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Sutra Sayings

What is “Reality”?

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
“There is no place in . . [Quantum] physics both for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything, you are
essentially conscious of yourself.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”
~ Carl Gustav Jung
“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
~ Buddha
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha
“What appears to be a stable, tangible, visible, audible world, is an illusion.
It is dynamic and kaleidoscopic — not really “there”.
What we normally see is the explicit, or unfolded, order of things, rather like watching a movie.
But there is an underlying order that is mother and father to this second-generation reality.”

~ David Bohm, Quantum Physicist




What is “Reality”?

“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” – like beauty –
is in the eye of the beholder.

It is a mental concept arising in consciousness,
and projected by the beholding self-awareness
onto certain perceived objects.

As rays of sunlight are in essence
the same as the emitting sun source,
perceived “reality” is in essence
the same as the Awareness
from which it originates.

But, because of the “magic mirror” of mind,
“reality” is mistakenly perceived
and objectified as separate and distinct
from the perceiving subject.

So, isn’t it NOW
time to really realize
that “reality” isn’t really real;

That only Awareness is REAL?



Ron’s Reflections on What is “Reality”?

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered what is really  “Real”? –  or “unreal”?
These are crucial questions because our beliefs about “reality” determine our Earth-life experiences.

Today’s What is “Reality”? posting focusses on mystical perspectives of “Reality”.  It can help explain how in our world of duality – of apparent opposites – our projected mental perspectives determine our experience of “reality”.  

“Reality” and “the real world” are  common concepts; frequently used but rarely deeply considered. They mean different things to different people.

According to dictionary definitions, “reality” is that which actually exists as distinguished from that which is merely apparent.   So what in this world actually exists?  And what in this world is merely apparent, like a non-existent mirage or a dream? – or a virtual or simulated reality?

Albert Einstein realized that cosmically everything is energy – e=mc2; so that when we experience as reality our perceived separation from other life-forms, it is is an “optical illusion of consciousness”.   And Einstein said that

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”;

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think”.

Similarly, Eastern mystics have long revealed from inner exploration that this world is not actually real, but an ‘unreal’ illusion: 


“The world, indeed, is like a dream and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion, does not act as if it is real,
so he escapes the suffering.”
~ 
Buddha

Also for millennia, indigenous shamans and mystics everywhere have told us that there is only ONE eternal and immutable Source, of the seemingly countless impermanent forms we perceived as “reality”; that  therefore this  world of apparent multiplicity and separation is merely an ever impermanent dream-like mental projection of That ONE matrix.

“All things come out of the One, and the One out of all things.”
~ Heraclitus, 500 BCE

“Reality cannot be found except in One single source,
because of the interconnection of all things with one another.”
~ Gottfried Leibniz, 1670

“Though One, Brahman is the cause of the many.”
~ Rig Veda, 1500–1200 BCE

“We did not weave the web of life. We are merely strands in it.
All things are bound together. All things connect.”
~ Chief Seattle

“At the center of the Universe dwells the Great Spirit and —
this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

“This separation between man and man, between nation and nation, between earth and moon, between moon and sun.
Out of this idea of separation – – comes all misery.
But the Vedanta says that this separation does not exist,
it is not real.
~ Swami Vivekananda


Shakespeare wisely told us that


“there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. 

[ Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2]

Similarly, cutting edge scientists increasingly confirm that what appears to us as “real” or “unreal” depends upon our thinking – the projected mental perspectives of those concepts. Also, that the supposedly ‘solid’ Earth reality of our limited perceptions is an ever impermanent energetic illusion – only a virtual, simulated, or relative ‘reality’. (https://sillysutras.com/our-mentality-is-our-reality-quotations-and-reflections/)

Conclusion.
 
Our spiritual evolution is greatly advanced if we realize and remember our true self-identity and “Reality” as universal Awareness or Eternal spirit, not just as mere separate and mortal physical body/minds. Such realization will dramatically transform our Earth-life experience. If we stop separately self-identifying and labeling everyone and everything, it will bestow happier and more fulfilled human lives, with ever expanding compassion for all other life-forms, and with  less suffering from unhelpful worldly emotions, desires and attachments.

In the current “new normal” era, it is particularly important that we end our immensely limiting illusions of self-identity as merely mortal separate entities.

As presciently explained in 1980 by brilliant quantum physicist and Einstein protege David Bohm, our

“widespread and pervasive distinctions between people (race, nation, family, profession, etc., etc.) .. are now preventing mankind from working together for the common good, and indeed, even for survival.”
~ David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980

Thus transcendence of our “optical illusion” of separation has become especially crucial in the current 2020 “new normal” coronavirus era of unprecedented worldwide human deprivations, suffering and turmoil, with extremely imminent threat to survival of life as we’ve known it.

Dedication and Invocation.

Realization that our precious planet is only a virtual or simulated ‘reality’ need not in any way diminish our immense awe and thankfulness for Earth’s magnificence as part of Nature’s miraculous manifestations, well beyond our comprehension or imagination. 

Nor need it detract from our unspeakable gratitude for our experiences in “space/time soul suits” as precious human body/minds – harmonious life-form manifestations of Nature, to be lovingly and skillfully nurtured from our unique perspectives.

So may we find growing happiness and fulfillment in this precious human lifetime, as we ever evolve toward Self-identity as universal Eternal spirit, not just as mere separate and mortal life-forms.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Our Mentality is Our Reality:
~ Quotations and Reflections

“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”
~ George Orwell, 1984
“Perception is a mirror, not a fact.
And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”
~ A Course In Miracles
“We do not see things as they are;
we see things as we are.”
~ Talmud
“Our mentality is our reality.
Our “reality” is what we think it to be.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“All appearances are verily one’s own concepts, self-conceived in the mind, like reflections seen in a mirror. To know whether this be so or not, look within thine own mind.”
~ Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche)
“Objective reality does not exist” ….

“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”

~ David Bohm
“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” is an holographic theater of the mind.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“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

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake
“If you could get rid of yourself just once,
the secret of secrets would open to you.
The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe
would appear on the mirror of your perception.”
~ Rumi
“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
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:12
“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
“When your sense of self is no longer tied to thought, is no longer conceptual, there is a depth of feeling, of sensing, of compassion, of loving, that was not there when you were trapped in mental concepts. You are that depth.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“There are two ways of spreading light –
to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.”
~ Edith Wharton
“And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the glory of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect.”
~ 2 Corinthians 3:18
“Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction to “Our Mentality is Our Reality”.

This poetic essay describes and explains persistent egoic thought processes by which Humankind mentally conceive, label and self-identify themselves as supposedly separate mortal entities in a misperceived space/time “reality”.
It is shared with the aspiration of helping us recognize and reverse these constant ego/mind processes, which inevitably subject us to karmic-causal sufferings and limitations of our inconceivably infinite potentialities. [See e.g. The Way In, Is The Way Out ]

Our Mentality is Our Reality

Through the ‘mirror of the mind’
we think we see space/time “reality” –

as multiplicity of seemingly separate
beings, objects, forms and phenomena.

