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Peace

Solstice Salutations and Quotations
~ For a Happy World

“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
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness,
and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”
~ Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
“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
“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 Quotations For a Happy World

Dear Friends,

Happy Summer Solstice!

With a new summer solstice sunlight zenith, let us envision the dawning of an Aquarian age of divine light, peace, compassion, and joy everywhere on our precious planet and beyond.

May we thereby rededicate ourselves to the Eternal Light of LOVE within and beyond everyone and everything on Earth; to THAT universal spirit of eternal light, love, harmony and happiness, which is the unseen Source of the worlds we see.  
 
And as we optimistically envision a new season of previously unimagined planetary peace and joy, may we be infused with unprecedented illumination and inspiration for harmoniously healing our beautiful blue planet and all its life-forms.

To help inspire us, hereafter posted is a collection of wisdom words about finding timeless happiness. Please enjoy and accordingly consider these inspiring quotations.


Perennial Wisdom Words About Finding Happiness:

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

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

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

“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

“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

“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

“There is only one life and one world, and this one life and one world is appearing to us . . . . like a dream. . .You do not live in your dreams. The dreams come one after another; scene after scene unfolds before you.
So it is in this world of ninety per cent misery and ten per cent happiness. Perhaps after a while it will appear as ninety per cent happiness, and we shall call it heaven. But a time comes to the sage when the whole thing vanishes, and this world appears as God Himself, and his own soul as God. It is not therefore that there are many worlds; it is not that there are many lives. All . . is the manifestation of that ONE.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

“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

“When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now.
Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“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

“The surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.”
“If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
happiness follows like a shadow.”
~ Buddha

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

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates

“Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.”
~ Aristotle

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live
that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
~ Epictetus

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

“Cultivate compassion; harvest happiness.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“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 and used as instruments of Light and Love for everyone and everything everywhere – on Solstice Holidays and Always!

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

What is Faith? ~
Quotations and Comments

“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”

~ William Shakespeare
“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.

Have faith in yourselves!”

~ Swami Vivekananda





What is Faith? Quotations and Comments


Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following profound quotation collection concerns heartfelt intuitive faith, as distinguished from mental belief.

Comments below the quotations explain how inner faith can bring us previously unimagined and ever growing happiness, with continuing learning from life.

Accordingly, these quotations and comments are shared to help all of us find such happiness through inner faith. Please consider them accordingly.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

What is Faith? ~ Quotations


“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,

you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”,
and it will move.”

~ Matthew 17:20

Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far, 
but none comes further.
~ Soren Kierkegaard

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

“Faith is a knowledge within the heart,

beyond the reach of proof.”
“Faith is an oasis in the heart
which can never be reached by the caravan of thinking.”
~ Khalil Gibran

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

“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

“The most beautiful and most profound experience
is the sensation of the mystical. …
To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, 
manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty 
which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms 
this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”
~ Albert Einstein

“My faith runs so very much faster than my reason 
that I can challenge the whole world and say, 
’God is, was and ever shall be’.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Faith is different from proof;

the latter is human,
the former is a Gift from God.”
“Faith embraces many truths
which seem to contradict each other.”
~ Blaise Pascal

“Faith is much better than belief.

Belief is when someone else does the thinking.”

~ Buckminster Fuller

“Faith means living with uncertainty –

feeling your way through life,

letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark”

~ Dan Millman

“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.”

~ Alan Watts

“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”

~ William Shakespeare

“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.

Have faith in yourselves!”

~ Swami Vivekananda

“Intelligence must follow faith,
never precede it,

and never destroy it.”

~ Thomas Kempis

Faith follows intuition;

Faith follows the Way;

Faith follows the Self;

Faith follows the Heart.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“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


Ron’s Comments on “What is Faith?”

Dear Friends,

In reviewing and revising previous SillySutras postings, I’ve been wondering about the subtle circumstances which have seemed most important in furthering my spiritual evolution from age forty two to age eighty seven. And why, after over four decades of spiritual exploration, I’m blessed with previously unimagined and still growing happiness,

Forty five years ago, I was self-identifying as an uptight and unhappy middle-aged secular litigation lawyer on the brink of divorce, when I had an unforgettable “out of body” experience [OOB] which has sparked over four decades of spiritual exploration and evolution, with still ongoing learning from life.

Now I mostly self-identify as eternal spirit enjoying a brief “in a body experience” as an 87 year old retired lawyer and spiritual writer. And I feel immensely blessed with great happiness and gratitude for this precious fleeting lifetime, despite its inevitable ups and downs.

Perhaps my best explanation for being so blessed, is that I’ve enjoyed ever growing deep faith as ONE with Divine LOVE, the inner mystery of Divinity. Previously, I have explained in essays how “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life” and defined faith as distinguished from belief.

Today I have posted the foregoing profound quotations to help inspire our deep faith in our Divine Self and Source. Please read and reflect on them accordingly.

Also I’ve embedded below a beautiful youtube video performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s inspiring song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as excerpted from the film version of their classical musical play “Carousel”. The emotions we feel from that performance can also help inspire our deep realization that with faith and hope in our heart we’ll never walk alone

Invocation

May we enjoy ever growing deep inner faith and
Self-identity as ONE with Divine LOVE,
Bringing us previously unimagined and ever growing happiness,
with continuing learning from life.

And thereby may we help co-create a new Earth reality
of abiding peace, harmony and goodwill
for all life everywhere.

May everyone everywhere be happy!


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel”.



Memorial Day, 2021 –
Rededication Proclamation

“We must . . 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.
“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
“There is no honorable way to kill,
no gentle way to destroy.

There is nothing good in war.
Except its ending.”

~ Abraham Lincoln
“And they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

and their spears into pruning hooks; 

nation shall not lift up sword against nation, 

neither shall they learn war any more.” 

~ Isaiah 2:4
“Nothing will end war unless the people refuse to go to war.”

”War cannot be humanized, only abolished.”

“You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”

~ Albert Einstein
“Thou shalt not kill.”

~ Exodus 20:13
“If you realize that all things change,

there is nothing you will try to hold on to.

If you are not afraid of dying,

there is nothing you cannot achieve.”

~ Lao Tzu




Memorial Day, 2021 – Rededication Proclamation

Dear Friends,

Memorial Day was inaugurated after the internecine American Civil War between Northern and Southern States. Since then it has commemorated the passing of men and women who died while participating in numerous US fomented wars against and amongst nations and people worldwide.

But today many Americans have forgotten the sacred antiwar spirit with which Memorial Day began. Moreover, we are living in an unprecedented “new normal” era of worldwide political polarity, warlike violence, and turmoil.

Contrary to Abraham Lincoln’s eloquent aspiration that American “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”, the USA is no longer a democracy – but an autocratic warlike global Empire of, by and for billionaires and transnational corporations, representing far fewer than 1% of Humankind.

This essay is dedicated to reminding us of the Divinity of all life on Earth; and that for survival of life as we’ve known it we urgently now need to end all wars before they end us. That

“We must . . 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.


Background

Armed conflicts have occurred throughout recorded human history. But we are now compelled to realize that more wars will probably trigger a nuclear, ecological, biological, or radiological catastrophe insanely ending earth-life as we’ve known it.

However, while human survival is threatened as never before, we have paradoxically gained unprecedented technical capacity to sustainably provide all human sustenance needs. And in this painful post-pandemic “new normal” era, we are awakening to our unlimited human potentiality.

Thus many are realizing that, as a global human family, we have extraordinary opportunities to co-create an infinitely more compassionate world, with democratic societies peacefully coexisting cooperatively and harmoniously with Nature, each other and all life on our precious planet.

Until now, much of humanity has suffered illusionary psychological separation from each other and Nature, fostering unsustainable ecological desecration of our precious planet, and barbaric exploitation of vulnerable beings and other life-forms. But more and more people are awakening to our sacred connection with, and deep moral responsibility to cherish and preserve, all life on our precious planet Earth.

Rededication Proclamation

So in solemnly observing Memorial Day 2021, let us all resolutely rededicate Humankind to preserving and honoring all Life – not just human life – as sacred and holy. And, therefore, to end all wars, before they end us.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Divine Harmony
~ by Paramahansa Yogananda


“Harmony is the secret principle of life.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda



Swami Paramahansa Yogananda



Introduction

Dear Friends,

It is my grateful privilege to share with you Swami Paramahansa Yogananda’s enlightened aphorisms titled “Divine Harmony” as excerpted verbatim from his “Journey To Self-Realization: Collected Talks And Essays On Realizing God In Daily Life, Volume III”.

Swami Yogananda’s profound wisdom words about “Divine Harmony” are shared to help heal the world, by awakening Humankind to our spiritual Oneness and Harmony with Nature and Universal Awareness, as LOVE.

May Paramahansa Yogananda’s Divine message inspire us to BE harmonious with ourselves, with each other, and with all of Nature of which we are part.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


“Divine Harmony” ~ by Paramahansa Yogananda

Excerpted from Journey To Self-Realization: Collected Talks And Essays On Realizing God In Daily Life, Volume III.
 

·         Disharmony is misery and death; harmony is the joy of life.

·         We Live in Two Worlds

·         The outside world is the one in which your life engages in action and interaction.  The world inside of you determines your happiness or unhappiness, and also your fitness or unfitness, expressed in the world outside.  The hand of the One who made these worlds tuned them to harmonize with each other.  Harmony is their inherent nature.  If they seem discordant, that is the fault of those who misuse and abuse the potentials of these divine creations.

·         People are convinced that their own personal perceptions are “fact” until contrary evidence eventually proves otherwise.  Who can persuade biased individuals that the whole universe moves in an eternal cosmic rhythm, and that all irregularities are misconceptions due to limited or distorted vision?  Those who can hear, hear; those who can see, see; those who have a perceptive heart perceive the divine harmony that runs through all creation.

·         To penetrate into the soul of creation, yoga insight is required.

·         There Is Harmony at the Core of Disharmony

·         Things are not what they seem.

·         Consider everything that happens as a note in the symphony of the Cosmic Conductor.

·         Only those who partake of the harmony within their souls know the harmony that runs through nature. Whosoever lacks this inner harmony feels also a lack of it in the world.  The mind in chaos finds chaos all around.

·         How can one know what peace is like if he has never tasted it?

·         But he who has inner peace can abide in this state even in the midst of outer discord.

·         Harmony is born of love and wisdom.  These, in turn, are offspring of a heart that is pure and outreaching.  A pure heart is the result of pure thoughts.

·         Mental purity comes from a selective process by which the mind sorts good thoughts from bad, rejecting the latter and dwelling always on the former.

·         By repetition, and by reinforcement through application to action, discrimination becomes a virtuous habit.  When the mental conflict of divergent thoughts ceases, owing to the elimination of wrong thinking, there arises in one’s life an outward as well as an inward harmony.  Therefore, whenever your thoughts engage in a family quarrel among themselves, mediate their differences with wisdom and behold! Distressing conflicts will disturb you no more.

·         The mind is nature’s incinerator wherein you can burn to ashes all mental dross that is not worthy to be saved:  your waste thoughts and desires, your misconceptions and grievances, and your discords in human relationships.  There is not a single relationship, however estranged, you cannot reconcile, provided you do so first in your own mind.  There is not a single problem in life you cannot resolve, provided you first solve it in your inner world, its place of origin.  Be not intimidated by consequences, even though they be drastic.  Before you act, if you first harmonize the situation with the discriminative wisdom in your mind, the outcome will take care of itself.  A harmonized mind produces harmony in this world of seeming discord.

·         Inner harmony is a prolific source of power; it breeds strength.  Things that you think you are unable to bear, you can not only bear but change and improve.  To you is given the power that can move the world and alter the face of fate despite inharmonious outer circumstances.

·         Harmony conserves mental energy; disharmony dissipates it.

·         Harmony manifests itself as a natural goodness.  A man who cannot get along with others is one who does not get along with himself, he is always at war inwardly, ill at ease with his own nature.

·         Those who cannot find peace in their own hearts will not find it elsewhere either.

·         Harmony is the Secret Principle of Life

·         Good judgment is a natural expression of wisdom; but it is directly dependent on harmony within, which is poise of mind.  When the mind lacks harmony, it has no peace; and without peace it lacks both judgment and wisdom.  Life is full of bumps and knocks.  In the hours of trials, which demand your keenest judgment, if you preserve your mental equilibrium you will attain victory.

·         This is equally true in any type of organization – any structure that has interacting parts, from nature as a whole to human relationships to corporate businesses and spiritual societies.  Harmony is the soul of organization; disharmony is death.

·         Harmony is the fruit of common understanding.

·         Efforts to establish harmony among human beings or nations solely on the basis of economic equality of equivalence of military preparedness are sure to fail.

·         What is necessary is an understanding of the common higher necessities for the preservation and true happiness of the bodies, minds, and souls of all beings.

·         Love and forbearance are essential to the growth of harmony. Love nurtures all things that grow; it harmonizes and unites.  Hatred agitates and separates; and indifference destroys what could have been made good and beneficial.  Love is harmony and harmony is love.

·         “People have time to worry and to suffer, but feel they have no time to meditate and work toward being truly happy.”  Throw off difference and cultivate love, forbearance, and wisdom. Build your joys on the sure foundation of inner harmony. Cherish no thought that does not harmonize with the love and lawful ideals of God.  Thus will your whole life be flooded with the light and bliss of the Divine Harmony.


Invocation

May Swami Paramahansa Yogananda’s Divine message inspire us to BE
harmonious with ourselves, with each other, and with all of Nature of which we are part.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


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




Introduction

The following sutra verses, with mp3 recitation, quotations and explanations, are about the importance of stilling the mind.

They are shared to encourage us to honor intuition over intellect, and to still our mind, so we can hear and follow our Heart.

Please consider and enjoy them!

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 explanation of “Mute The Mind”

Dear Friends,

When we hear the word “yoga”, what do we think of?
 
We 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 few 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 limited human consciousness with Universal Awareness or Brahman.
 
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 lovingly, authentically and instinctively lived a secular life, like Albert Einstein.

From his life experience, 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. Thus 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.”
~ Albert Einstein


Dedication

Today’s writings are dedicated to helping us still our mind, so we can hear and follow our Heart, until we achieve “enlightened” states of awareness.

May we thereby enjoy lives of ever increasing fulfillment and happiness.  
 
And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Quotations About Religion


“If there is love in your heart,
you don’t have to worry about rules.”
~ Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas

Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


Introduction

Throughout human history, countless beings have died and suffered in the name of religion, which is often asserted to hypocritically justify immoral partisan political or economic desires.

Because of advanced technologies, wars and other violent behaviors which for centuries have caused immense misery, now threaten all planetary life as we have known it.
So – at long last – humans urgently need to abandon wars and warlike behaviors,
including those waged in the name of religion.

The following quotations and comments about religion, are deeply dedicated to helping us achieve that urgent necessity.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Quotations About Religion

“My religion is very simple.
My religion is kindness.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Today, … any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect
of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate.”
“The time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics
that is beyond religion.”

~ Dalai Lama

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
~ Dalai Lama

“This is a time for us to remember that in the name of religion more people have died than in all the wars and natural calamities put together. Now more than ever we must understand that the purpose of religion is not to separate us.
True faiths don’t preach hatred and killing, nor did any of the prophets.
It is the people who interpret the scriptures who create the divisions.
Division comes if we put our ego into the teachings of these religions.
Let us strive to be free of that kind of egoism”
~ Swami Satchidananda

“People often ask me, “What religion are you?
You talk about the Bible, Koran, Torah. Are you a Hindu?”
I say, I am not a Catholic, a Buddhist, or a Hindu, but an Undo.
My religion is Undoism. We have done enough damage (with religious dogma). We have to stop doing any more and simply undo the damage we have already done.”
~ Swami Satchidananda – Beyond Words

“The great religions are the ships,

Poets the life boats. 

Every sane person I know has jumped overboard.”

~ Hafiz

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, and Confucian.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim,
 not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi or Zen.
 Not any religion, or cultural system.
 I am not from the East or the West,
 nor out of the ocean or up 
from the ground, not natural or ethereal,
 not composed of elements at all. 
I do not exist, am not an entity in this world
 or the next, 
did not descend from Adam and Eve 
or any origin story.
 My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.
 Neither body nor soul. 
I belong to the beloved
 have seen the two worlds as one 
and that one call to and know,
 First, last, outer, inner, only that 
breath breathing human.”
~ Rumi, ‘Only Breath’

“I have learned so much from God

That I can no longer call myself

a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew.”
~ Hafiz

“There is one Cosmic Essence, all-pervading, all-knowing, all-powerful.
This nameless formless essence can be approached by any name, any form, any symbol that suites the taste of the individual.
Follow your religion, but try to understand the real purpose behind all of the rituals and traditions, and experience that Oneness.”
~ Swami Satchidananda

“Let us accept all the different paths as different rivers running toward the same ocean.”
~ Swami Satchidananda

“Your daily life is your temple and your religion.”
~ Khalil Gibran – “The Prophet”

“True religion is real living;
living with all one’s soul,
with all one’s goodness and righteousness.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion.  It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology.  Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.  ”
~ Albert Einstein

“A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in.
No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow.
They know it is going to rise tomorrow.
When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.”
~ Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

“Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think.
Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
~ George Orwell, 1984

“Irrevocable commitment to any one religion is not only intellectual suicide;
it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world.
Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.”
~ Alan Watts

“Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

“Religion is the opium of the masses.”
~ Karl Marx

“Religion is confining and imprisoning and toxic
because it is based on ideology and dogma.
But spirituality is redeeming and universal.”
~ Deepak Chopra

“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
~ Mark Twain – Autobiography, 1959

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.”
~ Aldous Huxley

“There is only one God,
the same God regardless of the labels applied by religion. …

There is only one religion, the religion of Love;
There is only one language, the language of the Heart;
There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity”
~ Sathya Sai Baba

“Wherever I look, I see men quarrelling in the name of religion —
Hindus, Mohammendans, Brahmos, Vaishnavas, and the rest.
But they never reflect that He who is called Krishna is also called Siva, and bears the name of the Primal Energy, Jesus, and Allah as well — the same Rama with a thousand names.
A lake has several ghats. At one the Hindus take water in pitchers and call it ‘jal’; at another the Mussalmans take water in leather bags and call it ‘pani’. At a third the Christians call it ‘water’. Can we imagine that it is not ‘jal’, but only ‘pani’ or ‘water’? How ridiculous! The substance is One under different names, and everyone is seeking the same substance; only climate, temperament, and name create differences.
Let each man follow his own path. If he sincerely and ardently wishes to know God, peace be unto him! He will surely realize Him.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

“Among all my patients in the second half of life …
there has not been one whose problem in the last resort
was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.”
~ Carl Jung

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, “Imagine”


Ron’s comments on urgent necessity of nonviolent reciprocal empathy,
beyond religion-based behaviors


Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations about religion have been posted to help us avert worldwide catastrophe from false religious interpretations of prophets’ teachings about peace and unity.

Religious prophets have always preached against killing and violence. And every enduring religious, spiritual or ethical tradition has endorsed the “golden rule” of reciprocal empathy and kindness.

For example,

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor:
that is the whole of the Torah;
all the rest of it is commentary.”
~ Rabbi Hillel – Judaism
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you;
for this is the law and the prophets.”

~ Matthew 7:12 – Christianity

“Hurt not others in ways you yourself would find hurtful.”

~ Udana-Varga, 5:18 – Buddhism

“This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.”

~ The Mahabharata, 5:1517 – Hinduism

“Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

~ Fortieth Hadith of an-Nawawi,13 – Islam

Yet, countless people have died and suffered throughout human history in the name of religion, which is often cited to hypocritically justify immoral partisan political or economic desires. Because of advanced technologies, wars and other violent behaviors which for centuries have caused immense miseries, now threaten all planetary life as we have known it. So – at long last – humans urgently need to abandon wars and warlike behaviors.

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought,
but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
~ Albert Einstein


Humanity can no longer survive, without practicing nonviolent universal ethical behaviors which transcend divisive religious beliefs cited to justify immorally violent activities.


“Today, … any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect
 of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate.”

“The time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”

~ Dalai Lama

“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.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.”

~ Dalai Lama


To end wars and warlike behaviors, it is imperative that we honor our sacred heart’s inner wisdom over divisive religious, political or economic beliefs, so as to transcend problems of violence created from lower ego levels of human consciousness.

With opened hearts let us stop treating others as we don’t wish to be treated ourselves,
by practicing the ‘do no harm’ “golden rule” of reciprocal empathy.

