Meditation
Photo by Moyan Brenn

Rewire Me is a community committed to helping everyone along their individual path by combining the most useful ancient practices with the latest scientific discoveries. When it comes to navigating those paths, Ram Dass is a trailblazer. He holds a doctorate in psychology from Stanford University, taught at Harvard, where he met and worked with Timothy Leary, wrote the spiritual classic Be Here Now, and is a well-loved and widely respected spiritual teacher.

Ram Dass
Ram Dass

Ram Dass has explored the depths of consciousness for over five decades and was instrumental in founding the Seva Foundation, bringing vision care to marginalized and underserved communities worldwide; the Prison-Ashram Project, bringing spiritual teachings to the incarcerated, and the Love Serve Remember Project to preserve the teachings of his guru Neem Karoli Baba.

In this excerpt from Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart, now available in paperback from Sounds True, Ram Dass guides readers in a visual meditation. It’s a way to realize what his guru taught, to “Bring your mind to one point and wait for grace.”

A Guided Visual Meditation

Sit straight, so your head, neck, and chest are in alignment. Start by focusing in your heart area, in the middle of your chest, where the hridayām, the spiritual heart, is located. With your mouth closed, breathe in and out of your chest, focusing on your heart as if you were breathing in and out through your heart.

Polishing-the-Mirror_Ram-DassBreathe deeply.

Because of the purity of your seeking, many incredibly high beings are present, and with them comes the spiritual substance out of which all form derives. You can imagine that substance as a golden mist that fills the air. With every breath, don’t just breathe in air; imagine you are pulling into yourself this golden substance. Fill with it; let it pour through your entire body.

Breathe in the energy of the universe, the shakti of the universe. Breathe in the breath of God. Let it fill your whole body. Each time you breathe out, breathe out all of the things in you that keep you from knowing your true Self; breathe out all the separateness, all the feelings of unworthiness, all the self-pity, all the attachment to your pain, whether it’s physical or psychological. Breathe out anger and doubt and greed and lust and confusion. Breathe in God’s breath, and breathe out all the impediments that keep you from knowing God. Let the breath be the transformation.

Now let the golden mist that has poured into your being focus in the middle of your chest; let it take form as a tiny being, the size of a thumb, sitting on a lotus flower right in the middle of your chest. Notice its equanimity, the radiance that comes from within. Use your imagination. As you look upon this being, see that it is radiating light. See the light pouring out. As you meditate upon it, experience the deep peace that is emanating from this being. Feel, as you look upon this being, that it is a being of great wisdom. It’s sitting quietly, silently, perfectly poised in your heart. Feel its compassion and its love. Let yourself be filled with its love.

Feel your vastness, your peace, your equanimity. Your head extends into the sky. Expand until your town, your environment, and all those beings within them are contained within you. Experience the human condition; see the loneliness, joy, caring, violence, paranoia, a mother’s love for her child, sickness, fear of death—see it all. It is all within you.

Now, slowly let that tiny being grow in size until it fills your body, so its head fills the space of your head, its torso, your torso, its arms, your arms, its legs, your legs. So now in the skin of your body sits this being—a being of infinite wisdom, a being of the deepest compassion, a being that is bathed in bliss, a being that is self-effulgent: a being of perfect tranquility.

Let this being begin to grow in size. Experience yourself growing until everything in the room around you is within your body. All of the sounds, all the sensory experiences are coming from inside you.

Continue to grow. Feel your vastness, your peace, your equanimity. Your head extends into the sky. Expand until your town, your environment, and all those beings within them are contained within you. Experience the human condition; see the loneliness, joy, caring, violence, paranoia, a mother’s love for her child, sickness, fear of death—see it all. It is all within you. See it with compassion and with caring and, at the same moment, with equanimity. Feel the light pour through your being.

Let yourself grow still larger. Feel your vastness increase until you are sitting in the middle of this galaxy, the earth deep within your belly. All humankind is within you. Feel the turmoil and the longing. Feel the beauty. Sit in this universe, silent, peaceful, compassionate, loving. All of the creations of human beings’ minds are within you; look upon them with compassion.

Continue to grow until not only this galaxy but every galaxy is within you, until everything you can conceive of is within you. All of it is inside you. You are the only One. Feel your aloneness, your silence, your peace. There are no other beings here; all planes of consciousness are within you, and all beings are within you.

You are the Ancient One. Everything that ever was, is, or will be is part of the dance of your being. You are the universe, so you have infinite wisdom; you feel all of the feelings of the universe, so you have infinite compassion. Let the boundaries of your being dissolve, and merge yourself into that which is beyond form. Sit for a moment in the formless, beyond compassion, beyond love, beyond God. Let it all be in its perfection.

Very gently, very slowly, let the boundaries of your vast being, the One, reestablish themselves. Vast, silent, all is within you. Come back from beyond the One and slowly come down in size. Come down through the universes into this universe, until your head is once again among the planets and the earth is within you. Come down again until your head is once again in the heavens and the cities are within you.

Come down in size until your head is at the top of your room. Stop here for a moment. From this place, look down into the room and find the being who you thought you were when you began this meditation. Look at that being, bringing to bear all of your love and compassion. See the journey of that being as it is living out this incarnation; see its fears, its doubts, its connections. See all the thoughts and objects it clings to that keep it from being free. See how close it is to knowing who it is. Look within that being and see the purity of its soul.

Reach down and, with your mind, very gently place your hand on the head of this being and bestow upon it your blessing that in this very life it may fully know itself. Experience simultaneously that which blesses and that which is being blessed.

Remember those people toward whom you have felt less than loving. Look to their souls and surround them with light, with the love and peace of this moment. Let go of the anger and the judgment.

Now come back down into the body you thought you were when you began. You are still flesh surrounding a being of radiance and wisdom, a being of compassion that comes from attunement with the truth, with love for all that comes from being that vast One. That love and peace are pouring out of you to all beings everywhere, like a beacon for all those who suffer.

Remember those people toward whom you have felt less than loving. Look to their souls and surround them with light, with the love and peace of this moment. Let go of the anger and the judgment.

Send the light of love and peace out to people who are ill, who are lonely, who are afraid, who have lost their way. Share your blessings, because only when you give can you continue to receive. As you journey on this spiritual path, accept the responsibility for sharing what you receive. That is part of God’s harmony, of becoming an instrument for the will of God.

Let the radiant, perfect being within you again assume its diminutive form, the size of a thumb. See it again sitting on a lotus flower in your spiritual heart, in the middle of your chest, radiant with light, peaceful, immensely compassionate. This being is love. This being is wisdom. This is the inner guru. This is the being within you who always knows. This is the being you meet through your deeper intuition when you go beyond your mind. This is the tiny form of the entire universe that exists within you.

At any time, you need only sit and quiet your mind, and you will hear this being guiding you home. When you finish this journey, you will have disappeared into this being, surrendered, merged, and then you will know the truth that Ramana Maharshi, a great realized being from India, meant when he said that God, guru, and Self are one.

Excerpted from Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart, by Ram Dass with Rameshwar Das. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by the Love Serve Remember Foundation. Published by Sounds True.

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