Self Inquiry

How can we choose happiness?

“The greatest discovery of any generation
is that human beings can alter their lives
by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“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





Introduction to “How can we choose happiness?”

Dear Friends,

The following essay about choosing happiness was composed and published ten years ago. Since then we’ve begun experiencing an extraordinarily stressful post-pandemic period, when it’s more difficult than ever before for many of us to feel happy.

Accordingly I’ve updated this happiness essay, and supplemented it with a large collection of key spiritual quotations (mostly from Rumi) with deep insights about experiencing happiness, even in traumatic times.

These writings are deeply dedicated to our choosing happiness by elevating our behaviors and attitudes, beyond prevailing polarized and fearful levels of human consciousness.

They are intended to encourage us to gratefully cherish our lives as gifts of God and Nature, and thereby to help bless the world and all Life everywhere as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Quotation Collection About Choosing to BE Happy


“The greatest discovery of any generation
is that human beings can alter their lives
by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery
that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds,
can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
~ William James

“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”
~ William James

“If you have made up your mind to find joy within yourself,
sooner or later you shall find it. Seek it now, daily,
by steady, deeper and deeper meditation within.
Make a true effort to go within and you shall find there
your longed-for happiness.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.

Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,

go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.

Think of the beauty that again and again 
discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”

~ Anne Frank


“The root of joy is gratefulness…

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

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;

it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“Whatever happens to you, don’t fall in despair. Even if all the doors are closed, a secret path will be there for you that no one knows. You can’t see it yet but so many paradises are at the end of this path…
Be grateful! It is easy to thank after obtaining what you want,
thank before having what you want.”
~ Rumi


For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


“If you want to be happy, BE.”

~ Leo Tolstoy

“Always be joyful. That is the only truly saintly state.”

~ Saint Teresa of Avila


“True happiness is to enjoy the present,

without anxious dependence upon the future.”

~ Seneca

“Do not look back,
No one knows how the world ever began.
Do not fear the future, Nothing lasts forever.
If you dwell on the past or future,
You will miss the moment.”
~ Rumi

“Except for Love, nothing you see will remain forever.”
~ Rumi

“Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased.
Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken.
But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever.”
~ Rumi

“In every religion there is love,
yet love has no religion.”
~ Rumi

“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

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”
~ Rumi

“Don’t dismiss the heart, even if it’s filled with sorrow.
God’s treasures are buried in broken hearts.”
~ Rumi

“Every leaf that grows will tell you:
what you sow will bear fruit,
so if you have any sense my friend,
don’t plant anything but Love.”
~ Rumi

“It’s your road, and yours alone.
Others may walk it with you,
but no one can walk it for you”
~ Rumi

“Yesterday I was clever,
so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
~ Rumi

“We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us.”
~ Rumi

“One of the marvels of the world:
The sight of a soul sitting in prison
with the key in its hand.”
~ Rumi

“While the mind sees only boundaries,
Love knows the secret way there.”
~ Rumi

“Love said to me,

there is nothing that is not me.

Be silent.”

~ Rumi

“Last night
I begged the Wise One to tell me
the secret of the world.
Gently, gently, he whispered,
“Be quiet,
the secret cannot be spoken,
It is wrapped in silence.””
~ Rumi

“There is nothing outside of yourself, look within.
Everything you want is there.
You are That.”
~ Rumi

“You are not just the drop in the ocean.
You are the mighty ocean in the drop.”
~ Rumi

It’s not our longitude

Or our latitude,

But the elevation of our attitude,

That brings beatitude.

***

So an attitude of gratitude

Brings beatitude.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



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!

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


How can we choose happiness?


Q.  Sometimes I’m happy and sometimes I’m sad.
Why aren’t I always happy?



A.  Even if our basic needs are satisfied and we are not suffering physically,
we aren’t always happy because of our state of mind– thoughts and moods which are ever changing and always alternating between happiness and unhappiness.



Q.  How can we be happier?



A.  By uplifting our mental and emotional attitudes.
Though we may not be free to choose our outer circumstances in life,
we are always free to choose our inner attitudes and thoughts about them.
Because we karmically ‘reap as we sow’,
our free will –not destiny– mostly determines whether we experience happiness.



Q.  Can we choose happiness?

A.  Yes!
We can choose happiness by mindfully discarding our thoughts of unhappiness.
And by gratefully accepting our lives as precious blessings.
So, we can choose happiness by gratefully saying “yes” to life.



Q.  It’s easy to advise that, but not easy to follow that advice.



A. Choosing happiness can be much easier said than done –
but it’s definitely doable.


Just as we can always choose to put a smile on our face, however we may feel,
we can always choose to replace unhappy thoughts
with attitudes of acceptance, gratitude and compassion.
Thereby, we eliminate the negative by accentuating the positive.

By thus choosing happiness, we can radically improve our lives.

So let us:



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


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.”


“The moment you put a mental label on another human being,
you can no longer truly relate to that person. . .
It then becomes possible to perpetrate any act of violence.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“If you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred
against anyone in the world at this moment,
we are contributing to the wounding of the world.”
~ Deepak Chopra


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



Introduction to “Transcending Violence”

Dear Friends,

The following Q and A essay about transcending violence was first composed and published almost four years ago. Since then we’ve begun experiencing an extraordinarily stressful, turbulent, and polarized “new normal” post-pandemic period with widespread global human violence and threats to life on Earth and innate human rights never before imagined by most of us, including me.

Accordingly I’ve felt intuitively impelled to amend and update the essay, (and to supplement it with a collection of important spiritual quotations), thereby explaining why to transcend violence it is crucial that humanity must now elevate our behavioral and emotional energies beyond those which have long-prevailed prior to this unprecedented “new normal” post-pandemic period.

These writings are deeply dedicated to transcendence of current unprecedented global violence by our loving, compassionate, fearless, and forgiving behaviors and emotions, beyond prevailing disharmonious levels of human consciousness.

May they encourage our conscious harmony with Nature, and unconditional Love and forgiveness for all Life everywhere.

May we thereby help bless the world as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Quotation Collection concerning “Violence”


“I believe that Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men in our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in anything you believe is evil.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The pursuit of truth does not permit violence on one’s opponent.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi 

“Violence is not only impractical but immoral.” 
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

“Nothing good ever comes of violence.”
~ Martin Luther 

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart,
cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Poverty is the worst form of violence.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Intolerance is itself a form of violence
and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“ An unjust law is itself a species of violence.
Arrest for its breach is more so.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Violence and injury enclose in their net all that do such things,
and generally return upon him who began.”
~ Lucretius

“Every leaf that grows will tell you:
what you sow will bear fruit,
so if you have any sense my friend,
don’t plant anything but Love.”
~ Rumi

“If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolute night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Violence should not be responded to with violence.
The only way out of violence and conflict is for us to embrace the practice of peace, to think and act with compassion, love, and understanding.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“To prepare for war, to give millions of men and women the opportunity to practice killing day and night in their hearts, is to plant millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear that will be passed on for generations to come. ”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct,
and tends to produce ferocity toward those
who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
~ Bertrand Russell

“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation.
Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people,
but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people
who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence
but also internal violence of spirit.
You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

“Violence does not necessarily take people by the throat and strangle them.
Usually it demands no more than an ultimate allegiance from its subjects.
They are required merely to become accomplices in its lies.”
~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“Violence can only be concealed by a lie,
and the lie can only be maintained by violence.”
~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“If you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred
against anyone in the world at this moment,
we are contributing to the wounding of the world.”
~ Deepak Chopra



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 conciously, there is violence.

Subtly, violence is unconscious human mental separation from others and Nature. So all such mental separation “breeds violence”.

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

Ron Rattner

Choosing Happiness:
~ a Synchronicity Story About Rosa Luxemburg


“The greatest discovery of any generation
is that human beings can alter their lives
by altering the attitudes of their minds.”

~ Albert Schweitzer

“Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing:

the last of the human freedom —

to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,

to choose one’s own way.”

~ Viktor Frankl

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.

Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,

go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.

Think of the beauty that again and again

discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”

~ Anne Frank

“The 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.”
~ 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.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Rosa Luxemburg, March 5, 1872–January 15, 1919


Choosing Happiness: a Synchronicity Story About Rosa Luxemburg

Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following synchronicity story about Rosa Luxemburg is one of my favorite and most inspiring manifestation miracle stories. It can encourage each of us to choose ever more inner happiness in our lives, as we realize and remember that we are always free to choose our attitude and thoughts about our outer circumstances in life, though we may not be free to choose those circumstances.

Also, this story can inspire us to steadfastly adhere to socially moral principles, like Mahatma Gandhi and (his disciple) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; and, it factually demonstrates how living a socially moral life in turbulent times invariably involves spiritual, religious, ethical and political behaviors.

Moreover, this amazing synchronicity story reminds us that synchronicities are noteworthy spiritual experiences emblematic of Reality beyond time, where there cannot be “coincidences” in time; that in timeless Reality we are ONE Divine SELF, eternally inseparable from each other, Nature and all Life everywhere.

Synchronicity background

In 2010 I was writing an essay about happiness as a choice; and, saying: “Though we may not be free to choose our outer circumstances in life, we are always free to choose our attitude and thoughts about those circumstances”. But, I was concerned whether SillySutras readers would question that statement absent some supporting facts. Whereupon, just as I was so reflecting, an unexpected and previously unknown eloquent answer to my concern synchronistically arrived in my email in-box – as a “manifestation miracle”.

While I was writing, I received an unexplained email message enigmatically entitled “Breslau Prison, December 1917 — Rosa Luxemburg”. Wondering what this was about I stopped drafting the essay about choosing happiness, and opened the email. It contained an excerpt from a letter written from Breslau prison by Rosa Luxemburg, a “pacifist and revolutionary socialist, [who] was repeatedly imprisoned and eventually murdered by forces of the German Reich on January 15, 1919.” The letter excerpt eloquently fulfilled my wish for evidence that we can choose happiness by choosing our inner attitude about our outer circumstances.

Until synchronistically receiving that mysterious message, I knew nothing about Rosa Luxemburg, so I consulted Dr. Google and Wikipedia, found an online copy of Rosa’s entire letter from Breslau prison, plus interesting biographies, with photo portraits. I learned that Polish-born and Jewish “Red Rosa” had been the founder of the Polish Social Democratic Party and headed the left wing of the German Social Democratic Party; that she was a political and societal revolutionary who is now revered as ‘patron saint’ of the German left – a visionary icon like Che Guevara or Joan of Arc.

At Christmastime in 1917, after almost three years as an unjustly jailed political prisoner, Rosa Luxemburg wrote from a dismal dark cell in Breslau Prison to Sophie Liebknecht, a friend whose husband Karl Liebknecht was also a political prisoner. [Karl was co-founder with Rosa of the Spartacus League, the precursor to the German Communist Party, and like Rosa was later murdered in 1919 by the German army.]

Instead of bemoaning her own fate, Rosa attempted to console Sophie who had been traumatically separated from Karl. Rosa expressed her motivation in writing thusly:

“My one desire is to give you ….
my inexhaustible sense of inward bliss. …..
Then, at all times and in all places,
you would be able to see the beauty, and the joy of life.”


Excerpts from Rosa’s extraordinary letter to Sophie:

“This is my third Christmas under lock and key, but you needn’t take it to heart. I am as tranquil and cheerful as ever. —– Last night my thoughts ran this-wise: ‘How strange it is that I am always in a sort of joyful intoxication, though without sufficient cause. Here I am lying in a dark cell upon a mattress hard as stone; the building has its usual churchyard quiet, so that one might as well be already entombed; through the window there falls across the bed a glint of light from the lamp which burns all night in front of the prison. —– I lie here alone and in silence, enveloped in the manifold black wrappings of darkness, tedium, unfreedom, and winter – and yet my heart beats with an immeasurable and incomprehensible inner joy, just as if I were moving in the brilliant sunshine across a flowery mead. And in the darkness I smile at life, as if I were the possessor of charm which would enable me to transform all that is evil and tragical into serenity and happiness.
But when I search my mind for the cause of this joy, I find there is no cause, and can only laugh at myself.’

“– I believe that the key to the riddle is simply life itself, this deep darkness of night is soft and beautiful as velvet, if only one looks at it in the right way. The gride of the damp gravel beneath the slow and heavy tread of the prison guard is likewise a lovely little song of life – for one who has ears to hear.

“At such moments I think of you, and would that I could hand over this magic key to you also. Then, at all times and in all places, you would be able to see the beauty, and the joy of life; then you also could live in the sweet intoxication, and make your way across a flowery mead. Do not think that I am offering you imaginary joys, or that I am preaching asceticism. I want you to taste all the real pleasures of the senses. My one desire is to give you in addition my inexhaustible sense of inward bliss. Could I do so, I should be at ease about you, knowing that in your passage through life you were clad in a star-bespangled cloak which would protect you from everything petty, trivial, or harassing.”


