Ram Dass https://www.ramdass.org Love Serve Remember Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:12:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Love Serve Remember Ram Dass no Love Serve Remember Ram Dass http://www.ramdass.org/rds/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg https://www.ramdass.org TV-G A Thumbnail Sketch of the History and Future of Interspiritual Dialogue in a Fragmented Era https://www.ramdass.org/thumbnail-sketch-history-future-interspiritual-dialogue-fragmented-era/ https://www.ramdass.org/thumbnail-sketch-history-future-interspiritual-dialogue-fragmented-era/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:05:43 +0000 https://www.ramdass.org/?p=11356 A Thumbnail Sketch of the History and Future of Interspiritual Dialogue in a Fragmented Era by Lama Surya Das Dzogchen Center, Cambridge, MA Thanksgiving 2014 Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh says that eighty percent of everything we think is wrong. I think he’s being generous. My late great mom, Joyce Miller of Long Island, used to say: “Jeffrey, what other people think is none of your business.” Sage advice! Once, when... Read more »]]> A Thumbnail Sketch of the History and Future of Interspiritual Dialogue in a Fragmented Era

by Lama Surya Das
Dzogchen Center, Cambridge, MA
Thanksgiving 2014

Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh says that eighty percent of everything we think is wrong. I think he’s being generous. My late great mom, Joyce Miller of Long Island, used to say: “Jeffrey, what other people think is none of your business.” Sage advice! Once, when my parents grudgingly visited me in Japan in 1975, she said: “Jeffrey, I don’t know about God and Buddha, but I certainly believe in all that is good and true.”

Does humanity and the planetary environment as we know it have to die to be reborn? Is this our KarmAgeddon?

In our increasingly shrinking, interconnected world, we need to evolve from dependence to independence, and even further toward realizing genuine freedom and autonomy within interdependence. I believe that it’s incumbent upon each of us to strive to do so and together become wise Bodhisattvas, collective leaders and altruistic awakeners rich in both smarts and heart. Indra’s cosmic net and universal hologram presaged the Internet in many ways, levelling the playing field and empowering each and all of us as the center of the universal mandala, bar beyond ordinary beyond solipcism . Today, we could well strive together to transform social media into spiritual media by skillful use of the bandwaves, galvanizing into action our committed grassroots networks to genuinely occupy this media-spirit, over which the one per cent will not easily relinquish control.

Mahatma Gandhi said that there are seven blunders causing the violence that plagues the world: wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without character; commerce without morality; science without humanity; worship without sacrifice; politics without principles.

The future starts now. History is composed of an infinite series of last moments. What is the future of anything? That is partly what we ourselves manage to co-create. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. The word religion stems etymologically from the Latin “religio”, to unite or bring together. Unfortunately, religion today too often seems part of the problem rather than contributing to helpful solutions. Extreme views and anachronistic forms of intolerant and dogmatic religiosity seems bent towards bringing humanity to the very brink of self-destruction. Meanwhile, blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.

Interfaith dialogue has given way to “interspiritual” dialogue (ISD), at least on these shores, ever since Brother Wayne Teasdale raised its standard and rallied hearts and minds, bodies and souls to that prophetic vision that was to become our happy cause. Following in the large footsteps of Father Bede Griffiths, an Indian sadhu and Christian saint, decades back he sparked a quiet renaissance in the evolution of religion and spirituality in our troubled time. This ISD movement and coalition challenges us all to develop a profound sense of universal responsibility; joyfully further common efforts to solve common problems; link heads and hands, hearts and minds, and “walk our talk” through collective soul-power. It’s an excellent antidote to the stress and malaise, cynicism, and overwhelming feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness even, that enervate so many today in the face of global socioeconomic problems, environmental degradation, the gelding of institutional religion, and our political oligarchy.

I believe this essentialized global spirituality is the new frontier—inner space, deep and subtle, beyond the polarities of outer/inner, above/below, masculine/feminine, or the fractious “-isms” and schisms of world religions. If and when we plumb this evergreen mystery of our miraculous existence and true nature, we are always amazed at the marvels of spiritual rebirth and transformation.

ISD is really nothing new. Ancient and timeless spiritual traditions have coexisted and communed together for millennia, even before the Axial Age, 2500 years ago, when most of the major world religions were founded.

Good spiritual friends are the whole of the holy life. Find refuge in the Sangha, in kindred spirits, and in community.
–The Buddha

And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.
–The Talmud

In this remote neck of the woods, on the Western frontier of the nascent American colonies—Concord, Massachusetts—Ralph Waldo Emerson epiphanically perceived his spiritual mind as “God’s transparent eyeball.” Along with Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and utopian Bronson Alcott, he helped introduce “Hindoos” and Buddhism (he Lotus Sutra) into the American melting-pot. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Alan Watts, Huston Smith, Joseph Campbell, Baba Ram Dass, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Allen Ginsberg, Rabbi Zalman Schacter, Father Thomas Keating, the Dalai Lama, and even more recently some notable Jewish-Buddhist-Hindu hybrids took the high road and travelled this same interspiritual peace-path.

Native American shamans and indigenous wisdom traditions abounded on these shores, before John Muir took trees and waters from the Catskills to California for his boon companions. Jane Goodall says: “Out in nature you can become a whole human being with heart and brain and spirit all connected and whole.” She would know. Like the harmonious, unimpeded intercourse among the earth, water, fire, air, and space elements; ISD and the creative synergy of spiritual cross-fertilization long predate the advent of humanity on this warm planet. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether the current man-made agitation displayed by the forces of nature will settle down and rebalance, or whether they’re already past the tipping point as we stagger along enjoying the dreams of our somnolence.

Timeless wisdom traditions are another natural resource that we overlook or ignore at our peril. This timely treasure has hardly been recognized as endangered, though we’d do well to research, develop, mine, and explore and even exploit our own innate, natural resources, for a change– hopefully to help tip back the imbalance in favor of sanity, sustainability, and a more equitable and peaceable future.

Our world is increasingly interconnected, interdependent. Though people generally think of Buddhism as an introspective and meditating religion, His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself often says—humbly yet with genuine authority—that we need each other to become enlightened.

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
–Jesus

The Greek root word for communion, koinonia, may just as easily be rendered as “transformation,” “communication,” “joint participation” or “companionship”—suggesting joined spirituality and collective awakening. My old friend Baba Ram Dass recently reminded me of our beloved late guru, Neem Karoli Baba (Maharajji), quoting the monkey-god Hanuman who personifies our own animal nature in selfless service and devotion to the divine: “When I forget who I am, Lord, I serve you. When I remember who I am, I am you.” We may feel from It, but it is never far from us.

I pray:
Lord of peace and bliss,
Show me your face, hold my hand–
Let me be-
Hold thee.

Meanwhile, some of us are fiddling while Rome heats up and burns. The bad news is that 80 per cent of Kansans believe in Creationism rather than Darwinian evolution. The rich continue to get richer and the poor poorer in this world, and quantity not qualities continues to rule. Although the good news includes that Mindfulness stock has been rising in the West of late, and the field is well-trodden—especially by Insight meditation practitioners– one wouldn’t want to reduce it to mere “mental floss” for daily hygiene, like yoga practiced merely for health and looks, or simply the Religion of Sitting. Persoanlly, I’m far more interested in being a Buddha than a mere Buddhist, or becoming solid and still as a stone Buddha statue in the garden.

We must become twenty-first-century Buddhists: compassionate and actively engaged, nonsectarian; studying modern science and democracy; appreciative of the diversity of peoples and faiths.
I believe deeply that we must find, all of us together, a new spirituality. This new concept ought to be elaborated alongside the religions like secular ethics in a way that all people of good will would adhere to it.
–Tenzin Gyatso, The Dalai Lama of Tibet

Prayer is like talking to God, meditation is like listening.
–Father Thomas Merton

Let me make a couple of grand and even seemingly outrageous assertions. First, we’re all Buddhas, by nature; we only have to recognize and awaken to that fact—realizing who and what we are and how we fit into the bigger picture, and how it abides in each and all of us, transcendent yet immanent. Second, nowness-awareness is the ultimate therapy. In the total and ultimate now, present and future—karma (conditioning and reactivity), memory, self-story—are not binding, and the inherent freedom and fullness of being is available.

Nowness-awareness is the ultimate one-step therapy. In the ultimate now, present and future—karma (conditioning and reactivity), memory, self-story—are not binding, and freedom is available. “Being there while getting there, every single step of the way” is one of my favorite personal expressions of what I’ll call nondual wisdom or transcendental awareness—beyond subject, object, and interaction. You can’t obtain it but can be it, at home and one with yourself in your own life.

Learn more about Lama Surya Das at Surya.org.

 

Photo by Vinoth Chandar via Flickr. Used under the creative commons license.

