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The Only Dance There Is

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  566 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
This book is based on talks by Ram Dass at the Menninger Foundation in 1970 and at the Spring Grove Hospital in Maryland in 1972. The text grew out of the interaction between Ram Dass and the spiritual seekers in attendance at these talks. The result of this unique exchange is a useful guide for understanding the nature of consciousness--useful both to other spiritual seek ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published February 9th 2011 by Anchor (first published January 1st 1974)
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Michael Cunningham
Nov 12, 2012 Michael Cunningham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
The Only Dance There Is is a compiled transcription of two lectures Ram Dass gave to a room of psychotherapists in the early 1970s. The first lecture was at the Menninger Foundation in 1970, and the second at the Spring Grove Hospital in 1972. Seeing as Ram Dass was a trained Harvard professor and psychiatrist before he transformed into a yogi, he was in the fortunate position of having two perceptual vantage points to overlook the whole thing. His clear insight into the Western approach to solv ...more
This is a tremendous book that takes matters of spirituality out of the musty, dead religious institutions and into the light of truth, beauty, and reason.
Debra Robillard
Jun 14, 2012 Debra Robillard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been awhile since I've read this, and I don't know about how I would feel about the book in light of my current theology, but I remember being thrilled by the ideas included in it. I especially liked the concept he puts forth: "If it's the only dance there is you can dance it from Ugh or you can dance it from Ah!" The book reminded me of the temporary nature and ephemeral quality of earthly life. Why waste it on being angry, gloomy, resentful, unforgiving? That really makes no sense. I unde ...more
Apr 17, 2009 Daryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You have to love an upper-middleclass Jewish intellectual who attended Harvard, became a psychoanalyst, started hanging around with Timothy Leary, took LSD, forsook his previous life, packed up and went to India where he met 'his' guru, etc. I love this guy's self-awareness (he was a psychoanalyst after all) and his honesty and sense of humor. Short book, somewhat dated, but in the end about a 'seeker' who might be familiar to some of you that look in the mirror on occasion.
Apr 26, 2015 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a combination of two lectures given by Ram Das to professionals in the field of psychology. He shares his beliefs about God, reincarnation, evolving consciousness, and many personal experiences, including his experimental use of LSD. He also talks in depth about his guru and his time in India. To use Ram Das' own words, the subject matter for this book is really "far out stuff." I will admit, I struggled to wrap my mind around a lot of the topics. I did appreciate the laid back styl ...more
Erik Graff
Mar 23, 2008 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eastern spirituality for westerners fans
Recommended to Erik by: Richard Alpert
Shelves: religion
See the review of his Be Here Now.
Aug 28, 2014 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say? I love Ram Dass! I can't say I've loved every one of his books I've read but this one in my opinion is right up there with Be Here Now. Took me awhile to read because I read and savored it in small pieces. It is a transcript of 2 lectures he gave to mental health professionals in the early 70's. This makes perfect sense since he is an old psychologist and former Harvard Professor of Psychology. I like this book of lectures and his pod casts because of his easy, humorous and conve ...more
Richie Mendelsohn
Incredible book. Taken from lectures so his tone is very conversational and relatable. Still the most down-to-earth and relatable dharma text I've ever read.
Nov 19, 2015 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd rate this behind Be Here Now,Grist for the Mill and Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart.

This doesn't seem to be as dense/interesting as his other books. Didn't find anything new/special here
Sep 18, 2013 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Ram Dass--or as he might say, he kindles that place in me that is pure love. These are transcribed lectures, so they are very informal and conversational, rambling at times, but covering all the basics of the yogic philosophy and lifestyle. He really communicates this stuff so eloquently and with good, self-deprecating humor. Be aware that his language is quite '60s-damaged so if you have a problem with excessive use of the terms "groovy" and "far-out," you will not have an easy time. If ...more
More lessons for life from the esteemed Ram Das.
Oct 20, 2007 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those seeking a new consciousness
Ram Dass is a psychedelic scholar who has sought out the effects of changing your consciousness through religious endeavors. If you are interested in Hinduism, Buddhism, or Taoism, I highly suggest reading this perspective of one man's path toward enlightenment. It is astonishing to read the interpretations of eastern religious practices from the insight of a trained psychologist. He shed his scholastic and psychedelic past and hopped on the next flight to India where after long travails he happ ...more
Jul 06, 2008 Chelsea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved it, Ram Dass always has good things to say. I would recommend hunting down the audio discs for these talks though, you will understand better from his tone of voice etc what he means. He has a good sense of humor and I think I missed some of that by reading it. But after listening to him, the topics got through to me more. But maybe this is a good book to have lying around in case you want to pick it up every now and then for a bit of wisdom.
Carmen Barreto
It was a pretty good book. Nothing extraordinary. This was a compilation of speeches Ram Dass gave.
Jun 30, 2015 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
sometimes a tad incoherent/hard to follow, but sprinkled with beautiful gems throughout. Buddha is a bus driver (~:
Aug 01, 2007 Flynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a transcription of some talks given by this ex-Harvard professor turned Timothy Leary cohort turned super-Buddhist. The style is really fun to read but I was only really into it during the first half.
M. Sarki
I wrote a review of his film Fierce Grace in which the review mentions these books. You can find the review posted here:
Jan 26, 2009 Jon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was decent. I can't remember much but it was written well but had some ethical parts that weren't very pleasing. An adult book for sure.
Scott Compton
Aug 03, 2007 Scott Compton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you
Loads of wisdom in every direction as a transcript of a lecture. Conversational in tone but big ideas in this one that hold true for me to this day.
Nov 22, 2013 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5.0 Full of "far out" ideas and "groovy" language from the 70's, this book's biggest merit is inducing new thoughts.
Paul Panamarenko
Jul 19, 2009 Paul Panamarenko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this when I was 19. I think it sort of changed my life. Great "figuring out who you are" book.
Jul 23, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
never had a book so consistently read my mind, no matter where i was or what i was doing
Mary Helen Hall
Apr 26, 2008 Mary Helen Hall is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
currently reading, I'll fill this in when I finish.
Mik Hamilton, D.C.
Pretty good for a non-spiritually advanced poplularizer.
Dec 10, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Why am I here? This book told me why.
Jul 29, 2011 Sara marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
anne lamott recommends
Apr 10, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i read this EVERY it
Dave Haskins
Chris rated it really liked it
Apr 30, 2016
Dillon marked it as to-read
Apr 29, 2016
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Non-Dualistic? or Cultish? 1 3 Jul 01, 2014 03:29AM  
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Ram Dass (Richard Alpert), one of America's most beloved spiritual figures, has made his mark on the world giving teachings and promoting loving service, harmonious business practices, and conscious care for the dying. His spirit has been a guiding light for four generations, carrying millions along on the journey, helping free them from their bonds as he has worked his way through his own. He mak ...more
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