Ram Dass – Here and Now – Ep. 229 – The Sword of Discrimination

Ram Dass explores how his work with death and dying keeps him at his own leading edge of consciousness and talks about why compassion is truly the sword of discrimination.

In this powerful talk from 1992, Ram Dass explores:

  • Working with death and dying as a spiritual practice, and how it helps keep him at his own leading edge of consciousness
  • How the process of learning to live simultaneously on more than one plane of consciousness is the path to dealing with death, dying, and suffering in a more spacious manner
  • How two levels of love – conscious love and relational love – come into play when dealing with death, and why compassion is truly the sword of discrimination
  • How we can honor diversity by sharing our pain together and grieving our way into unity

One thing this episode brought up for me

On Conscious vs Relational Love

Sometimes I hear people say that they struggle to love EVERYONE. When I hear this I think, “Of course you do. You already do. You’re just thinking of a different definition of the word love”

True, conscious love is not something established by an interaction between individuals. It is an inner resource of every human being. An inherent characteristic of the state of being, pre-existing any interaction with or knowledge of the other.

Relational “love” seems to be a total misnomer. We love apple pie, friendly neighbors, faithful spouses but in these situations the word crave might be more appropriately substituted.

We struggle to “love” scary spiders, our own neuroses or people who intentionally set out to hurt others but in fact it may be more appropriate to simply say we have an aversion to these things.

True, altruistic love, like that for one’s own child manifests as a preference for seeing them having their needs met and experience joy and peace, without regarding our own needs as having a higher importance. This state is always present in you for all the universe but we may not always see it manifest due to the thinking mind, with its stories, which calls forth the manifestations.

Relational love is an attempt to surround oneself (relate) with the means to have our needs met, which comes from fear, the ego, the place of “2”. Conscious love is inexhaustible and all-encompassing, altruistic and stems from the place of “1”.

Sometimes when we meditate, or when we experience Oneness its easy to see that everything, everyone is included, connected, a necessary piece. Ram Dass said something like that we can’t say “Everything is perfect, but not THAT!” The love is there for that too. Ah, so.

With love :pray:

(Some of these phrases were inspired by an article written by Alejandru Mototolea that i read online and I think i should credit)


Something I took away from this lecture was the need to shift away from trying to gain spiritual growth externally. He spoke about the tendency for pushing our “stuff” away from ourselves. “Well I would be much more spiritually high if I lost this…” “If only I didnt do this…”. I know for myself I have fallen into that trap. Ram Dass encourages us to turn inward, as that is where the real work is. I found this message to resonate with me deeply.

This conversation of turning inward as a path of reaching god, I feel, is intertwined with many other facts of spiritual growth. I see this conversation involved with the idea that it is not the action of carry out, rather the place in which you conduct that act. The giving of a glass of water example is the most relevant to this point. If what is important is the plane of consciousness that you give the water from, then this goes back to the idea that the only way to become One with everything is by working internally.

Ram Dass shared a quote (I forget who originally said it) that said: " One who knows not that the prince of darkness is but the other face of the king of light knows not me". For me this is a very poetic analogy to the fact that our internal work is just another avenue for us to take while working out our karma. There is only so much work we can do that is outside of ourselves and Ram Dass was able to articulate it wonderfully.

Ram Ram!