Blessings

Sometimes It Hurts To Heal

“Your pain is the medicine by which the
physician within heals thyself.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.”

“And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life,
your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.”

“It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity: For his hand, though heavy and hard,
is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.”

~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, Chapter 16




Sometimes It Hurts To Heal

Ron’s Introduction to “Sometimes It Hurts To Heal”

Dear Friends,

The following essay-poem was inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece “The Prophet”, and composed thirty years ago during my extended post-retirement reclusive period of prayer and introspection.

As hereafter explained, I’m now republishing these verses because they remain consistent with my long-life’s experiences as a senior traveler on a unique path to Self Realization.

Sometimes It Hurts To Heal

Life is a healing/wholing/gnosis/process.

Sometimes we hurt as we heal;
But our healing pains are growing pains.

And as we are healing,
Life is revealing

Ever vaster vistas

Of  inner light,

LOVE and Peace.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Sometimes It Hurts To Heal”

Listen to



Ron’s Explanation of “Sometimes It Hurts To Heal”:

Dear Friends,

Composition of “Sometimes It Hurts To Heal” was inspired long-ago by Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece, “The Prophet”, especially Gibran’s insight that:


“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”


Three decades after its composition, this poem remains consistent with my most painful long-life experiences.

Thus, my greatest psychological trauma – a painful divorce – triggered a mid-life spiritual awakening which revealed previously unimagined new insights about self-identity and “reality”, and led to meeting my Guruji on the luckiest day of my life.

Similarly, my greatest physical trauma a sudden near-death taxicab rundown – began a still continuing revelatory spiritual evolution process which has energetically opened me to greatest psychological happiness of this lifetime, with unprecedented Faith in our Divine “physician within”, and enjoying an immensely elevated ‘attitude of gratitude’– with every day a bonus, and every breath a blessing.

Currently, from my optimistic perspective, the current extraordinary post–pandemic “new normal” era of anxiety, fear and deprivation of normal activities and God-given liberties has become so hurtful and painful for so many people worldwide that it’s about to trigger a societal “tipping point” breakthrough to an elevated heart level of “human consciousness”, which will soon cause an historically unprecedented transition to a wonderful “new normal” Earth-age of love, peace and justice, beyond fears and sufferings.  

Hence, with infinite Faith, I continue to confirm that:

Life is revealing

Ever vaster vistas

Of  inner light,
LOVE and Peace.


Invocation

May these writings help assuage our anxieties
about current crazy times,
and inspire our abiding Faith
in the Divine “physician within”,
which wondrously heals everyone everywhere
of all afflictions, individually and collectively.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

From Seeing to BEING:
Wholeness, Holiness, LOVE
~ Ron’s Memoirs


“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling 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.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness,

the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside.”

“This perfection must come through the practice of holiness and love.”. . .
“Every step that has been really gained in the world has been gained by love; criticizing can never do any good, it has been tried for thousand of years. Condemnation accomplishes nothing.”

~ Swami Vivekananda

However many holy words you read,

However many you speak,

What good will they do you

If you do not act on upon them?”

~ Buddha

“Many good sayings are to be found in holy books,

but merely reading them will not make one religious.”

~ Sri Ramakrishna
 Paramahansa

“The mind, unless it is pure and holy, cannot see God.”

~ Seneca the Younger

“What the world needs today
is neither a new order, a new education,
a new system, a new society
nor a new religion.
The remedy lies in a mind and a heart filled with holiness.”

~ Shirdi Sai Baba

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

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

Ron Near Sofa Altar

From Seeing to BEING: Wholeness, Holiness, LOVE ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Dear Friends,

At almost age 90, as an elder on the path to Self-Realization, I remain deeply motivated to help inspire others spiritually. So I’m continuing to write memoirs about my evolutionary experiences.

This memoirs chapter hereafter explains how my living room sofa became a sacrosanct spiritual altar; how I prayed and meditated there for decades; and how my worship of perceived outer images there was gradually transformed energetically to become an open hearted inner experience everywhere – a grateful and soulful process of honoring the Divinity and Holiness of “all living creatures and the whole of Nature” on our precious blue planet.

How my living room sofa became an altar

On meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I was profoundly affected by his powerful cosmic life-force energy [“shakti”]. And I learned that his extraordinary inner energy was independent of his physical vitality, and physical presence. Moreover, I learned that Guruji was one of those rare yogis who could intentionally transfer “shakti” to others not only by touch, gaze, or mantra sound, but also by thought. Thus I’ve experienced Guruji’s shakti when not in his physical proximity, and even when his physical body was very weak.

In 1980 Guruji stayed at my apartment just before returning to India. His physical body and vitality were then exceptionally weak and exhausted. He was so weak that he had to be carried out of my apartment to the van bringing him to the SFO International airport. But his cosmic shakti energy was as strong as ever. After Guruji’s departure, I soon discovered that even objects touched by Guruji had become imbued with his intense cosmic energy.

While at my apartment Guruji slept at night on a large mattress brought here from his Soquel ashram. Daytimes he often sat on a living room sofa looking out at the panoramic view of San Francisco Bay. Soon after his departure I helped carry Guruji’s mattress out of my twelfth floor apartment, via elevator to a devotee’s van parked in the basement garage to be returned to the ashram.

After only a few minutes of clutching Guruji’s mattress, I became tremendously “enshakticated” – intoxicated merely by closeness to Guruji’s cosmic life-force which had amazingly permeated the mattress, rather than by ingesting some inebriating or hallucinogenic substance.

From that amazing energy experience, I realized that my living room sofa where Guruji had sat had been transformed to be a holy relic imbued with his shakti. So I made it an altar. Afterwards for over thirty years I worshiped, prayed, cried and meditated at that altar, and no one sat on it. But sensitive visitors and I felt Guruji’s holy energy still radiating from it.

Here is 2012 photo of Ron, at age seventy, at his sofa altar:



When not then meditating at my living room sofa altar, I began and ended each day worshiping at a bedroom floor altar beside a futon.



Only after being seriously disabled by taxicab rundown injuries did I start sleeping on a bed at age eighty one.

How my sofa altar’s energy was elevated and transformed

Soon after my eightieth birthday, the life-force emanations from my sofa altar were energetically evaluated by my dear spiritual friends Gayla Yates Gordon and Barry Gordon, who are both experienced and genuine masters of Feng Sui.

They tactfully persuaded me to remove the sofa altar images, because the altar’s spiritual energies had so elevated that they’d expanded throughout my living room and beyond. So now only a few inspiring images of Guruji, Jesus Christ, Sri Ramakrishna and a few others have been moved beside my computer desk across the living room.

And especially since my miraculous survival from deadly taxicab rundown injuries eight years ago my worship, prayer and meditation has been transformed to become a continuous open-hearted inner experience of honoring the Divinity and Holiness of all life everywhere.

How I’m now viewing and living this precious human lifetime

I’ve learned from Sri Ramakrishna that ego (either helpful or harmful) is unavoidable on Earth; and that with ego we have apparent free choice of our behaviors, or at least our states of mind – our mental attitudes.

And especially inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I follow my conscience and (if possible) nonviolently refuse to actively or passively obey or condone immoral or discriminatory government activities, laws or edicts.

Further, thanks to Albert Einstein, I’m aware that everything’s energy [E=mc2] in Cosmic Consciousness, with each unique energy form vibrating at a particular rate according to its degree of consciousness. So as a unique energy entity with a unique space/time perspective my views may be inappropriate to others. But I’m sharing them now for those for whom they may be harmonious.

From my optimistic perspective we are now experiencing an unprecedented “new normal” energetic ‘quantum leap’ in human consciousness, and are ascending to a prophesied “new reality” of egalitarian and democratic sharing and openness beyond prior deprivations and sufferings. In this extraordinary era the immoral low energy vibrations of division, fear, anger, greed and deception are being overcome and transcended by the elevated energies of Self-awareness, gratitude and freedom, as more and more humans are awakening and BEING the eternal Light of LOVE.

I’m aware that with apparent freedom of choice we each create and experience a unique “reality” with unique thoughts and behaviors from unique perspectives. And I adamantly refuse to reify this insane world of immoral human caused catastrophic wars, climate collapse, illnesses, injuries, and psychopathic deprivations of God-given rights and necessities.

So I choose to see this world as an unreal, immoral and poorly programmed matrix movie in which I will not participate. Instead of reifying this matrix mirage, I’m envisioning and creating a wonderful new world beyond needless suffering, where everyone everywhere is happy – and where living is Loving.

To avoid being psychologically “brainwashed” by matrix propaganda and gossip I refuse to view all addictive “news” and social media of mass deception and distraction. And I avoid reifying “news” or “op ed” articles that evoke fear, worry, anger, or frustration.

What I’ve learned from elevating altar worship

In space/time duality relative “reality’ we have freedom to live lovingly and fearlessly.
And the more we live with energetically elevated mental attitudes the more we experience peace and happiness, and help to positively co-create an energetically elevated and wonderful world.

Accordingly, all of our fearless, forgiving, and loving thoughts, behaviors, and emotions inevitably uplift this world and everyone/everything everywhere. So:

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

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


Dedication and Invocation

Thus, this memoirs chapter is deeply dedicated
to encouraging all others on the path to Self-Realization
to open, listen to, and follow their Heart.

Thereby may we empathetically and lovingly
live for giving, not getting;
for helping, not harming
all beings (not just humans),
and our beautiful precious planet Earth,
which birthed us all.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Honoring God’s “Holy Fools”
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
~ 1 Corinthians 3:19
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
~ 1 John 4:7-8
“Full of love for all things in the world;

practicing virtue in order to benefit others,

this man alone is happy.”

~ Buddha
“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi
“Love is the highest, the grandest, the most inspiring,
the most sublime principle in creation.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Love Is The Law Of Life:

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. 

Love is therefore the only law of life. 

He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. 

Therefore, love for love’s sake,

because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.”

~ Swami Vivekananda
“Only if one knows the truth of Love,
which is the real nature of Self,
will the strong entangled [ego] knot of life be untied.
Only if one attains the height of Love will liberation be attained.
Such is the heart of all religions.
The experience of Self is only Love,
which is seeing only Love, hearing only Love, feeling only Love,
tasting only Love and smelling only Love, which is bliss.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

 



Honoring God’s “Holy Fools” ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Introduction

Dear Friends,


Prior memoirs have recounted my midlife transformation from “Secular Hebrew” social justice litigation lawyer to “Born-again Hindu” devotional-emotional lover of God, and then to “Uncertain Undo” seeking ‘relief from belief’, because ‘on the path of Undo, we’ll never be through, ’til we’re and undone ONE!’.
[See e.g. Crying For God and other ‘Kundalini Kriyas’]

This memoirs chapter tells how, as a newly awakened ‘lover of God’ (Bhakta), I’ve discovered and honored “Holy Fools” – rare ascetic and eccentric lovers of God, who don’t live in ordinary worldly ways.

I’ve learned that throughout human history there have been very famous “Holy Fools”. Only after first ‘discovering’ such famous “Holy Fools”, did I later learn that in all human societies there are countless more unknown God intoxicated “Holy Fools”; and that they timelessly bless this world as LOVE.

In some Eastern societies they are called “masts”, a word which originates from the Sufi term mast-Allah, meaning “intoxicated with God”.

In Hindu societies they are called Avadhutas, who are overwhelmed with inner love for God. For millennia India has honored Avadhutas, as self-realized bhakti mystics living beyond worldly ego-mind consciousness and concerns, and without adhering to accepted social standards. (See e.g. Advadhuta Gita)

To help you understand why I have honored spiritual “heretics” and “holy fools” as lovers of God, here is a summary of my devotional history:

Ron’s Devotional history

Until my profound midlife spiritual awakening, I hadn’t shed tears as an adult. But then I cried for twenty four hours. Thereafter, I began wondering why I was crying so much. But soon I realized with amazement that I was crying with intense longing for God. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.) And I became and remained an extremely devotional, and frequent crier for God – often ecstatically longing and calling for the Divine.


After meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and receiving his shaktipat initiation into the path of kundalini yoga as “Rasik: one engrossed in devotion”, I gradually learned that my continual longing and profuse crying for God was an immense transformative blessing – recognized not only in the bhakti Hindu devotional tradition, but also in:

1) Sufism epitomized by enlightened Muslim mystical poets Rumi and Hafiz who realized that all appearances in our seemingly complex earthly “reality” are manifestations of ONE eternal LOVE; and

2) in the Orthodox/Catholic “gift of tears” tradition of St. Isaac of Ninevah, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.


Thus, when not crying I often had what I called ‘alternative LSD experiences’ of spontaneous (and sometimes ecstatic) Laughing, Singing, and Dancing. And even as an octogenarian “Uncertain Undo” I still often privately experience spontaneous outbursts of laughing, crying, and calling to God.


Guruji’s explanation was that:

“There are two kinds of kriyas, one is for purification and the other for the manifestation of joy. ..
Whenever one experiences great joy or bliss, this also manifests physically as crying or laughing.”
~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


Learning about devotional spirituality

Not until my 1976 spiritual awakening, did I begin learning about spirituality.

On moving from Chicago to San Francisco in 1960, I was ignorant about spiritual subjects, or religions other than Judaism.

I knew nothing about Christian saints, or core Christian teachings. I didn’t even realize that my new “San Francisco” home city was named for history’s most popular Christian saint. Moreover, apart from Christianity, I was ignorant of Eastern spiritual and religious teachings.

Growing up in Chicago, I had become familiar with Judaism’s core teachings:

“ Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One”;  and
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5

However, I had no idea of their supremely profound sacred significance.

But my midlife spiritual awakening experiences triggered an unprecedented interest in spiritual subjects. Initially – sparked by inner experiences and amazing synchronicities – I experienced great curiosity about Saint Francis of Assisi, and about Christian teachings which inspired him.

Later I began reading hagiographic stories about other Eastern and Western saints and sages. Gradually, I learned that – apart from Jesus and a few other world-famous paragons of Divine LOVE – the Divine devotional path has been followed by countless unknowns, especially in certain societies which for centuries have honored and emphasized devotional Love.


And gradually I became inspired by genuine “lovers of God” as exemplars of an important spiritual tradition, with which I had instinctively joined.

Lovers of God as “Heretics”

On discovering Rumi’s poetry, I learned that Muslim culture has long encompassed all aspects of love, culminating with Sufism’s mystical Self-realization as Divine LOVE as life’s ultimate goal. And, similarly, that Sufi philosophy has so honored eccentric lovers of God that it has specifically identified many of them as “masts” – persons so overwhelmed with love for God, that they appear externally disoriented.


Also, during my 1982 pilgrimage to India I learned that for millennia India has honored avadhutas, self-realized bhakti mystics living beyond usual egoic consciousness and worldly concerns, without adhering to accepted social standards. (See e.g. Advadhuta Gita, and Avadhuta – Wikipedia)

I indelibly remember seeing a peacefully smiling elderly man sitting stark naked on a rock in freezing temperatures midst ice and snow near the Himalayan headwaters of the holy Ganges river.

Like Sufi “masts” and Indian avadhutas, worldwide there have been countless unknowns societally honored as God intoxicated ‘holy fools’ with extraordinarily unconventional behaviors inconsistent with social norms.


Famous “Heretic” Prophets

Supremely eminent Greek philosopher Socrates, who taught the Delphic oracle’s fundamental transformative spiritual maxim “Know Thyself”, was considered an heretic and was sentenced to death after being unjustly tried and convicted for allegedly corrupting the youth of Athens. He was an archetypal wise ‘fool’ whose distinctive teaching method consisted in exposing foolishness of the world. For example, just before Socrates died of a coerced suicide, by drinking hemlock, he declared that fear of death was fear of the unknown.


In Western Christianity Paul the Apostle proclaimed that

“The wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
(1 Corinthians 3:19)


So, Christianity has at times rejected as foolishness “the wisdom of this world”. And it has endorsed the ‘Imitation of Jesus Christ’ – who preached “Love your neighbors” and even “your enemies”. And ‘heretically’ repudiated socially condoned hypocrisy, brutality, greed, and selfish desire for worldly power and gains; forgivingly endured crucifixion, mockery and humiliation from ignorant crowds; and even audaciously proclaimed the ultimately ‘forbidden mystical Truth’ – that “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

In learning about Jesus’ “heretic” teachings – especially his Sermon on the Mount – I instinctively recognized him as an outspoken social justice reformer, and Truth telling political and religious nonconformist. And I intuitively honored him as a paragon of virtue, like prophets of other great religions, but not as God’s “only Son”.

I always conceived of “God” as ONE universally immanent nameless, formless, nonjudgmental Supreme Power. So I rejected any idea of a personal or judgmental God, and considered the Bible a collection of metaphoric legends – not as ‘the word of God’ who spoke only through special messengers.

And just as I always rejected Torah teachings about Jews as “chosen people”, I could never accept Christian dogma that Jesus was God’s “only Son” because he declared “I and the Father are one”.

Nor – like Gandhi – could I morally accept non-egalitarian Hindu scriptures justifying socially stratified caste systems, with some people deemed “untouchables”.

But I accepted that especially in historically dark and threatening eras of rampant world materialism, decadence, and violence, there have often appeared renowned sages or incarnate avatars to prophetically guide Humankind to societal and spiritual renaissance. And as religious nonconformists and social dissidents these famous reformers – like Jesus and Socrates – often were considered as “heretics”, and severely punished by contemporary worldly authorities.

‘Discovering’ Saint Francis of Assisi and Sri Ramakrishna as heretic “holy fools”.

Most famous Christian emulator of Jesus was Saint Francis of Assisi who in midlife – as an unconventional apostle of Love – renounced and relinquished all his worldly possessions and privileges as son of a wealthy merchant, to live reclusively in the Umbrian countryside; and later to establish an exemplary order of Franciscan Friars who gave away all possessions and survived only on alms while preaching in the streets to common people. Francis so completely identified with Jesus that, near the end of his earthly life, he became the first saint in history to miraculously receive crucifixion stigmata.

st-francis-of-assisi

St. Francis of Assisi



Perhaps the best known Indian saint of the nineteenth century was Indian Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa – an extraordinarily charismatic and eccentric ascetic, sometimes compared to St. Francis of Assisi.
(See Sri Ramakrishna and St. Francis of Assisi, by Sister Devamata, 1935)


Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
February 18, 1836 – August 16, 1886



After my midlife spiritual awakening, I felt increasing egalitarian affinity and harmony with people living unconventionally ‘from inside out’, rather than with outer-directed worldly and conventional people.

And in learning about many famous saints and mystics, I felt most affinity with Saint Francis of Assisi and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa.

Both of them were extraordinarily charismatic ascetics, having relinquished and renounced all worldly pleasures and privileges, to live in utter simplicity. Both were remarkably unconventional and seemingly “God intoxicated” exemplars of Divine Love and devotional faith – blessed with the ‘gift of tears’ and of spontaneously praying, singing, conversing and calling to the Divine, which as egalitarians they beheld everywhere and in every being.  Both saints eschewed punditry and were simple, unschooled and unscholarly, yet with vast innate wisdom imparted conversationally and recorded by others.

Both historically helped to reform world religions by charismatically living their teachings. And both were so eccentrically unconventional that they were even considered insane by some worldly people, including a few friends and relatives.

Perhaps I found exceptional rapport with both St. Francis and Ramakrishna because my own private devotional tendencies and unconventional behaviors seemed similar to theirs, and especially because of inner and synchronistic experiences, including amazing and unforgettable déjà vu of their still palpable divine energies (shakti) during pilgrimages to India and Assisi.

Later, I learned that that renowned mystical poet-masters Hafiz and Rumi, were Supreme exemplars of the Sufi-Persian path of love. But that even in their societies which honored Love, they were considered by Moslem authorities to be “heretics” or “holy fools” because – like Jesus – they realized and truthfully proclaimed their mystical self-identity as Divine LOVE – a fundamentally forbidden heresy to ruling mullahs. Thus, though Hafiz was not executed, his remains could not be entombed in a Moslem cemetery in his beloved birthplace and cultured home city, Shiraz, Iran.

LOVE as the unseen Source of the worlds we see

Following the midlife spiritual rebirth and awakening, I’ve gradually discovered that LOVE is all that is, was, or will be; that LOVE is our true SELF-identity, and the unseen timeless Source of all worlds we see.

So I’ve realized that all God’s “holy fools” bless this world as living LOVE. And that their eccentricities and ‘heresies’ can help reveal that societal sanity requires radical reform of orthodox worldly rules and beliefs.

Dedication and Invocation – Love for all, Hatred for none!

This memoirs chapter is deeply dedicated to inspiring a critical mass of humanity increasingly to honor each other and all life as ONE LOVE – beyond the endless ego-mind illusion of a space/time duality universe

And let us ever remember that we are the unseen Source of all worlds we see!

So let us love GOD with all our heart and soul and with all our might.

And with firm faith, may our guiding motto ever be

‘Love for all, Hatred for none!’


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

“There is No Death”
a Tribute to Betty Bethards
(9/23/33 – 7/30/02)

“Life is eternal. There is no death. If people correctly understood death, they would no longer have any fear of the unknown”. . . . “What we think of as life and death are merely transitions, changes in the rate of vibration in a continual process of growth and unfoldment.”
~ Betty Bethards – “There is No Death” pp. 90-91
“Overcoming the fear of death changes our whole perspective on life. Everything we do and think and feel takes on new meaning. When we realize that we are not limited by the physical, we begin to get the idea that we are really master of our own destinies and we more fully align ourselves with the eternal nature of our beings.”
~ Betty Bethards – “There is No Death” pp. 82-83
“As we lose our fear of leaving life,
we gain the art of living life.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“To be afraid of dying is like being afraid of discarding an old worn-out garment.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,
 you must go deep within yourself.

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“Birth and death are virtual,
 but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Betty Bethards (9/23/33 – 7/30/02)


“There is No Death” a Tribute to Betty Bethards (9/23/33 – 7/30/02)

Ron’s Introduction.

Dear Friends,

On this twentieth anniversary of my friend Betty Bethards’ transition, it is my privilege and pleasure to honor her retrospectively as one of the spiritually most important people in my life.

I met Betty soon after my 1976 rebirth experience, when attending her Inner Light Foundation lectures. I was then a busy lawyer seeking social justice for others. She was a prominent Bay Area meditation teacher, psychic/mystic counselor, healer, and author.

Betty had just published and was discussing her first (and still important book) “There is No Death”. My autographed copy of that book is inscribed with her powerful perennial wisdom words that have helped me and many others: “Death is but a bridge to life!”

From 1976 until Betty crossed that bridge to life twenty six years later, we had a harmonious rapport and important spiritual friendship. After retiring as a lawyer I became a spiritual philosopher, poet and writer and began The Perennial Wisdom Foundation, which sponsors this website where I’ve been continuing to publish spiritual memoirs, as an elder student on the path.

At almost age 90, I’ve decided to augment my prior tribute to Betty Bethards by recounting (before I cross “the bridge to life”) some specific ways in which her teachings and friendship have significantly furthered my spiritual evolution.

So this twentieth anniversary tribute to Betty still highlights her history and teachings about why “There is No Death”, but also hereafter includes previously unpublished explanations and incidents of her transformative role in my life.

The beginning pages of this tribute were originally sourced in July 2017 from prominent near death authority and author Kevin R. Williams, whose main posting about Betty Bethards remains online at this link together with my original tribute to Betty. Mostly they include excerpts (below) from Betty’s book, There is No Death, in which she gives her description of what happens when we die.

Because I’ve always appreciated Betty’s wisdom expressed in down-to-earth, pithy yet clear and simple language, I have recommended her books and audio recordings which are still available from Inner Light Foundation P.O. Box 750265, Petaluma, CA 94975, (707) 765-2200.

Also her books are sold by Amazon (and other sellers). They include Seven Steps to Developing Your Intuitive Powers, From My Heart to Yours, Be Your Own Guru, and Techniques for Health and Wholeness. Further you can still buy Betty’s book Sex and Psychic Energy, which apparently Elvis Presley was reading in the bathroom when he died of a heart attack at age 42 on 8/16/77.

Betty’s History.

At age 32 Betty was a middle class mother of four boys, and a professional bowler, when she experienced a transformative classic near death experience long before the term NDE was coined and widely publicized by Dr. Raymond Moody, Jr.. She described her NDE experience in her first published (and still important) book “There is No Death”. Because her main aspiration in life was to help others, she wrote and talked about death and dying to comfort the bereaved and ailing.

“There is No Death” was especially powerful because it came from Betty’s dramatic experience of surviving apparent physical “death” and her continuing communications with supposedly deceased souls, including her two eldest sons who later died in Viet Nam and in a California motorcycle accident. Also it recounts inspiring true stories about how people who consulted Betty transcended their fear of death.

Before we met, Betty had formed the Inner Light Foundation [ILF], promoting development of individual spirituality. For many years, she spoke monthly at local SF area church venues and gave psychic readings with mystic counseling at her North Bay foundation office. Raised as fundamentalist Baptist she ultimately gave universal spiritual teachings encompassed by most enduring religious paths, and she became an exemplar and channel for the path of Love.

Rather than promoting herself as a leader, Betty tried to teach others to develop their own spiritual potentials. Thus one of her nine books was titled: “Be Your Own Guru”. Others included: “Techniques for Health and Wholeness,” “Seven Steps to Developing Your Intuitive Powers,” and “The Dream Book,” interpreting over 1,600 dream symbols, and helping readers to remember and find guidance and inspiration from their dreams.

Once when I was invited by Betty for a private New Years Eve dinner at her home in Petaluma, I learned that she had received as a gift – apparently from the Dalai Lama of Tibet, whom she’d never met – a beautiful Tibetan hand crafted mandala scroll or thangka.

Thereafter, though many people regarded Betty a teacher of ‘meditation for the middle class’, I called her a ‘Baptist Bodhisattva’, who humbly and without self-aggrandizement was lovingly dedicated to helping all sentient beings develop their spiritual potentials. Her energy field was so palpably powerful that many people often felt uplifted just being in her presence.

Since Betty’s July 2002 transition, her teachings still bless this world. And her transformative work may be continuing ‘from the other side’.

And so may it be!

Betty’s NDE Story and Teachings Excerpted from “There is No Death”.

Betty Bethards

1. Near-Death Experience.

My first experience with death challenged all my old beliefs about the nature of reality and why we are here in the first place. I learned that if we are ever to come to terms with the meaning of our lives here on Earth, we must understand the meaning of death. Only then can we see it with a total perspective, fitting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Otherwise, nothing makes much sense.

I returned home one night from a bridge game with a burning sensation in my chest and went right to bed. An hour later I awoke to find myself hovering over the bed about two feet above my body. A voice said to me, “You’re going to be very sick with pneumonia. Get to a doctor”. [After two doctor visits which did not help her, she ran a temperature of 103 to 105 degrees and was on the road to death.]

Suddenly I was twenty feet across the room. Everything I considered “Betty” to be -memory, personality, senses -was looking back at that shell on the couch. I thought, “Gee, she’s sick. I don’t want to go back.”

Then a very gentle voice said from behind me, “You don’t have to go back, but this is death if you choose to stay.”

I had a body which appeared the same, was wearing the same clothes, and was raised about two feet off the floor. I wasn’t frightened at all, but felt wonderfully enveloped in peace. I knew then how Jerry had appeared to me ten years earlier. It was as if I could see things clearly, and knew that there was no such thing as death. I realized then that one never dies, but changes vibrations, and goes on living and learning on other levels.

I really didn’t want to go back. But then I started seeing pictures of my four children flash before me. It was a tricky way to get me to make up my mind to return to the Earth plane and finish what I was supposed to do. I was fine with seeing each child, knowing they could take care of themselves without me, until I saw my eighteen month old son. I knew he still needed me, and at that point I made my decision. I had to go back.

As soon as I thought this, the voice said to me again, “Unless you take an antibiotic within the next twenty-four hours, you will no longer have a choice of whether you wish to remain on the Earth plane.”

It was after this experience that I knew there was no death and that it wasn’t the way I had been taught to believe. I didn’t know how it was, but I was determined to find out. I had to wait two years before the teachings began coming to me.
[Within this period of time, Betty became more and more psychic until she was able to communicate with her spirit guides.]

2. Not the Same For Everyone.

When the soul has been exposed to the opportunities it chose for a particular lifetime, it is allowed a release from the physical body. The soul knows when the time for release has come. Death is easy – life is hard work.

Death is not the same for everyone. It depends upon how you have prepared yourself during that incarnation, how old a soul you are, how evolved your awareness, and what lessons you chose to learn through the death experience. You may have chosen to learn courage and to build strength through a physical death with suffering. People who die slow deaths from such things as cancer or strokes are often givers who have never learned how to receive. Their souls may choose a slow death in order to allow others to give to them. But you can learn your lesson and move beyond the need for pain and suffering in dying. You may, in fact, have chosen a fast and easy death. Either way it is not a punishment, but a process of growth for both you and those around you. It allows you and others to work through difficult situations with kindness and compassion.

3. Seeing the Invisible.

When you approach the time of death, often you’re able to see relatives who have crossed over standing around you. The etheric body slips easily in and out of the physical, and many times a person near-death talks to beings who are invisible to others. Doctors for the most part think you are hallucinating, but you’re not. Whether death comes rapidly or slowly, your loved ones know ahead of time when you are coming, and are there, prepared and waiting, happy that you have been released.

4. The Tunnel and the Light.

First, you may experience your whole life flashing in front of you much as a drowning person reports this experience. Next, you will go through what appears to be a dark tunnel or dark tube which has a very bright light at the end. Most entities are just drawn to the light without anyone saying, “Go to the light.” It’s a past soul memory of having left the body many times, and knowing what to do.

This light is from higher astral levels, and you follow it to the one you have earned. However you have lived your life on the Earth side determines how high you can go into the light on the other side.

There is nothing to fear. You leave your body every night as you enter the sleep state. There is no difference. You cannot be harmed.

Fears are within, and this is why you must work to release yourself from fears on the Earth plane, because you will carry these same fears over to the next dimension. As above, so below!

5. Hanging Around the Living.

Some people may want to hang around their old surroundings on Earth rather than go on to discover for themselves the beauty and wisdom which is offered to them on the other side. This may take a long time, but they are coaxed along slowly. Nothing is forced on a soul, neither attitudes nor understandings. This is why we are always counseled here on Earth never to force our beliefs on another person until one is ready to hear them. The free choice of every individual should be acknowledged.

6. Seeing Loved Ones and Teachers.

When you die you are greeted by loved ones first so that you may understand what has happened. There is a big celebration, like a birthday party, heralding your arrival. Family and friends who have gone on before you are there to celebrate your arrival.

There is always good at the time of your cross-over. Even people who have lived lives of selfishness will know and understand the rejoicing. Whatever you have sown you are going to reap in terms of structuring your experiences and lessons which continue on the other side. But the first few days of cross-over (as you know time on the Earth plane) you are allowed to be with your teachers, and those who have loved you in the past. You are able to see those you left behind and to hear their thoughts and words. The first six weeks we stay very close to our loved ones on the Earth plane.

You are given glimpses of things you expected to see in order to bring you comfort. You may briefly see a teacher you worshipped in your lifetime: Jesus, Buddha, or another guru, according to your expectations. After the first seventy-two hours, however, you are gently brought out of many of your illusions and shown that you have not landed in an ultimate paradise with gold paved streets. Of course you could choose to create these for yourself on this plane, but once you truly understand you would most likely choose to be around that with which you felt most comfortable.

If you don’t believe in God or an afterlife, you will probably be kept in a sleep state for the first two to three day period. You will wake up in a beautiful meadow or some other calm and peaceful place where you can reconcile the transition from the death state to the continuous life. You are given teachings in the hope that you do not refuse to believe that you are dead.

On the other side you see things with a clearer, more objective nature, but you are not given total knowledge because you would not understand it or be ready to use it, any more than while you are here on Earth. We are given knowledge only as we are ready to receive it, whether we are in or out of the body.

7. After the Homecoming.

After the first six weeks the soul meets with what may be called a loving board of directors. It is composed of teachers and other higher beings who have walked with you. These beings help you review your past life, to begin to look at what was learned and not learned, and what you wish to work on or do from this point. No one judges you, and this is important to keep in mind. You are the one that judges yourself and decides what is best for continued growth.

You will be given teachings, training, and anything you need to help you prepare yourself for your next incarnation. But this is not given immediately. You can choose your own pace and need not be hurried through the realms of the next realms. It may take centuries for your soul to know what is best for your development once you return again to a physical body. It may take a great deal of reflection before you determine a purpose and direction for your next sojourn on Earth. Since we reincarnate in groups we usually wait 80 to 120 years before we come back.

Also, as part of your training, you are allowed to watch people on the Earth plane to see how they handle situations when they reincarnate. Very few people in a physical body realize that their behavior is a teaching ground for those who are out of the body.

8. Reviewing Past Lives.

As you are ready, and as you choose, you will be shown your past lives. If you do not believe in reincarnation it may take a long time before you are able to deal with this. Eventually, you must learn to understand yourself in a continuity of growth over many lifetimes. You must recognize all the strengths you have built and all the karmic ties you have created which must be dissolved.

By the time you are given the privilege of reviewing all past lives and integrating the knowledge learned, you will have reached a state of total objectivity. You will feel no remorse or condemnation, but will see it as merely a review of why situations occurred and had to be worked through.

The record of your life is very private. Only those who have walked with you as teachers are allowed to see what is called your akashic (or life) record. If during your lifetime you ask that a psychic tune into this record, he or she will only be given a minimal amount of information from it which is particularly relevant to your immediate problems or concerns.

You, too, can tune into this record through meditation and get insight and clarity on the problems you are dealing with. Your own attunement is much more accurate than asking a psychic or someone else to tell you about yourself. This builds up a dependency. We may need clarity or help at times, but should never develop a dependency on others. Our whole purpose is to gain strength and learn how to make our own decisions.

9. Religious Beliefs.

Your religious beliefs have little to do with what you experience in the transition from one realm to another, except that you would be allowed to see briefly the teacher or guru that you followed. Regardless of cultural or religious beliefs, you will have the same basic experience at death (just as mystics of all great traditions attune to the same universal energy). What counts is what comes from the heart, not what one professes to believe. It means nothing whether or not one was baptized, for example, or whether one has various other rites administered. How ridiculous to rely on meaningless words!

The true meaning of baptism is an initiation of the spirit, an opening awareness to the God consciousness. People receive this inner baptism when they are spiritually prepared.

You will not suddenly be sitting at the feet of a man with a long white beard called God. God is within, whether you are in or out of the body. Your awareness of the God force will not be greater on the other side. If you insist upon searching for God, you will do this for awhile until you get the idea that you are following an illusion. We must go through at least four more realms beyond the astral before we could even begin to understand the energy of the God force. God is love in all religions, so the more we live love the closer we are to God.

10. The Idea of Purgatory.

Catholics understand purgatory as a place or level of consciousness one goes for further understanding. It is an intermediary state that gives one the opportunity to develop further clarity. At first it is like being in fog, just as many people walk around on the Earth plane in a fog. They don’t have the clarity to understand how they are setting their lives.

If there has been much negativity during an incarnation, or a suicide, one must spend some time contemplating what has happened.

It is a holding place where souls who are confused, who do not want to let go of their earthly attachments, or who choose not to grow will remain until such time as they allow themselves to be released to flow once more into the light.

Purgatory is a place of your own making. We see souls who are punishing themselves here on the Earth plane. This continues after death just the same as it would if they were still in the physical body. Many people must suffer in order to feel worth. When they finally learn this is a negative number they are running, they can move on.

11. The Meaning of Hell.

What about the reality of a place called hell? Hell is a level of consciousness which can be experienced in or out of the body. It is a lonely place where one is not allowed to be in communication with anything other than one’s own negativity.

Souls do not enter this level unless they need to experience it for their growth. Many people who commit suicide will have to go through this hell of their own making in order to become aware that this is not what they are striving for. The soul must learn that it does not have the right to take its own life, that it cannot kill, it cannot hurt other people; nor can it judge others for we have no knowledge of what they came back to do and learn.

Many people at one time or another have experienced this plane. Alcoholics going through the DTs and people on drugs, may also see it. It is a plane of total darkness where we must confront the fears we have built within our own minds. Understand that fears have no reality unless we choose to give them reality. As soon as we are able to meet them directly, to face them, they dissipate. This lower level is not for one’s punishment, but rather to provide the opportunity to confront and move beyond the negativity created by oneself.

The hell fire mentioned in many traditions is symbolic of the “kundalini” energy (Holy Spirit, God energy, or Creative energy) that dwells within the seven energy centers or chakras within man. Fire is symbolic of the cleansing and purification of the soul.

The struggle between higher and lower self or what some call God and the Devil causes growth, until finally the negativity or the destructive elements are completely overcome.

12. Laws More Protective.

Through questions and answers I have received information about what it is actually like to be on the other side. First, my channel has pointed out that the laws are much more protective. We need no longer be exposed to both good and evil, for we have already experienced that. We see the bad only if we choose to. Those who are living in harmony will not be imposed upon by the ignorant, but can visit the lower planes to help another if they choose to do so.

For example, if you loved someone who is on a lower vibration than you are, you are allowed to visit anytime you choose by simply lowering your rate of vibration. This may help the entity greatly by encouraging self-love and growth. However, the entity will need to incarnate again on the Earth plane to test out these new lessons, because it is the Earth experience that determines your stage of evolution.

13. Marriage and Unions.

There are unions of souls on the other side, and marriage as such is optional. If couples prefer to remain together they may do so, as long as their interests and growth are taking them in the same direction. If they choose to go in different directions, there are no hurt feelings. There is no possessiveness or demands. You are free to go your own way, in your own time, at your own choosing.

Married couples will be reunited after death, and may choose to stay together if they want to, provided they are on the same level of vibration. This is free will. If you have been married three or four times, you will find that you will want to be with the one whom you truly love. It could even be someone from another incarnation. You will be with those you love, and there is a total merger which is a much higher experience and a deeper love bond than anything you can know on the Earth plane.

This total merger is like stepping inside one another’s auras, a total blending of energies. It’s a way of expressing love and sharing. What you know on Earth as a sexual relationship takes the form of a higher merger of souls. There is no need for sexual organs on the other side unless you choose to have them. For this merger of energies is far superior to the physical mechanics of the sexual experience. This merger is not limited to husbands and wives, but may be experienced by any two souls who are loving and caring.


2022 Tribute Addendum: Ron Rattner’s explanations about Betty Bethards’ transformative role in his life.

Dear Friends,

To illustrate how my spiritual friendship with Betty Bethards helped transform my life, here are a few important examples:

1) Losing fear of death

“Overcoming the fear of death changes our whole perspective on life. Everything we do and think and feel takes on new meaning. When we realize that we are not limited by the physical, we begin to get the idea that we are really master of our own destinies and we more fully align ourselves with the eternal nature of our beings.”
~ Betty Bethards – “There is No Death” pp. 82-83

Betty’s wisdom (as summarized in her above quote from “There is No Death”) and my own awakening experiences helped me gradually lose all fear of death and recognize death as a bridge to eternal life. And as I lost the fear of leaving life I gained the art of living life.

2) Learning importance of ever elevating our energies and of honoring energy sensitivities

Betty taught and demonstrated how our energies affect every aspect of our lives; that our lives keep improving as we elevate our energies. And because she exemplified these teachings, she helped to energetically inspire me and many others to develop our infinite potentials. Her energy field was so palpably powerful that many people often felt uplifted just being in her presence.

Though I appreciated Betty’s uplifting energies many times, I had only one unforgettably extraordinary energy experience which happened after I visited her one morning as a patient at the San Francisco University of California Hospital where she’d just had surgery. Her energy field was so powerful that it must have lit up that whole hospital ward.

That afternoon I took my young son Joshua (who was an ardent SF Giants fan) to Candlestick Park to watch a Giants home game. We had lower grandstand seats on the 1st base side of home plate. After visiting Betty my energy field had become so immense that I could sense energies everywhere, as far away as the outfield bleachers. It was so gigantic that I could feel not only every movement of pitchers on and near the pitching mound but I actually could feel their pitched baseballs speeding toward batters and catchers.

But for being lit up Betty Bethards that wouldn’t have happened; and but for her teachings I might not have honored that unforgettable ‘peek’ experience, and many others which are summarized in my memoirs chapter titled Extraordinary Energy Experiences

3) Honoring God as Love

In “There is No Death” Betty Bethards taught that

“God is love in all religions, so the more we live love the closer we are to God”.

Although Betty was raised as fundamentalist Baptist she ultimately became an exemplar and channel for the path of Love. Thereby she inspired me and countless others who aren’t great saints to honor God by living as Love.

4) Learning about Saint Francis of Assisi and his peace prayer

Betty Bethards helped motivate me to learn about and regularly recite the peace prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, by whom I’ve become immensely inspired.

When I moved from Chicago to San Francisco in 1960, as a secular Jewish lawyer, I was mostly uninformed about religions other than Judaism, and I knew almost nothing about great saints. Even though Saint Francis of Assisi was patron saint of my new home, I remained ignorant of his hagiographic story until after my profound spiritual opening in 1976.

Since then, through vivid visions of past lives as a Franciscan friar, and teachings of Betty Bethards, I’ve become instinctively identified with and become most inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi – of all great and famous Western saints and sages. On attending Betty’s Inner Light Foundation 1976 lectures, I was taught and began regularly reciting the extremely inspiring “make me an instrument of Thy peace” prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. The prayer and discussions at Betty’s programs motivated me to begin and keep learning about that great Saint.

Thus that peace prayer became and remains (after over forty years) a deeply instinctive and energetically elevating daily spiritual practice. And I’ve been gradually transformed from identifying as secular Hebrew social justice lawyer to an ardent devotee of Saint Francis of Assisi and (like Francis) becoming a lover of Jesus – history’s greatest social justice reformer.

5) Valuing loving psychic insights

To help ordinary people, Betty Bethards demonstrated extraordinary psychic abilities which I’ve learned to recognize and value in others. Soon after I began learning about Saint Francis of Assisi in 1976, I synchronistically visited a hundred year old SF woman who was freely channelling psychic information to help others. Without my telling her about them she perceived and named my two best friends, and told me about their feelings toward me. Then amazingly she gave me confidential information about Saint Francis in my possible future life. So from Betty Bethards and others I’ve learned to value psychic insights offered with love.

6) Honoring Universal Perennial Wisdom

In 1978 after being inspired by Betty Bethards to honor God as Love beyond any religion, I met a hundred year old Hindu holy man and Guru whose rare demonstration of “signs and wonders” inspired me to receive his shaktipat initiation (like a baptism), and for many years to become a “Born-Again Hindu”.

Like Betty, my beloved Guruji also emphasized the importance of regular meditation and of realizing God as Love beyond rules or religions. So I began learning about Eastern spiritual teachings which all emphasized identical perennial principles. And I learned of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, a 19th Century Hindu Saint, whose life and teachings – like those of Saint Francis of Assisi – have instinctively inspired me more than those of any other saints.
(See Discovering and Honoring Devotional “Holy Fools” )

After retiring as a lawyer in 1992, I became a spiritual philosopher, poet and writer and began The Perennial Wisdom Foundation, which sponsors this website where (as requested by my Guruji) I’ve been continuing to publish spiritual memoirs to help others.

Betty’s simple and small Inner Light Foundation (more than any other charity) was a model for my Perennial Wisdom Foundation whose slogan is “Timeless Wisdom For Every Age”

May it continue helping others until and after I cross the bridge from this precious lifetime.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Choosing To Live A Miraculous and Holy Life ~ Ron’s Memoirs


“There are only two ways to live your life.

One is as though nothing is a miracle.

The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

~ Albert Einstein

“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.”

~ Walt Whitman

“For everything that lives is Holy,

life delights in life.”

~ William Blake – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

“Try and penetrate the secrets of nature and you will find that,
behind all the discernible laws and connections,
there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable.
Veneration for this force beyond anything we can comprehend is my religion.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness,

the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside.”

~ Swami Vivekananda

“Unless ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.”
~ John 4:48

Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina,
May 25, 1887 – September 23, 1968
Capuchin Franciscan Friar with stigmata


Dear Friends,

On observing noteworthy mysteries which we can’t yet explain by known natural or scientific laws, we may call them “miracles” and attribute them to an Infinite or Divine Power, beyond human comprehension. Whether or not we call these phenomena “God” or Nature or Universal Intelligence, we can (like Albert Einstein) choose to live “as though everything is a miracle.” This memoirs posting outlines how I’ve begun regarding everything and everyone as divine and holy miracles.

My last “Miraculous Lotus Flower” memoirs posting told how I was obliged to change my description of a supposedly “real” blooming flower by physical proof revealed by my daughter Jessica Eve Rattner. However, I’ve been especially inspired by Sri Ramakrishna’s Teachings About God in All Beings to always remember that we have freedom of choice to perceive only Divine spirit or God – to see that everything is a Holy miracle – with love beyond fear or proof.

Today’s memoirs chapter discusses Divine “miracles” that can’t ever be scientifically or rationally explained, but are best accepted with faith as perpetual “unsolved” mysteries arising from “acts of God”. Perhaps the most inspiring such miraculous story yet posted on the SillySutras website is “Why The Choir Was Late” Similarly many other posted true synchronicity stories can be regarded as Divine mysteries beyond proof.

Some more unsolvable “miracles”

1) From May 1976 to February 1977, I had so many previously unprecedented premonitions, dreams, synchronicities, and precognitive and astral experiences that I began wondering whether we can astrally bi-locate, travel and transcend serial time. This still remains a question beyond scientific proof.

2) During April – May 1978, I synchronistically met my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, who demonstrated yogic powers which I’d never previously imagined possible. These were Guruji’s rarely demonstrated “signs and wonders” [John 4:48] that motivated me to receive his shaktipat initiation. Soon thereafter at Guruji’s request, I drove him and his designated successor, Shri Anandi Ma, for an unforgettable sight seeing trip from Oakland to San Francisco to see Grace Cathedral and Saint Mary’s Cathedral.

En route as we passed the high-rise building, where my law office was on the 21st floor, I exclaimed spontaneously: “Guruji, my office is at the top of that building”. “Very good,” he responded. And we drove on. The next morning, my twenty first floor air conditioned office was completely suffused with the ambrosial fragrance of roses. But, its windows were sealed, and there were no roses in the entire law office suite. So afterwards I questioned Shri Anandi Ma about the rose fragrance. Smilingly she replied: “Oh, that’s Guruji’s calling card, when he makes astral visits”. So, how did that astral visit happen? It’s still a “miracle” beyond scientific proof.

3) During Guruj’s last months in the USA (in 1980-81), he affirmed to me his yogic ability to travel astrally at will. He told me: “Rasik, a yogi’s body is like a baby’s body. Your body is like a prison. I am like a jailer with the prison key. I come and go as I please.” But such astral traveling still remains a “miracle” beyond scientific proof.

4) In May 1992, after an unforgettable déjà vu pilgrimage to Italy to commune with Saint Francis of Assisi, I drove to the Southern Italy Adriatic town of San Giovanni Rotondo to pay my respects to Padre Pio, a famous stigmatist and Capuchin Franciscan Friar, known for his miraculous deeds, astral appearances, and for sometimes manifesting subtle fragrances of roses with violets.  While I prayed and meditated at his holy tomb, I was unforgettably suffused with those fragrances. Later, I had repeated experiences of flower fragrance ‘visits’ from Guruji and other mystics. Those flower fragrance manifestations are still “miracles” beyond scientific proof.

5) In May 1993, intuiting that our daughter Jessica has just arrived from India on a world tour (with her spiritual teacher, Ammachi,) Jessica’s mother Naomi opened her San Francisco front door to discover strewn on her front porch the mysterious appearance of many rose petals. Later, Ammachi sent Naomi a packet of similar rose petals, without revealing or claiming to be the source of this rose petal ‘miracle’.

Soon thereafter while reading “The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul.” I was repeatedly reminded and thought of Jessica. Then I synchronistically discovered (at “Christ in the Desert” a remote New Mexico monastery) that during Therese’s brief life as a Carmelite nun she often threw rose petals; and that during her last illness she had announced:

“After my death I will let fall a shower of roses”.


Saint Therese of Lisieux,
“The Little Flower of Jesus”,
January 2, 1873 – September 30, 1897


Since Therese’s passing many manifestations of rose petals and other posthumous “miracles” continue to be attributed to her. But Naomi’s rose petal manifestation “miracle”, remains an unsolved mystery beyond scientific proof.

Spiritual importance of seeing everyone and everything as divine and holy miracles beyond proof.

1) Every incarnate human is unique, with a unique “reality” “created” by his/her individual thoughts and behaviors. And we each have personal freedom to think and behave as we choose.

2) But our freely chosen thoughts and behaviors unavoidably subject us to the universal law of cause and effect; and thereby to karmically ‘reap as we sow’ either joy or suffering, depending whether we are lovingly kind, compassionate, and helpful or fearfully selfish, hedonistic and harmful.

3) If we always choose, to live with love beyond fear or proof; to perceive only Divine spirit or God; and to see that everything is a Holy miracle – we gradually create states of consciousness beyond karmic suffering and we ‘reap’ increasingly joyous lives. Ultimately we are destined to awaken from this dream-like relative “reality” to BE the eternal mystery of Divinity as LOVE.

Dedication of Choosing To Live A Miraculous and Holy Life

This memoirs chapter is deeply dedicated to elevating our ever evolving earthly “reality” by encouraging a “critical mass” of Humankind to choose living with loving, kind, compassionate, and helpful thoughts and behaviors.

May it inspire us to always remember that we have freedom of choice to perceive only Divine spirit or God – to see that everything is a Holy miracle – with love beyond fear or proof, until we ultimately awaken from this dream-like relative “reality” to BE the eternal mystery of Divinity – as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


My Miraculous Lotus Flower
~ Ron’s Memoirs


“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”

~ George Orwell, “1984”

“Reality is merely an illusion,
 albeit a very persistent one.”

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,

they are modes in which we think.”

~ Albert Einstein

“Objective reality does not exist” ….

“The universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”

~ David Bohm, Quantum Physicist and Einstein protege

“Perception is a mirror, not a fact.

And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”

~ A Course In Miracles (ACIM)

“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”
~ Niels Bohr, quantum physicist

“I regard consciousness as fundamental.
I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.
We cannot get behind consciousness.
Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist

“We do not see things as they are;

we see things as we are.”

~ Talmud

“Whatever we think, do, or say,

changes this world in some way.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Ron Rattner on June 7, 2022, with Miraculous Lotus Flower


Introduction to “My Miraculous Lotus Flower”

Dear Friends,

Today I’m privileged to share with you a recent true memoirs story, symbolizing the fundamental spiritual principle that every incarnate space/time human is unique, with a unique “reality” which we “create” with our thoughts and behaviors. And that to evolve we need to be ever open to new ‘realities’ which transcend our prior beliefs. Hence human societies could not have advanced if we inflexibly believed that the earth was flat, or was the center of our solar system.

My evolving “reality” history

Since my mid-life spiritual awakening, I’ve realized that many prior beliefs and paradigms about “reality” were fundamentally mistaken and limiting; requiring acceptance of never previously imagined new “realities” through open minded questioning and mindfulness, crucial for life-long learning and spiritual evolution.

Thus since 1976, I’ve learned (from mystic masters, quantum science, and out of body experiences) that we each ‘create’ an illusionary space/time “reality” through “an optical illusion of consciousness” with our unique thoughts, words, and behaviors – whereby we mistakenly perceive, project, and self-identify ourselves as supposedly mortal entities separate from each other, Nature, our precious planet, and from our ultimately inseparable Universal essence as infinite LOVE. (See e.g. Our Mentality is Our Reality)

Also, I’ve learned that in this illusionary space/time reality everything is energy [e=Mc2] appearing and disappearing within Universal consciousness. But most humans mistakenly identify only with their thoughts, instead of their consciousness of those thoughts, and don’t realize that cosmically we are merely energy vortices ‘disguised as persons’. However, as we elevate our energies beyond polarizing fears and negative emotions and radiate innate common love and compassion, we gradually transcend space/time sufferings and reap ever increasing karmic rewards, as ‘givers not getters’. And (as in the following memoirs story) those rewards often appear through amazing synchronicities.

My Miraculous Lotus Flower

This miraculous lotus flower story exemplifies my still continuing life-long “reality” realization process:

In December 2017 my former neighbor Simran Alden (a real estate broker, raised in India before emigrating to the US) left a colored flower at my front door taped to an envelope with information about year-end real estate taxes. Because of color blindness, presbyopia, and other age-related visual limitations I couldn’t discern the flower’s botanical identity or color, nor could I see it clearly. It appeared to me to be a very “real” but dried-out cut flower. So to revive and preserve it’s beauty for a few days, I carefully put it into a tube of fresh tap water.

On awakening the next day I saw a beautifully opened flower, which I assumed would soon fade and wither with age. But miraculously it stayed “alive” and beautiful. And I soon believed that the “real” flower was forming roots on seeing as organic material in the water tube.

So I regularly refilled the tube with filtered water (rather than tap water), and delightedly observed my miraculously blooming “real” flower, which I kept in prominent view on my dining room table.

When Simran Alden later phoned me about my condominium’s market value, I thanked her for the flower she’d given me in December, and told her that I was still enjoying its beauty. However, I don’t remember telling her that I believed it to be “real” and had been watering it regularly. Afterwards I emailed Simran a photo of me enjoying the flower. And I enjoyed and carefully watered my miraculous “real” flower for over four more years.

But that suddenly stopped in June 2022.

At the beginning of June, 2022, my 2008 large screen iMac, running a long outdated OS 10.9 operating system irreparably stopped working. The old iMac contained all of my essential digital data, and was not separately backed-up. So I urgently needed to save its data and replace it with another iMac which would still run OS 10.9; or I’d be involuntarily ‘retired’ as an online spiritual philosopher, sponsored by The Perennial Wisdom Foundation.

Thanks to Divine grace and many amazing synchronicities, I’m “back in business” as a spiritual philosopher, and still able to compose spiritual memoirs.

Here is what happened:

On the June 1st ‘death’ of my iMac, I immediately contacted my almost 93 year old long-time friend and computer ‘guru’, “KJ”, about my urgent dilemma. With compassion “KJ” began expertly guiding my replacement of the 2008 iMac with a late 2012 model that would still run OS 10.9. Also he instructed my daughter Jessica about finding a successor iMac on Craig’s List. Jessica successfully found a replacement iMac, and on June 7th she brought it to my apartment. It still needed to be carefully converted to run my OS 10.9 data. And (with “KJ’s” expert assistance) that finally happened on June 23, 2022. The next night “KJ” passed peacefully in his sleep. If “KJ” had departed on June 1st instead of June 24th, I couldn’t be sharing this memoirs story with you.

Jessica’s lotus “reality” revelation

On arriving at my apartment on June 7, 2022 with the 2012 replacement iMac, my dear daughter Jessica Eve Rattner, (now a prize-winning documentary photographer and UC Davis Master of Fine Arts, with keen color and visual perception) iconoclastically shattered my miraculous flower “reality” image. Looking at the flower, she immediately perceived and impishly revealed to me that the tubed bloom was an not an organically botanical flower, but a cotton woven and fabricated pink lotus.

Ron Rattner on June 7, 2022, after learning Jessica’s lotus flower “reality”


As Simran probably knew, the pink lotus is the official National Flower of India, and is prominent in ancient India’s history, art, and teachings. It has long been an extremely sacred symbol of the spiritual path, enlightenment and resurrection.

So I now view the flower as an auspicious synchronistic blessing, but Jessica’s “reality” revelation has compelled me to stop believing it miraculous.

Dedication of “My Miraculous Lotus Flower”

May this lotus flower story auspiciously symbolize the infinite potential blessings of our ever evolving earthly “reality”, which we “create” with our ever changing thoughts and behaviors.

May it remind us to always be open to new ‘realities’ which transcend our prior beliefs, until we ultimately transcend all incarnate “reality”.

Until then may we ever BE kind and compassionate, and pray:

“Infuse us, enthuse us, and use us, to bless all life as Love!”

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Synchronistically Discovering The Inner Spirit Of ’76, at Age Seventy Six, in 1976
~ Ron’s Memoirs


“The ego cannot be done away with. As long as ‘I-consciousness’ exists, living beings and the universe must also exist.
After realizing God, one sees that, it is He Himself
who has become the universe and the living beings.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“The ego does not vanish altogether. The man coming down from samādhi perceives that it is Brahman that has become the ego, the universe, and all living beings.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“All paths ultimately lead to the same Truth. But as long as God keeps the feeling of ego in us, it is easier to follow the path of love.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“The ego cannot begot rid of; so let the rascal remain as the servant of God, the devotee of God.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa




Introduction

Dear Friends,

As Americans commemorate our founding fathers’ July 4th, 1776, declaration of political independence from tyrannical British rule, this memoirs chapter tells how at age 76, in 1976, I synchronistically discovered a profound inner ‘Spirit of ’76’ evolution process (still unfolding at almost age ninety) revealing how we shall transcend previously unimagined fearful ego-mind obstacles to enjoyment of a god-given happy life.

Synchronistically Discovering The Inner Spirit Of ’76 at Age Seventy Six in 1976

On New Year’s Eve 1974-5 I was blessed with a transformative out-of-body experience (OOB), which impelled my relentless investigation of its profound meaning. Until then, like most Westerners, I self-identified only with my mortal physical body, its thoughts and story, and assumed that inevitable bodily death would forever end my life.

However in spring 1976, at age seventy six my quest for meaning of that OOB was suddenly rewarded by an extraordinary and spontaneous aha spiritual rebirth and re-awakening experience, which forever changed my Self-identity and reality paradigms. And it began a profound spiritual-evolution process, revealing previously unimagined and continuing discoveries which are still unfolding at almost age ninety.

Synchronistically my spiritual awakening at age 76 happened during the auspicious 1976 bicentennial commemorations of the 1776 American Declaration of Independence which widely celebrated “The Spirit Of ’76” .

Spirit Of ’76 Background


On July 4, 1776, thirteen American colonies declared their independence from British royal rule, in an historic document inspired by Thomas Paine’s Quaker philosophy and written by Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence morally proclaimed that under “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” government is established by people to secure their “Life, Liberty and . . pursuit of Happiness”, and is to be overthrown as illegitimate if it no longer does that.

Thomas Jefferson who authored the Declaration of Independence later explained that its principles

“promised to lead America—and other nations on the globe—into a new era of freedom. The revolution begun by Americans on July 4, 1776, would never end. It would inspire all peoples living under the burden of oppression and ignorance to open their eyes to the rights of mankind, to overturn the power of tyrants, and to declare the triumph of equality over inequality.”

Thus the Declaration unequivocally affirmed the inherent god-given human right to “Life, Liberty, and Happiness”. Though it emphasized outer liberty from immoral and inequitable political oppression, it’s spiritual philosophy also includes perpetual freedom from inner oppression, because (as Thomas Payne revealed) “our greatest enemies . . . are within.”

My Inner Spirit Of ’76 Discoveries

Synchronistically, at age 76 in 1976 I began discovering within that:

1) Spiritually we are not mere separate mortal physical bodies but ONE immortal and universal consciousness. Our mortal physical bodies are only impermanent energy vehicles with which we explore earth’s dense 3D environment. But because we are eternal consciousness we never die, just replace our temporary ‘space/time soul suits’ with new models.

2) Planet Earth’s space/time relative “reality” isn’t really real, but an energetic optical illusion of universal consciousness – like a dream or mental mirage, which Eastern religions call samsara or maya.

3) In space/time everything is energy [e=Mc2] appearing and disappearing within universal consciousness. But most humans mistakenly identify only with their thoughts, instead of their consciousness of those thoughts, and don’t realize that in Reality we are consciousness disguised as persons.

4) Because we mistakenly think that we’re only individual persons or entities separate from each other and Nature, we ‘create’ an illusory reality with our ever changing thoughts, words and behaviors.

5) Our self-identification with thought is ego. Ego-mind ideas about supposed separate self-identity and reality inescapably subject us to to the karmic law of cause and effect, whereby “every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards” – either joy or suffering. Thus ego-mind self-identification metaphorically confines us in psychological prisons in which suffering is inevitable, and which restrict realization of our infinite potentialities.  

6) As long as humans choose to physically incarnate on Earth some separate ego-identity is inevitable and unavoidable.

7) Such Earthly ego-identity can be either harmful or helpful:
Egos are harmful when they are fearful, selfish, materialistic, or hedonistic; but when we fearlessly devote our precious human lives to serving others our egos are helpful. (Eg. see Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6:05-6)

8) Maintaining a helpful ego of service or devotion to God in our chosen worldly activities is highly desirable. Helpful ego-minds quicken our transcendence from cause and effect earthly sufferings; but harmful ego-minds prolong such sufferings.

9) Thus, I’ve discovered (in the Spirit of ’76) that harmful and fearful inner ego-minds can be “our greatest enemies” by preventing our realization and enjoyment of innate human freedom from inner oppression. However, the energy frequency of LOVE always eradicates and dissipates fear as an assured antidote to fearful ego-minds.

10) So as fearless servants and instruments of Divine LOVE we are invariably destined to ultimately enjoy our innate God-given freedom from all inner-ego oppression.

And so shall it be!

Conclusion, dedication, and invocation

The energy of Divine LOVE always prevails over fearful energy. So as instruments and servants of God, we will invariably evolve human consciousness –beyond our mistakenly perceived separation from each other– by fearlessly realizing and actualizing our common Oneness with all Life as LOVE.

This memoirs posting is dedicated to hastening that transformation until we have merged and melted into ONE Universal Awareness – as Divine LOVE.

Thus may we always BE and pray:

Infuse us, enthuse us, and use us, to bless all life as Love!”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Solstice Salutations and Quotations
~ For a Happy World

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
~ Aristotle
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
~ Dalai Lama
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness,
and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”
~ Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
~ Buddha
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self.
Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi





Solstice Salutations and Quotations For a Happy World

Dear Friends,

Happy Summer Solstice!

With a new summer solstice sunlight zenith, let us envision the dawning of an Aquarian age of divine light, peace, compassion, and joy everywhere on our precious planet and beyond.

May we thereby rededicate ourselves to the Eternal Light of LOVE within and beyond everyone and everything on Earth; to THAT universal spirit of eternal light, love, harmony and happiness, which is the unseen Source of the worlds we see.  
 
And as we optimistically envision a new season of previously unimagined planetary peace and joy, may we be infused with unprecedented illumination and inspiration for harmoniously healing our beautiful blue planet and all its life-forms.

To help inspire us, hereafter posted is a collection of wisdom words about finding timeless happiness. Please enjoy and accordingly consider these inspiring quotations.


Perennial Wisdom Words About Finding Happiness:

“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21

“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”
~ Ramana Maharshi

“Happiness comes when your work and words
are of benefit to yourself and others.”
~ Buddha

“The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul;
one must try to include, as necessary to one’s own happiness,
the happiness of others.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not: what is the purpose of life? From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.
That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not,
whether one believes in this religion or that religion,
we all are seeking something better in life.
So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”
~ Dalai Lama

“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away.
Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“There is only one life and one world, and this one life and one world is appearing to us . . . . like a dream. . .You do not live in your dreams. The dreams come one after another; scene after scene unfolds before you.
So it is in this world of ninety per cent misery and ten per cent happiness. Perhaps after a while it will appear as ninety per cent happiness, and we shall call it heaven. But a time comes to the sage when the whole thing vanishes, and this world appears as God Himself, and his own soul as God. It is not therefore that there are many worlds; it is not that there are many lives. All . . is the manifestation of that ONE.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

“He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.”
“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“Find ecstasy in life;
the mere sense of living is joy enough.”
~ Emily Dickinson

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.
Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,
go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.
Think of the beauty that again and again
discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”
~ Anne Frank

“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“We are formed and molded by our thoughts.
Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts
give joy when they speak or act.
Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.”
~ Buddha

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

“When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now.
Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Happiness does not depend on how the furniture is arranged –
it depends on how I arrange my mind.”
“When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.”
“Simply put, you believe that things or people make you unhappy,
but this is not accurate.
You make yourself unhappy.”
~ Wayne Dyer

“The surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.”
“If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
happiness follows like a shadow.”
~ Buddha

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates

“Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.”
~ Aristotle

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live
that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
~ Epictetus

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

“Cultivate compassion; harvest happiness.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”
~ Richard Wagner

“I am happy even before I have a reason.”
~ Hafiz

“The superior man is always happy.”
~ Confucius

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”
~ Chuang-Tzu

“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

“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?
Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.”
~ William Blake

“Always be joyful. That is the only truly saintly state.”
~ Teresa of Avila

“Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service,
and have a definite object in life
outside themselves and their personal happiness”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore

“Somehow not only for Christmas
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing
Returns to make you glad.
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination”
~ Mark Twain

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,
it only saps today of its joy.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

“Some cause happiness wherever they go;
others whenever they go.”
~ Oscar Wild


Closing Invocations:

May we consciously and cooperatively participate together in co-creating an ever better world – Happy, Harmonious and Peaceful – as we intend and envision it to be.

May we so become infused and used as instruments of Light and Love for everyone and everything everywhere – on Solstice Holidays and Always!

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Farewell Carol:
Tribute to an Unforgettable Friend
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“May the Lord give you peace.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi
“You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
~ Rumi


Carol Schuldt, ‘Queen of the Beach’, (6/26/33–12/01/18)

Ron’s Introduction.

Dear Friends,

June 26, 2022 is the 89th birthday anniversary of my unforgettable departed friend Carol Schuldt. Carol was an extraordinarily intuitive free spirit, whose authentic and inner directed spiritual life was in inspiration for me and countless others.

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and heart failure,  Carol painlessly left her body at age 85 on December 1st, 2018.   A week later her body was interred in a wild nature place overlooking the Pacific Ocean, after spontaneous rituals and stories were shared by Carol’s friends on a beautiful sunny afternoon. 

In tribute to Carol, this posting recounts my memoirs of our friendship, outlines Carol’s extraordinary spiritual history,  tells a miraculous synchronicity story about how I tearfully bid her farewell through our shared synchronistic harmony with St. Francis of Assisi, and concludes with my eulogy to Carol.

Carol Schuldt & Ron Rattner, @ Ron’s 80th birthday party, 11/11/’12

Background

Carol was a a legendary San Franciscan, sometimes known as ‘Queen of the Beach’ or ‘Mother Teresa of the Sunset’. She lived as a life-long nature lover and natural born shaman, authentically, intuitively, generously and spontaneously. (See Carol’s SF Chronicle obituary)

Carol and I had innumerable synchronistic encounters, after we first met in the 1980’s. And we repeatedly shared our many ‘miraculous’ synchronicity stories (a few of which are posted here on SillySutras.com).

Before meeting Carol, I miraculously ‘discovered’ and became a lover of St. Francis of Assisi. And soon after meeting Carol, I regarded her as a ‘female St. Francis’ who constantly communed with Nature, even with the sun, the moon, and many nonhuman lifeforms.

So in tribute to Carol’s transition, I write now about her spiritual history, and how I tearfully bid her farewell through our shared synchronistic harmony with St. Francis of Assisi.

Summary of Carol’s spiritual history.

Carol and I first met long ago while sitting at Aquatic Beach on San Francisco Bay (across from Ghirardelli Square), where I walked and where she often came to escape ocean fog and swim in the sun (without a wet suit). Afterwards we exchanged many “miracle” stories about our lives stemming from our countless experiences of synchronicities, or meaningful ‘coincidences’.

I deeply appreciated Carol as an amazingly free spirit with great instinctive wisdom and generosity.  Before we met, she’d already become a ‘living legend’ throughout and beyond her San Francisco ocean front neighborhood. And many stories were written or told about her. For example, an excellent story: “A Benevolent Queen of the Beach” appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 25, 2000. And in 2005 Carol was interviewed on film by the SF Public Library, about her history and life in the ‘hippie’ 1960’s.

The Chronicle article told of Carol’s exceptional inner wisdom even from childhood, when at Catholic school she adamantly refused to worship a bloody Christ on a crucifix, and was the only child exempted therefrom by the nuns, who recognized her wisdom.

The article also told how Carol had dedicated her life to helping troubled souls – especially young people. But that paradoxically Carol experienced great family tragedy with all of her three children: her two daughters whose lives were lastingly impacted by drug addiction, and her son Pete who was permanently brain damaged in a childhood car accident. Because of her great generosity, especially toward needy young people, Carol was sometimes known as the “Mother Teresa of the Sunset District”. And as a daily swimmer/surfer she also became known as ‘Queen of the Beach’.

From childhood Carol was an extraordinarily intuitive free spirit. She never knowingly followed any prescribed Western or Eastern religious path, despite attempted childhood Catholic inculcation. Instead, she instinctively followed her own unique spiritual path of communing with Nature while surfing, swimming, sunning, hiking, biking, organic gardening, and helping troubled souls – especially young people.

Carol’s muraled house and organic garden.

Carol’s muraled house and aesthetic organic garden have symbolized her unique lifestyle as a ‘female St. Francis’. Especially noteworthy is an artistically beautiful St. Francis of Assisi “Peace & Joy” mural at her home’s entryway – a delightfully surprising tourist attraction for visitors to San Francisco’s ocean beach area. On Carol’s roof top (above the mural) is an artistic portrayal of ‘Brother sun’, her main deity, and unfurled above the roof is a red Tibetan prayer flag, symbolizing Carol’s respect for the Tibetan culture and Dalai Lama.

Thus Carol’s house has eloquently exemplified her simple inner-directed life of instinctively communing with Nature, often without concern for outer–directed societal standards.

Carol’s St. Francis mural

Ron’s Synchronicity Story: “Goodbye St. Francis”= Farewell Carol

During forty years of living in the same San Francisco high-rise hermitage, my apartment has been adorned with many pictures and portrayals of St. Francis, my favorite saint, and of the peace prayer which he inspired. And until four years ago St. Francis in a stone statue also presided over my outside deck garden.

But in July 2018, I was obliged to remove everything from my outdoor deck so it could be renovated and repainted. Thereafter, I realized that I could no longer physically maintain my deck-top garden. So I decided to give away the plants and planters blessed by my St. Francis statue. While I was looking for new homes for my plants, the St. Francis statue was kept in an inconspicuous corner of my bedroom which was temporarily filled with many deck plants.

On December 1, 2018, my long-time neighbor and community gardener friend, Jan Monaghan, came to take pictures of my plants and planters, to help me find a new home for them. While showing Jan the St. Francis statue, I suddenly and inexplicably started crying, thinking and saying “goodbye Saint Francis”.  Thereafter for several hours I remained tearful.

The next day, Sunday December 2nd, I learned (via email) that Carol’s soul had departed her body Saturday evening, and I intuited that while Ron was tearfully saying goodbye to St. Francis Carol’s soul was astrally bidding Ron ‘adieu’.

On Monday morning, realizing that my St. Francis statue needed a proper and prominent new place to stand, I decided to move it to my my high-rise hermitage view living room, where I spend most indoor waking hours. So I telepathically told the saint in the statue that (on returning from a brief walk) I was moving him to a perfect place on my living room wool carpet, and that I would find an appropriate indoor pedestal for him there ASAP.

Soon thereafter, I took a brief walk on nearby Vallejo street. After walking for about fifteen minutes I beheld an amazing manifestation miracle. Amongst a curbside pile of discarded objects, I saw a perfect pedestal for St. Francis, which I carried home. On returning home, I moved St. Francis to a new perfect place on my living room carpet where he now resides on that miraculously manifested pedestal. And just as Carol’s St. Francis mural appears below a red Tibetan roof-top prayer flag, my St. Francis statue stands beneath a red Tibetan Kalachakra thangka mandala, symbolizing respect for the Tibetan culture, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

St. Francis statue on pedestal in Ron’s high-rise hermitage

Meaning of the farewell Carol synchronicity story?


“Miraculous synchronicities in time,
are meaningful reminders of eternal Reality
beyond time”.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great,

pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature,

and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.”

~ Deepak Chopra

Eulogy to Carol Schuldt

After briefly blessing this world as a female St Francis,
the divine soul we’ve known as Carol Schuldt,
has returned to the Sun,
from where she’ll reappear eternally
for endless new lifetime adventures,
in endless new forms, of
LOVE.

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

Seeing GOD
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“You should love everyone because God dwells in all beings.”

“Have love for everyone, no one is other than you.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“One day, it was suddenly revealed to me that everything is pure spirit.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“I have now come to a stage of realization in which I see that God is walking in every human form and manifesting Himself alike through the sage and the sinner, the virtuous and the vicious. Therefore when I meet different people I say to myself, “God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“Yes, all one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal; that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep; and that He is beyond all these.” …. “God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
How can the divine Oneness be seen?
In beautiful forms, breathtaking wonders, awe-inspiring miracles?
The Tao is not obliged to present itself in this way.
If you are willing to be lived by it, you will
 see it everywhere,
even in the most ordinary things.
~ Lao Tzu
“True yogis, uniting their consciousness with God, see with equal eye,
all living beings in God and God in all living beings.” . . .
“For those who see me everywhere and see all things in me,
I am never lost, nor are they ever lost to me.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapters 6:29-30, Krishna to Arjuna
“The supreme purpose and goal for human life
is to cultivate love.”

“He is born in vain, who having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realize God in this very life.”

“Try to cultivate love of God. You are born as a human being only to attain divine love.”

“Unalloyed love of God is the essential thing. All else is unreal.”

~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa




Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
February 18, 1836 – August 16, 1886

Ron’s Introduction to “Seeing GOD”

Dear Friends,

This memoirs posting about “Seeing God” is inspired by the timeless teachings of famed 19th Century Indian holy man and Avatar, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, which have helped me and countless others.
(See key quotations above and at “Sri Ramakrishna’s Timeless Wisdom”)

Sri Ramakrishna often experienced communion with the Divine, and from this rare perspective taught that God is immanent in all Earth-entities, while Cosmically transcendent as Infinite LOVE.

Beginning with the following essay-poem about “Seeing God”, this memoirs posting explains why I’ve long experienced great inspiration and felt affinity with Sri Ramakrishna as a Supreme ascetic exemplar of Divine devotion; and it recounts my post-awakening history of gradually perceiving everything as Divine and Holy. The posting includes an attached appendix pdf, about Ramakrishna’s history and his teachings.

Sri Ramakrishna’s spiritual Truth teachings have already helped millions of people transcend fearful mental sufferings. And in the current unprecedented post-pandemic polarized and fearful era these teachings can help countless more humans find peace of mind by realizing that everyone and everything is Divine and Holy.

Thus today’s posting about “Seeing God” is deeply dedicated to helping us fearlessly realize – and possibly perceive – that everyone and everything is Divine LOVE! 

And so may it be!

Seeing GOD

Q. What is God?

A. What isn’t God?

Q. Is it possible to see God?

A. Is it possible to not see God?

God is ONE: God is All –
God is immanent in and manifest as
everything and everyone everywhere.

So, everyone sees God everywhere.

But few know it.

 

Ron’s audio recitation of “Seeing GOD”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of “Seeing GOD”

Dear Friends,

Before my mid-life spiritual awakening I’d never imagined seeing God, nor wondered whether that was possible. But after the awakening (and previously unimagined mystical experiences) I’ve gradually realized that everyone and everything we perceive is pure spirit, Divine and Holy; that God as Universal Awareness is immanent in all Earth-entities, while Cosmically transcendent as Infinite LOVE. And because of that realization, though physically limited I’m psychologically happier now than ever before in this almost 90 year lifetime.

Encouraged by my Guruji to share spiritual learning experiences, I’m hereafter chronologically outlining the high-points of my history of gradually finding growing happiness by seeing everything as Divine and Holy.

Before midlife.

Beginning during my pre-adult Jewish acculturation, I accepted the core monotheistic Bible proclamation:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is ONE.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4 

Whereupon, I instinctively conceived of “God” as formless and invisible, and assumed it impossible to perceive God. And, until after my mid-life awakening, I didn’t understand Jesus’ esoteric pronouncement that “I and the Father are ONE”  [John 10:30]. But after the awakening, that gradually happened.

Beginning after midlife.

In summer 1976, while crying for God with total surrender on a Yosemite mountain top, I beheld within (but did not merge with) the previously unimagined Divine light of ten thousand suns. Thereafter I believed I’d inwardly seen God as formless luminescence, but continued to assume it impossible to outwardly perceive God.

Then, following my 1982 ‘trip of a lifetime’ pilgrimage to India, I discovered the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, and began wondering about possibly “seeing God” outwardly. I hadn’t yet learned about Sri Ramakrishna before traveling to India. But that happened when our tour group visited Dakshineshwar, his long-time residence place outside Calcutta (now Kolkata).  There – almost a hundred years after Sri Ramakrishna’s mahasamadhi – I experienced his presence as shakti life-force with an amazingly intense feeling of déjà vu, while visiting a room where he had lived; a place which felt so harmoniously familiar to me that it seemed I could happily remain there forever.

On returning from India to the U.S., I began reading with curiosity and fascination about Ramakrishna’s amazing life and his teachings.  I learned that like Saint Francis of Assisi, he too was an ascetic mystic who completely renounced worldly pleasures and lived in utter simplicity.  Ultimately, of all the saints whose stories I’d reflected on, I came to feel most intuitive affinity with Sri Ramakrishna as well as with Saint Francis of Assisi, both of whom were extraordinary ascetic exemplars of non-dual Divine Love and devotion, blessed with ‘the gift of tears’.  Though Francis had lived in a vastly different age and culture seven hundred years before Sri Ramakrishna, they had similar devotional traits with which I’ve felt great rapport.

Ramakrisha’s history and teachings about God and Love.
See: Ramakrisha biography and teachings

Sri Ramakrishna’s amazingly unique spiritual life experiences and his timeless teachings are chronologically summarized in the attached biographical pdf file linked above and here. That biography recounts how his spiritual life-path began as a devotional Hindu bhakta rather than as a wisdom path jnani, like Sri Ramana Maharshi.

At first he scrupulously and successfully practiced traditional Hindu devotional paths.  Thereafter, with intense aspiration, he quickly realized the non-dual, transcendental or Brahman aspect of God which is Divine communion beyond human description. Then, with persistent and amazing aspiration, he took initiations into Islam and Christianity. And he assiduously followed their sadhanas, which culminated in his realization of God by each monotheistic religious path. From then on he mostly remained in blissful samadhi.

While continuously existing in states of spiritual ecstasy, Sri Ramakrishna affirmed (to his principal disciple Swami Vivekananda and others) that he had indeed “seen God”.   And ultimately he taught that God is All – immanent in all Earth-entities, while Cosmically transcendent as Infinite LOVE.

My Hindu devotional practices before and after “shaktipat.

Before and after my 1978 “shaktipat” initiation, I instinctively began and later followed only one of the various Hindu devotional paths which Ramakrishna successively practiced; I worshipped God as “Rama”, like my beloved Guruji.

In previous memoirs I have explained the importance of the Rama mantram in my transformational process; how spontaneously I began reciting “Rama” before receiving shaktipat initiation from Guruji, who synchronistically gave me a Ram mantra. And I’ve told why I believe that the power of my Ram mantra helped my miraculous survival and recovery from near death taxicab rundown injuries eight years ago.

Also, I’ve told how Mahatma Gandhi – my hero and first inner spiritual guide – recited “Rama” from childhood until his assassination; that even as Gandhi fell to an assassin’s pistol fired point-blank into his heart, in forgiveness he uttered nothing but “Rama, Rama …” his last words from the eternal depths of his heart.

After my 1978 “shaktipat” initiation, as instructed by Guruji I began worshipping God as “Rama”. And as foreseen by Guruji, I became (and remained) constantly “engrossed in devotion” and blessed with the ‘gift of devotional tears’.

Ultimately I long ago irreversibly accepted Sri Ramakrishna’s timeless teachings, but couldn’t follow the many other devotional paths which Ramakrishna successively practiced, except worshiping God as “Rama”.

As sometimes recommended by Ramakrishna, I daily worshiped God as Rama with the attitude of Hanuman, by repeatedly reciting the Hanuman Chalisa, and Ram mantras for many years. Hanuman became and remains symbolic of my Supreme devotion and Faith in God. And I became instinctively and spontaneously harmonious with “Rama”, as God.

Although, I eventually stopped reciting the Hanuman Chalisa, the Rama mantram has remained as an inherent and autonomic essence of my existence. Like my hero Mahatma Gandhi, the name “Rama” is constantly “in my heart, if not actually on my lips”.

Even now at almost age ninety, I often spontaneously tearfully call out “Rama” gratefully remembering that I’m feeling and seeing God in everyone and everything everywhere.

Dedication of “Seeing GOD”

May the foregoing quotations, verses, and teachings encourage us all to ever remember – and perhaps perceive – that everyone and everything is Divine!

And so may it be!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner