Articles - Suffering - Teachings - Holding the Horrible and the Beautiful Together


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All of these practices that alter consciousness and open the heart and quiet the mind – all the meditative practices, all the ways of serving as a yoga to awaken, the karma yoga that I do… All of that stuff, all of it slowly, slowly starts to establish you in the part of your awareness where things are not separate from one another, where they’re interdependent and they’re not separate. That’s the level of consciousness from which ecological sensitivity arises, by the way, if you’re asking where humans could be ecologically conscious.

Once you are resting in that, what happens when you look at another being is you’re looking at the divine manifestation, and you’re looking at them from a place of love, and so you are starting to experience being in love with more and more people. Some of you may have noticed it, and in society it can be pathological.

Gandhi once said, he wrote on a paper bag as the train was leaving the station…somebody asked him for a message…. and he wrote, “My life is my message.” When you taste the meaning of that, “My life is my message,” and you have awakened to the reality of all of these parts of your own identity you go from, “I rip off the earth,” to “I use it for what I need,” to “I am a steward of the earth,” to, “Gaia. I am the earth,” to, “The earth is just a part of what I am.”

You don’t do something on one plane that denies the truth of what’s on another place. You start to find the integrity between all the stuff.

But I keep waking up sooner. I keep falling asleep into the dream, but I keep waking up sooner to realize it’s just relatively real. When I work with somebody that is dying, I literally fall in love with them. I fall into the space of love with them, which means that I have to acknowledge the part of me that’s dying, the part of me that is the pain, the part of me that is all of it. It’s a very scary edge to get that close to that much suffering and stay open. But it’s your pushing away of suffering; your denial, your distortion; the way you do it, through kindness, through something that keeps you separate from it, being afraid to be in love with all of it, with the mother and all of her manifestations, her horrible and beautiful ones at the same moment. It’s that reactivity to the suffering that keeps you part of your separateness, and ultimately when the planes are together you are line this with all of it; you are eating the suffering for lunch.

You are right in the presence of it, and your heart is breaking because it hurts so bad because we hurt so much, while there’s another part of you that’s giggling – giggling with the absolute perfection of the universe. So, the question is, can you cry and giggle at the same time?

 

-Ram Dass

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