“Now just imagine that you, as spirit or awareness, have contained yourself in an incarnation, or contained it in a conceptual model of who you are and in a storyline. And then at some point, you dissolve out of that, you break out of that, and there is this incredible release quality.” – Ram Dass
There is joyousness. Our beloved Baba has left his body, and he is no longer in pain. He has been released from this storyline.
There is sadness. We no longer get the warm embrace of his loving awareness in the human form. The feeling I got when our eyes locked was that of pure liquid love. It was too much for me most of the time, I almost always wound up looking away before he did. But I will miss it dearly. I will miss him dearly.
When I heard the news last night, I immediately had to sit and meditate. As I settled into my first round of “Ram, Ram, Ram,” I felt tears streaking down my face. A thought popped right up into my head, “Well, I didn’t think I’d be this sad.” I thought I was ready for this; I’m sure many of us thought we were.
This is a reality that has been staring us all in the face for some time. During every Mala Ceremony at the retreats on Maui, I’d be sitting in the audience, stressing out, thinking, “This is it. This is what’s going to kill him.” I couldn’t imagine the amount of energy and strength he was using during those ceremonies. But after a while, I came to feel that those moments were what he was staying alive for – connecting with people, helping them bask in that pool of love. It feels very fitting that he passed away two weeks after the last Mala Ceremony. He gave us all of his energy, strength, and love one last time.
So there is definitely sadness at this loss. As much as I’d like to pretend I’m keeping it together, I’m sitting here crying as I write this. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a box of tissues at the ready today. But there is also so much joy, so much gratitude and gratefulness. I feel like Baba Ram Dass has never been as alive in my heart as he is right now.
During these final few years, most of his teachings have been centered around the concept of loving awareness. His mantra was, “I am loving awareness.” To me, he was the complete embodiment of that idea.
But today, as I tried to meditate on that mantra for a bit, it didn’t feel quite right. Because I am not loving awareness, he is. But he is always with me, now and forever. He’s with us all. So today, we are loving awareness. All of us. Together.
We are loving awareness. We are loving awareness. We are loving awareness.
If you have any reflections on Ram Dass that you’d like to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or post on social medial using #lovingramdass.
– Written by Noah Markus on behalf of the Love Serve Remember Foundation
Header photo by John Phaneuf at Ram Dass’s last retreat in December, 2019.