St. John of the Cross said, “All that the imagination can imagine and the understanding it can receive and understand in this life is not, nor can it be, a proximate means of union with God.”

What we have touched or tasted or known through some vehicle or another has been a way of turning yourself on and getting high. I mean, Eleanor Rigby gets her kicks in some way or other. It may be darning a sock, it may be cooking a bouillabaisse, it may be walking by the ocean, it may be turning on with something – pot or acid, it may be making love – a moment of sexual union. It may be pure service, just serving, just totally, “not mine, but thy will, oh lord,” in everything you do. Prayer gets you high, singing holy songs gets you high. Everybody’s got a trip to get high. Funny what we are getting to at this stage – we start to say, “Well my trip is better than your trip. You mean you didn’t go surfing man? Oh, you’re nowhere baby.”

If you sit around and think, “Well, now I’ll do this,” it wipes you out. I’m not wiped out. Turns out everybody’s got their way of getting high. In Sanskrit it’s called upaya, or method. There was a saint that lived outside of a rich city like Boston, and he came to the city and he came back and he said to his devotees, “I went in the city and the people are all saints, the streets are all golden and there’s light coming out of every person’s head.” Then his devotees said, “Wow, we’ve got to see the city,” and so they went into the city and they came rushing back and they said, “That same city? It’s horrible, there’s suffering, disease, theft and loneliness.”

What’s far out is that it’s all in the eyes of the perceiver. Give yourself a little road map, marking the place in us where we’re spirit, where we’re light, where we’re just energy, where we just are. Those of you that have peeled away all your personality layers like an onion, you touch the place in you where we just are. You can’t talk about togetherness from a place of dualism, I guess you can, but you can’t talk about union, you can only be in union.

See, when you’re making love to somebody, there’s a point where you better stop saying, “Wow, isn’t this great? Are you enjoying it?” or even “Wonderful! Ah! Wow!” That’s either before or after. But there is a place where there isn’t any new, and there’s nobody to talk to because we tuned into another frequency. We came into the here and now, and every label about the here and now, and I look at you and say man, woman, audience, lecturer, whatever the game is, you are just labels, they all take us away from the here and now.


-Ram Dass



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