“If you could get rid of yourself just once,
the secret of secrets would open to you.
The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe
would appear on the mirror of your perception.”
“Be empty of worrying,
Think of Who Created Thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?”
Forget who you think you are
to Know what you really are.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence.
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
Voice In My Head?
There’s a voice in my head.
It keeps talking to itself and to me,
Telling me my thoughts,
and telling me what to do,
and sometimes judging me.
What is it? Who is it? Is it me?
And someone’s always listening to that voice in my head.
What is it? Who is it? Is it me?
And someone’s always thinking for me.
What is it? Who is it? Is it me?
If I am that silent voice in my head constantly talking
to itself and to me, am I crazy?
If I was always talking to myself out loud
(without a cell phone at my ear),
I’d be committed to a psychiatric ward.
Sometimes I don’t think at all, and then there’s no voice in my head.
But, I’m still aware and exist and can listen to other things.
So how can I be my thoughts or the voice in my head,
if I’m still here when they’re not there?
So can someone other than that voice in my head please tell me:
Who’s talking? Who’s thinking? Who’s listening?
Who am I?
Ron’s recitation of “Voice In My Head”
Ron’s Explanation and Comments on “Voice in My Head”.
The foregoing poem was inspired and composed while I was processing unprecedented experiences and observations after my midlife spiritual awakening.
At age forty two I suddenly realized that I was not merely my physical body, its name and story, or its thoughts – the “voice in my head” – but that my true self identity is universal Awareness. That self identity experience was followed by previously unimagined, transformative and unprecedented experiences of peace, inner light, subtle energies and ecstasy.
Prior to that transformative experience, I was largely ignorant of Eastern or other spiritual teachings. But, spurred by great curiosity about what had happened to me, I gradually discovered that many spiritual teachings identified “ego” – our mistaken mental self image about who and what we truly are – as the principal barrier to spiritual “enlightenment”. And – especially from contemporary mindfulness teachings – I learned that identifying with the “voice in the head” was a major symptom of ego’s mistaken self image.
Though at midlife I temporarily transcended ego identity, it’s kept recurring while steadily diminishing since then. So I have been experiencing gradual ego attrition with ever growing happiness and fulfillment. Today I am happier than ever before, but still learning and transforming and rarely identifying with the “voice in my head”.
Of all contemporary spiritual teachings I’ve read about “ego” and “voice in the head”, I especially endorse those of Eckhart Tolle in which he cogently explains how “thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence”. [see e.g. https://sillysutras.com/what-is-ego/ ]
The foregoing poem about “Voice in My Head” was based on my mystical experiences before I discovered Tolle’s teachings. But Tolle’s teachings about “ego” and “voice in the head” are especially powerful and helpful because they are based upon his extraordinarily powerful permanent spiritual awakening experience. (see https://sillysutras.com/eckhart-tolle-spiritual-awakening-story-and-teachings/)
Because often we can best assimilate and actuate spiritual principles through parables and stories, Eckhart Tolle’s awakening stories can help us comprehend the crucial transformative importance of self identification with eternal Awareness rather than with ego’s “voice in our head”.
In Tolle’s noteworthy book, A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Chapter Two, he observes that “Some people never forget the first time they disidentified from their thoughts and thus briefly experienced the shift in identity from being the content of their mind to being the awareness in the background.”
Whereupon he narrates his own such experience which happened several years before his dramatic permanent awakening experience. It is hereafter excerpted, with my sincere recommendation that if interested you read and reflect on Tolle’s teachings.
THE VOICE IN THE HEAD – excerpted from A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
That first glimpse of awareness came to me when I was a first year
student at the University of London. I would take the tube (subway) twice a
week to go to the university library, usually around nine o’clock in the
morning, toward the end of the rush hour. One time a woman in her early
thirties sat opposite me. I had seen her before a few times on that train. One
could not help but notice her. Although the train was full, the seats on either
side of her were unoccupied, the reason being, no doubt, that she appeared to
be quite insane. She looked extremely tense and talked to herself incessantly
in a loud and angry voice. She was so absorbed in her thoughts that she was
totally unaware, it seemed, of other people or her surroundings. Her head
was facing downward and slightly to the left, as if she were addressing
someone sitting in the empty seat next to her. Although I don’t remember the
precise content, her monologue went something like this: “And then she said
to me… so I said to her you are a liar how dare you accuse me of… when
you are the one who has always taken advantage of me I trusted you and you
betrayed my trust…” There was the angry tone in her voice of someone who
has been wronged, who needs to defend her position lest she become
As the train approached Tottenham Court Road Station, she stood up
and walked toward the door with still no break in the stream of words
coming out of her mouth. That was my stop too, so I got off behind her. At
street level, she began to walk toward Bedford Square, still engaged in her
imaginary dialogue, still angrily accusing and asserting her position. My
curiosity aroused, I decided to follow her as long as she was walking in the
same general direction I had to go in. Although engrossed in her imaginary
dialogue, she seemed to know where she was going. Soon we were within
sight of the imposing structure of Senate House, a 1930’s highrise, the
university’s central administrative building and library. I was shocked. Was it
possible that we were going to the same place? Yes, that’s’ where she was
heading. Was she a teacher, student, an office worker, a librarian? Maybe she
was some psychologist’s research project. I never knew the answer. I walked
twenty steps behind her, and by the time I entered the building (which
ironically was the location of the headquarters of the “Mind Police” in the
film version of George Orwell’s novel, 1984), she had already been
swallowed up by one of the elevators.
I was somewhat taken aback by what I had just witnessed. A mature
first year student at twenty five, I saw myself as an intellectual in the
making, and I was convinced that all the answers to the dilemmas of human
existence could be found through the intellect, that is to say, by thinking. I
didn’t realize yet that thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of
human existence. I looked upon the professors as sages who had all the
answers and upon the university as the temple of knowledge. How could an
insane person like her be part of this?
I was still thinking about her when I was in the men’s room prior to
entering the library. As I was washing my hands, I thought: I hope I don’t
end up like her. The man next to me looked briefly in my direction, and I
suddenly was shocked when I realized that I hadn’t just thought those words,
but mumbled them aloud. “Oh my God, I’m already like her,” I thought.
Wasn’t my mind as incessantly active as hers? There were only minor
differences between us. The predominant underlying emotion behind her
thinking seemed to be anger. In my case, it was mostly anxiety. She thought
out loud. I thought – mostly – in my head. If she was mad, then everyone
was mad, including myself. There were differences in degree only.
The above incident not only gave me a first glimpse of awareness, it
also planted the first doubt as to the absolute validity of the human intellect.
A few months later, something tragic happened that made my doubt grow. On
a Monday morning, we arrived for a lecture to be given by a professor whose
mind I admired greatly, only to be told that sadly he had committed suicide
sometime during the weekend by shooting himself. I was stunned. He was a
highly respected teacher and seemed to have all the answers. However, I
could as yet see no alternative to the cultivation of thought. I didn’t realize
yet that thinking is only a tiny aspect of the consciousness that we are, nor
did I know anything about the ego, let alone being able to detect it within
May our deep reflections on perennial “voice in the head” questions raised by the foregoing quotations, poem and Eckhart Tolle story encourage our insightful observations and answers, helping us live ever happier and more peaceful lives.
And so may it be!
“Faith is different from proof;
the latter is human, the former is a gift from God.”
~ 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 – The Merging of Spirit and Science
I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life
My life has become faith-based.
I follow my faith,
but I’m not affiliated
with any organized religion or other belief system.
After many years of questioning,
I’ve found faith beyond belief,
beyond dogmas or theology.
I’ve found faith in everything everywhere,
and in the impenetrable Mystery
beyond every form or phenomenon.
I’ve found faith in my Self and in Nature.
I’ve found the faith to follow my Heart.
Mine is not a blind faith based on fear or doubt,
or on inculcated or adopted ideas of others.
It is an abiding inner knowledge,
flowing from a long life
of reflective personal and trans-personal
experience and observation;
An insight arising from – but transcending – reason,
consistent and harmonious with
the highest welfare and unity of all Life.
My life experience has shown that our universe
is a magnificent, marvelous, miraculous and awe-inspiring “reality”;
That immanent in each life-form and in all manifestation
is an ineffable eternal Awareness:
An Intelligence or Divinity
which is the mysterious matrix,
Essence and Source of our reality.
My life experience has thus
indelibly instilled in me
an abiding faith in that Source*
As a purposeful evolutionary impetus in each of us;
A faith that from that Source
we get what we need when we need it,
Assuring that ultimately everything happens for the best,
to promote our evolution;
A faith that we are inevitably evolving toward
harmonious universal expression of greatest good –
As Peace, Truth, Joy, Love, and Compassion.
With such Faith, I am empowered to follow my Heart,
without worry, fear or doubt;
To accept inevitable and inescapable
life difficulties and uncertainties,
and yet to live openly, spontaneously and authentically.
So, without any religious affiliation,
I’ve become a faithful follower:
I follow my Faith;
I follow the Way;
I follow my Heart.
And this above all,
It is my Faith that enables me to be true to my Self.
*Innumerable names – God, Love, Nature, etc. – may be used to signify that Source or any of its infinite aspects. Or as in the Jewish tradition it may be acknowledged that no name can denominate “That” which is beyond conception or expression – since naming limits the illimitable and ineffable Infinite Reality.
Ron’s audio recitation of “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life”
Ron’s 2019 memoir epilogue to “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life”
The foregoing poem explains insights arising from previously unimagined paradigms of “reality” and “self-identity”, experienced following a profound 1976 midlife awakening. It was composed during a post-retirement reclusive period, and first posted soon after the 2010 launching of SillySutras.com.
Since composing “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life”, I’ve kept experiencing an evolutionary awakening process, and sharing further spiritual insights therefrom. And since then I have continued to be more than ever blessed with a “faith-based life”.
My miraculous survival and healing from a 2014 near death taxicab rundown, has sparked subtly significant attitudinal changes, bringing unprecedented happiness and gratitude for this precious human lifetime, with evolutionary acceptance of Life even beyond that described in the above original essay/poem.
With enhanced faith in the Divine, rather than mere belief, I have now given my ‘irrevocable power of attorney” to The Lone Arranger to resolve all worldly problems and sufferings, and to forgivingly ‘adjudge’ all those who ignorantly cause them.
And more than ever before, I now see this world mostly as a Divine play of consciousness – like a marvelous movie, or mental mirage or simulated holographic ‘reality’ – without fear of physical death, and with absolute Faith in its ultimate Divine denouement.
These verses are respectfully offered to inspire our ever expanding
faith-based acceptance of Life, as it is,
With ever growing Peace, Truth, Joy, Love, and Compassion.
And so may it be!
“May the Lord give you peace.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi
“You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
On December 1st, 2018 my unforgettable friend Carol Schuldt painlessly left her body at age 85, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and heart failure. Thereafter, on December 8th, her body was interred in a wild nature place overlooking the Pacific Ocean, after spontaneous rituals and stories were shared by Carol’s friends on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
Carol was a a legendary San Franciscan, sometimes known as ‘Queen of the Beach’ or ‘Mother Teresa of the Sunset’. She lived as a life-long nature lover and natural born shaman, authentically, intuitively, generously and spontaneously. (See Carol’s SF Chronicle obituary)
Carol and I had innumerable synchronistic encounters, after we first met in the 1980’s. And we repeatedly shared our many ‘miraculous’ synchronicity stories (a few of which are posted here on SillySutras.com).
Before meeting Carol, I miraculously ‘discovered’ and became a lover of St. Francis of Assisi. And soon after meeting Carol, I regarded her as a ‘female St. Francis’ who constantly communed with Nature, even with the sun, the moon, and many nonhuman lifeforms.
So in tribute to Carol’s transition, I write now about her spiritual history, and to tell how wistfully and intuitively I bid her farewell through our shared synchronistic harmony with St. Francis of Assisi.
Summary of Carol’s spiritual history.
Carol and I first met long ago while sitting at Aquatic Beach on San Francisco Bay (across from Ghirardelli Square), where I walked and where she often came to escape ocean fog and swim in the sun (without a wet suit). Afterwards we exchanged many “miracle” stories about our lives stemming from our countless experiences of synchronicities, or meaningful ‘coincidences’.
I deeply appreciated Carol as an amazingly free spirit with great instinctive wisdom and generosity. Before we met, she’d already become a ‘living legend’ throughout and beyond her San Francisco ocean front neighborhood. And many stories were written or told about her. For example, an excellent story: “A Benevolent Queen of the Beach” appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 25, 2000. And in 2005 Carol was interviewed on film by the SF Public Library, about her history and life in the ‘hippie’ 1960’s.
The Chronicle article told of Carol’s exceptional inner wisdom even from childhood, when at Catholic school she adamantly refused to worship a bloody Christ on a crucifix, and was the only child exempted therefrom by the nuns, who recognized her wisdom.
The article also told how Carol had dedicated her life to helping troubled souls – especially young people. But that paradoxically Carol experienced great family tragedy with all of her three children: her two daughters whose lives were lastingly impacted by drug addiction, and her son Pete who was permanently brain damaged in a childhood car accident. Because of her great generosity, especially toward needy young people, Carol was sometimes known as the “Mother Teresa of the Sunset District”. And as a daily swimmer/surfer she also became known as ‘Queen of the Beach’.
From childhood Carol was an extraordinarily intuitive free spirit. She never knowingly followed any prescribed Western or Eastern religious path, despite attempted childhood Catholic inculcation. Instead, she instinctively followed her own unique spiritual path of communing with Nature while surfing, swimming, sunning, hiking, biking, organic gardening, and helping troubled souls – especially young people.
Carol’s muraled house and organic garden.
Carol’s muraled house and aesthetic organic garden have symbolized her unique lifestyle as a ‘female St. Francis’. Especially noteworthy is an artistically beautiful St. Francis of Assisi “Peace & Joy” mural at her home’s entryway – a delightfully surprising tourist attraction for visitors to San Francisco’s ocean beach area. On Carol’s roof top (above the mural) is an artistic portrayal of ‘Brother sun’, her main deity, and unfurled above the roof is a red Tibetan prayer flag, symbolizing Carol’s respect for the Tibetan culture and Dalai Lama.
Thus Carol’s house has eloquently exemplified her simple inner-directed life of instinctively communing with Nature, often without concern for outer–directed societal standards.
Ron’s Synchronicity Story: “Goodbye St. Francis”= Farewell Carol
During forty years of living in the same San Francisco high-rise hermitage, my apartment has been adorned with many pictures and portrayals of St. Francis, my favorite saint, and of the peace prayer which he inspired. And until recently St. Francis in a stone statue also presided over my outside deck garden.
But in July 2018, I was obliged to remove everything from my outdoor deck so it could be renovated and repainted. Thereafter, I realized that I could no longer physically maintain my deck-top garden. So I decided to give away the plants and planters blessed by my St. Francis statue. While I’ve been looking for new homes for my plants, the St. Francis statue has been stored in an inconspicuous corner of my bedroom which is temporarily filled with many deck plants.
On December 1, 2018, my long-time neighbor and community gardener friend, Jan Monaghan, came to take pictures of my plants and planters, to help me find a new home for them. While showing Jan the St. Francis statue, I suddenly and inexplicably started crying, thinking and saying “goodbye Saint Francis”. Thereafter for several hours I remained tearful.
The next day, Sunday December 2nd, I learned (via email) that Carol’s soul had departed her body Saturday evening, and I intuited that while Ron was tearfully saying goodbye to St. Francis Carol’s soul was astrally bidding Ron ‘adieu’.
On Monday morning, realizing that my St. Francis statue needed an appropriate new place to stand, I decided to move it to my my high-rise hermitage view living room, where I spend most indoor waking hours. So I telepathically told the saint in the statue that (on returning from a brief walk) I was moving him to a perfect place on my living room wool carpet, and that I would find an appropriate indoor pedestal for him there ASAP.
Soon thereafter, I took a brief walk on nearby Vallejo street. After walking for about fifteen minutes I noticed an amazing manifestation miracle. Amongst a curbside pile of discarded objects, I saw a perfect pedestal for St. Francis, which I carried home. On returning home, I moved St. Francis to a new perfect place on my living room carpet where he now resides on that miraculously manifested pedestal. And just as Carol’s St. Francis mural appears below a red Tibetan roof-top prayer flag, my St. Francis statue stands beneath a red Tibetan Kalachakra thangka mandala, symbolizing Ron’s respect for the Tibetan culture, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Moral of the story?
“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great,
pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature,
and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.”
~ Deepak Chopra, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire
“Miraculous synchronicities in time,
are meaningful reminders of eternal Reality
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
After briefly blessing this world as a female St Francis,
the divine soul we’ve known as Carol Schuldt,
has returned to the Sun,
from where she’ll reappear eternally
for endless new lifetime adventures,
in endless new forms, of
And so it shall be!
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.”
“… joy and sorrow are inseparable. . .
together they come and when one sits alone with you . . .
remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,
the more joy you can contain.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
From Blanked Out to Blissed Out
After a period of many overcast and rainy San Francisco days, I awakened on a Monday morning gratefully beholding the sun shining on the City and the Bay. So, I decided to enjoy the day with a brisk morning walk in the sun before my noon appointment at Soul Works chiropractic.
But first, I went on-line and attended to current emails and SillySutras.com website issues. Consulting ‘Dr. Google’, I discovered a suggested code change which might correct a non-functioning website plugin that had stopped working months ago. Then, shortly before I planned to begin my walk in the sun, I decided to try correcting the faulty plugin, and made the suggested code change. But when I pushed the “save” button at the bottom of the plugin edit page, everything went blank – both SillySutras.com and my WordPress administrative dock.
So, it appeared that my website was down and blanked out, and that – unable to access my administrative page – I needed immediate help from others to fix it. But I realized that if I then tried getting help, I wouldn’t have time for a walk by the Bay, and my noon chiropractic appointment. Nonetheless, instead of postponing my walk and appointment, I decided intuitively to walk in the sun and to my chiropractic appointment leaving the website blanked-out. That spontaneous decision was contrary to my long-time lawyer’s habit of quickly and compulsively correcting any such problems.
After a delightfully brisk walk through Fort Mason open space and onto the SF Municipal Pier jutting into SF Bay, I arrived at Soul Works chiropractic in a very happy mood. But I was still wondering about my blanked-out website. So I asked Adriene, the lovely new Soul Works receptionist, if she would check SillySutras.com on her computer to see if it was visible or down.
Adriene told me that “synchronistically” she too had a WordPress website, and she immediately understood my problem. She checked my website on-line and found that it was blank – just a white page with absolutely no public display or data. So, she recommended that I contact my web hosting service as soon as possible.
At other times I might have become tense or upset and postponed my chiropractic session until after arranging to fix my crashed website. But, somehow, through all of this I stayed calm, and I felt that the synchronicity of talking to Adriene who had her own website using the identical WordPress platform that ran SillySutras.com was a sign from the Universe that I was in the right place at the right time. Moreover, after my wonderful brisk walk beside the Bay I was feeling especially happy and peaceful.
So in that happy state, I stretched out on the chiropractic table, stilled my mind, and began deep relaxed breathing. Then, while lying prone on the chiropractor’s table with a ‘blanked-out’ mind, I suddenly saw the day’s ‘blanked-out’ website incident as a ‘cosmic joke’, testing whether Ron would witness it non-reactively and respond peacefully and appropriately – or whether he’d react reflexively, emotionally and impulsively. Thereupon, with that realization, I went into a state of bliss and was laughing continuously – sometimes singing – for half an hour.
Over thirty years ago, while driving home to San Francisco from a retreat with my beloved Guru, Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I was suddenly taken out of my body and into a very subtle higher spiritual realm from which this world appeared as a mere play of consciousness – a sort of cosmic joke – where every appearance and happening was causally pre-determined by Cosmic Consciousness.
Though that experience was life-changing and unforgettable, it is difficult for me to mindfully remember it in daily life, especially when viewing with compassion, and sometimes with tears, the disharmony and terrible suffering of Humankind and other life in this crazy world. But on the Soul Works chiropractic table with a blanked-out mind, I remembered the ‘cosmic joke’ blissfully, and laughed continuously.
Emerging from Soul Works, I realized that it was infinitely more important for Ron to access his inner bliss with a ‘blanked-out’ mind, than his Silly Sutra writings on a ‘blanked-out’ website. So that Monday’s website emergency proved a disguised blessing, affording Ron an opportunity to witness his website crash dispassionately and non-reactively, and, hopefully to learn from that experience.
Moral of the story:
Every adverse experience may be a disguised blessing – an opportunity to learn something important. And synchronicities seen during such experiences can be signs that we are “in the flow” at the right time and place, despite apparent problems. viz.
“When events seeming random, happen in tandem,
it’s then we know we’re in the flow.”
Life on earth has its unavoidable ‘ups and downs’ – its inevitable difficulties. So learning to experience life’s adversities skillfully and with equanimity helps us live happier lives and furthers our evolution.
Here is a previously posted silly sutras poem which encapsulates the inevitability of life’s ‘ups and downs’:
In duality domain
wrapped in pain.
Within each joy
is an oy/oy/oy.
So, when you’re feeling forlorn,
Misery is the mother of Bliss.
PS. If you are reading this posting on SillySutras.com, you know that it is no longer blanked-out, and that Ron’s editing mistake was completely corrected after he enjoyed a few blissed out hours with a blanked-out mind. Hurray!
On returning home from Soul Works I found an email from Lana Walker, my professional website advisor. I immediately replied telling her of the website white-out problem, which she quickly fixed a few hours after it began. And more people accessed the website that Monday, than any other day that week.
“We must believe in free will,
we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Friedrich Schiller
“Since we cannot change reality,
let us change the eyes which see reality.”
~ Nikos Kazantzakis
“Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust –
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
~ Albert Einstein
“What really interests me is whether God had any Choice in the creation of the world.”
~ Albert Einstein
“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“Inflamed by greed, incensed by hate, confused by delusion, overcome by them, obsessed by mind, a man chooses for his own affliction, for others’ affliction, for the affliction of both and experiences pain and grief”
“Life is the sum of all your choices.”
~ Albert Camus
“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it,
that is in itself a choice.”
~ William James
“God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.
Take which you please – you can never have both.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.”
~ Leo Buscaglia
“I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.”
~ A Course In Miracles
“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
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.
Therefore choose life.”
~ Deuteronomy 30:19
“Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him, and then choose that way with all his strength. ”
~ Hasidic Saying
Remember God, forget the rest.
Forget who you think you are,
to know what you really are.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Let never day nor night unhallow’d pass,
But still remember what the Lord hath done.”
~ William Shakespeare
There is only one time that is important – Now!
It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.
~ Leo Tolstoy
Don’t forget what you knew
before you withdrew,
from dwelling in Heaven’s domain.
Recall your affinity,
with dazzling Divinity,
and in that Presence remain.
Remember with gratitude,
life is beatitude,
even its sorrows and pain;
For we’re all in God’s Grace,
every time, every place,
Forever (S)HE will reign!
Ron’s audio singing of Remember
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all,
then accept it and live up to it.”
“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
Be an Open Skeptic
Be a skeptic.
Question the unquestionable.
Contest “common wisdom”.
Hear the heretic, whose words are prophetic.
Be ever open, to receiving uncommon wisdom –
From your Heart!
Ron’s audio recitation of Be an Open Skeptic
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
Gandhi’s appearance as my inner guide began a synchronistic sequence of connections with Hindu teachings and teachers.
Soon after est and Silva, Allen Chase, the same friend who had urged me to take the est training, successfully importuned me to read a book called “Be Here Now”. It told about the spiritual transformation of Dr. Richard Alpert, Harvard Ph.D, into Baba Ram Dass, a Western teacher of Eastern wisdom, after meeting his Hindu guru – Neem Karoli Baba.
“Be Here Now” was my first memorable exposure to Hindu and other Eastern teachings. It was for me an extraordinary book, unlike any other I’d ever before seen or read. Filled with beautiful calligraphy, art, and photos, it imaginatively presented a fascinating melange of Eastern ideas previously unknown to me.
“Be Here Now” concluded with a sort of spiritual ‘cook book’ section, with many suggestions and ‘recipes’ for various spiritual practices. Some suggestions interested me though I didn’t immediately adopt any of them. But the book planted seeds for spiritual practices which I later adopted. The first of these practices – simple repetition as a mantra of the word “Rama”, a Hindu name for God – soon manifested in my life, in a surprising way and with remarkable continuing consequences.
Shortly after reading “Be Here Now”, in June 1977 I spent several days in Honolulu, Hawaii, where I was taking depositions. I stayed at a beautiful hotel on the outskirts of the city near a state park, and I decided to linger for the weekend after conclusion of the depositions.
Returning to the hotel after the depositions, I had time for a late Friday afternoon walk in the state park which was a ‘jungle-like’ hillside area of lush tropical plant-life. Dressed only in very light clothing, I began walking upward on a narrow trail into the tropical wilderness area.
As I walked up, I ‘spaced-out’ and stopped paying close attention to the trail or the environment. After a while I suddenly realized that I had left the trail and was lost in the ‘jungle’; and, that it was getting late and soon would be night-time. I unsuccessfully searched for a trail through the seemingly impassible jungle undergrowth, which would guide me down and out of the hillside wilderness area. But I couldn’t find any path. Gradually, I became more and more apprehensive, afraid of being lost there, hungry and chilled through the night, without the comfort of my luxurious hotel accommodations.
Then something extraordinary happened. For the first time in my life, spurred by fear I began, spontaneously repeating out loud “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama…” – thereby urgently invoking some Divine solution to my dilemma. And soon I experienced an “Ahaa moment” providing that solution.
Suddenly, I realized that a shallow meandering mountain stream which I had been crossing was flowing down the hill and out into the ocean. I stepped gingerly into the rocky stream bed and followed its twisting path down and out of the jungle park.
As I walked downward in the stream bed I kept repeating “Rama” “Rama”, “Rama”, “Rama”…….until I was out of the nature area and back at my hotel, just before dinner time.
Retrospectively, I now view this experience as an important metaphoric message for me and perhaps others on a spiritual path, who may feel fearful or lost and unable to find or reach their Divine destination: “What you seek is in plain (in)sight. So, fear not and stop searching in all directions. Just let go, and go with the flow”.
On returning to my hotel room, I felt extraordinarily peaceful, but very “strange” and different than ever before. In this strange state, as I was about to get ready for dinner, I gazed into a large dressing room mirror and beheld in amazement my image reflected as never before. I perceived my face and head enveloped in a beautiful multi-colored aura, like auras I had seen portrayed on some ancient religious icons.
Thereupon, instead of going down for dinner in a hotel restaurant, I sat for hours virtually thoughtless on a dressing room bench intently gazing in wonder at my mirrored auric image.
On awakening Saturday morning, I immediately recalled with wonder this unprecedented experience. Whereupon, there ensued an inner dialogue between a “voice in my head” and my intuition. Every time my heart was uplifted by recalling that beautiful experience, the ‘voice’ told me that I’d been hallucinating, and hadn’t really seen anything unusual. So, I went out to the beach that morning in a state of mental confusion.
