As the 40th anniversary of the publication of BE HERE NOW is upon us, I decided to read the book, finally. The changes that began in the coming-of-age 70s still affect the consciousness of our times. Somehow, in 2011, the words of Ram Das are clearer, more profound and direct. (remdass.org) The book itself is an early example of “interactive” media, as after the lengthy intro documenting Ram Das’ journey to a professorship at Harvard, the befriending of Timothy Leary, the excessive immersion in mushrooms and LSD, you then have to turn the book on it’s side to read the large typed message on the brown paper. The different sized type and ink drawings seem to magnify the official communications of the book: “The next message you need is always right where you are.” “The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
“Spiritual practices help us move from identifying with the ego to identifying with the soul. Old age does that for you too. It spiritualizes people naturally.”
Ram Das is still leading pilgrimages and retreats in his adopted home, Maui, collaborating with Krishna Das, the gifted New York chanter. I think I’ll check it out in December.