We don’t often write about the more new-age side of philosophy, at least not as directly as we may today. We prefer the more secular thinkers, like Alan Watts, who can give us these teachings without all the mystical trimmings. Today though we want to discuss a very powerful concept: “Love Everybody, and Tell the Truth”. This one comes directly from Maharajji themselves. Mysticism will be unavoidable.
- Didn’t Ram Dass say that?
- I can’t love everybody
- The House of mirrors
- A head full of violence
- You can’t just let them get away with it!
- Yes, you do have to let them get away with it
- That’s not true! That’s impossible!!!
- The butter battle book
- That’s childish, you are making fun of us!
- Love Everybody, and tell the truth
Didn’t Ram Dass say that?
Yes! In fact, he’s the most famous carrier of this message in the west these days. If you’ve heard this before, it was probably from him telling the story of how he heard it from Maharajji – his own guru. Go read the story linked here if you’ve never heard this from Ram Dass yourself.
Maharajji’s world view could be distilled to one word: Love. We believe this is the greatest and really the only teaching there is. All the great religions dance around it, and we’ll look at the ways they do that later in this post. Maharajji knew that if this Samsara was made of love, then it would be the last Samsara.
That’s a powerful assertion and we know it, it’s going to take all of this long post to attempt to prove it to you. It’s also very simple, we have everything we need to do this right now. We could wake up at any moment and decide to fill our hearts with love and end all of this… but we don’t. We don’t seem to want to yet, and we’ll talk about that too.
I can’t love everybody
This was Ram Dass’s response when told to do this by his guru. In truth, how could anybody do this? It seems a big enough challenge to simply love the ones near to us, like our family and friends, on a day-to-day basis. How can you possibly love everybody?
And what about bad people? Should we love Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Charles Manson – we don’t like these people right? Maybe those are too easy, what about a homeless person blocking your path – can you love them? The person who just took a little too long paying for their groceries ahead of you in line, how about them?
We can’t love everybody.
We find it difficult to love people like this for one reason. Despite our knowledge of monism our ego makes us believe that we are not these people. We believe we are separate from them – that is a primary reason that anything other than love is considered at all. Everything else falls from this basic misunderstanding.
The House of mirrors
We’ll get back to love in a few minutes, first we need to discuss the nature of existence a bit. We usually use words like Samsara or Maya to describe our existence. These bring up images of living in an endless wheel of life and rebirth, while also under a powerful illusion so we aren’t aware of it.
Consider a different analogy though, a house of mirrors. You know one of those carnival attractions where you walk through hallways full of mirrors and see endless variations of yourself. If you wave, they all wave.
If we then also truly believe that each of us is a refraction of the universal self, then every single person you look at in the world is a refraction of you. Said another way, they are an imperfect reflection of you, and you of them. After all we all seem to feel the same way at the same times don’t we?
In this analogy, choosing to hate another person is the same as choosing to hate yourself. Yelling at another person to stop doing whatever they are doing – well, that’s kind of crazy isn’t it? Couldn’t you just stop doing it anytime you wanted? Why do you yell at yourself like that?
Stop hitting yourself.
A head full of violence
All of the eastern religions, from Buddhism to Jainism have at their core a precept for non-violence. Unfortunately for us users of the clumsy English language, this word “Violence” is a bit complicated. Violence is hitting someone, sure that’s easy. What else could it be?
Consider the term Ahimsa instead. This is a much bigger concept then the word “Violence” might imply. It means to do no harm to any living being. Do no harm, do no harm… it sounds so easy.
Consider however that even the most guarded negative reaction – a fleeting unspoken thought of “They shouldn’t have done that”. There is no violence or harm in this thought is there? And yet there is, the thought re-enforces the separateness between “you” and “they”. Even if they have no idea you had it, you harm yourself with thoughts like this.
You must polish the mirror free of anger to see God.Maharajji
Anger here is another way of saying violence, or harm. As long as this is in your heart, in any form, your mirror will never be clear. Try to give up a little bit of violence every day, just a little, and day by day it will get easier to love everybody.
You can’t just let them get away with it!
Here’s the part where we you remind us about the atrocities happening in Palestine. Or maybe in the Ukraine. Or maybe the ones from WWII. Or how much everyone was suffering during the Crusades. Or oh man that one Roman Emperor was really mean to those poor druids. Or that one time Gukk hit Glurr over the head with a stick outside our cave?
We don’t talk like this to belittle whatever piece of Samsara is driving you right now. If it matters to you, then it is all that matters, it is the most important thing. It’s ok to care about these things, that’s what we made all of this for. To experience those desires.
At the same time, know that these things have happened before – many times – and they will happen again. 1000s and 1000s of years after you have passed, they will happen again – you won’t even be around to care about it then.
Even if you win every argument and all of your ideas are put into place and your “problem” solved in the best way possible… you will die one day. Others will follow, dismantle your work, and continue to repeat the suffering.
