Nature

Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving

“To be a presence of perpetual thanksgiving may be the ultimate goal of life.  
The thankful person is the one for whom life is simply one long exercise in the sacred.”
~ Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB from The Psalms: Meditations for Every Day of the Year
“Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence …
For thankfulness brings you to the place where the Beloved lives.”
~ Rumi
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others.”
~ Cicero





Introduction to “Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving”

Dear Friends,

For everyone’s Thanksgiving happiness every day, I’m again publishing the following perennial wisdom quotations about thankfulness.

Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday long ago, when I realized that thankfulness is a universal blessing uplifting everyone everywhere, regardless of their cultural, spiritual, secular or religious attitudes or beliefs.

Now at age ninety, I’m unspeakably grateful for still being alive, aware, ambulatory and interdependently-independent – especially since miraculously surviving a deadly taxi rundown eight years ago. Thus, I’ve learned that continual thankfulness is a state of Divine Grace – that every day’s a bonus, and every breath a blessing, not just during Thanksgiving holidays, but always!

May every day be a day of Thanksgiving, for everyone everywhere.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving

“Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
~ Rumi

“Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude for life.
Join my eyes and soul in their divine applause.”
~ Hafiz

“You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.”
~ Buddha

“It is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you,
it will be enough.”
~ Meister Eckhart

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends,
the old and the new.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled  by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
~ Buddha

“I thank God for my handicaps for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
~ Helen Keller

“O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”
~ William Shakespeare

“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

”A grateful mind is a great mind,
which eventually attracts to itself great things.”
~ Plato

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”
~ Aesop

”Gratitude bestows reverence,
allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies,
those transcendent moments of awe
that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
~ John Milton

“I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual.
It is surprising how contented one can be
with – only a sense of existence.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Gratitude is heaven itself.”
~ William Blake

“No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.”
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
~ Psalm 100


“When you allow your heart to open to the universe’s flow of love, gratitude comes with that flow. Gratitude for the people that you love, and for those who share your life. Gratitude for the Creation of the beautiful Earth as our home in this great cosmos. Gratitude for the Sun that gives us life. Gratitude for being alive, for just existing, for being in the flow of the wonder of life.”
~ Owen Waters



“Gratitude flows unimpeded from an open heart. When you allow it, gratitude will flow as freely as the sunshine, unobstructed by judgments or conditions.”
~ Owen Waters

“Every day should be a day of Thanksgiving for all the gifts of Life — sunshine, water, the luscious fruits and greens,
which we receive as indirect gifts from the Great Giver.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything.
Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God.
For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
~ Thomas Merton 


“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful
and has nobody to thank.”              
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I thank you God for most this amazing day
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky,
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes….
I who have died am alive again today
and this is the sun’s birthday;
this is the birth day of life and of love and wings…
~ e. e. cummings

“When we develop a right attitude of compassion and gratitude,
we take a giant step towards solving our personal and international problems.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

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

Remember with gratitude,
Life is beatitude –
Even its sorrows and pain;
For we’re all in God’s Grace,
Every time, every place, and
Forever (S)HE will reign!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Dedication

The foregoing quotations and thoughts For Thanksgiving are dedicated to encouraging, inspiring and guiding us to enjoy ever growing gratitude, on Thanksgiving holidays and every day.  

May every day be a Thanksgiving day for everyone everywhere.   

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Happy Thanksgiving Day – Every Day!

Enjoy! – Beautiful Gratitude Video
Narrated by Brother David Steindl-Rast




“Harmonic Resonation” ~ “Harmonic Coalescence”
~ Sutra Sayings

“May we live in harmless harmony,

and keep in cosmic synchrony,

as we play in Nature’s symphony.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Ron’s Introduction to “Harmonic Resonation” and “Harmonic Coalescence”

Dear Friends,



“Harmonic Resonation” and “Harmonic Coalescence” are poetic sutra-sayings composed long ago about the crucial importance of living harmoniously with each other and Nature.

As hereafter published and orally recited they still express ever enduring ideas and ideals of fundamental spiritual significance.

May these sutra-sayings encourage and inspire us to help heal the world, by living as LOVE, with our harmonious thoughts, emotions and behaviors.


And so may it be!


Ron Rattner

Harmonic Resonation ~ Sutra Sayings

Quicken and BE,
in harmony.

The higher our entrainment,
the greater our attainment.

Don’t disrupt and polarize,
but syncretize and harmonize.

Live harmlessly
in harmony.

Stay in cosmic synchrony,
as you play in Nature’s symphony.

How can there be harm in me
when I am perfect harmony?

As harmony we stay
out of harm’s way.

Let us consciously live conflict-free
as constant cosmic Harmony.

Lovingly let us ever Be
thought-free perfect Harmony.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Harmonic Resonation” – Sutra Sayings

Listen to



Harmonic Coalescence

May we harmonize,
together in unity:

Unity in diversity,
not uniformity;

Unity in equality,
not hierarchy;

Unity in integrity,
not conformity.

Unity as universal

LOVE!



Ron’s audio recitation of “Harmonic Coalescence” – Sutra Sayings

Listen to




And so may it be!


Ron Rattner

Questions and Speculations About Thought

“We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make the world.”
~ Buddha

“A man is but the product of his thoughts;
what he thinks, he becomes.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Nothing’s either good or bad,
but thinking makes it so.”
~ William Shakespeare


“This world is wrought with naught but thought.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Inner infinity projects outer reality.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Whatever we think, do, or say,
changes this world in some way.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

All thoughts,
are thoughts
about thoughts.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

When all thoughts cease,
we are at peace.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Introduction

Dear Friends,

Please enjoy and consider the above quotations and sutra sayings, and the following Q and A sutra essay-poem about thoughts which “create” our mental reality.

The sutra sayings and essay were composed long ago and are republished and recited today, to encourage us to live peacefully and happily in these extraordinary times.

And to help us remember that:


“When all thoughts cease, we are at peace.“


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Questions and Speculations About Thought

Q.  What is thinking?

A.  A process in awareness.


Q.  What do we think about?

A.  Past thoughts.


Q.  What are thoughts?

A.  Subtle energy forms arising in and from Universal Awareness.


Q.  Is all thought taught?

A.  Most thoughts are taught thoughts.

Q.  Is “creation” a thought process?

A.  Yes, this is a mental reality.

  “This world is wrought with naught but thought.”
  “Inner infinity projects outer reality.”



Q.  Do we participate in “creation”?

A.  Yes.

  “Whatever we think, do, or say,
changes this world in some way.”



Q.  Can thoughts be habitual, subliminal or subconscious?

A.  Yes, insofar as human consciousness is clouded and limited.

Q.  Are there thoughts beyond brains?

A.  Yes. Thoughts are subtle energy forms. Energy’s endless.
So, thoughts can remain beyond the brain.


Q.  Are thoughts “now” or “then”?

A.  Thoughts are always from the past – ever “then”, never “now”; while Life is “now” – ever now, never then.


Q.  Are all your prior answers absolutely accurate?

A.  God knows, I don’t.



Ron’s recitation of “Questions and Speculations About Thought”

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Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and 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”
“Is all that we see or seem
but a dream within a dream?”
~ Edgar Allen Poe
“Your thoughts create reality. The most pragmatic way to create world peace is to use your power of visualization. Think Peace, Act Peace, Spread Peace, Imagine Peace. Your thoughts will soon cover the planet. The most important thing is to believe in your power. It works.”
~ Yoko Ono
“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



John Lennon
October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980



Introduction

Dear Friends,

The above quotations about imagination and faith, and the following poetic sutra-essay and embedded videos, are posted as a tribute to departed hero John Lennon, on his October 9, 82nd birthday anniversary. John’s lasting legacy as a charismatic and visionary populist leader who imagined a peaceful planet fulfilling our common needs, is explained in comments after the essay/poem.


Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and 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 interdependently 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” depends upon the light of awareness with which we envision, experience and co-create it.

As we are awakening, we are discovering our true nature as Infinite Potentiality, and we are becoming infused with abiding faith in Nature and our Self, and in the impenetrable Mystery beyond every form or phenomenon.

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

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!

Ron Rattner



Ron’s Recitation of “Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith”

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Ron’s Comments on “Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith”:


Dear Friends,

The foregoing poetic sutra-essay is a tribute to departed hero John Lennon, on his 82nd birthday anniversary. Lennon – like Dr. King and Malcolm X – was martyred at age forty at the pinnacle of his powers, but he bequeathed to us a lasting legacy of unrelenting aspiration and inspiration for planetary peace and love.

Recent US presidential election politics have revealed that most Americans are justifiably dissatisfied with US empire policies and economics; that they especially object to extreme economic inequality, unjustly favoring the super-rich 1% at the expense of almost everyone else, caused by an ever warlike imperial government with much more hypocrisy than democracy.

John Lennon was and remains a charismatic and visionary populist leader who imagined a peaceful planet fulfilling our common needs and deepest desires for a radically new era when our “world will live as ONE.”

Lennon recognized that whatever our political, cultural, generational, or geographical labels or perspectives, we all share overriding common needs and aspirations.  That as Humankind we share the same web of life, the same precious Earth ecology, the same aspirations for health and happiness and for just and loving societies serving basic needs of all life on a peaceful planet. 
 
To honor John Lennon on his 82nd birthday, I’ve embedded below two live performances of John singing “Imagine”, plus written lyrics. As we listen to him projecting our heartfelt aspirations, let us join together with faith, to envision and co-create a wonderful new era when our “world will live as ONE.”

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


John Lennon singing “Imagine”



“Imagine”


Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today



Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace



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 be as one



Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world



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


Composting Life’s Sufferings

“All formations are ‘transient’ (anicca); all formations are ‘subject to suffering’ (dukkha); all things are ‘without a self’ (anatt ). Corporeality is transient, feeling is transient, perception is transient, mental formations are transient, consciousness is transient. And that which is transient, is subject to suffering. ”

~ Buddha

“Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“There are those who say that in their heaven there is no suffering.
But if there is no suffering, how can there be happiness?
We need compost to grow flowers, and mud to grow lotuses.
If you know how to make good use of the mud, you can grow beautiful lotuses.
If you know how to make good use of suffering, you can produce happiness.”

“We do need some suffering to make happiness possible.
And most of us have enough suffering inside and around us to be able to do that.
We don’t have to create more.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“Both suffering and happiness are of an organic nature, which means they are both transitory; they are always changing. The flower, when it wilts, becomes the compost. The compost can help grow a flower again.
Happiness is also organic and impermanent by nature.
It can become suffering, and suffering can become happiness again.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“The ground’s generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty!
Try to be more like the ground.”
~ Rumi

“Earth is a world of mysterious interdependently co-arising complexities,
which we’re constantly composting, but can’t comprehend.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings 

“No matter how we strive, no body leaves alive.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Composting Life’s Sufferings

Introduction to “Composting Life’s Sufferings”

Dear Friends,

The following comments on “Composting Life’s Sufferings” are dedicated to helping us insightfully examine and improve our lives as human beings on planet Earth, where suffering is inevitable. They metaphorically view our physical lifetimes as natural evolutionary processes, by comparing them to the composting process, well known to organic farmers and gardeners, and to urban waste processors.

They are intended and dedicated to encouraging us to skillfully process our psychological ‘garbage’, and thereby to experience ever increasing happiness, and ultimate fulfillment of our deepest inner aspirations.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Comments on “Composting Life’s Sufferings”

In Nature, everything’s energy – E=mc2. And nothing’s wasted; all energy is conserved. Eventually everything is recycled.

As part of Nature, all human bodies are recycled. Every physical body inevitably dies, disintegrates and is returned to Mother Earth.


“No matter how we strive, no body leaves alive.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


But each physical human body is survived by subtle bodies: astral, mental, and causal.
And – like all else in Nature – these subtle bodies are not wasted. After persisting in other planes, most are recycled. They are accessed and used as ‘software’ for other physical bodies, in a process known as reincarnation. In very rare cases they may transcend all worlds of form, and merge with infinite eternal Awareness – their Source.

Composting is a natural recycling process. Biodynamic farmers and organic gardeners know that organic material can be composted, recycled and re-used as mulch for growing new plants. Composting enriches the ground where new plant-life is cultivated, and so hastens Nature’s continuing recycling processes.

Just as composting physical garbage can hasten our garden’s growth, we can advance our spiritual growth process by composting our ‘psychological garbage’. Thus, Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh counsels us to metaphorically compost our anger to transform it into “peace, love, and understanding”, and our suffering to “produce happiness”.

Human life has inevitable ‘ups and downs’, difficulties, and challenges. Though we appear physically different, mentally and emotionally we all share similar ‘software’, with which we process life’s challenges.

Therefore, let us naturally and cooperatively ‘compost’ earth-life’s unavoidable challenges and sufferings by lovingly, fearlessly and faithfully following our heart.


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


Invocation

May we fearlessly follow our heart
to naturally and harmoniously process suffering
by “composting” our “psychological garbage”
for ever growing “peace, love, and understanding”
to “produce happiness”, and ultimate
fulfillment of our deepest aspirations.


And so may it be!


Ron Rattner

Saint Francis of Assisi: His Life and His Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon

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


Saint Francis of Assisi
[*See footnotes]


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


And so it shall be!



Prayer Of St. Francis Of Assisi **

Beloved, we are instruments of Thy peace.

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

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

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



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

Listen to



Footnotes

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

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


Let Food Be Thy Medicine


Let food be your medicine.”
“First, do no harm” [Primum non nocere.]
~ Hippocrates

“Everyone has a doctor in him or her;
we just have to help it in its work.
The natural healing force within each one of us
is the greatest force in getting well.
Our food should be our medicine.
Our medicine should be our food.”
~ Hippocrates

“Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot,
if you can heal the patient with food.”
~ Hippocrates

“Each of the substances of a man’s diet
acts upon his body and changes it in some way,
and upon these changes his whole life depends.”
~ Hippocrates

“Just as food causes chronic disease,
it can be the most powerful cure.”
~ Hippocrates

“Let nothing which can be treated by diet
be treated by other means.”
~ Maimonides




Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Ron’s Introduction

Dear Friends,

To help us be healthy I’m today posting the excellent University of California Television (UCTV) video embedded below, titled “Let Food Be Thy Medicine”.

In collaboration with the UC San Diego Center for Integrative Nutrition, the Berry Good Food Foundation convened a panel of highly qualified experts to discuss nutritional principles for maintaining general individual, societal, and environmental well-being; for preventing disease and degradation; and for nutritional treatment and healing of chronic diseases, and biodynamic restoration of environmental degradation.

From differing experiential perspectives, the panelists impart and discuss much helpful information, and cite resources for further investigation by interested viewers. Also continuing current updates are kept available online by hashtag at https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/foodasmedicine.

The considerable importance of this video, is reflected by its almost 14 million YouTube viral viewers; its title is a presumed direct teaching of legendary Greek philosopher and healer Hippocrates. Hence I have posted the title quotation above, together with a few other apt Hippocrates quotes consistent with ancient wisdom.

Please watch and carefully consider this important video.

May it encourage us and countless others to enjoy optimal health by making food our medicine.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

UCTV YouTube video: Let Food Be Thy Medicine/



A Magical Sea Gull Friendship
~ Ron’s Memoirs


“Wait for me here by the way,
whilst I go and preach to my little sisters the birds.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi, Little Flowers of St. Francis

“You should love everyone because God dwells in all beings.”

“Have love for everyone, no one is other than you.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

“All things are our relatives;

what we do to everything, we do to ourselves.

All is really One.”

~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

“At the center of the Universe dwells the Great Spirit and —
this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

“We did not weave the web of life.
We are merely strands in it.
All things are bound together. All things connect.”
~ Chief Seattle

“The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.”

~ Blaise Pascal



A Magical Sea Gull Friendship ~ Ron’s Memoirs

After living alone for over forty years, I cannot remember any recent time when I’ve felt lonely or bored.  Though I very much enjoy and require regular interactions with people, animals and nature, I’m invariably happy and savor solitude whenever I am alone at home.

However, soon after my 1976 divorce there were many times when I felt quite lonely and craved adult companionship and social contact – especially on weekends when I was alone and not working.

Gradually, such feelings of loneliness faded away and finally disappeared. And I preferred being alone – while in my apartment and while regularly jogging or walking along the Bay or in nature places, like the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Moreover, with continuing spiritual practices and amazing synchronicities, more and more I experienced a subtle connection with everyone and everything, and realized that at a subtle level I was never really alone.

The last time I recall feeling rather lonely in my apartment was just after my beloved Guruji – Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas – returned to India in 1981.   Until his departure, he and his entourage had been living with me for several weeks.

He was then constantly attended by several people who also slept in my apartment. And many others came every day as helpers and visitors.

Never before or since then has my apartment been the scene of so much activity, with so many people. Never before or since then has my apartment had such a palpably powerful and magnetic spiritual ambience.

Then after Guruji’s departure, in abrupt contrast to the period of his visit, I was suddenly living all alone again without any human company, and without Guruji’s extraordinary shakti energetic presence.

So, at first, I felt somewhat lonely – especially missing Guruji’s powerful presence. But, soon thereafter, I had an amazing synchronistic experience which assuaged my loneliness feelings, and which reminded me that I’m never really alone.

Here is what happened:

One lovely weekend morning, I arose from an extended period of prayer and meditation in my living room, unknowingly in an elevated and abstracted state of awareness. It was a beautiful sunny day, without any fog obscuring my panoramic view of the Golden Gate and the Bay.

Then, looking far westward toward the Golden Gate bridge I saw glimmering in the sunlight a distant lone white sea gull gracefully flying and hovering in the wind currents.

While gazing at that delightful scene in a ‘spaced out’ state and uninhibited by ordinary limiting beliefs about “reality”, I silently and spontaneously asked the sea gull:

“Oh beautiful bird, won’t you please come here and visit me?”

And almost immediately the sea gull obliged.

It banked, turned and flew from far away directly toward me until it landed and perched on the West deck railing of my apartment, just a few feet away from where I was beholding it through a floor to ceiling living room window.

The sea gull and I gazed at each other for a few moments. Then I silently asked:

“Dear sea gull, please let me feed you; please fly to that North window that opens, so I can give you some food.”

And again the bird obliged.

It flew about thirty feet from the West railing where it was perched in front of me, to a concrete ledge, just outside the only ventilation window on the North side of my living room. Then, I walked near the sea gull’s new resting place, and already having established communication, I again silently asked it:

“Now, dear sea gull, will you please wait there until I can find some food and feed you?”

And again the bird obliged. It remained on that ledge until I found some bread and seeds, opened the North window, and fed it. Finally, after eating, the bird flew away. But that didn’t end our magical new relationship.

Not only did my new sea gull friend later return for a few more feedings, but for several months it often ‘reciprocated’ my kindness by treating me to extraordinary aerobatic displays.

Just as captive dolphins or other marine mammals might constantly swim round and round in their confining pool or tank, my sea gull friend often visited me by flying round and round a large open space between the front of my twelfth floor apartment (on the north side of my high-rise apartment building) and a row of five high-rise buildings half a block away on Vallejo street.

All of these extraordinary sea gull visitations happened when I was alone in my apartment, except one. On one occasion the bird appeared when I had a visitor from out of town, my friend Steve, who like me was both a lawyer and an initiate of Guruji.

After Steve witnessed my sea gull visitor, I remembered that Guruji once told us that some advanced yogis have the ability to enter or possess bodies of other creatures, even scorpions in caves conducive to meditation. So I wondered then whether Guruji had sent that sea gull to assuage my feelings of loneliness on his departure.

But, however it happened, the sea gull experience proved a crucial blessing because it synchronistically bestowed an important evolutionary insight about how our concepts of “reality” determine and disrupt our ‘relationship’ with Nature.

My communication and communion experience with the sea gull happened because I was in an elevated, open-hearted, and intuitive state of consciousness uninhibited by ordinary limiting beliefs about “reality”, and about our apparent separation from other life-forms.

Thus, that unforgettable experience demonstrated our human potential to intuitively feel loving oneness with all of Nature. It was a dramatic reminder of our cosmic consciousness connection with all seemingly separate life-forms.

As Einstein observed, “Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Throughout human history indigenous societies have intuitively revered and communed with all of Nature. In such societies, my sea gull experience might have been considered quite ‘normal’, not at all unusual or noteworthy.

But in our present technological age, most humans have lost their innate ability to be attuned and harmonious with all of Nature. So, paradoxically, it is only our species – the species which considers itself most advanced – that is causing serious natural disruptions, disharmonies and ecological crises.

Like my sea gull friend, other creatures without any conceptions about “reality” are spontaneously harmonious with Nature.

So I view my sea gull communion experience as symbolic of our ever innate human potential – and urgent ecological imperative – for returning to an elevated heart level of awareness from which spontaneously, intuitively and harmoniously we shall honor and cooperate with Nature, thus allowing all life everywhere to survive and thrive.

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

Birds Have Feelings*


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




Birds Have Feelings*

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


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



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



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



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



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



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

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

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

The Creator knows when a sparrow falls.

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

Grace is the Creator reaching down.

Faith is humanity reaching back.

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

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

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


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


Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

My Miraculous Lotus Flower
~ Ron’s Memoirs


“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”

~ George Orwell, “1984”

“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.”

~ Albert Einstein

“Objective reality does not exist” ….

“The universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”

~ David Bohm, Quantum Physicist and Einstein protege

“Perception is a mirror, not a fact.

And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”

~ A Course In Miracles (ACIM)

“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

“We do not see things as they are;

we see things as we are.”

~ Talmud

“Whatever we think, do, or say,

changes this world in some way.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Ron Rattner on June 7, 2022, with Miraculous Lotus Flower


Introduction to “My Miraculous Lotus Flower”

Dear Friends,

Today I’m privileged to share with you a recent true memoirs story, symbolizing the fundamental spiritual principle that every incarnate space/time human is unique, with a unique “reality” which we “create” with our thoughts and behaviors. And that to evolve we need to be ever open to new ‘realities’ which transcend our prior beliefs. Hence human societies could not have advanced if we inflexibly believed that the earth was flat, or was the center of our solar system.

My evolving “reality” history

Since my mid-life spiritual awakening, I’ve realized that many prior beliefs and paradigms about “reality” were fundamentally mistaken and limiting; requiring acceptance of never previously imagined new “realities” through open minded questioning and mindfulness, crucial for life-long learning and spiritual evolution.

Thus since 1976, I’ve learned (from mystic masters, quantum science, and out of body experiences) that we each ‘create’ an illusionary space/time “reality” through “an optical illusion of consciousness” with our unique thoughts, words, and behaviors – whereby we mistakenly perceive, project, and self-identify ourselves as supposedly mortal entities separate from each other, Nature, our precious planet, and from our ultimately inseparable Universal essence as infinite LOVE. (See e.g. Our Mentality is Our Reality)

Also, I’ve learned that in this illusionary space/time reality everything is energy [e=Mc2] appearing and disappearing within Universal consciousness. But most humans mistakenly identify only with their thoughts, instead of their consciousness of those thoughts, and don’t realize that cosmically we are merely energy vortices ‘disguised as persons’. However, as we elevate our energies beyond polarizing fears and negative emotions and radiate innate common love and compassion, we gradually transcend space/time sufferings and reap ever increasing karmic rewards, as ‘givers not getters’. And (as in the following memoirs story) those rewards often appear through amazing synchronicities.

My Miraculous Lotus Flower

This miraculous lotus flower story exemplifies my still continuing life-long “reality” realization process:

In December 2017 my former neighbor Simran Alden (a real estate broker, raised in India before emigrating to the US) left a colored flower at my front door taped to an envelope with information about year-end real estate taxes. Because of color blindness, presbyopia, and other age-related visual limitations I couldn’t discern the flower’s botanical identity or color, nor could I see it clearly. It appeared to me to be a very “real” but dried-out cut flower. So to revive and preserve it’s beauty for a few days, I carefully put it into a tube of fresh tap water.

On awakening the next day I saw a beautifully opened flower, which I assumed would soon fade and wither with age. But miraculously it stayed “alive” and beautiful. And I soon believed that the “real” flower was forming roots on seeing as organic material in the water tube.

So I regularly refilled the tube with filtered water (rather than tap water), and delightedly observed my miraculously blooming “real” flower, which I kept in prominent view on my dining room table.

When Simran Alden later phoned me about my condominium’s market value, I thanked her for the flower she’d given me in December, and told her that I was still enjoying its beauty. However, I don’t remember telling her that I believed it to be “real” and had been watering it regularly. Afterwards I emailed Simran a photo of me enjoying the flower. And I enjoyed and carefully watered my miraculous “real” flower for over four more years.

But that suddenly stopped in June 2022.

At the beginning of June, 2022, my 2008 large screen iMac, running a long outdated OS 10.9 operating system irreparably stopped working. The old iMac contained all of my essential digital data, and was not separately backed-up. So I urgently needed to save its data and replace it with another iMac which would still run OS 10.9; or I’d be involuntarily ‘retired’ as an online spiritual philosopher, sponsored by The Perennial Wisdom Foundation.

Thanks to Divine grace and many amazing synchronicities, I’m “back in business” as a spiritual philosopher, and still able to compose spiritual memoirs.

Here is what happened:

On the June 1st ‘death’ of my iMac, I immediately contacted my almost 93 year old long-time friend and computer ‘guru’, “KJ”, about my urgent dilemma. With compassion “KJ” began expertly guiding my replacement of the 2008 iMac with a late 2012 model that would still run OS 10.9. Also he instructed my daughter Jessica about finding a successor iMac on Craig’s List. Jessica successfully found a replacement iMac, and on June 7th she brought it to my apartment. It still needed to be carefully converted to run my OS 10.9 data. And (with “KJ’s” expert assistance) that finally happened on June 23, 2022. The next night “KJ” passed peacefully in his sleep. If “KJ” had departed on June 1st instead of June 24th, I couldn’t be sharing this memoirs story with you.

Jessica’s lotus “reality” revelation

On arriving at my apartment on June 7, 2022 with the 2012 replacement iMac, my dear daughter Jessica Eve Rattner, (now a prize-winning documentary photographer and UC Davis Master of Fine Arts, with keen color and visual perception) iconoclastically shattered my miraculous flower “reality” image. Looking at the flower, she immediately perceived and impishly revealed to me that the tubed bloom was an not an organically botanical flower, but a cotton woven and fabricated pink lotus.

Ron Rattner on June 7, 2022, after learning Jessica’s lotus flower “reality”


As Simran probably knew, the pink lotus is the official National Flower of India, and is prominent in ancient India’s history, art, and teachings. It has long been an extremely sacred symbol of the spiritual path, enlightenment and resurrection.

So I now view the flower as an auspicious synchronistic blessing, but Jessica’s “reality” revelation has compelled me to stop believing it miraculous.

Dedication of “My Miraculous Lotus Flower”

May this lotus flower story auspiciously symbolize the infinite potential blessings of our ever evolving earthly “reality”, which we “create” with our ever changing thoughts and behaviors.

May it remind us to always be open to new ‘realities’ which transcend our prior beliefs, until we ultimately transcend all incarnate “reality”.

Until then may we ever BE kind and compassionate, and pray:

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner