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A woman came in to see me up in New Hampshire some years ago. She said, “My daughter’s using drugs. I don’t know why I’ve come to see you, but you seem to have an understanding of young people and all that, and the minister said I should come.” It gets very far out. So I said, “Well do come in and sit down. I’m sorry I don’t have a chair, but you can sit on this, I’ll make these cushions higher so you can be more comfortable. I’ll give you this, it’s an interesting tea, it’s made of 17 spices which include…” and I listed them.

She says, “Well, my problem is that my daughter uses drugs. I’ve been a clerk in a factory all these years, my husband ran away when the baby was 6 months old, and I have been clerking just to raise this child and now she’s taking drugs and she’s left home, she’s 16. She went down to her sister’s and she stayed there for a while in North Carolina and then she forged a check under her sister’s name for $40 and ran away.”

She said, “What have I done to deserve this?” That took about 15 minutes to tell. I’m short circuiting the extraordinary details because she had a very highly developed presentation.

All the time she was presenting me with this, I was inside my heart chanting. What I was seeing was Sita, the wife of Ram – I was seeing the eternal Mother, the Divine Mother. I was seeing us, and I was seeing us suffering because she was busy being the Mother who was being mistreated by her daughter, which is a part. Now you can say, well that certainly lacks compassion. It may lack pity, or it may have pity in it too.

When she got all finished with this story, I said, “Right, wow, and here we are, I mean everything you said is true. Ok, I mean, I’m not going to protest or defend your daughter or anything, it’s all true. Now what? I mean, is this where we are going to live? Is this the room you picked out for us to live in for two hours? Torn drapes, a spring coming through the mattress, stale odor? Because we are here.”

She felt I didn’t experience the true gravity of her situation so she repeated it all to me. It took another ten minutes. I’m looking in her eyes all the time saying, “Yeah, right, here we are, right, I’m listening.” I get all done and say, “Well, we’re still here.”

And her next line is interesting, she says, “You know, she’s really not a bad kid. I was kind of a hellion when I was a kid. I mean, I didn’t do those things, but… and she really didn’t forge the money and steal it, she just needed it and her sister was out and she wanted to go.”

Then she proceeded to tell me about her own childhood. then pretty soon we were right here and now. At the end she was laughing and laughing. She got up to leave and she said, “I don’t know why I’ve come to see you. It’s all silly.”

Now she had a real problem. Did I hypnotize her into a false sense of happiness when in the moment there was this real problem? To her daughter, her mother was the problem. For most people, somebody else is the problem.

 

-Ram Dass

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