Allowing Ourselves to Experience Our own Beauty




Happy 38th Birthday to me and all of my parts, the good and the less desirable. They’re all beautiful really. I simply need a little reminder sometimes. Thank you Ram Dass for that reminder.

‘When I start thinking, “I’m Ram Dass, and I’ve worked on myself, and I’m supposed to be equanimous, loving, present, clear, compassionate, accepting,” oftentimes I get tired, I get angry and petulant, and I close down. For a long time I’d get into those states and I would feel really embarrassed, because that isn’t who Ram Dass is supposed to be. So I would appear like I was warm, charming, equanimous, compassionate, and there was deviousness and deception involved. Then I realized that’s bad business, because that cuts us off from one another… and I had to risk my truth. I had to risk being human with other people, and realize that what we offer each other is our truth, and our truth includes all of our stuff.

The first thing I had to do was accept my own truth. I had to allow myself to be a human being.

Now, what I found was that as I started to allow myself to be more human, just allowed what I am, things changed much faster in me. I mean, things fell away more quickly. It was as if I was locked into a model which was based on that negativity, that dislike of myself; and once I just allowed myself to be human, with all the foibles, things started to flow, and I could feel change occurring in myself.

Then, I started to experience my own beauty and it frightened me, because it was so dissonant and discrepant from the model that I had cultivated of myself over the years. Dissonance between the idea that I had to do good in order to be beautiful and that idea that I just am… and that what is, is in its own way beautiful.

You look at decay, and it is beautiful. Laura Huxley, who is a very dear friend, in her kitchen has these jars over the sink, and she takes old beet greens and orange peels and things, and sticks them in water on these long, beautiful pharmaceutical jars. Then they slowly start to mold and decay, and there are these beautiful decaying formation of mold. It’s really garbage… it’s garbage as art. We look at it and it’s absolutely beautiful. There’s absolute beauty in that.

I’ve begun to expand my awareness to be able to look at the universe as it is, and see what is called the horrible beauty of it. I mean, there’s horror and beauty in all of it, because there is also decay and death in all of it. I mean, we’re all decaying – I look at my hand and it’s decaying. It’s beautiful and horrible at the same time; and I just live with that. And also with it, I see and live with the beauty of it.

So we’re talking about appreciating what is. Not loving yourself, as opposed to not liking yourself, but allowing yourself. As you allow, it changes. I think that gets behind the polarities. I think that’s what’s important.’

– Ram Dass

Taken from


Forgiveness and the Awakened Soul by Ram Dass


Image by Teresa Freitas

Question: I’d like to know about forgiveness as a bridge between the separate self and the awakened soul.

Ram Dass: That’s a nice way of phrasing the question. It’s a step on a ladder that goes from dualism into non-dualism. Because as you forgive or allow or acknowledge or say “Of course you’re human” or “We all do that” or something, you open your heart again which embraces the person or the situation back into you, which allows the play. See, every time you close off something with judgment, it’s as if you take a bit of energy and you lock it away and make it unavailable to you. Until pretty soon you are exhausted. You don’t have any energy, because you are so busy.

I often visualize it as having little doors inside your head. You’re holding a grudge — and so every time you think of that person your heart closes down. It’s as if you’ve got a little room with a guard at it that doesn’t allow you to flow freely. And they’re all the no’s of life — the no, no, no, no, no. It’s an emotional “no” against the world — against the Universe — against the way the Universe is. As opposed to “yes”. We’ve been telling you how to say no without closing your heart, but the no I’m talking about is the heart-closing no. It’s the judging, grudge, non-forgiving no. And it costs more than it’s worth. Even though you are right, righteousness ultimately starves you to death.

Righteousness is not liberation. It is known as the golden chain. You’re wonderful and you’re absolutely right, but you’re dead. I mean you’re dead to the living spirit. And finally, you want to be free more than you want to be right. And you have to forgive somebody not because they deserve forgiveness within your other model, in a righteous sense.

Maharajji said to me “Ram Dass, I told you to Love everyone and tell the truth.” And I looked at those people who I had built up all this righteous indignation and hatred towards, sitting across the courtyard at the temple. And I went over there and I was in this ecstatic state from being with Maharajji and also my ego was in incredible pain, and I took apples and I cut them into little pieces and I know that you can’t feed somebody with anger, or it’s like giving them poison. And I went up to each person who I had built up resentment to and justifiable, righteous resentment. I mean I am very creative in justifying my reactions, so I had a good reason to be angry with that person. And I stood there, and he didn’t say work it out, which is what we in the West psychologically like to work out our anger so that everyone saves face. He said “Give it up.” And I looked at the person, and I had to just let it go. And it was so painful! And when I had let it go and I could look at that person with Love again, I stuck the apple in their mouth. And it took me over an hour and a half to do that for these people. Before I could finally really let go enough to do it. Because I couldn’t afford it. I couldn’t afford not to forgive. Once you are in the One, nothing builds up so there is no forgiveness. No forgiveness is required, because you don’t forgive a tree and you don’t forgive a river. You know? It’s like lightning strikes your house and you say “I forgive you.” I mean, who are you forgiving?

It’s interesting. You know that story — the Chinese story about the boats and the fog? As the boatman, he hits another boat, and he starts swearing at the other –“You, why didn’t you look where you were going?” And then the fog lifts for a moment and he sees there is nobody in the other boat. And he feels like a fool. Well, it’s roughly the same thing. I mean you hold a grudge against your father, as if he’s in there. He isn’t in there. Psychologically you think he is, because you think you are in you, but once you begin to see he’s just a set of phenomena happening. You are busy saying “I forgive you. I forgive you.” To a clock? You know, it’s really nothing different than that. I don’t mean to demean personality. It’s quite interesting. But it is a lawful set of events. It’s not freedom.

You are Loved



“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.” –Ram Dass


“For somebody who is spiritually awakening, ideally, you’ll be looking for a therapist who is treating personality as relatively real, not absolutely real.

Here in the West, we treat personality as absolutely real, we really think it’s real. Who you think you are is really real. For example, you were battered as a child and that seems very real, because it’s a strong mental structure in your head and it permeates you and you are carrying your history with you on your shoulders.

At some point you will start to see that each person is presenting who they think they are. It’s like they’re putting on a huge mind net, “This is who I am, this is who I am, this is who I am…” You can start to see it in the way they walk, talk, dress, present themselves; always presenting who they think they are, which has a historical thread running through it.

When you have started to awaken and see that there are other planes of reality that are equally valid to the one at which presently exists, you learn how to live more or less with more and more planes simultaneously, which is what freedom is about. It’s not totally standing in one plane, it’s not standing anywhere at all.

Then what you would love is a therapist who has that same perspective, who has that multi-plane perspective all the time. So when I’m working with somebody psychologically and they bring their stuff to me, I hear their stuff. Their, “I was battered as a child. I was abused.” I hear all of that, I hear that they are talking about a plane of reality. I want to talk with them within that plane and empathize and deal with them. However, at the same moment, I want my consciousness to stay spacious enough as an environment that if they were ready to let that one go and recognize that there’s another plane of experience in which they also live, that I’d be right there for them.

Now most therapists, because they think they’re real as a therapist, think their patient is also real. If a patient says, “I’ve had this experience in which you and I are souls,” or “This is all an illusion.” They’ll most likely say, “Well, that’s a defense mechanism.” They say this because they themselves can’t really handle these other planes of reality.

You can’t expect all therapist to be the Buddha, you won’t get on with your therapy. So what you do is you use therapists in the same way you go to somebody to get your car fixed. You don’t go in and expect them to give you the greatest wisdom of the universe but you expect them to help you clean up. You have to be able to use a therapist appropriately. A therapist is a technician, who’s there to serve you about this plane of reality, and it’s not reasonable to expect them to understand all wisdom and be free.”


-Ram Dass

The Practice of Turning People into Trees

Image from

“…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 appreciate 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’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
Ram Dass