It was a beautiful calm and sunny day with a few white wispy clouds in the sky. But my mind was not calm. As I sat in the sand, I kept wondering whether or not I had really seen that beautiful multi-colored aura. But finally I intuitively resolved my inner debate, and thought: “Yes, it definitely was a ‘real’ aura, but I’m not sure I remember all its beautiful colors. What were they?”
Thereupon, I looked up and beheld a lovely rainbow, with the very same colors I’d seen in the aura. While I had been lost in thought, a couple of dark clouds had appeared with a quickly passing light tropical shower, leaving in its wake the fleeting rainbow.
I took the sudden appearance of the rainbow as Divine confirmation of my aura experience. Retrospectively, I see that the rainbow’s unexpected appearance, was one of innumerable continuing synchronicities which have blessed and guided my inner transformation process and given clues for my ever unfolding spiritual mystery story, which I will continue sharing with you.
“You must be the change
you want to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart,
cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“A man is but the product of his thoughts;
what he thinks, he becomes.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Soon after my positive experience at the est seminar, I learned that some of est’s intriguing ideas about how thoughts and habits influence our lives had been borrowed by Werner Erhard from another self-help seminar, Silva Mind Control. I learned too that the Silva program supposedly taught how to manifest a happier life using positive thinking, visualization, and self-hypnosis techniques; that it claimed to teach so-called right brain thinking to foster clairvoyance and intuitive access to higher intelligence. All of this greatly interested me, so I decided to enroll in a Silva workshop.
The Silva seminar turned out even more influential for me than est because it sparked amazing new spiritual experiences which shattered old beliefs and raised new questions about death and “reality”. In contrast to the hundreds at est trainings, there were less than twenty participants at the Silva program I attended.
The program began with the Silva teacher’s explanation of how our minds influence our lives. Conflating mind and brain, he emphasized that the mind becomes much more effective as it becomes more focused in deeper states, and he then taught how to go into right brain “alpha wave” states of consciousness through self-hypnosis techniques.
I don’t believe that Silva’s mind/brain analysis was accurate. But the Silva self-hypnosis and visualization techniques worked for me. They provided my first structured introduction to meditative states of awareness, in which I experienced extraordinary new glimpses of clairvoyance, visualization and inner communication of higher wisdom.
Here’s what happened.
Near the end of the four day Silva course, participants were asked to each write on separate small pieces of paper names of two people with medical problems or illnesses known to them. Each paper stated only the name and residence place of the sick person. Description of their illness was not written. The papers were then put together in a box, from which each participant – one at a time – randomly drew out two of the papers submitted by others. As we took turns at drawing out the papers we were asked to go into “an alpha state” and to diagnose each identified person’s illness.
When my turn came, I was first given the name of a man who lived in Denver, Colorado. I closed my eyes and immediately clearly visualized within a husky man with a crew cut, a bit over 6 feet tall. Then, with ‘x-ray vision’ I scanned his body and reported to the group that the only anomaly I observed was a white spot in the brain area, which did not appear to be a problem. Whereupon, I was told by the submitter of the Denver man’s name that I was exactly right; that this man had recently had a brain tumor removed. His head had been shaved for the surgery. So he now had a crew cut as the hair regrew. Apparently, the white spot I saw showed where the tumor had been excised.
Next, I was given the name of a woman living in Menlo Park, California. I found one problem which I called “sick blood”. The submitter of her name told me that she suffered from leukemia.
Until then I had never heard of medical intuitives or remote healers. So I was amazed at the accuracy of my results and those of some other participants. This remote visualization and diagnosis experience shattered my Newtonian preconceptions about the nature of our “reality” and I began wondering, “How was it possible for me to remotely see and diagnose complete strangers, especially when I had no medical training whatsoever?” And this question spurred my continuing search since then for new explanations of “reality”.
And soon after my remote diagnosis of strangers, I had another amazing Silva psychic experience. As the course progressed, we had been asked to visualize a perfectly peaceful sanctuary in a nature place or within an imagined structure; an inner place to which we could retreat at will to relieve stress and “recharge our batteries”. I visualized a beautiful room in a peaceful place.
On the last day of the seminar – ‘graduation day’ – we were asked to invite into our previously imagined retreat place an inner guide to counsel us about our problems and questions. It was suggested that we either visualize and invite presence of the wisest person we admired or, if we didn’t know of such a person, that we ask the universe to send our most appropriate inner guide. I couldn’t think of any wise person to visualize, so I invited the universe to send my most appropriate inner guide.
Thereupon, to my amazement, I clearly saw a little bald headed man wearing a white Indian dhoti. Mahatma Gandhi (who had been assassinated in 1948) appeared as my inner guide. Though I then knew very little about Gandhi, I clearly recognized him, and silently received his wise counsel about some of my questions. Gandhi thus appeared as my inner counselor, not only on conclusion of the Silva seminar but afterwards for a short period, whenever I invoked his presence while in “an alpha state” of consciousness.
Gandhi’s appearance raised deep questions for me about death and whether a person’s spirit or soul survives physical death. And I wondered why the universe had chosen Gandhi to counsel me.
Gradually, as my spiritual mystery story continued to unfold, I was given synchronistic answers these questions, which I will later share with you.
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
~ Acts 20:35 (Paul quoting Jesus)
“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures.
The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.”
~ Lao Tzu
“For in truth it is life that gives unto life –
while you, who deem yourself a giver,
is but a witness.”
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
“You can give without loving,
but you can never love without giving.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson and/or
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Lovers are givers, not getters.”
“Life is for giving, not getting.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“The Gift of Giving”
Here is another amazing synchronicity story about my now 79 year old friend Carol Schuldt, one of the most unforgettable people I’ve ever known.
Carol is an extraordinarily intuitive free spirit, with her own unique path of communing with Nature while surfing, swimming, sunning, hiking, biking, and gardening, and helping troubled souls – especially young people. Though raised Catholic, she has never knowingly followed any prescribed Western or Eastern spiritual path. Because of her great generosity, especially toward needy young people, Carol is sometimes known as the “Mother Teresa of the Sunset District”.
We met long ago at Aquatic Beach on San Francisco Bay (across from Ghirardelli Square), where Carol often comes to escape ocean fog and swim in the sun. Since then, we’ve had innumerable synchronistic encounters and exchanged many “miracle” stories about our lives. [I’ve posted other synchronicity stories about Carol, which are linked below as “related posts”.]
As I write, I have just returned from another magical encounter with Carol at Aquatic Beach, on a cold December 29, where Carol shared with me a wonderful synchronicity story about her experiences earlier today and yesterday.
Here it is:
Carol swims or surfs in the ocean or Bay almost every day. But, on rare days when she can’t swim because of inclement or cold weather, Carol sometimes browses and shops at the main Goodwill resale store near downtown San Francisco.
Yesterday, was one of those rare days when it was too cold and rainy for Carol to swim. So she drove her old truck toward the Goodwill store, and parked several blocks away in front of a community garden on Fell Street. After walking to the Goodwill store and shopping, Carol was returning to her parked truck when suddenly she urgently needed to urinate. There were no available public restrooms, so she had to relieve herself in a nearby empty lot. Afterwards, to her chagrin and embarrassment, Carol discovered that she had mistakenly peed on an elderly homeless man’s tent.
In remorse, Carol opened the tent entry flap and apologized to its homeless occupant, telling him “I’m very sorry, but I just peed on your tent”. Then Carol pulled a twenty dollar bill out of her wallet, and tendered it to the homeless man, saying: “Here, please take this.” After looking at Carol (who is sometimes mistaken for a ‘street person’ or ‘bag lady’ because of her unusual attire and appearance) he replied: “No baby, I can’t take it.”
But Carol insisted he take the twenty dollar bill, emphatically repeating that she had just peed on his tent. So he relented, and took the money with a broad smile. Her guilty feelings assuaged, Carol then drove off in her old truck.
This morning it was again cold and inclement in San Francisco. So Carol decided to return again to the Goodwill store. As she again parked her old truck on Fell Street near the community garden, a small moving van stopped after its driver observed her. The driver got out of the van and offered to Carol the load he was transporting, asking her to take it onto her truck. On his van Carol saw many valuable garden tools and other artifacts in good condition which she could use in her organic garden, plus a new volley ball which her son Pete could use. So Carol accepted the van driver’s offer, and relieved him of responsibility to dispose of his load, by transferring it to her truck.
Thereupon, on seeing that the morning overcast was lifting to reveal patches of blue sky, Carol spontaneously decided to drive to Aquatic Beach instead of walking to the Goodwill store. At the beach, Carol swam in very cold water, then dressed and was sitting and warming herself in sunshine when a family group of tourists walked onto the beach and looked at her.
Jovially pointing at Carol, the family’s father exclaimed to his companions, “She’s having fun. There’s a happy person.” Then after walking to the shore with a child, he came back to Carol and offered her a twenty dollar bill. Carol – who is economically well off – told him “I can’t take that.” But he insisted. So Carol reluctantly accepted his twenty dollar gift.
Thus, just a day after she had spontaneously given a twenty dollar bill to a reluctant homeless man, Carol drove home from Aquatic Beach with another twenty dollar bill given her by a stranger after she reluctantly accepted it. And her old truck was filled with valuable garden equipment given to her by another stranger near the very same place where she peed on the homeless man’s tent.
Moral of this story:
“It is in giving that we receive.”