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Self Inquiry

Justice versus Judgment:
Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged;
Resist Not Evil

“Ignorance is the root of all evil.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Resist not evil.”
~ Matthew 5:39
“Judge not, that you be not judged.
For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
~ Matthew 7:1-5
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
“Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.”
~ John 7:24; 8:15
“We cannot change anything until we accept it.
Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
~ Carl Jung
“Great Spirit, grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins.”
~ Native American prayer
“One ought to examine himself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.”
~ Moliere
“Judge not thy neighbor until thou comest into his place.”
~ Rabbi Hillel
“But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
~ Amos 5:24 
“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”
“People of the world don’t look at themselves, and so they blame one another.”
“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
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Evil cannot be overcome by more evil.
Evil can only be overcome by good.
It is the lesson of the way of love.”

~ Peace Pilgrim
“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards. Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind. It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . . .
Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap. If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda


Enlightened Justice

 

Justice versus Judgment*

Q. In his sermon on the mount, Jesus counseled “Resist not evil.” and “Judge not, that you be not judged.” But the Bible encourages us to live righteously and seek justice. How is it possible for us to pursue justice and righteousness without judging and resisting “evil”?*

A. By following our sacred heart with love, forgiveness and empathy we can live with justice and righteousness in a manner consistent with Jesus’ teachings – his words and life example.

Jesus was a rare Divine being who – like a Buddha or Krishna – transcended the illusion of separation from God. From his Divine perspective, Jesus realized and proclaimed that “I and the Father are one” [John 10:30] , and he perceived as “evil” only that which – from ignorance of Divine law – creates disharmony with Divine order and consequent suffering. But, as a loving Divine truth teller he did not condemn beings acting with the the illusion of separation from God – only their ignorant behaviors. [John:3:17]

Jesus knew that – until realizing our unity with Divinity – we reap as we sew. [e.g. Job 4:8; Galacians 6:7]; that we suffer the karmic consequences of our unconsciously unenlightened behaviors. Thus from his rare cosmic perspective he compassionately could see that our ignorant behaviors are karmically predestined, and do not arise from presumed free will.

As a Divine being, Jesus also knew that true Vision comes from intuitive insight, not eyesight; that our perceived separation from others and from Nature is an illusion of consciousness; and, that blind to our own repressed faults we often project them upon and detect them in others.

As Rumi observed:

“People of the world don’t look at themselves, and so they blame one another.” [But,] “Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”

So Jesus cautioned the Pharisee fundamentalists of his time to

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” [John 7:24] And he taught:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” [Matthew 7:1-5]

Thus, when fundamentalist Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman allegedly caught in adultery, a capital crime, Jesus challenged any one of them who was without sin to cast the first stone at her. Speaking as non-judgmental Divine Love, Jesus explained his refusal to condemn her thus:  

“Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.”
[John 8:15]

Without judging beings but criticizing their disharmonious behaviors, Jesus was a passionate social reformer and redeemer who frequently decried hypocritical conduct and ethics by people who did not ‘walk their talk’ but practiced the very behaviors they decried – like those whose piety was on their tongue but not in their heart; those who claimed to love God but hated others. [John 4:20; Matthew 15:7-9]
And without judging the beings but their behaviors he cast out those hypocritically changing money and conducting commerce in the sacred temple courtyard, thereby demonstrating that we cannot serve both God and greed. [Matthew 6:24 and 21:12]

So, it appears that Jesus, who was a social reformer, did not intend to discourage us from living piously while seeking justice and righteousness for others and society. Bible passages against resisting “evil” or “judging” others are warnings against hypocritically and insensitively criticizing or opposing perceived faults or disharmonious behaviors in others which we cannot see in our own shadow selves.

Also, they are cautions against reflexive or revengeful resistance or opposition to perceived “evil”, because when we see ‘through a glass darkly’ what we resist persists.

Jesus’ admonition to not resist “evil” was given after his allusion to the Book of Exodus teaching about taking “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” [Exodus 21:23-5] which was then misunderstood and strictly interpreted by Pharisees as encouraging revenge or retribution. But when we ignorantly act with reflexive revenge, we are disharmonious with divine law and must suffer the karmic consequences.

So rather than vindictively seeking retribution for wrongs, or reactively condemning others, or judgmentally attempting to change them, it is wise to first empathetically look within to see and change our own undesirable traits. Then like Gandhi we will “not cooperate with evil” but be the non-violent change we wish to see in the world and lovingly inspire others to do likewise.

And so it shall be!

Footnote.

*Because the New Testament gospels were all ‘hearsay’ written and translated from Aramaic into Greek and various other languages long after Jesus’ death, we cannot know with certainty the meaning or accuracy of current translations of his sermon on the mount. So there are many differing interpretations of the words “Resist not evil.” and “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Their true meaning and intent can best be determined from their context and from Jesus’ own Divine actions to uplift the world rather than condemn it. Our interpretation is intuitive, not scholarly, and based on perennial principles taught by most enduring religious, spiritual and ethical traditions, not just Christianity. You are free to question or reject it.


Ron’s comments on “Justice versus Judgment”.

Dear Friends,

Worldwide we are living in very violent and politically polarized times – especially since Donald Trump was elected 45th US president.

In order to peacefully resolve current critical political and environmental issues, from a spiritual perspective, we must mindfully calm our disturbed, judgmental and reactive states of mind. Rather than vindictively seeking retribution for wrongs, or reactively condemning others, or judgmentally attempting to change them, it is wise to first empathetically look within to see and change our own undesirable mental habits. Thereby with quiet minds and open hearts we can non-violently and non-judgmentally resist injustice, while honoring the spiritual essence and universal equality of everyone everywhere.

To explain these opinions about philosophical and pragmatic issues of Justice versus Judgment, I have posted the above quotations and intuitive interpretations of Jesus’s teachings on these subjects, and hereafter discuss what I’ve learned about them as an egalitarian attorney.

For much of my adult life as a social justice lawyer, I tended to be judgmental and unforgiving of perceived wrongdoers. Thus, on retiring from legal practice in 1992 it was easy for me to stop lawyering – by deactivating my law license – but hard to stop gratuitously judging or blaming others who seemed to act hypocritically or harmfully.

But after my midlife spiritual awakening I decided that we are all here to evolve by gradually realizing and actualizing our common spiritual Oneness with all Life – beyond our mistakenly perceived separation from each other;  and, that we can advance such evolution by mindful identification, observation and purification of our mental tendencies and obscurations impeding realization of Oneness.
   
So, with increasing mindfulness, I began identifying my particular mental challenges and evolutionary opportunities in this lifetime.  And gradually I realized that – as a litigation lawyer and ardent social justice advocate – I had longtime propensities of often being outspokenly, acerbically, and reactively judgmental, unforgiving and sometimes angry about perceived injustices; that these tendencies were not helping others or me; and that they were impediments to spiritual evolution.

Since first identifying these unhelpful tendencies, it has been challenging for me to transcend them. Most challenging have been instances of apparently harmful betrayal of private or public trust.   Apart from numerous flagrant betrayals of public welfare by politicians and corporations which I have resisted, there have been a few unforgettable and psychologically traumatic events which I experienced as personal betrayals, but now see with forgiveness as disguised blessings which furthered my spiritual evolution.

Ultimately I have realized that blame, rancor or vengeance never change others and are always incompatible with a peaceful mind; that all unforgiving behavior is ego trying to preserve its falsely imagined separate identity; and, that any bitterness we harbor against a perceived “other” separates us from our divine Oneness

Thus Peace Pilgrim insightfully instructed that:

“If you are harboring the slightest bitterness toward anyone, or any unkind thoughts of any sort whatever, you must get rid of them quickly. They are not hurting anyone but you. It isn’t enough just to do right things and say right things – you must also think right things before your life can come into harmony.”
~ “Peace Pilgrim – Her Life and Work in Her Own Words”


And because human unconsciousness and ignorance of our true self-identity is the root cause of all perceived evil, the Buddha taught that: 


“To understand everything is to forgive everything.”

 
May these teachings help all of us learn to forgive everything, and to not judge, condemn, or criticize apparent evil, but to nonviolently resist and transcend it with love, righteousness and justice, and

May we thereby live ever happier, peaceful and harmonious lives.  

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Transcending Violence


“Violence is not merely killing another. It is violence when we use a sharp word, when we make a gesture to brush away a person, when we obey because there is fear. So violence isn’t merely organized butchery in the name of God, in the name of society or country. Violence is much more subtle, much deeper, and we are inquiring into the very depths of violence.”


“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent?
Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence.
So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don’t see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence.
~ Eckhart Tolle


J. Krishnamurti ~ May 11, 1895 – February 17, 1986



Transcending Violence

Q. We live in stressful, turbulent and crazy times, with widespread violence. How can we transcend such violence?

A. “Violence” has different meanings for different people in different societies. So we must first define violence to address this question.

From a spiritual perspective “violence” includes much more than just overt physical or emotional acts of violence. As long as we egotistically view the world and others conceptually, and not actually, there is violence.

Subtly, violence is unconscious human mental separation from others and Nature. So all such mental separation “breeds violence”, according to 20th century sage J. Krishnamurti.

Thus, spiritually this is a world of inevitable “violence”, which can never be eliminated, but can be appreciably alleviated by harmoniously loving behaviors. Yet even individually “enlightened” loving beings living in mentally sick societies overtly suffer from societal violence.

Hence Jesus endured violent crucifixion, mockery and humiliation from ignorant crowds, because ‘heretically’ he preached “love your neighbors” and even “your enemies”; repudiated socially condoned hypocrisy, brutality and thirst for worldly power and gains; and even audaciously proclaimed the ultimate non-duality ‘forbidden mystical Truth’ – that “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

So as long as we abide in this space/time world, we can never totally transcend its inevitable violence and suffering. To transcend violence we must transcend this world of karmic cause and effect. We must BE choiceless Universal Awareness beyond all mental conceptualization, including the ‘transcendence’ concept.

“To acquire freedom we have to get beyond the limitations of this universe;

it cannot be found here. ….
The only way to come out of bondage

is to go beyond the limitations of [natural] law,

to go beyond causation.”

~ Swami Vivekananda

However, as human consciousness inevitably evolves we will gradually reduce violence and suffering, individually and societally. Most earthly violence arises from human ignorance of our spiritual Oneness with Nature. So as human spiritual ignorance ends, violence will be appreciably alleviated as disharmonious behaviors and emotions are dispelled and supplanted with love and compassion.

And so it shall be!



Spiritual Psychotherapy

“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



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,

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 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 unconscious mental identification with, and reification of, this illusory world of separation from Nature. And 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 unconscious psychological imprisonment, as we harmoniously uncover and discover our Wholeness, Holiness, SELF!

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Pursuit of Happiness?

“We hold these truths to be self evident:
that all men are created equal:
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
~ U.S. Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
~ Aristotle



Introduction.

Everyone wants lasting happiness; no-one wants to suffer.

For millennia great mystics have revealed that ever abiding Happiness is our true inner nature – our Self.

So how do we discover and experience such Happiness?

Should we seek lasting happiness –

By maintaining an attitude of gratitude for our blessings, while accepting life’s inevitable challenges? or
By seeking impermanent worldly pleasures? or
By looking within to discover the Source of lasting happiness, and impediments to our experience of such happiness?

Or, rather than pursuing Happiness, would it be best for us to let go, and “go with the flow”, consciously letting Life happen through us?

The following quotations include differing perspectives about seeking happiness. They are offered to help each of us from our unique perspective find our most suitable path to lasting happiness.


Pursuit of Happiness?


“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

“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

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

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase;
if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”
~ C. P. Snow

“Don’t seek happiness.  If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.  Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is, rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well­being  and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

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

“In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.”

~ Lao Tzu

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

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

“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

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

The word “happiness” would lose its meaning
if it were not balanced by sadness.
~ Carl Jung

“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


Let Life Live Us As Love

“Only if one knows the truth of Love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled [ego] knot of life be untied. Only if one attains the height of Love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only Love, which is seeing only Love, hearing only Love, feeling only Love, tasting only Love and smelling only Love, which is bliss.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
Love has befriended me so completely
It has turned to ash and freed me
of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.
~ Hafiz
In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?”

~ Buddha
“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.”

