Subscribe to RSS

Sutra Sayings

Sutras, Quotes and Rhymes about “Nothing”

“Sitting quietly,
doing nothing,
spring comes,
and the grass grows by itself”
~ Zen Proverb
“When no one’s a “doer”
nothing’s undone.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.  Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 
~ Lao-Tzu
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.”

~ Lao Tzu
“Tao is now,
Tao is one,
Tao is doer,
Tao will be done.
Tao will be done,
So let Tao do it.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Tao and Zen
are NOW,
not then.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



Nothings

Nothing is old,
if nothing is new.

Nothing is false,
if nothing is true.

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



Ron’s audio recitation of “Nothings”

Listen to



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

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

THINKING MAKES IT SO

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


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

NOTHING IS NEW

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


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

MUCH ADO ABOUT “NOTHING”

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

REALITY IS NEVER NOTHING

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

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

DOING

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

UNDOING

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

THE WHOLE TRUTH

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


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

SURRENDER, FORGIVE, LET GO

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

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

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

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

THERE’S NOTHING TO SAY

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

WE’VE NOTHING TO FEAR

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


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

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

NOTHING IS IMMUTABLE

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

WE’VE NOTHING MORE TO BE

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

NOTHING IS CERTAIN

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


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

THERE’S NOTHING TO DO

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



Conclusion

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

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Asking Is The Answer

Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon

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

For every one who asks receives.”

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

~ Mahatma Gandhi



praying


Asking Is The Answer

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

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

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

The sacred secret of Life.



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

Listen to



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

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Albert Einstein


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

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

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

Invocation

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Certainty ~ by Sant Tukaram*

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

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

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




CERTAINTY

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

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

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

Certainty can become an illness
that creates hate and
greed.

God once said to Tuka,

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

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

~ Tukaram*

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

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


Ron’s Comments About “Certainty”:

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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


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

~ Niels Bohr, quantum physicist

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

~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist


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

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

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

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

Invocation

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

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

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Egocide

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,
and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
“The entire Buddhist path is based on the discovery of egolessness and the maturing of insight or knowledge that comes from egolessness.”
~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth.”
~ Lao Tzu
“In essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms.”

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




“Egocide”

Ego’s attrition
is our mission;

Egocide’s our goal.

When ego’s dead
we’ll lose all dread,

Knowing we are Soul.

Then we’ll say
that life’s a play,

Each body/mind a role;

That we’re the Glory
and not the story,

Not just parts –
but WHOLE.


Ron’s recitation of “Egocide”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Egocide”

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner



To “Know Thyself” ask “Who Am I?”

“Know thyself – The unexamined life is not worth living.”
“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”
~ Socrates
“Know thyself and thou wilt know the universe.”
~ Pythagoras
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.”
~ Lao Tzu
“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to ‘who am I?’
and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”
~ Rumi
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
~ William Shakespeare
“Ask and it shall be given; Seek and ye shall find.”
~ Matthew 7:7
“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“That which permeates all, which nothing transcends and which, like the universal space around us, fills everything completely from within and without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman — that thou art.”
~ Shankaracharya
“The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts,
and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.”
“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer, the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Give up all questions except one: “Who am I?” After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The “I am” is certain. The “I am this” is not.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

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



To “Know Thyself” ask “Who Am I?”

Historical overview.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ron’s “Who Am I?” Story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what happened:

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

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

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

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

Becoming a “born-again Hindu”:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Benefits from undoing ego:

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

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

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

So today’s posting is dedicated to encouraging such self-inquiry, with discovery and undoing of our mistaken ego-mind self-identity propensities, thereby ending consequent karmic sufferings.


Invocation:

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

LOVE.

And so it shall be!


Ron Rattner

Who am ‘I’, and What is What?

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

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

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

The question is the answer.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Ramana Maharshi


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

Dear Friends,

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

Explanations will follow the poetry.

Please enjoy!

Ron Rattner

WHO AM ‘I’ and WHAT IS WHAT?

What lives?   What dies?

What laughs?  What cries?

What sleeps?  What wakes?

What gives?  What takes?

What thinks?  What knows?

What comes?  What goes?

What’s grief?  What’s bliss?

What’s that?!  What’s this?!

The quest is in the question; and

THE QUESTION IS THE ANSWER!

The question is the answer?



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

Listen to


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

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

Ron’s “Who am I?” Memoir

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

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

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

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

Identifying and Transcending “Ego”

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

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

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

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

And he taught that

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

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

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

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

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

~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga


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

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

~ Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now

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

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

Invocation

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

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

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


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner.

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

After my midlife spiritual opening, I gradually realized – experientially and inferentially – that the common Essence of everything in our phenomenal “reality” is the light of pure Awareness.

This process of awakening began with the profound but simple insight that: “I am not my body, its thoughts, or the role in life with which I’ve identified, but pure awareness”. That insight was soon validated by my unforgettable Yosemite experience of beholding as Essence the luminescence of “ten thousand suns”.

Thereafter I gradually reasoned that what is true for Ron must be true for everyone else in our phenomenal “reality”; that pure Awareness, Light and Love, is the Essence of everyone – not just Ron. That inference was soon re-confirmed by more extraordinary mystical experiences which revealed that Divine luminescence is the Essence everything – every form and phenomenon, not just sentient beings.

I’ll tell you about one of those memorable mystical experiences which demonstrated that the eternal light of Awareness is the matrix of everything and everyone.

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 I needed the income from lawyering to help support my young children and a separate dwelling.

Synchronistically, I was then shown that the Divine 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. Inadvertently, I 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 I wondered, with considerable concern, 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.


2020 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 matrix.

*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.



Guruji in Hawaii

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 eternal hearts and souls.


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Seek More Than Meets The Eye

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust consumes
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
~ Matthew 6:19-21
“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
~ Luke:18:25 ; Matthew 19:24
“Fools follow the desires of the flesh
and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death;
but the wise, knowing the Self as eternal,
seek not the things that pass away.”
~ Katha Upanishad 2:1:2
“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold;
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions,
but in having few wants.”
~ Epictetus
“What really counts in life can’t be counted.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The most precious things in life are not those one gets for money”. . . . . Money only appeals to selfishness and always irresistibly tempts its owner to abuse it. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus or Gandhi with the moneybags of Carnegie?”
~ Albert Einstein



Seek More Than Meets The Eye

Do not cherish
that which will perish.

Do not treasure
fleeting pleasure –

Or what you can measure.

Do not believe
what you perceive;

And do not seek
what you can speak.

Seek the ineffable
and it is inevitable

That you will know
the Unknowable –

The Inconceivable!

That you will find –
Beyond your mind –

Eternal Peace!



Ron’s audio recitation of Seek More Than Meets The Eye

Listen to



Ron’s Explanation and Dedication of “Seek More Than Meets The Eye”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing poem, “Seek More Than Meets The Eye” was inspired by Jesus’ teaching to lay up “treasures in heaven”, rather than earthly treasures. [Matthew 6:19-21].

Before discovering that scriptural passage, my midlife spiritual awakening had apparently revived previously subdued ascetic propensities – perhaps from other contemplative lifetimes. So, I had begun following a life-style much simpler and more reclusive than during my married years. And I became evermore convinced of the wisdom of living a simple and virtuous life, largely detached from worldly pleasures and treasures, while focusing on infinite spiritual riches within.

Hence after discovering Jesus’ teaching about forgoing worldly treasures I was inspired to poetically share its essence, which was consistent and harmonious with my deepest intuitions and tendencies. And soon I found many more inspiring parallel teachings in all other enduring wisdom traditions, like the quotations (preceding the poem) about renouncing worldly wealth.

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

But pleasures from such possessions and experiences are always fleeting, and can never bring enduring happiness and peace of mind.

As the Dalai Lama observes:

“Physical comforts cannot subdue mental suffering, and if we look closely, we can see that those who have many possessions are not necessarily happy.
In fact, being wealthy often brings even more anxiety.


So the foregoing poem and quotes are offered to remind us to lay up “treasures in heaven”, rather than futilely pursuing transient earthly possessions and pleasures.

May they help us discover that the enduring happiness we all (knowingly or unknowingly) seek is never in superfluous possessions or pleasures, but ever in our sacred hearts and souls.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

2020 Epilogue

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

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

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

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

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

Invocation.

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


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Synchronicity Story: Dr. King, Alice Walker, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and “If I Was President”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

“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.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If I was President
The first thing I would do
is call Mumia Abu-Jamal.”
~ Alice Walker
Dare to be a nonconformist.
Society rewards conformers.
But, posterity honors reformers.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Let us elevate our aspirations,
from the bottom line to the highest good.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
In these critical times,
we need a critical mass
to solve our critical mess.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968


Ron’s Introduction.

Today is the 91st birthday anniversary of American hero and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated over fifty years ago at age 39.

As we honor Dr. King and remember his “dream” for our society, here is an amazing synchronicity story about Dr. King, poet/author and social reformer Alice Walker (and her poem: “If I Was President”), and Mumia Abu-Jamal, well known truth-telling black journalist and innocent political prisoner since 1981.

Over fifty years have passed since Dr. King’s 1963 “dream” speech. Yet the US population still endures most of the flagrant societal injustices addressed by Dr. King and Alice Walker, including unjust imprisonment of countless political truth-tellers and societal reformers, like Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Nonetheless, I again share this synchronicity story with the deepest faith that together we can and will awaken the world from its present fearful ‘nightmare’ to realize Dr. King’s ‘dream’ – 

That ‘free at last’, we will honor the equality and divinity of everyone everywhere, and thereby transcend exploitation and discrimination against the world’s most vulnerable people, using our common-wealth for our common-weal to end the iniquity of inequity in our society. So that as Abraham Lincoln envisioned,

“under God, [we] shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


Synchronicity Story.

One January morning I received an email notice of an archived lecture about departed hero Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. given by poet, author, and Buddhist peace activist Alice Walker, in Atlanta in 2006. The lecture was entitled “We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For.” [a YouTube video is linked below]

Because of my great respect for Dr. King as a national hero, and for Alice Walker’s wisdom, artistic genius and exemplary engagement in non-violent peace activism, I listened to the lecture. It was eloquent and moving.

At one point Alice Walker noted the posthumous persistence of social problems addressed by Dr. King before he was assassinated, and she cited as emblematic of our continuing societal injustices the political incarceration and threatened execution of brilliant truth teller journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, following his eggregiously wrongful political conviction for a crime committed by someone else.


Mumia Abu-Jamal


Especially, because I regard Abu-Jamal as an unjustly imprisoned ‘great soul’ who was subjected to an extraordinarily unjust trial, I had been amongst the millions world-wide protesting his political incarceration and threatened execution.

Synchronistically, a couple of hours after I listened to the Alice Walker lecture mentioning Abu-Jamal, I received a rare phone call from Prison Radio, a charitable organization dedicated to recording and distributing worldwide weekly radio commentaries by Abu-Jamal then telephoned from death row. (If interested you can listen to those commentaries at the Prison Radio website http://www.prisonradio.org/.)

The caller, Sharyn, invited me to a house party at which Abu-Jamal’s current legal situation was to be be discussed in depth. I told Sharyn that I had just been thinking about Mumia because of Alice Walker’s reference to him in her eloquent Atlanta talk about Dr. King. In response, Sharyn told me that shortly before she called me, Prison Radio had that day just received a new poem written and sent by Alice Walker from Mexico about Mumia and other prominent political prisoners.

Entitled, “If I Was President”, the opening lines of the poem say:


“If I was President
The first thing I would do
is call Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

 

Alice Walker

Synchronicity Questions and Reflections.

So why did the universe decide to synchronistically communicate with me that day through Dr. King, Alice Walker and Prison Radio about Mumia Abu-Jamal? It is a mystery, and a reminder of how little we understand our miraculous world “reality”.

From space/time perspective, synchronicities are noteworthy or meaningful coincidences in time. But from a cosmic perspective serial time is just an illusory way we think. So Albert Einstein has said:

“People … who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Inspired by Einstein I have tentatively explained such synchroncities this way:

“Synchronicities are noteworthy “coincidences” in time,
which show us that in Nature,
there is no time and there are no “coincidences –
that everything that is, was, or will be is NOW;
that everything happens in harmony and synchrony
concurrently, not coincidentally.
Synchronicities are like Nature’s positive “bio-feedback’ or ‘radar’ signals showing when we are existing out of time and in the eternal NOW.”

