Ram Dass – Here and Now – Ep. 246 – How to Be Responsive, Not Reactive

In this classic talk from 1987, Ram Dass explores working with suffering, keeping our hearts open, finding the intuitive heart space, and being responsive rather than reactive.

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“As you quiet your mind just a little bit, you get so that you’re not automatically reacting to everything. You become what’s called responsive rather than reactive. In other words, something happens and there’s a moment when it’s just happening, you’re just with it. As your awareness expands to include more than your separate self, it’s as if you’re part of the gestalt of it all, and you experience the totality of it. And then, out of that quietness comes an act that is appropriate to that moment.” – Ram Dass

This episode is a continuation of the talk started in Here and Now Ep. 245 – Taking Off Our Spacesuit. In this week’s episode:
  • Using his stepmother’s death as an example, Ram Dass explores how pain and suffering can become a curriculum through which one awakens.
  • Ram Dass discusses how he has begun to fall in love with everyone, and how his guru opened him up to the possibility of unconditional love. If we’re caught in our separateness, it’s hard to keep our hearts open.
  • Ram Dass shares classic stories of how other beings, including a dolphin, have helped him escape the trap of his own mind and find the intuitive heart space. He talks about taking care of his aging father and learning how to just be present with him.
  • Finally, Ram Dass explores the difference between being reactive and being responsive, reading a story from ‘How Can I Help?’ to illustrate his point. He talks about how, when we are quiet enough on the inside, we can begin to hear how to awaken through the journey of the spirit.

“I have always treasured those beings who help me escape from the traps of my own mind. And I treasure when I am a being who can be an environment where other people can escape from the traps they’re stuck in. ‘Cause everybody takes themselves so seriously, they milk their melodrama so much.” – Ram Dass

About Ram Dass:

Ram Dass’ spirit has been a guiding light for generations, carrying along millions on the journey. Ram Dass teaches that through the Bhakti practice of unconditional love, we can all connect with our true nature. Through these teachings, Ram Dass has shared a little piece of his guru, Maharaj-ji, with all who have listened to him.

Listen to more episodes of the Ram Dass Here and Now Podcast:
Go back to the very beginning of the journey as Ram Dass talks about his early years in life and the psychedelic experience that changed everything in Here and Now Ep. 1.
How does our perception shape our experience of suffering? Ram Dass investigates the many roots of suffering in Here and Now Ep. 132.
We all touch states of transcendence. Ram Dass explores how we can come into contact with the path of awakening in Here and Now Ep. 164.
Ram Dass breaks down the history of psychedelics and helps us understand the risks and rewards of these consciousness-altering chemicals in Here and Now Ep. 183.