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Ram Dass 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. When Ram Dass first went to India in 1967, he was still Dr. Richard Alpert, an eminent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer with Dr.Timothy Leary. In India, he met his guru, Neem...

Ram Dass 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. When Ram Dass first went to India in 1967, he was still Dr. Richard Alpert, an eminent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer with 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 “Be Here Now”. In fact those words have become a catch phrase in people’s lives for the last 40 years. With the publication in 2011 of “Be Love Now” Ram Dass completed his trilogy that began with “Be Here Now” in 1970 and continued with “Still Here” in 2004. His newest book is “Polishing The Mirror: How to Live From Your Spiritual Heart.”

Ram Dass made his home in Maui and taught world wide through his website RamDass.org until his transition in December, 2019.  His work continues through the Love Serve Remember Foundation.


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Increasing Consciousness Through Action

beautiful-nature-backgroundmacro-shot-of-amazing-spring-flowersart-picture-id1150412944 Increasing Consciousness Through Action

At any moment, you are consciousness involved in a nature package.

The nature package includes your heredity, your environment, all of your personality characteristics, all of the opportunities that exist at this moment, all of your attitudes, all of your predispositions, it’s the whole package. That package is functioning under the laws of karma or the laws of the universe. That package is unfolding; it’s just lawfully working itself out.

As you get more conscious, every act you perform increases the amount of the consciousness in the universe, because the act itself conveys the consciousness.

It’s quite apparent that as you work on yourself, on your consciousness, you continue to do whatever dance you’re doing, the dance evolves. You begin to see how the acts you perform can become more and more optimum to the conditions. For instance, when you’re about to change a law in a country you stand back, and you begin to understand the way the whole system works, and you see what the optimum act you can do is, and you perform it totally, without emotional attachment to that act, and instead an awareness of how that act works in the whole system.

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How can we use our emotions positively on our spiritual path?

funny-eggs-picture-id470751341 How can we use our emotions positively on our spiritual path?

How can we use our emotions positively on our spiritual path?

We can start by looking at the practice of what is called devotional yoga, or Bhakti Yoga, as it’s called in Hinduism. For example, if your relationship is to Christ, you could take a picture of Jesus and then think about all the qualities of his life, of his compassion, of his beauty of being, and the ways that he reminded people about God. You could look at that being and allow your own emotional responses to bubble up.

These emotional responses are relational; they are warm, human responses of love, of caring, of tenderness. Then if you stay with that picture of Jesus and keep being with Jesus, you will go beyond those emotions into a deeper way of being with him – of just being with him in the present sense.

And that presence includes more and more of the essence of love. But you go through that doorway by using your emotional heart as a vehicle to getting into that deeper way of being with God. That’s one way.

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How do We Find Our Spiritual Orientation?

orientingyourself-730x400 How do We Find Our Spiritual Orientation?


Each of us has a dominant theme in this incarnation.

Some of us are primarily head-tripping. Most of us lead with our hearts. We have these incredibly intricate mosaics for describing our individual differences. These differences have an interesting place in the scheme of things; are they real or false?

Part of how we define our inner work is that we learn to listen to all these individual differences. Then we can determine what our particular path is.

For each individual, there is a unique karmic predicament, and for each individual, there is a unique dharmic possibility. It’s called ‘dharma,’ meaning ‘practice’ or ‘path.’ Very rarely, you know it beforehand. Most of the time, you don’t even know of it when you are doing it. It sort of sneaks up on you, because nothing else works. By the time you understand your dharma, you’re practically finished using it, but it’s not terribly important that you know everything about where you’re at.

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How do we optimize our connections to ourselves and to the world?

galaxy How do we optimize our connections to ourselves and to the world?



I’ve been asked many times whether this is the aquarian age and it’s all just beginning, or if this is armageddon and this is the end, and I have to admit I don’t know.

The way I’ve usually copped out in dealing with it is saying, “Whichever way it goes, my work is the same. My work is to quiet my mind and open my heart and relieve suffering wherever I find it.” That seems to be what my life is about, and it doesn’t matter which it is- it’s the beginning of everything or the end of everything – regardless, that’s still what I gotta do.

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We Are Loving Awareness

RamDassNoAttribution01-730x400 We Are Loving Awareness
“Now just imagine that you, as spirit or awareness, have contained yourself in an incarnation, or contained it in a conceptual model of who you are and in a storyline. And then at some point, you dissolve out of that, you break out of that, and there is this incredible release quality.” – Ram Dass 


There is joyousness. Our beloved Baba has left his body, and he is no longer in pain. He has been released from this storyline.  

There is sadness. We no longer get the warm embrace of his loving awareness in the human form. The feeling I got when our eyes locked was that of pure liquid love. It was too much for me most of the time, I almost always wound up looking away before he did. But I will miss it dearly. I will miss him dearly.

When I heard the news last night, I immediately had to sit and meditate. As I settled into my first round of “Ram, Ram, Ram,” I felt tears streaking down my face. A thought popped right up into my head, “Well, I didn’t think I’d be this sad.” I thought I was ready for this; I’m sure many of us thought we were. 

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How can we stay open to both the suffering and the joy of life?

giving-support-picture-id530481299 How can we stay open to both the suffering and the joy of life?

You and I are in training to be free. We’re in training to be so present, so spacious, so embracing, we’re in training to not look away, deny or close our hearts when we can’t bear something. The statement, “I can’t bear it,” is what burns you out in social action. When you’re in the presence of suffering and contracting, it’s the contraction that starves you to death.


When you close your heart down to protect yourself from suffering, you also close yourself off from being fed by that same life situation.


If you can stay open to both the suffering and the joys and the stuff of life, all of it, then it’s like a living spirit. It just connects to your living spirit and there’s a tremendous feeding going on.

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The Paradox of Planning for the Future

futureclock The Paradox of Planning for the Future

When you initially arrive into a new situation, the optimum strategy for dealing with that situation is to quiet down and hear the totality of what’s going on around you. To hear all of the variables and how they are all working together, just in a quiet intuitive way, out of which will come an optimum action. That is, the more fully you are present in that moment of decision making, the more you can expect an optimum response. Optimum in the sense of it being in the deepest harmony on the most planes of reality.


The best practice for being fully present at that moment of choice is to practice being present in this moment.

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Ram Dass – Here and Now – Generosity

generosity Ram Dass – Here and Now – Generosity

Ram Dass sits down for a conversation with Raghu Markus around generosity and sharing the gifts of spiritual life.

Show Notes

What About Generosity? (Opening) – Ram Dass and Raghu look at the delightful consequences of generosity. They talk about the methods and modalities that allow us to cultivate and share our generosity with others.

“Generosity, generous with love; generous with compassion.” – Ram Dass

Our Motivations (11:00) – When Ram Dass returned home from India, his goal was to share as many of the teachings he was exposed to in the East. He and Raghu discuss the motivation behind doing all that work. They look at the motivations of ego and attachment that are behind some of our expressions of generosity.

Maharaj-ji’s Gifts (19:20) – Our hosts reflect on the most important gifts that Maharaj-ji gave to his devotees and have filtered through to the younger generations across the globe.

Living from the Heart (27:20) – Ram Dass talks about the traps of spiritual materialism and ways we can prevent turning the gifts of spiritual practice into more decoration for our ego. We look at the refuge of the loving witness. He and Raghu discuss the shift in perspective about himself and the universe that Ram Dass’s stroke provided.

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Finding Balance Between Mind and Heart on the Path to Liberation

flowerbuddha Finding Balance Between Mind and Heart on the Path to Liberation

There are many tools that all serve the process of awakening or liberation, and when you listen inward you can feel – or situations present themselves to show you that your energies are out of whack, or that your heart is too closed off.

Your mind can be full of high wisdom, but that’s in your head. There are times when I listen to somebody, and I can hear with my body. I hear in a certain way in which I’ll feel pressure in my head, or I’ll feel tightness in my chest.


There are two theories about how you do this: One is that you go for broke with whatever you do. For example, if you focus on quieting the mind, and the mind gets quiet enough, at the latest stages the heart will automatically aline and the energies will aline. The first strategy is to find your method and just keep doing it, and wait for the others to all fall into place behind it. There will be tremendous imbalance until very late in the game. The other is where you keep correcting the inner process along the way. I don’t really know that one is better than the other – you have to intuit which way to go.

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The Still Small Voice Within

prayer-and-celebrations-picture-id179606149 The Still Small Voice Within

In this dharma talk from 1975, Ram Dass speaks of the still small voice within that serves as a constant reminder of our true nature and relationship with God.

Ram Dass reflects on the fire of the Living Spirit that exists inside each of us. A flame that becomes suppressed to just an ember by our time in the world. Ram Dass examines how that ember acts as a still small voice within that reminds us of our true nature and our relationship with God.

“Though we have lived our life totally involved in the world, we know that we are of the spirit. As you go towards God, you learn about yourself. When you return from God, you learn about the world. But when you are in the world you know not of the world. You cannot see the forest for the trees.” – Ram Dass

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How do you find the right spiritual practice?

spiritualpractice How do you find the right spiritual practice?

There’s a matter of timing in Sadhana that’s important to keep in mind. We often choose a Sadhana, a spiritual practice, a little before it’s time, or before it chooses us. Before the marriage works. And we find ourselves in this “ought” and “should” predicament where you start out with great love, and within a little while it’s, “Oh, my god, I’ve got to do my practice.” And it’s just another thing like washing the dishes.

Certainly there is value in doing a practice regularly every day, even when you don’t want to do it.

Especially in meditation practice, because in meditation practice the not wanting to do it is as much grist for the mill of meditation as wanting to do it. It’s all stuff you can work with, with your mind, that’s very beautiful. But the delicate balance that has to go on inside one’s self, recognizing that if you build up too much negative tone to your practice, too much resistance, you’re going to have a reaction to it that’s going to take you away from it for a while, before you can come back later on.

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Navigating the Matrix of the Ego

meditation Navigating the Matrix of the Ego

We need the matrix of thoughts, feelings, and sensations we call the ego for our physical and psychological survival.

The ego tells us what leads to what, what to avoid, how to satisfy our desires, and what to do in each situation. It does this by labeling everything we sense or think. These labels put order in our world and give us a sense of security and well-being. With these labels, we know our world and our place in it.

Our ego renders safe an unruly world. Uncountable sense impressions and thoughts crowd in on us, so that without the ego to filter out irrelevant information, we would be inundated, overwhelmed, and ultimately destroyed by the overload. Or so it seems.

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How can we find balance on the path of love?

couplesunset How can we find balance on the path of love?

This is the path of love. The path of the heart. Like all paths, it is fraught with pitfalls and traps, and most of our emotions are either in the service of our minds or our frightening things that overwhelm us and make us afraid so we protect ourselves from them.

So we come through life a little bit like hungry ghosts. We are beings that have huge needs for love, but seemingly it’s like we have some kind of amoeba that doesn’t allow us to digest our food. So, though we get love, it goes through us and then we need love all over again. This conception is so deep within all of us that we’ve built an entire reality around it, and we think that’s the way it is; that everybody needs love and that if you don’t get it you are deprived, and that the more of it the better, and you need it every day from everything. In that sense it’s like an achievement; you see people that are achievers. The minute they achieve something it becomes irrelevant, and their awareness turns to the next achievement because they are addicted to the practice, not to the goal.

The predicament with loving is the power of the addiction of the practice of loving somebody; of getting so caught in the relationship that you can’t ever arrive at the essence of dwelling in love.

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Ram Dass Partners with Google Empathy Lab

people-watching-comedy-movie-in-theater-picture-id1159203817 Ram Dass Partners with Google Empathy Lab

“Don’t get lost in the details. Let your awareness go free.” – Ram Dass

I was lucky to attend an advanced screening of Becoming Nobody, the new documentary about Ram Dass, presented by Love Serve Remember Foundation and Google Empathy Lab. I’d like to share some quick thoughts on the movie, and also the really exciting partnership between Ram Dass and Google Empathy Lab, with the mission to ensure our most essential human values are designed into the future — shaping technology into an enlivening, soul-nourishing, human-flourishing force for good. 

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Why is karma yoga an important vehicle for conscious awakening?

karmayoga Why is karma yoga an important vehicle for conscious awakening?

In the simplest sense, you could say that Karma Yoga is using your karma as a way of coming into ‘yog’, or union with God, by using the “stuff” of your life. Using it as the way in which you do work in the world, and acknowledging whether or not that work in the world is a vehicle for spiritual awakening.

In books like the Bhagavad Gita, Karma Yoga is specified as Krishna saying to Arjuna, “Do what you do, but offer the fruits of it to me” …. That’s what karma yoga is.

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What is the ultimate act of compassion?

ultimatecompassion What is the ultimate act of compassion?

A conversation on compassion with Ram Dass & Raghu Markus

Raghu Markus: Can you talk about how we go about cultivating compassion so that we start to become more kind to ourselves and to others?

Ram Dass: We’ve lived our lives with negative images of ourselves, from childhood on, and we’ve built upon those images, and built upon them, and they became very heavy weights. These thoughts about us are a part of our ego, and they’re manifested through our roles of child or husband, wife, breadwinner, all of those roles. They’re built upon the thoughts of, “I’m not truthful” or “I’m not likable”, “I’m not good” – all of those negative images. Once you identify with your soul you start to taste the love in your true self, in your spiritual heart and it’s different than all of the loves you’ve ever had. It’s just different; it’s unconditional love.

Now you have the clarity and the vantage point of being able to see your incarnation through the perspective of the soul – it gives you a panoramic view of your incarnation. Only then can you develop compassion, first for yourself and then for others.

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How can your intellect serve or hinder you?

focus How can your intellect serve or hinder you?

It requires inner work for you to cultivate a perspective within yourself that sees your intellect as a servant, not as your identity.

To the extent you are capable of doing that, you can then play the game of academia, do the work that only can be done in that analytic fashion without being trapped in it, and have your interaction with other people through the game.

It’s like Monopoly in which you’re the top hat and I’m the thimble, but behind it you’re here, I’m here, and you’ve gotta be there. The predicament in academia is many people identify with their thoughts so much that they think they are an academic, instead of being a being who’s doing academics.

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How can we begin to wake up in each moment?

wakingup-730x400 How can we begin to wake up in each moment?

A soul takes human birth in order to have a series of experiences through which it will awaken out of its illusion of separateness, in each moment.

The physical experience of being incarnated is the curriculum, and the purpose of the course is to awaken us from the illusion that we are the incarnation. Spiritual practices are tools to help us accomplish these goals.

You start from innocence and you return to innocence. A sage was asked, “How long have we been on this journey?” He replied, “Imagine a mountain three miles wide, three miles high, and three miles long. Once every hundred years, a bird flies over the mountain, holding a silk scarf in its beak, which it brushes across the surface of the mountain. The time it would take for the scarf to wear down the mountain is how long we’ve been doing this.”

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How can we find humor through meditation?

humor How can we find humor through meditation?

“If it were not laughed at, it would not be sufficient to be Tao.” – Lao Tzu on Humor, - Tao Te Ching

Did you ever have a bad day? Everything seems to go wrong and you are completely lost in anger, frustration and self-pity. It gets worse and worse, until the final moment when, say, you have just missed the last bus. There is some critical point where it gets so bad the absurdity of it all overwhelms you and you can do nothing but laugh. At that moment you up-level your predicament, you see the cosmic joke in your own suffering.

Meditation, because of the space it allows around events, gives you the chance to see the humor of your predicament. Awareness of the passing show of one’s own life allows a lightness to enter it where only a moment before there was heaviness.

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A Breath Exercise for Suffering and Joy

woman-in-water-picture-id540717970 A Breath Exercise for Suffering and Joy

In the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna shows Arjuna all the forms of the Universe, turning back into the pure form from which they were manifested.

The forms of the Universe: Breathe them in. Take in the baby’s crying, the sound of traffic, it’s all energy, it’s all shakti in form. As you draw it into your being, let the forms go, let your concepts about it all go, turn it back into pure shakti. Sit straight, draw it all into your chest.

All of your thoughts now, your memories, think of the political world, a breath for that.

See all the candidates, all of the international intrigue, all of the genuine seeking for peace, a breath for that.

See it all; the play, the dance, the forms, the mother, the mother at play, all aspects of the mother. Draw it back into its pure form within you, Mother shakti. Draw it into your heart.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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