Revisiting Prague Gnosis: Terence McKenna Interviews Ram Dass‬

Today’s post was written April 10, 2011. Just felt like sharing it again.

By chance this week I stumbled upon a video that I adore. It’s a conversation over coffee with two of my favorite minds; Terence Mckenna and Ram Dass.

Their conversation was filled with things to giggle at, things to take on, and things to pass along. It was one of the best interviews and definitely one of the most candid free-flowing discussions I have seen in a while. (Or maybe ever? None that compare come to mind.) They also talked about the future (this video is from 1992) and it’s interesting to hear them talk about a time that is happening right now.

I also loved that they touched upon revolution and its various forms, including the importance of a non-confrontational revolution. (I wrote something on that very topic this week. I will share it as a blog post next week.) Overall I loved every minute of the interview as I smiled and sat on the edge of my seat. I truly felt like two people were discussing everything I find important and wish to explore.

I decided to note the exchanges between Terence Mckenna and Ram Dass‬ that I found either funny or valuable. I also listed random quotes that I enjoyed. But don’t let these notes mislead you. There is still so much more to take from their discussion. I can’t recommend enough for you to watch all four videos. They all have much to offer and the delivery of the information is quote entertaining. They both have quite a sense of humor, as does their waiter.

Notable exchanges I enjoyed between Terence Mckenna and Ram Dass:

(You might not find them funny, understand them, or even enjoy them out of context. So feel free the skip past them and go straight to the videos. You can always read them after. They’ll make more sense that way.)

RD: ‬[Says to TM] Go beyond the isms to tell me what we are really finding.‬
TM: We’re finding a world made out of mind instead of stuff.

RD: [Says to TM about TM] Just clinging, just clinging.
TM: Just aspiring to cling! Actually I live the life of an ascetic, it’s my aspirations that are pulling me down.‬

TM: Can you make a revolution without inner righteousness?‬
RD: That’s the far-out question of ; Where would the action come from? There is this line in Buddhism that says, “Out of emptiness arises compassion”. And what I’ve experienced is; that there is a way in which I can sit down in front of a truck, or feed a person, or go make love, or go surf. And there is an appropriateness in every one of those acts. But for me to hear that, I really gotta shut up. My work is to keep shutting up. And if it’s a revolution, so be it.‬

TM: Blake said a wonderful thing, if I can get it right. He said, “If the truth can be told, so as to be understood, it will be believed .” [The actual quote is: ‬”Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed.” – William Blake ]
RD: When can you say it simply enough? Is it only said in silence simply enough? Or are there words?‬

RD: My life is my message.‬
TM: I think I’m at a little lower level. Because I am very aware that I have to struggle to say my life is my message. I almost rather say, “My message is my message, please don’t look at my life because I’m a fallible human being and I’m constantly fucking up”.‬
RD: But do you see how that weakens your message? You see how that quality means that the message doesn’t come from the root? There is a way in which it waffles. […] Why waffle? What is worth holding onto that is worth waffling about?‬

RD: I was afraid of you up until now. Now I am delighted to be with you.‬
TM: No, no. Don’t be afraid of me. The people that are afraid of me either don’t know me, or know me better than you ever will.‬

The four videos:

Additional quotes I enjoyed from the interview…

Terence Mckenna Quotes:‬

‪”We once knew everything we need to know. So, what we are trying to find out is lost knowledge, not new knowledge.”

‪”There is a transcendental dimension beyond language. It’s just hard as hell to talk about it.‬”

‪”What they [psychedelics] seem to do generically is, they seem to dissolve boundaries. And the ego is in the business of creating, maintaining, and defending boundaries.”‬

‪”The core process which is running us over the edge is our inability to emotionally connect with the consequences of what we are doing. If in a single moment we could feel what we are doing we would stop.‬”

‪”I think it was ‬Friedrich Nietzsche‪ that said, ‘There was only one Christian and they crucified him’.”
[The actual quote is: ‬”There never was more than one Christian, and he died on the Cross.” – Friedrich Nietzsche ]

Ram Dass Quotes: ‬

‪”All this business of a Christ figure. I see how seductive it is. But we’ve gotten very cynical. We’ve projected into such a person a purpose. Instead of just that life forming out of the needs of the moment.‬”

‪”Death is absolutely safe. It’s like taking off a tight shoe.‬”

‪”All this destruction is just the process of transformation.‬”

‪”Ahhhhhw! It’s the ecstasy of total horror & total beauty at the same moment.‬”

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National Day of Mourning?


If you know me, and you know this blog, you are probably familiar with how I feel about the third week of November. If you aren’t, I’ve created a little reading list for you to explore.

Thoughts on Thanksgiving 2020
What would it be like? 2016
Happy-Thanks-living! 2014
Who me? 2012

This year, I wanted to bring attention to the 53rd Annual National Day of Mourning, taking place on November 24, 2022.

Since 1970, Indigenous people & their allies have gathered at noon on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US Thanksgiving holiday. Many Native people do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims & other European settlers. Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands and the erasure of Native cultures. Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Indigenous ancestors and Native resilience. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection, as well as a protest against the racism and oppression that Indigenous people continue to experience worldwide.

More information can be found here and here, as well as the video posted below of Annawon Weeden.

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Reminders from Congo Square


“If you can’t improvise, you’re gonna be in a world of trouble. You’re not gonna be able to survive.”
— Wynton Marsalis

“At the heart of the only art form Americans have invented, is this notion that I do not have to play the notes on the page. I can play who I am, and in telling you honestly who I am, that will be the art.”
— Ken Burns

“Jazz is about freedom. It’s about a certain kind of liberation. There have been other people, of course, that have been oppressed in the United States, or have gone through brutal treatment in the United States, but only African Americans were enslaved. Only African Americans were legally a people who have a legacy and history, a historical consciousness, of having been unfree in a free country.”
— Gerald Early

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Walking into 2023 like…

Art by Universal Everything

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Control and Surrender


“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.”
– Julia Cameron

“All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling.”
– Blaise Pascal

“Art is nothing but the expression of our dream; the more we surrender to it the closer we get to the inner truth of things, our dream-life…”
– Franz Marc

“Control and surrender have to be kept in balance. That’s what surfers do – take control of the situation, then be carried, then take control. In the last few thousand years, we’ve become incredibly adept technically. We’ve treasured the controlling part of ourselves and neglected the surrendering part.”
– Brian Eno

“At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.”
– Maya Angelou

“The individual is all about limitation. Rationalism is all about limitation. Materialism, limitation. But we need to deal with the limitless, because limitation has brought us to the place where we are, and we don’t like it here, evidently. We need to take drugs to cope, or we need to have sex to cope, or we need to get a better job to cope, or we need other people to love us, or to have loads of money, or to be continually given compliments. And for me, as a sort of dyed-in-the-wool standard addict, I need so much of everything so continuously that I’ve had no choice but to recognize that what I really need is absolute surrender. Absolute surrender.”
– Russell Brand

“Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us… While what we call ‘our own life’ remains agreeable, we will not surrender it… What, then, can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness?”
– C. S. Lewis

“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.”
– Gail Sheehy

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Sense of Well-Being


“Looking back over fifty years of science and environmental education, I find that the main thing I have taught is how to pay attention.”

“The average American family of four metabolizes four million pounds of material every year to support their lifestyle. That’s 11,000 lbs. a day, 7.5 lbs. a minute.”

“Contentment is an underrated state of mind in consumer cultures. We hardly know how to recognize it or what to do when we feel content. Maybe we think it’s boring. Or maybe the cynic inside us doesn’t believe it really exists. In Buddhist philosophy, contentment is highly valued as a state free of desire. … A relaxed body, a calm mind, a sense of well-being—nothing more is needed. Can you recognize this state? You realize you don’t need to go to the store to get anything; you have enough. You don’t need to be entertained by sensory stimulus; you have enough. You don’t need to fill a gaping hole of hunger, anger, loneliness, or exhaustion; you are okay just as you are. This is quite a powerful teaching for combating the endless marketing of dissatisfaction.”

All quotes by Stephanie Kaza

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Toward Ultimate Things

pilgrim tourist

“Only the walker who sets out toward ultimate things is a pilgrim. In this lies the terrible difference between tourist and pilgrim. The tourist travels just as far, sometimes with great zeal and courage, gathering up acquisitions, (a string of adventures, a wondrous tale or two), and returns the same person as the one who departed. There is something inexpressibly sad in the clutter of belongings the tourist unpacks back at home.

The pilgrim is different. The pilgrim resolves that the one who returns will not be the same person as the one who set out. Pilgrimage is a passage for the reckless and subtle. The pilgrim—and the metaphor comes to us from distant times—must be prepared to shed the husk of personality or even the body like a worn out coat.”

Quote by Andrew Schelling

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Saved From Meat Trucks

saved from meat trucks

Three amazing stories of activism and liberation!

The story of a French Bulldog named Pearl

The Brothers that Now Give Hugs

A Mother & Baby in Los Angeles

Organizations that would love support:

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