Welcome to day 20 of our Cookbook for a Sacred Life virtual course!
Today we look at next steps beyond the course…
At the end of each of Ram Dass’s seminars or retreats, he would give advice for re-entering the world and bringing the voice of your inner-guide and intuition forward as you return to friends, family, and work. As we reach the end of this course together, we offer his words once again to help us integrate back into our daily lives…
This may lead you to seek more gatherings, retreats, lectures, tapes, books, etc. But remember, what you’re seeking is within yourself. And that you have made this connection, prepares you to recognize that your entire life is the process, wherever you are. You may never get to another one of these, and you may go just as high to enlightenment as somebody who spent all their life going to these things.*
Listen to your inner voice, impure though it may be, trust it. When you would ask, “What would Ram Dass say about this?” Ask yourself, “What do you say about this, Ram Dass?” And then stop and listen. And if you ask in purity and listen in your heart, you will receive an answer, and you will learn to trust that answer. And that answer…if five minutes later you ask the question, there may be a different answer, because that’s five minutes later.
PROMPT: Day 20 is about taking the practice home. Ram Dass writes “the true revolution is the evolution of consciousness. It’s not us against them. It’s us filling them until all of them is us. No proselytizing. You don’t lay a trip on anybody. You just become a light. You go back to your community and you become a light. You don’t have to point to your light. You just have to be in light. And every time you meditate, you brighten your light. And every time you remember God, you brighten your light. And that’s what you’re doing for your fellow human beings. Everything you touch is lightened, is enlightened by you. It’s such a nice game, it’s a nice game…”
How would it change your life to be the light without having to proselytize or point to it?
Be the light. Shine from within. My life experience has taught me that proselytizing comes from the part of me that is unsure, insecure and uncertain. That’s okay, as from those moments in my life, I learn that it the ego trying to hard to convince me another way is right. Meaning, I tried to hard because of lack. I now understand that I am able to allow it all to flow and let the light land where it chooses. In organized “places” proselytizing is encouraged. Now I see I do that with so many aspects of my life. It is now that I release this and if perhaps it returns, and it will, I can pause, breathe, get silent and be the light.
My life would turn into a life free of guilt, shame, judgments and expectations. These attachments and aversions turn into pointers back to the here and now where I can consciously act with intent and authenticity. The way of love and working on myself so I can be an opportunity for other people’s light to come out is enough. It makes me think about how Eckhart Tolle talks about the present moment being contagious, and when people watch a sports game it’s like transmitting the present moment from the athletes into the collective. I can be that same transmitter as long as I can stay here and now.
It’s been a real honor sharing this opportunity with everyone here!
Many people have said that a wise person does not need to speak to expound their wisdom, their actions will speak for them. I think this is how it is to be a light, to live by example and to surrender to the process, having faith that we are all exactly where we “should” be. Being in the true spirit of “allowing” removes judgement as well as comparison, and opens the heart to compassion and acceptance, in self and in others.
Such a beautiful lesson today, a beautiful way to tie everything up together and to set us aloft to try our new-found wings. All is Love.
Just reading today’s prompt and question, I feel like my practice would be unburdened if I did not have to reference or point (others) to my light. Only consciousness that is attached in identification with ego clings to it’s own delusional reference and validation. There really is no need to point to the light if one is already consciously aware of being (one with) the light. May I resonate with this Dharma teaching and integrate this Truth.
Being the light is pure joy. Being the light is resourcefulness for transforming/transmuting egocentric-karmic-conditioned suffering, including past traumatic experience memories. Being the light illuminates that which I am, as well as that which I am not, so that I may practice diligently. Being light is energetic. Being light is intrinsic goodness. Being light is naturally enlightening.
The teaching of the insight itself is pointing, but softly. Learning how to integrate this into my practice, and daily life (which are not separate), is a worthy aspiration. A journey. A process. Not necessarily a destination.
Righteous anger often trips over itself. Seeking an audience that lives in one’s mind but often ‘not out there’ in the world. Some are inclined to adopt the dharma because they think it supports their righteous indignation towards the world. A justification for actions that follow. The light, and dharma practice, are softer than that.
I do not represent anyone else but myself. When I speak for another I am taking their power away and telling them their voice doesn’t matter. Capacity building and illuminating the light of goodness and compassion is much more powerful.
Language is weaponized, often inspiring othering and division instead of bringing together. These interactions may start with wisdom but end with further division. Speaking into an echo chamber is unlikely to generate any insights or sustainable systems change.
A subtler approach is needed; not one that is limited to sitting on the cushion but can actively model a compassion, wisdom, and respect for all experiences. Without immediate expectations. With humility. An understanding that change is not deterministic. That we are not the center of change that instead needs to originate in the individual, in others. That it is organic, and requires everyone’s participation.
Managing the paradox of stillness and change requires a community.
I feel like there is a tangible magnetism between people that are “turned-on” that breaks through all other external polarities.
For example, a few months ago I went to a social gathering with my partner where we met another couple that we immediately felt connected to even though they couldn’t be more opposite from us externally. I bonded with one of them over being introverted and usually super uncomfortable in situations like that, but, for some reason we couldn’t verbalize, we both felt super comfortable with each other. Like finding a “long lost best friend from 3rd grade” feeling, as this person put it. As our conversation deepened, talking about art and philosophy, we learned that we both had a Ram Dass connection and suddenly everything made sense and we all started laughing. It really felt like a “Are you in there? I’m in here. Far out!” moment.
I think if any of us were trying to proselytize that night, our connection would have felt too forced and not as magical as it ended up being.
I love the quote from Spring Washam today, “I feel like my heart has a GPS system, it knows where to go if I listen to it. It’s wiser than my mind; it has much deeper roots, because it’s tapped into those ancient roots. We can learn to trust our intuitive wisdom, we don’t have to be cut off from that.”
I feel like my work right now is tapping deeper into those ancient roots, listening deeper and growing in trust with my intuitive wisdom. If someone wants to know what I’m doing or asks my opinion on a spiritual or life matter I’ll tell them, but it isn’t my place to tell anyone who doesn’t ask outright.
It can be quite an exploration to find out what it means to “be the light” in all sorts of different situations.
For instance, I think sometimes “being the light” includes speaking up. There certainly are times when we need to speak up and stand up for what’s true and right. For instance, if I were in a room where someone was saying racist things to a person of color, I would definitely say something.
Or hosting a fundraiser to bring clean water to people who don’t have access to clean water yet.
Sometimes I think people use this kind of thinking in a way to avoid action. As if “being the light” is always purely passive.
But I think having the intention and the desire to “be the light” in whatever way that manifests moment by moment and day by day is a beautiful thing!
One might consider my ‘sharing’ proselytizing but I hope not! I have been very focused on creating peace within myself and allowing others space to do the same, regardless of how that looks. It is very difficult for me when listening to someone complain, explain, get on the train of “oh, poor me!” And Divine knows I have done a lot of that in my life and perhaps some of you have seen some of that here as well. And that is okay, without the opportunity to do that, it is not possible for most of us to remain in a peaceful place, shining the light and supporting, listening, being there for one another in a non-judgmental atmosphere of unconditional love, light, and life.
So much appreciation for all that has been shared and this program focused on the ‘teachings’ of Ram Dass. My life revolves around zoom connections - since I feel the responsibility of being available for my daughter’s transportation needs, have my own health issues, and am in a new state without friends, other than my neighbor and those on Zoom or 90+ miles away, this course is especially precious.
So, if there are any like me who are not wanting this course to end, who enjoy the experience of being in a community listening to Ram Dass or other Teachers with the ability/direction to reflect and respond in a written manner with others in real time (with no cost, as that is still an area of my life that creates the most blocking of my light) I hope that there will be an opportunity for us to continue. I did hear that we have access to this course for at least another year, so maybe a weekly get back together, listen to a podcast, write our reflections, questions to one another??
Wow, what a great lesson for the coming to the end of this course. I’ve been downloading the audio transcripts and making notations and I damn near highlighted the whole thing today!
The lesson reminds me of one of my favorite Aldous Huxley quotes, "It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'try to be a little kinder.’ "
How simple that seems in retrospect as we begin to cultivate the spacious awareness to find the kindness in moments when it isn’t so easy to find. “You just have to be in light. And every time you meditate you brighten your light.” Be in light. Being in the light and being in the world lightly. Hang on tightly, let go lightly. Be in the world but not of the world.
So many simple yet profound teachings that what we continue to find are already within us.
Great quote. We often want to translate the dharma into actionable behaviors and statements before the spiritual foundation has been built. The foundation is the social action. It is innovative. It is disruptive. It is progressive. It’s much more radical than assumed on first inspection. It’s so ambitious it can feel impossible, but it isn’t. Because everyone wants to be happy. It’s that simple.
I think Ram Dass embodied this teaching quite well. I never met him in the body, but its clear he radiated love and that attracted alot of folks to his teachings. He seemed to just enjoy being around people, everyone, and loving them as they are. The teachings seem to be less about trying to change others behavior and more focused on trying to grow, learn, and let the light in you shine. That light has always been there, but it may be dimmed a little, or covered in some dust. Once we wipe the dust off we can see the beauty thats always existed in us and its such a blindingly beautiful light. As he said “the only thing I can do for you is to work on myself, the only thing you can do for me is to work on yourself”. Krishna Das said, “Usually its not a huge earthshaking change, its under the radar stuff, are you a little kinder and being nicer in interactions as a result of the teachings?”. I know I have in the past pointed the finger at the outside world, and said “You all out there need to change”. The teachings are great because he’s also saying “I still have some stuff to learn and I can alter my behavior a little, and become a kinder human being to all”. That in itself changes things. If I am clearer, I can see clearer. Its a great lesson. Hearing the audio today, he talked about something I have thought of at times. Ram Dass left the body in Dec 2019, and we’ve had some very tumultuous and scary few years since. I felt sad he left, since I would have loved to hear his take on what has been going on and to hear his wisdom. But he’s right, getting quiet, dropping from the head and instead going into my heart, I know. I know what he’d say. “I am loving awareness”, “Love everyone” “See people as trees” “Feed Everyone” “Serve everyone”
What a great lesson as we come to the end of this course.
Being the light Can look so many ways, that’s what I’m learning. For me it’s important to remember that if I “mess up”, shaming myself for my humanness is the furthest thing from being the light, sometimes I forget that and get disappointed in myself. Being the light in these moments, to me means to laugh it off, be authentic about my faults (not letting the ego latch onto a perfect image of myself and then shame me for not being that) and moving on. This is something I’m working with every day. I loved reading everyone’s shares, I relate so much to you all and this connection has been so meaningful to me.
How would life be if being the Light is how I contribute towards the healing of the world .
Ram Das said “let go of impediments so that you May SHINE your light…” I love the simplicity of this teaching. The weight of the world just got lighter.
Be ok with falling, dust yourself off . Remember it’s just an Experience.
We don’t have to attempt to be anything other than who we are….
Trusting the intuition that helps us Flow. Remembering that God loves us (me), As I meditate , pray , and think of God the light within becomes brighter. and this is how I can do my part in helping heal the world .
It gives me great Insight about how to approach the outer world . All are just having their own levels of evolution … Including myself .
Being mindful of self , honest and consistent with my spiritual practice is the way to be Allow my light to SHINE .
I’m witnessing that in a casual conversation, authentic act of kindness or /and in a playful interaction is where my spiritual practice is at play.
I think it’s a ‘like attracts like’ principle, that by being the light it attracts more light and those drawn to light.
For me, that comes through maintaining a regular practice, so that I’m better able to maintain a state of loving awareness. When I’m in that space, life seems to flow, I’m present and less likely to be distracted by drama. I’m able to make better choices about what I do with my energy and what I connect with. Living in awareness is beautiful.
I think there’s an attractive magnetism between those who have experienced awareness and even those who are seeking but don’t yet know what they are without.
It’s been challenging to keep up with the daily schedule of this course and especially to participate on these boards at the level I would have liked to, altho I have tried to read every post and contribute to most section prompts, please know I have so much gratitude to everyone who has shared this experience of the forums. There’s a lot of light here!
I love the idea of being the life preserver for people to rest their weary hearts and heads on when they are in a position to come up for air. To exist is to suffer. To be human is to be deeply entrenched in the impermanence of it all. We are all on this giant rock moving through space around a giant star doing the very best that we can with what we know. And so, I like to operate with the presumption of good. Now, I don’t always get it right. But I do truly believe that people are inherently good and are doing what they think is the best at any given moment. I choose to exist in that reality. I have easier access to compassion and empathy in that space.
All of that to say, in order to truly realize and step into the radiant light you are - work on yourself. Fill your own cup so you can overflow unto others. When you are filled with love light joy it literally pours out of your face and being! Then “your life becomes your message”. I hope nothing but self love and compassion for you all