Love

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

Saint Francis of Assisi: His Life and His Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon

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


Saint Francis of Assisi
[*See footnotes]


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


And so it shall be!



Prayer Of St. Francis Of Assisi **

Beloved, we are instruments of Thy peace.

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

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

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



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

Listen to



Footnotes

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

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


Becoming a Faith-Based Optimist
~ Ron’s Memoirs

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

“Faith is intuitive conviction, a knowing from the soul,
that cannot be shaken even by contradictions.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“I’m only a cockeyed optimist . . .
stuck like a dope
With a thing called hope,
And I can’t get it out of my heart!”
~ Oscar Hammerstein II, South Pacific, lyrics

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”
~ Helen Keller

“The highest thinkers of the ages,
the seers of the tribes and the nations,
have been optimists.”
~ Helen Keller

“An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight… the truly wise person is colorblind.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

“Steady faith is stronger than destiny.
Destiny is the result of causes, mostly accidental,
and is therefore loosely woven.
Confidence and good hope will overcome it easily.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Even faith in God is only a stage on the way.
Ultimately you abandon all, for you come to something so simple that there are no words to express it.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Optimism optimizes opportunity.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Hanuman


Becoming a Faith-Based Optimist ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Introduction to “Becoming a Faith-Based Optimist”

Dear Friends,

In prior postings I’ve told how “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life”, and defined faith as distinguished from belief. And I’ve explained that inner faith in the Divine, is the same as faith in one’s Self, and that such inner faith can bring us previously unimagined happiness.

Today I’ll tell how I found faith in Divine Self in a midlife transition from self-reliant secular litigation lawyer to devotional “born-again Hindu”; and how that faith became an optimistically unshakable conviction that everything happens for the best, until we transcend the ego illusion of existing separately in space/time.

And because these memoirs are published on commencement of important Equinox religious holy days, I’m including a 2022 Equinox Epilogue.

Memoirs of “Becoming a Faith-Based Optimist”

Soon after receiving 1978 shaktipat initiation from my beloved Guruji, I began daily Sanskrit recitations of a Ram mantra and the Hanuman Chalisa – a rhymed poetic ode to the mythological Vedic ‘monkey-god’ Hanuman (pictured above). The Hanuman Chalisa (composed by poet-saint and philosopher Tulsidas) metaphorically venerates Hanuman, who faithfully served Hindu avatar Rama, as the epitome of faith in God.

Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (with whom I feel deep devotional affinity) often cited an epic Ramayana story about Hanuman heroically leaping over the sea between South India and Shri Lanka (Ceylon) to serve Rama, as illustrating the epitome of divine faith. In the Gospel of Ramakrishna, he taught:

“You must have heard about the tremendous power of faith. It is said . . that Rama, who was God Himself – the embodiment of Absolute Brahman – had to build a bridge to cross the sea to Ceylon. But Hanuman, trusting in Rama’s name, cleared the sea in one jump and reached the other side. He had no need of a bridge.” . . . . “Once a person has faith he has achieved everything. There is nothing greater than faith.”


While repeatedly reciting Ram mantras and the Hanuman Chalisa, I felt their devotional energy while unconcerned about their precise Sanskrit meaning. And I became instinctively harmonious with Ram, as Divinity. Even today (at almost age ninety), I still often instinctively call out to Rama in devotionally honoring the Divine. And Hanuman energy became and remains for me symbolic of both enduring Faith and immutable optimism.

After I became an instinctive Rama devotee, I realized that my initial secular self-confidence and optimism had gradually grown to heartfelt Faith in God; that I’d evolved from being a pragmatic secular optimist into living a devotional faith-based life, with both conviction and optimism.

Also, I realized that with Faith it’s always best follow one’s conscience in all behaviors, and to surrender outcomes of such conscientious behaviors to Divine Source (or Tao) – to let go and go with the flow; because karmically whatever happens could not be otherwise. So, to clear our karma, we must non-judgmentally and forgivingly accept and bless everything and everyone NOW, as ephemeral and illusory appearances in ever impermanent space and time of our sole Divine Source – ineffable, immutable, and Eternal LOVE.

