I remember the first time I saw a copy of Ram Dass’ book, “Be Here Now”. It was behind the sales counter at a vintage store waiting to be restocked on the shelf. Immidetly, I was drawn to the purple geometric cover with the word “remember” written in each of the four directions. I asked the teller if I could look at the book, it was as if I instinctively knew that the pages held valuable information and powerful impact.
Ram Dass is deeply spiritual but not religious, an ex-teacher at Harvard and an iconic figure in the psychedelic movement.
As I opened the book and started to flip through the pages I was transported into another universe. I felt this spark ignite and was deeply curious to further explore the unconventional wisdom on those pages. I knew that it was more than just a book, it was a manual for becoming a conscious being. I was grateful it landed in my hands because, being from a small town, nobody was teaching these types of topics.
This week on the Unconventional Life podcast is the musician Trevor Oswalt aka East Forest. His latest project has been collaborating with the legendary teacher Ram Dass to create a full-length album that highlights his new teachings while taking the listener into a deep, transformational experience.
Ram Dass is 88 years old and has lived through significant historical events and change. It seems as if he has led two vastly different lives. He shapeshifted from Richard Alpert, a Psychologist teaching at Harvard to Ram Dass, meditating in India.
How did he transition from wearing a suit and tie to a long white robe? He took loads of Psychedelics.
Ram Dass attributes the use of psychedelics to have kick-started his spiritual quest and landed him at the feet of eastern mysticism. They allowed him to knock on the doors of consciousness and get a look inside and transmute this wisdom with the world.
Ram Dass, like many elders, have collected a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom from their lifetimes that can guide us today and in the future. That is, if we do not let time slip away. It’s really important to create opportunities for the elderly to share their life stories with younger generations. Many times these stores are spoken from generation to generation but only rarely are they wrote down, recorded and shared with people outside of their immediate family.
So, In June of 2018, East Forest flew to Maui to interview and record Ram Dass. The recording could take 15-30 min for Ram Dass to fully answer one question, due to a recent stroke affecting his ability to produce speech. After capturing these words of wisdom he returned to his studio to compose the soundtrack. What he noticed was when he edited out the long pauses between thoughts, there was this beautiful poetic transmission of information and insight that Ram Dass shared.
With the use of technology and his musical ability, East Forest has created this bridge to “allow Ram Dass’s words to come alive again” despite the limitations from his stroke, his teachings can continue to be passed down in song form and preserved for future generations.
East Forest is redefining the way to share intergenerational knowledge with the world. He is enriching the lives of younger generations by opening up the door to spirituality without forcing Religion and giving Ram Dass a precious opportunity to relive his wild experiments and the vivid tapestry of his experiences.
The album will be slow released in 4 chapters throughout 2019. To listen to the released collaborative tracks or see upcoming live events and ceremonies hosted by East Forest go here.
To receive more insights from Ram Dass check out his website.