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Faith

Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith

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

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



John Lennon
October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980



Introduction

Dear Friends,

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


Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AND SO SHALL IT BE!

Ron Rattner



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


Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


John Lennon – “Imagine” (live performances)



“Imagine”


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

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today



Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace



You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one



Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world



You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one


~ John Lennon


Saint Francis of Assisi: His Life and His Prayer

Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon
“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
“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 [*See footnote]


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. 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 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.

 


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.



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

Listen to


Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

“My life is my message”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Mohandas K. Gandhi
(October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948)


Introduction

Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in India on October 2, 1869, one hundred fifty one 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 (satyagraha). Gandhi helped change the world by being the change he wanted see.

Though Mahatma Gandhi realized that his life was his message, he regularly wrote down 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.

Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

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

“You must be the change
you want to see in the world.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“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 non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realizing Him.”

“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.”

“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.”

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


Conclusion

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

Surrender and Let Go of Ego
~ Quotes and Sutra Sayings

“They are the chosen ones who have surrendered.”
~ Rumi
By letting it go it all gets done.
The world is won by those who let it go.
But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.
~ Lao Tzu
“Surrender is faith that the power of Love can accomplish anything, even when you cannot foresee the outcome.”
~ Deepak Chopra
Love is the sacrifice of will.
If you cannot leave will behind
You have no will at all.
~ Rumi
“In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?”
~ The Buddha
Q. How much “ego” do you need?
A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
We have nothing to surrender
But the idea
That we’re someone,
With something
To surrender.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction

Posted below are many silly sutras about surrendering and transcending our false separate self/identity with our thoughts – our “ego”. The critical importance of transcending “ego” is explained in comments following the sutras.  


Ron’s Sutra Sayings on Surrendering Ego.

We have nothing to surrender
but the idea that
we’re someone,
with something
to surrender.

Let’s let go
and
let life live us,
as Love.

Let’s leave it to the
Lone Arranger.

Let’s let go, and “go with the flow”.*

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

Tao is Now,
Tao is One,
Tao is Doer,
Tao will be done.

Tao will be done.
So let Tao do it.

Give your spiritual
‘power of attorney’
to God.

“Let go, and let God.”*

*Unity Church maxim

Leave it to the Lone Arranger.

Ego Antidote:
The root of all problems is
I/me/mine.
End it with antidote,
Thy/Thee/Thine.

Ego: Use it to lose it!

Immolate ego
in the fire of faith.

As ego goes
consciousness grows
until it Knows –
Itself.

Ego is free to choose,
but is never free.
Self does not choose,
but is ever free.

Our only choice
is to accept
or reject
“what is”.

Acceptance is pleasure;
rejection is suffering.
Acceptance is freedom;
rejection is bondage.
Acceptance is NOW;
rejection is then.

So, if choose you must,
then with faith and trust,
say “yes” to Life.

With radical trust
we do as we must.

The more we trust
the less we try.

Enter a state of enlightened amnesia:

Be now;
forget then.

Remember God;
forget the rest.

Forget who you think you are,
to remember what you really are.



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

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of sutra sayings about Surrender and Let Go of Ego

Dear Friends,

I consider of critical importance to our spiritual evolution the surrendering and transcending of our false separate self/identity with our thoughts – our ego.
 
In “The Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle explains and defines “ego” as a “phantom self” and teaches that transcending ego is of universally pre-eminent importance, because as long as we are identified with our mind the ego runs our life.  Therefore  he suggests that transcending ego is the fundamental message of all spiritual teachings. He says that:

“In essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms. . . .
~ Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now


I agree with Tolle and have written many silly sutras about surrendering ego, including those published above. They are respectfully offered to remind us to follow our eternal inner guidance and always “go with the flow” for the benefit of others. 

This message is particularly important in these extraordinarily turbulent times, which have disrupted and jeopardized earth-life as we’ve known it for billions of people worldwide. As many people are feeling inundated with threatening tidal waves in an endless ocean of samsara, it’s especially crucial for all of us to ‘surf’ those waves by ‘going with the flow’ rather than futilely emanating and emotionally ‘drowning’ with anger, anxiety, or fear.

By so letting life live us as Love, we can discover these challenging times to be an immense evolutionary opportunity for us to co-create not just a better “new normal” world, but a radically transformed world – with constant kindness and compassion for all life everywhere.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

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



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

The following poem was inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece “The Prophet”, and composed during my extended post-retirement reclusive period of prayer and introspection. It remains consistent with my long-life’s observations and experiences, as I will hereafter explain.

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”:

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

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

Decades after its composition, this poem remains consistent with my long-time experience.

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 revelatory evolutionary process which has opened me to unspeakably expanded faith in Divine providence, and to an elevated ‘attitude of gratitude’– with every day a bonus, and every breath a blessing.

Currently, from my perspective, the extraordinary 2020 post–coronavirus era of anxiety, fear and deprivation of normal activities and liberties has become so hurtful and painful for so many people worldwide that it is about to trigger a societal “tipping point” breakthrough to an elevated heart level of human consciousness, which will hasten our imminent transition to a wonderful “new normal” age of love, peace and justice.  

Hence, from long-time faith-based experience, 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 THAT mysterious “physician within”
which wondrously is healing everyone everywhere
of all afflictions, individually and collectively.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Remembering An Attitude Of Gratitude – A Holy Encounter ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon
“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”
~ St. Francis Of Assisi
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
~ Maya Angelou
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of.
There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

~ Fred Rogers
“When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. 
As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. 
As you think of him, you will think of yourself. 
Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose sight of yourself.”
~ A Course in Miracles (ACIM)
“We are born and reborn countless number of times,
and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another.  
Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”
~ H. H. Dalai Lama, from ‘The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom”.
In this world of relativity, we are all relatives.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


praying


Introduction.

In the prior memoirs chapter “Another ‘Near Death’ Experience?”, I told of my miraculous survival and healing from critical taxicab rundown injuries, which I have attributed to the prayers, care, and good wishes of saints and many others who wanted me to get well. And I explained how the shock and trauma of my sudden injuries left me with continuing retrograde amnesia, without memory of what happened immediately before and after the taxicab incident, and while I was comatose.

In this chapter I will recount how a spontaneous act of loving-kindness by an ICU nurse – who synchronistically shared my reverence for Saint Francis of Assisi – proved an unforgettable healing blessing. I cannot remember the nurse’s name (so I’ll call her “Mary”), but my memory of our meeting was rekindled by an unforgettable document she left while I slept the next day; and I will never forget how I’ve felt because of her kindness.

A Holy Encounter.

For many years I have had frequent synchronistic meetings with strangers with whom I have experienced deeply harmonious connections. I have called them “holy encounters”. This is the story of an especially memorable holy encounter with a compassionate nurse which happened at the San Francisco General Hospital Intensive Care Unit [ICU], shortly after I had been run down and critically injured by a taxicab.

I have no memory of my admission to the ICU or of any prior conversations, diagnostic procedures or medical examinations there, and I was unaware of details of my injuries until after this encounter.

I later learned from medical records and from those who had examined or visited me that I had sustained a traumatic bleeding brain contusion and concussion, with extended loss of consciousness; large 2” chronic subdural hematoma pushing brain out of normal alignment; multiple fractures, including multiple facial fractures, bruises and lacerations; a fractured right leg tibial plateau; and various traumatic internal injuries, including a lacerated and bleeding liver. I was told that my head and face were completely bruised, discolored and swollen.

On the morning of this holy encounter I can now remember awakening supine on my hospital bed unable to rotate my body because of an IV tube and a full leg brace on my right leg. Presumably I was under influence of narcotic pain suppressant drugs which had been administered while I was unconscious, and until I was later able to decline them with informed consent.

Soon after I awakened that morning, I was greeted by a lovely slender, blond haired ICU nurse, who said:


“Good morning Mr. Rattner, I’m Mary your nurse for today.
How are you feeling?”


Amazingly, I simply responded:


“I’m grateful to be alive!”


Surprised, Mary commented appreciatively about my positive attitude. Whereupon I promptly recited for her my Silly Sutras saying that: 


“An attitude of gratitude brings beatitude.”


And I explained to Mary that my attitude of gratitude came from abiding faith in Divine Providence, and conviction that I was blessed by Saint Francis of Assisi and other saints [*See Footnote]. Mary then told me that she had been raised to revere Saint Francis by her mother who regularly prayed to him at a home shrine.

Inspired by this wonderful synchronicity, I gladly recited for Mary the
“make me an instrument of Thy peace” prayer associated with Saint Francis, which amazingly I readily remembered, and which apparently she deeply appreciated. We talked briefly and she then proceeded on her rounds.

An unforgettable “get well” message.

The day after our ‘holy encounter’, I awakened to discover that while I slept Mary had placed this “get well” message, with the peace prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, next to my bed.

sf-general-get-well-message


Conclusion.

I have heretofore told how my mid-life spiritual epiphany opened an emotional flood-gate which had been closed since childhood, and unleashed for the first time in my adult life an intense and unprecedented torrent of tears; how for many years I cried so often and so profusely that I came to realize that I was experiencing a great transformative blessing recognized in various devotional spiritual traditions, and which in the Catholic tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis of Assisi was known as “the gift of tears”.

Though never a frequent flyer, I became – and for over forty years have remained – a very frequent crier. Tears have helped purify my psyche, body and nervous system permitting ‘peek experiences’ of higher states of consciousness, as well as many experiences of extreme ecstasy. They have become for me a divine sign of an opened heart.

Mary’s ‘get well’ message has consistently and often sparked a flood of heartfelt emotions and tears as it reminds me of our holy encounter and of my attitude of gratitude for this precious human lifetime. Thus, many times while writing this story I have cried with heartfelt gratitude.

Moral of the story.

Every spontaneous and heartfelt act of loving-kindness bestowed in ordinary life – even in seemingly insignificant incidents – can prove a lasting blessing for its recipient and everyone everywhere.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner



Footnote

* Saint Francis of Assisi.

Shortly after a profound spiritual opening in 1976, I began having synchronistic inner and outer experiences concerning Saint Francis of Assisi, of whom I was previously ignorant. Because of those experiences I developed deep affinity with this legendary saint, and regarded him an archetype to be emulated. Soon I began multiple daily recitations of the “make me an instrument of Thy peace” prayer associated with him, which have continued until now.

On retirement from legal practice in 1992, I made a pilgrimage to Italy to honor Saint Francis. In spring 1992, I journeyed to the Umbrian town of Assisi, Italy, where Saint Francis (‘Francesco’) was born and resided for most of his inspiring life, and where I experienced an extraordinary feeling of déjà vu, and some of the most memorable spiritual experiences of this lifetime. Also I made a magically memorable excursion to Mount La Verna in Tuscany – where Francis became the first Christian saint to receive the crucifixion stigmata of Christ. (See https://sillysutras.com/pilgrimage-to-assisi-communing-with-saint-francis-rons-memoirs/)


Another ‘Near Death’ Experience?
~ 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
“Birth and death are virtual, but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


tree_of_life

Introduction.

Nowadays, at age eighty seven, when commonly greeted by others with “Hello, how are you?”, almost always I spontaneously and enthusiastically respond: “Grateful to be alive! – Every day’s a bonus!”

I cannot recall when I began so exclaiming this attitude of gratitude. But mostly it has happened since six years ago, when (on June 29, 2014) I was suddenly run down by a taxicab and critically injured while crossing a busy San Francisco street.

Here is a memoirs story about that incident which I share hoping to inspire for others a similar attitude of gratitude, which has proven for me to be a great blessing. For

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


My First ‘Near Death’ Experience [NDE]*

In 1979 I experienced and have written a prior memoir about an extraordinary and unforgettable out of body event [OOB] which I called a ‘Near Death’ Experience’ [NDE]*. [See https://sillysutras.com/my-near-death-experience/ and *footnote about NDE’s.]

During that experience, I mistakenly believed that I had suffered a stroke and was dying. But I later was told (by my Guruji) that I had not experienced illness but a sudden infusion of Divine shakti energy. So it is unlikely that I suffered from diminished vital signs which are usually associated with NDE’s. Nonetheless, that extraordinary and unforgettable OOB event significantly advanced the spiritual transformation process which had begun with my 1976 realization and rebirth experience.

That transformation process has blessed me with ever increasing self-identification as eternal spirit rather than as mere mortal body/mind. Ultimately, it has led to my realization that Life is perpetual while physical birth and death are virtual; that what most humans call death is merely a vacation – eternal Life-force vacating an inevitably mortal physical vehicle.

This crucial realization has resulted in ever decreasing fear of death, and ever expanding openness, empathy, gratitude and happiness.

Still, I recognize that human bodies are extraordinarily precious life-forms, enabling us to develop and to lovingly advance spiritually. So the longer we are able to skillfully inhabit a functioning physical body, beyond fear of death or disability, the greater our opportunity to learn and to evolve.

Past as Prelude; Another NDE?

In my first NDE* narrative I told how I hadn’t feared presumed peaceful death by a supposed stroke; but, how soon thereafter I experienced an instinctively fearful ‘fight or flight’ reaction when almost run over while crossing a street. (I’ve come to believe that such normal instinctive protection of a precious mortal body is distinguishable from ego’s ever fearful separate self-identification with a body rather than with eternal universal awareness.)

Paradoxically, my 1979 ‘fight or flight’ fear of being run down as a pedestrian ultimately materialized thirty five years later when I was suddenly run down by a taxicab and critically injured while crossing a busy San Francisco street. Today at age eighty seven, I have miraculously survived and largely healed from that incident, after perhaps another ‘near death’ experience.

The shock and trauma of my injuries have left me with continuing retrograde amnesia, so I am unable to recall what happened immediately before and after the taxicab incident, and while I was comatose. Thus for such details I must rely on paramedic and hospital records, and on a cam video showing the taxi hitting me.

Accident Injuries.

The following bodily injuries and symptoms, among others, were radiologically and clinically diagnosed:

Traumatic bleeding brain contusion and concussion, with extended loss of consciousness; large 2” chronic subdural hematoma pushing brain .6” out of normal alignment; massive soft tissue tears and other traumatic shoulder injuries, temporarily rendering both shoulders largely non-functional, with prosthesis recommended for left shoulder; multiple facial fractures, bruises and swelling, with broken nose, fractured sinus areas, etc.; facial lacerations requiring sutures; lacerated and bleeding liver; cracked ribs; slight spinal fracture; excessive external bleeding, with anemia requiring prompt two unit blood transfusion; tibial plateau (“bumper”) fracture and extreme swelling of right knee and leg, with large knee wound, open and seeping for over two months; continuing post-traumatic stress syndrome [PTSD]; retrograde amnesia; mental confusion, headaches, dizziness, and dyslexia.

Considering my advanced octogenarian age and the multiplicity and severity of my injuries and symptoms, my survival, recovery and healing so far have been miraculous. Moreover, I have amazingly survived without any pain drugs or brain or shoulder surgical interventions recommended by various allopathic doctors, and have been able to resume a largely independent pre-injury life style with frequent (pre-lockdown) walks, after extended convalescence, and treatment with acupuncture, organic herbs, and physical therapy.

Guruji, Rama mantra, and hints of heavenly help.

Unlike some NDE* survivors I have no memory of what happened while I was comatose, or of any contact with heavenly beings or departed loved ones. However I gratefully intuit that my survival and healing are blessings from my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji, from Saint Francis of Assisi and other divine or celestial beings or emanations, and from prayers, acts of kindness and good wishes of many friends, health providers and others.

Previously I have explained the importance of the Rama mantra in my transformational process; how spontaneously I began reciting Rama before receiving shaktipat initiation by Guruji, who synchronistically gave me a Ram mantra. I believe that the power of my Ram mantra helped my miraculous survival and recovery.

Also I have told how recitation of the name Rama was the principle spiritual practice of Mahatma Gandhi – my first inner spiritual guide – who recited it from childhood until his assassination; how 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.

Referring to his repetition of “Rama” Gandhi said:

“that the Word is in my heart, if not actually on my lips, all the twenty-four hours. It has been my saviour and I am ever stayed on it.” “The mantram becomes one’s staff of life and carries one through every ordeal….” “Each repetition … has a new meaning, each repetition carries you nearer and nearer to God.”


During weeks before my taxi rundown incident, I noticed that I was constantly reciting my Ram mantra; and that it was in my heart when not on my lips. So, I may have been reciting the mantra when hit by the taxicab.

