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Belief

“In the world, but not of the world”

“Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your minds”
~ Romans 12:2 – Paul the Apostle
“To be free in the world, you must be free of the world.

Otherwise your past decides for you and your future.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

~

Introduction

Dear Friends,

A few years ago, during much controversial communication on internet social networking sites, like Twitter, I spontaneously composed the following poem, which I’ve titled “Retreating from Tweeting”.

It was received while I was sitting alone, with no phone, at the San Francisco Wave Organ.

I’ll explain its significance in comments below. Enjoy!

Ron at Wave Organ
Christmas 12/25/17


Retreating from Tweeting

As the world
trivially twitters, tweets
– and re-tweets,

Ron silently retreats –
from twittering triviality,
to gleaming Reality –
from ephemeral information
to Eternal inspiration.



Ron’s comments and explanation of “Retreating from Tweeting”

Dear Friends,

One of my favorite outdoor places in San Francisco has long been the artistically sculptured “wave organ” on a small SF Bayshore promontory. Through a series of pipes, the wave organ interacts with the tidal waves of the Bay, and transmits their sound waves to listeners at several sculptured stations.

During visits to the wave organ, I’ve often sat on a sculptured granite bench, and mentally retreated from frenetic worldly cares and concerns. There I’ve ‘tuned out’ from soothing wave organ tidal sounds, and ‘tuned in’ to receiving inner inspiration from ‘sounds of silence’.

After regular respites by the Bay, I’ve continued online advocacy about critical Earthly social justice problems, like current covid restrictions. But increasingly I’m able to remain happy, peaceful and mentally detached while while addressing such serious concerns, by gratefully remembering with faith that our worldly life is like a dream, in which we are Divinely guided and destined to Awaken upon following our sacred heart.

Moral of the Story: BE “In the world, but not of the world”

“Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your minds”
~ Romans 12:2 – Paul the Apostle


While we are compelled to be in this world of inevitable physical pain and suffering, we are not obliged to be here mentally. With focused awareness and self-control of our thoughts, emotions and attitudes, we can remain peaceful, grateful and joyful.

Thereby we can ‘be in this world’ physically, but ‘not of this world’ mentally, attitudinally or spiritually.

While “tuning in” to our ever present worldly problems, we can “tune out” from much worldly suffering by non-judgmentally and forgivingly focusing on our Eternal and infinite inner Essence, which is LOVE and Light.

In current times of extraordinary difficulties, but unprecedented evolutionary opportunities, this is especially important and helpful.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Permanent Impermanence
~ Sayings and Quotes

“All formations are `transient’ (anicca); all formations are `subject to suffering’ (dukkha); all things are `without a self’ (anattaa)”.
~ Gautama Buddha (563 – 483 B.C)
“All formations and formulations are impermanent creations.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Nothing is permanent ‘neath heaven’s vast firmament.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“In this ever-changing space/time world,
nothing is immutable, but much is inscrutable.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is ineffable, change is inevitable.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Introduction to Permanent Impermanence

Dear Friends,

These are extraordinarily stressful, fearful and divisive times. Thus many are suffering severely. But this world is always changing; inevitably all “this, too, will pass”. So to move on it’s best that we

“Forget the former things;
[and] not dwell on the past.” 
~ Isaiah 43:18–19

To help us transcend fears from the past and find blessings in this new Aquarian Age, posted above and below are quotations about living joyously in ever changing times. They are explained in my comments after the quotes. Enjoy!

Ron Rattner

Permanent Impermanence


“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.

Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow.

Let reality be reality.

Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

~ Lao-Tzu

“Everything flows and nothing abides,

everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.”

~ Heraclitus (c.540 – c.475 BC)

“That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process. Everything—every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate—is always changing, moment to moment.”
~ Pema Chodron

“Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. We tend to forget that we are part of the natural scheme of things.”
~ Pema Chodron

“[T}he recognition of the impermanence of all forms awakens you to the dimension of the formless within yourself, that which is beyond death. Jesus called it “eternal life.” ….It leads to…. nonresistance, non-judgment, and non-attachment .. the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.”
~ Eckhart Tolle – A New Earth (edited)

“The words “This, too, will pass” are pointers toward Reality. In pointing to the impermanence of all forms, by implication, they are also pointing to the eternal. Only the eternal in you can recognize the impermanent as impermanent.”
~ Eckhart Tolle – A New Earth

“Life always bursts the boundaries of formulas.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Corporeality is transient, feeling is transient, perception is transient, mental formations are transient, consciousness is transient.
And that which is transient, is subject to suffering; and of that which is transient and subject to suffering and change, one cannot rightly say:
`This belongs to me; this am I; this is my Self’.
Therefore, whatever there be of corporeality, of feeling, perception, mental formations, or consciousness, whether past, present or future, one’s own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, one should understand according to reality and true wisdom: `This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Self’.”
~ Gautama Buddha

“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. 
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance. A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
 rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.”
~ Gautama Buddha

“A corporeal phenomenon, a feeling, a perception, a mental formation, a consciousness, which is permanent and persistent, eternal and not subject to change, such a thing the wise men in this world do not recognize; and I also say that there is no such thing.”
~ Gautama Buddha

“The First thing to understand about the universe is that no condition is “good” or “bad.” It just is. So stop making value judgments. The second thing to know is that all conditions are temporary. Nothing stays the same, nothing remains static. Which way a thing changes depends on you.”
~ Neale Donald Walsch

“In the beginning was Atman; the one without a second.” . . .
“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 of Rig Veda



Ron’s Comments on Permanent Impermanence.

Dear Friends,

Only in the past century have quantum physicists confirmed what the Buddhas, saints and sages discovered and have revealed for millennia:
that in this world everything is impermanent.

Every appearance is in a constant state of flux or ‘flow’; so everything that appears, disappears; every form eventually melts into mystery.  [Not even ‘diamonds are forever’.]

Since Einstein’s groundbreaking theory of relativity, quantum scientists have confirmed that in this world of space/time duality and causality everything is energy; that every form and phenomenon, whether or not perceptible or measurable, is ephemeral; so, that this is a world of permanent impermanence.

Yet, paradoxically, in our polarity/duality ‘reality’, it is only the immutable Eternal – ever imminent in all manifestation – which can recognize and realize that every appearance is impermanent; that eternal Cosmic consciousness is Ultimate Non-duality Reality.

Hence the Persian adage “This, too, will pass”, reflecting on the evanescence of the human condition, paradoxically points us toward ultimate Reality, because it is only THAT unchanging Eternal Awareness invisibly imminent in each of us which can recognize that all which appears will pass.

“The words “This, too, will pass” are pointers toward Reality. In pointing to the impermanence of all forms, by implication, they are also pointing to the eternal. Only the eternal in you can recognize the impermanent as impermanent.”
~ Eckhart Tolle – A New Earth


Only after my spiritual awakening, and gradual exposure to Eastern mystical philosophy, did I begin to reflect on the crucial importance of experientially realizing the dream-like impermanence of this world; that Earth life can be likened to an ephemeral mental mirage from which we suffer until awakening to our true Eternal Self identity and the non-dual essence of all phenomena.

Such perennial philosophy teaches that we unavoidably suffer karmically in this transient world of samsara or maya until realizing the true nature of Self and all phenomena.

Knowingly or subconsciously everyone seeks eternal peace and happiness. But that is impossible in this world where no pleasure is forever. So our unavoidable suffering – from unskillful thoughts, words and deeds, which are subject to law of causality – is a cosmic ‘incentive system’ impelling us to overcome ignorance and discover our true non-duality self-identity and ‘reality’ – Eternal LOVE.

Suffering ends when ignorance ends; ignorance ends with experiential Self knowledge that we are immortal Infinite Potentiality beyond conception, rather than ego-identified entities which are mortal, separate and limited.

The posted quotations and sutra sayings, can inspire appreciation of these perennially important ideas.

May they help us find ever expanding happiness as we less and less identify as mortally ephemeral entities and more and more identify as Eternally immutable Awareness ever imminent in everything/everyone everywhere.

And so may it be! 

Ron Rattner

A Psychedelic Santa Synchronicity Story

“Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there”
~ The Night Before Christmas, by
Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston




Introduction

Have you ever wondered about origins of the Santa Claus legend long associated with Christmas celebrations? Why do people associate a mythical red cheeked jolly bearded old man from the North Pole with Christmas? Why is he archetypically depicted as attired in a furry red and white suit and flying through the air in a gift laden sleigh drawn by happy reindeer? Why does he supposedly deliver his gifts nocturnally via chimneys?

I began wondering about these questions after experiencing a Santa suit synchronicity. And I found interesting esoteric answers. Many people might suppose that the popular Santa (or Father Christmas) image began in 1823 with publication of the “Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem. But the poem was sourced from customs and legends which long antedated the nineteenth century.

I’ll tell about that after first recounting my Santa suit synchronicity story.

Santa Suit Synchronicity

Especially since my mid-life spiritual awakening, some circumstance or artifact has often fortuitously or synchronistically appeared in my life fulfilling a wish or perceived need. In my spiritual memoirs, I call these experiences “manifestation miracles”. Such “miracles” have been much too numerous for me to totally recall and recount. But, I will be sharing some memoirs stories about them, including this story about manifesting a Santa Claus costume.

On a Friday afternoon, I experienced a blissful spinal healing session at “SoulWorks”, the office of San Francisco healer and chiropractor, Dr. Melanie Hernand. During that session I was continuously and spontaneously laughing a lot. Maybe that laughter sounded to Dr. Hernand like “Ho! Ho! Ho!”. For afterwards, she asked me if I would come as Santa Claus to the “SoulWorks” holiday Christmas party, a benefit for The Healing Hearts Project and children of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.  With little hesitation I told Dr. Hernand that I would be Santa Claus at the SoulWorks party, if she helped me find a costume. She agreed.

So, joyously I exited SoulWorks that Friday afternoon knowing that I needed a Santa Claus costume.  Miraculously the costume manifested that very night without any further thought or effort.

On Friday night I returned home after happily attending a program given by Visionary Activist astrologer Caroline Casey at The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) where I was Board chairman during the 1980’s. It was my first visit to CIIS since leaving there twenty five years previously.  And I very much enjoyed and appreciated Caroline’s presentation there.

I returned to my apartment building still in a blissful mood, and stopped in the lobby to get my mail.   There I met my neighbor Ronelle Strand who was about to walk her dog, Cali, before retiring. Since Ronelle was one of a few people to whom I had given a SoulWorks gift certificate, I mentioned to her that I had just agreed to be Santa at the SoulWorks holiday party.  Whereupon she told me that her Bay Music entertainment booking service business had some rental costumes, including a Santa suit which had been in storage and unrented for many years.   She offered it, and it was perfect.

Then, awaiting the Santa suit party, I began wondering about the origins of the Santa story. Whereupon, I fortuitously happened to notice on Caroline Casey’s Facebook page, a You Tube link to this two minute BBC video entitled, “‪Magic mushrooms & Reindeer – Weird Nature‬”

I watched the video, was intrigued, and wanted to learn more. So, I consulted Dr. Google and fortuitously found interesting esoteric answers to my questions about the Santa Claus myth in a detailed article entitled “The Influence of Fly Agaric on the Iconography of Father Christmas” , also published by BBC.

Apparently, the Santa Claus legend arose from shamanic traditions of tribal peoples in pre-Christian Northern Europe, whose sacred psychedelic source was the red and white amanita muscaria mushroom, also known as “fly agaric”, a fungus found in pine and birch woods of western North America, northern Europe, and Asia.

“Amanita muscaria”


Red-robed Chimney Climbing Santas

Supposedly, Siberian shamans have used amanita muscaria for recreational or ritualistic purposes for thousands of years. During mushroom-induced trances, they would twitch and sweat before falling into a deep coma-like sleep. During this coma, the shaman’s soul consciousness left his body and ascended to the ‘spirit world’ where it communicated with the spirits about major health problems, such as outbreaks of sickness in the village.

On awaking, with new knowledge from subtle sources, the shamans found their muscular systems had been so stimulated that they were able to perform spectacular physical feats with seemingly little effort – like making a gigantic leap to clear a small obstacle. The mushrooms similarly affected reindeer, and mushroom intoxicated reindeer traditionally guarded each shaman.

The shamans lived in yurts, tepee-like shelters made of reindeer skin, with roofs supported by birch poles and smoke-holes at the top. During midwinter festivals of renewal, the shamans gathered the mushrooms from under sacred trees. While harvesting the toadstools, they would wear special attire, consisting of red and white fur-trimmed coats and long black boots, very much like the modern day depiction of Santa Claus. They’d then enter their yurts through the smoke-holes, carrying sacks full of dried fly agaric mushrooms, descending the birch pole to the floor. Once inside, the shamans performed ceremonies and shared the toadstool’s psychotropic gifts with those gathered inside. Then they left as they entered, climbing up the pole and back through the smoke-hole.

Flying Reindeer

Reindeer, known as caribou in North America, are deer found in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Europe and North America. They feed on grass and lichens, but also crave the fly agaric toadstool, Amanita muscaria, because of its intoxicating and euphoric effects.

The Sami have a custom of feeding fly agaric to their deer and collecting the urine to drink. The reindeer’s digestive system metabolizes the allegedly poisonous components of the toadstool, leaving urine with the hallucinogenic and psychotropic elements of the fungus intact. Drinking the urine gives a ‘high’ similar to taking LSD. Under the hallucinatory effects of the drink, the Sami thought their reindeer were flying through space, looking down on the world. The reindeers’ so crave the toadstool hallucinogens that they have been known to eat snow on which intoxicated humans have urinated, creating a reciprocating cycle.

