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Self Inquiry

Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here,
and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,
we cannot be in touch with life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”

“That which is timeless is found now.”
~ Buddha
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“Our problem is how to be free from all conditioning . . When the mind is completely unconditioned then only can [we] experience or discover if there is something real or not. [A] mind . . filled with beliefs, . . dogmas . . assertions ..is really an uncreative mind; it is merely a repetitive mind.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Ordinary human consciousness is conditioned consciousness;
it is pure Awareness conditioned by conceptions.
And our conceptual conditioning determines our condition.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake

 

Marc Chagall – The Praying Jew


Introduction

In lunar equinox seasons of major theistic religious ‘holy days’ we are often reminded that our spiritual goal is returning to “godliness” – to Ultimate Reality. This memoirs posting explains how we can advance our evolution toward attainment of that goal, by clearing past mental conditioning to increasingly be here NOW in the precious present.

Because this posting coincides with the Jewish High Holy Days, it recounts my positive experience with Yom Kippur communal practices of: (1) non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us; and of (2) annulment or rescission of obsolete and unhelpful private intentions, resolutions, or vows to ourselves or God. Thus it explains my perspective that such practices, which are premised on societal awareness of inevitable limitation and fallibility of all incarnate humans, can be universally beneficial in advancing everyone’s spiritual evolution.

Also it explains why our spiritual evolution can be furthered by other practices or activities which help us quiet the mind and clear mental pre-conditioning to increasingly live moment by moment in the precious present, with Love as the supreme unifying principle of Life.

Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Mystics and some scientists say that our thoughts or beliefs about our ‘reality’ and self-identity determine our earth-life experience; that those thoughts or beliefs originate unconsciously with very subtle mental impressions (sometimes called in Sanskrit vasanas or samskaras) which through reincarnation are carried by the soul from lifetime to lifetime; that we can radically change our lives and behaviors by changing our thoughts about who or what we are; and that we can become “enlightened” only by transcending all mental conditioning.

Our mental conditioning operates our physical bodies, like computer software systems operate computer hardware platforms. And, like computer software systems, all mental conditioning comes from the past – from this or prior lifetimes.

But, habitually abiding or operating with beliefs or tendencies from past experience, or projecting them into the future as anxiety, fear or worry, prevents us from living spontaneously and authentically in the present moment – from fully being here NOW.

Past is history and future’s mystery, while Life is never then – it is only NOW.

Thus, Buddha taught that:

“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”
“That which is timeless is found now.”

Only by wiping the slate clean from past conditioning and resulting thoughts or concerns, are we are fully freed to live in the present – in the eternal NOW. Thus our spiritual evolution is advanced by any activity or practice which helps us live moment by moment in the precious present, spontaneously and authentically without mental pre-conditioning.

My life experience following a dramatic midlife spiritual awakening confirms these teachings. As gradually I have quieted my mind, recognized and eliminated obsolete beliefs and paradigms which no longer felt valid or useful, and more and more self-identified as spirit, my life has become more spontaneous and magical, and I’ve experienced ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious life-time.

For me, it has been a process of thinking less, and being more; and of mindfully witnessing inappropriate or obsolete behavioral patterns with intention of changing or eliminating them through grateful remembrance that I am not merely a separate mortal entity but universal spirit experiencing a blessed human life.

The more that I have gratefully and mindfully self-identified as spirit – as Universal Awareness – the more I have experienced fulfillment, insight, empathy, and creativity, and the less I have manifested unhelpful habits and reflexive behaviors.

I have found that this transformative process of mindful spiritual self-identification has been accelerated through meditation and other universal practices of perennial wisdom traditions which help still the mind and clear mental conditioning. So I’ve dedicated the SillySutras website to exploring and sharing universal wisdom principles and practices which can help us all live happier lives, as they have helped me.

Jewish High Holy days practices

During Jewish High Holy days, I am reminded of certain practices other than meditation, which may help free us from past conditioning:

1. Non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us. [see “Forgiveness And Atonement Of ‘Sins.’”] ; and,

2. Annulment and rescission of obsolete and unhelpful personal intentions, resolutions, or vows.

The Jewish High Holy Days are ten ‘Days Of Awe’ emphasizing religious introspection and repentance, and concluding with Yom Kippur [“day of atonement” and “at-one-ment”]. During services, congregants communally repent past “sins” while repeatedly acknowledging that

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins,” [ Ecclesiastes 7:20 ]

The Yom Kippur observance begins with “Kol Nidre” (“All Vows”), a powerful prayer with a hauntingly beautiful melody which is chanted and recited in ancient Aramaic, and which for many observant Jews is the religious high-point of their year.

When I attended Jewish services, during adolescence and later irregularly as an adult (before I became a “born-again Hindu”), the Kol Nidre ritual was for me emotionally memorable, even though I don’t recall knowing the meaning of the prayer until much later receiving a translation in an email message.

So, on ultimately learning the translated meaning, I was quite surprised and puzzled to learn that Kol Nidre enigmatically purports to disavow and annul until the next day of atonement all past and/or future communal or individual oaths or vows, viz.

”Let all our vows and oaths, all the promises we make and the obligations we incur to You, 0 God, between this Yom Kippur and the next, be null and void should we, after honest effort, find ourselves unable to fulfill them. Then may we be absolved of them.”

Since Judaism emphasizes the honoring of promises and obligations to others, I wondered:

“Why does the holiest of Jewish high holy days begin with a communal disavowal of all oaths or vows, which in Jewish tradition are regarded as ethically important?”


Also I began wondering why the Kol Nidre prayer has been so emotionally powerful, even when its meaning is largely unknown. After reflection and research I concluded that:

Kol Nidre applies only to personal vows to oneself or God, not affecting promises or obligations to others; it is not an unconditional request for Divine absolution from guilt for dishonored vows or obligations to others.

Many people – not just Jews – make resolutions or vows concerning their intended future behavior which are unfulfilled or become inappropriate or unhelpful as times change. And often they feel consequent frustration or guilt.

Rather than harboring guilt or frustration for this, Jewish tradition recognizes that it’s best to wipe the mental slate clean. Thus, observant Jews can be spiritually uplifted and mentally cleared by communal participation in High Holy Day rituals of forgiveness or atonement of “sins”, and abrogation of unhelpful personal resolutions.

And I believe that Kol Nidre has been especially powerful for even those unaware of its meaning, because subtly or subconsciously it invokes Humankind’s universal – yet paradoxically impossible – aspiration to be in this world beyond inevitable human frailty and suffering, beyond “sin” or ‘missing the mark’.