On my ambulance arrival at San Francisco General Hospital trauma center, according to hospital records, I was “pleasantly confused and repetitive”, and was ‘repeating phrases’. And more than one doctor noted my positive attitude despite critical injuries.

Intuitively I believe that my repetitive utterances were Ram mantra recitations which helped invoke the subtle presence and assistance of my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji.

Amongst my first hospital visitors were my long-time spiritual friends Carolyn and Monte, who are also Guruji devotees. Very soon after my admission to the ICU they synchronistically learned of my injuries, and immediately came to the hospital, where they were admitted after regular visiting hours.  On observing my completely bruised, discolored  and swollen head and face they became very concerned and did hands on healing, with repetitions of the Ram mantra.  Shortly after returning home, Carolyn prayed to Guruji for my health and recovery.  Whereupon Guruji responded telepathically that he was already helping me.

Similarly another spiritual friend, Michael, a long-time devotee of Guruji’s successor Shri Anandi Ma, reported to me his intuitive flash of insight that I could not and would not have survived the taxicab injuries but for Guruji’s intervention.

And soon after the accident I received an email assurance from my (now departed) friend Pravinji Jani, Anandi Ma’s father and Vedic pundit and astrologer, assuring me that “Guruji is always with you showering his blessings” for healing and for “return to your normal activities with inspiring sutras”.

These encouraging communications from Guruji devotees supported my intuitive insights of Guruji’s subtle presence and help.

Prayers, good wishes, and other acts of kindness and compassion.

The prayers and good wishes of family, friends, health care providers and many others who cared for and about me, and wanted me to get well, also helped my miraculous survival and healing. Many staff people at the hospital and rehab facility were kind and compassionate, and did their very best to help me.

I was especially touched when I awakened in the hospital ICU one morning to see taped on the wall this “get well” message:


It had been placed there by one of my loving nurses with whom I had discussed my “attitude of gratitude” for surviving the taxicab rundown and my love for Saint Francis of Assisi, whose peace prayer I’d recited for her. (Details of our “holy encounter” are posted at https://sillysutras.com/remembering-an-attitude-of-gratitude-a-holy-encounter-rons-memoirs/)

Other acts of loving-kindness and compassion by those attending me were too numerous for me to recall or recount. But they all helped me get well.

Prayers can be powerful, and have been integral to all enduring religious and spiritual traditions from time immemorial. Throughout recorded human history prayers have been offered by countless saints and sages, and by ordinary people of every religious or spiritual denomination.

Moreover, persuasive scientific evidence now confirms healing efficacy of prayer. So I am gratefully convinced that heartfelt prayers and good wishes of many people who cared about me helped my miraculous survival and healing.

Why was my life was endangered, and why have I miraculously survived?

I don’t know. Presumably this incident arose from mysterious karmic causes and conditions. And presumably I have survived because my predestined assignments for this lifetime have not yet been fulfilled.

Before the taxicab rundown, I already was happier, more grateful and less fearful than ever before. And I already had abiding faith in the Divine, which more than ever before enabled me to accept inevitable and inescapable life difficulties and uncertainties, and yet to live openly, spontaneously and authentically, without worry, fear or doubt. (See: I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life.)

But I’ve become even more grateful for this precious human lifetime, and for the opportunity to continue learning to live with ever expanding loving-kindness and compassion.

Now I feel that every day is a bonus; that every breath is a blessing. And I am convinced that I have been permitted to remain in this body only because I’ve not yet fully accomplished the purposes for which my soul incarnated; that the miraculous survival and healing have been Divine blessings bestowing an evolutionary opportunity for karmic ‘purification’ and enhanced incentive to spiritually make the most of what remains of this precious human life-time.
 
One of the greatest joys of living a long earth-life is that there is always something new to learn, and that through synchronicities we are led to ever new opportunities for learning to become more loving – our purpose here.
So I feel blessed to have been allowed to keep learning appropriate evolutionary lessons – and also to have been afforded an opportunity to continue honoring Guruji’s request that I write and publish spiritual memoirs so as to inspire others.

[**See footnote]

Moral of the story?

With an enduring ‘attitude of gratitude’, I share this story hoping to inspire our fearless faith in that Mysterious Power which eternally guides our lives
through inevitable and inescapable difficulties and uncertainties,
and which enables us to live gratefully with loving-kindness and compassion,
and without worry, fear or negative attachments.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Footnotes:

*NDE’s. The term ‘Near Death Experience’ [NDE] was coined in 1975 by Raymond A. Moody, Jr., PhD, MD, in his book Life After Life which sold over thirteen million copies worldwide. Since then numerous NDE accounts have been published and discussed in mainstream media, on the internet, in films and videos and in magazines and books – including NY Times best sellers. Many spiritually inspiring NDE stories have been published and researched by the International Association For Near-Death Studies [IANDS] and others. So NDE’s have become widely considered, especially by those who claim to have experienced them. And some leading-edge non-materialist scientists cite NDE’s as evidence that consciousness survives physical death. For millions of people NDE’s, and other extraordinary mystical experiences, have proven to be spiritually inspirational, and transformative events, diminishing or ending fear of death and encouraging a newly open, sensitive, trusting and loving lifestyle. (see e.g. Atlantic Monthly: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.)

**The Perennial Wisdom Foundation (PWF) plans to publish ebooks containing these memoirs and other on-line writings. Also, PWF has arranged to keep SillySutras.com on line for at least another ten years, whether or not I am able to continue writing.


What is Faith? ~
Quotes and Predictions

Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far,
but none comes further.
~ Soren Kierkegaard
“On a long journey of human life,
faith is the best of companions;
it is the best refreshment on the journey;
and it is the greatest property.”
~ Buddha

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



“Faith is a knowledge within the heart,
beyond the reach of proof.”

“Faith is an oasis in the heart which can never be reached by the caravan of thinking”

~ Khalil Gibran

“The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.”

“Faith is different from proof;
the latter is human, the former is a Gift from God.”

“Faith embraces many truths which seem to contradict each other.”

~ Blaise Pascal

“The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. …
To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms,
this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Faith is much better than belief.
Belief is when someone else does the thinking.”
~ Buckminster Fuller
“Faith means living with uncertainty –
feeling your way through life,
letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark”
~ Dan Millman
“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’.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi
“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”
~ William Shakespeare
“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.
Have faith in yourselves!”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“Intelligence must follow faith, never precede it,
and never destroy it.”
~ Thomas Kempis
“Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance that it dazzles the mind and darkens all its visions of other realities,
but in the end when we become used to the new light, we gain a new view of all reality transfigured and elevated in the light itself.”
~ Thomas Merton
“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,
you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move.”
~ Matthew 17:20



Ron’s 2017 Commentary on Mystical Faith.

Dear Friends,

In reviewing and revising previous SillySutras postings, I’ve been wondering about the subtle circumstances which have seemed most important in furthering my spiritual evolution from age forty two to age eighty four. And why, after four decades of spiritual exploration, I often experience the “real world’ mostly like a movie – a synchronistic simulated reality?

Forty two years ago, I was self-identifying as an uptight and unhappy middle-aged secular litigation lawyer on the brink of divorce, when I had an unforgettable “out of body” experience [OOB] which has sparked four decades of spiritual exploration and evolution – so far.

Now I mostly self-identify as eternal spirit enjoying a brief “in a body experience” as an 84 year old retired lawyer and spiritual writer. And I feel blessed with great happiness and gratitude for this precious fleeting lifetime, despite its inevitable ups and downs.

Perhaps my best explanation for being so blessed, is that I’ve enjoyed ever growing deep faith in the mystical mystery of Divinity. Previously, I have explained in essays how “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life” and defined faith as distinguished from belief.

Today I have posted the foregoing profound quotations to help inspire our deep faith. Please read and reflect on them.

Also I’ve embedded below a beautiful youtube video performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s inspiring song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as excerpted from the film version of their classical musical play “Carousel”. The emotions we feel from that performance can also help inspire our deep realization that with faith and hope in our heart we’ll never walk alone.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


2020 Epilogue: Predictions of a faith-based optimist.

Dear Friends,

I write today to share optimistic predictions that with faith we are destined to enjoy ever increasing happiness on our precious planet Earth.

Forty five years ago, after an unforgettable OOB experience, I deeply intuited that thought was the genesis of all phenomenal “reality”. Thereafter I gradually became persuaded by Einstein and experience that “space and time are not conditions in which we live, [but] modes in which we think”; and that our perceived space/time “reality” is “an optical illusion of consciousness.” 

But, I have remained unspeakably grateful and devotional as a passenger on “Spaceship Earth”, awed by its amazing existence in space/time, and profoundly concerned about foolishly unsustainable human disruption of its miraculous ecology.

Thus for many years I’ve observed that survival of Earth-life as we have known it is being catastrophically threatened by a tiny group of autocratic mega-billionaires, who insanely control and exploit of our precious planet. Yet, from a deep faith-based perspective I’ve remained confident that we are ultimately destined to end nefarious psychopathic global rule of humankind. (See https://sillysutras.com/ive-found-a-faith-based-life/)

In 2020, since unconstitutionally ordered under house arrest, as an allegedly viral vulnerable elder, I’ve observed that recent extraordinary and shocking events are at long last awakening a critical mass of humankind to awareness which will end our autocratic oppression. So from my faith-based perspective, our current “new normal” pre-planned coronavirus crisis era of worldwide fear and panic presents a once-in-a-lifetime “tipping point” opportunity for humankind to co-create a new and wonderful world of happiness, harmony and health for everyone everywhere, rather than to degenerate into a locked-down dystopian/Orwellian “Big Brother” era of unprecedented and insidious global human control and enslavement by a few malignant psychopaths.

Thus, today I predict that WE THE PEOPLE, will soon democratically reclaim our freedoms and inalienable constitutional and human rights to overcome unjust and immoral control by a few globalist-autocrats, rather than succumbing to their insidious brainwashing techniques of instilling pervasive societal fears and instigating inter-societal polarized controversies. And as a faith-based optimist I foresee that we can transform the world by intuitively, faithfully and fearlessly following our hearts, not the brainwashed herd, and by non-violently refusing to cooperate with our treacherous governments, institutions and enterprises.

From my perspective, recent extraordinary events – especially the purported pre-planned coronavirus pandemic, and the shocking Memorial Day Minneapolis police murder of Afro-American George Floyd, followed by worldwide protests against racist police violence, are mere symptoms – not causes – of current catastrophes, which we will survive and surmount.

The root cause of all these “new normal” problems is our top-down political/economic system of undemocratic autocratic control over almost 8 billion humans by a tiny transnational group of obscenely rich mega-billionaires. Democracy and empire cannot coexist. So to end endless symptoms of insidious top-down global human control by a few malignant psychopaths, we must and shall replace empire with bottom-up democratic governments, institutions and enterprises emphasizing universal peace and justice, and people over profits.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968


Dr. King’s Prescient Predictions.

