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Excerpted from The Only Dance There Is by Ram Dass. Copyright © 1973 by Ram Dass. Excerpted by permission of Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"All that I can see that we can do with one another is share notes of our exploration."

Ram Dass, The Only Dance There Is, Part 1

The Path of Consciousness

Last evening, here in Topeka, as one of the journeyers on a path, a very, very old path, the path of consciousness, I, in a sense, met with the Explorers Club to tell about the geography I had been mapping. The people who gather to hear somebody called Ram Dass, formerly Richard Alpert, have somewhere, at some level, in some remote corner, some involvement in this journey. All that I can see that we can do with one another is share notes of our exploration. I can say, "Watch out, because around that bend the road falls off sharply to the left ... stay far over on the right when you do that."

The motivation for doing this is most interesting--it's only to work on myself. Itís very easy to break attachments to worldly games when you're sitting in a cave in the Himalayas. It's quite a different take you do of sex, power, money, fame, and sensual gratification in the middle of New York City in the United States with television and loving people around and great cooks and advertising and total support for all of the attachments. But there is the story of a monk who got very holy up on the mountain until he had. some thousands of followers. After many years he went down into a city and he was in the town and somebody jostled him. He turned around angrily and that anger was a mark of how little work he had really done on himself. For all the work he had done he still hadn't clipped the seed of anger, he still got uptight when somebody pushed him around.

So that what I see as my own sadhana (my work on my own consciousness--it could also be called my spiritual journey) is that it is very much cyclic. There are periods of going out and there are periods of turning back in, periods of going out and periods of going back in. Just as living here in the market place is forcing things into the forefront, so sitting in a room by myself for 30 or 40 days in a mountain is forcing other things to be confronted. Each hides from the other, each environment hides from the other sets of stimulus conditions. For example, in the commune we've been designing up in the mountains of New Mexico, where I ran an ashram for awhile this winter, the design has four components to it which are roughly related to the solstices.

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