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Spiritual and Inspiring Quotes by Ram Dass

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Ram Dass. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Ram Dass

Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert; April 6, 1931 – December 22, 2019), also known as Baba Ram Dass, was an American spiritual teacher, psychologist, and author. His widely known book, Be Here Now (1971), has been described as "seminal", and helped popularize Eastern spirituality and yoga with the baby boomer generation in the West. He authored or co-authored twelve more books on spirituality over the next four decades, including Grist for the Mill (1977), How Can I Help? (1985), and Polishing the Mirror (2013).

Dass was personally and professionally associated with Timothy Leary at Harvard University in the early 1960s. Then known as Richard Alpert, he conducted research with Leary on the therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs. In addition, Alpert assisted Harvard Divinity School graduate student Walter Pahnke in his 1962 "Good Friday Experiment" with theology students, the first controlled, double-blind study of drugs and the mystical experience. While not illegal at the time, their research was controversial and led to Leary's and Alpert's dismissal from Harvard in 1963.

In 1967, Alpert traveled to India and became a disciple of Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba who gave him the name Ram Dass, meaning "Servant of Ram". In the coming years, he founded the charitable organizations Seva Foundation and Hanuman Foundation. He traveled extensively giving talks and retreats and holding fundraisers for charitable causes in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. In 1997, he had a stroke which left him with paralysis and expressive aphasia. He eventually grew to interpret this event as an act of grace, learning to speak again and continuing to teach and author books. After becoming seriously ill during a trip to India in 2004, he gave up traveling and moved to Maui, Hawaii, where he hosted annual retreats with other spiritual teachers until his death.

The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.

Witness your thoughts. Your thoughts are attachments.

Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another.

When I look at my life, I see that I wanted to be free of the physical plane, the psychological plane, and when I got free of those I didn't want to go anywhere near them.

I sit with people who are dying. I'm one of those unusual types that enjoys being with someone when they're dying because I know I am going to be in the presence of Truth.

There are no accidents.

Longer Version:

There are no accidents whatsoever in the universe.

When the heart is open, it's easier for the mind to be turned toward God.

To live another's dharma, to try to be a Buddha or to be a Christ because Christ did it, doesn't get us there; it just makes us mimickers.

Wisdom is one of the few things in human life that does not diminish with age.

When you know how to listen everyone is the guru.

Science and religion both teach that we are all interconnected, and thus interdependent. And at the very core, we are all One. But how do we live as if we know this?

My belief is that I wasn't born into Judaism by accident, and so I needed to find ways to honor that.

When you are in the presence of unconditional love, that is the optimum environment for your heart to open, because you feel safe, because you realize nobody wants anything from you. The minute that heart opens, you are once again letting in the flow. And that flow is where you experience God.

I take the assumption that every religion has been rooted in some mystical or transcendent experience. From that assumption, I just look at all the different systems as metaphors or doorways to God.

Across planes of consciousness, we have to live with the paradox that opposite things can be simultaneously true.

We often think that vulnerability is a kind of weakness, but there's a kind of vulnerability that is actually strength and presence.

I have always said that often the religion you were born with becomes more important to you as you see the universality of truth.

The universe is an example of love. Like a tree. Like the ocean. Like my body. Like my wheelchair. I see the love.

I will work on myself, since the work on myself is going to be the highest thing I can do for it all, since I understand that as man up-levels his own consciousness, he sees more creative solutions to the problems that he's confronting.

In mystical traditions, it is one's own readiness that makes experiences exoteric or esoteric. The secret isn't that you're not being told. The secret is that you're not able to hear.

If you keep examining your mind, you'll come to see that thoughts of who you are and how it all is are creating the reality you're experiencing.

I am embarrassed to admit what drew me to psychology. I didn't want to go to medical school. I was getting good grades in psychology and I was charismatic and people in the psychology department liked me. It was as low a level as that.

Every religion is the product of the conceptual mind attempting to describe the mystery.

The minute you don't want power, you'll have more than you ever dreamed possible.

Remember, Be Here Now.

To him who has had the experience no explanation is necessary, to him who has not, none is possible.

It's only when caterpillar-ness is done that one becomes a butterfly. That again is part of this paradox. You cannot rip away caterpillar-ness. The whole trip occurs in an unfolding process of which we have no control.

Don't think about the past. Just be here now.

Longer Version:

Don't think about the past. Just be here now. Don't think about the future. Just be here now.

Meditation means to be constantly extricating yourself from the clinging of mind.
By letting go of even the thought 'I,' and 'me' what is left?
There is nowhere to stand and no one to stand there.
No separation anywhere.
Pure awareness.
Neither this, nor that.
Just clarity and being.

When we see the Beloved in each person, it's like walking through a garden, watching flowers bloom all around us.

When you get old, everything changes -- your body changes, your family changes. You can't do what you've always done, anymore. And, either you can complain about things changing -- or you can be content. Instead of complaining, you can say: Oh, yesss! Look at all this change! You can welcome it.

Consciousness equals energy = love = awareness = light = wisdom = beauty = truth = purity. It's all the same trip.

Our culture's zeal for longevity reveals our incredible collective fear of death.

The giving and receiving is the tricky thing. It's not the gift. It's what the heart says in giving the gift, and from my point of view, one doesn't give or receive -- that's a role we have to play. But the gift -- it's God's gift. I think that it's better to be souls than roles.

I'm a Bhakti, meaning I practice devotional yoga and the heart and love, so I say to people, start with your ego and go down to your heart.

Heaven and Hell are both creations of desire.

As the haves and have-nots split further and further apart, destabilization ultimately leads to revolution, not evolution. If we're playing the evolution vs. revolution game, we are closer to revolution than we are to evolution in my concept.

If we can give up attachment to our roles as helpers, then maybe our clients can give up attachment to their roles as patients.

Longer Version:

If we can give up attachment to our roles as helpers, then maybe our clients can give up attachment to their roles as patients and we can meet as fellow souls on this incredible journey. We can fulfill the duties of our roles without being trapped by over-identification with them.

So many times each day we support each other informally without ever becoming 'helper' or 'helped.' Perhaps we're finding an article of clothing for a partner, cutting bread for one of the children, collecting the mail for the person at the next desk, holding the coat for someone at a restaurant.

The fun is having friends who help each other get free.

Institutions don't change the world in fundamental ways. The way the world changes is heart to heart to heart by individuals, not by institutions.

The God within is your Spiritual Heart. Your Soul. And in that individual Soul, rests God- rests the One. Go into your soul and your heart-space which can be Awareness, Love, Compassion, etc…and just BE your heart-space. BE your Soul so that you can LOVE unconditionally.

Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.

If you meditate regularly, even when you don't feel like it, you will make great gains, for it will allow you to see how your thoughts impose limits on you. Your resistances to meditation are your mental prisons in miniature.

I have written and spoken my thoughts over many years. Now I'm on new ground and spirit. I want to bring these together. Things like karma yoga, bhakti yoga, conscious dying, conscious aging. Consciousness.

We kill each other over which name to call the Nameless.

In the depth of the soul is the atman, the oversoul. And that oversoul is really love and compassion, peace, joy, and wisdom.

Gratitude opens your heart, and opening your heart is a wonderful and easy way for God to slip in.

When we're identified with Awareness, we're no longer living in a world of polarities. Everything is present at the same time.

Cosmic humor, especially about your own predicament, is an important part of your journey.

The offering up or cleaning up ego stuff is called purification. Purification is the act of letting go. This is done out of discriminative awareness. That is, you understand that you are an entity passing through a life in which the entire drama is an offering for your awakening.

Suffering is the sandpaper of our incarnation. It does its work of shaping us.

I don't really believe anything I say. Because the nature of my work concerns the spaces between the words, rather than the words themselves.

We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not.

Longer Version:

We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another.

I love everybody and they, in turn, love everybody, and that's spreading love heart to heart to heart. That's my approach of my work.

As one individual changes, the system changes.

Faith, consciousness, and awareness all exist beyond the thinking mind.

Early in the journey you wonder how long the journey will take and whether you will make it in this lifetime. Later you will see that where you are going is HERE and you will arrive NOW...so you stop asking.

Just because you are seeing divine light, experiencing waves of bliss, or conversing with Gods and Goddesses is no reason to not know your zip code.

A Tibetan Lama said to me, The best place to stand, Ram Dass, is halfway between hope and hopelessness. So I can write a scenario for the 21st century in either direction. One is that it all goes to hell and that it's truly the dark age.

You may have expected that enlightenment would come ZAP! instantaneous and permanent. This is unlikely. After the first ah-ha experience, it can be thought of as a thinning of a layer of clouds.

The way you come to fully appreciate the infusion of the Spirit is to more and more come fully into the moment, where this moment is enough.

In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.

A being whose awareness is totally free, who does not cling to anything, is liberated.

The ego is frightened by death, because ego is part of the incarnation and ends with it. That is why we learn to identify with our soul, as the soul continues after death. For the soul, death is just another moment.

When you concentrate on the middle of your chest -- this is where loving awareness lives. This is the spiritual heart. Not the beating heart, not the emotional heart. This spiri­tual heart goes way back -- goes back many incarnations. We call it the soul.

You must come to see every human being Including yourself, As an incarnation In a body or personality, going through a certain Life experience which is functional.

Love is the most transformative medicine.
For Love slowly transforms you
Into what psychedelics only get you to glimpse.

What we're seeing out there is the projection of where we're at -- the projection of the clingings of our minds.

What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.

Real happiness lies in that which never comes nor goes, but simply is.

I think that people will find a tremendous joy and fulfillment in service to other human beings, and that often this is what is missing in their lives.

The reality we live in is selected by our conceptual definitions. You and I may be in the same physical space, but each of us will see it as entirely different.

The intellect is a beautiful servant but a terrible master. Intellect is the power tool of our separateness. The intuitive, compassionate heart is the doorway to our unity.

Drop your identification with the illusion of separateness.

Down there, in your soul, you'll get far more love than you ever got out there.

Longer Version:

And then the witness, if you go down into the witness, that has the spiritual being. Down there, in your soul, you'll get far more love than you ever got out there.

By going into third world countries and serving, by actually feeding and helping people, I've been led to focus a little more on how people here try to be happy by ignoring other people who are unhappy.

This society is not 'user-friendly' for older people.

I was no longer needing to be special, because I was no longer so caught in my puny separateness that had to keep proving I was something. I was part of the universe, like a tree is, or like grass is, or like water is. Like storms, like roses. I was just part of it all.

I don't have a fear and urgency feeling inside myself about the state of the world affairs and everything collapsing.

Be patient. You'll know when it's time for you to wake up and move ahead.

We're fascinated by the words -- but where we meet is in the silence behind them.

I can do nothing for you but work on myself...you can do nothing for me but work on yourself!

So we won't take ourselves too seriously. Because taking something serious doesn't make it go away any faster. In fact, it keeps making it a little bit worse.

Truth is scary. Truth has bad breath at times.

Until we know that we can bear the unbearable, we're always running scared.

I remember my first visit with my guru. He had shown that he read my mind. So I looked at the grass and I thought, My god, he's going to know all the things I don't want people to know. I was really embarrassed. Then I looked up and he was looking directly at me with unconditional love.

A feeling of aversion or attachment toward something is your clue that there's work to be done.

The art of life is to stay wide open and be vulnerable, yet at the same time to sit with the mystery and the awe and with the unbearable pain -- to just be with it all.

The way we regard death is critical to the way we experience life. When your fear of death changes, the way you live your life changes.

Our thinking minds deprive us of the happiness that comes when we are living fully in the moment.

The sooner one develops compassion in this journey, the better. Compassion lets us appreciate that each individual is doing what he or she must do, and that there is no reason to judge another person or oneself. You merely do what you can to further your own awakening.

Our whole spiritual transformation brings us to the point where we realize that in our own being, we are enough.

If I'm going to die, the best way to prepare is to quiet my mind and open my heart. If I'm going to live, the best way to prepare for it is to quiet my mind and open my heart.

Compassion refers to the arising in the heart of the desire to relieve the suffering of all beings.

This is the pathless path. Where the journey leads is to the deepest truth in you. It is really just returning to where you were initially before you got lost.

Longer Version:

This is the pathless path - returning to where you were initially before you got lost. The deepest truth in you is where the journey leads - shedding, like taking off layers of an onion, until you come to your essence. The key to the spiritual journey is not acquiring something outside of yourself. Rather it is shedding the veils to come back to the deepest truth of your being.

I see my life as an unfolding set of opportunities to awaken.

Don't take yourself so personally.

Now is now. Are you going to be here or not?

Within the spiritual journey you understand that suffering becomes something that has been given to you to show you where your mind is still stuck. It's a vehicle to help you go to work. That's why it's called grace.

Emotions are like waves. Watch them disappear in the distance on the vast calm ocean.

The dark night of the soul is when you have lost the flavor of life but have not yet gained the fullness of divinity. So it is that we must weather that dark time, the period of transformation when what is familiar has been taken away and the new richness is not yet ours.

I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion -- and where it isn't, that's where my work lies.

Don't compare your path with anybody else's. Your path is unique to you.

Suffering only shows where you are attached. That is why, to those on the path, suffering is grace.

Be here now.

If I see one dilemma with Western man, it's that he can't accept how beautiful he is. He can't accept that he is pure light, that he's pure love, that he's pure consciousness, that he's divine.

Counseling has to do with intuition, with work on oneself, with the quietness of one's mind and the openness of one's heart.

If you feel a sense of social responsibility, first of all keep working on yourself. Being peaceful yourself is the first step if you want to live in a peaceful universe.

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Self-Discovery Quotes

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