The Heart of the Matter
a retreat with Ram Dass & Krishna Das
Breitenbush Hot Springs -- July 16-20, 2000
The retreat at Breitenbush opened a very deep heart-space.
Every afternoon there were talks and stories, questions and answers ...
and every evening there were more stories and wonderful kirtan. The
retreat also offered rich opportunities for exploring the silence and
looking within; what that awakened was reflected in the deeply reflective
nature of the dialog between Ram Dass and the participants.
At the opening program, Ram Dass said, "What we are doing together is
building paths that take us from Ego to God." Ram Dass talked about the
value of satsang in that process--of "being with a group of people resting
in our souls." He talked about the path of kirtan, which "pulls" the heart
into "Awareness." And he talked about his "stroke sadhana," and his new role
of dependency and his relationships with caregivers.
2 * 60 minute cassettes
"The heart and mind aren't separate," Ram Dass said, and he talked about the way the paths of devotion and wisdom fit together. While the Dalai Lama claims that the path of wisdom precedes the path of devotion, Ram Dass says "through a devotional path, I get to climb on Maharajji's star." But each of us has a unique spiritual journey, and we should start where our strengths lie. "Start with meditation, start with devotion, start with anything--but start!" he said.
1 * 90-minute cassette.
The program explored very deeply the nature of what Ram Dass had started calling, "Number Three": Awareness, or God. "We aren't satisfied until we have occupied all three levels of our incarnation simultaneously," Ram Dass said. He talked about awakening the levels of Soul and Awareness within ourselves without abandoning our Egos, and told the retreatants, "If you remember your Soul-business, all your Ego trips will fall into the Dharma.
2 cassettes * 2 1/2 hrs.
"When I could finally see the stroke as both grace and the work of 'demons,' it could take me into the One-because I was no longer caught in dualism." This powerful talk brings Ram Dass' understanding of the stroke to yet a deeper level as he explores the way it pushed him to transcend dualism. He said, "It's as if Maharajji said to me, 'Come up here and play with the adults." Questions focused on nurturing the ego, suffering and the cessation of suffering, and bringing relationships into the soul-level.
2 cassettes * 2 1/2 hrs.
In the last program of the retreat, Ram Dass focused on ways of bringing the experience back home. He talked about the puja which had been created at the retreat, and the usefulness of having a puja table at home; he said a puja is "a place to be among satsang," and that we had discovered the value of satsang during the retreat. Ram Dass led a blessing ritual at the puja, and Krishna Das led an arti (an offering of light) and sang Sri Ram Jai Ram and Sita Ram.
1 * 60 minute cassette.
THE COMPLETE ALBUM:
"THE HEART OF THE MATTER"
(July 16-20, 2000)
RECEIVE ALL FIVE PROGRAMS (8 CASSETTES) IN A BOOKSHELF ALBUM, WITH A COLOR PHOTO OF RAM DASS ON THE "INNER PATH" AT BREITENBUSH.
(Our thanks to Tim McDevitt for providing the photo for our use.)
8 CASSETTES * 9 1/2 HRS.