If you have been to any of my classes this week you will have heard me talking about a beautiful documentary on Netflix about Ram Dass during his final months of life. And despite the theme, it is an incredibly uplifting and poetic exploration of his spiritual practice which centres on love and truth. I highly recommend you to watch. It’s only 25 minutes and will get you thinking about how you engage with every second of your waking day.
Ram Dass was a monumental voice and figure behind bringing Eastern Spirituality to the West. His philosophy and teachings are based upon the simple phrase, “be here now”. We spend so much of our time time travelling back and forth between the past and future worrying about something we said or wondering how a future event might play out that we rarely spend anytime in this very present moment, right here, right now. Through his teachings and meditations, Ram Dass encourages people to step outside of their thinking, judging mind or ego and move into the soul and heart space.
I have thoughts about the past and future, and those are not helpful, so I dive deep into the present and the presence and in this present moment I find loving awareness. Only this moment is real, this moment of loving awareness. The past and the future are all just thoughts.
I was first introduced to Ram Dass about eight years ago when I was going through a difficult time and my counsellor suggested I read some of his work. It strongly resonated with me and I’ve often found myself coming back to his words whenever I am struggling or too caught up in my own head to enjoy the present moment. I’ve even used his mantra “be here now” as a powerful tool, quietly repeating it to myself until I feel calm and grounded. My favourite practice from Ram Dass has always been his Loving Awareness meditation which has influenced my classes this week.
So if you missed it, or want to continue to practice in your own time, you can find the instructions below
- Come to a comfortable seated position: Legs uncrossed, feet flat on the floor. Spine erect, each vertebrae stacking one on top of the other. Crown of the head reaching to the sky. Hands resting comfortable where they fall.
- Check in with how you feel, physically, mentally and emotionally. Remember, anything is welcome in this space.
- Take a few moments to settle in, bringing about a sense of relaxation into the body starting from the crown of the head all the way down to the toes.
- Guide your awareness to the breath. Without changing or controlling the breath in anyway, observe how the breath moves through your body. Notice the rhythm and tempo of each breath.
- Shift your awareness to the centre of the chest, your heart space. This is loving awareness.
- You may find that your mind wanders, distracted by sounds around you, sensations in the body or thoughts about the past or the future. Know that this is okay, normal, part of the practice. Each time you notice that the mind has wandered, gently, but firmly, guide your awareness back to this space of loving awareness.
- You are awareness. Be aware of the darkness behind the eyes. Be aware of the ears and what they can hear. Be aware of what the skin feels. Be aware of the mind and the river of thoughts flowing through it.
- Some thoughts are positive. Some are negative. Others still judgemental. See if you can remain identified with this loving awareness in the centre of the chest.
- I am loving awareness. I am loving awareness. Repeat this quietly in your mind like a mantra. (continue for 5 mins or longer if you desire).
- You are loving awareness. Each of us is loving awareness. We are all loving awareness. If it resonates with you, shift your mantra to We are all loving awareness. We are all loving awareness. (continue for 5 mins or longer if you desire).
- When you’re ready, gently begin to expand your awareness back into the entire body, notice if you feel any different now than when you first started.
- Take a few deep breaths, and open the eyes when you are ready
Although this is a formal seated meditation, the more often you connect with this place of loving awareness the easier it is to keep with you and see the world bathed in the light of loving awareness.
In this spiritual heart there is peace, there is contentment, and there is compassion. There is also joy and wisdom, all inside of your spiritual heart and mine. So when you say “I want a peaceful world” you don’t look outside, you go inside where peace exists.
Until the next meditation,
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