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Poetry

Sutras, Quotes and Rhymes about “Nothing”

“Sitting quietly,
doing nothing,
spring comes,
and the grass grows by itself”
~ Zen Proverb
“When no one’s a “doer”
nothing’s undone.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.  Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 
~ Lao-Tzu
“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
“Tao is now,
Tao is one,
Tao is doer,
Tao will be done.
Tao will be done,
So let Tao do it.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Tao and Zen
are NOW,
not then.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



Nothings

Nothing is old,
if nothing is new.

Nothing is false,
if nothing is true.

Nothing’s undone,
if there’s nothing to do.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Nothings”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of Sutras, Quotes and Rhymes about “Nothing”

Dear Friends,

Since launching SillySutras.com I’ve often appreciated (and sometimes composed) epigrammatic and enigmatic aphorisms, sayings, and sutras, leaving their interpretation to the reader/listener.

For example, I’ve valued the pithy non-duality teachings of the Taoist and Zen Buddhist spiritual traditions. Those teachings inspired composition of the above “Nothings” verses during my ten year post-retirement reclusive period.

Also I’ve enjoyed and composed quotes, sutra sayings and rhymess about the idea of “nothing”.

For your enjoyment, here are some favorite Quotes, Sutras and Sayings about “Nothing”:

THINKING MAKES IT SO

“There is nothing either good or bad,
but thinking makes it so.”
~ Shakespeare – Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2


Nothing is false
And nothing is true
Nothing is old
And nothing is new
Nothing’s ‘real’, nor unreal,
But thinking makes it so.

NOTHING IS NEW

“What has been is what will be,
and what has been done
is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.”
~ Ecclesiastes 1:9


Everything’s NOW,
so nothing is new.
Discovering is but uncovering
timeless Truth –
ever NOW!

MUCH ADO ABOUT “NOTHING”

Essence of everyone
is no-one.
Essence of everything
is nothing.
So when anyone’s disturbed
about anything,
it’s much ado about nothing.

REALITY IS NEVER NOTHING

In this world of permanent impermanence,
Nothing is really ‘real’.
Everything’s only ego-mind illusion;
It’s maya or samsara,
Like a dream or mirage.

But beyond maya or samsara
for Buddhists, there is never nothing –
only Emptiness.
For Buddhists ultimate Reality is never nothing
But only ever imminent
EMPTINESS.

DOING

When no one’s a “doer”,
nothing’s undone.

UNDOING

There’s nothing to do
but undo,
until we’re through and undone.
Then, when nothing’s undone
there’s nothing to do,
but to BE –
free and
ONE!

THE WHOLE TRUTH

“Nothing exists except the Self. ….
I know that I am the Self, whose nature is eternal joy.
I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing that is separate from me.”
~ Adi Shankara – Crest-Jewel of Discrimination


We’re whole,
we’re whole,
we’re whole!
Nothing ever
can dissever our soul.

SURRENDER, FORGIVE, LET GO

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

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

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

The more we know we’re no one,
the more we’re seen as someone.

THERE’S NOTHING TO SAY

There’s nothing to say,
but words point the way.
So, elevate your spiritual
“lexi-consciousness.”

WE’VE NOTHING TO FEAR

“The only thing we have to fear is…fear itself.”
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


We’ve nothing to fear but fright;
fright which hides our light.

But just beyond our darkest fright
shines our brightest light –
the light of Eternal Life;
the light of of timeless LOVE.

NOTHING IS IMMUTABLE

In this ever-changing space/time world
nothing is immutable,
but much is ever inscrutable –
Divine Mystery.

WE’VE NOTHING MORE TO BE

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

NOTHING IS CERTAIN

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein


Nothing is certain but uncertainty.
But everything is possible
when nothing is inevitable.

THERE’S NOTHING TO DO

There’s nothing to do,
nothing to say,
or nothing to know;
but to let go,
and ‘go with the flow’.



Conclusion

Many of the above “Nothings” verses were first posted online soon after the SillySutras website was launched in 2010.

May their republication in a new 2020 decade rekindle our ever increasing realization of THAT timeless Truth beyond words,
to which they point but cannot say or explicate.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Asking Is The Answer

Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon

“We never cease to stand like curious children
before the great Mystery into which we were born.”
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
~ Albert Einstein
“What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly,
and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility.
This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Ask, and it will be given to you

For every one who asks receives.”

~ Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10
The quest is in the question.
The question is the answer.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. 
I own, however, that I have humility enough
to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi



praying


Asking Is The Answer

In asking, we are curious.
In asking, we don’t know.
In asking, we are humble.
In asking, we are ever open to inspiration.

Ever asking,
ever curious,
ever open,
ever humble,
ever unknowing:

This is the answer
to the enigma of the Unknowable,
to the mystery of Divinity –

The sacred secret of Life.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Asking is the Answer”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Asking is the Answer”.

Dear Friends,

The above Asking Is The Answer poem summarizes one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from living a long and lucky lifetime: viz. to always keep curious and open minded, just as when we begin our lives as unaculturated children.

Since my midlife spiritual awakening, I’ve learned that open-minded curiosity and humility are crucial for life-long learning and spiritual advancement.
One of my greatest joys has been to continuously learn from life,
while realizing that we live as part of Nature in a world of infinite mystery with infinite possibility.

In his wonderful poem “Certainty” Sant Tukaram reminded us that nothing is “certain” in this world of permanent impermanence; that inflexible certainty – even about God – “can become an illness that creates hate and greed”.

And similar perennial wisdom was expressed and demonstrated by Albert Einstein, a scientific genius who was always intrigued by the eternal mysteries of Nature. Einstein, who described himself as a deeply religious man awed by the mystery of the eternity of life, and the … marvelous structure of reality, observed that:

“We never cease to stand like curious children
before the great Mystery into which we were born.”

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

~ Albert Einstein


Especially in these extraordinarily turbulent and divisive times of worldwide interpersonal and international challenges arising from our species’ unskilled and unsustainable behaviors, we can best address life’s challenges by heeding and following perennial wisdom demonstrated and counseled by our wise ancestors like Einstein and Sant Tukaram.

So let us learn, individually and societally, to get along with all others, especially our supposed adversaries or enemies.

Let us remain open-minded, humble and curious, always remembering and compassionately honoring the spiritual essence and divine equality of everyone everywhere, without mistaken certainty or hostility about them.

Invocation

Thereby with stilled minds and opened hearts may we resolve current crises and live with peace and justice everywhere, without exploitation and discrimination against the world’s most vulnerable sentient beings, and the iniquity of inequity in our societies.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Certainty ~ by Sant Tukaram*

“The whole problem with the world is that
fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves,
and wiser people so full of doubts.”
~ Bertrand Russell
“The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning.
Uncertainty is the very condition
to impel man to unfold his powers.”
~ Erich Fromm
“Since no one really knows anything about God, 

those who think they do are just 
troublemakers.”
~ Rabia of Basra (first female Sufi saint)
“Certainty can become an illness

that creates hate and greed.”
~ Sant Tukaram
“Never lose a holy curiosity” . . . .
“The important thing is not to stop questioning”.
~ Albert Einstein
When questioning begins, certainty ends.
When certainty ends, wisdom begins.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
The fewer our certainties, the greater our possibilities.
With complete uncertainty, we have infinite possibility.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Everything is possible when nothing is inevitable.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.
So, we seek relief from belief.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




CERTAINTY

Certainty undermines one’s power, and turns happiness
into a long shot. Certainty confines.

Dears, there is nothing in your life that will
not change – especially your ideas of God.

Look what the insanity of righteous knowledge can do:
crusade and maim thousands
in wanting to convert that which
is already gold
into gold.

Certainty can become an illness
that creates hate and
greed.

God once said to Tuka,

“Even I am ever changing –
I am ever beyond
Myself,

what I may have once put my seal upon,
may no longer be
the greatest
Truth.”

~ Tukaram*

Source: “Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West”, with interpretation by Daniel Ladinsky

Footnote: *Sant Tukaram was a 16th century Indian devotional poet-saint, still widely regarded as one of India’s greatest and most influential poet-saints.


Ron’s Comments About “Certainty”:

Dear Friends,

Are you absolutely certain about anything in your life?
Have you ever been absolutely certain about something or someone,
and later learned that your certainty was mistaken?
    
If so, please consider the foregoing wonderfully translated poem by 16th century devotional poet-saint Tukaram, one of India’s greatest and still most influential poet-saints.

Sant Tukaram reminds us that nothing is “certain” in this world of permanent impermanence; that inflexible certainty – even about God –
“can become an illness that creates hate and greed”.

Throughout recorded human history, to allow their advancement, societies have been compelled to abandon previously cherished inflexible beliefs about religion, science, philosophy etc. which motivated evil and harmful behaviors, limited learning, and impeded progress.

How could we have advanced believing that the earth was flat, or that it was the center of our solar system?

Thanks to quantum science ‘uncertainty’ theory, we learn from physicists that what we’ve believed to be physical ‘reality’ isn’t really real; that ultimate “Reality” is indescribable consciousness.


“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”

~ Niels Bohr, quantum physicist

“I regard consciousness as fundamental.
I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.
We cannot get behind consciousness.
Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist


After an unforgettable midlife spiritual awakening, I have learned that open-minded curiosity and awareness are crucial for life-long learning and spiritual advancement. My awakening epiphany completely and irreversibly changed prior paradigms of Self-identity and Reality, and began a new life-phase of previously unimagined new discoveries.

One of my greatest joys has been in continuously learning from life itself, especially from inevitable difficulties and challenges. Thus I’ve found that we don’t need college or post graduate academic degrees to learn our most important lessons.

After Donald Trump became US President, many people worldwide began experiencing and behaving from polarized fearful and reactive states of mind directed to others with conflicting political perspectives. To address this disturbing divisiveness, and consequent turmoil, we can follow principles of ageless wisdom revealed by Sant Tukaram’s critique of “Certainty”.

Although purported world “leaders” may remain insanely “certain” of themselves, Earth’s suffering citizens can best address crucial interpersonal and international political challenges, by compassionately honoring the spiritual essence and divine equality of everyone everywhere, without mistaken certainty about them.

Invocation

May Sant Tukaram’s wisdom inspire us to transcend mistaken certainty
“that creates hate and greed”.

With quiet minds and open hearts may we compassionately honor the spiritual essence and equality of everyone everywhere.

Thereby let us overcome exploitation and discrimination against the world’s most vulnerable sentient beings, and the iniquity of inequity in our societies.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Egocide

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda
“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
“The entire Buddhist path is based on the discovery of egolessness and the maturing of insight or knowledge that comes from egolessness.”
~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth.”
~ Lao Tzu
“In essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms.”

~ Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now
“As ego goes,
consciousness grows,
until it Knows
– Itself.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




“Egocide”

Ego’s attrition
is our mission;

Egocide’s our goal.

When ego’s dead
we’ll lose all dread,

Knowing we are Soul.

Then we’ll say
that life’s a play,

Each body/mind a role;

That we’re the Glory
and not the story,

Not just parts –
but WHOLE.


Ron’s recitation of “Egocide”

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Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Egocide”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing whimsical “Egocide” poem was composed during my post-awakening reclusive period, after I had realized the crucial importance of undoing ego to transcend inevitable karmic suffering in this space/time causality ‘reality’.

As explained in other recent SillySutras postings, “ego” is our thought-created mistaken separate self-identity, rooted in the  ‘I’ thought, which as memory originates the ‘bundle of thoughts’ we call “mind”.

For millennia spiritual teachings have identified “ego” as the fundamental impediment to spiritual evolution and realization; as “the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ); and the “number-one enemy of compassion.” (Dalai Lama). The Dalai Lama has said that all Buddhist teachings aim “to wipe out the persistence of ego.” And Eckhart Tolle believes that transcending ego “is and always has been [the] only one spiritual teaching.”

The Egocide verses are founded on the assumption that every Human – except for rare Buddha-like beings – knowingly or unknowingly is in some stage of an evolutionary process of undoing mistaken ego identity – a process indispensable to our inevitable evolution.

From childhood we are culturally inculcated to self-identify only with a restricted and disempowering mental self-image; as merely a separate name, gender, and story about who and what we are, based on our limited projected perceptions of “reality”. We are taught that we are each born into Nature as separate mortal beings; but, not that Nature is our nature, or that beyond any mistakenly inculcated misidentity we are immortal and eternal Universal Awareness, sharing common Self consciousness with all perceived life-forms.

Accordingly, the foregoing “Egocide” verses and quotations are dedicated to reminding all of us of our critical need to let go of who or what we think we are, so we can realize and BE what we really are – ONE with Nature as Infinite Potentiality.

May they encourage, inspire and quicken our discovering and ending “ego” as an illusory prison of the mind, until we’re out of ‘prison’ –
‘Free at last, free at last’.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner



Who am ‘I’, and What is What?

“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to ‘who am I?’

and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”

~ Rumi
“Give up all questions except one: “Who am I?”
After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are.
The “I am” is certain. The “I am this” is not.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’, the thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Ramana Maharshi


Introduction to Who am ‘I’ and What is What?

Dear Friends,

The quizzical verses written and recited below were first inspired by ancient nondualism teachings demonstrated and spoken through twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed self-enquiry by constantly asking “Who am I?” as the most efficient way to Self-realization.

Explanations will follow the poetry.

Please enjoy!

Ron Rattner

WHO AM ‘I’ and WHAT IS WHAT?

What lives?   What dies?

What laughs?  What cries?

What sleeps?  What wakes?

What gives?  What takes?

What thinks?  What knows?

What comes?  What goes?

What’s grief?  What’s bliss?

What’s that?!  What’s this?!

The quest is in the question; and

THE QUESTION IS THE ANSWER!

The question is the answer?



Ron’s audio recitation of Who am ‘I’ and What is What?

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Ron’s explanation and dedication of Who am ‘I’ and What is What?

Dear Friends,

As stated in the introduction, “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” was first inspired by ancient nondualism wisdom teachings demonstrated and spoken through twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed self-enquiry by constantly asking “Who am I?” as the most efficient way to Self-realization.

I synchronistically discovered nondualism wisdom teachings only after my life was blessed and transformed by instinctively and irresistibly asking “Who am I?”.

Here is the story about how I unwittingly experienced the momentous importance of asking “Who am I?”:

Ron’s “Who am I?” Memoir

Over forty years ago, after unwittingly ingesting a marihuana-laced cake at at ‘pot-luck’ New Year’s party, I had an unforgettable out of body experience (OOB) in which from a bedroom ceiling I perceived my body and thoughts as detached below me. Thereupon, I constantly and irresistibly started wondering, if not my body and thoughts, “Who am I?”

Fifteen months later, the “Who am I?” question was amazingly answered, when I suddenly realized my true Self-identity as pure awareness, rather than as my body/mind and its story, as previously believed. 

Whereupon, I experienced an unforgettable mid-life spiritual awakening and rebirth, which completely and irreversibly changed my prior ideas of Self-identity and Reality, and began a previously unimagined and continuing new life phase of ever increasing peace of mind, happiness, gratitude, and faith in the mystery of Divinity: a continuing process of increasingly incorporating into my daily life the realization of Self-identity as universal awareness, rather than as a body/mind and its thoughts.

As a secular Jewish lawyer, I had been ignorant of any spiritual or esoteric teachings which might explain my extraordinary awakening experience. But afterwards I was soon synchronistically led to profound nondualism teachings of twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed constantly concentrating on the key question “Who am I?” as the most efficient and direct way of discovering the unreality of the ego-mind
I-thought, and attaining Self-realization.

Identifying and Transcending “Ego”

In explaining the benefit of this self-inquiry (vichara) process Sri Ramana identified “ego” as the source of all human unhappiness, and taught that by transcending “ego” we are freed from all unhappiness and suffering. He defined ego as mistaken self-identification, and equated it with mind and memory. And he identified the ‘I’ thought as root of the ego-mind and, hence, source of all suffering. For example, he said:

“All bad qualities centre round the ego. .. There are neither good nor bad qualities in the Self. The Self is free from all qualities. Qualities pertain to the mind only.”

“The mind is only a bundle of thoughts [with] their root in the I-thought. Whoever investigates the True “I” enjoys the stillness of bliss.”

“All unhappiness is due to the ego. With it comes all your trouble. If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it you would be free.”

And he taught that

“By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’, the thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.”

Sri Ramana recognized that the “Who am I?” question could never be answered rationally, but only through the inconceivable and ineffable experience of Self-realization. He explained that:

“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer; the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

Ultimately, I realized the supreme wisdom of Sri Ramana’s ancient non-dualistic method for efficiently dissolving ego, while I’ve remained mostly engrossed in the emotion of devotion, as a frequent crier for God, while ever mindful that I’m only calling and crying to universal Self; that

“[Our] own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”

~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga


Moreover, I’ve also realized that since “ego” is the apparent sole source of all human suffering, all enduring spiritual paths, scriptures and teachings are aimed at ending ego; that for millennia spiritual teachings have identified “ego” as the fundamental impediment to spiritual evolution and realization; as “the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ); and the “number-one enemy of compassion.” (Dalai Lama). The Dalai Lama has said that all Buddhist teachings aim “to wipe out the persistence of ego.” And Eckhart Tolle believes that transcending ego is the only spiritual teaching. He says:

“In essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms.”

~ Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now

And after decades of observation and experience, I still see “Who Am I?” as a key path to be considered by those with spiritual aspirations;  that persistently asking “who am I”, with constant curiosity, patience and acceptance of inevitable uncertainty can significantly enhance and advance spiritual evolution.

Accordingly, many SillySutras quotations, essays and poems are dedicated to furthering our happiness by recognizing and transcending “ego” through various paths, including the nondualism path of self-inquiry, addressed in today’s “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” posting.

Invocation

May the quotations, quizzical verses and memoirs stories in today’s Who am ‘I’ and What is What? posting, significantly advance and enhance our spiritual evolution by encouraging our constant discernment of, and dis-identification from, infinite ego illusions.

Thereby may we live ever happier lives leading to ultimate Self-Realization that

“The end of all wisdom is love, love, love.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner.

Players’ Prayer

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”
~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
“You are awareness, disguised as a person.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks
“You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

“For in truth it is life that gives unto life –

while you, who deem yourself a giver,
 is but a witness.”

~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
“Love is the highest, the grandest, the most inspiring,
the most sublime principle in creation.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Love Is The Law Of Life:

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. 

Love is therefore the only law of life.

He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. 

Therefore, love for love’s sake,

because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.”

~ Swami Vivekananda






Players’ Prayer

May we bless the whole
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life.

Ever a part in it,
never apart from it,
in happiness or strife.

May we grow wise
and harmonize,
though chaos seems e’er rife.

‘Til we’re the Whole –
and not the role,
and Holiness is Life.



Ron’s recitation of “Players’ Prayer”

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Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Players’ Prayer”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing “Player’s Prayer” poem, composed years ago, was inspired by William Shakespeare’s mystical insight that all world’s a stage on which we each play different roles. (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII).

It was intended to remind us to help us bless the world every day, not just on days deemed ‘special’ for expressing love, kindness and affection – like Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or anniversaries; to always “bless the Whole, as we play our role in the cosmic theater of life”.

We are all spiritually connected, and everything we think do or say changes this world in some way.  So we need not be avowed spiritual seekers or practitioners to spiritually bless this crazy world. Whatever may be our role as ‘players’ in an ever changing cosmic drama, we bless the world by lovingly accepting and treating others – not just those deemed near and dear to us by affinity or consanguinity.

Most ordinary people with different life roles, are instinctively motivated to be tolerant and helpful in their relationships with others, even though they may live in societies corrupted by greed and injustice.  They just want to live and let live in peace.  So we gradually and instinctively can learn to accept others as divine sisters and brothers, as we lose illusory ego-mind inhibitions and apprehensions, and realize our deep spiritual Oneness with them, and with Nature and all its lifeforms.

Moreover, we can learn from history’s greatest exemplars of Divine LOVE to not mentally judge others, but to accept and forgive everyone, even supposed adversaries or betrayers (like Judas Iscariot).  That is why Jesus (as an incarnate avatar of LOVE) taught by example to love even our enemies, not just our neighbors, and why he prayerfully beseeched Divine forgiveness for those who perpetrated his excruciatingly painful crucifixion:

“Father, forgive them  they know not what they do.”
(Luke-23:34).

We ignorantly hurt ourselves by hurting or hating others, until we learn the divine Truth that we and others are ONE.  Whereupon we realize that unconditional forgiveness and acceptance of others is true LOVE, which eternally blesses all creation. 

Conclusion and Invocation.

Whatever our role in each ephemeral human lifetime, may our instinctive tolerance and generosity help awaken us to our true common Self-identity;
to Realization that we all are Universal Awareness, disguised as persons on the ‘world’s stage’, in a Divine play of Cosmic Consciousness.

Thereby may we live ever more fulfilling lives, as we realize that 

“Love is the highest, 
the grandest, 
the most inspiring,
the most sublime 
principle in creation.”

And thus shall we

“Bless the Whole,
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life”.

And so shall it be!

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.”
~ Albert Einstein
“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.”
~ Albert Einstein
“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

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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 revived 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 riches within.

Hence 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) about renouncing worldly wealth.

These perennial teachings are especially important today in affluent corporate-capitalist societies where people are importuned and ‘brain washed’, via insidious advertising and marketing techniques, to greedily seek unneeded things and experiences, as our species insanely and unsustainably pillages, plunders, and poisons our precious planet’s finite resources crucial to sustaining life on Earth as we’ve known it.

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 futilely pursuing transient earthly possessions and pleasures.

May they help us 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 shall it be!

Ron Rattner

2020 Epilogue

Living a virtuous life, detached from worldly pleasures and treasures, may be more important now than ever before in modern recorded human history.

On January 23, 2020 the ‘Doomsday’ clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was reset to 100 seconds to midnight, symbolizing potential human destruction by nuclear catastrophe or climate collapse as nearer than ever before.

To explain, the atomic scientists said to leaders and citizens of the world that:

“Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.”

“Public engagement and civic action are needed and needed urgently. Science and technology can bring enormous benefits, but without constant vigilance, they bring enormous risks as well.”

Invocation.

May the foregoing “Seek More Than Meets The Eye” poem and wisdom teachings inspire our enhanced collective vigilance and awareness that the enduring happiness we all (knowingly or unknowingly) seek is never found in superfluous diversions, possessions or pleasures, but ever abides in our eternal hearts and souls.


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Paradise Paradoxities

“He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.”
“… joy and sorrow are inseparable. . .
together they come and when one sits alone with you . . .
remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,
the more joy you can contain.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.”
~ Carl Jung
“None can reach Heaven who has not passed through hell”
~ Sri Aurobindo -“Savitri,” Book II, Canto VIII.
“Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny.
They learn what to do and what to avoid.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
~ Khalil Gibran


Paradise Paradoxities

We can not reach heaven
without passing through hell.

In duality domain
ev’ry pleasure’s
wrapped in pain.

Within each joy
is an oy/oy/oy.

So, when you’re feeling forlorn,
remember this:

Misery is the mother of Bliss.




Ron’s comment and recitation of “Paradise Paradoxities”.

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Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Paradise Paradoxities”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing whimsical verses about paradox, pain and sorrow were composed after I began realizing that the most psychologically challenging experiences of my life had resulted in its greatest blessings.

I was an ‘up-tight’ secular litigation lawyer, until a heartbreaking midlife divorce sparked a previously unimaginable spiritual awakening, which proved a supreme blessing leading to meeting my beloved Guruji on the luckiest day of my life – and thereafter to previously unimagined happiness and fulfillment.

In retrospectively remembering the most difficult experiences of this lifetime I have adopted a philosophy that Cosmic harmony assures that (knowingly or unknowingly) everything happens in our best interests, because it affords us incentive and opportunity to evolve spiritually – which is our life’s purpose.

I have realized that though we may not be free to choose sometimes difficult or painful outer circumstances in our life, we are always free to choose our psychological attitude about those circumstances.

Thus every painful earth-life experience which arouses an elevated attitude can prove to be a disguised blessing, furthering our spiritual evolution toward ultimate transcendence of psychological suffering.  And, the greater our suffering, the greater its potential blessing.

We’ve become students on the ‘Earth branch of the great Cosmic university’ to learn to open our hearts with kindness and compassion, and in universal communion with divine LOVE.

“[W]hen our hearts are authentically open to universal
communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one.”
~  Pope Francis (from Laudato Si climate encyclical message)


So paradoxically, life’s most painful and difficult experiences can often prove the biggest blessings, because they bestow greatest evolutionary incentives and opportunities.  For most of us suffering is an indispensable incentive to spiritual evolution – “no pain, no gain”.

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.”

~ Carl Jung
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.” 
~ Khalil Gibran
“None can reach Heaven who has not passed through hell”
~ Sri Aurobindo -“Savitri,” Book II, Canto VIII.


And our spiritual evolution requires non-resistant acceptance or ‘surrender’ to earth-life’s inevitable ups and down. Instead of resisting life’s ever changing currents, we must learn to “go with the flow”.  Everyone wants happiness.  But we must learn to avoid attachment to pleasures which will inevitably bring pain.

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


The foregoing quotations and whimsical “Paradise Paradoxities” lines can remind us of the foregoing principles. 

May they spur our spiritual ascensions to higher dimensions – to universal communion with divine LOVE!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Problems?

“Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.”
~ Erich Fromm
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
~  Erich Fromm
“The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another.”
~ Dalai Lama
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.”

~ Dalai Lama
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Freedom from the desire for an answer
is essential to the understanding of a problem.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“If we can really understand the problem,
the answer will come out of it, because
the answer is not separate from the problem.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“The quest is in the question.
The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is not a problem to be solved,
but a reality to be experienced.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard




Problems?

Q. 

What causes problems?
And how can we solve them?


A.  

Ignorance spawns them;

Intelligence solves them;

Wisdom averts them;

Truth transcends them.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Problems?”:

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Ron’s Comments about seeing and solving “Problems”

Dear Friends,

As sentient beings on planet Earth, we share innate yearning for uninterrupted happiness. But there aren’t utopian Earthly societies inhabited by perfectly happy people without problems.

Thus, individually and societally, all humans inevitably experience problems and limitations which interfere with their happiness – no matter who we are or how we are self-identified or categorized.

Though – like snowflakes – each of us is physically unique with a unique story and history, we are all inextricably interconnected and interdependent – existentially sharing a common spiritual Self identity and common cosmic matrix.

Problems preclude lasting happiness

So solving our societal and interpersonal problems is crucial to fulfillment of our inborn wish for lasting happiness. And just as curing disease normally requires diagnosis of its cause, to solve Earthly problems we need to see their source.

To help us “diagnose” our problems I have posted the foregoing quotations and enigmatic sutra poem – composed many years ago – about seeing, solving and transcending “problems”.

Seeing and solving psychological problems

This poem mainly addresses mental – rather than physical – “problems”, since physical pain is inevitable, while mental suffering is optional.

As to such psychological problems, His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches that

“The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion” because “the need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence;” and because without “love and compassion . . .humanity cannot survive”.

Psychological problems and suffering inevitably arise when we are ignorant of our true spiritual self-identity – which is LOVE – but futilely seek happiness from ephemeral worldly satisfactions. So the poem identifies “ignorance” as the source of “problems”.

Thus Rumi tells us:

“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find

all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi

Mental Problems are Ego Problems

Those mental ‘barriers’ which we have ‘built within’ all arise from ego, to which Buddhist teachings often refer as ‘self-cherishing thought’.

Through ego we mistakenly mentally self-identify as entities separate from the Whole – as separate perceivers of a supposedly objective world.

But this is an unreal ego illusion – samsara. And our self-cherishing beliefs and behaviors seeking psychological self-preservation and protection of that ego illusion of separateness are ultimately futile.

What never was, can never be preserved.

To promote lasting happiness and compassion, most spiritual practice has been aimed for millennia at transcending illusionary ego identity. For example this intention has been mentioned in ancient Vedic and Taoist texts such as Rig Veda and Tao Te Ching, as well as in Buddhist scriptures:

Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”

~ Rig Veda

“The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.”

~ Lao Tzu

“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.”

~ Dalai Lama

Thus, according to perennial spiritual teachings, ego must be recognized, renounced and transcended.

No thought, no ego.

Ultimate overcoming of ego happens only when thought ceases NOW, and Universal Intelligence which has been mistakenly regarded as a separate experiencer of sensations and emotions, and a separate performer of actions, exists by itself and as itself, and is not mentally divided and projected.

Happiness grows as ego goes

Only very rare ‘awakened’ Buddha-like beings have completed the metamorphosis from Humanity to Infinite Intelligence – from human consciousness to superconsciousness. So the overwhelmingly vast majority of Humankind are incarnate because we are limited by illusionary ego entity-identity, and we inevitably suffer “problems” in space/time causality/duality.

But all of us can gradually evolve and achieve ever growing happiness by seeing and solving our ego problems from ever elevated mental states of consciousness, subtler than those which created them.

Initially we may use our instinctive intelligence to “diagnose” and abandon the beliefs and behaviors causing our experience of such problems. Later, with wisdom we may avert problems by observing mistakes of others and not emulating such mistakes.

Invocation/Conclusion

May we overcome our sufferings from earthly ‘problems’, and experience ever growing happiness, compassion and fulfillment of our deepest aspirations, by gradually recognizing, renouncing and transcending ego-beliefs and behaviors.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

True Vision

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is,
infinite.”
~ William Blake
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential, is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
~ Michelangelo
“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift
“Nothing’s impossible for the Invisible.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Perception is a mirror, not a fact.
And what I look on is my state of mind,
reflected outward.”
~ A Course In Miracles
“For light I go directly to the Source of light, not to any of the reflections.”

~ Peace Pilgrim
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.

Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”

~ Carl Jung




True Vision

True vision is insight,
Not eyesight.

Eyesight is mind–sight.
Insight is soul-sight.

Eyesight is from mental movement.
Insight is from mental stillness.

Eyesight is then;
Insight is NOW.

Eyesight sees separation;
Insight reveals unity of Reality.

Enlightened vision is –
Eyesight with Insight.



Ron’s audio recitation of True Vision

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Ron’s 2020 “True Vision” Epilogue –
Explanation, Dedication and Invocation


Dear Friends,

Ron’s Vision History.

Soon after my 1932 birth, I learned that “20/20” referred to visual acuity; that if you could discern certain eye chart symbols at a distance of twenty feet your visual acuity was deemed “normal”. Never then, nor until very recently, did I ever imagine living until now as an 87 year old octogenarian, when “20/20” also means the first year of the third decade of the 21st century, during an extraordinarily turbulent era of human history.

At age three, an ophthalmologist, testing a misaligned eye, diagnosed me with astigmatism and farsightedness and prescribed thick eyeglasses – which I’ve always needed, but never liked. Gradually, I grudgingly accepted ever stronger lens prescriptions for correction to “20/20” acuity.

But forty five years ago, on New Year’s Eve, 1974-5, at a San Francisco ‘pot luck’ New Year’s Eve party, I had an unprecedented and unforgettable out of body experience (OOB). While lying face down on a bed in a small dark room, “I” floated out of my body and up to the ceiling. And from the ceiling, with my glasses on a bedside table, I beheld my body lying face down on the pillow. For the first time in my life I experienced 20/20 vision without eyeglasses, and without even using my eyes – or maybe my brain. [See https://sillysutras.com/vision-quest-from-eyesight-to-insight-rons-memoirs/ ]

The New Year’s OOB experience soon led to a pivotal rebirth experience at age forty three, which, opened an emotional/intuitive flood-gate closed since childhood – unleashing for the first time in my adult life numerous synchronistic inner and outer experiences which radically changed my beliefs about “reality”, “self-identity” and “vision”. [See https://sillysutras.com/vision-quest-from-eyesight-to-insight-rons-memoirs/ ]

Thereafter, during a ten year post-retirement reclusive period, I continued to philosophically reflect, pray and sometimes write about my newly awakened world-views.

Today’s post and “20/20”epilogue.

Today I’ve published the above brief poem (composed then) titled: “True Vision”, and the foregoing deeply insightful quotations which encapsulate my transformative discovery of “Vision” as “insight, not eyesight”; insight revealing fundamental unity of “Reality” beyond illusory human perception of our supposed separation.

My recent “Happy New Year” message proposed that we join as a global family to envision, imagine and see our precious planet as we wish and intend it to be, rather than accept this extraordinarily turbulent era of human history merely as supposedly separate powerless perceivers of our “reality”. 

Consistent with that recommendation, I’m today supplementing the True Vision poem and quotes with this “20/20” epilogue, explaining and dedicating the poem’s insights for resolving our common crises for our common good.

Invocation.

In the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:11-12), Paul observes that “now we see through a glass darkly”, but that some day we shall fully know, as we are fully Known now by the Divine. Now, we view our “reality” through the ‘mirror of the mind’, which imperfectly refracts and reflects the unseen light of Eternal Awareness onto the screen of our human consciousness.


But, we can and shall evolve and transform our mental mirror from opacity to translucency to transparency.  And thereby, with ever expanding human consciousness and ever deepening insight, we shall ‘see’ more and more – we shall see what we couldn’t see before.

Thus, with ultimate insight, may we collectively realize that “Reality” is much more ‘than meets the eye’; that beyond this phenomenal world of ever passing supposedly separated appearances is one changeless Reality – 
One unseen Source and Essence of all appearances, all phenomena, and all ideas:
 Infinite Potentiality – our Eternal SELF.

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner