First of all, we have to understand that we are humans who are awakening to an awarenesses of soul, if you want to use that term. We’re awakening out of the illusion of our separateness and from our identification with our bodies and our personalities. As we awaken, as we pull back, we listen clearly to hear how we are to be on earth.
What is our work on earth that allows us to awaken fully? How do we awaken fully through what we do on earth?
Later on in your evolution, you get to the point where you want to be free so badly that you are drawn to the things that are more difficult, because those are the things that are catching you. The places where you’re out of balance. Some people meditate because it’s natural for them to meditate. At other times, they meditate because they hate it, and that’s fine too. You’re guided by your intuitive wisdom about that. You see, at first that’s the difference between high and free.
Now in terms of listening for unique manifestation, you’ve got to understand that as forms we’re in a world of changing phenomena, that everything’s changing all the time. There’s a story that many of you are familiar with of Mahatma Gandhi, who was leading a march to the sea – no, it wasn’t the Salt march, but it was another one. After several days there were many thousands of people following him, and whether he saw that there would be violence or something else, he stopped the march. His people said to him, “Mahatma-ji, you can’t just stop the march. I mean, people have left their work, they follow you, they believe in you. You can’t do that.” And he said, “I’m a human, God knows absolute truth. I am a human – I only know relative truth. My understanding of the truth changes from day to day. My commitment is to truth – not consistency, I’m sorry.”
Now, that’s very critical, because when you’re listening for your unique manifestation, you’ve got to understand that what you hear this moment may be different than what you hear a moment later. You have to deal with the inconsistency, and everybody’s expectations that you will be consistent. So you have to be ready to know that what you hear at one moment about unique manifestation is going to constantly be changing and changing and changing, and you’ve got to be listening afresh each time.
You’re listening for a unique manifestation, meaning the form of expression that will be the confluence between your Karma and your Dharma.
Karma is the unfolding of the laws of cause and effect that have made you into what you are, and that are still affecting you. When you think something, you’re not thinking within a vacuum, you’re thinking it as a result of how you’ve learned to think things in the past, and how your parents thought, and what your chemistry is inside your brain, and all sorts of things are affecting what you think at this moment. That’s your karma.
Your Dharma is that which brings you home. It brings you to truth, it brings you to God, it brings you to Oneness. It brings you back into unity, it brings you out of the illusion of separateness. The Dharma is the Way, or the path. It’s the appropriate action. So what you’re doing, as you listen more quietly, as you pull back more inside in a meditative space, you hear the way your Dharma is unfolding.
You intuitively hear and feel your route home and you keep feeling these things together.
At one point, my guru Neem Karoli Baba said to me after I asked, “How do I know God?” He said to me, “Ram Dass, feed people.” And I figured he didn’t understand or the translation was weird, because I expected him to give me a mantra or something. I said, “How can I get enlightened?” and he said, “Serve people.” And that’s in me somewhere. That is my Karma. It’s also my Dharma. I’ve tried to resist it all the way. I said to myself, “What does he know? He’s an old fat man, and I’ll go meditate,” see… But every time I’d meditate, the quieter I’d get, the more I’d feel I should be out serving people. So here I am. Can you hear that?
So in a way, I resisted it, but as I listened I could feel the inevitability of it all. And when your Karma and your Dharma come together, you get that feeling of rightness.
– Ram Dass