Apparently, when the first Christian missionaries reached Lapland and heard stories of such reindeer flight, they integrated those tales into Western folklore concerning Saint Nicholas. So, the association of reindeer with Christmas was well established for centuries before the 1843 publication of the The Night Before Christmas poem, and the 1949 hit song, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ popularized it with masses of people.

And to All a Good Night

Thus it seems probable that the traditional image of Santa Claus originated in shamanistic rituals involving the red and white amanita muscaria mushroom gathered by shamans wearing red and white fur-trimmed coats. From climbing into chimneys and gift giving, to dressing in red and white and flying through the air with reindeer, travelers and storytellers have fused these ancient customs with other pagan traditions and imagery. And these pagan customs have pragmatically been adapted and integrated by Christianity into its Christmas traditions.

Ho! Ho! Ho! And to All a Good Night.


Source:
“The Influence of Fly Agaric on the Iconography of Father Christmas”

Seekers Beware!

“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21
“Follow your heart – even if it contradicts my words.”
~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
”We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.”
“It’s better to be a seeker with many questions,
than a Guru with all the answers.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory
answer to the problem of human existence.”
~ Erich Fromm
“Honor your Heart, over your rational mind;
use your mind to serve and follow your Heart..”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Path of devotion:
“Adoration of the Infinite,
not adulation of the incarnate.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Introduction

The following poem, which cautions about cults, was composed after I’d begun questioning rigid religious belief systems and dogma, and certain hierarchic spiritual or religious organizations. As explained in comments following the poem, this disillusionment led to my mostly looking within for life guidance, and to regard myself as an “Uncertain Undo” seeking relief from belief, rather than as a “Born-again Hindu”.

Seekers Beware!

Do not seek wisdom
of the occult
in a cult,

Lest cult inculcation
into cult culture
leaves you a cult captive.

Seek liberation, not cult approbation.
Seek illumination, not cultivation.

So seek and pursue
the one path that’s true;

Seek and follow
your Heart.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Seekers Beware!”

Listen to


Ron’s Explanation of “Seekers Beware”:

Background

After my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, returned to India in 1980, I met and learned from other spiritual teachers, in addition to Guruji’s successor, Shri Anandi Ma. But I always maintained my heartfelt inner relationship with Guruji – above all other teachers.

For many years I considered myself a “born-again Hindu” and was mostly attracted to Indian spiritual teachers. But gradually I began questioning rigid religious belief systems and dogma, and certain hierarchic spiritual or religious organizations.

Beginning in 1987, I was especially attracted to the devotional path of Amritanandamayi (Ammachi) of calling and crying to the Divine. And for seven years I attended many of her US darshans and regular programs at her San Ramon ashram.

At first I experienced an exceptionally powerful devotional ambience around Ammachi. And I was much moved by her soulful singing of bhajans calling to the Divine. However, my experience of devotional blessings around Ammachi, and my enthusiasm for her darshans, gradually diminished and eventually ended in distressing disillusionment.
( See https://sillysutras.com/other-teachers-mata-amritanandamayi-ammachi-rons-memoirs/; and https://sillysutras.com/from-mata-amritanandamayi-to-amma-shri-karunamayi-rons-memoirs/ )

I was especially distressed on learning facts about Ammachi’s organization revealed in a spiritual memoir published by Gail Tredwell (aka “Gayatri”) entitled “Holy Hell, A Memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness” containing many shocking but truthful revelations.

On learning those facts, I realized that I’d been naively projecting purported perfection and infallibility, upon Ammachi and a few other Eastern teachers, rather than seeing them as limited humans, though perhaps further evolved in spiritual awareness. That realization was an important learning experience, which motivated me to emphasize following my heart for life guidance, and to regard myself as an “Uncertain Undo” seeking relief from belief, rather than as a “Born-again Hindu”.

Moral of the Story

Some of us may be blessed to meet inspiring spiritual teachers, gurus or saintly people on whom we may project and, accordingly, in whom we may perceive perfection.  I have done this with my beloved and venerable Hindu guru, Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and with a few other “enlightened” spiritual teachers.  But Guruji humbly taught:

“Follow your heart – even if it contradicts my words.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


And I have realized the wisdom of Albert Einstein’s observation that

“The cult of individual personalities is always . . unjustified.”
~ Albert Einstein


So my devotional path has been:


“Adoration of the Infinite,

not adulation of the incarnate.”


~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Thus, ultimately, I’ve learned from inner and outer experience that “incarnation is limitation”, and that however evolved an incarnate being may be s/he is fallible.  Here on Earth, where we experience eternal life via mortal physical bodies, it seems that human fallibility ‘goes with the territory’ – that “to err is human”.

I’ve realized that we need to rely vigilantly both on our powers of discrimination and on our divine intuitive insights. But, that whenever in doubt, it is wise for us to to honor intuition over intellect, and to find guidance in our heart – not our head.

If a spiritual teacher (or other expert authority or pundit) speaks or behaves in ways that don’t make sense to us, we should listen to our heart, and not the pundit. We should act without fear or concern for opinions of others, who may disagree.

Also I’ve learned that we must still our ego-mind to hear our heart, instead of heeding the ‘voice in our head’. Thereby, accessing our inner wisdom helps us transcend many earthly limitations and so resolve problems created by astral entities or lower levels of human consciousness.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Ascension Apprehension

Our deepest fears
hide our highest potentials.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
As we lose our fear of leaving life,
we gain the art of living life.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?”
~ Socrates
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. 
Out of a fear of the unknown,
they prefer suffering that is familiar.” 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Love is what we were born with.

Fear is what we learned here. 

The spiritual journey is the relinquishment – or unlearning – of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.

~ Marianne Williamson
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.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Ascension Apprehension

Our deepest fears
hide our highest potentials.

The higher we go
the more we know,

That our highest highness
is our common “I-ness”.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Ascension Apprehension”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Ascension Apprehension”

Dear Friends,

Did you know that most humans – individually and societally – fail to achieve their highest potentials and suffer unnecessarily because of mistaken fear of the unknown  – especially fear of inevitable bodily death? 
 
Physical death is inevitable and natural. All physical bodies are mortal and die; only time of physical death is unknown. But, knowingly or unknowingly, most people fear physical death because they self-identify only with their physical bodies, mistakenly believing that bodily death ends life, and don’t know what if anything happens after physical death.

Eminent Greek philosopher Socrates was sentenced to death after being unjustly tried and convicted for allegedly corrupting the youth of Athens. Just before he died of a coerced suicide, by drinking hemlock, Socrates proclaimed that fear of death was fear of the unknown.

Countless survivors of what we call near death experiences, credibly report vastly transformed, happier and more fulfilling lives following experiential realization that bodily death does not end life; that in dying to physical life we can be ‘reborn to eternal life’.

By identifying only with our mortal physical bodies we think that we are entities “condemned” by nature to inevitable bodily death. And 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 futilely we try to ‘protect’ ourselves by psychologically denying inevitable demise of our ephemeral physical forms.  So our lives are often marked by suffering from conflicts and problems which disturb our peace of mind and awareness of our eternal at-one-ment with Nature. 

Yet it is possible for us to transcend suffering from fear of the unknown. We can realize that we are much more than our unique physical forms or our thoughts; that our ultimate common essence is immortal.  Realizing this, we can begin more and more to self-identify with our common 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 in the present – as thoughtless immortal awareness – NOW.

Dedicaton and Invocation

May the foregoing Ascension Apprehension verses and quotations help us realize that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
And thereby may they inspire our discovery together of ever less fearful
and ever more fulfilling lives.

May we –
Individually and societally –
Lose illusory apprehensions
and achieve fated Ascensions
To timeless New Dimensions
of Eternal Life, Light and LOVE.
Ever NOW!


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Life Is But A Dream

“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
“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
~ Buddha (The Awakened One)
“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
“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.”
~ The Upanishads




Life Is But A Dream

Q. “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”

[*See footnote]


A. Yes. Each person’s life is like a dream story within a dream of space/time reality.

For millennia, mystics have revealed that all we see or seem is mental illusion, ‘samsara’ or ‘maya’ – like a very persistent day dream from which we can awaken, just as we awaken from nocturnal dreams. And scientists like Einstein confirm the mystics, saying e.g. that

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”; “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”; and, that “our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”


Just as nighttime dreams are mental images arising during sleep on a ‘screen’ of formless awareness, our daytime “reality” arises from mental images projected on the same screen of formless awareness that perceives nocturnal dreams.

Both mystics and scientists say that all the forms we perceive as “reality” are impermanent – ever appearing and disappearing in timeless formless awareness; awareness which is universal and beyond time and space, beyond birth and death. That formless awareness is in the Bible called “everlasting life” [Daniel 12:1-3] and “eternal life” [e.g. John 17:1-2] And it is our Essence and Ultimate Identity.

We can realize the biblical/mystical promise of eternal life upon awakening from illusory egoic self identification as mere mortal bodies, their thoughts and their stories, and thus awakening to self identification with that timeless, formless awareness in which we perceive our lives and all we call “reality”.

AND SO IT SHALL BE!


Footnote.
*Edgar Allan Poe, “A Dream Within A Dream”, 1849


Ron’s Commentary on Life Is But A Dream.

Dear Friends,

Have you ever yet thought about a “dream” as other than a nocturnal sleep experience?   Or as an unfulfilled ‘utopian’ aspiration such as expressed in Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary  “I Have a Dream” speech,
John Lennon’s “Imagine” lyrics,

“You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one”


or by master lyricist Oscar Hammerstein in “Happy Talk” from “South Pacific”:

“You got to have a dream, 
If you don’t have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?”

To help us validate and actuate those “new age” ideas, I have explained in the above essay why “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream” in response to an insightful 1859 rhetorical question by poet Edgar Allan Poe; and why – as mystics and seers have told us for millennia – what we believe to be reality is, like a dream, just a play of universal consciousness. 

From my “dreamlike” perspective, the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as 45th US president was a major disguised blessing which wouldn’t have happened if Hillary Clinton had been declared the US election winner.   It has sparked an unprecedented mass political awakening to insanely dystopian secret government threats to everyone everywhere.

Because a critical mass of awakened Humankind worldwide are now adamantly demanding and intuitively envisioning a new era of peace and justice for all life everywhere – an era which ends and transcends unconscionable and unsustainable exploitation of our societies and planet to obscenely enrich a tiny group of psychopathic billionaires – I see this as beginning of a new era which will advance the highest good for all life on our precious planet.  

In a recent Happy New Year posting, I said that:

“The personal and planetary are intimately connected.
Just as dreamers ‘create’ their dreams,
together we are a ‘dream-team’,
dreaming our world into being; and,
consciously or unconsciously creating a ‘common dream’”

Quotations from Rumi, Buddha (The Awakened One), and ancient Upanishads which precede the essay, elucidate and illuminate our common dream “reality”. And here are more quotations which can help us realize why our supposed waking life is like a dream:

“As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life and then return after death. Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life, and so it is endlessly, until the very last one, the very real the life of God.”
~ Leo Tolstoy


A dream! What is a dream? And is not our life a dream?
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky


“This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.” 
~ Carl Gustav Jung


“To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil…”
~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet (c. 1599), Act 3, sc. 1. 

Especially since modern medical technology has begun resuscitating apparently dead heart attack victims, many survivors have recounted amazing near death experiences (NDE’s) helping us to learn societally about what happens  “when we have shuffled off this mortal coil”.  And such NDE’s have been portrayed in movies like the 1998 Robin Williams film, “What Dreams May Come”, which paradoxically dealt with post-suicide experience.

Paramahansa Yogananda poetically observed:

“The mysterious soul abides forever’ changing never…. 
It loves to live in the grottos of change, ever steadfast and immovable. It never dreams ought but eternity.” 


May our awakening Human ‘dream team’ ever more self-identify as “the mysterious soul [which] abides forever” .  And may we apprehend as adults the esoteric meaning of this nursery rhyme we recited as children:

“Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Merrily merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream”


Thereby may we at long last create an ever nobler ‘common dream’ that honors the equality and divinity of everyone everywhere, thus transcending exploitation and discrimination against the most vulnerable people and other sentient beings, by using our common sense and our common wealth for our common weal, and to end the iniquity of inequity in our society.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Go For The “God” Spot

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
~ Dr. Seuss
“The greatest discovery of any generation
is that human beings can alter their lives
by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“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
“Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing:

the last of the human freedoms –
to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.”

~ Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
“The mind is like an elastic band. 
The more you pull, the more it stretches. 
Every time you feel limitations,
close your eyes and say to yourself,
“I am the Infinite,”
and you will see what power you have.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda





Go For The “God” Spot

Don’t complain
about your pain,

Or of what you have,
or have not.

Just get into your brain,
and find the spot

Where all you want –
you’ve got.




Ron’s audio recitation of Go For The “God” Spot

Listen to



Ron’s Reflections on Choosing Happiness

Dear Friends,

Today – as a Halloween “trick or treat” – I’ve posted for your enjoyment and edification the above “Go For The “God” Spot” whimsical poem, and quotations about discovering and choosing happiness within.

As an octogenarian, I’ve found ever increasing happiness by more and more accepting each moment with the attitude that it could not be otherwise.  As explained by Eckhart Tolle: 

 
“The Now is as it is because it cannot be otherwise. What Buddhists have always known, physicists now confirm: there are no isolated things or events. Underneath the surface appearance, all things are interconnected, are part of the totality of the cosmos that has brought about the form that this moment takes.”