The letter ended with this postscript:

“Never mind, my Sonyusha; you must be calm and happy all the same. Such is life, and we have to take it as it is, valiantly, heads erect, smiling ever – despite all.”


Moral of the Rosa Luxemburg Story?

What can we learn from unjustly imprisoned Rosa Luxemburg’s “joyful intoxication” and “inexhaustible sense of inward bliss”; her professed ability “at all times and in all places, … to see the beauty, and the joy of life.”?

How was Rosa able to remain “tranquil and cheerful as ever” and selflessly and compassionately think of Sophie while suffering her own misfortune and unjust political imprisonment?

Can each of us – like Rosa Luxemburg – learn to accept life “as it is” and thereby find inner tranquility with an “inexhaustible sense of inward bliss”?

Was there a causal relationship between Rosa’s selfless concern for others and her experience of tranquility and inner bliss?

Was Rosa’s happiness her choice?

As explained in the above quotations and following commentary, I believe it is possible to choose inner happiness despite adverse outer circumstances; that by elevating our mental attitude we can experientially discover within inexhaustible and ever accessible eternal bliss.

What do you think?

~ Ron Rattner


Commentary on Rosa Luxemburg, Spirituality, and the Politics of Social Morality

Dear Friends,

As explained in the above introduction, this amazing story about Rosa Luxemburg can encourage each of us to choose ever more inner happiness in our lives, as we realize and remember that we are always free to choose our attitude and thoughts about our outer circumstances in life, though we may not be free to choose those circumstances.

Moreover, this amazing synchronicity story reminds us that synchronicities are noteworthy spiritual experiences emblematic of Reality beyond time, where there cannot be “coincidences” in time; that in timeless Reality we are ONE Divine SELF, eternally inseparable from each other, Nature and all Life everywhere.

Also, this story can encourage us to steadfastly adhere to socially moral principles, like Mahatma Gandhi and (his disciple) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; and it demonstrates how living a socially moral life in turbulent times invariably involves spiritual, religious, ethical and political behaviors.

Though she was martyred a century ago, Rosa Luxemburg’s inspiring resistance to German imperialism remains highly relevant to current dystopian times of insanely unsustainable exploitation of precious planetary lifeforms and resources by global imperialism now centered in the USA.

Paradoxically, just ten years after Rosa Luxemburg was bestially murdered on January 15, 1919, Nobel Peace laureate Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr was born on January 15, 1929, to become one of the most renowned world peace proponents in modern history. And paradoxically, like Rosa Luxemburg, Dr. King was also martyred for criticizing imperialist violence of his time.

But, instead of Germany, Dr. King decried US empire violence, saying:


“I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.” 

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

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

“Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as His divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.” .. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ..“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”


Barbarically violent and immorally unsustainable governmental exploitation decried by both Rosa Luxemburg and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in their 19th and 20th century times, persist in current 21st century “new normal” dystopian times, historically demonstrating that imperialism and democracy cannot co-exist.

Whatever economic system may be most appropriate for these troubled times, it needs to be democratically determined – bottom-up – by each human society and productive enterprise, not hierarchically imposed – top-down – by a tiny worldwide minority of psychopathically exploitative ruling billionaires.

Especially, because we face possibly imminent catastrophic nuclear or ecological extinction of human life on Earth, it is imperative that Humankind cherish Nature NOW, or perish from this precious planet; that we revive and rekindle the universal outer light of ‘Liberty, Equality And Fraternity’, while collectively accessing our shared Eternal inner light of Truth and LOVE.

May we be inspired to do that by remembering Rosa Luxemburg’s relentless pursuit of social justice morality, with amazingly continuous inner joy, despite extraordinarily unjust and dire outer circumstances.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner




Swami Vivekananda: 15 Laws of Life

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
“…this separation between man and man, between nation and nation,
between earth and moon, between moon and sun.
Out of this idea of separation between atom and atom comes all misery.
But the Vedanta says that this separation does not exist, it is not real.”
~ Swami Vivekananda [Jnana Yoga]
‘Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen…In the Absolute there is neither time, space, nor causation.’
~ Swami Vivekananda [Jnana Yoga]
“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 [Jnana Yoga]
“But if there is ever to be a universal religion, it must be one which will hold no location in place or time; which will be infinite, like the God it will preach; whose Sun shines upon the followers of Krishna or Christ, saints or sinners, alike; which will not be the Brahman or Buddhist, Christian or Mohammedan, but the sum total of all these, and still have infinite space for development; which in its Catholicity will embrace in its infinite arms and find a place for every human being … It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polity, which will recognize a divinity in every man or woman, and whose whole scope, whose whole force, will be centered in aiding humanity to realize its divine nature.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

 

Swami Vivekananda, January 12, 1863 – July 4, 1902 *


Photo Inscription. *In September 1893 in Chicago, USA, Swami Vivekananda reverently autographed this photo with the handwritten inscription:

“One infinite pure and holy –
beyond thought beyond qualities
I bow down to thee”
.


Introduction.

This posting honors Swami Vivekananda, the great 19th century Indian sage and orator, and founder of Western Vedanta Societies, on his 159th birthday anniversary.

As principle disciple of Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda first brought universal Indian wisdom to large Western audiences beginning as Indian delegate to the historic 1893 Chicago Parliament of World Religions, where his opening remarks famously addressed his “Sisters and Brothers of America”, and concluded with this prayerful invocation:

“I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.”


[Reenacted excerpts from his Parliament speeches are linked below.]

Thereupon and thereafter Swami Vivekananda eloquently explained to Westerners ancient perennial principles of Hinduism, and why according to Advaita Vedanta philosophy this impermanent and ever changing world of space, time and causality is illusory; that “In the Absolute there is neither time, space nor causation.”

Though Vedic rishis or seers had anticipated Einstein’s 1905 theory of relativity by millennia, their teachings were largely unknown in the West until first explained by Vivekananda soon before Einstein revolutionized Western science.

Swami Vivekananda experientially had realized as impermanent and illusory the appearance of our space, time, causality reality. From his rare level of nondualist consciousness he shared many wise perennial teachings to guide our lives on Earth, including the “Fifteen Laws of Life”, which follow.

Written over a hundred years ago, these wisdom teachings remain relevant worldwide in current critical times.

May they deeply inspire and guide us to help heal the World by realizing and experiencing their fundamental truths.


Swami Vivekananda: 15 Laws of Life.

1. 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.

2. It’s Your Outlook That Matters: It is our own mental attitude, which makes the world what it is for us. Our thoughts make things beautiful; our thoughts make things ugly. The whole world is in our own minds. Learn to see things in the proper light.

3. Life is Beautiful: First, believe in this world – that there is meaning behind everything. Everything in the world is good, is holy and beautiful. If you see something evil, think that you do not understand it in the right light. Throw the burden on yourselves!

4. It’s The Way You Feel: Feel like Christ and you will be a Christ; feel like Buddha and you will be a Buddha. It is feeling that is the life, the strength, the vitality, without which no amount of intellectual activity can reach God.

5. Set Yourself Free: The moment I have realised God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him – that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.

6. Don’t Play The Blame Game: Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.

7. Help Others: If money helps a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better.

8. Uphold Your Ideals: Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.

9. Listen To Your Soul: You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.

10. Be Yourself: The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves!

11. Nothing Is Impossible: Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin – to say that you are weak, or others are weak.

12. You Have The Power: All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.

13. Learn Everyday: The goal of mankind is knowledge… now this knowledge is inherent in man. No knowledge comes from outside: it is all inside. What we say a man ‘knows’, should, in strict psychological language, be what he ‘discovers’ or ‘unveils’; what man ‘learns’ is really what he discovers by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge.

14. Be Truthful: Everything can be sacrificed for truth, but truth cannot be sacrificed for anything.

15. Think Different: All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.


Ron’s Dedication.

This posting honors both Swami Vivekananda and his renowned Spiritual Master, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, whose lives and teachings have been extraordinarily inspirational for countess beings, including me. Additionally it honors my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, who was also inspired by Vivekananda.

Vivekananda considered Shri Ramakrishna as “higher and nobler than all ordinary” teachers, and attributed all his powers to Ramakrishna, saying:

“All that I am . . is owing to my Master, Shri Ramakrishna, who incarnated and experienced and taught this wonderful unity which underlies everything, having discovered it alike in Hinduism, in Islam, and in Christianity.” [His] “One touch, one glance, can change a whole life.”


Synchronistically, my Guruji Shri Dhyanyogi – who was another one of those rare great beings whose “One touch, one glance, can change a whole life.” – was crucially inspired and helped by Vivekananda. 

The fascinating story of how this happened is told in “This House is on Fire, The Life of Shri Dyanyogi”, pp  61-64, by Shri Anandi Ma.

After fifteen years of solitary wandering in rural India Guruji had a dramatically transformative vision of Vivekanda, who assured Guruji that he would reach his spiritual goal. 

Soon thereafter Guruji discovered and was enthralled by Vivekananda’s teachings published in the book Raja Yoga, which included his apt lectures in the West, and commentaries explaining Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, widely accepted as a foundational Sanskrit text of  Raja Yoga philosophy. 

Guruji continuously read and re-read Vivekandanda’s Raja Yoga book, like a scripture, and ultimately he repeatedly recommended it to his disciples, including me.

Invocation.

May these precious wisdom teachings continue to inspire and guide countless people worldwide in current critical times.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Reenacted audio excerpts from Vivekananda talks at 1893 Chicago Parliament of World Religions.








There’s Nothing Ahead ~ Rumi


“Come out of the circle of time
And into the circle of love.”
~ Rumi

“The Past, the Future, O dear, is from you;
you should regard both these as one.”
~ Rumi

“Fling me across the fabric of time and the seas of space.
Make me nothing and from nothing-everything.”
~ Rumi

“The Eternal looked upon me for a moment with His eye of power,
and annihilated me in His being,
and become manifest to me in His essence.
I saw I existed through Him.”
~ Rumi

“I am an ark in the swift flood of time,
and my companions, a fellowship.
Who throws in with us sails into light.”
~ Rumi

“Forget the future.”
“The day is conscious of itself.”
~ Rumi



There’s Nothing Ahead ~ Rumi

Lovers think they’re looking for each other,
but there’s only one search:
wandering this world is wandering that,
both inside one transparent sky.
In here there is no dogma
and no heresy.

The miracle of Jesus is himself,
not what he said or did about the future.
Forget the future.
I’d worship someone who could do that.

On the way, you may want to look back, or not.
But if you can say, There’s nothing ahead,
there will be nothing there.

Stretch your arms
and take hold of the cloth of your clothes
with both hands.
The cure for pain is in the pain.
Good and bad are mixed.
If you don’t have both,
you don’t belong with us.

When one of us gets lost,
is not here, he must be inside us.
There’s no place like that
anywhere in the world.


Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi,
Translation: Coleman Barks

There’s Nothing Ahead ~ Rumi



Voice: Md Taufikur Rahman
background Music:
🎵 Song: ‘Juan Sánchez – Now The Silence’ is under a Free for YouTube license.
https://soundcloud.com/juansanchezcom…

Freedom or Slavery?
~ Choosing to BE – Choicelessly FREE

Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty
when the state has become lawless or corrupt. 
 And a citizen who barters with such a state
shares in its corruption and lawlessness.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing:

the last of the human freedom —
to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.”

~ Viktor Frankl
“Ultimate freedom is not

freedom of choice,

but freedom from choice.

Ego is free to choose,

but is never free.

Self does not choose,

but is ever free.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Introduction

Dear Friends,

Happy Holiday Season of Light!

Notwithstanding the holiday season, I feel impelled to publish this serious “Freedom or Slavery” posting because we have reached an apocalyptically rare turning point in modern human history. While enjoying the holidays, I respectfully ask your brief review of the momentous Earth-life issues hereafter summarized with writings, links, and in two brief embedded videos.

It’s impossible to always be ego-free

Except for rare Buddha-like beings, it’s impossible for us to always be ego-free. Until we attain Self Realization, we’re all evolving beyond egoically misidentifying ourselves as separated from Source, instead of BEING as ONE immortal SELF.

While we so evolve, we have apparent separate free will. But until we transcend ego, we ‘reap as we sow’ and experience continuing karmic consequences, depending upon how we use our minds.


According to the Bhagavad Gita, the human mind can be our best friend or worst enemy. We can choose to use it to skillfully advance, or unwisely to deter, our spiritual evolution. (https://sillysutras.com/what-is-the-human-mind-is-it-best-friend-or-worst-enemy/)

We’ve reached a rare social justice turning point in modern human history

Deeply held Gandhian social justice perspectives motivate publication of these “Freedom or Slavery” views (despite the holiday season) because we have reached an extremely rare social justice turning point in modern human history. Like Mahatma Gandhi, and his disciple Dr. King, we can “be the change” we wish to see if we relentlessly assert our fundamental human morality in non-violent civil disobedience to corrupt government decrees.

A “critical mass” of spiritually aware people can now assure human freedom from past earthly sufferings by relentlessly resisting and adamantly refusing to follow present immoral and unlawful pandemic decrees of our corrupt ruling “leaders”. These decrees are intended to initiate an unprecedented era of brainwashed cyborg slavery on surviving human societies – especially upon our children’s generations.

Therefore, this posting is urgently dedicated to protecting our children by inspiring a “critical mass” of spiritually aware adults to relentlessly refuse to obey immoral, hypocritical, and unlawful “new normal” pandemic decrees.

Background Information

Previous postings explain why we have reached a rare turning point in human history and suggest how Gandhian civil disobedience methods can assure our skillful escape from exploitation and domination, thereby forever freeing us from needless suffering.

For example, I’ve suggested that we turn off all mainstream information media which are all dishonestly dominated and controlled by our “leaders”. In these extraordinary times, true information is systematically censored or mischaracterized, while brave truth-tellers are slandered or ridiculed if not totally censored. We must not be diverted or confused by false information or speculation, which is published with insidious motives.

For truthful information, we need to consider non-mainstream sources, especially those which are ridiculed, slandered or censored by mainstream media.
[See essay and authorities https://sillysutras.com/from-co-dependent-exploitation-to-co-creative-realization-a-rare-turning-point-in-human-history/.]

Also at https://sillysutras.com/time-cycling/ I’ve explained (with citations) why a small but growing number of spiritually aware humans (like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Catherine Austin Fitts) are determined to nonviolently disobey unlawfully evil edicts of our “leaders” and “rulers”. which they see as deprivations of God-given and constitutional rights, confronting us with “slavery unless we choose freedom”.

And I’ve embedded below two very brief videos by highly qualified experts:

1) An important recent 5 minute YouTube video address by business and US government expert Catherine Austin Fitts, investment banker, former managing director of Dillon, Read & Co., and HUD cabinet member, during presidency of George H.W. Bush, who has widely lectured and written about government fraud. She succinctly explains why survival of Earth life as we’ve known it impels civil disobedience of pandemic edicts.

2) A 4 minute video (completely censored from YouTube and mainstream media) of recent testimony at an Edmonton, Canada, City Council Committee meeting by Dr Roger Hodkinson who is former Chairman of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons committee in Ottawa, prior CEO of a large private medical laboratory in Edmonton, Alberta, and for the past 20 years Chairman of a Medical Biotechnology company based in North Carolina. He is a medical specialist in pathology, which includes virology, who trained at Cambridge University in the UK. His expert testimony details “utterly unfounded public hysteria driven by the media and politicians”.

Further, at https://sillysutras.com/spirituality-religion-and-politics-rons-memoirs/ I’ve explained (with detailed quotations and citations) how historically insidious repetition of outrageously false propaganda has been used to successfully terrorize societies which have thereby fearfully and insanely participated in outrageously immoral wars, killing countless innocent civilians and children.

Current insights

Growing numbers of spiritually aware people see that current “new normal” era pre-planned purported “pandemics” have replaced false flag alleged 9/11’“terrorists” as fraudulently fomented pretenses for wars enslaving and murdering countless humans, and desecrating our precious planet for its “resources”.

Catherine Austin Fitts – Choose Freedom not Slavery video




Dr Roger Hodkinson destroys Covid in 4 mins.




Conclusion: Choose to BE FREE

We can and must end immoral exploitation empowering the (under 1%) obscenely-rich corrupt plutocratic ruling class at the expense of the (over 99%) rest of us.

By fearlessly and relentlessly refusing to obey malignantly immoral and unlawful pandemic decrees with mass Gandhian civil disobedience, we will quickly render these corrupt edicts enforceable.

And thus we will reject slavery, and forever
Choose to BE FREE.

