Offering spiritual perspective on the paradox of life, Ram Dass illuminates how we can get free by embracing our incarnation.
In this dharma talk stemming from Evanston, IL on March 20, 1993, Ram Dass sheds light on how we can play with our perspective to be able to hold paradox from a place of truth and equanimity. Relaying wisdom from Anandamayi Ma, Neem Karoli Baba, and the Tao Te Ching, he explores how we can honor the social responsibility of our incarnation without getting caught in the paradoxes of change and freedom, suffering and perfection, and fear and love.
Paradox & Perspective // Spirituality & Balance
Highlighting the seemingly ever-present paradoxes of life that we begin to notice as we journey down the spiritual path, Ram Dass shares a balanced perspective from beyond the rotating channels of consciousness which our awareness tunes to at any given moment. From this nuanced vantage point of holding many different relative truths all at once, he offers spiritual wisdom from Indian Saint, Anandamayi Ma, helping aid in the contemplation: How can we expand our perspective to embrace paradox?
“We’ve been talking about balance—that the game is not to push away the world, the game is not to get caught in it—the game is to, as Christ said, ‘Be in the world, but not of the world,’ to be simultaneously empty and full, to be somebody and nobody. It’s all these paradoxes you have to embrace. There’s nothing to do, so get on with it.” – Ram Dass
Equanimity & Dreaming // Incarnation & Freedom (17:28)
Digging into the dreamlike quality of what we consider ‘reality,’ Ram Dass relays how we can inhabit equanimity by tuning our perspective to what is the same inside of us, rather than our usual habitual focus on the changing external variables surrounding us. Reflecting on living truth from the Tao Te Ching, Ram Dass shares personal stories exemplifying our need to fulfill our karmic roles within our incarnation in order to get free.
“Besides being members of family, we as incarnates have other identities as well. And we have to honor all of those in order to be free. As long as you’re pushing away any part of your incarnation, it’s got you.” – Ram Dass
Fear & Love // Karma & Responsibility // Suffering & Perfection (35:00)
Exploring the relationship between fear and love within the predicament of karma and doing what’s right for the world, Ram Dass sheds light on how we can get free by truly honoring our identity’s social responsibilities. Recalling a story from India where his guru, Maharajji, queried the difficult-to-hold statement, “Don’t you see it’s all perfect?”, Ram Dass invites us to expand our perspective to hold the paradox: It’s all perfect, and there’s suffering.
“You’re an incarnate, and part of your incarnation is you’re a citizen, you’re a member of the family, you’re a member of all these systems, and until you honor them—meaning, find a place to honor your identity in it—you’re not free. This is a spiritual issue. If you want to be free, you can’t be free by pushing away your incarnation; you’ve got to be free by embracing your incarnation. Not being attached to it, but embracing it. How delicate…” – Ram Dass