“I Am Loving Awareness”
Over the past decade, I have experienced divine connection in a variety of ways—in Nature, in solitary or group meditation, and with spiritual teachers who helped facilitate that falling away of form into formlessness. In spite of any longing on my part to hold onto it permanently, however, my experience of God came and went, arose and then receded. Repeatedly, I vacillated between the appearance and disappearance, almost as if I were playing hide-and-seek with God. Then Ram Dass died.
His longtime friend Krishna Das wrote a memorial tribute and mentioned Ram Dass’s mantra “I Am Loving Awareness.” He said that now Ram Dass would be found in that “loving presence” that lives within us all. Those words affected me profoundly. All day it was as if the mantra “I Am Loving Awareness” came to life within me. My mind’s filtering and perceptual judgments, pro and con, had dissolved, and there was just, well, awareness. Awareness that did nothing but receive the world around me with love. And gratitude. Tears ran down my cheeks. Yes, this was God, but it wasn’t a powerful rush; it was a quiet presence, a gradual awareness of awareness itself. And with that came the knowing that the rising and receding was only in my human perception, which had made divine presence seem as if it appeared and disappeared instead of being always at my core.
Now when I feel as if God has fallen silent and I am alone in the universe, there is a deeper loving awareness within me that reminds me that I am never alone and that God lives in the silence. It may take a few moments to come to the surface, but that awareness is my companion now. It has always been encoded in my very cells, but only my own soul’s journey could eventually bring me to the point of continuously recognizing the truth of God’s ever-Presence. We humans vacillate in our experiences and perceptions on Earth. God, however, remains constant, permeating the universe with divine light and love. When we pass from the Earthly plane, our souls will merge completely with that light.
Each day my experience of God/dess arises from the world around me, especially in Nature. The quality of the golden morning light, the vibrant colors of the flowers, the stunning blue of the sky–all of these awaken divine awareness in me. I remember who I am, who we all are, and everything around me seems to flow seamlessly in a sweet rhythm of being and becoming. We human souls are part of that. We came to Earth to embody divinity in physical form, to experience ourselves as God in the material world. We are God experiencing both Godness and humanness as one. It is a beautiful dance.
Ram Dass spent a lifetime coming into oneness with his mantra, the “loving awareness” that filled his soul. Just like all of us, he faced difficult human challenges, particularly the stroke that he learned to accept with such “fierce grace” over the last years of his life. In a photograph taken toward the end of his life, you can see the holy light of “loving awareness” shining from his eyes. Though I never met him in person, in the days following his death, I felt his presence in the sacred words of his mantra. It touched my heart and opened me to the loving awareness within myself. I stopped playing hide-and-seek and just rested in the infinite beingness that is God.