Ram Dass – Here and Now – Ep. 226 – Escaping the Prison of Separateness

In this potent recording from 1994, Ram Dass talks about the nature of suffering and how we can escape the prison of separateness created by our cultural infatuation with individualism.

“But the art form of looking through the veils and meeting another being in a space which allows whatever could be to be, rather than coming in with a program that defines reality so rigidly – I saw that as the game. And the deepest part of that teaching was in the statement, ‘Out of emptiness arises compassion.’ That when I am empty of my separateness for a moment, I experience the totality, I am the totality. And out of that gestalt, that intuitive gestalt, comes a response. And the response doesn’t ignore that suffering, or that joy, or that reality, or that possibility, it’s all part of what you can’t analytically understand anyway.” – Ram Dass

In this episode, Ram Dass explores:

  • The nature of suffering and how we create more suffering even as we try to address it
  • His own journey of somebody-ness and becoming a separate entity
  • The connection between emptiness and compassion when it comes to dealing with suffering
  • The predicament of the personality and how individualism became a cultural infatuation in the Western world
  • How we can ultimately escape from the prison of separateness

Listened to this today, truly unbelievable how ahead of the curve Ram Das was, and interesting that he references Aldous Huxleys Brave New World and points out how ahead of the curve and accurate Huxley was too. Great minds…

Individualism and separateness are not exclusive to unitary forms. This can also happen as a result of group, regional, and national forms. Othering is produced at each of these levels.

Socio political analysis seems to almost replace one form with another. The lines of separation are switches with those of another. The solution seems multifactorial and dimensional. Fluid, ever changing, despite desires for the next form to rival all other forms while attaching to things and achievements. Replacing one prison with another.

Wisdom seeks simplicity in a land of scarcity and competition. More courage, compassion, and equanimity is needed.

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