In this recording from 1991, Ram Dass explores the components of meditation and how the thinking mind keeps trapping awareness – ending with a guided meditation focused on the breath.
Components of Meditation (11:23)
Ram Dass begins by exploring the various components of meditation. He talks about how one of the main aspects of meditation is that it’s a technique for extricating our awareness from identification with our thoughts. Ram Dass details cultivating concentration through the use of a primary object of meditation and digs into the nature of these thoughts that trap our awareness.
“There are a number of components to meditation. As you begin to understand more clearly the way in which the mind, the thinking mind, keeps trapping the awareness, more and more you yearn to draw your awareness back from thought. Because the thoughts are like a river of thoughts coming forth and each one saying, ‘Think me, think me, I’m real.’” – Ram Dass
Seductive Thoughts (15:10)
Ram Dass talks about how practice is about learning not to be seduced by every thought that comes along and shares a story about a time he got seduced by a fantasy during meditation. He gives instructions on working with the breath as the primary object of meditation, focusing on two different schools of how to attend to the breath.
Riding the Breath Meditation (19:50)
Ram Dass leads a guided meditation using the breath as the primary object. He talks about riding the breath like a surfer riding a wave, the art of staying with strong attention to the breath, and what to do when strong thoughts and sensations capture your awareness. It’s all about returning to the breath again and again and again.
“Let the awareness rest and ride with the breath as if you were surfing and you were riding a wave. Just stay intimately connected with the breathing in, breathing out, or the rising and the falling of the breath. Each time a thought or a sensation arises, notice it and then, in a gentle way, return the awareness to the breath.” – Ram Dass