Mapping the physical, causal, and astral planes of existence, Ram Dass reconciles time within the paradox of ‘being here now,’ inviting us into the freedom of limitless awareness.
Illuminating the interconnected nature of the various planes of existence we inhabit throughout our journey of awakening, Ram Dass draws a roadmap of consciousness through responding to a well-structured, organic build of audience questions. Contemplating the notion of time in relation to his famous statement and book, ‘Be Here Now,’ Ram Dass shares Maharajji stories to tie together paradox, welcoming us into the freedom of living within the illusion, but without being caught by it.
Planes of Existence: Astral, Causal, & Physical
Answering questions regarding our relationship with astral planes, Ram Dass lays out a tangible scaffolding for understanding the layered and nuanced planes of existence we encounter through (and beyond) our human form. Roadmapping from the physical, to the astral, to the causal, to the formless, Ram Dass outlines the inherent beauty and spiritual potential encased within human incarnation for allowing us to inhabit and work with all of these planes at once.
“The karma of the higher plane invests the next lower plane with form, so your causal karma determines your astral form, and your astral karma determines your physical form… So, for you to be free, it means being free not only of the physical plane, but being free of the astral, mythic, archetypal; and being free even of the idea of a soul, self, or separateness which gains you back into the causal plane.” – Ram Dass
Time & Truth: The Paradox of Being Here Now (10:01)
How do you cut through time? Either from standing back far enough, or going in deep enough. Through this lens, Ram Dass describes how ‘Be Here Now’ isn’t to be misconstrued as an inconsideration of past and future, but rather ‘being here now‘ is a full recognition of the total interconnection that this moment has within it the lawful unfolding of everything that has happened and everything that will ever happen.
“This moment has in it a lawful connection to everything that’s going to happen and everything that ever did happen. It’s not only lawfully connected across space, but across time as well. So that when you are sufficiently quiet and centered, you are in the presence of all of it. That’s when Kalu [Rinpoche] says, ‘You are nothing, and realizing you are nothing, you are everything.’ At that moment you are past, and future, and all of it.” – Ram Dass
Freedom: Maharajji & Becoming Nobody (20:16)
Responding to a question on the nature of freedom, Ram Dass invites us to imagine extricating oneself from identification with any plane we are standing—astral, causal, or physical—leaving only the is-ness of awareness. Describing this, he shares his Guru, Maharajji, as an example of a free being who is beyond time, without form or limit, yet still totally present on all planes. Outlining the journey from somebody to nobody, Ram Dass shares the freedom of how to live in the illusion without getting caught by it.
“Imagine what it would be like to be a wide-open heart who was in the presence of all of the world’s suffering and existence; and at the same moment to have the wisdom and equanimity in which you have full understanding of why it all is the way it is.” – Ram Dass