As chaos increases - and there's a lot of inertia in the system that seems to suggest that is the direction we're going in - it behooves us to prepare ourselves to ride the changes. If, in the face of uncertainty, people are busy holding onto something, the fear increases, then the contraction increases, and prejudice increases. The question is, what are you adding to the system to shift the balance? What you're adding is yourself, and what yourself has to be is somebody who can handle uncertainty and chaos without contracting.
I've gotten over the feeling of being somebody special. You've come with a camera and tape-recorders, but that's your trip, it's not mine. I really experience the web of inter-connectedness of all beings. It's like C.S Lewis' line, you don't see the center because it's all center.
Q: There are so many people who spend all their time dreaming about being somebody special.
Ram Dass: And the horror is to see people who thought that that would be something and then got it. Then you see them trying to hold onto it, even though they know it's empty. I've been in a hall with thousands of people applauding and bringing flowers and loving me, and then gone to the hotel alone, feeling the absolute wretchedness of it all.
Q: Could you sum up the basic message of your life?
Ram Dass: I would say that the thrust of my life has been initially about getting free, and then realizing that my freedom is not independent of everybody else. Then I am arriving at that circle where one works on oneself as a gift to other people so that one doesn't create more suffering. I help people as a work on myself and I work on myself to help people.
I've been perfecting that circle for thirty years. It's karma yoga. It's the Bodhisattva vow. My life is about applied dharma. On a socio-political level - I'm a survivor. Once that faith and that connection and that emptiness is strong enough, then I experience looking around for the fields I can play in.
I work with AIDS, with business, with government, with teenagers, with people dying of cancer, with blindness. It doesn't matter, because your agenda is always the same. Do what you can on this plane to relieve suffering by constantly working on yourself to be an instrument for the cessation of suffering. To me, that's what the emerging game is all about.