Ram Dass’s Insights on Love & Truth
We are deeply grateful to the late spiritual teacher Ram Dass, who generously took his time to answer the following questions for our community back in 2014. Ram Dass’s insights and life lessons have been a guide to us at Women For One for years, and it was an honor to receive his teachings for our community. As we stand on the precipice of great change, and as we emerge from the chaos and upheaval of the past year, his words continue to be a beacon of light for all of us…and to remind us of the deeper truth of interconnectedness and love that lives underneath the surface of our lives.
***Ram Dass, one of America’s most beloved spiritual figures, has made his mark on the world by teaching the path of the heart and promoting service in the areas of social consciousness and care for the dying. Ram Dass first went to India in 1967. At that time, he was still Dr. Richard Alpert, an eminent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer alongside Dr. Timothy Leary. In India, he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, affectionately known as Maharajji, who gave Ram Dass his name, which means “servant of God.”
On his return from India, Ram Dass became a pivotal influence in our culture with the publication of his counterculture-era spiritual treatise, Be Here Now. In fact, those words have become a catchphrase in people’s lives for the last 40 years. With the publication in 2011 of Be Love Now, Ram Dass completes his trilogy that began with Be Here Now in 1970 and continued with Still Here in 2004. He recently released a new book with co-author Rameshwar Das, Polishing the Mirror: How to Live From Your Spiritual Heart in Spring 2013.
Ram Dass’s spirit has been a guiding light for four generations. He has carried millions along for the journey, helping to free them from their bonds as he has worked his way through his own. He now makes his home in Maui and teaches worldwide through his website at RamDass.org, and continues the work of Neem Karoli Baba through his Love Serve Remember Foundation
Wf1: How do you define the word Truth?
Ram Dass: Truth is the basic fabric of the universe. It is the One. It is Love.
Wf1: What methods do you use to nurture your soul and body?
Ram Dass: I see everything through the lens of love: I love and love and love.
Wf1: In your new book, Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart, you write about how to work with fear and suffering as a path to grace and freedom. Can you share an excerpt about that from your book?
Ram Dass: Here is an excerpt from Chapter 6: From Suffering to Grace (page 98):
“Why is there suffering? After the Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, he expounded to his new disciples what came to be known as the Four Noble Truths. The first Noble Truth says that all existence is characterized by suffering. Birth has in it suffering, death has in it suffering, old age has in it suffering, and sickness has in it suffering. Not getting what you want has in it suffering; getting what you don’t want has in it suffering. Even getting what you do want or not getting what you don’t want involves suffering, because both are in time. Anything in time is impermanent. Jesus said “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt.” As long as you are caught up in time, there is suffering. The second and third Noble Truths deal with causes of suffering, which are the clinging of mind – to attractions and aversions – and to a false sense of self. The fourth Noble Truth lays out the Eightfold Path to get free of suffering.”
Wf1: Wf1 has a large global community, and many of the women in our tribe come from varied social and political conditions. Can you give our community insight as to how we can pursue personal and authentic power in the midst of political repression?
Ram Dass: Go inside to your spiritual heart—to your God within. There, you will find loving awareness and your inner strength. Don’t buy into other people’s karma.
Wf1: Your life has been full of rich experiences, and you have written beautiful teachings for many to gain wisdom from. What is the one thing you are sure of for you and the world, and why?
Ram Dass: I am sure about my Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, who represents Love, Truthm and Consciousness. And as another great saint, Ramana Maharshi, has said, “God, Guru, and Self are One.”
Wf1: What is one piece of wisdom you would most like to share with our community?
Ram Dass: Souls have no gender. They do not bow to time and space. They are infinite.
Wf1: Thank you, dear Ram Dass. We are humbled and honored to have your responses to our community’s questions, and we wish you love and peace.