Exploring our Intuition (with Video)

Recorded on August 7, 1982 in Pacific Grove, California.

Ram Dass: Something that is still really coming out more clearly to me - is the movement from knowing the world through conceptual structures and knowing it another way, which the Western word we often use is intuitively. I have felt that the problems that we kept creating with our rational minds were only going to be solved by our intuitive connection to the universe.

I felt this about nuclear energy, I felt it about most of the ways in which technology has taken us, extrapolations of our minds have taken us in directions that have taken us away from our connection with what is so that we seem to be intentionally destroying the ecosphere on which we are dependent. And we seem to be screwing up our human relations at an incredible rate.

And I kept looking for intuitive training to connect with that deeper and deeper part of my being that just knows.

It's not one that knows it knows; that's the frontal lobe. It just knows. It knows because it is. It's like knowing how to make a fist, you don't know you know how to do it, but you do it.

And when I was in that intuitive domain, everything in the universe is subject. When I'm in my analytic, conceptual mind, the universe is object, I'm always one thought away from where the action is. So that I could see that my thinking mind was an instrument that reinforced my sense of separateness. And I didn't want to get rid of my thinking mind, but I wanted to have it around like, "Hey you, I need you." I wanted to change my thinking mind from a master into a servant, so that I didn't have to think all the time, because I had always thought all the time because I was paid for thinking all the time.

So when I'd fly across the country in my airplane, I'd have a clipboard on my knee to write down important thoughts and a tape recorder to tape all my ideas, because that was my bread and butter. And it got very complicated for me because as life gets as real as it is, it's very hard to rationally think through everything.

It's awfully complicated. I had a dramatic example I've talked about in my lectures this year; a year and a half ago, I was in Benares in India, the city of dying, and a friend and I were going to the bathing ghats, the sacred bathing area in the Ganges River, where you can bathe with all of the floating dead bodies and things.

It's a very auspicious place to die, by the way, in Benares. And as we were going there, we passed about 100 or 125 lepers, and they all had begging bowls, and we shared our coins, my friend and I, and I had about 20 coins, and there were 125 lepers.

So I started down the line, "Who am I going to give the coins to?" Now, my rational mind started in, "Well, let's see, that fellow is missing his arms. But that woman has her face eaten away. Do you suppose that's worth a rupee?" I mean, can you hear how ghastly that is? Because I only had 20 coins, and there were 125 lepers.

And I did this for about three coins. I mean, if you're young and you don't have any feet, what's that on a score of 1 to 10? I'm using a grotesque example, but life is pretty grotesque. I mean, you're on the good guy mailing list too, you know.

Finally, I just gave up - I just went on intuitive.

I just went down the line looking people in the eye, and every now and then I'd hand out a coin. And the coins were over and I was enjoying being with all these beings, and I didn't get into the whole business of guilt and judgment and all this stuff, which would have just destroyed the moment for me.

...It turns out they have a union and they share all their coins. I didn't know that. So the lesson was great for me. And so I have been sort of really opening to my intuitive way of doing things. So I just respond much more whimsically, without any reason for doing it particularly:

"Sure, I'll do that. No, I won't do that."


"I don't know."

"Well, shouldn't you?"


If you can stand that original confrontation. "You mean you're not being rational?" "No." You've got to really have a cold eye at that moment.

"You mean you trust, but don't you know what you're full of?"

"Yeah, but behind that, I know."

"But do you know that you know?"


"And you still trust?"


"I don't know..."

I mean, you recognize this dialogue. It's a dialogue you have with yourself, actually.

And it gets extraordinarily exciting when you just say, "Well, here we go, I'm going intuition."

But the problem that I ran into for some years was that the doorway to the intuition is through the human heart, and I was trying to leap into cosmic love without dealing with emotionality because emotionality was a little too human for me.

And what I experienced was that I had used pushing away my humanity to embrace my divinity. And then I wanted to be intuitive. But the intuition, the impeccable warrior intuitive action has to come from a blending of humanity and divinity. And until I could accept my humanity fully, my intuitions weren't going to be fully in harmony with the way of things.

The paradoxes that I was stretching to deal with, which I'm sure are familiar to you, is that when you get into one plane, you look out and you say, "We are all one." Then you come in another plane and you say, "But it's my television set." Okay?

The resolution of it is the Sufi statement: Trust in Allah, but tie your camel...

When I went into my sixth chakra, everything looked absolutely perfect to me. I could look at anything. I could look at suffering and see the way in which it was grace. I could see death as grace. It was a place that was so clear, but with that clarity there was no warmth. It was the kind of clarity that if somebody falls down in front of you, you say, "...karma."

But when I came down into my human heart, it would hurt so bad. Because the more you open up to the suffering of the universe, the easiest way to handle it is to go up. It's much harder to stay down and stay open. It's excruciatingly painful.

And I began to feel that what my freedom was going to lie in was the creative tension of being able to see simultaneously the perfection and also to experience the pain; to see that there was nothing to do, and to work as hard as I could to relieve suffering; to see it was all a dream and still live within the reality of it.


Continue Watching the Full Lecture Here

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