Freedom in Simplicity


When you finally begin to become free, you’re not interested in having your consciousness constantly captured by the telephone, television, or radio.

I used to be so stimulated all the time. All day long there was input. You had to have input. I’d sit, eating a steak dinner, reading a book, listening to music, playing with the cat, talking to my girlfriend. All at once. And I’d be bored.

So what I notice is that there’s no rule that somebody imposes on you from outside, “Simplify.” It’s something that just starts to happen to you. It’s like, how much money do you have to earn to be happy? Well, if you’re going to support the superstructure I was supporting, you’ve got to work very hard.

So when you get down to a single little cell with a mat, and when you realize that if you eat the same food every day, you won’t be bothered wondering what you’re going to eat every day – I used to lie in bed at Harvard and I’d say, “Well, now, do I want Chinese food or Italian food?” And I’d spend about an hour fantasying each meal until I decided which one went most with my acids and juices at that moment.

But then when I came back from India, what turned me on most was that every day I had brown rice and dahl mixed together, called kidri, and I made chapattis out of whole-wheat flour, and when there was a vegetable available, I had that. And I had a cup of tea in the morning, and that at noon, and an apple at night, and that was my trip. The same thing every day. There wasn’t any surprises or any exotic seasonings. It was very simple. Well, Indian seasoning is pretty weird, but it’s reasonably good for your intestines, some parts of it.

Simplification of diet. We’ve gotten into esthetics, and the kind of super-subtle astral planes where, when we get bored with our palate, we think the best thing to do is to change the game, so we’ll keep titillating our palate more and more; while another strategy, of course, is to just give up trying to be turned on that way all the time.

The basic transformation that occurs – and this is the big one – and you can really assess where you’re at in relation to this one – is that up until a certain moment, your self-definition involves your profession, your sex, your responsibilities, and your social/cultural roles. So if anybody says “Who are you?”, you say, “I’m a lawyer; I’m a father; I’m a husband; I’m a –“ blup, blup, blup blup.

Once this process starts to evolve, you begin to realize that the only thing you are is a being evolving towards full consciousness. Or you could say coming into the spirit. You can use whatever metaphor you want. An awakening being. And all the rest of it is the supportive cast. All the rest of it is the stuff through which this is going on.


-Ram Dass, 1972/11/22 – Unitarian Church, Boulder, CO


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