Here’s a collection of inspirational Ram Dass quotes that will shift your perspective and make you think. Enjoy!
Who Is Ram Dass
Ram Dass was born as Richard Alpert on April 6, 1931 (under the Aries zodiac sign) in Boston, MA. His career began in psychology in the early 1960s at Harvard University, where he was a key contributor to studies on therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs. Even though these drugs were legal at the time, they were still taboo, and this study got him kicked out of school.
But this was clearly all part of the grand plan because that lead Alpert to India where he discovered Hinduism, changed his name, and became spiritual teacher we know today. Ram Dass translates to ‘servant of God’. Also, sometimes you’ll hear him referred to as Baba Ram Dass – ‘baba’ is a term of endearment that means ‘father’.
Ram Dass passed away on December 22, 2019 at the age of 88.
Is Ram Dass Buddhist?
People often wonder what religion Ram Dass’s considers himself. While he was born Jewish, his spiritual path exposed him to Hinduism as well as Buddhism. So his teachings are a beautiful mix that span all three of these religions.
Ram Dass Quotes on Love
“Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not ‘I love you’ for this or that reason, not ‘I love you if you love me.’ It’s love for no reason, love without an object.”
“You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success – none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.
“As you dissolve into love, your ego fades. You’re not thinking about loving, you’re just being love, radiating like the sun.”
“The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it’s in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I’m caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.”
“Our interactions with one another reflect a dance between love and fear.”
“We’re being trained through our incarnations–trained to seek love, trained to seek light, trained to see the grace in suffering.”
“Do whatever you need to do, but never put someone out of your heart.”
“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion — and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.”
Ram Dass Quotes on Relationships
“In our relationships, how much can we allow them to become new, and how much do we cling to what they used to be yesterday?”
“A relationship starting out as one that awakens love can only remain a living vehicle for love to the extent that it is continually made new or reconsecrated.”
“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”
“As we acquire a certain degree of equanimity in self-image, we are that much more likely to feel empathy for those around us. We know what it’s like to be a “self” moving through the world of “others.” When someone feels particularly isolated or in pain, we don’t need a great deal of information in order to come to his or her aid.”
-Quote from How Can I Help
“When I look at relationships, my own and others, I see a wide range of reasons for people to be together and ways in which they are together. I see ways in which a relationship – which means something that exists between two or more people – for the most part reinforces people’s separateness as individual entities.”
“When I look at relationships, I see a wide range of reasons for people to be together and ways in which they are together. I see ways in which a relationship – which means something that exists between two or more people – for the most part reinforces people’s separateness as individual entities.”
“The art of listening comes from a quiet mind and an open heart.”
“Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
“We’re here to awaken from the illusion of separateness.”
Ram Dass Quotes on Life
“As we grow in our consciousness, there will be more compassion and more love, and then the barriers between people, between religions, between nations will begin to fall. Yes, we have to beat down the separateness.”
“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.”
“The thinking mind is what is busy. You have to stay in your heart. You have to be in your heart. Be in your heart. The rest is up here in your head where you are doing, doing, doing.”
“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.”
“When you know how to listen everybody is the guru.”
“Start from where you are, not where you wish you were. The work you’re doing becomes your path.”
Life on this plane is like being in the 4th grade. You took birth here because you have certain work to do that involves the suffering you do, the kinds of situations you find yourself in. This is your curriculum. It’s not an error. Where you are now with all your neurosis and your problems; you’re sitting in just the right place. Imagine that.”
“Everyone should smile. Life really isn’t that serious. We make it hard. The sun rises. The sun sets. We just tend to complicate the process.”
“Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.”
Ram Dass Quotes on Death
“Death has such great importance in this society that it affects everything. I learned from my guru that death is not the enemy, I see it as another moment. Yet it’s the end of an incarnation and means going on to other incarnations.”
“Death is perfectly safe.”
“What the word God means is the mystery really. It’s the mystery that we face as humans the mystery of existence, of suffering and of death.”
“Working with the dying is like being a midwife for this great rite of passage of death. Just as a midwife helps a being take their first breath, you help a being take their last breath.”
“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.”
“We’re all just walking each other home.”
“In our Western culture, although death has come out of the closet, it is still not openly experienced or discussed. Allowing dying to be so intensely present enriches both the preciousness of each moment and our detachment from it.”
‘Be Here Now’ Ram Dass Quotes
Ram Dass wrote Be Here Now in 1978, and it’s very unique. The book is broken into 4 main parts: the first is mainly autobiography, which takes you on a trip through then Richard Alpert’s youth, his experiences with drugs, and the early phases of his spiritual path. Keep in mind that this all took place in the 60s, so it’s got major hippy vibes!
Next, the second part of the book is comprised of artwork that conveys his spiritual views. Again, this is a little bit funky, but it’s a unique take on communicating this content (which was all fresh and new 40 years ago when the book came out). One word of caution here, many readers recommend purchasing the hardcopy of the book, as opposed to downloading it digitally onto your device. This is because the artwork is difficult to view in digital format.
The book then moves on to share practical tips and practices for mindfulness, covering things like breath work, diet, meditation, and yoga poses. Remember the whole point of the book is to be present, since NOW is all we’re guaranteed.
Finally, Be Here Now wraps up with recommendations for further reading. So it’s a good place to start if you’re interested in learning more about spirituality through this lens.
The quotes below are directly from the Be Here Now book. So notice how you feel as you read through them, and grab yourself a copy of the book if these quotes speak to you.
“I can do nothing for you but work on myself…you can do nothing for me but work on yourself!”
“Just because you are seeing divine light, experiencing waves of bliss, or conversing with gods and Goddesses is no reason not to know your zip code.”
“If you think you’re free, there is no possible escape.”
“The cosmic humor is that if you desire to move mountains and you continue to purify yourself, ultimately you will arrive at the place where you are able to move mountains. But in order to arrive at this position of power you will have had to give up being he-who-wanted-to-move-mountains so that you can be he-who-put-the-mountain-there-in-the-first-place. The humor is that finally when you have the power to move the mountain, you are the person who placed it there–so there the mountain stays.”
“When your center is firm, when your faith is strong and unwavering, then it will not matter what company you keep.”
“A woman once came to Mahatma Gandhi with her little boy. She asked, “Mahatma-ji, tell my little boy to stop eating sugar.” “Come back in three days,” said Gandhi. In three days the woman and the little boy returned and Mahatma Gandhi said to the little boy, “Stop eating sugar.” The woman asked, “Why was it necessary for us to return only after three days for you to tell my little boy that?” The Mahatma replied: “Three days ago I had not stopped eating sugar.”
“Emotions are like waves. Watch them disappear in the distance on the vast calm ocean.”
More Trippy Quotes from Ram Dass
“Birth, death, and suffering all bring us to the very edge of what our minds can understand.”
“Pain is the mind. It’s the thoughts of the mind. Then I get rid of the thoughts, and I get in my witness, which is down in my spiritual heart. The witness that witnesses being. Then those particular thoughts that are painful – love them. I love them to death!”
“Only that in you which is me can hear what I’m saying.”
“Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.”
“Judgment comes, in part, out of your own fear. You judge other people because you’re not comfortable in your own being. By judging, you find out where you stand in relation to other people. The judging mind is very divisive. It separates. Separation closes your heart. If you close your heart to someone, you are perpetuating your suffering and theirs. Shifting out of judgement means learning to appreciate your predicament and their predicament with an open heart instead of judging. Then you can allow yourself and others to just be, without separation.”
“Our plans never turn out as tasty as reality.”
“Across planes of consciousness, we have to live with the paradox that opposite things can be simultaneously true.”
“Compassion is the spontaneous response of love; pity the involuntary reflex of fear”
“It’s only when caterpillarness is done that one becomes a butterfly. That again is part of this paradox. You cannot rip away caterpillarness. The whole trip occurs in an unfolding process of which we have no control.”
Ram Dass Trees Quote
And last but not least – the famous Ram Dass tree quote! This is perhaps one of Ram Dass’s most popular quotes, and it’s an excellent way to put into perspective how hard we can be on ourselves and others. If you catch yourself being ‘judgy’, come back here and read the tree quote. Enjoy, my friend.
When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
I hope you enjoyed these Ram Dass quotes! Drop a comment below and share your favorite.
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