But our perceptions and self-identifications
as separate mortal entities is a mere mirage;
“an optical illusion of consciousness” .

What we think see is merely our state of mind
reflected and projected outward.

Such illusory vision is invariably obscured and distorted;
it arises from our personal and cultural mental conditioning – our ego/minds.


Ego/minds distortedly refract, reflect and project

onto the ‘reflective’ screen of human consciousness

the unseen light of Eternal Awareness – our true Self.

As Eternal Awareness, what we really see
are ego-minds’ ever conditioned
misperceptions, reflections, and projections.



As a mirror’s reflection depends not only on its optical transparency and precision
, but also on the angle from which it is viewed,

our perception and response to the space/time world,

depends not only on our state of mind,

but on our unique point of view –
 each from a different place in time and space.


As still, clear water best reflects light –

while permitting perception of its depths,

a still, clear mind best reflects and reveals

the invisible Light of Self-awareness.


The fewer our thoughts,
the clearer and calmer our mind,

and the deeper and more transparent our awareness.


The more we think,

the more conditioned, disturbed and perturbed is the mind,

and the more it refracts, distorts and dims the eternal light of pure Awareness.


The clearer and calmer our mind,

the more skillfully we experience

ever changing quantum energies,

without attachment or reflexively reacting to them.

With meditation and other attentive mind-stilling modes,

we can clear and enlighten our mind –


From opacity to translucency to transparency –

from mental mirror to window of the soul.

Thereby, with ever expanding awareness

and ever deepening insight,

We can and shall ‘see’ and be,
more and more –

what we couldn’t see or be
before.


We can and shall see and BE:

Wholeness, Holiness, SELF –
Infinite Potentiality, Awareness, Bliss;
Eternal Peace, Life, Light – LOVE!


And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner


Ron’s Commentary on Our Mentality as Our Reality.

Dear Friends,

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

For millennia mystic teachers and spiritual scriptures have consistently identified ego/mind as the ‘biggest enemy of humans’. So understanding and eliminating ego has always been of supreme spiritual importance.

But in the current “new normal” coronavirus era of unprecedented worldwide human suffering and turmoil, it is crucial that a “critical mass” of Humankind very soon realize at long last how we are ignorantly and unsustainably creating enormous problems by habitually identifying ourselves with our thoughts.

After my mid-life change of life, I began deeply reflecting on root causes of our pervasive pathologies, individually and societally. In the above essay/poem and quotes, I’ve shared my perspectives about how and why illusionary human perceptions and thoughts are causing extremely psychopathic behaviors which threaten life on earth as we have known it.

If you agree, please consider and share them, to help heal the world.

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.  Now, we view our “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, with meditation and other mind-stilling methods, we can and shall evolve and transform our mind mirror, from opacity to translucency to transparency (as ‘window of the soul’).  And thereby, with ever expanding human consciousness and ever deepening insight, we can and shall ‘see’ more and more – what we couldn’t see before.

Invocation.

As ever more we inwardly SEE
May we ever more inwardly BE:

Wholeness, Holiness, SELF –
Infinite Potentiality, Awareness, Bliss;
Eternal Peace, Life, Light – LOVE!

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Sometimes It Hurts To Heal

“Your pain is the medicine by which the
physician within heals thyself.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity: For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.”

~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, Chapter 16



Ron’s Introduction to “Sometimes It Hurts To Heal”

The following poem was inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece “The Prophet”, and composed during my extended post-retirement reclusive period of prayer and introspection. It remains consistent with my long-life’s observations and experiences, as I will hereafter explain.

Sometimes It Hurts To Heal

Life is a healing/wholing/gnosis/process.

Sometimes we hurt as we heal;
But our healing pains are growing pains.

And as we are healing,
Life is revealing

Ever vaster vistas

Of  inner light,

LOVE and Peace.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Sometimes It Hurts To Heal”

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Ron’s Explanation of “Sometimes It Hurts To Heal”:

“Sometimes It Hurts To Heal” was inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece, “The Prophet”, especially Gibran’s insight that:

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”

Decades after its composition, this poem remains consistent with my long-time experience.

Thus, my greatest psychological trauma – a painful divorce – triggered a mid-life spiritual awakening which revealed previously unimagined new insights about self-identity and “reality”, and led to meeting my Guruji on the luckiest day of my life.

Similarly, my greatest physical trauma – a sudden near-death taxicab rundown – began a revelatory evolutionary process which has opened me to unspeakably expanded faith in Divine providence, and to an elevated ‘attitude of gratitude’– with every day a bonus, and every breath a blessing.

Currently, from my perspective, the extraordinary 2020 post–coronavirus era of anxiety, fear and deprivation of normal activities and liberties has become so hurtful and painful for so many people worldwide that it is about to trigger a societal “tipping point” breakthrough to an elevated heart level of human consciousness, which will hasten our imminent transition to a wonderful “new normal” age of love, peace and justice.  

Hence, from long-time faith-based experience, I continue to confirm that:

Life is revealing

Ever vaster vistas

Of  inner light,
LOVE and Peace.


Invocation

May these writings help assuage our anxieties about current crazy times
and inspire our abiding faith in THAT mysterious “physician within”
which wondrously is healing everyone everywhere
of all afflictions, individually and collectively.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

We’re not what we think we are!
~ Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies

“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything, you are essentially conscious of yourself.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Personal entity and enlightenment cannot go together.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“You will know the truth, 
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“You are “gods”; you are all children of the Most High.”
~ Psalm 82: 6
“Your own will is all that answers prayer,
only it appears under the guise 
of different religious conceptions to each mind.
We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
Essence Of Advaita
E = mc2 = Consciousness
Subject = Object = Consciousness
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Theory of Everything:
E = mc2 = Consciousness = Self.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Ramana Maharshi



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

The following poem was composed during my extended post-retirement reclusive period of prayer and introspection. With the above quotations, it succinctly summarizes previously unimagined pivotal insights about our spiritual Self-identity and ultimate Reality realized after my midlife spiritual awakening. I will hereafter comment on these perennially transformative insights.



Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies

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

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

So, wake up, and  –
Transcend entity identity!

* Advaita means non-dualism: it is
the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy

Ron’s audio recitation of Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies

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Ron’s explanation of Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies

Dear Friends,

We’re not what we think we are; not separate labels, but Universal Awareness!

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

But I was then blessed with a transformative spiritual awakening, which fundamentally changed my perceptions and perspectives of self identity and reality, bestowing ever increasing happiness and peace of mind. The foregoing quotations and poem succinctly summarize my previously unimagined pivotal insights about our Self-identity and ultimate Reality.

Since launching the SillySutras website in 2010, I have been sharing these insights online with the aspiration of helping others to similarly experience ever increasing happiness and peace of mind by transcending our acculturated mental limitations.

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

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

Yet, for countless ages sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we are not what we think we are!  That we suffer from perception-deception – with self-identity and reality not what they appear to be; that it is possible to experientially transcend the inevitable suffering of ordinary human existence through self-realization of and self-identification with an ultimate universal spiritual reality – which is the matrix and common essence of all space-time causality reality.

