Be Here Now

date Sep 7, 2023
authors Ram Das
reading time 16 mins

Table of Contents


Theory vs experiential

I theorized this or that. I espoused these ideas, these intellectual concepts, quite apart from my own experiential base. Although I could bring all kinds of emotional zeal to bear on my presentation, there was a lack of validity in my guts about what I was doing.

The experiential awareness “I”

When I could finally focus on the question, I realized that although everything by which I knew myself, even my body and this life itself, was gone, still I was fully aware! Not only that, but this aware “I” was watching the entire drama, including the panic, with calm compassion. Instantly, with this recognition, I felt a new kind of calmness—one of a profundity never experienced before.

Experiences were indescribable to others

But these experiences quickly became indescribable. I’d get to a point with my colleagues when I couldn’t explain any further, because it came down to “To him who has had the experience no explanation is necessary, to him who has not, none is possible.”

Psychedelics vs Meditation

An old Buddhist Lama said, “It gave me a headache.” Somebody else said, “It’s good, but not as good as meditation.”


No past or the future

“Did I ever tell you about the time that Tim and I . . .” And he’d say, “Don’t think about the past. Just be here now.” Silence. And I’d say, “How long do you think we’re going to be on this trip?” And he’d say, “Don’t think about the future. Just be here now.”

Watching emotions rise and dissapear

“Emotions are like waves. Watch them disappear in the distance on the vast calm ocean.”

Find who you are right here and now

I think the message is that you don’t need to go to anywhere else to find what you are seeking.

Quieten the mind

When you have quieted your mind enough and transcended your ego enough you can hear how it really is.


Wanting stuff and power

The most exquisite paradox as soon as you give it all up you can have it all How about that one? As long as you want power You can’t have it. The minute you don’t want power you’ll have more than you ever dreamed possible

Our individual trivial trip

You’re on a trivial trip that’s going to last? Maybe what? 60 ___ say 70 _ maybe 80 years and full with fear


Anything that is in time is going to pass away. Anything in time it’s going to pass because Time passes

Cause of suffering

Buddha says: The cause of suffering is attachment or desire They all say the same thing! Third noble truth Give up attachment Give up desire You end the births You end the deaths You end the suffering You end the whole thing that

Karma Yoga - daily life

This (chopping wood and carrying water) is karma yoga . . . the yoga of daily life. The way to do it is: “do what you do but dedicate the fruits of the work to me” That’s the most esoteric way of saying it. Another way of saying it is: Do it without attachment. Another way of saying it is: Total Renunciation! … Now that doesn’t mean you go up to a mountain and live in a cave. It means that you renounce attachment even to your own desires.


My thinking mind is a perfect servant and a lousy master

Begin here and now

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”—Lao Tzu BUT WHERE DO WE BEGIN? The answer is simple: you begin just where you are.

Everyone’s path is different

This manual contains a wide variety of techniques. Everyone’s needs are different and everyone is at a different stage along the path. But, as with any recipe book, you choose what suits you. If you listen to your own inner voice, it will tell you where you are now, and which method will work best for you

The learning will come at the right moment

If you go looking for a guru and you are not ready to find one, you will not find what you are looking for. On the other hand, when you are ready the guru will be exactly where you are at the appropriate moment.

Relax for the next smallest step

Relax. You are being guided. In fact, the next message you need in the treasure hunt is exactly where you are when you need it. The message may be in the form of a teacher or a lover or an enemy or a pet or a rock or a chemical or a book or a feeling of great despair or a physical illness or the eyes of a person you pass on the street.

Many experiences and learnings on the way

A teacher points the way. A guru is the Way. In the course of your awakening you will have thousands of teachers.

Listen and wait

So, if in doubt about the next step, just listen. And if still in doubt, wait. When it’s time to move, you’ll know.

The way will be clearer when we are not attached and become quiet

And as you extricate yourself from your attachments and become quiet, you will be able to know more and more clearly how it all is . . . The Way. And the more clearly you hear, the more your actions will be in harmony with the Way

Reflecting on what you read

Read and re-read and re-re-read it. Then let your thoughts work around it. Paraphrase it. See how it applies to others and to yourself.

Ananlogy of a quiet mind

What are the steps of the process of calming the mind? Think of a lake in whose depths lies hidden what you seek. You try to see down into the lake, but you can’t because the surface is covered with waves going in all directions . . . choppy water . . . thoughts coming from all directions . . . from

What was the original purpose of repeated mantras?

The use of such special mantras is to help you see the act you are performing or about to perform in such a way as to prevent your identifying with the doer of the act.

Rationalization is seductive, but not useful

it is such a seductive route that most Westerners prefer it and wrap their subsequent failure in layers of rationalization.


Breathing and thought

Furthermore, there is an intimate relationship between thought and breath. When you calm your breath, there is simultaneous calming of the mind.

When to do pranayam

Most people will find that doing pranayam as part of the early morning purification is ideal. A second suitable time is at sunset before the evening meal.


Strengthening the desire makes you slower

The problem of course is that everytime you direct your attention to the gratification of a specific desire, you create more thoughts about that desire and thus strengthen its hold over you. Thus, you slow down your own journey into the light. Since you already realize that the gratification of that desire is going to be finite and ultimately not enough, the new power has in fact sucked you into another cul-de-sac. And so it goes for most people until they truly see each new power as one more seductive enticement of maya.

Cosmic humor

The cosmic humor is that if you desire to move mountains and you continue to purify yourself, ultimately you will arrive at the place where you are able to move mountains. But in order to arrive at this position of power you will have had to give up being he-who-wanted-to-move-mountains so that you can be he-who-put-the-mountain-there-in-the-first-place. The humor is that finally when you have the power to move the mountain, you are the person who placed it there—so there the mountain stays.


Set your current affairs in order

What is important is that you get your house in order at each stage of the journey so that you can proceed.

Set your relationships in order

For example, if you never got on well with one of your parents and you have left that parent behind on your journey in such a way that the thought of that parent arouses anger or frustration or self-pity or any emotion . . . you are still attached. You are still stuck. And you must get that relationship straight before you can finish your work.

Set your stuff in order

This getting straight not only applies to people but to things as well, such as favorite music, disliked foods, special treats, avoided places, all your toys, etc. Everything must be rerun through your compassion machine.

Unattached, not uninvolved

To be “not caught” means to be unattached. To be unattached does not mean to be uninvolved, it means to be involved “without attachment.”

Are you really helping?

To be attached means that you identify with your role as the GIVER of help. This in turn casts the other person in the role of the RECEIVER of help. Such identification with roles may fill bellies, but it increases human distance.

Dropping out internally, not externally

To think that working on oneself requires “dropping-out” of society is to miss the point. Certainly you must drop out . . . but the drop-out is internal, not external. One drops out of one’s attachments; one drops out of one’s identification with the illusion of separateness.

Observe and witness

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle

The Martians seem to know instinctively what we learned painfully from modern physics, that observer interacts with observed through the process of observation.

No evaluation, no judgement. Just noting.

The witness is not evaluative. It does not judge your actions. It merely notes them. Thus, if you perform an act because of desire, such as eating something that is not sattvic (helpful to your sadhana), and then you put yourself down for having eaten it . . . the witness—when it finally appears—would merely note.

This point is important. Most of the time the inner voices of most people are continually evaluative. “I’m good for doing this,” or “I’m bad for doing that.” You must make that evaluative role an object of contemplation as well. Keep in mind that the witness does not care whether you become enlightened or not. It merely notes how it all is.

Trigger and the witness within you

This time—as you are about to get angry—the witness says “Ah, about to get angry, I see.” This often short-circuits the energy the “angry you” was fueling up with, and it falls away. So now the lapse between being awake and being asleep is getting much smaller.


Throughout the day you are remaining centered in the witness watching the drama of life unfold.


On the surface, this method looks like what psychologists call the “defense mechanism of dissociation.”

Death and giving up

It all seems so dispassionate. And truly it is. Here it is well to remember the oft-quoted stipulation that you must “die to be reborn” or “give it all up to have it all.”


At first let your mind wander and just watch it. Just note how your mind works. Don’t think about the thoughts. Just note them. Do this for about thirty minutes a day for a week.


For all of the finite knowledge does not add up to the infinite. In order to take the final step, the knower must go. That is, you can only BE it all, but you can’t know it all. The goal is non-dualistic—as long as there is a “knower” and “known” you are in dualism.

Who am I?

by Ramana Maharshi and is called Vichara Atma (Who Am I?). It is a method for turning the mind in upon itself to first know its true nature and then to be its true nature. The method is technically simple, though extremely difficult to execute. (1) You ask yourself, “Who am I?” Then step by step, in a systematic fashion, you proceed to dissociate yourself from all the elements you previously identified as “I.” (2) You answer, “I am not my torso or body.” Then you attempt to experience yourself as separate from your body.


“Our existence as embodied beings is purely momentary; what are a hundred years in eternity? But if we shatter the chains of egotism, and melt into the ocean of humanity, we share its dignity. To feel that we are something is to set up a barrier between God and ourselves; to cease feeling that we are something is to become one with God.”—Gandhi

Here and now

Each time you do this, try to feel the immediacy of the Here and Now. Begin to notice that wherever you go or whatever time it is by the clock . . . it is ALWAYS HERE AND NOW. In fact you will begin to see that you can’t get away from the HERE and NOW.


The “pros” of psychedelics are as follows:

  1. For a person deeply attached to any finite reality which he takes to be absolute, the psychedelics can, under proper conditions, help him to break out of the imprisoning model created by his own mind.

Short term usage

The use of psychedelics can provide experiences which in the short term strengthen your faith in the possibility of enlightenment sufficiently to pursue systematic purification

Carefully guided sessions

Carefully programmed psychedelic sessions can have significant therapeutic value in providing new perspectives for areas of strong attachment.

The deepest psychedelic experiences

The deepest psychedelic experiences allow one to transcend polarities and thus get beyond fears of death, or entrapments in the guilt created by attachment to the polarity of good and evil.

The “cons” of psychedelics are as follows:

  1. You still come down. The experience is not permanent. Coming down brings despair.

Attachment to getting “high”

The intensity with which the psychedelics show you “more” makes you greedy to be done before you are ready. This attaches you to the experience of “getting high” which, after a period of time, becomes a cul-de-sac.


Purification of the mind

As you further purify yourself, your impurities will seem grosser and larger. Understand that it’s not that you are getting more caught in the illusion, it’s just that you are seeing it more clearly. The lions guarding the gates of the temples get fiercer as you proceed towards each inner temple. But of course the light is brighter also.

There is no shortcut

Early in the journey you wonder how long the journey will take and whether you will make it in this lifetime. Later you will see that where you are going is HERE and you will arrive NOW . . . so you stop asking.


Previously you sought continuous stimulation but now you gravitate towards situations in which there is less and less stimulation.

Slow and gradual change

It would seem wiser to start your sadhana from exactly where you are, and then let any changes occur in your style of life and environment in a slow and natural fashion.


In this corner establish a regular ritual for purification, for reflection, for calming the mind. Just as water wears away stone, so daily sadhana will thin the

Daily schedule

The discipline of a daily schedule is a drag at first, after a while you will feel the results. It all runs on automatic. Don’t think. Fill your whole mind with the spirit. BE!

How does living with others help you in the journey?

Although you may have more chance to work on your sadhana when you live alone, you have less chance to practice that most difficult of all paths, karma yoga. In solitude you don’t have many demands made upon you, nor do you develop the elasticity which comes with the give-and-take of living with others.


Ritual death has been practiced throughout the world for centuries. Many Buddhist meditation exercises are designed to take you through your own death.

We are all dying and being born in each moment

We all die in each moment . . . and we are all born in each moment . . . in truth, whether this death/rebirth is called physical or psychological.


It may be helpful to see these planes as a series of veils or illusions (maya) that keep us separate from the –atman, or universal soul.