At first glance, th e exhortation to love all and serve all (Ram Das has said Neem Karoli Baba gave him advice like that) may seem unreasonable and perhaps impossible.
But the exhortation to love doesn’t require liking all or associating with all or tolerating the behavior of all.
And serving all does not mean doing so without boundaries. Sometimes a thoughtful refusal or a limit on giving others what they ask for is the highest service we can offer.
As regular readers may have noticed, last Sunday I was inspired to blog about Arjuna’s dilemma on the battlefield in connection with local events. Later that day, I was reminded that this coming Sunday, January 16th, will be the first meeting of the new book club at Willow Street Yoga Center (Takoma Park studio). The book for the first meeting is Ram Dass’s Paths to God, Living the Bhagavad Gita. Perhaps I was thinking about the Gita because in the back of my mind, I knew that the reading was on my to do list. Perhaps, the book club reading was just energetically connected to where my thoughts were already going. Perhaps it was just a coincidence (though I do not much believe in coincidence).
Although the date had crept up on me unawares, I did already have Paths to God on my shelf and began reading it upon getting the reminder about the book club. The book, which is taken from a series of lectures at the then newly opened Naropa University, is rich with stories about Ram Dass’s own spiritual journey, recommendations for a wide range of practices for discovery of our own spirit, and has lots of juicy thought about taking the study of the Bhagavad Gita and other spiritual texts out of our heads and into how we live our lives and embrace the world.
I hope to see many of my local yogi friends at the book club meeting, not just to expand ourselves by reading and discussing this beautiful text, but to deepen our yoga community and practice by being together. I am sure you are welcome, too, to bring your needlework. If you cannot join us this time, do think about adding the book to your list of yoga books to read. Ram Dass is always thought-provoking, inspiring, and delightful to read.
There is a google group for the book club if you want to get updates. I trust that you will be added to the group if you email: email@example.com