Had a good dream last night that ended with a pretty young woman with lots of freckles saying something like this: “Ram Dass, he is the wisest of the wise.”
So all day I kept reminding myself to go to Amazon and look up one of his books. I finally did it and bought, appropriately enough, his 2000 tome “Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying,” Appropriate because I’m 73 and not getting any younger.
Ram Dass (birth name Richard Alpert who, along with Timothy Leary, pioneered the use of LSD for spiritual enlightenment) is now 87 years old, which makes me a baby to him, more or less. Fifteen years younger.
Yet, although I have never read his seminal book “Be Here Now,” we share a common philosophy: That we are all spiritual beings, eternal souls, living a physical existence until our physical bodies die. At which point our souls will return home. Until, perhaps, we take on another go round with the physical.
Death, in other words, is a door, not a wall. But what to do in the meantime? That’s the point of Ram Dass’s teachings in his many books. “Many of us spend our lives worrying,” he writes in Still Here, “about losing what we have. Old age offers the opportunity to shift our cares away from the physical [what he calls the “storm of youth”] toward what cannot be taken away: Our wisdom and the love we offer to those around us.”