Teaching

Day Of The Dead
~ An Ancient Celebration of Eternal Life


“Life is eternal. There is no death.
If people correctly understood death,
they would no longer have any fear of the unknown”. .
“What we think of as life and death are merely transitions,
changes in the rate of vibration in a continual process of growth and unfoldment.”

~ Betty Bethards – “There is No Death” pp. 90-91

“We are born and reborn countless number of times,
and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another.
Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”

~ H. H. Dalai Lama, from ‘The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom”

“Reincarnation is not an exclusively Hindu or Buddhist concept,

but it is part of the history of human origin.

It is proof of the mindstream’s capacity to retain knowledge of physical and mental activities.

It is related to the theory of interdependent origination and to the law of cause and effect.”

~ H. H. Dalai Lama (Preface to “The Case for Reincarnation”)

“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time,
nor does it come into being again when the body is created.
The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless
and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed.
Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel,
in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies
verily accepts new bodies.”
“The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna

“Overcoming the fear of death changes our whole perspective on life.
Everything we do and think and feel takes on new meaning.
When we realize that we are not limited by the physical,
we begin to get the idea that we are really master of our own destinies
and we more fully align ourselves with the eternal nature of our beings.”

~ Betty Bethards – “There is No Death” pp. 82-83

“To be afraid of dying
is like being afraid of discarding an old worn-out garment.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

“God is love in all religions,
so the more we live love
the closer we are to God”.
~ Betty Bethards

“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,

you must go deep within yourself.

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas

“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


Diego Rivera ~ “Día de los Muertos”



Day Of The Dead ~ An Ancient Celebration of Eternal Life

Introduction

Dear Friends,

This posting describes “Day Of The Dead” – “Día de los Muertos” – an ancient Meso-American celebration that began 3000 years ago. It’s above quotations and following explanations are dedicated to helping everyone everywhere find ever greater inner happiness by transcending fear of death.

Discussion

When the Spanish arrived five centuries ago in territory now known as Mexico, they found indigenous persons practicing what seemed to be a gruesome ritual that mocked death.

Although the Catholic Church attempted to eliminate this religiously unsanctioned ceremony, they were unsuccessful. Thus the “Día de los Muertos” tradition continues in Mexico, and has spread to other parts of the world where mostly persons of Mexican heritage persist in lovingly and joyfully honoring people and pets whose souls have passed and persist in other dimensions.

Though based on perennial wisdom truth beyond time, this Day Of The Dead festival is annually observed mostly on November 1st and 2nd, just after Halloween.

Rather than being premised on pagan ignorance, this ritual is rooted in instinctive human insight celebrating and honoring our true Spiritual Reality and common Identity, as Eternal Life, Light, and Love – a timeless Reality which can never die.

So it pertains to all souls everywhere, not merely to those of pre-Hispanic Mexican heritage.

Recommendation and Dedication

At almost age ninety, losing fear of death has greatly helped me find ever-increasing inner happiness in this precious human lifetime. So I’ve often tried to share this insight with apt SillySutras aphorisms, essays, quotations, and stories.

Most recently my July 23rd, 2022 tribute to my friend Betty Bethards has thoroughly summarized these perennial wisdom teachings. And because it contains a verbatim summary of Betty Bethards’ excellent book titled “There is No Death” I highly recommend you review it.

Thus, this Day Of The Dead posting is deeply dedicated to helping everyone everywhere realize that death is merely an earthly illusion – that in Infinite Reality beyond time and space, there is no death, or suffering from fear of death; just Eternal Life, Light, and Love!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

“My life is my message”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Mahatma Gandhi
(October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948)


Introduction

Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in India on October 2, 1869, one hundred fifty three years ago. He came to be known and loved by the Indian people and worldwide as “Mahatma”, an honorary Sanskrit term meaning “Great Soul”, like the term “Saint” in Christianity.

During his lifetime, he was recognized as father of Indian democracy, a monumental accomplishment achieved through non-violent relentless pursuit of Truth as God (satyagraha). Gandhi changed himself to change the world by being the change he wanted see.

Though Mahatma Gandhi realized that his life was his message, he often wrote (or was quoted about) his philosophical ideas on subjects of perennial importance. Because Gandhi walked his talk authentically, peacefully, and universally, his words – like his humble life – will be remembered for centuries, and will continue to inspire and actuate countless millions of people worldwide.

So, in tribute to this great soul, let us recall some of his inspiring words of wisdom:

Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

“My life is my message”

“[T]he world will not change if we don’t change.”

“In a gentle way you can shake the world..”

“You may never know what results come of your actions,

but if you do nothing, there will be no results.”

“If we are to make progress,
we must not repeat history but make new history.
We must add to inheritance left by our ancestors.”

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

“A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.”

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”


“Happiness is when what you think, what you say,
 and what you do are in harmony.”

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”

“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.”

“There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

“Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.”

“Prayer has saved my life, without it I should have been a lunatic long ago. I feel that as food is indispensable for the body so was prayer indispensable for the soul. I find solace in life and in prayer. With the Grace of God everything can be achieved. When His Grace filled one’s being nothing was impossible for one to achieve.”

“Prayer is nothing else but an intense longing of the heart. You may express yourself through the lips; you may express yourself in the private closet or in the public; but to be genuine, the expression must come from the deepest recesses of the heart…”

“It is my constant prayer that I may never have a feeling of anger against my traducers, that even if I fall a victim to an assassin’s bullet, I may deliver my soul with the remembrance of God upon my lips.”

“All the religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth.”

“My religion is based on truth and nonviolence. Truth is my God. Nonviolence is the means of realizing Him.”

“Nonviolence succeeds only when we have a real living faith in God.”

“My faith runs so very much faster than my reason that I can challenge the whole world and say, ‘God is, was and ever shall be’.”

“Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul.”

“A man with a grain of faith in God never loses hope, because he ever believes in the ultimate triumph of Truth.”

”Nonviolence is the greatest force man has been endowed with.

Truth is the only goal he has. For God is none other than Truth.

But Truth cannot be, never will be, reached except through nonviolence…

That which distinguishes man from all other animals is his capacity to be non-violent.

And he fulfills his mission only to the extent that he is non-violent and no more.“

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist and Confucian.”

“Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.”

“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”

“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.”

”Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

“I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and believing as I do in the theory of reincarnation, I live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug all of humanity in friendly embrace.”

“Nonviolence, which is the quality of the heart, cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”

“Nonviolence is not a cloistered virtue to be practiced by the individual for his peace and final salvation, but it is a rule of conduct for society. To practice nonviolence in mundane matters is to know its true value. It is to bring heaven upon earth. I hold it therefore to be wrong to limit the use of nonviolence to cave dwellers [hermits] and for acquiring merit for a favored position in the other world. All virtue ceases to have use if it serves no purpose in every walk of life.”

“It is no nonviolence if we merely love those that love us. It is nonviolence only when we love those that hate us. I know how difficult it is to follow this grand law of love. But are not all-great and good things difficult to do? Love of the hater is the most difficult of all. But by the grace of God even this most difficult thing becomes easy to accomplish if we want to do it.” (From a private letter, dated 31-12-34.)

“To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face, one must be able to love the meanest of all creation as oneself.”

Ahimsa is not the crude thing it has been made to appear. Not to hurt any living thing is no doubt a part of ahimsa. But it is its least expression. The principle of ahimsa is hurt by every evil thought, by undue haste, by lying, by hatred, by wishing ill to anybody. It is also violated by our holding on to what the world needs.”

