Using the Personality as a Vehicle for Beauty and Growth

Question: I have noticed that, as I’ve progressed on this pathway, I’ve picked up a lot of rules and regulations. And in picking up the rules and regulations of should and shouldn’t, my personality has taken the brunt of it. And this personality, for me, has become like a whipping post, my inner tyrant. And so what I wanted to ask you was, how can this personality, being that this is an aspect of self, be a vehicle for beauty, something to be endeared and worked with, rather than the experience of constant obstacle?

Ram Dass: As you begin to acknowledge a plane of consciousness in which the personality is real, you begin to develop a perspective which allows you the space to appreciate the beauty of the personality and to delight in it. At this point the personality becomes just like a flower or a tree. I mean, it’s something so preciously beautiful because it’s a form of nature. It’s a form that is coming out of all kinds of socialization processes; it’s coming out of experiences, it’s a quality of the way in which emotion and intellect and body and all these things come together.

It’s the dance of the interrelationship of forms with each other, all the relationship stuff that is involved with personality. It all turns extremely beautiful when you have a perspective about it.

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Healing Our Nation Starts From Within

“If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.” — Chinese 

I’ve been thinking so much lately about what can bring us together and what can bridge our deep divide. All kinds of ideas have come to mind.

Some are so very basic, like “vote! vote! vote!” It’s a gift and it’s our civic duty, so let’s exercise that right on November 6 (which just happens to be my birthday).

I’ve also thought about the importance of seeking out our neighbors. It’s such a simple idea, and yet, it’s an important step in building community, connection and common ground.

So are Sunday dinners. I’ve talked about the power of them before and it’s an idea that I’m really hoping will catch on. Invite people from all different walks of life — people from different races, people who hold different political views, people who have different life experiences than yours. After all, if we want to bring people together, then starting in our own homes is a powerful place to start.

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Jack Kornfield and Ram Dass on Learning to Trust and Love

Jack Kornfield: I’ve found myself attracted to spiritual practice from very early, going off to be a monk, because I needed it desperately for one reason or another, for my own pain and suffering. Some connection with the life of renunciation and detachment. I loved it. Then when I came back from the first period of five years in Asia, of practice and study, once I became involved back in the world, in graduate school and relationships and so forth, I discovered that I could love a lot of people in my meditation, but it was a whole lot harder to love the person I was living with.

Or if I was in a somewhat protected environment of the monastery, where our relationships were governed formally by the vows and so forth, that helped me, and there was a great sense of emptiness. It was very, very still. So I found, just for my own life, I found myself working my way down the chakras. Some people kind of try to work themselves up, but for me it was from my mind first, then down.

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You Are Perfect Now

Perfection is not something beyond you. Something out there, to reach for and aspire to. It’s right here, right now. This is a small gem of wisdom that I sometimes forget. Small but it is at the core of all that is. There are no flaws in God’s universe (or in you within that universe). Everything is part of a seamless, intricately interwoven tapestry of divine creation. When I fully embrace this truth, I can let go of striving, comparing, and dissatisfaction. I can live with appreciation and gratitude in every moment for the perfection everywhere. I may not know the “why,” but I can trust in the reasonless reason for all Being.

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Part 2: Vulnerability, Intimacy, & Spiritual Awakening

We each live with uncertainty and the fear of rejection and loss, and we each are conditioned to avoid feeling or expressing that vulnerability. Yet intimacy with this unlived life is the gateway to connecting authentically with others, full aliveness and spiritual realization. These talks explore the ways that we defend ourselves, and the pathway to gently, wisely and intelligently disarming and freeing our hearts. (a special talk from the archives)

Listen to the first part: Part 1: Vulnerability, Intimacy, & Spiritual Awakening

An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love” — is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of deepening the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation. – Adrienne Rich

At our pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down.  With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom, we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.

Pema Chodron
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

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How can you bring a contemplative quality into academics and the environment?

It requires inner work for you to cultivate a perspective within yourself that sees your intellect as a servant, not as your identity.

To the extent you are capable of doing that, you can then play the game of academia, do the work that only can be done in that analytic fashion without being trapped in it, and have your interaction with other people through the game.

It’s like Monopoly in which you’re the top hat and I’m the thimble, but behind it you’re here, I’m here, and you’ve gotta be there. The predicament in academia is many people identify with their thoughts so much that they think they are an academic, instead of being a being who’s doing academics.

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Part 1: Vulnerability, Intimacy, & Spiritual Awakening

We each live with uncertainty and the fear of rejection and loss, and we each are conditioned to avoid feeling or expressing that vulnerability. Yet intimacy with this unlived life is the gateway to connecting authentically with others, full aliveness and spiritual realization. These talks explore the ways that we defend ourselves, and the pathway to gently, wisely and intelligently disarming and freeing our hearts (a favorite from the archives).



Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle, Van Jones and more in this 10 day Free online Event. 



If I’m not free to fail, I’m not free to take risks, and everything in life that’s worth doing involves a willingness to take a risk. – Madeleine L’Engle

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love. – Rainer Maria Rilke

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I am surrounded by death but experience LOVE!

