Sometimes illumination occurs spontaneously or, as Ram Dass experienced, in a heart-wrenching moment of opening. More commonly, it happens when we polish the mirror of the heart with daily practice—and see beyond the illusion of our transient thoughts and emotions to the vast and luminous landscape of our true nature.
For five decades, Ram Dass has explored the depths of consciousness and love and brought them to life as service to others. With Polishing the Mirror, he gathers together his essential teachings for living in the eternal present, here and now.
Readers will find within these pages a rich combination of perennial wisdom, humor, teaching stories, and detailed guidance on Ram Dass' own spiritual practices, including:
Bhakti Yoga—opening our hearts to unconditional love
• Practices for living, aging, dying, and embracing the natural flow of life
• Karma Yoga—how selfless service can profoundly transform us
• Working with fear and suffering as a path to grace and freedom
• Step-by-step guidance in devotional chant, meditation and mantra practice, and much more
For those new to Ram Dass' teachings, and for those to whom they are old friends, here is this vanguard spiritual explorer's complete guide to discovering who we are and why we are here, and how to become beacons of unconditional love.
About the Author
Ram Dass (1931–2019) first went to India in 1967. He was still Dr. Richard Alpert, an already eminent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer with Dr. Timothy Leary. He continued his psychedelic research until his journey to the East in 1967, driving overland to India, where he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, affectionately known as Maharaj-ji. Maharaj-ji gave him the name, Ram Dass, which means "servant of God." Everything changed then—his intense dharmic life started, and he became a pivotal influence on a culture that has reverberated with the words “be here now” ever since.
Be Here Now, Ram Dass's monumentally influential and seminal book, still stands as the highly readable centerpiece of the Western articulation of Eastern philosophy and practicing to live joyously in the present moment, be it luminous or mundane. From a backpackers’ bible in the 1970s, Be Here Now continues to be the instruction manual of choice for generations of spiritual seekers. Fifty years later, it's still part of the timeless present. Being here now is still being here now. Ram Dass's work continues to be a path of teaching and inspiration to so many. His loving spirit has been a guiding light for three generations, carrying millions along on the journey, helping free them from their bonds as he has worked through his own. For more about Ram Dass’s teachings, visit ramdass.org.
Rameshwar Das is a writer and photographer who met Ram Dass in 1968. Ramesh has collaborated with Ram Dass on many projects, most recently as coauthor of Be Love Now and Polishing the Mirror.
“Ram Dass is a superb writer. His example of gentleness and loving compassion is infused with profound wisdom of the heart and mind, a welcome sense of humor and a savvy effectiveness in the real world.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“This collection of teachings by Ram Dass (author of Be Here Now), one of the United States' most famous spiritual seekers, is surprisingly fresh and accessible more than 40 years after the psychedelic psychologist first wrote about consciousness expansion through LSD. His willingness to admit his own mistakes and turn them into lessons for personal growth is refreshing, and allows readers to see themselves in his story.” —Publishers Weekly
“Ram Dass has been polishing the mirror of his heart for decades. Now 82 years old, he has the process down pat. For those negotiating this process, Polishing the Mirror offers an eclectic tool kit.. His message, as clear as it has always been and delivered with his inimitable humor, does not deviate much from the original words of wisdom he received from his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, many years ago: 'Love everyone and tell the truth.” —Tricycle Magazine
“Considering his long-standing advice to 'be here now,' the spiritual author and teacher Ram Dass has always been ahead of his time . . . . Polishing the Mirror brings a light tone to recapping the lessons learned, wisdom gained, love realized, and new challenges awaiting as the end of this life nears.” —Spirituality & Health Magazine
“Ram Dass has been the most influential person in my own spiritual development. I treasure his wisdom as well as his spirit. Let his words in theis book enter your soul -- for my friend Ram Dass is divine love personified.” —Wayne Dyer, Author of The Power of Intention
“Ram Dass has been the most influential person in my own spiritual development. I treasure his wisdom as well as his spirit. Let his words in this book enter your soul—for my friend Ram Dass is divine love personified.” —Wayne Dyer, Author of The Power of Intention
“This book is a blessing! Simply reading it will open your heart and bring you to mysterious, spacious, loving freedom. Ram Dass is one of the great sages of our time who can make us laugh, cry, and awaken!” —Jack Kornfield, Author of A Path with Heart
“Ram Dass reminds us of the truths that are easiest to forget and most central to our lives. Loving awareness is our true nature. In Polishing the Mirror, we are guided back home to this realization through a delightful weave of vintage stories, wisdom teachings, and the felt transmission of Ram Dass’s own radiant heart.” —Tara Brach, Author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“Ram Dass is a wise man in our time—spiritual pioneer, teacher, and luminary of planetary consciousness. Illumining the path for all of us, RD is the headlight at the forefront of the Dharma movement in the West. This gentle giant has been polishing the mirror of his heart and soul for a very long time, bringing forth the sweet fruits of his labors of love and selfless service for our benefit today and tomorrow. His new book clearly calls us to join together and awaken, to make the infinite journey from the head to the heart, and to adventure to co-create a better world by being loving awareness right now. I simply cannot put down this lovely book.” —Lama Surya Das, Author of Awakening the Buddha Within
“This book by our precious friend Ram Dass is a beautiful guide to love and awakening.” —Joan Halifax, Abbot of Upaya Zen Center