Raghu Markus returns to lead us into the new year with a talk from Ram Dass which reminds us of our interconnectedness and the need to keep our hearts turned toward the spirit of generosity.
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“You and I came out of an undifferentiated identity with all things, then we learned we were separate.
But you have had many experiences in your life, one way or another, where you have felt that kind of connection with all things. Maybe it is lying under the stars. Maybe it occurred in church. Maybe it occurred whenever you transcended your separateness. It could have occurred in a traumatic experience. It could have occurred when you lost someone you loved. It could have occurred chemically. It could have occurred through meditation or a thousand ways it could occur.
You see the predicament is, once you have experienced that connection with all things – and that is part of your humanity too – then you don’t know what to do with that. So you end up denying it to go back into your separateness. You live with this predicament, this tension that is created by the statement, ‘We are all one, but it’s my television set.” – Ram Dass
About Ram Dass:
Ram Dass first went to India in 1967. He was still Dr. Richard Alpert, a prominent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer with Dr. Timothy Leary. He continued his psychedelic research until that fateful Eastern trip in 1967, when he traveled to India.
In India, he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, affectionately known as Maharaj-ji, who gave Ram Dass his name, which means “servant of God.” Everything changed then – his intense dharmic life started, and he became a pivotal influence on a culture that has reverberated with the words “Be Here Now” ever since. Ram Dass’ spirit has been a guiding light for three generations, carrying along millions on the journey. Ram Dass teaches that through the Bhakti practice of unconditional love we can all connect with our true nature. Through these teachings, Ram Dass has shared a little piece of Maharaj-ji with all who have listened to him.
Be Here Now, Ram Dass’ monumentally influential and seminal work, still stands as the highly readable centerpiece of Western articulation of Eastern philosophy, and how to live with joy and love a hundred percent of the time in the present, luminous or mundane. Be Here Now continues to be the instruction manual of choice for generations of spiritual seekers. Forty years later, it’s still part of the timeless present.
Ram Dass passed away at his home on Maui on December 22, 2019. Leading up to his passing, he continued to teach at his semi-annual retreats with other esteemed Bhakti and Buddhist thought leaders.