This is the trap of Samsara, it really truly is, and it is a terrible trap indeed. Here we are, made to witness these atrocities perpetrated by reflections of ourselves. And yet the very act of resisting them perpetuates them. How could it not? We are the ones doing them in the first place!
Yes, you do have to let them get away with it
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. ‘ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek alsoJesus via Matthew 5:38-39
Don’t get us wrong, for as long as it makes you happy please continue to resist. Continue to fight for whatever cause you like. Trample your enemies and laugh in their faces as you implement your grand plan to solve everything. We cannot pull you from the grip of Samsara any more than anybody else could.
The son of god himself tried and… looking over at what the christians are doing… appears to have failed.
But when you are done. When you’ve spent long enough yelling at your own reflection in the mirror – then we can start to talk about the way forward. You have to let them get away with it. Drop the bombs, kill whoever it is you think doesn’t deserve killing, do the thing, the evil thing. You have to let go, let them do it.
More than that, you have to love that they are doing it. You have to acknowledge that this is just another aspect of you. Deep inside you know you could do those things too, in fact you are doing them. If you don’t want to do them anymore then just stop.
“What if they hurt me or my family?”, then they hurt you or your family. “What if I die?”, then you die – what? You think that’s the end? This is what acceptance means. As long as you resist, in even the smallest ways, you keep the cycle going.
That’s not true! That’s impossible!!!
Here is where the second half of Maharajji’s greatest teaching comes into play. Everybody rejects this idea, everyone, so we are not at all surprised that you reject it too. Maybe it even makes you angry, you believe we are an uncaring a**hole for even suggesting this concept.
You are lying. You are lying to yourself, and you are lying to us. The one and only way that any of this can work is if all of us stop the violence, stop the harm, and start the love. It’s the only way out. You know this, but your addiction to Samsara and the delusion that you are somehow separate prevents you from believing it.
We are all reflections of each other, if one of us stops, we all stop. Love works the same way, it’s how we can love everybody. This all starts in you, you have to love yourself before you can love everybody. Polish your mirror free of anger and violence. Every day you do this you will notice that everyone else has done it too.
The butter battle book
We know this post is getting long, but we also know you still don’t quite believe what we’re trying to say. So let’s try a different tactic, let’s play pretend. Take yourself out of this world and all the gory reality. Back in 1984, Dr. Seuss published another “war is bad” book: The Butter Battle Book.
In this book’s Samsara, the people are all caught up in a big war over which side of their toast should be buttered. One side prefers butter up, the other, butter down. It may sound silly to you, but is it really any sillier than the actual real things we’re fighting over right now today?
Sorry, play pretend time. So pretend you are in this war, on the butter-side-down side of course. You are a soldier, in a fox hole in some dark forest, cut off from support and you can hear the approaching steps of the enemy.
When those butter-side-up-bastards finally get to you, what do you do? Let’s take a look at some options:
- Fight back! This is what you were trained for after all, unfortunately they quickly kill you.
- Surrender! Ah, maybe if you give up you will be well treated. Unfortunately they are moving quickly and have no time for prisoners, you are also killed.
- Offer them some of your food and a hug! When they look into your foxhole, they see no soldier, no weapon. They see a person just eating a snack, offering it to friends and clearly hoping for a hug.
That’s childish, you are making fun of us!
Ok sure, maybe they kill you in scenario 3. Maybe they don’t though. Maybe instead, they are hungry, they are also tired of fighting this silly war. So they stop and think for a second and join you. Over time you gain enough followers to form a little encampment somewhere and escape the war.
Here’s the trick – what did you have to lose? A more violent death by fighting back? A protracted time in captivity, after which you return to a world where those butter-side-up-bastards control everything cause your side lost? Are those really better options? Even then, you just die someday only to come back and keep repeating this choice.
Or maybe you won! Now you get to live a long life of glory as some war hero. But you live it in a world still full of constant conflict. Even if your side somehow managed to kill 100% of the butter-side-up-bastards, all of them, you killed them all. Someday, somebody is going to wonder – what would butter on top taste like?
And then it starts again, a rebellion forms and the world tumbles back into the bitter butter wars, this time for good right? You’ll have secret butter police monitoring your population for signs for butter-side-up thoughts. You think this ever ends? How can it end?
Love Everybody, and tell the truth
So we’ve again arrived at this strange place. We’ve covered some of the hardest philosophical concepts the eastern religions have to offer all mixed up together. We’ve tried to express the hopelessness of continuing to struggle in Samsara – no matter how convicted we may be to any given cause.
We’ve seen that our enemies, no matter how terrible they may be. No matter how atrocious their crimes, how noxious their ideas. Our enemies are simply reflections of us, we are doing those things. The violence we continue to put into the world in our misguided efforts to resist… That is the violence our enemies meet us with.
There is no winning option here. Given no other options how would you choose to live? A live full or hate, or a life full of love?
This is the wisdom that Maharajji gave us with this simple guiding principle: Love Everybody, And Tell The Truth. The comma is important, it gives us space to resist the lesson and then realize that our resistance was a lie.
So yes, you can love everybody. And tell the truth!