Chopping wood and carrying water is an example of Karma Yoga…the yoga of daily life. The way to do it is this: Do what you do but dedicate the fruits of the work to Ram. That’s the most esoteric way of saying it. Another way of saying it is: Do it without attachment. Another way of saying it is Total Renunciation! Now that doesn’t mean you can go up to a mountain and live in a cave. It means that you renounce attachment even to your own desires. It means that you do what you do because that’s what the harmony of the universe requires. If I am a potter I make pots. But WHO is making the pots? I am not under the illusion that I am making the pots. Pots are. The potter is. I am a Hollow Bamboo.
I am a doctor… a student…a drop-out…IT’S ALL THE SAME GAME. Don’t let that offend you, but…the external world is all the same…it’s all the external world! People often say to me:
“I would really like to do sadhana, but…I’m a teacher now. If I could only finish being a teacher, I could do sadhana.”
BALONEY! You’re either doing sadhana or you’re not. Sadhana is a full time thing that you do because there is nothing else to do. You do it whether you’re teaching, or sitting in a monastery…whether you’re lying in bed, going to the toilet, making love, eating…EVERYTHING is part of waking up. Everything is done without attachment. Another way of saying it is: It’s all done as consecrated action….it’s all dedicated…it’s all sacred.
In the old days, like many of you (I suppose) I was a good oral-type person. You open the refrigerator and you can’t stuff your mouth fast enough! EVERYTHING turns you on. “Hmmmm, I”ll have a little of that! and there’s some ice cream and there’s some cole slaw, that’ll go good with the ice cream.” The stimulus arouses the response. Here’s a real sour pickle to go with SOMETHING! Oh boy! It’s too much!
You can go on the oral trip about everything. I come right out of that tradition. I want you to know where I started from – when I was an adolescent, I was so fat that all my clothes had to be specially made. We would go into a store and my mother would say, “He wants to see the double Z with balloon seats…” So you can understand that I speak of the oral trip with a certain amount of empathy. And now suddenly comes this new ruling sent down from above: All your acts will be consecrated.
Wow, that’s great. But what about food? Now in the West we have a thing. You see the Norman Rockwell cover…THANKSGIVING DAY! There’s the turkey and everybody has his eyes closed and saying grace and the kid’s hand is already on the turkey…OKAY! Let’s say grace and EAT QUICK! So in India I was taught this thing to say to consecrate the food and it was very funny. I’d been taught it but I still had this old orality business. So I would say it, but I could not THINK it. And I could not stop long enough to EXPERIENCE it. At last I had to confront myself to see where I WASN’T.
You’ve got to go at the rate you can go.
You wake up at the rate you wake up.
You’re finished with your desires at the rate you finish with your desires. The disequilibrium comes into harmony at the rate it comes into harmony.
– Excerpt from Be Here Now
Help Support These Teachings
If you enjoyed Making it Sacred, please support our efforts to continue making teachings from Ram Dass and friends accessible to all. As Ram Dass says, "When you see the beloved all around you, everyone is family and everywhere is love." Learn more >
I would like to make a contribution of:
If you would like to donate via mail, please send a check to:
Love Serve Remember Foundation
2355 Westwood Blvd. #130
Los Angeles, CA 90064
LSRF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law.