Great Spirits: Ram Dass
This week, our inspiration comes from the life of Ram Dass. Ram Dass was a true pioneer of the heart and mind. As a scientist and as a yogi, he dedicated his life to unwinding difficult karma and to uncovering spiritual peace. Ram Dass has been a teacher and inspiration for all who seek to better orient their lives around compassion, healing, and wisdom.
Before Ram Dass became Ram Dass, his name was Dr. Richard Alpert. In this version of himself, Dass was a psychologist who worked with Timothy Leary testing psilocybin. He and Leary developed an experiment to test how psychedelics relate to mystical experience. A famous religious scholar named Huston Smith took part in their experiment and said it was “the most powerful cosmic homecoming I have ever experienced.” Dass himself said that he did not believe in any kind of god until he tried psychedelics. The research Ram Dass did has influenced scientists, healers, and seekers today who keep discovering how plant medicine can allow human life to blossom.
Ram Dass became Ram Dass studying Hinduism. His Indian guru bestowed this name upon him--meaning follower of the god Ram. Dass traveled to India to seek wisdom on how to reconcile his own complex Western karma with his desire for peace. Part of his journey was to write the book Be Here Now. Since it was written, Be Here Now has been hugely influential. The book reveals Dass’s own quest and is a guide for all seeking yogic wisdom. Ram Dass’s writing and life shows how an organic spiritual development is attainable for all of us people seeking something more.