Raghu introduces a new outstanding essential teachings course from Ram Dass entitled – Being Here Now: An Odyssey into the Essential Teachings of Ram Dass.
After a deep dive into the Ram Dass audio archives, Raghu gives us a preview of this rare Ram Dass content. Being Here Now is an eight-week audio course with a companion guide written by Rameshwar Das. The course also features a big bonus current video of Ram Dass. Raghu gives us a taste of each week, and shares wisdom on some of the topics featured in the course. This course is brought to you in partnership with Tami Simon and Sounds True.
Being Here Now: An Odyssey into the Essential Teachings of Ram Dass
Identifying with Our True Self
From the moment we incarnate as a human being we are identified with our body, feelings and thoughts. Yet, beyond our thinking mind and sensory perceptions, there is a vast realm of the soul which is pure consciousness, love, joy and peace. Our individual soul is part of that unitary consciousness, whether we call it God, Buddhahood, or the One. It is our origin and where we shall return. Sometimes just a subtle shift in perspective or point of view can remind us of this true nature of our being.
Witness and Awareness
The gateway to our true Self is our own awareness. Becoming an impartial observer of each instant of our incarnation allows us to be present in the moment and at the same time to extricate from our desires, thoughts, attachments and the time-binding of regrets about the past and worry about the future. Awareness and love, loving ourselves with full awareness of each thought and feeling, even of negative emotions, begins to dissolve our identification with the ego and allows us to live in our soul.
Methods and Purifying the Mind
Meditation means going within to bring the mind to one point in order to quiet the cacophony of thoughts, emotions, and desires. Patanjali, the sage who wrote the Yoga Sutra, starts with, “Citta vritti nirodha,” or, consciousness arises when thoughts dissolve. Our guru, Maharaj-ji, said, “Bring your mind to one point and wait for Grace.” There are many methods of meditation. Find one that works for you and develop a regular practice.
Suffering and Disturbing Emotions
Physical, emotional, and mental suffering is a reality of life. Thoughts, emotions, and sensations come up constantly to disturb the essential peace of the heart and mind. While we cannot avoid the difficult challenges of life, how we deal with and experience them can magnify or reduce their impact. We can find a spaciousness in our encounters with suffering- we can actually make friends with our suffering.
Cultivating Love and Compassion
Love is the emotion of merging, or becoming one. Compassion is being with another’s suffering, experiencing our inter-relatedness in the most direct way by opening our hearts to one another. The Buddhist practice of metta or the Hindu devotional practices of Bhakti yoga can help with that heart opening. Ram Dass teaches Loving Awareness meditation that brings together love and awareness. We have to start from where we are. Only when we truly love ourselves can we become beacons of love to others.
Relationships and the Spiritual Path
Transforming the karma of relationships into grist for the mill of the spiritual path is a challenge. Discriminating between love and attachment, personal desire and unconditional love, is part of everyone’s spiritual evolution.
Transforming everyday work and activity into spiritual practice is karma yoga, often expressed through seva, or selfless service. The Bhagavad Gita is one of the great wisdom sources for karma yoga. As it says, ultimately we bring our lives into harmony by surrendering the fruits of our actions to God.
Love and Death
Our ego fears annihilation because of the identification with our body. Living in faith that we are truly a soul helps transform fear. The grief of losing a loved one yields to the certainty that though bodies pass away, love does not die. If we live fully in the present moment, death is just another moment.