Recorded in 1980 in San Francisco, Ram Dass gives a glimpse into one of his more challenging experiences as a teacher. His humanity and humor come through in this transcribed excerpt from his workshop on "Relationships."
I found myself a couple of years ago in Hawaii, on an island in Hawaii, where I had been invited to a meditation group. I thought, “Gee. Wonderful, They will fly me to this island.” I had never seen this island. I was met and taken up into the mountains into a plantation way in the back woods.
The whole thing started to feel a little weird to me, and it turned out that they were an intensive group encounter group and there were about thirty of them. They had been together for years and they had taken acid like 250 times together. They all slept in one room with the children and everybody, and they talked funny. The headman called me into his room and he went, (gibberish), and I did not want to do anything. I thought he had a tick and so I just sort of looked like it had not happened and he said, (gibberish). So I thought something was called for here. There is a questioning tone in his voice so I said, “Om.” You can throw that in anytime. Anytime he says a bad faux pas, you can always use om. Om, om, om! So I realized we were starting a new language and we played new language and it was great fun.