Tag Archives | Rumi

Illumination Rumination

Into my heart’s night

Along a narrow way
 I groped;
and lo! the light,

An infinite land of day.

~ Rumi
“Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.
~  Mahmud Shabestari, Sufi Mystic, 15th century.
“If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky
That would be like the splendor of the Mighty One –.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 12
“There are two ways of spreading light –
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
~ Edith Wharton

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. 
~ Chinese Proverb
“For light I go directly to the Source of light,
not to any of the reflections.”
~ Peace Pilgrim




Soul light, like sun light, is Source light.
Mind light, like moon light, is reflected light.

Meditation reveals Soul light,
while rumination reflects mind light.

Rumination requires mental movement.
Illumination is in mental stillness.

Source light surpasses reflected light.
It’s better to see the Light,
than to reflect it.

As we are guided by moonlight
until sunlight re-appears,
reflected light of the mind can guide us
until we are again illuminated by Soul light.

As moon light is but reflection of sunlight,
sunlight is but a reflection of Soul light.

So, for illumination,
focus on Soul light.
But at least reflect on it.



Ron’s audio recitation of Illumination Rumination

Listen to


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
~ Dalai Lama
“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ Dalai Lama
“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.”
~ Ramana Maharshi.
“The purpose of religious lectures and sermons is to awaken in you that irresistible soul-longing for Him.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The desire to be one with God is the greatest of all.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The soul of man has been separated from its source, wandering in exile in a strange land – “I am stranger on earth” (Psalm 119:19-20) – ever yearning to return to that from which it first sprang, and cleave to the Soul of all souls.”
~ Ba’al Shem Tov, Hasidic master
“O God, you are my God – for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, like a land parched, lifeless and without water.”
~ Psalm 63:1
“The longing to go back to the source is present in each being from the very time that it is separated from the source by the veil of ignorance.”
~ Meyer Baba




Q. Why do all people want to be happy?

A. In seeking happiness, everyone is really seeking Self.

Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously, no matter who or where we are, no matter our age, gender or culture, all humans share a universal and irresistible instinct and desire to return to a soul-remembered original state of Divine Love, Peace and Oneness – a transcendent state beyond words or thoughts so marvelous that its subliminal memory magnetically attracts every sentient being to merge and be At-One with It.

No matter how spiritually evolved we may become, all incarnate human life-forms experience limitation and separation from Source. Though rare beings in deep meditation may transcend this state of seeming separation and limitation, it recurs when they are impelled to return to physicality or subtle form.

Thus great devotional beings like Rumi and Hafiz constantly yearned to return to the Beloved; ever longed for eternal transcendence of the inevitable limitations and sufferings of physical existence.

Rumi said:

From my first breath I have longed for Him –
This longing has become my life.
This longing has seen me grow old. . . .


Hafiz expressed his endless longing thusly:

“My soul endures a magnificent longing. … My pen does not have the ability to describe my condition of intense longing due to separation.”

Sri Ramana Maharshi, renowned twentieth century non-dualist sage, even after attaining self realization, reported regularly shedding tears of longing and devotion during visits to the ancient Meenakshi temple in Madurai. In recounting his experience, Maharshi explained that:

“The spirit therefore longed to have a fresh hold and hence the frequent visits to the temple and the overflow of the soul in profuse tears.”

This phenomenon of infinite longing of even “enlightened” beings was explained by Mother Meera in dialogue with spiritual author and teacher Andrew Harvey, and recounted as follows:

“Even avatars have to desire to be in God in every moment. And when avatars die, they desire with all their being to be united with God. ….. Look at Ramakrishna. How much he wept and prayed for the Divine Mother.”
~ Mother Meera to Andrew Harvey, “Hidden Journey”, Page 236

Thus, incarnation is limitation, and knowingly or unknowingly all beings – even sages – long for transcendence of that limitation. For most humans longing for transcendence is subliminal and experienced as wanting worldly contentment. But what we really seek is return to a soul-remembered state of timeless Oneness beyond any state of mind, beyond conception or imagination.

So, in seeking happiness, what we really seek is Source or Self.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Let Us Let Go of Ego, and Let Life Live Us As Love

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,
and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
“In Buddhism, ignorance as the root cause of suffering refers to a fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena.”
~ H.H.Dalai Lama
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The identification of pure awareness with the mind and its creations
 causes the [mistaken] apprehension of both an objective world and a perceiver of it.”
~ Patanjali – Yoga Sutras
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,

does not act as if it is real,

so he escapes the suffering.”

~ Buddha
“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
“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth.
Understand this if nothing else: spiritual freedom and oneness with the Tao are not randomly bestowed gifts, but the rewards of conscious self-transformation and self-evolution.”

~ Lao Tzu
As ego goes, consciousness grows, until it Knows – Itself.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Maitreya - The Next Buddha



Einstein revolutionized Western science with his groundbreaking theory of relativity establishing equivalence between all matter and energy in the universe, quantifiable by the simple equation e = mc2.

Since then, for over a century, Western science has more and more shown what ancient shamans, seers, and indigenous societies have known for millennia:

That there is a cosmic web of life connecting everything and everyone in Nature from the greatest galaxies to the tiniest sub-atomic particles; that we are each an integral inter-connected part of Nature’s web of life – not separate from it; that as Einstein observed: “Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Though Einstein’s insights revolutionized physicists’ view of space/time “reality”, we haven’t yet changed our way of thinking about such “reality”.  Until now, most of Humanity has mistakenly kept behaving as if we are separated from each other and from Nature, and not part of it.   This behavior has resulted in continuing selfishness, cruelty, wars and unsustainable and disharmonious exploitation of our precious planet.

But gradually we are awakening.  From seeing everyone and everything as discrete and separated by apparently immutable boundaries, we are more and more realizing that everyone and everything is connected by our common essence: ever-changing energy in a matrix of immutable awareness.

All of our selfish, disharmonious and unsustainable behavior has arisen from human ignorance or fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena. Consequent mis-identification with the mind and the mental illusion of physical separation from each other is called “ego”.

Thus, the ancient Vedic seers told us in the Rig Veda that “ Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”

Only rare Buddha-like beings, are said to totally transcend ego identification.  So we all experience some degree of separate self-identification.   But all humans are in various stages of an ultimately irresistible evolutionary process of ego attrition and transcendence.

In this world of cause and effect, Nature – not ego – is in charge and determines everything.   But, while believing ourselves separate from Nature, we exercise apparent free will and seemingly make non-predestined choices.

Depending on whether we are in harmony or dis-harmony with Nature, these apparent choices hasten or impede our evolution, and create or mitigate crises, sufferings and problems.   So, let us ever aspire to make choices which are harmonious with Nature:

Ever mindful of our connection with all Life on our precious planet,
let us choose to act with loving-kindness and compassion for everyone.

Ever mindful that Nature is our nature,
let us see and cherish Nature in everything and everyone.

Ever mindful that Nature is the ultimate Doer,
more and more let us choose to let go of ego,
and to let Life live us as LOVE.

And So It Shall Be!

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

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!

Read full story · Comments { 1 }

Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others.”
~ Cicero
“To be a presence of perpetual thanksgiving may be the ultimate goal of life.  
The thankful person is the one for whom life is simply one long exercise in the sacred.”
~ Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB from The Psalms: Meditations for Every Day of the Year




“Be grateful for whoever comes,  because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
~ Rumi

“Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence …
For thankfulness brings you to the place where the Beloved lives.”
~ Rumi

“You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.”
~ Buddha

“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
~ Meister Eckhart

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled  by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
~ Buddha

“I thank God for my handicaps for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
~ Helen Keller

“O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”
~ William Shakespeare

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”
~ Aesop

“Gratitude is heaven itself.”
~ William Blake

“No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.”
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
~ Psalm 100

“Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude for life.
Join my eyes and soul in their divine applause.”
~ Hafiz


“When you allow your heart to open to the universe’s flow of love, gratitude comes with that flow. Gratitude for the people that you love, and for those who share your life. Gratitude for the Creation of the beautiful Earth as our home in this great cosmos. Gratitude for the Sun that gives us life. Gratitude for being alive, for just existing, for being in the flow of the wonder of life.”
~ Owen Waters



“Gratitude flows unimpeded from an open heart. When you allow it, gratitude will flow as freely as the sunshine, unobstructed by judgments or conditions.”
~ Owen Waters 


“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.”              
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I thank you God for most this amazing day
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky,
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes….
I who have died am alive again today
and this is the sun’s birthday;
this is the birth day of life and of love and wings…
~ e. e. cummings

“When we develop a right attitude of compassion and gratitude,
we take a giant step towards solving our personal and international problems.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

It’s not our longitude
Or our latitude,
But the elevation of our attitude,
That brings beatitude.
***
So an attitude of gratitude
Brings beatitude.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Happy Thanksgiving Day – Every Day!


Beautiful Gratitude Video
YouTube Preview Image

Read full story · Comments { 2 }

That Lives in Us ~ by Rumi

Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful
for the evolution of your consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“From wonder into wonder existence opens.”
~ Lao Tzu
“Consciousness is the basis of all life
and the field of all possibilities.
Its nature is to expand and unfold its full potential.
The impulse to evolve is thus inherent in the very nature of life.”
~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross





If you put your hands on this oar with me,
they will never harm another, and they will come to find
they hold everything you want.

If you put your hands on this oar with me, they would no longer
lift anything to your
mouth that might wound your precious land –
that sacred earth that is your body.

If you put your soul against this oar with me,
the power that made the universe will enter your sinew
from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm
that lives in us.

Exuberant is existence, time a husk.
When the moment cracks open, ecstasy leaps out and devours space;
love goes mad with the blessings, like my words give.

Why lay yourself on the torturer’s rack of the past and the future?
The mind that tries to shape tomorrow beyond its capacities
will find no rest.

Be kind to yourself, dear – to our innocent follies.
Forget any sounds or touch you knew that did not help you dance.

You will come to see that all evolves us.

( Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky )


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

The Circle Around the Zero ~ by Rumi

“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
“When you do things from your soul,
you feel a river moving in you,
a joy.”
~ Rumi
“I have lived on the lip
of insanity,
wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door.
It opens.
I’ve been knocking from the inside.”
~ Rumi



A lover doesn’t figure the odds.

He figures he came clean from God
as a gift without a reason,
so he gives without cause
or calculation or limit.

A conventionally religious person
behaves a certain way
to achieve salvation.

A lover gambles everything, the self,
the circle around the zero!
He or she cuts and throws it all away.

This is beyond any religion.

Lovers do not require from God any proof,
or any text, nor do they knock on a door
to make sure this is the right street.

They run,
and they run.

~ Rumi

Translation: Coleman Barks, Feeling the Shoulder of the Lion
Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Biophilism

“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim,
 not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi or Zen.
Not any religion, or cultural system.

I am not from the East or the West,
 nor out of the ocean or up 
from the ground, not natural or ethereal,
 not composed of elements at all.

I do not exist, am not an entity in this world
 or the next, 
did not descend from Adam and Eve 
or any origin story.

My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.

Neither body nor soul. 

I belong to the Beloved
 have seen the two worlds as one 
and that one call to and know,

First, last, outer, inner, only that 
breath breathing human.” 


~ Rumi, ‘Only Breath’
“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
“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, and Confucian.” 
~ Gandhi




The new millennium demands a new universal religion –

A religion of Love.

So, let us curb our dogmas
and park our hierarchies.

Let us leave atonement theology,
and live at-one-ment Reality.

Let us transcend our ism schisms
and live a Universal ism —

Biophilism –
The love of Life.

Let us live life
with love of Life.

Let us let go, and
let life live us,

as

LOVE.



Ron’s audio recitation of Biophilism

Listen to


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Satan’s Organization Celebration – A Parable

“My religion is very simple.
My religion is kindness.”
~ Dalai Lama
“If there is love in your heart,
you don’t have to worry about rules.”
~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“. . Truth is a pathless land,
and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever,
by any religion, by any sect.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Religion is confining and imprisoning and toxic because it is based on ideology and dogma. But spirituality is redeeming and universal.”
~ Deepak Chopra
“Your daily life is your temple and your religion.”
~ Kahlil Gibran~ “The Prophet”
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Love said to me,

there is nothing that is not me.

Be silent.”
~ Rumi




The Devil was taking his principal disciple on a world teaching tour.  They reached a remote place in the Indian Himalayas, when together they observed an extraordinary event.

Suddenly, a yogi in deep meditation emanated an enormous aura of amazing white light.  Seeing this, the Devil danced with glee.

His puzzled disciple inquired: “Master what has happened?”
The Devil responded: “He has realized the Eternal Truth and become enlightened.”

“Then why are you so gleeful?” asked the bewildered disciple.

“Because he will attract many followers, and we are going to organize them”, explained the Devil.

Moral of the story:


Spiritual Truth cannot be organized, it must be experienced.

Words cannot communicate inner realizations of “enlightened” sages – they only may point the Way, like maps.

Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Mohamed, Lao Tzu, Rumi and other sages and prophets, realized ONE inexpressible Universal Intelligence or Truth, which must be experienced to be Known.

But, paradoxically, ‘religious’ institutions organized to teach universal “Truth” realized by Great Beings often perpetuate false ego ideas of separateness, which the sages transcended.

Thus, throughout human history countless people and other precious life forms – all manifestations of that same Universal Intelligence – have been victims of wars, crusades, inquisitions and persecutions initiated in the name of “true” religion or God.

Now let us realize, at long last, that in Essence we are not separate;
that we are all manifestations of the same Divine Spirit or Self –
which is LOVE!

So, together, let us live Life as LOVE!

AND SO IT SHALL BE!


Read full story · Comments { 1 }

Earth Mother’s Message: Cherish or Perish

“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at the edge of the roof.”
~ Rumi
“Cherish or Perish.
Co-exist cooperatively, or
Co-expire catastrophically.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





In 1990, when the Voyager space craft was nearly four trillion (4,000,000,000,000) miles from Earth, beyond the orbit of Pluto, NASA finally acceded to Carl Sagan’s desperate pleas and turned Voyager’s camera back toward Earth to take a picture of our precious planet as no human had ever before seen it.

From that distance, the Earth is just a small blue speck illuminated by sunlight.

Here is a video called “Pale Blue Dot” with Carl Sagan reading a poignant message he wrote while reflecting on that NASA photo:



Here is the the text of Sagan’s message:

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Look again at that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

My “Miraculous” Experience on Shri Dhyanyogi’s Mahasamadhi ~ Ron’s Memoirs

At my death do not lament our separation
…
as the sun and moon but seem to set,
in reality this is a rebirth.
~ Rumi
“Death is truly part of life … ‘what we called death is merely a concept’.”
“This happens at the gross level of the mind.
But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call ‘clear light.’”
~ Dalai Lama
“Birth and death are virtual,
but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Introduction

On observing noteworthy phenomena which we can’t yet explain by known natural or scientific laws, we sometimes call them “miracles” and may attribute them to a Divine power.

Like other rare saints and mystics my beloved Guru, Shri Dhyanyogi,  (“Guruji”) occasionally demonstrated  “miracles”  to foster faith in the Divine.  In his writings and lectures, Guruji explained that yogic powers (siddhis) might be attained via control of life-force energies, but that they were seldom displayed; that such powers are used “sparingly and on occasion for humanitarian and other discretionary ends,” but not “for self-aggrandizement.”

Previously, I told you my belief that Guruji has helped me from subtle planes, like a ‘guardian angel’, ever since I met him when he was approximately one hundred years old, and even after he died in India sixteen years later.

I believe that Guruji left his body consciously and intentionally, using his yogic powers; that his mental body survived the death of the physical body; and, that from subtle planes he continues to help humanity.

I’d like to explain to you my reasons for this belief.

In the Hindu tradition, when a yogi who has previously experienced the highest state of samadhi intentionally leaves his body, this is not the same as death of an ordinary person who has not attained self-realization. Such a passing is called a Mahasamādhi (great and final samādhi) and is the act of consciously and intentionally leaving one’s body at the time of physical death.

When I received shaktipat initiation from Guruji in 1978, I had already witnessed his yogic power to influence this level of reality from subtle planes. He had clearly appeared in my subtle inner vision when we were physically distant. Thereafter, I had other experiences of Guruji’s subtle powers, which I elsewhere share with you.

In 1980 just before Guruji returned to India from four years in the USA, he stayed in my apartment for several weeks. At that time Guruji’s American attendant and driver, Lackshman, recounted to me a brief conversation with Guruji following a sparsely attended public meditation program. Driving home, Lackshman had remarked to Guruji that it was too bad so few people had attended this event. Whereupon Guruji replied, “It’s not important. Most of my work is on other planes.”

And, once when we were alone in his room, Guruji told me that he came and went from his physical body as he pleased. [See Human Body – A Precious “Prison”? ]

Also, at Guruji’s meditation programs, I heard amazing stories from others who had experienced his extraordinary yogic powers. Perhaps the most memorable of these stories was that of Rudy, a Chicago teacher who decided to travel on his motorcycle to spend time with Guruji in California. But before reaching California, and while he was in Colorado, Rudy had an unexpected and “miraculous meeting” with Guruji.

On a curvy mountain highway in Colorado, Rudy’s motorcycle skidded off the road and careened three hundred feet down a steep incline. Just before hitting bottom, Rudy called out Guruji’s name, remembering Guruji’s assurance that “I’m always with you.”

Gravely injured, Rudy became comatose. In that comatose state he had a “near death experience” (NDE), which miraculously he survived, and later recounted in detail.

There on ‘the other side’ to greet and guide Rudy, and to save his life was Dhyanyogi. Thereafter, at a California retreat Guruji explained to Rudy that he had saved his life because Rudy still had much more work to do in this world.

Rudy’s vividly credible description of this amazing incident compellingly impressed me with Guruji’s power to manifest at will on subtle planes of “reality” and to thus influence what happens in this “reality”.

Besides my own extraordinary experiences with Guruji, and hearing of Rudy’s experience, I learned about numerous other “miraculous” experiences of Guruji’s devotees. (See eg “This House is on Fire, The Life of Shri Dyanyogi”, as told by Shri Anandi Ma.)

My Experience on Guruji’s Mahasamadhi

One of my most memorable mystical experiences of Guruji happened just after he left his physical body. At the end of August 1994, when Guruji was in India and I was in San Francisco, I was home asleep when I was suddenly awakened in the middle of the night.

With eyes open, I beheld in amazement an extraordinary and unprecedented vision – an otherworldly, multi-colored bird, translucent with a peacock-like tail and human-like eyes. Nothing about the bird appeared like any ‘real-life’ bird I had ever before seen, or might have imagined.

As I gazed in awe at this ethereal apparition, I was enveloped and transformed by a supernal aura of supreme Peace, which emanated from the bird’s radiant dark human-like eyes. I awakened in the morning puzzled, and wondered about that extraordinary apparition which had enveloped me with ‘peace that passeth understanding.’

The next day, still wondering about the vision, I was sitting at my dining room table when an ‘inner voice’ dictated to me a poem about death, a subject I hadn’t then been thinking about.

Listening to my muse, I quickly and spontaneously “channeled” this poem about death:

When we come to Earth
They call it a birth
When we leave,
They say we die.

But we really don’t come,
And we really don’t go.
We just dream our lives
But why?

To awaken as Bliss
From all of this,
Joyous that all is
“I”.



Thereafter, within a day or two, I received a rare call from one of Guruji’s early US disciples, Elyse (Indu) of Sacramento. She informed me of Guruji’s death – his Mahasamādhi – on August 29. Only then did I understand why I had been given this profound poem about death. And I immediately recognized it as a parting gift and message from Guruji.

Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas

Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas

So I recited the poem for Elyse. Then I told her about my puzzling otherworldly bird vision. She promptly and aptly interpreted that vision as a mythical Phoenix bird, symbol of immortality, resurrection, and life after death.

Thereupon, I realized that the bird’s human-like eyes emanating supernal Peace were Guruji’s eyes; and, that this unforgettable vision with experience of celestial peace was another parting gift and message from Guruji.

Epilogue

Many years have passed since that miraculous experience of Guruji’s Mahasamādhi, but I still continue to feel his subtle presence and often shed tears of devotion and joy, when I think of him or gaze at his photographic image.

Recently, almost twenty years after Guruji’s transition, I had a home visit from my friend Michael O’Rourke, a talented spiritual cinematographer who helped me launch SillySutras.com. I was chatting with Michael about Guruji and feeling his subtle presence, while seated in a reclining chair. After a while I had to excuse myself for a bathroom visit. When I returned several minutes later Michael reported to me his extraordinary experience of Guruji’s appearance.

As Michael was gazing at me while I talked about Guruji, he went into an altered state of consciousness. He then perceived another face morphing into mine – a face without glasses and with a longer white beard. It was Guruji!

Michael said that amazingly after I got up to go to the bathroom he still perceived the image of Guruji seated in the chair, until after I returned and sat down again.

Guruji once said: “All those who came to me for Shaktipat …. are my spiritual heirs. For my energy works through them.”

With utmost gratitude, I deeply feel that my continuing experience of Guruji validates his statement and supports my faith that he continues to help humanity, including Ron, even after his Mahasamādhi.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Dreamers Awake, and End Double Bubble Trouble

“Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.”
~ Buddha: Diamond Sutra
“We are like the spider. We weave our life and then move along in it.
We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream.
This is true for the entire universe.”
~ Aitareya Upanishad
I am, you anxious one.
I am the dream you are dreaming.
When you want to awaken, I am waiting.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
“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

 

Bubbles

Eastern mystics say that this world is an illusion
which they call maya or samsara;
that “all that we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream”
…*

Science now agrees that our material world,
and all in it, are impermanent
ever changing quantum energy systems or processes;
that “Matter has melted into Mystery.”

Our ego says we are a person,
living in a solid, material universe.
But science says that we are a conscious
quantum energy process.

So, we live in a double bubble of imagined solidity:
an ego bubble of imagined personal identity,
within a paradigm bubble of imagined world “reality”.

But what happens if our bubbles burst?

If our ego bubble bursts, what’s left of us?

If our worldview paradigm bursts,
what’s left of our “reality”?

If the universe is like a dream,
who is the Dreamer?

If each being is like a dream,
who is the dreamer?

If we are just a dream within a dream,
what will be if we awaken from our dreams?

The answer to each bubble bursting,
dreamer awaking question is the same:

“ETERNAL AWARENESS”

NOW!

*Edgar Allen Poe.

 

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

You Are The Sun In Drag, by Hafiz

“You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.”
~ Psalm 82: 6
“Love said to me,
 there is nothing that is not me. 
Be silent.”
~ Rumi
“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




You are the sun in drag.

You are God hiding from yourself.

Remove all the “mine” – that is the veil.

Why ever worry about

Anything?

Listen to what your friend Hafiz

Knows for certain:

The appearance of this world

Is a Magi’s brilliant trick, though its affairs are

Nothing into nothing.

You are a divine elephant with amnesia

Trying to live in an ant

Hole.

Sweetheart, O sweetheart

You are God in

Drag!

~ Hafiz, translated by Daniel James Ladinsky
from ‪The Gift: Poems by the Great Sufi Master‬

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Amazing Grace

“The winds of grace are always blowing,
but you have to raise the sail.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna
“Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave ’til it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.”
~ Rumi
“Grace comes to forgive and then forgive again.”
~ Rumi



Knowingly or unknowingly we seek
Wholeness, Happiness and Love.

Consciously or subliminally,
We intuit and long for a state of being
which transcends inevitable Earthly cares and suffering.

And there is a transcendent spiritual Force
which impels and rewards our longing.

Some call it Grace –
Amazing Grace.

Grace is to mind as gravity is to matter:

Grace is an ineluctable centripetal force
drawing mind to its Source –
To the Sacred Heart.

Knowingly or unknowingly,
we are all seekers, and

With Amazing Grace,
we shall all be finders, of –

Wholeness, Happiness and Love.



Ron’s explanation and recitation of Amazing Grace

Listen to


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Dream Life

“Is all that we see or seem
but a dream within a dream?”
~ Edgar Allen Poe.
This place is a dream. 

Only a sleeper considers it real.
Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.
~ Rumi
I am, you anxious one.
I am the dream you are dreaming.
When you want to awaken, I am waiting.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke




When we come to Earth
they call it a birth.

When we leave,
they say we die.

But we really don’t come,
and we really don’t go.

We just dream our lives.

But why?

To awaken as Bliss
from all of this,

Joyous that all is

“I”.



Ron’s audio explanation and recitation of Dream Life

Listen to


Video of Ron with Hippie Dave including Ron’s explanation and recitation of this poem:


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

“The Guest House” ~ by Rumi

Remember with gratitude,
Life is beatitude –
Even its sorrows and pain;
For we’re all in God’s Grace,
Every time, every place, and
Forever (S)HE will reign!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence …
For thankfulness brings you to the place
where the Beloved lives.”
~ Rumi


This being human is a guest house. 

Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight . . .

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

~ Jelaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Death? Afterlife? Rebirth? ~ Easter Reflections on Resurrections.

“I tell you the truth,
no one can see the kingdom of God
unless he is born again.”
~ John – 3:3
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear?
When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as man,
To soar with angels blest;
But even from angelhood I must pass on …”
~ Rumi
At my death do not lament our separation …
as the sun and moon but seem to set,
in reality this is a rebirth.
~ Rumi
death, as men call him, ends what they call men
–but beauty is more now than dying’s when…
~ e. e. cummings
“The dewdrop belongs to the sea.
Separated, it is vulnerable to the sun and wind and other elements of nature;
but when the droplet returns its source, it becomes magnified in oneness with the sea.
So it is with your life.  United to God you become immortal.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Eternal Life is gained by utter abandonment of one’s own life.
When God appears to His ardent lover the lover is absorbed in Him,
and not so much as a hair of the lover remains.
True lovers are as shadows, and when the sun shines in glory
the shadows vanish away.
He is a true lover to God to whom God says,
“I am thine, and thou art mine! ”
~ Rumi


The Last Supper



As countless millions reverently commemorate the rebirth and resurrection of Jesus following his physical death by crucifixion, let us contemplate the deep significance of that story.  Whether we regard it as historic or metaphoric, the story raises crucial issues about life and death – about afterlife and rebirth – and about our true identity and reality.

After birth, death of the physical body is inevitable and unavoidable. “No matter how we strive, no body leaves alive.” Uncertainty exists only about time of death, and about whether there is life after physical death.

Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, respected authority on death and dying, believed in survival of spirit after physical death, and used butterflies as symbols of the death process. Soon after World War II, she visited the children’s barracks at the Maidanek concentration camp in Poland. There, amazingly, she observed hundreds and hundreds of butterfly images drawn by the inmate children on the walls, even with pebbles and fingernails. Spellbound by the sight of butterflies drawn on the walls, she wondered why they were there and what they meant. Twenty-five years later, after listening to hundreds of terminally ill patients, she finally realized that the imprisoned children must have known that they were going to die and intuitively were using butterflies as images of the physical death process. Dr. Kubler-Ross thus explained in The Wheel of Life, A Memoir of Living and Dying:

“They knew that soon they would become butterflies. Once dead, they would be out of that hellish place. Not tortured anymore. Not separated from their families. Not sent to gas chambers. None of this gruesome life mattered anymore. Soon they would leave their bodies the way a butterfly leaves its cocoon. And I realized that was the message they wanted to leave for future generations. . . .It also provided the imagery that I would use for the rest of my career to explain the process of death and dying.”

But if – like snowflakes – each of us manifests as an absolutely unique physical form, what is it about us that can survive death of that unique form, and be “born and reborn”?

“Reincarnation” is often understood to be the transmigration of a “soul” – viz. apparently circumcised spirit – to another body after physical death. Though in Buddhism there is no concept of separate soul or individual self that survives death, Buddhists believe in rebirth. Like most mystics, Buddhists say that in addition to our physical body, we are enveloped by subtle astral and mental bodies, which survive death of the physical body and become consciously associated with successive physical bodies.

A detailed and compelling description of afterlife can be found in “Autobiography of a Yogi”, by Paramahansa Yogananda,  Chapter 43 – The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar .   There Yogananda credibly recounts a long discussion with his physically deceased Guru, Sri Yukteswar, who – like Jesus – resurrected to explain to his disciple Yogananda many details of afterlife.  [You can read that extraordinarily fascinating story at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Autobiography_of_a_Yogi/Chapter_43

The Dalai Lama says that:

“We are born and reborn countless number of times, and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another.  Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”

Many psychics say that on physical death “we” survive and enter different realms. eg. http://www.victorzammit.com/Whenwedie/whatdoeshappen.htm

But ancient Vedic non-dualism philosophy (Advaita) has for millennia taught that this impermanent and ever changing world is an unreal illusion called maya or samsara; and, that “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”… .

These ancient non-dualism teachings were first brought to large Western audiences by Swami Vivekananda, principle disciple of nineteenth century Indian Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, at and after the 1893 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago.

In an eloquent New York City lecture called “The Real and the Apparent Man”, Vivekananda equated maya or samsara with “time, space, and causation” and presciently predicted scientific confirmation of the ancient Vedic non-dual philosophy of One Infinite Existence. He said:

“According to the Advaita philosophy, ..this Maya or ignorance–or name and form, or, as it has been called in Europe, time, space, and causality–is out of this one Infinite Existence showing us the manifoldness of the universe; in substance, this universe is one. So long as any one thinks that there are two ultimate realities, he is mistaken. When he has come to know that there is but one, he is right. This is what is being proved to us every day, on the physical plane, on the mental plane, and also on the spiritual plane.”


“What then becomes of all this threefold eschatology of the dualist, that when a man dies he goes to heaven, or goes to this or that sphere, and that the wicked persons become ghosts, and become animals, and so forth? None comes and none goes, says the non-dualist. How can you come and go? You are infinite; where is the place for you to go?
 
“So it is with regard to the soul; the very question of birth and death in regard to it is utter nonsense. Who goes and who comes? Where are you not? Where is the heaven that you are not in already? Omnipresent is the Self of man. Where is it to go? Where is it not to go? It is everywhere. So all this childish dream and puerile illusion of birth and death, of heavens and higher heavens and lower worlds, all vanish immediately for the perfect. For the nearly perfect it vanishes after showing them the several scenes up to Brahmaloka. It continues for the ignorant.”


“Your own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”

~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga

Revered 20th century Indian sage, Sri Ramana Maharshi – who was a renowned exponent of non-dualism – taught that self-realization reveals that this entire world of space/time/causality is illusionary maya or samsara; but that reincarnation exists until self-realization. Thus, responding to the question: “Is reincarnation true?”,  he said: “Reincarnation exists only so long as there is ignorance. There is really no reincarnation at all, either now or before. Nor will there be any hereafter. This is the truth.”

But the Dalai Lama says he practices death and rebirth eight times daily. And, as Tibetan Bodhisattva of Compassion, he’s planning to return until all sentient beings are liberated from suffering.

If you had the option of a one-way exit pass to ‘heaven’, would you volunteer as a Bodhisattva to come back to this crazy world?

Whatever our ideas about death, afterlife or rebirth, may we – in this life on our precious planet – realize together our common dream for a better world, where everyone everywhere is happy.

AND SO IT SHALL BE!

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Our Mentality is Our Reality: Sayings, Quotations and Reflections

“Our mentality is our reality.
Our “reality” is what we think it to be.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Reality” isn’t REAL!
“Reality” is a holographic theater of the mind.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“We do not see things as they are;
we see things as we are.”
~ Talmud
“All appearances are verily one’s own concepts, self-conceived in the mind, like reflections seen in a mirror. To know whether this be so or not, look within thine own mind.”
~ Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche)
“When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.”
~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
“When your sense of self is no longer tied to thought, is no longer conceptual, there is a depth of feeling, of sensing, of compassion, of loving, that was not there when you were trapped in mental concepts. You are that depth.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“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
“There are two ways of spreading light –
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
~ Edith Wharton
“Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




We view space/time “reality”
of apparently separate forms and phenomena
through the ‘mirror of the mind’ – with thoughts
from perceptions, memories and attitudinal tendencies.

What we really see is mind’s misperception,
reflection and projection of Self-awareness.

Mind distortedly refracts, reflects and projects
onto the screen of human consciousness
the unseen light of Eternal Awareness.

As a mirror’s reflection depends
on the angle from which it is viewed,
our perception, reflection and response to the world,
depends not only on our state of mind,
but on our unique point of view –
each from a different place in time and space.

As still, clear water best reflects light –
while permitting perception of its depths,
a still, clear mind best reflects and reveals
the Eternal Light of Self-awareness.

The fewer our thoughts, the clearer and calmer our mind,
and the deeper and more transparent our Self-Awareness.

The more disturbed or perturbed the mind,
the more it distorts and obscures the Light of Awareness.

The clearer and calmer our mind,
the more appropriately we respond
to ever changing cosmic energies,
without reflexively reacting to them.

With meditation and other mind-stilling modes,
we clear and enlighten our mind –
from opacity to translucency to transparency –
from mental mirror to window of the soul.

Thereby, with ever expanding awareness
and ever deepening insight,
we can and shall ‘see’ more and more –
we can and shall see what we couldn’t see before.

We can and shall see – and BE:

Wholeness, Holiness, SELF.

And so it shall be!

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Hydrologic Logic: What People Can Learn From Snowflakes

“Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.”
~ Rumi





Spiritual teachers say we can learn about ourselves by closely observing all of Nature’s manifestations and processes. As above, so below.

So, what can we learn about ourselves by studying snowflakes and hydrologic processes?

Science tells us that though countless trillions of snowflakes have fallen on earth each has a unique form; that each snowflake is an hexagonally symmetrical crystalline form which begins around a tiny speck of dust – as each pearl forms around a sand particle – but that no two snowflakes are exactly alike.

How amazing!!! http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/faqs/faqs.htm

Yet, despite this wondrous and unimaginable diversity of forms, all snowflakes have a common essence — frozen water, H20.

When a snowflake melts, it returns to and merges with its watery source, which is perpetually recycled. So, each snowflake’s essence is the same – recycled water, which has formed countless unique prior snowflakes.

Not only are snowflakes unified in amazing physical diversity by their common watery essence, but science says that their common essence is indestructible. Water – a liquid – is a form of matter. Matter is merely manifest energy – E=mc2 – and energy can’t be destroyed. It just cycles from formlessness to differing forms and phenomena. So, in their essence, snowflakes are immortal energy.

Like snowflakes, each of the billions of humans who have inhabited Earth has had an individually unique form and genetic makeup. And like snowflakes, human physical bodies are composed of common elemental constituents, including mostly H20. People’s physical bodies – like snowflakes – appear for a twinkling of time, die and physically ‘melt’ back into the Earth.

But, unlike snowflakes, each of us is aware of our environment and of our life’s experiences; and this awareness is our entire existence. So, while unique snowflakes are united in glorious diversity by their common watery essence, physically unique human beings, are unified not only by their common elemental constituents but, also, by their by their common essence – awareness, which is the sole matrix and context of human beingness.

Snowflakes appear in Nature and, apparently, are peacefully at one with Nature until they disappear. Humans appear in Nature but – unlike snowflakes – we have great intelligence and we think. And through thought we identify ourselves with our perceived separate forms. Thus, we think that we are entities “condemned” by nature to inevitable bodily death. But we don’t know what will happen to us upon such death.

So, we become afraid of dying; of giving up the known for the unknown. And, through thought, we try psychologically to “protect” and preserve our ephemeral physical forms and to deter or deny their inevitable demise. Accordingly, our lives are often marked by mental afflictions causing conflicts, problems and suffering, which disturb our peace and our awareness of at-one-ment with Nature.

Q. So, what can people learn from snowflakes?

A. To ‘cool it’ and to not worry about our inevitable disappearance; to let go and go with the flow.

We can realize that we are much more than our unique physical forms or our thoughts; that – like snowflakes – our common essence is immortal.

Realizing this, we can begin more and more to self-identify with our immortal awareness, rather than our ephemeral forms and thoughts; and gradually we can expand our perceived boundaries, so to ever evolve ’til these boundaries dissolve.

Thus, we can more and more live with less and less anxiety, fear and worry. Though in this life we may never totally transcend ephemeral entity identity, often we can just be at peace – as immortal awareness.

And so,

“As we lose our fear, Of leaving life, We shall gain the art of living life.”

And – like snowflakes – maybe some day we’ll be ‘recycled’ some way. e.g. http://www.victorzammit.com/Whenwedie/whatdoeshappen.htm

Or maybe not. e.g. http://tinyurl.com/mlw6erq

In all events, – like snowflakes – we need not worry about leaving. For

“It is in dying [to ego life] that we are reborn to Eternal Life.” ~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Here’s what Paramahansa Yogananda says:

“The dewdrop belongs to the sea. Separated, it is vulnerable to the sun and wind and other elements of nature; but when the droplet returns its source, it becomes magnified in oneness with the sea. So it is with your life. United to God you become immortal.”

So – like snowflakes – don’t worry, be happy!

Namaste!

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Transmuting Agony to Ecstasy: An Unforgettable Indian Commuter Train Ride ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“The hurt that we embrace becomes joy.”
~ Rumi
“Acceptance of the unacceptable is the greatest source of grace in this world.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“Surrender, one could say, is the inner transition from resistance to acceptance, from “no” to “yes.” When you surrender, your sense of self shifts from being identified with a reaction or mental judgment to being the space around the reaction or judgment. It is a shift from identification with form–the thought or the emotion–to being and recognizing yourself as that which has no form–spacious awareness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“This is the miracle. Behind every condition, person or situation that appears bad or evil, lies concealed a deeper good. That deeper good reveals itself to you, both within and without through inner acceptance of what is. “Resist not evil” is one of the highest truths of humanity.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
We have nothing to surrender
But the idea
That we’re someone,
With something
To surrender.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

 

003

Introduction

In January, 1992, just after my retirement as a San Francisco litigation attorney, I journeyed to India to pay respects to my then one hundred fourteen year old beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and thereafter to visit my daughter Jessica who – known as “Yogini” – was living an ascetic life on Ammachi’s ashram in Kerala.

During my six week stay in India, I was blessed with many wonderful spiritual experiences with Guruji, and with other holy people and places. But, apart from my brief visit with Guruji, [See http://sillysutras.com/introduction-to-rons-memoirs/] my most memorable and instructive spiritual experience happened unexpectedly on a commuter train to Bombay (now Mumbai).

By that time – sixteen years after my mid-life spiritual awakening – I had already learned from my traumatic divorce that life’s most painful and difficult experiences can prove disguised blessings. Suffering extreme sadness from unexpectedly being separated from my two young children – the most psychologically traumatic time of my adult life – had triggered my spiritual awakening process. A broken heart had opened my heart to new ‘realities’ and sparked a crucial new evolutionary period of spiritual self awareness and self inquiry – a tremendous blessing!

And prior to 1992 I had learned experientially and from many spiritual teachings the importance of spiritual surrender – of giving up imagined control and of letting go to go “with the flow”. For example, during a presumed 1979 ‘near death’ experience, when I mistakenly thought I was dying from a stroke, by watching within without resistance to presumed imminent death, I had an unforgettable inner experience. [ See http://sillysutras.com/my-near-death-experience/ ] But it is much easier to say “go with the flow” or “let go and let God” or “leave it to The Lone Arranger” than to practice that wise advice – especially when you are suffering. Except for very rare beings, like Guruji, we are all in the process of ‘undoing’ and letting go of who we think we are, to thereby realize what we really are – Divinity incarnate.

My Bombay commuter train experience proved an important demonstration of how accepting “what is” can bring great blessings, and how the blessings of letting go of ego, can be triggered by extreme pain and suffering.

Description

Here is what happened:

At the end of January 1992, I flew from San Francisco to Bombay, India [ now Mumbai] with my friends Pundit Pravin Jani, father of Shri Anandi Ma, Guruji’s successor, and Kusuma, Guruji’s former cook and translator. We were also honored to be accompanied by Shri Swami Shivom Tirth, a respected Indian shaktipat guru who, as successor to Swami Vishnu Tirth, headed India’s largest shaktipat lineage with several ashrams. We had known and learned from Swami Tirth for a few years before our trip to India and greatly honored and respected him.

With Pravinji and Kusuma as companions, I planned on visiting Guruji, who was then in Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat State. However, our visit was delayed until after my Indian friends first attended to other personal matters.

Shivom Tirth

Shri Swami Shivom Tirth


So Swami Shivom Tirth invited me to stay with him at his Bombay area ashram, until I was ready to fly to Ahmedabad. Gratefully, I accepted his kind invitation and was granted the honor and privilege of staying with him in his private quarters, rather than in the general ashram housing area.

Soon after my arrival at the ashram, Swami Tirth told me that he had arranged a special sight-seeing excursion for me to view legendary seventh century Hindu and Buddhist temples in rock-cut caves on Elephanta Island in the Bay of Bombay; that a senior Bombay area swami was to be my guide and companion on the excursion; that I was to meet him – in a few days – in central Bombay, where we would get ferry boat transportation to the island.

At the ashram it was very hot, so I wore light white clothes and sandals, instead of shoes. Before my scheduled tour day I suffered a wound on my left foot, which became infected. Despite first aid, the infection grew and became increasingly more painful. On the day of my scheduled tour I awakened with a very sore left foot. Nonetheless I was determined to see the Elephanta Island caves and relics.

So I walked to a nearby train stop, to catch a morning commuter train into central Bombay where I would meet my Swami tour guide. Instead of wearing sandals which were inappropriate for hiking on the rocky island paths, I was obliged to use shoes. It was a very hot day, with morning temperatures already approaching 100º fahrenheit.

My feet expanded as I walked to the train stop in the heat, and the already painfully infected left foot began aching more than ever before as I reached the train stop. Within fifteen minutes, the Bombay commuter train arrived, and stopped for boarding passengers. But there were no seats, and not even standing room in the vestibule. Yet in order to get to central Bombay on time, I needed to board that train for a forty minute ride.

Somehow I squeezed into the vestibule, which was already so filled with people that there wasn’t even an accessible pole or strap to hold for balance. People were packed in like sardines, and I was virtually unable to move. I stood there in the intense heat with excruciating pain that seemed to have become unbearable. But I could do nothing about it. Whereupon, suddenly and unexpectedly I had a radical change of attitude; I stopped resisting and stopped thinking how terribly I was suffering, and mentally accepted the situation just as it was.

With a surrendered and stilled ego/mind no longer resisting the intense heat, crushing proximity of sweaty human bodies, and excruciating pain, all at once I experienced an extraordinary and unforgettably indescribable state of extreme bliss which persisted for the remaining thirty minute train ride into central Bombay.

Even after that bliss state abated in Bombay, I was able to peacefully enjoy my tour to Elephanta Island because I was no longer resisting the pain in my foot.

Epilogue

The Bombay commuter train experience of transmuting agony to ecstasy has proven an invaluable lesson for this entire precious lifetime. It showed that by giving up and surrendering all we think we are we may gain deep experience and insight of what we really are; that it is in dying to ego life that we are reborn to eternal life; and, that such letting go of ego entity identity is perhaps our ultimate purpose in this precious human lifetime.

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Words About Words

“In the beginning was the word
and the word was with God
and the word was God”
~ John 1:1
“Better than a thousand useless words is one useful word,
hearing which one attains peace.
Better than a thousand useless verses is one useful verse,
hearing which one attains peace.”
~ Buddha
“…since in order to speak,
one must first listen,
learn to speak by listening.”
~ Rumi
“Speak little; say much.”

~ Swami Ron Onandonananda



Words are thoughts.

Words are mind symbols uttered or inscribed
to denominate and communicate ideas.



Words are then,
Life is NOW.


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.



Language can be a ladder for ascent to the Ineffable.


With wisdom words
we implicate
that
 Truth
words never explicate.



Truth transcends wisdom:

Wisdom is primordial;
but,
Truth is pre-primordial.



There’s nothing to say, but words point the way.

So, let’s elevate our spiritual “lexi-consciousness.”


Cosmic contra-diction:

In the beginning was the Word,

but in the end Silence says all.

We maximize the impact of our words

when we minimize the number of our words.


The epigrammatic is most dramatic.



Better than any words is experience.



As the Bible says, “God” is a word – a noun –

with countless connotations, different for different people –

all believing or disbelieving in “God”.


“God” is a word designating different ideas of a Transcendent Power.


Thus, “God” did not create man,

but man created the word “God” –

with thoughts from ruminations, revelations, intuitions, and speculations,
trying to identify THAT which is beyond words, beyond all thought.


When words are inscribed or uttered with deep insight

and heartfelt compassion, they can be very powerful.

Such words are imbued with the energy of their originator.

So, words from an ‘enlightened being’ are like sun rays;

they radiate the light of their Source.



Live laconically, and

Walk your talk:



Join “The Society of Laconic Walk/Talkers”, where –

The less we talk,

the further we go.

The further we go,

the more we Know.

The more we Know,

the less we say,

’Til as Silence we are the Way.



Ron’s Audio recitation of Words About Words

Read full story · Comments { 1 }

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



Read full story · Comments { 0 }

A Long But Short Guruji Satsang* Story ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Silence is the language of God,
all else is poor translation.”
~ Rumi
“We search for Him here and there,
while looking right at Him

Sitting by his side, we ask:

Oh Beloved, where is the Beloved?

Enough with such questions

Let silence take you to the core of life

All your talk is worthless
when compared with one whisper of the beloved”

~ Rumi
Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas

Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


As explained in other memoirs chapters, during a traumatic 1976 divorce I experienced a transformative mid-life spiritual awakening.  Two years later, I met a one hundred year old Hindu guru, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and evolved from being a secular Hebrew, to becoming a “born-again Hindu”. And thereupon I developed an ever increasing interest and curiosity about Indian spirituality and culture. After a few years, the “universe” presented me with an ideal opportunity to satisfy that curiosity.

In 1981, soon after my beloved Guruji, Dhyanyogi, had returned to India, I met Sant Keshadavadas, a devotional Indian spiritual teacher known as a singing saint. Thereafter, on learning that Sant Keshadavadas would be conducting a spiritual tour of Indian holy places, I wanted to join that tour, if it was okey with Guruji.

Guruji had always told us that it was not necessary to see other spiritual teachers, but permissible. So I succeeded in getting his approval for me to tour with Sant Keshadavadas.

Thereupon, in January and February 1982, I journeyed with Sant Keshadavadas on a wonderful spiritual pilgrimage to Japan and India. That guided tour was, and remains for me, the most important trip of my lifetime. Never before had I been in a land with such a palpably spiritual ambiance as I experienced everywhere in India.

Our tour group crossed the length and breadth of that vast country (mostly by airplane and local buses) visiting many spiritual shrines and meeting saintly beings, like Mother Teresa, Anandamayi Ma and Satya Sai Baba. And I had numerous wondrous experiences. (In other chapters I will recount some of those experiences.)

Throughout the tour I was constantly seeking to learn how I could best advance my quest for “enlightenment” – my spiritual “sadhana”. By the time that the guided tour ended in New Delhi, I was quite weary from following the intense tour schedule. But I was determined to remain in India to pay my respects my beloved Guruji, and to receive his guidance and blessing for my “sadhana”.

With unexpected difficulty, I finally succeeded in having only one brief ‘satsang’* with Guruji. This proved much more complicated – and much more memorable – than I could have previously imagined.

Here is the story of what happened.

After four years of tireless efforts in the US, Guruji had become extremely debilitated and was obliged to return to India in 1980 to recuperate. After his arrival in India, his whereabouts were sometimes kept confidential so he could rest and recover without constant interruption.

Before I departed for India in January 1982, I was told that after my guided tour ended I would be able to learn Guruji’s whereabouts by calling Shri Anandi Ma’s father, Pundit Pravin Jani. And I was given his Bombay phone number.

Over a month later, just before our guided tour ended in New Delhi, I began trying to phone Pravin Jani – who was in Bombay – from my New Delhi hotel. In those days India had not yet joined the digital communication age, and surprisingly I could never get a long-distance telephone connection from Delhi to Bombay.

After repeated unsuccessful attempts, I decided to make a brief trip to Katmandu, Nepal to see Buddhist and Hindu holy places there. But, I remained determined to see Guruji. So on return to Delhi from Nepal, I again repeatedly tried calling Bombay to learn his whereabouts.

But I was still never able to get a long-distance telephone line from New Delhi to Bombay. So I had to book a flight across all of India from Delhi to Bombay, so that I could then make a local Bombay phone call to Pravin Jani. Only by so flying to Bombay was I finally able to reach him by telephone.

Whereupon he readily told me that Guruji was then staying in Godhra a small town not far from Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujurat state. Paradoxically, my flight from Delhi to Bombay had overflown Ahmedabad long before it reached Bombay. If I had known Guruji’s whereabouts while in Delhi I would have flown directly to Ahmedabad. But that hadn’t happened.

So, it was now necessary for me to book a flight from Bombay to Ahmedabad, and to arrange ground transportation from there to Godhra.

But I then learned that the only flights to Ahmedabad had been cancelled, and that I could only get to Godhra by train. So, I needed to take an eight hour trainride from Bombay to Godhra, and learned of a departure later that day.

Thereupon, I promptly took a taxi to the Bombay central railroad station where I arrived less than an hour before the train was scheduled to leave. At the station ticket booth, I was told that no first class train compartment was available; that only non air-conditioned second class space was available for the long trip. With no other choice, I attempted to purchase a second class ticket using my American Express dollar travelers checks or credit card, which until then had been accepted everywhere I traveled in India. But they were both rejected by the train station cashier, who told me that they only accepted rupees, which I could get at a nearby American Express office in downtown Bombay.

Hurriedly, I left the train station and on the sidewalk asked the first knowledgable looking person I encountered if he could direct me to the nearby American Express office. Instead of telling me he couldn’t help me, he pleasantly and unequivocally told me where to go. I quickly followed his directions, which turned out to be completely wrong.

Frantically, I finally got proper directions which I speedily followed. Arriving at the American Express office soon after it had opened, I obtained necessary rupees from a very lackadaisical clerk and rushed back to the central station, arriving just as my train was scheduled to depart.

At the last minute I purchased a ticket and boarded the train just before its departure. Up to then my body – already quite weary from over a month of intense travel and last minute stress in getting directions to Guruji – had been running on extra adrenaline. But on boarding the train I soon realized that I needed to rest. However, that proved difficult.

The seating was not very comfortable, my compartment companions were not quiet, the sultry temperatures required that we keep windows open to outside disturbances, including noises from many interim station stops. So my first long journey on an Indian train proved very interesting, but not restful.

On disembarking at Godhra that evening I was quite travel weary but excited at the prospect of seeing Guruji again for the first time since he left my San Francisco apartment in 1980. I called the Godhra phone number given me by Pravin Jani and was courteously welcomed by one of Guruji’s hosts, a woman lawyer. I learned that Guruji was convalescing at the home of her father, a retired judge, and that I could see him for a short while at an appointed time the next morning.

That night I stayed at a Godhra guest house in a very warm room with a mosquito netted bed. Because of heat and bugs, I did not sleep soundly. But nonetheless I awakened with great excitement about my imminent satsang* with Guruji.

A few hours later I arrived at the judge’s house where Guruji was staying. There I was pleasantly greeted and told that Guruji was then in the garden, but that he would soon come in to greet me. I was brought into a lovely room with an altar and fresh cut flowers and an empty prominent throne-like seat for Guruji.

As I waited there, my ‘monkey mind’ became quite active. Despite all of my wondrous experiences during the pilgrimage tour, I was busily dialoguing with “the voice in my head” about questions for Guruji. So when Guruji came into the altar room and sat down in front of me, I was feeling far from peaceful. But I sat there quietly gazing at him, waiting for him to entertain my questions.

Though Guruji looked physically healthier than when he had been carried out of my apartment to return to India, he still looked quite fragile and much weaker than when I first met him four years earlier. But he was emanating indescribably intense ‘shakti’ life-force energy, which seemed as strong as ever. His aura was so extraordinarily powerful that it soon transformed my previously agitated state of mind. As I sat there I began harmonically resonating with Guruji’s supernal ‘shakti’ life-force and felt more and more peace of mind.

And so “the voice in my head” stopped ‘talking’ and my previous questions for Guruji gradually seemed to melt into silent infinite awareness. But not quite. So after sitting there in silence for a while, I asked Guruji a preliminary question. But he kept gazing at me without answering the question, and remained silent. Whereupon, supposing that he might not have understood me, I asked Guruji another question. But he still remained silent.

Finally, in desperation I exclaimed:

“Guruji, I’ve come halfway around the world to see you. Please tell me what I should do for my sadhana.”

After a pregnant pause, Guruji at long last replied:

“Meditate regularly!”

We had no further dialogue. And soon I was politely informed by Guruji’s host that it was time to leave.

*Satsang is a sanskrit word meaning here the company of a guru or the company of “highest truth.”


Epilogue

As you might imagine, the memory of Guruji’s profoundly silent ‘satsang’ has remained indelibly imprinted in my ‘mental software’. Without words but only with deep silence and an extraordinarily intense emanation of shakti love, he eloquently taught by example that what we seek is within each of us; that “silence is the language of God.”

This poem written years later, only hints at Guruji’s profound teaching that day:

In silence sweet
we may retreat
from every care and woe,
and there we’ll learn in perfect peace
all we need to know.

In silence sweet
we shall meet
the thrill of ecstasy.
and thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
we’ve nothing more to be.

In silence sweet
we shall find
all we’ve ever sought.
And thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
that all our wants were naught.

In silence sweet
we shall see
that everything is light.
And thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
there’s naught to fear but fright.

In silence sweet
we shall greet
our own true Self and Soul.
And thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
we are the timeless Whole.

In silence sweet
we shall enjoy
Eternity’s repose.

For perfect peace we e’er shall be,
Peace no mortal knows.


Read full story · Comments { 1 }