We are all walking each other home. — Ram Dass
I awoke to the news this morning that Ram Dass has passed away.
His work came into my life when I was in my late teens, early twenties, when I was in art school. Back then everyone seemed to be traveling to India to hang out in ashrams with gurus, taking LSD or smoking hash. The traveling to India part seemed so foreign and exotic to me at the time, when my awareness of the world was so small, really. I was more of a punk back then – a punk with a big open heart who was knee-jerking my way through young adulthood.
One of my painting teachers turned me on to “Be Here Now”. Now is all there is. And now is all there will ever be.
Ram Dass taught us to be in the moment, to get into the flow, and he dedicated his life to helping others find their paths. Everything he taught was taught with love.
Ram Dass’ books had a sacred place in my first VW. They lived in the glove compartment. In Miracle of Love he tells little stories of his time spent in India, in the ashram with his friends and guru, Neem Karoli Baba. There was much to do about synchronicity and flow in that book and there were stories about how the ashram’s VW Bus would miraculously travel around India when it really shouldn’t have been capable. I swore that keeping that book in the glove compartment of my VW kept my bus moving on days when it really should have just died.
My meeting with Ram Dass in person was only once in this lifetime. I was going to university at Sonoma State and Ram Dass spoke in Santa Rosa on my birthday (or very near my birthday, or maybe it was his birthday, or between our birthdays). I must have been about twenty-five or six … I don’t remember much about what he spoke about now, all these years later. What I do remember is the big birthday cake that was brought out to share with the attendees. I made my way up to the stage to get a piece and before I walked away I offered the cake up to Ram Dass in a toastful way and he took a big bite. I told him it was my birthday too and we both broke out in big laughter – as if our energies merging together was so delightful, we couldn’t help ourselves. It was a long now, a moment of hanging there, in time, laughing. I will always remember it.
Thank you for being, Ram Dass.