Death… it is the one journey we will ALL walk. 7.2 billion people on this planet will experience death, whether it’s the death of a loved one, a friend, a pet, or ultimately their own. It is an absolute!

As a Psychic Medium I am surrounded by death on a daily basis, whether it is through clients that come to see me for help to connect with their deceased loved ones, through the volunteer work I do with Find Me (a non-profit group that works with police and search and rescue teams to solve missing person’s cases and bring closure to families that have felt tragic, extreme loss) or in my own personal life through close family and friends that have died in heartbreaking ways.

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Dealing With Suffering and Seeing it as Grace

Question: What are some of the ways that I can deal with suffering and then start taking it to a place of Grace?

Ram Dass: For most people, when you say that suffering is Grace it seems off the wall to them. And we’ve got to deal now with our own suffering and other people’s suffering. That is certainly a distinction that is very real, because even if we understand the way in which suffering is Grace – and the way in which it can be a vehicle for our awakening, it’s quite different to look at somebody else’s suffering and say it’s Grace. And Grace is something that an individual can see about their own suffering and then use it to their advantage. It is not something that can be a rationalization for allowing another human being to suffer. And you have to listen to the level at which another person is suffering. And when somebody is hungry you give them food. As my guru said, God comes to the hungry person in the form of food. You give them food and then when they’ve had their belly filled then they may be interested in questions about God. Even though you know from, say, Buddhist training, or whatever spiritual training you have had, that the root cause of suffering is ignorance about the nature of dharma. To give somebody a dharma lecture when they are hungry is just inappropriate methodology in terms of ending suffering.

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Waking Up From The Matrix with Dr. Bruce Lipton

Summer is winding down and the Evolution is heating-up. Confrontation, strife and violence are becoming daily events. On the surface we see the fire, but beneath in the darkness and quiet, the seeds of a new world are beginning to germinate.

In the face of dysfunctional leadership, a planetary Grassroots Movement by-the-people and for-the-people is arising. The character of this upheaval is that it represents a bottom-up, nonhierarchical community of “ordinary” people taking back control of their personal lives and changing the collective world we inhabit. As the science continuously emphasizes, this is a participatory evolution.

The movie the Matrix is generally perceived as a work of science fiction. In truth, it is a documentary … for the first seven years of life, the mind of every human has been “programmed.” Unfortunately, most people are totally unaware of their own subconscious programming. “Unfortunate” because the vast majority of the invisible programming we acquired create behaviors that are disempowering, limiting and self-sabotaging. AND, they are responsible for shaping 95% of our lives!

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What Is Christ Consciousness?

Christ Consciousness is both too complex and too simple to define. So the only choice I see is to write around it, stimulate thought rather than limiting it.


For my purposes here, let’s leave out the historical Jesus. Jesus is important because he embodied Love, true Godly love, in his life and teachings. He is revered as God and Man as One.


And let’s leave out the various religious denominations, all of them, to consider Jesus as Christ.


Christ means Anointed, or the Anointed One. (It’s from Greek, Χριστός, Christos.) A stopping place for many Christians is that there are more paths to Heaven than one. (For more on this, see Joseph Campbell’s cornerstone book, The Hero of a Thousand Faces.)


“When he said son of God, he meant the infinite Christ consciousness with which he'd obtained oneness.” ---Goswami Kriyananda

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Ram Dass Reminisces about his Neuroses

Now, what happened in the late ’60s was that there was a bifurcation of people into political-social activists and spiritual seekers. In those days, they were the two different groups.

Both of them had had an experience of what was possible, and one group said, “For all of it to happen, you’ve got to change the way things are,” and the other group said, “I’ve gotta change me first, and in order to do that, I have to push everything else away.” That’s what’s known as the renunciate path, which says the world of desire, the world of politics, the world of drama is so thick and seductive that what I must do is draw my awareness back from that. I must renounce the forms in order to cultivate a space where I can hear the deeper truths, and quiet flutes of deeper truths amidst the screaming trumpets of my desire system.

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Finding Home

It seems that we are always getting ready for something. Always preparing for the next step, even though the next step will come whether we prepare for it or not. We think we have control of our lives but we don’t. We pack and unpack our memories, accumulating more and more—until death arrives to show us how memories fall away as does the illusion of control. To move from one place to another is to experience a death of sorts and a loosening of control. Every ending is an opening to something greater.

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Sharpening Your Awareness Skills: No. 2 Holding Focus

The complex issue of consciousness may seem abstract, but in daily life the the simple rule is, the more aware you are, the better. Awareness comes naturally, yet some people are more skilled at using their awareness than others. They have acquired certain skills, which in fact anyone can learn--and should.

This is the second in a series of articles about skills in awareness--the first was on how to remain centered. Being centered. Being centered brings you into the present moment. Having mastered this skill, you are not easily distracted, flustered, or thrown off balance. The next skill has to do with focus, sometimes called one-pointed awareness.

Whenever you really want something, keeping focused on it comes naturally. But does awareness have its own power to bring about results? In other words, leaving aside the work needed to create an accomplishment, can you find a quicker, easier path by being more conscious? To find out, you must use a special kind of focus, known as “clear intention.”

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What happens when we make assumptions about spiritual methods?

Good evening, my name is Ram Dass, which means, “Servant of God.” However, I also use it as an acronym for “Rent-A-Mouth,” because sitting up here implies something that I don’t really cop to.

It’s hard not to get into a model of who I am and who you are because of the way we’re sitting. And as far as I can see, you know what I know. It’s what Aldous Huxley calls the “perennial philosophy”. I know you know it because when I say the deepest thing I figured out, you’re out there going like, “yes, yes.” But we need to gather in these kind of ritualistic processes to say it to ourselves again. It’s like Satsang, or Sangha – to come and experiment in truth.

See, I don’t even have any idea who to be tonight because I’ve spent so many years becoming nobody that now I could be whatever somebody is appropriate, and since the lights are set up I can’t see you, so I’m basically talking to myself. That’s interesting. It changes the whole nature of the lecture, by the way, because the lights are up, I can see some people sitting there like someone else brought them and they’re having to be here.

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Name Dropping

So many unexpected events and experiences have arisen in the process of moving from Massachusetts to Florida, everything from the sale of the house where we rented there to finding a condo here that far exceeds anything we could have imagined. Probably the most surprising pop-up occurrence was finding out that I had to have my name legally changed in order to obtain a Florida driver’s license. What?! Well, you see, my mother named me “Peggy,” but she used “Margaret” on my birth certificate because the former was traditionally considered a nickname for the latter and not the real name. Of course, today no one cares much about that tradition, and you can name your child “Redwood” if you so choose.

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How can we stay grounded within a conscious relationship?

We can see that a lot of our spiritual practices are moving us from ego to soul. We’re clawing our way up and out of the darkness.

It’s a darkness which turns out to be not dark at all, but it seems shadowy from where we’ve been. So we claw up, and then when we’re at soul, and we’re established in soul-ness, we start to have that beautiful dialogue that Rumi and Kabir speak about, we’re intimate with the Beloved, with the guest:

“Where are you, old friend? Where have you been? Where can I find you? I hunger to be with you.”

It’s no longer a practice now. It’s like making love, a celebration of the many with the one. You’re constantly “Ahh, ahhhhhh.” I can only invite you to read that poetry to feel that the separation of you from all of it is not a mistake. It’s not a failure. It’s part of the dance of form and formlessness, so that you are “the One” and you are also “the many”.

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Reconnecting With Your Soul's Desires

I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. I have been in Greece for the past week or so. Although I have done a lot of traveling this year, my trips, although amazing, have been full of early morning wake-up calls and jam-packed itineraries. This trip was a true vacation, especially the last five days in Mykonos. I got up on my own accord and my biggest decision of the day was which beach club to explore. I enjoyed a wonderful beach read and basically flowed into each moment, one moment at a time.

 

Although most people like to stay connected when they travel, I reveled in the delight of disconnection.

 

Generally identifying myself as a person who loves structure and thrives on my ability to multi-task and accomplish so much in a day, I was shocked at how good I was at doing nothing! And I enjoyed it! Yet somewhere in between my third beach club and seventh Greek salad (yes, I was enjoying a feta-thon!), a very cool thing happened. As my life got quieter, I was able to hear a voice I hadn’t connected with in a while. I was able to hear the whisperings of my soul.

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Expanded Awareness and Success

Only about half of Americans tell pollsters that they still believe the American Dream is attainable. If the dream is the same as achieving success, perhaps there's a more optimistic way to think about the whole issue.

To have worldly success, do you have to be worldly yourself? Most people assume that the answer is yes. The poet Wordsworth may complain that "the world is too much with us late and soon," but modern life seems to demand total immersion in the race to the top. If you stop looking out for number one, no one else is likely to, and in a highly competitive workplace, there's only room for winners.

In earlier posts I've pointed out that the world's wisdom traditions don't agree with this viewpoint. The path to happiness isn't through obeying the demands of the ego-personality, with its constant focus on "I, me, and mine." But one must be realistic.

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What happens when your righteousness and mind trips disappear?

The predicament is that as you awaken you realize you have been the perpetrator of the conspiracy you’re caught in.

It’s not real paranoia, it’s not like, “They did it to me. They’ve got this terrible conspiracy.” You’re it. You are it. We are it. We are the conspiracy, and the interesting question is, when you extricate your awareness from being part of the conspiracy, what happens? A mature person isn’t in the conspiracy, and is not in the conspiracy even to the point of putting down the conspiracy. They’re just not in it, and then them not being in it, buying it, becomes freedom they are able to offer others, for them to also not get caught in it all.

It’s as if we meet through our prison cells.

To see the maturity of being able to extricate your awareness from entrapment in a role, and then, without violence, still fulfill the role, it requires coming from a different place.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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