I’ve known about Ram Dass for a long time, but I don’t think I considered his work too much until I stumbled across the book, Polishing The Mirror, which I now consider to be the best spiritual book I’ve ever read.
The following is a (long) discussion of some things you might run into during deep meditation.
Fake Absolute Silence
These days in meditation I spend a lot of time in a place I call “Fake Absolute Silence.” In this state you might be fooled into thinking that you’re in the real state of Absolute Silence, but that’s part of the problem — you’re still thinking. Things are definitely quiet in this state; there aren’t many thoughts, and your concentration is focused on your breathing without distraction. However, I find that I’m still very aware of my body and outside noises. But despite that, it’s generally a mentally quiet place.
I started reading the book Walking Each Other Home by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush a few nights ago, and if you like Ram Dass, you’ll like this book. This is an image from early in the book about a “pretty fierce journey.”
When I first started learning Zen I didn’t understand the quote shown in this image, and I truly was a carpet to walk on. Then I woke up and thought, “You need to run your business. You need to find the middle way between accepting ‘just this’ and what you need to do to be successful at work.”
It would have been helpful if I had seen this quote then, but the book, Making Zen Your Own, wasn’t available then.
- Work hard at minimizing your ego & attachment to identity
- Learn deliberately, seek out weaknesses & work hard at them
- Eliminate bad habits, replace them with good, one at a time
- Read a lot, foundational stuff, not just latest hyped thing
When I was in New Mexico a few years ago I met a woman who suggested that I needed to quit fighting a particular feeling I have been experiencing. She said that it was my heart chakra attempting to open, but each time it started to open, my Little Ego wouldn’t surrender, it held on to things as they are for dear life. She said that if I would just let go, I’d be on the path to loving all humans unconditionally.
On the drive home I was rudely cut off by a woman in a Mercedes, who was quite literally driving in my lane. As I moved out of her way and we passed each other, she glared at me like I was doing something ridiculously wrong by driving in my own lane. “Humans are a hard species to love,” I thought.
After that experience I decided to start counting all of the people I love or have loved, and if you include Neil Diamond – I threw him in there because my mom liked him so much – I got up to 49.
Somehow I have to find a way to get from 49 to several billion, including the glaring woman in the Mercedes. I think I’m going to have to work on my technique, or perhaps on my definition of “love.”
“If somebody is a problem for you, it’s not that they should change, it’s that you need to change. If they’re a problem for themselves that’s their karma; if they’re causing you trouble that’s your problem with yourself.”
and also this:
“If I’m not appreciated, that’s your problem that you don’t appreciate me. Unless I need your love, then it’s my problem. So my needs are what is giving you the power over me.”
~ from Ram Dass post, A Heavy Curriculum
In my own experience I can say that when you’re with your soul this is true; and when you’re with your ego you can’t understand this.
The image shows a quote from the book, Polishing the Mirror, by Ram Dass. (Personally, I fall in love once or twice a week, but I usually try not to bring anyone home.)
“Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of consciousness. The still mind is by definition, pure.”
“Is this the end? Are we there yet? No. There remains the ego, the self, the known self, the impersonator of the Soul. He is the last actor to leave the stage. He lingers even for the very final hand clap of applause. What forces him off the stage? Silence, and retention of the breath.”
Apple is getting sued — and rightfully so — for intentionally slowing down iPhones with older batteries. The ironic things are a) if they let people easily change the batteries, or b) made this a software setting, people would be happy with them. Their own pride (ego) created this problem.