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The identification of pure awareness with the mind and its creations
 causes the [ego] apprehension of both an objective world and a perceiver of it.”
~ Patanjali – Yoga Sutras
“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
“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
“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

Maitreya – The Next Buddha

Let Life Live Us As Love

Einstein revolutionized Western science with his groundbreaking theory of relativity establishing equivalence between all matter and energy in the universe, quantifiable by the simple equation e = mc2.

Since then, for over a century, Western science has more and more shown what ancient shamans, seers, and indigenous societies have known for millennia:

That there is a cosmic web of life connecting everything and everyone in Nature from the greatest galaxies to the tiniest sub-atomic particles; that we are each an integral inter-connected part of Nature’s web of life – not separate from it; that as Einstein observed:

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Though Einstein’s insights revolutionized quantum physicists’ views of space/time “reality”, most humans haven’t yet changed our way of thinking about such “reality”.  Until now, most people mistakenly keep behaving as if we are separated from each other and from Nature, and not part of it.   This behavior has resulted in continuing selfishness, cruelty, wars and unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet.

But gradually we are awakening.  From seeing everyone and everything as discrete and separated by apparently immutable boundaries, we are more and more realizing that everyone and everything are ever-changing energy phenomena appearing from a common matrix of immutable Awareness, which is Love.

All of our selfish, disharmonious and unsustainable behaviors have arisen from human ignorance of the true non-dual nature of the Self and all phenomena as Love; and from consequent mental mis-identification with the illusion of physical separation from each other – called “ego”.

Thus, the ancient Vedic seers told us in the Rig Veda that

“ Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”

Only rare Buddha-like beings, are said to totally transcend ego identification.  So we all experience some degree of separate self-identification.   But all humans are in various stages of an ultimately irresistible evolutionary process of ego attrition and transcendence.

In this world of cause and effect, Nature – not ego – is in charge and determines everything.   But, while believing ourselves separate from Nature, we exercise apparent free will and seemingly make non-predestined choices.

Depending on whether we are in harmony or disharmony with Nature, these apparent choices hasten or impede our evolution, and create or mitigate crises, sufferings and problems.   So, let us ever aspire to be harmonious with Nature:

Ever mindful of our common Self-identity as Awareness with all Life on our precious planet, let us live with loving-kindness and compassion for everyone and everything everywhere.

Ever mindful that in space/time Nature is our nature,
let us see and cherish Nature in everything and everyone everywhere.

Ever mindful that Awareness, as Love, is the ultimate Doer,
let us let go of ego,
and

 

Let Life Live us as LOVE.

 

And So It Shall Be!

 
Ron’s comments and explanation about “Let Life Live Us As Love”

Dear Friends,

On moving from Chicago to San Francisco in 1960, I was ignorant about spiritual subjects, or religions other than Judaism. Growing up in Chicago, I had become familiar with Judaism’s core teachings:


“ Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One”;  and
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5

But initially, I had no idea of the supremely profound esoteric importance of those teachings, or of devotional Love as crucial in all enduring religious and spiritual traditions. Not until my 1976 spiritual awakening and rebirth did I begin experientially learning about spirituality.

Whereupon, gradually I became inspired by “love of God” as a key spiritual tradition, with which I had instinctively joined in frequently crying and calling for the Divine. And ultimately I became convinced that our true nature and identity is LOVE.

That in space/time “reality” everyone, everything, everywhere is an ever-changing energy phenomenon appearing from a common matrix of immutable Universal Awareness, which is LOVE.

So as Rumi profoundly tells us we need not “seek for love, but merely .. seek and find all the barriers [we] have built against it.” Those barriers are mistaken ideas about our true identity, which we can discover and transcend by looking within.

This process of finding and letting go of mental barriers to experiencing ourselves as LOVE is explained in the foregoing profound quotations and essay.

May they remind us of our common Self-identity as Love with all Life on our precious planet.
And may they inspire us to live with loving-kindness and compassion for everyone and everything everywhere.

And so may it be!

How can we find lasting happiness?

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,

the whole aim and end of human existence”

~ Aristotle
“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
“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“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.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21





How can we find lasting happiness?

Q. How can we find lasting happiness?

A. Know your Self, and Be your Self.

Knowingly or unknowingly, everyone wants lasting happiness.

However, most seek it futilely in outside worldly pleasures which are always impermanent.

