Be Here Now

be here now

Be Here Now is a seminal 1971 book on spirituality, yoga and meditation by the Western born yogi and spiritual teacher Ram Dass. The title comes from a statement his guide, Bhagavan Das, made during Ram Dass’s journeys in India. The cover features a Mandala incorporating the title, a chair, radial lines, and the word ‘remember.’

It is one of the first guides, for those not born as Hindus, to becoming a yogi, by a person himself not born a Hindu. For its influence on the Hippie movement and subsequent spiritual movements, it has been described as a ‘countercultural bible.’ In addition to introducing its title phrase into common use, the book has influenced numerous other writers and yoga practitioners, including Wayne Dyer and Michael Crichton.

The first section is a short biography of Ram Dass’ life, describing his successes as a psychologist, his research with Timothy Leary into psychedelics at Harvard, and his subsequent anxiety when this research does not resolve his spiritual questions. He then describes his first journey to India and his initiation into a Guru/Chela relationship with Neem Karoli Baba, and spiritual renaming as Baba Ram Dass, or ‘servant of god.’

Ram Dass closes the first section of the book with this passage: ‘Now, though I am a beginner on the path, I have returned to the West for a time to work out karma or unfulfilled commitment. Part of this commitment is to share what I have learned with those of you who are on a similar journey. One can share a message through telling ‘our-story’ as I have just done, or through the teaching methods of yoga, or singing, or making love. Each of us finds his unique vehicle for sharing with others his bit of wisdom. For me, this story is but a vehicle for sharing with you the true message … the living faith in what is possible. –OM–‘

The second section, the largest, is a free-form collection of metaphysical, spiritual and religious aphorisms accompanied by illustrations. The third section is a manual for starting on a yogic or spiritual path, and includes various techniques for yoga, pranayama, and meditation, as well as quotations from respected teachers of many religions and spiritual traditions. The last section, also titled ‘Painted Cakes Do Not Satisfy Hunger’ (a Zen commentary on liturgy) contains a list of recommended books on religion, spirituality, consciousness.

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One Comment to “Be Here Now”

  1. Sounds interesting. I’ll have to read the book.

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