In India when you ask how long your food will take in a restaurant or when the train will arrive, the response is often, “Oh, it’s just now coming.” That can mean anything from a few minutes to a few days. I don’t know how long enlightenment takes. I feel as though I’ve known Maharaji for many lifetimes, and I don’t think this is my final lifetime.

It’s as if Maharaji has been my father or mother forever, and the satsang, the circle of devotees, is a family of the heart that keeps coming and going, having reunions and going away, but over many lifetimes. We all have different guises and costumes and appear on stage in different scenes playing different characters. We’re all parts of the jigsaw puzzle of each other’s karma. 

I sometimes look around and wonder how this crazy troupe came together. But that’s my ego, because as an ego I look at them as egos. This is Maharaji’s show. Maharaji is like the director of the play. He’s not one of the actors or puppets. He’s the only one who has the whole script. And we’re too involved in the play itself to remember it’s just a play. The only thing that turns out to be real is his relationship to us as souls. Then that, too, goes and there’s only One.

The script for this play of getting enlightened is already written. It’s not in time anyway. And the moment you project a future, you’re trapped in your mind again. You say, “Well, I’ll get enlightened by next December,” Then that changes everything you do until December, when you’re going to have to give it up anyway. It’s like when people say the end of the world is coming on a certain date. Then the end of the world doesn’t come, and they’re confronted with the fact that they got caught in their own minds.

You can only go at the rate you can go, and when you’re done, you’re done. The only thing you can ask is that you keep awakening at the fastest rate at which you’re capable. You can’t go any faster than that, and whether you think you’re going to make it in this lifetime or not doesn’t really make that much of a difference, as long as you keep going. Speculating just creates more thought forms. I try to just think about what I can do immediately to clean up my game. That’s about all I do. I’m not preoccupied with the future.

– Ram Dass, excerpt from Be Love Now, available Here in the Ram Dass webstore.