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Wise Words
Our authors and book editors offer these choice written selections for your contemplative reading and inspiration.

Ram Dass: Polishing the Mirror


Being here now

Being here now sounds simple, but these three words contain inner work for a lifetime. To live in the here and now is to have no regrets about the past, no worries or expectations for the future. To be fully present in each moment of existence is to live in total contentment, in peace and love. To enter into this presence is to reside in a different state of being, in a timeless moment, in the eternal present.

Once you touch this state of pure being, you can never completely forget it. You begin to see how your thoughts keep carrying you away from being in the moment. But being is always here, never more than a thought away. There’s nothing to do, nothing to think about. Just be—here and now.

When our thinking mind subsides, what we might call our heart-mind takes over, and we can begin to live in love. Love is opening to merge with another being, whether with another person or with God (in the end they’re the same). Love is the doorway to oneness with all things, to being in harmony with the entire universe. This return to oneness, to a simplicity of just being, of unconditional love, is what we all long for. This unified state is the real yoga, or union.

Perhaps this book will provide a new perspective from which to view your life. I hope you find living from this perspective a more meaningful and transcendent way of being in the world. To be fully present with ourselves and other beings is to focus on what is truly important in life, and by doing so, we become more conscious and loving.

Practice Makes Perfect

Perhaps you are already an evolved soul who is separated from the One only by the most gossamer of veils, and your enlightenment will be nearly instantaneous. Or maybe you are a more tentative seeker whose mind pulls you this way and that, and you need more constant reminding of where your true Self lies. Whatever your karmic situation is, may this primer of consciousness be a useful road map to help guide you home. Home is where the heart is.

For most of us, it is helpful to set aside some time in each day to devote to spiritual practice, which means scheduling time in our already busy lives. The path of the heart is not hard or easy, but it takes time and intention. Traditionally the best times are early morning, while the world is still quiet, and during the evening, at the close of the day’s activities.

Consider this your time to explore your own inner being, to find more of the meaning of your life. Spiritual practice offers us a chance to come back to the innate compassionate quality of our heart and to our intuitive wisdom. Like shopping for a new set of spiritual clothes, try on these practices of self-reflection, opening the spiritual heart, or selfless service, and see what fits. Then take a look in your mirror and see who you are now and what works for you.

Each of us has our own path to follow, our own karma. You have to honor your own unique path. You can’t imitate someone else’s trip. Listen to your heart to hear what you yourself need, take what you can use from these practices, and leave the rest.

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