The true saint goes in and out amongst the people and eats and sleeps with them and buys and sells in the market and marries and takes part in social intercourse, and never forgets God for a single moment. – Abu Sa’id ibn Abi l-Tkayr

If you feel free only when you meditate, you’re not really free. Freedom does not come from turning your back on your responsibilities. The game is to be in the world but not of it. Even when you find yourself feeling spaced out, disoriented, or untogether, you can make an extra effort to meet the needs of the moment, whether it’s the baby’s diapers that need changing or your income tax that is due. Don’t make meditation a cop-out from life.

You can allow yourself adjustment periods when you don’t have to function quite as well as at other times, especially just after periods of intense retreat. Eventually you learn to function in the world even right after the deepest meditation. That’s the goal: balancing inner and outer. You’re part of society, you’re part of a family, you’re part of all sorts of groups. Do what you must to meet your responsibilities, but do it as an exercise that furthers your own liberation as well. True freedom of awareness that you seek is possible only when you acknowledge and fulfill honorably all aspects of the dance of life. It is in the perfection of form that we are free.


– Ram Dass


Photo by Moyan Brenn. Used under the creative commons license.