13 Jun 2012
June 13, 2012

Getting Ahead of Ourselves



In 1967, I was in the temple in India and I found out that people fasted on the new moon for nine days. So I said to Hari Das, “can I fast for nine days? Can I fast for four days?” He said, “well many people do it for nine.” So I figure if many people do then I will do it. So I spent the entire nine days thinking of Original Joe’s and thinking of Locke-Obers in Boston – of all the restaurants I’ve ever eaten at and what I had, and I remember Thanksgiving Days back in the thirties in New Hampshire and what the turkey looked like and smelled like and tasted like, and the skin, and the white meat and the dark meat and the stuffing. I mean, I really did it with the marshmallows and the squash and the whole shtick. And I would get exhausted from not eating every day you know during that fast. Three months later, I did a nine day fast where I spent all my time thinking about what I would eat when I finished the fast, which was in those days spinach, spinach with lemon and rice. I found that I was getting better.


About a year and a half ago we were all together, and we said we’d fast for a while and I fasted for a number of days, except at noon the only thing delivered to the room was lemon and hot water. I was really never busy fasting. I was just doing other things. I was reading holy books and meditating and I suddenly began to realize what fasting was all about. These were different levels of doing the same practice. In that sense fasting was so I didn’t have to spend all my time preoccupied with my belly and I could just give my intestines a rest and I could cool it out for a while and turn my attention somewhere else for a while.

It took me five years to figure that out, to come into the space where I could be with that method purely. And what I learn is in a lot of methods I got ahead of myself. And I think what happens with methods is that sometimes you do them for a phony reason and you give  them up and you walk away – but if it is your dharma to follow that path you come back to it but in a new way. A fellow came to see me a while back with a friend of mine and he said that he had been a surgeon, and that now he was studying the flute. And he said that a lot of people were upset with him because they said to him “how can you stop being a surgeon? You’ve got this skill and you must use it to help people” but he felt that he had to study the flute. And he asked me to talk or comment on it and I said, “look, as far as I understand it healing concerns the vibrations within the being, the nature of the being that’s doing the healing. And I don’t know any rule that says that a flute doesn’t heal as many or more people than a knife and a needle and thread. Maybe all your surgery training was preparing you to be a flautist or maybe your flute training is preparing you to be a conscious surgeon. You don’t have to know the game in advance. You just got to listen to your heart.”

-Ram Dass

Berkley Comm. Theater

March 7th 1973

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  • carol nieman

    That’s right my dear, so many times we must remember to be here now. I’ve often come to a crossroads in my life and thought, man, I thought I knew the path would go THIS way. Then I’d have a fight with myself coz upon arrival, THAT way made more sense to my heart. When I followed my heart, I was always correct. Surgeon, flautist, farmer, it’s all good, if you are honest.

  • Jill Rene

    I Love this Posting Ram Dass! Thank You :) from the still recessess of my Heart! I am truly Grateful for your Being, Continuing to Avail your Soul, Heart, Truth to me and others, and Shining Maharaji’s and your Love! I can feel this within everyfiber of my Being so powerfully in practicing that I am overcome by unconditional Love so all ecompassing that tears stream joyously from my eyes….Heart Beams ~ Namaste ~ Aloha Mana!!! ~ jill

  • http://StrokesSuck.com Bob Miller

    I have come to study rom the master. My dharma is helping other stroke survivors to help find their inner peace and happiness.

  • Scott McCoy

    Hi Ram,
    Much love to you.
    Thoughtful words indeed.
    Right now my life is not what I envisioned, although I am content, is that strange?
    Trying to sit still long enough so that I may feel, what it right for me to do.
    We get so clouded up in what others think we should be doing.
    So much energy is wasted in trying to get ahead or play the game of what society or family thinks YOU should do.
    Just letting go is very hard, somehow it feels like I’m quitting or giving up, scary place actually for the control freak in myself. ME ME ME
    I’m getting better at not trying to do anything, just taking life as it comes with the curves and bumps.
    Cat got sick this weekend,
    very expensive cat bill, on it goes… churn goes the wheel.
    Boy do I think about food too, to much actually… if I eat right I’ll be better?
    at what?