So, perhaps Kol Nidre and its haunting melodies, invoke an Eternal inner voice which reminds us of our true nature – ever immanent Divine LOVE – with which we are ultimately destined to merge.

Ron’s Commentary on Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Dear Friends,

In lunar equinox seasons of major theistic religious ‘holy days’ – Jewish (days of awe); Moslem (Eid Al-Adha); Christian (Feast of St. Francis); Hindu (Navaratri); Asian (Moon festivals) – we are often reminded that central to all major theistic religions is the goal of psychologically returning to “godliness”. Moreover, all major religions teach a common message of Love as the supreme “unifying principle of Life. . . . the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate Reality.” [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] 

Whether or not we are ‘religious’, we are all experiencing a mythological perennial process of returning to a psychological state of self-identity and “at-one-ment” with Universal Awareness, our ultimate Essence and destiny – an evolutionary process of gradually living more and more in and as the timeless NOW.

My perspectives on “Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present”, encourage our harmony with this crucially important perennial process.

Conclusion and Dedication

As gradually we mindfully observe and change behaviors, beliefs, and paradigms which no longer feel valid or useful, and as more and more we commonly self-identify as ONE Eternal spirit, which is LOVE – not just as separate mortals – our lives become more spontaneous and magical, enabling us to synchronistically experience ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious human lifetime.

Thus, today’s posting is dedicated to advancing our spiritual evolution on ‘holy days’ and every day by encouraging us to fearlessly forgive the past, and thoughtlessly live in the precious present, as LOVE

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Afterlife?

“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,

you must go deep within yourself.
In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“It is in love that we are made; in love we disappear.”
~ Leonard Cohen
“It is in dying to ego life,

that we are reborn to Eternal Life.”

~ Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (edited by Ron Rattner)
“It is crucial to be mindful of death —
to contemplate that you will not remain long in
this life. If you are not aware of death, you will
fail to take advantage of this special human
life that you have already attained. It is
meaningful since, based on it, important
effects can be accomplished.”
~ Dalai Lama – From “Advice on Dying: And Living a Better Life”
(written with Jeffrey Hopkins, PhD)
Whence come I and whither go I?

That is the great unfathomable question,

the same for every one of us.

Science has no answer to it.

~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
“People .. who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

~ Albert Einstein
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions,
that they exist in the present,
which is what there is and all there is.
~ Alan Watts
“Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never Then!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction to “Afterlife?”

Dear Friends,

The mystery of bodily death has long been a central religious and philosophical issue.

Since midlife I have gratefully realized from previously unimagined mystical experiences that inevitable physical death does not end our conscious lifetimes, and that we can enjoy ever growing happiness and soul fulfillment as we lose all ego/mind fears and worries about death and dying.

My profound mystical realizations are explained and discussed in the following Q and A sutra essay verses and comments thereon.

These writings are shared to help inspire our Self realization that beyond ego illusions there is no time, no death or afterlife; that on transcendence of conceptual life, there is only eternal mystery of indescribable and unimaginable Infinite Potentially.

May these writings thereby advance humanity’s ever growing happiness free from fear of inevitable physical death, and all other fearful and negative earthly emotions, and elevate us to harmoniously live together with kindness and compassion, as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Afterlife?

Q:  Is there an afterlife?
A:   After-life is NOW.

Q:  Is there life after death?
A:  There is no death – only Life.

Q:  Then, what is it we call death?
A:  A vacation – eternal life-force vacating a transient vehicle.



Ron’s Comments on “Afterlife?”

Dear Friends,

Have you ever considered what if anything happens after bodily death?

The mystery of what happens upon bodily death is an enduring philosophical and religious issue. It is therefore addressed in the above quotations and Q and A sutra essay verses, and in many other SillySutras postings revealing that beyond ego/mind illusions there is no death or afterlife – only Eternal Life NOW.

Background Discussion.

Physical death is inevitable and natural. But for many years it was largely a taboo subject in American society. Euphemistic language was used to describe death. Most Americans feared death, believing it ended life; they usually died in hospitals or other institutions, and not at home surrounded by family.

Today fear of death remains a major societal issue, impeding spiritual evolution, especially for Westerners.  Such fear arises from mistaken ego identification as only a mortal physical body rather than the eternal life-force which enlivens the body.  But gradually millions of people are transcending fear of death, and leading happier lives after near death [NDE], out of body [OOB] and other mystical experiences.

Since my midlife spiritual awakening I’ve realized that conscious contemplation of physical death can be spiritually important and helpful.
 
On meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I learned that from childhood he had been preoccupied with two perennial puzzles: “Who am I?” and “What is death?”; that at age thirteen, inspired by irresistible inner longing for Self-realization, Guruji had run away from home in search of experiential answers to those enduring questions.   Ultimately his questions were answered through meditative experience.  Thereafter he taught that:


“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,

you must go deep within yourself.

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


Also I’ve learned that Tibetan Buddhists encourage frequent contemplation of physical death as an important spiritual practice for optimizing opportunities of this precious lifetime, and in preparation for auspicious future lifetimes.  Thus the Dalai Lama has written that:


“It is crucial to be mindful of death —  
to contemplate that you will not remain long in
this life. If you are not aware of death, you will
fail to take advantage of this special human
life that you have already attained. It is
meaningful since, based on it, important
effects can be accomplished.”
~ From “Advice on Dying: And Living a Better Life” by Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins, PhD


Inspired by Guruji, the Tibetan Buddhists, and mystical experiences, I developed deep curiosity and philosophical interest in the spiritual significance of death and dying, reincarnation, and karma.  And gradually I have realized the importance of these subjects.

So I’ve shared many stories, essays and poems about these subjects, which I commend to your attention. (Eg. See “related” posts and audio files linked below.)


Especially after suffering a June, 2014 near-death taxicab rundown, more than ever before I now frequently contemplate my inevitable – and perhaps imminent – death, with unspeakable gratitude for this precious human lifetime and for the evolutionary opportunities and happiness it has brought me.
 
Gratefully I have learned from experience that life is eternal and that “as we lose our fear of leaving life, we gain the art of living life.”

So this posting is dedicated to helping us find growing happiness free from fears and worries about inevitable physical death, and related fearful and negative emotions. So that we instead accentuate optimistic and compassionate feelings, attitudes, and behaviors, which bring us ever growing happiness and further our spiritual evolution.

And so may it be! 

