“I invite you, when you are caught in your stuff and your heart is closed, to reach out to find someone else who is suffering – to be there with them for a moment. What I find when my heart is closed is that the purity of their heart pulls me out of myself very quickly. For those of you who have gotten caught in individualism and separation – the act of serving another human being is a doorway back into your connection to the universe. Their real need pulls you out of yourself.”
– Ram Dass
We have bundled up two good reads this month. How can I Help? and Compassion in Action offer great insights for those beginning on the path of servitude or as a reference for those already working on the path.
Seva Book Bundle
Service and social action are topics near and dear to Ram Dass. At the behest of his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, Ram Dass spent much of his life in the service of others, whether working with the dying and the homeless, helping cure preventable blindness through the Seva Foundation, or simply providing guidance to all of us on our journeys of going from egos to souls.
The Seva Book Bundle gives us some insight as to how we can begin on the path of servitude and explores some of its challenges, lessons, and rewards.
The Curriculum of Service
Inner and Outer Social Action with an Open, Compassionate Heart are the core foundations of real service.
How do we balance inner service with outer service?
Ram Dass talks about creating the balance of working on yourself while taking action in the world to benefit humanity, along with not getting lost in the darkness and suffering that is all around us…
Visit our Seva Page for a collection of some of Ram Dass' best lectures, articles, and podcasts to help everyone on the path of service and social action. It is not an easy path to take, but as Ram Dass discovered, it is a path that often leads to expansive spiritual growth.
The Emergence of Compassion
When we see that service is not a one-way street, we find that those we are helping give us a continuous stream of clues to help us escape the prison of our self-image. More than simply letting us know what might be working or not, they help us when they question our very models of ourselves. They snap us to; they may even see right through us. And if we can take it, it’s a blessing. We may feel a little foolish, but ultimately we’re grateful.
The struggles of those we are helping confront us with life at its purest. Their suffering strips away guile and leaves what is real and essential. The deepest human qualities come forth: openness, yearning, patience, courage, forebearance, faith, humor . . . living truth . . . living spirit. Moved and touched by these qualities, we’ve no choice but to acknowledge and reaffirm our humanity. Others notice when this happens. We feel them feel it. It’s at these moments that we remember what service is truly all about.
Service to Others Would Be Easy…
What is service? On the surface, it sounds so simple: the act of identifying needs and working to fulfill them. Service is often thought of as oriented to others, but the target should just as often be yourself. Service is often thought of as a professional imperative (i.e. “I work in the customer service department”), but is also a fundamental aspect of relationships, spiritual practices, everyday encounters, and pretty much any avenue of life. More broadly, service can be thought of as “the direction one’s energy is flowing.” I know that’s an extremely zoomed out perspective on service, since that question is also asking “how are you living your life?” But…yeah, exactly. That’s why I say “how you serve anything is how you serve everything.”
Who is Ram Dass?
Ram Dass made his mark on the world by teaching the path of the heart and promoting service in the areas of social consciousness and care for the dying. When Ram Dass first went to India in 1967, he was still Dr. Richard Alpert, an eminent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer with Dr.Timothy Leary. In India, he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, affectionately known as Maharajji, who gave Ram Dass his name, which means "servant of God."
being here now
On his return from India Ram Dass became a pivotal influence in our culture with the publication of his book “Be Here Now”. In fact those words have become a catch phrase in people’s lives for the last 40 years.
Ram Dass now makes his home in Maui and teaches world wide through his website RamDass.org and continues the work of Neem Karoli Baba through the Love Serve Remember Foundation.
This web shop is a collection of conscious items that have inspired us over the years, a way to connect to these teachings in a meaningful way while also directly supporting the efforts of Love Serve Remember Foundation to continue to pass Ram Dass' teachings to a new generation of seekers.