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Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying Hardcover – May 22, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

After being introduced for a lecture, Ram Dass eschewed the stairs and, from his front row seat, leapt up on to the stage--or tried to, anyway, but age and gravity brought him crashing back to earth. Like other baby boomers, Ram Dass has learned the hard way that aging is unkind to the body. But he has also learned that it can be an opportunity for growth. While others begin to devalue you, you can reconnect with the spiritual, grow into wisdom, and create value for yourself. In Still Here, Ram Dass offers a philosophy for aging that teaches us how to diminish our suffering despite the aches, pains, and limitations of age. This becomes possible when we step away from the ego-self and into the soul-self, where we can witness our thoughts and emotions and evaluate their effects on us. If aging has brought challenges to Ram Dass, it has also brought him wisdom, which, through his personal anecdotes and stories of others in the struggle against aging, he shares with great generosity. --Brian Bruya

From Publishers Weekly

In 1971, Ram Dass became an icon for a generation of spiritual seekers with the publication of Be here Now, a hip, heartfelt chronicle of a search for truth that began when he got kicked out of Harvard along with Timothy Leary for tripping on psilocybin mushrooms and launching a psychedelic movement. The author, who was born Richard Alpert, discovered the magic of reality itself in India, when he met his guru, Maharaji, who gave him a name that means "Servant of God." In the decades since, Ram Dass has produced a stream of books about how heart-and mind-expanding service can be. His writing (and his globe-trotting lectures) were suffused with the ebullient humor and insight of a born storyteller. Then, one evening in 1997, as he lay in bed wondering how to finish this work on the wisdom potential of aging, Ram Dass was hit with a massive stroke that left him wheelchair-bound, partially paralyzed, requiring round-the-clock care. This book was revised and edited by Ram Dass as he struggled to say what he wanted to say without the words that had poured out of him before. What has emerged from the suffering is a humble masterpiece of being. "The stroke has given me a new perspective to share about aging, a perspective that says, 'Don't be a wise elder, be an incarnation of wisdom,'" writes Ram Dass in the introduction. The energy of this new state of awareness resonates under the words of this work. Ram Dass delves in to the aspects of aging that terrify most of us-loss of roll and independence, the threat of senility-and affirms there is an awareness in each of us that transcends all the attributes that necessarily diminish with age. Ram Dass shows readers of all ages that it is possible to stay present in the midst of suffering, to be still and know that God is here now. (June).
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; 1st edition (May 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573220493
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573220491
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ram Dass, one of America's most beloved spiritual figures, has made his mark on the world giving teachings and promoting loving service, harmonious business practices, and conscious care for the dying. His spirit has been a guiding light for four generations, carrying millions along on the journey, helping free them from their bonds as he has worked his way through his own. He makes his home in Maui.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Indeed Ram Dass is still here in this moment after a crippling stroke to guide us toward an understanding of our place among our fellows in the world as we grow old. Once he was Richard Alpert, Harvard professor, and then, after turning on and dropping out in the sixties, became Ram Dass, author of the best-selling Be Here Now (1971), the axiom of the title from the ancients of the East thereby becoming a mantra for a generation of flower children.

In this inspiring and eminently readable book, Ram Dass celebrates aging as a time of self-discovery and of selfless service to others. What could be more appropriate for a man who has lived so passionately, who has traveled so widely and learned so much than to share his experience and wisdom with others? And Ram Dass does it well, without sanctimonious posturing or self-serving claptrap, in a prose style that is familiar, warm and sharing, and at times brilliant. Especially beautiful are the passages on pages 141-144 in which he recalls his Jewish home and then a visit to India in 1970. Of course he does remind us of the many friends and note worthies he has met along the way; and, true, he is not adverse to indulging himself a little with reflections about how HE has been of service to the aged, the infirm, and the dying. But this is only right. There is, as we are freed from many of the constraints of society and its shallow proprieties, no place for a false modesty, and if one has done well, one should be pleased with oneself, and like Walt Whitman, celebrate oneself. As a young man, Ram Dass went against the shared "wisdom" of the society that had so well nurtured him and sought his own way, and he found it. He is to be admired and listened to.
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Format: Hardcover
I first met Ram Dass when he spoke at Drake University in Des Moines many years ago. Such wit, charm, humor-and light! Since then I have read most of his books and have several of his audiotapes in my car, too. He never fails to make me laugh at my own failings-and keep going in spite of them. He also has helped me achieve a greater understanding about other people's failings, too-and what I can learn from them. His basic spiritual philosophy does not change, of course; after all, it is centuries old. But in his various books, he applies that philosophy to different situations, thus deepening and enriching my understanding of it. Now he applies his practiced spirituality to aging and dying, putting a whole new spin on the basic premise of learning to let go. This is a winner. All of his books are. I don't know if I will be able to laugh at my own death, but Ram Dass-with his humor, humanity, and wisdom-is helping me step back and consider my life and eventual passing in a more peaceful light. Light being the operative word, of course.
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Format: Hardcover
I purchased "Still Here" at the Pittsburg airport enroute to my brother's funeral. Throughout the weekend as I prepared to lay my brother to rest, Ram Dass' exploration of aging, change and death was with me every step of the way. It is about letting go, accepting, meditating and dispelling fear of aging, change and death. I found it a wonderfully life-affirming book and very informative. It was like having Ram Dass beside me, in his wheelchair, saying every once in a while throug the silence of my mourning, "Ah, and now this..." Thank you Ram Dass. This book is highly recommended, but please materialists and realists may need to find succour elsewhere.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ram Dass, a long time spiritual teacher of myself has written an extraordinary account of his learnings about aging. His work, influenced by Buddhist and Eastern teachings remind us all of the multiple planes of reality we exist upon, simultaneously. Easilly read, and written with authenticity and exceptional clarity, this work is destined to become a classic in a time when our Western world is so ready to dismiss our aging population. This book acknowledges the losses, pains, and out attachments to holding onto what was. It reminds us that our age is a concept we hold onto to identify ourselves on an earthly level, but on a spiritual level, we always are, have been, and will continue to be the same self that we always have been--that being the loving essence of our soulful self. Forget self pity. This book, while normalizing the experience and difficulties on a physical level, will remind you who you truly are. Highly recommended without reservation.
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Format: Hardcover
When I was embarking on middle age, Ram Dass' Be Here Now, helped make it an easier transiton.
Now, that I've become a "geezer", again it's Ram Dass to the rescue.
In my late 60's, it was getting so confusing - that I finally took some courses in Gerontology at nearby American River College.
Ultimately, I became a gerontologist; I was a perfect student - my interest was keen...and personal.
Then, Ram Dass wrote Still Here - it is, I think, the definitive text-book on what it's like to be a wonderfully wise and validated Elder.
If you could only read one book on the subject of aging - this is it !
God bless you Richard...
And, me too...
Dave Robinson daveyrob@juno.com
...Make the price right and I'll order ten.
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