Ram Dass – Here and Now – Ep. 246 – How to Be Responsive, Not Reactive

In this classic talk from 1987, Ram Dass explores working with suffering, keeping our hearts open, finding the intuitive heart space, and being responsive rather than reactive.

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“As you quiet your mind just a little bit, you get so that you’re not automatically reacting to everything. You become what’s called responsive rather than reactive. In other words, something happens and there’s a moment when it’s just happening, you’re just with it. As your awareness expands to include more than your separate self, it’s as if you’re part of the gestalt of it all, and you experience the totality of it. And then, out of that quietness comes an act that is appropriate to that moment.” – Ram Dass

This episode is a continuation of the talk started in Here and Now Ep. 245 – Taking Off Our Spacesuit. In this week’s episode:
  • Using his stepmother’s death as an example, Ram Dass explores how pain and suffering can become a curriculum through which one awakens.
  • Ram Dass discusses how he has begun to fall in love with everyone, and how his guru opened him up to the possibility of unconditional love. If we’re caught in our separateness, it’s hard to keep our hearts open.
  • Ram Dass shares classic stories of how other beings, including a dolphin, have helped him escape the trap of his own mind and find the intuitive heart space. He talks about taking care of his aging father and learning how to just be present with him.
  • Finally, Ram Dass explores the difference between being reactive and being responsive, reading a story from ‘How Can I Help?’ to illustrate his point. He talks about how, when we are quiet enough on the inside, we can begin to hear how to awaken through the journey of the spirit.