Mon, 12 September 2016
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.
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.
Thu, 25 August 2016
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.
Thu, 28 July 2016
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
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.
Tue, 5 July 2016
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.
Direct download: Ep._96_-_Trust_Contentment_and_the_Guru_-_Final_cut.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46am EDT
Thu, 2 June 2016
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.”
Direct download: Here_and_Now_-_Ep._95_-_Plumbing_the_Depths_of_the_Mystery.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:55am EDT
Fri, 8 April 2016
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.
Direct download: Here_and_Now_-_Ep._94_-_Tracing_Our_Spiritual_Journey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21pm EDT
Mon, 7 March 2016
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.
Mon, 8 February 2016
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.
Fri, 15 January 2016
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.
Direct download: Here_and_Now_-_Ep._91_-_More_Profound_Than_Miracles.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02pm EDT
Fri, 18 December 2015
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.