But, ever abiding Happiness is our true inner nature – our Self.

So to find lasting happiness we must look within, not outside.

There mindfully we can uncover and abolish all illusory unhappiness ideas which obscure awareness of our true Self – which is lasting Happiness – as LOVE.



Ron’s comments on finding lasting happiness

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered why the world seems so crazy? Why so many people suffer from wars, poverty, illness, lack of basic life-sustaining necessities? Why in the richest nation on Earth, suffering is everywhere? Why even super-rich people often become lonely, depressed, addicted, or mentally ill?

Long ago I began thinking that inhumanely materialistic organization of human societies was unnecessarily causing widespread conflicts and suffering; that much individual pathology was being caused by widespread societal insanity.

In the 1950’s I was deeply influenced by “The Sane Society” a brilliant philosophical analysis by author-psychotherapist Erich Fromm, about the pathology of ‘normalcy’ in our materialistic societies. In “The Sane Society” Fromm suggested that materialistic Western society was lacking in sanity; that the iniquities, inequities and disharmonies of entire societies were pathological, not just the seemingly separate mental illnesses of people therein.

But only after my mid-life change of life, did I begin deeply reflecting on root causes of such societal insanity and unhappiness. I began asking many new questions about our true identity and reality.

Thanks to continuing curiosity, and divine Grace, I have often been blessed with simple spiritual answers to mentally complicated questions about crazy behaviors in a crazy world; answers which have brought me ever-increasing happiness.

I’ve discovered that seemingly complicated questions about living a happy life can often be simply answered from elevated heart levels of awareness; that our experience of happiness depends upon our mental attitude, and upon self-identification as eternal spirit rather than as mere mortal bodies and their stories. And that, ultimately, lasting happiness can only be found within.

So I’ve shared the foregoing quotations and Q & A essay, to help remind us of perennially profound but simple answers to seemingly complicated questions about happiness and suffering, and to help us discover that lasting happiness as Love is our true nature.

May these writings help enable our experience of ever increasing inner happiness as Love in a seemingly crazy world. And since ‘everything we think, do or say, changes this world in some way’, may we ‘contagiously’ help heal this crazy world with Love –

As we realize that

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
~ Erich Fromm



And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Undo Ego!

“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
In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.
~ Lao Tzu
“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
As ego goes,
consciousness grows,
until it Knows
– Itself.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Q. How much “ego” do you need?
A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi




Undo Ego!

There’s nothing to do
but undo,

Until you’re through and undone.

Then, when nothing’s undone,
there’s nothing to do,

But to BE –

Free and

ONE!



Ron’s audio recitation of “Undoing Ego”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Undo Ego”

Dear Friends,

For millennia spiritual teachings have identified “ego” as an ultimate impediment to spiritual evolution and realization. Thus, the ancient Vedic seers told us that “Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ) And the Dalai Lama says that ego is the “number-one enemy of compassion.”

Spiritual teachers refer to “ego” as mistaken human self-identity as a personality separate from eternal Infinite Potentiality – our true identity. Because of ego’s supreme significance, numerous SillySutras postings [linked here] deal with “ego” as an illusory prison of the mind, causing inevitable karmic suffering. 
 
I have posted the foregoing quotations, sayings and a poem entitled “Undo Ego!” – to remind 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. 

Every Human – except for rare Buddha-like beings – knowingly or unknowingly is in some evolutionary stage of undoing mistaken ego identity – a process indispensable to our inevitable evolution.

For example, in online spiritual memoirs I tell how (after many years of reciting and following prescribed prayers and practices) I became an “Uncertain Undo” looking within to discover and discard remaining ego impediments to spiritual evolution and realization – as eloquently advised by Lao Tzu and Rumi.

“In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.”

~ Lao Tzu

“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


Whimsically I’ve suggested that everyone should “seek relief from belief”; because “on the path of Undo we’ll never be through ’til we’re an undone ONE”.

So as an “Uncertain Undo” I’ve gradually been letting go of previously accepted beliefs and concepts about humanity, self-identity and reality.

My present paradigm envisions that we are living earth-lives to experience our essential common self-identity as LOVE – each from a unique karmic perspective.  That each of us is here to transcend suffering by uncovering, discovering and undoing our unique barriers to Self realization – our mistaken ego identities and tendencies.
 
So, this post is respectfully offered to help remind us all of our critical need to let go of who or what we mistakenly think we are, so can realize and BE what we really are – ONE with Nature as its Eternal Source. 

And may these undoing ego ideas help us live ever happier lives, until we become “an undone ONE”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


De-condition the Mind

“Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique.
He has to find it through the mirror of relationship,
through the understanding of the contents of his own mind,
through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.”

“Our problem is how to be free from all conditioning. – – – –
When the mind is completely unconditioned then only can you experience or discover if there is something real or not. A cup is useful only when it is empty; and a mind that is filled with beliefs, with dogmas with assertions, with quotations is really an uncreative mind; it is merely a repetitive mind.”

“When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience.
He will discover that this division is an illusion.
Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time.
This timeless insight brings about a deep radical mutation in the mind.”

“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

“Our conditioning determines our condition.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



J. Krishnamurti ~ May 11, 1895 – February 17, 1986



De-condition the Mind

Our search for remission

From ills of the human condition

Will find its fruition

As we de-condition –

The mind.



Ron’s audio recitation of “De-condition the Mind”

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Ron’s explanation of “De-condition the Mind”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing “De-condition the Mind” pithy poem was long ago inspired by renowned twentieth century philosopher J. Krishnamurti, whose independent spiritual philosophy helped me begin understanding what was happening to me soon after my spiritual awakening.  To help you understand the poem, I have culled and posted the foregoing quotations, which include some of Krishnamurti’s core teachings.

Though born in India, Krishnamurti disclaimed allegiance to any nationality, caste, religion, guru or philosophy. He spent most of his life traveling and teaching worldwide.

Soon after a midlife spiritual awakening that I was pure awareness and not just my physical body and its story, I was given numerous glimpses of previously unknown clairvoyant and psychic phenomena which also persuaded me that the universe didn’t work the way I’d been taught or thought. 
 
So I wondered about the true nature of this supposedly “real” world and the universe which we seem to inhabit. Krishnamurti had then become known to me as a contemporary sage. And to satisfy my newly aroused cosmic curiosities, I began reading Krishnamurti’s teachings.

Though initially I was puzzled by many of his enigmatic assertions about the human mind, I was determined to understand them.  And gradually that seemed to happen.

In addition to Krishnamurti’s independent philosophic teachings, I began discovering similar wisdom teachings concerning Advaita Vedanta, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy.  Advaita means non-dualism, and its teachings are about experiencing non-dual Self Realization via focused self-inquiry.

Ultimately I inferred from these philosophic teachings and from my spiritual awakening as Awareness, that everyone and everything else in space/time was like me the same pure Awareness mentally experiencing space/time through an impermanent energy form.

But, I also realized that our misperceptions and mental misconceptions of separateness have created an illusory world of suffering – an illusory mental mirage – with which we self-identify and reify. And that as long as we mistakenly perceive and believe ourselves to be separate from each other and nature, we suffer individually and societally from the universal law of cause and effect – karma.

From long lifetime experience, I have learned that as gradually we unselfishly open our hearts with compassion beyond personal desires and affections, our karmic sufferings diminish, and we reap increasing happiness. 

Most postings on the SillySutras website, including “De-condition the Mind” are sincerely dedicated to helping all of us lead ever happier lives through increasing awareness of perennial spiritual wisdom.


Mystics say that ultimately, upon Self Realization of our true divine identity, our earthly sufferings end.

Today’s profound Krishnamurti quotations and De-condition the Mind poem can help remind us that since all our space/time “reality” arises from thought – that our mentality is our “reality” – we can vastly change our lives by observing and changing our thoughts, and by stilling and emptying our minds.

May these writings thereby help us live ever happier and soul fulfilling lives, as gradually we still our minds and open our hearts to remember that we are the unseen Source of the world we see.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner




What Choice Do We Have?

“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“Excellence is never an accident.
It is always the result of high intention,
sincere effort, and intelligent execution;
it represents the wise choice of many alternatives
– choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
~ Aristotle
“Inflamed by greed, incensed by hate, confused by delusion,
overcome by them, obsessed by mind, a man chooses for his own affliction, for others’ affliction, for the affliction of both and experiences pain and grief.”
~ Buddha
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life.”
~ Deuteronomy 30:19

“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Friedrich Schiller
“The only difference between a human being and a stone rolling down a hill, is that the human being thinks he is in charge of his own destiny.”

~ Baruch Spinoza
“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The assumption of an absolute determinism
is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”

~ Max Planck
“In Hinduism, the very idea of free will is non-existent,
so there is no word for it.

Will is commitment, fixation, bondage.” . .

“To be free in the world you must be free of the world.

Otherwise your past decides for you and your future.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice.

Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”

“…Choice in every form is conflict. Contradiction is inevitable in choice; this contradiction, inner and outer breeds confusion and misery.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Q. “Are only the important events in a man’s life,

such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined,

or are trifling acts also, such as taking a cup of water or
moving from one part of the room to another?”


A.  “Everything is predetermined.”

~ Ramana Maharshi

 




What Choice Do We Have?

Ego is free to choose,
But is never free.

Self does not choose,
But is ever free.

Our only choice
Is to accept or reject
“What is”.

Acceptance is pleasure;
Rejection is suffering.

Acceptance is freedom;
Rejection is bondage.

Acceptance is NOW;
Rejection is then.

So, if choose you must,
Then with faith and trust,

Say “YES” to Life –

NOW!



Ron’s audio recitation of “What Choice Do We Have?”

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Ron’s explanations and reflections on “What Choice Do We Have?”

Dear Friends,

Like many other writings on the Silly Sutras website the forgoing poem and quotations concern the perennial puzzle of freedom of choice versus fate or destiny. They summarize perspectives which I still endorse, after composing the poem many years ago during an extended period of post-retirement reclusion.

Please forgive redundancies in this posting. Long-ago I became a non-dualist determinist. So today I had no choice but to ask again “What Choice Do We Have?”.

Except for rare Buddha-like beings who Self-identify only as Universal Awareness – as Absolute – the vast majority of Humans mentally self-identify with their “soap operas” as supposedly separate ego entities in space and time.

And as long as we believe ourselves to be such separate entities, we invariably experience apparent freedom of choice, but are subject to the law of cause and effect, with separate destinies and inevitable karmic sufferings.

We have apparent freedom of choice only until we transcend our mental illusion of separation. Whereupon we realize freedom from choice.

If there is no entity separate from Universal Awareness, how can there be any separate choice or destiny? When a mirage bubble bursts into the Ocean of Awareness, it exists only as the Ocean, without supposed separate choice or destiny.

As great beings recurrently remind us, all we call “reality” is an ever impermanent illusory mental mirage, maya or samsara. We transcend or end that mutable mirage, as we experience its Absolute Source and Essence as pure and undivided Universal Awareness.

Quantum science shows us that everything in space/time is energy (e=mc2); that all forms and phenomena are merely vibrating and radiating immaterial energies endlessly and inevitably appearing (from unknown causes and conditions) out of and disappearing into an ineffable matrix of mystery.

“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong.
What we have called matter is energy,
whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”

~ Albert Einstein


“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free 
but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”
~ Albert Einstein


“The assumption of an absolute determinism
is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”

~ Max Planck

For millennia mystical inner explorers have experienced that matrix of mystery through transcendentally elevated awareness, and they have realized that the sole Source of what we call “reality” is ineffable Universal Awareness – Consciousness beyond mental description, conception, or belief.

So from a non-dualist “Buddha’s eye view” our supposedly separate space/time “reality” isn’t really Real – it’s just an immaterial energy mirage; and our beliefs about it – including free choice and destiny – are mere mental illusions.

“The world, indeed, is like a dream

and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”

~ Buddha

“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,

does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”

~ Buddha


Whether or not we can agree that whatever happens in space/time “reality” is karmically predestined – that earth-life is like a pre-programmed dream – I have found that assuming predestination can help us find happiness.

We can experience ever growing peace of mind by more and more refraining from exercising apparent freedom of choice, and accepting each moment with the attitude that it could not be otherwise; that everything is happening in the best way and at the best time – as an evolutionary opportunity and incentive. 

