Ram Dass is an American spiritual teacher, former academic and clinical psychiatrist, and the author of the book Be Here Now.
Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) 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.
Leary and Ram Dass set up a communal group with former Psilocybin Project members at the estate (commonly known as “Millbrook”), and the IFIF was subsequently disbanded and renamed the Castalia Foundation.
In 1967 Alpert traveled to India where he met and traveled with the American spiritual seeker Kermit Michael Riggs.
He met the man who would become his guru, Neem Karoli Baba at Kainchi ashram, whom Alpert called “Maharaj-ji“.
It was Maharaj-ji who gave Alpert the name “Ram Dass“, which means “servant of God“, referring to the incarnation of God as Ram or Lord Rama.
In the 1990s, Ram Dass discussed his bisexuality while avoiding labels.
He stated, “I’ve started to talk more about being bisexual, being involved with men as well as women,” and added his opinion that being gay “isn’t gay, and it’s not not-gay, and it’s not anything—it’s just awareness.”
Here are my 15 favorite quotes of Ram Dass, along with my interpretation of how it echoes in my own heart and mind.
1. “It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.”
2. “In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”
3. “Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
4. “We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another.”
5. “I’m not interested in being a “lover.” I’m interested in only being love.”
6. “Every religion is the product of the conceptual mind attempting to describe the mystery.”
7. “Healing does not mean going back to the way things were before, but rather allowing what is now to move us closer to God.”
8. “Psychedelics helped me to escape.. albeit momentarily.. from the prison of my mind. It over-rode the habit patterns of thought and I was able to taste innocence again. Looking at sensations freshly without the conceptual overly was very profound.”
9. “Just because you are seeing divine light, experiencing waves of bliss, or conversing with Gods and Goddesses is no reason to not know your zip code.”
10. “You and I are the force for transformation in the world. We are the consciousness that will define the nature of the reality we are moving into.”
11. “Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is a supreme creative act.”
12. “Souls love. That’s what souls do. Egos don’t, but souls do. Become a soul, look around, and you’ll be amazed-all the beings around you are souls. Be one, see one. When many people have this heart connection, then we will know that we are all one, we human beings all over the planet. We will be one. One love. And don’t leave out the animals, and trees, and clouds, and galaxies-it’s all one. It’s one energy.”
13. “Cosmic humor, especially about your own predicament, is an important part of your journey.”
14. “Love is the most transformative medicine For Love slowly transforms you Into what psychedelics only get you to glimpse.”
15. “Now is now. Are you going to be here or not?”