Open Your Heart
On December 5, my wife Trudy Goodman, Sharon Salzberg, and I celebrated the end of the Open Your Heart retreat we had been teaching with Ram Dass on Maui. The 375 participants who had been meditating, chanting, and living in a field of love all week lined up to receive a Mala and a personal blessing from Ram Dass. It took more than two hours and all the while Krishna Das and the group chanted kirtan—a deep and sweet repetition of sacred names.
Ram Dass, now 85, draws students from around the world, many who say he has changed their life. He has become quieter and more transparent—all that he teaches is love. He loves everyone and everything. His vast altar at home features a hundred holy forms—Hanuman, Ram and Ganesh, Buddha, Quan Yin, Jesus and Mother Mary, Gandhi and Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, Ramana Maharshi, Rabbis and Sufi saints—and with them all have stood photos of Barack Obama, Dick Cheney and Donald Trump. I love you he says. I love everyone. I love it all he says. It is a powerful message.
Sometimes the love has to be fierce, he explains, to stand up for justice, but always, always, always act with love.
Trudy and I taught alongside him, offering meditations and practices, trainings in compassion, forgiveness, generosity and joy. There were those who came for healing—some with cancer, some who have lost children. There were teachers and scientists, activists who work with Syrian refugees, or in prisons, and a few who came directly from Standing Rock. There were new parents with their young children, and folks in their 80s.
What unites us is the value of the spiritual life, taking time to quiet the mind and open the heart. Wherever you are today, take a moment to quiet yourself and join us in spirit. Remember the healing power of love, a sense that in hard times and good, it is possible to live with awareness and bring a tender and courageous heart to yourself and to the world that so needs it.
Let us do this together.