“I do not believe…that an individual may gain spiritually and those who surround him suffer. I believe in advaita, I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe that if one man gains spiritually, the whole world gains with him and, if one man falls, the whole world falls to that extent.”

“I do not believe that the spiritual law works on a field of its own. On the contrary, it expresses itself only through the ordinary activities of life. It thus affects the economic, the social and the political fields.”

“Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics,

do not know what religion is.”

“Suffering, cheerfully endured, ceases to be suffering and is transmuted into an ineffable joy.”

“The goal ever recedes from us. The greater the progress the greater the recognition of our unworthiness. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall — think of it. Always.”

“In the dictionary of the seeker of truth there is no such thing as being ‘not successful’. He is or should be an irrepressible optimist, because of his immovable faith in the ultimate victory of Truth, which is God.”

“What do I think of Western civilization?
I think it would be a very good idea.”


Dedication and Invocation

As a blessing, may we deeply reflect on Gandhi’s enduring philosophy and exemplary life.

Thereby, like this Great Soul, may we be inspired “from the deepest recesses of the heart” to live in “in a gentle way” that nonviolently blesses all life everywhere as Truth and LOVE.  

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

How Shall We Pray?

“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”
“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”
~ Saint Francis of Assisi

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general,
for God knows best what is good for us.”
~ Socrates

“Prayers go up and blessings come down.”
~ Yiddish Proverb

“There is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church where I kneel.

Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist.

Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is illumined nothing,”

~ Rabia of Basra

“Prayer is nothing else but an intense longing of the heart.
You may express yourself through the lips;
you may express yourself in the private closet or in the public;
but to be genuine, the expression must come from the deepest recesses of the heart…”


~ Mahatma Gandhi

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

~ Meister Eckhart

“Your own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga


praying

How Shall We Pray?

Introduction to “How Shall We Pray?”

Dear Friends,

To augment my recent tribute to Saint Francis of Assisi and the peace prayer attributed to him, I have posted the foregoing quotations and the following written and recited sutra-poem, “How Shall We Pray?”, with explanatory comments about prayer.

These writings are deeply dedicated to encouraging our frequent loving prayers, with faith that they’ll be answered; and that, thereby, as Divine instruments we may help bless our precious planet and all life thereon.



May such prayers inspire our energetically uplifted transcendence of ego-mind’s evolutionary impediments, to hasten our inevitable spiritual transformation, beyond fearful ego-mind sufferings.

And so may it be!


Ron Rattner


How Shall We Pray?

Q. How Shall We Pray?

A. Pray for God to do through you –

Not for you.

Pray like Saint Francis of Assisi:

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy Peace.”



Ron’s audio recitation of “How Shall We Pray?”

Listen to


Ron’s Comments on “How Shall We Pray?”

Dear Friends,

On seeing sudden dire emergencies or threats most humans instinctively pray for help, even if they didn’t previously pray, or are atheists.

People who customarily pray, have differing ideas about the meaning and methods of “prayer”. Most consider prayer as asking for divine help or expressing gratitude to God. But additionally “prayer” can be broadly considered as all spontaneous, heartfelt, or worshipful longing or communion with Divinity or Nature.   

And all such loving prayer may be magically powerful. Until our Self-Realization, we have infinite prayerful-potentiality to help bless this world, because

“everything we think, do or say
changes this world in some way”.


Becoming Prayer

Saint Francis of Assisi exemplified our infinite potentiality to bless this world and everyone, everything, everywhere. He was completely devoted to blessing all Life, without exception or exclusion. His extraordinarily inspiring life demonstrated that it’s possible to live life as prayer, not just with prayer.

Thus in the rule for his Order of Friars Minor, Saint Francis instructed:

“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”
“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”


Realization of such a perpetually prayerful saintly state is humanity’s deepest instinctive aspiration.

Conclusion and Dedication

Consciously or subconsciously, no matter who or where we are, all humans universally share an irresistible instinctive aspiration to transcend ego-mind’s seeming separation of us from our inseparable Source – a transcendent state beyond words or thoughts, so marvelous that its subliminal memory attracts every sentient being to BE ONE – as Infinite LOVE.

Today’s “How Shall We Pray?” writings and recitation are deeply dedicated to encouraging our frequent loving prayers, with faith that they’ll be answered; and that, thereby, as Divine instruments we may help bless our precious planet and all life thereon.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Let Food Be Thy Medicine


Let food be your medicine.”
“First, do no harm” [Primum non nocere.]
~ Hippocrates

“Everyone has a doctor in him or her;
we just have to help it in its work.
The natural healing force within each one of us
is the greatest force in getting well.
Our food should be our medicine.
Our medicine should be our food.”
~ Hippocrates

“Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot,
if you can heal the patient with food.”
~ Hippocrates

“Each of the substances of a man’s diet
acts upon his body and changes it in some way,
and upon these changes his whole life depends.”
~ Hippocrates

“Just as food causes chronic disease,
it can be the most powerful cure.”
~ Hippocrates

“Let nothing which can be treated by diet
be treated by other means.”
~ Maimonides




Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Ron’s Introduction

Dear Friends,

To help us be healthy I’m today posting the excellent University of California Television (UCTV) video embedded below, titled “Let Food Be Thy Medicine”.

In collaboration with the UC San Diego Center for Integrative Nutrition, the Berry Good Food Foundation convened a panel of highly qualified experts to discuss nutritional principles for maintaining general individual, societal, and environmental well-being; for preventing disease and degradation; and for nutritional treatment and healing of chronic diseases, and biodynamic restoration of environmental degradation.

From differing experiential perspectives, the panelists impart and discuss much helpful information, and cite resources for further investigation by interested viewers. Also continuing current updates are kept available online by hashtag at https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/foodasmedicine.

The considerable importance of this video, is reflected by its almost 14 million YouTube viral viewers; its title is a presumed direct teaching of legendary Greek philosopher and healer Hippocrates. Hence I have posted the title quotation above, together with a few other apt Hippocrates quotes consistent with ancient wisdom.

Please watch and carefully consider this important video.

May it encourage us and countless others to enjoy optimal health by making food our medicine.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

UCTV YouTube video: Let Food Be Thy Medicine/



From Seeing to BEING:
Wholeness, Holiness, LOVE
~ Ron’s Memoirs


“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness,

the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside.”

“This perfection must come through the practice of holiness and love.”. . .
“Every step that has been really gained in the world has been gained by love; criticizing can never do any good, it has been tried for thousand of years. Condemnation accomplishes nothing.”

~ Swami Vivekananda

However many holy words you read,

However many you speak,

What good will they do you

If you do not act on upon them?”

~ Buddha

“Many good sayings are to be found in holy books,

but merely reading them will not make one religious.”

~ Sri Ramakrishna
 Paramahansa

“The mind, unless it is pure and holy, cannot see God.”

~ Seneca the Younger

“What the world needs today
is neither a new order, a new education,
a new system, a new society
nor a new religion.
The remedy lies in a mind and a heart filled with holiness.”

~ Shirdi Sai Baba

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

“Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedom —
to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.”
~ Viktor Frankl

Ron Near Sofa Altar

From Seeing to BEING: Wholeness, Holiness, LOVE ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Dear Friends,

At almost age 90, as an elder on the path to Self-Realization, I remain deeply motivated to help inspire others spiritually. So I’m continuing to write memoirs about my evolutionary experiences.

