About Ron Rattner

I am a retired attorney, spiritual author and poet, and co-webmaster at http://sillysutras.com/. I was born in Chicago, IL on election day 1932, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was first elected president, and grew up in Hyde Park, close to President Obama’s home there. After graduating from Hyde Park High School, and U of Wisconsin, Madison, and two years in the army, I attended U of Chicago Law School, graduating in 1958 with a JD degree. Soon after law school graduation, I married and moved to San Francisco.  In 1975, during a traumatic divorce, I experienced a profound spiritual awakening, with extraordinary mystical experiences and insights.  Thereafter I met a venerable Hindu guru, and was transformed, from being a secular Hebrew to a “born-again Hindu”.  Whereupon my life focus gradually changed from litigation to meditation, and I lost interest helping people fighting over money.   I began living like a monk, an abstinent vegetarian, without TV, computers, movies, newspapers or most worldly diversions, and spent much time alone in my ‘condominium cloister’ praying, meditating, crying, and experiencing various subtle states of consciousness. During this period, I began questioning rigid belief systems and dogma, some of which I had unreservedly accepted.  Thus, ultimately, I was again transformed; this time, from being a “born-again Hindu” to an “uncertain Undo”.      In May 2010, I launched SillySutras.com, a website,where I am posting mostly mystical (sometimes whimsical) aphorisms, essays, quotes, poems, stories and memoirs.  It is my deep aspiration that these writings posted at SillySutras.com will help raise our collective consciousness, enabling us to live happier lives, both individually and societally.   In 2013 SillySutras.com became an ongoing project of The Perennial Wisdom Foundation (PWF), a non-profit 501(c)(3) US charitable organization. PWF is dedicated to elevating awareness of universal wisdom principles – such as the ‘Golden Rule’ – at the heart of all enduring religious, spiritual and ethical traditions, without emphasis on any particular path or person. 
Author Archive | Ron Rattner

Different Person, Different Path

“Today you are You,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive
who is Youer than You.”
~ Dr. Seuss
“Each person’s life – each lifeform,
in fact – represents a world,
a unique way in which the universe experiences itself.
And when your form dissolves,
a world comes to an end –
one of countless worlds.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
At bottom every man knows well enough
that he is a unique being,
only once on this earth;
and by no extraordinary chance
will such a marvelously picturesque
piece of diversity in unity as he is,
ever be put together a second time.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche



No two people experience identical perceptions
or states of consciousness;

Each one’s awareness
is mediated and limited by a unique body/mind;

And each person’s consciousness state is ever
changing and unique.

Beyond individuated body/minds is Cosmic Consciousness –
Unlimited Awareness – Infinite Potentiality.

But, body/mind consciousness is
localized and limited and uniquely experienced.

Purpose of body/mind is transformation of human consciousness,
which is collectively and individually created by our thoughts.

Since each body/mind is unique,
each person’s transformational path is also unique.

Different person, different path.



Ron’s audio recitation of Different Person, Different Path

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Indian Astrology, Free Will or Fate? ~ An Amazing Synchronicity Story

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end,
by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star.
Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Every Cause has its Effect;
every Effect has its Cause;
everything happens according to Law;
Chance is but a name for Law not recognized;
there are many planes of causation,
but nothing escapes the Law.”

~ The Kybalion




I have elsewhere shared how in February, 1977, I spent a week in New York City, so filled with amazing synchronistic and precognitive experiences, that I became convinced it was possible to mystically transcend serial time perception. ( Synchronicity Story: An Amazing Experiment With Time )

Later, on learning that Sri Yukteshwar, Paramahamsa Yogananda’s guru, was an expert Vedic astrologer, and that the father of my Guru, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, was also a Vedic astrologer, I became interested in astrological predictions and (for the first time in my life) was opened to possible validity of astrology – both Eastern and Western – as an esoteric science.

Indian or Vedic astrology is called Jyotish, which is Sanskrit for “light”; it is an ancient tradition going back thousands of years. Commonly, Indian astrologers (like those from other traditions) cast and interpret a personal chart based on each person’s unique time and place of birth.

But, there is another very rare branch of Jyotish astrology called Nadi reading in which the astrologer, a Brahmin priest, doesn’t cast a personal chart, but through analysis of one’s thumb prints locates and interprets notations supposedly first written on palm bark or leaves thousands of years ago by Indian sage Bhrigu.

Few people in the world have ever heard about, much less seen, an Indian Nadi reader.  On first hearing of Nadi readers, I skeptically dismissed claims of their authenticity and accuracy as too “far out” and beyond my Western programmed paradigm. But gradually I heard credible reports which began changing my mind.

First, my Harvard trained friends Bizhan and Deborah recounted to me their amazing experience with a Nadi reader. Later, I learned that Swami Kriyananda, a well known Western teacher, author, and direct disciple of Paramahamsa Yogananda, was so impressed with the extraordinary accuracy of his Nadi reading, that in 1967 he had published a book about it, entitled India’s Ancient Book of Prophecy.

Last year, I was discussing questions of free will and destiny with my long-time Jyotish astrologer friend Jackie Haller, when she mentioned Kriyananda’s Nadi reader experience. Intrigued by Jackie’s comments, I soon did an extended internet search and refreshed my memory about Kriyananda’s experience.

The next day, while visiting at the Fort Mason Italian-American Museum, I was telling my friend Joy Massa about Kriyananda’s experience with a Nadi reader, when a woman near us “coincidentally” overhead the conversation and joined us to recount lucidly and in some detail her personal amazing experience with a Nadi reading in Tamil Nadu, South India. She also told us about Deepak Chopra’s amazing experience with a Nadi reader, of which I was then unaware.

Because of Chopra’s high credibility, I soon searched and found the following description of his experience, in the “Book of Secrets”, Chapter 13. For Deepak Chopra, it was a life changing experience. And, on reading his eloquent story, I wondered again:


“Are there really any coincidences or accidents, or is everything that happens to us predestined by laws of causation or karma?”

“Do we really have free will as most people believe?

And if so, what free will?”


Perhaps you, too, will wonder about these questions after reading Deepak Chopra’s fascinating story.

“Book of Secrets”, Chapter 13, by Deepak Chopra:

SEVERAL YEARS AGO IN A SMALL VILLAGE outside New Delhi, I was sitting in a small, stuffy room with a very old man and a young priest. The priest sat on the floor swaying back and forth as he recited words inked on bark sheets that looked ancient. I listened, having no idea what the priest was intoning. He was from the far south and his language, Tamil, was foreign to me. But I knew he was telling me the story of my life, past and future. I wondered how I got roped into this and began to squirm.

It had taken strong persuasion from an old friend to get me to the small room. “It’s not just Jyotish, it’s much more amazing,” he coaxed. Indian astrology is called Jyotish, and it goes back thousands of years. Visiting your family astrologer is common practice everywhere in India, where people plan weddings, births, and even routine business transactions around their astrological charts (Indira Gandhi was a famous example of someone who followed Jyotish), but modern times have led to a fading away of tradition. I had chronically avoided any brushes with Jyotish, being a child of modern India and later a working doctor in the West.

But my friend prevailed, and I had to admit that I was curious about what was going to happen. The young priest, dressed in a wrapped skirt with bare chest and hair shiny with coconut oil—both marks of a southerner—didn’t draw up my birth chart. Every chart he needed had already been drawn up hundreds of years ago. In other words, someone sitting under a palm tree many generations ago had taken a strip of bark, known as a Nadi, and inscribed my life on it.

These Nadis are scattered all over India, and it’s pure chance to run across one that applies to you. My friend had spent several years tracking down just one for himself; the priest produced a whole sheaf for me, much to my friend’s amazed delight. You have to come for the reading, he insisted.

Now the old man sitting across the table was interpreting in Hindi what the priest was chanting. Because of overlapping birth times and the vagaries of the calendar when we are speaking of centuries, Nadis can overlap, and the first few sheets didn’t apply to me. But by the third sheet or so, the young priest with the sing-song voice was reading facts that were startlingly precise: my birth date, my parents’ names, my own name and my wife’s, the number of children we have and where they live now, the day and hour of my father’s recent death, his exact name, and my mother’s.

At first there seemed to be a glitch: The Nadi gave the wrong first name for my mother, calling her Suchinta, when in fact her name is Pushpa. This mistake bothered me, so I took a break and went to a phone to ask her about it. My mother told me, with great surprise, that in fact her birth name was Suchinta, but since it rhymed with the word for “sad” in Hindi, an uncle suggested that it be changed when she was three years old. I hung up the phone, wondering what this whole experience meant, for the young priest had also read out that a relative would intervene to change my mother’s name. No one in our family had ever mentioned this incident, so the young priest wasn’t indulging in some kind of mind-reading.

For the benefit of skeptics, the young priest had passed nearly his whole life in a temple in South India and did not speak English or Hindi. Neither he nor the old man knew who I was. Anyway, in this school of Jyotish, the astrologer doesn’t take down your birth time and cast a personal chart which he then interprets. Instead, a person walks into a Nadi reader’s house, the reader takes a thumbprint, and based on that, the matching charts are located (always keeping in mind that the Nadis may be lost or scattered to the winds). The astrologer reads out only what someone else has written down perhaps a thousand years ago. Here’s another twist to the mystery: Nadis don’t have to cover everyone who will ever live, only those individuals who will one day show up at an astrologer’s door to ask for a reading!

In rapt fascination I sat through an hour of more arcane information about a past life I had spent in a South Indian temple, and how my transgressions in that lifetime led to painful problems in this one, and (after a moment’s hesitation while the reader asked if I really wanted to know) the day of my own death. The date falls reassuringly far in the future, although even more reassuring was the Nadi’s promise that my wife and children would lead long lives full of love and accomplishment.

I walked away from the old man and the young priest into the blinding hot Delhi sunshine, almost dizzy from wondering how my life would change with this new knowledge. It wasn’t the details of the reading that mattered. I have forgotten nearly all of them, and I rarely think of the incident except when my eye falls on one of the polished bark sheets, now framed and kept in a place of honor in our home. The young priest handed it to me with a shy smile before we parted. The one fact that turned out to have a deep impact was the day of my death. As soon as I heard it, I felt both a profound sense of peace and a new sobriety that has been subtly changing my priorities ever since.


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Tuned Out, To Turn On

“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self.
Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self.
Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self.
The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it,
he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi


Once, I found an artesian well
of bubbling bliss
deep down – within;
way below what I knew
before I found it.

Like a Divine bovine udder
it had several spigots.

Spigots for tears, for laughter,
for songs, and for sutras.

It flowed from different spigots
at different no-times,
but never at no no-time.

I often drank and bathed at that well.

Then Bush* was [s]elected.
What a turn-off!
What a spigot stopper!

I was looking for a turn on –
a spigot restarter.
Any spigot would do.

Then, Eureka! I found it!

I tuned out Bush, and it turned on bliss;
bubbling Bliss
from deep down – within.

Now, I’m a blissful old man

[or am I?] .

 

*This whimsical poem was written soon after the beginning of the 21st century: with Y2K, the unprecedented Supreme Court selection and inauguration of the Bush-Cheney administration, and the terrorism of 9/11/2001, as alleged justification for severe civil liberties deprivations and insane wars that followed 9/11. Now in March 2012, I’ve come to regard the name “Bush” as a metaphor for most American politicians and politics, which I then viewed with dismay and disdain. But now, though still deeply concerned with planetary crises and suffering caused by insane and undemocratic decisions of so-called leaders, I’ve gradually come to see “what is” as a mostly destined play of incarnate Cosmic Consciousness. And while intending to be a compassionate presence that helps our precious planet and its lifeforms with beneficent thoughts, words, and deeds, I long for existence as Oneness Awareness, even beyond bliss.



Ron’s recitation of Tuned Out, To Turn On.

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Synchronicity Inquiry

“Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.”
~ Carl Jung
“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Friedrich Schiller
“People … who believe in physics, know that
the distinction between past, present, and future
is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
~ Albert Einstein





Q. What are synchronicities?

A. Synchronicities are noteworthy “premonitions” or “coincidences” in time mysteriously arising from unexplained causes and conditions which connect events, actions and thoughts; and, which show us that in Nature, there is no time and there are no “coincidences – that everything that is, was, or will be is NOW; and, that everything is inter-connected and happens in harmony and synchrony – concurrently, not coincidentally.

Q. Why are synchronicities in time often noteworthy or meaningful?

A. Synchronicities in time are often noteworthy or meaningful because as we live in linear time they remind us of our unchanging timeless consciousness – which is our true Reality. And they can show our complicity in co-creating our ever changing world “reality”.

Time is how human mind tries to measure the immeasurable NOW.

As Einstein observed:

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think.”


Space and time are but convenient conceptions of thought.

Though convenient, time is not congruent with Nature’s way –
the timeless Tao.

As thought, time is always then, not NOW; so living in time is living in the past.

As we transcend living conceptually in past time, and begin living authentically in timeless Presence, we notice more and more “synchronicities”.

And the more frequently we see synchronicities, the more they show we’re in the Flow – the Tao; the Eternal NOW.

So, when events seeming random happen in tandem,
it’s then we’ll know we’re in the flow

the Tao; the Eternal NOW.

Thus, because humankind almost always live in time, synchronistic signs of timeless Reality often seem so noteworthy or meaningful.

Q. How do synchronicities appear in our lives?

A. Synchronicities originate in now hidden depths of mind – at transpersonal and seemingly ‘chaotic’ quantum levels of existence. The more we intuitively entrain with those higher levels of consciousness, the more we are in harmony with the natural order, and the more we see synchronicities manifesting in our lives.

We live in an ever changing participatory vibratory relative “reality” wherein creation is vibration and oscillation, and where we are creative oscillating, vibrating vortices – interconnected and interdependent with all of Nature.

Thus, everything we think, do or say changes this world in some way.

Synchronicities are resonant exteriorations or manifestations of our subtle higher vibrations – our thoughts, intentions and emanations. The higher, subtler and more focused our vibratory frequencies, the more luminous our emanations. And as we become more luminous, our synchronicities become more numerous and more numinous.

Q. How shall we interpret synchronicities?

A. Synchronicities, like dreams, can be meaningful metaphoric messages that help guide us from deep levels of consciousness; and they can present us with evolutionary opportunities, if we recognize and act on them. Even the Dalai Lama has said: “I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.”

Synchronicities also can be seen as positive “biofeedback’ signs that we are in harmony with the natural order.

Synchronicities reveal the harmonious ONENESS of the Universe – both manifest and unmanifest, implicate and explicate. And the more we see that ONENESS, the more we see synchronicity as normality.

Thus, synchronicities can be seen as significant signs and reminders that temporal linearity is a cosmic irregularity, that “reality” isn’t mechanistic, and that the universe doesn’t work as we’ve thought or been taught.

And so, synchronicities can spur an inner search for a new “reality” paradigm, ultimately leading to the transformational discovery that our ever changing world “reality” isn’t really Real; that our unchanging timeless consciousness is our true Reality.

Q. How can synchronicities inspire us?

A. Synchronicities can infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for all miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet.

As we see each synchronicity as a mysterious, miraculous and numinous sign and reminder of our interdependence with all Life, we are inspired to BE – in sympathy and harmony with all Life.


Q. Can synchronicities help us harmonize with Nature?

A. Yes. To harmonize with Nature we must intuitively and reverently commune with our natural environment. Synchronicities can help us awaken from misconceived dreams of separation from Nature, so as to honor intuitive insights over mistaken or misguided mental processes.

Mistakenly thinking ourselves separate from our observations and perceptions, we try to explain them with thoughts and logical analyses. This mental process often leads to such preoccupation with details and minutia that we lose a reverent, holistic and macrocosmic view of our miraculous space/time natural environment. And we have thereby become alienated from Nature, and have ignorantly created ecological crises.

Synchronicities can remind us of the limitations of thought, and of the dangers of alienation from an intuitively participatory way of being in this world; that as thinkers, we do not and cannot understand Nature; that we are part of a participatory natural order in which everything/ everyone is interdependent; and, that everything we think, do or say changes this world in some way.

With this awareness we are spurred to harmonize with Nature.

And so may it be!


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Synchronicity Story: Ask and It Shall Be Given, Seek and Ye Shall Find

“Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.”
~ Carl Jung

“Our deepest fears hide our highest potentials.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Ask and it shall be given; Seek and ye shall find.
~ Matthew 7:7




During my frequent walks to Aquatic Beach, I occasionally met there a lovely young woman swimmer, Simone, who found time to swim. while attending school and working to support herself. Several times we talked before or after her swims. During one of our chats, Simone remarked to me that some day she’d like to swim out at the opening of the harbor where it was deep with different tides than those closer to the beach where she was then swimming. But she said that she was afraid to swim there alone, and wouldn’t try to do so without others accompanying her.

Later, in November on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, I took one of my frequent walks out onto the San Francisco Municipal Pier. The pier juts far into the Bay and is a breakwater for the Aquatic Beach harbor. The deep waters at the end of the pier had enticed Simone as a new place to swim, but her fears had precluded that experience.

As I walked toward the very end of the pier, I saw a large crowd gathered there. Never before in many such walks onto the pier had I ever seen such a crowd. So I was quite curious as I neared them. And when I arrived at the end of the pier, I discovered that the people were gathered around and observing a young woman in a swimsuit who had climbed over the wall of the pier, and was standing on the ledge above the water, poised but afraid to dive into the water. It was Simone, fearfully hesitating for a long time before jumping off the pier to swim back to Aquatic Beach.

As we recognized each other, Simone asked for my encouragement.  I obliged and, motivated by my reassurance, Simone finally jumped into the water, as the large crowd of well-wishing onlookers cheered her on. Just as Simone finally ‘took the plunge’ I gave her a “namaste” salute. Thereafter, she swam back to Aquatic Beach with Ned, another regular swimmer with whom I also was having synchronistic encounters and chats. Responding to Simone’s wish for a deep water swimming companion, Ned had walked with Simone onto the pier and had been treading water awaiting her dive to join him in swimming back to the beach.  

As Simone and Ned swam together back to the beach, I wondered how Simone would feel after overcoming her fear of swimming in such deep waters. So, I intended to quickly walk back to the beach and greet them when they arrived there. But that didn’t happen.

Instead, I had a very long and lovely synchronistic and spiritual chat with one of the other onlookers, Janice, a long-time Buddhist practitioner who had observed with curiosity my “namaste” salute to Simone. So I didn’t again see Simone or Ned that day as wished, and wondered thereafter about Simone’s experience of breaking her fear barrier about deep water swimming.

More than four months passed before I again saw either Simone or Ned. Then, on a Sunday afternoon in March, just as I began walking onto the sand at the West end of Aquatic Beach, I encountered Ned who was walking in his swim suit toward the Municipal Pier, where he planned to jump into the Bay and swim back to the beach.  We chatted for a while about that November day and about Simone.  He told me that he had seen pictures of Simone taken on the pier that day by an onlooker, but didn’t have them.  As we parted, at my request, he offered to try getting me the pictures via email exchange with Simone, with whom he’d continued to communicate.  And I asked him to give Simone my regards, expressing a desire to see her soon. We thereupon parted and I continued walking toward the East end of Aquatic Beach, as Ned walked to the pier.

A few minutes later, just as I arrived at the East end of the beach, a female swimmer emerged from the water and began drying off.   It was Simone.  My wish to see her again was almost instantly fulfilled.   Then I told her about my encounter with Ned, and wish to see pictures of that memorable November happening.   She took my email address, and later sent them.

Though neither Ned nor Simone was aware of each other’s “coincidental” presence that day on the beach, the Lone Arranger knew, and staged those quick consecutive encounters fulfilling my wish to see Simone and the November pictures of her.

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What is Life? – Quotes

“What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night. 
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. 
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
~ Crowfoot



“Life is like an onion; you peel off layer after layer
and then you find there is nothing in it.”
~ James Gibbons Huneker

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life.
‘It goes on.’”
~ Robert Frost

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. ……
To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can teach.”
~ Havelock Ellis

“In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.”
~ Charlie Brown

“If A equals success, then the formula is:  A = X + Y + Z,
where X is work, Y is play, and Z is keep your mouth shut.
~ Albert Einstein

“Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust –
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe,
to match your nature with Nature.”
~ Joseph Campbell

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”
~ James M. Barrie

“..the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”
~ Walt Whitman, “O Me! O Life!”, Leaves of Grass

“Life is the hyphen between matter and spirit.”
~ Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare

“Life is a whim of several trillion cells to be you for a while.”
~ Author Unknown

“When we remember we are all mad,
the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”
~ Mark Twain


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Synchronicity Story: A Spiritual Experience on Bernal Heights

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
~ Fred Rogers
“When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose sight of yourself.”
~ A Course in Miracles (ACIM)

Bernal Heights view


Lately, I have been blessed with ever more magical moments and with ever increasing gratitude for this precious and lucky life. Usually these magical moments have happened synchronistically and unexpectedly. And often they’ve involved spiritual experiences with people, creatures or Nature, which I call “holy encounters”.

Just before the recent solstice holidays, I was blessed with a magical visit to a beautiful San Francisco view place which I had never before seen. And there I met a lovely man, Daniel Raskin, who shared with me a haunting story (which follows) of his unforgettable spiritual experience in a remote Utah desert canyon.

Here’s what happened, and the story Daniel told me:

I moved from Chicago to San Francisco in 1960, attracted by San Francisco’s climate, physical beauty and ambiance. Within its boundaries are more than fifty hills, several islands, and significant stretches of Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay.

So, while living in San Francisco I have visited and enjoyed almost all of its best known view places. But until recently I never had known about or seen the spectacular view from atop Bernal Heights a hilly neighborhood above San Francisco’s outer Mission and Bay View districts.

Then, just before Christmas, I was invited to attend a beautiful holiday dinner party hosted by Shelley Cook, a very talented and intuitive massage therapist who has been skillfully helping heal and realign my body since it suffered a painful lower back yoga injury.

At the party there were many lovely artistic people, all much younger than me. One of the other guests, Audrey Daniel, a professional photographer/videographer, told me she had lived for many years in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights district, which she regarded as San Francisco’s most charming and typical neighborhood – like a village within the city. Whereupon, realizing that I had never yet visited Bernal Heights during my 50+ years as a San Franciscan, I became curious about seeing what Audrey was describing.

My curiosity was soon satisfied synchronistically by The Lone Arranger, my ‘appointments secretary’.

A few days after the party, at Shelley’s request, I unexpectedly rescheduled my regular afternoon appointment with her to morning, so she could accommodate some people from Santa Cruz who’d just been injured in an auto accident.

Upon finishing our morning massage therapy session, Shelley had extra time before her afternoon appointments. Generously, she offered to show me a nearby Vedanta healing center and shrine which she had long been urging me to visit. So we went to the shrine.

There, as I gazed at an image of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa – a nineteenth century Hindu saint with whom I have long felt special affinity – I experienced a deep Divine mood, and cried copious tears of devotion.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa


Thereafter, when Shelley and I left the shrine, it was lunch time. And instead of returning home to eat, I unexpectedly went with Shelley to a restaurant which she recommended. At first she suggested a nearby Asian restaurant, but then she suddenly intuited that we would probably more enjoy going to a place on Bernal Heights.

So, four days after hearing from Audrey Daniel about the Bernal Heights district, I visited that area for the first time in my life, and there enjoyed a delicious Mexican lunch with Shelley. After we ate and before returning to her studio, Shelley urged me to hike atop Bernal hill to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view of San Francisco, instead of taking my usual daily walk by the Bay.

So, still in spiritual mood from my experience at the Ramakrishna Vedanta shrine, I walked up steep streets to the base of Bernal hill. There I approached the first person I encountered, seeking directions to the hilltop trail.

But instead of a quick encounter about directions, we had an extended dialogue. It was Daniel Raskin, with whom I enjoyed a long spiritual chat and experienced a ‘holy encounter’, before we parted and I beheld the spectacular panoramic view from atop Bernal Hill.

Synchronistically, Daniel identified himself as a photographer living in the Bernal Heights vicinity, like Audrey the photographer responsible for my curiosity about that neighborhood. And when I mentioned Audrey, Daniel said he had participated and appeared in her documentary film The Owls of Bernal Hill.

As we chatted, I told Daniel of my interest in mysterious spiritual synchronicities. Whereupon, he shared with me a wonderful story of an unforgettable spiritual experience. Here is Daniel’s story as he wrote it for a diary in 1998, just after it happened:

A Spiritual Experience
By Daniel Raskin *

July 15, 1998, Cottonwood Point, Arizona
Sierra Club Trip: Locating Petroglyphs

Utah Box Canyon


Today we visited the end of a box canyon where there were complex and intriguing ancient petroglyphs and small ruins. After breakfast we drove a short way to our trailhead and hiked a few miles along a sandy path. The plants were mostly a bluish
aromatic sage; also juniper, cacti, local grasses and, here and there, a late blooming flower. The sky was perfectly clear, deep blue, and the sun fierce. Most of the hike was in full sun; the temperature in the nineties by ten or eleven.

The end of the canyon was a spectacular place, a high semi-circular vertical cliff. It was concave and beautifully banded, brown, light brown, reddish brown and yellow. A broad waterless wash wove through the flat valley floor. There, in the
shade of the canyon, oaks and plants with red berries grew.

As soon as I got into the shade of the canyon walls, I began to breathe rapidly. I did not feel I had over-exerted myself, and did not understand why I was breathless. I began to feel slightly nauseous, faint and dizzy. I also felt very moved by the beauty surrounding me. I began to feel very emotional. My heartbeat was rapid and my breath uncontrollably fast and deep. I began to feel like I had taken LSD.

I sat down. My condition intensified. I began to cry, copious tears. I was simultaneously relieved, frightened and confused. My thoughts and feelings wandered freely. As I continued to cry, I felt over-joyed to be alive. I felt blessed to enjoy the relative security of my middle class existence. I thought about my partner Ann. I thought about her ovarian cancer. It almost killed her, but now she is healthy again and stronger in new ways. I thought about Jesse, my twenty-one year old, and how he is now thriving after a difficult adolescence. I thought about Sam, my sixteen year old. He has survived a risky and chaotic early adolescence, and is stronger and more mature. I felt my love, my powerful love for my family. All this time I was crying and breathing deeply.

I thought about the miracle of being alive, of experiencing existence in the midst of infinite eternity. What explains my chance to experience life? Who or what, ultimately, gave me and all of us this miraculous gift?

As I thought and cried, I slowly began to calm down. My breath slowed. After a while I felt stable enough to get up. I took photographs of the canyon and the beautiful oaks and wild currents growing there. Then I joined the group. They had
dispersed about the headwall to view the great array of petroglyphs. There were animals, human figures, designs and scenes pecked into the rock. The most impressive was a figure of a one-legged person. People with deformities were sometimes holy people in Native American cultures.



After looking at the rock art I investigated the remains of a kiva. A coyote had made a lair in its recesses. I found a small rodent’s jaw. I climbed down to the canyon floor. Datura, a hallucinogenic plant was growing there. I wondered: “am I in a sacred place?” After a while we left the canyon, had lunch, visited more rock art sites and returned to camp. I felt light-headed for several hours.

What happened to me? Did I become delirious from the heat? Was I freaked out by the rigors of this trip, lonely for my family? Maybe. But why did this happen today, rather than on another hot, hard working day?
And, why did this happen in a place with a petroglyph of a one-legged person, a kiva and hallucinogenic plants growing?
I’d like to say I had a vision, if saying that didn’t feel arrogant and presumptuous. Who knows? Fortunately, life is full of mysteries.

After returning home: I shared my experience with Ann. She said that I had had a spiritual experience about the gift of life and the power of love, as she had had when she was sick with cancer.

* Daniel Raskin is a retired San Francisco preschool teacher and photographer.


******

Do you agree (as I do) with Daniel’s partner Ann that he “had a spiritual experience about the gift of life and the power of love”?

And didn’t Daniel’s spontaneously copious tears express more eloquently than any words the heartfelt depths of his joy and gratitude for this blessed life?

Ron’s moral of the story:

Daniel’s deep spiritual experience, shows us that we don’t need religious rituals, beliefs or dogma to experience Divinity; that, beyond religion, our grateful communion with Nature can be an equally powerful spiritual path.

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The Lightworker Objective ~ by Owen Waters

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness
that created it. ”
~ Albert Einstein




Ron Rattner’s introductory comments


Except for timeless awareness, nothing is permanent ‘neath Heaven’s vast firmament’. Science shows us that our world and everything in it is ever changing energy. Yet we have been spell-bound by cultural conditioning, language and perception to believe ourselves separate subjects in a solid “objective” world.

Until now, acting on the illusionary belief that we are separate from Nature, we have ignorantly, fearfully and greedily been despoiling and exploiting our precious planet and its lifeforms, thereby creating immense ecologic, economic, humanitarian and interpersonal crises. 


Yet, paradoxically, though confronted with extraordinary peril, we now have unprecedented potential for solving and transcending our planetary problems, intuitively, scientifically, and technologically.

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, and Humanity is achieving a critical mass of higher consciousness which will resolve our critical mess as we transcend the separate subject-object illusion, realizing that Nature is our nature; that what we do to Nature and others we do to ourselves.

The news media are now filled with reports of important new social phenomena – like Occupy Wall Street – emblematic of elevated societal awareness of crucial need for revolutionary systemic change.

Here is an excellent essay by spiritual author and teacher Owen Waters, explaining how ultimate power to transcend human problems is within each of us; and how we are now experiencing a subtle shift in human consciousness which is being led by a critical mass of spiritual seekers – sometimes called “lightworkers”.


The Lightworker Objective ~ by Owen Waters*

We are in the midst of a revolution in consciousness which is affecting everyone. Even the most staunch traditionalists in society are being dragged into a vortex of ever-increasing change.


The 80-20 rule states that 80% of any change is typically caused by 20% of the people. The 20% consists of the leading thinkers of the day. In spiritual matters, these leading edge people are sometimes called lightworkers or old souls, indicating that they have learned more from their experiences through many incarnations. This advanced learning is stored as wisdom in their souls and they benefit from it consciously through intuitive inner guidance. 


Today’s leading edge thinkers planned ahead to be incarnate at this time in history to help make the essential positive changes in society possible. Social science has begun to recognize them as a major group in today’s society. 



A survey in the 1990’s by researchers Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson found that 26 percent of American adults had become what they termed Cultural Creatives. Over fifty million Americans now fit the definition of a newly emerging type of humanity that has made a comprehensive upward shift in worldview, values and way of life. In Europe, a 1997 survey conducted in fifteen European countries showed figures that are very similar to the United States. 


So, in a social setting the term ‘leading edge thinker’ actually applies to more than 20% of the people today. Most of them don’t think of themselves as leading edge, nor do they typically realize how many other people are just like them. 


The term ‘lightworker’ is synonymous with ‘spiritual seeker.’ You may or may not think of yourself a lightworker but, if you’re reading this, then you fit the definition perfectly.

The two categories of Cultural Creatives identified by Ray and Anderson fit exactly into the consciousness patterns of lower and upper fourth density. While our physical bodies are currently located in upper third density, our minds are free to soar through heart-centered fourth density and into fifth-density soul consciousness. 


When a person moves from the third-density challenge of developing basic intellect into lower fourth density, their worldview expands and they become more aware of the needs of society. They take into account the local and global effects of their own actions and the actions of others that they support. Environmental, organic and peace-making concerns all come under this frequency band of consciousness. 



Then, as outlined in my book, The Shift: The Revolution in Human Consciousness, when people move from lower to upper fourth-density consciousness they pass through the gateway of the heart. This brings them into the first level of spiritual awareness and they become more concerned with inner development and enlightenment.

Leading thinkers are simply people whose normal frequency of consciousness is higher than average. The higher your frequency, the greater your awareness and the greater your ability to lead change by showing others how to resolve the challenges in life. 
 
Two very popular issues today are control issues and self-empowerment. People who were raised to feel the need to be in control are now recognizing that this was just another form of fear which has no substance in reality. Reality comes from your soul’s intuitive guidance because, at a soul level, your consciousness sees everything that you need to succeed and achieve your purpose in life.


The opposite side of the same coin is the issue of self-empowerment, which is learned by people who break free of control by others and establish their own sense of inner strength and self-dependence. 


The issue of self-empowerment is being explored at a societal level as well as an individual level. Every person who begins to realize that they are being deliberately disempowered and turns off the fear-inducing news broadcasts leads the world another step towards liberty from the chains that are designed to bind people to a life of servitude. Thanks to the awakening of lightworkers and leading thinkers, the world is waking up to a whole new standard of personal power and dignity. 
 
Here is the point that I am being told to make by The Lord Protector of The Shift: Lightworkers often choose to experience major challenges in their lives, not because they need the experience, because they have mastered those challenges in previous incarnations. Instead, lightworkers choose to experience challenges because other people need leading thinkers to show them how to resolve these issues. The more the leading-edge people succeed in resolving these issues, the easier it becomes for the rest to follow.



There is a global mind atmosphere or ‘mind belt’ of human consciousness around the planet. You are subconsciously linked with the mind belt 24 hours a day. It affects you and you affect it. Your contribution to the mental and spiritual health of the world is made every second of every day. 


The Lightworker Objective is to be a pioneer in the advancement of consciousness, often adopting certain challenges in order to work through them and, by doing so, creating a pattern in the mind belt to make it easier for others to follow.


If you are currently working through a major life challenge and feel as though you’re going round in circles and getting nowhere, STOP and look for the gift in that challenge. 



The gift is that, by loving yourself and others more, you can rise above the challenge and become more of who you really are. Then, the experience changes from one of challenge to one of self-empowerment. 


Real strength does not lie anywhere in the outside world. It lies within you. Once you find that inner power, you rise above any limitation and stand as a self-realized leading thinker in a world desperate for spiritual freedom.

——

*Owen Waters is the author of The Shift: The Revolution in Human Consciousness, and other spiritual books and articles described at: http://www.infinitebeing.com/index.html


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Kiss of Death


Kiss of Death


A poem by Richard Schiffman, after dragon fly image
by photojournalist Gerald Herbert


That little tragedian, the dragon fly,
wings smeared with earth’s black blood,
stands glued to its stem like an orator.
It will never leave this soapbox now.
Just hangs there spread-eagled, a wee-Jesus
on a crucifix of grass. Some undertaker
draped its rainbow in a shroud of pitch,
shined its tar-ball shoes, closed those onyx
eyes for good. Now it stands an effigy
of itself. It wants to tell us that it died
for our sins. But its lips are sealed.
This orator is without a speech.
One of the meek, so busy inheriting
the earth, it never noticed the evil tide
bubbling up from earth’s slit jugular,
it never saw that glistening drop of oil
on Judas’s lip.

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Your Religion Is Not Important




Introduction. The following is a brief dialogue between  the Dalai Lama and Brazilian theologist Leonardo Boff, one of the renovators of the Theology of Freedom, as recounted by Boff:

Boff’s Narative.

“In a round table discussion about religion and freedom in which 
Dalai Lama and myself were participating, at recess I maliciously, and also with interest, asked him: 
“Your holiness, what is the best religion?”

“I thought he would say:      “The Tibetan Buddhism” or “The oriental religions, much older than Christianity”

“Dalai Lama paused, smiled and looked me in the eyes ….which surprised me because I knew of the malice contained in my question.  “He answered: 

“The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. 
It is the one that makes you a better person.”


“To get out of my embarrassment with such a wise answer, I asked:

 “What is it that makes me better?”

“He responded:

“Whatever makes you
more Compassionate,
more Sensible,
more Detached,
more Loving,
more Humanitarian,
more Responsible,
more Ethical.”

 “The religion that will do that for you is the best religion”


“I was silent for a moment, marveling and even today 
thinking of his wise and irrefutable response:

“I am not interested, my friend, about your religion 
or if you are religious or not.

“What really is important to me is your behavior in 
front of your peers, family, work, community, 
and in front of the world.”

“Remember, the universe is the echo of our actions and our  thoughts.

“The law of action and reaction is not exclusively for physics.  
 It is also of human relations.
 If I act with goodness, I will receive goodness.
 If I act with evil, I will get evil.

“What our grandparents told us is the pure truth. 
 You will always have what you desire for others. 
 Being happy is not a matter of destiny. 
 It is a matter of options.”


Finally he said:

“Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life
     … and …
“There is no religion higher than the Truth.”


You Tube presentation of this dialogue:



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