I keep running across Ram Dass in my readings. And I still have not read him and his name still rings slightly dissonant in my heart. But I recognize that this dissonance speaks volumes about me and my conservatism in the 1970’s (when he first surfaced on the cultural scene) and nothing about him. Though I have not read any of his books, I have discovered numerous quotes all of which speak to his insight and courage. For example:
In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.
Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.
Religion is the product of the conceptual mind attempting to describe the mystery.
Ego is an exquisite instrument. Enjoy it, use it–just don’t get lost in it.
I recognize why I was so averse to him in my youth and why conservative spirituality still is averse to him and all Eastern religions—he recognized a spiritual reality that is not reduced to the conceptual and which, consequently, cannot be owned and controlled. That posed a threat for me as it brought into question everything I assumed about spirituality…and I have discoursed here several times re the “tyranny of assumptions.”
One task I have before me is to start reading Ram Dass, probably starting with his book, Be Here Now