Albert Schweitzer once proclaimed  that 

“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”

We may not be free to choose our outer circumstances in life. But, while self identifying as separate entities, we can choose our attitudes and thoughts about those circumstances.
So happiness is a choice!

Because choosing happiness has greatly helped me, I’ve often tried to share this insight on SillySutras.com, with apt aphorisms, essays, quotations, and stories that might help everyone. 

So today’s whimsical Go For The “God” Spot poem is intended to humorously help us find and choose inner happiness.  

May we see it as truth said in jest; not as a Halloween trick, but as a timeless treat.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

John Lennon at 80: One Man Against the Deep State ‘Monster’ ~ By John W. Whitehead

“You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”
~ John Lennon, “Imagine”
“A man of humble origin, [John Lennon] brought light and hope to the whole world with his words and music. He tried to be a good power for the world, and he was. He gave encouragement, inspiration and dreams to people regardless of their race, creed and gender.”
~ Yoko Ono




Ron Rattner’s Introduction to “John Lennon at 80”.

My last SillySutras posting honored departed hero John Lennon on his October 9, 2020, eightieth birthday anniversary. It featured a poetic essay and two embedded live video performances of Lennon singing “Imagine”, shortly before he died at age forty.

The posting’s introduction stated that John Lennon artistically bequeathed to us music and songs that continue to inspire countless people worldwide, like his legendary “Imagine”. (See Envisioning a Better World ~ With Imagination and Faith)

It also mentioned, but didn’t explain, that – like Dr. King and Malcolm X – Lennon was martyred at age forty at the pinnacle of his powers.

Today’s posting helps explain why John Lennon was murdered but is still remembered and honored as a politically influential peace advocate. It is especially shared for those who are inspired by Lennon’s music, but who haven’t yet learned or don’t remember that he was murdered as a nonviolent crusader for peace and social justice, and for relentlessly opposing US empire foreign policies – such as the notoriously immoral false-flag war in Viet Nam.

Like Mahatma Gandhi, Lennon’s life (as well as his music) was his message. Especially in these extraordinarily turbulent times, when millions of people (and other lifeforms) are being killed, harmed or threatened by unconscionably immoral acts of violence, it seems crucial that humankind at long last learn from departed heroes like Jesus, Gandhi, Dr. King and John Lennon to live inner-directed loving lives dedicated to revealing spiritual truth as well as to pursuing political and social justice.

So I’m hereafter sharing with you an excellent article by skilled and erudite Constitutional Law attorney and author John W. Whitehead explaining why Lennon’s life remains legendary long since he was murdered after becoming “enemy number one — of the U.S. government”.

In concluding his article, Whitehead observes that:

“For those of us who joined with John Lennon to imagine a world of peace,
it’s getting harder to reconcile that dream with the reality of the American police state.”


I respectfully concur with Whitehead’s characterization of “the American police state” based on his skilled legal perspectives, and I appreciate his historic analyses. However, I will conclude this posting with an optimistic spiritual perspective, which is harmonious with John Lennon’s imagination that with Truth and LOVE “the world will live as one”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


John Lennon at 80: One Man Against the Deep State ‘Monster’
~ By John W. Whitehead

“You gotta remember, establishment, it’s just a name for evil.
The monster doesn’t care whether it kills all the students or whether there’s a revolution. It’s not thinking logically, it’s out of control.”
~ John Lennon (1969)
John Lennon, born 80 years ago on October 9, 1940, was a musical genius and pop cultural icon.

He was also a vocal peace protester and anti-war activist, and a high-profile example of the lengths to which the Deep State will go to persecute those who dare to challenge its authority.

Long before Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government’s war crimes and the National Security Agency’s abuse of its surveillance powers, it was Lennon who was being singled out for daring to speak truth to power about the government’s warmongering, his phone calls monitored and data files illegally collected on his activities and associations.

For a while, at least, Lennon became enemy number one in the eyes of the U.S. government.

Years after Lennon’s assassination it would be revealed that the FBI had collected 281 pages of files on him, including song lyrics. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI at the time, directed the agency to spy on the musician. There were also various written orders calling on government agents to frame Lennon for a drug bust. “The FBI’s files on Lennon read like the writings of a paranoid goody-twoshoes”, observed reporter Jonathan Curiel.

As the New York Times notes, “Critics of today’s domestic surveillance object largely on privacy grounds. They have focused far less on how easily government surveillance can become an instrument for the people in power to try to hold on to power. ‘The U.S. vs.John Lennon’ … is the story not only of one man being harassed, but of a democracy being undermined.”

Indeed, all of the many complaints we have about government today—surveillance, militarism, corruption, harassment, SWAT team raids, political persecution, spying, over criminalization, etc.—were present in Lennon’s day and formed the basis of his call for social justice, peace and a populist revolution.

For all of these reasons, the U.S. government was obsessed with Lennon, who had learned early on that rock music could serve a political end by proclaiming a radical message. More importantly, Lennon saw that his music could mobilize the public and help to bring about change. Lennon believed in the power of the people. Unfortunately, as Lennon recognized: “The trouble with government as it is, is that it doesn’t represent the people. It controls them.”

However, as Martin Lewis writing for Time notes: “John Lennon was not God. But he earned the love and admiration of his generation by creating a huge body of work that inspired and led. The appreciation for him deepened because he then instinctively decided to use his celebrity as a bully pulpit for causes greater than his own enrichment or self-aggrandizement.”

For instance, in December 1971 at a concert in Ann Arbor, Mich., Lennon took to the stage and in his usual confrontational style belted out “John Sinclair,” a song he had written about a man sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing two marijuana cigarettes. Within days of Lennon’s call for action, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Sinclair released.

What Lennon did not know at the time was that government officials had been keeping strict tabs on the ex-Beatle they referred to as “Mr. Lennon.” Incredibly, FBI agents were in the audience at the Ann Arbor concert, “taking notes on everything from the attendance (15,000) to the artistic merits of his new song.”

The U.S. government, steeped in paranoia, was spying on Lennon.

By March 1971, when his “Power to the People” single was released, it was clear where Lennon stood. Having moved to New York City that same year, Lennon was ready to participate in political activism against the U. S. government, the “monster” that was financing the war in Vietnam.

The release of Lennon’s Sometime in New York City album, which contained a radical anti-government message in virtually every song and depicted President Richard Nixon and Chinese Chairman Mao Tse-tung dancing together nude on the cover, only fanned the flames of the conflict to come.

The official U.S. war against Lennon began in earnest in 1972 after rumors surfaced that Lennon planned to embark on a U.S. concert tour that would combine rock music with antiwar organizing and voter registration. Nixon, fearing Lennon’s influence on about 11 million new voters (1972 was the first year that 18-year-olds could vote), had the ex-Beatle served with deportation orders “in an effort to silence him as a voice of the peace movement.”

