Turning from the Ego into the Heart

You may say, “Alright, I’m gonna listen to these still, small voices within,” but the ego, which is created out of the intellect, is not about to walk away and say, “Oh, you’re absolutely right, there’s intuitive wisdom that’s higher than me, so thanks, see you around.” It’s been running the show for a long time.

So what the ego does when it sees you’ve got a new game you want to play is it says, “Sure,” and then it turns itself into this still, small voice within. It says, “I am your still, small voice within, see?” It imitates the intuitive kind of inner place so that what you find is that you listen in as carefully as you can, and then you make an act, but then a moment later you realize you’ve been had. You fall on your face, then you get up and brush yourself off.

It was Sri Aurobindo who said, “Every time you take a step you fall and you get up, and you brush yourself off. Then you look sheepishly at God, and take another step,” this just continues.

That’s what I’ve found, that the latency between where I thought I was doing something out of the deepest wisdom, and then realized I was just ego tripping, gets shorter and shorter and shorter, because I’m no longer afraid to make errors. I’m not afraid to say, “I got trapped in my own stuff again.”

I did a lecture in New York years ago, I was at the Beacon Theater and there was a fellow up in the balcony, and I started to speak but I was feeling very insecure, because backstage is a weird place to be sometimes, and you’re going out, and people have paid to hear you, you know, and you’ve got to be charming and wise, and you may, you know, have had a bad dinner, or you know, you’re not feeling quite right, so I went out and what I usually do is I go into routines at that point. So I went out and started my routine, when a guy up in the balcony screamed, “Ram Dass, my heart hurts.” Now what I can usually do is I could turn a whole audience against him, you know, and then everybody would get angry at him, but I realized that he was right, that his heart hurt, because I was speaking from a place of mind. This was only three minutes into the lecture.

I said, “Well if your heart hurts, our heart hurts. Why don’t we stop and let’s all chant for a while.”

The whole evening turned back into heart. It’s tricky to talk about the heart, because there are these different levels of heart. There’s the emotional heart that you’re familiar with, what poetry is usually about, except mystic poetry, the dramatic, romantic qualities of the heart. There’s feelings of love and hate and jealousy and sweetness, and tenderness and all of these emotional states, and then there’s this deeper heart, this intuitive heart.

It’s the place where the deeper mind, that kind of Gestalt mind and the subtler emotions all come together, and you’re connected to the universe, and that’s the quality where love exists, where the presence and love are.

-Ram Dass

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