As I was reflecting on this, one of the speakers, Lei 'ohu Ryder, spoke of her elder auntie, one whom she would try and soak in the teachings of as much as possible. This auntie said to her one day “are you listening? Are going to remember what I'm teaching? Because I may not be here much longer.” Lei 'ohu figured that she had eons to live, but she went to the hospital just a few days later, the same time that Ram Dass was in the hospital actually, and Ram Dass shared, “she died, I lived.”
Ram Dass is here with us for now, whose words I always find absolutely beautiful and true, despite the aphasia he has as a result of his stroke, limiting the expression of his words...this actually makes it all more rich for me in some way. I love how quiet the audience gets, the time and space others give him to speak, his wit still expressed through his actions and expressions, how he still makes us all laugh, his willingness to continue teaching despite his aphasia. Here are a few of his words from this talk:
Why Maui?: there's a way she (Maui) has of being present with herself and everyone that she embraces, she is an expression of truth (&truth is “the one” when you get close to it).
I used to be into science, science is “two people that saw the same thing,” but I've graduated. And I see that truth is a spiritual matter, you follow your intuition, you know truth by that feeling in your heart.
A moment has no time, no place, it's just a moment.
Along with many more deeply resonating words….
At the end, when he was asked to run us through a meditation, as my eyes were closed and expecting not much of a story, he started to tell a profound experience about tripping on psilocybin… “I thought there was someone else in the room, but it was me, that person is all my social roles...I looked down on the couch, and saw that no one was on it. I didn't have my body, I found myself inside, that was home. I shed, and all I could do was yell, I'm home.”
I encourage us all to remember our temporary existence in this place, and that of our teachers as well. We never know when it might be the last chance to learn from or connect with another...in this life, anyway.