In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.
Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert; April 6, 1931) is an American spiritual teacher, former academic and clinical psychologist. Also he author of the seminal 1971 book Be Here Now and Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying
Furthermore, he is known for his personal and professional associations with Timothy Leary at Harvard University in the early 1960s, for his travels to India and his relationship with the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba, and for founding the charitable organizations Seva Foundation and Hanuman Foundation. He continues to teach via his website.
The question we need to ask ourselves is…
The question we need to ask ourselves is whether there is any place we can stand in ourselves where we can look at all that’s happening around us without freaking out, where we can be quiet enough to hear our predicament, and where we can begin to find ways of acting that are at least not contributing to further destabilization
After Alpert returned to America as Ram Dass, he stayed at the Lama Foundation in Taos, New Mexico, as a guest. Ram Dass had helped Steve Durkee and Barbara Durkee co-found the countercultural spiritual community in 1967, and it had an ashram dedicated to Ram Dass’s guru.
During Ram Dass’s visit, he presented a manuscript he had written and entitled from Bindu to Ojas. The community’s residents edited, illustrated, and laid out the text, which ultimately became a best-selling book when published under the name Be Here Now in 1971.
Also, the 416-page manual for Conscious Being was published by the Lama Foundation, as Ram Dass’ benefit for the community. Be Here Now contained Ram Dass’ account of his spiritual journey, as well as recommended spiritual techniques and quotes.
“I would say that the thrust of my life has been initially about getting free, and then realizing that my freedom is not independent of everybody else. Then I am arriving at that circle where one works on oneself as a gift to other people so that one doesn’t create more suffering. I help people as a work on myself and I work on myself to help people.”
The proceeds from the book helped sustain the Lama Foundation for several years, after which they donated the book’s copyright and half its proceeds to the Hanuman Foundation in Taos.
Books by Ram Dass
- Identification and Child Rearing (with R. Sears and L. Rau) (1962) Stanford University Press
- The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (with Timothy Leary and Ralph Metzner ) (1964) ISBN 0-8065-1652-6
- LSD (with Sidney Cohen) (1966) ISBN 0-453-00120-3
- Be Here Now or Remember, Be Here Now (1971) ISBN 0-517-54305-2
- Doing Your Own Being (1973)
- The Only Dance There Is (1974) ISBN 0-385-08413-7
- Grist for the Mill (with Stephen Levine) (1977) ISBN 0-89087-499-9
- Journey of Awakening: A Meditator’s Guidebook (1978) ISBN 0-553-28572-6
- Miracle of Love: Stories about Neem Karoli Baba (1978) ISBN 0-525-47611-3
- How Can I Help? Stories and Reflections on Service (with Paul Gorman) (1985) ISBN 0-394-72947-1
- Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service (with Mirabai Bush) (1991) ISBN 0-517-57635-X
- Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying (2000) ISBN 1-57322-871-0
- Paths to God: Living The Bhagavad Gita (2004) ISBN 1-4000-5403-6
- Be Love Now (with Rameshwar Das) (2010) ISBN 1-84604-291-7
- Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart (with Rameshwar Das) (2013) ISBN 1-60407-967-3
- Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying (with Mirabai Bush) (2018) ISBN 1-68364-200-7