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Ram Dass on Love https://www.ramdass.org/ram-dass-love/ https://www.ramdass.org/ram-dass-love/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:38:45 +0000 https://www.ramdass.org/?p=11350 Ram Dass on Love 1. Tell the truth and love everybody – Ram Dass talks about his two instructions from Maharaji- tell the truth and love everybody. It’s so easy to tell little white lies to make others feel more comfortable, but it is what Maharaji asks us to do. 2. Real love – Ram Dass talks about how... Read more »]]> Ram Dass on Love

1. Tell the truth and love everybody – Ram Dass talks about his two instructions from Maharaji- tell the truth and love everybody. It’s so easy to tell little white lies to make others feel more comfortable, but it is what Maharaji asks us to do.

2. Real love – Ram Dass talks about how Maharaji showed Ram Dass the first view of unconditional love. He loved you no matter what. Maharaji’s heart turned on Ram Dass’ heart and then he could turn on other peoples’ hearts.

3. Love meditation – A meditation concentrating on unconditional love and Maharaji’s eternal presence.

4. Ram Dass and Marci Shimoff on unconditional love – Ram Dass talks with Marci Shimhoff who is a well known author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books for women. Her book Love For No Reason dovetails thematically with Ram Dass’, Be Love Now. In this talk Ram Dass relates how he arrived at the concept for Be Love Now and what unconditional love really is and how a being can become that love.

5. Ram Dass and friends on the love of the guru – They would feel Maharaji’s love, but then they would come up against their fears and their stuff and then he’d just kill it with love. Maharaji would just look at you and giggle and you would forget your stuff. So it was a process of opening to love and the closing off again and then he would open them up again.

6. Ram Dass and friends on the love of the guru part 2 – Ram Dass/Sharon Salzberg and Krishna Das. Ram Dass discusses how he was not at all upset by the “death” of Maharaji, because he just felt his guru change form, and now feels him everywhere.

7. Radiate Love Meditation – A potent love-centered meditation with Ram Dass.

8. Love Everybody – Ram Dass talks about the space of true compassion is that we are all one. We are all talking to ourselves when we talk to one another. There is the plane of the ego, the plane of the Soul, and the plane of the One. As you go on, you gravitate towards the one. Compassion comes from that identity of our oneness. When you help someone, you are helping yourself.

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“Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace” by Anne Lamott https://www.ramdass.org/small-victories-spotting-improbable-moments-grace-anne-lamott/ https://www.ramdass.org/small-victories-spotting-improbable-moments-grace-anne-lamott/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:26:25 +0000 https://www.ramdass.org/?p=11347 “Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace” by Anne Lamott Anne Lamott writes about faith, family, and community in essays that are both wise and irreverent. It’s an approach that has become her trademark. Now in Small Victories, Lamott offers a new message of hope that celebrates the triumph of light over the darkness in our lives. Our victories over hardship and pain may seem... Read more »]]> “Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace” by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott writes about faith, family, and community in essays that are both wise and irreverent. It’s an approach that has become her trademark. Now in Small Victories, Lamott offers a new message of hope that celebrates the triumph of light over the darkness in our lives. Our victories over hardship and pain may seem small, she writes, but they change us—our perceptions, our perspectives, and our lives. Lamott writes of forgiveness, restoration, and transformation, how we can turn toward love even in the most hopeless situations, how we find the joy in getting lost and our amazement in finally being found.

Profound and hilarious, honest and unexpected, the stories in Small Victories are proof that the human spirit is irrepressible.

Purchase this book using the Amazon link below and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Love Serve Remember Foundation:

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Anne Lamott https://www.ramdass.org/anne-lamott/ https://www.ramdass.org/anne-lamott/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:17:08 +0000 https://www.ramdass.org/?p=11340 Anne Lamott “Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who... Read more »]]> Anne Lamott

“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”
― Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus. But armed with self-effacing humor – she is laugh-out-loud funny – and ruthless honesty, Lamott converts her subjects into enchantment. Actually, she writes about what most of us don’t like to think about. She wrote her first novel for her father, the writer Kenneth Lamott, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has said that the book was “a present to someone I loved who was going to die.” In all her novels, she writes about loss – loss of loved ones and loss of personal control. She doesn’t try to sugar-coat the sadness, frustration and disappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice. As she says, “I have a lot of hope and a lot of faith and I struggle to communicate that.” Anne Lamott does communicate her faith; in her books and in person, she lifts, comforts, and inspires, all the while keeping us laughing.

