Spiritual Teachings of RAM
has heard the one about the successful man or woman who has
everything, drops out of the rat race, goes to India, meets
a GURU, and FINDS GOD.
That all started with Ram
Who is Ram Dass?
first gained notoriety as a counter-culture icon, Ram Dass has
evolved into an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and
author of many books, including the best-selling classic Be Here Now.
spiritual philosophy is difficult to neatly define, but draws heavily
upon Hinduism, with strong references to Buddhism and Christianity.
Having spent time with and learned from both Indian gurus and Benedictine
monks, Ram Dass might best be thought of as a bridge connecting
eastern and western thought, identifying common principles or universal
truths in each of these great religious traditions. For the Christian,
his teachings can bring a better understanding of how to lead a
more Christ-centered life. Specifically, how to better follow the
two great Commandments given by Jesus:
the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.... [and] Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Matthew 22:37-38
essence of Ram Dass' spiritual philosophy is best summed up in
his "Three Plane Awareness" model. The three planes
are the ego, the soul, and God.
people define themselves in terms of their egos - I am a father,
a mother, a teenager, rich, poor, liberal, conservative, young, old...the
list goes on forever. Our culture reinforces this level of awareness
- "you are what you wear," "you are what you eat," "what
kind of car do you drive?" et cetera. Most of us also generally
define others in terms of their egos - they are nice, mean, attractive,
ugly, smart, stupid, funny, or unpleasant. The ego is competitive;
it assesses itself by comparison to other egos. We will tear down
another's ego if it threatens our own or doesn't "measure up" to
our standards--"Sure, she is beautiful, but she is really scatterbrained.
I am smarter than she is." "He might be successful but
I bet he doesn't have any real friends."
Christ's teachings is very difficult when our awareness and identity
is completely tied up with our ego.
We are much more than our egos, thanks be to God. We are also
souls. If we identify with our souls, then we begin to see things
as God sees them. In the Gospels, Jesus taught us time and time again
that God sees us as souls. Souls are eternal, egos and all things
that are important to egos are not. If we see others as souls instead
of only their egos, then following Christ's great teaching to love
others as you love yourself becomes much easier. Compassion flows
more readily when we realize that the person who injured our ego
is also a soul just like us. Our egos fight. Our souls are untouched.
Even if we are worlds apart in terms of our egos, we share the same
divine spark of the Creator in our souls. We are all children of
God and beloved by Him. Just as God loves us He commands us to love
others as well.
God is the source of all that is. He is the Creator and we are
created in His image. The material world of the ego is finite, as
are the bodies where our egos are housed. God is infinite and eternal;
our souls are similarly eternal for they carry the divine spark.
God is spirit, the soul is spirit as well. Our souls yearn to merge
with God, to be one with Him. Christ said that He and the Father
are one and that we should approach the Holy through Him. We can
become one with God through Christ. Ram Dass would say to think of
Christ as our guru.
As we increasingly identify with our souls instead of our egos,
we will be better able to live a Christ-centered life. Christ, who
as spirit lives in our hearts, brings us into union with God through
His presence. The key is to be aware of His presence. We cannot attain
this wonderful state of awareness by doing anything. We attain it
by doing nothing. We attain it by being still, by letting go of our
egos, by surrendering our life to God so that we might live more
fully. When we finally let go, freed of the prison of the ego, aware
that we are souls, we are connected to God. When our ego is silent,
our soul is free to rest in the Holy Lord, the giver of life, now
is Ram Dass?
Dass audio tapes are available for purchase through the Ram Dass
Library. To contact the library, call (415)499-8587, e-mail RDTapes@aol.com,
or visit the Ram Dass Library
The quotations above appear in One-Liners ©2002 by RamDass, published
by Bell Tower, New York.
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