More than thirty years ago, an entire generation sought a new way of life and looked for fulfillment and meaning in a way that no one had thought to look for these things before. This was the Woodstock generation and they were led on their quest by the man who was there before all of us: Ram Dass. He left his teaching post at Harvard to embody the role of spiritual seeker, he showed us all in one of the greatest spiritual classics of this century how to begin to find peace within ourselves in his 2 million-copy bestseller, Be Here Now. Ram Dass went on to lecture around the world, to build foundations, and to dedicate himself to the service of others. A few of his readers followed him, but most went into business, had children, built houses, and set the larger questions of meaning and fulfillment aside.
Now, we find we need Ram Dass again. As we enter the later stages of life, the big questions of peace and of purpose have reappeared, this time demanding answers. Our old friend Ram Dass has returned, inviting us to join him on the next stage of the journey. With him we explore the joy, pain, and opportunities of the ripening seasons of our lives. Writing with his trademark humor and wisdom, sharing stories from his own life and meditation exercises to integrate the teachings, Ram Dass once again provides a new perspective on the territory that lies ahead.
Be Here Now was first published in 1971. It recorded the two major experiences I had had during the Sixties: one of them was psilocyben mushrooms, and the other was my guru, Maharajji. Both of them - mushrooms and Maharajji - did many things for me, one of which was to give me a familiarity with other planes of consciousness. They showed me that there's much more in any given moment than we usually perceive, and that we ourselves are much more than we usually perceive. When you know that, part of you can stand outside the drama of your life.
There were a number of transformations in Richard Alpert (my name at birth), which were inspired by mushrooms and Maharajji, and the best, I think, is the one that opened my heart and gave me a chance to serve. For me, the way the compassion seemed to express itself was through showing people what I had done, how I had approached my experiences, and so opening avenues for them where their own spirit could emerge. I felt incredibly ...
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