In this talk from 1976, Ram Dass takes an honest look at the cycles of liberation experienced on the spiritual path.
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Honesty About the Spiritual Path (Opening) – Every individual has a natural rate of spiritual development that progresses according to our karma and evolutionary nature. Ram Dass talks about respecting that natural progression and reports on the consequences of trying to push our awakening too fast.
“The rate at which that balance of attachment shifts must be honored. You can’t make it go faster than it goes, because the minute you try to get ahead of yourself it gets phony and the minute it gets phony it is just another ego trip that you will have to clean up anyway.” – Ram Dass
Highs and the Lows (21:30) – Ram Dass reflects on the emotional ups and downs that he and his fellow seekers experienced while studying and practicing in India. He shows how, with mindful awareness, we can find balance by embracing the lows and not chasing the highs along the spiritual path.
“We kept trying to focus on the highs and shove the lows under the rug. Those downs, those habits that grab back up, after a while you begin to see that your work is with those things – not just the highs.” – Ram Dass
Cleaning up our Karma (27:45) – What happens when we burn up our attachments by confronting them directly? Ram Dass explores the possibility of cleaning up our karma by seeking out where we are clinging to things. He looks at what our attachments have to teach us about our karma and incarnation.
Beyond Awareness (39:20) – Ram Dass discusses how meditative practice can allows us to quiet our mind and shift our consciousness into pure awareness and beyond. With Ram Dass, we explore the infinite realms of possibility that lie in the space beyond awareness.
“Each of these realms is a plane of relative reality as real as the auditorium that I am speaking in. When your awareness is not limited by its subtle attachments and clingings, you can get to the point as Buddha did, through the depth of meditative looseness, where he could get outside of time and watch every one of those thought forms come into existence, exist and die.” – Ram Dass