I’ve been writing a lot about Ram Dass lately. I can’t help it. I love the guy.
More important for our purposes, I love his teachings. Most of the spiritual truth/wisdom out there is simple, obvious stuff.
Ram Dass’s unique talent was his ability to convey these simple truths with an eloquence that touches us. That penetrates us. That wakes us up.
I received another of those eloquent wake up pearls in a recent email from Ramdass.org. (I highly recommend going to this site and signing up for these weekly emails. All free, of course.)
Here’s what Ram Dass said:
“The next message you need is always right where you are.”
I love it. So spare. So powerful.
For me, the power of this quote lies in what Ram Dass presumes, correctly, that most people do. And it’s this: We constantly search for our messages, by which he means the truths of our life and for everything, by thinking everything to death in our minds.
“What is truth? What happens when we die? What should I do with my life? Who am I?”
The truth is found in the moment
But what Ram Dass is saying here is that we don’t progress along the spiritual path toward some better understanding of the truth by participating in mental jujitsu 24/7. We progress as far as we’re going to go by simply living in the moment.
Also critical in this quote is Ram Dass’s use of the word ‘always.’ “The next message you need is always right where you are.”
Not sometimes. Always.
What does that mean? That all of our wisdom comes from inhabiting our present moments.
Eckhart Tolle’s central teaching
This is the central emphasis of Eckhart Tolle’s teachings. I’ve listened to scores of Eckhart’s talks and read all his books. And again and again and again and again I’ve heard him say, “Just be present.” Or “Respond from a place of presence.” It’s presence above everything for Eckhart.
How we access and remain in those present moments is a different story. For most of us mortal humans, it’s not easy. Our voracious minds overpower our conscious selves and steal our attention away. Most of the time.
We do spiritual practices to help stay in the moment
So we meditate, practice mindfulness and do all sorts of other spiritual techniques to strengthen our ability to remain present.
Be present. Yes, that’s an obvious, central plank of virtually every spiritual tradition.
But it’s worth focusing on an eloquent expression of this idea with the hope that it sinks deeper into our insides. Because let’s face it, most of us trekking along the spiritual path do spend an inordinate amount of time and energy thinking about and pondering the truths of the universe and our individual place in it.
So a golden nugget like this from Ram Dass reminds me, when I’ve gone down the metaphysical rabbit hole, to come back up…and look around…and reestablish my awareness of what’s happening in the moment in front of me.
And that’s what I hope Ram Dass’s wise words will do for you. That you’ll use them as a reminder that the truth, and the essence of you, comes through living in the present moment.