The challenge is working to extricate ourselves from the reactivity to suffering around us, not to the denial of it, which we’re trying to do monstrously, all of us, most of the time.
Even the ones that are open to suffering have so much denial of it. I do, maybe you don’t, but I do. I mean, we are living in societies, as you know, that are involved with massive denial. Just look at the pain and suffering denial is causing.
Not only to the things that are being decimated, but to the very deniers themselves.
Any of you that have had any mystical experience know perfectly well that we are interconnected. That’s a truth, a reality you have experienced directly. So then to try to live as if that were not true forces you to close down your heart to protect yourself.
You are gonna say, “I want to have fun, so I won’t worry about the forests today. I thought about them yesterday, and I’m burning out”. I would say that there is another strategy, which is to root into bearing the unbearable, where it’s all present, and all your feelings are present at the same time. Somebody says to me, “Are you happy?” I say “Yeah,” and I think of all the beautiful things that I know are going on at this very moment in the universe. Then somebody says “Are you sad?”, and I say “Yeah,” and I think of all the sad things.
I don’t feel that in order to be happy, I have to make believe the sad things don’t exist. That keeps you off balance.
There is a way to just be open to what is, but in order to do that it is necessary that all these different places of consciousness, these channels of experience be open at once. It’s not just getting high and coming down, it’s about being free.
– Ram Dass