By Cat Saunders
There’s no way I can convey in words what Ram Dass means to me. I probably couldn’t paint you a picture or sing a song about it, either.
Perhaps I could dance my love for Ram Dass in such a way that you would understand, but I’m much too shy to dance on the Internet. So I guess I’ll have to settle for the first option: words.
On December 5, 1985, 1 had a dream that changed my life in a big way. In the dream, a handsome, white-haired, moustached man with a dazzling grin came to be with me. He said his name was Ken Book. When I woke up, I drew his face in my drawing journal because I sensed that there was something unusual about the dream.
Later that day, I had an appointment for a massage. I hadn’t seen the masseuse in a long time. When I walked into her home office I almost passed out, because there on her refrigerator was a picture of the man in my dream!
Actually it was Ram Dass, but it wasn’t the Ram Dass I remembered. The last image I had of Ram Dass was from the seventies when he looked like a classic hippie (see photo below), complete with flowing shirts and a wild, salt-and-pepper beard bushy enough to house squirrels.
The man in the recent picture, on the other hand, was clean-shaven with a neatly trimmed white moustache and a closely cropped circle of white hair. He wore a simple T-shirt with the word SEVA emblazoned across his chest [see link to SEVA’s website in this section]. Ram Dass was doing a fundraising tour for SEVA, so his face adorned the poster on the refrigerator.
As I stared at the man in the picture, my mind worked furiously to re-sort my outdated images of Ram Dass. In the midst of my disorientation, some part of me knew that something fishy was going on. I had a strange feeling that I was being tricked—in a good way, I mean.
A while later, I journeyed shamanically to see if my hunch was correct. It was. When I pressed my shamanic teachers for answers, they admitted the ruse. They explained that they wanted me to pay attention to Ram Dass because he is a good example of being spiritual while being in a body.
Fortunately for the world, Ram Dass has created a rich legacy of audio and video recordings over a period of decades. For more information about Ram Dass and his work, please visit www.ramdass.org.
Cat Saunders, Ph.D., is a counselor in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is also the author of Dr. Cat’s Helping Handbook: A Compassionate Guide for Being Human (available through Amazon). Contact Cat by emailing her or by calling 206-329-0125 (24-hour voicemail).