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Sutra Sayings Collection

Vision Quest: From Eyesight to Insight
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake
“True vision is insight, not eyesight.
‘[N]ow we see through a glass darkly’,
but with ever expanding human consciousness and ever deepening insight,
we can and shall ‘see’ more and more –
we can and shall see what we couldn’t see before.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
~ Carl Jung
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight,
but has no vision.”
~ Helen Keller
“As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind,
so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.”
~ Helen Keller
“Perception is a mirror not a fact.
And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”
~ A Course In Miracles
“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


Introduction.

Dear Friends,

This is the story of how I learned from inner and outer experiences that true vision depends on our state of mind and upon imagination and insight beyond mere eyesight; that even people with no eyesight, like Helen Keller, can be visionaries.

Since childhood I wore eyeglasses for normal eyesight. And until my midlife spiritual awakening, I self-identified only with my physical body. So when diagnosed and told by “expert” eye doctors that I suffered incurably defective vision, requiring corrective lenses I never questioned that diagnosis. Nor did I consider defective eyesight as improvable or curable. Nor did I understand vision as a brain function, or as possibly arising from consciousness beyond the brain.

But those beliefs changed after extraordinary inner and outer post-awakening experiences, which began a still continuing vision quest process from eyesight to insight.

My eyesight history

At about age three my parents brought me to an ophthalmologist for a misaligned eye. I was diagnosed with astigmatism and far-sightedness and prescribed thick eyeglasses – which I always required, but never liked. Gradually, I was given ever stronger prescriptions.

I became so habitually dependent on eyeglasses that I would grope for them upon awakening every morning, and wore them constantly. Once when I was a pre-teen at a YMCA summer camp, one of my cabin mates, with a distorted sense of humor, hid my glasses for several days. I still remember how lost and miserable I felt without them.

When I was eighteen years old and a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a college friend, who later became a prominent Chicago optometrist, told me about corneal contact lenses, which were then newly developed. And he recommended a Chicago expert who could usually fit them comfortably. Excitedly, I became an early corneal contact lens user.

Thereafter, I continued wearing hard contact lenses for about twenty five years, even though they sometimes irritated my eyes. But eventually I needed reading glasses and couldn’t get bifocal contact lenses. So, reluctantly I resumed using eyeglasses, which I believed necessary until after the extraordinary inner and outer spiritual awakening experiences hereafter recounted.
 

Ron - age 3 1/2

Ron – age 3 1/2

 
Out of body visions

At a 1974-5 San Francisco New Year’s Eve party, I had an unprecedented and unforgettable out of body experience (OOB). While lying face down on a bed in a small dark room, “I” floated out of my body and up to the ceiling. And from the ceiling, with my glasses on a bedside table, I beheld my body lying face down on the pillow. For the first time in my life I had 20/20 vision without eyeglasses, and without even using my eyes – or maybe my brain.

The New Year’s OOB experience soon led to a pivotal rebirth epiphany at age forty three, which, opened an emotional/intuitive flood-gate closed since childhood – unleashing for the first time in my adult life numerous synchronistic inner and outer experiences which gradually but radically changed my beliefs about “reality” and self-identity.

After the rebirth experience I had other out of body experiences with perceived visions, as well as innumerable inner visions and insights. Ultimately, I associated inner visions with a mysterious “third eye” associated with the pineal gland – providing apparent perception beyond ordinary eyesight. For example, I took shaktipat initiation from my Hindu master Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas only after perceiving his extraordinary silver aura and seeing him in inner visions, one of which was as clear as a color TV picture. And I learned from Guruji that such auric perceptions and inner visions were associated with the kundalini purification process.

Bates Bioenergetic Vision Improvement Method

Shortly before meeting Guruji I attended a San Francisco ‘new age’ exposition where various ‘green’ products were displayed and sold. One of the vendors was selling pin-hole glasses and a book she had written about natural vision improvement, as originally taught in the early 20th century by unconventional ophthalmologist William H. Bates, MD.

Synchronistically she told me that possibly I might improve and perhaps even cure my defective eyesight with natural vision improvement techniques; that pin-hole glasses did not improve vision but afforded an opportunity break the ‘addiction’ to glasses via obligatory squint focus through its small apertures.

Intrigued, I bought the book and the pin-hole glasses and assiduously began learning and experimenting with natural vision relaxation techniques, such as blinking, sunning, swaying, acupressure massage and palming. Experientially, I became persuaded that just as the so-called “placebo effect” could promote healing of physical ailments through optimistic attitude, that a relaxed and positive psychological attitude could also help improve eyesight.

