Quiet Mind; Open Heart (with Ram Dass)

Photo by Amanda Fenton

Ram Dass is an American Spiritual Teacher, former academic and clinical psychologist. He’s 87. He’s one who has bridged western and eastern ways of knowing.

A friend, Joan Hitchens, recently recommended a Ram Dass book to me, “Walking Each Other Home: Conversations About Loving and Dying.” I’m interested because, well, aren’t we all seeking love, perhaps loving. And, well, aren’t we all dying.

I notice that I am sipping this book. Sometimes picking it up to read just a paragraph. And then giving myself permission to let those few words abide in me.

Here’s an example of a sip:

If I’m going to die, the best way to prepare is to quiet my mind and open my heart. 
If I’m going to live, the best way to prepare is to quiet my mind and open my heart. 

I love the contrast that calls for the same action and practice.

I remain a person committed to giving attention to the thing behind the thing behind the thing. It’s rather irrepressible in me. Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes it’s really hard. Sometimes it feels philosophical. Most of the time it feels utterly and essentially on the ground.

It is my belief and experience that groups too, seek the deeper paths together. Groups too, seek meaning and purpose together. Groups too, sense that there is more to what is happening than what is happening. The language in groups is often more obscured, but I don’t think the desire is. The complexity is often more intense, but I don’t think the essential impulse is.

Groups too, seek process, to quiet mind and open heart. Groups too, seek healing beyond default pattern.

That’s my story. I’m sticking to it.



4 Replies to “Quiet Mind; Open Heart (with Ram Dass)”

  1. What a refreshing invitation this frosty morning…Thank you for sharing it, Tenneson. As I get older, more and more I seek (need?!) the simple that exists as part of everything. It’s like the breath – always there, so easy to miss. And the only way to really “see” anything meaningful is to become quiet, relax, and open. I LOVE the simple in “the best way to prepare is to quiet my mind and open my heart” – a daily practice, a mantra for life. (The only thing I might add to my personal practice is “and laugh along the way…” Haha!) With Warmth, Cosmic Giggles and Love, Michelle

  2. Nice post, Tenneson and advice I’ve often followed. But I’ve also recently come to appreciate that it is only one end of the living-dying continuum. At the other, lies a much hotter, more “cooked” recipe of Ram Dass drink to sip on:

    If I’m going to die, the best way to prepare is to shake and dance, tremble and vibrate
    If I’m going to live, the best way to prepare is to shake and dance, tremble and vibrate

    Get up and shake, dance, tremble and vibrate. Most times your heart opens effortlessly.

    An elder of the Kalahari once described it to psychotherapist and shaman Brad Keeney like this: “The same power that changes a person’s emotion from love to anger can also change the anger back to love. To keep healthy, healers must help the feelings keep changing. We shake to help those things move. All the different feelings are in a circle that must keep going round and round.”

    In terms of “group” the wisdom I might find in the deserts of southern Africa is that the “dance” is what is all-important. No meaning, purpose or understanding needed. Just movement, change, conversation. A never-ending story.

  3. I am delighted to hear you find inspiring sips witihin this book Tenneson. Living, dying and loving are top on my basic need of daily attention. As Allister offers, it may mean we have to shake, dance, tremble and vibrate to prepare! Until one learns to settle into the quiet mind and the open heart of each breath of being.

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