By Zach Leary
A great yogi once was asked what’s the secret to enlightenment, he replied “when I’m happy I laugh, when I’m sad I cry, when I’m hungry I eat and when I’m tired I sleep.”
Simplify everything. Our egos and emotions want to complicate it to no end making us think that our issues are somehow the defining factor in our experience. That may be true as it relates to our perception but the trick at getting through our issues and being here and happy right now is to simplify everything. This is not an original thought I know, I’m just saying it because it rings true to my heart at this moment and I need to feel that.
I’ve always found that my tendency is to want to go “through the doorway too fast.” My intellectual mind wants there to be some trick to being on the path like I have to learn all of these complicated mantras, I have to be a level 3 yogi, I have to be a scholar of the vedas, etc. All of these things are great I guess but most of the time I think it’s ego that’s driving my motivation to do all of these things faster and better. My favorite beautiful yogi teacher Saul David Raye always reminds his students that the ancient yogi mystics never heard of Level 3 yogis, that we made that up. And I’m learning that all of the conflicting motivation makes it hard to deal with my issues (or with others) a problem. Matters of the heart when infused with ego sure does make for some confusing realities.
I feel that there’s a little misunderstanding with how eastern spirituality is being practiced in the west. Because of the explosion of yoga and bhakti there is a whole new world that is being exposed to us in the west. So many new ideas, texts, asanas, chants, teachers and traditions. We get so hungry to learn them all but as we all know the far out thing is that they are all telling us to Be Here Now. That it’s all ready within. Just don’t go “through the doorway with your ego” (pg 98). That’s it. Again, simplify everything.
It’s so frustratingly perfect that Maharaj-ji would constantly reply to queries with “love people. feed people. remember God.” I can see it now – all of these smart westerners coming to him with all of these complicated problems and questions and then he would just look at you and say that. Over and over again. Ram ram ram ram ram. Over and over again. Ram ram ram ram.
It all sort of lies in the “funny about that” place. Whenever I find myself in conflict I just want to reply “love serve remember” or repeat the maha mantra. I want to go there so badly but I have to learn that even though I want things to be that simple I must understand that everybody else’s experiences are different. We are all unique and are in different spots on the path. Furthermore I’ve also learned that if you try to force your trip on somebody who doesn’t want to hear it then you just make matters worse. When in suffering or conflict finding that delicate place where there is beautiful common ground is the sacred dance. That’s the place where you realize that most of the conflict you may be in is actually quite small and insignificant. You go through so much struggle to realize that love really is such a sweet solution.
We are nearing the end of our blogging journey. Only one more post left. I feel that this week is inspiring me to report back on how this book can be applied to my daily life. What it did for our culture is immense, what Maharaj-ji was like is very interesting but how we can apply this to our lives and be better people needs to be said. It’s my hope that I can contribute in a small way.
This post originally appeared at www.ramdassnow.org, where 13 bloggers have been reflecting on their journeys with Ram Dass.