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Life Is But A Dream

“This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.
Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.”
~ Rumi
“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
~ Buddha (The Awakened One)
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real,
so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha
“Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.”
~ Buddha: Diamond Sutra
“We are like the spider.

We weave our life and then move along in it.

We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream.

This is true for the entire universe.”
~ The Upanishads




Life Is But A Dream

Q. “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”

[*See footnote]


A. Yes, each person’s life is like a dream story within a dream of space/time reality.

For millennia, mystics have revealed that all we see or seem is mental illusion, ‘samsara’ or ‘maya’ – like a very persistent day dream from which we can awaken, just as we awaken from nocturnal dreams. And scientists like Einstein confirm the mystics, saying e.g. that “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”; “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”; and, that “our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Just as nighttime dreams are mental images arising during sleep on a ‘screen’ of formless awareness, our daytime “reality” arises from mental images projected on the same screen of formless awareness that perceives nocturnal dreams.

Both mystics and scientists say that all the forms we perceive as “reality” are impermanent – ever appearing and disappearing in timeless formless awareness; awareness which is universal and beyond time and space, beyond birth and death. That formless awareness is in the Bible called “everlasting life” [Daniel 12:1-3] and “eternal life” [e.g. John 17:1-2] And it is our Essence and Ultimate Identity.

We can realize the biblical/mystical promise of eternal life upon awakening from illusory egoic self identification as mere mortal bodies, their thoughts and their stories, and thus awakening to self identification with that timeless, formless awareness in which we perceive our lives and all we call “reality”.

AND SO IT SHALL BE!


Footnote.
*Edgar Allan Poe, “A Dream Within A Dream”, 1849


Ron’s Commentary on Life Is But A Dream.

Dear Friends,

Have you ever yet thought about a “dream” other than as a nocturnal sleep experience?   Or as an unfulfilled ‘utopian’ aspiration such as expressed in Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary  “I Have a Dream” speech, John Lennon’s “Imagine” lyrics, or by master lyricist Oscar Hammerstein in “Happy Talk” from “South Pacific”:

“You got to have a dream, 
If you don’t have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?”

To help us validate and actuate those “new age” ideas, I have explained in the above essay why “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream” in response to an insightful 1859 rhetorical question by poet Edgar Allan Poe; and why – as mystics and seers have told us for millennia – what we believe to be reality is, like a dream, just a play of universal consciousness. 

From my “dreamlike” perspective, the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as 45th US president was a major disguised blessing which wouldn’t have happened if Hillary Clinton had been declared the US election winner.   It has sparked an unprecedented mass political awakening to insanely dystopian secret government threats to everyone everywhere.

Because a critical mass of awakened Humankind worldwide are now adamantly demanding and intuitively envisioning a new era of peace and justice for all life everywhere – an era which ends and transcends unconscionable and unsustainable exploitation of our societies and planet to obscenely enrich a tiny group of psychopathic billionaires – I see this as beginning of a new era which will advance the highest good for all life on our precious planet.  

In a recent Happy New Year posting, I said that:

“The personal and planetary are intimately connected.
Just as dreamers ‘create’ their dreams,
together we are a ‘dream-team’,
dreaming our world into being; and,
consciously or unconsciously creating a ‘common dream’”

Quotations from Rumi, Buddha (The Awakened One), and ancient Upanishads which precede the essay, elucidate and illuminate our common dream “reality”. And here are more quotations from famous people which can help us realize why our supposed waking life is like a dream:

“As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life and then return after death. 
Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life, and so it is endlessly, until the very last one, the very real the life of God.”
~ Leo Tolstoy


A dream! What is a dream? And is not our life a dream?
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky


“This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.” 
~ Carl Gustav Jung


“To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil…”
~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet (c. 1599), Act 3, sc. 1. 

Especially since modern medical technology has begun resuscitating apparently dead heart attack victims, many survivors have recounted amazing near death experiences (NDE’s) helping us to learn societally about what happens  “when we have shuffled off this mortal coil”.  And such NDE’s have been portrayed in movies like the 1998 Robin Williams film, “What Dreams May Come”, which paradoxically dealt with post-suicide experience.

Paramahansa Yogananda poetically observed:

“The mysterious soul abides forever’ changing never…. 
It loves to live in the grottos of change, ever steadfast and immovable.
It never dreams ought but eternity.” 

May our awakening Human ‘dream team’ ever more self-identify as “the mysterious soul [which] abides forever” .  

Thereby may we at long last create an ever nobler ‘common dream’ that honors the equality and divinity of everyone everywhere, thus transcending exploitation and discrimination against the most vulnerable people and other sentient beings, by using our common sense and our common wealth for our common weal, and to end the iniquity of inequity in our society.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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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*

All sentient creatures feel in their own way;
feelings are not exclusive to humans.

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.



He stood beside her, saddened of her death.



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



Supposedly, millions of people cried after watching these pictures in 
America, Europe and Asia. It is said that the 
photographer sold these pictures for a nominal fee to the 
most famous newspaper in France; that all copies of that 
newspaper were sold out on the day these pictures were published.

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 Commentary on How Birds Remind Us to Live The ‘Golden Rule’:

Dear Friends,

All sentient creatures feel in their own way; feelings are not exclusive to humans.

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 plutocratically governed top-down by an anonymous military industrial complex supported by self-seeking billionaires, sociopaths and psychopaths.

Today as an eloquent reminder of our deep connection with all other lifeforms, I have posted the foregoing edited anonymous essay with photos, “Birds Have Feelings”, which I discovered on-line years ago. For sustainable survival of our species, humans – like birds – must have compassion for death and suffering of their kind, and for all life everywhere.

So may this posting about birds help inspire and remind us – and our purported leaders – of our deep capacity and necessity to live the golden rule of empathetic concern for each other, and for all life our precious planet.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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Like A Waterfall

“Just as the strong current of a waterfall cannot be reversed,
so the movement of a human life is also irreversible.”
~ Buddha
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
~ Lao-Tzu
“If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you are not afraid of dying,
there is nothing you cannot achieve.”
~ Lao Tzu




Like A Waterfall

Like a waterfall
is the course of your life.

Arising mysteriously from
interdependent karmic causes,
its current flows irreversibly and irresistibly –

Out of this impermanent world
of ever changing forms and phenomena,
and into Eternal Mystery.

You have no destination option.

So, choicelessly and unresistingly,
let go, and go with Life’s flow –
Now!.

Inevitably it will carry you
to an infinite ocean of Eternal Awareness.

There – like contents of a time release capsule –
your illusion of separateness from Source
will melt and merge timelessly
in Truth, Existence, Bliss.

There you will BE –
Eternally –
Wholeness, Holiness, SELF.

And so it shall be!



Ron’s audio recitation of Like a Waterfall

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Go With The Flow!

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow.
Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
~ Lao-Tzu
“How can the divine Oneness be seen? 

In beautiful forms, breathtaking wonders, awe-inspiring miracles? 

The Tao is not obliged to present itself in this way.

If you are willing to be lived by it, you will 
see it everywhere,
even in the most ordinary things.”

~ Lao Tzu
“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.”
~ Lao Tzu
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go.
But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.”

~ Lao Tzu



Go With The Flow!

Go with the flow!
Go with the flow!

Everyone says
to go with the flow.

Go with the flow!
Go with the flow!

But nobody knows
where the flow goes.

So, where will we go,
if we go with the flow?

Nobody says;
Nobody knows.


Ron’s audio recitation of “Go With The Flow”

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Ron’s Reflections on “Go With The Flow”

Many years ago after much reflection and observation I decided that being “in the flow” or “in the zone” or “in the Tao” were all spiritually salutary and substantially similar states. So with poetic license I often began equating and conflating them in writings on SillySutras.com – where “Flow” and “Tao” and “zone” are often used as simplistically synonymous.

From my poetic perspective all of these concepts point to nameless and non-dualistic Universal Intelligence or Infinite Potentiality which is the mysterious Source for creation of the universe and all energy patterns that cosmically keep space/time harmonious, balanced and ordered.

I define going with the “flow” or the “Tao” – or being in the “zone” – as thought-free, effortless, and focussed merging of intention, action, and awareness – consciously letting Life happen through us, to harmlessly harmonize with Nature and achieve effortless action. 

Contrary to some interpretations, “Going with the “flow” or the “Tao” is the antithesis of being passive, apathetic or indolent. Or of just letting things happen without rational response.

When “in the flow” we skillfully and spontaneously respond to ever changing conditions or stimuli, like e.g. accomplished athletes, artists or stand-up performers who are “in the zone”. Such responses help us harmoniously co-create and evolve this ever impermanent world. And it is a sign of our spiritual progress in the process of ultimately merging with Mystery.

So how do we go with the “flow” or the “Tao”?

Some of the wisest reflections on these perennial questions are in Lao Tzu’s enduring masterpiece the Tao Te Ching , including those which I have posted above “Go With The Flow”.

And here are some further Tao Te Ching verses which have especially interested me:

“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.”

“Stop thinking and end your problems.”

“To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.”

“Become totally empty
Quiet the restlessness of the mind
Only then will you witness everything unfolding from emptiness”

“Be still.
Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.”

“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Understand this if nothing else: spiritual freedom and oneness with the Tao are not randomly bestowed gifts, but the rewards of conscious self-transformation and self-evolution.”

Conclusion

As we ever awaken to harmlessly harmonize with Nature, may we consciously and cooperatively participate “in the flow” to co-create an ever better world – as we intend, intuit, and imagine it to be.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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Synchronicities Are Reminders

“Remember God,
forget the rest.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.”

~ Carl Jung
“I am open to the guidance of synchronicity,

and do not let expectations hinder my path.”

~ Dalai Lama
How can the divine Oneness be seen?

In beautiful forms,
breathtaking wonders, awe-inspiring miracles?

The Tao is not obliged to present itself in this way.

If you are willing to be lived by it, you will
 see it everywhere,

even in the most ordinary things.

~ Lao Tzu




Synchronicities Are Reminders

In our wonderful world
of space/time causality reality,
everything’s impermanent –
arising from and melting into Mystery.

The Mystery of an Infinite Potentiality Reality:

Beyond conception,
Beyond description,
Beyond comprehension,
Beyond imagination.

Some call it Cosmic Consciousness.

Cosmic Consciousness is
the Essence,
the Origin, and
the Witness
of the world.

It is our ultimate Reality.

Our ever impermanent world
of apparent appearance and disappearance –
of infinite forms and phenomena –
is only a play of Cosmic Consciousness.

All such appearances are but
interdependently interconnected forms
of Cosmic Consciousness.

So synchronicities are manifestations of Cosmic Consciousness.

They are noteworthy forms and phenomena in space/time,
reminding us of ultimate Reality beyond space/time –
and of mysterious and timeless interdependent interconnectedness
of everything in space/time.

So synchronicities are reminders
of timeless Mystery beyond all appearances:

Reminders of our universal essence, origin and witness;
Reminders of our ultimate identity;
Reminders of Infinite Potentiality Reality;
Reminders of Cosmic Consciousness.

As mysterious synchronicities appear in our lives,
let us ever more reverently recall and become their Source –

Our universal essence, origin and witness;
Our ultimate identity, and
Infinite Potentiality Reality.

And so may it BE!



Ron’s audio recitation of “Synchronicities Are Reminders”

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Ron’s Reflections on “Synchronicities Are Reminders”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing poem explains my view that synchronicities are manifestations of Cosmic Consciousness which remind us of ultimate Reality beyond space/time, and of mysterious and timeless interdependent interconnectedness of everything within space/time.

According to Einstein, time is “only a stubbornly persistent illusion”; a way of thinking rather than a condition in which we live.  Mystics tell us that as we evolve to subtler vibrational dimensions, we transcend time; that all is NOW; and that increasingly our thoughts may manifest instantly.  

But, materialist Western science, which is based on preempted and outdated pre-relativity paradigms, cannot yet adequately explain synchronistic coincidences and premonitions. 
 
Without time as we experience it in this ‘reality’, there can’t be any coincidence in time; nor can there be any premonition or fear of ‘future’ events, or remembrance of ‘past’ events.   

Since my midlife spiritual opening, I’ve been blessed with so many experiences of meaningful or noteworthy synchronicities that I have concluded retrospectively that our Earth life has been divinely determined as part of the mysterious Natural order of the universe.

For reasons explained in numerous Silly Sutras posts I consider synchronicities to be scientifically significant spiritual experiences impelling us to reconsider mainstream materialist science which fails to recognize overwhelming empirical evidence that consciousness and mind are independent of physical bodies; that our physical bodies and brains are not originators of consciousness and mind, but their receptors, tuners and transducers; that synchronicities are signs of subtle and ordinarily imperceptible dimensions into which we are evolving individually and collectively. 

Especially if you have ever wondered about ‘miraculous’ synchronicities which materialist science can’t yet explain, I hope that you may find this poem helpful in your further reflections on their spiritual significance.
 
And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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Imagining A Better World – With Faith

“Imagination is everything.
It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world,
and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
~ Albert Einstein
“You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”
~ John Lennon, “Imagine”
“Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance that it dazzles the mind
and darkens all its visions of other realities;
but in the end when we become used to the new light,
we gain a new view of all reality transfigured and elevated in the light itself.”
~ Thomas Merton
“On a long journey of human life,
faith is the best of companions;
it is the best refreshment on the journey;
and it is the greatest property.”
~ Buddha
“Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far,

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

Imagining A Better World – With Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As we are awakening, and discovering our true nature and unlimited potential,
we are becoming infused with abiding faith in Nature and our Self,

And with faith in the impenetrable Mystery beyond every form or phenomenon.

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

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

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

AND SO SHALL IT BE!


John Lennon – “Imagine” (live performance)



Ron’s Commentary on Envisioning a Better World:

Dear Friends,

The foregoing post was inspired by the recent 77th birthday anniversary of departed hero John Lennon, who – like Dr. King and Malcolm X – was martyred at age forty at the pinnacle of his powers, but who bequeathed to us a lasting legacy of unflagging aspiration for planetary peace and love, so that some day our “world will live as one.” 

The 2016 US presidential primary and general elections revealed that most Americans are dissatisfied with the status quo in US empire politics, and are concerned about societal inequity issues.  Thus, millions of Americans – especially ‘millennials’ – desire an era in which at long last the US ‘walks it talk’ and becomes democratically and constitutionally governed for the wellbeing of the vast majority of ordinary people everywhere, rather than the upper 1% – an era of true democracy, with much less plutocracy and hypocrisy.

Whatever our political, cultural, generational, or geographical perspectives may be, we share overriding common needs and aspirations.  As Humankind we share the same web of life, the same precious Earth ecology, the same aspirations for health and happiness and for just societies serving basic needs of all life on a peaceful planet.
   
Accordingly, with abiding faith in Nature’s wisdom, let us join together in envisioning fulfillment of our common needs and deepest aspirations in an equitable new era for planetary politics and Human civilization.   

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so may it be!   

Ron Rattner

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What is Perfection?

“All people are flawed;
none are perfect.
But the most flawed,
are those who think or claim they’re perfect.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth
who continually does good and who never sins”
~ Ecclesiastes 7:20
“The man with insight enough to admit his limitations

comes nearest to perfection.”

~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“Were I to await perfection, my book would never be finished.”
~ Chinese Proverb
“Nowadays the world is becoming increasingly materialistic,
and mankind is reaching toward the very zenith of external progress,
driven by an insatiable desire for power and vast possessions.
Yet by this vain striving for perfection in a world where everything is relative, they wander even further away from inward peace and happiness of the mind.”
~ H.H. the Dalai Lama
“Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything,

That’s how the light gets in.”

~ Leonard Cohen
“This is the very perfection of a man,

to find out his own imperfections.”

~ Saint Augustine
“Advance, and never halt,
for advancing is perfection.”

~ Kahlil Gibran
“Perfection is a state in which things are the way they are,

and are not the way they are not.

As you can see, this universe is perfect.”

~ Werner Erhard, est
“Incarnation is limitation.”
“All is perfection,

but nobody’s perfect.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





What is Perfection?

Q. What is perfection?

A. “Perfection” is an idea;
a conception in duality reality.

Perfection implies imperfection.

So in relative reality we can not have perfection without imperfection.

And in Ultimate Reality beyond relative reality,
there is no perfection.

Ultimate Reality is beyond conception,
and so beyond “perfection”.



Ron’s Reflections on “What is Perfection?”

Dear Friends,

Have you ever met a ‘perfect’ person?  Or perceived or projected “perfection” in this crazy world of ecological, political, and economic crises and constant conflicts?   Have you ever considered seeking inner “perfection” as a life goal? 

Before my mid-life change of life, I had never reflected on ideas of “perfection”.  

But soon thereafter I attended “est”, an impactful self-help seminar where I was first exposed to certain Eastern spirituality principles skillfully collected and experientially presented to help participants radically transform their lives. 

The key est teaching was acceptance of the present moment – emotionally accepting “what is” because it could not be otherwise.  [See Getting “IT” at est, ] Apt to this teaching was the foregoing “perfection” definition, by est’s founder Werner Erhard:  

“Perfection is a state in which things are the way they are, 
and are not the way they are not.  
As you can see, this universe is perfect.”

Intrigued by est, I began reflecting about “perfection” and sometimes wrote sutras and essays, later posted online.  Accordingly, many Silly Sutras postings deal with my evolving reflections on “perfection”. Because these reflections significantly have helped my spiritual opening process, I have shared them hoping they may help others, as they have helped me.

After est, I soon realized that in our phenomenal duality reality “perfection” is an idea, which implies it’s opposite – imperfection; that we can’t have one, without the other. So, a “perfect” person isn’t possible.

Ultimately, I became persuaded by non-duality teachings discouraging “vain striving for perfection in a world where everything is relative” – and impermanent.

But for a while I mistakenly believed that there were exceptions to my conclusion that an infallible “perfect” person isn’t possible.

This happened after I was blessed to meet my beloved venerable Hindu guru, Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas. [ See The Luckiest Day of My Life ~ Meeting My Spiritual Master ] and also met certain other “enlightened” spiritual teachers in the US and India. Whereupon, I became a “born-again Hindu”, and read and recited Eastern scriptures and liturgy glorifying divinity of “gurus” and awakened “buddhas”. 

Naively, I thereafter began projecting “perfection” onto Guruji and a few other “enlightened” teachers. But, ultimately, I realized from inner and outer experience that incarnation is limitation, and that however evolved an incarnate being may be s/he is fallible; that here on Earth, where we experience life in apparent physical bodies, human fallibility ‘goes with the territory’ – that “to err is human”.

With that realization, I ceased projecting “perfection” onto individuals and began relying on inner – not outer – authority. No longer a “born-again Hindu” I became, and remain, an “Uncertain Undue” , seeking relief from belief.

My devotional motto became, and remains:

“Adoration of the Infinite; not adulation of the incarnate”.

And I wrote The Law of Flaw, a poem beginning with these verses:

All people are flawed;

none are perfect.

But the most flawed,

are those who think or claim they’re perfect.


In reading the seemingly contradictory above quotes about perfection please remember that in this impermanent world of relativity and duality words often point paradoxically or metaphorically to Eternal truth, which is ineffable. 
 
Whether or not we may agree that “perfection is a state in which things are the way they are, and are not the way they are not”,  I hope this perfection definition helps you – as it helped me – find inner peace and happiness by emotionally accepting “what is” NOW, because it could not be otherwise. 

But let us remember that emotionally accepting the present moment need not deter us from questioning or nonviolently resisting – like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi – pervasive suffering and injustice caused by human ignorance and greed, while envisioning our evolutionary transcendence thereof. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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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
“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


Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon

Saint Francis of Assisi
September 26, 1181 – October 3, 1226 [*See footnote]


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

He is patron saint of Italy and of many other places, like San Francisco, a city blessed with his name, his spirit, and a national shrine including the Porziuncola Nuova, the only papally declared holy place in the USA. Also, he is patron saint of birds, animals and ecology. Francis loved peace, communed with all living creatures, and lived a life of kindness, simplicity and poverty in contrast to the wealth and apparent corruption of the Church. He was the founder of the Franciscan order of the Catholic Church, and inspired founding of the Poor Clares order for women, and a third secular order for laity sworn to peace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


And so it shall be!

Prayer Of St. Francis Of Assisi **

Beloved, we are instruments of Thy peace.

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

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

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

 


Footnotes

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

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



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

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Surrender and Let Go of Ego ~ Quotes and Sutra Sayings

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





Ron’s Sutra Sayings on Surrendering Ego.

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

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

Let’s leave it to the
Lone Arranger.

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

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

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

Tao will be done.
So let Tao do it.

Give your spiritual
‘power of attorney’
to God.

“Let go, and let God.”*

*Unity Church maxim

Leave it to the Lone Arranger.

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

Ego: Use it to lose it!

Immolate ego
in the fire of faith.

As ego goes
consciousness grows
until it Knows –
Itself.

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

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

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

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

With radical trust
we do as we must.

The more we trust
the less we try.

Enter a state of enlightened amnesia:

Be now;
forget then.

Remember God;
forget the rest.

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



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

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Awakening to the “Secret of Secrets”

“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“You are “gods”;
you are all sons of the Most High.”
~ Psalm 82: 6
“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
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

~ Dr. Seuss
“You cannot teach an ego to be anything but egotistic,
even though egos have the subtlest ways of pretending to be reformed.
The basic thing is therefore to dispel, by experiment and experience,
the illusion of oneself as a separate ego.”
~ Alan Watts
“People can’t be talked out of illusions. If a person believes that the earth is flat, you can’t talk him out of that, he knows that it’s flat. He’ll go down to the window and see that its obvious, it looks flat. So the only way to convince him that it isn’t is to say, “Well let’s go and find the edge”
~ Alan Watts
“The individual is separate from his universal environment only in name. When this is not recognized, you have been fooled by your name. Confusing names with Nature, you come to believe that having a separate name makes you a separate being. This is—rather literally—to be spellbound”.
~ Alan Watts
“If you could get rid of yourself just once, the secret of secrets would open to you. The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your perception.”
~ Rumi
“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.

If you are conscious of anything, you are essentially conscious of yourself.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi




Why do we ignore who, or what, we really are?

For millennia there has been a tacit taboo or ‘conspiracy of silence’ against disclosing to all Humankind our true spiritual and immortal identity.  

Except for those raised in so-called ‘primitive’ or indigenous societies, or those imbued with Eastern religious philosophy, most people have been acculturated from time immemorial into societies with “an unrecognized but mighty taboo — our tacit conspiracy to ignore who, or what, we really are.” ( Alan Watts: The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Preface.)

From childhood we are taught to self-identify only with an illusory and disempowering ego image; with a separate name, gender, and story about who and what we are. We are taught that we are each born into Nature as limited beings; but, not that Nature is our nature, or that we are Beings of Light sharing limitless immortal common consciousness with all life-forms.

Nor are we ever taught the greatest “secret of secrets”: that we are not mere powerless perceivers of our “reality”, but also its co-creators – that we co-create our reality with our thoughts, words and deeds; that everything we think, do or say changes this world in some way; and, that this worldly “reality” is dependent upon the awareness with which we envision, experience and co-create it.

To experientially realize that greatest “secret of secrets” is to Know Thyself. And to Know Thyself, is to know the Whole – the Truth that will set us free.

For countless ages sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we are not what we think we are!  That we suffer from perception-deception – with self-identity and reality not what they appear to be; that it is possible to experientially transcend the inevitable suffering of ordinary human existence through self-realization of and self-identification with an undivided eternal spiritual reality – which is the common essence of all space-time causality reality.

Mystics say that we share common Self identity – as Cosmic Consciousness or Non-Duality Reality; that we are not merely our mortal bodies – their names, genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories – or the ‘voices in our heads’.  We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But we’re all the same ‘under the hood’.  

Yet until now that greatest secret has been mostly concealed or denied: predominantly by subconscious suppression or psychological inability of humankind to accept or entertain non-experienced facts which contradict or threaten their cherished illusionary beliefs about “reality”; sometimes by institutions and individuals seeking selfish hierarchical exploitation of our precious planet and all its life-forms and resources.

Until now ignorance of our true identity and immortality, has resulted in our hallucination of separation from Nature, from each other, and from our sole Self and spirit, with consequent destructive insanity, selfishness and suffering.   

But now, facing ominous and enormous ecological, interpersonal and international crises which cannot be resolved from the same levels of consciousness which created them, we are at long last being awakened from our delusion of separateness and powerlessness. Spurred by increasing suffering and awareness of imminent catastrophe, we are finally dispelling the ignorance which has spawned these crises.

And we shall soon reach a tipping point, when a critical mass of Humankind will have awakened to the “secret of secrets”, uplifting all human consciousness and resolving harmoniously and compassionately the critical mess created by our prior unawareness of that “secret”.

Thus awakened, we shall harmoniously, cooperatively and lovingly resolve our common crises for our common good.

And so it shall be!


Ron’s Commentary on why we ignore who, or what, we really are.

The foregoing essay was inspired by Alan Watts’: “The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”, ©1966.

Watts was a brilliantly insightful, erudite and articulate UK philosopher, author, and teacher, with post-graduate degrees in Theology and Divinity. After five years as an ordained Episcopal priest, he ‘converted’ to Zen Buddhism and in 1951 moved from the UK to Marin County, California. Thereafter, until his death in 1973, Watts became a counterculture icon, best-known for introducing Eastern philosophical and religious thought to Westerners.

I first learned about Watts’ teachings listening to KPFA Pacifica radio, Berkeley, which posthumously broadcast his lectures on Sunday nights, while I was driving for visits with my aged parents. Those broadcasts helped me to learn about Eastern wisdom and philosophy of spiritual evolution – of which I was previously ignorant.

Only after launching the Silly Sutras website in 2010 did I discover and read Watt’s 1966 essay “The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”. By that time I mostly concurred with Watts’ assertions about what causes the illusion of a separate ego self, and how that illusion is central to our ominous and enormous ecological, interpersonal and international crises.

Moreover, I had already learned about how cognitive dissonance can cause subconscious suppression or psychological inability of humankind to accept or entertain facts which contradict or threaten their cherished illusions about “reality”. And how powerful government and corporate institutions and psychopathic individuals insanely seeking selfish hierarchical exploitation of our precious planet and all its life-forms and resources can ‘brainwash’ and propagandize ordinary people into rejecting truth-tellers, and the factual truths which they reveal, by pejoratively ridiculing them as “conspiracy theorists” and blatantly lying about their truthful revelations.

So I sympathized with Watts’ contentions concerning a tacit taboo or conspiracy of silence against revealing our true identity and infinite potentiality. Thus I endorse Watts’ essay and have embedded it below as a recommended YouTube audio book file.

May it help us awaken to “the secret of secrets”, and to see ourselves as uniquely interdependent expressions of ONE universal and eternal reality – a cosmic Self in all life everywhere.


Youtube Audio: Alan Watts: The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.



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