The desire to become enlightened is still you desiring something. What happens is you start to touch places way beyond what you ever thought you were. Or you start to awaken, and it’s like the bliss is much more incredible, the understanding is more incredible, and so on, and the craving for it. It’s like a supercrave and that desire is what is used to finish all the other desires. Then, near the end of that sequence, you’re left with only that desire; and you see that the desire for it is what’s keeping you from it. Then there’s the having to let go of the desire in order to become it, which is the final process of dying, really. It’s the psychological dying because desiring that last desire is your final statement of who you are. But the predicament is that who you are can’t go through the doorway. You can get right up to the door and you can knock, but you can’t go in. They say “it” can come in, but “you” can’t. That which desires to get through the door gets right up to the door, and then they say, “The desire’s gotta stay right out here. Sorry, leave your shoes outside, but you can come in.” At that point the desire falls away.
What has happened to me now – really interesting – although I still have plenty of other desires that are getting more and more subtle all the time – that desire is really much less than it ever used to be. It’s like – to be as honest as I can – I don’t know what birth I’m in, I don’t know when it’s over. There’s nothing much I can do about it – I’m just living as consciously, and openly and trustingly as I am living and it’s much more like “Here it is, and now what?” I can’t even try to be conscious, because even trying to be conscious is unconscious. So there is no more trying, there is just being. Like, I’ve meditated because I’ve tried to meditate, but I could see that it was just another ego trip. Then finally I’d give it up, and then sometimes I’d be drawn into meditation. Meditation would happen to me. So much more now, my life is happening to me – rather than I’m trying to make it happen.
– Ram Dass, excerpt from The Only Dance There Is
Photography by Nathan Chesky (follow him on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/nathanchesky)
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