“Death is truly part of life … ‘what we called death is merely a concept’.”
“This happens at the gross level of the mind.
But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call ‘clear light.’”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama, citing Tibetan Book of the Dead.
“Everything is changeable, everything appears and disappears; there is no blissful peace until one passes beyond the agony of life and death.”
~ Gautama Buddha
“And it is in dying [to ego life] that we are reborn to eternal life.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi, peace prayer, edited by Ron Rattner
“Normally we do not like to think about death. We would rather think about life. Why reflect on death? When you start preparing for death you soon realize that you must look into your life now… and come to face the truth of your self.
Death is like a mirror in which the true meaning of life is reflected.”
~ Sogyal Rinpoche
“Birth and death are virtual,
but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“As we lose our fear of leaving life,
we gain the art of living life.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Know Death to Know Life;
Know Death to Know That There is No Death.
In phenomenal polarity reality
the idea of life, implies the idea of death.
All that appears disappears.
So, to live and to know earth-life,
we must experience and know earth-death.
But to Know and to Be that Consciousness
which is eternally aware of both earth-life and earth-death,
is to know that, beyond all appearance and disappearance,
There is no death –
only THAT which Knows.
So, to truly know Life
is to Know Death.
And to truly know death
is to Know that there is no death.
Ron’s audio recitation of “Know Death to Know Life; Know Death to Know That There is No Death”.
Ron’s Commentary on Knowing Death to Know Life.
Most Silly Sutras postings are dedicated to helping raise our spiritual consciousness, and thereby to enabling us to live happier lives, both individually and societally. Paradoxically many such postings intended to help us live happier lives, address death and dying.
Enduring religious and spiritual traditions reveal that “our deepest fears hide our highest potentials”, and that “as we lose our fears of leaving life, we gain the art of living life.”
So to help us transcend our fears of death and dying, I have today posted the foregoing poem Know Death to Know Life; Know Death to Know That There is No Death, plus an excellent embedded video documentary “The Tibetan Book of the Dead”, narrated by poet Leonard Cohen, together with its narrative text, which includes this key insight:
Physical death is inevitable and natural. But most people fear death, believing it ends life.
Thus, in much of American society dying is largely a taboo subject, with euphemistic and sorrowful language used to describe death and dying. And Americans usually die in hospitals or other institutions, and not at home surrounded by loved-ones. In the current extraordinary 2020 coronavirus pandemic era, billions of people worldwide seriously suffer from fear of death or disease, and loved-ones are often prevented from being with and consoling sick and dying people.
For millennia traditional societies have recognized physical death as an inevitable part of life, and have evolved elaborate traditions and teachings about death. For example, ancient Egyptians and Tibetans have codified such teachings in ‘Books of the Dead’. My beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, ran away from home at age thirteen in search of experiential answers to the interrelated perennial questions of “Who am I?” and “What is death?”.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead documentary video embedded below can help us transcend fear of death and dying. It was produced by NHK Japanese TV, and includes statements by the Dalai Lama, and authentic footage of Tibetan death teachings and practices in Ladakh. Whether or not you watch it, I recommend you read the posted narrative which is eloquently expressed in the film by poet Leonard Cohen.
May these teachings about death and dying
help enable us to live ever happier lives,
both individually and societally,
as we lose the fear of leaving life, and gain the art of living life.
And so shall it be!
NHK documentary “The Tibetan Book of the Dead”, narrated by Leonard Cohen.
Although everything on Earth seems stable and solid, nothing here is permanent. Like water, snow and ice, life is always shifting and changing form. All existence is one kind of state or another. This means living in an atmosphere of uncertainty – moving without a place to rest.
In this world, we pass through the spiritual state of physical existence. Here, we want to make something lasting and secure, but no one has been able to accomplish this. Our life is always in the hands of death. At death, our experience is completely out of our control. Our experience is completely naked.
What is the best path through this spiritual state? It is a question of waking up right now, looking at our own mind. Look at it when it is calm and still and when it is running wild. This is what Buddha did and what he taught. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
Soon we all will die. All our hopes and fears will be irrelevant.
Out of luminous continuity of existence, which has no origin and which has never died, human beings project all the images of life and death, terror and joy, demons and gods. These images become our complete reality. We submit without thinking to their dance. In all the movements to this dance, we project our greatest fears on death and we make every effort to ignore it.
Illusions are as various as the moon reflecting on a rippling sea. Beings become easily caught in the net of confused pain. We must develop compassion as boundless as the sky so that all may rest in the clear light of our own awareness.
At death, we lose everything we thought was real. Unless we can let go of all the things we cherished in our life we are terrified. We cannot stop struggling to hold on to our old life. All our fear and yearning will drag us into yet another painful reality.
We are always wandering through transitional spiritual states. Difficulty in leaving behind our old life can cause us to wander in painful uncertainty.
The spiritual state of dying lasts from the beginning of the body’s physical collapse until the body and consciousness separate.
While we are living, the elements of Earth, water, fire and air together support and condition our consciousness. Death occurs when this is no longer the case. Now, without the screens and filters of daily life, at this time, mind itself can be seen directly. In the spiritual state of dying, it is important to recognize our own true nature.
At death, there is an experience of piercing luminosity, pure white light, the clear radiance that rises directly from our own basic nature. Now, there is no darkness, no separation, no direction and no shape, only brilliant light. This boundless sparkling radiance is mind, free from the shadows of birth and death – free from any boundaries of any kind.
Now all pervasive light engulfs us completely. All of space is dissolved into pure light. This radiance is the mind of God, the mind of all the awakened ones. Recognizing this is all that is necessary for liberation from birth and rebirth. If we do not recognize our divine nature, a dreamless sleep will happen.
In three days time, all emotions will be vivid and intense. Though it seems we are entering into a new reality, it is still the reality of our own mind.
Wandering back to the familiar sites and people of our old life, our own mind will arise before us in unfamiliar ways. We may not know if we are alive or dead. Even so, we may see our family crying. We must leave our former life behind if we are to progress.
If the we are unable to recognize the luminosity of mind itself, our experience now takes the shape of random imagery of our former life. We see our friends and relatives calling out to us and they cannot hear our replies. Death has cut us off from them and sorrow strikes our heart. We see our family and relatives crying. We can see our bed but we are no longer the one lying there. Instead, there is a corpse.
Soon we will experience the intense presence of our own emotional states as peaceful and raging light forms. Now, we will meet our mind in the form of projections which seem vivid and entirely real. Now we will see penetrating blue light shining all around us. This is the essence of consciousness, God (Buddha). The wisdom of God is like a mirror reflecting everything. God is the form of consciousness in its complete purity. This wisdom is inseparable from our own heart. But also we will see a diffused white light which we must avoid if we are to achieve liberation. If we follow the allure of the soft white light, we will find ourselves ensnared in the temporary pleasures of being born as a god, living in Lordly ignorance of the passage of time and subject to unexpected death.
If this path is taken, the wisdom of our very heart and mind takes the form of spiritual entities. There will be peaceful spiritual entities that emanate from our heart and wrathful ones that emerge from our brain.
They will appear one by one and then all together. The peaceful spiritual entities are complete and immovable. If we cannot bear to enter their vast benevolent space, if we cannot let go of self-centeredness and fear, these deities will become terrifying wrathful ones. If we recognize them as an expression of our own mind, they are the unsparing face of wakefulness.
The wrathful forms emerging from the brain appear before us actually and clearly as if they were real in their own right. The terror and anger we feel are our own efforts to evade from being completely awake. We wander uncertainly in the landscape of our own mind. If we recognize this as our own projections, liberation is instantaneous.
These wrathful forms are the presence of our innate wisdom, the vivid form of our own wakefulness. We must recognize them as a reflection of our own mind. Recognition and liberation are simultaneous.
All of us feel sparks of anger, flickers of passion, and twinges of jealousy during brief moments. From these seeds, we grow to become the jealous person. We say “this is what I am” and we act accordingly. But these are just our masks and we forget that we are wearing them. We run from the masks that others wear. The wrathful spiritual entities are our own mind and it is impossible to run away from them. They are the sharpness of our own clarity. They are all in our mind.
