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Sutras

When Does Life Begin?

“Whence come I and whither go I?
That is the great unfathomable question,
the same for every one of us.
Science has no answer to it.”
~ Max Planck

“The two most important days in your life

are the day you are born

and the day you find out why.”

~ Mark Twain

“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.’”

~ Dalai Lama

“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






Introduction to When Does Life Begin?

Dear Friends,

The following mystical poem (composed many years ago) rhetorically questions our ideas of birth and death. It whimsically asks and answers the unanswerable question – When Does Life Begin?

Explanations and interpretations are included in comments which follow the verses. Please enjoy!

Ron Rattner


When Does Life Begin?

Q. When does life begin?

A. Never.

Life never begins,
because it never ends.

Life transcends time.
Life is timeless.

Human conception, birth and death are virtual,
but Life is perpetual.

So, the beginning of Life,
or the end of Life,
are self-contradictory ideas arising in,
and subsumed by –

Eternal Mystery.



Ron’s audio recitation of “When Does Life Begin?”

Listen to



Ron’s Explanation of “When Does Life Begin?”

Dear Friends,

The word “Life” is an idea – a mental concept arising in human consciousness – with different meanings for different people. Definitions of “life” can differ when applied to space/time, to phenomenal realms beyond space/time, or to Ultimate Reality beyond conception, comprehension, imagination, or description.  (See e.g. my speculations about the meanings of “Life” at https://sillysutras.com/what-is-life/)

Throughout human history philosophers have wondered about the purpose or significance of “life” on Earth. And for millennia rare mystics and other inner explorers have reportedly discovered in deep meditation an infinitely potential Universal Awareness – which is the sole Source of all we call the “real world”; an indescribable ultimate and trancendant Reality beyond space/time’, yet everywhere immanent in it.

In Buddhist and other enduring spiritual teachings birth and death are inherent in “life”; which at subtle mind levels metaphorically continues after physical death and before rebirth.   Thus the Dali Lama says that according to Tibetan Buddhism:

“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.’”

~ Dalai Lama

Most humans self-identify as mortal beings, and fear inevitable physical death, believing it ends life. But fear of death deters our spiritual evolution and loving behaviors, and causes karmic suffering.

So today’s poem and quotations are offered to enigmatically inspire our spiritual evolution beyond fear of death, and toward experiencing ever elevated levels “life”, with ever growing happiness and fulfillment of our deepest aspirations.

Invocation

May these teachings about “life”
help us realize that physical death is normal and necessary,

and not to be feared;

that it opens us to ever expanding

new vistas of self-discovery and fulfillment

of our deepest aspirations as eternal souls;

that beyond physical birth and death

we are destined to discover and enjoy

ever increasing inner peace and happiness,

until we melt and merge with Mystery –
The mystery of Divinity.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

What Choice Do We Have?

“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“Excellence is never an accident.
It is always the result of high intention,
sincere effort, and intelligent execution;
it represents the wise choice of many alternatives
– choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
~ Aristotle
“Inflamed by greed, incensed by hate, confused by delusion,
overcome by them, obsessed by mind, a man chooses for his own affliction, for others’ affliction, for the affliction of both and experiences pain and grief.”
~ Buddha
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life.”
~ Deuteronomy 30:19

“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Friedrich Schiller
“The only difference between a human being and a stone rolling down a hill, is that the human being thinks he is in charge of his own destiny.”

~ Baruch Spinoza
“We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The assumption of an absolute determinism
is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”

~ Max Planck
“In Hinduism, the very idea of free will is non-existent,
so there is no word for it.

Will is commitment, fixation, bondage.” . .

“To be free in the world you must be free of the world.

Otherwise your past decides for you and your future.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice.

Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”

“…Choice in every form is conflict. Contradiction is inevitable in choice; this contradiction, inner and outer breeds confusion and misery.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Q. “Are only the important events in a man’s life,

such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined,

or are trifling acts also, such as taking a cup of water or
moving from one part of the room to another?”


A.  “Everything is predetermined.”

~ Ramana Maharshi

 



Introduction to What Choice Do We Have?

Dear Friends,

The forgoing quotations and following poem and comments concern the perennial puzzle of freedom of choice versus fate or destiny. They summarize perspectives which I still endorse, after composing the poem many years ago during an extended period of post-retirement reclusion.

Please forgive redundancies in this posting. Long-ago I investigated and accepted non-dualism determinism philosophy. So today I have no choice but to ask again “What Choice Do We Have?”.

Explanations and reflections about choice versus destiny are offered in comments after the poem. Enjoy!

Ron Rattner


What Choice Do We Have?

Ego is free to choose,
But is never free.

Self does not choose,
But is ever free.

Our only choice
Is to accept or reject
“What is”.

Acceptance is pleasure;
Rejection is suffering.

Acceptance is freedom;
Rejection is bondage.

Acceptance is NOW;
Rejection is then.

So, if choose you must,
Then with faith and trust,

Say “YES” to Life –

NOW!



Ron’s audio recitation of “What Choice Do We Have?”

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Ron’s explanations and reflections on “What Choice Do We Have?”

Dear Friends,

Except for rare Buddha-like beings who Self-identify only as Universal Awareness – as Absolute – the vast majority of Humans mentally self-identify with their “soap operas” as supposedly separate ego entities in space and time.

And as long as we believe ourselves to be such separate entities, we invariably experience apparent freedom of choice, but are subject to the law of cause and effect, with separate destinies and inevitable karmic consequences.

We have apparent freedom of choice only until we transcend our mental illusion of separation. Whereupon we realize freedom from choice.

If there is no entity separate from Universal Awareness, how can there be any separate choice or destiny? When a mirage bubble bursts into the Ocean of Awareness, it exists only as the Ocean, without supposed separate choice or destiny.

As great beings recurrently remind us, all we call “reality” is an ever impermanent illusory mental mirage, maya or samsara. We transcend or end that mutable mirage, as we experience its Absolute Source and Essence as pure and undivided Universal Awareness.

Quantum science shows us that everything in space/time is energy (e=mc2); that all forms and phenomena are merely vibrating and radiating immaterial energies endlessly and inevitably appearing (from unknown causes and conditions) out of and disappearing into an ineffable matrix of mystery.

“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong.
What we have called matter is energy,
whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”

~ Albert Einstein


“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free 
but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”
~ Albert Einstein


“The assumption of an absolute determinism
is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”

~ Max Planck


For millennia mystical inner explorers have experienced that matrix of mystery through transcendentally elevated awareness, and they have realized that the sole Source of what we call “reality” is ineffable Universal Awareness – Consciousness beyond mental description, conception, or belief.

So from a non-dualist “Buddha’s eye view” our supposedly separate space/time “reality” isn’t really Real – it’s just an immaterial energy mirage; and our beliefs about it – including free choice and destiny – are mere mental illusions.

“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


Suggestion

Whether or not we can agree that whatever happens in space/time “reality” is karmically predestined – that earth-life is like a pre-programmed dream – I have found that assuming predestination can help us find happiness.

We can experience ever growing peace of mind by more and more refraining from exercising apparent freedom of choice, and accepting each moment with the attitude that it could not be otherwise; that everything is happening in the best way and at the best time – as an evolutionary opportunity and incentive. 

So, I sincerely invite your careful consideration of today’s profound quotations and “What Choice Do We Have?” poem. 

Invocation

May these writings help all of us find increasing happiness by accepting difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, and by finding blessings in unexpected interactions with others.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Memory is “Maya”

I have realized that
the past and future are real illusions,
that they exist in the present,
which is what there is and all there is.
~ Alan Watts
“Life can be found only in the present moment.

The past is gone, the future is not yet here,

and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,

we cannot be in touch with life.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Mind is memory, at whatever level, by whatever name you call it; mind is the product of the past, it is founded on the past, which is memory, a conditioned state.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Truth is not a memory, because truth is ever new, constantly transforming itself. (M)emory is a hindrance to the understanding of what is. The timeless can be only when memory, which is the `me’ and the `mine’, ceases.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Mind and memory are “then”,
while –
Life is NOW,
ever NOW,
never then!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Tao and Zen
are NOW,
not then.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Introduction to Memory is “Maya”*

Dear Friends,

Memory is “Maya”, is a brief mystical poem which I composed during extended ‘hibernation’ before launching the SillySutras website.  With foregoing key quotations, it metaphorically reveals the crucial spiritual importance of BEing with a quiet mind as the Eternal NOW.

Explanatory comments follow the poem. Enjoy!

Ron Rattner

Memory is “Maya”*

Memory is “maya”.
Memory is mind.
Memory is mentality,

Not Reality.

Memory is then,
Life is NOW.

So transcend “maya” memory.

Forget what you think you are, and
BE what you really are:

Eternal Life

Ever NOW!


*Footnote

“Maya” is a Sanskrit word meaning illusion;
not THAT – Reality beyond illusion



Ron’s explanation and recitation of “Memory is Maya”

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Ron’s explanation of “Memory is Maya”

Dear Friends,

After my spiritual awakening I intuited that “This world is wrought with naught but thought”. Later I discovered corroborating Buddhist sutras stating that “With our thoughts, we make the world.”

Whereupon, I became (and remain) intrigued about the nature of “mind” – which is the ‘thought processor’ that creates this world.

And soon thereafter I discovered the above-quoted teachings of Indian sage J. Krishnamurti that “mind is memory” and “a hindrance to the understanding of” Truth, which is always new and NOW.

“Memory is Maya” is one of those poems, which I’ve posted today to help remind us that “Life is NOW, ever NOW, never then”.  

So that

“Life can be found only in the present moment.

The past is gone, the future is not yet here,

and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,

we cannot be in touch with life.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Invocation

May these writings encourage us to live ever happier and soul fulfilling lives,
As gradually we still our minds and open our hearts –
To remember that we are the unseen Source of the world we see,
And that “Life is NOW, ever NOW, never then!

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

“In the world, but not of the world”

“Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your minds”
~ Romans 12:2 – Paul the Apostle
“To be free in the world, you must be free of the world.

Otherwise your past decides for you and your future.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

~

Introduction

Dear Friends,

A few years ago, during much controversial communication on internet social networking sites, like Twitter, I spontaneously composed the following poem, which I’ve titled “Retreating from Tweeting”.

It was received while I was sitting alone, with no phone, at the San Francisco Wave Organ.

I’ll explain its significance in comments below. Enjoy!

Ron at Wave Organ
Christmas 12/25/17


Retreating from Tweeting

As the world
trivially twitters, tweets
– and re-tweets,

Ron silently retreats –
from twittering triviality,
to gleaming Reality –
from ephemeral information
to Eternal inspiration.



Ron’s comments and explanation of “Retreating from Tweeting”

Dear Friends,

One of my favorite outdoor places in San Francisco has long been the artistically sculptured “wave organ” on a small SF Bayshore promontory. Through a series of pipes, the wave organ interacts with the tidal waves of the Bay, and transmits their sound waves to listeners at several sculptured stations.

During visits to the wave organ, I’ve often sat on a sculptured granite bench, and mentally retreated from frenetic worldly cares and concerns. There I’ve ‘tuned out’ from soothing wave organ tidal sounds, and ‘tuned in’ to receiving inner inspiration from ‘sounds of silence’.

After regular respites by the Bay, I’ve continued online advocacy about critical Earthly social justice problems, like current covid restrictions. But increasingly I’m able to remain happy, peaceful and mentally detached while while addressing such serious concerns, by gratefully remembering with faith that our worldly life is like a dream, in which we are Divinely guided and destined to Awaken upon following our sacred heart.

Moral of the Story: BE “In the world, but not of the world”

“Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your minds”
~ Romans 12:2 – Paul the Apostle


While we are compelled to be in this world of inevitable physical pain and suffering, we are not obliged to be here mentally. With focused awareness and self-control of our thoughts, emotions and attitudes, we can remain peaceful, grateful and joyful.

Thereby we can ‘be in this world’ physically, but ‘not of this world’ mentally, attitudinally or spiritually.

While “tuning in” to our ever present worldly problems, we can “tune out” from much worldly suffering by non-judgmentally and forgivingly focusing on our Eternal and infinite inner Essence, which is LOVE and Light.

In current times of extraordinary difficulties, but unprecedented evolutionary opportunities, this is especially important and helpful.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Humility ~ Sutra Sayings

Humility grows as ego goes.
The smaller the ego,
the greater the being.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction

Posted today are three related articles about “humility” as a supreme spiritual virtue. Please consider them collectively.

The first article, is a Q and A essay which defines humility and explains why it is considered a great spiritual virtue inversely associated with “ego”; the second article includes many important quotations about humility; and this third article lists (with an mp3 audio recitation) numerous Sutra Sayings which epigrammatically elucidate humility.

Humility ~ Sutra Sayings

Humility grows as ego goes.
The smaller the ego,
the greater the being.

Humility is next to godliness.
No one enters the highest heaven
believing s/he belongs there.

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

We ever evolve
As our boundaries dissolve.

The essence of nobility

is not heredity,
but humility;
not pedigree,
but integrity.

To name and define
is to constrain and confine.
So, to be free,
be a nameless nobody.

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

So BE nobody nowhere


NOW!


Ron’s recitation of Humility Sutra Sayings

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Dedication and Invocation

In these critical times of immense suffering and jeopardy, yet unprecedented opportunity, let us join together with utmost love and humility in envisioning our precious planet democratically ruled bottom-up by humble, peaceful and compassionate citizens, rather than top-down by insensitive and egotistic purported “leaders” who are emotionally sociopathic or psychopathic.

May these biblical passages prove prescient:

Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
~ Proverbs 16:18


God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.
~ James 4:6


And so shall it be.

Ron Rattner

Should We Be Seekers?
~ Question, Quotations, and Comments

“He is born in vain,
who having attained the human birth,
so difficult to get,
does not attempt to realize God
in this very life.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21
“Seek and ye shall find.”
Matthew 7:7; Luke 11.9-13
“What you seek is seeking you.”
~ Rumi
“What we are looking for is what is looking.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi
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
“Remember God; forget the rest.
Forget who you think you are,
to remember what you really are.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction

This posting asserts and explains, with quotations and comments, that consciously or unconsciously we are all spiritual seekers.

Should We Be Seekers?

Q. Should we be seekers?

A. Knowingly or unknowingly everyone’s a seeker.
Knowingly or unknowingly everyone seeks Self.

But seeking’s then,
while Self is NOW.

So, to find Self,
BE Self –

NOW!



Ron’s audio recitation of “Should We Be Seekers?”

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Ron’s comments and explanation of “Should We Be Seekers?”

Dear Friends,

Are you a spiritual seeker – a seeker of Eternal Truth?

Nowadays, few humans consciously seek spiritual Truth. Almost everyone wants to be happy. But most people seek happiness in worldly pursuits and pleasures, not within.

For millennia mystics, saints and sages have counseled us to focus on spiritual rather than worldly goals. They tell us that worldly pleasures and attainments can merely bring transient satisfactions, whereas lasting happiness can only be found within.

Thus Jesus advised:

“Seek first the kingdom of heaven, which is within.”
“Seek and ye shall find.”

~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11.9-13


Similarly, 19th century Indian holy man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa said:

“He is born in vain, who having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realize God in this very life.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

From my experience, knowingly or unknowingly, everyone is a spiritual “seeker” because everyone longs for a state of being which transcends inevitable Earthly cares and suffering, bringing eternal happiness as LOVE. But rare are those who attain it.

Background

In memoirs titled “Transcending Transcendence” I’ve told how soon after becoming a “born-again Hindu”, I learned that that the object of Sanskrit Hindu practices given by my Guruji was to achieve “mukti” or “moksha”, a state of Divine illumination, where the Self, soul, or “Atman” would experience its Oneness with “Brahman” [Supreme Reality] – the pinnacle of human experience.

Thereafter, I began considering and seeking “self realization”, or “enlightenment” as a spiritual goal, until gradually I abandoned goal oriented spiritual seeking, and – as “An Uncertain Undo” – intuitively began surrendering to the Infinite, with ever expanding heartfelt faith in God.

Explanation

Mystics say that by resolutely looking within we can discover ultimately that we are imprisoned by illusionary mental tendencies and mistaken beliefs about self identity and reality which wrongly reify our limited perceptions of ephemeral forms, in an ever impermanent illusory reality, where mortality and suffering are karmically inevitable.

So, how can we find divine happiness within?

Non-dualist masters tell us that effortlessly – with resolute intention, intense aspiration and focused observation we can discover our eternal Self, as a joyous state of spiritual freedom beyond belief.

“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?
 Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”

~ Chuang-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

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

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

~ Lao Tzu

“Don’t seek happiness.  If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking
is the antithesis of happiness.  Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from
unhappiness is attainable now, by facing ‘what is’ rather than making up
stories about it.  Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well-being  and
inner peace, the source of true happiness.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

“Do not search for the truth;

only cease to cherish opinions.

Do not remain in the dualistic state.

Avoid such pursuits carefully.

If there is even a trace of this and that,

of right and wrong,

the mind-essence will be lost in confusion.”
~ Seng-Ts’an, The Third Patriarch of Zen


Dedication and Invocation

May the non-dualist mystic masters inspire us –
each from our unique perspective –
to prioritize spiritual rather than worldly goals,
and so to seek and find relief from belief –
relief from mistaken mental tendencies
from which we inevitably and repeatedly suffer
until we find –
beyond the mind –
our true immortal Self.
And thus discover that:

We are what we seek!

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving

“To be a presence of perpetual thanksgiving may be the ultimate goal of life.  
The thankful person is the one for whom life is simply one long exercise in the sacred.”
~ Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB from The Psalms: Meditations for Every Day of the Year
“Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence …
For thankfulness brings you to the place where the Beloved lives.”
~ Rumi
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others.”
~ Cicero





Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving


“Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
~ Rumi

“Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude for life.
Join my eyes and soul in their divine applause.”
~ Hafiz

“You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.”
~ Buddha

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

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you,
it will be enough.”
~ Meister Eckhart

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends,
the old and the new.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled  by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
~ Buddha

“I thank God for my handicaps for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
~ Helen Keller

“O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”
~ William Shakespeare

“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

”A grateful mind is a great mind
which eventually attracts to itself great things.”
~ Plato

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”
~ Aesop

”Gratitude bestows reverence,
allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies,
those transcendent moments of awe
that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
~ John Milton

“I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual.
It is surprising how contented one can be
with – only a sense of existence.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Gratitude is heaven itself.”
~ William Blake

“No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.”
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
~ Psalm 100


“When you allow your heart to open to the universe’s flow of love, gratitude comes with that flow. Gratitude for the people that you love, and for those who share your life. Gratitude for the Creation of the beautiful Earth as our home in this great cosmos. Gratitude for the Sun that gives us life. Gratitude for being alive, for just existing, for being in the flow of the wonder of life.”
~ Owen Waters



“Gratitude flows unimpeded from an open heart. When you allow it, gratitude will flow as freely as the sunshine, unobstructed by judgments or conditions.”
~ Owen Waters

“Every day should be a day of Thanksgiving for all the gifts of Life — sunshine, water, the luscious fruits and greens,
which we receive as indirect gifts from the Great Giver.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love,
every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God.
For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
~ Thomas Merton 


“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful
and has nobody to thank.”              
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I thank you God for most this amazing day
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky,
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes….
I who have died am alive again today
and this is the sun’s birthday;
this is the birth day of life and of love and wings…
~ e. e. cummings

“When we develop a right attitude of compassion and gratitude,
we take a giant step towards solving our personal and international problems.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

It’s not our longitude
Or our latitude,
But the elevation of our attitude,
That brings beatitude.
***
So an attitude of gratitude
Brings beatitude.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Remember with gratitude,
Life is beatitude –
Even its sorrows and pain;
For we’re all in God’s Grace,
Every time, every place, and
Forever (S)HE will reign!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving”

Dear Friends,

For your utmost happiness on Thanksgiving day and every day, I’ve again posted the foregoing collection of inspiring thankfulness quotes, including treasures of perennial wisdom.

Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday long ago, when I realized that thankfulness is a universal blessing uplifting everyone everywhere, regardless of their cultural, spiritual, secular or religious attitudes or beliefs.  

At age eighty eight (especially since miraculously surviving a near-death taxi rundown in 2014), I’ve become unspeakably grateful for still being alive, aware, ambulatory and interdependently-independent.  Thus I’ve learned that experiencing continual thankfulness is a state of Divine Grace – not just during Thanksgiving holidays, but always; that every day’s a bonus, and every breath a blessing.   

Invocation

May the foregoing Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving
inspire and guide us to ever expanding fulfillment and happiness,
with an ongoing attitude of gratitude, on Thanksgiving day and every day.  

May every day be a Thanksgiving day
for everyone everywhere.   

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Happy Thanksgiving Day – Every Day!

Enjoy! – Beautiful Gratitude Video
Narrated by Brother David Steindl-Rast




What is “Enlightenment”?
~ Quotations and Comments

“Knowing others is wisdom,
knowing your Self is enlightenment.”

~ Lao Tzu




Introduction

This is the second of two related articles about “enlightenment”. The first posting, linked here, defines “enlightenment”; this posting contains key quotations from spiritual teachers, and explanatory comments about “enlightenment”.

Both of these postings are offered to help us realize ever increasing inner happiness, by finding and following our Sacred Heart.

Quotations about “Enlightenment”

“There is no such thing as
enlightenment,
the realization of that fact is
itself enlightenment.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Personal entity and enlightenment cannot go together.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Strictly speaking there are no enlightened people,
there is only enlightened activity.”
~ Suzuki Roshi

“There is no enlightenment outside of daily life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“There are many paths to enlightenment.
Be sure to take one with a heart.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Knowledge is structured in consciousness.
The process of education takes place in the field of consciousness;
the prerequisite to complete education is therefore
the full development of consciousness — enlightenment.
Knowledge is not the basis of enlightenment,
enlightenment is the basis of knowledge.”
~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

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

“The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply our natural state of felt oneness with being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet much greater than you. It is finding true your true nature beyond name and form. The inability to feel this connectedness gives rise to the illusion of separation, from yourself and from the world around you. You then perceive yourself, consciously or unconsciously, as an isolated fragment. Fear arises, and conflicts within and without become the norm.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, Practicing the Power of Now

“Enlightenment” is Being –
beyond entity identity.
Ego and “enlightenment” cannot coexist.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Ron’s Comments about “Enlightenment”

Dear Friends,

I am privileged to share with you today the foregoing key quotations from spiritual teachers about the perennial process of inner illumination – or “enlightenment”.

In memoirs titled “Transcending Transcendence” I’ve told about my conscious pursuit of “enlightenment” as a spiritual goal, until gradually I abandoned goal oriented spiritual seeking, and – as “An Uncertain Undo” – intuitively began surrendering to the Infinite, with more and more heartfelt faith in The Lone Arranger. 

I realized that “enlightenment” is only a word – a mere mental concept with different meanings for different people.  So I determined that in this illusory world “enlightenment” is not an ultimate destination, but a perpetual evolutionary process; that beyond space/time/causality ‘reality’ there are no concepts – only ineffable Mystery.   

As a spiritually unenlightened “Uncertain Undo”, I’ve ‘heretically’ decided that Suzuki Roshi was right in observing that


“there are no [fully] enlightened people, . . only enlightened activity”.


In my view incarnation is limitation.  So no completely “enlightened” person can manifest all infinite aspects of non-duality Reality – of limitless LOVE.  Therefore, as a devotional non-dualist, I’ve decided that Nisargadatta Maharaj was paradoxically right in saying that in this illusory world: 

“There is no such thing as enlightenment,
the realization of that fact is itself enlightenment.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj


I respectfully suggest that – except for rare Avatars, Buddhas or Bodhisattvas – we all appear here on the Earth Branch of the great Cosmic University to evolve spiritually by learning LOVE and being LOVE; and that in this ever impermanent space time “reality” our challenge is to skillfully stay in harmony with always changing energy – whether perceptible or imperceptible; that as times change our “enlightened” behaviors must change; that historically enlightened behaviors may not still be appropriate in this modern age of mental malaise.  

For me perpetual change challenges us to always live life presently – ‘in the zone’ – by constantly responding appropriately, skillfully and spontaneously to ever changing earth energies.  So we are learning to experience life spontaneously, like skilled master musicians in a jam session – always harmoniously responding or blending with each sensed musical sound or soundless space.  

But if we had mastered that “enlightened” process of always being ‘in the zone’, we wouldn’t be here.  Consider these apt quotes from popular spiritual authors: 

“Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished.
If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
~ Richard Bach

“If you’re not dead yet,
you’re not done yet.” 
~ Elizabeth Gilbert (quoting her mother)


As long as we incarnate on Earth, participation in the “enlightenment” process entails learning mindfully “to let go, and go with the flow” – and to “leave it to the Lone Arranger.”   Moreover, active pursuit of “enlightenment” can become a subtle ego trap, to be averted.  So it’s best to surrender because:


“What you seek is seeking you.”
~ Rumi

Thus, while ever honoring my beloved Guruji as a guiding and inspiring ‘outer authority’, I’ve more and more relied on inner intuitive authority while experiencing the earth-life “enlightenment” process.  And such reliance has brought an ever happier life.
   
Knowingly or unknowingly we are all on a spiritual path to discover within our true Self identity – which ‘is seeking us’.  So these comments are offered to help us realize ever increasing inner happiness by finding and following our Sacred Heart.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Go For The “God” Spot

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
~ Dr. Seuss
“The greatest discovery of any generation
is that human beings can alter their lives
by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“It’s not our longitude
Or our latitude,
But the elevation of our attitude,
That brings beatitude.”

“So an attitude of gratitude
Brings beatitude.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing:

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

~ Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
“The mind is like an elastic band. 
The more you pull, the more it stretches. 
Every time you feel limitations,
close your eyes and say to yourself,
“I am the Infinite,”
and you will see what power you have.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda





Go For The “God” Spot

Don’t complain
about your pain,

Or of what you have,
or have not.

Just get into your brain,
and find the spot

Where all you want –
you’ve got.




Ron’s audio recitation of Go For The “God” Spot

Listen to



Ron’s Reflections on Choosing Happiness

Dear Friends,

Today – as a Halloween “trick or treat” – I’ve posted for your enjoyment and edification the above “Go For The “God” Spot” whimsical poem, and quotations about discovering and choosing happiness within.

As an octogenarian, I’ve found ever increasing happiness by more and more accepting each moment with the attitude that it could not be otherwise.  As explained by Eckhart Tolle: 

 
“The Now is as it is because it cannot be otherwise. What Buddhists have always known, physicists now confirm: there are no isolated things or events. Underneath the surface appearance, all things are interconnected, are part of the totality of the cosmos that has brought about the form that this moment takes.”

Albert Schweitzer once proclaimed  that 

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

We may not be free to choose our outer circumstances in life. But, while self identifying as separate entities, we can choose our attitudes and thoughts about those circumstances.
So happiness is a choice!

Because choosing happiness has greatly helped me, I’ve often tried to share this insight on SillySutras.com, with apt aphorisms, essays, quotations, and stories that might help everyone. 

So today’s whimsical Go For The “God” Spot poem is intended to humorously help us find and choose inner happiness.  

May we see it as truth said in jest; not as a Halloween trick, but as a timeless treat.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Cosmology Mythology ~
From Beyond The Beginning,
To The Beginning And Beyond

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth
And the earth was without form and void
And darkness was upon the face of the deep
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters
And God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light
And God saw the light, that it was good
And God divided the light from the darkness”
~ Genesis 1:1-4
“We never cease to stand like curious children
before the great Mystery into which we were born.”
~ Albert Einstein




Introduction

Posted below with mp3 recitation is an imaginative poem ‘channeled’ during my reclusive post-retirement period, “Cosmology Mythology ~ From Beyond The Beginning, To The Beginning And Beyond”. The poem intuitively speculates on how and why our cosmic reality might have originated. For reasons hereafter explained, I hope you’ll reflect on it.

Cosmology Mythology ~
From Beyond The Beginning,
To The Beginning And Beyond

Eternal Mystery:
Pure potentiality;
Infinite intelligence;
Plenum void, pregnant with cosmological constancy,

Matrix intending to manifest,
To realize and actualize infinite potentiality.

Aum thought –
Creation vibration:
Bursting brilliance of brightest light,
Ending endlesss night.

Silence sounding in
Ever resounding
Symphony of spheres.

Spiraling stardust:
Agglomerating and growing,
Glowing and flowing,
Cosmically, consciously,
Systemically, siderealy,
Galactically, fractally, spherically.

Mystery manifest
as life-formed multiplicities:
Rotating, revolving and
Ever evolving —
To complexities from simplicities.

Infinite Intelligence
Exploring, and communing –
With Itself,

In an autogyral
Endless spiral
Flowing up and beyond
The beyond.

