When the faith is strong enough, it is sufficient just to be. It's a journey towards simplicity, towards quietness, towards a kind of joy that is not in time. It's a journey that has taken us from primary identification with our body and our psyche, on to an identification with God, and ultimately beyond identification.
I remember my first visit with my guru. He had shown that he read my mind. So I looked at the grass and I thought, 'My god, he's going to know all the things I don't want people to know.' I was really embarrassed. Then I looked up and he was looking directly at me with unconditional love.
You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don't have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success - none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.
We come into relationships often very much identified with our needs. I need this, I need security, I need refuge, I need friendship. And all of relationships are symbiotic in that sense. We come together because we fulfill each others' needs at some level or other.
Pain is the mind. It's the thoughts of the mind. Then I get rid of the thoughts, and I get in my witness, which is down in my spiritual heart. The witness that witnesses being. Then those particular thoughts that are painful - love them. I love them to death!
Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It's not 'I love you' for this or that reason, not 'I love you if you love me.' It's love for no reason, love without an object.
In our Western culture, although death has come out of the closet, it is still not openly experienced or discussed. Allowing dying to be so intensely present enriches both the preciousness of each moment and our detachment from it.
When I used to perform weddings, the image I always had was the image of a triangle, in which there are two partners and then there is this third force, this third being, that emerges out of the interaction of these two. The third one is the one that is the shared awareness that lies behind the two of them.
When I look at relationships, my own and others, I see a wide range of reasons for people to be together and ways in which they are together. I see ways in which a relationship - which means something that exists between two or more people - for the most part reinforces people's separateness as individual entities.
In working with those who are dying, I offer another human being a spacious environment with my mind in which they can die as they need to die. I have no right to define how another person should die. I'm just there to help them transition, however they need to do it.
If I go into the place in myself that is love, and you go into the place in yourself that is love, we are together in love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That's the entrance to Oneness. That's the space I entered when I met my guru.
Most of us are convinced that we are our egos, which is who we think we are. The ego is part of our incarnation. It dies with the body, which is why we are so afraid of death. Death scares the hell out of who you think you are, especially if you think you are this body.
Meditation means to be constantly extricating yourself from the clinging of mind. By letting go of even the thought 'I,' and 'me' what is left? There is nowhere to stand and no one to stand there. No separation anywhere. Pure awareness. Neither this, nor that. Just clarity and being.
The offering up or cleaning up ego stuff is called purification. Purification is the act of letting go. This is done out of discriminative awareness. That is, you understand that you are an entity passing through a life in which the entire drama is an offering for your awakening.
I will work on myself, since the work on myself is going to be the highest thing I can do for it all, since I understand that as man up-levels his own consciousness, he sees more creative solutions to the problems that he's confronting.
The dark night of the soul is when you have lost the flavor of life but have not yet gained the fullness of divinity. So it is that we must weather that dark time, the period of transformation when what is familiar has been taken away and the new richness is not yet ours.
Many of us are caught in separateness and we look for love out there, out there. But then as we proceed inside there will be the love. The universe is an example of love. Like a tree. Like the ocean. Like my body. Like my wheelchair. I see the love.
There is message to the community that a non-governmental process is underway to bring about social change, it's a public one, and people like Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, and Mikhail Gorbachev are throwing their weight behind it. In a world where there's a lot of cynicism and despair, this has a candle-lighting effect.
Death has such great importance in this society that it affects everything. I learned from my guru that death is not the enemy, I see it as another moment. Yet it's the end of an incarnation and means going on to other incarnations.
As the haves and have-nots split further and further apart, destabilization ultimately leads to revolution, not evolution. If we're playing the evolution vs. revolution game, we are closer to revolution than we are to evolution in my concept.
If we are to help heal the world, we need to remember that it is a sacred place. Our actions need to be positive statements, reminders that even in the worst times there is a world worth struggling for.
The satsang is - within the mass culture - like little mushrooms here and there, and somebody, maybe a Christian and a Hindu and a Buddhist, come together; doesn't matter, because those are paths. They're paths to the One. But those satsangs are what the world needs. And as I say - heart to heart - that's what satsang is.
If we can give up attachment to our roles as helpers, then maybe our clients can give up attachment to their roles as patients and we can meet as fellow souls on this incredible journey. We can fulfill the duties of our roles without being trapped by over-identifica tion with them.
The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it's in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I'm caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.
If you meditate regularly, even when you don't feel like it, you will make great gains, for it will allow you to see how your thoughts impose limits on you. Your resistances to meditation are your mental prisons in miniature.
When you are in the presence of unconditional love, that is the optimum environment for your heart to open, because you feel safe, because you realize nobody wants anything from you. The minute that heart opens, you are once again letting in the flow. And that flow is where you experience God.
After meditating for some years, I began to see the patterns of my own behavior. As you quiet your mind, you begin to see the nature of your own resistance more clearly, struggles, inner dialogues, the way in which you procrastinate and develop passive resistance against life. As you cultivate the witness, things change. You don't have to change them. Things just change.
Psychedelics helped me to escape.. albeit momentarily.. from the prison of my mind. It over-rode the habit patterns of thought and I was able to taste innocence again. Looking at sensations freshly without the conceptual overly was very profound.
Maharaj-ji, in my first darshan, my first meeting with him, showed me his powers. At that point I was impressed with the power. But subsequently, I realized that it was really his love that pulled me in. His love is unconditional love.
The stroke has given me another way to serve people. It lets me feel more deeply the pain of others; to help them know by example that ultimately, whatever happens, no harm can come. 'Death is perfectly safe,' I like to say.
A Tibetan Lama said to me, "The best place to stand, Ram Dass, is halfway between hope and hopelessness." So I can write a scenario for the 21st century in either direction. One is that it all goes to hell and that it's truly the dark age.
By going into third world countries and serving, by actually feeding and helping people, I've been led to focus a little more on how people here try to be happy by ignoring other people who are unhappy.
So you work on yourself as a gift to other human beings. Then you use every situation you have with other human beings as a vehicle to work on yourself by seeing where you get stuck-where you push, where you grab, where you judge, where you do all the stuff.
As we grow in our consciousness, there will be more compassion and more love, and then the barriers between people, between religions, between nations will begin to fall. Yes, we have to beat down the separateness.