So, I sincerely invite your careful consideration of today’s profound quotations and “What Choice Do We Have?” poem. 

May these writings help all of us find increasing happiness by accepting difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, and by finding blessings in unexpected interactions with others.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Is Earth-life Purposeful?

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle
“One great question underlies our experience,
whether we think about it or not:
what is the purpose of life?”
~ Dalai Lama
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self. Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“What are we here for?
We are here for freedom, for knowledge.
We want to know in order to make us free.
That is our life; one universal cry for freedom.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“Our purpose is process –
metamorphic process.

Gleaning meaning in matter,
we learn all that matters –

we learn all that matters is LOVE!”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. 

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

~ Richard Bach





Is Earth-life Purposeful?

Q. Is earth-life purposeful?

A. Yes! We are here to learn and evolve.

Though some Eastern mystics may call this ever changing “reality” a dream, maya, samsara, or illusion,
it is a marvelous and miraculous mental creation.

So how can anyone ever imagine earth-life to be without purpose?

Our purpose is process – metamorphic process.

Like unique facets of an infinitely faceted jewel,
each earth being has a unique perspective, but a common Source* – which transcends this world, while everywhere immanent therein.

So, our purpose is harmoniously to realize and experience,
and to actualize from infinite perspectives,
our ONE transcendent Self identity.

As long as we believe ourselves to be seemingly circumscribed
and separated from the rest of our reality,

We incarnate to realize and to actualize
our common Self identity.

We learn until we leave.

But, we don’t leave until we learn –

LOVE!

Footnote.

*Innumerable names – God, Love, Nature, etc. – may be used to signify that Source or any of its infinite aspects. Or as in the Jewish tradition it may be acknowledged that no name can denominate “That” which is beyond conception or expression – since naming limits the illimitable and ineffable Infinite Reality.




Ron’s Commentary on Purpose of Life.

Dear Friends,

Have you ever reflected on whether human life has a purpose – individually or collectively?  Or have you wondered: “Why was I born? Why am I living?”

Not until my midlife change of life did I ever wonder whether Earth-life is purposeful.  But since then I’ve continued to reflect and write about it.

When I was growing up in 20th century America – like millions of others – I greatly enjoyed popular New York musical theater songs.   Many of my favorite lyrics were composed by Master lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, usually in collaboration with great musical talents like Richard Rodgers with whom he wrote Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. 

In 1929 Hammerstein in association with composer Jerome Kern wrote lyrics for Why Was I Born, which became and has remained an American classic; it was already one the “top ten” popular songs when I was born in 1932.  

The song’s lyrics began with these perennial questions:

 
Why was I born? Why am I living? What do I get? What am I giving?
 


And they concluded with this perennial answer:


Why I was born? To love you!
 


Until midlife I believed that the song was only about romantic love.  But after spiritual awakening I began to realize that  Oscar Hammerstein’s  lyrics often esoterically encompassed mystical perspectives.  And I began referring to him as “Sri Oscar Hammerstein”. 

For example, I realized that Why Was I Born could be interpreted to refer to Divine LOVE, beyond just romantic love – to the ecstatic devotional spiritual path exemplified by Sufi-Persian Mystic Masters Hafiz and Rumi, as ultimate goal in life.  

And to confirm that realization, with poetic license I pluralized Hammerstein’s lyric questions and answer: 

Q.  Why were we born? Why are we living? What do we get? What are we giving?  
A.  Why were we born? To love THEE!  

  
According to the Dalai Lama


“What is the purpose of life?”
is the “one great question [which] underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not”.


He answers that question by simply stating


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


Since midlife, I  have found that reflecting about our life’s purpose if any has sparked a very helpful process of finding ever expanding happiness.

Today I have shared the foregoing apt quotations and essay/poem to help us consider the purpose of life question.  In my experience reflection on life’s purpose, if any, helps us gradually realize that we are not who or what we were taught or ‘labeled’ to be, by society or by our mistaken mental reification of projected-perceptions.  

We are not merely our mortal bodies – their genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories; we are not the ‘voices in our heads’.  We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But ultimately ‘under the hood’ we’re all the same Cosmic Consciousness.  

By realizing and actualizing our common spiritual identity, may we help transform and transcend this world of suffering. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner