“It is only through an open heart that we will get to the heart of the matter.”
What if we are all, every one of us, joined by an “amazing web of consciousness?’ Would there be an ‘other’ or would we all simply be ‘us’? And if that is the case, what would happen to things like war, abuse, addiction, global chaos? Perhaps they would become obsolete. Unrealistic? Not in my mind, nor in the mind of Ramananda John Welshons who was my guest on It’s All About Relationships on Thursday May 30th. In our powerful from start to finish, conversation, we explored topics ranging from forgiveness, to empathy, from karma to parenting, from seeing the light in all creation to world events. I think of him as a ‘grounded mystic.’
RAMANANDA JOHN E. WELSHONS is a highly respected contemporary spiritual teacher who lectures and leads meditation courses throughout North America. He has practiced meditation and various forms of yoga since 1969, and is the author of three critically acclaimed books: One Soul, One Love, One Heart; Awakening from Grief; and When Prayers Aren’t Answered. He has traveled extensively in India and is a gifted counselor and teacher who – in addition to working closely with Ram Dass for more than forty years – has worked closely with Stephen and Ondrea Levine, and trained with Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
He sees relationships as powerful tools and declares “Finding our way into Oneness draws us back into relationships.” and affirms that “We all want to go back home.” He evidences this in one of my favorite stories about the experience he had in a contentious relationship with his father that he presented to his dear friend and mentor hoping for confirmation that he was right and his father was wrong.
In true to form fashion, Ram Dass reminded him that “All anger is anger at God,” and he went on to say “If I were God, I would have made the Universe better than this. Your father is the way God made him. If you get angry with him, that’s your problem.”
He suggested that indeed, his father was his guru. That became a pivotal point in John’s life and relationship with his father. He discovered that when dealing with difficult people in our lives, we have the choice to view that person as our spiritual teacher. They are there to show us the stuff in ourselves that is keeping us from living in love.
He laughed as he shared what Stephen Levine reminded him: “Our parents are really good at pushing our buttons, since they installed them.” That was a lesson John learned and at the end of his father’s life, in the midst of a barrage of verbal haranguing, he was able to step back and express love. His father’s reaction was to smile and offer love in return. He passed the next day. According to John, “He was the greatest teacher in this lifetime about what unconditional love could look like.”
He finds that forgiveness is “one of the great stumbling blocks” of human existence that has massive ramifications on all of our relationships. “Our tender emotional hearts get hardened.” He related that at age 12, in the midst of his parents’ alcoholism, as he prayed and wept he was aware that “If I was going to survive this, I would have to stop feeling.” Survive it he did and blessedly began to feel again and glean both meaning and healing from his experiences. “You can’t turn off the sadness without turning off the joy.” All feelings are needed. Our heart (or ‘heart cave’, as he framed it) is often blocked by the boulders of anger, pain and resentment. Once we move the boulders, we can access that love and joy and indeed the light that we are.
I was delighted to discover that the title of John’s book, One Soul, One Love, One Heart, was inspired by one of my favorite musicians Bob Marley and his song One Love. http://youtu.be/4xjPODksI08. I found myself singing along in my head at that point in the interview. He describes it as “The spiritual path and how it manifests in our relationships with ourselves and others.”
What it all comes to down to is this: “In the long run, the light always wins.”