I have great regard for Ram Dass and consider his teachings on how to be in alignment with life to be exceptionally profound, and also educational. Ram Dass is more than just the spiritual teacher and thinker many consider him to be: his insights are highly practical because, at their essence, they tell us how to end life suffering.
Does it get any more practical, or important, than that?
Ram Dass has been offering life insights since the 1960’s. It’s quite something, for me at least, to contrast Ram Dass from years past to today. Dass was an exceptionally intelligent, articulate, insightful, energetic, and also entertaining, speaker and teacher. Today, in his 80’s and affected by a stroke that occurred in 1997, Dass is a different presence: slower, halting speech as a result of the stroke, older (though certainly not decrepit).
Dass is now an example of the natural, and inevitable, processes of aging and deterioration that he spoke frequently of in his past. Dass, in fact, wrote a fine book about this process, and how he’s been impacted by it, called Still Here – Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying.
Dass’ latest book is Polishing The Mirror, and is described as an instruction for how to live a spiritually realized life. The content of Polishing The Mirror is certainly enlightening but it is, to a significant extent, a repeat of previous Ram Dass lectures and writings. At the end of the book in fact it is acknowledged that the project started off in concept as a collection of Dass’ former works. The finished product, Polishing The Mirror, isn’t too far from that original concept.
This would only be an issue for people, like me, who are familiar with Dass’ works and may have been looking for more originality. There is some material within Polishing The Mirror that I wasn’t familiar with but not a great deal. The book itself is fairly short, less than 200 pages, so it’s not a huge resource to begin with.
I have to admit to being rather surprised that Dass didn’t offer something more original here. If nothing else he could have talked about the turns his life experience has taken since his last published book, Still Here, which was released several years ago.
Is all of this to say that Polishing The Mirror isn’t recommended? Certainly not. I stand by my initial statement that Ram Dass is an extremely important voice for successfully navigating the life experience. Those already familiar with Dass’ previous works may find Polishing The Mirror to be repetitive, but I consider it to be a worthwhile addition to my spiritual library. For those unfamiliar with the works of Ram Dass I recommend Polishing The Mirror as an excellent summary and / or an introduction to a superb teacher.
Find Polishing The Mirror Here.