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

What we call “death” is just a vacation – immortal spirit vacating temporary physical vehicles.   Cosmically, there is no death or time, just Eternal NOW! 

Conclusion

This mystic message is especially important in these turbulent and troubled times, because it can encourage and inspire us to fearlessly be inner – not outer – directed; and to thereby follow our heart, rather than the frightened herd.

Therefore, I have reposted the foregoing key quotations and Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies  poem, emphasizing our shared Self identity – as Cosmic Consciousness or Non-Duality Reality.   And I’ve embedded a powerfully inspiring four minute YouTube viral video by rapper *Prince Eo already viewed over 100 million times and titled:

“I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White”


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

Invocation

May the above quotations, poetry and video, encourage and inspire us to fearlessly be inner – not outer – directed; and to thereby follow our heart, rather than the frightened herd.

And by so living from inside-out, may we find ever expanding happiness and peace of mind, as we realize and actualize our common Self identity as Infinite Potentiality, Being, Awareness, Bliss; Eternal Peace, Life, Light – LOVE!
 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Crazy World

“‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ said Alice.
‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the cat.
‘We’re all mad here.’”
~ Lewis Carroll
“I have lived on the lip 
of insanity,
wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door.
It opens.
I’ve been knocking from the inside.”
~ Rumi
Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.
~ Carl Jung
“When the world goes mad,
one must accept madness as sanity;
since sanity is, in the last analysis,
nothing but the madness on which the whole world happens to agree.”
~ George Bernard Shaw
“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. —– They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.”
~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited
“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority,
but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination”
….
“When we remember that we are all mad,
the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”
~ Mark Twain
“To recognize one’s own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
“It’s no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
~ J Krishnamurti
In this crazy world normality’s insanity,
and silliness is sanity.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Ron’s Introduction

The following four-line whimsical poem was composed during a brief midlife period when I felt I didn’t belong here.  After you consider it, I’ll hereafter try to explain it.

Crazy World

I feel like a stranger in a strange world.

This crazy world has driven me sane!

I seek refuge from this crazy world;

I seek a sane asylum.


Ron’s 2020 explanation and dedication of “Crazy World”

Dear Friends,

During childhood my life seemed like a waking dream, most of which I forgot.

Then during adulthood I became a social justice seeker in a perceived unjust and insane society.  But now (at age 87), as I prepare to bid Bye-Bye to the 21st century, I’m again often experiencing this life as an illusory waking dream of an insane world. Yet I still deeply aspire to help those who are suffering in this dream world.

During the 1950’s, I was deeply influenced on reading “The Sane Society” a best-selling book by then prominent German-born psychotherapist Erich Fromm. In it Fromm analyzed the pathology of ‘normalcy’ in Western materialistic societies. He proposed that inequities and disharmonies inherent in entire industrial societies were pathological and lacking in sanity. That they thereby cause alienation, stress and mental illnesses of people comprising such societies. Fromm’s essay synchronistically confirmed my long-time views of the insanity of materialistic society, with its inevitable injustices.  

Long before my spiritual awakening, I had a deep inner instinct to pursue social justice causes, with considerable sensitivity to the “insanity and iniquity of inequity in our society”.   So, in becoming a lawyer and throughout my professional career, my main motivation was to help others; not to become rich or famous.

Then, following my midlife spiritual awakening, I began feeling like Moses in Egypt – like a stranger in a strange land. [Exodus 2:22] For a short time, I felt like I no longer belonged in this crazy world.

But I needed to support my young children, and gradually realized that maybe I might continue helping others better than ever before, because of my discovery of happiness and sanity beyond space/time “reality” normality. As the bible says, eternal happiness or “the Kingdom of Heaven” is beyond this world. [e.g. John 15:19]

The foregoing four-line whimsical poem was composed during the brief midlife period when I felt I didn’t belong here. I’ve shared it aspiring to help expand our experience of inner happiness.
 
Invocation

May the foregoing whimsical poem and serious quotations encourage and inspire each of us to seek and find refuge from this crazy world in an Eternally “sane asylum”.

Thereby may we irreversibly realize that our precious lives here, are like waking dreams – fleeting episodes in an endless play of ever joyous Universal Awareness, our ultimate shared eternal Self–identity.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Ron’s oral explanation and recitation of “Crazy World”

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Is Personal Perfection Possible?

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth
who continually does good and who never sins”
~ Ecclesiastes 7:20
“Were I to await perfection, my book would never be finished.”
~ Chinese Proverb
“Nowadays the world is becoming increasingly materialistic,
and mankind is reaching toward the very zenith of external progress, driven by an insatiable desire for power and vast possessions. Yet by this vain striving for perfection in a world where everything is relative, they wander even further away from inward peace and happiness of the mind.”
~ H.H. the Dalai Lama
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.”
~ Leonard Cohen
“This is the very perfection of a man,
to find out his own imperfections.”
~ Saint Augustine
“The man with insight enough to admit his limitations
comes nearest to perfection.”
~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“Advance, and never halt, for advancing is perfection.”
~  Kahlil Gibran
“Incarnation is limitation.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
All people are flawed;

none are perfect.

But the most flawed,

are those who think or claim they’re perfect.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Is Personal Perfection Possible?

Q. Is personal perfection possible?

A. As Ecclesiastes 7:20 aptly observes:

“There are none on Earth so righteous that they never sin.”

Incarnation is limitation – and fallibility.

We’re here to learn and to evolve,
and evolution toward ‘perfection’ implies imperfection.

So, a perfect person’s not possible.



Ron’s explanation and dedication of
“Is Personal Perfection Possible?”


Dear Friends, 

The forgoing essay and quotations raise an important philosophical question for our consideration:
“Is Personal Perfection Possible?”. 

The idea of “perfection” has different meanings for different people.  But, in our world of relativity and duality “perfection” implies “imperfection”.  You can’t have one without the other. And realizing that all humans are limited or flawed can help us accept others as spiritual siblings – children of the Divine in varying evolutionary stages of opening to the eternal Light of Infinite Awareness.

Upon mistakenly believing ourselves to be mere “mortals” separate from each other and Nature, we become subject to the karmic law of cause and effect.  And we are motivated by inevitable karmic sufferings to evolve beyond our supposed duality; beyond our conceptions of separate perfection or imperfection.  Thus we are advancing toward realization that cosmically we are not separate “persons”, but ONE Eternal Spirit or Infinite Awareness.  

But while we remain mentally caught by karmic cause and effect, we can’t ever achieve individual “perfection”. 

Soon after my spiritual awakening I enrolled in a ‘new age’ seminar called “est”, founded by Werner Erhard, a charismatic and controversial former salesman who claimed to be sharing an esoteric epiphany he experienced while driving across the Golden Gate Bridge.  As discussed in my  Getting “IT” at est  memoirs chapter, the est training planted significant seeds for my spiritual evolution process by presenting some important and intriguing ideas from perennial wisdom teachings, which were then new to me, and which today remain important – like disidentifying with the “voice in my head” and “accepting the present moment”. 

