In this Q&A session from 1989, Ram Dass answers questions about addiction, greed, and lust, and talks about the chain of reactivity that fuels our deepest attachments.
The Chain of Reactivity
Ram Dass answers a question about dealing with addictions and attachments. He explores the roots of suffering, and how we develop addictions to things which take away that pain and make us feel at home. He talks about the chain of reactivity that fuels our deepest attachments. And how spiritual practice helps us develop the awareness to begin breaking the chain.
“Spiritual practices, compared to having sex or compared to taking coke or something, is more like delayed gratification versus immediate gratification. So when you start to stand back and see your predicament and see what you’re doing, there’s a way, from a spiritual perspective, in which you begin with that slight bit of awareness to extricate yourself from the chain of reactivity that we’re talking about.” – Ram Dass
Identification with Desire (27:45)
Ram Dass answers a question about how to be in a relationship with God, talking about how we can get attached to our models of God. He suggests turning to the wisdom of nature. Ram Dass then answers a question about dealing with greed and other strong attachments. He talks about how identification with desire is imprisoning and gives his take on Right Livelihood.
“Identification with the desire is imprisoning. And yet, you have desires. And the question is how you can be involved in life with desires and still not be attached to them. How can you be fully human, with all of this stuff, without the identification?” – Ram Dass
The Yearning for Intimacy (45:40)
Ram Dass answers a question about the yearning for intimacy with another human being, and what to do with sexual energy. He explores how intimate relationships have the potential of being one the most evolved ways of coming into spirit, but they are a very complicated dance. He talks about working with lust and shares some thoughts on being alone.
“Until you can find the place in yourself that can be at peace without having what you want, then you are in the optimum position to get what you want. Because until then, your need for it is creating something in everybody you meet that is reducing the potential of that relationship to be meeting a true being of spirit in the right place.” – Ram Dass