With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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This is part of the reply to Sy Safransky’s “An Open Letter to Ram Dass” in the April SUN.
One day in 1971 my Guru asked me what I did about the letters I received. I replied that I answered them. Two letters had been brought to him that day. One letter he put on top of his head and the other he held between his hands for a moment. Then he tore up both of them and threw them on the ground. Forthwith, a cow who had wandered into the temple compound chomped them up. This teaching confused me.
The next batch of mail I received in India I read and then burned without answering. For months afterward I experienced intense guilt when I thought of the writers of all those letters which would never receive an answer. Since that time I have answered every letter.
Now, as a result of the inner work through which my Guru has guided me since then, I can hear that teaching in a new way and begin to apply it. Those who write me are primarily seeking spiritual guidance and affirmation of their own awakening. Many of the letters, in truth, are primarily aimed at establishing a spiritual connection to provide support for inner work. Most of the questions asked have answers available to the writers were they to quiet down and have sufficient faith in their own Divinity to listen inside for the answer. A few letters ask factual questions concerning such matters as lecture dates, location of ashrams, the work of the Hanuman Foundation, or my opinions concerning this or that teacher, program, etc.
Since my Guru left his body in September 1973, my guidance from him has been received on the inner planes, either directly by me or through others. In each case, the information is validated by my own heart. I have myself been instructed in methods of guiding and supporting spiritual work via the inner planes, so that an increasing amount of the work I am doing with others is being carried out on these other planes.
Therefore, from now on:
1) I shall read each letter I receive in a meditative space, staying with it until I feel that I have absorbed the contents and sensed the spiritual predicament of the writer.
2) Holding the letter between my hands, I shall send any answer to the writer that is required.
3) To assure each writer that the letter has been received and meditated upon, Anjani (of Hanuman Foundation) and I shall send to each person this message and blessing.
To cooperate in receiving this inner communication, I suggest that you sit quietly and reflect upon the letter you sent me and your motivation for writing it. Think on the question you asked, focus your awareness in your heart or in the middle of your forehead, and listen for the answer. Trust the answer that you receive!
My intention is not to discourage letters, so please feel free to write me at any time. Any and all communications from those who seek God are welcome. If you continue to work with me through letters, you will find that being forced to formulate your questions in writing will help clarify your path. Share with me truthfully, with trust, and in detail the obstacles or “stuff” that seem to stand between you and God. The light of our shared awareness will “lighten” these obstacles and enable you to see whether you merely wish pity for your predicament or really want to let go of your suffering and get on with the journey of the Spirit.
Finally, when you write of your fears, suffering, doubt, self-pity, lust, jealousy, anger, confusion, or whatever, say as you write: “Here, Ram Dass, you take this stuff from me.” And then hold out your hands and give it to me. I will take it, not to get stuck myself, but to convert its energy into love through sending it on to God. Just give up the “stuff” and (breathing in deeply) take in return the blessing of love and peace that I send you.
— Ram Dass