From the 2012 Open Your Heart in Paradise retreat in Maui, Ram Dass is joined by Mirabai Bush and Sharon Salzberg for a freeform jam session dedicated to the path of love.
Bhakti and the Path of Love
Mirabai Bush kicks off this discussion on love with stories of the Indian goddess Mirabai. She talks about riding an elephant with Ram Dass, reads poetry from Hafiz and Rumi, and tells the story of why Maharajji gave her the name Mirabai. She notes how sorrow and suffering open us to love, and tells a story of feeling wrapped in love by the Satsang, the community of seekers.
“Ram Dass said, ‘Could we ride on that ride elephant?’ And he said, ‘Sure.’ And we got up on the elephant and Ram Dass said, ‘Let’s pretend that we’re Ram and Sita.’ So we rode around on this elephant for a while pretending. And then we got down and we went into the tea shop. And on the way in, Ram Dass said, ‘Don’t tell anybody.’” – Mirabai Bush
Of Rugs and Love (21:00)
Ram Dass tells a story involving a friend who couldn’t comprehend Ram Dass’ statement about loving a rug as much as a human being. He talks about how each moment in life is lovable, even the ones filled with aches and pains. For Ram Dass, love is going towards something. He talks about meditating on loving everything and how love can’t be rationalized.
“I was meditating on loving everything. I looked at the wall, and I loved the wall. Well, I said, ‘It’s God’s manifestation. I love it for that reason. People created it. It’s made of cells… each one has God in it.’ But I couldn’t rationalize it, I just loved it. I love it. Just this, just this.” – Ram Dass
The Ripple Effect (29:25)
Sharon reflects on all of the beings who helped her get to where she is in life and talks about how that deep acknowledgment and knowing is what she calls love. She recounts the importance of Ram Dass on her path to becoming a teacher and tells stories of the early days at Naropa University. Sharon touches on what Mirabai said about suffering leading to openness.
“Just the intricacies of our connection, and even the gift giving, you know, the things that we do and the offers that we make and the things we arrange, and just how it ripples out.” – Sharon Salzberg