“We create structures such as traditions, cultural norms, protocols, and laws so as to position ourselves. We do manage to reduce suffering because we know how to avoid some sources of it. And we alleviate it because we know what to expect when we do experience pain.
Let us never forget that structures are a simplification of reality. Although useful in orienting us, structures are defined: there are boundaries. And if there is a boundary, we can be within the boundary or outside of the boundary, which means that there is division. Reality can never be confined to that which we understand. We must be wary of clichés and simplifications, of explanations and attempts to verbalize that which is beyond words. These are crutches: helpful to walk a few steps, but potentially restrictive and divisive. In the process of intellectualizing reality, we reduce it.”
I never paid much attention to Ram Dass in the past. By that I mean I let whatever I heard people say about him pass for my knowledge and moved on. I stumbled upon this lecture the other day and really enjoyed it so I wanted to share it. If you can’t share some laughs what’s the point? If you aren’t sharing a laugh what exactly are you sharing? 🙂
“Ideas come when we are seeking freedom. We cannot live in a closed reality. We must find new ways of meeting one another so as to become free of the restrictive identities and barriers that keep us apart.”
Last night as the sun was starting to set, my 5 year old son and I were playing outside when he decided he wanted to walk up to the playground near our house. We made a game of getting there, walking along the edge of the curb, one side was lava and the other regular land. Along the way he spontaneously tried different things like putting his shirt over his head and holding my hand so he could walk without seeing. He put his trust in me without any reservation or rules. We laughed all the way to the park.
When we got to the park we ran around and he showed me things he had been working on while I was at work. Practicing his jumps and landing safely. His physical skills had come a long way in just a month.
As the sun had dropped below the horizon and the light was beginning to fade in the middle of a game he stopped and said “Dad before we go home I just want to spend a minute with just you and me.” He grabbed my hand and took me up to the top of one of the playground jungle gyms. He sat down and I joined him. We just sat there in silence for a minute and then he put his arms around me and gave me a big kiss on the cheek.
I’ll never forget that night. Children are the best teachers.
“What you have to realize is that men as a mass always play somebody else’s game—not their own. They’re caught in traps from which they cannot escape. They belong to groups; they’re members of organizations; they’re loyal to ideas, individuals, geographical areas. If you can get hold of the institutions they support—there’s the method.”
“What we are looking for in others is generally what we find. “Such as we are inwardly,” Thomas à Kempis says, “so we judge outwardly.” Psychology can go no deeper. When we ourselves are trustworthy, for example, we tend to see the same dependability in others – and when we do, interestingly enough, our trust is often rewarded, because trust is a two-way street. It is the same with our other judgments about life: it’s amazing how quickly the world we live in conforms itself to our ideas about it.”