Ram Dass takes questions from the audience on a variety of topics including letting go of boundaries, “What is the Guru?”, psychedelics, methods as traps and the human agenda to name a few.
“You start out trapped in boundaries; then you extricate yourself from the entrapment. Coming back in, you can take on the boundries as the way you costume yourself for the dance. You learn how to define limits, and realize who you are and what your unique role is. Realize that you can set boundaries without getting trapped by them because they are unique units.”
Ram Dass shares an honest and humorous story about being a yogi and wanting a new hot tub. He talks about the dissonance that he experienced while working with the homeless and wanting to spend thousands of dollars on a hot tub. Eventually, Ram Dass came to realize that he was defining the boundary which was the boundary that he was comfortable with at the stage he was at. There is no rule book for how we play this kind of thing out.
“We move in and out of our roles in life. And finally, as we get true detachment we are free to play the roles without being trapped in them.”
Questions about Gurus, “How do you know one? How do you get one?” Guru does not mean teacher. They are not someone who points the way, they are someone who is the way. Ram Dass talks about the mysterious ways of his Guru, Maharajji.“The Guru relationship is a relationship that only exists in the heart, it cannot be mediated in through the mind. The thinking search for the Guru and the judgment ‘Is this my Guru?’ is all nonsense, that is the mind.”
Ram Dass talks about his first use of psychedelics. As a psychologist, Ram Dass saw his colleagues describing the ways in which the psychedelics opened them to an understanding of their psyches that their studies in psychology had not.
“What I saw, as others saw, was that the nature of the experience you had with psychedelics was very much a function of your set and setting. That is, of the expectations you had in your mind, and the environment in which you had the experience. So that if you thought it was schizophrenic inducing, that is what you get. If you were taking it at the peyote ceremony with the Native American Church, then you would be experiencing it in order to be with God.”