This morning I received an email with the excerpt below from Ram Dass regarding his new book, Grist for the Mill. Some of you may already know Ram Dass as a “spiritual teacher”, from the psychedelic 60’s. Ironically I knew nothing of him at the time, as a teenager growing up outside of
I have only come to know of him in the past few years, having read
several of his books, resonating with his words…. Boston
How interesting that this excerpt would show up on my “doorstep” at this time, dealing with challenging family issues and personalities, which my husband calls: the “misery drama.” J I’ve been looking for a new window through which to see this experience, and my interaction with it. And voila – here is something I needed to hear, something I needed to look at once again. Syncronicity at work… J
Here is the excerpt – which for me offered a window through which to see my family situation with different eyes… Hopefully J At least make me more aware of the dynamic and my role in it…
“The optimal strategy in behavior change, with yourself and every other human being, is compassion. That means, as far as I understand it, the ability to see how it all is. As long as you have certain desires about how you *think* it ought to be, you can’t *hear* how it is. As long as I want something, I can’t really understand it, because much of what I can see are just my own projective systems. You must come to see every human being, including yourself, as an incarnation in a body of a personality, going through a certain life experience which is functional. You allow it to be just the way it is at the moment, seeing even your own confusion and conflict and suffering as functional, rather than as dysfunctional.
The greatest thing you can do for any being is provide the unconditional love which comes from making contact with that place in them which is beyond conditioning, which is just pure consciousness, pure essence. That is, once we acknowledge each other as existing, just being here, just being, then each of us is free to change optimally. If I can just love you because here we are, then you are free to grow as you need to grow, because none of it’s going to change my feeling of love.
We’re used to having these special role relationships, thinking certain roles apply to one, yet not to another, because we’re very attached to externals – do you touch somebody, do you sleep with them, do you control them, do you collaborate with them, do you support them, do you pay them, do they pay you? That’s all stuff of the vehicle of the interaction between two beings; it isn’t the essence of the matter.
As you work on yourself through your daily life, more and more you see your own reactions to things around you as sort of mechanical rip-offs. You get much calmer in the space behind it all, and you’re able to hear more of how it all is, including your own personality as part of nature.
The deeper you are in that space, the more there is available for everybody you meet who is capable of coming into that space. You are the environment that allows them to do that – and from within this space all change is possible. The minute you identify yourself or anyone else with models, roles, or any characteristic, any individual difference, change is really fierce. Once you live in a universe where you experience even your living and dying as relative, rather than in absolute terms, it’s all free to change. There’s nowhere you have to go to work on yourself other than where you are at this moment, and everything that’s happening to you is part of your work on yourself.”
You may also want to read this post I wrote on “Prickly Personalities” back in 2012 when I was more able to be in that space that Ram Dass talks about. It does make a difference… I just need to consciously find my way there again…
Light and shadow through a window curtain