Then altogether and all at once, the peaceful and wrathful spiritual entities come before us. If we do not recognize them as our own projections, then they transform into the terrifying image of the Lord of Death. This too is our own projection. But if we don’t accept that, our fear and turmoil force us to wander on in terror to the spiritual state of rebirth. We leave the spiritual state of the nature of mind. Again we are lost and wandering, so now we seek to end our suffering by being born into a solid and familiar place.
Now in the spiritual state of rebirth, all our senses have become extremely acute. Our consciousness is like a body without substance. In this body, we can, by a mere thought, travel to anywhere. As if we have miraculous powers, we can pass through mountains and circle the universe. We can enter anywhere but nowhere can we rest.
In the pain of our endless wandering, the thought of being born now promises great relief. We can still see our family, but we no longer know we are with them. We are driven on the winds of hope and fear like a leaf that is carried in the wind.
If we are still unable to recognize our own nature, our anger, lust and confusion become ever more intense, ever more solid. They at last appear to us as entire realms where we may stop and dwell. The image of our former body becomes faint and the image of our future body becomes clear. Any birth seems better than his current pain.
Since everyone is caught in these spiritual states of suffering, what can we do? People make hell realms out of their own anger. They make worlds out of passion. We project our emotional states and believe it is the real world. But no matter what, everyone longs for compassion. Everyone wishes to be awake. The best thing is to develop genuine compassion for all living things and for ourselves too. If we do not truly care for others we cannot know our own mind. We can have lofty insights and pure impulses, but then return to our old habits without even noticing it. We must work all the time to open our hearts and look for the truth. Otherwise there is neither understanding nor a purpose for understanding. Also, as life goes by, it is a good idea to keep your sense of humor.
We are now coming to the end of our journey. As we reach the end of the spiritual state of rebirth, the features of the world we are to enter will become very clear to us. If we pay attention now, we will find our way to a favorable rebirth.
We are now on the path to rebirth. We must choose carefully where we are to be born. In all the possibilities that are present before us, we must choose our new life. If we choose a good human birth in a good place, we can continue on the path of recognizing our own mind. Even though we are desperate for a home, a dark cave in a forest can lead to a birth in the animal realm. If we are consumed by yearning, the realm of hungry ghosts can become a never-ending realm of hunger and thirst for us. Rage, bitterness, and anger open all the images of hell. It is best to avoid the extremes of pleasure or pain when selecting a new birth. It is best to be born where we can still recognize the luminous essence of our own mind.
We will not remember much of our journey when we are born again. It will be like starting out new. Though death is always something to be mourned, being born is not something to be celebrated. There is an old saying: “When we are born, we cry, but the whole world is overjoyed. When we die, the world cries and we can become overjoyed when we find the great liberation.”
*Source: Kevin Williams, http://www.near-death.com/religion/buddhism/commentary.html
“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
~ Abraham Lincoln – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive.”
~ Dalai Lama
“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good,
both for oneself and others.”
~ Dalai Lama
“Our task must be to free ourselves…
by widening our circle of compassion
to embrace all living creatures
and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.”
~ Albert Einstein
Memorial Day, 2020 – Re-dedication Proclamation
Since its inception following the American Civil War, Memorial Day has commemorated the passing of men and women who died while participating in US wars against and amongst other people. But today many Americans have forgotten the sacred spirit with which Memorial Day was inaugurated – an antiwar spirit recognizing and honoring the sanctity of Life.
Now as humanity’s insane internecine conflicts continue, and as people continue dying and suffering needlessly for questionable causes instigated by sociopathic or psychopathic “leaders”, isn’t it time for us to rededicate Memorial Day to the sacred spirit with which it originated?
Today we are experiencing world-wide environmental crises threatening not just human life but all other life-forms on our precious planet, and against Mother Nature which birthed us all.
Unrestrained corporate capitalism coercively and insidiously exploits and injures vulnerable people and myopically plunders, depletes and corrupts finite planetary resources which sustain life. Billions of people suffer needless death, displacement, poverty, starvation, injury and avoidable disease, while obscenely privileged plutocrats greedily acquire power and excessive material wealth far beyond their conceivable needs.
Until now, much of humanity has suffered illusionary psychological separation from each other and Nature, allowing unsustainable ecological desecration of our precious planet and barbaric exploitation of vulnerable beings and other life-forms. But more and more people are awakening to our sacred connection with all life on our precious planet.
So isn’t it now urgently imperative for us to elevate our societal awareness and to realize at long last that we are not dependent upon exploitation of our planet or vulnerable others but interdependent with all life thereon; that we can no longer unsustainably exploit Nature and others without dire consequences?
In solemnly observing Memorial Day 2020, let us resolutely re-dedicate Humankind to our renewed and ever elevated awareness of the sanctity of all Life – not just human life.
And with such elevated awareness let us end insane internecine conflicts and unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet and of susceptible sentient beings, and let us peacefully and democratically, harmoniously and happily, co-exist with each other and with all other life on our precious planet Earth.
And so it shall be!
Peter, Paul and Mary performing Bob Dylan’s classic peace song,
“Blowin’ in the Wind”
Ron’s Commentary on the Sacred Spirit of Memorial Day, 2020
At its inception the US Memorial Day holiday honored those who died and was dedicated to the aspiration that the country would never again experience such devastating death and destruction, as eloquently uttered in Lincoln’s Gettysburg address quoted above.
Contrary to Lincoln’s vision and aspiration, the USA has become a colossal world empire perpetually instigating or involved in wars, either directly or vicariously, in ways Lincoln probably could never imagine. It is possible that the US has killed more than 20 million people in 37 “victim nations” since World War II, including millions of non-combatant civilian women and children.
Moreover, especially since Donald Trump’s election as US President, it has become painfully evident to many Americans that their government is no longer a democracy – that US government of the people, by the people, for the people has insidiously been co-opted by a few international oligopolists who have instigated an autocratic top-down government of, by and for billionaires and transnational corporations, representing far fewer than 1% of Humankind.
Since Trump’s election there has been worldwide violence, turmoil, social unrest and adversity, with many people observing that we are experiencing a serious regression of social progress, and justifiably fearing a locked-down dystopian/Orwellian “Big Brother” era of unprecedented human control and enslavement by a few psychopaths, or a World War III nuclear or bioweapons holocaust or collapse of planetary ecology supporting life on Earth as we have known it.
Paradoxically because these are critical times of immense jeopardy and suffering they afford us an extraordinary evolutionary incentive and opportunity for establishing world peace and freedom, and rededicating Humanity to the sanctity of all life on Earth.
As His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has observed:
“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.”
Because normal activities of billions of people worldwide are now disrupted by unprecedented coronavirus edicts, fears, quarantines, and sufferings, most humans have been motivated to observe and reflect on what’s wrong, and how we can reform or replace current societal institutions which are causing much needless misery. And many of us are, at long last, realizing how delusional human behaviors are imminently threatening Earth-life as we have known it.
So whether or not we are citizens of the American empire, this is an extraordinarily propitious time for us, as a worldwide human family, to co-create a much more compassionate world, with bottom-up societies serving people and planet over profits.
Let us compassionately commemorate Memorial Day 2020
by rededicating ourselves to the sanctity of all Life
and to preserving universal peace on our precious planet.
May we thereby
interdependently, harmoniously and happily,
peacefully and lovngly co-exist
with all Life everywhere.
And so shall it be!
“The whole problem with the world is that
fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves,
and wiser people so full of doubts.”
~ Bertrand Russell
“When questioning begins, certainty ends.
When certainty ends, wisdom begins.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“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
“We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.”
~ Albert Einstein
“There is no certainty, there is only adventure.”
~ Roberto Assagioli
“The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning.
Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.”
~ Erich Fromm
Certainty and Uncertainty
Q. Is anything certain in life?
A. In space/time “reality”, the only certainty is impermanence or change.
Thus in this world, uncertainty is the only certainty.
But, in Absolute Reality beyond relativity there is only Mystery – the Mystery of Life.
So, ultimately, the only certainty in life, is the Mystery of Life itself.
For further consideration of uncertainty and Mystery here are a few apt sutra sayings:
Sutra sayings about certainty and uncertainty
Uncertainty is the mother of Mystery
– Mystery of Divinity.
In relative reality nothing’s certain but uncertainty.
Certainty certainly masks Mystery.
As we open to Mystery,
we transcend shackles of certainty,
ever enhancing possibilities
of realizing our potentialities.
The fewer our certainties, the greater our possibilities.
With complete uncertainty, we have infinite potentiality.
Everything is possible when nothing is inevitable.
So, absolutely, we seek absolution from absolutism.
Ron’s recitation of Certainty and Uncertainty sayings
Ron’s Comments About Certainty and Uncertainty :
Have you ever been absolutely certain about something or someone,
and later learned that your certainty was mistaken?
If so, especially in these turbulent times of worldwide pandemic panic, controversy and divisiveness, please consider the foregoing writings about certainty and uncertainty.
Throughout recorded history, in order to evolve, human societies have been compelled to abandon previously cherished inflexible beliefs about religion, science, philosophy etc. which motivated evil and harmful behaviors, limited learning, and impeded progress.
How could we have advanced believing that the earth was flat, or that it was the center of our solar system?
Thanks to ‘uncertainty’ theory, we’ve learned from quantum physicists that what we’ve believed to be physical ‘reality’ isn’t really real; that ultimate “Reality” is indescribable consciousness emanating from an ever mysterious matrix.
“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”
~ Niels Bohr, quantum physicist
“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
Although some fallible world “leaders” may seem insanely overconfident and “certain” of themselves, Earth’s suffering citizens can best address critical crises by carefully questioning and nonviolently resisting all “official” certainties which can cause harm or deter needed advancement.
For example, multi-billionaire Bill Gates, a software technocrat and eugenicist, with absolutely no medical or biological academic or clinical training, is currently asserting with certainty (as a self-proclaimed health authority) that all humans worldwide must be vaccinated against current coronavirus pandemic pathogens, though no such vaccine exists, and it would take years to properly develop and scientifically test such a vaccine. But numerous expert research virologists, epidemiologists, biologists, health academics and clinicians have challenged Gates’ assertions. And independent researchers have adduced factual evidence controverting Gates, including reports by his former family physician that Gates refused to have his own children vaccinated. (See e.g. https://childrenshealthdefense.org/)
Similarly, many world governments and autocratic bureaucrats, especially in the USA, are rushing to install admittedly untested so-called 5G wireless networks, drones, and satellites as ‘certainly’ needed for progress, despite overwhelming independent scientific studies implicating these technologies as dangerously harmful to health of all humans and other bio-forms on this planet. (See e.g. We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe.)
Thus, to preserve all life on our precious planet and to evolve beyond imminently threatened cataclysms we must open-mindedly and nonviolently, but unrelentingly, resist all deluded autocrats and bureaucrats who could insanely and ignorantly end earth-life as we have known it.
With quiet minds and open hearts may we ever remember that Nature is our nature, and compassionately honor the spiritual essence and equality of everyone everywhere.
May we thereby nonviolently resist and transcend all mistaken ‘certainties’ that create harm and greed.
And thus may we democratically overcome all insanely unsustainable and greedy exploitation of our precious planet, and unjust discrimination against vulnerable sentient beings, and the iniquity of inequity in our societies.
And so shall it be!
Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away. Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably. Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only. Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
~ Erich Fromm
“Our destiny is Divinity.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is a round trip metaphoric journey,
on which we are destined to return to point of origin.
On return, we learn – we never left.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
How shall we find lasting happiness?
Q. How shall we find lasting happiness?
A. We find lasting happiness upon transcending our illusionary ego-self, and Being our true Self.
Knowingly or unknowingly, everyone wants lasting happiness.
However, most seek it futilely in outside worldly pleasures which are always impermanent.
But, ever abiding Happiness is our true inner nature – our eternal Self – and our ultimate destiny.
So to find lasting happiness we must look within, not outside.
There mindfully we shall uncover and abolish all illusory ego-mind ideas which obscure awareness of our true Self – which is LOVE.
So, we shall find lasting happiness upon transcending our ego-self, and Being our true Self – as LOVE.
Ron’s comments on finding lasting happiness
Have you ever wondered why the world seems so crazy? Why so many people suffer from wars, poverty, illness, lack of basic life-sustaining necessities? Why in the richest nation on Earth, suffering is everywhere? Why even super-rich people often become lonely, depressed, addicted, or mentally ill?
Growing up in Chicago in the 1930’s and 40’s, I was intuitively inspired by a then very popular “hit parade” song, titled: “Bluebird of Happiness” passionately sung by operatic tenor and Jewish cantor Jan Peerce. But only on now listening to that classic recording, do I appreciate its inspiring ever-relevant lyrics. (For your upliftment an mp3 copy of that recording is linked below.)
In the 1950’s I first began thinking that inhumanely materialistic organization of human societies was unnecessarily causing widespread conflicts and suffering; that much individual pathology was being caused by widespread societal insanity.
I was then deeply influenced by “The Sane Society” a brilliant philosophical analysis by author-psychotherapist Erich Fromm, about the pathology of ‘normalcy’ in our materialistic societies. In “The Sane Society” Fromm suggested that materialistic Western society was lacking in sanity; that the iniquities, inequities and disharmonies of entire societies were pathological, not just the seemingly separate mental illnesses of people therein.
But only after my mid-life change of life, did I begin deeply reflecting on root causes of such societal insanity and unhappiness. I began asking many new questions about our true identity and reality, individually and collectively.
Thanks to continuing curiosity, and divine Grace, I have often been synchronistically blessed with simple spiritual answers to mentally complicated questions about crazy behaviors in a crazy world; answers which have brought me ever-increasing happiness.
I’ve discovered that seemingly complicated questions about living a happy life can often be simply answered from elevated heart levels of awareness; that our experience of happiness depends upon our mental attitude, and upon self-identification as eternal spirit rather than as mere mortal bodies and their stories. And that, ultimately, lasting happiness can only be found within, as Love.
So I’ve shared the foregoing quotations, sutras and Q & A essay/poem, to help remind us of perennially profound but simple answers to seemingly complicated questions about happiness and suffering, and to help us discover that lasting happiness as Love is our true nature, and ultimate destiny.
May these writings encourage our experience, individually and societally, of ever increasing inner happiness as Love, in a seemingly crazy world. And since ‘everything we think, do or say, changes this world in some way’, may we ‘contagiously’ help heal this crazy world with heartfelt Love as we realize that “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
And so shall it be!
2020 Coronavirus addendum
Today’s posting (which emphasizes the perennial necessity of looking within to find lasting happiness) was first written before the world entered the unprecedented “new normal” coronavirus pandemic era of worldwide stay at home ‘lock-downs’, with anti-assembly, forced masking and social distancing decrees, shutting down most normal human social and economic activities, and activating history’s potentially greatest economic depression.
As I now write to you, billions of unhappily suffering people, while not distracted by their normal activities, are beginning to look within for origins and answers to our unprecedented outer problems. Thereby, they are now questioning the causes of current pre-planned crises, and realizing that their governments have utterly failed to protect or serve their fundamental human rights, liberties and needs.
Thus a “critical mass” of humanity is awakening to discover that we’ve become catastrophically and imminently endangered by sacrificing our few remaining precious outer freedoms to uncaring autocratic “leaders”; and that we are imminently at-risk of becoming abjectly dependent for physical survival on a few obscenely rich trans-national multi-billionaire-psychopaths planning to establish and control a dystopian/Orwellian world, and to keep us under house arrest until we are all vaccinated against the next purported pandemic.
Paradoxically, our awakening is completely opposite to the intent of those “leaders” who planned and perpetrated the current crisis, and who have intentionally provoked and stoked stressfully debilitating fear and pandemic panic, by repeatedly reporting immensely exaggerated and completely false coronavirus pandemic death and disease projections and statistics.
Instead of being paralyzed by fear and panic, we are discovering that by following our hearts, rather than unfounded government edicts, we have an unparalleled opportunity to collectively and cooperatively realize an abiding “new normal” era of cooperation, harmony and peace.
In my opinion, the coronavirus pandemic emergency has given us an unprecedented “once-in-a-lifetime” (‘use it or lose it’) opportunity to co-create a new and wonderful world of peace, happiness, harmony and health, with liberty, equality, and justice for all.
Accordingly, I urge you to please consider joining billions of others worldwide as an awakened “critical mass” of humanity which will, at long last, peacefully end the exploitive ‘industrial’ capitalist age of insanely and unsustainably pillaging, poisoning and plundering our precious planet, and of immorally exploiting all vulnerable people and other life forms thereon.
Let us unite to nonviolently replace, with localized and civilized sane societies, and cooperative communities, the psychopathically profit-seeking autocratic empires and colonizers, which have brought humankind to the brink of ending Earth-life as we’ve known it.
May the coronavirus crisis prove a revolutionary disguised blessing by awakening our instinctive caring for one-another, and impelling us to follow our hearts to realization of a “new normal” wonderful world of LOVE.
And so shall it be!
Tenor Jan Peerce singing “Bluebird of Happiness”
“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“There is only one central issue, crisis, or challenge for man, which is, that he must be completely free. As long as the mind is holding on to a structure, a method, a system, there is no freedom.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice.
Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Bondage is of the mind; freedom too is of the mind.
If you say ‘I am a free soul. I am a son of God who can bind me’ free you shall be.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“Be empty of worrying,
Think of Who Created Thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?”
“The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body,
the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him –
that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“All life is an effort to attain freedom from self-created entanglement;
it is a desperate struggle to undo what has been done under ignorance,
to throw away the accumulated burden of the past,
to find rescue from the debris left by a series of temporary achievements and failures.”
~ Meher Baba
“Freedom is of the nature of the soul, it is its birthright:
.. real freedom of the soul shines through veils of matter in the form of the apparent freedom of man.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“To acquire freedom we have to get beyond the limitations of this universe;
it cannot be found here. ….
The only way to come out of bondage
is to go beyond the limitations of [karmic] law,
to go beyond causation.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“Liberation is our very nature. We are that.
The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“The soul can grow only in freedom. Love gives freedom.
And when you give freedom, you are free, that’s what detachment is.
If you enforce bondage on the other, you will be in imprisonment on your own accord.
If you bind the other, the other will bind you; if you define the other, the other will define you;
if you are trying to possess the other, the other will possess you.”
“Spiritual freedom is freedom from all wanting. . . When the soul breaks asunder the shackles of wanting, it is emancipated from bondage to body, mind, and ego. This freedom brings realization of the unity of all life and puts an end to all doubts and worries.”
~ Meher Baba
“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“The most fundamental message of Gautama the Buddha is not God, is not soul… it is freedom: freedom absolute, total, unconditional. He does not want to give you an ideology, because every ideology creates its own slavery. He does not want to give you a religion, because religion binds you.”
“We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.”
~ Ron Rattner – Sutra Sayings
“You are truly free when you are not a person.”
~ Deepak Chopra – The Book of Secrets
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual,
“Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. — “I Have a Dream” speech, August 28, 1963
Q. What is “freedom”, and how can we experience it?
A. “Freedom” is a word with different meanings.
Here we define “freedom” as an ultimate spiritual Reality beyond thought or ego – beyond human comprehension, imagination, description or belief –
which can only be known experientially, not rationally or mentally.
Ultimate “freedom” is our divine birthright, our nature and our destiny. Freedom is ever NOW, never then.
After mystically experiencing “freedom”, great beings like Jesus, the Buddha and Krishna have encouraged us to aspire to this ultimate transcendent experience. Knowingly or unknowingly, all people – including atheists, non-theists, and agnostics – long for “freedom”.
Mystics say that as long we self-identify only with our thoughts in ever changing space/time/causality reality we are inescapably ‘imprisoned’ in a state of psychological bondage, with inevitable suffering; that we experience ultimate “freedom” only in the present moment – the NOW – as we choicelessly self-identify with timeless universal awareness or spirit imminent in each of us.
Essential wisdom teachings of all enduring spiritual, mystical and mythic paths allude to spiritual “freedom”.
Thus, the most important Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, is a teaching by Divine Avatar Krishna about the ultimate spiritual goal (“moksha”) of liberation or “freedom” from the cycle of death and rebirth (“samsara”).
Similarly, all of Gautama Buddha’s teachings were aimed at ending human suffering through attainment of “freedom” from mental fetters or chains (samyojana) of mistaken self-identification with samsara.
When Jesus said: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) he meant that we will experience “freedom” on realizing our true self-identity as soul or spirit. And in declaring: “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30), Jesus showed that we can only find such freedom when we self-identify with ONE Divine spirit – the kingdom of heaven within – rather than as supposedly separate embodied personalities.
“Freedom” is the esoteric essence and mythical message of the biblical Passover story. Many Jews and Christians annually remember and ritually observe the biblical Exodus legend about God miraculously rescuing Jews from bondage as slaves in Egypt, with Christians recalling that a Passover seder dinner was Jesus’ last supper. Some Afro-American Christians celebrate by singing the popular spiritual song “Go Down Moses”
The Exodus story symbolizes humanity’s eternal quest for spiritual freedom – for societal escape from enslavement by mistaken beliefs in false external Gods or goals to an inner ‘promised land’ of ONE eternal Divinity universally imminent within each of us, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, if any. So Passover rituals of lighting outer candles, can symbolically remind us of humanity’s perpetual quest for the eternal inner light of universal freedom.
We find and experience ultimate freedom only in choiceless awareness beyond our apparent subject/object separateness; beyond our beliefs, religions, ideologies or philosophies. By recognizing and transcending illusory belief barriers which seem to imprison us, we are –
“Free at last, free at last!”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.”
NOW – ever NOW, never THEN!
Ron’s Commentary on Finding Spiritual Freedom
Spiritual freedom is an ultimate goal of all perennial wisdom paths. Most people associate “freedom” with personal, political, and economic liberty. But spiritual freedom is an extraordinarily rare transcendental state which can be inwardly attained even by those who do not enjoy external freedoms, like slaves or prison inmates.
I first deeply reflected on transcendental concepts of “freedom” during the 1950’s on learning of Abraham Maslow’s humanistic psychology theories concerning self-actuated people, and when I read “Escape From Freedom” by German-born psychotherapist Erich Fromm, who endorsed the fundamental importance of not submitting to outer-dictates from an autocratic societal system that prescribes inauthentic beliefs and behaviors.
Though I’ve always been instinctively inner-directed, after becoming a lawyer I rarely reflected about inner “freedom” until I had a memorable face-to-face exchange with my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, just prior to his 1980 return to India.
While then residing in my apartment, Guruji 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.”
Thereupon, I became intensely curious about Guruji’s surprising revelation that my body was “like a prison”. And I wondered how and why ‘I’ was ‘imprisoned’, and how ‘I’ could get out of ‘jail’ – free like Guruji. So I began deeply exploring spiritual freedom, as distinguished from personal, political, and economic freedoms.
Soon, I was reminded of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech, and wondered why his words “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last” were so deeply powerful.
Ultimately, I realized that those words were rooted in the biblical Exodus Passover story; and I intuited that spiritual “freedom” is the esoteric essence and mythical message of that story. I concluded that the Passover story symbolically emphasizes escape from outer bondage to a Divinely ‘promised land’ within – viz. escape from enslavement by mistaken beliefs in false external idols, Gods or goals to an inner ‘promised land’ of ONE eternal Divinity imminent in each of us.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is ONE!”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4
Later, I noted that Jesus powerfully alluded to spiritual freedom by prophesying:
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
So Jesus was teaching that we will find freedom (from self-imposed worldly slavery) only when we transcend entity identity and self-identify as ONE Divine spirit – the kingdom of heaven within – rather than as supposedly separate embodied personalities.
Ultimately, I concluded that our limited and limiting ego ideas about self-identity and reality confine each of us within a kind of psychological prison in which suffering is inevitable, and which restricts realization of our infinite potentialities.
However, the masters teach and demonstrate that we can each mentally transcend that “prison” and emerge “free at last” from our self-woven karmic cocoons, no matter what our outer circumstances.
Thus, Rumi reminded us:
“Be empty of worrying,
Think of Who Created Thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?”
The encouraging possibility of getting out of jail FREE is explained in the foregoing quotations and essay. May they help us evolve toward precious inner freedom, our divine birthright.
And so may it be!
2020 Coronavirus Epilogue
Happy Easter/Passover pandemic season!
In this extraordinarily unprecedented epochal period of pandemic panic, billions of people worldwide are fearfully keeping socially distant from one-another or are locked-down and “sheltering at home” instead of living normally. Observant Christians and Jews were barred from worshiping together at Easter services which memorialized the death and resurrection of Jesus, or at Passover seders (like Jesus’ last supper) which ritually observed the biblical Exodus legend of God’s miraculous deliverance of Jews from slavery in Egypt, to seek and find freedom in a ‘promised land’.
As a longtime social justice attorney, I’ve become extremely concerned about egregiously unconstitutional autocratic laws and regulations which prevent billions of people from democratically enjoying innate and personal, political, and economic “freedoms”. And I encourage revolutionary resistance to such autocratically immoral edicts by countless confined or restricted people everywhere.
But to fundamentally address the psychological origin of our worldly pandemic panic and fears, I’ve republished the foregoing posting about finding transcendental inner “freedom”.
Paradoxically, this is a time of both immense threat and epochal opportunity. Because pervasive panic and fear precludes us from authentically addressing current quandaries, it is crucial that we transcend such fears in order to skillfully solve our potentially disastrous problems; and, to deeply reconsider our life purposes and priorities as sentient Earth beings instinctively seeking “freedom”.
May today’s writings (and music) help dispel our fears and panic, and inspire and encourage our democratic worldly progress toward liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for all, and hasten our inner evolution, until we are
“Free at last, free at last.
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
And so shall it be!
“Go Down Moses”
“‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ said Alice.
‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the cat. ‘We’re all mad here.’”
~ Lewis Carroll
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
“When the world goes mad,
one must accept madness as sanity;
since sanity is, in the last analysis,
nothing but the madness on which the whole world happens to agree.”
~ George Bernard Shaw
Bi-Polar Paradigm Disorder
We live in an age of mental malaise.
The world now suffers an epidemic
of bi-polar paradigm disorder.
This condition begins to arise when people
futilely try to divide the Indivisible,
by everywhere drawing imaginary border lines –
like “us and them”, “good and evil”, “God and Satan” etc..
These border-line people then get mentally unbalanced
and feel dis-eased and threatened by people
‘on the other side’ of their imaginary lines.
Their border-line thinking is not logical, but pathological.
Bi-polar paradigm disorder is closely related to another
wide-spread mental disorder now afflicting
most of Humankind – Chronic Belief Syndrome.
Researchers are looking for a common cure for both afflictions;
a cure which will provide Humankind with “relief from belief”.
However, they are presently unable to secure federal funding for their research project and don’t believe that such a cure is imminent.
Ron’s audio recitation of Bi-Polar Paradigm Disorder
Ron’s Commentary on “Bi-Polar Paradigm Disorder” and “Chronic Belief Syndrome”.
We live in an age of mental malaise.
In some commentaries I have darkly described world society as insanely dystopian and Orwellian – as symptomatic of pandemic societal sickness. And I’ve attributed our suffering to human ignorance, fear and greed fomented and exploited by psychopathic world financial, political and corporate billionaire “leaders” selfishly serving interests of power and profits over people for a ‘Big Brother’ “deep state”.
But today I offer a sure cure for all such sufferings – a true panacea and formula for alchemically transmuting dystopia to utopia. Instead of complaining, today I’m explaining how we can and shall resolve our political problems.
Inspired by Dr. Seuss, I have identified and ‘diagnosed’ above as the fundamental causes of our societal insanity two widespread mental disorders: “Bi-Polar Paradigm Disorder” and “Chronic Belief Syndrome”.
Delusionally believing ourselves separate from and mortally threatened by apparently perceived ‘others’, we compulsively fear them and fight ‘them’. But we suffer from perception projection deception; what we think we see are merely mental mirages – seemingly apparent but nonexistent.
Our hallucinatory mental problems cannot be solved from the same levels of consciousness that created them.
So, rather than prescribing new pills for our mental ills – offering only temporary symptomatic relief – today I am privileged to reveal natural and ‘open-source’ mental mood and awareness elevators, which are sure cures for all of Humankind’s illogical psychological problems.
Amazingly these sure cures are freely available – infinitely and eternally – within everyone and everything everywhere. They are:
Universal Spirit, Being, Awareness, Bliss; Eternal Peace, Life, Light, LOVE.
By uncovering, accessing and compassionately emanating these sure cures, we will inevitably solve and resolve all world problems and crises arising from Human ignorance and greed.
And so it shall BE!
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”
~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
“You are awareness, disguised as a person.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks
“You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
“For in truth it is life that gives unto life –
while you, who deem yourself a giver, is but a witness.”
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
“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
May we bless the whole
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life.
Ever a part in it,
never apart from it,
in happiness or strife.
May we grow wise
though chaos seems e’er rife.
‘Til we’re the Whole –
and not the role,
and Holiness is Life.
Ron’s recitation of “Players’ Prayer”
Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Players’ Prayer”
The foregoing “Player’s Prayer” poem, composed years ago, was inspired by William Shakespeare’s mystical insight that all world’s a stage on which we each play different roles. (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII).
It was intended to remind us to help us bless the world every day, not just on days deemed ‘special’ for expressing love, kindness and affection – like Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or anniversaries; to always “bless the Whole, as we play our role in the cosmic theater of life”.
We are all spiritually connected, and everything we think do or say changes this world in some way. So we need not be avowed spiritual seekers or practitioners to spiritually bless this crazy world. Whatever may be our role as ‘players’ in an ever changing cosmic drama, we bless the world by lovingly accepting and treating others – not just those deemed near and dear to us by affinity or consanguinity.
Most ordinary people with different life roles, are instinctively motivated to be tolerant and helpful in their relationships with others, even though they may live in societies corrupted by greed and injustice. They just want to live and let live in peace. So we gradually and instinctively can learn to accept others as divine sisters and brothers, as we lose illusory ego-mind inhibitions and apprehensions, and realize our deep spiritual Oneness with them, and with Nature and all its lifeforms.
Moreover, we can learn from history’s greatest exemplars of Divine LOVE to not mentally judge others, but to accept and forgive everyone, even supposed adversaries or betrayers (like Judas Iscariot). That is why Jesus (as an incarnate avatar of LOVE) taught by example to love even our enemies, not just our neighbors, and why he prayerfully beseeched Divine forgiveness for those who perpetrated his excruciatingly painful crucifixion:
“Father, forgive them they know not what they do.”
We ignorantly hurt ourselves by hurting or hating others, until we learn the divine Truth that we and others are ONE. Whereupon we realize that unconditional forgiveness and acceptance of others is true LOVE, which eternally blesses all creation.
Conclusion and Invocation.
Whatever our role in each ephemeral human lifetime, may our instinctive tolerance and generosity help awaken us to our true common Self-identity;
to Realization that we all are Universal Awareness, disguised as persons on the ‘world’s stage’, in a Divine play of Cosmic Consciousness.
Thereby may we live ever more fulfilling lives, as we realize that
“Love is the highest,
the most inspiring,
the most sublime
principle in creation.”
