Not gone, just elsewhere.
Like many of you, of us, Ram Dass’ words and videos have been a source of comfort, a guiding light, and a way to laugh at this human experience we’re all having.
Here are two of my favorite quotes followed by many more that have been scribbled on scraps of paper and used as bookmarks for years.
“Years ago I went to a silent meditation course, and I had a roommate. It was a 10 day course and we couldn’t speak to each other. We shared a room, and I was a little sloppy and his corners were all neat on his bed and his clothes were all lined up, and that’s not my particular preoccupation.
So I started to feel that he was thinking I was a real slob and he really didn’t like me, and I was probably snoring and disturbing him, and I got to feel he really hated me. Within the silence, you can play with such wonderful paranoia, you know, and I just decided—I mean, by the end of it, I hated him for hating me, you know.
We came out of the retreat, and the first thing he said to me—the first thing was, ‘I can’t tell you what an honor it’s been sharing this room with Ram Dass,’ and I just thought, ‘Oh. Shit.’ I wasted those ten days, hours just being absolutely convinced he hated me, filling my consciousness with it when I could have been getting enlightened you know?”
“When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
More love and light:
“If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family.”
“I’m not interested in being a ‘lover.’ I’m interested in only being love.”
“We’re fascinated by the words, but where we meet is in the silence behind them.”
“You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success—none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.”
“I remember my first visit with my guru. He had shown that he read my mind. So I looked at the grass and I thought, ‘My god, he’s going to know all the things I don’t want people to know.’ I was really embarrassed. Then I looked up and he was looking directly at me with unconditional love.”
“If I go into the place in myself that is love, and you go into the place in yourself that is love, we are together in love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That’s the entrance to Oneness. That’s the space I entered when I met my guru.”
“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.”
“Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness.”
“Before the stroke, I was on a very spiritual plane. I ignored my body, took it for granted. When I look at my life, I see that I wanted to be free of the physical plane, the psychological plane, and when I got free of those, I didn’t want to go anywhere near them. But the stroke reminded me that I had a body and a brain, that I had to honor them.”
“Our plans never turn out as tasty as reality.”
“We come into relationships often very much identified with our needs. I need this, I need security, I need refuge, I need friendship. And all of relationships are symbiotic in that sense. We come together because we fulfill each others’ needs at some level or other.”
“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”
“In our Western culture, although death has come out of the closet, it is still not openly experienced or discussed. Allowing dying to be so intensely present enriches both the preciousness of each moment and our detachment from it.”
“We’re all just walking each other home.”
“Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.”
“The thinking mind is what is busy. You have to stay in your heart. You have to be in your heart. Be in your heart. The rest is up here in your head where you are doing, doing, doing.”
“What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.”
“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is.”
“It’s all real and it’s all illusory: that’s Awareness!”
“Every religion is the product of the conceptual mind attempting to describe the mystery.”
“Be here, now!”
“Be patient. You’ll know when it’s time for you to wake up and move ahead.”
“I am not this body. I am in this body, and this is part of my incarnation and I honor it but that isn’t who I am.”
From his Instagram today:
Dear Ram Dass,
In these days of strife and anger, your warm peaceful heart will be missed.
In honor of Ram Dass, conversation with Elephant from a few years back. “I got to talk, and listen, and laugh with him a few years back.”