This memoirs chapter hereafter explains how my living room sofa became a sacrosanct spiritual altar; how I prayed and meditated there for decades; and how my worship of perceived outer images there was gradually transformed energetically to become an open hearted inner experience everywhere – a grateful and soulful process of honoring the Divinity and Holiness of “all living creatures and the whole of Nature” on our precious blue planet.

How my living room sofa became an altar

On meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I was profoundly affected by his powerful cosmic life-force energy [“shakti”]. And I learned that his extraordinary inner energy was independent of his physical vitality, and physical presence. Moreover, I learned that Guruji was one of those rare yogis who could intentionally transfer “shakti” to others not only by touch, gaze, or mantra sound, but also by thought. Thus I’ve experienced Guruji’s shakti when not in his physical proximity, and even when his physical body was very weak.

In 1980 Guruji stayed at my apartment just before returning to India. His physical body and vitality were then exceptionally weak and exhausted. He was so weak that he had to be carried out of my apartment to the van bringing him to the SFO International airport. But his cosmic shakti energy was as strong as ever. After Guruji’s departure, I soon discovered that even objects touched by Guruji had become imbued with his intense cosmic energy.

While at my apartment Guruji slept at night on a large mattress brought here from his Soquel ashram. Daytimes he often sat on a living room sofa looking out at the panoramic view of San Francisco Bay. Soon after his departure I helped carry Guruji’s mattress out of my twelfth floor apartment, via elevator to a devotee’s van parked in the basement garage to be returned to the ashram.

After only a few minutes of clutching Guruji’s mattress, I became tremendously “enshakticated” – intoxicated merely by closeness to Guruji’s cosmic life-force which had amazingly permeated the mattress, rather than by ingesting some inebriating or hallucinogenic substance.

From that amazing energy experience, I realized that my living room sofa where Guruji had sat had been transformed to be a holy relic imbued with his shakti. So I made it an altar. Afterwards for over thirty years I worshiped, prayed, cried and meditated at that altar, and no one sat on it. But sensitive visitors and I felt Guruji’s holy energy still radiating from it.

Here is 2012 photo of Ron, at age seventy, at his sofa altar:



When not then meditating at my living room sofa altar, I began and ended each day worshiping at a bedroom floor altar beside a futon.



Only after being seriously disabled by taxicab rundown injuries did I start sleeping on a bed at age eighty one.

How my sofa altar’s energy was elevated and transformed

Soon after my eightieth birthday, the life-force emanations from my sofa altar were energetically evaluated by my dear spiritual friends Gayla Yates Gordon and Barry Gordon, who are both experienced and genuine masters of Feng Sui.

They tactfully persuaded me to remove the sofa altar images, because the altar’s spiritual energies had so elevated that they’d expanded throughout my living room and beyond. So now only a few inspiring images of Guruji, Jesus Christ, Sri Ramakrishna and a few others have been moved beside my computer desk across the living room.

And especially since my miraculous survival from deadly taxicab rundown injuries eight years ago my worship, prayer and meditation has been transformed to become a continuous open-hearted inner experience of honoring the Divinity and Holiness of all life everywhere.

How I’m now viewing and living this precious human lifetime

I’ve learned from Sri Ramakrishna that ego (either helpful or harmful) is unavoidable on Earth; and that with ego we have apparent free choice of our behaviors, or at least our states of mind – our mental attitudes.

And especially inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I follow my conscience and (if possible) nonviolently refuse to actively or passively obey or condone immoral or discriminatory government activities, laws or edicts.

Further, thanks to Albert Einstein, I’m aware that everything’s energy [E=mc2] in Cosmic Consciousness, with each unique energy form vibrating at a particular rate according to its degree of consciousness. So as a unique energy entity with a unique space/time perspective my views may be inappropriate to others. But I’m sharing them now for those for whom they may be harmonious.

From my optimistic perspective we are now experiencing an unprecedented “new normal” energetic ‘quantum leap’ in human consciousness, and are ascending to a prophesied “new reality” of egalitarian and democratic sharing and openness beyond prior deprivations and sufferings. In this extraordinary era the immoral low energy vibrations of division, fear, anger, greed and deception are being overcome and transcended by the elevated energies of Self-awareness, gratitude and freedom, as more and more humans are awakening and BEING the eternal Light of LOVE.

I’m aware that with apparent freedom of choice we each create and experience a unique “reality” with unique thoughts and behaviors from unique perspectives. And I adamantly refuse to reify this insane world of immoral human caused catastrophic wars, climate collapse, illnesses, injuries, and psychopathic deprivations of God-given rights and necessities.

So I choose to see this world as an unreal, immoral and poorly programmed matrix movie in which I will not participate. Instead of reifying this matrix mirage, I’m envisioning and creating a wonderful new world beyond needless suffering, where everyone everywhere is happy – and where living is Loving.

To avoid being psychologically “brainwashed” by matrix propaganda and gossip I refuse to view all addictive “news” and social media of mass deception and distraction. And I avoid reifying “news” or “op ed” articles that evoke fear, worry, anger, or frustration.

What I’ve learned from elevating altar worship

In space/time duality relative “reality’ we have freedom to live lovingly and fearlessly.
And the more we live with energetically elevated mental attitudes the more we experience peace and happiness, and help to positively co-create an energetically elevated and wonderful world.

Accordingly, all of our fearless, forgiving, and loving thoughts, behaviors, and emotions inevitably uplift this world and everyone/everything everywhere. So:

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

“Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedom —
to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.”
~ Viktor Frankl


Dedication and Invocation

Thus, this memoirs chapter is deeply dedicated
to encouraging all others on the path to Self-Realization
to open, listen to, and follow their Heart.

Thereby may we empathetically and lovingly
live for giving, not getting;
for helping, not harming
all beings (not just humans),
and our beautiful precious planet Earth,
which birthed us all.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

From Sympathy to Empathy
~ Ron’s Memoirs


“Listen To Your Soul:

You have to grow from the inside out.

None can teach you, none can make you spiritual.

There is no other teacher but your own soul.”

~ Swami Vivekananda

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful
for the evolution of your consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Neither a master nor a servant be.
Abjure control by or over others.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Ron Rattner and Ida Logan on Ron’s 75th Birthday – November 8th, 2007

From Sympathy to Empathy ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Dear Friends,

On studying law over sixty years ago, I began learning that direct experiential evidence is superior to indirect circumstantial or hearsay evidence; and as a practicing lawyer (mainly motivated by social justice ideals) I always prioritized direct perceptual evidence. Twenty years later, as a busy secular lawyer who became a “born-again Hindu”, I also became motivated by a newly discovered “spiritual goal” often called Self-Realization – a spiritual goal of knowing oneself as indescribable universal LOVE by meditative direct inner experience.

Now at almost age 90, I remain deeply motivated to help inspire others spiritually, as an elder on the path to Self-Realization. So (to honor my Guruji’s request) I’m continuing to publish spiritual memoirs.

Previous postings tell how (through possible pre-destiny) life gives us whatever experiences or relationships are most helpful for our spiritual evolution to Self-Realization.

This memoirs chapter explains how I synchronistically learned from Ida M. Logan, a former housekeeper and long-time spiritual friend, that we learn empathy for bereavements and hurts of others only by our own similar direct life experiences.

Importance of Empathy

Long ago I intuited that every human Earth-being is a Divine soul experiencing seemingly separate and individual lifetimes to attain Self-Realization by learning from life experience.

I concluded that through earth-life behaviors all humans may attain Self-Realization regardless of whether they’re religious, if they lovingly devote themselves to giving, not getting; to helping, not harming all beings (not just humans).

And I’ve learned that virtually all enduring ethical, religious, and spiritual traditions emphasize loving behavior through what is commonly called the Golden Rule of reciprocal empathy for other creatures and people. Therefore I believe we’ve chosen to incarnate on Earth to learn to live with heartfelt empathy.

Ida M. Logan as my friend and empathy teacher

Soon after we moved to San Francisco in 1960, my former wife Naomi hired Ida M. Logan as a weekly housekeeper of our rented apartment. Later, beginning in 1966 after births of our daughter Jessica and son Joshua, Naomi also engaged Ida Logan to be our children’s ‘nanny’ on days when Naomi was busy working as a college English teacher.

All these household employment arrangements were made by Naomi, and as a lawyer working away from home, I had little contact with Ida Logan. But I learned from our children that they loved Ida very much.

My direct relationship with Ida Logan began when I moved into my present high-rise apartment over forty years ago. I engaged her as a weekly housekeeper on days of her choosing, while I continued working in a law office. And our face to face contacts were still minimal.

But that changed when I began working at home to close out a few remaining law cases before retiring at age sixty. Then Ida and I regularly met and often had friendly philosophical conversations about religious subjects. And I developed great respect and appreciation for her intelligence, elevated attitude and wisdom learned from life.

Ida’s history

Ida was born on February 20, 1927 and lived over ninety years until October 12, 2017. Of African ancestry, she lived in race-segregated Mississippi until the 1950’s or 60’s. Then with a large family she moved to San Francisco, and found necessary but limited employment as a housekeeper.

In San Francisco she became a deeply devout member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Christian church, for which she sincerely proselytized and studied biblical passages, to help all other people, including me. Throughout our years of friendship she often gave me copies of The Watchtower and Awake! to read. Shortly before her death, when she was non-ambulatory in a nursing home, I last visited with Ida. As we parted, she urged me to attend nearby Kingdom Hall meetings and to “get on board” with Jehovah.

Because Ida suffered from seriously disabling illnesses she was obliged to retire from housekeeping work, and to live in her public housing apartment, when not hospitalized. (See the above photo taken of us on November 8, 2008, my 75th birthday.)

Ida’s empathy teaching

Before she retired one of Ida’s dear sons, an adult military veteran who survived the Viet Nam war, died unexpectedly of medical negligence at the local veteran’s hospital. I then expressed to Ida my sincere sympathies on her bereavement. Whereupon she thanked me but gently and wisely informed me that I couldn’t understand her grief.

She explained that you have to be a mother, who has lost a dear child to understand another mother’s bereavement feelings. Thus my sincere sympathy wasn’t the same as another mother’s experiential empathy.

What I’ve learned from Ida

1) Ida taught me that experiential empathy is more spiritually elevated than instinctive sympathy. So I’ve learned from her that we’ve incarnated to learn to live with heartfelt reciprocal empathy for hurts of other people and creatures.

2) As a dedicated member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church, Ida always tried to lovingly help, not hurt, other people. I’ve learned from her and others that people who lovingly help others help all life on Earth, regardless of whether they’re religious.

3) My spiritual friendship with Ida helped me learn to respect all other people as spiritual sisters and brothers, regardless of the how they’re labeled by their race, job, gender, economic wealth, college degrees etc.

4) Therefore, in my entire adult life as a self-employed busy lawyer, I didn’t employ any other person, except Ida; and I didn’t become anyone’s landlord with control over their home and living conditions. As a self-employed lawyer I rented office space, with related services, from larger law-firms.

5) My friendship with Ida, confirmed innate egalitarian instincts that control of anyone who helped me as a spiritual sister or brother seemed morally wrong. So my philosophy became and remained:

“Neither a master nor a servant be.
Abjure control by or over others.”


6) My relationships with Ida and others taught me that sincerely empathetic people can be very important to those they help. For example Ida’s spontaneous love for Jessica and Joshua Rattner, was very important for them in addressing the deep psychological traumas of their parents’ divorce.

Conclusion and Dedication

The long-time Ida M. Logan – Ron Rattner relationship furthered our spiritual evolution to Self-Realization. In giving, she received karmic blessings. And it taught me the supreme importance of learning to live with reciprocal empathy for all people and creatures now suffering on our precious planet.

Thus, this “Sympathy to Empathy” memoirs chapter is deeply dedicated to encouraging all others to empathetically and lovingly live for giving, not getting; for helping, not harming all beings (not just humans), and our precious planet Earth, which birthed us all.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

“There is No Death”
a Tribute to Betty Bethards
(9/23/33 – 7/30/02)

“Life is eternal. There is no death. If people correctly understood death, they would no longer have any fear of the unknown”. . . . “What we think of as life and death are merely transitions, changes in the rate of vibration in a continual process of growth and unfoldment.”
~ Betty Bethards – “There is No Death” pp. 90-91
“Overcoming the fear of death changes our whole perspective on life. Everything we do and think and feel takes on new meaning. When we realize that we are not limited by the physical, we begin to get the idea that we are really master of our own destinies and we more fully align ourselves with the eternal nature of our beings.”
~ Betty Bethards – “There is No Death” pp. 82-83
“As we lose our fear of leaving life,
we gain the art of living life.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“To be afraid of dying is like being afraid of discarding an old worn-out garment.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,
 you must go deep within yourself.

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

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


Betty Bethards (9/23/33 – 7/30/02)


“There is No Death” a Tribute to Betty Bethards (9/23/33 – 7/30/02)

Ron’s Introduction.

Dear Friends,

On this twentieth anniversary of my friend Betty Bethards’ transition, it is my privilege and pleasure to honor her retrospectively as one of the spiritually most important people in my life.

I met Betty soon after my 1976 rebirth experience, when attending her Inner Light Foundation lectures. I was then a busy lawyer seeking social justice for others. She was a prominent Bay Area meditation teacher, psychic/mystic counselor, healer, and author.

Betty had just published and was discussing her first (and still important book) “There is No Death”. My autographed copy of that book is inscribed with her powerful perennial wisdom words that have helped me and many others: “Death is but a bridge to life!”

From 1976 until Betty crossed that bridge to life twenty six years later, we had a harmonious rapport and important spiritual friendship. After retiring as a lawyer I became a spiritual philosopher, poet and writer and began The Perennial Wisdom Foundation, which sponsors this website where I’ve been continuing to publish spiritual memoirs, as an elder student on the path.

At almost age 90, I’ve decided to augment my prior tribute to Betty Bethards by recounting (before I cross “the bridge to life”) some specific ways in which her teachings and friendship have significantly furthered my spiritual evolution.

So this twentieth anniversary tribute to Betty still highlights her history and teachings about why “There is No Death”, but also hereafter includes previously unpublished explanations and incidents of her transformative role in my life.

The beginning pages of this tribute were originally sourced in July 2017 from prominent near death authority and author Kevin R. Williams, whose main posting about Betty Bethards remains online at this link together with my original tribute to Betty. Mostly they include excerpts (below) from Betty’s book, There is No Death, in which she gives her description of what happens when we die.

Because I’ve always appreciated Betty’s wisdom expressed in down-to-earth, pithy yet clear and simple language, I have recommended her books and audio recordings which are still available from Inner Light Foundation P.O. Box 750265, Petaluma, CA 94975, (707) 765-2200.

