Divinity

Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving

“To be a presence of perpetual thanksgiving may be the ultimate goal of life.  
The thankful person is the one for whom life is simply one long exercise in the sacred.”
~ Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB from The Psalms: Meditations for Every Day of the Year
“Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence …
For thankfulness brings you to the place where the Beloved lives.”
~ Rumi
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others.”
~ Cicero





Introduction to “Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving”

Dear Friends,

For everyone’s Thanksgiving happiness every day, I’m again publishing the following perennial wisdom quotations about thankfulness.

Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday long ago, when I realized that thankfulness is a universal blessing uplifting everyone everywhere, regardless of their cultural, spiritual, secular or religious attitudes or beliefs.

Now at age ninety, I’m unspeakably grateful for still being alive, aware, ambulatory and interdependently-independent – especially since miraculously surviving a deadly taxi rundown eight years ago. Thus, I’ve learned that continual thankfulness is a state of Divine Grace – that every day’s a bonus, and every breath a blessing, not just during Thanksgiving holidays, but always!

May every day be a day of Thanksgiving, for everyone everywhere.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

”A grateful mind is a great mind,
which eventually attracts to itself great things.”
~ Plato

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

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

”Gratitude bestows reverence,
allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies,
those transcendent moments of awe
that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
~ John Milton

“I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual.
It is surprising how contented one can be
with – only a sense of existence.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Gratitude is heaven itself.”
~ William Blake

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

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


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



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

“Every day should be a day of Thanksgiving for all the gifts of Life — sunshine, water, the luscious fruits and greens,
which we receive as indirect gifts from the Great Giver.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything.
Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God.
For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
~ Thomas Merton 


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

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

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

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

Remember with gratitude,
Life is beatitude –
Even its sorrows and pain;
For we’re all in God’s Grace,
Every time, every place, and
Forever (S)HE will reign!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Dedication

The foregoing quotations and thoughts For Thanksgiving are dedicated to encouraging, inspiring and guiding us to enjoy ever growing gratitude, on Thanksgiving holidays and every day.  

May every day be a Thanksgiving day for everyone everywhere.   

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Happy Thanksgiving Day – Every Day!

Enjoy! – Beautiful Gratitude Video
Narrated by Brother David Steindl-Rast




Kol Nidré ritual prayer

Cantor Netanel Hershtik singing Kol Nidre

Introduction

Dear Friends,

Concurrent with Jewish high holy days I recently posted memoirs about Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present which describe and explain “Kol Nidrei” the Jewish Yom Kippur opening prayer, that repents “sins” and seeks Divine forgiveness or rescission of the past year’s obsolete vows, intentions or behaviors. That memoirs posting describes the hauntingly beautiful “Kol Nidrei” melodies which powerfully project deep sacred meaning beyond the prayer’s vocalized Aramaic words.

However, the posting fails to include audio-visual performances of Kol Nidrei.

So as a musical epilogue to Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present I have hereafter embedded two exemplary YouTube performances of the ancient Kol Nidrei ritual prayer:

1) A an historic 2003 video recording of American Cantor Netanel Hershtik singing Kol Nidre at Amsterdam’s 17th century Portuguese Synagogue, one of the world’s most architecturally important synagogues. This performance was produced and repeatedly aired by PBS stations during Jewish holidays and fund-raising drives for years thereafter. It was part of a Jewish sacred music concert in Europe, arranged by PBS.

2) A legendary orchestral performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim with renowned cellist Jacqueline du Pré (his deceased wife) of German composer Max Bruch’s “Adagio after Hebrew Melodies”, Op 47, for cello and orchestra. Bruch, a Christian Protestant, was “deeply moved” by the haunting beauty of the ancient “Kol Nidrei” liturgical music. And he considered the cello’s tenor tone as ideally evoking a Jewish cantor’s voice. So In 1880 he composted his still popular Op 47, with beautiful ancient Jewish melodies.

Conclusion

Spiritually, Kol Nidrei melodies have for centuries emanated and communicated instinctive human awareness of our unavoidable fallibility as physically incarnate earth-beings unable to live without error or beyond the “sin” of missing the mark for ethically perfect behaviors.

Please enjoy these haunting melodies, accordingly.

Ron Rattner

Videos

2003 video recording of American Cantor Netanel Hershtik singing Kol Nidre at Amsterdam’s 17th century Portuguese Synagogue



Max Bruch’s “Adagio after Hebrew Melodies”, Op 47, for cello and orchestra, performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim with renowned cellist Jacqueline du Pré (his deceased wife)




Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

“My life is my message”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Mahatma Gandhi
(October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948)


Introduction

Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in India on October 2, 1869, one hundred fifty three years ago. He came to be known and loved by the Indian people and worldwide as “Mahatma”, an honorary Sanskrit term meaning “Great Soul”, like the term “Saint” in Christianity.

During his lifetime, he was recognized as father of Indian democracy, a monumental accomplishment achieved through non-violent relentless pursuit of Truth as God (satyagraha). Gandhi changed himself to change the world by being the change he wanted see.

Though Mahatma Gandhi realized that his life was his message, he often wrote (or was quoted about) his philosophical ideas on subjects of perennial importance. Because Gandhi walked his talk authentically, peacefully, and universally, his words – like his humble life – will be remembered for centuries, and will continue to inspire and actuate countless millions of people worldwide.

So, in tribute to this great soul, let us recall some of his inspiring words of wisdom:

Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

“My life is my message”

“[T]he world will not change if we don’t change.”

“In a gentle way you can shake the world..”

“You may never know what results come of your actions,

but if you do nothing, there will be no results.”

“If we are to make progress,
we must not repeat history but make new history.
We must add to inheritance left by our ancestors.”

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

“A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.”

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”


“Happiness is when what you think, what you say,
 and what you do are in harmony.”

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”

“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness.”

“There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

“Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.”

“Prayer has saved my life, without it I should have been a lunatic long ago. I feel that as food is indispensable for the body so was prayer indispensable for the soul. I find solace in life and in prayer. With the Grace of God everything can be achieved. When His Grace filled one’s being nothing was impossible for one to achieve.”

“Prayer is nothing else but an intense longing of the heart. You may express yourself through the lips; you may express yourself in the private closet or in the public; but to be genuine, the expression must come from the deepest recesses of the heart…”

“It is my constant prayer that I may never have a feeling of anger against my traducers, that even if I fall a victim to an assassin’s bullet, I may deliver my soul with the remembrance of God upon my lips.”

“All the religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth.”

“My religion is based on truth and nonviolence. Truth is my God. Nonviolence is the means of realizing Him.”

“Nonviolence succeeds only when we have a real living faith in God.”

“My faith runs so very much faster than my reason that I can challenge the whole world and say, ‘God is, was and ever shall be’.”

“Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul.”

“A man with a grain of faith in God never loses hope, because he ever believes in the ultimate triumph of Truth.”

”Nonviolence is the greatest force man has been endowed with.

Truth is the only goal he has. For God is none other than Truth.

But Truth cannot be, never will be, reached except through nonviolence…

That which distinguishes man from all other animals is his capacity to be non-violent.

And he fulfills his mission only to the extent that he is non-violent and no more.“

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist and Confucian.”

“Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.”

“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”

“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

”Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

“I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and believing as I do in the theory of reincarnation, I live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug all of humanity in friendly embrace.”

“Nonviolence, which is the quality of the heart, cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”

“Nonviolence is not a cloistered virtue to be practiced by the individual for his peace and final salvation, but it is a rule of conduct for society. To practice nonviolence in mundane matters is to know its true value. It is to bring heaven upon earth. I hold it therefore to be wrong to limit the use of nonviolence to cave dwellers [hermits] and for acquiring merit for a favored position in the other world. All virtue ceases to have use if it serves no purpose in every walk of life.”

“It is no nonviolence if we merely love those that love us. It is nonviolence only when we love those that hate us. I know how difficult it is to follow this grand law of love. But are not all-great and good things difficult to do? Love of the hater is the most difficult of all. But by the grace of God even this most difficult thing becomes easy to accomplish if we want to do it.” (From a private letter, dated 31-12-34.)

“To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face, one must be able to love the meanest of all creation as oneself.”

Ahimsa is not the crude thing it has been made to appear. Not to hurt any living thing is no doubt a part of ahimsa. But it is its least expression. The principle of ahimsa is hurt by every evil thought, by undue haste, by lying, by hatred, by wishing ill to anybody. It is also violated by our holding on to what the world needs.”

“I do not believe…that an individual may gain spiritually and those who surround him suffer. I believe in advaita, I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe that if one man gains spiritually, the whole world gains with him and, if one man falls, the whole world falls to that extent.”

“I do not believe that the spiritual law works on a field of its own. On the contrary, it expresses itself only through the ordinary activities of life. It thus affects the economic, the social and the political fields.”

“Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics,

do not know what religion is.”

“Suffering, cheerfully endured, ceases to be suffering and is transmuted into an ineffable joy.”

“The goal ever recedes from us. The greater the progress the greater the recognition of our unworthiness. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”

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

“In the dictionary of the seeker of truth there is no such thing as being ‘not successful’. He is or should be an irrepressible optimist, because of his immovable faith in the ultimate victory of Truth, which is God.”

“What do I think of Western civilization?
I think it would be a very good idea.”


Dedication and Invocation

As a blessing, may we deeply reflect on Gandhi’s enduring philosophy and exemplary life.

Thereby, like this Great Soul, may we be inspired “from the deepest recesses of the heart” to live in “in a gentle way” that nonviolently blesses all life everywhere as Truth and LOVE.  

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Saint Francis of Assisi: His Life and His Prayer

“All the darkness in the world can’t extinguish the light from a single candle.”
~ Francis Of Assisi (The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi)

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
~ Francis of Assisi

“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips,
be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”
~ Francis of Assisi

“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”
~ Francis Of Assisi

“Vi volglio tutti in paradisio!” [ “I wish all in heaven!”]
~ Francis of Assisi

“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.”
~ Francis of Assisi

“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”
“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”
~ Francis of Assisi


Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon

Saint Francis of Assisi ~ September 26, 1181 – October 3, 1226


Saint Francis of Assisi
[*See footnotes]


Saint Francis of Assisi is one of history’s most beloved saints. For almost eight hundred years since his canonization by the Catholic Church (in the year 1228), he has been remembered and revered not only by Christian denominations, but by countless others world-wide, who have been inspired by his life of universal love, his teachings, and his oneness with Nature.
More than three million people come every year to his tomb in Assisi.

He is patron saint of Italy and of many other places, like San Francisco, a city blessed with his name, his spirit, and a national shrine including the Porziuncola Nuova, the only papally declared holy place in the USA. Also, he is patron saint of birds, animals and ecology and is so remembered on his annual October 4th Feast Day celebration.

Francis loved peace, communed with all living creatures, and lived a life of kindness, simplicity and poverty in contrast to the wealth and apparent corruption of the Church. He was the founder of the Franciscan order of the Catholic Church, and inspired founding of the Poor Clares order for women, and a third secular order for laity sworn to peace.

After living a worldly life of youthful revelry for the first half of his short lifespan, Francis volunteered to fight in a war between Assisi and neighboring Perugia. He was captured during a bloody battle at Collestrada, and was imprisoned and chained in solitude for a year in a dark Perugian dungeon, until ransomed by his wealthy father. Beginning during this time, and thereafter, he suffered a period of protracted physical and psychological illness, remorse and reflection. After fervent prayer, deep introspection, and profuse tears, Francis ultimately decided that money and worldly pleasures meant nothing to him, and as a traumatized battle survivor he came to abhor war. Whereupon, he devoted his life to solitude, prayer, helping the poor, caring for lepers, and promoting peace. Seeing himself as God’s troubadour or fool, he lived in absolute poverty, patterning his life after the life of Jesus and dedicating himself to God.

On returning from a pilgrimage to Rome, where he begged at Church doors for the poor, Francis received a mystical message from Jesus while praying in the ruined church at San Damiano outside of Assisi. There while he was enchantedly gazing at the painted wooden crucifix – a Byzantine image of the crucified Christ still alive on the cross – the silent voice of Jesus telepathically ‘spoke’ to Francesco, instructing him: “Francesco, Francesco, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.” Thereafter, he devotedly began rebuilding San Damiano and other ruined churches.

Though Saint Francis took literally that mystical message from the crucifix, its true meaning was metaphoric and profound. And by the end of his short lifespan, Saint Francis and his orders had by their example inspired a renaissance of the Catholic Church.

Francis’ exemplary lifestyle inspired and attracted followers who joined with him in his in his Divine mission and life of poverty. Clad in ragged, gray robes with rope belts, they went out barefoot in pairs to spread the Gospel. When they needed food or shelter, they asked someone for it. It was against their rules to “own” anything. Thus, they were known as the “begging brothers”.

In 1209 Francis received permission from Pope Innocent III to form a brotherhood, a religious order of the Church called the “Friars Minor,” (littlest brothers). As “friars” they worked in communities, actively preaching and helping residents, as distinguished from “monks” who then usually lived alone in isolated places. They soon acquired the name “Franciscans”, proliferated and today remain important international symbols and instruments of Francis’ legacy.

The Franciscans’ first headquarters was a simple, tiny chapel near Assisi which Francis received from the Benedictines, and personally restored, naming it “Porziuncola” [“a small portion of land”]. The Porziuncola became Francis’ most beloved and favorite place. Because of his presence and prayers there, it was and continues to be one of the world’s rare holy places. Here, Francis lived, fervently prayed, wrote his rule, created his order of friars minor and consecrated his friend Clara (Chiara), who became Santa Clara, founder of “the poor Clares”, a female religious order dedicated to Franciscan ideals of holiness and poverty. Francis so loved this little place that he chose to die there.

In 1216, while Francis was fervently praying in the Porziuncola, a light filled the chapel and he beheld above the altar a vision of Christ, the Virgin Mary and a company of angels. They asked him what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francis replied: “Vi volglio tutti in paradisio!” [I wish all in heaven!] And Francis then asked that all those persons who shall come to this church, may obtain a full pardon and remission of all their faults, upon confessing and repenting their sins. The request was granted based on Francis’ worthiness, and the indulgence was later officially confirmed by Pope Honorius III, and became known as “The Pardon of Assisi”.

Francis was extremely democratic and humble. He referred to himself as “little brother Francis” and called all creatures “brothers” and “sisters”. He loved Nature and pantheistically considered it to be the “mirror of God on earth.” He spoke of “Sister Water” and “Brother Tree” and in one of his writings, he referred to “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon”. There are legends about sermons he preached to trees full of “Sister Birds” in which Francis urged them to sing their prayers of thanks to God. And it is said that rabbits would come to him for protection.

In another legendary story, Francis spoke to a wolf which had been terrifying the entire village of Gubbio, scolding “Brother Wolf” for what he was doing. That wolf not only stopped his attacks but later became a village pet, and was fed willingly by the same villagers, who missed “brother wolf” after he died.

Francis was determined to live the gospels and was strongly influenced and motivated by Jesus’ teachings. “Give to others, and it shall be given to you. Forgive and you shall be forgiven” were his frequent teachings.

Also as a traumatic battle survivor and war hostage Francis cherished peace. So, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” ~ Matthew 5:9 and “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” ~ Matthew 5:44 were often recited by him.

According to a recent biography, Francis was “the first person from the West to travel to another continent with the revolutionary idea of peacemaking.” On a mission of peace, Francis journeyed to Egypt in 1219 idealistically hoping to end the 5th Crusade by converting the Egyptian leader – Sultan Malik al-Kamil – to Christianity. Though his visionary peace mission did not succeed, it proved nonetheless a miraculous portent and important symbol of potential reconciliation between Christians and Muslims and others.

At a time when most Christians demonized Muslims as enemy “infidels”, Francis regarded and treated Muslims with respect, never echoing the negative comments or conduct of his contemporary Christians. Moreover, in Egypt Francis – a devout and gentle peacemaker – was appalled by the crusaders’ sacrilegious brutality.

Francis arrived in Egypt during an ongoing violent and bloody conflict at Damietta, an important city on the Nile, besieged by the Crusaders. There, in the midst of horrible bloodshed, Francis miraculously crossed battle lines totally unarmed and vulnerable, and was able to reach the Sultan’s encampment unharmed and welcomed. Moreover, Francis was admitted to the august presence of the sultan, who was nephew of the great Saladin who had defeated the forces of the ill-fated Third Crusade.

The Sultan was a wise and pragmatic devout Sunni Muslim, influenced by Sufi mystical teachings. He was ready to make peace, and reciprocated Francis’ peaceful and respectful attitude. For at least several days Kamil hosted and dialogued with Francis as an honored guest, before having him safely escorted back to the Crusader encampment. The Sultan – who was amenable to philosophical conversation, but not to conversion – probably noted and honored Francis’ sufi-like appearance and peaceful demeanor, and his regular greeting – “may the Lord give you peace” – uncommon for Christians, but similar to the Arabic “salam aleykum” greeting.

Reciprocally, Francis was deeply impressed by the religious devotion of the Muslims, especially by their fivefold daily call to prayer – call of the muezzin.

On returning to the crusader camp Francis desperately tried to convince Cardinal Pelagio, whom the pope had authorized to lead the 5th Crusade, that he should make peace with the Sultan. But the cardinal who was certain of victory would not listen. His eventual failure, amidst terrible loss of life, brought the barbaric age of the crusades to an ignominious end.

In 1224, near the end of his earthly life, according to legend, Francis became the first saint in history to miraculously receive crucifixion stigmata. It happened after he had been taken to Mount Alverna, a wild nature place in Tuscany, to be in solitude for a forty day retreat.


Though already in a very feeble state, he fasted and prayed intensely with deepest longing for God. In the midst of his fast, while he was so praying he beheld a marvelous vision: an angel carrying an image of a man nailed to a cross. When the vision disappeared, Francis felt sharp pains in various places on his body.

In locating the source of these pains, Francis found that he had five marks or “stigmata” on his hands, feet, and sides—like the wounds inflicted with nails and spears on Jesus during His crucifixion. Those marks remained and caused Francis great pain until his death two years later.

On October 3, 1226 A.D. Francis died in a humble cell next to the beloved Porziuncola, his favorite holy place where the Franciscan movement began. He was blind from trachoma, suffering from malaria and other illnesses, emaciated and racked with pain from the stigmata and other wounds. As he lay dying, the brothers came for his blessing. They sang “Song to the Sun”, a song which Francis had composed.

Sometime before he drew his last breath, he said, “Let us sing the welcome to Sister Death.” Francis welcomed ‘Sister Death’ knowing that “it is in dying that we are reborn to eternal life”, the concluding line of a beautifully inspiring and best known peace prayer mistakenly attributed to him. (**See Footnote)

In conclusion, we offer that prayer in grateful tribute to his blessed life and legacy. May he ever inspire countless beings to become instruments of Divine peace and love, in perfect harmony with Nature and the kingdom of heaven.

“Vi vogliamo tutti in Paradiso”; “We wish ALL in Heaven”.


And so it shall be!



Prayer Of St. Francis Of Assisi **

Beloved, we are instruments of Thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
despair, hope;
darkness, light;
discord, harmony;
sadness, joy;

Divine Mother/Father, grant
that we may seek not so much
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved, as to BE LOVE.

For it is in giving, that we receive;
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying – to ego life –
that we are reborn to Eternal Life.



Ron’s audio recitation of the Prayer of Saint Francis Of Assisi

Listen to



Footnotes

* This narrative is based on Ron Rattner’s intuitive interpretation of many disparate and sometimes conflicting historical accounts of the life of Francis of Assisi. The reader is free to accept or reject any part of it.

**This inspiring peace prayer does not appear in any of Saint Francis’ known writings. According to researchers, the first appearance of this prayer was in a French language magazine, La Clochette, in 1912; it was probably then first written by a forgotten Catholic Priest, Father Bouquerel. Later, the prayer was translated into English and widely distributed on cards with a reverse side picture of Saint Francis, without any claim that he wrote the prayer. But, because of his picture and because it invokes his spirit, the prayer thereafter became commonly known as the Prayer of Saint Francis. The foregoing version of the prayer has been edited by 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

Birds Have Feelings*


But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the LORD has done this?
~ Job 12:7-9
In this world of relativity, we are all relatives.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Birds Have Feelings*

Feelings are not exclusive to humans; all sentient creatures have conscious feelings.


Below … a barn swallow’s female mate is injured and the condition is soon fatal. She was hit by a car as she swooped low across the road.



Here he brought her food and attended to her with love and compassion.



He brought her food again but was shocked to find her dead.
He tried to move her….a rarely-seen effort for swallows!



Aware that his sweetheart is dead and will never come back to him again,
he cries with adoring love.



Finally aware that she would never return to him,
he
 stood beside her body with sadness and sorrow.



Supposedly, millions of people worldwide wept on watching these photos.
It is said that the photographer sold these pictures for a nominal fee to the most famous French newspaper; that on the day it published them, all its copies were sold out, with comments like these:

And many people think animals don’t have a brain or feelings???

You have just witnessed Love and Sorrow felt by God’s creatures.

The Creator knows when a sparrow falls.

Live simply, love generously, care deeply and speak kindly.

Grace is the Creator reaching down.

Faith is humanity reaching back.

“And what is more important than knowledge?” asks the mind.

“Caring and seeing with the heart” answers the soul.

*Footnote – Unknown author; edited and augmented by Ron Rattner


Ron’s Comments on How Birds Remind Us to
Live The ‘Golden Rule’ of Reciprocal Empathy


Dear Friends,

Feelings are not exclusive to humans; all sentient creatures have conscious feelings.

After midlife I gradually realized that all lifeforms, even plants and apparent non-living inanimate objects share as their deepest essence ONE universal consciousness; that all space-time forms and phenomena are manifestations of the same cosmic consciousness; and, that this entire reality is a projected holographic/fractal play of consciousness.

However, in this age of mental malaise most people have lost conscious awareness of our deep oneness with all life everywhere. Hence they ignorantly fail to follow the “golden rule” of reciprocal empathy for other creatures and people. And they treat others as they would not want to be treated themselves.

Moreover, there are many powerful purported leaders who are ruling the world without apparent empathy for the unsustainable devastation and immense suffering they cause or condone. At the root of much world suffering is the US empire which is hypocritically and psychopathically ruled top-down by a totalitarian transnational military industrial complex of obscenely rich billionaires and their supporting organizations.

Today as a powerful visual reminder of our deep connection with all other lifeforms, I have edited and reposted Birds Have Feelings, an anonymous essay with above photos, which I discovered online years ago.  

For sustainable survival of earth-life as we’ve known it, humans – like birds – must have open-hearted empathy for the death, deprivation and suffering of all life everywhere.

This posting about birds is deeply dedicated to inspiring and reminding us that to avert imminent catastrophe we must do no harm and live the golden rule of empathetic concern for all life our precious planet.

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

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