‘Are we not wasps who spend all day in a fruitless attempt to traverse a window-pane while the other half of the window is wide open?’ ~ Wei Wu Wei
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!
We love you!
When a lost flatlander drives up to a Vermont farmhouse and asks for directions, the crafty Vermonter will often respond with, ‘You can’t get there from here,’ then laugh and give them impeccable directions to their destination.
‘You can’t get there from here.’ The same can be said of the spiritual seeker in search of awakening, liberation, enlightenment, satori, salvation, or whatever name they give for the never-ending quest they have been on for years, possibly decades.
A ‘you’ that seeks enlightenment through whatever chosen means is doomed to fail.
THERE IS NO ‘YOU’ THAT CAN DO ANYTHING.
Recognize this irrefutable fact and the thought of liberation becomes a joke, granted, a wonderful joke – because you realize the joke is on you, and there is no you, so . . .
You can’t get there, that is, to liberation, from here, because ‘you’ are an illusion. ‘You’ can’t go anywhere or do anything. Just as a shadow, inextricably linked to its source, cannot take off on its own, the fictitious ‘you’ cannot separate itself from its source, ever-present awareness, to seek anything. ‘You’ is made up of temporary manifestations of pure awareness, the source of our being, so, in fact, ‘you’ are already there, or here, or, as the Beatles sing, ‘Here, there, and everywhere.’
Here, there, and everywhere obviously encompasses everything. In other words, you are IT. And at your core you are no different from anyone else, so we are all IT.
Time to CELEBRATE!
Sending Love, Peace, and Happiness from All of Us to All of Us.
All ONE of us.
‘We are as Gods and might as well get good at it.’
So wrote Stewart Brand in the opening line of his first Whole Earth Catalog in 1968. This became the rallying cry for many a Flower Child. It was the perfect slogan to fuel the rising curiosity in spirituality that was being inspired by the hallucinogen induced psychedelic experience and the influx of Eastern mystics with their talk of meditation, yoga, and enlightenment.
We are as Gods.
An idealistic concept, and a goal worth striving for, especially for a young and enthusiastic seeker. To behave as a God seemed as good a way as any to reach a higher plane of consciousness, and if many followed this path it might even create a kinder, gentler world.
We are as Gods.
Not exactly. If we look closely at our own experience, we will discover that at the core of all experience there is only one thing going on – one infinite and eternal source for all appearances. Therefore, we are not as Gods . . .
We are as God.
There is only one source of being. Call it whatever you want – God, Divine Spirit, Consciousness, Aware Presence – but there can be only one, not many.
And because there can be only one, you, I, we, must be a manifestation of this one source, and thus, at our root we are all the same.
Why only one? Set aside your story for a moment – who you think you are, including your sex, race, beliefs and opinions, what you have accomplished or failed at in the past, and what you plan on doing in the future.
What’s left? With all sense of a personal self set aside, all that’s left is a sense of being, a sense of being aware that you are, a sense of being aware that you are aware. And does this awareness have any limitations? Any boundaries?
Can you find a beginning or an end to this awareness? Does it come into existence and then disappear? Is it ever not here?
No beginning or end can be found to this aware presence, or a time when it is not present. You have to be present to say that it is not present, which, of course, is an obviously absurd statement. Therefore, you must be awareness itself, infinite and eternal awareness.
We, you, I, are as God, and we might as well get good at it. And the good news is that once you recognize that your essential being is God, or consciousness, or whatever name you give it, you won’t have to get good at it, because there is only one way you can act, and that is Godly.
This is not complicated . . .
This is NOT
This is not complicated
This is not . . .
This is not complicated
This is not
This is . . .
On the spiritual path we are told of the Witness, a knowing presence within us that observes the coming and going of all appearances, including thoughts, images, feelings, sensations, and perceptions. If you are aware of this Witness, who, what, or where is this you that is aware? Discover this and let the real fun begin.
“Watch your thoughts and watch yourself watching the thoughts. The state of freedom from all thoughts will happen suddenly and, by the bliss of it, you shall recognize it.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
We all want to feel connected to others and the world. Isn’t that one reason we cling to our wonderful devices so dearly? Send endless emails and texts? Spread our personal news via Twitter and Facebook? Broadcast ourselves on YouTube and write furiously in our blog? Get excited when we hear about Google Glass and the possibility of a microchip implant? And what about all those aps?!
When we’re connected we feel a part of something bigger than ourselves, embraced by the larger community, by the world, by all of humanity! It’s also very egocentric, all about ‘me’ having the personal power to make this connection – in today’s culture of social media the epitome of this is the ‘selfie.’
And why do we seek this connectedness? Because it is our inherent nature to be connected, though that isn’t saying quite enough. It’s not that our inherent nature is to be connected, it’s that there was no disconnect to begin with and now we desperately want to get that feeling, that reality, that oneness back.
As a pristine, unstained, open and innocent newborn, our original nature of pure awareness is quickly replaced with a personal identity – a name, gender, age, likes and dislikes, etcetera – and the separate self is born. And then, as we are further conditioned by our family, friends, and culture, we are taught to distinguish and distance ourselves from other separate selves, until we feel perfectly isolated as human beings – one individual self making its way in the world among other individual selves. And no one is comfortable with this because it’s not who we really are.
We then spend the rest of our lives trying to reconnect to our seemingly lost innate sense of peace, happiness, and oneness through relationships, substances, and the acquisition of things. And this is the rise of all conflict, on both a personal and global level – if we can’t have something to fill the emptiness in our hearts, we will take it.
The irony of this search for wholeness is that the concept of connection or connectedness is just that – a wonderful idea. To say that we’re connected infers that there are separate parts to be connected, as in pieces of a puzzle to put in place before the whole picture is revealed.
In the only reality, the truth of our own experience, there are no pieces. There is only one substance, call it awareness, consciousness, nature, or emptiness, from which all things arise, are known by, and therefore, must be made of. If this is truly the case, where is the division, the separateness between anything? It can’t be found. There is nothing to be connected because there is just wholeness.
See clearly that no evidence has ever been found to refute the understanding, the knowing, the experience, that all there is is wholeness, or oneness, and therefore no possibility that there is any separation to begin with.
Nothing to search for
Nothing to connect
Nothing to become
Only one thing going on
And you, I, we,
Happiness doesn’t come and go. Our essential being, some call it our original nature, is what comes and goes, or at least that’s how it appears. In fact, our essential being never goes anywhere and happiness is a quality of essential being-ness, so happiness always is.
So why are we often unhappy? Again, happiness is not a state that comes and goes. It is merely veiled by our identification as a separate individual, which is subject to the whims of cause and effect, to different states of mind and feelings – the separate self that thinks it gets its happiness from objects, relationships, substances, and activities.
But this isn’t our true experience. Happiness reveals itself in that moment of stillness when all desire ceases. For example, you covet a jacket and order it online. It arrives in the mail, you put it on, and you are instantly happy. Not because you have the jacket, but because in that moment, you, the individual self, are not seeking or desiring anything and in this emptiness the true self is revealed. But desire quickly rises up again in the separate self, which once again sets out to seek happiness in objects, relationships, substances, and activities.
Why does this happen over and over again? Because we place our identity in an individual self, which upon examination only exists in the form of a thought, feeling, sensation, or perception, which are all temporary, and thus illusory objects.
Lasting happiness can never be found in any kind of object – states of mind come and go; feelings, sensations, and perceptions all come and go. All things come and go except for that which knows the coming and going – that which exists prior to any manifestation of phenomena, during its existence, and after it has gone. Just as the sky exists before, during, and after the cloud has appeared, lingered, and dissolved back into the sky.
It is a simple misidentification with a separate self – an illusory being made of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions – which causes all suffering and, at best, sometimes finds fleeting happiness.
To find lasting happiness, you must first investigate deeply the one who seeks happiness. Find this so-called individual self, this ‘I’ we call ourselves. Isn’t it just a thought? Set it aside for just a moment and, in the stillness, peace and happiness are revealed. As Buddha said, ‘There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.’
Something else is happening, but you’re not quite sure what it is. You have moments of absolute clarity, brilliant flashes of understanding, of the incredible oneness, fullness of all things, and then, just as quickly, the moment vanishes and you are left scratching your head, to muddle through your day, your life, as Thoreau said, in ‘quiet desperation.’
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could hold on to these moments, catch lightning in a bottle? It’s entirely possible. Not only is it possible, this pureness, this brilliance, this fullness, is our true nature, there for the taking if we, you, I, can just get out of the way. Actually, no taking or getting out of the way is required. We are already that.
Just stop stopping.
Realize that there is nothing to do, nothing not to do.
There is no question, no answer.
There is nothing but this everything.
Everything but this nothing.
No inside. No outside.
And with this realization that there is nothing to realize, the fullness explodes, bursts wide open and spreads throughout the boundless, limitless, embracing emptiness of eternal and infinite space.
This experience, which is happening right now, always right now, overwhelms, takes over, dominates all senses, all thoughts, all perceptions of what was once a human being and reveals a shimmering, pulsating light of pure vibration, and this pure vibration vanishes in the blink of an eye, and all that is this nothingness is left suspended in profound silence, and this silence is you.