incense and a candle. Offer it as you continue to repeat the mantra undisturbed. Keep offering your thoughts, your doubts, discomforts, boredom, even your sore throat.

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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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Create Mindfulness with Oracle Cards

In 1990 I was introduced to a book and author that was to change my life. The book was (and is) called Full Catastrophe Living and Jon Kabat Zinn Ph.D. the founder of MBSR,  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction probably was the single most powerful teacher I had that helped me cope with the back to back deaths of my parents.

I was four years sober and nutty as a fruitcake as I had no real understanding of my empathy overload, or what to do with my constant anxiety, especially because I had begun doing professional work as an intuitive and had no clue as to how I was receiving such intimate information. Looking back I see myself on electricity overload all lit up like a Christmas tree.

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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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Emotional Contagion – What Energy Are You Spreading?

I’ve been immersed in a lot of reading lately looking for new ways to compassionately work with the more difficult energies that are causing our most recent chaotic astro weather. I’m excited to share some great solutions this week for staying conscious and connected. But first, let’s talk about the energies that can be challenging.

 

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