I was encouraged in this belief by reading many eye improvement books, including “The Art of Seeing” by famed author Aldous Huxley, who gratefully affirmed how he improved his vision via Bates techniques. For several years I received vision improvement lessons from Anna Kaye, a former Polish attorney who had emigrated to the United States after World War II unable to see a door, and diagnosed with incurable atrophy of the optic nerve. Four ophthalmologists had recommended she learn Braille. But, unable to accept near blindness, she studied natural vision improvement with a Bates protegee in New York City and regained 20/30 vision in both eyes.

Also, I later met and was inspired by Meir Schneider PhD, a San Francisco healer from Israel whose vision improved from legal blindness and Braille to near normal sight with the Bates Method, supplemented by his own intense regimen of self-massage and movement.

Despite years of effort, I never succeeded in normalizing my vision with Bates relaxation techniques. At my present level of consciousness, relaxation did not normalize a misshapen cornea and resulting astigmatism. But I’m convinced that relaxation and other Bates methods improved and stabilized my vision, deterred cataract formation, and taught me much about my body’s energy system; that thereby they have contributed to good health. At age eighty eight, I still get a binocular 20/30 correction with progressive multifocal lenses which are not as strong as eyeglasses prescribed for me about thirty years ago, which I keep as souvenirs.

Ron’s Vision Quest: From Eyesight to Insight

On meeting Guruji, I was amazed not only by his miraculous spiritual powers but also by his extraordinary physical prowess at age one hundred, including his ability to see normally without glasses. Initially, I surmised that Guruji’s miraculous physical condition had resulted from his enlightened state of mind, and his mastery of yogic meditation, mantra, movement, and breathing techniques. So naively I began believing that “enlightenment” required not only a mind free from ego defilements, but also a healthy physical body with normal eyesight. And this belief motivated me more than ever to attempt normalizing my eyesight via Bates bioenergetic techniques.

But, gradually Guruji became physically exhausted and debilitated from his tireless schedule of selflessly helping others in the US. Yet he retained his enlightened state of mind. And soon I learned of other spiritual masters and saints with unhealthy bodies and/or impaired eyesight. So, I learned it was possible to be spiritually elevated, notwithstanding visual and other physical impairments.

For example, I noted that HH The Dalai Lama of Tibet, needed eyeglasses for near-sightedness. And after Guruji returned to India, I met and took kriya empowerments from Paramahamsa Hariharananda Giri, an Indian meditation master who also needed eyeglasses.

Also I learned that beloved Saint Francis of Assisi was almost blind at the time of his death, legendarily because he “cried his eyes out” but actually because of chronic conjunctivitis apparently contracted in Africa during the Crusades.

Thus, though ultimately I accepted my inability to normalize eyesight without glasses, I’ve never lost faith in our evolutionary potential of ever elevating inner vision through mindful identification and diligent purification of mental defilements.

Conclusion

In the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:11-12), St. Paul observes that “now we see through a glass darkly”, but that some day we shall fully know, as we are fully Known now by the Divine.  

In our illusory space/time duality world, we view “reality” through the ‘mirror of the mind’, which imperfectly refracts and reflects the unseen light of Eternal Awareness onto the screen of our human consciousness.  

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

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

Beholding Divinity in a Weeping Willow Tree
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery

“People think that they see, but they don’t.”
~ Henry Moore
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
~ Michelangelo
“True Vision is insight, not eyesight.
Eyesight is mind-sight; insight is soul-sight.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,

The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem 

Appareled in celestial light,

The glory and the freshness of a dream.

It is not now as it hath been of yore;

Turn wheresoe’er I may, 

By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see not more.”
~ William Wordsworth, Intimations of Immortality




Beholding Divinity in a Weeping Willow Tree

Dear Friends,

In early 1980’s I experienced at Wilbur Hot Springs, an unforgettably revelatory experience of perceiving luminescent Divine light streaming in a weeping willow tree. (*See Footnote) I was attending a week-end Board and staff retreat of the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), as Board Chairman.

One morning I awakened early before any scheduled meetings, and meditated on a wooded hill above the lodge level. After descending I walked with a silent mind on a nature trail near the lodge. Whereupon, I discovered and crawled into a tiny cave where I again sat in deep meditation for a while. (Later, I learned that cave had long been considered a sacred place by original indigenous people there.)

On emerging from the cave, and while unknowingly still in an ‘altered’ state of awareness, I walked to the bathhouse, removed my clothes, stepped outside, and immersed my body in a large shallow hot springs pond.  

While standing alone in the stilled pond with a stilled mind, I gazed at a beautiful weeping willow tree beside the pond on the side furthest from the bath house.  Instead of seeing the tree as it appeared during usual waking consciousness, I beheld it marvelously transfigured as ever streaming lines of white light, more beautiful than any imaginable Christmas tree.

Unaware of my exceptional state of consciousness, I kept gazing at the tree in awe. After a while Tara, a CIIS staff member, entered the pond.  Then, innocently I addressed her: “Tara, look at the lights in that tree.  Aren’t they beautiful?”  Puzzled, Tara responded “What lights?”.   And immediately the lights disappeared for me, as I was abruptly returned to my usual state of waking ‘un-consciousness’.  

But I can never forget the flowing tree lights, nor the insight which they confirmed:  That there is much more to our “reality” than meets the eye; that “Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence”.

Later that day, I recounted my experience to Dr. John Broomfield, then CIIS President, who cited me to this similar experience of author Annie Dillard:

“[O]ne day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it.  I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame.  I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed.  It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance.  The lights of the fire abated, but I’m still spending the power.  Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells unflamed and disappeared.  I was still ringing.  I had my whole life been a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.” 
~ Annie Dillard, A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek 


Like Annie Dillard’s tree vision at Tinker Creek, beholding the transfigured weeping willow at Wilbur Springs was for me an unforgettably inspiring and transformative experience for which I remain ever grateful.

May these and similar stories ever remind us that “Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence”; that we are all Divine beings of light, gradually remembering and co-creating ever more luminous and numinous Earth lives.


And so may it be,

Ron Rattner


Footnote* Other memorable experiences of Divine light, beginning with an epiphany in Yosemite, are recounted elsewhere in these memoirs.



Beholding Divinity in a Crowded Courtroom
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“We are beings of light –
Eternal and bright,
and so shall ever be.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift
It’s not our longitude
Or our latitude,
But the elevation of our attitude,
That brings beatitude.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“The goal is not to lose oneself in the Divine Consciousness.
The goal is to let the Divine Consciousness penetrate into Matter and transform it.”
Sri Aurobindo – The Mother 15: p.191




Beholding Divinity in a Crowded Courtroom

Ron’s Introduction

Dear Friends,

After my midlife spiritual awakening, I gradually realized that the common Essence of everything in our phenomenal “reality” is the inner Eternal Light of pure Awareness.

Today’s memoirs story significantly contributed to that realization. It tells of a ‘miraculous’ mystical vision in a crowded San Francisco courtroom which revealed that everyone and everything everywhere is Divine, and that experiencing God depends on our state of mind, rather than our physical environment.  

I’m again sharing this story because its mystical revelation (from over forty years ago) is especially important in current “new normal” times, as our world is increasingly troubled, turbulent and politically polarized, with countless people fearfully experiencing poverty, hunger, sickness, and deprivation of basic human rights, while justifiably concerned that a nuclear holocaust or catastrophic climate collapse might soon end life on Earth as we have known it.

So this story is intended to help us live with inner peace and happiness, in an age of extreme mental malaise unprecedented in modern recorded human history.

Background

For two years prior to the revelatory courtroom vision, I’d become profoundly motivated by post-divorce lifestyle changes and spiritual awakening experiences to change my life’s focus from litigation to meditation. But I felt moral and legal obligations to support and nurture my two young children, from whom I had been traumatically separated. 

So I was feeling frustration about apparent conflict between an intense desire to retreat to an ashram or other quiet environment, and need to fulfill my worldly obligations.

Whereupon I was synchronistically blessed with an amazing experience, from which I learned that perception of God depends on our state of mind rather than our physical environment.  It vividly revealed that I didn’t need to retreat to an ashram, mountain top, cave, or forest – like yogis of bygone eras – but could experience divinely luminous and numinous inner states even while continuing my worldly life as an urban litigation lawyer.

Courtroom Story

It happened in a crowded San Francisco courtroom filled with lawyers, soon after my 1978 shaktipat initiation by my Guruji, who was still then in the Bay Area. By that time, especially after meeting Guruji, I was experiencing an intense longing to return to God, and had been praying fervently for a way to exchange my life of litigation for a life of meditation. But (as a divorced parent) I needed the income from lawyering to help support my young children and a separate dwelling.

Synchronistically, I was then shown that Divinity is immanent in everyone everywhere – even in crafty lawyers in crowded courtrooms; that experiencing nearness to God depends on our state of mind, rather than our physical environment.

This unforgettable revelatory experience happened one morning in the San Francisco Superior Court, Law And Motion department, where all pending civil pre-trial motions were then argued and decided. All lawyers were then required to check-in and be seated by 9 am, though dockets were usually quite long and hearings on scheduled motions took up most of the morning.

That day my motion was docketed toward the end of the calendar, assuring a long wait before it was called. I arrived at 9 am, at the last minute, when the courtroom was already filled with seated lawyers awaiting their turns to present legal arguments. I could see only one remaining vacant seat which synchronistically was next to my adversary, who was seated beside the center isle. He was a very amiable, skilled and prominent lawyer, but we did not then have a friendly rapport.

With ‘righteous indignation’, I had become convinced that he was knowingly representing a dishonest client with an obviously contrived and unjust cause. Moreover, I judgmentally considered his pre-trial tactics in our case to have been ethically questionable.

Reluctantly, I seated myself next to him with my motion papers in a small brief case on my lap. Because of the inevitable long wait before our late calendared motion would be called, I decided to close my eyes and meditate. Whereupon, I inadvertently went into a very deep state of meditation.

When the case was finally called for argument, I could barely hear the bailiff’s distant pronouncement: “Number 34, R______ versus D_____.”

I opened my eyes, but for the first time in my life I was totally sightless (when not asleep), and unable to perceive anyone or anything in that courtroom. Instead of seeing the people and objects in the courtroom, I beheld only an amazingly luminescent and radiant effulgence – like a golden mist or miasma. [*See Aurobindo footnote] However, I could sense my adversary getting up and walking up the aisle to the front of the courtroom.

Sightless, I stood and followed him up the aisle. As I was walking without normal vision, the miraculous gold effulgence began to clarify. Instead of just a golden mist, I began seeing everything and everyone in the courtroom – including my mistrusted adversary – as silhouetted lines of gold light. It was as if a Cosmic artist was sketching in golden outline the shape of every person and every object.

I reached the counsel table, perceiving my adversary (and everything else) only as lines of golden light. And, with considerable concern, I wondered how I could present an important case without being able to view my carefully prepared notes and citations.

Then, just as my adversary and I were asked by the Judge to identify ourselves and the parties for whom we were appearing, my normal eyesight was suddenly restored. It was as if a Divine ‘trickster’ had temporarily blinded me to bestow an enormous insight, and then had waited until the last possible moment before restoring my usual eyesight.

Guruji’s explanation

Soon afterwards, I recounted my courtroom experience to my friend Kusuma, one of Guruji’s translators, who then asked him about it. Guruji told Kusuma that, with elevated awareness, I had perceived everyone and everything in the courtroom from a subtle causal dimension.

Ever since, I have recalled that marvelous experience as an immense blessing which not only revealed and reconfirmed to me that the essence of everyone and everything is the eternal light of Cosmic Consciousness, but which vividly demonstrated that to commune with Divinity I didn’t have to retreat to an ashram, mountain top, cave, or forest – like yogis of bygone eras – but could experience eternal luminosity and numinosity even while continuing my worldly life as a litigation lawyer in a vast urban area; that experiencing God is dependent on our state of mind, rather than our physical environment.

[*Footnote] Sri Aurobindo and Aurobindo’s Mother have written descriptions of the light of Supramental Consciousness as appearing to them like “a warm gold dust” “a multitude of tiny golden points”. These are the only descriptions which I have as yet been able to find in mystical literature and poetry comparable to my marvelous courtroom vision.


Jury Trial Epilogue

The realization that everyone and everything everywhere is Divine and Holy, and that experiencing God is dependent on our state of mind, rather than our physical environment, has transformed my life for over forty years.

It was soon put to its first severe test when the foregoing lawsuit was scheduled for trial at the very same time Guruji was giving a retreat at the ‘paradise’ island of Maui, Hawaii. I intensely wanted to attend that retreat, but instead was obliged to conduct a six week jury trial in San Francisco.

So, rather than being with Guruji in an Hawaiian ‘paradise’ [*See photo below.], I spent a month and a half in a San Francisco courtroom with my crafty opponent, who appeared with two assistants – a young lawyer and a paralegal – to eloquently and skillfully present his client’s ethically questionable case.

I didn’t again perceive my adversary as Divine light. But, constantly remembering pervasive Divinity, I silently recited my Ram mantra whenever he addressed the judge or jury. It was a civil case, so only nine of the twelve jurors’ votes were needed to prevail. But ultimately all twelve jurors voted my client a large cash judgment. So civil justice prevailed in our omnipresent Divine ‘reality’.

*Below is a photo of Guruji taken by my friend Ram Dassi in front of the giant Buddha statue at the Lahaina, Maui Buddhist temple, while I was remembering Rama in a San Francisco courtroom.




Invocation

May this revelatory vision story help us remember that
everyone and everything everywhere is Divine and Holy!
And that the enduring happiness we all (knowingly or unknowingly) seek
is never found in superfluous diversions, possessions or pleasures,
but ever abides within our hearts and souls, as the Eternal light of LOVE.



And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Beholding Beings Of Light
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
“Everywhere I look, I see the face of God.”
~ Walt Whitman/Ron Rattner
“I have now come to a stage of realization in which I see that God is walking in every human form and manifesting Himself alike through the sage and the sinner, the virtuous and the vicious. Therefore when I meet different people I say to myself, “God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“Spirituality is very simple.
I am everywhere, says the sage.
I exist in every form of creation.
If I hurt any form, I hurt myself.
If I raise any form to a higher level, I myself, find progress.
It is easy.”
~ Shree Ma

 

Shree Ma

Beholding Beings Of Light

Dear Friends,

Have you ever beheld strangers as divine beings? This happened to me one beautiful sunny Sunday, in January 1985, as I walked along San Francisco Bay to and from the Golden Gate Bridge. And I can never forget that amazingly inspiring experience.

The previous day and night I had been blessed to spend time with Shree Maa, a saintly and beautiful Hindu spiritual teacher who, with Swami Satyananda Saraswati, had recently arrived from India. They were then staying at a small house in Concord, California, east of San Francisco.

Shree Maa and Swami Satyananda Saraswati were then presiding over extended Navaratri rituals, in homage to the Divine Mother (known to Hindus as Devi, Durga or Shakti). These rituals included a powerful fire ceremony [“yagna”] with appropriate prayers, mantras and offerings to the Divine.

I gladly accepted a friend’s invitation to attend the commencement of these ceremonies in which I fervently joined. Previously, the house in Concord had been owned and occupied by my friend’s dear mother, who had been brutally murdered there by an intruder. We believed that these rituals conducted by saintly beings would help purify lingering negative subtle vibrations from that horrible violence, and bless the departed mother’s soul.

After spending most of the night participating in the ritual fire ceremony, I returned home to San Francisco in an elevated state of consciousness. Unknowingly, after a brief sleep, I awakened the next day still in an elevated state of awareness.

It was a beautiful warm sunny weekend day. So I decided to walk along the Bay to the Golden Gate Bridge. Because we were enjoying exceptionally fine weekend weather, the path along the Bay was filled with many people.

For a couple of hours while still in an abstracted state of awareness, I beheld every person I encountered – dozens, without exception – as a divine being emanating and glowing with Divine luminescence.

Again, with Grace I was given the insight that, beyond normal eyesight, reality’s Essence is Divine Luminescence; that every human is divinity masquerading in a precious human form – a “space-time soul suit”.

Since that unforgettable experience by the Bay, I have from time to time again glimpsed strangers as luminescent divine beings. But never yet again in such a protracted and dramatic way. Nonetheless, almost every meeting with another person has become for me a potential ‘holy encounter’ as I recall our common divine essence and identity.

So, I remain forever grateful for the Grace of that vision of the invisible. And for saintly beings like Sree Maa through whom such Grace manifests.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Asking Is The Answer

Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon

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

For every one who asks receives.”

~ Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10
The quest is in the question.
The question is the answer.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“I claim to be a simple individual
liable to err like any other fellow mortal. 

I own, however, that I have humility enough

to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi



praying


Asking Is The Answer

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

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

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

The sacred secret of Life.



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

Listen to



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

Dear Friends,

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

Since my midlife spiritual awakening, I’ve learned that open-minded curiosity and humility are crucial for life-long learning and spiritual advancement.

One of my greatest joys has been to continuously learn from life, while realizing that we live as part of Nature, in a world of infinite mystery with infinite possibility.

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

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

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

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

~ Albert Einstein


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

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

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

Invocation

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

The Way In, Is The Way Out

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

~ Buddha
“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi
“As you grow up, you form a mental image of who you are, based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego. It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through constant thinking. The term ego means different things to different people, but when I use it …it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind. …..
As long as you are identified with your mind, the ego runs your life.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”

~ Rig Veda
“As long as you take yourself to be a person, a body, a mind, separate from the stream of life, having a will of its own, pursuing its own aims, you are living merely on the surface and whatever you do will be short-lived and of little value, mere straws to feed the flames of vanity.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Undo ego!
As ego goes,

consciousness grows,

until it Knows
– Its Self.”

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


~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings







Introduction to “The Way In, Is The Way Out”

Dear Friends,

The following written and recited sutra poem is about undoing ego’s misidentification with the mind. The poem metaphorically tells how we’re each caught (by ego) in a mental maze; so that to find our way out, we must know the way we got in. It is explained by above key quotations and comments below.

In addition to the poem’s posted voice recitation. there is a brief video segment of Ron reading this sutra poem on his computer screen in “Walks With Ron”, a free YouTube spiritual memoir film about me, by Rob Tobias.

I hope you’ll enjoy and be helped by this whimsical poem and by viewing that video memoir.

Ron Rattner

The Way In, Is The Way Out

In this crazy age
of mental malaise,
we’re caught
in a mental maze.

Without a doubt,
to find our way out
we must know
the way we got in.



Ron’s Audio Recitation of “The Way In, Is The Way Out”

Listen to


Ron’s Explanation of “The Way In, Is The Way Out”

Dear Friends,

Upon birth in human bodies we experience amnesia about our true spiritual self-identity. Thereafter we are acculturated to perceive and mentally believe ourselves to be mere mortal physical bodies separate from each other and Nature. So, because of “an optical illusion of consciousness” we mistakenly identify and behave as separate entities, and become subject to the karmic law of cause and effect.

Every Human – except for rare Buddha-like beings – knowingly or unknowingly is in some evolutionary stage of undoing mistaken ego-mind identity – a process indispensable to our spiritual evolution. Hence for millennia spiritual seers have recognized “ego” as the greatest human “enemy” and impediment to our spiritual evolution.

Only as a 42 year old adult did I begin learning about mistaken ego identification. My midlife awakening sparked a previously unimagined spiritual metamorphosis process from “secular Hebrew”, to “born-again Hindu”, to “uncertain Undo”. So I’ve long proclaimed that I’m an ‘Uncertain Undo’ seeking relief from belief; and that “on the path of Undo, we’ll never be through, ’til we’re an undone ONE”.

As an “uncertain Undo”, I’ve experienced an ever happier life by gradually letting go of outdated beliefs and ideas about Self-identity and Reality. And, to help others find similar happiness, I’ve often written about this process of undoing ego, because of its fundamental spiritual significance. (See e.g. website archives linked here.)

So I hope you’ll enjoy today’s metaphoric ‘mental maze’ poem. And that it may help all of us who (knowingly or unknowingly) are longing for freedom from ego’s ‘mental maze’ by finding the way we got in.

Dedication

Today’s “Way In, Is The Way Out” posting is sincerely dedicated to helping us live ever happier lives, by undoing ego until “we’re an undone ONE”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Undo Ego!

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”
~ Rig Veda
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,
and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego,
the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.
~ Lao Tzu
“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.”
~ Rumi
Q. How much “ego” do you need?
A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
“Undo Ego!
Use it to lose it.”

“As ego goes,
consciousness grows,
until it Knows
– Itself.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Lau Tzu


Undoing

Undoing

There’s nothing to do
but undo,

Until you’re through and undone.

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

But to BE –

Free and

ONE!



Ron’s audio recitation of “Undoing”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of “Undo Ego”

Dear Friends,

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

Spiritual teachers refer to “ego” as mistaken human self-identity as a personality separate from eternal Infinite Potentiality – our true identity. 
Ego is often described as a psychological prison, causing inevitable karmic suffering. 

“The world is a prison and we are the prisoners:

Dig a hole in the prison and let yourself out!”

“Why do you stay in prison 
when the door is so wide open?”

~ Rumi


I have posted the foregoing quotations, sutra sayings and poem about undoing ego to remind us of our critical need to let go of who or what we think we are, so we can realize and BE what we really are – ONE with Nature as Infinite Potentiality. 

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

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

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

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

~ Lao Tzu



“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi



Whimsically I’ve suggested that everyone should “seek relief from belief”; because “on the path of Undo we’ll never be through ’til we’re an undone ONE”. So as an “Uncertain Undo” I’ve gradually been letting go of previously accepted beliefs and concepts about humanity, self-identity and reality.



My present paradigm is that we live earth-lives to learn from experience our essential common self-identity as LOVE – each from a unique karmic perspective. 

That each of us is here to transcend suffering by uncovering and undoing our unique barriers to Self realization – our mistaken ego identities and tendencies. As we mindfully identify those mental mistakes, it becomes possible for us to use ego, to lose ego. As revealed in the Bhagavad Gita, Hinduism’s best known scripture, it is possible for our mind to become our “best friend”, rather than “worst enemy”


One must elevate – and not degrade – oneself with one’s own mind, as the mind is both a friend and an enemy.

For those who have subdued and conquered the mind, it is the best of friends.

But for those who fail to do so, the mind remains the greatest of enemies.

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Six, Lord Krishna to Arjuna


Dedication


This posting is respectfully offered to help remind us of our critical need to let go of who or what we mistakenly think we are, so we can realize and BE what we really are – ONE with Nature as its Eternal Source. 



Also, these undoing ego writings are sincerely intended to help us live ever happier lives, until we all become “an undone ONE”.



And so shall it be!


Ron Rattner

Illumination Rumination

Everything's Holy
“You are the light of the world.”
~ Matthew 5:14
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate:
only love can do that.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
~ Chinese Proverb
“For light I go directly to the Source of light,
not to any of the reflections.”
~ Peace Pilgrim
“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire,
men cannot live without a spiritual life.”
~ Buddha
Into my heart’s night

Along a narrow way
 I groped;
and lo! the light,

An infinite land of day.

~ Rumi
“Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky
That would be like the splendor of the Mighty One –.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 12
Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.
~ Mahmud Shabestari, Sufi Mystic, 15th century.
“There are two ways of spreading light –
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
~ Edith Wharton


Everything's Holy


Illumination Rumination

Soul light, like sun light, is Source light.
Mind light, like moon light, is reflected light.

Meditation reveals Soul light,
while rumination reflects mind light.

Rumination requires mental movement.
Illumination is in mental stillness.

Source light surpasses reflected light.
It’s better to Be the Light,
than to reflect it.

As we are guided by moonlight
until sunlight re-appears,
reflected mind light can guide us
until we are again illuminated as Soul light.

As moon light is but reflection of sunlight,
sunlight is but a reflection of Soul light.

So, for illumination,
focus on Soul light.
But at least reflect on it.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Illumination Rumination”

Listen to



Ron’s Explanation and Dedication of “Illumination Rumination”

Dear Friends,

For millennia all Humankind have observed rituals of light and sun, with participants sharing wishes for universal happiness.

Since March 2020 we have entered a “new normal” post-pandemic era of unprecedented crises imminently threatening all Earth life as we have known it. So, whether or not we may have heretofore observed any symbolic light rituals, these are now times of apparent ‘darkness’, especially appropriate for our reflection upon perennial issues of inner illumination – or “enlightenment”.

Accordingly, I have again posted a sutra-poem, with quotations focused on our inner illumination process. 

Titled “Illumination Rumination”, it is dedicated to helping all of us find and achieve lasting happiness through inner illumination as the “the light of the world”.

Background

This poem was inspired by an unforgettable and theretofore unimaginable intense inner experience. Over forty years ago, while passionately crying and longing for God on a Yosemite mountain top, with amazing grace I beheld an ethereal inner effulgence, which I can only describe as the ‘light of ten thousand suns’the Eternal Light of Cosmic Consciousness.

Since then – as I have increasingly self-identified with that glorious inner light of Eternal Awareness – my life has become ever more faith based and inner directed. Concurrently I have gradually become happier and more grateful than ever before.

With insight (not eyesight), I have begun to realize that as we evolve through a process of inner illumination we increasingly emanate the divine light of Cosmic Consciousness; that our illumined energy becomes ‘contagious’ and inevitably elevates human consciousness, infusing and inspiring others similarly seeking happiness and love.

And I emphatically concur with Dr. King’s wise words that

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only Light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate:
only Love can do that.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.


Invocation

May everyone everywhere be illumined 
as “the light of the world”

To envision and co-create together
A wonderful new  age, of universal
Peace, Joy, Light and LOVE.

May everyone everywhere be happy!


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

We Are The Universe!

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

~ Albert Einstein
“Objective reality does not exist” ….

“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”

~ David Bohm, Quantum Physicist
“Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.”
~  Mahmud Shabestari, Sufi Mystic, 15th century.
“There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe.

The horizontal threads are in space.
 The vertical threads are in time.
At every crossing of the threads, there is an individual.

And every individual is a crystal bead.
 And every crystal bead reflects not only the light
 from every other crystal in the net,

but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.”
~ Indra’s Net – from the Vedas of ancient India, 7000 years old
“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” is a holographic theater of the mind,
where we are microcosmic mirrors of the macrocosm.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following written and recited poetic verses, together with explanatory comments and above quotations, supplement the related “What Is The Universe?” posting.

Both postings propose that cosmically “We Are The Universe”. They are intended to help us open our hearts to all beings and all life everywhere.

Please consider them accordingly.

Ron Rattner


We Are The Universe!

The “universe” is like a cosmic hologram:

An ever changing but persistent illusion
appearing in an eternal, immutable,
infinite ocean of Awareness –

Awareness arising from pure potentiality.

Each of us is an integral, pin-point part of the whole picture,
which wouldn’t be complete without us.

But, though we appear as only a speck of the Whole,
we are like parts of a hologram;

Hidden within each of us is the whole cosmic picture,
and the awareness screen
on which we envision and project the picture.

In our Essence, we and the “universe” are ONE.

So, we are the “universe”.



Ron’s audio recitation of “We Are The Universe”

Listen to


Ron’s reflections on Non-dualism and “We Are The Universe”

Dear Friends,

Today’s We Are The Universe! posting together with the related “What Is The Universe?” posting propose that cosmically “We Are The Universe”.

These and many more SillySutras writings pertain to non-dualism – an important philosophy which has inspired many recent Silly Sutras writings about spiritual evolution and the nature of “reality”.

From childhood we have been taught to self-identify only with an illusory and disempowering ego image; with a separate body, 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 Beings of Light sharing limitless immortal cosmic consciousness with all life-forms.

Thus, for countless ages human 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 destructive selfishness and suffering.

Yet, for millennia sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we inevitably suffer from radically mistaken self-identity; that our self-identity and reality are not what they appear to be; that it is possible to limit or avoid most suffering of ordinary human existence through experiential self-identification with the unseen Eternal spiritual Source of all space-time causality ‘reality’.

Soon after my mid-life change of life, I began discovering enduring wisdom teachings about the Vedic path of Advaita, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy. Advaita means non-dualism, and its teachings are about experiencing non-dual Self Realization via focused self-inquiry – relentlessly asking “Who am I?”.

I first found these teachings in books by or about legendary Indian sages J. Krishnamurti, Swami Vivekananda, and Shri Ramana Maharshi; also in New Dimensions Radio interviews by Michael Toms, and in KPFA radio lectures by Alan Watts, contemporary Western philosopher/teacher of Eastern spiritual wisdom, from which I learned about similar Buddhist and Taoist non-dualist philosophies.

After initial perplexity, I gradually became convinced of the ultimate Truth of non-dualistic teachings, as eloquently explained by Swami Vivekananda that:

“…this separation between man and man, between nation and nation, between earth and moon, between moon and sun . . does not exist, it is not real” ; and that
“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”


Non-dualism has even seemed quite consistent with the primary prayer of my early Jewish acculturation:

“Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29


Yet, while accepting Eastern non-dualism wisdom teachings, I have continuously displayed preponderantly devotional propensities of praying, calling and crying to the Divine. And in reading hagiographies I have most identified with Saint Francis of Assisi and Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa – both extremely ascetic and devotional holy men – more than with the wisdom teachers who introduced me to non-dualism.

Until retirement, while maintaining my busy law practice I found limited time to read and reflect on non-dualism teachings, except on weekends. So I used to jestingly tell spiritual friends that on weekdays I prayed and cried as a devotional bhakta, but that on weekends I became a “Seventh Day Advaitist”.

Ultimately, I’ve become an every day – not just a seventh day – Advaitist. So whimsically I sometimes say that I am now a devotionally open-minded “Advaitist-fundamentalist”.

While accepting non-dualism, my primary path seems devotional. Over forty years since beginning to cry for God, I still frequently display devotional tendencies of spontaneously praying, singing, and calling to the Divine. Apparently, my Guruji was quite prescient in naming me Rasik – “one engrossed in devotion”.

As a devotional “Advaitist-Fundamentalist” I have composed many poems and essays encouraging the heartfelt path of ‘non-dualism’ – including today’s “We Are The Universe” quotations and poem.

May these writings help remind, encourage and inspire us to open our hearts with deep empathy and compassion for all people and all Life everywhere.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


We Create “Reality”

Embedded below is a helpful 10 minute YouTube video montage titled “We Create “Reality””, previously linked on the related What Is the Universe posting