Devi and I have spent several weeks each year, for the past seven years, on the island of Maui.
We go for:
- Ocean therapy: lots of swimming in the warm waters and hanging out at the beach.
- Island time: no fixed schedule. Following the rhythms of sun, wind, waves.
- Ohana: spending time with our dear friends who live on the island.
In 2010, I landed on the island with a new thought—as we drove away from the airport for our first swim at Baby Beach, I turned to Devi and said, “I want to interview Ram Dass while we’re on the island.”
Ram Dass is one of the trail blazers in the world of contemporary American spirituality. When I was 17 years old, sitting on the couch in the lobby of the Integral Yoga Institute, I read and re-read his (now) classic book, Be Here Now. He was one of the first to bring the practices of yoga, meditation and chanting from India to the West in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
“Interview Ram Das? How are you going to do that?” Devi asked.
“I don’t know,” I said, the only true answer.
That night we attended a marvelous Indian music and dance concert. As we found our seats, Devi turned around and said, “Well, Ram Dass is sitting three rows behind us. Go ask him.”
The last time I’d seen Ram Dass in person was in 1973. He had given a talk at Northwestern University to a gym full of hippies, seekers and students. Krishna Das—then an unknown—provided the music. It had been awhile…
I walked over and said, “Ram Dass, I haven’t seen you in 40 years!”
We both laughed and hugged in a cosmic reunion of souls-upon-the-path.
Then, he leaned back and asked, “What’s your name?”
I told him and explained that I was interested in interviewing him while I was on the island.
He looked at me for several moments in silence, and then said, “Yes.”
A few days later, Devi and I—along with our intrepid young videographer, Dane Reindel—drove out to Ram Dass’ house.
We recorded our conversation and edited it into five parts—here is the first part:
Go deeper into these teachings—here are some reflections to help you deepen your understanding and embodiment of these teachings:
The Guru. The Guru is that awakened state beckons you to awaken. Ram Dass says, “The guru is the goal. Beckoning you—come on, come on.”
What is beckoning you to grow and more fully awaken at this time in your life?
The Journey. The route or path of spiritual development is from “who you think you are” to “who you really are” —which is loving awareness.
What supports you in making this journey from “who I think I am” to the heart of loving awareness?
Loving Awareness. Where in your life are you experiencing struggle? How does your experience shift when you view that situation with loving awareness?
What are you aware of now?
Please share in the comments.
Love & Shanti,
Author: Eric Klein
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina