It’s very easy when you have touched great depths of love and beauty and presence and emptiness and clarity and wisdom – it’s easy to assume you’re always going to stay in that, because when you’re in it, it is so totally who you are. So, you’ve got to realize we are living in incredibly seductive times, in a seductive universe. I mean, advertising is only the beginning of the game, which is constantly saying, “Desire me. Desire me. You want me. Get into your desires. You are your desires. You are your attachments. Look at me. Want me. Enjoy me. Fear me. Hope for me. Collect me. Experience me.”
The universe is constantly saying these things, and it’s like the garden of infant delight. It’s constantly seducing you into an identification with being the experiencer, the collector, the doer, the sensor, the thinker, and sometimes it comes in so subtly you hardly notice it until you’re deeply entrenched back in your storyline.
So practice can serve to keep reconnecting you, and you can do what you could call a ‘maintenance practice’. Like, for some people a morning meditation of twenty minutes is a bare maintenance if you are already connected to a deep place in your being, because in twenty minutes you’ll have just enough time. Say you take time in the morning to think through all of the things you’ve gotta do all day. So it’ll be the first thing you’ll do during your first twenty minutes. Try to remember the dreams you had. Get irritated about something you’ve got left over from yesterday that you haven’t digested, and then realize how caught you are in the whole story. Then the bell will ring and you’ll go on in your life.
Sometimes I’ve done it at evening time. I’ve kept a little diary of the ways during the day that I lost it, that I got caught into the drama of it all, that I started to take it as real. I’d just make a list of it and then look at the patterns of those lists over the days, because they showed me the nature of my desire systems. They showed me what it was that I made real.
I think that because it’s often so subtle in the way it catches us, that unless you really bring mindfulness to it, you don’t see the toxicity of the culture you’re growing up in, or living in, and the way it takes you and narrows you into a certain definition of yourself.
Now it’s tricky, when I use the word toxicity, not to get the wrong interpretation. It’s not to to say that the plane we call the ego plane is less than. The predicament however, is that you and I grew up primarily in that plane, so the likelihood of us meeting people that were reminding us we are fellow souls, and that we are pure awareness, is pretty slim in our culture.
– Ram Dass