And thus shall we
“Bless the Whole,
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life”.
And so shall it be!
“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, …Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.
~ Albert Einstein, as quoted in his New York Times Obituary, April 19, 1955)
Einstein’s Mystical Ideas
Albert Einstein was not only a great scientist but a wise philosopher and a pragmatic “true mystic” … “of a deeply religious nature.” (New York Times Obituary, April 19, 1955)
Einstein did not believe in a formal, dogmatic religion, but was religiously and reverently awed and humbled with a cosmic religious feeling by the immense beauty and eternal mystery of our Universe.
He often commented publicly on religious and ethical subjects, and thereby he became widely respected for his moral integrity and mystical wisdom, as well as for his scientific genius.
In an essay collection entitled The World As I See It, first published 1933, Einstein explained his reverence for God as Eternal Universal Intelligence. But he rejected prevalent religious ideas of individual survival of physical death, reincarnation, or of reward or punishment in heaven or hell after physical death. He said:
I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature. [The World As I See It]
On learning of the death of a lifelong friend, Einstein wrote in a March 1955 letter to his friend’s family:
“Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Einstein’s rejection of afterlife contradicted many religious teachings and credible experiential accounts of individual afterlife and reincarnation. But it was consistent with Einstein’s revolutionary scientific paradigm and with highest non-dualistic Eastern religious teachings, the most ancient extant of which is Hindu Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
Einstein revolutionized Western science with his 1905 groundbreaking theory of relativity that “mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing”; that there was an equivalence between all matter and energy in the universe, quantifiable by the simple equation e = mc2. On his arrival in New York in 1919, Einstein summarized his theory of relativity in the single sentence:
“Remove matter from the universe and you also remove space and time.”
Clark R.W., Einstein: His Life and Times (1973)
Though Vedic rishis or seers had anticipated Einstein by millennia, their teachings were largely unknown in the West until shortly before Einstein revolutionized Western science. The ancient Vedic Advaita teachings were first brought to large Western audiences by Swami Vivekananda – who came to the West as Indian delegate to the 1893 Parliament of World Religions.
Vivekananda, who was principle disciple of nineteenth century Indian Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, eloquently explained that according to Advaita philosophy this impermanent and ever changing world is an unreal illusion called maya or samsara; and, that “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”…
In an eloquent New York City lecture called “The Real and the Apparent Man”, he equated maya or samsara with “time, space, and causation” and presciently predicted scientific confirmation of the ancient Vedic non-dual philosophy of One Infinite Existence. He said:
“According to the Advaita philosophy, ..this Maya or ignorance–or name and form, or, as it has been called in Europe, time, space, and causality–is out of this one Infinite Existence showing us the manifoldness of the universe; in substance, this universe is one. So long as any one thinks that there are two ultimate realities, he is mistaken. When he has come to know that there is but one, he is right. This is what is being proved to us every day, on the physical plane, on the mental plane, and also on the spiritual plane.
“What then becomes of all this threefold eschatology of the dualist, that when a man dies he goes to heaven, or goes to this or that sphere, and that the wicked persons become ghosts, and become animals, and so forth? None comes and none goes, says the non-dualist. How can you come and go? You are infinite; where is the place for you to go?
“So it is with regard to the soul; the very question of birth and death in regard to it is utter nonsense. Who goes and who comes? Where are you not? Where is the heaven that you are not in already? Omnipresent is the Self of man. Where is it to go? Where is it not to go? It is everywhere. So all this childish dream and puerile illusion of birth and death, of heavens and higher heavens and lower worlds, all vanish immediately for the perfect. For the nearly perfect it vanishes after showing them the several scenes up to Brahmaloka. It continues for the ignorant.”
“Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen. In the Absolute there is neither time, space nor causation.”
“Science and religion will meet and shake hands…When the scientific teacher asserts that all things are the manifestation of one force, does it not remind you of the God of whom you hear in the Upanishads? Do you not see whither science is tending?”
“…this separation between man and man, between nation and nation, between earth and moon, between moon and sun. Out of this idea of separation between atom and atom comes all misery. But the Vedanta says that this separation does not exist, it is not real.”
“Your own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga
Einstein’s non-mechanistic science was very difficult for Western materialist minds to comprehend because his mystical view questioned the substantiality of matter and the ultimate reality of space, time and causality. Like Vivekananda, he said:
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
“Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”
“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”
“There is no place in this new kind of physics for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality.”
“That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.”
Thus, Einstein’s rejection of prevalent religious ideas about God and individual survival of physical death and afterlife was consistent with his revolutionary science as well as with Eastern non-dualistic teachings explained by Vivekenanda that apparent separation between subject and object is an unreal “optical illusion of consciousness.”
Did Einstein’s psyche survive his death?
Was he surprised on his demise?
Though Einstein didn’t believe in individual survival of physical death, he may have been surprised on his demise. Conservation of energy is basic to physics. So Einstein must have realized that his subtle energetic essence was indestructible and could only be transformed from one state to another. But we don’t know how that knowledge may have influenced his opinion about what happens on individual death, or his experience thereafter.
Except for very rare Buddha-like people who transcend all desires, it is probable that all humans survive physical death as psyches or mental bodies, irrespective of their beliefs. So the Dalai Lama has said:
“[Physical qualities] cannot be carried over into the next life.
The continuum of the mind, however, does carry on.
Therefore, a quality based on the mind is more enduring. …
So, through training the mind, qualities such as compassion, love, and the wisdom realizing emptiness can be developed.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama, from Practicing wisdom: the perfection of Shantideva’s Bodhisattva way
Thus, Buddhists say that Gautama Buddha experienced countless incarnations over eons of time before ultimately transcending the cycle of birth and death. And the Dalai Lama has said:
“We are born and reborn countless number of times, and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another. Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”
~ H. H. Dalai Lama, from ‘The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom”.
But, rather than wondering if on demise of Einstein’s physical body and extraordinary brain, his subtle mental body survived – with its unfulfilled desire to find a single simple “unified field” formula explaining phenomenal reality from perspective of ‘the mind of God’ – let us honor his immense evolutionary accomplishments and take inspiration from his compassionate social activism, and pragmatic wisdom.
And thereby let us learn to live ever more peacefully, harmoniously and skillfully, in this ever changing phenomenal world of space, time and causation, as together we evolve out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of Eternal Awareness.
And so may it be!
How I See the World – PBS Documentary Film About Einstein:
One must elevate – and not degrade – oneself with one’s own mind, as the mind is both a friend and an enemy.
For those who have subdued and conquered the mind, it is the best of friends.
But for those who fail to do so, the mind remains the greatest of enemies.
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Six, Lord Krishna to Arjuna (6.05-06)
Q. What is the human “mind”?
A. “Mind” is a word-concept with many meanings. In answering this question, we define the human “mind” as a conditioned egoic space/time energy process, which we also call “mortal-mind”, or “ego–desire mind”, or “conditioned mind”.
Religious philosophies sometimes equate “Mind” with God, or ultimate Reality beyond space/time. But we distinguish and exclude those concepts of ultimate Reality in answering this question about the human “mind”, as the conditioned perceiver and projector of space/time samsaric ‘reality’ .
In the Bhagavad Gita, an important Hindu scripture, Divine Avatar Lord Krishna informs warrior Arjuna that the conditioned human mind
“is both a friend and an enemy”; that “for those who have subdued and conquered the mind, it is the best of friends. But for those who fail to do so, the mind remains the greatest of enemies.”
Q. How can the human mind be either our best friend or worst enemy?
A. The human mind can be either our best friend or worst enemy, depending on whether we use it skillfully to advance, or egotistically to deter, our spiritual evolution – to either terminate or perpetuate mistaken ego entity-identity.
The above Bhagavad Gita passage epitomizes the essential spiritual teaching of the entire Scripture: Attaining freedom from saṃsāra, the karmic cycle of death and rebirth, through spiritual liberation or Moksha. Metaphorically this scripture portrays (in an epic battle) the perpetual conflict between good and evil – between satisfying ego’s endless desires for ephemeral worldly gratifications, or transcending ego to achieve realization as God – the Absolute eternal spirit beyond all impermanent energy forms and phenomena.
When it identifies and perpetuates itself as ego, the human mind can be our worst enemy.
For millennia spiritual sages have identified “ego” as the greatest impediment to spiritual evolution and Self realization. Thus, the ancient Vedic seers told us that “Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ) And the Dalai Lama says that in Buddhism ego is the “number-one enemy of compassion.”
“Ego” is conditioned mind’s mistaken self-identity as an entity separate from God – as a separate mortal perceiver of a supposedly objective world. But this is an unreal illusion – a mental mirage. Nonetheless ego-mind fearfully and constantly attempts to perpetuate its unreal existence. But such attempted self-preservation is ultimately futile. What never was can never be preserved.
Thus, while conditioned-mind attempts to perpetuate itself as illusionary ego-mind it impedes spiritual evolution, and thereby becomes “our worst enemy”.
When used skillfully to transcend ego, the human mind can be our best friend.
Except for rare Avatars and Bodhisattvas virtually all incarnate humans have not yet completed the process of spiritual evolution from humanity to divinity. So they remain subject to the karmic cycle of death and rebirth through ego misidentification. But the human mind can skillfully be subdued and used to transcend and conquer ego, and thereby to advance spiritual evolution toward achieving spiritual liberation or Moksha .
Ultimately, such transcendence happens when mind and thought cease and Universal Awareness which has been mistakenly regarded as a separate experiencer of sensations and emotions, and a separate performer of actions, exists by itself and as its Self, and is not mentally divided.
Thus, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a sacred Hindu text, state:
“Yoga is the cessation of mind.”
“The witness is Self, pure awareness, which,
though boundless and unchanging,
appears to perceive creation through the construct of mind.”
“The identification of pure awareness with the mind and its creations causes the [mistaken] apprehension of both an objective world and a perceiver of it.”
“When the mind withdraws attention from sense experience,
the senses receive no impressions from sense objects,
and awareness rests in its essential nature.”
“When he is not in the state of yoga, man remains [mistakenly] identified with the thought-waves in the mind.”
~ Patanjali – Yoga Sutras
Similarly, when twentieth century Indian sage J. Krishnamurti was asked
“Is belief in God necessary or helpful?”, he replied (in part):
“Belief in any form is a hindrance. A man who believes in God can never find God.
If you are open to reality, there can be no belief in reality.
If you are open to the unknown, there can be no belief in it. … belief is a form of self-protection…” …
“The mind is the product of the past.”
“There can be reality only when the mind understands the total process of itself and comes to an end.
When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.”
“Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still – only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
Until the human mind is psychologically de-conditioned and emptied, and no longer confuses projected pure awareness as a separate objective world, it can be gradually subdued and used skillfully to advance spiritual evolution. We can use it to lose it. Like using a thorn to remove another thorn’s sliver, we can use ego-mind to end ego-mind. We can quiet, control and dis-identify with the ‘voice in the head’, and we can behave dharmically and compassionately.
Thereby the human mind can become our ‘best friend’, by hastening transcendence of illusionary ego identity to allow Self realization as timeless thoughtless Universal Awareness.
And so may it be!
As we consider the nature and function of the conditioned human mind process, the following further information may be helpful.
Body, mind and soul are inseparable abstractions.
Every conditioned human incarnation necessarily includes body, mind and soul as concepts which cannot be separated, without destroying their spiritual significance.
They all connote an entity or energy process seemingly separate from its Source. Thus, in the Bhagavad Gita “body”, “mind”, and “soul” are all denoted by the same Sanskrit word: “atma” or “self”. So in investigating the human mind it is imperative to consider it as only one connotation of “atma” or “self” and, in all events, to consider it as a conditioned subtle energy process experienced as separate from its Source.
Metaphorically, each incarnate person can be described as a systemic earthly energy process (or vortex), with enveloped mysterious layers of perceptible and subtly imperceptible energies. What we call the “mind” includes both conscious and subconscious energy processes. When subconscious, the mind autonomically operates and regulates countless systemic functions. Consciously, conditioned mind is like a subtle energy processor of conceptual thought, intellect, memory, intention, and communication.
Death of physical bodies and brains does not end consciousness and conditioned mind. They remain to perpetuate the karmic cycle of death and rebirth.
All mental perceptions, memories and tendencies associated with physical bodies are stored in subtle mental energy bodies which survive death of those physical bodies. Contrary to pseudo-scientific materialist beliefs, brains do not create consciousness and mind; consciousness creates brains and mind to function like tuner/transducers decoding karmic cosmic energies for human interpretation.
For millennia seers and mystics have revealed that subtle mental energy bodies associated with physical bodies survive death of those physical bodies. Just as computers need an operating system to function, so do physical bodies. Like computers which operate via software, physical bodies are controlled by subtle mind-stuff energies (chitta). And when – like computers – physical bodies inevitably deteriorate and ‘die’, their ‘mental software’ survives, and is reused.
Thus, just as I am able to use with a new iMac the same OS X software system that operated an old iMac, I can (and may for eons) operate other physical bodies with the same mind-stuff energy that is animating this one. And those other physical bodies which will be using my pre-existing mental software, will probably display many of the same ‘operating features’ as my prior physical bodies. These mental operating systems can be gradually ‘up-dated’. But this usually requires a very slow process of intentional self-discovery and removal of conditioned mental obscurations and defilements.
Like computer software systems, all mental conditioning comes from the past – from this or prior lifetimes.
Thus twentieth century sage J. Krishnamurti, has declared:
“Mind is memory, at whatever level, by whatever name you call it; mind is the product of the past, it is founded on the past,
which is memory, a conditioned state.”
“The timeless can be only when memory, which is the `me’ and the`mine’, ceases.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Transcendence of past mental conditioning is essential to achieving spiritual liberation or Moksha as the Eternal NOW.
The goal of all enduring spiritual traditions is to transcend past mental conditioning.
Such transcendence is achieved only when thoughts cease and Universal Awareness, which has been mistakenly regarded as a separate experiencer of sensations and emotions and a separate performer of actions, exists by itself as Self, and is not mentally divided.
And so shall it be!
“The greatest discovery of any generation
is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.
Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,
go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.
Think of the beauty that again and again
discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”
~ Anne Frank
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self. Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away. Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Choosing Happiness: a Synchronicity Story About Rosa Luxemburg
I was writing an essay about happiness as a choice; and, saying: “Though we may not be free to choose our outer circumstances in life, we are always free to choose our attitude and thoughts about those circumstances”. But, I was concerned whether Silly Sutras readers would question that statement absent some supporting confirmation. Whereupon, just as I was so reflecting, an eloquent, unexpected and previously unknown answer to my concern synchronistically arrived in my email in-box – a “manifestation miracle” .
While I was writing, I received an email message enigmatically entitled “Breslau Prison, December 1917 — Rosa Luxemburg”. Wondering what this was about I stopped drafting the essay about choosing happiness, and opened the email. It contained an excerpt from a letter written from Breslau prison by Rosa Luxemburg, a “pacifist and revolutionary socialist, [who] was repeatedly imprisoned and eventually murdered by forces of the German Reich on January 15, 1919.” The letter excerpt eloquently fulfilled my wish for evidence that “it’s choice – not chance, free will – not destiny, that mostly determines our happiness.”
Until synchronistically receiving that mysterious message, I knew nothing about Rosa Luxemburg, so I consulted Dr. Google and Wikipedia, found an on-line copy of Rosa’s entire letter from Breslau prison, plus interesting biographies of her with photo portraits. I learned that Polish-born and Jewish “Red Rosa” had been the founder of the Polish Social Democratic Party and headed the left wing of the German Social Democratic Party; that she was a political and societal revolutionary who is now revered as ‘patron saint’ of the German left – a visionary icon like Che Guevara or Joan of Arc.
In 1917 after almost three years as an unjustly jailed political prisoner Rosa Luxemburg wrote from Breslau Prison to Sophie Liebknecht, a friend whose husband Karl Liebknecht was also a political prisoner. [Karl was co-founder with Rosa of the Spartacus League, the precursor to the German Communist Party, and like Rosa was later murdered by the German army.]
Instead of bemoaning her own fate, Rosa attempted to console Sophie who had been traumatically separated from Karl. Rosa expressed her motivation in writing thusly: “My one desire is to give you …. my inexhaustible sense of inward bliss. ….. Then, at all times and in all places, you would be able to see the beauty, and the joy of life.”
Here are eloquent excerpts from Rosa’s extraordinary letter to Sophie:
“This is my third Christmas under lock and key, but you needn’t take it to heart. I am as tranquil and cheerful as ever. —– Last night my thoughts ran this-wise: ‘How strange it is that I am always in a sort of joyful intoxication, though without sufficient cause. Here I am lying in a dark cell upon a mattress hard as stone; the building has its usual churchyard quiet, so that one might as well be already entombed; through the window there falls across the bed a glint of light from the lamp which burns all night in front of the prison. —– I lie here alone and in silence, enveloped in the manifold black wrappings of darkness, tedium, unfreedom, and winter – and yet my heart beats with an immeasurable and incomprehensible inner joy, just as if I were moving in the brilliant sunshine across a flowery mead. And in the darkness I smile at life, as if I were the possessor of charm which would enable me to transform all that is evil and tragical into serenity and happiness.
But when I search my mind for the cause of this joy, I find there is no cause, and can only laugh at myself.’
“– I believe that the key to the riddle is simply life itself, this deep darkness of night is soft and beautiful as velvet, if only one looks at it in the right way. The gride of the damp gravel beneath the slow and heavy tread of the prison guard is likewise a lovely little song of life – for one who has ears to hear.
“At such moments I think of you, and would that I could hand over this magic key to you also. Then, at all times and in all places, you would be able to see the beauty, and the joy of life; then you also could live in the sweet intoxication, and make your way across a flowery mead. Do not think that I am offering you imaginary joys, or that I am preaching asceticism. I want you to taste all the real pleasures of the senses. My one desire is to give you in addition my inexhaustible sense of inward bliss. Could I do so, I should be at ease about you, knowing that in your passage through life you were clad in a star-bespangled cloak which would protect you from everything petty, trivial, or harassing.”
The letter ended with this postscript:
“Never mind, my Sonyusha; you must be calm and happy all the same. Such is life, and we have to take it as it is, valiantly, heads erect, smiling ever – despite all.”
Moral of the Rosa Luxemburg Story?
What can we learn from unjustly imprisoned Rosa Luxemburg’s “joyful intoxication” and “inexhaustible sense of inward bliss”; her professed ability “at all times and in all places, … to see the beauty, and the joy of life.”?
How was Rosa able to remain “tranquil and cheerful as ever” and selflessly and compassionately think of Sophie while suffering her own misfortune and unjust political imprisonment?
Can each of us – like Rosa Luxemburg – learn to accept life “as it is” and thereby find inner tranquility with an “inexhaustible sense of inward bliss”?
Was there a causal relationship between Rosa’s selfless concern for others and her experience of tranquility and inner bliss?
Was Rosa’s happiness her choice?
As explained in the above quotations and following commentary, I believe it is possible to choose happiness despite adverse outer circumstances; that by elevating our mental attitude we can experientially discover within inexhaustible and ever accessible eternal bliss.
What do you think?
~ Ron Rattner
Commentary on Rosa Luxemburg and the Politics of Spirituality Morality
The foregoing amazing story about Rosa Luxemburg is one of my favorite and most inspiring synchronicity stories. It can help inspire each of us to choose ever more inner happiness in our lives, while steadfastly adhering to socially moral principles; and it can show us how living a socially moral life in turbulent times invariably involves spiritual, religious, ethical and political behavior.
Rosa Luxemburg was a spiritually advanced pacifist and revolutionary Marxist socialist, who was repeatedly imprisoned and eventually bestially murdered by forces of the German Reich on January 15, 1919. She had been the founder of the Polish Social Democratic Party and headed the left wing of the German Social Democratic Party.
Born a Polish Jew, she became a German citizen prominent in revolutionary left-wing antiwar politics. While imprisoned she wrote a prophetic pamphlet demanding a Marxist revolution by the working class majority, because Germany then faced a critical world-historical juncture requiring its choice of societal socialism over imperialism, versus inevitable barbarism.
A century after her martyrdom, Rosa Luxemburg remains a political icon of the German left comparable to Che Guevara in Cuba or Joan of Arc in France.
While politically imprisoned under extraordinarily harsh and degrading circumstances, in solitude she experienced and expressed exceptional inner tranquility and a self-described “inexhaustible sense of inward bliss”, having discovered within a gift to “at all times and in all places, – – – see the beauty, and the joy of life.”
Though martyred a century ago, Rosa Luxemburg’s inspiring resistance to German imperialism remains highly relevant to current dystopian times of insanely unsustainable exploitation of precious planetary lifeforms and resources by transnational imperialism centered in the USA.
Today, the US political system has become so dominated by plutocratic corporate capitalism that even ex-president Jimmy Carter – a world expert on democracy – has publicly declared that the US is now a corporate oligopoly or plutocracy, with an extremely flawed voting system.
So our purportedly democratic representative ‘government of, by and for the people’ has become an imperialist plutocratic government of, by and for transnational billionaire bankers and corporations, and a psychopathically corrupt and exploitive ruling class kleptocracy.
Famous Marxist-Socialist peace proponents living after Rosa Luxemburg’s martyrdom
Paradoxically, just ten years after Rosa Luxemburg was bestially murdered on January 15, 1919, Nobel Peace laureate Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr was born on January 15, 1929, to become one of the most renowned world peace proponents in modern history. And paradoxically, like Rosa Luxemburg, Dr. King was also martyred (at age 39) for criticizing imperialist barbarism of his time.
But, instead of Germany, Dr. King decried the US empire, saying:
“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” ..
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
“Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as His divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.” .. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ..“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”
Similarly the Dalai Lama openly endorses the economics of Marxist socialism, by observing that:
“Of all the modern economic theories, the economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned only with gain and profitability. Marxism is concerned with the distribution of wealth on an equal basis and the equitable utilization of the means of production. It is also concerned with the fate of the working classes–that is, the majority–as well as with the fate of those who are underprivileged and in need, and Marxism cares about the victims of minority-imposed exploitation. For those reasons the system appeals to me, and it seems fair. I just recently read an article in a paper where His Holiness the Pope also pointed out some positive aspects of Marxism.”
Likewise, Albert Einstein in a detailed and prescient 1949 essay titled “Why Socialism?”, wrote:
“I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate (the) grave evils (of capitalism), namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.”
In case you wonder why you may not have previously heard the foregoing anti-capitalistic opinions of these great beings, perhaps this Einstein quote may help answer your question:
“An oligarchy of private capital cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society because under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information.”
~ Albert Einstein
Thus, like Rosa Luxemburg, some of the world’s most spiritually renowned people – such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein, Pope Francis, and others (in addition to Dr. King) – have endorsed Marxist-socialist economics with outspoken concern for countless needy and vulnerable people who suffer from immoral exploitation by a very few obscenely rich oligarchs.
Democracy and imperialism cannot co-exist.
In all events, whatever economic system may be most appropriate for these troubled times, it needs to be democratically determined – bottom-up – by the majority of each human society and productive enterprise, not hierarchically imposed – top-down – by a tiny worldwide minority of psychopathically exploitative billionaires.
Especially, because we face imminent catastrophic nuclear or ecological extinction of human life on Earth, it is imperative that Humankind cherish Nature NOW, or perish from this precious planet; that we revive and rekindle the universal outer light of ‘Liberty, Equality And Fraternity’, while collectively accessing our shared Eternal inner light of Truth and LOVE.
May Rosa Luxemburg’s amazing synchronicity story help inspire us to do that.
And so may it be!