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Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart
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Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  1,105 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Sometimes illumination occurs spontaneously or, as Ram Dass experienced, in a heart-wrenching moment of opening. More commonly, it happens when we polish the mirror of the heart with daily practice--and see beyond the illusion of our transient thoughts and emotions to the vast and luminous landscape of our true nature.

For five decades, Ram Dass has explored the depths of c
Hardcover, 161 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Sounds True
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 ·  1,105 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Alika Tanaka Yarnell
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves, non-fiction
LOVED this book. I can see myself referring to many of its passages over and over again. I especially resonated with the following quote on page 72:

"How do you get on with it? You give up the things that don't get you to God. What do you give up? It's not just material stuff. It's also the ways you identify yourself, how you feel about yourself. For instance, give up your unworthiness. Don't analyze it--just give it up. Keep giving up your guilt, your anger, and your preoccupation with your own
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a teenager, I thought the book Be Here Now was the most important thing I had ever come across, and I believe I had a poster of Ram Dass on my bedroom wall. That was a long time ago, so when a friend sent me a brand new book by Ram Dass, I wondered if it would speak to me. To my surprise and delight, it was just the book I needed at this moment in my life. How great is that?

Being a book nerd, I read the acknowledgments, and learned that this was originally going to be an e-book, but they cha
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I remember picking up Ram Das' book, Be Here Now, about 40 years ago. This one continues in that vein, and includes tips for later years... as he's aging.

I don’t know anything, so I remember you, Son of the Wind;
grant me strength, intelligence, and wisdom,
and remove my impurities and sorrows.
- Invocation to Hanuman Chalisa. Translation by Krishna Das, from Flow of Grace

Along this shift in the locus of our inner identity, there is a process of external reflection, as we see our inner being refle
Heidi The Reader
I watched Fierce Grace on Netflix and wanted to know more about the wisdom teachings of Ram Dass. This book was a great place to start and I enjoyed this so much that I think I'm also going to have to delve into Be Here Now.

There were multiple places in this text where his words felt very true and it was as if I was remembering something that I had somehow forgotten. Isn't it funny when a book affects you like that?

In the chapter entitled Conscious Living, Conscious Dying, he had a whole section
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I received this book, for free, in exchange for an honest review.

This is a good book that I learned a few things from. It feels less filled with love/wisdom than Be Here Now but is a better book than most books in this category. Thus far this has been my second favorite Ram Dass book, but the gap between this and Be Here Now is appreciable.

In this book Ram Dass tends to focus on a few topics throughout the course of the book so it feels a bit slow/repetitive/boring to me. That being said, I ten
Anne Speckhard
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, full of love and wisdom. HIghly recommend it!
Mike Radice
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed getting inside Ram Dass' spirit. And he makes Hinduism accessible and easy to understand. Now, I want to go to India. ...more
Fantastic! I hope I get to reread this at multiple checkpoints throughout my lifetime.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Could not put down this book, finished it in one day, I think this is the fastest book I have read. I loved every chapter.
Markus Molina
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Great book! Big peace! Good writer! Tranquil exercises on the now and the forever as well. Life lessons in your corner.
Easy and pleasant to read!

Ram Dass writes this exceptionally well . He invites readers to embark on a heart opening spiritual journey from ones personal experience and motivations.
Aug 04, 2018 added it
Well designed thoughts carry you down a path of life into death. Understanding pops up here and there making you feel like enlightenment may be trying to reach out to you. Let it grab ahold.
Marco Loya
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I decided to introduce myself to Ram Dass with this book since I have some basic knowledge about spiritual living, so I felt like Be Here Now (his most popular book) was going to be more redudant for me.

Indeed my knowledge in spiritualy grew deeper by reading this book. There are some key ideas in it that will change how you perceive your life and will make some things a lot clearer. However, if you are looking to get introduced to meditation and spiritual living, you might want to start with an
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
Let me start out by saying this is not my normal genre, nor did I have any knowledge of whom Ram Dass was before starting this book. I'm not going to lie, I struggled with this book. Not because of the concepts, but because I did not like the writing style. I read this for part of a book club focusing on genres about yoga, meditation, and spirituality. I had high hopes, especially when learning it was written by an ex Harvard professor. In reality, this read like the repetitive, meandering stori ...more
Kimberly Simon
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Ram Dass is reflective of where he is in his 80's and where he has been during the aging process and looking at his life journey as a whole and in the now.

Some of my favorite moments:
Love is opening to merge with another being - whether with another person or with God (in the end they are all the same).

The path of the heart is neither hard nor easy but it takes time and intention.

You'll see that being right is actually a tight little box that is very constraining and not much fun to live in.
Nate Greuel
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much that I read it twice in a row, and I didn't want it to end. From what I gather it incorporates a lot of material from his previous books in a concise way. Spiritual people who are not interested in religion will find this book full of wisdom and insight. Having said that, people of any religion can learn something here and find it enjoyable. Ram Dass has a unique way of communicating that feels truly genuine. This book brings people together instead of driving them apar ...more
Emily Shearer
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book should be required reading for anyone on a spiritual quest. It doesn't take itself too seriously (After all, Ram Dass was Richard Alpert, Timothy Leary's colleague and psychedelic sidekick.) and writes in plain language what it really means to "Be Here Now." I highlighted and underlined so many passages, I finally just put my pen down and tried to read with the mindset that Ram Dass espouses, which is to Love everybody and tell the truth. Every word, when received with loving awareness ...more
Janet Daghri
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I heard a very interesting interview with Ram Dass that inspired me to get this book from our library. I really enjoyed learning about who he was as the book starts with a bit of history. I've not read any of his other books which look to be many. I don't think you need to read his other books to get an overview of who he is and what is history is. There are some moments that were a bit trippy and 60s for me but then that's who he is. He talks about many spiritual lessons that he has learned fro ...more
Jennifer Marlowe
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A down to earth guide on practical methods to set out on a spiritual path. He breaks down the concepts of guru, teacher, candid thoughts on dying and death as just another part of life in our present body.

I reread several sections of this book over and over before finally reaching the end. Truly magnificent book with tips on how to reframe challenging real life experiences into 'teachings' that we learn from. We are our own guru, after all.

He shares how bhakti yoga can amplify other methods of s
Korbi Kay
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If only this knowledge was taught in school! After reading this, I'm tempted to explore Ram Dass's famous book, Be Here Now (written in 1971, and supposedly quite a contribution to counterculture).

As for Polishing the Mirror, existence and the meaning of life have never been reframed so eloquently.
This book isn't enough for a total inner transformation--reinvention is strictly through a spiritual lens, and this book serves as more of a guide than a step-by-step implementation of different prac
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How Can I Help? by Ram Dass has informed much of my life. It was a book I shared with students in the 80s, a book that gave me a reverence for servant leaders. So I was drawn to this 2013 publication and predisposed to liking it. I wasn't disappointed. This book is a gem. It is a book that reveals a deep understanding of and compassion for humanity, for the human condition. It is a "how to" book that isn't prescription. The chapters on death and suffering are particularly good. They genuinely ta ...more
Lache S.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After having read a handful of mindfulness/contemplative studies texts, I figured Ram Dass should be encountered. I'm so glad that I did take the plunge because I was so uplifted and inspired by this book that I would read it in bookstores and restaurants and cry, and I would say I absolutely fell in love with the book and author. I love when a book brings tears to my eyes because it is such beautiful wisdom. More than anyone, probably, I would consider him my guru, but maybe just because he tal ...more
Daria Zheglo
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
That’s absolutely wonderful and incomprehensible, how the book about the spiritual journey and meditation transforms into a meditation itself. I think I was smiling to myself most of the time while reading this book.

Inspiring, profound, without any lectures from a person who kinda knows the point. Nothing like a that. A journey about the journey. A pathless pass.
If I could give 10 stars to it, I would.

“O thou who are trying to learn the marvel of love from the copybook Of reason, I’m very muc
Julie  Capell
Some great stories and teachings, but not a book for beginners. The beginning struck me as very intimidating, with a lot of foreign words and concepts. Unless you have an established meditation/mindfulness practice, I would not recommend this book.

I have been meditating for a little more than a year and I found a lot of very wonderful inspiration in this book, once I got past the first chapter or two. The chapters toward the end on aging, dying and suffering, were excellent.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
If you've listened to Ram Dass' lectures then I doubt you'll find much new in here. Ram Dass clearly knows what he's talking about but he fleshes it out with flowery language, guru-worship, and profound truths enclosed in repetitive clichés. As a reminder of what you already know, this book might be useful. But for anyone looking to explore new spiritual/meditative ground, you could probably do better with an Alan Watts or Krishnamurti book. ...more
Patrick Nolan
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Very well edited and put together. A quick read. The book goes in and out of wonderful moments and lessons. The chapters on aging are particularly touching and heart felt. While the use of "God" is continuously defined as the book progresses, I still found at times to be overwhelming in the sense that some readers may not resonate with the usage. I would still recommend the read and I look forward to reading more from the author. ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A beautiful and brief book of insight and practices from Ram Das. Often times, this type of book is hard for me to finish (not that finishing the whole text is the aim!) Nearly the whole book was so relevant that before I knew it I had finished. Will definitely mull over and read again I'm sure. Thank you, Ram Das. ...more
Kristen Lemoine
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such an incredible book. I’ve read it twice and I go back to it often when i feel the need to be reminded to get out of my head and live more from my heart. I love Ram Dass’s sense of humor and his amazing journey. It changes the way you see people and life in general; to live with more passion, compassion and love.
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book about the soul, the ego, what it means to surrender and live. I appreciate that this book was written later in Ram Dass's life as it provides a different lens of seeing things - through one of looking at aging and death as well as all that he learned and gained earlier on in his incredibly life. Excited to read more of his work! ...more
Annacarin Isaksson
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not bad for being a kind of self help book. I am pretty fed up with just that types of book but this one pretty much sums up all of them. It talks a lot about facing death both our own and others and that was really something I am trying to be friendly with right now.

And his simple advise for living from your heart is to be here now. That is all!
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Ram Dass (Richard Alpert), was one of America's most beloved spiritual figures, making 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.

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Some interesting news for book nerds: According to recent industry research, book sales spiked dramatically in 2020–otherwise a rather...
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“When somebody provokes your anger, the only reason you get angry is because you’re holding on to how you think something is supposed to be. You’re denying how it is. Then you see it’s the expectations of your own mind that are creating your own hell. When you get frustrated because something isn’t the way you thought it would be, examine the way you thought, not just the thing that frustrates you. You’ll see that a lot of your emotional suffering is created by your models of how you think the universe should be and your inability to allow it to be as it is.” 36 likes
“The art of listening comes from a quiet mind and an open heart.” 13 likes
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