Using a Spiritual Practice to Stay Grounded
When it comes to being present, one can always appreciate the inspiring words of Ram Dass, one of America’s most beloved spiritual figures and author of many best-selling books, including the classics Be Here Now and Polishing the Mirror. For more than 45 years, Ram Dass has made his mark on the world, giving teachings and promoting loving service. His verberating message of the importance of spiritual practice is as timeless and important now as it was when he first said so succinctly in 1971, "Be here now."
Most of us are enmeshed in the world, and we get lost very easily in the stuff of life. A daily practice is very useful to keep reminding you, to keep pulling you back and waking you up again, giving you a chance to see how you got lost the day before, and to keep putting what's happening to you in the world back into a spiritual perspective.
For instance, I read a little passage in the morning when I wake up. I have books next to my bed, and I'll just pick one up and start the day reading a passage from a holy book, or a little quote from a saint, and it will just start me remembering, reminding me what the game is all about.
You can tune to the spirit through a variety of practices. Look to each method to keep opening you in its own unique way. At the beginning, when you're trying different methods, be generous with yourself. There will be a method that will fit your unique karma. If you come to a practice with a pure heart and a yearning to be free, it will reflect back the purity of your aspiration.
Spiritual practice isn't a way to achieve anything or to get somewhere else. You're already here. You do spiritual practices because you do spiritual practices—not to get to some other state, but to get in touch with who you already are, to clear the dust from the mirror, to come more fully into the present moment.
Whether you will be free and enlightened now or in ten thousand births from now is not the point. What else is there to do? You can't stop doing them anyway. Once you awaken to the possibility of the universe within, it's like a gravitational force.
Don't get trapped in your expectations. Spiritual practices can themselves become obstacles if you become too attached to them. Use these methods as consciously as you can, knowing that, if they are truly working, eventually they will self-destruct.