Then again, the FBI has had a long history of persecuting, prosecuting and generally harassing activists, politicians, and cultural figures. Most notably among the latter are such celebrated names as folk singer Pete Seeger, painter Pablo Picasso, comic actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, comedian Lenny Bruce and poet Allen Ginsberg.

Among those most closely watched by the FBI was Martin Luther King Jr., a man labeled by the FBI as “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” With wiretaps and electronic bugs planted in his home and office, King was kept under constant surveillance by the FBI with the aim of “neutralizing” him. He even received letters written by FBI agents suggesting that he either commit suicide or the details of his private life would be revealed to the public. The FBI kept up its pursuit of King until he was felled by a hollow-point bullet to the head in 1968.

While Lennon was not —as far as we know— being blackmailed into suicide, he was the subject of a four-year campaign of surveillance and harassment by the U.S. government (spearheaded by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover), an attempt by President Richard Nixon to have him “neutralized” and deported. As Adam Cohen of the New York Times points out, “The F.B.I.’s surveillance of Lennon is a reminder of how easily domestic spying can become unmoored from any legitimate law enforcement purpose. What is more surprising, and ultimately more unsettling, is the degree to which the surveillance turns out to have been intertwined with electoral politics.”

As Lennon’s FBI file shows, memos and reports about the FBI’s surveillance of the anti-war activist had been flying back and forth between Hoover, the Nixon White House, various senators, the FBI and the U.S. Immigration Office.

Nixon’s pursuit of Lennon was relentless and in large part based on the misperception that Lennon and his comrades were planning to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention. The government’s paranoia, however, was misplaced.

Left-wing activists who were on government watch lists and who shared an interest in bringing down the Nixon Administration had been congregating at Lennon’s New York apartment. But when they revealed that they were planning to cause a riot, Lennon balked.

As he recounted in a 1980 interview, “We said, we ain’t buying this. We’re not going to draw children into a situation to create violence so you can overthrow what? And replace it with what? . . . It was all based on this illusion, that you can create violence and overthrow what is, and get communism or get some right-wing lunatic or a left-wing lunatic. They’re all lunatics.”

Despite the fact that Lennon was not part of the “lunatic” plot, the government persisted in its efforts to have him deported. Equally determined to resist, Lennon dug in and fought back. Every time he was ordered out of the country, his lawyers delayed the process by filing an appeal. Finally, in 1976, Lennon won the battle to stay in the country when he was granted a green card. As he said afterwards,

“I have a love for this country…. This is where the action is. I think we’ll just go home, open a tea bag, and look at each other.”


Lennon’s time of repose didn’t last long, however. By 1980, he had re-emerged with a new album and plans to become politically active again.

The old radical was back and ready to cause trouble. In his final interview on Dec. 8, 1980, Lennon mused, “The whole map’s changed and we’re going into an unknown future, but we’re still all here, and while there’s life there’s hope.”

The Deep State has a way of dealing with troublemakers, unfortunately. On Dec. 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman was waiting in the shadows when Lennon returned to his New York apartment building. As Lennon stepped outside the car to greet the fans congregating outside, Chapman, in an eerie echo of the FBI’s moniker for Lennon, called out, “Mr. Lennon!”

Lennon turned and was met with a barrage of gunfire as Chapman—dropping into a two-handed combat stance—emptied his .38-caliber pistol and pumped four hollow-point bullets into his back and left arm. Lennon stumbled, staggered forward and, with blood pouring from his mouth and chest, collapsed to the ground.

John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. He had finally been “neutralized.”

Yet where those who neutralized the likes of John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy and others go wrong is in believing that you can murder a movement with a bullet and a madman.

Thankfully, Lennon’s legacy lives on in his words, his music and his efforts to speak truth to power. As Yoko Ono shared in a 2014 letter to the parole board tasked with determining whether Chapman should be released:

“A man of humble origin, [John Lennon] brought light and hope to the whole world with his words and music. He tried to be a good power for the world, and he was. He gave encouragement, inspiration and dreams to people regardless of their race, creed and gender.


Sadly, not much has changed for the better in the world since Lennon walked among us.

Peace remains out of reach. Activism and whistle blowers continue to be prosecuted for challenging the government’s authority. Militarism is on the rise, with local police dressed like the military, all the while the governmental war machine continues to wreak havoc on innocent lives across the globe.

For those of us who joined with John Lennon to imagine a world of peace, it’s getting harder to reconcile that dream with the reality of
the American police state.

Meanwhile, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, those who dare to speak up are labeled dissidents, troublemakers, terrorists, lunatics, or mentally ill and tagged for surveillance, censorship, involuntary detention or, worse, even shot and killed in their own homes by militarized police.

As Lennon shared in a 1968 interview:

“I think all our society is run by insane people for insane objectives… I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal means. If anybody can put on paper what our government and the American government and the Russian… Chinese… what they are actually trying to do, and what they think they’re doing, I’d be very pleased to know what they think they’re doing. I think they’re all insane. But I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”


So what’s the answer?

Lennon had a multitude of suggestions.

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
“War is over if you want it.”
“Produce your own dream…. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders…. You have to do it yourself.
That’s what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshiped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be. There’s nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.”

“Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, something you do, something you are, And something you give away.”

“If you want peace, you won’t get it with violence.”


And my favorite advice of all:

“Say you want a revolution
We better get on right away
Well you get on your feet
And out on the street
Singing power to the people”


* Source:
This article was originally published by The Rutherford Institute. Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People! is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.Copyright © John W. Whitehead, Global Research, 2020



Ron Rattner’s Concluding Comments about “John Lennon at 80”.

John Lennon was a charismatic and inspiring populist leader and peace advocate, who presciently envisioned a peaceful planet fulfilling our common needs and deepest desires for a radically new era when our “world will live as ONE.”

But since John Lennon’s death forty years ago, the Deep State satanic forces which he relentlessly opposed still persist. The world remains afflicted with insane and immoral wars, militarism, and violence. The US police state continues its unjust persecution of dissenting truth tellers, whistle blowers and peace proponents, while turning a blind eye to those responsible for dastardly crimes against humanity and Nature. Ubiquitous US economic inequality is more extreme than ever before, unjustly favoring the super-rich 1% at the expense of almost everyone else.

Thus, the US government has become an autocratic and exploitive “police state”, with much more hypocrisy than democracy, especially as its post–WWII imperial hegemony is being challenged (and imminently ended) by China and other non-allied competitive nations.

Thus author John W. Whitehead observes in his above article:


“Sadly, not much has changed for the better in the world since Lennon walked among us.” “For those of us who joined with John Lennon to imagine a world of peace, it’s getting harder to reconcile that dream with the reality of the American police state.”


