Transformation of a Man with Ram Dass - Preview Two
Ram Dass gets to the heart of the matter in this transcribed excerpt from "Transformation of a Man" -- recorded live in 1968. He offers different points of view on how attachment occurs -- right from the time of birth. But whatever the point of view, it still takes us away from "being here now." This program is Part of our ongoing partnership with the Love Serve Remember Foundation. Read on...
And I say, “Because I’m not yet free enough to be able to be with the leaves without getting caught in the beauty.” Now this business of being caught is the critical matter that is the first step that people undertake in the road to becoming liberated. It is the technique which Gurdjieff has so exquisitely enunciated in his model of self remembering. And Gurdjieff says it in one way and Rodney Collin, the disciple of Ouspensky, says it in a slightly different way. Gurdjieff says your problem is that you identify… you learn to identify as a child with your body, then you identify with your mother’s concept of who you are so you develop social roles, and you identify with the concepts of the universe all around you so you become a thinking, rational being in a rational system. And then pretty soon when you’re angry, you say, “I am angry” and you identify with the anger and you are anger. And you identify with being in love and you identify with desires, and you identify with your lust, and you identify with everything. You identify with other people’s opinions of you. What Dave Riesman calls “the other-directed man”.
Rodney Collin calls it fascination. He says we’re like bees. We just are so fascinated by everything. We’re just like going from flower to flower. Like if you’re listening to me and just hearing my words and aren’t conscious at this moment that you’re listening to me and hearing my words, you are fascinated. You are trapped. That’s where you are at. That’s what it comes down to. Because all of the time I’m talking to you, I’m going, “Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum.” That mantra is going on inside of me. And from that place, which is completely outside of this game of lecture and our visiting together, I’m watching this whole drama unfold just like I were one of the actors on the stage. No fascination at all. I’m in the same place as if I’m saying, “Om Mani Padme Hum” in my cabin in New Hampshire or in the Ashram in India -- same place. There’s no place to go. There’s no place you ever go. You’re always in the same place. When you begin to realize there’s nowhere to go its quite shaking at first. Driving and driving and there’s nowhere to go. You’re not getting anywhere, because you’re there, you’re here. Now, the fascination or identification, if you understand that concept, that is the attachment to your senses, and that is the game is to get free of that, and the process of self-remembering is the process of developing the witness, or in Ramana Maharshi’s terms, the "I" thought. That is that place from which you observe.
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.
The Heart of Understanding with Thich Nhat Hanh
In "The Heart of Understanding", world-renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh takes listeners throug the Prajñāpāramitā -- or Heart -- Sutra. The following transcribed excerpt from this program shows how readily accessible these teachings are when presented by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to ask you to participate in this meditation. Here is a piece of paper. Usually we don’t pay very much attention to this piece of paper because when we take out one piece of paper, we think of other things than the piece of paper itself. If we look at this sheet of paper carefully enough, we can see that there is a cloud floating in it even if we are not a poet.
And this is very real because if the cloud is not there, the paper is not there. If there is no cloud there is no rain, and the forest cannot grow, and there is no paper because we need the trees in order to make paper. Every time you pick up the New York Times or the San Francisco Chronicle, you have to see the cloud in the newspaper. We have to see the forest in order to bring the Sunday edition of the New York Times. We need something like a forest because the New York Times is very heavy, two kilograms I think the Sunday edition. And we don’t look at the newspaper in that way so we should learn to look at the newspaper like that.
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.