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Ram Dass: Be Love Now Book Summary

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Chapter 1: The Path of The Heart

  • Love is a state of being, not a trip from here to there. (Deepak Chopra)
  • Chuckling over the illusions, missteps, and potholes along the way, is a delight. Change is the only constant; the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s only love. There is nothing more. May we all be loved, and be love, now.
  • 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.
  • Truth-consciousness-bliss, the bliss of consciousness of existence.
  • It just brings you more here, into the present moment, into the reality of who you already are. This path takes you out of your mind and into your heart.
  • That spiritual self is the source of unconditional love.
  • Love is part of the emotional spectrum, but it is different because it emanates from our soul. Even when it becomes confused with our ego projections, love is actually from the higher essences of our being, the part that begins to merge with the spirit and approach the One.
  • Once I was deeply in love with a woman who broke up with me. I was in great emotional distress, but after some weeks I realized I was still in love. But I was no longer in love with her. She had left, we were permanently parted, and I had (unwilling) come to terms with that. But I still felt love within me, I was carrying it around, and my heart was still wide open. I found I could be in love, with or without someone to receive it – a painful but deep realization that love is inside me, that love and the object of love aren’t necessarily the same thing.
  • Love is actually a state of being, and a divine state at that, the state to which we all yearn to return. The outer love object stimulates a feeling of love, but the love is inside us. We interpret it as coming from outside us, so we want to possess love, and we reach outside for something that is already inside us.
  • Paradoxically, we have let go of emotional love to find the soul love that illuminates us from within.
  • Slowly I became sure that the same love is in me. It is a constant joy.
  • My mind had to stop for my heart to open.
  • Shifting our identification from the ego to the heart-mind is the beginning of individual spiritual work. That pure awareness is the territory of the soul.
  • The quality of the soul is not just awareness, but also love and compassion, peace and wisdom.
  • When love comes together with awareness, the door is opened to the heart-mind and the soul.
  • My path is to continue to deepen that love for everyone and everything.
  • When I’m in touch with my soul, I live in an environment of the soul, which gives others the opportunity to enter their soul too.
  • All I am is loving awareness. I am loving awareness. It means that wherever I look, anything that touches my awareness will be loved by me. That loving awareness is the most fundamental “I.” Loving awareness witness the incarnation from a plan of consciousness different from the plane that we live on as egos, though it completely contains and interpenetrates everyday experience.
  • Awareness and love, loving awareness, is the soul. This practice of I am loving awareness turns you inward toward the soul. If you dive deep enough into your soul, you will come to God.

 

Chapter 2: Excess Baggage

  • The Self is the witness, all-pervading, perfect, free, one consciousness, actionless, not attached to any object, desireless, ever tranquil. It appears through illusion as the world. (Ashtavakra Gita 1:12)

 

Chapter 3: To Become One

  • The I am loving awareness practice from the first chapter is a mantra, or what we in the West might call a prayer or an affirmation. Mantras work in different ways. One kind engages your conceptual mind to take you into a new space, in this case dissolving your mind into your heart by constantly reminding you to view everything with love. The Tibet mantra OM MANE PADME HUE is similar. If you stay with it, the mind just sinks into the heart. Using a mantra is one practice in which more is better. Repetition furthers.
  • That’s how you really serve God, by bringing others into their souls.
  • Love everyone and serve everyone.
  • One way of remembering to stay in the heart is to hang out with other people who are on the same journey. Satsang is a community of seekers after truth. Sat means “truth,” and sangha is a “meeting of the ways,” a spiritual community. Satsang is the company or a family of fellow travellers on this path of the heart. Each devotee feeds and inspires the others; “like a soaked cloth dampens a dry one, Satsang drenches one heart and then another.”
  • Practice makes perfect. I can write and you can read, but if we really want that love, eventually we all have to actually tread on the path and do the practice.
  • It is difficult to empty the mind, Maharaj-ji said, but it is not necessary to go to the forest. You can do it anywhere. Worldly people go outward, but you must go inward like a tortoise, withdrawing the senses within our shell.
  • Being is dying by loving (Meher Baba)
  • Then when you look at another being, you are looking at love. Sooner or later you are going to be in love with the whole universe. You’ll be sitting in a place where it’s all just one love. You are love, you are with love. You are in the state of love with all beings.
  • Love with No Object. Although you may devote yourself to an aspect of the Beloved, like the guru or the deity as mother, child, or lover, you are in it for the love, not for the attainment, not for the object. It’s one of those wonderful paradoxes you encounter on the path. You can’t attain it; you have to become it. In the process subject and object, lover and Beloved, become one. You lose yourself and gain your Self. To go from the experiencer to the merger with the One requires grace.
  • Know that when you learn to lose yourself, you will reach the beloved. There is no other secret to be learned, and more than this is not known to me. (Ansari of Herat)
  • Love is a state of being, not a trip from here to there.

 

Chapter 4: Darshan

  • All beings are on an evolutionary journey, and not just a Darwinian one. There is an evolution of consciousness reaching toward perfection, oneness, and divinity.
  • Amid this divine play we seek fulfilment, perfection, flow, freedom, enlightenment, Oneness.
  • The dominant quality of form is change, because all forms are in time. That’s another way to saying we don’t know what will happen from one instant to the next. Or, as one of my guru brothers is fond of saying, “Don’t be surprised to be surprised!” For instance, I didn’t anticipate I’d be living in a wheelchair today. The way to live with change is to be completely present in the moment (remember, Be Here Now).
  • Attempting to hold on to anything in time is ultimately futile and a cause of much suffering. What is really there to hold on to? In reality there is nothing permanent.
  • Slowing my mind down enough to be in the moment in “Indian time” was one part of that. Opening my heart to feel their love was another.
  • Opening yourself to more spiritual energy.
  • Darshan literally means “a view,” sharing another’s vantage point, a point of view that comes from that higher place of the spirit manifested through another being. It’s a profound shift from the point of view of the ego to the point of view of the soul. It can make all your study and reading come to life in a moment.
  • It can be experience so profound as to change the direction of your life, return you to your spiritual roots, take you beyond all words and thoughts into the most profound depth of the heart. In that depth, the little soul begins to dissolve into the bigger Soul. That movement from the individual soul, the jivatman, to the greater soul, the atman, is like dissolving into the ocean of love.
  • Through words and pictures, we speak to one another about the unspeakable. We look to see the unseeable. We try to understand the unknowable. And all the time process is going on – all that yearning, trying, listening, looking, thinking – on another level the moment is complete unto itself. In that complete moment the transmission, the transmitter, and the receiver of the transmission are one. It is a moment of pure love.
  • The paradox of the One is that when the ego dissolves, there’s an experience but no experiencer.
  • If a person still identifies with thought forms or desires, the work is not complete. In perfection there’s no clinging at all.
  • Love is what lets you dive into the emptiness behind form. The jump from things to no-thing, to emptiness, just means it’s empty experience. It’s like two planes: one is the plane of the soul; then you leave that behind and dissolve into the One, which is emptiness. You let love carry you into merging with the One. It’s the devotion, bhakti, then take you through to the wisdom, or jnana, the satori of Zen.
  • Love is what’s melding the universe together.
  • Love is the emotional colour of the soul. Unconditional love is the colour of enlightenment, unfettered by personal barriers or distinctions, devoid of ego, yet reflecting the highest Self. It’s like sunlight unfiltered by clouds or the taste of water from the purest spring.
  • If thou desirest to be a Yogi,

Renounce the world.

Dye thy heart deep in His Love.

For real lovers drink cup of Nothingness, and

Pass away into the Valley of Amazement, in remembrance of Him. (Shah Latif)

 

Chapter 5: Guides

  • Pure teachers can give you the basic training in yoga and meditation to clear the mind, purification that gets you on your way.
  • You just use the illusions you karmically need to get there. When you are fully realized, you will recognize the illusions for what they are – relative reality, symbolic reality. You recognize them and are part of them. And when it’s happening to you, you see that it’s universal, and the truth is the truth is the truth. This is what the Buddha discovered when he confronted the illusion of maya under the bodhi
  • In the Hindu tradition, shakti is described as kundalini, the “serpent power” that rises in the spine and progresses through the spiritual nerve centers, or chakras, until it reaches the crown chakra, opening the yogi to cosmic consciousness.
  • There are states, like nirvikalpa samadhi (Samadhi without form), that are so deep there is no body consciousness.
  • The living presence of such gurus, the example of their being, shines like a light on the path. They are a statement of the spiritually possible.
  • A perfected being living in harmony with the universe with no clinging whatsoever. In Buddhism that state may be called “nothing special,” “crazy wisdom,” or the arahat. Taoists call it wei wu wei. Hindus may refer to such beings as avadhoot, without body consciousness, or siddha purusha, merged in the cosmos, or, again, as sat guru, gurus who bestow ultimate truth.
  • Perfected beings rest in emptiness, in presence, in nonconceptual, nondifferentiated awareness of every moment. Out of them comes optimum response to any life situation. They may not think about saying it or doing it, or even know they have. It’s not on that level. There’s no ego.
  • The lila, the divine play.
  • Perfected beings are pure awareness, their perception of the world is in no way coloured by individuality or by any desire or clinging, so they see with perfect discrimination. They see it all just as it is, the unfolding of karma, the interplay of darkness and light, good and evil, life and death.
  • The only thing a man must renounce if he wishes to attain the Supreme Truth is the notion of individuality. Nothing else (Swami Ramdas)

 

Chapter 6: Remove of Darkness

  • A name of God is a word that signifies the boundary between the form and the formless; it can act as a bridge.
  • The outer world becomes the inner journey. If you know what you’re looking for, the messages are all around. If a situation seems full of cosmic irony, that’s probably your guru. If your life seems to be running on crazy coincidences and synchronicity, that’s the guru too. The guru’s a rascal, always playing with you, always showing you where you’re not.
  • Your work is to practice contentment and surrender.
  • What’s a Guru? Guru literally means “remover of darkness,” one who can enlighten you.
  • In the Vedas, the ancient sources of Hinduism, there are three ways to acquire spiritual knowledge. The highest is direct personal experience. Next is hearing it directly from someone who knows, which is the transmission from the guru. Last and least is reading or studying about it, which is what you’re doing now.
  • Once we get free of time and space, everything is just consciousness and energy. Every moment is the moment.
  • The guru manifests when the devotee is ready. The manifestation matches the capacity of the devotee as to the level of surrender and their karmic ripeness. One person is ready for enlightenment. Another is ready just to know the guru exists, that there is a possibility of realization. Those are different stages. The guru sees the inner longing of the devotee. If you are a pure seeker, your guru knows you.
  • All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts. (Shakespeare)
  • It is difficult to sacrifice thought. The mind, in a blink of an eye, goes many miles.
  • Desire is the creator, desire is the destroyer, desire is the universe.
  • Maharaj-ji pulled me in with love. There I was, completely in his control. I had left the drug world and all the study and busyness of the West. I was living in a state of simplicity I had never imagined. I was plumbing my depths.
  • The culture of Indian taught me it’s possible to identify with the soul.
  • The shift from the ego to the soul happens through love. You realize that love comes from your soul and the other emotions come from your ego. When Maharaj-ji said, “Love everybody,” that’s a way into the soul, where soul awareness and love come together.
  • The ultimate nexus of full consciousness and compassionate presence is Maharaj-ji’s state, sahaja samadhi, all planes simultaneously, one foot in the world and one in the void, the divine absorption of samadhi and the ocean of human compassion constantly converging in the moment.
  • Synchronicity is wake-up call, an intrusion of another plane into the everyday existential mess, a momentary reminder of perfection, a signal that everything is inextricably connected in the One.
  • We all have different guises and costumes and appear on stage in different scenes playing different characters. We’re all parts of the jigsaw puzzle of each other’s karma.
  • The only thing you can ask is that you keep awakening at the faster rate at which you’re capable.

 

Chapter 7: The Way of Grace

  • Without faith, the existential fears that we all have dominate. Faith, no fear. No faith, fear.
  • Faith is not a belief. Faith is what is left when your beliefs have all been blown to hell. Faith is in the heart, while beliefs are in the head. Experiences, even spiritual experiences, come and go. As long as you base your faith on experiences, your faith is going to be constantly flickering, because your experience keep changing. The moment you recognize that faith lies behind experiences, that it’s just being, not the experience of being but just being, then it’s just “Ah, so.”
  • Grace lubricates your way, smoothes it out and makes it easy, speeds it up. It’s like having ball bearing instead of wagon wheels. It’s like having the wind fill your sails or walking downhill. It’s like perfumed air, the subtle smell of spring. Obstacles are reduced to a manageable scale. The way to God is grace-full. Grace has humour too, making things lighter, so we don’t take them so seriously. You’re aware of the spiritual meaning and perspective on your life, but it’s a light touch; it’s not heavy. Grace makes it lighthearted, the heart full of light.
  • The difference between a guru and us is that he inhabits those planes always, with no discontinuity. He lives in the atman, the One. We experience our consciousness as separate, but through the guru’s love we begin to experience it as shared in common, because love dissolves boundaries, love is universal. Maharaj-ji brings us as far as we can go into that state of merging into love before our individuality kicks in and we hold back out of fear of letting go. That’s the crux of the whole matter.
  • Talking or reading about Oneness is not being in the One. As I understand it, when you become One, the objective universe ceases to be. There’s no knower only knowing. Subject and object become one.
  • The blood in us all is one. The arms, the legs, the hearts are all one. The same blood flows through us all. God is one. Everyone is God; see God in everyone. It is deception to teaching according to individual differences in karma-all are one, you should love everyone, see all the same. (Maharaj-ji)
  • We enter into each other when we are in each other’s presence. If you’re not threatened, you can relax your separateness, let it fall, and enter into a kind of liquid merging with other beings.
  • Discomfort should not cause one to leave one’s essential nature.

 

Chapter 8: A Family Man

  • Serving people is service to God.

 

Chapter 9: One in My Heart

  • When he said, “Love everybody,” I thought, “I can’t love everybody. I’m not anywhere near that.” But when you perceive yourself and others as souls, you bring love, truth, and compassion to your interactions with others. Then you are the mirror of their soul. A soul recognizes another soul.
  • I do not wait for your spiritual fitness. Like the flowing Ganges I go on bestowing my compassion on all. This is my nature. This is my being.

 

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