The living heart needs an investment, a continuous re-investment with family. So why would you invest in the family? You invest in the family because you understand that part of your incarnation and part of the harmony is finding your function within the family. Now that doesn’t mean that every mother is the same mother or every father is the same father. It means that you have to hear your unique way through. The unique way through doesn’t necessarily mean your personality desire of ‘what I want.’ It’s, “What is appropriate for this situation?” It’s, “What is appropriate in view of my skills, opportunities, needs of the family, economics, political situations, and so on…”

Say you are poor and you’re in a family of six living in one room. That’s a very different set of role demands than if you’re living in a situation where everybody has their own room, which they can go into with a lock on the door. It’s hard to see through because we think we have won; that affluence has given us the privacy to have our own rooms. However, it’s really a mixed bag; it’s given us the privacy to become very isolated and cut off from each other. We become very private, secretive, ashamed, embarrassed, uncomfortable; a whole lot of stuff many of us carry around with ourselves.

As I grew through a period when we were all just getting into mobility, and the idea that freedom was leaving home; then when it looked like I should help out at home, because there was a need for me there, because I was the unmarried member of the family, and I was mobile and able to do that; I confronted the fact of the mythic implication of mobility and freedom. What a myth that turned out to be. He went off into the sunset and ends up 50 years old, unmarried and coming home. To many of us that sounds like a failure, “Boy, what a poor slob!”

Yet, when I felt my way into it, it kept feeling right to me; and there was something about all of the drugs I had taken and all of the meditation I had practiced, that allowed me to tune into that feeling of rightness. Independent of the fact that culturally it wasn’t hip; it wasn’t the sort of thing we were doing these days. So I went home and I started to live there and it wasn’t easy. I had my father and my stepmother and they had opinions about how life goes, they had their home, and were used to living in it in the way they were used to living in it. Then here I come galumphing in like an elephant. At first I felt very cramped; I felt cramped because I kept trying to be ‘somebody’ and then I thought, “Well, now, should I see that as a problem and move out or should I work with it?”

I’m really a masochist in some ways, because I want to get free so bad that if there’s something in my life that catches me, in anger, irritation or frustration, I know that it’s because of some place that’s clinging inside of me, in my mind. I tend to go towards those things, rather than away from them. So I knew there was work to do there.

When I walked into that house, Ram Dass was left at the door and Richard went in. Nobody even knew what Ram Dass did in that house; nobody ever asked; they didn’t really care. Which is a strange experience because I’m out here all day long doing ‘Ram Dass stuff’ and Ram Dass seems like, “Oh boy, doing important things.”

So, when you come in, and you leave it at the door, it can be a practice. I found it to be an incredibly beautiful discipline for myself. To not bring in Ram Dass; it meant I couldn’t really use their telephone, because pretty soon, every 20 minutes or so, there would be a call for Ram Dass and that would upset their whole value system. “Now what was I trying to get free of?” I was trying to get free of my own attachment to my own models of who I thought I was; and I was using the family situation to do that.


-Ram Dass

CLICK HERE to read part one.