As a psychologist back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, I saw specific relationships in terms of their ability – or lack thereof – to fulfill whatever emotional or psychological “needs” the people involved seemed to experience. But over the past forty years, as my consciousness has become more and more identified with the Spirit, I have come to treat relationships as pathways to God.
One Soul, One Love, One Heart is a brilliant reference book for understanding how spirit manifests in our relationships. It teaches us how to use relationships as stepping stones on our spiritual path. Most often we look at relationships from the psychological point of view. This wonderful book shows how we can use them to bring us into community, into our Real Self, and into the One.
I have known John Welshons for nearly forty years. He originally came into my life as an earnest and beloved student, whose yearning for God – for the Light – was almost overwhelming. Over the years we have become dear friends, occasional collaborators, and fellow travelers on the path of Love. I trust John’s heart and I honor his keen intellect. He sees the spiritual path as I do. That is why I can write this foreword. When I read this book, I feel like it is coming from my own heart. John eloquently puts into words the concepts that I have been teaching and working with on my own journey for many, many years. He is a wonderful teacher!
Reading this book has been an interesting experience. It not only contains many concepts I am intimately familiar with, but it also contains a couple of stories from my life that involved profound moments of personal growth, transformation, and awakening. Each time I revisit these stories, and see these concepts expressed in new and different language, I re-experience – at deeper and deeper levels of awareness – the Grace they contain.
Our relationships with other human beings offer some the most profound teachings of our lives. For many decades, I have had the great blessing of being in relationship with a fully enlightened being named Neem Karoli Baba. That relationship began in India in 1967 and, although he died – or as they would say in India, “dropped his body” – in 1973, our connection continues to this day. It continues because who he “is” is simply the embodiment of who we all are. He is a manifestation of the One . . . the formless, infinite Light that infuses all creation.
To explain what I mean more fully, let me relate a story about my relationship with him: From the moment I met Neem Karoli Baba, who we affectionately call “Maharaji,” in 1967, I felt a kind of love and acceptance I had never previously experienced. He seemed to know everything about me. He knew my past and he knew my thoughts, intimately. Yet he loved me unconditionally. I resolved to stay with him as long as possible. For many, many months, I resided in his tiny temple high in the Himalayas. During that time I studied yoga and meditation, primarily in solitude with much precious time to deepen my practice.
I returned to America in 1968, and spent the next three years traveling, teaching, lecturing, and introducing thousands of seekers to the ancient esoteric practices that had so powerfully transformed my own life and consciousness. When I went back to India in 1971, a sizeable group of young Westerners followed me. To my eventual chagrin, they wound up taking much of Maharaji’s time and energy which I had hoped would be available to me.
I began to get agitated. Eventually, I became angry. Who were all these interlopers, and what were they doing invading the precious space I had previously shared with “my” guru? I began to resent them all, one by one. Eventually I came to dislike every one of them.
One day, after walking eight miles alone to the temple, I was particularly irritated. When I arrived, I became enraged. Seeing all these young Westerners sitting around, obviously enjoying their time with Maharaji was more than I could bear. One sweet young fellow came up and lovingly offered me a plate of food. I was so angry, I threw it in his face. Maharaji was sitting across the courtyard, watching this scene from a distance. He immediately called out, “Ram Dass! Ram Dass!” in a piercing, high-pitched yell. When I turned to look at him, he was beckoning me to come sit on the ground in front of him.
As I walked over and sat down, Maharaji looked deeply into my eyes and said, “Is something troubling you?”
I said, “Maharaji, I hate everyone but you.”
He seemed unperturbed, but looked at me more intently. “Didn’t I tell you to love everyone?” he asked.
“Yes, but you also told me to tell the truth. And the truth is I don’t love everyone.” I began to weep.
Maharaji leaned forward, moving his face closer and closer to mine, until we were eyeball to eyeball and nose to nose. Then, ever so lovingly, just barely above a whisper, he said, “Love everyone and tell the truth.”
What he was saying to me in that moment was, “When you give up being who you think you are, this is who you will become.” In other words, “When you finish being your ego, you will be Soul.” And the Soul is Love.
In some sense, this is a book about giving up who we think we are so that we can become who we truly are. In that process, we naturally become both truthful and loving. It is a major task, and this book is a major undertaking. What John Welshons has endeavored to do is offer you a roadmap for using all your relationships as “grist for the mill” – as aspects of the school curriculum that allows you to awaken to your true Self. John’s effort in writing this book is a noble one. It is immeasurably worthy of the time and energy you will invest in reading it. I think you will be as impressed as I am with the comprehensive nature of his approach to this very intricate subject.
Ultimately, the most interesting thing about this book is that it really isn’t about relationships. It is about the One – the One heart we all share – the One Light we all are. In that One Light there is no separation, no suffering, and no death.
In the infinite Love which flows eternally from that One Light, I offer you this wonderful book.