Also her books are sold by Amazon (and other sellers). They include Seven Steps to Developing Your Intuitive Powers, From My Heart to Yours, Be Your Own Guru, and Techniques for Health and Wholeness. Further you can still buy Betty’s book Sex and Psychic Energy, which apparently Elvis Presley was reading in the bathroom when he died of a heart attack at age 42 on 8/16/77.

Betty’s History.

At age 32 Betty was a middle class mother of four boys, and a professional bowler, when she experienced a transformative classic near death experience long before the term NDE was coined and widely publicized by Dr. Raymond Moody, Jr.. She described her NDE experience in her first published (and still important) book “There is No Death”. Because her main aspiration in life was to help others, she wrote and talked about death and dying to comfort the bereaved and ailing.

“There is No Death” was especially powerful because it came from Betty’s dramatic experience of surviving apparent physical “death” and her continuing communications with supposedly deceased souls, including her two eldest sons who later died in Viet Nam and in a California motorcycle accident. Also it recounts inspiring true stories about how people who consulted Betty transcended their fear of death.

Before we met, Betty had formed the Inner Light Foundation [ILF], promoting development of individual spirituality. For many years, she spoke monthly at local SF area church venues and gave psychic readings with mystic counseling at her North Bay foundation office. Raised as fundamentalist Baptist she ultimately gave universal spiritual teachings encompassed by most enduring religious paths, and she became an exemplar and channel for the path of Love.

Rather than promoting herself as a leader, Betty tried to teach others to develop their own spiritual potentials. Thus one of her nine books was titled: “Be Your Own Guru”. Others included: “Techniques for Health and Wholeness,” “Seven Steps to Developing Your Intuitive Powers,” and “The Dream Book,” interpreting over 1,600 dream symbols, and helping readers to remember and find guidance and inspiration from their dreams.

Once when I was invited by Betty for a private New Years Eve dinner at her home in Petaluma, I learned that she had received as a gift – apparently from the Dalai Lama of Tibet, whom she’d never met – a beautiful Tibetan hand crafted mandala scroll or thangka.

Thereafter, though many people regarded Betty a teacher of ‘meditation for the middle class’, I called her a ‘Baptist Bodhisattva’, who humbly and without self-aggrandizement was lovingly dedicated to helping all sentient beings develop their spiritual potentials. Her energy field was so palpably powerful that many people often felt uplifted just being in her presence.

Since Betty’s July 2002 transition, her teachings still bless this world. And her transformative work may be continuing ‘from the other side’.

And so may it be!

Betty’s NDE Story and Teachings Excerpted from “There is No Death”.

Betty Bethards

1. Near-Death Experience.

My first experience with death challenged all my old beliefs about the nature of reality and why we are here in the first place. I learned that if we are ever to come to terms with the meaning of our lives here on Earth, we must understand the meaning of death. Only then can we see it with a total perspective, fitting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Otherwise, nothing makes much sense.

I returned home one night from a bridge game with a burning sensation in my chest and went right to bed. An hour later I awoke to find myself hovering over the bed about two feet above my body. A voice said to me, “You’re going to be very sick with pneumonia. Get to a doctor”. [After two doctor visits which did not help her, she ran a temperature of 103 to 105 degrees and was on the road to death.]

Suddenly I was twenty feet across the room. Everything I considered “Betty” to be -memory, personality, senses -was looking back at that shell on the couch. I thought, “Gee, she’s sick. I don’t want to go back.”

Then a very gentle voice said from behind me, “You don’t have to go back, but this is death if you choose to stay.”

I had a body which appeared the same, was wearing the same clothes, and was raised about two feet off the floor. I wasn’t frightened at all, but felt wonderfully enveloped in peace. I knew then how Jerry had appeared to me ten years earlier. It was as if I could see things clearly, and knew that there was no such thing as death. I realized then that one never dies, but changes vibrations, and goes on living and learning on other levels.

I really didn’t want to go back. But then I started seeing pictures of my four children flash before me. It was a tricky way to get me to make up my mind to return to the Earth plane and finish what I was supposed to do. I was fine with seeing each child, knowing they could take care of themselves without me, until I saw my eighteen month old son. I knew he still needed me, and at that point I made my decision. I had to go back.

As soon as I thought this, the voice said to me again, “Unless you take an antibiotic within the next twenty-four hours, you will no longer have a choice of whether you wish to remain on the Earth plane.”

It was after this experience that I knew there was no death and that it wasn’t the way I had been taught to believe. I didn’t know how it was, but I was determined to find out. I had to wait two years before the teachings began coming to me.
[Within this period of time, Betty became more and more psychic until she was able to communicate with her spirit guides.]

2. Not the Same For Everyone.

When the soul has been exposed to the opportunities it chose for a particular lifetime, it is allowed a release from the physical body. The soul knows when the time for release has come. Death is easy – life is hard work.

Death is not the same for everyone. It depends upon how you have prepared yourself during that incarnation, how old a soul you are, how evolved your awareness, and what lessons you chose to learn through the death experience. You may have chosen to learn courage and to build strength through a physical death with suffering. People who die slow deaths from such things as cancer or strokes are often givers who have never learned how to receive. Their souls may choose a slow death in order to allow others to give to them. But you can learn your lesson and move beyond the need for pain and suffering in dying. You may, in fact, have chosen a fast and easy death. Either way it is not a punishment, but a process of growth for both you and those around you. It allows you and others to work through difficult situations with kindness and compassion.

3. Seeing the Invisible.

When you approach the time of death, often you’re able to see relatives who have crossed over standing around you. The etheric body slips easily in and out of the physical, and many times a person near-death talks to beings who are invisible to others. Doctors for the most part think you are hallucinating, but you’re not. Whether death comes rapidly or slowly, your loved ones know ahead of time when you are coming, and are there, prepared and waiting, happy that you have been released.

4. The Tunnel and the Light.

First, you may experience your whole life flashing in front of you much as a drowning person reports this experience. Next, you will go through what appears to be a dark tunnel or dark tube which has a very bright light at the end. Most entities are just drawn to the light without anyone saying, “Go to the light.” It’s a past soul memory of having left the body many times, and knowing what to do.

This light is from higher astral levels, and you follow it to the one you have earned. However you have lived your life on the Earth side determines how high you can go into the light on the other side.

There is nothing to fear. You leave your body every night as you enter the sleep state. There is no difference. You cannot be harmed.

Fears are within, and this is why you must work to release yourself from fears on the Earth plane, because you will carry these same fears over to the next dimension. As above, so below!

5. Hanging Around the Living.

Some people may want to hang around their old surroundings on Earth rather than go on to discover for themselves the beauty and wisdom which is offered to them on the other side. This may take a long time, but they are coaxed along slowly. Nothing is forced on a soul, neither attitudes nor understandings. This is why we are always counseled here on Earth never to force our beliefs on another person until one is ready to hear them. The free choice of every individual should be acknowledged.

6. Seeing Loved Ones and Teachers.

When you die you are greeted by loved ones first so that you may understand what has happened. There is a big celebration, like a birthday party, heralding your arrival. Family and friends who have gone on before you are there to celebrate your arrival.

There is always good at the time of your cross-over. Even people who have lived lives of selfishness will know and understand the rejoicing. Whatever you have sown you are going to reap in terms of structuring your experiences and lessons which continue on the other side. But the first few days of cross-over (as you know time on the Earth plane) you are allowed to be with your teachers, and those who have loved you in the past. You are able to see those you left behind and to hear their thoughts and words. The first six weeks we stay very close to our loved ones on the Earth plane.

You are given glimpses of things you expected to see in order to bring you comfort. You may briefly see a teacher you worshipped in your lifetime: Jesus, Buddha, or another guru, according to your expectations. After the first seventy-two hours, however, you are gently brought out of many of your illusions and shown that you have not landed in an ultimate paradise with gold paved streets. Of course you could choose to create these for yourself on this plane, but once you truly understand you would most likely choose to be around that with which you felt most comfortable.

If you don’t believe in God or an afterlife, you will probably be kept in a sleep state for the first two to three day period. You will wake up in a beautiful meadow or some other calm and peaceful place where you can reconcile the transition from the death state to the continuous life. You are given teachings in the hope that you do not refuse to believe that you are dead.

On the other side you see things with a clearer, more objective nature, but you are not given total knowledge because you would not understand it or be ready to use it, any more than while you are here on Earth. We are given knowledge only as we are ready to receive it, whether we are in or out of the body.

7. After the Homecoming.

After the first six weeks the soul meets with what may be called a loving board of directors. It is composed of teachers and other higher beings who have walked with you. These beings help you review your past life, to begin to look at what was learned and not learned, and what you wish to work on or do from this point. No one judges you, and this is important to keep in mind. You are the one that judges yourself and decides what is best for continued growth.

You will be given teachings, training, and anything you need to help you prepare yourself for your next incarnation. But this is not given immediately. You can choose your own pace and need not be hurried through the realms of the next realms. It may take centuries for your soul to know what is best for your development once you return again to a physical body. It may take a great deal of reflection before you determine a purpose and direction for your next sojourn on Earth. Since we reincarnate in groups we usually wait 80 to 120 years before we come back.

Also, as part of your training, you are allowed to watch people on the Earth plane to see how they handle situations when they reincarnate. Very few people in a physical body realize that their behavior is a teaching ground for those who are out of the body.

8. Reviewing Past Lives.

As you are ready, and as you choose, you will be shown your past lives. If you do not believe in reincarnation it may take a long time before you are able to deal with this. Eventually, you must learn to understand yourself in a continuity of growth over many lifetimes. You must recognize all the strengths you have built and all the karmic ties you have created which must be dissolved.

By the time you are given the privilege of reviewing all past lives and integrating the knowledge learned, you will have reached a state of total objectivity. You will feel no remorse or condemnation, but will see it as merely a review of why situations occurred and had to be worked through.

The record of your life is very private. Only those who have walked with you as teachers are allowed to see what is called your akashic (or life) record. If during your lifetime you ask that a psychic tune into this record, he or she will only be given a minimal amount of information from it which is particularly relevant to your immediate problems or concerns.

You, too, can tune into this record through meditation and get insight and clarity on the problems you are dealing with. Your own attunement is much more accurate than asking a psychic or someone else to tell you about yourself. This builds up a dependency. We may need clarity or help at times, but should never develop a dependency on others. Our whole purpose is to gain strength and learn how to make our own decisions.

9. Religious Beliefs.

Your religious beliefs have little to do with what you experience in the transition from one realm to another, except that you would be allowed to see briefly the teacher or guru that you followed. Regardless of cultural or religious beliefs, you will have the same basic experience at death (just as mystics of all great traditions attune to the same universal energy). What counts is what comes from the heart, not what one professes to believe. It means nothing whether or not one was baptized, for example, or whether one has various other rites administered. How ridiculous to rely on meaningless words!

The true meaning of baptism is an initiation of the spirit, an opening awareness to the God consciousness. People receive this inner baptism when they are spiritually prepared.

You will not suddenly be sitting at the feet of a man with a long white beard called God. God is within, whether you are in or out of the body. Your awareness of the God force will not be greater on the other side. If you insist upon searching for God, you will do this for awhile until you get the idea that you are following an illusion. We must go through at least four more realms beyond the astral before we could even begin to understand the energy of the God force. God is love in all religions, so the more we live love the closer we are to God.

10. The Idea of Purgatory.

Catholics understand purgatory as a place or level of consciousness one goes for further understanding. It is an intermediary state that gives one the opportunity to develop further clarity. At first it is like being in fog, just as many people walk around on the Earth plane in a fog. They don’t have the clarity to understand how they are setting their lives.

If there has been much negativity during an incarnation, or a suicide, one must spend some time contemplating what has happened.

It is a holding place where souls who are confused, who do not want to let go of their earthly attachments, or who choose not to grow will remain until such time as they allow themselves to be released to flow once more into the light.

Purgatory is a place of your own making. We see souls who are punishing themselves here on the Earth plane. This continues after death just the same as it would if they were still in the physical body. Many people must suffer in order to feel worth. When they finally learn this is a negative number they are running, they can move on.

11. The Meaning of Hell.

What about the reality of a place called hell? Hell is a level of consciousness which can be experienced in or out of the body. It is a lonely place where one is not allowed to be in communication with anything other than one’s own negativity.

Souls do not enter this level unless they need to experience it for their growth. Many people who commit suicide will have to go through this hell of their own making in order to become aware that this is not what they are striving for. The soul must learn that it does not have the right to take its own life, that it cannot kill, it cannot hurt other people; nor can it judge others for we have no knowledge of what they came back to do and learn.

Many people at one time or another have experienced this plane. Alcoholics going through the DTs and people on drugs, may also see it. It is a plane of total darkness where we must confront the fears we have built within our own minds. Understand that fears have no reality unless we choose to give them reality. As soon as we are able to meet them directly, to face them, they dissipate. This lower level is not for one’s punishment, but rather to provide the opportunity to confront and move beyond the negativity created by oneself.

The hell fire mentioned in many traditions is symbolic of the “kundalini” energy (Holy Spirit, God energy, or Creative energy) that dwells within the seven energy centers or chakras within man. Fire is symbolic of the cleansing and purification of the soul.

The struggle between higher and lower self or what some call God and the Devil causes growth, until finally the negativity or the destructive elements are completely overcome.

12. Laws More Protective.

Through questions and answers I have received information about what it is actually like to be on the other side. First, my channel has pointed out that the laws are much more protective. We need no longer be exposed to both good and evil, for we have already experienced that. We see the bad only if we choose to. Those who are living in harmony will not be imposed upon by the ignorant, but can visit the lower planes to help another if they choose to do so.

For example, if you loved someone who is on a lower vibration than you are, you are allowed to visit anytime you choose by simply lowering your rate of vibration. This may help the entity greatly by encouraging self-love and growth. However, the entity will need to incarnate again on the Earth plane to test out these new lessons, because it is the Earth experience that determines your stage of evolution.

13. Marriage and Unions.

There are unions of souls on the other side, and marriage as such is optional. If couples prefer to remain together they may do so, as long as their interests and growth are taking them in the same direction. If they choose to go in different directions, there are no hurt feelings. There is no possessiveness or demands. You are free to go your own way, in your own time, at your own choosing.

Married couples will be reunited after death, and may choose to stay together if they want to, provided they are on the same level of vibration. This is free will. If you have been married three or four times, you will find that you will want to be with the one whom you truly love. It could even be someone from another incarnation. You will be with those you love, and there is a total merger which is a much higher experience and a deeper love bond than anything you can know on the Earth plane.

This total merger is like stepping inside one another’s auras, a total blending of energies. It’s a way of expressing love and sharing. What you know on Earth as a sexual relationship takes the form of a higher merger of souls. There is no need for sexual organs on the other side unless you choose to have them. For this merger of energies is far superior to the physical mechanics of the sexual experience. This merger is not limited to husbands and wives, but may be experienced by any two souls who are loving and caring.


2022 Tribute Addendum: Ron Rattner’s explanations about Betty Bethards’ transformative role in his life.

Dear Friends,

To illustrate how my spiritual friendship with Betty Bethards helped transform my life, here are a few important examples:

1) Losing fear of death

“Overcoming the fear of death changes our whole perspective on life. Everything we do and think and feel takes on new meaning. When we realize that we are not limited by the physical, we begin to get the idea that we are really master of our own destinies and we more fully align ourselves with the eternal nature of our beings.”
~ Betty Bethards – “There is No Death” pp. 82-83

Betty’s wisdom (as summarized in her above quote from “There is No Death”) and my own awakening experiences helped me gradually lose all fear of death and recognize death as a bridge to eternal life. And as I lost the fear of leaving life I gained the art of living life.

2) Learning importance of ever elevating our energies and of honoring energy sensitivities

Betty taught and demonstrated how our energies affect every aspect of our lives; that our lives keep improving as we elevate our energies. And because she exemplified these teachings, she helped to energetically inspire me and many others to develop our infinite potentials. Her energy field was so palpably powerful that many people often felt uplifted just being in her presence.

Though I appreciated Betty’s uplifting energies many times, I had only one unforgettably extraordinary energy experience which happened after I visited her one morning as a patient at the San Francisco University of California Hospital where she’d just had surgery. Her energy field was so powerful that it must have lit up that whole hospital ward.

That afternoon I took my young son Joshua (who was an ardent SF Giants fan) to Candlestick Park to watch a Giants home game. We had lower grandstand seats on the 1st base side of home plate. After visiting Betty my energy field had become so immense that I could sense energies everywhere, as far away as the outfield bleachers. It was so gigantic that I could feel not only every movement of pitchers on and near the pitching mound but I actually could feel their pitched baseballs speeding toward batters and catchers.

But for being lit up Betty Bethards that wouldn’t have happened; and but for her teachings I might not have honored that unforgettable ‘peek’ experience, and many others which are summarized in my memoirs chapter titled Extraordinary Energy Experiences

3) Honoring God as Love

In “There is No Death” Betty Bethards taught that

“God is love in all religions, so the more we live love the closer we are to God”.

Although Betty was raised as fundamentalist Baptist she ultimately became an exemplar and channel for the path of Love. Thereby she inspired me and countless others who aren’t great saints to honor God by living as Love.

4) Learning about Saint Francis of Assisi and his peace prayer

Betty Bethards helped motivate me to learn about and regularly recite the peace prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, by whom I’ve become immensely inspired.

When I moved from Chicago to San Francisco in 1960, as a secular Jewish lawyer, I was mostly uninformed about religions other than Judaism, and I knew almost nothing about great saints. Even though Saint Francis of Assisi was patron saint of my new home, I remained ignorant of his hagiographic story until after my profound spiritual opening in 1976.

Since then, through vivid visions of past lives as a Franciscan friar, and teachings of Betty Bethards, I’ve become instinctively identified with and become most inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi – of all great and famous Western saints and sages. On attending Betty’s Inner Light Foundation 1976 lectures, I was taught and began regularly reciting the extremely inspiring “make me an instrument of Thy peace” prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. The prayer and discussions at Betty’s programs motivated me to begin and keep learning about that great Saint.

Thus that peace prayer became and remains (after over forty years) a deeply instinctive and energetically elevating daily spiritual practice. And I’ve been gradually transformed from identifying as secular Hebrew social justice lawyer to an ardent devotee of Saint Francis of Assisi and (like Francis) becoming a lover of Jesus – history’s greatest social justice reformer.

5) Valuing loving psychic insights

To help ordinary people, Betty Bethards demonstrated extraordinary psychic abilities which I’ve learned to recognize and value in others. Soon after I began learning about Saint Francis of Assisi in 1976, I synchronistically visited a hundred year old SF woman who was freely channelling psychic information to help others. Without my telling her about them she perceived and named my two best friends, and told me about their feelings toward me. Then amazingly she gave me confidential information about Saint Francis in my possible future life. So from Betty Bethards and others I’ve learned to value psychic insights offered with love.

6) Honoring Universal Perennial Wisdom

In 1978 after being inspired by Betty Bethards to honor God as Love beyond any religion, I met a hundred year old Hindu holy man and Guru whose rare demonstration of “signs and wonders” inspired me to receive his shaktipat initiation (like a baptism), and for many years to become a “Born-Again Hindu”.

Like Betty, my beloved Guruji also emphasized the importance of regular meditation and of realizing God as Love beyond rules or religions. So I began learning about Eastern spiritual teachings which all emphasized identical perennial principles. And I learned of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, a 19th Century Hindu Saint, whose life and teachings – like those of Saint Francis of Assisi – have instinctively inspired me more than those of any other saints.
(See Discovering and Honoring Devotional “Holy Fools” )

After retiring as a lawyer in 1992, I became a spiritual philosopher, poet and writer and began The Perennial Wisdom Foundation, which sponsors this website where (as requested by my Guruji) I’ve been continuing to publish spiritual memoirs to help others.

Betty’s simple and small Inner Light Foundation (more than any other charity) was a model for my Perennial Wisdom Foundation whose slogan is “Timeless Wisdom For Every Age”

May it continue helping others until and after I cross the bridge from this precious lifetime.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Good 2 Go, But Glad to Stay
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“In order to know through experience what happens beyond death,
 you must go deep within yourself.

In meditation, the truth will come to you.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas

“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

“Love blesses the world; 
fear afflicts it.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


“Our deepest fears 
hide our highest potentials.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“To be afraid of dying is like being afraid
of discarding an old worn-out garment.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

“And it is in dying [to ego life]
that we are reborn to eternal life.”

~ St. Francis of Assisi, peace prayer, edited by Ron Rattner

“Death is truly part of life … ‘what we called death is merely a concept’.”

“This happens at the gross level of the mind.
But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call ‘clear light.’”

~ H.H. Dalai Lama, citing Tibetan Book of the Dead.

“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time, nor does it come into being again when the body is created. The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed. Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel, in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies verily accepts new bodies.” “The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna

“Reality transcends both birth and death.”

“There is no birth, there is no death;
. . . . We only think there is.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh



“The heart of the matter is always
our oneness with divine spirit,
our union with all life.”

“The greatest of all miracles is to be alive.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh


Ron Rattner on 5/24/22
Good 2 Go, But Glad to Stay

Good 2 Go, But Glad to Stay ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Dear Friends,

Some years ago, while taking a (then) daily walk by San Francisco Bay, I was invited to use a ‘a pay to poop’ antiseptic toilet then being promoted for people reluctant to access often dirty or unsafe public toilets. As part of that marketing promotion I was offered (and gladly accepted) a green cap with the slogan “Good2Go”.

Since then I have often worn that cap, and recently its “Good2Go” logo has epitomized a newly fearless state of mind about death rather any fearful bowel movements.

At almost age ninety, this memoirs chapter summarizes and explains my present (and previously unimagined) inner psychological state about death, despite diminished physical health from advanced age and prior traumas – especially June, 2014 near-death taxicab rundown injuries.

Although age and injuries have noticeably diminished my physical health, they have karmically blessed me with greater psychological happiness than ever before imagined or experienced. Beginning with my midlife awakening I’ve gradually become convinced (by out of body and near death experiences) that there is no death; that our true Reality is immortal and transcends death, which is only an illusory mental concept.

