About fifteen years ago Baba Ram Das, who I remembered as Richard Alpert from the Timothy Leary, LSD and psychedelic mushroom days, gave a free talk at Peace Hill just before sunset. It was a clear blue-sky afternoon a light breeze out of the east, the sun low in the sky in the west
I would say about a hundred people were gathered on the hilltop, old hippies, young hippies, ex hippies, wannabe hippies, new agers of all stripes and colors, crunchy granolas, Woodies people and Peter Bay people. We were there to hear Baba Ram Das, the contemporary spiritual teacher, the guru, the icon of the sixties philosophy.
About fifteen or twenty minutes past his scheduled arrival time, he appeared, having walked up the trail to the scenic hilltop. He was accompanied by his entourage, ladies in white flowing robes, which to me looked like they may have been bed sheets in some previous incarnation. He made his way to a prepared platform bedecked with flowers as the flowing gown ladies tossed flowers onto his path. Baba Ram Das was ready to speak.
The crowd became silent. Ram Das looked up, his gaze surveying the scene. He took in that big breath, suggesting that he was about to speak, something important, something meaningful. But no words come out. He exhales. Seems he’s thinking about something else. Some moments pass. Ram Das raises his head again, gazes from one side to the other, takes in that breath again … but no words come out. He exhales.
“What’s going on,” I think.
Maybe others are starting to wonder also.
Ram Das picks up his head a third time looks from side to side, the big inhale again, no words, He exhales, looks out at the sea, turns again, inhales deeply once more, and then he blurts out something that obviously had nothing to do with his prepared or semi prepared talk.
And with a warm smile and a real sincerity in his voice he says:
Wow! It’s really beautiful here!”