I think that you and I are being called upon to do some incredible work, but it is also really demanding work. I think it demands that out of our compassion for all beings and for the future of the earth, we work on ourselves with great joy, and with every single pointed effort.

The vulnerability of each of our minds to get trapped into old habits, of getting caught into the world of good and evil, of dark and light, of success and failure… we are all tremendously vulnerable to that, and while I think that there is a shared awakening between us in realizing our predicament, there is not yet enlightenment. We are not “home free”… We just know of the possibility.

We see people through the veil of the fear driven paranoia that comes from getting trapped in one’s separateness; and when we break out of that, we experience a compassion that is not pity and not kindness; but a compassion borne of identifying with the people around you.

I remember the pain of the dissonance between what I was teaching and what I had experienced, and I would say that in 32 years the pain of lacking of integrity of my being has never fully gone away. I am still growing into the divinity that I know myself to be, yet I don’t act in full harmony with what I know. I thought it would all die away, and integrity would just emerge. I was very naive, and I was not alone.

Those moments of awakening were when we saw through the fragility of the vertical patriarchal social institutions. We believed that since we could see this fragility, and see through it, they would dissolve. We surrounded the pentagon with ‘OM’ and expected it to rise. We saw how it could be and we felt that if everybody saw what we saw, everybody would want it, and we would have what we wanted, although we hadn’t yet integrated into our own lives. We weren’t ‘walking our talk’.

The result was that we won battles but didn’t win the war. We gave the right, the fundamentalism and the reactionary side of America, the fear motivation. What we represented was chaos to them. We represented the loss of the power structure in which they were winning, and they were not going to let it go without a fight.


-Ram Dass, 1993