It is only through thousands upon thousands of births, awakening a little each time, that you become what you are.
For you need purification to become what you are. It’s like dreaming at night; you awaken and realize that you were still dreaming, but it was a dream within a dream. Well, here we are again. Another one. And this isn’t real. That’s why peace within the dream is not enough; because it still leaves the yearning; because it still lies within the illusion of separateness. And that’s why the statement, ‘Without God, life has no ultimate meaning’ is so important, it’s the whole point.
To recognize oneself as a being of God, who is dancing through a life, means that you begin to examine the life in terms of its function for awakening, every component of your life, every single one.
There are no accidents: everyone you meet; every incident that occurs to you: all is bliss for the mirror of your awakening.
And in each case, once you have understood the process you’re in, once you have looked up, every experience involves a choice on your part. And that choice is to ask in a way that brings you closer or moves you away. Biblically, it would be said; to ask in accordance to God’s Will, or to go against the Will of God. And that’s the choice. The far out part of it is, sooner or later, you will get home anyway. And God doesn’t care, because God isn’t in time. It’s you that cares; you’re the one, because you’re the one who suffers. God can wait. So whatever choice you make that takes you deeper into the illusion, God, Guru, all of it, just sits and says, ‘mmmmm.’ Does it bug you? Just notice it. But if that’s true, then where is grace? At the moment, you look up and look in, and recognize the source from which you come, and you cry out, your soul cries out and says, ‘I want to come home; I want to awaken. Help me. Let me surrender. Let me hear Thy Will. Let my life be a vehicle for opening.’ That reaching up, that asking is the stimulus is the key which brings forth grace.
And what is grace?
Grace is those beings who have remained in form on one plane or another, in order to help other beings become enlightened, and your reaching out calls them forth, but to do what for you? Not to force you to go with the Will of God if you choose to go against it. But to help, if you choose to go in harmony with the Will of God, to speed up your journey. Grace speeds up the awakening. It won’t force you, it will help you. But it will only help you when you make the choice.
Once you have tasted who you are, you have a number of choices. If, for example, you have tasted and experienced that we are all one, fellow souls in a journey through form, then a situation arises where you could rip off another person, thus increasing suffering, it is your choice. You choose to do that. You create a new set of veils around yourself, an illusion strengthened by your own paranoia, which ultimately makes it more difficult for you to get home, along with other people.
Once you have begun to awaken, your acts can either be merely dealing with experiences which have presented themselves for you to work out your old karma and your responses to them create no new karma. Or you pit yourself against the system and you create new karma, and that just keeps going on and on and on and perpetuates your separateness and your suffering, life after life after life. It’s your choice.
Surrounding you are beings at every different level of incarnation. Some of them are going to be born this time and a thousand more times without recognizing that they are caught at all. They may be your parents; they may be your children; they may be your brother or sister or your husband or wife. There is no better or worse; there are merely older beings and younger beings. It is not better to be fifty than ten, or better to be twenty than thirty; it is merely older or younger. The recognition of this leads to compassion.
Compassion is that you allow other people their own trips; you don’t lay your trip on another person: you are what you are, and each person drinks from the well as they are ready to drink.
An attempt to force someone else to drink from the well as you are drinking comes from your own lack of faith in who you are. There is no possibility of proselytizing. For if you take a person who is not ready to awaken and you force them to open, the minute you walk away, they will close up. And not only will they close again, but they will close in such away that it may become harder for them to open later and that karma will be on your head.
Thus you learn that the way in which you create a more conscious universe is by being a more conscious being; the way you create a more loving universe is by being a more loving being; the way you create a universe in which humanity once again has the choice to recognize its source, is by living a life which acknowledges that source.
– Ram Dass
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