Ram Dass talks about the somebody training we all go through in life, and how he turned his big, frightening neuroses into friendly, little Shmoos.
The Burning Ghats
Raghu Markus introduces the talk from Ram Dass. He tells the story of how his father went to India to meet his guru, Maharajji, and was promptly sent to the burning ghats of Benares for an acid trip. Raghu talks a bit about his own little Shmoos.
“We were on a houseboat, rats all over, brushing your teeth in water with poop coming by, and dead bodies that weren’t completely burnt. I mean, it was a trip. Benares is a trip.” – Raghu Markus
Somebody Training (12:18)
We all think we’re somebody, but the trick is becoming nobody. Ram Dass guides us through the process of somebody training we all go through in life that leads to feeling alienated and separate. He talks about how truly unhappy he was, even though most people thought he was leading a happy life.
“Now I, like most of you, when I was born, went into what could be called ‘Somebody Training.’ That is, my parents were somebody, and they set out to make me somebody as well. It’s called the development of ego structure.” – Ram Dass
Little Shmoos (20:12)
Ram Dass talks about the moment he was able to take off his ‘somebody suit’ for the first time, and the series of awakenings that followed. He explores how his spiritual work helped him come to terms with the process of aging, and how it turned his big, frightening neuroses into friendly, little Shmoos that he could work with.
“What has changed is that before, [my neuroses] were these huge, big things that were very frightening, and they took me over… And now they’re sort of like little Shmoos. They’re little, friendly beings, and I invite them in for tea.” – Ram Dass
Robert Thurman, Duncan Trussell, and Krishna Das discuss curbing our neuroses in Mindrolling Ep. 260