Accepting “what is” NOW in the present moment remains for me a core principle for living a happy life, after over forty years of experience and reflection.  And since 1976 and est, I have repeatedly written about the illusory idea of individual “perfection”, as in the foregoing brief essay/poem and quotations. 

In philosophically reflecting and writing on “perfection”, I have concluded from experience that when we empathetically see all humans as imperfect or flawed it helps us experience ever growing happiness.

So this posting is offered to help us identify all humans as spiritual siblings in varying evolutionary stages of opening to the eternal Light of Infinite Awareness – children of the Divine with whom we are ‘fellow travelers’ on the spiritual path to “perfection” beyond incarnation.  
 
And so may it be! 

Ron Rattner

Interdependence Way,
On Independence Day

“Everything depends on everything else.
Nothing exists on its own.
On account of all the influences that come to bear upon them,
things appear, exist, and disappear, and then reappear again.
But they never exist independently.”
~ Dalai Lama – Little Book of Inner Peace

“No country can be called free
which is governed by an absolute power;
and it matters not whether it be an absolute royal power
or an absolute legislative power,
as the consequences will be the same to the people.”
~ Thomas Paine

“When it can be said by any country in the world,
my poor are happy, neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them,
my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars,
the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive,
the rational world is my friend
because I am the friend of happiness.
When these things can be said,
then may that country boast its constitution and government.”
~ Thomas Paine
“Our separation of each other
is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
Independence is illusion:
Everything is interconnected and interdependent.
Nothing exists independently.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature.
Not only higher forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings who, without any religion, law, or education, survive by mutual cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness.
The most subtle level of material phenomena is also governed by interdependence.
All phenomena, from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests, and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy.
Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay.”
~ Dalai Lama
“We are all cells in the body of humanity — all of us, all over the world.

Each one has a contribution to make,
 and will know from within what this contribution is,

but no one can find inner peace except by working,

not in a self-centered way, but for the whole human family.”

~ Peace Pilgrim
“The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren,
and to do good is my religion.”
~ Thomas Paine
“I believe that to meet the challenge of our times,
human beings will have to develop a greater sense
of universal responsibility.
Each of us must learn to work
not just for his or her own self, family or nation,
but for the benefit of all mankind.”
~ Dalai Lama
“When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being?”

[W]e all need each other, none of us is an island,
an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other
. . .we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.. . .

[E]verything is connected,
and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state.
~ Pope Francis – 2017 TED Talk


Interdependence way

Interdependence Way, On Independence Day

On July 4, 1776, thirteen American colonies declared their independence from British rule, in an historic document inspired by Thomas Paine’s philosophy and written by Thomas Jefferson. The philosophy of their Declaration of Independence was that under “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” government is established by people to secure their life, liberty, and happiness, and is to be overthrown as illegitimate if it no longer does that.

The US founding fathers recognized, that governments and their chartered organizations do not exist by Divine right; they are established by people to serve people – not to exploit or oppress them – and they are illegitimate unless they serve human rights and happiness.

Since 1776, “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” still prevail, but the world has changed immensely: The thirteen North American colonies have become the richest most powerful nation in world history – an American empire much vaster than the British empire which it succeeded. Human population has grown meteorically, from approximately 800 million (with 2.5 million people inhabiting American colonies) to over 7.6 billion and growing rapidly.

Through amazing technological and scientific advances the world has become much smaller and most people have become part of an instantly interconnected and largely interdependent global community, sharing critical information in an unprecedented new age of world-wide ecologic, economic, political and social crises and opportunities.

We are now experiencing severe global crises caused by inequitable governmental laws and policies which do not serve human rights and happiness, and by powerful transnational corporations which unsustainably exploit our precious planet, while prioritizing profits over people and often evading equitable taxation.

Within the spirit of the 1776 Declaration of Independence such laws and policies are illegitimate and must democratically be ended through societal recognition of the oneness of humanity and universal responsibility to benefit all humankind and all life.

Thus, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said:

“In our world, we need a clear awareness of the interdependent nature of nations, of humans and animals .. Everything is of interdependent nature. .. [M]any problems, especially man-made problems, are due to lack of knowledge about this interdependent nature.”

“Today’s world requires us to accept the oneness of humanity. In the past, isolated communities could afford to think of one another as fundamentally separate. Some could even exist in total isolation. But nowadays, whatever happens in one region eventually affects many other areas. Within the context of our interdependence, self-interest clearly lies in considering the interest of others.

“I believe that to meet the challenge of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for his or her own self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind.”


As Americans commemorate their past political independence from tyrannical rule, it is appropriate that we deeply reflect on current planetary tyranny, crises, inequities, and opportunities, in light of the egalitarian principles which launched the US nation in 1776. Such reflection will reveal that in today’s small world, we can best promote our own lives, liberty, and happiness – individually and societally – by recognizing our “universal responsibility to work not just for our own self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind.”

To that end, let us join with our wholehearted intentions and appropriate actions to end unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet and the iniquity of global inequity, in the spirit of the following global declaration of interdependence sponsored by We The World:

We, the people of planet Earth,
In recognition of the interconnectedness of all life
And the importance of the balance of nature,
Hereby acknowledge our interdependence
And affirm our dedication
To life-serving environmental stewardship,
The fulfillment of universal human needs worldwide,
Economic and social well-being,
And a culture of peace and nonviolence,
To insure a sustainable and harmonious world
For present and future generations.

Ron’s 2020 Comments on
“Interdependence Way, On Independence Day”


Dear Friends,

This is an extremely appropriate time for our deep reflection on our ideals and ideas of supposed independence, both societally and individually. And for serious concern about clearly imminent dangers of nuclear or ecologic catastrophe, and threatened loss of our inherent liberties arising from absolute ‘exceptionalism’ of the American empire, and its very violent and politically polarized actions. Such concern is especially necessary because of “new normal” worldwide coronavirus authoritarian restraints against our ordinary human activities and inherent rights and liberties – while the doomsday clock of the bulletin of atomic scientists is at two minutes to midnight.

We urgently need to realize that independence is impossible; that everyone/everything is interconnected and interdependent; so that no-one/nothing exists permanently or independently. 

Mistakenly believing ourselves to be separate and independent mortal beings, we’ve ignorantly acted fearfully and selfishly – instead of lovingly and generously – and thereby we’ve created critical problems for all life on our precious planet, and unsustainable disharmony with Nature. 

Thus, it has become urgently imperative that we embrace an interdependent worldview, as explained above, and in the following “Crossroads” documentary video.  

We cannot change others. But we can change and replace our seriously mistaken beliefs of separate independence, with an interdependent worldview.

Thereby, we can and we shall revolutionarily and compassionately transform the world.

Invocation


With malice toward none, and empathy for all,

Let us end the iniquity of inequity in our society,

So “that government of the people, by the people,
for the people, shall not perish from the Earth”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview:

Our urgent need for a new interdependent worldview – how we need to collectively change our minds to change our world – is expertly explained and portrayed in this excellent one hour documentary movie, already viewed online by over one million concerned people.


Remembering An Attitude Of Gratitude – A Holy Encounter ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon
“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”
~ St. Francis Of Assisi
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
~ Maya Angelou
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of.
There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

~ Fred Rogers
“When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. 
As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. 
As you think of him, you will think of yourself. 
Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose sight of yourself.”
~ A Course in Miracles (ACIM)
“We are born and reborn countless number of times,
and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another.  
Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”
~ H. H. Dalai Lama, from ‘The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom”.
In this world of relativity, we are all relatives.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


praying


Introduction.

In the prior memoirs chapter “Another ‘Near Death’ Experience?”, I told of my miraculous survival and healing from critical taxicab rundown injuries, which I have attributed to the prayers, care, and good wishes of saints and many others who wanted me to get well. And I explained how the shock and trauma of my sudden injuries left me with continuing retrograde amnesia, without memory of what happened immediately before and after the taxicab incident, and while I was comatose.

In this chapter I will recount how a spontaneous act of loving-kindness by an ICU nurse – who synchronistically shared my reverence for Saint Francis of Assisi – proved an unforgettable healing blessing. I cannot remember the nurse’s name (so I’ll call her “Mary”), but my memory of our meeting was rekindled by an unforgettable document she left while I slept the next day; and I will never forget how I’ve felt because of her kindness.

A Holy Encounter.

For many years I have had frequent synchronistic meetings with strangers with whom I have experienced deeply harmonious connections. I have called them “holy encounters”. This is the story of an especially memorable holy encounter with a compassionate nurse which happened at the San Francisco General Hospital Intensive Care Unit [ICU], shortly after I had been run down and critically injured by a taxicab.

I have no memory of my admission to the ICU or of any prior conversations, diagnostic procedures or medical examinations there, and I was unaware of details of my injuries until after this encounter.

I later learned from medical records and from those who had examined or visited me that I had sustained a traumatic bleeding brain contusion and concussion, with extended loss of consciousness; large 2” chronic subdural hematoma pushing brain out of normal alignment; multiple fractures, including multiple facial fractures, bruises and lacerations; a fractured right leg tibial plateau; and various traumatic internal injuries, including a lacerated and bleeding liver. I was told that my head and face were completely bruised, discolored and swollen.

On the morning of this holy encounter I can now remember awakening supine on my hospital bed unable to rotate my body because of an IV tube and a full leg brace on my right leg. Presumably I was under influence of narcotic pain suppressant drugs which had been administered while I was unconscious, and until I was later able to decline them with informed consent.

Soon after I awakened that morning, I was greeted by a lovely slender, blond haired ICU nurse, who said:


“Good morning Mr. Rattner, I’m Mary your nurse for today.
How are you feeling?”


Amazingly, I simply responded:


“I’m grateful to be alive!”


Surprised, Mary commented appreciatively about my positive attitude. Whereupon I promptly recited for her my Silly Sutras saying that: 


“An attitude of gratitude brings beatitude.”


And I explained to Mary that my attitude of gratitude came from abiding faith in Divine Providence, and conviction that I was blessed by Saint Francis of Assisi and other saints [*See Footnote]. Mary then told me that she had been raised to revere Saint Francis by her mother who regularly prayed to him at a home shrine.

Inspired by this wonderful synchronicity, I gladly recited for Mary the
“make me an instrument of Thy peace” prayer associated with Saint Francis, which amazingly I readily remembered, and which apparently she deeply appreciated. We talked briefly and she then proceeded on her rounds.

An unforgettable “get well” message.

The day after our ‘holy encounter’, I awakened to discover that while I slept Mary had placed this “get well” message, with the peace prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, next to my bed.

sf-general-get-well-message


Conclusion.

I have heretofore told how my mid-life spiritual epiphany opened an emotional flood-gate which had been closed since childhood, and unleashed for the first time in my adult life an intense and unprecedented torrent of tears; how for many years I cried so often and so profusely that I came to realize that I was experiencing a great transformative blessing recognized in various devotional spiritual traditions, and which in the Catholic tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis of Assisi was known as “the gift of tears”.

Though never a frequent flyer, I became – and for over forty years have remained – a very frequent crier. Tears have helped purify my psyche, body and nervous system permitting ‘peek experiences’ of higher states of consciousness, as well as many experiences of extreme ecstasy. They have become for me a divine sign of an opened heart.

Mary’s ‘get well’ message has consistently and often sparked a flood of heartfelt emotions and tears as it reminds me of our holy encounter and of my attitude of gratitude for this precious human lifetime. Thus, many times while writing this story I have cried with heartfelt gratitude.

Moral of the story.

Every spontaneous and heartfelt act of loving-kindness bestowed in ordinary life – even in seemingly insignificant incidents – can prove a lasting blessing for its recipient and everyone everywhere.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner



Footnote

* Saint Francis of Assisi.

Shortly after a profound spiritual opening in 1976, I began having synchronistic inner and outer experiences concerning Saint Francis of Assisi, of whom I was previously ignorant. Because of those experiences I developed deep affinity with this legendary saint, and regarded him an archetype to be emulated. Soon I began multiple daily recitations of the “make me an instrument of Thy peace” prayer associated with him, which have continued until now.

On retirement from legal practice in 1992, I made a pilgrimage to Italy to honor Saint Francis. In spring 1992, I journeyed to the Umbrian town of Assisi, Italy, where Saint Francis (‘Francesco’) was born and resided for most of his inspiring life, and where I experienced an extraordinary feeling of déjà vu, and some of the most memorable spiritual experiences of this lifetime. Also I made a magically memorable excursion to Mount La Verna in Tuscany – where Francis became the first Christian saint to receive the crucifixion stigmata of Christ. (See https://sillysutras.com/pilgrimage-to-assisi-communing-with-saint-francis-rons-memoirs/)


Another ‘Near Death’ Experience?
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“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
“Birth and death are virtual, but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


tree_of_life

Introduction.

Nowadays, at age eighty seven, when commonly greeted by others with “Hello, how are you?”, almost always I spontaneously and enthusiastically respond: “Grateful to be alive! – Every day’s a bonus!”

I cannot recall when I began so exclaiming this attitude of gratitude. But mostly it has happened since six years ago, when (on June 29, 2014) I was suddenly run down by a taxicab and critically injured while crossing a busy San Francisco street.

Here is a memoirs story about that incident which I share hoping to inspire for others a similar attitude of gratitude, which has proven for me to be a great blessing. For

“It is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast


My First ‘Near Death’ Experience [NDE]*

In 1979 I experienced and have written a prior memoir about an extraordinary and unforgettable out of body event [OOB] which I called a ‘Near Death’ Experience’ [NDE]*. [See https://sillysutras.com/my-near-death-experience/ and *footnote about NDE’s.]

During that experience, I mistakenly believed that I had suffered a stroke and was dying. But I later was told (by my Guruji) that I had not experienced illness but a sudden infusion of Divine shakti energy. So it is unlikely that I suffered from diminished vital signs which are usually associated with NDE’s. Nonetheless, that extraordinary and unforgettable OOB event significantly advanced the spiritual transformation process which had begun with my 1976 realization and rebirth experience.

That transformation process has blessed me with ever increasing self-identification as eternal spirit rather than as mere mortal body/mind. Ultimately, it has led to my realization that Life is perpetual while physical birth and death are virtual; that what most humans call death is merely a vacation – eternal Life-force vacating an inevitably mortal physical vehicle.

This crucial realization has resulted in ever decreasing fear of death, and ever expanding openness, empathy, gratitude and happiness.

Still, I recognize that human bodies are extraordinarily precious life-forms, enabling us to develop and to lovingly advance spiritually. So the longer we are able to skillfully inhabit a functioning physical body, beyond fear of death or disability, the greater our opportunity to learn and to evolve.

Past as Prelude; Another NDE?

In my first NDE* narrative I told how I hadn’t feared presumed peaceful death by a supposed stroke; but, how soon thereafter I experienced an instinctively fearful ‘fight or flight’ reaction when almost run over while crossing a street. (I’ve come to believe that such normal instinctive protection of a precious mortal body is distinguishable from ego’s ever fearful separate self-identification with a body rather than with eternal universal awareness.)

Paradoxically, my 1979 ‘fight or flight’ fear of being run down as a pedestrian ultimately materialized thirty five years later when I was suddenly run down by a taxicab and critically injured while crossing a busy San Francisco street. Today at age eighty seven, I have miraculously survived and largely healed from that incident, after perhaps another ‘near death’ experience.

The shock and trauma of my injuries have left me with continuing retrograde amnesia, so I am unable to recall what happened immediately before and after the taxicab incident, and while I was comatose. Thus for such details I must rely on paramedic and hospital records, and on a cam video showing the taxi hitting me.

Accident Injuries.

The following bodily injuries and symptoms, among others, were radiologically and clinically diagnosed:

Traumatic bleeding brain contusion and concussion, with extended loss of consciousness; large 2” chronic subdural hematoma pushing brain .6” out of normal alignment; massive soft tissue tears and other traumatic shoulder injuries, temporarily rendering both shoulders largely non-functional, with prosthesis recommended for left shoulder; multiple facial fractures, bruises and swelling, with broken nose, fractured sinus areas, etc.; facial lacerations requiring sutures; lacerated and bleeding liver; cracked ribs; slight spinal fracture; excessive external bleeding, with anemia requiring prompt two unit blood transfusion; tibial plateau (“bumper”) fracture and extreme swelling of right knee and leg, with large knee wound, open and seeping for over two months; continuing post-traumatic stress syndrome [PTSD]; retrograde amnesia; mental confusion, headaches, dizziness, and dyslexia.

Considering my advanced octogenarian age and the multiplicity and severity of my injuries and symptoms, my survival, recovery and healing so far have been miraculous. Moreover, I have amazingly survived without any pain drugs or brain or shoulder surgical interventions recommended by various allopathic doctors, and have been able to resume a largely independent pre-injury life style with frequent (pre-lockdown) walks, after extended convalescence, and treatment with acupuncture, organic herbs, and physical therapy.

Guruji, Rama mantra, and hints of heavenly help.

Unlike some NDE* survivors I have no memory of what happened while I was comatose, or of any contact with heavenly beings or departed loved ones. However I gratefully intuit that my survival and healing are blessings from my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji, from Saint Francis of Assisi and other divine or celestial beings or emanations, and from prayers, acts of kindness and good wishes of many friends, health providers and others.

Previously I have explained the importance of the Rama mantra in my transformational process; how spontaneously I began reciting Rama before receiving shaktipat initiation by Guruji, who synchronistically gave me a Ram mantra. I believe that the power of my Ram mantra helped my miraculous survival and recovery.

Also I have told how recitation of the name Rama was the principle spiritual practice of Mahatma Gandhi – my first inner spiritual guide – who recited it from childhood until his assassination; how even as Gandhi fell to an assassin’s pistol fired point-blank into his heart, in forgiveness he uttered nothing but “Rama, Rama …” his last words from the eternal depths of his heart.

Referring to his repetition of “Rama” Gandhi said:

“that the Word is in my heart, if not actually on my lips, all the twenty-four hours. It has been my saviour and I am ever stayed on it.” “The mantram becomes one’s staff of life and carries one through every ordeal….” “Each repetition … has a new meaning, each repetition carries you nearer and nearer to God.”


During weeks before my taxi rundown incident, I noticed that I was constantly reciting my Ram mantra; and that it was in my heart when not on my lips. So, I may have been reciting the mantra when hit by the taxicab.

On my ambulance arrival at San Francisco General Hospital trauma center, according to hospital records, I was “pleasantly confused and repetitive”, and was ‘repeating phrases’. And more than one doctor noted my positive attitude despite critical injuries.

Intuitively I believe that my repetitive utterances were Ram mantra recitations which helped invoke the subtle presence and assistance of my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji.

Amongst my first hospital visitors were my long-time spiritual friends Carolyn and Monte, who are also Guruji devotees. Very soon after my admission to the ICU they synchronistically learned of my injuries, and immediately came to the hospital, where they were admitted after regular visiting hours.  On observing my completely bruised, discolored  and swollen head and face they became very concerned and did hands on healing, with repetitions of the Ram mantra.  Shortly after returning home, Carolyn prayed to Guruji for my health and recovery.  Whereupon Guruji responded telepathically that he was already helping me.

Similarly another spiritual friend, Michael, a long-time devotee of Guruji’s successor Shri Anandi Ma, reported to me his intuitive flash of insight that I could not and would not have survived the taxicab injuries but for Guruji’s intervention.

And soon after the accident I received an email assurance from my (now departed) friend Pravinji Jani, Anandi Ma’s father and Vedic pundit and astrologer, assuring me that “Guruji is always with you showering his blessings” for healing and for “return to your normal activities with inspiring sutras”.

These encouraging communications from Guruji devotees supported my intuitive insights of Guruji’s subtle presence and help.

Prayers, good wishes, and other acts of kindness and compassion.

The prayers and good wishes of family, friends, health care providers and many others who cared for and about me, and wanted me to get well, also helped my miraculous survival and healing. Many staff people at the hospital and rehab facility were kind and compassionate, and did their very best to help me.

I was especially touched when I awakened in the hospital ICU one morning to see taped on the wall this “get well” message:


It had been placed there by one of my loving nurses with whom I had discussed my “attitude of gratitude” for surviving the taxicab rundown and my love for Saint Francis of Assisi, whose peace prayer I’d recited for her. (Details of our “holy encounter” are posted at https://sillysutras.com/remembering-an-attitude-of-gratitude-a-holy-encounter-rons-memoirs/)

Other acts of loving-kindness and compassion by those attending me were too numerous for me to recall or recount. But they all helped me get well.

Prayers can be powerful, and have been integral to all enduring religious and spiritual traditions from time immemorial. Throughout recorded human history prayers have been offered by countless saints and sages, and by ordinary people of every religious or spiritual denomination.

