Book Review: Be Love Now, by Ram Dass
The path Of The Heart
By Ram Dass with Ramishwar Dass
Throughout the past few years as I have delved into the works of many of today’s most popular spiritual writers, one name comes up over and over again and that is the name Ram Dass.
I knew that he had been born Richard Alpert and was one of the group of Harvard Psychology Professors who were fired in the early 60’s for conducting unauthorized research with LSD, and other psychedelic drugs.
Later, he went to India where he found himself spending six months practicing yoga and meditation with a guru who changed his name to Ram Dass which means, Servant of God.
I had also been aware that he had suffered a severe stroke in 1997 and is now confined to a wheelchair at his home in Maui.
When Trish Collins of TLC Book Tours contacted me and asked me to write a review for this book I jumped at the chance to learn more about this man.
Be Love Now, is the third book of a trilogy and focuses on his experiences in India with his guru, Marharj-ji.
He opens the first chapter with the line;
“Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known.”
What follows is a detailed account of his relationship with Maharaj-ji and how this meeting changed the course of his life.
I am not very well acquainted with Hinduism, and found much of the book to be confusing. I could not shake the feeling that it might have made more sense had I read the first two books, Be Here Now and Still Here, and I must say, that from that perspective it was a bit disappointing.
However, I was still able to glean some new insight from reading this book.
I always find that reading not only opens me up to new ideas, but also old ideas expressed in someone else’s words can sometimes create shifts in my perspective that broaden my worldview.
It is these shifts in perspective that allow me to open both my mind and heart and I come away from the experience with the feeling that I have grown just a little.
Despite the fact that I did not fall in love with the book as I often do, I obviously wouldn’t claim that it wasn’t worth reading.
Ram Dass’s explanation of his own surrender to Maharaji-ji had little to do with the concept of giving up personal power, which is the way we tend to perceive the idea of surrender in the West. Instead, it is about letting go of what keeps us separate, which fits right in with the concept of letting go and trusting The Universe. This is something that I think about often, and it seems to come up frequently in the various blogs that I read.
Another thing that I took away from this book is Ram Dass’s view on the spiritual journey as entirely personal, as unique to each individual as each individual.
Each individual will take what he or she requires from their guru to further them on their own path and leaves the rest, possibly to find a new guru. In Ram Dass’s case. Maharaj-ji was all he needed.
I think this is a great way to view each other’s journey through life whether we are consciously on a spiritual path or not. Somehow, this book brought that message home to my heart in a new way. I think that it will help me to find more acceptance of the world as it is.
I also enjoyed his story of the serendipitous events that lead to the publication of his first book, Be Here Now.
Ram Dass originally wrote a manuscript about his travels but could not find a publisher who was interested, which was confusing because Maharaji-ji had given his blessing on the book before he ever considered writing one, and Ram Dass considered that to be a prediction.
Later, Ram Dass traveled around The Us lecturing about what he had learned. A woman who worked as a public stenographer, was so deeply moved by some of his talks that she transcribed his words and gave him the transcripts, which later became the core text of the book.
That kind of stuff really lights my fire.
I find it rather interesting that as come to the end of writing this post, I have changed my own mind about the book. Though I found it a bit challenging to read and didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped, it was definitely worth my time. I find it fascinating how often that happens when I take the time to seriously consider something as I have with this.
Finally, there is one concept that Ram Dass shares with his readers that I would love to share with mine. It is the idea of viewing each person we encounter not as a person with a role to play, (or labels to wear) but as a soul. I did feel myself become a bit envious when reading a description of coming to that realization and being able to see absolutely everyone as a soul.
I think I’ll be striving for that from now on.