Transformation of a Man with Ram Dass - Preview One
In this fascinating and delightful transcribed exerpt from "Transformation of a Man", Ram Dass -- author of the seminal work Be Here Now -- describes some of his experiences as he travels around and explores India in the early 1960s, giving us true insight into the life and times of a spiritual seeker. Part of our ongoing partnership with The Love Serve Remember Foundation.
His big feet were just paddling along like a camel, and he was looking every other way, and he was always stepping around all of this stuff, and I could never figure it out. Now, as we got out of the big cities… in the big cities, you know, people look at you like, what kind of a nut are you? Barefoot in a cloth -- we know you’re a westerner, you know. Like, who are you kidding? But as you get out into the villages it’s much purer in India, and they still respect the spiritual endeavor, and the people would call, “Hey Babaji!” Which is, well, Baba means grandfather. It also means holy man. It’s usually given to Vaishnavites, which is the white cloth. And Babaji is sort of the affectionate title. In Yiddish it would be bubbala. [laughter] It’s the same thing. And so they call, “Babaji!” and I would always be embarrassed because I wasn’t a holy man. I was just wearing a white cloth. I was a western intellectual overage hippy looking to see what was going on in India. That’s who I was in my head, in my fixed model of myself.
Real Life Spirituality with Mark Matousek
Today we have an excerpt from Real Life Spirituality with Mark Matousek. He will focus on what it means to be a practicing spiritual person in the world, how we bring sacred values into our daily lives and how it challenges us.
I came up against this challenge first when I came back from India, after having spent time over there in ashrams and monasteries and my head was, you know, sort of full of all these spiritual ideas. It wasn’t long after I came back that I realized I needed to learn to incorporate these ideas into the real world. I would talk to people about enlightenment and Satori and Nirvana and all these grand ideas. They would look at me, not quite believing me, not quite understanding what I was talking about, until a friend finally said to me, “Do you mean kindness?” And when he said that, it was like a light went off, and I realized how diluted I was to think that spirituality was this grand thing, separate from the world. I was actually angry, feeling like nobody was understanding what I was trying to say until I got that, the truth is that I was misinterpreting what spirituality was about and separating it from everyday life.
So I realized that until I could understand that kindness was the essence of everything I had learned and leave behind all of this mystical language and these grand ideas, I wasn’t actually going to be able to live an integrated and balanced life as a spiritual person in the world. I didn’t really know what that would look like and what I came to realize is that being a householder is actually much harder than being a monastic, when it comes to bringing your spiritual values into day to day living. You know, it’s easy to have love for humanity when you’re sitting on a cushion in an ashram or in a monastery, but when you come out into the world and you start dealing with things like money and relationships and sex and career and ambition, all of a sudden it gets a lot more complicated, it gets a lot more challenging.
The Spiritual Challenge of Our Time with David Steindl-RastWe are pleased to bring you another new release from Brother David Steindl-Rast. In The Spiritual Challenge of Our Time, we explore characterize our time and being spiritual.
"So since we are speaking about the spiritual challenge of our time, we have to ask ourselves at least these three questions. What is our time? What characterizes our time? What characterizes the spiritual challenge of our time or what characterizes a challenge as being spiritual? What is a challenge all together?
Those are questions which the answers we shouldn’t take for granted. Finally, we are going to have to ask ourselves, how do we go about it? At least in a sort of rudimentary way and get some basic idea. So what characterizes our time? What characterizes a challenge as spiritual, and how can we go about that challenge? How can we meet that challenge in our time? Of course, you may have many very good ideas as to what characterizes our time, and I would be perfectly willing to follow somebody else’s ideas for characteristics of our time, but I find one characteristic so outstanding that I think it could serve us as a starting point this evening. It is a negative characteristic, but since we speak of challenge, we are probably looking for a negative experience that will challenge us and so in the end leads to something positive. Now, what characterizes our time above all seems to be uprootedness. That we are uprooted, and maybe we have come here precisely because we experience that strongly and come to a place like the New York Open Center, where people try to find their roots again, to root themselves again."
New Release: Christianity and Full Humanity with Brother David Steindl-Rast - Preview One
We are pleased to bring you this new release, Christianity and Full Humanity with Brother David Steindl-Rast. Let's explore the topic of Christianity, what it means to each of us and how we can actually come full circle.
Our topic for today is Christianity and the Past to Full Humanity. There are those among us, I’m sure, who have experienced that the Christian tradition is a past to full humanity, are very happy with it and want to explore this further. There are those among us who have experienced what was represented to them as Christianity, but was really a block toward full humanity and human fulfillment. Unfortunately, that also happens.
There are some Christians who think one can become a Christian at the expense of being human. This is terrible. It’s a real distortion. There are others who are Christians and see their being Christian as one way of becoming fully human. That seems more closely what Jesus was trying to do and teach.
I hope that in the course of this program, you will be able to explore various aspects of this very difficult question, in particularly to bring it again and again to our practical application. To bring it to life, to bring it to what does this mean for me and my personal life. That part will largely be up to you and to your questions.
I have a great variety of ways in which we could go through this exploration of the topic and which particular path I will choose will largely depend on the feedback I get and on the questions that you raise. There are of course a few important milestones that we will have to touch, a few concepts that we will have to clearly understand and maybe analyze a little bit together, but basically I would like to make this truly an exchange between us.