Monday, November 22, 2004

"Fierce Grace"

Have you ever seen a film that leaps off the screen into your heart and truly means something?

This has happened to me. First some background.

In the '60s, a Harvard Professor named Richard Alpert - along with the infamous Tim Leary - were part of the original guys experimenting with LSD in a professional setting to see what the effects of psychedelics were on the mind and/or in relation to one's spiritual self (soul). The experiences he had while under the influence of the drug were conscious-expanding and spiritually enlightening. There was one catch, however. He always "came down."

With that in mind, Richard went to India to be a part of a culture that understood and were experiencing the same kind of euphoric spiritual experiences that he was having - without the aid of a substance. There, he found his spiritual path and he found God. And there Richard Alpert became Baba Ram Dass.

Ram Dass then went on to be one of the forerunners of the spiritual angle of the hippie movement of the '60s and was and has been a very influential soul. He has since written the best-selling classic (and my favorite book of all time) "Be Here Now" and has been a part of many great causes including the SEVA Foundation.

Fast forward to today. Now, in the last stages of his life and the victim of stroke, he continues to touch the heart of many and to be an example of a man who loves God and loves people. His reflections on elderly living and on being "stroked" (as he puts it) - as well as a brief documentary of his life - is documented in a film entitled "Fierce Grace: Ram Dass."

Being that "Be Here Now" is indeed my favorite book, I was delighted to run across a film about Ram Dass. The stories in this beautifully woven work speak of love and truth and grace in a way that cuts straight to my heart. Hearing the testimonies of the lives that God has touched through him, seeing his servant heart, and experiencing a man who is stuggling with - and embracing - his aging body is inspiring.

I rented the VHS tape from the library and have already watched it three times this week. Beautiful film. Beautiful man. Hare Rama!


Amy Harden said...

Every time I pass the movie box in our living room, I just keep thinking that if they would have put an apostrophe in between the D and A, in Dass, The title would be something completely different. This my dear friend is our marriage dynamic. Trevor writes about grace and this truly touching film. I note that if there was an apostrophe this would be a different kind of touching movie. Just thought I should share....

Amy Harden said...

Get it....Ram D'Ass.. Yeah trev didn't get it at first either. Maybe I should be glad that he doesn't have a dirty mind like his wife. Anyway..........

Meredith said...

Dear Trevor,
I couldn't agree with you more. This was a wonderful film, one I have thought about over and over since viewing it the first time. I have recommended it to many others, each of whom have been equally absorbed. Ram Das is a wonderful teacher, even, maybe especially, at this stage in his life. I loved it when Ram Das was litening to Abby's dream, upon hearing that Terrence said: “Listen. The love we had was wonderful, but that is small peanuts to what’s ahead for you, and when that love comes, I’ll be part of it.”, Ram Das gets this exquisite look on his face, full of feeling, and says, “Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum!” Ram Das tastes the truth of what the dead lover says. The lover is not possessive, and does not cling to the past. Grief opens up to more love, and the new love builds with the former; there is miraculous expansion. This is the fragrance of enlightened love. Very sweet.

Thank you for this post.