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Sutra Sayings

Fear

“The only thing we have to fear is…fear itself
— nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror whicparalyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Love is what we were born with.
Fear is what we learned here. 
The spiritual journey is the relinquishment – or unlearning – of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.”
~ Marianne Williamson
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,
. . . . and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
~ 1 John 4:18
“[D]eep down, at our cores, there are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler – When You Don’t Choose Love You Choose Fear
“Love blesses the world; 
fear afflicts it.
”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“The more you are motivated by Love,
The more fearless and free your action will be.”
~ Dalai Lama XIV
“Fear arises through identification with form, whether it be a material possession, a physical body, a social role, a self-image, a thought, or an emotion. It arises through unawareness of the formless inner dimension of consciousness or spirit, which is the essence of who you are. You are trapped in object consciousness, unaware of the dimension of inner space which alone is true freedom.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.”
~ Dalai Lama XIV
“Those who fear suffering, suffer from fear.”
~ French Proverb
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life.
A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
~ Mark Twain
“To be afraid of dying
is like being afraid of discarding an old worn-out garment.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Fear of death is fear of life; so
face death to live life.”
 ***
“You are not a mortal; you are immortal.
So never fear being a non-being.”
 ***
“Our deepest fears
hide our highest potentials.”
 ***
“As we lose our fear of leaving life,
we gain the art of living life.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth,
… beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in your Heart.”
~ Chandogya Upanishad 3.13.7





Fear

We’ve nothing to fear but fright;
fright which hides our light.
For just beyond our darkest fright
shines our brightest light –

The Eternal light of LOVE.

Ron’s audio recitation of “Fear”

Listen to



2020 Coronavirus Commentary on Fear

Dear Friends,

Welcome to a “new normal” age of worldwide pandemic panic, anxiety and fear, inculcated by constant false-flag propaganda from corporate media and deep-state dominated bureaucrats. To address such panic I’ve published today the foregoing key quotations, sutras, and brief poem (with mp3 recitation) about Fear.

According to Henry Kissinger, we have just entered a new world-order epoch to be dominated by international “leaders”, because “The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order”. I agree with Kissinger that we have entered a new world-changing epoch. But I vehemently and viscerally oppose his autocratic dystopian vision of a post-pandemic world.

Contrary to Kissinger, I see the psychopathically pre-planned, exaggerated and over-hyped coronavirus emergency as a potentially immense blessing, and not just as a sociopathic pretext for actualizing a long-planned Orwellian dystopian ‘new world order’.

I see corporate pandemic propaganda and unjustifiably restrictive lock-down regulations as awakening and arousing our instinctive caring for one-another, and as promoting a ‘critical mass’ transition from insanely unsustainable transnational capitalist competition for exploitation of limited world resources (with constant wars and needless sufferings), to less polarized and more localized and civilized sane societies, with democratically autonomous and cooperative communities.

Thus, paradoxically, I see this is a time of both immense threat, and of unprecedented epochal opportunity. We can collectively and cooperatively realize an abiding “new normal” epoch of civilized sane societies, fostering world peace and health, with liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for all.

Or we can “forever” degenerate into an Orwellian dystopian world empire, autocratically controlled by a tiny group of malignantly malevolent multi-billionaires who are psychopathically destroying life on Earth, and divisively fomenting unfounded fears of alleged terrorist enemies as their continuing propaganda pretense for unsustainably waging endless wars for obscenely endless profits.

Because pervasive panic and fear precludes us from authentically addressing current challenges, it is crucial that we transcend such fears:
1) In order to skillfully solve our potentially disastrous problems; and
2) For us to deeply reconsider our life purposes and priorities as awakening sentient Earth beings instinctively seeking “freedom”.

As a longtime social justice attorney, I consider current autocratic laws and regulations which place billions of innocent people under unwarranted ‘house arrest’, and prevent them from democratically enjoying innate and personal, political, and economic “freedoms”, to be egregiously unconstitutional. And I urgently advocate universal nonviolent revolutionary resistance to such autocratically immoral health edicts. Such relentless resistance is consistent with Mahatma Gandhi’s inspiring satyagraha life-path, and his perennially wise observation that:

“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt.
And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness.”


However, to fundamentally address the deepest roots of our worldly pandemic panic and fears, I’ve published the foregoing quotations, poetry and sutras about finding transcendental inner “freedom” beyond ego-mind beliefs and concepts. These writings are based upon lifelong experiences and learning, not only on what I’ve discovered since my midlife spiritual awakening.

According to most economists, the widespread pandemic lockdown has probably triggered the most massive capitalist economic depression in world history. I was born on election day November 8th, 1932, during the prior 1929 ‘Great Depression’, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was first elected 32nd President of the United States. Soon afterwards on March 4, 1933, FDR delivered his first inaugural address as an historic national call to action for responding to the country’s then most severe economic crisis, with millions suffering unemployment, starvation and extreme poverty. Perhaps the most memorable line of Roosevelt’s speech was  his opening assertion that

“The only thing we have to fear is…fear itself
— nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”


During Roosevelt’s presidency, I later witnessed a sane and compassionate “new deal” political response to that previous ‘Great Depression’, with first-time enactment of minimum wage, social security and unemployment insurance legislation, partially paid by taxing the super rich; and establishment of massive federal jobs programs employing millions to do socially needed but privately unavailable work.

Roosevelt’s idea that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” has intuitively intrigued me (since long before my mid-life spiritual awakening).  Now, as I approach an 88th birthday anniversary, as an allegedly viral-vulnerable elder, I feel that  “the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself”  expresses a deep spiritual truth; that our true Self-identity is as ONE immortal, formless and infinitely potential spirit – not as separate mortal physical bodies or their stories.

We now live in a fearful age of mental malaise, in a fear-pervaded society which substantially impedes our destined realization of our ultimate human potential, because fear and loving-kindness cannot coexist; that as the Dalai Lama says: “The more [we] are motivated by Love, the more fearless and free our actions will be.”

These spiritual ideas are expressed (or implied) in the foregoing key quotations, sutras and brief poem (with mp3 recitation) about Fear.

Invocation

I offer these writings with the deep aspiration that they may help enhance our identification with spirit, while diminishing our worldly economic anxieties and psychological fears of bodily disease or death,
thereby enabling us to act skillfully and to Self identify ‘ever more fearlessly’
– as LOVE.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

 

Finding Freedom ~
Question, Quotes and Comments

“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“There is only one central issue, crisis, or challenge for man, which is, that he must be completely free. As long as the mind is holding on to a structure, a method, a system, there is no freedom.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice.
Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Bondage is of the mind; freedom too is of the mind.
If you say ‘I am a free soul. I am a son of God who can bind me’ free you shall be.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“Be empty of worrying,

Think of Who Created Thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?”

~ Rumi
“The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body,
the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him –
that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“All life is an effort to attain freedom from self-created entanglement;
it is a desperate struggle to undo what has been done under ignorance,
to throw away the accumulated burden of the past,
to find rescue from the debris left by a series of temporary achievements and failures.”
~ Meher Baba
“Freedom is of the nature of the soul, it is its birthright:
.. real freedom of the soul shines through veils of matter in the form of the apparent freedom of man.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“To acquire freedom we have to get beyond the limitations of this universe;
it cannot be found here. ….
The only way to come out of bondage
is to go beyond the limitations of [karmic] law,
to go beyond causation.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“Liberation is our very nature. We are that.
The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“The soul can grow only in freedom. Love gives freedom.
And when you give freedom, you are free, that’s what detachment is.
If you enforce bondage on the other, you will be in imprisonment on your own accord.
If you bind the other, the other will bind you; if you define the other, the other will define you;
if you are trying to possess the other, the other will possess you.”
~ Osho
“Spiritual freedom is freedom from all wanting. . . When the soul breaks asunder the shackles of wanting, it is emancipated from bondage to body, mind, and ego. This freedom brings realization of the unity of all life and puts an end to all doubts and worries.”
~ Meher Baba
“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“The most fundamental message of Gautama the Buddha is not God, is not soul… it is freedom: freedom absolute, total, unconditional. He does not want to give you an ideology, because every ideology creates its own slavery. He does not want to give you a religion, because religion binds you.”
~ Osho
“We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.”
~ Ron Rattner – Sutra Sayings
“You are truly free when you are not a person.”
~ Deepak Chopra – The Book of Secrets
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual,

“Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. — “I Have a Dream” speech, August 28, 1963

 

Free Fall


Finding Freedom

Q. What is “freedom”, and how can we experience it?

A. “Freedom” is a word with different meanings.

Here we define “freedom” as an ultimate spiritual Reality beyond thought or ego – beyond human comprehension, imagination, description or belief –
which can only be known experientially, not rationally or mentally.

Ultimate “freedom” is our divine birthright, our nature and our destiny. Freedom is ever NOW, never then.

After mystically experiencing “freedom”, great beings like Jesus, the Buddha and Krishna have encouraged us to aspire to this ultimate transcendent experience. Knowingly or unknowingly, all people – including atheists, non-theists, and agnostics – long for “freedom”.

Mystics say that as long we self-identify only with our thoughts in ever changing space/time/causality reality we are inescapably ‘imprisoned’ in a state of psychological bondage, with inevitable suffering; that we experience ultimate “freedom” only in the present moment – the NOW – as we choicelessly self-identify with timeless universal awareness or spirit imminent in each of us.

Essential wisdom teachings of all enduring spiritual, mystical and mythic paths allude to spiritual “freedom”.

Thus, the most important Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, is a teaching by Divine Avatar Krishna about the ultimate spiritual goal (“moksha”) of liberation or “freedom” from the cycle of death and rebirth (“samsara”).

Similarly, all of Gautama Buddha’s teachings were aimed at ending human suffering through attainment of “freedom” from mental fetters or chains (samyojana) of mistaken self-identification with samsara.

When Jesus said: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) he meant that we will experience “freedom” on realizing our true self-identity as soul or spirit. And in declaring: “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30), Jesus showed that we can only find such freedom when we self-identify with ONE Divine spirit – the kingdom of heaven within – rather than as supposedly separate embodied personalities.

“Freedom” is the esoteric essence and mythical message of the biblical Passover story. Many Jews and Christians annually remember and ritually observe the biblical Exodus legend about God miraculously rescuing Jews from bondage as slaves in Egypt, with Christians recalling that a Passover seder dinner was Jesus’ last supper.   Some Afro-American Christians celebrate by singing the popular spiritual song “Go Down Moses

The Exodus story symbolizes humanity’s eternal quest for spiritual freedom – for societal escape from enslavement by mistaken beliefs in false external Gods or goals to an inner ‘promised land’ of ONE eternal Divinity universally imminent within each of us, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, if any. So Passover rituals of lighting outer candles, can symbolically remind us of humanity’s perpetual quest for the eternal inner light of universal freedom.

Conclusion

We find and experience ultimate freedom only in choiceless awareness beyond our apparent subject/object separateness; beyond our beliefs, religions, ideologies or philosophies. By recognizing and transcending illusory belief barriers which seem to imprison us, we are –

“Free at last, free at last!”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.”


NOW – ever NOW, never THEN!


Ron’s Commentary on Finding Spiritual Freedom

Dear Friends,

Spiritual freedom is an ultimate goal of all perennial wisdom paths. Most people associate “freedom” with personal, political, and economic liberty.  But spiritual freedom is an extraordinarily rare transcendental state which can be inwardly attained even by those who do not enjoy external freedoms, like slaves or prison inmates. 

I first deeply reflected on transcendental concepts of “freedom” during the 1950’s on learning of Abraham Maslow’s humanistic psychology theories concerning self-actuated people, and when I read “Escape From Freedom” by German-born psychotherapist Erich Fromm, who endorsed the fundamental importance of not submitting to outer-dictates from an autocratic societal system that prescribes inauthentic beliefs and behaviors.

Though I’ve always been instinctively inner-directed, after becoming a lawyer I rarely reflected about inner “freedom” until I had a memorable face-to-face exchange with my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, just prior to his 1980 return to India. 

While then residing in my apartment, Guruji told me: “Rasik, a yogi’s body is like a baby’s body. Your body is like a prison. I am like a jailer with the prison key. I come and go as I please.”

Thereupon, I became intensely curious about Guruji’s surprising revelation that my body was “like a prison”. And I wondered how and why ‘I’ was ‘imprisoned’, and how ‘I’ could get out of ‘jail’ – free like Guruji. So I began deeply exploring spiritual freedom, as distinguished from personal, political, and economic freedoms.  

Soon, I was reminded of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary  “I Have a Dream” speech, and wondered why his words “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last” were so deeply powerful. 

Ultimately, I realized that those words were rooted in the biblical Exodus Passover story; and I intuited that spiritual “freedom” is the esoteric essence and mythical message of that story.  I concluded that the Passover story symbolically emphasizes escape from outer bondage to a Divinely ‘promised land’ within – viz. escape from enslavement by mistaken beliefs in false external idols, Gods or goals to an inner ‘promised land’ of ONE eternal Divinity imminent in each of us.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is ONE!”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4
 


Later, I noted that Jesus powerfully alluded to spiritual freedom by prophesying:

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32

 

So Jesus was teaching that we will find freedom (from self-imposed worldly slavery) only when we transcend entity identity and self-identify as ONE Divine spirit – the kingdom of heaven within – rather than as supposedly separate embodied personalities.

Ultimately, I concluded that our limited and limiting ego ideas about self-identity and reality confine each of us within a kind of psychological prison in which suffering is inevitable, and which restricts realization of our infinite potentialities.  

However, the masters teach and demonstrate that we can each mentally transcend that “prison” and emerge “free at last” from our self-woven karmic cocoons, no matter what our outer circumstances.  

Thus, Rumi reminded us:

“Be empty of worrying,

Think of Who Created Thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?”

~ Rumi


The encouraging possibility of getting out of jail FREE is explained in the foregoing quotations and essay.  May they help us evolve toward precious inner freedom, our divine birthright.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner
 

2020 Coronavirus Epilogue

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter/Passover pandemic season!

In this extraordinarily unprecedented epochal period of pandemic panic, billions of people worldwide are fearfully keeping socially distant from one-another or are locked-down and “sheltering at home” instead of living normally. Observant Christians and Jews were barred from worshiping together at Easter services which memorialized the death and resurrection of Jesus, or at Passover seders (like Jesus’ last supper) which ritually observed the biblical Exodus legend of God’s miraculous deliverance of Jews from slavery in Egypt, to seek and find freedom in a ‘promised land’.

As a longtime social justice attorney, I’ve become extremely concerned about egregiously unconstitutional autocratic laws and regulations which prevent billions of people from democratically enjoying innate and personal, political, and economic “freedoms”. And I encourage revolutionary resistance to such autocratically immoral edicts by countless confined or restricted people everywhere.

But to fundamentally address the psychological origin of our worldly pandemic panic and fears, I’ve republished the foregoing posting about finding transcendental inner “freedom”.

Paradoxically, this is a time of both immense threat and epochal opportunity. Because pervasive panic and fear precludes us from authentically addressing current quandaries, it is crucial that we transcend such fears in order to skillfully solve our potentially disastrous problems; and, to deeply reconsider our life purposes and priorities as sentient Earth beings instinctively seeking “freedom”.

Invocation

May today’s writings (and music) help dispel our fears and panic, and inspire and encourage our democratic worldly progress toward liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for all, and hasten our inner evolution, until we are

“Free at last, free at last.
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

“Go Down Moses”

Afro-American spiritual about exodus story, sung by Louis Armstrong and chorus.



Are Fools and Foolishness Scuttling “Spaceship Earth”?

Look how the caravan of civilization
has been ambushed.
Fools are everywhere in charge.
Do not practice solitude like Jesus.
Be in the assembly, and take charge of it.”
~ Rumi
“We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth.”
~ Buckminster Fuller
“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.
“Cherish or Perish.

Co-exist cooperatively, or

Co-expire catastrophically.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“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
“Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
~ Shakespeare – A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act III, scene II
“When fear becomes collective, when anger becomes collective, it’s extremely dangerous. It is overwhelming… The mass media and the military-industrial complex create a prison for us, so we continue to think, see, and act in the same way… We need the courage to express ourselves even when the majority is going in the opposite direction… because a change of direction can happen only when there is a collective awakening… Therefore, it is very important to say, ‘I am here!’ to those who share the same kind of insight.” 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power





Are Fools and Foolishness Scuttling “Spaceship Earth”?

Ron’s Questions and Reflections.

Dear Friends,

On this 2020 coronavirus April Fools’ day, like countless others worldwide,
I am deeply concerned that life on our precious planet Earth is being threatened by unprecedented and potentially catastrophic crises fomented by lunatics and fools. So this is a time for our serious reflection on these extraordinary problems jeopardizing all life on “Spaceship Earth”,
rather than merely a day for frivolous thoughts or behaviors.

Worldwide we are facing extraordinary ecological, economic, health and interpersonal crises so serious that they cause misery for millions and threaten all life on our precious planet because the world is being ruled and ruined by psychopaths.

In my opinion, current crises have been undemocratically precipitated by transnational world “leaders” – a few obscenely privileged financial, corporate, political and religious oligarchs – who without remorse amorally and ignorantly acquire, abuse and misuse power, and excessive material wealth far beyond their conceivable needs; people so crazy, ignorant and insensitive that they are unjustly and brutally harming countless humans and creatures, and myopically scuttling Spaceship Earth, psychopathically committing ecocide/omnicide/suicide by corrupting and destroying the economic and life support systems which sustain us.

Bucky Fuller and “Spaceship Earth”

Buckminster Fuller



In the mid-1960’s visionary American architect, inventor, and author R. Buckminster Fuller [Bucky] popularized the term “Spaceship Earth” to explain how our precious planet is a single system with its apparent separations inextricably interrelated and interconnected.

Bucky foresaw that to ensure our long-term viability and to avert global catastrophe humanity must wisely and cooperatively inhabit and operate our amazing ‘Spaceship’ – like skilled astronauts. He said:


“We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth.”


So I’m wondering whether “Spaceship Earth” has become a “ship of fools”, not only because of those insanely commanding and ‘steering’ it, but also because we its imminently endangered crew foolishly tolerate such insanity without immediately mutinying and claiming command.

Current turbulent times

Since the election of Donald J. Trump as US President, countless people worldwide have been experiencing and demonstrating considerable fear, anxiety, anger, hatred and other polarizing negative emotions. During the current coronavirus pandemic crisis people are more fearful than ever before in my long lifetime. And in the US such fears are being inappropriately and stressfully hyped by mainstream media.

Whatever our political, cultural, generational, or geographical perspectives may be, we share overriding common needs and aspirations: the same common Cosmic consciousness; the same web of life; the same precious Earth biosphere; the same aspirations for health and happiness; and for just democratic societies serving basic needs of all life on a peaceful planet.

However, until now virtually all of us in varying degrees have been suffering from an illusory sense of separation from each other and from our ONE common spiritual essence. According to many mystics and non-material scientists we suffer from perception deception, mistakenly believing as ‘reality’ all we perceive as separate. But, as Albert Einstein reminds us:

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”


Similarly, Alan Watts suggests we’ve become ‘spellbound’:

“The individual is separate from his universal environment only in name. When this is not recognized, you have been fooled by your name. Confusing names with Nature, you come to believe that having a separate name makes you a separate being. This is — rather literally — to be spellbound”.
~ Alan Watts


Perhaps each of us has known subliminally that we are participating in a great cosmic hoax about our supposed separate reality and identity.   And perhaps April Fools’ day has been an expression of that subliminal awareness. But at long last it’s time for us to awaken and together act to preserve life on “Spaceship Earth”.

Suggested solutions

Current turbulent times require our compassionate courage and wisdom to consciously realize, and nonviolently assert, Humanity’s urgent need to take charge of navigating “Spaceship Earth”.

“We need the courage to express ourselves even when the majority is going in the opposite direction… because a change of direction can happen only when there is a collective awakening.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

And for conscious realization of our true common identity, we need to heed and follow our sacred heart’s wisdom of loving/kindness and compassion, and not the fools and fanatics who are destroying all we cherish.

“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

“Love is wise; hatred is foolish.
~ Bertrand Russell

“In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like.
~ Bertrand Russell

“We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.”
~ Bertrand Russell


Conclusion

In this critical age of immense jeopardy and suffering, yet immense opportunity, we are collectively awakening from a long-inculcated illusion of separation from each other and Nature. 

As common ‘crew’ of “Spaceship Earth”, we must awaken to immediately take charge of guiding our precious planet; assuring that it is cooperatively and democratically guided bottom-up by and for compassionate societies, rather than ruled and ruined top-down by and for a few lunatic bankster billionaires.

May we so “live together as [sisters and] brothers” rather than “perish together as fools.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

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