I Crochet

I think people awaken originally to a spiritual dimension in their life in an incredibly wide variety of ways. Some people seem to open up to it through traumatic experiences, when people describe a near death experience or at a moment when they touch something much deeper than the traditional way that they thought about things. Other people arrived at that awakening through meditation or through religious experiences. Others arrive at it through sex or through drugs. There is a wide variety of ways.

I remember once lecturing in a hall back in the early 70’s. At that time most of my audiences were very young and they tended to wear white and they tended to smile a lot and wear flowers. At that time I wore beads and had a long beard. I recall that in the front row of my audience there was one woman who was about 70 and she had on a hat with little cherries and strawberries and things like that on it, false ones. And she was wearing black oxfords and a print dress and she had a black patent leather bag and I looked at her and I couldn’t figure out what she was doing in the audience cause she was so dissimilar from all the rest of the audience.

Our audiences were like a gathering of explorers clubs where we would come together and we would just share our experiences. So I started to describe some of my experiences, some of which were pretty far out and I looked at her and she was nodding with understanding, and I couldn’t believe that she could understand what I was talking about. I was describing experiences that I had had after using psychedelic chemicals, experiences that were very precious and far out. So I would try a little further out experience. I’d look over at her and there she was nodding away. I began to think maybe she had a problem with her neck that lead her to nod and maybe it had nothing to do whatsoever with what I was saying. And I kept watching and getting more and more fascinated and getting more and more outrageous in what I was saying and she kept nodding and nodding. At the end of the lecture I couldn’t resist, I just kind of smiled to her so intensely that she just had to come up and speak to me. And she came up and she said “Thank you so much. That makes perfect sense. That’s just the way I understand the universe to be.” And I said, “How do you know? I mean, what have you done in your life that has brought you into those kinds of experiences?” She leaned forward very conspiratorially and she said, “I crochet”. And at that moment  I realized that the ways in which people arrive at spiritual understanding was certainly a much wider variety of paths than what I had anticipated. I had begun to think that my way was the only way, which seems to be a common illness of people who get into spiritual work.

~Ram Dass, Polishing The Mirror: How to Live From Your Spiritual Heart

26 thoughts on “I Crochet”

  1. I have to laugh as I sat nodding while I read your story.
    Love it (insert BIG smile). Some people get it driving, walking, sitting in meditation, or rocking their babes.
    Love you Ram Dass


  2. I remember hearing our dear Ram Dass saying once that even “pizza and beer” may get you there. Whatever it takes, just be open to it!

  3. Yes I first heard this story in my twenties (I’m now 64) and it’s Truth has stayed relevant my whole adult life. My gratitude for you Ram Das, for your relevance, for your Truth and just plain for always being who you are. My love for you always, Jeannie

  4. I think my moment of “enlightment” (if one has to name it) came when I realized every living thing is a thread in the tapestry of the Universe.; some cotton, some gold, some linen, some worn, some strong, some frayed, some sharp and cutting man-made fibers. But I am struck at your forming an “assumption” of this woman that she would not understand your concepts. Hm………

  5. I crochet too – a deeply spiritual, entheogenic practice.
    Thank you, Ram Dass, for all you’ve done – from those first days at Naropa until now.
    *bowing Respect and Appreciation*
    ~ anna

  6. Each twist and turn of the crochet needle is a mantra — any repetitive activity which requires no “thinking” (planning, decision making, etc) can be a path to liberation for the mind.

  7. An American Quilt – forgot the name of the book – i gave it to my mother – gemini – thanks god for crochet, and all – what a blessing – for her – for me – and the people being “crochet” – very nice, the text, the silence – the being – may all be well – crochet,crochet

  8. I have found crocheting to be a profound spiritual exercise. Have made blankets and canopies, but circles are the most fun. Constructing mandalas.

  9. My mom linked me to this article, glad she did! I took a class on weaving in the Maya tradition of backstrap looms during my last year of college in order to get in touch with my femininity–I have always been a tomboy and a-okay with that, but when I took a class on the significance to the Maya of weaving and the symbolism of backstrap loom weaving with how it ties into femininity, I was fascinated and decided I wanted to try it. I was devastated to be very bad at it, and realizing that I’d probably messed up my loom beyond repair at one point almost made me cry–very uncharacteristic for me! But I was still fascinated with fiber-making arts–I had read a children’s book a few years earlier from the popular Chronicles of Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander where a character goes on a quest to make himself as literally self-made as possible, and a part at which he made a cloak of his own, out of fabric he wove and fiber he spun himself, stayed with me. I also have this odd affinity for string in general–making fiber, cat’s cradle-type games, ect.–because I love the idea of taking nothing and making it into something substantial by clever work and fine-tuned skill. So I eventually took up crochet, and I’ve had far more success than with the weaving; people are fascinated to watch and want to learn about it, and it’s an activity that is very conducive to sitting in a group and socializing, maybe talking about one’s experiences, sharing company and community, “spinning yarns” as we used to in “the olden days”, or even if I just strike up a conversation with a stranger in public because I’m fascinated with the texture of the fabric they’re wearing–it’s a great way to be social, believe it or not. And I can make things for myself or friends to show I care or be practical–Mrs. Weasley’s homemade jumpers and socks in the Harry Potter books are so much more significant for me now! I get to create something, and that feels very good–creative power and process. And it does help me feel more connected to my femininity, although I encourage men to take it up as well because it’s a practical skill and the more the merrier! It really does have a lot of significance for me in some pretty profound ways!:-)

  10. I crochet and what I have noticed is the process of chrcheting is to make a space and then work the stitch into the space. And that creates a space into which you work your stitch. And that, to me is very much a way of looking at spiritual work. Create a space to work in and create more space


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