In this talk from 1995, Ram Dass discusses spiritual practices and poses the question, “why do we practice?”
“I Ought to Do…” (Opening) – We all should meditate or have a spiritual practice of some sort. However, the motivation to do so must come from an authentic place within ourselves. If forced, any practice becomes like a yo-yo diet that we start, don’t commit to and fail at. Ram Dass gets real about what happens when we listen to that place inside and pursue our true path.
“I got to be a Harvard professor by doing what I ought to do, and even then I was just doing what I ought to do to be a good Harvard professor. It was only when I took mushrooms that I connected to something in myself that was true. It wasn’t somebody saying I ought to be this, it was what I am.” – Ram Dass
The Unfolding Journey (21:40) – Ram Dass reflects on the true beauty of the ever-unfolding spiritual journey.
Entrapments of the Mind (27:30) – So much of the pain we cause each other and ourselves come from the trips we get caught up by in our own minds. Ram Dass explores the subtle and overt ways we get caught up in our own mind games.
“Imagine the Arabs and Israelis, they are sisters and brothers in terms of having the same God and there they are beating the shit out of each other over their minds; over their mind trips. Therese are mind trips we are playing in and we are all part of it. In our subtle way, we are all caught in these conspiracies of defining reality certain ways.” – Ram Dass
Grist for the Mill (35:00) – At some point in practice everything becomes grist for the mill of awakening. Ram Dass looks at the inner shift that happens when we stop doing what we think we ought to do and we start doing what we know is best on our journey of awakening.
“What I am suggesting is that after a while, everything becomes grist for the mill of awakening. The journey of awakening starts to dominate the terrain and there is clearly an inner shift in priority.” – Ram Dass