Why does spiritual awakening require a shift in our priorities?

Fear is what excites the adrenaline. Just look at the daily news. Look at what’s on it. Look at what’s there. Love doesn’t sell, no matter how hard you try. It doesn’t sell. People can’t slow down enough to taste it. Folks go out and see the stars and it slows you down but how many times do you even do that? How many times do you go in and turn on the lights and you turn on the television or turn on something instead?

You turn on, and you tune in, and you drop out, but what you drop out of is the deeper truth and drop into a linear storyline.

Now if you see the nature of this metaphysics that we’re talking about, about ego and the different levels of self.. Ego, and soul, and awareness, or god, or whatever… If you see those then you begin to see what the nature of your curriculum as a soul is, that having taken birth on earth, the work is to awaken out of the karmic illusions that you keep creating, and you draw your awareness back through whatever practices you use to do that.

You do this and then you look around. At first you’re satisfied to do a practice now and then, but I’ll tell you what happens is once the hook is planted it is inevitable and irrevocable. You can try to go back to sleep but you can’t quite fully do it once you’re started to awaken. Finally, what happens is it becomes your life’s work.

Somebody will come up to me and they’ll say, “I’m not doing well with my partner. We are thinking of divorce – my partner isn’t growing the way I’m growing, and I want to go on with my way- I want satsang – I want somebody that is growing with me.” I can see from where they’re saying it that at a certain stage of their spiritual practice they could hear the answer that it doesn’t matter, because they are doing work on themselves. Working with somebody who wasn’t awakening, they end up doing a different kind of work than they would working with somebody that was helping them awaken. In other words, you have a partner who, every time you say, “I’m doing spiritual practice,” they say, “Oh, come on. Cut the crap. Let’s go to the movies.” That’s interesting work in terms of a fire of purification for your inner truth. It’s just as useful as when you say, “Oh, the spiritual world is so great,” and they say, “Come on, don’t talk like that. Really get in here,” It’s a different level of work.

What I’m suggesting is that after a while everything in your life becomes grist for the mill for awakening, and your priorities change. Instead of, “Am I awakening through my work? Am I awakening through this relationship? Am I awakening through this drive? Am I awakening through how I take care of my body?…..” The journey of awakening begins to dominate the terrain. There is clearly an inner shift of priority, and then you start to use your life that way.

 

-Ram Dass

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