Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Still Here by Ram Dass

The sub title of Still Here  (Riverhead Books 2000) is Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying. At first glance, you might think this is a gloomy book for the sick or elderly, especially if you know nothing about the author.  Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert, is a Baby Boomer, Soul Seeker, and contemporary spiritual teacher. His earthly and divine connection to Neem Karoli Baba (his guru) and Krishna Das connect him to me on a soul level.  The book is about living life in the moment-to-moment beauty of the present (even under extremely challenging circumstances). RD writes with (and of) Soul Awareness and humor. Take this story, for example; it’s one of my favorites. It made me laugh and think.

        An older man is walking down the street one afternoon when he hears a voice saying, “Pssst – could ya help me out?” He looks around, but there’s nobody there. He starts to walk on, and again he hears, “Pssst – could ya help me out?” Once again he stops and looks around, and again, there’s nobody to be seen. But this time he looks more carefully, and happens to glance down at the sidewalk, where he sees a huge frog. Though he’s embarrassed to be talking to a frog, he asks: “Did you speak to me?”
Much to the man’s surprise, the frog answers: “Yes, indeed. Could ya help me out?”
The man is intrigued and asks, “Well, what do you want?”
The frog replies, “Well, I’m under a curse. If you would kiss me, I would be freed of the curse, and I would turn into a beautiful woman, who would love you and serve you. I would care for you, warm your bed, and make you so happy!”
The man stands for a moment, reflecting, and then picks up the frog, puts it into his pocket, and walks on. After a few minutes the frog says, “Hey! You forgot to kiss me.”
And the man says, “You know, at my age, I think it might be more interesting to have a talking frog.”

If given the opportunity to kiss or pocket a magic frog, what would you do?

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