In this mind-bending and perspective-altering conclusion to one of his most famous early talks, Ram Dass explores some of the different methods available to us on this spiritual journey.
The Trap of Desire
While the first half of this talk was all about Ram Dass’ personal journey, this second half of “Here We All Are” is focused on the different methods available to us on this spiritual journey. Ram Dass begins by exploring the trap of desire, the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, and Ramana Maharshi’s method of self-inquiry. He talks about tapping into a state of consciousness called Samadhi and breaks down the meaning of Satcitananda.
“Because what is required on this trip is renunciation of attachment. Renunciation of attachment. Dropping out, not in the external sense, but in the internal sense. It doesn’t matter what the external trip is, anyone of them will do. It’s the internal process that changes.” – Ram Dass
Cynicism and Faith (18:00)
Ram Dass dives into the method of the Witness and how we’ve got to change our conceptual viewpoint. We can move beyond identification with our senses and thoughts; the game is to treat all thoughts like clouds. Ram Dass talks about working with time and with the subject-object polarity as being keys to becoming a more conscious being. As Westerners, we need faith to undercut the cynicism of our rational minds.
“Anything in you which makes you see somebody else as him or her is the reason you’re not high all the time, is the reason you’re not conscious all the time. Consciousness all the time means total compassion for how it is in the universe at every moment. Compassion means total empathy with how it all is.” – Ram Dass
There Are No Accidents (38:00)
Ram Dass moves on to the subject of love and explores the method of Bhakti Yoga, the path of loving devotion. Ultimately, we are all one, but we get so caught up in our melodramas that we easily forget this. Ram Dass lays some more tasty tidbits of wisdom on us before the talk ends: there are no accidents in the universe, there are different channels of consciousness we can tune into, desire creates the universe at every level, and this path we’re walking is truly the only game in town.
“The final place one gets to is that one has a dial that is completely flexible and you can bring in all levels at all times and you see how it is at every level all the time. Because what in fact is going on is you are living at a certain vibrational rate, and that’s what makes it all seem real to you. And you change that vibrational rate just a tiny bit and all of this is gone and something else is here.” – Ram Dass
Photo via Mohan Baum