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The Only Dance There Is

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  474 ratings  ·  22 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
Paperback, 180 pages
Published March 5th 1974 by Anchor Books (first published January 1st 1974)
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Michael Cunningham
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
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
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.
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
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
Oct 20, 2007 Travis rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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.
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:
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 4 of 5 stars
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.
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
I read this when I was 19. I think it sort of changed my life. Great "figuring out who you are" book.
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
currently reading, I'll fill this in when I finish.
Mik Hamilton, D.C.
Pretty good for a non-spiritually advanced poplularizer.
Erik Graff
Mar 23, 2008 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Why am I here? This book told me why.
Jul 29, 2011 Sara marked it as to-read
anne lamott recommends
i read this EVERY it
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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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