And here is an interesting quote from Deepak Chopra:

“According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things don’t bother you anymore. You become light hearted and full of joy. The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous.”

How do you explain synchronicities in your life?

Whether or not we can ever really explain mysterious synchronicities, may they ever infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for our interdependence with all miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet.


Alice Walker: “We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For.”


Ron’s Commentary Honoring Dr. King.

Dear Friends,

On the 91st birthday anniversary of departed hero Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us join countless others worldwide in honoring and ardently following his visionary legacy of nonviolently seeking world peace and social justice with forgiveness and Love.

Regrettably realization of Dr. King’s vision of world harmony still seems distant, as societal problems he addressed more than half a century ago perilously persist. Moreover, threats of nuclear and ecological holocaust appear more imminent than ever before, as the US empire continues to insanely squander more than than half its budget on wars and weapons, while neglecting the human rights of most of its own citizens, as well as countless other innocent victims worldwide.


Dr. King’s history.

Dr. King was a fourth generation Baptist preacher and non-violent peace and social justice activist especially inspired by Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi.  He honored and followed Gandhi as “guiding light  …. of nonviolent social change’’, and in 1959 journeyed to India to study Gandhian methods.  On arrival there, King said:

“To other countries, I may go as a tourist,
but to India, I come as a pilgrim.” 

Afterwards, inspired by Jesus and Gandhi, Dr. King ardently preached non-violence, saying 

“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.” 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Ultimately, Dr. King’s life paralleled Gandhi’s life.  Each began as an outspoken advocate of inter-racial equality and social justice in racially segregated societies:  Gandhi as a South African civil rights lawyer; and King as a Southern-Baptist preacher.  Gradually their missions expanded to encompass universal peace, freedom and social justice for everyone everywhere.  

Gandhi ultimately inspired independence of the entire Indian subcontinent from almost a century of colonial domination and exploitation by the British raj. 

Dr. King conscientiously  and eloquently decried the fraudulent and immoral US war in Viet Nam, and the entire exploitive US corporate capitalist economic system which fostered perpetual war for perpetual profit of a privileged few, to the undemocratic detriment of an impoverished majority.  He said:

“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.” 


Like Jesus and Gandhi, Reverend King preached love and forgiveness, saying:

“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1964 Dr. King was awarded and humbly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, as ‘trustee’ for countless unknown others. And he cited Mahatma Gandhi’s success in India as a key precedent encouraging nonviolent civil rights activism in the USA, saying:

“This [nonviolent] approach to the problem of racial injustice …. was used in a magnificent way by Mohandas K. Gandhi to challenge the might of the British Empire and free his people from the political domination and economic exploitation inflicted upon them for centuries.”

And Dr. King described how (because of technological advances which threaten nuclear/ecological catastrophe) the survival of humanity depends upon our nonviolently solving

“the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war” by “living in harmony” with “all-embracing and unconditional love for all men”.


Eloquently he explained unconditional love as

“that force which all of the great religions [Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist] have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. . . . the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate Reality.”


Dr. King’s 1968 Martyrdom.

Like Jesus and Gandhi, Reverend King was martyred at the pinnacle of his powers.   Dr. King (like President John F. Kennedy) was assassinated by the US military/industrial secret government when his expanding influence became an intolerable barrier to their psychopathic war plans for Viet Nam and beyond.

Concluding Dedication and Invocation.

To honor Dr. King’s lasting legacy as one of the greatest Americans who ever lived, I have shared this posting with deepest faith that together we can and will awaken the world from its present fearful ‘nightmare’ to realize Dr. King’s visionary ‘dream’ of worldwide peace and justice, with love and forgiveness. 

That ‘free at last’, we will honor the equality and divinity of everyone everywhere, and thereby transcend immoral exploitation and discrimination against the world’s most vulnerable people, using our common-wealth for our common-weal to end the iniquity of inequity in our society.
 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Paradise Paradoxities

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


Paradise Paradoxities

We can not reach heaven
without passing through hell.

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

Within each joy
is an oy/oy/oy.

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

Misery is the mother of Bliss.




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

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Paradise Paradoxities”

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.”

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


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

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
~Lao Tzu
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy; 
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.
~ William Blake


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

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner