Community Call Followup 3/23

It was such an incredibly sweet gathering today. Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their busy lives to show up and be there. We look forward to seeing you all again (and more of you) next week!

Here was the meditation we did together:

‘Just Be’ meditation: Stream Just Be – Meditation by RamDass | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
Transcript available here: Guided Meditation Library • Ram Dass

And here was the Chant:,vid:f4u3HEcOrIg

The replay should be available by tomorrow morning.

If you have any questions, inspirations, concerns or anything else you want to share about the call, please do so. We would love to hear from you.


Great discussion. Dharma practice can be counter intuitive and complex.

One can often hear guidance to ‘embrace suffering’ as all-their-is to the path, not as a process on the path towards awareness and happiness.

  • It may be useful to clarify the goals of practice, at the intersection of practice, suffering, and happiness?

  • How is the tension between the suffering and happiness balanced?

  • How to embrace ‘suffering’ skillfully, with wisdom and compassion, in a way that promotes insight and growth but does not cause harm?

  • At what point does embracing suffering become spiritual bypassing?

  • Is there a useful normative distinction or guideline for suffering that is to be embraced vs not? Ram Dass spoke of two approaches in transmuting energy: first transcends suffering the other transforms it. These are not exclusive, but useful distinctions.

(keywords: Trauma Informed Practice, Harm Reduction, Cultural Diversity & Inclusion, Emotional Intelligence, Colonialism, Mindfulness, Karma Yoga)

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Happy I was able to participate with community. The breakout roomwas a whole new experience for me. These live meeting are at 2pm where I live so I am still at work at that time unable to tune in live. But, I’m on Spring break and am happy I was able to participate live! Thank you!


It really was such a great call, and I’m so pleased I was able to hold on enough and make it to the break-out rooms - met some really lovely people. Thank you for the links. X


This gathering meant so much to me! I was so grumpy earlier in the day, but that flew right out the window once I saw everyone gathered in a space of such love, I couldn’t stop smiling afterwards!
It was inspiring to hear everyone’s beautiful words in the break-out groups and once we all gathered back together. The chanting brought me to tears, just seeing everyone singing these beautiful words together lifted my heart to a light and golden space. Singing is one of my favorite practices to open my heart, so grateful to share that with my newly discovered Satsang!


Do you have to be on camera in the breakout rooms?
I left the call right before that point as I got overwhelmed about being on camera


No need to go on camera! Someone in our room didn’t have their camera on and it didn’t affect the experience :slight_smile:


Thank you. It’s my goal for the next call!


I also left the call because of my fear of being seen and of meeting people. I hope to do better next time.


I was disappointed that I was unable to do the call live, but grateful that I was able to replay it in the evening. I have an obstacle next week as well but hope to be able to do the first part- even if it’s while sitting in a car park. I have calendared the last meeting so I am sure to participate in that one.
Thank you so much for this course. It has been so beneficial already; even the schedule challenges have provided me with lessons and insights. :pray:

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Hi all! I only learned of Ram Dass several months ago and am just beginning on this path. I’m only in my late 20s and I say that because I have been talking to people in this course’s satsang and the fellowship satsang who have been doing this inner work for decades and I feel like I don’t have much to contribute because I still have so much to learn! I find myself a little awkward and intimidated in the moment, and get tripped up looking for something to say. Curious if anyone has any tips for breaking through that initial hesitation and developing a really rich conversation in satsang?


Just keeping showing up…


We can all relate. Thanks for sharing. The practice begins with the individual, guided by dharma teachings. There are a lot of layers to the practice, and how the dharma is taught and experienced. Often one piece at a time. Testing all of it to distinguish truth from illusion.

Expectations can undermine the practice. We often see what we are expecting. If we expect a religious experience than that is what we will find. If we are looking for an experience that is terrestrial, that is what we will find. Just being present and observant is key.

Insights anchored in direct experience and observation of the mind.

The whole is larger than the sum of its parts, yet It is often much simpler than it often sounds. It’s dynamic. It’s here and now. Stillness. Awareness. Wisdom. Mindfulness. The balance between being vs doing. Moving from abstractions to specific insights anchored in experienc and observation.


Hey Joe, I have zero advice, I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone in feeling awkward and intimidated. I tend to sit back and let others talk which is easily done in a group so large. And then, eventually, I feel the need to share a thought so urgently I don’t have time to worry about nerves. Haha

Best of luck on the journey


So did I. It’s too easy when anxious to follow your reasoning as truth. Hoping to stay present enough next time to let go of these feelings gently and open up more to the group. It is reassuring in a way that I am not alone in this so I am grateful to see that others are brave enough to share they felt this way as I wouldn’t have before reading this thread.


Great discussion and questions!

What is the goal of practice? Peace? Enlightenment? More productivity? To be a “good” person? The yoga sutras and buddhist texts would say in various ways, that it is to know and come from our true nature. And to get there, we have to be able to allow for everything without attachment or aversion. I wonder what other texts might say?

How is it balanced? Another great question. There is that great poem by Thich Nath Hahn - [Please call me By My True Name.] That I think speaks into this the best. It’s all at the same time.

AND, for me, learning to balance in the time/space continuum means learning the art of titrating from an SE perspective.

I think if we embrace, meaning we actually have empathy and compassion ( which includes acting) for the suffering, instead of the intellectualizing “it’s all good, it’s all karma” then I don’t think we can actually spiritually bypass. To me, the bypassing comes when we are not willing to feel it or turn towards it in a real way.

I think Pema Chodren, Shaon Salzberg and others have a lot of good insight on this. Specifically, thinking of Pema’s Tonglen practice or Sharon’s Metta & Loving Kindness practices. I remember one lecture, I think Mirabai Bush talked about trying to do a loving kindness practice toward someone that was difficult for her. And the instruction she got was “in as much as you can”. Sometimes we have to “pray” to be willing to be willing to turn towards suffering in some ways.

I think it is paradox. We embrace it - meaning we see it, acknowledge it, allow it, move toward it, surround it with empathy and compassion (without drowning in it). AND, at the same time, recognizing we are all in this together - no them, only us - so we work to end suffering without attachment to suffering actually ending. That’s how Ram Dass wrote about it in “How can I help?”

And, after saying all of that, when it comes to personal and collective trauma, we have to do the real physiological work, and to remove ourselves from the trauma stimulus as much as we can so we can do that work. (and when it comes to collective and historical trauma, that gets tricky.)

Each individual has to find their route through. But as we have read from the buddhists 1) life is suffering (we all experience it) 2) there are causes of that suffering 3) suffering can end 4) there are things we can do to end that suffering.

I’d love to hear what others think and thanks for the great discussion!

Hi @Joe_O, (and @Finn, @Honor_Tuohy, @Travis_Barker and anyone else in this boat)

So glad you shared. A few things come up when I hear this:

  1. THANK YOU for showing up
  2. You can sit back and soak things in, that’s a big part of learning and what even the “experts” need to do!
  3. Your experience as a new person is so important for the whole, it is a unique perspective that is needed!
  4. Sometimes, when someone has been doing something for a while, they take terminology and other things for granted. (I know I do.) So if something doesn’t make sense, you can either let it go (at some point it might land in a new way) or say “hey, that doesn’t make sense to me.” That would be helpful for everyone! No pressure either way, but know both are options (as others are I’m sure!)
  5. Take what you like and leave the rest
  6. Be gentle with yourself. You are on your path, and it will take it’s perfect time, and there is no way to learn 5 decades of stuff in a few weeks. The comparison mind is ubiquitous, but try not to fall prey to it. It is the thief of joy and your own perfect process.

Hope that helps, and keep coming back! All of you!! We are so glad you are here!


Great insights. Life has suffering. Not confusing the question with the answer. The quality of an answer can also itself generate further insights.

@Wendy_Roberts @Teresa_Cokl
It can feel intimidating but they are really pretty sweet!
It’s great to be able to see each other, but if it’s not possible, that is okay too. Whatever makes it easier to participate! Thanks for showing up!