Insights from Ram Dass

Now in my seventies, the following comments in relation to Ram Dass’s book, Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying, have taken on new interest and meaning for me:

“[Ram] Dass delves into the aspects of aging that terrify most of us – and affirms there is an awareness in each of us that transcends all the attributes that necessarily diminish with age. Ram Dass shows readers of all ages that it is possible to stay present in the midst of suffering, to be still and know that God is here now.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Ram Dass has entered the often stormy relationship between our physical and spiritual sides, and he has lived to tell about it. This is no gussied up, glossed over personal account of illness, but an honest, courageous book that flows from the soul. Listen up, everybody, while Ram Dass tells it like it is.”

—Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Reinventing Medicine and Healing Words

“Still Here encourages acceptance of aging and dying in a culture with a pervasive fear of both. It speaks to many of the core fears about growing old, including senility and loneliness, and suggests facing them by turning both inward (through meditation) and outward (to old friends and new).”

New Age

“An honest and engaging book that aging boomers should be able to relate to. With personal stories and his trademark humor, Dass guides his readers through the demons of aging (senility, loneliness, embarrassment, powerlessness, loss of role, depression and fear), and how to keep them in perspective.”

—Rocky Mountain News

Getting old isn’t easy for a lot of us. Neither is living, neither is dying. We struggle against the inevitable and we all suffer because of it. We have to find another way to look at the whole process of being born, growing old, changing, and dying, some kind of perspective that might allow us to deal with what we perceive as big obstacles without having to be dragged through the drama. It really helps to understand that we have something—that we are something—which is unchangeable, beautiful, completely aware, and continues no matter what.

Knowing this doesn’t solve everything—this is what I encountered and told about in Be Here Now, and I’ve still had my share of suffering. But the perspective of the soul can help a lot with the little things, and it is my hope that you’ll be able to take from this book some joy in being “still here.”

 —Ram Dass

More than thirty years ago, an entire generation sought a new way of life, looking for fulfillment and meaning in a way no one had before. Leaving his teaching job at Harvard, Ram Dass embodied the role of spiritual seeker, showing others how to find peace within themselves in one of the greatest spiritual classics of the twentieth century, the two-million-copy bestseller, Be Here Now. As many of that generation enter the autumn of their years, the big questions of peace and of purpose have returned demanding answers. And once again, Ram Dass blazes a new trail, inviting all to join him on the next stage of the journey.


October 29, 2019

(Revised March 9, 2020)

Having come to realize that we are more than the body and mind—and more than their combined self-image, the Ego—we can begin to view dying and death through quite different eyes. We are no longer quite so afraid of our own thoughts and feelings, however disturbing they may be. In learning to step outside the Ego into Soul consciousness, we know that we are more than our thoughts and feelings and the mind that experiences them. We are also Souls, and as such we come to the mystery of dying and death without quite the same level of fear and dread.
(Ram Dass. Still Here. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)