In an autogyral
Endless spiral
Flowing up and beyond
The beyond.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Cosmology Mythology ~
From Beyond The Beginning, To The Beginning And Beyond”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Cosmology Mythology ~
From Beyond The Beginning, To The Beginning And Beyond”


Dear Friends,

Until his death Albert Einstein remained in reverential awe about “the great Mystery into which we were born.” He had spent much of his adult life vainly searching for a simple and provable “theory of everything” that might resolve that cosmic mystery. And theoretical scientists have continued to search for such a formula.   Hopefully, they may some day fulfill Swami Vivekananda’s prediction that “Science and religion will meet and shake hands”.

Have you – like Einstein – ever wondered how our space/time universe began?   I have.

After my midlife spiritual awakening to Self-identity as Awareness, I began questioning and rejecting previously accepted concepts about Reality.    And I became very curious – scientifically and  philosophically – about how and why our space/time universe had appeared.   Though I’ve had no scientific training or aptitude, I felt philosophically impelled to pursue cosmic creation questions.

So introspectively I began raising many questions about this great mystery.  For example, I wondered

“Did space/time just appear from nothing?  What was its source – its matrix?  Was it intelligently designed?  Was it divinely created?  If so, why?  Did it begin with a “big bang”?  How? When?  What if anything existed beyond its beginning?  Will it ever end?  If so, will it begin again?  What is its purpose, if any?  Is it really ‘real’, or just an illusionary, simulated or virtual reality?  Is it a holographic, fractal projection of Universal Awareness – our common Cosmic Consciousness?   Can it ever be explained?   Can we ever discover a scientific theory explaining everything about space/time –  a “T.E.O”?”


As a lawyer I emphasized factual evidence, and tried to avoid speculative opinions unless rendered by qualified ‘experts’.  But as a ‘born again’ intuitive I have increasingly pursued experiential and inner insights rather than relying on worldly ‘expert’ knowledge. So I’ve often philosophically speculated and sometimes written about the meaning or purpose of earth life.

For example, during a ten year post-retirement ‘hibernation’ period I composed  this verse:

Life is a metaphoric metamorphosis process.

Gleaning meaning in matter,

we learn all that matters —

we learn all that matters is

LOVE!

Whether or not my Cosmology Mythology intuited verses ring true for you, perhaps they can inspire your wonder and amazement about our precious lives on this precious planet.  Such a state of wonder and awe can help us transcend long outdated conceptual world-views about supposedly material reality: mistaken beliefs which impede reverential realization of ONE timeless spiritual Reality beyond materiality – a Universal Intelligence beyond, imagination, conception, comprehension or description.

As I have often reflected and speculated about meaning and purpose life, gradually I have concluded that many perennial philosophical questions about our cosmic mystery are ever unanswerable Mystery. And from Buddhist teachings I’ve begun to wonder whether to continue publishing such cosmic speculations.

Buddha’s teachings centered on ending human suffering, and were mostly devoid of speculation. In esoteric sutras the Buddha discouraged speculation not leading to edification about ending inevitable suffering in samsara. So he reportedly mostly refused to discuss metaphysics. And in spite of frequent urging, he continued his “noble silence” without indulging in needless theorizing which “tends not to edification”. (See e.g. The Buddha’s Silence)

So now I often feel it best to emphasize simple perennial precepts that pragmatically may help us lead happier lives rather than to speculate on conceptually unanswerable philosophical questions about the eternal mystery of Divinity, realizable only through rare mystical experience.

Thus, as a project of The Perennial Wisdom Foundation, SillySutras.com is dedicated to elevating awareness of universal wisdom principles at the heart of all enduring religious, spiritual and ethical traditions – such as the Golden Rule – without emphasis on any particular path or person.

Nonetheless I have published today’s poetic reflections on unanswerable cosmic questions, because they may help some of us experience life-changing awe and wonder at our miraculous causality reality about which Albert Einstein observed:  

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

Dedication

May the above poem and mp3 recitation encourage and inspire our deepest awe and gratitude for our lives on this precious planet, bringing us ever expanding fulfillment and happiness, until our ultimate transcendence of this permanently impermanent world of time and space. 



And so may it be!


Ron Rattner