Lamott has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has taught at UC Davis, as well as at writing conferences across the country. Lamott’s biweekly Salon Magazine “online diary,” Word by Word, was voted The Best of the Web by TIME magazine. Academy Award –winning filmmaker Freida Mock has made a documentary on Lamott, entitled “Bird by Bird with Annie” (1999). Anne Lamott has also been inducted into the California Hall of Fame.

(source: )


Counting Our Blessings: Why We Say Grace

by Anne Lamott

No matter how you say it, grace can transform an ordinary meal into a celebration—of family, love, and gratitude.

We didn’t say grace at our house when I was growing up because my parents were atheists. I knew even as a little girl that everyone at every table needed blessing and encouragement, but my family didn’t ask for it. Instead, my parents raised glasses of wine to the chef: Cheers. Dig in. But I had a terrible secret, which was that I believed in God, a divine presence who heard me when I prayed, who stayed close to me in the dark. So at 6 years old I began to infiltrate religious families like a spy—Mata Hari in plaid sneakers.

One of my best friends was a Catholic girl. Her boisterous family bowed its collective head and said, “Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts. …” I was so hungry for these words; it was like a cool breeze, a polite thank-you note to God, the silky magnetic energy of gratitude. I still love that line.

I believed that if your family said grace, it meant you were a happy family, all evidence to the contrary. But I saw at certain tables that an improvised grace could cause friction or discomfort. My friend Mark reports that at his big southern childhood Thanksgivings, someone always managed to say something that made poor Granny feel half dead. “It would be along the lines of ‘And Lord, we are just glad you have seen fit to keep Mama with us for one more year.’ We would all strain to see Granny giving him the fisheye.” …

Continue Reading via Parade.com Here.


 

Watch Below: Ann’s Unconventional Definition of Prayer – from Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Series

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Extraordinary Experiences https://www.ramdass.org/extraordinary-experiences/ https://www.ramdass.org/extraordinary-experiences/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:49:23 +0000 https://www.ramdass.org/?p=11331 Extraordinary Experiences Many sensations come, many thoughts or images arise, but they are just waves of your own mind. Nothing comes from outside your mind. To realize pure mind in your delusion is practice. If you try to expel the delusion it will only persist the more. Just say, “Oh, this is just delusion.” And do not... Read more »]]> Extraordinary Experiences

Many sensations come, many thoughts or images
arise, but they are just waves of your own mind.
Nothing comes from outside your mind.
To realize pure mind in your delusion is
practice. If you try to expel the delusion it will
only persist the more. Just say, “Oh, this is just
delusion.” And do not be bothered by it.

– Shunryu Suzuki

In Brindavana, the sacred city where Krishna dances with the gopis, there is a dudhwalla, a milk seller. He’s a true devotee of Krishna. Once he was selling milk, and because of his purity, Krishna with his shakti Radha came right up to the stand, there on the street in Brindavana, and bought some milk. He actually saw them. His eyes are as though they had been burned out by a brilliant bulb. He can talk about nothing but the moment that Krishna and Radha came to his dudhstand. He’s not worried about how much milk he sells anymore. He’s had the ecstasy of seeing God in the form of light. And that’s who he is this lifetime. It’s a high place to be.

Shouldn’t that be enough? Won’t you settle for ecstasy? Bliss? Rapture? Hanging out with the gods? Flying? Bet you always wanted to fly. Reading other people’s minds? “What power would you settle for?” said the devil to Jesus in the desert. You must want something. Whatever you want you get, sooner or later. And there you are. As long as you are not finished with that desire, you are entrapped.

When you are attracted to powers and seduced by pleasures, what had been a vertical path turns horizontal. As long as your goal falls short of full liberation, you will be trapped by these experiences. If you know you want the long-range goal, that knowledge will help you give up the desires for these states along the way. As each desire arises there will be a struggle with your ego. Part of you wants to enjoy the seductive pleasures, part wants to give them up and push on.

One way to handle extraordinary experiences is to be neither horrified or intrigued by them. The Tibetan Book of the Dead refers to the ten thousand horrible and the ten thousand beautiful visions. In the course of meditation you may meet them all: powers, great beauty, deaths, grotesqueries, angels, demons, all of it. These are just forms, the stuff of the universe. You confront them on the path just as you meet all manner of people when you walk a busy street. Notice them, acknowledge them – don’t deny them – and then let them go. To cling to these heavens and hells, no matter how beautiful, slows your progress. Not to acknowledge them, or to push them away, is just a more subtle form of clinging. Follow the middle way. As stuff arises in your mind, let it arise, notice it, let it go. No clinging.

 

- Ram Dass

 

Photo by Vinoth Chandar via Flickr. Used under the creative commons license.

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