Dedication

These writings are deeply dedicated to encouraging and inspiring a “critical mass” of humankind to choose to BE Choicelessly FREE, by relentlessly refusing to obey malignantly immoral and unlawful pandemic decrees. And thereby to protect survival of our children’s generations, and to hasten our destined joyous proclamation that:

“Free at last, free at last.

Thank God Almighty,
we are free at last”

Invocation

May our fearless disobedience of
“new normal” pre-planned pandemic propaganda decrees
hasten our destined spiritual evolution

to timeless Freedom –

And Realization that
Eternally we are:

FREE at last, FREE at last!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Choosing Happiness
~ Sutra Poem and Quotes

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

“The root of joy is gratefulness…
We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.
For it is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

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

“If you want to be happy, be.”
~ Leo Tolstoy

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

“True happiness is to enjoy the present,
without anxious dependence upon the future.”
~ Seneca






Choosing Happiness

Life is perpetual,
but happiness is optional.

It’s choice – not chance,
free will – not destiny,
that determines our happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind or no mind – an attitude –
which thoughtlessly observes and accepts “what Is”,

So, to choose happiness,
Say “yes” to Life.

Mindfully end unhappy thoughts,
and gratefully accept “what Is”.



Ron’s audio recitation of Choosing Happiness

Listen to


Composting Life’s Sufferings

“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
“Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“There are those who say that in their heaven there is no suffering.
But if there is no suffering, how can there be happiness?
We need compost to grow flowers, and mud to grow lotuses.
If you know how to make good use of the mud, you can grow beautiful lotuses.
If you know how to make good use of suffering, you can produce happiness.”
“We do need some suffering to make happiness possible.
And most of us have enough suffering inside and around us to be able to do that.
We don’t have to create more.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Both suffering and happiness are of an organic nature, which means they are both transitory; they are always changing. The flower, when it wilts, becomes the compost. The compost can help grow a flower again.
Happiness is also organic and impermanent by nature.
It can become suffering, and suffering can become happiness again.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“The ground’s generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty!
Try to be more like the ground.”
~ Rumi
“Earth is a world of mysterious interdependently co-arising complexities,
which we are constantly composting but can’t comprehend.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings 




Introduction to “Composting Life’s Sufferings”

Dear Friends,

“Composting Life’s Sufferings” is a brief sutra essay dedicated to helping us insightfully examine and improve our lives as human beings on planet Earth, where suffering is inevitable. It metaphorically views our physical lifetimes as natural evolutionary processes, by comparing them to the composting process, well known to organic farmers and gardeners, and urban waste processors.

It is shared to encourage us to skillfully process our psychological ‘garbage’, and thereby experience ever increasing happiness, and ultimate fulfillment of our deepest inner aspirations.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Composting Life’s Sufferings

In Nature nothing is wasted. All energy is conserved. Eventually everything is recycled.

As part of Nature, all human bodies are recycled. Every physical body inevitably dies, disintegrates and is returned to Mother Earth.


“No matter how we strive, no body leaves alive.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


But each physical human body is survived on its fleshly death by associated subtle bodies: astral, mental, and causal. And – like all else in Nature – these subtle bodies are not wasted. After persisting in other planes, most are recycled. They are accessed and used as ‘software’ for other physical bodies, in a process known as reincarnation. In very rare cases they may transcend all worlds of form, and merge with infinite eternal Awareness – their Source.

Composting is a natural recycling process. Gardeners know that through composting organic material can be recycled and re-used as mulch for growing new plants. Composting enriches the ground where new plant-life is cultivated, and so hastens Nature’s inevitable recycling processes.

Just as composting physical garbage can hasten garden growth, we can advance our spiritual growth process by composting our ‘psychological garbage’. Thus, Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh counsels us to metaphorically compost our anger to transform it into “peace, love, and understanding”, and our suffering to “produce happiness”.

Human life has inevitable ‘ups and downs’, difficulties, and challenges. Though we appear physically different, inwardly we all share similar mental and emotional ‘software’, with which we can process life’s challenges.

Therefore, let us naturally, communally, and cooperatively ‘compost’ earth-life’s unavoidable challenges and sufferings by lovingly, fearlessly and faithfully following our heart.


“The way is not in the sky.
The way is in the heart.”
~ Buddha


Invocation

Together may we fearlessly follow our heart to experience ever increasing happiness, and ultimate fulfillment of our deepest inner aspirations.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

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