A Profile of Ram Dass


1 of the country’s foremost self-support masters, Ram Dass is now 88 years old and in a wheelchair, nonetheless imparting wisdom though continuing to handle the dramatic right after-effects of a huge stroke. Prior to Ram Dass concludes his journey as a human becoming on this earth, a single of his devoted followers, Jamie Catto, wanted to immortalize him in a film. Becoming No one is Catto’s tribute to Ram Dass, capturing the essence of his spiritual teachings though supplying a glimpse into his previous.

Richard Alpert was born in 1931 to a Jewish family members in Massachusetts. When religion wasn’t extremely compelling to him as a youth, he did exhibit an early interest in human nature, which sooner or later led to him earning a PhD in psychology from Stanford University. Just after Timothy Leary introduced him to psychedelics, Alpert went to India in 1967, exactly where he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, aka Maharaj-ji. That is when he became Ram Dass (“servant of God”), and a handful of years later in 1971, his bestseller Be Right here Now was published, catapulting him onto a complete-fledged profession as 20th century American guru.

The film’s director, Catto very first discovered about Ram Dass in 1988, then met him on a retreat in the UK a handful of years later. What followed have been interviews that paved the way for a face-to-face discussion in Becoming No one, which took location in 2015 in Ram Dass’ residence in Maui. The a single-on-a single interview anchors the biographical documentary, which is interspersed with archive footage, like words of wisdom by Ram Dass himself, very carefully culled from an array of scratchy black and white films and glitchy videos.

Becoming No one does not go into the life story of Ram Dass a lot — it is a lot more like a highlight reel of all the teachings he espoused all through the decades. Nevertheless, Ram Dass talks about his extended road as a seeker, discussing the implications of the time when Timothy Leary gave him psilocybin in the 1960s. “It changed my life in the sense that it undercut the models I had of who I believed I was,” says Ram Dass in the film. The scary but exhilarating knowledge led him to a deeper understanding of his correct becoming — not of who he was, but that he merely was, period. Ram Dass attributes this, in substantial aspect, to meeting his guru. “See, a guru is your doorway to God. Your doorway to the beyond,” he says in the film. “A guru is a spiritual car. An entrance-way. He’s a pure mirror. He is not anyone at all.”

Neem Karoli Baba, aka Maharaj-ji/ Courtesy Like Serve Bear in mind Films and Google Empathy Lab

Just after Ram Dass began to develop out his beard and lecture cross-legged, he started to find out that life’s lessons are embedded in the multifarious paradoxes that present themselves along the journey, particularly the notion that from time to time, correct transformation comes from not acquiring what you want. Similarly, for Ram Dass, life’s low points can be a lot more fascinating than its higher ones, “because they’re displaying you exactly where you are not.” He believes that as well lots of of us operate beneath a model of deprivation, and that the notion of not getting sufficient requirements to be surrendered if we are to discover correct enlightenment. He’s huge on suffering as a beneficial knowledge, and believes that humor and enjoy are crucial. He also believes that the taboo of death is incorrect.

“The appreciation of death and the spiritual journey right after death is the prerequisite for living life joyfully now,” says Ram Dass in Becoming No one. “Death does not have to be treated as an enemy for you to delight in life. Maintaining death present in your consciousness, as a single of the greatest mysteries and as the moment of extraordinary transformation, imbues this moment with added richness and power which otherwise is utilized up in denial. I encourage you to make peace with death, to see it as the culminating adventure of this adventure referred to as life. It is not an error. It is not a failure. It is taking off a tight shoe, which you have worn properly. But these that discover the way in the morning can gladly die in the evening, it is mentioned in the mystical literature.”

In a filmmaker’s statement, Catto says, “The intimacy and trust that Ram Dass cultivates by way of his unabashed realness is a notable contrast to a commodified Western spiritual culture so usually laden with self-proclaimed gurus. Above all, I wanted to capture the profound enjoy that radiates from this man’s heart his humanity and authenticity will permit future generations to be transformed by his wonderfully irreverent but deeply holy practice of humor and heart.”

In theaters right now, Becoming No one is presented by Like Serve Bear in mind Films with Google Empathy Lab.


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