Ram Dass, Going Home

For those of us who hold Ram Dass dear to our heart, if you haven’t already, watch the newly released Ram Dass Going Home streaming on Netflix.

Words can’t express the indebtedness to Richard Alpert, who, in the midst of the political, social, and spiritual turmoil of the late ‘60s, went to India in search of the truth and returned as Ram Dass to spread his message of peace, love, and happiness to the many seekers who were inspired by his journey. His book ‘Be Here Now’ motivated us to join him on the pathless path and discover our essential nature that his presence now embodied.

And now, at age 87, having gracefully weathered a severe stroke he suffered over twenty years ago, he is preparing to die. His mantra, ‘I am loving Awareness.’ His message, ‘Let’s all lead each other home.’

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ram Dass!

Eternal gratitude!

We love you!

Skyless Cloud

Look closely at awareness, the knowing presence that is our essential being. Notice that all things come and go in this awareness – thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells – but it doesn’t come and go with them.

Can you remove this awareness from your experience? Can anything, any thing, be known without it?

Can you remove the sky from the clouds?

Without the sky, can there be a cloud? Without awareness, can there be a thought, a feeling?

We often see a cloudless sky, but never a skyless cloud. We sometimes experience an aware stillness, but never an independent thought.

There can be an infinite number of clouds, but only one sky in which they appear and disappear, just as there can be an infinite number of thoughts, feelings, or sensations, but only one awareness in which they arise and pass away.

Just as an endless parade of clouds come and go while the sky remains unchanged, an endless parade of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions come and go in the unchanging field of awareness that is our original nature.

We can experience awareness without thoughts, but we can never experience a thought without awareness. In other words, you can take thoughts out of awareness, but you can’t take awareness out of thoughts.

Find this awareness, this aware stillness that is in the background of all experience, the stuff out of which all experience is made, and know your original nature.

Where is it?

Just as clouds sometimes obscure the sky, but we know it’s always there in the background, notice that awareness, the knowing presence that is your, our, original nature, exists prior to the appearance of any thought or perception. It is ever-present and aware regardless of what arises and passes away.

We know without a doubt the clear, pristine sky that is always present and unchanged by any cloud that appears and disappears within it. Now know without a doubt the clear, pristine presence of awareness that is always with you, always is you, unchanged by any appearance.

Then let go the mental images of the skyless cloud and an aware presence, only concepts of mind. Let them dissolve in that which is beyond all images, beyond all concepts.

Beyond the beyond.

Welcome!

Already A Masterpiece

‘Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody
when I paint my masterpiece.’
~ Bob Dylan

The background of all experience is like a blank painter’s canvas. You can paint any image on the canvas – in the style of a Picasso collage, a Rembrandt landscape, a Pollock drip painting, or a Dali surreal image – and it has no affect on the canvas whatsoever. Underneath the paint the canvas rests in its original blank state – pristine and wholly receptive.

In just the same way, your essential being, awareness itself, is unchanged, untarnished, and unconditionally receptive regardless of what is happening in your body, mind, or world. Myriad thoughts, good, bad, and neutral, fantastic or disturbing images, wild emotional swings, intense or subtle bodily sensations, and perceptions of the outside world, all come and go, but your essential nature remains still, peaceful, pristine, open, aware, and knowing.

Before paint is ever applied to canvas, before you, that is, you as aware, knowing presence, experience a thought, mood, or perception of the world, all is ‘smooth like a rhapsody.’

Already a masterpiece.

Dead Eyes

When you relate to the present from the perspective of what’s happened in the past, you miss the opportunity to act spontaneously in the moment.

By obscuring the present moment in the shadow of the unchanging past you are looking with dead eyes and leave no room for a fresh view of what’s actually happening.

The conditioned mind is a dead mind. Recognize it as such and leave it alone. Rest in that which recognizes, not in that which is recognized.

And know that all is well.

The Chosen One Walks Among Us

The Chosen One walks among us, and that Chosen One is you.

That’s absurd, you say. You can’t possibly be the Chosen One. That would not only be an arrogant statement but a dangerous one. There are too many people in our checkered human history who have claimed to be the one to save us from disaster and ended up leading us down an even more horrific path.

But it is you, Chosen One, who can lead the rest of the human race to a place of peace, happiness, and love – the placeless place where spontaneous acts of loving kindness occur.

It starts with you recognizing your essential nature – the knowing presence within you that is made of infinite emptiness, profound silence, and eternal light.

Don’t look at yourself from the limited point of view of a body-mind that is made up of temporary qualities – what lasting value has a fleeting thought, memory, image, mood, sensation, sight, or sound? Is there anything there that you can count on to give you enduring happiness, impeccably clear thinking, or a spontaneous and correct response to any given situation? No. Anything that comes and goes cannot be counted on when real and true answers to difficult questions are desperately needed.

And what is it that remains objective and calm in the face of desperation? What is not affected by the passing whims of haphazard thoughts or reckless actions? What remains still, clear, open, and loving regardless of what is going on around it?

The element within you, Chosen One, that knows the coming and going of all things but doesn’t come and go with them. Whatever you call it – awareness, consciousness, the absolute, divine spirit – know that your essential nature is ever-present, all knowing, unalterable, and untouched by whatever happens in the body, mind, or world.

Look at your experience. Don’t you, as consciousness or awareness, exist prior to any appearance of a thought, sensation or perception of the world? If you didn’t, how would you know them? All things arise in you, Chosen One, are known by you, and made of you. As no limits or boundaries can be found to this awareness it has to be infinite and eternal, and there is no room for two in the infinite and eternal – where would one infinite space end and another infinite space begin? So this must be true of every living being on the planet.

You, I, we are the Chosen One, and there’s nothing we need to do to be this, as we are already that. If we are open to this possibility, we will begin to see the evidence of the true non-dual nature of reality – the inherent oneness of all experience. Speak to this oneness in everyone and see what happens.

Chosen One.

No Expectations

When you have expectations of others that are not met, more often than not you feel disappointed, maybe even frustrated or angry, certainly not satisfied or happy.

Greet someone with no expectations and see what happens. This is more easily done with strangers than it is with someone close to you – with strangers expectations are low. We don’t know what to expect. When we think we know someone well, we tend to have a preconceived idea of how we expect them to act, and when they don’t act accordingly it upsets the balance of our little self, the only one who has expectations in the first place.

Just as the sky expects no particular formation from the clouds, awareness, the source of our being, has no expectations about the comings and goings of the self, others, or the world, and therefore accepts everything as it is, embraces everything as it occurs, in an open field of loving kindness.

When you greet someone from this perspective, you don’t expect anything in particular; you just meet them as they are. In turn, they will feel your unconditional acceptance and communication will be open and spontaneous.

And then recognize the infinite and eternal qualities of this awareness, its ever-present, boundless nature – that part of us that knows ‘I am’ – and realize that there can be room for only one. And you, I, we are That – one consciousness manifesting as the many.

No expectations. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.

No ‘Who’ Or ‘What’ About It

Notice that all thoughts come and go.

Who or what notices this?

Notice that all sensations come and go.

Who or what notices this?

Notice that all feelings come and go.

Who or what notices this?

Notice that all perceptions of the world come and go.

Who or what notices this?

All things noticed come and go, yet the part of you, the part of us, that notices the coming and going of all things remains unchanged and ever-present. And this ‘you’ is not the individual self, the body-mind limited by time and space that we’ve all come to think of as our identity.

This thing within us that knows that we are, that we exist, that we are aware, has no definable qualities. It is beyond the grasping mind. No ‘who’ or ‘what’ about it, or for that matter, no ‘where’ about it.

You do not know it, but you are known by it.

It is not embodied in a thing, yet all things are embodied by it.

And it can’t found in any particular location, yet it is always with us, always here as the background of all experience, the source of all experience, and regardless of the experience, good, bad, or neutral, it remains unaltered, unchanged, untarnished, ever-present and aware.

As no limits or boundaries can be found to this ever-present awareness, it makes sense that there can only be one, infinite and eternal. We are that.

Settle into this effortless knowing and dissolve into the unchanging love, peace, and happiness that is your, our, essence.