Moreover, persuasive scientific evidence now confirms healing efficacy of prayer. So I am gratefully convinced that heartfelt prayers and good wishes of many people who cared about me helped my miraculous survival and healing.

Why was my life was endangered, and why have I miraculously survived?

I don’t know. Presumably this incident arose from mysterious karmic causes and conditions. And presumably I have survived because my predestined assignments for this lifetime have not yet been fulfilled.

Before the taxicab rundown, I already was happier, more grateful and less fearful than ever before. And I already had abiding faith in the Divine, which more than ever before enabled me to accept inevitable and inescapable life difficulties and uncertainties, and yet to live openly, spontaneously and authentically, without worry, fear or doubt. (See: I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life.)

But I’ve become even more grateful for this precious human lifetime, and for the opportunity to continue learning to live with ever expanding loving-kindness and compassion.

Now I feel that every day is a bonus; that every breath is a blessing. And I am convinced that I have been permitted to remain in this body only because I’ve not yet fully accomplished the purposes for which my soul incarnated; that the miraculous survival and healing have been Divine blessings bestowing an evolutionary opportunity for karmic ‘purification’ and enhanced incentive to spiritually make the most of what remains of this precious human life-time.
 
One of the greatest joys of living a long earth-life is that there is always something new to learn, and that through synchronicities we are led to ever new opportunities for learning to become more loving – our purpose here.
So I feel blessed to have been allowed to keep learning appropriate evolutionary lessons – and also to have been afforded an opportunity to continue honoring Guruji’s request that I write and publish spiritual memoirs so as to inspire others.

[**See footnote]

Moral of the story?

With an enduring ‘attitude of gratitude’, I share this story hoping to inspire our fearless faith in that Mysterious Power which eternally guides our lives
through inevitable and inescapable difficulties and uncertainties,
and which enables us to live gratefully with loving-kindness and compassion,
and without worry, fear or negative attachments.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Footnotes:

*NDE’s. The term ‘Near Death Experience’ [NDE] was coined in 1975 by Raymond A. Moody, Jr., PhD, MD, in his book Life After Life which sold over thirteen million copies worldwide. Since then numerous NDE accounts have been published and discussed in mainstream media, on the internet, in films and videos and in magazines and books – including NY Times best sellers. Many spiritually inspiring NDE stories have been published and researched by the International Association For Near-Death Studies [IANDS] and others. So NDE’s have become widely considered, especially by those who claim to have experienced them. And some leading-edge non-materialist scientists cite NDE’s as evidence that consciousness survives physical death. For millions of people NDE’s, and other extraordinary mystical experiences, have proven to be spiritually inspirational, and transformative events, diminishing or ending fear of death and encouraging a newly open, sensitive, trusting and loving lifestyle. (see e.g. Atlantic Monthly: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.)

**The Perennial Wisdom Foundation (PWF) plans to publish ebooks containing these memoirs and other on-line writings. Also, PWF has arranged to keep SillySutras.com on line for at least another ten years, whether or not I am able to continue writing.


Know Death to Know Life;
Know Death to Know That There is No Death

“Death is truly part of life … ‘what we called death is merely a concept’.”
“This happens at the gross level of the mind.
But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call ‘clear light.’”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama, citing Tibetan Book of the Dead.

“Everything is changeable, everything appears and disappears; there is no blissful peace until one passes beyond the agony of life and death.”
~ Gautama Buddha
“And it is in dying [to ego life] that we are reborn to eternal life.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi, peace prayer, edited by Ron Rattner

“Normally we do not like to think about death. 
We would rather think about life. Why reflect on death? 
When you start preparing for death you soon realize 
that you must look into your life now… and come to face the truth of your self.

Death is like a mirror in which the true meaning of life is reflected.”
~ Sogyal Rinpoche
“Birth and death are virtual,
but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“As we lose our fear of leaving life,

we gain the art of living life.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Know Death to Know Life;
Know Death to Know That There is No Death.

In phenomenal polarity reality
the idea of life, implies the idea of death.

All that appears disappears.

So, to live and to know earth-life,
we must experience and know earth-death.

But to Know and to Be that Consciousness
which is eternally aware of both earth-life and earth-death,
is to know that, beyond all appearance and disappearance,

There is no death –
only THAT which Knows.

So, to truly know Life
is to Know Death.

And to truly know death
is to Know that there is no death.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Know Death to Know Life; Know Death to Know That There is No Death”.

Listen to


Ron’s Commentary on Knowing Death to Know Life.

Dear Friends,

Most Silly Sutras postings are dedicated to helping raise our spiritual consciousness, and thereby to enabling us to live happier lives, both individually and societally. Paradoxically many such postings intended to help us live happier lives, address death and dying.

Enduring religious and spiritual traditions reveal that “our deepest fears hide our highest potentials”, and that “as we lose our fears of leaving life, we gain the art of living life.”

So to help us transcend our fears of death and dying, I have today posted the foregoing poem Know Death to Know Life; Know Death to Know That There is No Death, plus an excellent embedded video documentary “The Tibetan Book of the Dead”, narrated by poet Leonard Cohen, together with its narrative text, which includes this key insight:

Physical death is inevitable and natural. But most people fear death, believing it ends life.


Thus, in much of American society dying is largely a taboo subject, with euphemistic and sorrowful language used to describe death and dying. And Americans usually die in hospitals or other institutions, and not at home surrounded by loved-ones. In the current extraordinary 2020 coronavirus pandemic era, billions of people worldwide seriously suffer from fear of death or disease, and loved-ones are often prevented from being with and consoling sick and dying people.

For millennia traditional societies have recognized physical death as an inevitable part of life, and have evolved elaborate traditions and teachings about death. For example, ancient Egyptians and Tibetans have codified such teachings in ‘Books of the Dead’. My beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, ran away from home at age thirteen in search of experiential answers to the interrelated perennial questions of “Who am I?” and “What is death?”.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead documentary video embedded below can help us transcend fear of death and dying. It was produced by NHK Japanese TV, and includes statements by the Dalai Lama, and authentic footage of Tibetan death teachings and practices in Ladakh. Whether or not you watch it, I recommend you read the posted narrative which is eloquently expressed in the film by poet Leonard Cohen.

Invocation

May these teachings about death and dying
help enable us to live ever happier lives,
both individually and societally,
as we lose the fear of leaving life, and gain the art of living life.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

NHK documentary “The Tibetan Book of the Dead”, narrated by Leonard Cohen.



Documentary Narrative*.

Although everything on Earth seems stable and solid, nothing here is permanent. Like water, snow and ice, life is always shifting and changing form. All existence is one kind of state or another. This means living in an atmosphere of uncertainty – moving without a place to rest.

In this world, we pass through the spiritual state of physical existence. Here, we want to make something lasting and secure, but no one has been able to accomplish this. Our life is always in the hands of death. At death, our experience is completely out of our control. Our experience is completely naked.

What is the best path through this spiritual state? It is a question of waking up right now, looking at our own mind. Look at it when it is calm and still and when it is running wild. This is what Buddha did and what he taught. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “The Kingdom of God is within you.”

Soon we all will die. All our hopes and fears will be irrelevant.

Out of luminous continuity of existence, which has no origin and which has never died, human beings project all the images of life and death, terror and joy, demons and gods. These images become our complete reality. We submit without thinking to their dance. In all the movements to this dance, we project our greatest fears on death and we make every effort to ignore it.

Illusions are as various as the moon reflecting on a rippling sea. Beings become easily caught in the net of confused pain. We must develop compassion as boundless as the sky so that all may rest in the clear light of our own awareness.

At death, we lose everything we thought was real. Unless we can let go of all the things we cherished in our life we are terrified. We cannot stop struggling to hold on to our old life. All our fear and yearning will drag us into yet another painful reality.

We are always wandering through transitional spiritual states. Difficulty in leaving behind our old life can cause us to wander in painful uncertainty.

The spiritual state of dying lasts from the beginning of the body’s physical collapse until the body and consciousness separate.

While we are living, the elements of Earth, water, fire and air together support and condition our consciousness. Death occurs when this is no longer the case. Now, without the screens and filters of daily life, at this time, mind itself can be seen directly. In the spiritual state of dying, it is important to recognize our own true nature.

At death, there is an experience of piercing luminosity, pure white light, the clear radiance that rises directly from our own basic nature. Now, there is no darkness, no separation, no direction and no shape, only brilliant light. This boundless sparkling radiance is mind, free from the shadows of birth and death – free from any boundaries of any kind.

Now all pervasive light engulfs us completely. All of space is dissolved into pure light. This radiance is the mind of God, the mind of all the awakened ones. Recognizing this is all that is necessary for liberation from birth and rebirth. If we do not recognize our divine nature, a dreamless sleep will happen.

In three days time, all emotions will be vivid and intense. Though it seems we are entering into a new reality, it is still the reality of our own mind.

Wandering back to the familiar sites and people of our old life, our own mind will arise before us in unfamiliar ways. We may not know if we are alive or dead. Even so, we may see our family crying. We must leave our former life behind if we are to progress.

If the we are unable to recognize the luminosity of mind itself, our experience now takes the shape of random imagery of our former life. We see our friends and relatives calling out to us and they cannot hear our replies. Death has cut us off from them and sorrow strikes our heart. We see our family and relatives crying. We can see our bed but we are no longer the one lying there. Instead, there is a corpse.

Soon we will experience the intense presence of our own emotional states as peaceful and raging light forms. Now, we will meet our mind in the form of projections which seem vivid and entirely real. Now we will see penetrating blue light shining all around us. This is the essence of consciousness, God (Buddha). The wisdom of God is like a mirror reflecting everything. God is the form of consciousness in its complete purity. This wisdom is inseparable from our own heart. But also we will see a diffused white light which we must avoid if we are to achieve liberation. If we follow the allure of the soft white light, we will find ourselves ensnared in the temporary pleasures of being born as a god, living in Lordly ignorance of the passage of time and subject to unexpected death.

If this path is taken, the wisdom of our very heart and mind takes the form of spiritual entities. There will be peaceful spiritual entities that emanate from our heart and wrathful ones that emerge from our brain.

They will appear one by one and then all together. The peaceful spiritual entities are complete and immovable. If we cannot bear to enter their vast benevolent space, if we cannot let go of self-centeredness and fear, these deities will become terrifying wrathful ones. If we recognize them as an expression of our own mind, they are the unsparing face of wakefulness.

The wrathful forms emerging from the brain appear before us actually and clearly as if they were real in their own right. The terror and anger we feel are our own efforts to evade from being completely awake. We wander uncertainly in the landscape of our own mind. If we recognize this as our own projections, liberation is instantaneous.

These wrathful forms are the presence of our innate wisdom, the vivid form of our own wakefulness. We must recognize them as a reflection of our own mind. Recognition and liberation are simultaneous.

All of us feel sparks of anger, flickers of passion, and twinges of jealousy during brief moments. From these seeds, we grow to become the jealous person. We say “this is what I am” and we act accordingly. But these are just our masks and we forget that we are wearing them. We run from the masks that others wear. The wrathful spiritual entities are our own mind and it is impossible to run away from them. They are the sharpness of our own clarity. They are all in our mind.

Then altogether and all at once, the peaceful and wrathful spiritual entities come before us. If we do not recognize them as our own projections, then they transform into the terrifying image of the Lord of Death. This too is our own projection. But if we don’t accept that, our fear and turmoil force us to wander on in terror to the spiritual state of rebirth. We leave the spiritual state of the nature of mind. Again we are lost and wandering, so now we seek to end our suffering by being born into a solid and familiar place.

Now in the spiritual state of rebirth, all our senses have become extremely acute. Our consciousness is like a body without substance. In this body, we can, by a mere thought, travel to anywhere. As if we have miraculous powers, we can pass through mountains and circle the universe. We can enter anywhere but nowhere can we rest.

In the pain of our endless wandering, the thought of being born now promises great relief. We can still see our family, but we no longer know we are with them. We are driven on the winds of hope and fear like a leaf that is carried in the wind.

If we are still unable to recognize our own nature, our anger, lust and confusion become ever more intense, ever more solid. They at last appear to us as entire realms where we may stop and dwell. The image of our former body becomes faint and the image of our future body becomes clear. Any birth seems better than his current pain.

Since everyone is caught in these spiritual states of suffering, what can we do? People make hell realms out of their own anger. They make worlds out of passion. We project our emotional states and believe it is the real world. But no matter what, everyone longs for compassion. Everyone wishes to be awake. The best thing is to develop genuine compassion for all living things and for ourselves too. If we do not truly care for others we cannot know our own mind. We can have lofty insights and pure impulses, but then return to our old habits without even noticing it. We must work all the time to open our hearts and look for the truth. Otherwise there is neither understanding nor a purpose for understanding. Also, as life goes by, it is a good idea to keep your sense of humor.

We are now coming to the end of our journey. As we reach the end of the spiritual state of rebirth, the features of the world we are to enter will become very clear to us. If we pay attention now, we will find our way to a favorable rebirth.

We are now on the path to rebirth. We must choose carefully where we are to be born. In all the possibilities that are present before us, we must choose our new life. If we choose a good human birth in a good place, we can continue on the path of recognizing our own mind. Even though we are desperate for a home, a dark cave in a forest can lead to a birth in the animal realm. If we are consumed by yearning, the realm of hungry ghosts can become a never-ending realm of hunger and thirst for us. Rage, bitterness, and anger open all the images of hell. It is best to avoid the extremes of pleasure or pain when selecting a new birth. It is best to be born where we can still recognize the luminous essence of our own mind.

We will not remember much of our journey when we are born again. It will be like starting out new. Though death is always something to be mourned, being born is not something to be celebrated. There is an old saying: “When we are born, we cry, but the whole world is overjoyed. When we die, the world cries and we can become overjoyed when we find the great liberation.”


*Source: Kevin Williams, http://www.near-death.com/religion/buddhism/commentary.html