Moreover Whitehead, who is a skilled and erudite constitutional law expert, has repeatedly an persuasively identified the US an authoritarian “police state” in his previously published articles and books.

For example Whitehead has metaphorically compared the Roman dominated land of Jesus’ birth with the present American nation as a “police state”, in Jesus Was Born in a Police State. And in The Slippery Slope to Despotism: Paved with Lockdowns, Raids and Forced Vaccinations he explains how the pretense of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic emergency has allowed the US and other governments to unconstitutionally and unlawfully oppress their constituents with “power grabs” possibly leading “to outright despotism”

As a still dedicated former social justice attorney, I concur with Mr. Whitehead’s description of the US government as an “American police state”.

However, as a spiritual author and philosopher, I respectfully wish offer this foreseeable alternative outcome of unjust worldwide coronavirus “emergency” edicts:

That, rather than leading us to global dystopian “despotism”, they will awaken humankind to awareness of our God-given powers and inherent rights, resulting in our nonviolently resisting and successfully overcoming psychopathic Deep State despotism, so that (at long last) “the world will live as one”.

In my view, we are inevitably destined to experience an urgently needed ‘tipping point’ in which a critical mass of awakened humanity will transcend parasitically divisive anger, anxiety, and fear to adamantly resist evil edicts with Truth and Love. Thereby we will begin to co-create a much more compassionate world, with bottom-up societies serving people and planet over profits, as envisioned by John Lennon.

This perspective is inspired by inner and outer experiences and observation, and by great social justice reformers like Lennon, and by Mahatma Gandhi who reminds us that: 


“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible,
but in the end they always fall—think of it. Always.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith

“Imagination is everything.
It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world,
and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
~ Albert Einstein
“You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”
~ John Lennon, “Imagine”
“Is all that we see or seem
but a dream within a dream?”
~ Edgar Allen Poe
“Your thoughts create reality. The most pragmatic way to create world peace is to use your power of visualization. Think Peace, Act Peace, Spread Peace, Imagine Peace. Your thoughts will soon cover the planet. The most important thing is to believe in your power. It works.”
~ Yoko Ono
“Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance that it dazzles the mind and darkens all its visions of other realities;
but in the end when we become used to the new light,
we gain a new view of all reality transfigured and elevated in the light itself.”
~ Thomas Merton
“On a long journey of human life,
faith is the best of companions;
it is the best refreshment on the journey;
and it is the greatest property.”
~ Buddha
“Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far,

but none comes further.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard
“Faith is different from proof;
the latter is human, the former is a gift from God.”
“The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.”
~ Blaise Pascal
“Faith—in life, in other people, and in oneself—is the attitude of
 allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time.”
 . . .
“Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.”
~ Alan Watts



John Lennon
October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980



Introduction

Dear Friends,

The above quotations about imagination and faith, and the following poetic essay and embedded videos, are posted as a tribute to departed hero John Lennon, on his October 9, 80th birthday anniversary. John’s lasting legacy as a charismatic and visionary populist leader who imagined a peaceful planet fulfilling our common needs, is explained in comments after the essay/poem.


Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith


Just as dreamers ‘create’ their dreams,
together we are a ‘dream-team’,
dreaming our world into being;

And, consciously or unconsciously creating a ‘common dream’.

Together, we are awakening to the greatest “secret of secrets”:

That we are not mere powerless perceivers of our “reality”,
but also its co-creators –

That we interdependently co-create our reality with our imagination, thoughts, words and deeds;

That everything we think, do or say changes our world in some way;

That our worldly “reality” depends upon the light of awareness with which we envision, experience and co-create it.

As we are awakening, we are discovering our true nature as Infinite Potentiality, and we are becoming infused with abiding faith in Nature and our Self, and in the impenetrable Mystery beyond every form or phenomenon.

As we are awakening, we are also discovering that our great gift of imagination can immeasurably help us live harmonious, creative, and loving lives.

We are learning – as Einstein taught us – that
what we imagine is “the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

So, as we awaken with abiding faith and love,
together let us “imagine” – like martyred hero John Lennon – that

“Someday …. the world will live as one”.

AND SO SHALL IT BE!

Ron Rattner



Ron’s Comments on Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith:


Dear Friends,

The foregoing poetic essay is a tribute to departed hero John Lennon, on his 80th birthday anniversary. Lennon – like Dr. King and Malcolm X – was martyred at age forty at the pinnacle of his powers, but he bequeathed to us a lasting legacy of unrelenting aspiration and inspiration for planetary peace and love.

Recent US presidential election politics have revealed that most Americans are justifiably dissatisfied with US empire policies and economics; that they especially object to extreme economic inequality, unjustly favoring the super-rich 1% at the expense of almost everyone else, caused by an ever warlike imperial government with much more hypocrisy than democracy.

John Lennon was and remains a charismatic and visionary populist leader who imagined a peaceful planet fulfilling our common needs and deepest desires for a radically new era when our “world will live as ONE.”

Lennon recognized that whatever our political, cultural, generational, or geographical labels or perspectives, we all share overriding common needs and aspirations.  That as Humankind we share the same web of life, the same precious Earth ecology, the same aspirations for health and happiness and for just and loving societies serving basic needs of all life on a peaceful planet. 
 
To honor John Lennon on his 80th birthday, I’ve embedded below two live performances of John singing “Imagine”, plus written lyrics. As we listen to him projecting our heartfelt aspirations, let us join together with faith, to envision and co-create a wonderful new era when our “world will live as ONE.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


John Lennon – “Imagine” (live performances)



“Imagine”


Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today



Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace



You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one



Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world



You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one


~ John Lennon


Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“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
“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”

“That which is timeless is found now.”
~ Buddha
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“Our problem is how to be free from all conditioning . . When the mind is completely unconditioned then only can [we] experience or discover if there is something real or not. [A] mind . . filled with beliefs, . . dogmas . . assertions ..is really an uncreative mind; it is merely a repetitive mind.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Ordinary human consciousness is conditioned consciousness;
it is pure Awareness conditioned by conceptions.
And our conceptual conditioning determines our condition.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake

 

Marc Chagall – The Praying Jew


Introduction

In lunar equinox seasons of major theistic religious ‘holy days’ we are often reminded that our spiritual goal is returning to “godliness” – to Ultimate Reality. This memoirs posting explains how we can advance our evolution toward attainment of that goal, by clearing past mental conditioning to increasingly be here NOW in the precious present.

Because this posting coincides with the Jewish High Holy Days, it outlines my positive experience with Yom Kippur communal practices of: (1) non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us; and of (2) annulment or rescission of obsolete and unhelpful private intentions, resolutions, or vows to ourselves or God. Thus it explains my opinion that such practices which are premised on inevitable limitation and fallibility of all incarnate humans, can be universally beneficial in advancing everyone’s spiritual evolution.

Further it explains why our spiritual evolution can be advanced by other practices or activities which help us quiet the mind and clear mental pre-conditioning to increasingly live moment by moment in the precious present, with Love as the supreme unifying principle of Life.

Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Mystics and some scientists say that our thoughts or beliefs about our ‘reality’ and self-identity determine our earth-life experience; that those thoughts or beliefs originate unconsciously with very subtle mental impressions (sometimes called in Sanskrit vasanas or samskaras) which through reincarnation are carried by the soul from lifetime to lifetime; that we can radically change our lives and behaviors by changing our thoughts about who or what we are; and that we can become “enlightened” only by transcending all mental conditioning.

Our mental conditioning operates our physical body, like computer software systems operate computer hardware platforms. And, like computer software systems, all mental conditioning comes from the past – from this or prior lifetimes.

But, habitually abiding or operating with beliefs or tendencies from past experience, or projecting them into the future as anxiety, fear or worry, prevents us from living spontaneously and authentically in the present moment – from fully being here NOW.

Past is history and future’s mystery, while Life is never then – it is only NOW.

Thus, Buddha taught that:

“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”
“That which is timeless is found now.”

Only by wiping the slate clean from past conditioning and resulting thoughts or concerns, are we are fully freed to live in the present – in the eternal NOW. Thus our spiritual evolution is advanced by any activity or practice which helps us live moment by moment in the precious present, spontaneously and authentically without mental pre-conditioning.

My life experience following a dramatic midlife spiritual awakening confirms these teachings. As gradually I have quieted my mind, recognized and eliminated or changed beliefs and paradigms which no longer seemed valid or useful, and more and more self-identified as spirit, my life has become more spontaneous and magical, and I’ve experienced ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious life-time.

For me, it has been a process of thinking less, and being more; and of mindfully witnessing inappropriate or obsolete behavioral patterns with intention of changing or eliminating them through grateful remembrance that I am not merely a separate mortal entity but universal spirit experiencing a blessed human life.

The more that I have gratefully and mindfully self-identified as spirit – as Universal Awareness – the more I have experienced fulfillment, insight, empathy, and creativity and the less I have manifested unhelpful habits and reflexive behaviors.

I have found that this transformative process of mindful spiritual self-identification has been accelerated through meditation and other universal practices of perennial wisdom traditions which help still the mind and clear mental conditioning. So I’ve dedicated the SillySutras website to exploring and sharing universal wisdom principles and practices which can help us all live happier lives, as they have helped me.

Jewish High Holy days practices

During Jewish High Holy days, I am reminded of certain practices other than meditation, which may help free us from past conditioning:

1. Non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us. [see “Forgiveness And Atonement Of ‘Sins.’”] ; and,

2. Annulment and rescission of obsolete and unhelpful personal intentions, resolutions, or vows.

The Jewish High Holy Days are ten days of religious introspection and repentance, concluding with Yom Kippur [“day of atonement”]. During services, congregants communally repent past “sins” while repeatedly acknowledging that

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins,” [ Ecclesiastes 7:20 ]

The Yom Kippur observance begins with “Kol Nidre” (“All Vows”), a powerful prayer with a hauntingly beautiful melody which is chanted and recited in ancient Aramaic, and which for many observant Jews is the religious high-point of their year.

When I attended Jewish services, during adolescence and later irregularly as an adult (before I became a “born-again Hindu”), the Kol Nidre ritual was for me emotionally memorable, even though I don’t recall knowing the meaning of the prayer until much later receiving a translation in an email message.

So, on ultimately learning the translated meaning, I was quite surprised and puzzled to learn that Kol Nidre enigmatically purports to disavow and annul until the next day of atonement all past and/or future communal or individual oaths or vows, viz.

”Let all our vows and oaths, all the promises we make and the obligations we incur to You, 0 God, between this Yom Kippur and the next, be null and void should we, after honest effort, find ourselves unable to fulfill them. Then may we be absolved of them.”

Since Judaism emphasizes the honoring of promises and obligations to others, I wondered:

“Why does the holiest of Jewish high holy days begin with a communal disavowal of all oaths or vows, which in Jewish tradition are regarded as ethically important?”


Also I began wondering why the Kol Nidre prayer has been so emotionally powerful, even when its meaning is largely unknown. After reflection and research I concluded that:

Kol Nidre applies only to personal vows to oneself or God, not affecting promises or obligations to others; it is not an unconditional request for Divine absolution from guilt for dishonored vows or obligations to others.

Many people – not just Jews – make resolutions or vows concerning their intended future behavior which are unfulfilled or become inappropriate or unhelpful as times change. And often they feel consequent frustration or guilt.

Rather than harboring guilt or frustration for this, Jewish tradition recognizes that it is best to wipe the mental slate clean. Thus, observant Jews can be spiritually uplifted and mentally cleared by communal participation in High Holy Day rituals of forgiveness or atonement of “sins”, and rescission of unhelpful personal resolutions.

And I believe that Kol Nidre has been especially powerful for even those unaware of its meaning, because subtly or subconsciously it invokes Humankind’s universal – yet paradoxically impossible – aspiration to be in this world beyond inevitable human frailty and suffering, beyond “sin” or ‘missing the mark’.

So, perhaps Kol Nidre and its haunting melody, invoke an Eternal inner voice which reminds us of our true nature – ever immanent Divine LOVE – with which we are ultimately destined to merge.

Ron’s Commentary on Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Dear Friends,

In lunar equinox seasons of major theistic religious ‘holy days’ – Jewish (days of awe); Moslem (Eid Al-Adha); Christian (Feast of St. Francis); Hindu (Navaratri); Asian (Moon festivals) – we are often reminded that central to all major theistic religions is the goal of psychologically returning to “godliness”. Moreover, all major religions – Buddhist-Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish – teach a common message of Love as the supreme “unifying principle of Life. . . . the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate Reality.” [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] 

Yet, often in the name of religion, our world remains rife with discrimination, violence and killing which must be transcended for survival of Human life as we have known it.

Whether or not we are ‘religious’, we are all experiencing a mythological perennial process of returning to a psychological state of self-identity and “at-one-ment” with Universal Awareness, our ultimate Essence and destiny – an evolutionary process of gradually living more and more in and as the timeless NOW.

The above essay, Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present, encourages our harmony with this crucially important perennial process.

As gradually we mindfully observe and change behaviors, beliefs, and paradigms which no longer seem valid or useful, and as more and more we commonly self-identify as ONE Eternal spirit, which is LOVE – not just as separate mortals – our lives become more spontaneous and magical, enabling us to synchronistically experience ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious human lifetime.

Invocation

On ‘holy days’ and every day, may everyone everywhere be blessed to remember our affinity and identity with Divinity;

May we thereby wipe clean the slate of past behaviors or attitudes which impede our living and being in the precious present.

Thus, may everyone everywhere be eternally happy – NOW!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner