“You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success – none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.”

– Ram Dass 


Born in 1931 to a wealthy family outside of Boston, Richard Alpert was the star of his family. By age 27, he was an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard University and had all the trappings of big success – a corner office, golf outings, extravagant vacations. In 1959, a young professor named Dr. Timothy Leary moved into the office next door. He was brilliant, charismatic and believed mind-expanding psychedelic drugs could be used in psychological treatment, a theory that also intrigued Richard Alpert.

The professors tested those theories on students and were famously fired from Harvard for their research in 1963. That is when Richard realized he needed to follow an entirely different path to enlightenment, and it led him to India.

There, he met Neem Karoli Baba, also referred to as Maharajji, who became his guru or spiritual guide and taught him the power of unconditional love. “Ram Dass gave Maharajji some LSD, but it had no effect. He surmised that the guru’s consciousness had already been so awakened that drugs were powerless to alter it.”

Richard returned to Boston, renamed Ram Dass, which means “Servant of God,” with a new sense of purpose to teach a generation a lesson he learned in the East – to live in the moment. He wrote his classic best-selling book Be Here Now. (text from this Oprah podcast)



“In 1997, he had a stroke, which left him with paralysis and expressive aphasia. He eventually grew to interpret this event as an act of grace, learning to speak again and continuing to teach and write books. After becoming seriously ill during a trip to India in 2004, he gave up traveling and moved to Maui, Hawaii, where he hosted annual retreats with other spiritual teachers until his death in 2019.”


“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.” – Ram Dass


Ram Dass, left, and Timothy Leary in 1988. Over the years he was Mr. Leary’s disciple, enemy and, at the end, friend.Credit…Joe Wrinn/Harvard University, via Associated Press

“As we grow in our consciousness, there will be more compassion and more love, and then the barriers between people, between religions, between nations will begin to fall. Yes, we have to beat down the separateness.” – Ram Dass