Ram Dass on his mantra “I Am Loving Awareness” (with practice video)

When talking about awareness, most of us identify with our awareness through the ego, through the mind and senses. But the true self is in the middle of our chest, in our spiritual heart.

So, to get from ego to the true self I said: “I am loving awareness.” Loving awareness is the soul. I am loving awareness. I am aware of everything, I’m aware of my body and my senses and my mind, I’m aware of all of it, but I notice that I’m loving all of it. I’m loving all of the world. The self that I identify with emanates from the ocean of love. The self that is the ego is the ocean of fear.

When I am loving awareness I’m aware of everything outside, but pulling into the heart, the spiritual heart brings me to loving awareness. I’m aware of my thoughts, but loving awareness is simply witnessing them. And loving awareness is in the moment. I have thoughts about the past and future, and those are not helpful, so I dive deep into the present and the presence and in this present moment we will find loving awareness.

Only this moment is real, this moment of loving awareness. The past and the future are all just thoughts.

In this spiritual heart, there is peace, there is contentment, and there is compassion. There is also joy and wisdom, all inside of your spiritual heart and mine. So when you say “I want a peaceful world” you don’t look outside, you go inside where peace exists. In Hinduism the spiritual heart is called the “atman,” and it’s the God within.

“I have a practice in which I say to myself, I am loving awareness.” To begin, I focus my attention in the middle of my chest, on the heart-mind. I may take a few deep breaths into my diaphragm to help me identify with it. I breathe in love and breathe out love. I watch all of the thoughts that create the stuff of my mind, and I love everything, love everything I can be aware of. I just love, just love, just love.

I love you. No matter how rotten you are, I love you because you are part of the manifestation of God. In that heart-mind I’m not Richard Alpert, I’m not Ram Dass — those are both roles. I look at those roles from that deeper “I.” In the heart-mind, I’m not identified with my roles. They’re like costumes or uniforms hanging in a closet. “I am a reader,” “I am a father,” “I am a yogi,” “I am a man,” “I am a driver” — those are all roles.

All I am is loving awareness. I am loving awareness. It means that wherever I look, anything that touches my awareness will be loved by me. That loving awareness is the most fundamental “I.” Loving awareness witnesses the incarnation from a plane of consciousness different from the plane that we live on as egos, though it completely contains and interpenetrates everyday experience.

When I wake up in the morning, I’m aware of the air, the fan on my ceiling, I’ve got to love them. I am loving awareness. But if I’m an ego, I’m judging everything as it relates to my own survival. The air might give me a cold that will turn into pneumonia. I’m always afraid of something in the world that I have to defend myself against. If I’m identified with my ego, the ego is frightened silly, because the ego knows that it’s going to end at death. But if I merge with love, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Love neutralizes fear.

Awareness and love, loving awareness, is the soul. This practice of I am loving awareness turns you inward toward the soul. If you dive deep enough into your soul, you will come to God. In Greek it’s called agape, God love. Martin Luther King, Jr., said about this agape, this higher love: “It’s an overflowing love which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless and creative … the love of God operating in the human heart.”

When you can accept that kind of love, you can give that love. You can give love to all you perceive, all the time. I am loving awareness. You can be aware of your eyes seeing, your ears hearing, your skin feeling, and your mind producing thoughts, thought after thought after thought. Thoughts are terribly seductive, but you don’t have to identify with them. You identify not with the thoughts, but with the awareness of the thoughts. To bring loving awareness to everything you turn your awareness to is to be love.

This moment is love. I am infinite. I am loving awareness.

-Ram Dass


Practice a Loving Awareness meditation with Ram Dass below
(10 minutes):

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