In this talk from 1995, Ram Dass discusses spiritual practices and poses the question, “why do we practice?”
Raghu reads a passage from The Wisdom Teachings and Good Wishes of the Adi-Buddha Samanta-Bhadra which poses that the reality which is “the foundation of all is uncreated, uncompounded, independent beyond mental concept and verbal definition.” Not knowing this we humans get overwhelmed by the darkness of unconsciousness, from which comes ignorance and error, of course what arises then is the concept us and them. This spawns an unbroken current of samsaric (illusion) evolution, so the root source of error among sentient beings is thus unconscious ignorance. Raghu suggests this is pretty good motivation for spiritual practice. Ram Dass gives another motivation, which is, change generates fear-fear generates contraction-contraction then generates prejudice and bigotry-and ultimately violence.
What’s the antidote for this? It’s consciousness that does not respond to change with fear. So how do we get that consciousness? It takes spiritual practice. Once you start to practice, the journey to awakening starts to dominate the terrain. “Everything in your life becomes grist for the mill of awakening. You learn to trust the deepest inner message you can hear.” Ram Dass also says: “if you’re thinking you should meditate, don’t bother, go out and lust some more.” In other words spiritual practice should not come from a place where you should do anything. “You need an honest approach to the path, you can’t be phony holy.”
Raghu shares his own experience with spiritual practices, on finding time to sit in meditation on a regular basis, even if he’s tired or cranky. The beauty of a true spiritual journey is that it keeps unfolding from inside yourself.
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