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From his birth in 1931 to his luminous later years, Ram Dass saw his life as just one incarnation of many. This memoir puts us in the passenger seat with the one time Harvard psychologist and lifelong risk-taker Richard Alpert, who loved to take friends on wild rides on his Harley and test nearly every boundary—inner or outer—that came his way.
Here, Ram Dass shares his life's odyssey in intimate detail: how he struggled with issues of self-identity and sexuality in his youth, pioneered psychedelic research, and opened the doorways to Eastern spiritual practices. In 1967 he trekked to India and met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. He returned as a yogi and psychologist whose perspective changed millions.
Populated by a cast of luminaries ranging from Timothy Leary to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Allen Ginsberg to Sharon Salzberg, Aldous Huxley to Alan Watts—this intimate memoir chronicles Ram Dass's experience of the cultural and spiritual transformations that resonate with us to this day, a journey from the mind to the heart, from the ego to the soul.
Before, after, and along these waypoints, readers will encounter many other adventures and revelations—each ringing with the potential to awaken the universal, loving divine that links this beloved teacher to all of us.
From Ram Dass, one of America’s most beloved spiritual figures and bestselling author of Be Here Now and Be Love Now, comes this timeless classic about the experience of being and the risks and rewards of our spiritual path. Originally published in 1976, Grist for the Mill offers a deep spiritual journey of self-discovery, and a universal understanding of what it means to "be" and to grow as human beings. The book is fully revised with a new introduction.
As Ram Dass puts it, "When the faith is strong enough it is sufficient just to be. It’s a journey towards simplicity, towards quietness, towards a kind of joy that is not in time. It’s a journey that has taken us from primary identification with our body and our psyche, on to an identification with God, and ultimately beyond identification."
We all sit on the edge of a mystery. We have only known this life, so dying scares us—and we are all dying. But what if dying were perfectly safe? What would it look like if you could approach dying with curiosity and love, in service of other beings? What if dying were the ultimate spiritual practice?
Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush began their friendship more than four decades ago at the foot of their guru, Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Maharaj-ji. He transmitted to them a simple philosophy: love everyone, tell the truth, and give up attachment to material things. After impacting millions of people through the years with these teachings, they have reunited once more with Walking Each Other Home to enlighten and engage readers on the spiritual opportunities within the dying process. They generously share intimate personal experiences and timeless practices, told with courage, humor, and heart, gently exploring every aspect of this journey. And, at 86 years old, Ram Dass reminds us, “This time we have a real deadline.”
In Walking Each Other Home, readers will learn about: guidelines for being a “loving rock” for the dying, how to grieve fully and authentically, how to transform a fear of death, leaving a spiritual legacy, creating a sacred space for dying, and much more.
“Everybody you have ever loved is a part of the fabric of your being now,” says Ram Dass. The body may die, but the soul remains. Death is an invitation to a new kind of relationship, in the place where we are all One. Join these two lifelong friends and spiritual luminaries as they explore what it means to live and die consciously, remember who we really are, and illuminate the path we walk together.
Sometimes illumination occurs spontaneously or, as Ram Dass experienced, in a heart-wrenching moment of opening. More commonly, it happens when we polish the mirror of the heart with daily practice—and see beyond the illusion of our transient thoughts and emotions to the vast and luminous landscape of our true nature.
For five decades, Ram Dass has explored the depths of consciousness and love and brought them to life as service to others. With Polishing the Mirror, he gathers together his essential teachings for living in the eternal present, here and now.
Readers will find within these pages a rich combination of perennial wisdom, humor, teaching stories, and detailed guidance on Ram Dass' own spiritual practices, including:
- Bhakti Yoga—opening our hearts to unconditional love
- Practices for living, aging, dying, and embracing the natural flow of life
- Karma Yoga—how selfless service can profoundly transform us
- Working with fear and suffering as a path to grace and freedom
- Step-by-step guidance in devotional chant, meditation and mantra practice, and much more
For those new to Ram Dass' teachings, and for those to whom they are old friends, here is this vanguard spiritual explorer's complete guide to discovering who we are and why we are here, and how to become beacons of unconditional love.
"There can be no biography of him. Facts are few, stories many. He seems to have been known by different names in many parts of India, appearing and disappearing through the years. His western devotees of recent years knew him as 'Neem Karoli Baba,' but mostly as 'Maharajii'--a nickname so commonplace in India that one can often hear a tea vendor addressed thus. Just as he said, he was 'Nobody.' He gave no discourses; the briefest, simplest stories were his teachings. Usually he sat or lay on a wooden bench wrapped in a plaid blanket while a few devotees sat around him. Visitors came and went; they were given food, a few words, a nod, a slap on the head or back, and they were sent away. There was gossip and laughter for he loved to joke. Orders for running the ashram were given, usually in a piercing yell across the compound. Sometimes he sat in silence, absorbed in another world to which we could not follow, but bliss and peace poured down on us. Who he was was no more than the experience of him, the nectar of his presence, the totality of his absence--enveloping us now like his plaid blanket." -- Anjani
In Paths to God, Ram Dass brings the heart of that system to light for a Western audience and translates the Gita’s principles into the manual for living the yoga of contemporary life.
While being a guide to the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, Paths to God is also a template for expanding our definition of ourselves and allowing us to appreciate a new level of meaning in our lives.
Ram Dass’s long-awaited Be Love Now is the transformational teaching of a forty year journey to the heart. The author of the two-million-copy classic Remember, Be Here Now and its influential sequel Still Here, Dass is joined once more by Rameshwar Das—a collaborator from the Love Serve Remember audio recordings—to offer this intimate and inspiring exploration of the human soul. Like Deepak Chopra’s Book of Secrets, the Dalai Lama’s Art of Happiness, and Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Coming to Our Senses, Ram Dass’s Be Love Now will serve as a lodestar for anyone seeking to enhance their spiritual awareness and improve their capacity to serve—and love—the world around them.
In this practical helper's companion, the authors explore a path through these confusions, and provide support and inspiration fo us in our efforts as members of the helping professions, as volunteers, as community activists, or simply as friends and family trying to meet each other's needs. Here too are deeply moving personal accounts: A housewife brings zoo animals to lift the spirits of nursing home residents; a nun tends the wounded on the first night of the Nicaraguan revolution; a police officer talks a desperate father out of leaping from a roof with his child; a nurse allows an infant to spend its last moments of life in her arms rather than on a hospital machine. From many such stories and the authors' reflections, we can find strength, clarity, and wisdom for those times when we are called on to care for one another. How Can I Help? reminds us just how much we have to give and how doing so can lead to some of the most joyous moments of our lives.
The result of this unique exchange is a useful guide for understanding the nature of consciousness--useful both to other spiritual seekers and to formally trained psychologists. It is also a celebration of the Dance of Life--which, in the words of Ram Dass, is the "only dance there is."
“This book is a kind of spiritual brandy, a distillation of the lectures I’ve given over the course of the past decade or so. These quotes are the little “aha!” moments, the cameos that have been served up out of our collective consciousness from time to time that seem to summarize something about our human journey. I think of this book as something you might have next to the coffeepot to pick up in the morning, or as something you might tuck into your backpack to pull out during your bus ride to work, in order to reframe the way you look at your day.” —Ram Dass