Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) was born in 1931. His father, George, a lawyer, helped to found Brandeis University and was President of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. Ram Dass studied psychology, specializing in human motivation and personality development. He received an M.A. from Wesleyan and a Ph.D. from Stanford. He then served on the psychology faculties at Stanford and the University of California, and from 1958 to 1963 taught and researched in the Department of Social Relations and the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. During this period he co-authored (with Sears and Rau) the book Identification and Child Rearing, published by Stanford University Press.
In 1961, while at Harvard, Ram Dass' explorations of human consciousness led him, in collaboration with Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, and others, to pursue intensive research with psilocybin, LSD-25, and other psychedelic chemicals. Out of this research came two books:The Psychedelic Experience (co-authored by Leary and Metzner, and based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead, published by University Books); and LSD (with Sidney Cohen and Lawrence Schiller, published by New American Library). Because of the controversial nature of this research, Ram Dass was dismissed from Harvard in 1963.
Ram Dass continued his research under the auspices of a private foundation until 1967. In that year he traveled to India, where he met his Guru (spiritual teacher), Neem Karoli Baba. Ram Dass studied yoga and meditation, and received the name Ram Dass, which means "servant of God." Since 1968, he has pursued a variety of spiritual practices, including guru kripa; devotional yoga focused on the Hindu spiritual figure Hanuman; meditation in the Theravadin, Mahayana Tibetan, and Zen Buddhist schools; karma yoga; and Sufi and Jewish studies.
For more information on Ram Dass visit www.ramdasstapes.org
Ram Dass: In His Own Words
Ram Dass Quotation Collection
Being conscious is
cutting through your own melodrama
and being right here.
Exist in no mind, be empty, here now,
and trust that as a situation arises,
out of you will come what is necessary
to deal with that situation
including the use of your intellect
Your intellect need not be
constantly held on to
to keep reassuring you
that you know where you’re at,
out of fear of loss of control.
Ultimately, when you stop identifying
with your physical body
and with your psychological entity,
that anxiety starts to disintegrate.
And your start to define yourself
as in flow with the universe
and whatever comes along ~
death, life joy, sadness ~
is grist for the mill of awakening,
Not this versus that
Our minds are often permeated
by memories of the past
or worries about the future.
What gets missed is the present ~
and right there in the moment
is the doorway into timelessness.
we are all affecting the world every moment,
whether we mean to or not.
Our actions and states of mind matter,
because we're so deeply interconnected with one another.
Working on our own consciousness
is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment,
and being love is the supreme creative act.
As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be
you can't see how it is.
[We need to] stop being limited by who we think we are.
Be open to all teachers
And all teachings,
And listen with your heart.
The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal.
It can’t be organized or regulated.
It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path.
Listen to your own truth.
It is important to expect nothing,
To take every experience,
Including the negative ones,
As merely steps on the path,
And to proceed.
At first you think that your sadhana
Is a limited part of your life.
In time you realize that
Everything you do is part of your sadhana.
The game is not about becoming somebody,
it's really about becoming nobody.
[It’s amazing] to see how you get stuck in roles
and how the life process, the spiritual contact,
turns off the minute you think you're somebody doing something.
My consciousness, my concepts of the universe
have turned me off because I know
that the higher consciousness state is a state of unity.
You must come to see every human being
including yourself, as an incarnation
in a body or personality, going through a certain
life experience which is functional.
What one person has to offer to another
is their own being,
nothing more, nothing less.
The quieter you become the more you can hear.
If you think you're free,
there's no escape possible.
[When you awaken]
You are no longer a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Christian or a Jew or a
You are love, you are truth.
And love and truth have no form.
They flow into forms.
But the word is never the same as that which the word connotes.
The word "God" is not God,
the word "Mother" is not Mother,
the word "Self" is not Self,
the word "moment" is not the moment.
All of these words are empty.
We're playing at the level of intellect,
feeding that thing in us that keeps wanting to understand.
And here we are, all the words we've said are gone.
Where did they go?
Do you remember them all?
If you heard them, you are at this moment empty.
You're ready for the next word.
And the word will go through you.
You don't have to know anything: that's what's so funny about it.
You get so simple.
You know nothing.
You simply are wisdom —
not becoming anything,
just being everything.
When meditation works as it should,
it will be a natural part of your being.
There will no longer be anything apart from you to have faith in . . .
Only in this silence — the silence that lies behind thought —
can one hear the symphony of the universe,
can one hear the whisper of the Word,
can one approach the inner temple wherein dwells the soul.
You see ultimately that
you just have to die into truth,
you have to die into God,
you have to die into love.
The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root
One works on oneself, always.
That's the greatest gift you can give to community
because the more you extricate your mind from
that which defines separateness, that defines community.
The first thing is to become community.
There’s a very fine line between inner and outer work.
We would like, I’m sure, to have all of our actions
come out of enlightenment,
come out of calmness and quietness
and spaciousness and appreciation of what is,
but we’ve taken form.
We are in bodies and by that very nature,
we are lost, involved in action.
We can’t not act, so what we do is act
as consciously as we can, as compassionately
as we can from moment to moment.
The art of using the experiences of life
as a vehicle to awaken is to use them to bring you close
to that calm center and that quietness.
That includes the work you would do to alleviate
the suffering that is inherent in the use of nuclear weapons.
You don’t complete your inner work before you do your outer work.
Nor do you say, "Well, the hell with the inner work:
I’ll go do the outer work because it’s so important and pressing."
That’s not conscious either.
The conscious thing is the simultaneous doing of both.
In India when we meet and part we often say,
"Namastè," which means…
I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides,
I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace.
I honor the place within you where if you are in that place in you
and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.
Be Here Now...
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