In a recent interview in Yoga Journal magazine, Ram Dass, an 82-year-old teacher, yogi and author of the 1971 counterculture classic, Be Here Now, said something incredibly profound: “Get out of your head and into your heart; love unconditionally; embody your soul, not your role.”
How, exactly, do we do that?
The other day my kids were asking what happens when I get a massage. (I’m a big fan of the restorative effect of regular massage for health, mind and body.) They balked when I admitted that most people are undressed when they have a massage.
“So Fiona saw you naked?” one of the kids asked. (Fiona is my dear friend and the best massage therapist I’ve ever gone to!)
“Um, yeah – but it’s no big deal,” I replied. “A massage therapist doesn’t see nakedness. She sees muscles and tendons and knots to work out. Just like a doctor doesn’t see a body but sees a human anatomy in need of healing.”
The kids couldn’t wrap their heads around this concept, of course, as they shouldn’t at these young ages. But it’s something I wonder if we quite concede, either.
Many of us will attest that we don’t see race or religion or economic status – but is it true?
Do we disqualify people before we even know them, based on surface details? Of course we do. It’s a downside of the human condition.
Unless we are so elevated that we truly don’t even see the gift wrapping, but rather just see the soul burning bright beneath it all.
That’s a difficult task and one achieved by steady meditation, yoga, reading the right books and watching the right TV shows. I daresay it even extends to the music we listen to. When I was religious, I used to wonder about the propensity to shut out the negative forces of the modern world – but I see it happening in so many communities, including very modern ones, like today’s yogis.
What IS the impact of surrounding ourselves with depressing or violent songs, shows and readings? It can’t be good.
So what does it take to see the soul before you rather than the role? What does it take for us to step into our souls rather than our roles?
Think about it…I am mother, I am employer, I am public relations professional, I am author, I am sister, I am daughter, I am wife, I am PTA volunteer, I am friend. Perhaps I am even someone’s foe. It’s exhausting to inhabit all of these roles at once.
So what if I stepped into a different perspective and said, I am ME all the way through? You get the same steady package in each situation. What a revolutionary thought. Seems far easier.
Food for thought this Wednesday morning. Love to hear your feedback.