My insights revealed that our earthly sufferings arise from fearful and illusory ego-mind thoughts because we forget our true Divinity and immortality.
But that as omnipotent immortal spirit we have nothing to fear from anything that seems to happen in always illusory ego-mind space, time, and duality. Moreover, that our transcendence of ego-mind is inevitable, and always advanced by our loving behaviors.

2022 Equinox Epilogue

These memoirs are published concurrent with commencement of the Jewish High Holy Days, and the Hindu Navaratri shraddha period. In prior times I participated in both Jewish and Hindu religious ritual observances of these important holidays.

But in recent years, I’ve stopped attending all scheduled religious ritual services. As an innately faith-based optimist, I now continuously honor God every day and everywhere with Divine intentions, behaviors, and prayers, and with the SillySutras spiritual poetry and philosophy website.

Yet, I’ve instinctively realized that beyond ego-mind’s persistent “optical illusion” of a space, time, and duality worldly “reality”, all that is, was, or will be is NOW. Thus, that being a worldly faith-based optimist (with hope for the future) is like aspiring to an “impossible dream” of a never-attainable mental mirage – a time-based dreamlike fantasy “reality” that can never exist.

Optimists instinctively hope for the best. But “hope” is always “then” while Life is only NOW, ever NOW, never then.

However, since inception of the current historically unprecedented post-pandemic “new normal” era, I’ve become optimistically convinced, and foresee, that a “critical mass” of energetically elevated humans will soon co-create (as a cooperative global family) an infinitely more compassionate world, without fearful ego-mind deprivations and sufferings.

And these faith-based equinox memoirs are deeply dedicated to inspiring and hastening our imminent fulfillment of that optimistic prediction.

Conclusions

I’ve become and irreversibly remain a faith-based optimist, despite apparent cataclysmic threats against survival of human life as we’ve known it.  And I equate my instinctive optimism with inner Faith in our sole Divine Source – ineffable, immutable, and Eternal LOVE.

Therefore I’m especially grateful to be able to now share these memoirs with you to help us realize and enjoy supreme fulfillment and happiness from ever optimistic faith in Divine LOVE, until we ascend and transcend all ego-mind perception-deception illusion.

Invocation

“May we ever ascend –
as LOVE and Light,

Beyond-all suffering,
from ego-mind fright.”


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


“Cockeyed optimist” video

To further encourage our heartfelt faith-based optimism, I’ve embedded below a YouTube video performance of the Rodgers and Hammerstein ‘cockeyed optimist’ song from “South Pacific”.

Please optimistically enjoy it as we energetically ascend as Love and Light,
beyond all suffering from ego-mind fright.



Sometimes It Hurts To Heal

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

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

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

~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, Chapter 16




Sometimes It Hurts To Heal

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

Dear Friends,

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

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

Sometimes It Hurts To Heal

Life is a healing/wholing/gnosis/process.

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

And as we are healing,
Life is revealing

Ever vaster vistas

Of  inner light,

LOVE and Peace.



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

Listen to



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

Dear Friends,

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Life is revealing

Ever vaster vistas

Of  inner light,
LOVE and Peace.


Invocation

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


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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


“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
~ Albert Einstein

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

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

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

~ Swami Vivekananda

However many holy words you read,

However many you speak,

What good will they do you

If you do not act on upon them?”

~ Buddha

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

but merely reading them will not make one religious.”

~ Sri Ramakrishna
 Paramahansa

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

~ Seneca the Younger

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

~ Shirdi Sai Baba

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

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

Ron Near Sofa Altar

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

Dear Friends,

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

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

How my living room sofa became an altar

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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

How my sofa altar’s energy was elevated and transformed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I’ve learned from elevating altar worship

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

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

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

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


Dedication and Invocation

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

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


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

From Sympathy to Empathy
~ Ron’s Memoirs


“Listen To Your Soul:

You have to grow from the inside out.

None can teach you, none can make you spiritual.

There is no other teacher but your own soul.”

~ Swami Vivekananda

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful
for the evolution of your consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Neither a master nor a servant be.
Abjure control by or over others.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Ron Rattner and Ida Logan on Ron’s 75th Birthday – November 8th, 2007

From Sympathy to Empathy ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Dear Friends,

On studying law over sixty years ago, I began learning that direct experiential evidence is superior to indirect circumstantial or hearsay evidence; and as a practicing lawyer (mainly motivated by social justice ideals) I always prioritized direct perceptual evidence. Twenty years later, as a busy secular lawyer who became a “born-again Hindu”, I also became motivated by a newly discovered “spiritual goal” often called Self-Realization – a spiritual goal of knowing oneself as indescribable universal LOVE by meditative direct inner experience.

Now at almost age 90, I remain deeply motivated to help inspire others spiritually, as an elder on the path to Self-Realization. So (to honor my Guruji’s request) I’m continuing to publish spiritual memoirs.

Previous postings tell how (through possible pre-destiny) life gives us whatever experiences or relationships are most helpful for our spiritual evolution to Self-Realization.

This memoirs chapter explains how I synchronistically learned from Ida M. Logan, a former housekeeper and long-time spiritual friend, that we learn empathy for bereavements and hurts of others only by our own similar direct life experiences.

Importance of Empathy

Long ago I intuited that every human Earth-being is a Divine soul experiencing seemingly separate and individual lifetimes to attain Self-Realization by learning from life experience.

I concluded that through earth-life behaviors all humans may attain Self-Realization regardless of whether they’re religious, if they lovingly devote themselves to giving, not getting; to helping, not harming all beings (not just humans).

And I’ve learned that virtually all enduring ethical, religious, and spiritual traditions emphasize loving behavior through what is commonly called the Golden Rule of reciprocal empathy for other creatures and people. Therefore I believe we’ve chosen to incarnate on Earth to learn to live with heartfelt empathy.

Ida M. Logan as my friend and empathy teacher

Soon after we moved to San Francisco in 1960, my former wife Naomi hired Ida M. Logan as a weekly housekeeper of our rented apartment. Later, beginning in 1966 after births of our daughter Jessica and son Joshua, Naomi also engaged Ida Logan to be our children’s ‘nanny’ on days when Naomi was busy working as a college English teacher.

All these household employment arrangements were made by Naomi, and as a lawyer working away from home, I had little contact with Ida Logan. But I learned from our children that they loved Ida very much.

My direct relationship with Ida Logan began when I moved into my present high-rise apartment over forty years ago. I engaged her as a weekly housekeeper on days of her choosing, while I continued working in a law office. And our face to face contacts were still minimal.

But that changed when I began working at home to close out a few remaining law cases before retiring at age sixty. Then Ida and I regularly met and often had friendly philosophical conversations about religious subjects. And I developed great respect and appreciation for her intelligence, elevated attitude and wisdom learned from life.

Ida’s history

Ida was born on February 20, 1927 and lived over ninety years until October 12, 2017. Of African ancestry, she lived in race-segregated Mississippi until the 1950’s or 60’s. Then with a large family she moved to San Francisco, and found necessary but limited employment as a housekeeper.

In San Francisco she became a deeply devout member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Christian church, for which she sincerely proselytized and studied biblical passages, to help all other people, including me. Throughout our years of friendship she often gave me copies of The Watchtower and Awake! to read. Shortly before her death, when she was non-ambulatory in a nursing home, I last visited with Ida. As we parted, she urged me to attend nearby Kingdom Hall meetings and to “get on board” with Jehovah.

Because Ida suffered from seriously disabling illnesses she was obliged to retire from housekeeping work, and to live in her public housing apartment, when not hospitalized. (See the above photo taken of us on November 8, 2008, my 75th birthday.)

Ida’s empathy teaching

Before she retired one of Ida’s dear sons, an adult military veteran who survived the Viet Nam war, died unexpectedly of medical negligence at the local veteran’s hospital. I then expressed to Ida my sincere sympathies on her bereavement. Whereupon she thanked me but gently and wisely informed me that I couldn’t understand her grief.

She explained that you have to be a mother, who has lost a dear child to understand another mother’s bereavement feelings. Thus my sincere sympathy wasn’t the same as another mother’s experiential empathy.

What I’ve learned from Ida

1) Ida taught me that experiential empathy is more spiritually elevated than instinctive sympathy. So I’ve learned from her that we’ve incarnated to learn to live with heartfelt reciprocal empathy for hurts of other people and creatures.

2) As a dedicated member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church, Ida always tried to lovingly help, not hurt, other people. I’ve learned from her and others that people who lovingly help others help all life on Earth, regardless of whether they’re religious.

3) My spiritual friendship with Ida helped me learn to respect all other people as spiritual sisters and brothers, regardless of the how they’re labeled by their race, job, gender, economic wealth, college degrees etc.

4) Therefore, in my entire adult life as a self-employed busy lawyer, I didn’t employ any other person, except Ida; and I didn’t become anyone’s landlord with control over their home and living conditions. As a self-employed lawyer I rented office space, with related services, from larger law-firms.

5) My friendship with Ida, confirmed innate egalitarian instincts that control of anyone who helped me as a spiritual sister or brother seemed morally wrong. So my philosophy became and remained:

“Neither a master nor a servant be.
Abjure control by or over others.”


6) My relationships with Ida and others taught me that sincerely empathetic people can be very important to those they help. For example Ida’s spontaneous love for Jessica and Joshua Rattner, was very important for them in addressing the deep psychological traumas of their parents’ divorce.

Conclusion and Dedication

The long-time Ida M. Logan – Ron Rattner relationship furthered our spiritual evolution to Self-Realization. In giving, she received karmic blessings. And it taught me the supreme importance of learning to live with reciprocal empathy for all people and creatures now suffering on our precious planet.

Thus, this “Sympathy to Empathy” memoirs chapter is deeply dedicated to encouraging all others to empathetically and lovingly live for giving, not getting; for helping, not harming all beings (not just humans), and our precious planet Earth, which birthed us all.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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

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

practicing virtue in order to benefit others,

this man alone is happy.”

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

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

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

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. 

Love is therefore the only law of life. 

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

Therefore, love for love’s sake,

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

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

 



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

Introduction

Dear Friends,


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

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

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

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

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

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

Ron’s Devotional history

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


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

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

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


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


Guruji’s explanation was that:

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


Learning about devotional spirituality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Lovers of God as “Heretics”

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


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

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

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


Famous “Heretic” Prophets

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


In Western Christianity Paul the Apostle proclaimed that

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

st-francis-of-assisi

St. Francis of Assisi



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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

LOVE as the unseen Source of the worlds we see

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

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

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

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

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

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

And with firm faith, may our guiding motto ever be

‘Love for all, Hatred for none!’


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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

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

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

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


Betty Bethards (9/23/33 – 7/30/02)


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

Ron’s Introduction.

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Betty’s History.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so may it be!

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

Betty Bethards

1. Near-Death Experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Not the Same For Everyone.

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

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

3. Seeing the Invisible.

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

4. The Tunnel and the Light.

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

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

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

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

5. Hanging Around the Living.

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

6. Seeing Loved Ones and Teachers.

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

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

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

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

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

7. After the Homecoming.

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

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

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

8. Reviewing Past Lives.

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

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

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

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

9. Religious Beliefs.

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

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

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

10. The Idea of Purgatory.

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

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

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

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

11. The Meaning of Hell.

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

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

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

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

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

12. Laws More Protective.

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

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

13. Marriage and Unions.

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

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

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


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

Dear Friends,

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

1) Losing fear of death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Honoring God as Love

In “There is No Death” Betty Bethards taught that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5) Valuing loving psychic insights

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

6) Honoring Universal Perennial Wisdom

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

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

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

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

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Birds Have Feelings*


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




Birds Have Feelings*

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


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



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



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



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



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



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

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

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

The Creator knows when a sparrow falls.

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

Grace is the Creator reaching down.

Faith is humanity reaching back.

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

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

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


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


Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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


“There are only two ways to live your life.

One is as though nothing is a miracle.

The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

~ Albert Einstein

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

~ Walt Whitman

“For everything that lives is Holy,

life delights in life.”

~ William Blake – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

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

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

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

~ Swami Vivekananda

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

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


Dear Friends,

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

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

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

Some more unsolvable “miracles”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Dedication of Choosing To Live A Miraculous and Holy Life

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

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner