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Peace

Presidents’ Day, 2019

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain –
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom –
and that government of the people, by the people, for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.”

~ Abraham Lincoln – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863
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“With malice toward none, with charity for all,
with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right,
let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds,
to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan,
to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace
among ourselves and with all nations.”
~ Abraham Lincoln – Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
“I am a firm believer in the people.
If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.
The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

(Abraham Lincoln (Feb 12, 1809 – Apr 15, 1865)

Dear Friends,

Happy U.S. “Presidents’ Day”, 2019!

Whether or not we are U.S. citizens, we share overriding common needs and aspirations jeopardized by possibly imminent disastrous world crises, often involving the vast American empire. So it seems appropriate for us to reflect together about the current state of world politics on U.S. Presidents’ Day, 2019,

Today, as Americans honor their popular ancestor presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, others peacefully protest current U.S. president, Donald J. Trump, whose actions appear to threaten peace and justice worldwide.

In his famous post Civil War Gettysburg address, Abraham Lincoln inspiringly invoked divine providence and called for a rebirth of US equal rights, liberty and democracy, proclaiming

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain –
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom –
and that government of the people, by the people, for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.”

~ Abraham Lincoln – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863

But, contrary to Lincoln’s vision and deep aspiration, the USA has become a colossal world empire perpetually involved in wars, either directly or vicariously, in ways Lincoln probably could have never imagined. It is possible that the US has killed more than 20 million people in 37 “victim nations” since World War II, including millions of non-combatant civilian women and children.

Moreover, especially since Trump’s election as 45th US President, it has become painfully evident that the American government is no longer a democracy – that US government ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ has insidiously been co-opted by a few sociopathic billionaire oligopolists who have instigated a government of, by and for multinational corporations and international plutocrats representing much less than 1% of Humankind. Even ex-president Jimmy Carter has publicly recognized that the US is no longer a democracy.

(See https://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/jimmy-carter-is-correct-t_b_7922788.html
https://theintercept.com/2015/07/30/jimmy-carter-u-s-oligarchy-unlimited-political-bribery/
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/09/13/jimmy-carter-speaks-out-against-us-oligarchy-and-trumps-diplomatic-failures)

Furthermore, Trump’s election, actions, appointments, and policies have coincided with unprecedented worldwide social unrest and adversity, with many people experiencing serious deprivations or repressions of human rights and regression of social progress, while justifiably fearing an imminent nuclear holocaust or ecological end of life on Earth as we have known it.

Yet these critical times of immense jeopardy and suffering afford us an extraordinary evolutionary opportunity for promoting world peace and justice, and rededicating Humanity to the sanctity of all life on Earth. As His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has observed:

“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.”

Whatever may be our political, cultural, generational, or geographical perspectives, we share overriding common needs and aspirations. As humans we share the same web of life, the same precious Earth biosphere, the same aspirations for health and happiness, and for just democratic societies serving basic needs of all life on a peaceful planet.

So, together let us join in envisioning our precious planet cooperatively ruled bottom-up by humble and compassionate societies, rather than top-down by billionaire sociopaths or plutocrats.

Whether or not we are citizens of the American empire, may we all compassionately commemorate Presidents’ Day 2019 by rededicating ourselves to the sanctity of universal peace and justice, and to the welfare of the World and all life thereon through “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

With “malice toward none, [and] with charity for all”, may we peacefully and democratically, harmoniously and happily, co-exist with each other and with all other Life on our precious planet Earth, with which we share common Cosmic Consciousness.

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

In Silence Sweet
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Yoga is the cessation of mind.”
~ Patanjali, Yoga Sutras
“Silence is the language of God,
all else is poor translation.”
~ Rumi
“Love said to me,
 there is nothing that is not me.

Be silent.”
~ Rumi
“When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” …… “Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still – only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Silence is the communing of a conscious soul with itself.
If the soul attend for a moment to its own infinity,
then and there is silence.
She is audible to all men, at all times, in all places, and if we will
we may always hearken to her admonitions.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
There is something greater and purer than what the mouth utters. Silence illuminates our souls, whispers to our hearts, and brings them together. Silence separates us from ourselves, makes us sail the firmament of spirit, and brings us closer to heaven.
~ Kahlil Gibran
“Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.”..
“Let silence take you to the core of life.”
~ Rumi




In Silence Sweet

In silence sweet
we may retreat
from every care and woe,
and there we’ll learn in perfect peace
all we need to know.

In silence sweet
we shall meet
the thrill of ecstasy.
and thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
we’ve nothing more to be.

In silence sweet
we shall find
all we’ve ever sought.
And thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
that all our wants were naught.

In silence sweet
we shall see
that everything is light.
And thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
there’s naught to fear but fright.

In silence sweet
we shall greet
our own true Self and Soul.
And thus we’ll learn in perfect peace
we are the timeless Whole.

In silence sweet
we shall enjoy
Eternity’s repose.
For perfect peace we e’er shall be,
Peace no mortal knows.



Ron’s audio recitation of “In Silence Sweet”

Listen to


Ron’s dedication and explanation of “In Silence Sweet”

Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusundandas


Dear Friends,

The foregoing poem “ In Silence Sweet” is dedicated to my beloved Guruji, Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusundandas, whose blessings inspired and permitted its composition.

In recent “Why Be Here Now?” memoirs I proposed that the essence of all spiritual teachings is to exist in thoughtless presence (as Universal Awareness or Cosmic Consciousness) rather than in the past or future, as an ego-mind story of a supposedly limited and separate mortal being. And I recounted how by faithfully following (for many years) my beloved Guruji’s emphatic instructions to “meditate regularly” I’m learning about living with a stilled mind.

Today to clarify those memoirs I’ll try to explain why much more important than Guruji’s spoken words to ‘meditate regularly’ was his immense and intense spiritual Presence, demonstrating his realization of Truth; his silent cosmic energy emanations from an infinitely enormous life-force energy field, which Hindus call Kundalini “Shakti” .

“Kundalini is the cosmic power in individual bodies.
It is not a material force like electricity, magnetism, centripetal or centrifugal force.
It is a spiritual potential, Shakti, or cosmic power.
In reality it has no form.”
~ Sri Swami Sivananda


Experiencing Guruji’s Shakti.

After my midlife spiritual awakening experience I became claresentient, and e.g. began seeing and sensing human auras. (See https://sillysutras.com/kundalini-kriyas-a-potpourri-of-peek-experiences-rons-memoirs/) So on meeting Guruji two years later, I was immediately impressed with his extraordinarily powerful emanations of “shakti”, and his extremely luminous silvery subtle aura unlike any other I’d ever before perceived.

Gradually thereafter I learned that Guruji’s energy field was independent of his physical vitality, and even his physical presence. Moreover, I learned that Guruji not only emanated intense shakti but that he was one of those rare yogis who could intentionally transfer it to others not only by touch, gaze, or mantra sound, but also by thought.  Thus on occasion I experienced Guruji’s shakti even when not in his physical proximity. And I have experienced intense shakti emanating from Guruji’s body even when it was very weak.

My most amazing and memorable experience of Guruji’s immense energy Presence happened two years after Guruji had left my San Francisco apartment in 1980, and returned (physically debilitated) to India.

In January/February, 1982, for the first time in this lifetime I had journeyed to India on a guided spiritual pilgrimage tour with Sant Keshadavadas, a devotional Indian spiritual teacher then known as a ‘singing saint’. That guided tour was, and remains for me, the most important trip of this lifetime. (See https://sillysutras.com/synchronicity-story-miraculously-manifesting-memories-of-a-spiritual-pilgrimage-to-india-and-nepal/ )

Throughout the pilgrimage tour I was constantly seeking to advance my spiritual sadhana , as a quest for “enlightenment”. By the time the tour ended in New Delhi, I was quite weary from following the intense travel schedule. But I was determined and anxious to remain in India to pay my respects to my beloved Guruji, and to receive his guidance and blessings for my sadhana.

Guruji’s body was then approximately 104 years old and physically very weak. So he was living reclusively with Indian devotees, who cared for him as he recuperated. Because of his debility Guruji’s whereabouts were kept confidential, and known to only by a few trusted devotees. Only after ‘miraculously’ overcoming an amazing series of extraordinary obstacles was I finally able to locate and visit Guruji in a small Gujarati town, Godhra.

There my aspirations for his guidance and blessings were fulfilled in an amazing silent satsang where Guruji spoke only two unforgettable words: “Meditate regularly.”

(For details see https://sillysutras.com/a-long-but-short-guruji-satsang-story-rons-memoirs/; satsang is a sanskrit word meaning being with a sat guru or being with “highest Truth” – https://endless-satsang.com/nondual-advaita-satsang.htm)

On arrival at the house where Guruji was staying, I was pleasantly greeted and told that Guruji was then in the garden, but that he would soon come in to greet me. I was brought into a lovely altar room with fresh cut flowers and a prominent throne-like seat for Guruji. As I waited there, my ‘monkey mind’ became quite active.

Despite many wondrous spiritual experiences during the pilgrimage tour, I was busily dialoguing with “the voice in my head” about my possible questions for Guruji. So when Guruji entered the altar room to sit enthroned in front of me, I was feeling far from mentally peaceful, as I sat there waiting for him to entertain my anticipated questions.

He appeared much weaker than when I first met him four years earlier. But he was emanating indescribably intense ‘shakti’ life-force energy, which seemed as powerful as ever. His energy field was so extraordinarily immense that it soon enveloped mine, and transformed my previously agitated state of mind. So, as I sat there gazing at Guruji, I began harmoniously resonating with his supernal ‘shakti’ life-force, and thereby feeling unusual peace of mind.


Thus my questions for Guruji gradually seemed to melt into silent infinite awareness. But they didn’t all dissolve. So after sitting there in silence for a while, I asked Guruji a preliminary question. But he remained silent, and kept intently gazing at me without answering the question.

Whereupon, supposing that he might not have understood me, I asked Guruji another question. But he still remained silent. Finally, as my appointment time was about to expire, I desperately exclaimed:



“Guruji, I’ve come halfway around the world to see you.
Please tell me what I should do for my sadhana.”




After a pregnant pause, Guruji at long last replied:





“Meditate regularly!”






We had no further dialogue. And soon I was politely informed by Guruji’s host that it was time to leave.

Afterwards.

As you might imagine, the unforgettable memory of Guruji’s profoundly silent ‘satsang’ has remained indelibly imprinted in my heart and on my ‘mental software’. His words “Meditate regularly!” were not merely spiritual instructions, but a timeless heartfelt blessing or sankalpa that my deepest aspirations for Truth might be fulfilled through regular meditation!

Moreover, beyond words but only with deep mental silence, Guruji eloquently demonstrated that the eternal LOVE we all seek is within each of us; and he ineffably validated Rumi’s profound observation that

“Silence is the language of God,
all else is poor translation.”
~ Rumi


Since 1982, by faithfully following my beloved Guruji’s emphatic instructions and blessing for me to “meditate regularly”, I’ve been learning about living with a stilled mind.

Perhaps fifteen years after that unforgettable satsang, my ‘monkey mind’ seemed to cease its ceaseless chatter, permitting me the option of using it or not, and of choosing to enjoy moments of choiceless awareness. Instead of constantly swinging backwards and forwards, like a pendulum, between the past and the future, it seemed to rest in a sort of ‘default position’ when not activated by conscious thoughts.

Whereupon I’ve enjoyed precious moments of Being with a stilled mind which have transformed my experience and deep understanding of incarnate human life, in previously unimagined ways.

In 1996 (after Guruji’s 1994 mahasamadhi and during my extended post-retirement period of reclusiveness), I was inspired to compose the above poem “In Silence Sweet”, which only hints at Guruji’s profound blessing bestowed in that unforgettable silent ‘satsang’.

In grateful dedication to Guruji, I have republished the poem today with the foregoing authoritative explanatory quotations.

May everyone everywhere enjoy the blessings of Silence Sweet and of those quotations.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Why Be Here Now?
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“That which is timeless is found NOW.”

~ Buddha
“Life can be found only in the present moment.

The past is gone, the future is not yet here,

and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,

we cannot be in touch with life.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment…
Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life –
and see how life starts suddenly ..
working for you, rather than against you.”

~ Eckhart Tolle
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
~ Hillel
Life is NOW

Ever NOW

Never then.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Tao and Zen
are NOW,
not then.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”
~ Leo Tolstoy
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions,

that they exist in the present,
which is what there is and all there is.
”
~ Alan Watts
The only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything or feel anything, or express any feeling or emotion, or respond to an event, or grow, or heal, is this moment, because this is the only moment any of us ever gets. You’re only here now; you’re only alive in this moment.
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity. Thought is time. Thought is born of experience and knowledge which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever-limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Why Be Here Now?

Introduction.

Today’s memoirs posting “Why Be Here Now?” explains how the memorable book title “Be Here Now” became for me an inspirational spiritual slogan, encapsulating the essence of all spiritual teachings: viz. to live in thoughtless presence (as Universal Awareness) rather than in the past (as an ego-mind story of a separate mortal being); because Life is NOW, ever NOW, never Then!

This universal teaching has so significantly advanced my spiritual awakening process, that I am now experiencing life in ways I couldn’t imagine when I first learned about being in the present moment. So I often share it to help others (as hereafter explained).

Learning to live moment by moment, ever NOW.

Here is a summary of my process of learning about living NOW, as Universal Awareness:

Soon after my midlife spiritual awakening, I attended “est”, an impactful self-help seminar, on the urging of a long-time friend. There I was first exposed to certain (unsourced) Eastern spirituality principles cleverly collected and presented by Werner Erhard, est’s founder, to motivate participants to radically transform their lives by ‘getting IT’.  The key est teaching was to:

Always accept “what is”. [See Ron’s Memoirs: Getting “IT” at est]

After attending est in 1977, I started to learn that for millennia there have been spiritual teachings about thoughtlessly accepting “what is” {sometimes called “letting go” or “surrender”). This began happening when I read an extraordinary book called “Be Here Now”, which told about the spiritual transformation of Dr. Richard Alpert, Ph.D, psychologist, into Baba Ram Dass, a Western teacher of Eastern wisdom, after meeting his Hindu guru – Neem Karoli Baba.

Discussion re “Be Here Now” as Root Spiritual Teaching.

“Be Here Now” was my first memorable exposure to Hindu and other sourced Eastern spiritual teachings. It was an extraordinary book, unlike any other I’d ever before seen or read. Filled with beautiful calligraphy, art, and photos, it imaginatively presented a fascinating melange of Eastern ideas previously unknown to me, with many suggestions or ‘recipes’ for spiritual practices, some of which I later followed, though I didn’t immediately adopt any of them.

Apart from the book’s contents, its “Be Here Now!” title gradually became a memorable guide for my spiritual awakening process; a reminder to live with a quiet mind in the present moment. Gradually, I found this reminder repeated so often in other spiritual teachings and books that, ultimately, I considered it to be the root essence of all spiritual teachings. I deemed this teaching so crucial that (with poetic license) I once called it “The Sacred Secret of Life”. (See https://sillysutras.com/secret-of-life/)

“Be Here Now” by Ram Dass



My realization about the crucial importance of living as thoughtless presence, was especially advanced by the teachings of world renowned spiritual philosopher J. Krishnamurti, that

“Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Much later I approvingly concurred with the writings and lectures of contemporary author/teacher Eckhart Tolle, which skillfully emphasized “The Power of Now.” (Another memorable book title which became a popular spiritual slogan.)

Probably I best learned about living with a stilled mind by faithfully following for many years my beloved Guruji’s emphatic instructions to “meditate regularly”. Ultimately, after thus meditating regularly, my ‘monkey mind’ finally ceased its ceaseless chatter, permitting me the option of using it or not, and of choosing to enjoy moments of choiceless awareness.

These chosen moments of living with a stilled mind changed my experience and deep understanding of incarnate human life, in previously unprecedented ways. For example, they bestowed new insight into Patanjali’s root aphorism that

“Yoga is the cessation of mind.”
~ Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras


Also I realized that many people (like French philosopher René Descartes) have mistakenly confused “thinking” with “being”. So I wrote an essay critique of that mistaken belief, to remind us that “being” as Awareness exists and persists perpetually, whether or not we are thinking. (See https://sillysutras.com/cartesian-critique/)

And precious moments of thought-free awareness confirmed and validated spiritual insights from other mystical experiences. For example, they were reminders that human consciousness remains beyond death of human bodies and brains; that consciousness creates brains and subtle thought bodies which inevitably survive death of physical bodies. (See https://sillysutras.com/brains/)

Whereby I observed that most people (like Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet) mistakenly believe that death of the physical body and brain, ends all consciousness and thought.

Thus Prince Hamlet incorrectly equated physical mortality with timeless Awareness in his famous “To be, or not to be” soliloquy contemplating his possible suicide. (William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1)

And to share this realization about Hamlet’s confused suicide speculations,
I composed this sutra:

“To think or not to think, that is the question.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

which implies that Being is perpetual, not optional, whereas thinking is optional and does not end on bodily ‘death’; but that paradoxically the less we think, the more we are Being (‘here now’) as perpetual Awareness.

Essential Message of “Be Here Now”.

Through the process of learning to live with a stilled mind in the present moment, I’ve discovered that:

Being is timeless. But thought is time (and space). So, when we egoically think of ourselves merely as entities separate (in space) from each other and Nature, we mistakenly preclude or deter our realization of spiritual Freedom as eternal Being beyond space/time.

Instead, we experience our existence only as an ever impermanent past illusion, or mental mirage, but never NOW. However as we self-identify moment by moment as thoughtless, choiceless awareness, we are Being NOW.

And we learn that

“The more we live moment by moment,
the more momentous our lives;”
and that
“When all thoughts cease, we are at peace.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Ultimately we discover

“That which is timeless is [only] found NOW”

~ Buddha

Conclusion.

Each of us has a unique karmic history and space/time perspective. So each of us has unique challenges and a unique karmic ‘recipe’ for spiritual opening. But the ‘ingredients’ in every such ‘recipe’ are the same– only proportions differ.

And Presence – ‘being here now’ – is crucially important for everyone, not just for spiritual aspirants. For example, being present is sometimes called being “in the zone” with a stilled or focussed mind. Have you ever noticed how star artists or athletes perform at their highest levels while “in the zone”?

Thus today’s quotations, memoirs and discussion are offered to inspire our ever expanding realization that “life can be found only in the present moment”, and that ultimately the Eternal happiness we all (knowingly or unknowingly) seek is beyond space and time, but paradoxically immanent ever here NOW.

Peanuts by Charles Schulz

Dedication.

May everyone everywhere experience ever expanding happiness by increasingly living moment by moment in precious presence, with ever quieter minds.

Thereby may we all radiate love and joy, which blesses the world, ever NOW.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Synchronicity Story: Dr. King, Alice Walker, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and “If I Was President”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence,
but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If I was President
The first thing I would do
is call Mumia Abu-Jamal.”
~ Alice Walker
Dare to be a nonconformist.
Society rewards conformers.
But, posterity honors reformers.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Let us elevate our aspirations,
from the bottom line to the highest good.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
In these critical times,
we need a critical mass
to solve our critical mess.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968


Ron’s Introduction.

Today is the 90th birthday anniversary of American hero and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated over fifty years ago at age 39.

As we honor Dr. King and remember his “dream” for our society, here is an amazing synchronicity story about Dr. King, poet/author and social reformer Alice Walker (and her poem: “If I Was President”), and Mumia Abu-Jamal, well known truth-telling black journalist and innocent political prisoner since 1981.

Over fifty years have passed since Dr. King’s 1963 “dream” speech. Yet the US population still endures most of the flagrant societal injustices addressed by Dr. King and Alice Walker, including unjust imprisonment of countless political truth-tellers and societal reformers, like Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Nonetheless, I again I share this synchronicity story with the renewed aspiration and deepest faith that together we can and will awaken the world from its present fearful ‘nightmare’ to realize Dr. King’s ‘dream’ – 

That ‘free at last’, we will honor the equality and divinity of everyone everywhere, and thereby transcend exploitation and discrimination against the world’s most vulnerable people, using our common wealth for our common weal to end the iniquity of inequity in our society. So that as Abraham Lincoln envisioned,

“under God, [we] shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


Synchronicity Story.

One January morning I received an email notice of an archived lecture about departed hero Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. given by poet, author, and Buddhist peace activist Alice Walker, in Atlanta in 2006. The lecture was entitled “We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For.” [a YouTube video is linked below]

Because of my great respect for Dr. King as a national hero, and for Alice Walker’s wisdom, artistic genius and exemplary engagement in non-violent peace activism, I listened to the lecture. It was eloquent and moving.

At one point Alice Walker noted the posthumous persistence of social problems addressed by Dr. King before he was assassinated, and she cited as emblematic of our continuing societal injustices the political incarceration and threatened execution of brilliant truth teller journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, following his eggregiously wrongful political conviction for a crime committed by someone else.


Mumia Abu-Jamal


Especially, because I regard Abu-Jamal as an unjustly imprisoned ‘great soul’ who was subjected to an extraordinarily unjust trial, I had been amongst the millions world-wide protesting his political incarceration and threatened execution.

Synchronistically, a couple of hours after I listened to the Alice Walker lecture mentioning Abu-Jamal, I received a rare phone call from Prison Radio, a charitable organization dedicated to recording and distributing worldwide weekly radio commentaries by Abu-Jamal then telephoned from death row. (If interested you can listen to those commentaries at the Prison Radio website http://www.prisonradio.org/.)

The caller, Sharyn, invited me to a house party at which Abu-Jamal’s current legal situation was to be be discussed in depth. I told Sharyn that I had just been thinking about Mumia because of Alice Walker’s reference to him in her eloquent Atlanta talk about Dr. King. In response, Sharyn told me that shortly before she called me, Prison Radio had that day just received a new poem written and sent by Alice Walker from Mexico about Mumia and other prominent political prisoners.

Entitled, “If I Was President”, the opening lines of the poem say:


“If I was President
The first thing I would do
is call Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

 

Alice Walker

Synchronicity Questions and Reflections.

So why did the universe decide to synchronistically communicate with me that day through Dr. King, Alice Walker and Prison Radio about Mumia Abu-Jamal? It is a mystery, and a reminder of how little we understand our miraculous world “reality”.

From space/time perspective, synchronicities are noteworthy or meaningful coincidences in time. But from a cosmic perspective serial time is just an illusory way we think. So Albert Einstein has said:

“People … who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Inspired by Einstein I have tentatively explained such synchroncities this way:

“Synchronicities are noteworthy “coincidences” in time,
which show us that in Nature,
there is no time and there are no “coincidences –
that everything that is, was, or will be is NOW;
that everything happens in harmony and synchrony
concurrently, not coincidentally.
Synchronicities are like Nature’s positive “bio-feedback’ or ‘radar’ signals showing when we are existing out of time and in the eternal NOW.”

And here is an interesting quote from Deepak Chopra:

“According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things don’t bother you anymore. You become light hearted and full of joy. The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous.”

How do you explain synchronicities in your life?

Whether or not we can ever really explain mysterious synchronicities, may they ever infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for our interdependence with all miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet.


Alice Walker: “We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For.”


Ron’s Commentary Honoring Dr. King.

Dear Friends,

On the 90th birthday anniversary of departed hero Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us join countless others worldwide in honoring and ardently following his visionary legacy of nonviolently seeking world peace and social justice with forgiveness and Love.

Regrettably realization of Dr. King’s vision of world harmony still seems distant, as societal problems he addressed more than half a century ago perilously persist. Moreover, threats of nuclear and ecological holocaust appear more imminent than ever before, as the US empire continues to insanely squander more than than half its budget on wars and weapons, while neglecting the human rights and needs of most of its citizens and its countless other victims worldwide.

Dr. King’s history.

Dr. King was a fourth generation Baptist preacher and non-violent peace and social justice activist especially inspired by Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi.  He honored and followed Gandhi as “guiding light  …. of nonviolent social change’’, and in 1959 journeyed to India to study Gandhian methods.  On arrival there, King said:

“To other countries, I may go as a tourist,
but to India, I come as a pilgrim.” 

Afterwards, inspired by Jesus and Gandhi, Dr. King ardently preached non-violence, saying 

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.” 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Ultimately, Dr. King’s life paralleled Gandhi’s life.  Each began as an outspoken advocate of inter-racial equality and social justice in racially segregated societies:  Gandhi as a South African civil rights lawyer; and King as a Southern-Baptist preacher.  Gradually their missions expanded to encompass universal peace, freedom and social justice for everyone everywhere.  

Gandhi ultimately inspired independence of the entire Indian subcontinent from almost a century of colonial domination and exploitation by the British raj. 

Dr. King conscientiously  and eloquently decried the fraudulent and immoral US war in Viet Nam, and the entire exploitive US corporate capitalist economic system which fostered perpetual war for perpetual profit of a privileged few, to the undemocratic detriment of an impoverished majority.  He said:

“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

“Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as His divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.” .. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.” 


Like Jesus and Gandhi, Reverend King preached love and forgiveness, saying:

“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1964 Dr. King was awarded and humbly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, as ‘trustee’ for countless unknown others. And he cited Mahatma Gandhi’s success in India as a key precedent encouraging nonviolent civil rights activism in the USA, saying:

“This [nonviolent] approach to the problem of racial injustice …. was used in a magnificent way by Mohandas K. Gandhi to challenge the might of the British Empire and free his people from the political domination and economic exploitation inflicted upon them for centuries.”

And Dr. King described how (because of technological advances which threaten nuclear/ecological catastrophe) the survival of humanity depends upon our nonviolently solving

“the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war” by “living in harmony” with “all-embracing and unconditional love for all men”.


Eloquently he explained unconditional love as

“that force which all of the great religions [Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist] have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. . . . the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate Reality.”


Dr. King’s 1968 Martyrdom.

Like Jesus and Gandhi, Reverend King was martyred at the pinnacle of his powers.   Dr. King (like President John F. Kennedy) was assassinated by the US military/industrial secret government when his expanding influence became an intolerable barrier to their psychopathic war plans for Viet Nam and beyond.

Concluding Dedication.

To honor Dr. King’s lasting legacy as one of the greatest Americans who ever lived, I have again shared this posting with the renewed aspiration and deepest faith that together we can and will awaken the world from its present fearful ‘nightmare’ to realize Dr. King’s visionary ‘dream’ of peace and justice, with love and forgiveness.

That ‘free at last’, we will honor the equality and divinity of everyone everywhere, and thereby transcend unjust exploitation and discrimination against the world’s most vulnerable people, using our common wealth for our common weal to end the iniquity of inequity in our society.
 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Seek More Than Meets The Eye

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust consumes
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
~ Matthew 6:19-21
“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
~ Luke:18:25 ; Matthew 19:24
“Fools follow the desires of the flesh
and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death;
but the wise, knowing the Self as eternal,
seek not the things that pass away.”
~ Katha Upanishad 2:1:2
“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold;
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions,
but in having few wants.”
~ Epictetus
“What really counts in life can’t be counted.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”

“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.”

“The most precious things in life are not those one gets for money”. . . . . Money only appeals to selfishness and always irresistibly tempts its owner to abuse it. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus or Gandhi with the moneybags of Carnegie?”
~ Albert Einstein



Seek More Than Meets The Eye

Do not cherish
that which will perish.

Do not treasure
fleeting pleasure –

Or what you can measure.

Do not believe
what you perceive;

And do not seek
what you can speak.

Seek the ineffable
and it is inevitable

That you will know
the Unknowable –

The Inconceivable!

That you will find –
Beyond your mind –

Eternal Peace!



Ron’s audio recitation of Seek More Than Meets The Eye

Listen to



Ron’s Explanation and Dedication of “Seek More Than Meets The Eye”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing poem, “Seek More Than Meets The Eye” was inspired by Jesus’ teaching to lay up “treasures in heaven”, rather than earthly treasures. [Matthew 6:19-21].

Before discovering that scriptural passage, my midlife spiritual awakening had apparently activated previously subdued ascetic propensities – perhaps from other contemplative lifetimes. So, I had begun following a life-style much simpler and more reclusive than during my married years. And I became evermore convinced of the wisdom of living a simple and virtuous life, largely detached from worldly pleasures and treasures, while focusing on infinite spiritual treasures within.

So after discovering Jesus’ teaching about forgoing worldly treasures I was inspired to poetically share its essence, which was consistent and harmonious with my deepest intuitions and tendencies. And soon I found many more inspiring parallel teachings in all other enduring wisdom traditions, like the quotations preceding the poem.

These teachings seem especially important today in affluent corporate capitalist societies where people are constantly importuned and ‘brain washed’ via ubiquitous and often insidious advertising and marketing techniques to acquire things and experiences they don’t need, in order to be happy.

But pleasures from such possessions and experiences are always fleeting, and can never bring enduring happiness and peace of mind. As the Dalai Lama observes:

“Physical comforts cannot subdue mental suffering, and if we look closely,
we can see that those who have many possessions are not necessarily happy.
In fact, being wealthy often brings even more anxiety.


So the foregoing poem and quotes are offered to remind us to lay up “treasures in heaven”, rather than in unneeded earthly things and pleasures.

May we thereby discover that the enduring happiness we all (knowingly or unknowingly) seek is never in superfluous possessions or pleasures, but ever in our sacred hearts and souls.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Imagine – The World Will Live As One


 “Imagine… the world will live as one
”
~ John Lennon
 (October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980)
“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





Imagine – The World Will Live As One

Dear Friends, 

Almost forty years ago our great ex-Beatles visionary ancestor, John Lennon was too soon taken from us (at age forty).  But the luminous light of his eternal soul continues to bless and inspire us.  

In this holy season of Eternal Light, it is especially appropriate that we remember and honor him. 

So I have posted below lyrics and two live video performances of John singing “Imagine”,
his inspired and inspiring expression of our shared aspiration for enduring planetary peace and happiness. 

May these classic performances inspire us to remember that together we can and must 
“live as one” with compassion for everyone everywhere, while never forgetting that 

“All we need is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


John Lennon – “Imagine” (live performance)


“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


Solstice Salutations and Invocations For a Peaceful and Happy New Age

“One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not: what is the purpose of life? From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self.
Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi





Solstice Salutations and Invocations For a Peaceful and Happy New Age

Dear Friends,

With a new winter solstice cycle of ever increasing sunlight, let us envision the dawning of a new age of peace, compassion, and joy everywhere on our precious planet.

May we thereby rededicate ourselves to the Eternal Light of LOVE within and beyond everyone and everything on Earth; to THAT universal spirit of light, love, harmony and happiness, which is the unseen Source of the world we see.  
 

And as we share season’s greetings and envision planetary peace and joy, may we be infused with illumination and inspiration for harmoniously healing our precious planet and all its life-forms by these perennial wisdom words about happiness:

Perennial Wisdom Words About Happiness:

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
~ Aristotle

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
~ Dalai Lama

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.
That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not,
whether one believes in this religion or that religion,
we all are seeking something better in life.
So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”
~ Dalai Lama

“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away.
Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.
~ Ramana Maharshi

“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
~ Buddha

Happiness comes when your work and words
are of benefit to yourself and others.
~ Buddha

“He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.”
“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“Find ecstasy in life;
the mere sense of living is joy enough.”
~ Emily Dickinson

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.
Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,
go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.
Think of the beauty that again and again
discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”
~ Anne Frank

“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“We are formed and molded by our thoughts.
Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts
give joy when they speak or act.
Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.”
~ Buddha

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

“Happiness does not depend on how the furniture is arranged –
it depends on how I arrange my mind.”
“When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.”
“Simply put, you believe that things or people make you unhappy,
but this is not accurate.
You make yourself unhappy.”
~ Wayne Dyer

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Cultivate compassion; harvest happiness.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul;
one must try to include, as necessary to one’s own happiness, the happiness of others.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”
~ Richard Wagner

“I am happy even before I have a reason.”
~ Hafiz

“The superior man is always happy.”
~ Confucius

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”
~ Chuang-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

“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?
Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.”
~ William Blake

“Always be joyful. That is the only truly saintly state.”
~ Teresa of Avila

“Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service,
and have a definite object in life
outside themselves and their personal happiness”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore

“Somehow not only for Christmas
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing
Returns to make you glad.
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination”
~ Mark Twain

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,
it only saps today of its joy.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

“Some cause happiness wherever they go;
others whenever they go.”
~ Oscar Wild


Closing Invocations:

May we consciously and cooperatively participate together in co-creating an ever better world – Happy, Harmonious and Peaceful – as we intend and envision it to be.

May we so become infused channels of Light and Love for everyone and everything everywhere – on the Solstice Holidays and Always!

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so may it be!

Farewell Carol: Synchronicity Story &
Tribute to an Unforgettable Friend

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


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


Ron’s Introduction.

On December 1st, 2018 my unforgettable friend Carol Schuldt painlessly left her body at age 85, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and heart failure. Thereafter, on December 8th, her body was interred in a wild nature place overlooking the Pacific Ocean, after spontaneous rituals and stories were shared by Carol’s friends on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

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

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

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

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

Summary of Carol’s spiritual history.

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

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

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

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

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

Carol’s muraled house and organic garden.

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

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

Carol’s St. Francis mural

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moral of the story?

“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great,

pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature,

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

~ Deepak Chopra, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire

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

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

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

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


Mute The Mind

“Yoga is the cessation of mind.”
~ Patanjali, Yoga Sutras
 “When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” …… “Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still – only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“I think with intuition. The basis of true thinking is intuition.

Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity.
”

~ Albert Einstein
To think or not to think,
that is the question!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is not a problem to be solved,
but a reality to be experienced.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard




Mute The Mind

Bliss abides when thought subsides.

When all thoughts cease, we are at peace.

Spirit speaks when mind is mute.

Mute your mind to hear your heart.

The power to think is a great gift;
but, the power to not think is a greater gift.

So, to think or not to think, that is the question.


Ron’s audio recitation of “Mute The Mind”

Listen to



Ron’s comments on “Mute The Mind”

Dear Friends,

When you hear the word “yoga”, what do you think of?
 
You probably think of a widely practiced art of physical postures and related practices, not necessarily associated with religion, for harmonizing body, mind and spirit.  But you don’t think of mental stillness or mind control.

However, according to Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the most ancient and central Sanskrit yoga text, yoga is defined as “cessation of mind”, not merely as methods to achieve such a state of thoughtless awareness.   The word “yoga” is rooted in an ancient Sanskrit term meaning to unite or integrate.  And for millennia Vedic seers called Yogis have followed various disciplines – such as wisdom enquiry, devotion, meditation, service, body postures, austerities and breathing techniques – attempting to merge their apparently limited human consciousness with Universal Awareness or Brahman.
 
The foregoing poem and quotations are about the importance of stilling the mind, without suggesting any method for achieving “yoga”. They are dedicated to helping us lead happier and more fulfilling lives, while hastening our spiritual evolution, whether or not we achieve “enlightened” states of awareness.
 
Until meeting my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, who was a great Yogi, I knew virtually nothing about yoga or yogic science. But inspired by his teachings and example I gradually have experienced countless blessings from an often silent mind.
   
Before meeting Guruji I was philosophically mostly influenced by the world’s ‘great thinkers’.  But now I’m mostly inspired by the world’s greatest non-thinkers — mystics, intuitives and shamans (from various traditions), and others who have authentically and instinctively lived a secular life, like Albert Einstein.

Einstein taught that we can best solve human problems by emphasizing intuition over intellect, thereby raising our level of consciousness beyond that which created our problems. And he observed that:  

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

May today’s postings inspire us to more and more honor intuition over intellect, and to still our minds so we can hear and follow our Hearts to lives of ever increasing fulfillment and happiness.    

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Saint Francis of Assisi: His Life and His Prayer

Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon
“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
“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 [*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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