His Disability Is A Spiritual Gift, Says Ram Dass
January 30, 2004
WOODSIDE, CALIFORNIA--Ram Dass started down a new path on February 19, 1997.
That night the spiritual teacher had a massive stroke in the left side of his brain.
Now 71, he still has trouble expressing himself through speech, and experiences some paralysis on his right side. He alternates between using a cane and a wheelchair to get around his home.
"In public, I use a wheelchair," he told the San Francisco Chronicle. "When I walk, my attention has to be on walking and all that. Talking to people or things going on around me takes my attention away, and I could fall down."
Ram Dass (which means 'Servant of God') said he sees his stroke as a form of grace -- though he did not at first.
"I was depressed," he admitted. "There were three sufferings. The suffering of the body. The suffering of my ego, from being an independent person to being dependent. And the spiritual suffering, because up until then, I had led a graced life ever since I met my guru."
"The stroke didn't look like grace. So I thought I was at the end of a graced life."
But soon he started to believe that his stroke was a gift.
"I realized there were two major things in my life. One was the stroke and one was the grace of my guru, and I had been existing on that for many years. These were the two facets of my consciousness. And I had to find a way to bring them together."