Ram Dass has helped us ruminate on the human experience in countless ways through his words and videos. In many of his quotes, you will find inspiration that comforts you, guides you, and makes the journey of life more bearable.
Here's one of my favorites, followed by a few more like it.
1. What A Wasted Opportunity
"Years ago I went to a silent meditation course, and I had a roommate. It was a 10 day course and we couldn't speak to each other. We shared a room, and I was a little sloppy and his corners were all neat on his bed and his clothes were all lined up, and that's not my particular preoccupation.
So I started to feel that he was thinking I was a real slob and he really didn't like me, and I was probably snoring and disturbing him, and I got to feel he really hated me. Within the silence, you can play with such wonderful paranoia, you know, and I just decided—I mean, by the end of it, I hated him for hating me, you know.
We came out of the retreat, and the first thing he said to me—the first thing was, 'I can't tell you what an honor it's been sharing this room with Ram Dass,' and I just thought, 'Oh. Shit.' I wasted those ten days, hours just being absolutely convinced he hated me, filling my consciousness with it when I could have been getting enlightened you know?"
2. Shifting Perspectives
"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."
3. On Love
"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."
4. Truth Stranger Than Fiction
"Our plans never turn out as tasty as reality."
5. The Busy Mind
"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."
6. Truth About Relationships
"In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight."
7. The Body And The Mind Matter Too
"Before the stroke, I was on a very spiritual plane. I ignored my body, took it for granted. 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. But the stroke reminded me that I had a body and a brain, that I had to honor them."
8. Focusing Too Much On The Negative?
"Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness."
9. Reasonable Expectations
"It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed."
10. More Than Words
"We're fascinated by the words, but where we meet is in the silence behind them."
There you go. The very best from Ram Dass, proving his unforgettable words to be nothing but the absolute truth: "we're all just walking each other home."