Ram Dass is one of my original teachers. Years ago I’d had a particularly difficult emotional and mental few years where I felt stuck. A friend gifted me a brown paper wrapped copy of Be Here Now. I read it voraciously knowing there was some truth to what he communicated. I didn’t understand it all, not sure I ever will but what caught me was the heart of his message.
Throughout the book there was a sense of his being a brother, of sharing what he’d learned and what helped him without any dogma. He didn’t force me to a position, he just presented what he’d been through and encouraged you to explore for yourself. His writing read like poetry, the feeling of the book is what caught me, I sensed he was onto something.
I particularly related to the portions of the book that reinterpreted the way I saw the figure of Jesus. Christ became another teacher, someone to look up and aspire to but one of many. None of the dogmatic fire and brimstone was found within Ram Dass’ text. Jesus compassion to those around him while he was on the cross was an amazing shift, a different perspective on a story I’d read many times.
Ram Dass‘ humanity is what stuck with me. I’ve never forgotten how he’d opened a door and helped me see beyond my day to day suffering to a larger picture. I’d been stuck, unable to see out of the little cell I’d been caught in to see the larger picture. In much the same way that your vantage point in a city changes when you go into an airplane, Ram Dass’ book gave me the courage to begin exploring flight.
Not physical flight but the flight of the spirit. Ram Dass made me consider that I may not be as physical as I’d at first thought. Maybe, just maybe I was Self. Somewhere underneath all of my stuff was a more permanent I. For someone who’d suffered chronic pain that was a positive shift in perspective.