Here are two excerpts from this NY Times magazine interview with Ram Dass from a few years back – a piece in which Ram Dass described himself as being ready to die (which he did do a few months after the interview):
You’ve said that you’re ready to die. When did you know?
When I arrived at my soul. Soul doesn’t have fear of dying. Ego has very pronounced fear of dying. The ego, this incarnation, is life and dying. The soul is infinite.
O.K., here’s something I’m struggling with: You teach that we’re supposed to be free from desires. I can imagine myself being free from the desire for prestige or money or some unattainable person’s attention. It’s much harder to imagine being free from the desire, for example, that my loved ones not come to any harm. Are we even supposed to let go of desires like that?
Yep! Desire is desire. Attachment is attachment. When I came back to the U.S. from India, I came back bringing the message of Maharaji. I had never experienced the love that he showered on me. It was unconditional love. Everything in my life had been conditional love. When I was a good boy, then they loved me. When I was a good student, they loved me. When I was a good lover, they loved me. I thought that I could come back and show unconditional love. The core message is that kind of love.