May we begin treating all sentient beings with kindness, compassion and empathy –
with the same dignity that they wish for themselves. 

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Spiritual Psychotherapy

“It is no measure of health
to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“The ego is a psychological prison

in which suffering is inevitable.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Be empty of worrying,
Think of Who Created Thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?”
~ Rumi
“You were born with wings.
Why prefer to crawl through life?”

~ Rumi
“The world is a prison and we are the prisoners:
Dig a hole in the prison and let yourself out!”

~ Rumi
“Why do you stay in prison 
when the door is so wide open?”
~ Rumi
“You have been a prisoner of a little pond,
I am the ocean and its turbulent flood.
Come merge with me, leave this world of ignorance.
Be with me, I will open the gate to your love.”
~ Rumi
“I long to escape the prison of my ego

and lose myself in you.”

~ Rumi
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,

and the reason for practicing the teachings
is to wipe out the persistence of ego,
the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama




Spiritual Psychotherapy

The ego is a psychological prison
in which suffering is inevitable.

Secular psychology attempts to alleviate that suffering.

Spiritual psychotherapy aims at ending our imprisonment.



Ron’s comments about “Spiritual Psychotherapy”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations and sutras epigrammatically express my post-awakening perspectives about secular versus spiritual psychotherapies.

We live in an age of mental malaise – in an extremely stressful, disharmonious and crazy world, with widespread psychological suffering, individually and societally.

From a spiritual perspective this entire space/time world and all its disharmonies and sufferings originate mentally, and can only be healed by lovingly clearing egotistically agitated human minds, with opened hearts:

“The mind is nature’s incinerator wherein you can burn to ashes all mental dross that is not worthy to be saved:  your waste thoughts and desires, your misconceptions and grievances, and your discords in human relationships.  There is not a single relationship, however estranged, you cannot reconcile, provided you do so first in your own mind.  There is not a single problem in life you cannot resolve, provided you first solve it in your inner world, its place of origin. . . . A harmonized mind produces harmony in this world of seeming discord.”
~  Paramahansa Yogananda – Journey To Self-Realization: Collected Talks And Essays On Realizing God In Daily Life

“We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. . . . a kind of prison for us. . . Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
~ Albert Einstein (edited excisions)

‘All that we are arises with our thoughts [which] make the world. But the world and its treasures are an illusion – like an alluring mirage. So to escape suffering we must recognize that illusion, and not act [egotistically] as if the world is real.’
~ Buddha (edited)


Spiritually, “ego” is our mistaken mental identification with, and reification of, this illusory world of separation from Nature. Thus the foregoing Spiritual Psychotherapy sutra metaphorically describes “ego” as “a psychological prison in which suffering is inevitable.”
So psychotherapies aimed at transcending all egotistic sufferings are defined as spiritual and preferable.

May these Spiritual Psychotherapy concepts and foregoing quotations hasten our spiritual healing process, freeing us from subconscious psychological imprisonment, as we harmoniously uncover and discover our Wholeness, Holiness, SELF!

And as we transcend our “optical delusion” of imagined separation from each other and Nature, may we thereby help heal the world for everyone and everything everywhere.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Living Life, Teaching Peace

“My life is my message.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“You must be the change
you want to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“In a gentle way you can shake the world..”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“You may never know what results come of your actions,
but if you do nothing, there will be no results.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Whatever we think, do, or say,
changes this world in some way.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Ron’s Introduction to “Living Life, Teaching Peace”

Dear Friends, 

The following “Living Life, Teaching Peace” verses, were largely inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s legendary declaration that “My life is my message”
in response to an inquiry about his ‘message for the world’.

Gandhi, who was trained in England as an attorney, became a renowned advocate for civil rights and social justice, who was recognized as father of Indian democracy. During his lifetime he was loved by the Indian people and known worldwide as “Mahatma”, an honorary Sanskrit term meaning “Great Soul”, like the term “Saint” in Christianity. Gandhi helped change the world by being the change he wanted see. His nonviolent activism and relentless pursuit of Truth have inspired millions, and continue to influence the history of our times.  

Gandhi was my first known inner spiritual guide who appeared while I was in meditative states, long after his 1948 assassination. Only after his inner appearance did I synchronistically learn of Gandhi’s history as a nonviolent civil rights lawyer pursuing spiritual Truth as a Hindu Rama devotee – like my Guruji. (See memoirs posts re “Silva Mind Control” and “Gandhi the Man”)   Whereupon Gandhi became and has ever since remained for me an especially important archetypal icon and inspiration.

In comments after “Living Life, Teaching Peace” I will explain the spiritual principles suggested by its verses, with the aspiration that Gandhi’s exemplary life may inspire and motivate us to live in harmony with those principles.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Living Life, Teaching Peace

On the Earth branch
Of the great Cosmic University,

We are all students,
And we are all teachers.

We are all learning Love.

And, as Gandhi observed,
Our lives are our teachings.

So, as we live,
And as we learn,

We each may teach –

Peace, love, and compassion.

And so it shall be!



Ron’s audio comments and recitation of Living Life, Teaching Peace

Listen to




Ron’s Explanation of “Living Life, Teaching Peace”

Knowingly or unknowingly we all influence others, often at imperceptibly subtle energy levels, whether or not we are famous people like Gandhi.

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

Not only do we affect people we know or meet, or think about, but in our space/time ‘reality’ where everyone/everything is energy – E=mc2 – we are metaphorically like vibrating and radiating energy vortices, ‘broadcasting’, receiving, and transducing energy “vibes”, which influence all Earthlife everywhere.

So – though we’re not famous like Mahatma Gandhi – our lives are our message.

When we are loving and compassionate, we help others to harmoniously resonate those ways of being in the world. Conversely our negative behaviors and emotions such as fear, anger and hatred invariably impede earthly love and compassion.

So in skillfully and mindfully living life with Loving behaviors and “vibes”, we each reach and teach as well as learn from others.

Invocation

While we ‘matriculate’
on ‘the Earth branch of the great Cosmic University’,
may we mindfully live loving lives harmonious with Nature.
May our deepest intuitions and aspirations
encourage and inspire us
each to learn and to teach
peace, love and compassion.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Honoring Abraham Lincoln
on Presidents’ Day

“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
“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,

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, which is commemorated annually as the U.S. “Presidents’ Day” national holiday (together with President George Washington’s birthday).

Lincoln was President during the American Civil War, in which over 600,000 non-native Americans died; more than during all its other wars, from the Revolution through Vietnam.

Thereafter, in Lincoln’s famous address dedicating a Gettysburg national cemetery, he eloquently invoked divine providence, and called for a national rebirth of equal rights, liberty and representative government, 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

Representative government and empire cannot coexist.

Contrary to Lincoln’s aspiration and dedication, the USA has become a colossal and hegemonic 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” just since World War II, including millions of non-combatant civilian women and children.

Moreover, the American government is not a republic or democracy.
Lincoln’s egalitarian ideal of a US government “of the people, by the people, for the people” was insidiously co-opted by sociopathic bankers and billionaires, who have stealthily instigated a ‘top-down’ empire of, by and for transnational corporations and obscenely wealthy multinational plutocrats, constituting a mere tiny fraction of 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, in recent years there has been much American civil and political discord, concurrent with unprecedented worldwide turmoil, social unrest and adversity.

Countless people are displaying angry, divisive and violent emotions, and/or experiencing serious deprivations or repressions of human rights and necessities, with regressions of social progress. Moreover, many justifiably fear nuclear, climate, or biological catastrophe ending life on Earth as we’ve known it.

Thus, while some Americans may celebrate their past presidents during the forthcoming Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, others will be deeply concerned about current edicts, dangers, deprivations, and disappearance of purported American democracy.

Whether or not we are citizens of the American empire, whatever may be our political, cultural, generational, or geographical perspectives, we all share overriding common needs and aspirations which are critically threatened by imminently disastrous world crises involving U.S. policies. So it is appropriate for us all to seriously reflect on Presidents’ Day about the current state of our precious planet.

Evolutionary opportunity.

These are obviously critical times of immense worldwide jeopardy and suffering. But they can also afford us extraordinary evolutionary opportunities for conscientiously promoting world peace and justice, and for equitably redistributing limited planetary resources which are now greedily and unsustainably monopolized, hidden or hoarded by a few obscenely rich billionaires. And thereby we have opportunities for 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.”

Thus, it is appropriate for us to collectively consider how we can do most good for ourselves and others.

And how our precious planet’s societies, institutions and enterprises can be guided for common good by humble, harmonious, and compassionate people or their elected representatives, rather than unsustainably dominated top-down by and for obscenely greedy and malignantly exploitive billionaire bankers, sociopaths, technocrats or plutocrats.

Honoring Lincoln’s aspirations.

By recognizing these immense evolutionary opportunities, let us join together to honor and further Lincoln’s eloquently articulated timeless aspirations that we:

“achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations” .. “with malice toward none, [and] with charity for all”, through “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Invocation.

May we thereby honor the sanctity of universal peace and justice,
for the welfare of the World and all life thereon.

And may we codependently and cooperatively coexist, peacefully, harmoniously and happily, with each other and with all other life on our precious planet, until ultimately we shall realize our common Self-identity –

As the Eternal light of timeless LOVE.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Reviewing Life’s Lessons

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful

for the evolution of your consciousness.”

~ Eckhart Tolle
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,

all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”

~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“Listen To Your Soul:
You have to grow from the inside out.
None can teach you, none can make you spiritual.
There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“What Causes Our Problems?
Ignorance spawns them;
Intelligence solves them;
Wisdom averts them;
Truth transcends them.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Dear Friends,

It is much easier to change our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors than those of others; much easier to learn from our own achievements or mistakes than from others.

With the advent of the Aquarian age, we live with extraordinarily dire Earthly threats and challenges, yet unprecedented opportunities for evolutionary advancement to societies of peace, freedom, well-being and justice.

Because everything we think, do or say, changes this world in some way, we ‘contagiously’ bless the world as we become ever-more loving, and learn to let life live us as LOVE.

So to help us bless the world as LOVE, today I offer these suggestions for learning from regularly reviewing our own errors and successes:

Life Reviews

Some mystics and Near Death (NDE) survivors report that on ‘crossing over’ from physical death – from one lifetime to another – Eternal souls experience (beyond time) instant non-judgmental life reviews of prior lifetime behaviors, and how they affected others. Such reviews happen to teach what helps or hurts our evolutionary matriculation on the ‘Earth branch of the Great Cosmic University’. NDE survivors often report losing fear of death with newfound intention to live lovingly.

Such life reviews remind us that we’ve incarnated to live and give LOVE; and, to let go of mistaken ego-mind fears of mortality as entities supposedly separate from Nature and timeless Awareness.

After over forty years since my midlife spiritual awakening, I’ve found it wise to regularly review our life experiences before we leave our precious human bodies; that, rather than reminisce about the past or speculate about ever uncertain futures, it’s wise to retrospectively review behaviors which have helped us to live as LOVE and to let go of ego, so as to set our intentions about navigating the rest of this soulful space/time metaphoric journey.

Each new Earth-life cycle or season can be a particularly appropriate time for life-learning reviews – not as ‘final exams’ (before graduation and commencement) but for evolutionary impetus toward ultimate “graduation” from space/time duality reality – as timeless Infinite Awareness.

Over forty years ago, on New Year’s eve 1974-75, I experienced an unforgettably profound out of body (OOB) event which awakened my conscious awareness to paradigm possibilities never previously imagined, but which were ultimately realized.

Thus, as an octogenarian in 2021, my present perspectives of “Reality” and Self-identity are consistent with those expressed for millennia by non-dualist Mystics. Mostly, I now view space/time duality “reality” like a mysteriously pre-scripted movie – a dream-like mental matrix mirage.

Now my main motive has become to non-judgmentally help others transcend mistaken ego/mind separation from Nature and Source, by compassionately sharing what I’ve learned about our common Self-identity and Reality.

And by so helping others it has helped me find previously unimagined happiness and peace of mind, which I wish to share for everyone everywhere.


Invocation

May we learn from regularly reviewing our lives,
to fearlessly let go of ego, and to
Let Life live us as LOVE.

With ever growing gratitude for Amazing Grace,
May we open our hearts to forgive and give up
what we’ve mistakenly thought we were –
And to so realize what we Truly ARE:

The unseen Source of the world we see –

ONE Eternal Spirit;
ONE Life;
ONE Light;
ONE LOVE!


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner