Tag Archives | self awareness

Free Will or Fate?

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end,
by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star.
Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” . . . .
“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The assumption of an absolute determinism is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”
~ Max Planck
Q. “Are only the important events in a man’s life,

such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined,

or are trifling acts also, such as taking a cup of water or

moving from one part of the room to another?”

A.  “Everything is predetermined.”

~ Ramana Maharshi 
“[T]here cannot be any such thing as free will; the very words are a contradiction,
because will is what we know and everything that we know is within our universe,
and everything within our universe is moulded by the conditions of space, time, and causation.
Everything that we know, or can possibly know, must be subject to causation, and that which obeys the law of causation cannot be free.”
“The only way to come out of bondage is to go beyond the limitations of law, to go beyond causation.” . . . .
“This is the goal of the Vedantin, to attain freedom while living.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – Karma Yoga
“In Hinduism, the very idea of free will is non-existent, so there is no word for it.
Will is commitment, fixation, bondage.” . . . .
“To be free in the world you must be free of the world.
Otherwise your past decides for you and your future.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“There is only one central issue, crisis, or challenge for man,
which is, that he must be completely free.
As long as the mind is holding on to a structure, a method, a system, there is no freedom.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Ultimate freedom is not freedom of choice,
but freedom from choice.
Ego is free to choose,
but is never free.
Self does not choose,
but is ever free.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Every Cause has its Effect;
every Effect has its Cause;
everything happens according to Law;
Chance is but a name for Law not recognized;
there are many planes of causation,
but nothing escapes the Law.”
~ The Kybalion
“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards. 
Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind. 
It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . . .
Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap. 
If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. 
And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”
~ Paramhansa Yogananda
“It is true that we are not bound. 
That is to say, the real Self has no bondage. 
And it is true that you will eventually return to your Source. 
But meanwhile, if you commit sins, as you call them, 
you have to face the consequences. You cannot escape them.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“Nothing perceivable is real. Your attachment is your bondage.
You cannot control the future.

There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage.
You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Free-will is a non-entity, a thing consisting of name alone” . . . . .
“The will of man without the grace of God is not free at all, but is the permanent prisoner and bond-slave of evil since it cannot turn itself to good.” . . . .
“For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because “free-will” can do nothing.”

~ Martin Luther – The Bondage Of The Will
In the mind there is no absolute or free will; but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause, which has also been determined by another cause, and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.
~ Baruch Spinoza 
“The only difference between a human being and a stone rolling down a hill, is that the human being thinks he is in charge of his own destiny.”
~ Baruch Spinoza
“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Johann Friedrich Von Schiller
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“Not my will but Thy Will be done.”
~ Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42
“God alone is the Doer.
Everything happens by His will.”

~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
“Man plans, God laughs” (Mann traoch, Gott Lauch)
~ Yiddish proverb

Q.  Do we have free will, or freedom of choice, or is our life pre-determined or fated?

A.  Our experience of apparent freedom of choice or of pre-destiny depends on our evolutionary history and perspective.

In space/time causality/reality, most “normal” people experience freedom of choice, and make decisions and plans about ostensible options in their lives. And most people have the apparent option of determining the attitude or state of mind with which they experience life. Because each person is unique, each experiences life and apparent free will differently, depending on their unique evolutionary perspective and personality. Such apparent free will increases as powers of self awareness increase.

But according to mystics, our belief in free will is illusory. For example, both Albert Einstein and Ramana Maharshi have asserted that every detail of worldly life “is predetermined.” And Swami Vivekananda told us that “free will” is a self-contradictory concept; that with worldly will there can be no freedom, which is always constrained by the universal law of cause and effect. Similarly, Vivekananda’s master, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, taught that
“God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”

Enlightened saints, sages, shamans and mystics for millennia have reported attitudinally transcending this ever impermanent reality, and experiencing it as an illusory play of consciousness, sometimes called ‘samsara’ or ‘maya’. Such masters no longer mentally self-identify only as mere mortal embodied beings, but as non-dual universal intelligence or spirit which is the Source and essence of this ever impermanent world. 

They report realizing experientially – as Albert Einstein explained scientifically – that: “reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one;” [that] “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”, and that our separate self-identity “is an optical illusion of consciousness.”  They define “freedom” as a timeless non-dual spiritual Reality beyond thought or ego – beyond human comprehension, imagination, description or belief –
which can only be known experientially, not rationally or mentally.

Since free will implies separation of one who wills or chooses from the objects of his/her will, there can be no free will or free choice without an imagined or conceived doer or chooser separate from objects of his/her actions or choices. And without time there can be no destiny of any supposedly separate doer or chooser.

Thus, in space/time causality/reality, as long as we self-identify as supposedly separate entities distinct from the apparent objects of our perceptions, choices or intentions, we have apparent freedom of choice, until we transcend separate self-identity and experience existence as universal choiceless and timeless awareness, or consciousness without an object.  [*See footnote]

But, our exercise of apparent freedom of choice creates karmic causes and conditions which can keep us believing in the “optical illusion” – that we are separate entities rather than ONE universal intelligence. And with the law of karma we reap as we sow. According to Swami Yogananda,
“If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. If you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”

With Self realization there is transcendence of illusory separate self-identity; whereupon there remains only Being – only emptiness – with no separate someone to will or intend or separately experience anything in time.

Thus, upon total transcendence of separate entity identity, there is no free will or free choice,

nor is there time in which karmic fate or destiny unfolds –

Only thoughtless, timeless, choiceless, non-dual Awareness,



*According to Eastern philosophies, Karma is universal law of cause and effect applied at subtle levels to everything we think, do or say during repeated reincarnations as supposedly separate beings. A similar concept is implicit in Western teachings that we reap as we sow [e.g. Galatians 6:7-9]

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Seek More Than Meets The Eye

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust consumes
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
~ Matthew 6:19-21
“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
~ Luke:18:25 ; Matthew 19:24
“Fools follow the desires of the flesh and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death; but the wise, knowing the Self as eternal, seek not the things that pass away”
~ Katha Upanishad 2:1:2
“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions,
but in having few wants.”
~ Epictetus
“What really counts in life can’t be counted.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.” . . . . .
“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.”
“The most precious things in life are not those one gets for money”. . . . . Money only appeals to selfishness and always irresistibly tempts its owner to abuse it. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus or Gandhi with the moneybags of Carnegie?”
~ Albert Einstein

Do not cherish
that which will perish.

Do not treasure
fleeting pleasure –

Or what you can measure.

Do not believe
what you perceive;

And do not seek
what you can speak.

Seek the ineffable
and it is inevitable

That you will know
the Unknowable-

The Inconceivable!

That you will find –
Beyond your mind –

Eternal Peace!

Ron’s audio recitation of Seek More Than Meets The Eye

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What is the Universe?

“There is no reality but God,

says the completely surrendered sheik,
who is an ocean for all beings.”
~ Rumi
“Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same. ….
The source is within you
And this whole world is springing up from it.”
~ Rumi
“The world, indeed, is like a dream and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage! Like the apparent distances in a picture, things have no reality in themselves, but they are like heat haze.”
~ Buddha
“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
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Nothing perceivable is real. Your attachment is your bondage. You cannot control the future.
There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Objective reality does not exist” …. “the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”
~ David Bohm
“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” is a holographic theater of the mind,

where we’re microcosmic macrocosm mirrors.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Q. What is the Universe?

A. The “Universe” is a word – an idea –
symbolizing Humankind’s perception of a space/time/causality “reality”.

But, space/time/causality
is an illusionary relative reality
of apparently separate forms and phenomena;

An ever impermanent appearance of
ONE eternally imminent Ultimate Reality.

An Ultimate Reality which is Infinite Potentiality
beyond space/time/causality;

An Ultimate Reality beyond conceptuality –
unimaginable, incomprehensible, and inexpressible;

An Ultimate Reality eternally and infinitely
appearing and disappearing
as ephemeral forms and phenomena,
from infinite space/time perspectives;

An Ultimate Reality eternally and infinitely
expressing and experiencing


Ron’s audio recitation of What is the Universe?

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Know THAT!

“You are awareness, disguised as a person.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks
“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

Spirit are we –
Ever free;

Not body, not thought,
As we have been taught.

For body’s just ballast
that keeps us in time,

’Til we know –
Truth sublime.

Then to ascend in Eternal Bliss,

Merged with THAT –
Beyond all this.

Ron’s audio recitation of Know THAT!

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Surrender and Let Go of Ego ~ Quotes and Sutra Sayings

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go.
But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.
~ Lao Tzu
“Surrender is faith that the power of Love can accomplish anything
even when you cannot foresee the outcome.”
~ Deepak Chopra
“They are the chosen ones who have surrendered.”
~ Rumi
Love is the sacrifice of will.
If you cannot leave will behind
You have no will at all.
~ Rumi
“In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?”
~ The Buddha
Q. How much “ego” do you need?
A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

We have nothing to surrender
but the idea that
we’re someone,
with something
to surrender.
Let’s let go
let life live us,
as Love.
Let’s leave it to the
Lone Arranger.
Let’s let go, and “go with the flow”.*

*Being “in the flow” is thought-free, effortless, and focused
merging of intention, action, and awareness
as consciousness – consciously letting Life happen through you.


Tao is Now,
Tao is One,
Tao is Doer,
Tao will be done.
Tao will be done.
So let Tao do it.
Give your spiritual
‘power of attorney’
to God.
“Let go, and let God.”*

*Unity Church maxim

Leave it to the Lone Arranger.
Ego Antidote:
The root of all problems is
End it with antidote,
Ego: Use it to lose it!
Immolate ego
in the fire of faith.
As ego goes
consciousness grows
until it Knows –
Ego is free to choose,
but is never free.
Self does not choose,
but is ever free.
Our only choice
is to accept
or reject
“what is”.
Acceptance is pleasure;
rejection is suffering.
Acceptance is freedom;
rejection is bondage.
Acceptance is NOW;
rejection is then.
So, if choose you must,
then with faith and trust,
say “yes” to Life.
With radical trust
we do as we must.
The more we trust
the less we try.
Enter a state of enlightened amnesia:
Be now;
forget then.
Remember God;
forget the rest.
Forget who you think you are,
to remember what you really are.


Ron’s audio recitation of Sutra Sayings- Surrender and Let Go of Ego

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Memory is “Maya”

I have realized that the past and future are real illusions,
that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.
~ Alan Watts
Mind and memory are then,
while life is NOW.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Memory is “maya”*.
Memory is mind.
Memory is mentality,

Not Reality.

Memory is then,
Life is NOW.

So transcend “maya” memory.

Forget what you think you are, and
Be what you really are:

Eternal Life

Ever NOW!

* “Maya” is a Sanskrit word meaning illusion; not THAT which is beyond illusion

Ron’s audio comments and recitation of Memory is “Maya”

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Beyond Being: Infinite Awareness— Ever NOW

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”
~ Albert Einstein ( N. Y. Times , March 29, 1972)

Humans are but blips
in a boundless Ocean of Infinite Awareness.

Individuated humans are limited by thoughts:

Thoughts that create the “universe”;
Thoughts that divide Awareness
as a prism divides light.

Mind is matrix; consciousness is context.

“Human consciousness” is an idea –
a thought which seems to limit boundless Awareness.

But in Reality consciousness can’t be contained.

Time and space are mere modes of thought,
as are matter, energy, and spirit.

Time is how we measure Now,
and space is for the places where we
think we are in time.

So, in space/time, human body/mind/souls
are seemingly separate and circumscribed beings.

But in Reality,
we are ONE.

Beyond being:

Eternally boundless
Infinite Awareness –
Ever NOW.

Ron’s audio recitation of Beyond Being- Infinite Awareness— Ever NOW

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From Role Life To Whole Life

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:”
~ William Shakespeare – As You Like It 2/7
In the theater of life, personality is not reality.
Reality is the whole, while personality is a role.
So, play your role passionately,
but don’t take it personally.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“You are awareness, disguised as a person.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks
“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”
~ Albert Einstein

William Shakespeare


In the theater of life we each play a role
with which most people identify themselves.

Each role is a mere bundle of thought forms:
Self identification ideas conceived in and from the past,
which we call our personality or life story.

So if we identify with a role,
we identify with and live in the past.

But life can never be lived in the past,
only in the present – the NOW.

And we can never be NOW
while thinking we are then.

So to live as the NOW
we must identify as the NOW –

As Eternal Awareness – Presence –

And not as our past personality role.

Identifying as Awareness,
we live authentically –

A Whole life, not a role life.

Ron’s audio recitation of From Role Life To Whole Life

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I Have Learned So Much ~ by Hafiz

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist and Confucian.”
~ Gandhi
“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen.

Not any religion
My place is the placeless, a trace of the traceless.

Neither body or soul.”
~ Rumi
“There is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church where I kneel.
Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist.
Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is illumined nothing,”
~ Rabia of Basra
“The great religions are the ships,
Poets the life boats. 
Every sane person I know has jumped overboard.”
~ Hafiz

I have learned so much from God
That I can no longer call myself
a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of itself with me
that I can no longer call myself
a man, a woman, an angel
or even pure soul.

Love has befriended me so completely
It has turned to ash and freed me
of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.

-Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky in
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master

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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

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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