During the last year of his life, American civil rights hero and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered many forceful sermons and speeches decrying poverty, racism, the immoral Vietnam war, and economic injustice, and describing riots as the language of the unheard. His words then are proving to be presciently accurate as times have changed.

For example, he predicted that:

“The developed industrial nations of the world, – cannot remain secure islands of prosperity in a seething sea of poverty. A storm is rising against a privileged minority of the earth from which there is no shelter in isolation at armament. – – -The storm will not abate until a just distribution of the fruits of the earth enables man everywhere to live in dignity and human decency.”


In “other America” lectures Dr. King proposed redressing extreme economic inequity by reallocation of national spending priorities and suggested “a guaranteed minimum income for all people, and for our families of our country.”

Privately, Dr. King explicitly supported changing our current US capitalist economic-system. For example, he told family friend Harry Belafonte:

“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” ~ “My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race, and Defiance”, by Harry Belafonte & Michael Shnayerson, page 328

In his historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech Dr. King declared that

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”


“Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as His divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.”
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” “The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”

In the 1960’s Dr. King’s assertions and predictions were considered controversial or ‘unpatriotic’ by many Americans. But in 2020 his eloquent descriptions of 1960’s America have become almost incontrovertible and obvious.

In 1967 the US had large and prosperous middle class, with few unemployed workers, in which one blue collar wage-earner could earn enough to buy a home and support a family with children, while accruing pension benefits permitting an economically secure retirement. The US prison population then included approximately 200,000 inmates. It is now over 2 million.

Since Dr. King’s martyrdom in April, 1968, most of the US middle class has been methodically demolished and impoverished by sustained governmental exploitation and inflation, benefiting only the richest Americans. The purchasing power of most US workers has barely increased, while their costs of essential food, shelter and health care have skyrocketed. So to stay economically afloat, most American households now need two wage earners, and have incurred burdensome lifelong debts for home mortgages, car loans, student loans, payday loans, etc

Meanwhile, an unconscionable wealth gap has arisen between rich and poor Americans. By 2017 just three US mega-billionaires – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos – collectively held more wealth than the bottom 50% of the entire population.

In 2020, since an over-hyped and fraudulent declaration of a coronavirus pandemic crisis, billions of working class people in the US and worldwide, have been illegally locked-down and prevented from engaging in normal economic, political and social activities, So they’ve been losing their supposedly “non-essential’ jobs and small businesses, and some are in imminent danger of becoming homeless and impoverished. Many Americans are already waiting in long food bank lines for necessary nourishment they previously earned for themselves.

Yet, while billions of working class people are thus suffering forced impoverishment and authoritarian police state deprivations of their inherent legal and constitutional human rights and liberties, the combined wealth of US billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, jumped by half a trillion dollars since the onset of the purported COVID-19 pandemic And Gates wants to keep the world locked down until we are all forcibly injected with one of his purported vaccines.

Current worldwide problems and protests are awakening a worldwide “coalition of conscience”.

Because normal activities of billions of people worldwide are now disrupted by immoral coronavirus edicts, causing immense needless fears and sufferings, many people are, at long last, realizing how they are victims of delusional human behaviors which unjustly benefit only mega-rich people and their acolytes. And they are becoming determined to resist and replace those very few people who are malignantly threatening not just human lives, but all Earth-life as we have known it.

Concluding predictions of a faith-based optimist.

With unwavering Gandhian faith that the way of truth and love always prevails, I confidently predict that we are destined to end current psychopathic global rule of humankind. And that a “tipping point” critical mass of humankind will soon end our catastrophic oppression by fearlessly and nonviolently resisting and refusing to follow immoral autocratic edicts which unjustly restrict our innate and constitutional human rights and freedoms.

Thus, humankind are destined to co-create a new and wonderful world of happiness, harmony and health for everyone everywhere, rather than degenerate into a locked-down dystopian/Orwellian “Big Brother” era of unprecedented and insidious global human control and enslavement by a few malignant psychopaths.

Invocation.

May WE THE PEOPLE transform the world
by faithfully and fearlessly following our hearts
to a destined new reality
of abiding peace, justice and goodwill
for all life everywhere.

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner


Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel”.



To “Know Thyself” ask “Who Am I?”

“Know thyself – The unexamined life is not worth living.”
“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”
~ Socrates
“Know thyself and thou wilt know the universe.”
~ Pythagoras
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.”
~ Lao Tzu
“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to ‘who am I?’
and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”
~ Rumi
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
~ William Shakespeare
“Ask and it shall be given; Seek and ye shall find.”
~ Matthew 7:7
“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“That which permeates all, which nothing transcends and which, like the universal space around us, fills everything completely from within and without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman — that thou art.”
~ Shankaracharya
“The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts,
and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.”
“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer, the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Give up all questions except one: “Who am I?” After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The “I am” is certain. The “I am this” is not.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“An ‘identity crisis’ can be life’s greatest opportunity,
because it raises life’s most crucial question – “Who am I?”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



To “Know Thyself” ask “Who Am I?”

Historical overview.

Throughout history saints and sages of every tradition and culture – East and West – have counseled us to “Know thyself.” In the West, this fundamental injunction was attributed to the Greek oracle consulted by Socrates and carved into the Temple of Apollo as: “Gnothi Seauton”.

Eastern saints and mystics for millennia have taught that there is an ultimate goal of life – an ‘enlightened’ state of spiritual awareness bringing permanent happiness and freedom from all worldly bondage. Swami Yogananda Paramahansa, who brought Eastern wisdom to the West in the 20th century, called this spiritual goal “self-realization”.

Who is this “Self” that we are counseled to know or realize?   How can we follow the advice of the saints and sages to “Know thyself”, and so experience “self-realization”?

One of the principal methods to “Know thyself” suggested by mystics and sages is to inquire: “Who am I?” For example, ancient Indian sage Shankara said that spiritual “Knowledge cannot spring up by any other means than the inquiry:
Who am I?”
.

In Hinduism, such self-inquiry is chiefly associated with Advaita-Vedanta, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy. Advaita means non-dualism and its teachings are essentially the same as those of Mahayana Buddhism. Both are aimed at experiencing non-dual Reality.

The ultimate answer to the question “Who Am I?” cannot come from intellect. We can know or realize our “self” only by intuitive experience of “Who Am I?”. However, in the Hindu and Buddhist non-duality paths, powers of discrimination are used to transcend intellect and to reveal the Self via self-realization.

Ron’s “Who Am I?” Story.

Most of us never question our true self-identity, but we assume ourselves to be mere mortal physical life-forms with unique histories, separate from everyone and everything else.

Not until age forty two, did I ever wonder “Who Am I”? Until then, I assumed that I was only my physical body, its thoughts and its story; that I was a middle-aged secular Jewish litigation lawyer, married, with two kids, born in Chicago and living in San Francisco.

But on New Year’s Eve 1974-5, these assumptions were severely shaken. After unwittingly eating a large piece of marijuana-laced cake at a ‘pot luck’ dinner party, I had a dramatically unforgettable out of body experience.

From a bedroom ceiling, I saw my body lying face down on a pillow, and saw each of my thoughts originating outside the body as a vividly colored kaleidoscopic form.

These perceptions seemed very real – not dreamlike or hallucinatory. And they irresistibly raised for me an unprecedented urgent new question: “Who or what am I?”

I reasoned that if I was on the ceiling of the room, while my body was face-down on the bed, I couldn’t be the body; and that if I was on the ceiling of the room, while my thoughts were appearing below me, I couldn’t be the thoughts. And if not my body and not my thoughts, “Who or what am I?”

Thereafter, irresistibly and persistently I began pursuing this previously unexamined question, with intense longing for an answer. This process proved an enormous blessing which changed my life forever.

It convinced me that “Who Am I?” can be the most important question that anyone can ever ask; that by deeply reflecting on our true self-identity and persistently inquiring: “Who Am I?” we can ultimately experience a profound, life-enhancing psychological transformation process.
[See “At Mid-life, a Rebirth to a New Life ~ Ron’s Memoirs”]

Here’s what happened:

After irresistibly wondering “Who am I?” for fifteen months, at age forty two, (unaware of any apt spiritual teachings) I was given the answer to that question, and realized my true self-identity as pure awareness, rather than as my physical body, its thoughts and aggregate experiences. 

Whereupon I experienced a profound and unforgettable mid-life spiritual awakening and rebirth, which irreversibly ended my prior paradigms of Self-identity and Reality. But this awakening didn’t result in ‘instant enlightenment’. Instead, my epiphany began a continuing process of increasingly remembering that beyond this space/time world, we all are eternal spirit and universal awareness, not just mortal bodies and their thoughts.

Thereby I’ve enjoyed a previously unimagined new life phase of ever increasing peace of mind, happiness, gratitude, and faith in the mystery of Divinity. And since that awakening, I’ve been blessed by constantly learning from my life’s experiences.

For example, after the rebirth event, I began experiencing numerous unprecedented mystical or psychic subtle energy phenomena. And I became infused with so much vital energy that for several months I hardly needed sleep. I was puzzled and wondered what was happening to me. Only then did I synchronistically begin learning answers in teachings of Eastern mysticism, like nondualism.  However, in daily life I continued to consider myself as a secular Hebrew lawyer, and remained unaware and uninspired by any supposed spiritual goal, until meeting my teacher.

Becoming a “born-again Hindu”:

Then at age forty four, after repeatedly seeing inner visions of a bearded elderly man, I synchronistically met my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, a venerable 100 year old Hindu meditation yogi, from whom I received shaktipat initiation.   Guruji lived until age 116, and since his mahasamadhi transition in 1994 his guiding presence has remained in my heart.

After meeting Guruji, I declared myself to be a “born-again Hindu” and first began learning of the spiritual ‘goal’ sometimes called Self-realization or “enlightenment”. And, that upon Self-realization the spiritual ‘practitioner’ is dissolved into yogic union with the mystery of infinite divinity; rather than becoming a supposedly separate “enlightened” person.

According to Guruji, shaktipat initiation and his prescribed practices awakened and enhanced an evolutionary purification process of kundalini life-force energies which purify the subtle bodies and nervous system by gradually removing accumulated karmic impressions or seeds [samskaras or vasanas], which cause undesirable habits and patterns. Sometimes these awakening life-force energies manifest through spontaneous physical, mental, or emotional actions or behaviors, which Guruji called kriyas.

Since my awakening experience, for over four decades I have continued to spontaneously experience unpremeditated tears, behaviors, feelings and sensations which have helped further my spiritual evolution, and through which I have joyfully attained utmost gratitude for this blessed life.

From “born-again Hindu” to “uncertain Undo” :

For many years, I attended public satsangs and followed Guruji’s prescribed practices to advance the purification process of undoing negative karmic conditioning. Then soon after Guruji’s transition, I mostly stopped relying on outer spiritual authorities and events, and reclusively focused within to intuitively advance the evolutionary kundalini purification process sparked by my shaktipat initiation of undoing negative karmic conditioning.

Whereupon, I declared myself to be an “uncertain Undo”, rather than “born-again Hindu”. And I began writing aphorisms like “Undo Ego” and composing whimsical sutras like:


“On the path of undo we’ll never be through
’til we’re an undone ONE.”


Benefits from undoing ego:

Today, over four decades since asking “Who Am I?”, and realizing my true self-identity as pure awareness, I’m still not fully ‘undone’. So ego attrition continues. 

But as I’ve continued to more and more self-identify as spirit rather than body/mind, I’ve experientially found faith beyond belief, beyond dogmas or theology.    And I’m happier and more grateful for this precious lifetime than ever before.  (See https://sillysutras.com/ive-found-a-faith-based-life/)

Thus, from inner and outer experience, I’ve found that nondualism self-inquiry to “Know thyself” by asking “Who Am I?” can be supremely rewarding.

So today’s posting is dedicated to encouraging such self-inquiry, with discovery and undoing of our mistaken ego-mind self-identity propensities, thereby ending consequent karmic sufferings.


Invocation:

By persistently questioning “Who Am I?”,
May we constantly undo ego illusions,
And thereby live ever happier lives,
Until ultimately as “An undone ONE!”
We “Know our Self”
as Eternal –

LOVE.

And so it shall be!


Ron Rattner

Honoring Abraham Lincoln
on Presidents’ Day, 2020

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain –
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom –
and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

~ Abraham Lincoln – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863
“With malice toward none, with charity for all,
with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right,
let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
~ Abraham Lincoln – Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
“I am a firm believer in the people.
If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.
The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (Feb 12, 1809 – Apr 15, 1865)

Dear Friends,

Happy Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, which is remembered annually as the U.S. “Presidents’ Day” national holiday (together with President George Washington’s birthday).

Lincoln was President during the American Civil War, in which over 600,000 non-native Americans died; more than during all its other wars, from the Revolution through Vietnam.

Thereafter, in Lincoln’s famous address dedicating a Gettysburg national cemetery, he eloquently invoked divine providence, and called for a national rebirth of equal rights, liberty and democracy, proclaiming:

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

~ Abraham Lincoln – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863

Democracy and empire do not coexist.

Contrary to Lincoln’s aspiration and dedication, the USA has become a colossal and hegemonic world empire perpetually involved in wars, either directly or vicariously, in ways Lincoln probably could have never imagined.
It is possible that the US has killed more than 20 million people in 37 “victim nations” just since World War II, including millions of non-combatant civilian women and children.

Moreover, the American government is not a ‘bottom-up’ democracy.
Lincoln’s egalitarian ideal of a US government “of the people, by the people, for the people” was insidiously co-opted by sociopathic bankers and billionaires, who have stealthily instigated a ‘top-down’ empire of, by and for transnational corporations and obscenely wealthy multinational plutocrats, constituting a mere tiny fraction of 1% of Humankind.

Even ex-president Jimmy Carter has publicly recognized that the US is no longer a democracy.
(See https://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/jimmy-carter-is-correct-t_b_7922788.html
https://theintercept.com/2015/07/30/jimmy-carter-u-s-oligarchy-unlimited-political-bribery/
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/09/13/jimmy-carter-speaks-out-against-us-oligarchy-and-trumps-diplomatic-failures)

Furthermore, since Donald Trump’s election as US President, recent impeachment proceedings against him, and current campaigns to replace or re-elect him in 2020, there has been much American civil discord, concurrent with unprecedented worldwide turmoil, social unrest and adversity.

Countless people are displaying angry, divisive and violent emotions, and/or experiencing serious deprivations or repressions of human rights, with regressions of social progress. Moreover, many justifiably fear an imminent nuclear holocaust or climate catastrophe ending life on Earth as we’ve known it.

Thus, while some Americans celebrate their past presidents during this Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, others will be protesting against Trump, or campaigning for or against his re-election which they see as threatening or protecting their interests worldwide. But few will protest against dangers of American empire or disappearance of American democracy.

Whether or not we are citizens of the American empire, whatever may be our political, cultural, generational, or geographical perspectives, we all share overriding common needs and aspirations which are critically threatened by imminently disastrous world crises involving U.S. policies. So it is appropriate for us all to seriously reflect on Presidents’ Day about the current state of our precious planet.

Evolutionary opportunity.

These are obviously critical times of immense worldwide jeopardy and suffering. But they can also afford us extraordinary evolutionary opportunities for conscientiously promoting world peace and justice, and for equitably redistributing limited planetary resources which are now greedily and unsustainably monopolized, hidden or hoarded by a few obscenely rich billionaires. And thereby we have opportunities for rededicating Humanity to the sanctity of all life on Earth.

As His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has observed:

“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.”

Thus, it is appropriate for us to collectively consider how we can do most good for ourselves and others.

And how our precious planet’s societies, institutions and enterprises can be democratically guided bottom-up for common good by humble, harmonious, and compassionate people, rather than unsustainably dominated top-down by and for obscenely greedy and malignantly exploitive billionaire bankers, sociopaths or plutocrats.

Honoring Lincoln’s aspirations.

By recognizing these immense evolutionary opportunities, let us join together to honor and further Lincoln’s eloquently articulated timeless aspirations that we:

“achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations” .. “with malice toward none, [and] with charity for all”, through “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

Invocation.

May we thereby honor the sanctity of universal peace and justice,
for the welfare of the World and all life thereon.

And may we co-dependently and cooperatively co-exist, peacefully, democratically, harmoniously and happily, with each other and with all other life on our precious planet, until ultimately we shall realize our common Self-identity –

As the eternal light of timeless LOVE.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner