How can your intellect serve or hinder you?

It requires inner work for you to cultivate a perspective within yourself that sees your intellect as a servant, not as your identity.

To the extent you are capable of doing that, you can then play the game of academia, do the work that only can be done in that analytic fashion without being trapped in it, and have your interaction with other people through the game.

It’s like Monopoly in which you’re the top hat and I’m the thimble, but behind it you’re here, I’m here, and you’ve gotta be there. The predicament in academia is many people identify with their thoughts so much that they think they are an academic, instead of being a being who’s doing academics.

For me, the fun is meeting people through all the roles we meet in and playing each one as impeccably as I can without getting trapped in any of them, so that my consciousness is always an environment that’s open to meeting somebody behind the game. At the same time, there’s nothing in me that says, “This game is bad and shouldn’t be played,” or anything like that, cause it’s a beautiful game.

I think a lot of the predicament in our society, as you probably all appreciate with me, is the way in which we side with the power of the prefrontal lobes, the power of the conceptual mind. We have become so enamored with it. We have lost perspective about the fact that it has to be tempered by wisdom; that knowledge and technology as its offshoot isn’t inherently good. It’s not inherently evil, it just is, but it requires tremendously more wisdom than most of us have, especially when we reject all the wisdom carriers in our society as being irrelevant because of the way we treat aging.

In a technological society where things are changing so fast, you don’t ask somebody who uses a typewriter about the latest computer program. That’s a generation issue. That isn’t the wisdom part.

There is a wisdom that tempers the way actions are done, and we just don’t value it very much in our society.

When somebody asks, “Where are we and what’s going to happen?” I will answer very honestly. I can feel into the imminence of disruptive environmental stuff than we have seen in a reasonably short time span. The seeds of social shifts of family structure, of all the stuff you’re familiar with… when I hear it all, I really do hear and increasing presence of uncertainty and feeling of chaos in the situation.

The shifting environment we’re living in, in terms of our air, our water, our fish, our animals, our bodies, our psychological spaces. We haven’t even begun to realize the profound impact of the information dance that changes the meaning of time on all of our social institutions.

This is all up for grabs at the moment, and the question is, what part do we play in all of that? What is a conscious person to do? My feeling is that our ability to work on the part of our being that is able to be in the presence of change and uncertainty and chaos, and respond to that, not retract to it but respond to it in a reflective way to turn that and help that move into a deep, deeper, and new harmony…

And you can’t hold anymore. You can’t hold anywhere. I think that the assignment for us is very clear in terms of the game on earth. I think it is to be instruments that allow the whole process to move and change in a way that ends up celebrating life rather than ultimately destroying it, and it has to come out of non-attachment.

-Ram Dass

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