Ron Rattner

My Life of “Prayer”
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general,

for God knows best what is good for us.”

~ Socrates
“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”

“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”

~ Saint Francis of Assisi
“[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







Ron’s Introduction to My Life of “Prayer”

Dear Friends,

Since my mid-life spiritual awakening at age forty three, I have experienced a previously unimagined transformative new life-phase of growing inner-awareness in which spontaneous prayer has become fundamental.

So these spiritual memoirs appropriately include the following recollections and explanations of “prayer” in my life, both before and since the midlife awakening. In them I recount how I began this lifetime only praying rarely in organized religious programs, but how after years of evolutionary process I now instinctively pray constantly and spontaneously, with an unprecedented and all encompassing concept of “prayer”.

These memoirs are written and dedicated to help spiritually “inspire many people”, as requested and foreseen by my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas. 


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

My history with “prayer”

I don’t recall spontaneously praying or crying to God prior to midlife.  But I do remember feeling emotionally moved while singing collective prayers, and on hearing chanted cantorial prayers, at organized Jewish high holy day services. Even though I didn’t understand the words, I was especially affected by “Kol Nidre” (“All Vows”), an emotively powerful prayer with a hauntingly beautiful melody which is chanted and recited in ancient Aramaic, to begin Yom Kippur services.

Only after the midlife awakening did I synchronistically begin regularly praying with daily recitations of the “make me an instrument of Thy peace” prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi – heartfelt recitations which have continued for over forty years.

Before the midlife awakening I hadn’t shed tears as an adult. But thereupon, I cried for twenty four hours, and soon realized with amazement that I was crying with intense longing for God. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.) And that prayerful ’gift of tears’ still persists.

Two years after the midlife awakening, I met my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and received shaktipat initiation into the path of kundalini yoga. Thereupon I was given a sacred “Rama” mantra and spiritual name “Rasik: one engrossed in devotion”. Afterwards, as Guruji presciently had foreseen, I became and have ever since remained “engrossed in devotion”, intensely yearning for the Divine, and often spontaneously calling and weeping for “Rama” with deep longing.

Also, in addition to the Saint Francis prayer, I began regularly reciting prayers and mantras recommended by Guruji, and soon became a “born-again Hindu”. Though some Hindu prayers were directed to mythological Hindu deities – including the legendary monkey-god Hanuman – in calling, crying or praying to the Divine, I consistently conceived of “God” as formless and invisible. Ultimately, on my acceptance of Advaita non-duality philosophy, “God” as ultimate Reality became (and remains} for me an inconceivable Mystery.

Especially during my extended post-retirement reclusive period, I daily prayed for particular people, envisioning them as enveloped by divine light, while silently praying for everyone everywhere. Sometimes I prayed for specific outcomes, like healing or wellbeing, while continuing to pray for all Life everywhere.


Now, although all specific loving prayers are beneficial, I instinctively pray with faith for best outcomes, without specifying desired results. Especially since miraculously surviving and recovering from a June, 2014 near-death taxicab rundown, I have gratefully given my ‘irrevocable power of attorney’ to The Lone Arranger to determine appropriate outcomes for all Life everywhere.

What is “prayer”?

On first meeting Guruji I simply thought of prayer as ‘talking to God’, and meditation as listening. So I didn’t then even consider calling and crying for God or reciting mantras as “prayers”. But since then my view of “prayer” gradually widened to include those and many other behaviors not previously regarded as “prayer”. Thus my concept of prayer now includes all heartfelt longings for eternal communion with the Divine. And I accept Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that “prayer is nothing else but an intense longing of the heart”. Also, I believe it possible for us to prayerfully open our hearts to all Life, without excluding anyone or anything, even vile enemies. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/how-st-francis-of-assisi-inspires-pope-francis/)

How shall we pray?

Prayer is universal – a concept recognized worldwide by all cultures and people. But it is understood and practiced in different ways at different times.

In perceived dire sudden emergencies or threats most humans spontaneously pray for help, even if they haven’t previously prayed and their instinct to pray is subliminal. Thus, once before becoming a “born-again Hindu”, I suddenly began calling and crying out to God as “Rama, Rama, Rama”, upon fearfully being lost in a jungle-like Hawaiian nature preserve. And I remember instinctively exclaiming “Jesus” when twice almost run down by crazy car drivers, though I’d never before prayed to Jesus.

All humans share a common instinct to return to our Divine Source. But, as unique beings with uniquely conditioned karmic perspectives and limitations, we each experience different evolutionary challenges and different theoretical spiritual paths. So, as we evolve toward realization of our common spiritual Source and Self identity, different practices and behaviors are most appropriate for each of us – including whether, when or how we pray. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/different-person-different-path/ ) In my experience, our inner insights and instincts best help us determine our unique evolutionary paths.

Thus, though I began this lifetime only praying rarely in organized religious programs, after years of evolutionary process I now instinctively pray constantly and spontaneously, with an unprecedented and all encompassing concept of “prayer”.

I am unqualified to tell others how, when or whether to pray. But it is my aspiration that SillySutras readers may find guidance about prayer and other spiritual practices from these memoirs and cited spiritual quotations. So I will hereafter share my opinions and observations about prayer in our lives.

Observations and quotations about “prayer”

Praying is instinctive. Throughout recorded human history prayers have been offered by countless saints and sages, and by ordinary people of every religious denomination. Even Buddhists who don’t believe in a Creator God recite many mantras and pray a lot. 

Different people have differing ideas about meanings and methods of “prayer”. Most often prayer involves asking for divine help or expressing gratitude to God or other higher power. But “prayer” can be broadly considered as all spontaneous, heartfelt, or worshipful longing for or communion with Universal Intelligence, Nature, or Divinity.   And all such selfless loving prayer may be magically powerful.  For example, I’ve become gratefully convinced that heartfelt prayers of others helped my miraculous survival and healing from a 2014 near-death taxi rundown. And that all our compassionate prayers are often answered. Mahatma Gandhi has said that prayer “is the most potent instrument of action”; that “with the Grace of God everything can be achieved.”

“Everything we think, do or say changes this world in some way”. So we are all co-creating our earthly mental reality. As Universal Spirit, we are ONE, and we ‘contagiously’ influence one another, positively or negatively. Every thought affects our collective consciousness. We have infinite potentiality to lovingly and prayerfully bless this world. But our fearful and worrisome thoughts and behaviors are tantamount to negative prayers, which can unknowingly afflict the world.  So mental mindfulness helps us avert such worrisome thoughts.

Beyond historically helpful traditional prayer customs and practices, even Western scientific double-blind “placebo effect” studies, now support efficacy of prayer.  A 2006 Washington Post article even asserted that “prayer is the most common complement to mainstream medicine, far outpacing acupuncture, herbs, vitamins and other alternative remedies.”

The stiller and more focused our minds, the more opened our hearts, and the deeper our harmony with Nature, the more impactful are our prayers. And, whether or not we intentionally “pray”, our focused awareness of conditioned mental propensities can be key to fulfilling our deepest evolutionary aspirations.

It’s best to be givers, not getters. For it is in giving that we receive. So, it’s preferable to pray selflessly for peace and welfare of all others, rather than for perceived self-interests; to ‘pray for God to do through us – not for us’.

“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”
~ Saint Francis of Assisi to his Order of Friars Minor


And it’s best to leave to Supreme Authority details of how to accomplish all our prayerful wishes, rather than to specify them.

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general,
for God knows best what is good for us.”

~ Socrates


As we evolve beyond our illusionary perceptual/conceptual separation of each other, and all our other mistaken beliefs which theoretically divide ONE Reality, those illusions gradually melt into mystery. And increasingly we realize that we are THAT eternal Self to which we which we pray, and to which we intensely aspire to return. We see 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


Becoming “prayer”

There are now, and always have been, rare Avatars, Saints and Buddha-like beings who are completely devoted to blessing all Life, without exception or exclusion. Hence, it is possible to live life as continual prayer, not just with continual prayer. So it can be evolutionarily feasible that ultimately

“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”
~ Saint Francis of Assisi to his Order of Friars Minor


Realization of humanity’s shared evolutionary aspiration.

Realization of such a perpetually prayerful saintly state is humanity’s deepest aspiration. Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously, no matter who or where we are, no matter our age, gender or culture, all humans share a universal and irresistible instinct and desire to return to a soul-remembered original state of Divine Love, Peace and Oneness – a transcendent state beyond words or thoughts, so marvelous that its subliminal memory magnetically attracts every sentient being to merge and be At-One with THAT.

Conclusion

SELF Realization of THAT to which we pray, and for which we deeply aspire, is our ultimate destiny. May these writings on “prayer” help advance us toward that destiny.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

To “Know Thyself” ask “Who Am I?”
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Know thyself – The unexamined life is not worth living.”
“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”
~ Socrates
“Know thyself and thou wilt know the universe.”
~ Pythagoras
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.”
~ Lao Tzu
“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
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
~ William Shakespeare
“Ask and it shall be given; Seek and ye shall find.”
~ Matthew 7:7
“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“That which permeates all, which nothing transcends and which, like the universal space around us, fills everything completely from within and without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman — that thou art.”
~ Shankaracharya
“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.”
“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer, the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“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
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“An ‘identity crisis’ can be life’s greatest opportunity,
because it raises life’s most crucial question – “Who am I?”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



Ron’s Introduction To “Know Thyself” ask “Who Am I?”

Dear Friends,

Many SillySutras postings explain that “ego” is our mistaken separate self-identity, rooted in the ‘I’ thought; and that all enduring spiritual teachings are aimed at ending “ego” as the fundamental impediment to spiritual evolution and Self-realization. This posting emphasizes “Know thyself”, and asking “Who am I?” as important ancient wisdom paths for finding and ending ego’s illusory self-identity.

For millennia, rare mystics and sages have counseled us to “Know thyself”, and to question “Who am I?”. But since the industrial age few Westerners have been inspired to pursue this perennial advice. However, as a Westerner who persistently and successfully asked “Who am I?”, in today’s posting I briefly share a memoirs story and an historic description of these paths.

Historical overview.

Throughout history saints and sages of every tradition and culture – East and West – have counseled us to “Know thyself.” In the West, this fundamental injunction was attributed to the Greek oracle consulted by Socrates and carved into the Temple of Apollo as: “Gnothi Seauton”.

Eastern saints and mystics for millennia have taught that there is an ultimate goal of life – an ‘enlightened’ state of spiritual awareness bringing permanent happiness and freedom from all worldly bondage. Swami Yogananda Paramahansa, who brought Eastern wisdom to the West in the 20th century, called this spiritual goal “self-realization”.

Who is this “Self” that we are counseled to know or realize?   How can we follow the advice of the saints and sages to “Know thyself”, and so experience “self-realization”?

One of the principal methods to “Know thyself” suggested by mystics and sages is to inquire: “Who am I?” For example, ancient Indian sage Shankara said that spiritual “Knowledge cannot spring up by any other means than the inquiry: Who am I?”.

In Hinduism, such self-inquiry is chiefly associated with Advaita-Vedanta, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy. Advaita means non-dualism and its teachings are essentially the same as those of Mahayana Buddhism. Both are aimed at experiencing non-dual Reality.

The ultimate answer to the question “Who Am I?” cannot come from intellect. We can know or realize our “self” only by intuitive experience of “Who Am I?”. However, in the Hindu and Buddhist non-duality paths, powers of discrimination are used to transcend intellect and to reveal the Self via self-realization.

Ron’s “Who Am I?” Story.

Most of us never question our true self-identity, but we assume ourselves to be mere mortal physical life-forms with unique histories, separate from everyone and everything else.

Not until age forty two, did I ever wonder “Who Am I”? Until then, I assumed that I was only my physical body, its thoughts and its story; that I was a middle-aged secular Jewish litigation lawyer, married, with two kids, born in Chicago and living in San Francisco.

But on New Year’s Eve 1974-5, these assumptions were severely shaken. After unwittingly eating a large piece of marijuana-laced cake at a ‘pot luck’ dinner party, I had a dramatically unforgettable out of body experience.

From a bedroom ceiling, I saw my body lying face down on a pillow, and saw each of my thoughts originating outside the body as a vividly colored kaleidoscopic form.

These perceptions seemed very real – not dreamlike or hallucinatory. And they irresistibly raised for me an unprecedented urgent new question: “Who or what am I?”

I reasoned that if I was on the ceiling of the room, while my body was face-down on the bed, I couldn’t be the body; and that if I was on the ceiling of the room, while my thoughts were appearing below me, I couldn’t be the thoughts. And if not my body and not my thoughts, “Who or what am I?”

Thereafter, irresistibly and persistently I began pursuing this previously unexamined question, with intense longing for an answer. This process proved an enormous blessing which changed my life forever.

It convinced me that “Who Am I?” can be the most important question that anyone can ever ask; that by deeply reflecting on our true self-identity and persistently inquiring: “Who Am I?” we can ultimately experience a profound, life-enhancing psychological transformation process.
[See “At Mid-life, a Rebirth to a New Life ~ Ron’s Memoirs”]

Here’s what happened:

After irresistibly wondering “Who am I?” for fifteen months, at age forty two, (unaware of any apt spiritual teachings) I was given the answer to that question, and realized my true self-identity as pure awareness, rather than as my physical body, its thoughts and aggregate experiences. 

Whereupon I experienced a profound and unforgettable mid-life spiritual awakening and rebirth, which irreversibly ended my prior paradigms of Self-identity and Reality. But this awakening didn’t result in ‘instant enlightenment’. Instead, my epiphany began a continuing process of increasingly remembering that beyond this space/time world, we all are eternal spirit and universal awareness, not just mortal bodies and their thoughts.

Thereby I’ve enjoyed a previously unimagined new life phase of ever increasing peace of mind, happiness, gratitude, and faith in the mystery of Divinity. And since that awakening, I’ve been blessed by constantly learning from my life’s experiences.

For example, after the rebirth event, I began experiencing numerous unprecedented mystical or psychic subtle energy phenomena. And I became infused with so much vital energy that for several months I hardly needed sleep. I was puzzled and wondered what was happening to me. Only then did I synchronistically begin learning answers in teachings of Eastern mysticism, like nondualism.  However, in daily life I continued to consider myself as a secular Hebrew lawyer, and remained unaware and uninspired by any supposed spiritual goal, until meeting my teacher.

Becoming a “born-again Hindu”:

Then at age forty four, after repeatedly seeing inner visions of a bearded elderly man, I synchronistically met my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, a venerable 100 year old Hindu meditation yogi, from whom I received shaktipat initiation.   Guruji lived until age 116, and since his mahasamadhi transition in 1994 his guiding presence has remained in my heart.

After meeting Guruji, I declared myself to be a “born-again Hindu” and first began learning of the spiritual ‘goal’ sometimes called Self-realization or “enlightenment”. And, that upon Self-realization the spiritual ‘practitioner’ is dissolved into yogic union with the mystery of infinite divinity; rather than becoming a supposedly separate “enlightened” person.

According to Guruji, shaktipat initiation and his prescribed practices awakened and enhanced an evolutionary purification process of kundalini life-force energies which purify the subtle bodies and nervous system by gradually removing accumulated karmic impressions or seeds [samskaras or vasanas], which cause undesirable habits and patterns. Sometimes these awakening life-force energies manifest through spontaneous physical, mental, or emotional actions or behaviors, which Guruji called kriyas.

Since my awakening experience, for over four decades I have continued to spontaneously experience unpremeditated tears, behaviors, feelings and sensations which have helped further my spiritual evolution, and through which I have joyfully attained utmost gratitude for this blessed life.

From “born-again Hindu” to “uncertain Undo” :

For many years, I attended public satsangs and followed Guruji’s prescribed practices to advance the purification process of undoing negative karmic conditioning. Then soon after Guruji’s mahasamadhi transition, I mostly stopped relying on outer spiritual authorities and events, and reclusively focused within to intuitively advance the evolutionary kundalini purification process sparked by my shaktipat initiation of undoing negative karmic conditioning.

Whereupon, I declared myself to be an “uncertain Undo”, rather than “born-again Hindu”. And I began writing aphorisms like “Undo Ego” and composing whimsical sutras like:


“On the path of undo we’ll never be through
’til we’re an undone ONE.”


Benefits from undoing ego:

Today, over four decades since asking “Who Am I?”, and realizing my true self-identity as pure awareness, I’m still not fully ‘undone’. So ego attrition continues. 

But as I’ve continued to more and more self-identify as spirit rather than body/mind, I’ve experientially found faith beyond belief, beyond dogmas or theology.    And I’m happier and more grateful for this precious lifetime than ever before.  (See https://sillysutras.com/ive-found-a-faith-based-life/)

Thus, from inner and outer experience, I’ve found that nondualism self-inquiry to “Know thyself” by asking “Who Am I?” can be supremely rewarding.

So today’s posting is dedicated to encouraging such self-inquiry, to discover and undo our illusory ego-mind self-identity propensities, thereby helping us find ever growing happiness.


Invocation:

By persistently questioning “Who Am I?”,
May we constantly undo ego illusions,
And thereby live ever happier lives,
Until ultimately as “An undone ONE!”
We “Know our Self”
as Eternal –

LOVE.



And so it shall be!


Ron Rattner

Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies
~ You are not what you think you are!

“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything, you are essentially conscious of yourself.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Personal entity and enlightenment cannot go together.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“You will know the truth, 
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“You are “gods”; you are all children of the Most High.”
~ Psalm 82: 6
“Your 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
Essence Of Advaita
E = mc2 = Consciousness
Subject = Object = Consciousness
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Theory of Everything:
E = mc2 = Consciousness = SELF.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Ramana Maharshi



Ron’s Introduction to “Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies”

Dear Friends,

Advaita-Vedanta means non-dualism: it is the oldest extant school of Hindu philosophy.

The following sutra-poem was composed after my midlife spiritual awakening. With the above quotations, and following explanations, it succinctly summarizes previously unimagined perennial wisdom insights about our true spiritual Self-identity and ultimate Reality.

These insights are especially important now because of current quickened “new normal” era cosmic energies which are elevating a “critical mass” of humanity toward unprecedented 5D lasting happiness beyond suffering in illusory 3D matrix reality,

So I have updated this posting and dedicate it to our inclusion in the awakening “critical mass”, and attainment of lasting happiness in these unique times.

May we consider and enjoy it accordingly!

Ron Rattner


“You are not what you think you are!”

You are not what you think you are:
You are not a person, or a personality.
You are not a body, or a nobody.
You are not your mind, or your thoughts.
You are infinite Eternal Awareness.

You are the screen, not the movie.
You are Rama, not the drama.
You are the glory, not the story.
You are the Whole, not your role.

So, wake up, and  –
Transcend entity identity!


Ron’s audio recitation of “You are not what you think you are!”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies

Dear Friends,

As revealed by the foregoing quotations and sutra-verses, we’re not what we think we are, but Infinite Eternal Awareness!

Until midlife I self-identified only with my mortal physical body, its thoughts and story, and believed that bodily death ended life.

But then I was then blessed with a synchronistic spiritual awakening, which revealed previously unimagined perennial wisdom insights about our true non-duality Self-identity and ultimate Reality, and bestowed ever increasing happiness and peace of mind.

The foregoing quotations and poem succinctly summarize my previously unimagined pivotal insights about our Self-identity and ultimate Reality.

Encouraged by my Guruji, since launching the SillySutras website in 2010, I have been sharing these insights online with the aspiration of helping others to similarly experience ever increasing happiness and peace of mind by realizing the illusion of “ego” and the true reality of non-duality.

From childhood we have been labeled and taught to self-identify only with a false and disempowering ego image; with a separate name, gender, and story about who and what we are. We are taught that we are each born into Nature as limited mortal beings; but, not that Nature is our nature, or that we are limitless Beings of Light sharing immortal common consciousness with all life-forms.

Thus, for millennia humans’ ignorance of our true identity and immortality, has resulted in our hallucination of separation from Nature, from each other, and from our sole Self and spirit, with consequent brutal insanity, selfishness and suffering. 

Yet, for countless ages sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we are not what we think we are!  That we suffer from perception-deception – with self-identity and reality not what they appear to be; but that it is possible to transcend inevitable karmic suffering of space/time body/mind 3D human existence through Self-Realization of infinite spiritual Reality – which is the Source and essence of all perceived creation.

Thereby we ultimately learn that:

1) We are not merely our mortal bodies. What we call “death” is just a vacation – eternal spirit vacating temporary physical vehicles. Cosmically, there is no death or time, just Eternal NOW! 

2) We are not our genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories – or the ‘voices in our heads’. 

3) We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But no matter how we are ‘labeled’, we’re all the same ‘under the hood’.
 
Concluding observations and dedication 

The foregoing perennial wisdom insights are especially important in these painfully turbulent and troubled post-pandemic “new normal” times. Paradoxically, they provide a unique opportunity for a “critical mass” of humankind to compassionately transform the world!

Although much of humanity continues to suffer illusory separation from each other and Nature, many others are awakening. Deeply disturbed by irrational and immoral interruptions of their normal lives, more and more people are compassionately awakening to our sacred connection with, and deep moral responsibility to cherish and lovingly preserve, all life on our precious planet Earth.

Moreover, currently quickened cosmic energies are elevating a “critical mass” of humanity to ascend toward unprecedented lasting 5D happiness beyond suffering in the illusory 3D matrix reality.

Such “critical mass” ascension will transcend current insanely unsustainable ecological desecration of precious planet Earth, and end barbaric exploitation of vulnerable beings and other life-forms, which now catastrophically threatens unprecedented destruction of all Earth life as we’ve known it..

Therefore, this updated Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies posting is dedicated to inspiring the spiritual awakening of a “critical mass” of our global family, and thereby our attainment of unprecedented happiness in these uniquely troubled times, until our ultimate spiritual Self Realization – as Infinite Non-Duality Reality.

And so shall it be!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner

Video

Also embedded and highly recommended below is this powerfully inspiring four minute YouTube viral video by rapper *Prince Eo already viewed over 100 million times and titled: “I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White” and also “I Am Not a Label; We Are One Race, The Human Race”

“I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White”


[*Prince Eo a/k/a “Makmantis X” also posted this video on Facebook titled: “This literally made me question everything.” There have been over 100 million YouTube and Facebook views. Prince credits his spiritually inspired perspectives to enduring ancient wisdom texts such as the Tao Te Ching and Bhagavad Gita.]

Who am ‘I’, and What is What?
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“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,

Twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi (pictured above) was renowned for his teachings of constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization. The following “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” sutra verses were inspired by those “Who am I?” teachings.

But I instinctively began asking “Who am I?”, when I was ignorant of ancient Eastern spiritual philosophy and identified only with my mortal physical body and its story. It happened after an unforgettably realistic out of body (OOB) experience during a 1974-5 “pot luck” New Year’s Eve party, where I unknowingly ingested marihuana.

Such “Who am I?” questioning resulted in a life changing spiritual awakening and rebirth, which eventually led to my discovery and acceptance of the non-dualism wisdom teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Over forty five years since that previously unimagined midlife awakening, I continue to irreversibly accept non-dualism teachings as pointing to ultimate Truth beyond ego-mind illusion. So I’m gratefully sharing this posting so that it may help others (as it helped me) find ever greater happiness in life.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


“Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

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?”

Listen to



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 of twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization. However, I instinctively began asking “Who am I?”, at a time when I was ignorant of ancient Eastern spiritual philosophy and identified only with my mortal physical body and its story.

After repeatedly asking “Who am I?” I experienced a previously unimagined life changing spiritual awakening and rebirth, which eventually led to my later discovery and acceptance of the non-dualism wisdom teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Here is the memoir story about how my life was blessed and transformed by instinctively and irresistibly asking “Who am I?”.

Over forty five 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 I’m not my body and thoughts, “Who am I?”. 

Fifteen months later, my “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 happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude, with faith in the mystery of Divinity: a continuing process of increasingly incorporating into my daily life the realization of Self-identity as eternal universal awareness, rather than as a merely mortal 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 non-dualism teachings of twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization.

At the time of my awakening I hadn’t yet learned about synchronicity. But retrospectively I’ve realized that my asking “Who am I?” was a wonderful synchronicity.  And that synchronicities are constantly present as important blessings in our lives.  So  that

“Life will give [us] whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of our consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle



Identifying “Ego”as Source of all Unhappiness and Suffering

In explaining the 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 with thought, 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. Thus 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.

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 disciplines, including the nondualism path of self-inquiry, addressed in today’s “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” sutra-verses.

Invocation

May today’s Who am ‘I’ and What is What? posting,
help us live ever happier lives,
and advance our spiritual evolution
until we realize that

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



And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner.

Finding Lasting Happiness
~ Ron’s Memoirs

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
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problems of human existence.”
~ Erich Fromm
“Our destiny is Divinity.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is a round trip metaphoric journey,
on which we are destined to return to point of origin.
On return, we learn – we never left.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Introduction to “How shall we find lasting happiness?”

Dear Friends,

We are all matriculating as supposed mortal body/minds on the illusory space/time Earth branch of the Great Cosmic University. We’re here to learn lasting happiness from our life experiences, especially from our karmic mistakes, pains and sufferings. We don’t ‘graduate’ until we learn to non-judgmentally accept everyone and everything everywhere in the Universe, (including ourselves and our enemies) with loving-kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Upon ‘graduation’ we find timeless happiness as LOVE, beyond all pain and suffering. There is no prescribed ‘graduation’ date.

But as we begin the ’second biannual semester’ of year 2021, I greet you with great news! The unprecedented “new normal” post-pandemic era of worldwide sufferings and interruptions of normal human life, has given us an unprecedented “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to co-create a new and wonderful world of lasting happiness, harmony and health, with peace, liberty, equality, and justice for all.

To explain how and why I optimistically foresee these blessings, I have today amended and posted the foregoing quotations and sutra sayings, and the following Q & A sutra essay about finding lasting happiness, with explanatory memoirs, and an updated “new normal” era addendum.

These wrings explain why unreal 3D linear time is being quickened by unique Aquarian age cosmic energies, and auspicious cyclical and astrological planetary alignments, to awaken a “critical mass” of humanity worldwide to our instinctive caring for one-another, which will impel us to follow our hearts to an unprecedented Earth-life era of Universal LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Q&A Sutra Essay: “How shall we find lasting happiness?”

Q. How shall we find lasting happiness?

A. We shall find lasting happiness upon transcending our illusionary ego-self, and Being our true 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 eternal SELF – and our ultimate destiny.

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

There mindfully we shall uncover and abolish all illusory ego-mind ideas which obscure awareness of our true SELF.

And upon so transcending our ego-self to BE our true SELF,
we shall find lasting happiness – as LOVE.


Ron’s memoir comments on “How shall we find 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?

Growing up in Chicago in the 1930’s and 40’s, I was intuitively inspired by a then very popular “hit parade” song, titled: “Bluebird of Happiness” passionately sung by operatic tenor and Jewish cantor Jan Peerce. But only on now listening to that classic recording, do I appreciate its inspiring ever-relevant lyrics. (To uplift us linked below are an mp3 copy of that recording and a pdf copy of it’s lyrics.)

In the 1950’s I first 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.

I was then 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, individually and collectively.

Thanks to continuing curiosity, and divine Grace, I have often been synchronistically 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, as Love.

So I’ve shared the foregoing quotations, sutras and Q & A essay/poem, 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, and ultimate destiny.

Invocation

May these writings encourage our experience, individually and societally, 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 heartfelt Love as we realize that “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problems of human existence.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Tenor Jan Peerce singing “Bluebird of Happiness” >

Listen to

Jan Peerce – Bluebird of Happiness Lyrics

http://www.songlyrics.com/jan-peerce/bluebird-of-happiness-lyrics/
Artist: Jan Peerce
Album: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

The beggar man and the mighty king are only different in name,

For they are treated just the same by fate.

Today a smile and tomorrow a tear, we never know what’s in store.

So learn your lesson before it is too late.



So be like I, hold your head up high ’til you find the bluebird of happiness.

You will find greater peace of mind, knowing there’s a bluebird of happiness.

And when he sings to you, though you’re deep in blue

You will see a ray of light creep through

And so remember this, life is no abyss

Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness.



The poet with his pen, the peasant with his plow,

It makes no different who you are, it’s all the same somehow.

The king upon his throne, the jester at his feet,

the artist, the actress, the man on the street.


It’s a life of smiles and a life of tears
It’s a life of hopes and a life of fears.

A blinding torrent of rain and a brilliant burst of sun,

A biting tearing pain and bubbling sparkling fun.

And no matter what you have, don’t envy those you meet.

It’s all the same, it’s in the game, the bitter and the sweet.



And if things don’t look so cheerful, just show a little fight.

For every bit of darkness, there’s a little bit of light.

For every bit of hatred, there’s a little bit of love.

Fore every cloudy morning, there’s a midnight moon above.



So don’t you forget, you must search ’til you find the bluebird.

You will find peace and contentment forever, if you will be like I.

Hold your head up high, ’til you see a ray of light appear.

And so remember this, life is no abyss

Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness.


“New normal” era addendum and dedication

Dear Friends,

Today’s posting (which emphasizes the perennial necessity of looking within to find lasting happiness) was first written before the world entered the unprecedented “new normal” post-pandemic era of worldwide stay at home ‘lock-downs’, with anti-assembly, forced masking and anti-viral inoculations, social distancing decrees, and shutting down most normal human social and economic activities, which may cause history’s greatest economic depression.

As I now write to you, billions of suffering people world-wide, while not distracted by their normal activities, are looking within for origins and answers to humanity’s unprecedented outer problems. Thereby, they are now questioning the causes of current crises, and realizing that their governments have utterly failed to protect or serve their fundamental human rights, liberties and needs.

Thus a “critical mass” of humanity is awakening to discover that we’ve become catastrophically endangered by sacrificing our few remaining precious outer freedoms to uncaring autocratic political and corporate entities and “leaders”; that this has brought humankind to the brink of insanely ending Earth-life as we’ve known it.

Paradoxically, our collective awakening is completely opposite to the malefic intent of those who planned and perpetrated the current crisis to fearfully and physically control us in an Orwellian/dystopian world. Instead of being paralyzed by fear and panic, a “critical mass” of humankind are discovering that by following our hearts, rather than “leaders’” unfounded edicts, we have a unique opportunity to co-create a new and wonderful world of peace, happiness, harmony and health, with liberty, equality, and justice for all.

Because of unprecedented Aquarian age cosmic energies, and auspicious cyclical and astrological planetary alignments, exceptionally advantageous to spiritual evolution, the pre-planned post-pandemic “new normal”emergencies have given us this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.

Accordingly, I urge our joining billions of others worldwide as an awakened “critical mass” of humanity which will, at long last, peacefully end the insane and unsustainable pillaging, poisoning and plundering our precious planet, and of immorally exploiting all vulnerable people and other life forms thereon.

Dedication

May our “new normal” era sufferings
prove an immense disguised blessing.
May they awaken our instinctive caring for one-another,
and impel us to follow our hearts
to a unique Earth-life era of Universal LOVE.


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Why Do We Suffer?
~ Quotations, Questions and Explanations

“Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.” “In Buddhism, ignorance as the root cause of suffering refers to a fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena.” “We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity.”
~ Dalai Lama
“All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others.”
~ Shantideva (Buddhist master)
“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.” “When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now. Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”

~ Eckhart Tolle
“No pain, no gain!”
~ Proverb
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”
~ Buddhist saying
“Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon;
suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is…The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.”
~ Dan Millman
Q. “How Can We End Suffering?
A. Be a Buddha, be a Tara;
Say sayonara to samsara.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“In the school of life we suffer
to learn compassion for those who suffer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Compassion is born from understanding suffering. We all should learn to embrace our own suffering, to listen to it deeply, and to have a deep look into its nature.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“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.”
~ Paramhansa Yogananda
“You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil. Or, you may keep your body and die only in the mind. The death of the mind is the birth of wisdom.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“All formations are ‘transient’ (anicca); all formations are ‘subject to suffering’ (dukkha); all things are ‘without a self’ (anatt ). Corporeality is transient, feeling is transient, perception is transient, mental formations are transient, consciousness is transient. And that which is transient, is subject to suffering. ”
~ Buddha
“When another person makes you suffer,
it is because he suffers deeply within himself,
and his suffering is spilling over.
He does not need punishment; he needs help.
That’s the message he is sending.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering.
When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go,
then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was
for you to drag those burdens around with you.
You’ll see that no one else other than you was responsible.
The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.”
~ Osho
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
~ Helen Keller
“My dear son, be patient, because the weaknesses of the body
are given to us in this world by God for the salvation of the soul.
So they are of t merit when they are borne patiently.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

~ Khalil Gibran
Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.
~ Aristotle
“[I]f the mind is attentive and does not move away from suffering at all, then you will see that out of total attention comes not only energy…but also that suffering comes to an end.”
“…when you suffer, psychologically, remain with it completely without a single movement of thought… Out of that suffering comes compassion.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
”As you would not like to change something very beautiful: the light of the setting sun, the shape of a tree in the field, so do not put obstacles in the way of suffering. Allow it to ripen, for with its flowering understanding comes. When you become aware of the wound of sorrow, without the reaction of acceptance, resignation or negation, without any artificial invitation, then suffering itself lights the flame of creative understanding.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“It is the truth that sets you free and not your effort to be free.
Suffering is but intense clarity of thoughts and feelings which makes you see things as they are.”
“I maintain that truth is a pathless land,
and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever,
by any religion, by any sect.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Shakyamuni_Buddha.


Introduction to “Why Do We Suffer?”

Dear Friends,

We are living in very difficult “new normal” times, with billions of people worldwide now enduring great stresses and sufferings. This posting is dedicated to helping us lessen our sufferings, and to enjoy increasing happiness despite unavoidable worldly problems and turmoil.

Although many of the ideas discussed in the foregoing quotations, and following Q & A essay and comments, are from Eastern teachings, they apply to all human suffering in this ever impermanent and illusory 3D world.

Q & A essay: “Why Do We Suffer?”

Q. The Buddha taught that human life entails unavoidable suffering (duhkha), but that we can be freed from suffering. Why do we suffer, and how can we be freed from suffering?

A. We suffer from ignorance (avidyâ) of our of our true self-identity and ‘reality’, and from our consequent egotistic thoughts, words and deeds, which subject us to the law of karma. Suffering ends when self-identity ignorance ends. Self-knowledge that we are Infinite Potentiality beyond conception, rather than merely mortal, separated, and limited physical persons, happens gradually as we learn from life experience.

Although enduring spiritual traditions propose different dsciplines for attaining such Self knowledge, they can not bestow it, but only point to the Self realization goal. Moreover, each person is unique, with a unique perspective and unique karmic history. So different methods may apply to different people.

An often recommended practice for overcoming such suffering is mindful introspection to identify, realize and transcend our unskillful inner tendencies.  Such attention and realization can gradually decrease and ultimately free us from mental suffering.


Ron’s Commentary on “Why Do We Suffer?”

Many years ago, as I was being treated for painful left leg injuries by Taoist master and Doctor of Chinese Medicine Sifu Wei Tsuei, I had an unforgettable experience.

During an acupuncture treatment, Sifu suddenly inserted a large metal needle into my left buttock, and I loudly exclaimed in pain, “OUCH!”. Whereupon Sifu responded,


“No pain, no gain!”


Then he quietly continued his treatment, which proved quite helpful.

Afterwards I often reflected on the wisdom of Sifu’s words, “No pain, no gain”, and learned they are a popular proverb. With human bodies we experience inevitable physical pain, which can be a crucial catalyst and incentive for spiritual evolution. As stated by another popular Buddhist proverb: 
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”.

Though we may not be free to choose our sometimes painful outer circumstances in life, we are always free to choose our psychological attitude about those circumstances.

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.” “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
~ Viktor E. Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning


Thus every painful earth life experience can be a disguised blessing furthering our spiritual evolution, and our ultimate transcendence of psychological suffering. And, the greater such suffering, the greater its potential blessing.

The foregoing important quotations and brief essay help explain why we suffer and how we can transcend psychological suffering. They are spiritual teachings which can help us suffer less, and live ever happier lives. So I urge our deep reflection on them.

Moreover, as mindfully we experience ever less suffering and ever more happiness, it becomes possible for some of us to realize that everything in human life is an enormous blessing.

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful
for the evolution of your consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not.
The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
~ Joseph Campbell


Addendum: Discussion of why “Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”

Dear Friends,

Hereafter I am privileged to share with you a (little known) profound colloquy about why we suffer between two of the most renowned Eastern spiritual teachers of the 20th century: Sri Ramana Maharshi, and Paramahansa Yogananda.

On Nov. 29th, 1935, Yogananda made a pilgrimage to holy Mt. Arunachala to meet Sri Ramana. During most of that day Ramana sat silently. However, he responded to a few questions from Yogananda, as follows:

Yogananda: How is the spiritual uplift of the people to be effected?
What are the instructions to be given them?

Maharshi: They differ according to the temperaments of the individuals and the spiritual ripeness of their minds. There cannot be any instruction en masse.

Yogananda: Why does God permit suffering in the world? Should He not with His omnipotence do away with it at one stroke and ordain the universal realization of God?

Maharshi: Suffering is the way for Realization of God.

Yogananda: Should He not ordain it differently?

Maharshi: It is the way.

Yogananda: Are yoga, religion, etc., antidotes to suffering?

Maharshi: Who suffers? What is suffering?

(Without responding to these rhetorical questions, Yogananda paused, arose and, prayed for Sri Ramana’s blessings for his own mission.)

Invocation.

With ever expanding and disciplined inner acceptance of inevitable outer problems, and with heartfelt compassion for the sufferings of all other sentient beings, may we

Remember with gratitude,
life is beatitude,

even its sorrows and pain;

For we’re all in God’s Grace,

every time, every place,

and

Forever (S)HE will reign!


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner