Catching up with Ram Dass…
As part of the film’s release, we got the rare opportunity to ask Ram Dass a few questions about his remarkable life and work.
What’s your advice for people who are preoccupied with their own mortality?
We all struggle with our mortality because we are so invested and attached to our bodies, mind and emotions. When we cultivate our spiritual heart with loving awareness we enter into a new perspective of our incarnation. This new view enables us to accept death as part of a longer process of returning to the pure state of being some call Atman.
Can you explain a process that readers can follow to have the best chances at living more in the moment and less in anxiety and fear?
I refer to the practice of Loving Awareness. By just sitting comfortably and relaxing the body you can then move from ego/mind to the Spiritual Heart by taking a few breaths into the center of your chest and feeling a warm spaciousness. Once you are in that center repeat- I am Loving Awareness several times and you will move into that presence which is no longer living in fear and anxiety and is being here now.
If you believe that our subjective sense of “I” is an illusion, then it might follow that free will is also an illusion. Do you agree?
The discussion of free will is complex. I think for us to act as if there is free will is really important. To work on purifying our hearts, becoming more compassionate, loving and kind and radiating that to everyone we meet is our true purpose in life. To not pursue that path because our minds tell us that it’s all an illusion is missing the point.
You’re an icon amongst Western spiritual thinkers. How do you want to be remembered?
I don’t spend my time too much these days thinking of the past or the future. I am more interested in living in the moment in that presence of unconditional love which emanates from my Guru and which I share with everyone around me.
When was the last time something kept you up at night, and what was it?
The only thing that sometimes keeps me up at night are the delicious aches and pains of this aging body.
Follow Ram Dass on Twitter @BabaRamDass and Instagram @babaramdass