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Ram Dass: When I Look at Relationships
Posted: Wed 04/18/2012 08:00 AM
When I look at relationships, my own and others, I see a wide range of reasons for people to be together and ways in which they are together. I see ways in which a relationship—which means something that exists between two or more people—for the most part reinforces people's separateness as individual entities. And as those individual entities, the people in the relationship treat the separateness as a reality rather than simply honoring the differences.
When I used to perform weddings, the image I always had was the image of a triangle in which there are two partners, and then there is this third force, this third being, that emerges out of the interaction of these two. The third one is the one that is the shared awareness that lies behind the two partners. And the two people in the yoga of relationship come together in order to find that shared awareness that exists behind them in order to then dance as one, so that the twoness brings them into one, and the oneness dances as two, and that's a kind of a vibrating relationship between the one and the two. So that people are both separate, and yet they are not separate. And they are experiencing that the relationship is feeding both their uniqueness as individuals and their unit of consciousness.
Now, that is extremely delicate because it is so easy to get entrenched in your own "I need this," "I want this," "you are not fulfilling this for me" and seeing the other as an object. But the delight, which all of you have experienced, of being with somebody where you are sharing an awareness of the predicament you are both in is poignant. And you are sharing an awareness of the predicament even when you are having an argument with each other; there is an awareness that you are both almost delighting in the horrible beauty of it. I don't know whether any of you have had that. I have had it quite often. You know, we have differences. But we are enjoying it—we're hating it and enjoying it both—because there are these levels we are playing at all the time.
We come into a relationship often very much identified with our needs: I need this. I need security. I need refuge. I need friendship. And all relationships are symbiotic in that sense. We come together because we fulfill each other's needs at some level or other.
The problem is that when you identify with those needs, you always stay at the level where the other person is her or him—it is satisfying that need. And it really only gets extraordinarily beautiful when it becomes us—and then when it goes behind us and becomes I.
About Ram Dass
Ram Dass, one of America's most beloved spiritual figures, has made his mark on the world by teaching the path of the heart and promoting service in the areas of social consciousness and care for the dying. Ram Dass first went to India in 1967. He was still Dr. Richard Alpert, an eminent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer with Dr. Timothy Leary. In India, he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, affectionately known as Maharajji, who gave Ram Dass his name, which means "servant of God."
On his return from India Ram Dass became a pivotal influence in our culture with the publication of Be Here Now. In fact those words have become a catch phrase in people’s lives for the last 40 years. With the publication in 2011 of Be Love Now Ram Dass completes his trilogy that began with Be Here Now in 1970 and continued with Still Here in 2004.
Ram Dass' spirit has been a guiding light for four generations, carrying along millions on the journey, helping free them from their bonds as he has worked his way through his own. He now makes his home in Maui and teaches world wide through his website RamDass.org and he also continues the work of Neem Karoli Baba through his Love Serve Remember Foundation.
Tune in at 11 a.m. ET/PT on Sunday for Oprah's interview with Ram Dass.
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