Therefore, I no longer self-identify with only my physical body, its thoughts and story, and I no longer fear leaving that precious human body. So psychologically I’ve become “Good2Go”. Yet, because I’m happier than ever before imagined, I’m very “Glad to Stay” while enjoying health.

So I sanctify and dedicate every day of what’s left of this precious human lifetime, with the deep aspiration and constant prayer, to bless all Life as LOVE.

From my unique perspective, being part of a “critical mass” that is helping others energetically transcend their fears and sufferings is especially important during the current extraordinary era of warfare, deprivation, turmoil, and polarized violence affecting most humans.

Invocation

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


And so may it be!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner

Ron Rattner in May 2022
Good 2 Go, But Glad to Stay



Tribute to Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh


“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

Thich Nhat Hanh
October 11, 1926 – January 22, 2022


Introduction and Explanation.

With deep gratitude for his teachings, this posting honors Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh – renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace advocate, teacher, poet, and author.

Master Thich Nhat Hanh was particularly known in the West for teaching Buddhist mindfulness and active social and political pursuit of Truth, known as “Engaged Buddhism”.

This article includes below a culled collection of representative quotations from his voluminous writings, and an embedded recent Plumb Village documentary film – “A Cloud Never Dies”, narrated by actor Peter Coyote, a Zen Buddhist practitioner and priest.

The Plumb Village collective organization is the best online source for further information about Master Thich Nhat Hanh. And for your convenience a Wikipedia biography is both linked and attached as a pdf document.

May Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s long lifetime in the 20th and 21st centuries, continue blessing countless future generations, until we realize (as He observed) that “Reality transcends both birth and death.”

And so may it be!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner


“A Cloud Never Dies”




Quotations From Master Thich Nhat Hanh


“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”

“The notion of a separate self is like a tunnel that you keep going into. When you practice meditation, you can see that there is the breathing but no breather can be found anywhere; there is the sitting but no sitter can be found anywhere. When you see that, the tunnel will vanish, and there will be a lot of space, a lot of freedom.”

“Today is the most important day of our lives.”

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

“If you think that peace and happiness are somewhere else and you run after them, you will never arrive.”

“In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.”

“Meditation is not to avoid society; it is to look deep to have the kind of insight you need to take action. To think that it is just to sit down and enjoy the calm and peace, is wrong.”

“Meditation is not meant to help us avoid problems or run away from difficulties. It is meant to allow positive healing to take place. To meditate is to learn how to stop—to stop being carried away by our regrets about the past, our anger or despair in the present, or our worries about the future.”

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

“Silence is essential. We need silence just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words and thoughts, there is no space for us.”

“Guarding knowledge is not a good way to understand. Understanding means to throw away your knowledge.”

“People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality.”

“Birth is okay and death is okay, if we know that they are only concepts in our mind. Reality transcends both birth and death.”

“There is no birth, there is no death; there is no coming, there is no going; there is no same, there is no different; there is no permanent self, there is no annihilation. We only think there is.”

“The heart of the matter is always our oneness with divine spirit, our union with all life.”

“You are what you want to become. Why search anymore? You are a wonderful manifestation. The whole universe has come together to make your existence possible. There is nothing that is not you. The kingdom of God, the Pure Land, nirvana, happiness, and liberation are all you.”

“Be Yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just Be.”

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.”

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

“When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?”

“If love is in our hearts, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle. Because understanding is the very foundation of love, words and actions that emerge from our love are always helpful.”

“The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other. We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering. Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering. We must become one with the subject of our observation. When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.””

“When another person makes you suffer,
it is because he suffers deeply within himself,
and his suffering is spilling over.
He does not need punishment; he needs help.
That’s the message he is sending.”

“You do not suffer because things are impermanent. You suffer because things are impermanent and you think they are permanent.”

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”

“The desire to be a free person is very worthwhile. To be free means you are no longer the victim of fear, anger, craving, or suspicion.”

“Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath. Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body. Then look at, or think of, the person triggering this emotion: with mindfulness, you can see that they are unhappy and suffering. You can see their wrong perceptions. You’ll feel motivated by a desire to say or do something to help the other person suffer less. This means compassionate energy has been born in your heart. And when compassion appears, anger is deleted.”

“Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

“The greatest of all miracles is to be alive.”

“Because you are alive, everything is possible.”

“The buddha called suffering a holy truth, because our suffering has the capacity of showing us the path to liberation. Embrace your suffering and let it reveal to you the way to peace.”

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding.”

“Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses.”

“Often we tell ourselves, “Don’t just sit there, do something!” But when we practice awareness, we discover that the opposite may be more helpful: “Don’t just do something, sit there!””

“Human beings are not our enemy. Our enemy is not the other person. Our enemy is the violence, ignorance, and injustice in us and in the other person. When we are armed with compassion and understanding, we fight not against other people, but against the tendency to invade, to dominate, and to exploit.”

“At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it.”

“The organic gardener does not think of throwing away the garbage. She knows that she needs the garbage. She is capable of transforming the garbage into compost, so that the compost can turn into lettuce, cucumber, radishes, and flowers again…With the energy of mindfulness, you can look into the garbage and say: I am not afraid. I am capable of transforming the garbage back into love.”

“When we change our daily lives – the way we think, speak and act – we change the world.”

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

“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.” The Art of Power

“We are determined not to take as the aim of our life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure, nor to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying. We are committed to living simply and sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh



Dedication 

This posting is shared with the deep aspiration and dedication that its spiritual teachings will inspire and help us live happily and compassionately – even during the current extraordinary era of warfare, deprivation, turmoil, violence and suffering.

And so may it be!

Namasté!

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
“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


How can we find “freedom”?

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

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

Here we define “freedom” as 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 immanent 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.”


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 authoritarian 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 inner 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 psychologically 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 ultimate possibility of getting out of thoght-jail FREE is explained in the foregoing quotations and essay.  May they encourage our evolution to precious inner freedom, our divine birthright.

And so may it be!

2022 Post-Pandemic Epilogue

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter/Passover/Ramadan/ et al. post-pandemic holiday season!

Two years ago, we entered an extraordinarily unprecedented “new normal” period of fearful pandemic panic. Billions of people worldwide have fearfully kept socially distant from one-another, wearing government-prescribed masks, or have been locked-down and “sheltering” instead of living normally. Observant Christians and Jews were at times 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 an expert retired longtime social justice attorney, I’ve become extremely concerned about obviously unconstitutional authoritarian edicts, laws, regulations and prescriptions for harmful genetic experiments which have prevented billions of people (individually and societally) from democratically enjoying innate and personal, political, health and economic “freedoms”. Especially because such edicts threaten imminent tyrannical enslavement of humanity I urgently encourage worldwide revolutionary resistance and refusal to obey them.

Additionally, to address the psycho-spiritual origins of our worldly pandemic panic and fears, I’ve also edited and republished the foregoing posting about finding transcendental inner “freedom”.

Paradoxically, this is a time of both catastrophic threat to Earth-life as we’ve known it, and unprecedented opportunity for a wonderful new era of peace and prosperity. Because pervasive panic and fear precludes us from resolving current quandaries, it is crucial that we now deeply reconsider our life purposes and priorities as sentient Earth beings instinctively seeking political, social, health, and spiritual “freedoms”.

Invocation

May today’s writings (and embedded gospel music)
inspire and encourage our democratic worldly progress
toward liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for all,
and hasten our fearless inner spiritual evolution,
to a wonderful world where we are 

“Free at last, free at last.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

“Go Down Moses”

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