05 Jul 2011
July 5, 2011

Who Isn’t Uncle Henry?

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You look and you see another person, and you recognize them, and you feel like they are us. Every level below that, you see them as ‘them’ or I see you as ‘her’ or ‘him.’

Now I see you as us. The feeling of us feels extremely fulfilling. But in business you say, ‘well I can’t see my competitor as us. I can’t see the people I work with as us. It’s not functional.’

Let me give you an example of what it feels like. Many years ago, I did a record album, six records. I did some stuff on WBAI in New York, a radio station, and a radio station in Montreal, and they made some records up of it. There was music, and there was a beautiful calligraphied book, all beautifully set out in a box. The whole thing sold for $4.50 mail order, six records. It was in another economic time, you understand, but that was still a good price.

I gave my father, who was a successful man, a copy. And he said, “Pretty impressive.” I said, “Yep.” He said, “Selling it for $4.50?” “Yep.” “Looks like it’s worth a lot more than that.”  “Yep.” He said, “I bet you could get ten dollars for this.” “Right.” “Would fewer people buy it?” I said, “No.” He said, “I don’t understand you, are you against capitalism?” I said, “No.” He said, “Well, I’m very confused. You’ve got a product, it could sell for ten dollars, the same number of people would buy it, and you’re selling it for $4.50.” I said, “Well, it only cost me four dollars, and there’s fifty cents profit.”

I tried to figure out how I could explain to him what the predicament was. I said, “Dad, you’re a lawyer. A few years ago, remember you tried a case for Henry?” “Yeah.” “Was it a tough case?” “Damn right it was. It took a lot of my time.” “Work at the law library a lot?” “I’ll tell you I worked, I really worked on that much more. I had to set a lot of things aside to do that.” I said, “You won it, didn’t you?” “Yeah, it went up to the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, but I won it!” I said, “Well, dad, I bet you charged a sizable fee.”

My father had charged pretty good fees in his life. I said, “I bet you charged a sizable fee to Uncle Henry.” “What, are you out of your mind? It’s Uncle Henry! I couldn’t do that.” I said, “You see my predicament. If you can find somebody who isn’t Uncle Henry, I’ll rip them off.”

 

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  • Dan Miller

    I wonder where there is a copy of those records. I loaned my set to a friend and it all disappeared.

  • http://none Michael Kramer

    Ram Dass
    For all the years I could not look within my heart and true self, a path led me to your new book, Be Love Now.
    This is opening me to a new adventure of my heart, my true self and connection to others for the first time.
    Actually I’m trying to stay grounded, tethered, because I want to fly and sing and let down all my self imposed barriers that kept me from loving and receiving love. For the past 25 years I have friends and a brother who are devotees, I have always respected their devotion, but with reservations. Over the past 25 years I trod the path of recovery from addiction using 12 steps. Your message is connecting me and taking me further, more in tune and purer. Now single, 61 and father of three. Your message is opening up new possibilities for the next stage of my life. It feels so right and I am ready.
    Namaste and all blessings.
    Michael Kramer
    Cornwall
    UK

  • http://www.ramdass.org Dakini

    :-)

  • http://spiritualwoodstock.com/spiritual-awakening/ Karuna DiLibero

    I really like this blog entry about “Uncle Henry!” What an excellent reminder to treat all people as aspects of ourselves. I have been teaching yoga for years and have always taught we are all aspects of the Absolute Reality. This is a great example of how we can convey this to others. We must all learn to treat each other as our own Self! Thank you, Ram Dass!