Baba Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert on April 6, 1931, in Boston, MA) died peacefully at his Maui home Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019. He taught psychology at Stanford and Harvard and later became a pioneer of the spirituality movement in the U.S. He served as a guide for thousands seeking to discover their true spirituality and attain a higher state of consciousness. Now through the end of 2019, all proceeds from sales of Bee Here Now shirts will be given to Ram Dass’s Love Serve Remember Foundation.
Ted shares the profound influence Ram Dass had on his life …
I guess it’s an unsurprising connection that a young man growing up on the beach in the mid ’70s would be interested in spirituality. In high school I attended a weekly meditation at the Unity Church in Saint Simons Island and somehow around that time I ended up with a copy of the book “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass. That book had a big impact on the way I viewed the world as well as my place in it.
One time, my dad and some friends brought me to Savannah to hear the Ram Dass speak. I remember his eyes seemed to glow from the inside. I remember the feeling I had while listening to him -- a deep, piercing inner knowing. I remember afterward, when we gathered with some other people to talk with him, and he reached over and just rubbed the top of my head.
I wore that book out from handling it so much. Not only from turning the pages, but from literally rotating the book at certain points in order to read the text printed in helix formations. The content was for sure way out there, but the point to me was to pull one’s self out of the ego “skin” in order to see the broader purpose of existence. The mantra Be Here Now, Now Be Here, Here Be Now has always helped to bring me back to the present moment.
After opening my bee business, one of the first shirts - if not the first shirt - that I came out with said Bee Here Now on it. We’ve sold it ever since, and it is still my favorite shirt and an obvious homage to Ram Dass.
I’m surprised how much the news of his passing affected me. Even though he had a positive impact on my life, it’s not as if I really knew him. Perhaps the grief I feel is more for what I spiritually have lost in my wanderings through the stages of life. I feel distanced from my earlier, more grounded self, and I’m struggling to get back to that more present state of mind.
At any rate, I want to do something to recognize his influence on me, which I believe in part set the stage for all of the positive things I have accomplished in this world. Now through the end of the year, I will donate all profits from the sales of Bee Here Now shirts to Ram Dass’s foundation to help continue some of the work he put in place.