Thank you Ram Dass. It’s good to hear from you again. For many of us, Ram Dass has been an integral part of our spiritual path. I first became aware of him while in college. I read The Only Dance There Is. Ram Dass was an inspirational role model — psychologist turned yogi. No doubt, my decision to go to India after college to deepen my yogic practices was influenced by his example and teachings.
Be Love Now
is really the same book he wrote forty years ago, the classic Be Here Now. To be HERE now is to be LOVE now. To be present is to be love. Simple as that. In this spiritual memoir Ram Dass rectraces his steps with Maharaj-ji focusing more on the opening of love than the other aspects he did earlier in life, for example being blown away when Maharaj-ji read his mind regarding his mother.
Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known. You’re being loved even more then your mother loved you when you were an infant, more than you were ever loved by your father, your child, or you most intimate lover–anyone. This lover doesn’t need anything from you, isn’t looking for personal gratification, and only wants your complete fulfillment.
This love is actually part of you; it is always flowing through you. It’s like the subatomic texture of the universe, the dark matter that connects everything. When you tune in to that flow you will feel it in your own heart–not your heart or your emotional heart, but your spiritual heart, the place you point to in your chest when you say, “I am.”
Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not, “I love you” for this or that reason, not “I love you if you love me.” It’s love for no reason, love without an object. It’s just sitting in love, a love that incorporates the chair and the room and permeates everything around. The thinking mind is extinguished in love.”
The thinking mind is extinguished in love and we also find that love when we extinguish the thinking mind. To “love for no reason” we must give up all conditions, agendas, and expectations. That’s a tall order, and one that mindfulness can facilitate.
If we think about where our attentional center of gravity is in any moment. Chances are it is engaged in a story about the past, the future, or the present. These stories may be tinged with anxiety or fear and thinking is designed to protect ourselves from threat, whether real or imagined. Other candidates are resentment with its attendant anger, and desire with its attendant fear that we might not get what we want or that what we have won’t last.
Protecting ourselves from actual threats is our first order of business as biological creatures. For most of us in the privileged West, real threats are uncommon. Most of us don’t contend with predators, starvation, freezing to death, or real social threats. Most of our “threats” are aimed at our self-image or our sense of desire. Ideas, in other words.
If we can disengage our attention from these threat-related stories what happens then? We come to this place of love that Ram Dass speaks of. It is always there waiting for us, and it does so without judgment or complaint. When we don’t engage in fear, we open to our loving and playful nature. And I mean nature in its literal sense, this loving playfulness is in our DNA.
Once the threats are handled our attention can move towards long-term projects like healthy development and nurturing the next generation. Play is our nature. Love is our nature. We don’t spend enough time in playful love because of our preoccupations with stories of threat and loss. Stop engaging with those stories and see what happens. See what you feel.
This background radiation of love is present when we practice mindfulness and move from the stories into the energy of the body. It is what the Buddha called sambhogakaya — the bliss body. We can connect to that bliss in any moment we give ourselves permission to do so. However, this permission cannot take the form of an “I want.” It’s an allowing not a doing. It’s not a desire, goal or objective. It’s what we find when we wake up to the shining presence of this moment.
Be Love Now!
With blessings and love to Ram Dass for all you have given us over the years.