Be Here Now

Be Here Now by Ram Dass, also formerly known as Dr. Richard Alpert, is more than just a book. This story is a guide for those embarking on the inner journey towards home or Om. Whichever you prefer.

This epic shares experience, clinical knowledge, and pop-culture references from today and the past, in order to give the reader comprehensive tools to themselves. Nothing more than that; it’s a spiritual tool. I sought out this book in a time of intense searching for answers that I always felt I had within myself, but didn’t know how to access. I feel as though this book should be essential for every student here at Carnegie Mellon, and other college students across the world, because it helped me access my heart in a way I hadn’t imagined before. This book is more than a comprehensive look at the journey of Ram Dass: it is a look at the unfolding of the ego, and of the Universe always serving as the best guide that there can be.

This book is centered around a journey. But not a journey that takes place on the outside towards a destination, but a journey within. A journey towards seeing one’s soul, past the ego — a journey of seeing oneself in the pureness of love and understanding. The book is divided into three different portions. The first portion of the book outlines Dr. Richard Alpert’s transition into becoming Baba Ram Dass, which means “Servant of God.” He talks in detail about his experience teaching psychology at Harvard during the psychedelic era in America. He also shares his experience of using these psychedelics to experience oneness with the Universe and with God. He clarifies that this wasn’t enough for him, because there was always a come-down; the sensation is nothing but temporary, so eventually he would become
sober. The second portion is illustrative and contains mantras for the regular joe schmoe to read and meditate over. He places an emphasis on meditating over the mantras because “knowledge is eternal and with time and patience, all knowledge finds it way to resonate and bring clarity.” The last portion of this book is called “A Cookbook For A Sacred Life”. It has a table of contents dedicated to different yogic practices, all the way up to sexual energy. This section of the book is my favorite because it has quotes supporting each section from a multitude of sources. You’re not getting a one-sided perspective, but a universal one.

This book is for practitioners of all faiths. Whether you’re Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or any other, there is something for you within this book. It doesn’t just stop at religion and finding ways to help us reach our God (or gods), but it goes above and beyond to not idolize or ostracize any religion. It includes all the knowledge and spiritual practices of different religions so that the reader is well equipped and informed.

If your goal is to read something that will in turn help you to master yourself and the inner journey towards home (Om), then Be Here Now by Baba Ram Dass is just the book for you. It’s without a doubt the best and most viable option for anyone not necessarily looking to enter a religion or religious practice, but looking to advance their spiritual practice, whether they are religious or not.