Life and Death

Armistice Day, 11:11
~ No More War: Quotes and Comments

“And they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.”
~ Isaiah 2:4

“Nothing will end war unless the people refuse to go to war.”
“War cannot be humanized, only abolished”
“You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”
~ Albert Einstein

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive.”
~ Dalai Lama

“We must . . live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence,
but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Mankind must put an end to war,
or war will put an end to mankind…”
~ John F. Kennedy

“There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy.
There is nothing good in war. Except its ending.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

“More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginning of all wars — yes, an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of settling the differences between governments.”
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The great question is, can war be outlawed from the world?
If so, it would mark the greatest advance in civilization since the Sermon on the Mount.”
~ Douglas MacArthur

“Thou shalt not kill.”
~ Exodus 20:13

“Does the commandment ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ mean nothing to us?
Are we to interpret it as meaning ‘Thou shalt not kill except on the grand scale,’ or ‘Thou shalt not kill except when the national leaders say to do so’?”
~ Linus Pauling

Armistice Day, 11:11 ~ No More War

Dear Friends,

Over a century ago on November 11th at eleven o’clock a.m. — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918, an armistice agreement was signed by the combatant Allied nations and Germany to end four years of Word War I hostilities. This historic event was thereafter commemorated by the Allied nations as a national “Armistice Day” holiday idealistically marking termination of “the war to end all wars”.

However, at the outbreak of World War II, the US national holiday name became “Veterans Day”, while British Commonwealth nations changed from “Armistice Day” to “Remembrance Day”. And for decades endless more wars have followed the “the war to end all wars”.

Human societies have advanced industrially and technologically, but have yet utterly failed to stop warring. As American humorist and social commentator Will Rogers sardonically observed:

“You can’t say civilization don’t advance…
in every war they kill you in a new way.”
~ Will Rogers


Although armed conflict is behaviorally as old as humankind, for the first time in our recorded history we are now forced to realize that any more wars will probably trigger an omnicidal nuclear, ecological, biological, or radiological catastrophe insanely ending earth-life as we’ve known it.

But paradoxically, while human survival is technologically threatened as never before, we concurrently have gained unprecedented technical capacity to sustainably end all human starvation and poverty. And in these critical times of immense suffering, yet immense opportunity, we are awakening to our infinitely unlimited human potentiality.

So as we appropriately honor and remember all those who have been conscripted or enlisted into military services fighting endless wars, let us urgently and lovingly envisage and intend – at long last – an era with no more war on our precious planet.

Together let us morally insist that mother Earth be democratically governed bottom-up by compassionate nonviolent societies, rather than autocratically ruled top-down by malignantly insane warlike “leaders”.

We must relentlessly refuse to cooperate with or participate in any more immoral war, and only commemorate “Armistice Day” (instead of “Veterans Day”), remembering that another war can be the “war to end all wars” and all life on our precious blue planet!

May we so initiate a new era of lasting world peace.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Season’s Blessings!

“To every thing there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

“What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.”

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 1:9

“The winds of grace are always blowing,

but you have to raise the sail.”

~ Sri Ramakrishna

“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.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Cherish or Perish.

Co-exist cooperatively, or

Co-expire catastrophically.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness,
a kind of prison for us. . .Our task must be to free ourselves from this
[mental] prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all iving creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
~ Albert Einstein (edited excisions)

“The distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion”; “space and time are not conditions in which we live, [but] modes in which we think.”
~ Albert Einstein




Season’s Blessings!

Dear Friends,


Following the recent September new-moon and solar equinox, we’re all blessed to experience a new season, as unique incarnate Earth-beings with unique karmic perspectives and limitations, and with different evolutionary life-cycle seasons and challenges. (See video linked below.)


“To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the sun (or heaven).”

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1


Though we’re each ending and beginning new space/time solar/lunar and karmic temporal seasons, Cosmically (beyond the ego-mind’s persistent perception-projection-deception), “there is nothing new under the sun”. [Ecclesiastes 1:9]



In this ever-changing illusory ego-mind reality we’re experiencing time and seasons, while learning that our true Source and Infinite Reality forever exists beyond space/ time/duality; that Cosmically Life is NOW, ever NOW, never “then”!


But as students on the ‘Earth branch of the Great Cosmic University’, while we orbit, rotate, and revolve with Gaia, the Earth Mother that physically birthed us all, we must harmoniously honor Nature’s blessings and limitations. As stewards of all Life-forms on this precious planet, we must protect and nurture them – not insanely and unsustainably pillage, plunder and destroy them.

We must

“Cherish or Perish.

Co-exist cooperatively, or

Co-expire catastrophically.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

So on beginning new solar, lunar, and karmic seasons, let us resolve to solve catastrophic crises – which imminently threaten all Life-forms on our precious planet.


Individually and collectively, let us become actively engaged as a global human family to resolve with compassionate solidarity human threatened nuclear and ecological cataclysm, not just as a matter of morality or ethics, but for survival of earth life as we have known it. With conscious concern for urgent dangers of nuclear or ecologic omnicide, let us politically, socially and spiritually act before it is too late.



But first, let us conscientiously calm our disturbed, judgmental and reactive states of ego-mind. Rather than vindictively seeking retribution for perceived wrongs, or condemning or trying to change others, may we first empathetically look within to recognize and resolve our own disharmonious habits and behaviors.



Thereby with quiet minds and open hearts may we non-violently and non-judgmentally resist injustice, while honoring the spiritual essence and universal equality of everyone everywhere.



And so may we help bless and transform our lives and our space/time world, until we ultimately transcend it.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


“Turn! Turn! Turn!” Ecclesiastes 3 – Video + Text.



Open Heart Therapy

“The way is not in the sky.
The way is in the heart.”
~ Buddha

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
~ Rumi

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

“We must feel our heart
to heal our heart.
Feeling hastens healing.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“The best and most beautiful things in the world
cannot be seen or even touched –
they must be felt with the heart.”
~ Helen Keller

“There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, …
beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in your Heart.”
~ Chandogya Upanishad 3.13.7

“As far, verily, as this world-space extends,
so far extends the space within the heart…”
~ Chandogya Upanishad 8.1.3

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

~ King Solomon – Proverbs 23:7

“The release of atom power ..changed everything
except our way of thinking…
the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind.”
~ Albert Einstein

“If there is love in your heart,
you don’t have to worry about rules.”
~ Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas




Open Heart Therapy

Introduction to “Open Heart Therapy”

Dear Friends,

The following sutra-poem was inspired by my realization that a broken heart (from a very painful divorce), had opened my spiritual heart to previously suppressed deep devotional feelings and frequent tears; that a broken heart had triggered an awakened evolutionary healing process – a ‘‘breakdown-breakthrough” from decades of ego-mind afflictions.

Since long-ago composing “Open Heart Therapy”, I’ve become a “faith-based optimist”. Hence, following the sutra-poem’s words and recitation below, I optimistically explain with comments and quotes, why I now foresee that a “critical mass” of awakened people with opened spiritual hearts will soon actualize an elevated a new earth-age – an historically unprecedented era transcending current worldwide human insanity which catastrophically threatens all life on our precious planet.

These sutra verses and writings are deeply dedicated to optimistically inspiring our energetically uplifted transcendence of ego-mind’s evolutionary impediments, and so to hastening our spiritual transformation.

May they thereby encourage us to enjoy health and freedom, beyond fearful ego-mind sufferings.


Ron Rattner

Open Heart Therapy

We must feel our heart
to heal our heart.
Feeling hastens healing.

A closed heart is a cold heart.
An open heart is a warm heart –
a compassionate heart.

As our heart ever opens,
its capacity for compassion ever grows.

And as its boundaries expand,
so do its possibilities ever expand.

An opened heart
is an illumined heart;
a limitless, boundless heart;
a loving heart.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Open Heart Therapy”

Listen to



Ron’s Reflections on “Open Heart Therapy”
for Awakening to an Elevated New Age.

Dear Friends,

We live in an age of mental malaise. Delusional human behaviors are threatening all Earth life as we have known it. For our peaceful survival, we must transcend these insane behaviors and resolve the problems they have caused.

As Albert Einstein aptly observed: 

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” …

“The release of atom power ..changed everything except our way of thinking …
the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind.”


Thus for our peaceful survival on planet Earth, the critical problems now confronting humanity must be transcended – societally and individually – through spiritually elevated heartfelt awareness.

According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama,

“Ultimately, the decision to save the environment must come from the human heart. [From] a genuine sense of universal responsibility that is based on love, compassion and clear awareness.”


Also the Dalai Lama says that, for such a heart level of universal planetary responsibility, we need ethics based on spirituality “beyond religion” – because religion alone “is no longer adequate”.

How can this happen?

With ever expanding empathy for all life everywhere we must follow ‘the Golden Rule’. For millennia wisdom teachers from virtually all enduring ethical, religious, and spiritual traditions have proposed a simple ethical rule which if conscientiously followed will change the world.

Its essence is that we do no harm; that we treat all sentient beings with the same dignity that we wish for ourselves and that they wish for themselves.

Though easy to understand, this Golden Rule of reciprocal empathy can not easily be followed until we awaken within – beyond ego-mind’s “optical illusion” of separateness – to indivisible spiritual Wholeness with all beings and all life everywhere.

Then as Einstein suggests we must gradually

“widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 


Eventually, we won’t even need the Golden rule. As my beloved Guruji Shri Dhyanyogi revealed:

“If there is love in your heart,
you don’t have to worry about rules.” 


Ultimately, by following our sacred heart we’ll be in harmony with all life everywhere.

Conclusion and Dedication

As a “faith-based optimist”, I now foresee that a “critical mass” of awakened people with opened spiritual hearts will soon actualize an elevated new earth-age – an historically unprecedented era transcending current worldwide human insanity which catastrophically threatens all life on our precious planet.

Thus today’s sutra verses and writings are optimistically dedicated to inspiring our energetically uplifted transcendence of ego-mind’s evolutionary impediments to an egalitarian new age, and so to hasten our spiritual transformation beyond fearful suffering to health and spiritual freedom.

Invocation

With opened and awakened hearts,
may we envision and actualize an egalitarian new age,
wherein everyone everywhere treats all beings and all life
with the same dignity that they wish for themselves –
with a “genuine sense of universal responsibility
that is based on love, compassion and clear awareness.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

My ‘Near Death’ Experience
~ Ron’s Memoirs

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




My ‘Near Death’ Experience ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following memoirs chapter recounts an extraordinary 1979 out of body [OOB] experience, in which I initially thought I was dying of a stroke. But it soon proved not to be a stroke or a near death experience [NDE].

However, because I wasn’t afraid of dying (though not “enlightened” by the experience), I’ve compared it to the famous Self-Realization experience of renowned 20th Century Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Since 1979 I’ve been blessed with many more amazingly related experiences, from which I’ve continued to learn.

So in 2022 I’m republishing and augmenting this memoirs story before my probably imminent transition at almost age ninety.

Like all other SillySutras postings this memoirs chapter is dedicated to helping us live ever happier earth lives. And in these extraordinary post-pandemic times, this posting is particularly intended to help console those bereaved by deaths of dear ones. May they not worry, and be happy.

May everyone everywhere be happy!

Ron Rattner

Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Self-Realization Death Experience.

A few years after the death of his father, the famous sage was suddenly overcome with a fearful premonition that he too was about to soon die, which impelled him to investigate the bodily death experience. So he introspectively imagined that he was dying, and thereby Self-Realized that he was not his mortal body, but eternal consciousness of the body and all else.

Long afterwards, in response to a devotee’s question about his “enlightenment” Sri Ramana replied as follows:


“The shock of the fear of death made me at once introspective or ‘introverted’. I said to myself mentally, ‘Now that death is come, what does it mean? Who is it that is dying? This body dies’. ….The material body dies, but the Spirit transcending it cannot be touched by death. I am therefore the deathless Spirit. … Fear of death vanished at once and for ever. The absorption in the Self has continued from that moment right up to now”.


My Almost ‘Near Death’ Experience

In early 1979 I too had an extraordinary presumed near death experience. Unlike Ramana Maharshi’s pretended death experience, I really believed I was dying of a stroke, and decided to observe the death process without resistance. Unlike Sri Ramana’s experience, my supposed death experience didn’t result in my instant “enlightenment” or permanent absorption in the Self. But, it was an extraordinary and unforgettable event, and it spurred my gradual transformation process of more and more identifying with spirit rather than body/mind; a process which began with my 1976 realization and rebirth experience.

After receiving shaktipat initiation from Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas (Guruji) in 1978, I began following his practices. But, with Dhyanyogi’s approval, I also continued exploring spiritual mysteries by attending various other events and lectures. When asked about our seeking information from other teachers, Guruji said it was OK but unnecessary.

My supposed near death experience happened after I’d attended an inspiring lecture and experiential program given by Sufi master Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. At the program I whole-heartedly participated in a Sufi remembrance of God ritual called Zikr, featuring repetition of names of Allah. Fervently repeating in unison with other participants: “La Ilaha Illallah” , “La Ilaha Illallah”, I vigorously rotated my body, head and neck, and became quite ‘high’ and rapturous.

The next morning I awakened feeling fine, and prepared to attend an important Federal Appeals Court hearing. I had put on my grey pinstriped suit trousers, shirt and tie, and was in the bathroom, when suddenly I collapsed and fell onto the tiled floor in a supine position. I was unable to move my head or body up or over, but discovered that I could inch along on my back like a caterpillar. In that manner with tremendous difficulty, I managed to move out of the bathroom and into my carpeted living room floor, still in a supine position.

I was not then near a phone and couldn’t call for help. Lying on my back, without pain, I said to myself mentally,

“I must have suffered a stroke and am about to die.
Now I will see what happens when I die.”


I closed my eyes and went into a deep state of relaxed awareness.

Suddenly my consciousness was astrally projected into the cosmos, where it was surrounded by magnificent luminescent silver, blue and gold heavenly bodies (like in pictures from the Hubble telescope).

Next, my inner vision shifted from outer space to vividly beautiful, luminescent and intricate geometric yantras – like mandalas associated with Vajrayana Buddhism, only more ethereal.

As I was silently sensing these celestial scenes, thought returned. First, I thought that dying was quite an interesting experience. Then, suddenly, I thought:

“I never took Naomi off my life insurance policies. I can’t die now.”


The ethereal visions immediately ended and consciousness returned to my supine body on the carpeted floor.

I don’t remember how much time had passed before my return to body consciousness. But when that happened I found that I could move easier and managed to slither supine to answer a telephone when it rang.

Synchronistically, it was a call from my friend Kusuma, who had been one of Guruji’s translators and cooks. I told her what happened, and she dispatched Stan, a disciple of Dhyanyogi then living in San Francisco, to come help me. By the time Stan arrived, I was able to crawl with difficulty to the front door to let him in. He called my doctor who said my symptoms sounded like extreme vertigo from an inner ear problem, not a stroke. Later, Kusuma asked Guruji about my dizziness symptoms. He told her that they came from “shakti”, intense kundalini spiritual energy activated in my head.

What I learned

Following my nearly ‘near death’ OOB experience, my identification with immortal spirit was immeasurably enhanced, while psychological fear of bodily death diminished.

But I didn’t become “enlightened” enough to transcend long-lingering psychological traumas of my contentious divorce. So, after reverting to usual consciousness I soon removed my former wife Naomi’s name as a beneficiary on my life insurance policies.

Also I became curious to learn about Tibetan Buddhism, and the spiritual symbolism of yantras and mandalas, like the Sri Yantra below and on SillySutras’ home page. This led to my receiving Tibetan Buddhist refuge, empowerments, and teachings from Kalu Rinpoche, a Very Venerable Tibetan Buddhist master, and then from other Tibetan lamas, including H.H. the Dalai Lama – who became a living hero for me.

Remaining Fear of Death

Because of my calm fearlessness during the assumed ‘near death’ OOB experience, I wondered whether I’d transcended all fear of death. That question was soon answered when a deranged young driver raced his car right at me as I was walking across an intersection on Broadway, the busy four lane street where I live.

Instinctively and reflexively I jumped out of the way, and screamed “Jesus!” so loudly that it probably could have been heard for a block or two away. Thereafter, for several hours I had a “fight or flight” adrenaline rush. Moreover, since then I’ve had several similar (though less intense) precarious experiences while crossing San Francisco streets.

So, despite my serenity during the assumed near death experience, some instinctive fear of bodily death or injury remains, even though I accept physical mortality as unavoidable. As Sri Ramakrishna Paramahanse revealed some ego/mind (either helpful or harmful) is inevitable even for Mahatmas returning to their bodies from nirvikalpa samadhi. Hence while incarnate on earth we cannot avoid living with egos.

While yogis in other times and places could attain and maintain elevated states of awareness by taking refuge in forests, on mountains, or in caves, such stress-free physical environments aren’t available for most humans living in present day US society.

For me attempting to live authentically and sanely in our crazy US culture has at times been quite challenging. I’ve found that in San Francisco courtrooms and environs midst societal insanity, without some ego I’d would have been metaphorically and actually run over while traversing my spiritual path, as well as while crossing streets. So I now accept physical ‘fight or flight’ bodily self-preservation instinct as “normal” and necessary.

Suzuki Shunryū, Roshi, who popularized Zen Buddhism in the United States, was once asked by a student:

“How much “ego” do you need?”  He replied: “Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.”


I wonder now what past spiritual masters would have done when suddenly confronted with immediate bodily threat? It’s quite unlikely that they would’ve shouted “Jesus”, with an adrenaline rush. Maybe they would have stepped quietly out of harms way. Or, like Gandhi, uttered “Ram” with their last bodily breath.

What do you think?

2022 Epilogue: More Related Learning Experiences

Since first publishing this memoirs chapter I’ve been blessed with many more related synchronistic and mystical experiences, from which I’ve continued to learn. Hereafter I’ll discuss some of them:

1) Another near death experience?

I’ll first recount to you a critical taxicab rundown experience that happened over eight years ago.

My 1979 ‘fight or flight’ fear of being hit as a pedestrian ultimately materialized thirty five years later when I was suddenly run down by a taxicab while crossing a busy San Francisco intersection which can be seen from my high-rise view apartment.

I’m 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.

My wise expert MD friend, Dr. Solomon Sevy, (who retired after decades of Kaiser California clinical experience as a pediatric cardiologist) succinctly summarized his “diagnostic” opinion after reviewing my medical records.
Dr. Sevy told me:


“Ron, you should be dead!”


My my medical records reviewed by Dr. Sevy revealed the following bodily injuries and symptoms, 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.


Today at almost age ninety, I’m again living alone without caretakers in my high-rise hermitage. 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 (until the pandemic lock-down with closure of SF Bay public toilets) I’d resumed a largely independent pre-injury life style with frequent walks, after extended convalescence, and treatment with acupuncture, organic herbs, and physical therapy. And I still don’t voluntarily take prescribed allopathic drugs.

Unlike most people who can describe their near death experiences I can’t tell you what happened while I was comatose due to residual post-traumatic stress syndrome [PTSD] and retrograde traumatic amnesia. So I don’t know if it was a conventional NDE.

But I consider my bodily survival and recovery an immense spiritual blessing and am psychologically happier than ever before in this precious human lifetime.

Further details of this Divine blessing are recounted in a prior memoirs chapter titled: “Another near death experience?”.

2) Another vertigo seizure?

The foregoing 1979 almost near-death OOB story began with a completely disabling vertigo experience, which I mistakenly thought was caused by a cerebral stroke. Since then I’ve had many episodes of varying degrees of dizziness, especially after the 2014 taxicab rundown. But not until this week (over forty years later) have I again been completely incapacitated by vertigo from a possible stroke seizure.

In 1979 my extreme dizziness was medically diagnosed as a middle-ear problem, but explained by Guruji as a kundalini cerebral “shakti” kriya. This week, without asking for assistance, I introspectively self-diagnosed the disabling dizziness as kundalini “shakti”.

Here’s what happened:

On August 12, 2022 I was composing my Cartesian Critique essay about confusing thinking with being. While writing about how most humans mistakenly self-identify with their thoughts, rather than consciousness of their thoughts and behaviors, I had a rare inner epiphany.

Whereupon I was suddenly stricken with intense vertigo, like the vertigo I experienced over forty years ago when I was young and healthy. Now at almost ninety I am physical injury and age limited and subject to recurrence of serious taxicab rundown traumatic brain injuries. Moreover, in these extraordinary post-pandemic times, ubiquitous environmental heath threats are causing even young and apparently healthy people to often experience physically fatal strokes.

Nonetheless, as I will hereafter explain, in all apparently paradoxical rational versus intuitive dilemmas, with complete faith I’ve learned to follow my heart. And my heart said:

“You’ve been immeasurably blessed; keep composing and sharing to help others”.


My heart clearly confirmed this perennial wisdom:

“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

In 1979, I accepted my primary care doctor’s medical diagnosis of an inner-ear problem, not a stroke. In 2022, without seeking a medical diagnosis, I’ve followed my Sacred Heart and keep composing to help others.

Explanation

1) In all space/time relative “reality” everything’s energy [E=mc2].

2) In earth’s dense three dimensional [3D] energy sphere, humans (individually and collectively) create “reality” with their thoughts.

“We are what we think.

All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts, we make the world.”

~ Buddha

3) Each incarnate human is individually unique, creating a unique personal “reality” with apparent freedom of choice, which subjects them to experience the karmic consequences of their unique thoughts and behaviors.

“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards.
Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind.
It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . .

Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap.
If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering.
And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”

~ Paramhansa Yogananda

4) We each have freedom of choice to perceive only Divine spirit or God until we ultimately awaken from this dream-like relative “reality” to BE the eternal mystery of Divinity – as LOVE.

“You should love everyone because God dwells in all beings.”
“Have love for everyone, no one is other than you.”
“Yes, all one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal; that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep; and that He is beyond all these.””God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

Conclusion and Dedication

By following my Heart with Faith, I choose to create a new Earth “Reality”;
an elevated energy dimension beyond all current environmental catastrophes, wars, deprivations, diseases, miseries and sufferings now being inflicted upon and fearfully experienced, and condoned or denied or allowed by most humans.

Therefore I refuse to reify this illusionary mental mirage-like samsara ‘reality’ which is constantly discussed and reported on by global “leaders”, institutions and media. Instead I constantly meditate and pray for Nature, and all its life-forms on our precious planet; and for the happiness of everyone and everything everywhere.

Inspired by Jesus Christ – the historic paragon of LOVE – my prayers forgivingly include even those who insanely and selfishly despoil and unsustainably exploit earth-life through their ignorance of our common eternal Self identity as timeless LOVE.

And I deeply dedicate this memoirs chapter to inspiring a “critical mass” of other empathic humans, who together will collectively transcend current earthly psychopathic insanity, by co-creating an envisioned wonderful
New Reality.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


© The Perennial Wisdom Foundation – “From Secular Hebrew, to Born-Again Hindu, to Uncertain Undo – An ex-lawyer’s spiritual metamorphosis from Litigation to Meditation – and Beyond.”
~ by Ron Rattner


Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
~ by Clare Harner

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
~ by Clare Harner

“Life is eternal. There is no death. If people correctly understood death, they would no longer have any fear of the unknown”. . . . “What we think of as life and death are merely transitions, changes in the rate of vibration in a continual process of growth and unfoldment.”
~ Betty Bethards – “There is No Death” pp. 90-91
“Birth and death are virtual,
 but Life is perpetual.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“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”
“Reincarnation is not an exclusively Hindu or Buddhist concept,
but it is part of the history of human origin.
It is proof of the mindstream’s capacity to retain knowledge of physical and mental activities.
It is related to the theory of interdependent origination and to the law of cause and effect.”

~ H. H. Dalai Lama (Preface to “The Case for Reincarnation”)
“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time, nor does it come into being again when the body is created. The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed. Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel, in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies verily accepts new bodies.” “The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna


Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
~ by Clare Harner

Do not stand

By my grave, and weep.

I am not there,

I do not sleep—

I am the thousand winds that blow

I am the diamond glints in snow

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle, autumn rain.

As you awake with morning’s hush,

I am the swift, up-flinging rush

Of quiet birds in circling flight,

I am the day transcending night.

Do not stand

By my grave, and cry—

I am not there,

I did not die.

Footnote
This bereavement poem was first published in 1934 after sudden death of the poet’s brother. It was thereafter published in different versions, popularized in films, songs, and television, and plagiarized. For details see this Wikipedia article with links.

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

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

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

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


Betty Bethards (9/23/33 – 7/30/02)


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

Ron’s Introduction.

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Betty’s History.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so may it be!

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

Betty Bethards

1. Near-Death Experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Not the Same For Everyone.

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

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

3. Seeing the Invisible.

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

4. The Tunnel and the Light.

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

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

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

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

5. Hanging Around the Living.

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

6. Seeing Loved Ones and Teachers.

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

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

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

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

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

7. After the Homecoming.

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

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

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

8. Reviewing Past Lives.

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

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

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

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

9. Religious Beliefs.

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

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

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

10. The Idea of Purgatory.

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

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

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

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

11. The Meaning of Hell.

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

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

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

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

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

12. Laws More Protective.

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

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

13. Marriage and Unions.

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

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

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


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

Dear Friends,

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

1) Losing fear of death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Honoring God as Love

In “There is No Death” Betty Bethards taught that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5) Valuing loving psychic insights

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

6) Honoring Universal Perennial Wisdom

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

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

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

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

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Birds Have Feelings*


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




Birds Have Feelings*

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


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



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



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



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



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



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

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

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

The Creator knows when a sparrow falls.

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

Grace is the Creator reaching down.

Faith is humanity reaching back.

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

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

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


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


Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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


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

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

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

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




Introduction

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

Spirit Of ’76 Background


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

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

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

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

My Inner Spirit Of ’76 Discoveries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so shall it be!

Conclusion, dedication, and invocation

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

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

Thus may we always BE and pray:

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

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

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


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

Ron’s Introduction.

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

Summary of Carol’s spiritual history.

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

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

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

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

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

Carol’s muraled house and organic garden.

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

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

Carol’s St. Francis mural

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meaning of the farewell Carol synchronicity story?


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

“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great,

pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature,

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

~ Deepak Chopra

Eulogy to Carol Schuldt

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

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

Memorial Day, 2022 –
Rededication Proclamation

“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence,

but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“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
“There is no honorable way to kill,
no gentle way to destroy.

There is nothing good in war.
Except its ending.”

~ Abraham Lincoln
“And they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

and their spears into pruning hooks; 

nation shall not lift up sword against nation, 

neither shall they learn war any more.” 

~ Isaiah 2:4
“Nothing will end war unless the people refuse to go to war.”

”War cannot be humanized, only abolished.”

“You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”

~ Albert Einstein
“Thou shalt not kill.”

~ Exodus 20:13
“Mankind must put an end to war,
or war will put an end to mankind…”
~ John F. Kennedy
“If you realize that all things change,

there is nothing you will try to hold on to.

If you are not afraid of dying,

there is nothing you cannot achieve.”

~ Lao Tzu




Memorial Day, 2022 – Rededication Proclamation

Dear Friends,

Memorial Day was inaugurated after the internecine American Civil War between Northern and Southern States. Since then it has commemorated the passing of men and women who died while participating in numerous US fomented wars against and amongst nations and people worldwide.

But today many Americans have forgotten the sacred antiwar spirit with which Memorial Day began. Moreover, we are now living in an unprecedented era of warfare, deprivation, turmoil, and polarized violence affecting most humans.

Contrary to Abraham Lincoln’s eloquent aspiration that American “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”, the USA is no longer a democracy – of, for and by the people – but a totalitarian global Empire of, by and for billionaires and transnational corporations, representing far fewer than 1% of Humankind.

This essay is deeply dedicated to reminding us of the Divinity of all life on Earth; and that for its survival, we urgently need to end all current and future wars before they end us. That

“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence,

but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Background

Armed conflicts have occurred throughout recorded human history. But we are now compelled to realize that ongoing and further wars will probably trigger a nuclear, ecological, biological, or radiological catastrophe insanely ending earth-life as we’ve known it.

However, while self-inflicted human extinction is threatened as never before, we have paradoxically gained unprecedented technical capacity to sustainably provide all human sustenance needs. And in this painful post-pandemic “new normal” era, many are awakening to our unlimited human potentiality.

Thus many are realizing that, as a global human family, we have extraordinary opportunities to co-create an infinitely more compassionate world, with democratic societies peacefully coexisting cooperatively and harmoniously with each other, Nature and all life on our precious planet.

Until now, most of humanity has suffered illusionary psychological separation from each other and Nature, fostering unsustainable ecological desecration of our precious planet, and barbaric exploitation of vulnerable beings and other life-forms. But more and more people are awakening to our sacred connection with, and deep moral responsibility to cherish and preserve Nature, and all its life on our precious planet Earth.

Rededication Proclamation

So in solemnly observing Memorial Day 2022, let us resolutely rededicate and consecrate Humankind to preserving and honoring all Life – not just human life – as sacred and holy. And, therefore, to transcend and end all wars, before they end us.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner