We come here and we offer each other satsang, or Sangha. We are a community of beings, and we all share the desire to awaken, and to know ourselves, and to become freed of the traps of our mind. That’s what we’ve come together for. Now, it is great joy and grace to be able to hang around Satsang all the time. It would be absolutely wonderful. However, it turns out that when you try to create a social institution to do that, you will find that it turns into an institution, and it loses the joy of the living spirit… Even as they’re attempting a design that will maintain it, because it’s really hard to do it.

I remember a vivid example. I was traveling with Swami Muktananda, and I came back to his ashram. I was in a very ecstatic space and I was dancing a lot in those days. He would play his dotara, and he had a lot of shakti, and so I would just go into it and start to dance, and we were traveling around the world doing this. So we came back to his ashram and he started to play the dotara, and I just started to get up and dance, and I was dancing, and dancing, and I started to move through the room, and I crossed the line between where the men sat and the women sat. He stopped the music and I realized that here, in this ashram, supposedly designed to ‘free’ people to be in ecstatic states, wasn’t for ecstatics, and that they don’t handle ecstatics very well.

So what I see is that it is wonderful to have satsang, and it’s a very delicate process to keep a human relationship living, as most of you, I am sure, have found out by now. You can have moments of it with people, but to keep it living, to keep the spirit of it, to keep it open, so that you don’t have to be defined by something with another person…We have made so many commitments to efficiency, and so many concessions to it, that the efficient thing now is to be the same as you were yesterday, which is why the Gandhi line is so beautiful, “My commitment is to truth, not to consistency.” Try that in a marriage, yeah, just try it.

Do we even allow ourselves the luxury of the possibility of change? Or have we ourselves created the very institutions that are trapping us and preventing us from doing the very thing we’re here to do?

I mean, I don’t know about you, but I do it too, we all do it. I mean… the minute you look away, it’s done. The minute you are not mindful or every single interaction with everybody, every moment, you’ve gone back to sleepwalking through the process, just trying to make it efficient. You say, “Well, I can’t do it with everybody.”

So then just try one, try to do it with just one.

– Ram Dass