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Voice In My Head?

“If you could get rid of yourself just once,
the secret of secrets would open to you.
The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe
would appear on the mirror of your perception.”
~ Rumi
“Be empty of worrying,

Think of Who Created Thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?”

~ Rumi
Forget who you think you are
to Know what you really are.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence.
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth




Voice In My Head?

There’s a voice in my head.
It keeps talking to itself and to me,

Telling me my thoughts,
and telling me what to do,
and sometimes judging me.

What is it? Who is it?  Is it me?

And someone’s always listening to that voice in my head.
What is it? Who is it?  Is it me?

And someone’s always thinking for me.
What is it? Who is it?  Is it me?

If I am that silent voice in my head constantly talking
to itself and to me, am I crazy?

If I was always talking to myself out loud
(without a cell phone at my ear),
I’d be committed to a psychiatric ward.

Sometimes I don’t think at all, and then there’s no voice in my head.
But, I’m still  aware and exist and can listen to other things.

So how can I be my thoughts or the voice in my head,
if I’m still here when they’re not there?

So can someone other than that voice in my head please tell me:
Who’s talking? Who’s thinking?  Who’s listening?

Who am I?



Ron’s recitation of Voice In My Head

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Ron’s Comments on Voice in My Head.

At age forty two I suddenly realized that I was not merely my physical body, its name and story, or its thoughts – the “voice in my head” – but that my true self identity is universal Awareness. That self identity experience was followed by previously unimagined, transformative and unprecedented experiences of peace, inner light, subtle energy and ecstasy.

Prior to that transformative experience, I was largely ignorant of Eastern or other spiritual teachings. But, spurred by great curiosity about what had happened to me, I gradually discovered that many spiritual teachings identified “ego” – our mistaken mental self image about who and what we truly are – as the principal barrier to spiritual “enlightenment”. And – especially from contemporary mindfulness teachings – I learned that identifying with the “voice in the head” was a major symptom of ego’s mistaken self image.

Though at midlife I temporarily transcended ego identity, it has kept recurring while steadily diminishing since then. So I have been experiencing gradual ego attrition with ever growing happiness and fulfillment. Today I am happier than ever before, but still learning and transforming and rarely identifying with the “voice in my head”.

Eckhart Tolle.

Of all contemporary spiritual teachings I’ve read about “ego” and “voice in the head”, I especially endorse those of Eckhart Tolle in which he cogently explains how “thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence”. [see e.g. http://sillysutras.com/what-is-ego/ ]

The foregoing poem about “Voice in My Head” was based on my mystical experiences before I discovered Tolle’s teachings. But Tolle’s teachings about “ego” and “voice in the head” are especially powerful and helpful because they are based upon his extraordinarily powerful permanent spiritual awakening experience. (see http://sillysutras.com/eckhart-tolle-spiritual-awakening-story-and-teachings/)

Because often we can best assimilate and actuate spiritual principles through parables and stories, Eckhart Tolle’s awakening stories can help us comprehend the crucial transformative importance of self identification with eternal Awareness rather than with ego’s “voice in our head”.

In Tolle’s noteworthy book, A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Chapter Two, he observes that “Some people never forget the first time they disidentified from their thoughts and thus briefly experienced the shift in identity from being the content of their mind to being the awareness in the background.”

Whereupon he narrates his own such experience which happened several years before his dramatic permanent awakening experience. It is hereafter excerpted, with my sincere recommendation that if interested you read and reflect on Tolle’s teachings.

THE VOICE IN THE HEAD – excerpted from A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

That first glimpse of awareness came to me when I was a first year
student at the University of London. I would take the tube (subway) twice a
week to go to the university library, usually around nine o’clock in the
morning, toward the end of the rush hour. One time a woman in her early
thirties sat opposite me. I had seen her before a few times on that train. One
could not help but notice her. Although the train was full, the seats on either
side of her were unoccupied, the reason being, no doubt, that she appeared to
be quite insane. She looked extremely tense and talked to herself incessantly
in a loud and angry voice. She was so absorbed in her thoughts that she was
totally unaware, it seemed, of other people or her surroundings. Her head
was facing downward and slightly to the left, as if she were addressing
someone sitting in the empty seat next to her. Although I don’t remember the
precise content, her monologue went something like this: “And then she said
to me… so I said to her you are a liar how dare you accuse me of… when
you are the one who has always taken advantage of me I trusted you and you
betrayed my trust…”
There was the angry tone in her voice of someone who
has been wronged, who needs to defend her position lest she become
annihilated.

As the train approached Tottenham Court Road Station, she stood up
and walked toward the door with still no break in the stream of words
coming out of her mouth. That was my stop too, so I got off behind her. At
street level, she began to walk toward Bedford Square, still engaged in her
imaginary dialogue, still angrily accusing and asserting her position. My
curiosity aroused, I decided to follow her as long as she was walking in the
same general direction I had to go in. Although engrossed in her imaginary
dialogue, she seemed to know where she was going. Soon we were within
sight of the imposing structure of Senate House, a 1930’s highrise, the
university’s central administrative building and library. I was shocked. Was it
possible that we were going to the same place? Yes, that’s’ where she was
heading. Was she a teacher, student, an office worker, a librarian? Maybe she
was some psychologist’s research project. I never knew the answer. I walked
twenty steps behind her, and by the time I entered the building (which
ironically was the location of the headquarters of the “Mind Police” in the
film version of George Orwell’s novel, 1984), she had already been
swallowed up by one of the elevators.

I was somewhat taken aback by what I had just witnessed. A mature
first year student at twenty five, I saw myself as an intellectual in the
making, and I was convinced that all the answers to the dilemmas of human
existence could be found through the intellect, that is to say, by thinking. I
didn’t realize yet that thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of
human existence. I looked upon the professors as sages who had all the
answers and upon the university as the temple of knowledge. How could an
insane person like her be part of this?

I was still thinking about her when I was in the men’s room prior to
entering the library. As I was washing my hands, I thought: I hope I don’t
end up like her. The man next to me looked briefly in my direction, and I
suddenly was shocked when I realized that I hadn’t just thought those words,
but mumbled them aloud. “Oh my God, I’m already like her,” I thought.
Wasn’t my mind as incessantly active as hers? There were only minor
differences between us. The predominant underlying emotion behind her
thinking seemed to be anger. In my case, it was mostly anxiety. She thought
out loud. I thought – mostly – in my head. If she was mad, then everyone
was mad, including myself. There were differences in degree only.

The above incident not only gave me a first glimpse of awareness, it
also planted the first doubt as to the absolute validity of the human intellect.

A few months later, something tragic happened that made my doubt grow. On
a Monday morning, we arrived for a lecture to be given by a professor whose
mind I admired greatly, only to be told that sadly he had committed suicide
sometime during the weekend by shooting himself. I was stunned. He was a
highly respected teacher and seemed to have all the answers. However, I
could as yet see no alternative to the cultivation of thought. I didn’t realize
yet that thinking is only a tiny aspect of the consciousness that we are, nor
did I know anything about the ego, let alone being able to detect it within
myself.


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Eckhart Tolle ~ Spiritual Awakening Story and Teachings

“In essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching,
although it comes in many forms. . . .
~ Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now
“A true spiritual teacher does not have anything to teach in the conventional sense of the word, does not have anything to give or add to you, such as new information, beliefs, or rules of conduct. The only function of such a teacher is to help you remove that which separates you from the truth … The words are no more than signposts.”
~ Eckhart Tolle – Stillness Speaks

Eckhart Tolle.



Ron’s Introduction.

Eckhart Tolle is an influential contemporary spiritual writer and teacher, whose teachings – which I endorse – have reached millions worldwide. I first discovered Tolle only after I had stopped attending spiritual public programs and retreats and had transitioned from being a “born again Hindu” to an“uncertain Undo” – a still continuing life phase of reliance on inner rather than outer authority. (see e.g. “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life”)

By then, I was able to experientially understand and deeply appreciate the authenticity of Tolle’s teachings and spiritual awakening story, and the cogency of his message. Because of Tolle’s verbal acuity and clarity he is often quoted on SillySutras.com.

Especially during this age of mental malaise when millions of people suffer from deep despondency and depression, and suicides are rife, I am sharing Eckhart Tolle’s inspiring spiritual awakening story, so that it may help us or others we know who may be psychologically challenged or despondent, to find lasting inner happiness and love.

On the brink of suicide, Tolle had a miraculous spiritual awakening which permanently ended his psychological suffering rather than his human life. Thereafter he miraculously became a renowned spiritual teacher and author of The Power of Now and other noteworthy books.

Often we can best assimilate and actuate spiritual principles through parables and stories. So Eckhart Tolle’s history and powerful awakening story – posted below – can help us comprehend the crucial transformative importance of self identification with eternal Awareness rather than with ego’s “voice in our head”. And I encourage you to read and reflect on it.

Tolle’s History of Anxiety, Fear and Depression Before His Spiritual Awakening.

Tölle was born on February 16, 1948 in Lünen, a small German town near Dortmund in the Ruhr Valley. He grew up in a dysfunctional household, where his incompatible Catholic parents were constantly bickering. Tölle’s early childhood was fraught with anxiety and fear, and he felt alienated from a perceived hostile school environment. Sometimes instead of going to school he would bicycle to the woods and sit amidst nature, which he loved.

Eventually his parents separated, and his father left Germany to live in Spain. Later, at the age of thirteen, Tölle moved to Spain to live with his father. In Spain, Tölle refused to go to school any longer. Though not rebellious he could no longer tolerate a hostile school environment. Tolle’s unconventional ‘open minded’ father did not insist that his son attend high school, and permitted him to elect home studies of literature, astronomy and various languages.

At the age fifteen, Tolle synchronistically received and read several books written by a German mystic known as Bô Yin Râ, which “very deeply” affected him. With an aptitude for languages, he quickly learned Spanish, English, and some French. Still, he spent much solitary time, free of the external pressures of the environment or the culture.

At age nineteen, about ten years before his “inner awakening”, Tölle moved to England, where he lived for about thirty years until emigrating to Canada in the mid-1990’s. During his first three years in England, he had no formal education, and supported himself by teaching German and Spanish at a London school for language studies.

Then, troubled by “depression, anxiety and fear”, he began “searching for answers” which he believed he could find only through intellect rather than intuition.

In his early twenties, Tolle decided to pursue his search by studying philosophy, psychology, and literature. After taking preparatory evening classes, he was ‘fast-tracked’ and permitted to enroll in the University of London. Upon graduating, he was offered and accepted a scholarship to do postgraduate research. Soon thereafter, at age twenty nine, he experienced a profound spiritual awakening and dropped out of academic studies.

Tolle’s Spiritual Awakening Story.
(Excerpted from The Power of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment )

Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression. It feels now as if I am talking about some past lifetime or somebody else’s life.

One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train – everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live.

“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. `Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the `I’ and the `self’ that `I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”

I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing,” as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.

I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside the window. I had never heard such a sound before. My eyes were still closed, and I saw the image of a precious diamond. Yes, if a diamond could make a sound, this is what it would be like. I Opened my eyes. The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, I felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.

That day I walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracle of life on earth, as if I had just been born into this world.

For the next five months, I lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss. After that, it diminished somewhat in intensity, or perhaps it just seemed to because it became my natural state. I could still function in the world, although I realized that nothing I ever did could possibly add anything to what I already had.

I knew, of course, that something profoundly significant had happened to me, but I didn’t understand it at all. It wasn’t until several years later, after I had read spiritual texts and spent time with spiritual teachers, that I realized that what everybody was looking for had already happened to me. I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left then was my true nature as the ever-present I am: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious. I dwelt in states of such indescribable bliss and sacredness that even the original experience I just described pales in comparison. A time came when, for a while, I was left with nothing on the physical plane. I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.

But even the most beautiful experiences come and go. More fundamental, perhaps, than any experience is the undercurrent of peace that has never left me since then. Sometimes it is very strong, almost palpable, and others can feel it too. At other times, it is somewhere in the background, like a distant melody.

Later, people would occasionally come up to me and say: “I want what you have. Can you give it to me, or show me how to get it?” And I would say: “You have it already. You just can’t feel it because your mind is making too much noise.”


Ron’s Comments.

Tolle’s profound awakening experience credibly demonstrates how our greatest fears and sufferings can hide our highest potentials, yet provide immense evolutionary opportunities – revealing that beyond our minds we can find intuitive fulfillment of our deepest aspirations for love, peace and joy, and realization of previously unimagined human potentials.

Tolle’s teachings focus on transforming self identity “from being the content of [the] mind to being the awareness in the background”. While Tolle claims to have experienced a permanent awakening to self-identity as awareness, such one-time experiences are extremely rare. However, numerous people’s mystical awakening experiences – like mine – can trigger a gradual transformative process of evolutionary purification and ego attrition, with ever increasing benefits.

At age forty two – like Tolle – I experienced previously unimagined and transformative self identity as universal Awareness, followed by unprecedented experiences of peace and ecstasy. But my mistaken ego identity was not thereby completely dissolved and it kept recurring. Instead of experiencing permanent peace, for many years I have been experiencing gradual ego attrition with ever growing happiness and fulfillment. So today I am happier than ever before, but still learning and transforming.

At the time of his awakening experience Tolle was largely unfamiliar with spiritual texts and spiritual teachers. But after exploring such literature for several years, he concluded “that what everybody was looking for had already happened to me.” And that: “In essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms.”

Though I am unqualified to evaluate Tolle’s representations and opinions, I do regard him as authentic and sincerely well intentioned, and I endorse his teachings. Only because I endorse many Tolle quotations have I posted them on SillySutras.com. to help others. And only because I find Tolle’s teachings valuable do I recommend them for your consideration.

For example, I very much appreciate this introduction to Tolle’s excellent second book, Stillness Speaks:

“A true spiritual teacher does not have anything to teach in the conventional sense of the word, does not have anything to give or add to you, such as new information, beliefs, or rules of conduct. The only function of such a teacher is to help you remove that which separates you from the truth … The words are no more than signposts.”

Before ever learning about Tolle, I had realized the power of now and, via my imagined inner guide and some-time pseudonym, Swami Rononandonananda, I had written various poems and sutra sayings harmonious and consistent with Tolle’s teachings, like

Tao and Zen

are NOW,

not then.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


and like these Words About Words:

Life is a word game:

Adding a few syllables to the Ineffable,

we play the word game of life

until we find and become THAT –

Silence that says ALL.
******
There’s nothing to say,
but words point the way.

So, let’s elevate our spiritual “lexi-consciousness.”
******
“Speak little; say much.”

~ Swami Ron Onandonananda


Also, for your amusement and edification, here is my whimsical poem called Egocide which is quite consistent with Tolle’s awakening experience and teachings:

Egocide

Ego’s attrition

is our mission;


Egocide’s our goal.


When ego’s dead

we’ll lose all dread,


Knowing we are Soul.


Then we’ll say

that life’s a play,


Each body/mind a role;


That we’re the Glory

and not the story,


Not just parts – but Whole!


Moral of the Story.

“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi


May everyone, everywhere
find and transcend all inner barriers
and be happy!

And so may it be!

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Vision and Perception: Quotations and Sutra Sayings

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~William Blake
“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift
“True vision is insight, not eyesight.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“ Seeing the Invisible is Knowing the impossible.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Behold: Reality’s Essence is Divine Luminescence.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



“Let the waters settle, 
you will see stars and moon

mirrored in your Being.”
~ Rumi

“Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception
resembles more than anything else
that celestial source from which we all are come.”
~Michelangelo

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
~ Carl Jung

“The question is not what you look at,
but what you see.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“The eyes of the soul of the multitudes
are unable to endure the vision of the Divine.”
~ Plato

“People only see what they are prepared to see.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“People think that they see, but they don’t.”
~ Henry Moore

“Everyone takes the limits of his own vision
for the limits of the world.”
~ Arthur Schopenhauer

“As a man is, so he sees.
As the eye is formed, such are its powers.”
~ William Blake

“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight,
but has no vision.”
~ Helen Keller

“As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind,
so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.”
~ Helen Keller

”When the sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire
somewhat like a guinea?
O no, no, I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host crying
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”
~ William Blake

“There are many paths to the top of the mountain,
but the view is always the same.”
~ Chinese Proverb

“Where there is no vision, people perish.”
~ Proverbs 29:18

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
~ Michelangelo

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
~ Antoine De Saint-Exupery

“Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it creative observation. Creative viewing.”
~ William S. Burroughs

“The soul never thinks without a mental picture.”
~ Aristotle

“For light I go directly to the Source of light, not to any of the reflections.”
~ Peace Pilgrim

“Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision
to recognize it as such.”
~ Henry Miller

“Because our entire universe is made up of consciousness,
we never really experience the universe directly;
we just experience our consciousness of the universe,
our perception of it – so … our only universe is perception.”
~ Alan Moore

“Perception is a mirror not a fact. And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”
~ A Course In Miracles

“Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious:
i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception.”
~H. P. Blavatsky

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
~ Edgar Allan Poe

“In the ultimate stillness
Light penetrates the whole realm;
In the still illumination,
There pervades pure emptiness.
When I look back on the
Phenomenal world,
Everything is just
Like a dream.”
~ Han-shan Te-Ch’ing



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Seek Relief From Belief!

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
~ Buddha
“[B]elief in any form is a hindrance. A man who believes in God can never find God. If you are open to reality, there can be no belief in reality. If you are open to the unknown, there can be no belief in it. … belief is a form of self-protection…” … “When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” …… “Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still – only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.”

~ Lao Tzu



As conception is body/mind’s inception,
Its imprisonment begins with conviction.

We are shackled
by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.

So, seek relief
from belief;
and  get out of jail —
FREE.

Let us end our universal malaise –
our chronic belief syndrome.

Believing is deceiving.

To know what’s so,
Question credo.

Follow your faith,
But “dis” your belief,
Lose your illusions, and
Drop your dogmas.

Follow dharma, not dogma.

Seek relief from belief,
And find clarity beyond doctrinairity.



Ron’s audio recitation of Seek Relief From Belief!

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True Vision

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is,
infinite.”
~ William Blake
“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift
“Nothing’s impossible for the Invisible.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
~ Michelangelo



True vision is insight, not eyesight.

Eyesight is mind–sight.
Insight is soul sight.

Eyesight is from mental movement.
Insight is from mental stillness.

Eyesight is then;
Insight is NOW.

Eyesight sees separation;
Insight reveals unity of Reality.

Enlightened vision is
Eyesight with Insight.



Ron’s audio recitation of True Vision

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Mute The Mind

“Yoga is the cessation of mind.”
~ Patanjali, Yoga Sutras
 “When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” …… “Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still – only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“I think with intuition. The basis of true thinking is intuition.

Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity.
”

~ Albert Einstein
To think or not to think,
that is the question!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is not a problem to be solved,
but a reality to be experienced.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard



Bliss abides when thought subsides.

When all thoughts cease, we are at peace.

Spirit speaks when mind is mute.

Mute your mind to hear your heart.

The power to think is a great gift;
but, the power to not think is a greater gift.

So, to think or not to think, that is the question.


Ron’s audio recitation of Mute The Mind

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Asking The Ultimate Question: “Who Am I?”

“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to ‘who am I?’
and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”
~ Jalaluddin Rumi
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.”
~ Lao Tzu
“Know thyself – The unexamined life is not worth living.”
~ Socrates
“Give up all questions except one: “Who am I?”  After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The “I am” is certain. The “I am this” is not.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Ask and it shall be given; Seek and ye shall find.”
~ Matthew 7:7
“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.
 
The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“An ‘identity crisis’ can be life’s greatest opportunity,
because it raises life’s most crucial question – “Who am I?”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“That which permeates all, which nothing transcends and which, like the universal space around us, fills everything completely from within and without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman — that thou art.”
~ Shankaracharya
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

~ Dr. Seuss
“What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“So the question Who am I? is not an idle one.  How you answer the question will determine how you live the rest of your life.  It will determine the quality of your life.”
~ Neale Donald Walsch

Have you ever deeply wondered about your true self-identity or urgently asked yourself, “Who Am I”?

Most of us, never inquire about our true self-identity, but we assume ourselves to be mere mortal physical life-forms with unique histories, separate from everyone and everything else.

Not until age forty two, did I ever ask myself or wonder “Who Am I”? Until then, I assumed that I was only my physical body, its thoughts and its story; that I was a middle-aged secular Jewish litigation lawyer, married, with two kids, born in Chicago and living in San Francisco.

But on New Year’s Eve 1974-5, these assumptions were severely shaken. At a ‘pot luck’ dinner party, after unwittingly eating a large piece of cake laced with marijuana, I had a dramatically unforgettable out of body experience.

From a bedroom ceiling, I saw my body lying face down on a pillow, and saw each of my thoughts originating outside the body as a vividly colored kaleidoscopic form.

These perceptions seemed very real – not dreamlike or hallucinatory. And they irresistibly raised for me an urgent new question: “Who or what am I?”

I reasoned that if I was on the ceiling of the room, while my body was face-down on the bed, I couldn’t be the body; and that if I was on the ceiling of the room, while my thoughts were appearing below me, I couldn’t be the thoughts. And if not my body and not my thoughts, “Who or what am I?”

Thereafter, irresistibly and persistently I began pursuing this previously unexamined enquiry, with intense longing for an answer. This process has proved an enormous blessing which has changed my life forever. It has convinced me that “Who Am I?” is the most important question that anyone can ever ask; that by deeply reflecting on our true self-identity and persistently inquiring: “Who Am I?” we can ultimately experience a profound, life-enhancing psychological transformation process.

Throughout history saints and sages of every tradition and culture – East and West – have counseled us to “Know thyself.” In the West, this fundamental injunction was attributed to the Greek oracle consulted by Socrates and carved into the Temple of Apollo as: “Gnothi Seauton”.

Eastern saints and mystics for millennia have taught that there is an ultimate goal of life – an ‘enlightened’ state of spiritual awareness bringing permanent happiness and freedom from all worldly bondage. Swami Yogananda Paramahansa, who brought Eastern wisdom to the West in the 20th century, called this spiritual goal “self-realization”.

Who is this “Self” that we are counseled to know or realize?   How can we follow the advice of the saints and sages to “Know thyself”, and so experience “self-realization”?

One of the principal methods to “Know thyself” suggested by mystics and sages is to inquire: “Who am I?” For example, ancient Indian sage Shankara said that spiritual “Knowledge cannot spring up by any other means than the inquiry: Who am I?”.

In Hinduism, such self-inquiry is chiefly associated with Advaita-Vedanta, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy. Advaita means non-dualism and its teachings are essentially the same as those of Mahayana Buddhism. Both are aimed at experiencing non-dual Reality.

The ultimate answer to the question “Who Am I?” cannot come from intellect. We can know or realize our “self” only by intuitive experience of “Who Am I?”. However, in the Hindu and Buddhist non-duality paths, powers of discrimination are used to transcend intellect and to reveal the Self via self-realization.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Ask and it shall be given; Seek and ye shall find.” Thus, if we persistently ask “Who Am I?”, the answer shall be given. And in seeking our true Self, we shall find our true Self – as Eternal Peace beyond understanding, and as timeless Joy beyond suffering.

And so it shall be!

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From Blanked Out to Blissed Out: A Disguised Blessing Synchronicity Story

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.”
“… joy and sorrow are inseparable. . .
together they come and when one sits alone with you . . .
remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,
the more joy you can contain.”
~ Kahlil Gibran




After a period of many overcast and rainy San Francisco days, I awakened on a Monday morning gratefully beholding the sun shining on the City and the Bay.  So, I decided to enjoy the day with a brisk morning walk in the sun before my noon appointment at Soul Works chiropractic.

But first, I went on-line and attended to current emails and SillySutras.com website issues.   Consulting ‘Dr. Google’, I discovered a suggested code change which might correct a non-functioning website plugin that had stopped working months ago.   Then, shortly before I planned to begin my walk in the sun, I decided to try correcting the faulty plugin, and made the suggested code change.  But when I pushed the “save” button at the bottom of the plugin edit page, everything went blank – both SillySutras.com and my WordPress administrative dock.

So, it appeared that my website was down and blanked out, and that – unable to access my administrative page – I needed immediate help from others to fix it.   But I realized that if I then tried getting help, I wouldn’t have time for a walk by the Bay, and my noon chiropractic appointment.    Nonetheless, instead of postponing my walk and appointment, I decided intuitively to walk in the sun and to my chiropractic appointment leaving the website blanked-out. That spontaneous decision was contrary to my long-time lawyer’s habit of quickly and compulsively correcting any such problems.

After a delightfully brisk walk through Fort Mason open space and onto the SF Municipal Pier jutting into SF Bay, I arrived at Soul Works chiropractic in a very happy mood.   But I was still wondering about my blanked-out website.  So I asked Adriene, the lovely new Soul Works receptionist, if she would check SillySutras.com on her computer to see if it was visible or down.

Adriene told me that “synchronistically” she too had a WordPress website, and she immediately understood my problem.  She checked my website on-line and found that it was blank – just a white page with absolutely no public display or data. So, she recommended that I contact my web hosting service as soon as possible.

At other times I might have become tense or upset and postponed my chiropractic session until after arranging to fix my crashed website.    But, somehow, through all of this I stayed calm, and I felt that the synchronicity of talking to Adriene who had her own website using the identical WordPress platform that ran SillySutras.com was a sign from the Universe that I was in the right place at the right time. Moreover, after my wonderful brisk walk beside the Bay I was feeling especially happy and peaceful.

So in that happy state, I stretched out on the chiropractic table, stilled my mind, and began deep relaxed breathing.  Then, while lying prone on the chiropractor’s table with a ‘blanked-out’ mind, I suddenly saw the day’s ‘blanked-out’ website incident as a ‘cosmic joke’, testing whether Ron would witness it non-reactively and respond peacefully and appropriately – or whether he’d react reflexively, emotionally and impulsively.   Thereupon, with that realization, I went into a state of bliss and was laughing continuously – sometimes singing – for half an hour.

Over thirty years ago, while driving home to San Francisco from a retreat with my beloved Guru, Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I was suddenly taken out of my body and into a very subtle higher spiritual realm from which this world appeared as a mere play of consciousness – a sort of cosmic joke – where every appearance and happening was causally pre-determined by Cosmic Consciousness.

Though that experience was life-changing and unforgettable, it is difficult for me to mindfully remember it in daily life, especially when viewing with compassion, and sometimes with tears, the disharmony and terrible suffering of Humankind and other life in this crazy world.   But on the Soul Works chiropractic table with a blanked-out mind, I remembered the ‘cosmic joke’ blissfully, and laughed continuously.

Emerging from Soul Works, I realized that it was infinitely more important for Ron to access his inner bliss with a ‘blanked-out’ mind, than his Silly Sutra writings on a ‘blanked-out’ website.   So that Monday’s website emergency proved a disguised blessing, affording Ron an opportunity to witness his website crash dispassionately and non-reactively, and, hopefully to learn from that experience.

Moral of the story:   Every adverse experience may be a disguised blessing – an opportunity to learn something important. And synchronicities seen during such experiences can be signs that we are “in the flow” at the right time and place, despite apparent problems. viz. “When events seeming random, happen in tandem, it’s then we know we’re in the flow.”

Life on earth has its unavoidable ‘ups and downs’ – its inevitable difficulties.   So learning to experience life’s adversities skillfully and with equanimity helps us live happier lives and furthers our evolution.

Here is a previously posted silly sutras poem which encapsulates the inevitability of life’s ‘ups and downs’: 


In duality domain
ev’ry pleasure’s
wrapped in pain.

Within each joy
is an oy/oy/oy.

So, when you’re feeling forlorn,
remember this:

Misery is the mother of Bliss.



PS.  If you are reading this posting on SillySutras.com, you know that it is no longer blanked-out, and that Ron’s editing mistake was completely corrected after he enjoyed a few blissed out hours with a blanked-out mind. Hurray!

On returning home from Soul Works I found an email from Lana Walker, my professional website advisor. I immediately replied telling her of the website white-out problem, which she quickly fixed a few hours after it began. And more people accessed the website that Monday, than any other day that week.

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“Choice” Quotations


“We must believe in free will,
we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Friedrich Schiller

“Since we cannot change reality,
let us change the eyes which see reality.”
~ Nikos Kazantzakis




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

“What really interests me is whether God had any Choice in the creation of the world.”
~ Albert Einstein

“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“Inflamed by greed, incensed by hate, confused by delusion, overcome by them, obsessed by mind, a man chooses for his own affliction, for others’ affliction,
for the affliction of both and experiences pain and grief”
~ Buddha

“Life is the sum of all your choices.”
~ Albert Camus

“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it,
that is in itself a choice.”
~ William James

“God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.
Take which you please – you can never have both.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

“I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.”
~ A Course In Miracles

“Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedom — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
~ Viktor Frankl

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.
Therefore choose life.”
~ Deuteronomy 30:19

“Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him,
and then choose that way with all his strength. ”
~ Hasidic Saying



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When and How Shall We Think?

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society
that honors the servant
and has forgotten the gift.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
~ Albert Einstein
“I think with intuition. The basis of true thinking is intuition.
Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity.
Intuition tells a man his purpose in life.
One never goes wrong following his feelings.
I don’t mean emotions, I mean feelings, for feelings and intuition are one.”
~ Albert Einstein
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
~ King Solomon – Proverbs 23:7



Q. When and how shall we think?

A. The power of thought is like a tool.
Don’t use it, unless you choose it.

Before thinking, still the ‘voice in your head’;
and, feel and listen to your Heart.

Think first with your Heart, not your head.

As stated in ancient Indian scriptures:

“There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, …
beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in your Heart.”
~Chandogya Upanishad 3.13.7


In your Heart shines the Eternal light of Truth – the light of Love.
Logic has its limits. But Truth and Love are boundless and timeless.

So, as Einstein implies:

Honor your Heart, over your rational mind.
Use your mind to serve and follow your Heart.


Related Post: How Can We Think More Objectively?

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