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Compassion in Action

“Only that in you which is me can hear what I’m saying.”
~ Ram Dass, Spiritual Teacher and Author

Compassionate Heart

This article is a repost from our old blog – originally dated April 2008.

At present I am reading the book Compassion in Action by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush.

It was a book that I bought simply because I wanted to read some Ram Dass and could not find his classic Be Here Now at any local shoppes.

But, despite my initial supposition that it was a book I did not need and would not particularly like, it turns out that I was very wrong on both points.

In a very unassuming way Ram Dass, sixties spiritual guru, public speaker and renown all-around caring guy, explains his own self-righteousness and stand-offishness in his past work.

He details, with humility, his confusion at how to truly implement, in a practical way, the advice and teachings that he was offered by his own guru, Maharajji Neem Karoli Baba. He talks about being caught up in his own feelings about his spiritual progress and not realizing that he was mentally putting himself at a distance (and often above) others who were less enlightened.

Opening up his heart to the path of service to others has helped him to see his knowledge and his approach to others as truly connecting tools.

The book gently guides those of us who feel a spiritual calling, but still want to know where the money comes from, to look at the oneness that makes us the same as other people, instead of the spiritual uniqueness that makes us work in separateness.


All I can say is: “Wow!”

I have not even finished the book yet, a book that I was only reading to bide my time until Be Here Now arrives on my doorstep, and it has already changed something that I thought was unchangeable in me.

For several years now I have struggled with my own desire to use my hard-won spiritual lessons as the basis for my career. To be self-employed in something that I thought of as a positive field.

And yet I was constantly struggling with my desire to only deal with, or only surround myself with, people who I felt were at the same (or at least a similar) level of awareness.

It was an internal battle. One that caused me much frustration and self-defeating thought. How could I be so spiritual and yet be having these exclusionary feelings towards other human beings? How could I be so conceited?

Now, in just a few short chapters, I realize that it is okay. It is not that unreasonable. Many other, perhaps wiser, spiritual folks than myself have had similar feelings and fallen into similar traps.

When we remember our oneness, how we are all part of the same spiritual stuff and each here for learning our own lessons and teaching lessons to others, it becomes easier to be in this world, but not of this world. It is possible to be on your path to awareness and still get your hands dirty in the real world. That is why you’re here, isn’t it, to make a difference?

The spiritual path being an essentially solitary one at times, by necessity, we can often end up overindulging in our “uniqueness.” We are reading and meditating and studying in order to grasp our “oneness”, but end up believing it theoretically while forgetting to implement it practically.

In just the past few days I have felt more strongly my connection to others and my desire to alleviate the sufferings in this world than I have ever felt it before.

And implementing it has been so freeing.

Now I understand, more than theoretically, the saying about providing value to the world and having faith that the money will follow. If your are doing what you do out of a genuine desire to better peoples lives, then reward is inevitable. If you are doing it for the money, get used to disappointment. ;)

I don’t know about you, but I definitely need to read and implement some more of this book.

Namaste, Ram Dass. :)