Book Excerpt: Be Love Now by Ram Dass
You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don't have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success— none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.
Imagine that being in this love is like relaxing endlessly into a warm bath that surrounds and supports your every movement, so that every thought and feeling is permeated by it. You feel as though you are dissolving into love.
This love is actually part of you; it is always flowing through you. It's like the subatomic texture of the universe, the dark matter that connects everything. When you tune in to that flow, you will feel it in your own heart—not your physical heart or your emotional heart, but your spiritual heart, the place you point to in your chest when you say, "I am."
This is your deeper heart, your intuitive heart. It is the place where the higher mind, pure awareness, the subtler emotions, and your soul identity all come together and you connect to the universe, where presence and love are.
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. It’s not "I love you" for this or that reason, not "I love you if you love me." It's love for no reason, love without an object. It's just sitting in love, a love that incorporates the chair and the room and permeates everything around. The thinking mind is extinguished in love.
If I go into the place in myself that is love and you go into the place in yourself that is love, we are together in love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That's the entrance to Oneness. That's the space I entered when I met my guru.
Years ago in India I was sitting in the courtyard of the little temple in the Himalayan foothills. Thirty or forty of us were there around my guru, Maharaj-ji. This old man wrapped in a plaid blanket was sitting on a plank bed, and for a brief uncommon interval everyone had fallen silent. It was a meditative quiet, like an open field on a windless day or a deep clear lake without a ripple. I felt waves of love radiating toward me, washing over me like a gentle surf on a tropical shore, immersing me, rocking me, caressing my soul, infinitely accepting and open.
I was nearly overcome, on the verge of tears, so grateful and so full of joy it was hard to believe it was happening. I opened my eyes and looked around, and I could feel that everyone else around me was experiencing the same thing. I looked over at my guru. He was just sitting there, looking around, not doing anything. It was just his being, shining like the sun equally on everyone. It wasn’t directed at anyone in particular. For him it was nothing special, just his own nature.
This love is like sunshine, a natural force, a completion of what is, a bliss that permeates every particle of existence. In Sanskrit it's called sat-cit-ananda, “truth-consciousness-bliss,” the bliss of consciousness of existence. That vibrational field of ananda love permeates everything; everything in that vibration is in love. It's a different state of being beyond the mind. We were transported by Maharaj-ji's love from one vibrational level to another, from the ego to the soul level. When Maharaj-ji brought me to my soul through that love, my mind just stopped working. Perhaps that's why unconditional love is so hard to describe, and why the best descriptions come from mystic poets. Most of our descriptions are from the point of view of conditional love, from an interpersonal standpoint that just dissolves in that unconditioned place.
When Maharaj-ji was near me, I was bathed in that love. One of the other Westerners with Maharaj-ji, Larry Brilliant, said:
How do I explain who Maharaj-ji was and how he did what he did? I don’t have any explanation. Maybe it was his love of God. I can’t explain who he was. I can almost begin to understand how he loved everybody. I mean, that was his job, he was a saint. Saints are supposed to love everybody.
But that's not what always staggered me, not that he loved everybody—but that when I was sitting in front of him I loved everybody. That was the hardest thing for me to understand, how he could so totally transform the spirit of people who were with him and bring out not just the best in us, but something that wasn’t even in us, that we didn’t know. I don’t think any of us were ever as good or as pure or as loving in our whole lives as we were when we were sitting in front of him.
Welcome to the path of the heart! Believe it or not, this can be your reality, to be loved unconditionally and to begin to become that love. This path of love doesn’t go anywhere. 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.
Excerpted from BE LOVE NOW by Ram Dass. Copyright © 2010 by Love Serve Remember Foundation. Used with permission of HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers