Spirited Book Club discusses how can I help? by spiritual teacher and cultural icon Ram Dass & Paul Gorman
Discover how giving of yourself can lead to some of the most joyous moments in your life—in a book that “deserves a special place on that shelf reserved for truly practical wisdom” (Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People).
Not a day goes by without our being called upon to help one another–at home, at work, on the street, on the phone…. We do what we can. Yet so much comes up to complicate this natural response: “Will I have what it takes?” “How much is enough?” “How can I deal with suffering?” “And what really helps, anyway?”
In this practical helper’s companion, the authors explore a path through these confusions, and provide support and inspiration for us in our efforts as members of the helping professions, as volunteers, as community activists, or simply as friends and family trying to meet each other’s needs. Here too are deeply moving personal accounts: A housewife brings zoo animals to lift the spirits of nursing home residents; a nun tends the wounded on the first night of the Nicaraguan revolution; a police officer talks a desperate father out of leaping from a roof with his child; a nurse allows an infant to spend its last moments of life in her arms rather than on a hospital machine. From many such stories and the authors’ reflections, we can find strength, clarity, and wisdom for those times when we are called on to care for one another.
Reviews for HOW CAN I HELP?
“A treasury of compassion, made all the more valuable by its many examples of how individuals can interact for the better with people and, indeed, the world around them.” —Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness
“How Can I Help? deserves a special place on that shelf reserved for truly practical wisdom.” —Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“As a professor I’ve used this book for 10 years for an intro class for counseling. I believe that it has had a powerful influence (through the true stories in the book) turning out compassionate and caring counselors. It is a GREAT book. We are not taught compassion, or how to help others. We see little examples of how to care or be helpful in the media (many examples there or how to do violence though!). This book provides true stories of the nature of compassion and helping. I recommend it highly for anyone who wants to help others. I think it is an essential book for anyone who wants to help others.” —Thriftbooks reader
“This started out as just another book I needed for a class and has turned into one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. If you want new life perspective or to change how you view your interactions with the world, read this book!” — Kiki
“This book has been a HELP to me! It’s the oxygen mask you put on before setting out to save anyone else. Although it’s an older book (1985), it seems especially suited for today and how so many of us want to help ~ somewhere, someone, somehow ~ yet are frustrated by being old enough to know that well-intentioned help sometimes is not really help at all.” — Sheri Brown, Spirited Book Club discussion facilitator
FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING for May 5: Chapters 1-4
FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING for May 26: Chapters 5-8
++Book discussion facilitated by Sheri Brown
About the authors
Ram Dass, formerly Dr. Richard Alpert, became a multigenerational spiritual teacher and cultural icon spanning from the 1960s through his peaceful passing at his home on December 22, 2019. His zeitgeist shifting book Be Here Now sparked a watershed of Eastern spiritual traditions and practices to become accessible to a Western audience. After a life-altering stroke, Ram Dass spent the remainder of his life on Maui, continuing to write books, share teachings, and hold retreats. His many books include Walking Each Other Home, Polishing the Mirror, Be Love Now, Paths to God, Still Here, and The Only Dance There Is.
Ram Dass devoted his life to service, founding the Love Serve Remember Foundation, the Hanuman Foundation, and co-founding the Seva Foundation, Lama Foundation, and the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in Taos, New Mexico. For talks, podcasts, or more information, visit ramdass.org.
Paul Gorman was educated at Yale and Oxford. He has been a program producer and talk show host with WBAI-FM Pacifica Radio, in New York City. He has worked as staff assistant to a group of Democratic congressmen and as consultant for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Gorman served as Eugene McCarthy’s press secretary and speechwriter in the 1968 presidential campaign, and has been an adviser to a number of public officials. He has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, The City University of New York, Adelphi University, Naropa Institute, and Omega Institute.