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Universal Awareness

What Is Life?
~ Quotations and Sutras

“Life is everything. Life is God.
Everything changes and moves,
and that movement is God. . .
To love life is to love God.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace






Introduction to “What Is Life?” ~ Quotations and Sutras

Dear Friends,

Throughout human history philosophers have wondered about perennially puzzling questions of life’s meaning or purpose, if any. For example, Aristotle declared that “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

Most SillySutras writings are offered to help us live happier lives; and some address questions about possible purpose or meaning of human existence. (E.g. see “Is Earth-life Purposeful?”)

For those who wonder why we’re here, this posting shares many noteworthy philosophical and mystical quotations about “Life”, plus a collection of Ron Rattner’s Sutra Sayings about “What Is Life?”.

Please consider and enjoy these quotations and sutras, not as spiritual truths but as philosophical speculations about human life on Earth. And don’t forget that with a completely silent mind there are no philosophical questions or answers – just choiceless Universal Awareness.

Ron Rattner

“What Is Life?” ~ Quotations

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
“The end of life is to be like unto God;
and the soul following God, will be like unto Him;
He being the beginning, middle, and end of all things.”
~ Socrates

“Life is a pilgrimage.
The wise man does not rest by the roadside inns.
He marches direct to the illimitable domain of eternal bliss,
his ultimate destination.”
~ Swami Sivananda

“One word
Frees us of all the weight and pain of life:
That word is love.”
~ Sophocles

“Life without love, is no life at all.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci

“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”
“Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving”
~ Khalil Gibran

“Life is not a problem to be solved,
but a reality to be experienced.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard

“What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
 It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
 It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

~ Crowfoot, 1890

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle

“Be happy for this moment.
This moment is your life.”
~ Omar Khayyam

“You are not ‘in the now;’ you are the now.
That is your essential identity-
the only thing that never changes.
Life is always now. Now is consciousness.
And consciousness is who you are.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.
~ Hans Christian Andersen

“Life is God’s novel. Let him write it.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer

Life is a process. We are a process.
The universe is [an evolutionary] process.
~ Anne Wilson Schaef (edited)

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.
Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry.
Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.
The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.”
~ Lao Tzu

“The history of our spiritual life is a continuing search
for the unity between ourselves and the world.
Religion, art, and science follow, one and all, this aim.”
~ Rudolf Steiner

“Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is a succession of lessons
which must be lived to be understood.
All is riddle, and the key to a riddle is another riddle.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Death is a stripping away of all that is not you.
The secret of life is to “die before you die” —
and find that there is no death.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“The two most important days in your life are
the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
~ Mark Twain

Life is a dream for the wise,
a game for the fool,
a comedy for the rich,
a tragedy for the poor.
~ Sholom Aleichem


What Is Life? ~ Sutra Sayings

What Is Life?
Life is a word – an idea –
with many meanings
which are mental,
not fundamental.
As beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
the meaning of “life” is what we think it to be.

But beyond our Earth-life “reality”
Life is not mental,
but Transcendental:
Life is Eternal Mystery.

What Is Life?
Life is awakened Awareness.

What Is Life?
Life is aliveness.

What Is Life?
Life is BEING, not doing.

Life is BEING, not becoming.

What Is Life?
Life is infinite experience
Of Infinite Potentiality
From infinite perspectives.

What Is Life?
What is death?
In duality ‘reality’
the meaning of life,

depends upon the meaning of death.

When we Know the meaning
of both life and death,

we shall Know no death
–
only awakened Awareness.

What Is Life?
Life is an “in a body” experience.

What Is Life?
Life is an ongoing identity crisis:
An endless opportunity to
transcend entity identity.

What Is Life?
Life is an idea game
in which we’re challenged
to make ideal
our ideas of what’s “real”.

What Is Life?
Life is endless exploration in time.
Until we discover that:
Life is NOW,
Ever NOW,
Never then!

What Is Life?
Life is an exploration-experience-experiment in space/time..

What Is Life?
Life is a semantic space/time sojourn.

What Is Life?
Life is a round trip metaphoric journey,
on which we are destined to return to point of origin.
On return, we learn – we never left.

What Is Life?
Life is a journey: an ego trip.
Life is a journey: a mind trip.

What Is Life?
Life is a workshop for ego addicts; an ego trip.

What Is Life?
Life is a healing/wholing gnosis process.

What Is Life?
Life is an evolutionary learning process.

Gleaning meaning in matter,

we learn all that matters —

we learn all that matters is

LOVE!

What Is Life?
Life is a mind field –
a field of dreams,
where all we ever see or seem
is but a dream within a dream.

What Is Life?
Life is a cosmic game of hide and seek.
Self hides in plain insight
and, knowingly or unknowingly,
we seek Self.
We seek and seek
until we find
beyond the mind,
that we are what we seek –
that what we seek is the seeker.

What Is Life?
Life is a learning laboratory
for discovering immortality –
experimentally and experientially.

What Is Life?
Life is suffering;
Life is mystery.
Life’s miseries are mental,
while it’s mystery is Transcendental.

What Is Life?
Life is a cosmic masquerade;
an endless comedy/tragedy/mystery drama.
The masquerade play continues with countless acts and scenes.
Each actor must participate in innumerable roles,
until each is ultimately unmasked,
with true identity revealed as
Common “I-ness”.

What Is Life?
Life is a mystery school
in which knowingly or unknowingly
we are all students –
each learning about,
and seeking to solve,
the same Mystery –
the mystery of Divinity.

Though we may never solve it,
we shall ever evolve it –
NOW!


Ron’s Comments about “What Is Life” ~ Quotations and Sutras

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations and whimsical sutra speculations about Earth-life may help point to ways for us to live happier lives.

Throughout human history philosophers have wondered – and keep wondering – about the purpose or significance of “life” on Earth.  

And for millennia rare avatars, saints, sages and other mystical inner explorers have reported discovering within an infinitely potential Universal Awareness – which is the sole Source of all we call “Life” in the “real world” – that can be experienced in deep meditation, but not described. Some of their quotations are shared above.

Though I’ve irreversibly accepted the existence of an indescribable Divine Life Source, I have nonetheless shared the foregoing quotations and sutras about “Life” – which are based on philosophical theories and mystical musings – as helpful hints for living happier Earth-lives.

Invocation

May the foregoing “What Is Life?” quotations and sutra sayings help all of us find increasing happiness and fulfillment of our deepest inner aspirations, as we live our lives from ever elevated perspectives.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Is Earth-life Purposeful?

“One great question underlies our experience,
whether we think about it or not:
what is the purpose of life?”
~ Dalai Lama
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle
“What are we here for?
We are here for freedom, for knowledge.
We want to know in order to make us free.
That is our life; one universal cry for freedom.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self.
Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self.
Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self.
The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it,
he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“Our purpose is process –
evolutionary process.

Gleaning meaning in matter,
we learn all that matters –

we learn all that matters is LOVE!”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. 

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

~ Richard Bach





Is Earth-life Purposeful?

Q. Is Earth-life purposeful?

A. Yes! We are here to learn and evolve.

Though some Eastern mystics may call this ever changing “reality” a dream, maya, samsara,or illusion, it is a marvelous and miraculous mental creation.

So how can anyone ever imagine Earth-life to be without purpose?

Our purpose is process – evolutionary process.

Like unique facets of an infinitely faceted jewel,
each Earth being has a unique perspective, but a common Source [*see Footnote] – which transcends this world, while everywhere immanent herein.

So, our purpose is harmoniously to realize and experience,
and to actualize from infinite perspectives,
our ONE transcendent Self identity.

As long as we believe ourselves to be seemingly circumscribed
and separated from each other the rest of our reality,

We incarnate to realize and to actualize
our common spiritual Self identity.

We learn until we leave.

But, we don’t leave until we learn –

LOVE!


Footnote.

*Innumerable names – God, Love, Nature, etc. – may be used to signify that Source or any of its infinite aspects. Or as in the Jewish tradition it may be acknowledged that no name can denominate “That” which is beyond conception or expression – since naming limits the illimitable and ineffable Infinite Reality.




Ron’s Comments on Life’s Purpose

Dear Friends,

Have you ever reflected on whether human life is purposeful – individually or collectively?

Or have you wondered:
“Why was I born? Why am I living?”
Or “What is the meaning of life?”

According to the Dalai Lama “What is the purpose of life?”  is the “one great question [which] underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not”.  And since my midlife change of life, I’ve found that reflecting about our life’s purpose, if any, has sparked a very helpful process of finding ever expanding happiness. 

So today I’m sharing the foregoing quotations and essay/poem to help us consider perennial  questions about ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’ of life.

Background  

Not until my midlife awakening did I ever wonder whether Earth-life is purposeful.  
But since then I’ve continued to reflect and write about it.

Tentatively, I’ve hypothesized that, as students matriculating on the ‘Earth branch of the great cosmic University’, we’re learning to let life live us as LOVE, until ultimately we realize that LOVE is our common Self-identity and Universal Reality; that beyond this conceptual space/time relative reality, there are no philosophical questions or concepts or purposes, just infinitely potential Cosmic Consciousness as a ‘maha-matrix’ Source of all samsaric illusory mirage-like ‘realities’.

While growing up in 20th century America – like millions of others – I greatly enjoyed popular New York musical theater songs.  Many of my favorite lyrics were composed by Master lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, mostly in collaboration with great musical talents like Richard Rodgers with whom he wrote Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music.   

Until midlife I understood Hammerstein’s lyrics to encompass only worldly subjects, like romantic love.  But, after spiritually awakening, I began to realize that Hammerstein’s lyrics often esoterically encompassed mystical perspectives. And I started referring to him as “Sri Oscar Hammerstein”.  

When I was born in 1932, one the “top ten” popular songs was “Why Was I Born”, for which Hammerstein (with composer Jerome Kern) had written lyrics in 1929, beginning with these perennial questions: “Why was I born? Why am I living?” “What do I get? What am I giving?” And Hammerstein’s lyrics concluded with this enduring answer: “Why I was born? To love you!”  

Fifty years after Hammerstein’s composition of the “Why Was I Born”  lyrics, I began to realize that as an ultimate goal of Human life Hammerstein’s lyrics esoterically could refer to Divine LOVE, beyond just romantic love – e.g. to the ecstatic devotional spiritual path exemplified by Sufi-Persian Mystic Masters Rumi and Hafiz.  

So with poetic license I pluralized Hammerstein’s lyric questions and edited his answer to suggest our true Earth-life purpose: 

Q.  Why were we born? Why are we living? 
What do we get? What are we giving?  

A.  Why were we born? To love THEE!  

Thus I’ve learned that reflecting on life’s purpose, can help us gradually realize that we are not who or what we were taught or ‘labeled’ to be by society, or by our mistaken mental reification of our projected-perceptions: 

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

Invocation

May we help transform and transcend this world of suffering,
by realizing and compassionately actualizing our common spiritual identity, as LOVE. 

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Discovering Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Non-dual Devotion
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“The end of all wisdom is love, love, love.”
“Love is verily the heart of all religions.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Investigation into the Self is nothing other than devotion.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi — Vivekachudamani, verse 32
“On scrutiny, supreme devotion and jnana are in nature one and the same. To say that one of these two is a means to the other is due to not knowing the nature of either of them. Know that the path of jnana and the path of devotion are interrelated. Follow these inseparable two paths without dividing one from the other.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Only if one knows the truth of Love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled [ego] knot of life be untied. Only if one attains the height of Love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only Love, which is seeing only Love, hearing only Love, feeling only Love, tasting only Love and smelling only Love, which is bliss.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Pure knowledge and pure love are one and the same thing.
Both lead the aspirants to the same goal. The path of love is much easier.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
“Love is seeing the unity under the imaginary diversity.
“Love says ‘I am everything’. Wisdom says ‘I am nothing’. Between the two, my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“He who loves me is made pure; his heart melts in joy.
He rises to transcendental consciousness by the rousing of his
higher emotional nature. Tears of joy flow from his eyes; his
hair stands on end; his heart melts in love. The bliss in that
state is so intense that forgetful of himself and his surroundings he sometimes weeps profusely, or laughs or sings, or dances; such a devotee is a purifying influence upon the whole universe.”
~Srimad Bhagavatam 11.8 – supreme devotion (para-bhakti) as described by Sri Krishna to His disciple Uddhave.
“[I]f you weep before the Lord, your tears wipe out the mind’s impurities of many births, and his grace immediately descends upon you. It is good to weep before the Lord.” … “Devotional practices are necessary only so long as tears of ecstasy do not flow at hearing the name of Hari. He needs no devotional practices whose heart is moved to tears at the mere mention of the name of Hari.”
~ Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa


Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following stories (about my memorable pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai, South India), illustrate fundamental spiritual Truths about every human being. They tell how I resolved (as illusory) a seeming paradoxical conflict between my deep devotional tendencies (as a “frequent crier”) to spontaneously cry and call out-loud to God, and my irreversible intellectual and intuitive acceptance of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s non-duality wisdom path of constant silent self-enquiry of “who am I?”.

These memorable pilgrimage stories recount how my mental dilemma was resolved, with realization of the following spiritual principles:

Just as every snowflake temporarily manifests a unique crystalline form but shares an enduring watery essence, so too every human (including Self-realized saints, sages, and seers) impermanently manifests a uniquely limited physical form and perspective in each mortal lifetime, but shares ONE immortal and infinitely potential, spiritual Source – non-dual Universal Awareness as LOVE.

The stories also reveal as ultimately illusory any apparent conflict between different spiritual paths, religious rituals, or behaviors – like Sri Ramana Maharshi’s wisdom path of silent self-enquiry and Ramakrishna Paramahansa’s devotional path of praying and crying to God, or between strict priestly conformance with religious rituals and their utter disregard by avadhutas; that all such apparent conflicts are transcended by LOVE; that even Sri Ramana Maharshi declared that “the end of all wisdom is love, love, love.”

Please read, reflect and enjoy these stories.

Ron Rattner

Discovering Non-dualism

During my early days as a “born-again Hindu”, I discovered wisdom teachings of legendary twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi about the Vedic path of Advaita, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy. Advaita means non-dualism and its teachings are aimed at experiencing non-dual Reality via relentless self-inquiry – incessantly asking “Who am I?”.

Intellectually I soon became convinced of the ultimate Truth of Sri Ramana’s non-dualistic teachings. Non-dualism even seemed quite consistent with my early Jewish acculturation with the fundamental prayer: “Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” ~ Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29

Yet, seemingly paradoxically, I displayed preponderantly devotional propensities of calling and crying to the Divine. And I identified with Shri Ramakrishna, as a bhakta – a devotional practitioner – more than with Sri Ramana Maharshi, who was an exemplar of the silent inner wisdom path – a jnani.

Until retirement, while maintaining my busy law practice I found only limited time to read and reflect on non-duality and other spiritual wisdom teachings, mostly on weekends. So I used to jokingly tell spiritual friends that I prayed and cried as a bhakta on weekdays but on weekends I became a “Seventh Day Advaitist”

On retirement from law practice in January 1992, I journeyed to India, intending to further explore the Advaita path of non-duality. After planned visits to see my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, in Ahmedabad and my daughter Jessica at Ammachi’s Kerala ashram, the India trip itinerary concluded with a spiritual sojourn in the Tamil Nadu town of Tiruvannamalai, near sacred Mount Arunachala, where Sri Ramana Maharshi had resided for most of his adult life. This would be an opportunity to me to become an every day – not just a seventh day – advaitist.

Pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai

So, in February 1992, together with my daughter Jessica I traveled by train from Ammachi’s ashram in sultry Kerala to the Ramana ashram at the much more arid Tamil Nadu town of Tiruvannamalai. While I stayed at Ammachi’s ashram, Jessica had been so busy doing her assigned daily tasks (seva) that we had very few opportunities to visit together alone. So, I was hoping to spend ‘quality time’ with her and to have her as my Tiruvannamalai guide, since she had previously visited the Ramana ashram. But that didn’t happen.

Nonetheless, I had a wonderful stay in Tiruvannamalai with memorable experiences on and near Mount Arunachala. And at the Ramana ashram I largely resolved my confusion about the imagined conflict between non-dualism and devotion. Here’s what happened:

Ramana ashram

On our arrival at the Ramana ashram Jessica and I were assigned a pleasant cottage room with private toilet which, though quite basic, was much more comfortable than my small noisy cell at Ammachi’s ashram. Moreover, I immediately had much more vitality at the Ramana ashram than at the Kerala ashram, where I had experienced diminished energy.

But to my surprise, Jessica informed me that instead of being my guide and companion she wished to dedicate her stay in Tiruvannamalai to solitary spiritual practices. She told me that as a spiritual austerity she had decided to daily circumambulate barefooted sacred Mount Arunachala and its adjoining holy sites – an ancient practice known as giri pradakshina encouraged by Sri Ramana Maharshi and practiced for centuries by him and many other saints and pilgrims.

Ambivalently, I was pleased that Jessica was prioritizing such spiritual practices, but disappointed at not having anticipated ‘quality time’ with her. So every morning well before sunrise, while I still slept, Jessica left our cottage and each day I was on my own, except in evenings before we retired in our shared cottage.

Virupaksha cave

Most days while Jessica was walking barefooted around Mount Arunachala I walked in sandals up the mountain – from the ashram to Virupaksha cave, a shrine place where Sri Ramana had lived for sixteen years. Though the cave was a public shrine, I was always there in solitude with no other visitors present. As I meditated there, I gratefully experienced and communed with Sri Ramana’s subtle peaceful presence.

One day I departed the cave in a dream-like ‘altered state of awareness’ and began slowly walking down the mountain with a stilled mind. Dressed in white I was so descending the narrow rocky path to the ashram, when – as if in a dream – I beheld coming up the path toward me three very elderly men, with long gray hair and long beards each wearing a white robe or dhoti. Each appeared as an archetypical ‘holy man’.

When we met on the mountain path, as if in a waking dream, each of the old men silently kneeled and kissed my sandaled feet. No word was uttered. After this silent ritual they continued walking up the Arunachala path and I continued descending to the ashram with a perfectly stilled mind.

Though that experience was unforgettable, I can’t specify its significance . However, I felt I had received inexpressible blessings from those holy men; that only in such a spiritually elevated environment could such a boon occur. But, presumably, from Sri Ramana’s non-dual perspective, attachment to any such outer illusionary experience impedes ultimate inner experience of Oneness with All.

Sri Ramana’s samadhi shrine

When not on Mount Arunachala, most of my time spent at the ashram was at the large samadhi shrine hall, where Sri Ramana is entombed. There I continued to often experience the subtle peaceful presence of Sri Ramana, though not as powerfully as at Virupaksha cave.

The samadhi shrine is a memorable place which, since Sri Ramana’s mahasamadhi in 1950, has continued to magnetically attract devotees from all over the world. Sometimes I meditated sitting there, sometimes I meditatively walked around the hall, and sometimes on the porch I read books about Sri Ramana which I obtained at the ashram office.

Reconciling Ron’s Devotion with Sri Ramana’s Non-duality

Another blessing of my stay at the Ramana ashram was that while there I largely resolved the seeming dichotomy between my deep devotional tendencies and non-dual self-identity. I learned that Ramana had taught that “supreme devotion and jnana are in nature one and the same”. And I realized that perception of paradox depends on an illusory ego-mind perspective; while from an elevated perspective ultimate devotion (Divine love, bhakti) and ultimate Self awareness (wisdom, jnana) are “one and the same” – like obverse sides of the same coin.

Though not permanently abiding in a state of elevated awareness, like Sri Ramana or Guruji, I had previously been blessed with unforgettable ‘peek’ experiences of Self-identification as pure Awareness and of seeing everyone and everything as Divine. And at the ashram I read a Sri Ramana biography that sparked the bhakti/jnana insight which helped me reconcile the seeming conflict between my distinct devotional tendencies and my irreversible acceptance of advaita non-duality philosophy.

As I read about Sri Ramana’s “enlightenment” experience I discovered that, contrary to popular belief, which usually associates Sri Ramana only with advaita wisdom, the great Sage also displayed and acknowledged the bhakti emotion of devotion.

At the time of his absorption in the Self, Sri Ramana was in his seventeenth year and living in the Indian city of Madurai. Thereafter he experienced dramatic daily life changes. With the emotion of devotion, Sri Ramana began to regularly visit the renowned Meenakshi temple in Madurai. As much later he recalled for his biographer:

“One of the new features related to the temple of
Meenakshi sundaresvrar. Formerly I would go there rarely with
friends, see the images, put on sacred ashes and sacred
vermillion on the forehead and return home without any
perceptible emotion. After the awakening into the new life, I
would go almost every evening to the temple. I would go alone and stand before Siva or Meenakshi or Nataraja or the sixty-three saints for long periods. I would feel waves of emotion
overcoming me. The former hold (Alambana) on my body had been given up by my spirit, since it ceased to cherish the idea I-am-the-body (Dehatma-buddhi). The spirit therefore longed to have a fresh hold and hence the frequent visits to the temple and the overflow of the soul in profuse tears. This was God’s (Isvara’s) play with the individual spirit. I would stand before Isvara, the Controller of the universe and the destinies of all, the omniscient and omnipresent, and occasionally pray for the descent of His grace upon me so that my devotion might increase and become perpetual like that of the sixty-three saints. Mostly I would not pray at all, but let, the deep within flow on and into the deep without. Tears would mark this overflow of the soul and not betoken any particular feeling of pleasure or pain.”
~ Self Realization, The Life and Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, by B.V. Narasimha Swami pp. 23-24.1

Thus, even after his Self Realization, Sri Ramana had prayed for devotion. And his prayers were often accompanied by, and answered with, copious tears. Sri Ramana’s experience shows that highest knowledge is the same as the highest devotion; that jnana and Para bhakti are the same.

On reading Sri Ramana’s dramatic experience I was reminded that devotional tears are the ‘language of the heart’; that tears can express our ineffable joy in ephemerally becoming one with THAT, while also they may betoken our ceaseless longing to be merged forever as THAT.

As Mother Meera has observed:

“Even avatars have to desire to be in God in every moment. 
And when avatars die, they desire with all their being to be united with God. …..Look at Ramakrishna. How much he wept and prayed for the Divine Mother.”

~ Mother Meera to Andrew Harvey, “Hidden Journey”, Page 236

Thus, intense feelings of the heart, which are otherwise inexpressible, are communicated by tears; and, as we soulfully pray to the Beloved with love and longing, our tears may say what words can not say; and our Heart of Hearts may answer us with tears more eloquent than any other language.


Yogi Ramsuratkumar

Yogi Ramsuratkumar


Yogi Ramsuratkumar

When I visited Tiruvannamalai I was already aware that – like each snowflake – every human is absolutely unique; that thus each supposedly Self-realized spiritual teacher, seer, saint, guru, yogi, or even avatar uniquely manifests and expresses different aspects of our infinitely potential common Cosmic consciousness. While in Tiruvannamalai I was unforgettably reminded of the uniqueness of each supposedly enlightened teacher on meeting a respected local living saint, Yogi Ramsuratkumar.

People at the Ramana ashram urged me to visit this Yogi, saying that he was was an avadhuta, a mystic living simply beyond worldly social standards. I was told that he was giving morning darshans at his small house near the great Annamalaiyar temple in the center of town.

So one morning, instead of communing with Sri Ramana, I walked into town, bought fruit to offer as prasad [a divine gift] to Ramsuratkumar, and came to his house where already standing outside there was a line of devotees awaiting admittance, each also holding food or flowers to offer him. Especially noteworthy was a richly attired middle aged Indian woman, who was holding a large round silver tray laden with an elaborate array of beautiful fruits and flowers.

I took my place at the end of the line and waited with curiosity in the hot sun. Ultimately, when there were about twenty or more people standing in line, the door opened and Yogi Ramsuratkumar appeared with an attendant to greet each devotee, one by one. With most people he exchanged a few words, accepted their offering and sent them on. Only occasionally did he invite a devotee to enter his house for darshan.

Amazingly, when the woman with the silver tray proffered her elaborate offering, he not only rejected it but seemed to sternly chastise her in Telegu and peremptorily sent her away. (Whereupon I surmised that Ramsuratkumar had determined from her subtle field that the woman was an unworthy aspirant with defiled motives.)

When I reached the head of the line, the Yogi kindly accepted my modest offering and invited me to enter his house parlor with only a few others – an Indian family of mother and father with two young children and a young western woman. Each of us was invited to sit in the parlor on a plain folding chair facing the swami who was standing in front of us.

To my surprise, the house appeared to be very dusty and dirty, and the Yogi looked as if he hadn’t bathed or washed his clothes for a while. Notwithstanding his unkempt appearance and environment my subtle ‘radar’ detected this yogi’s inner purity and I began softly weeping. Later, I concluded that while an attitude of “cleanliness is next to Godliness” might be appropriate for most people, Ramsuratkumar demonstrated that in spirituality it is inner purity rather than outer appearance that is crucial.

After we were seated in his parlor, and offered tea, the yogi enquired of each guest our origins and reasons for visiting him. Thus, he asked me in English from whence and why I had come to India. With tears still seeping I explained that I had come as a spiritual pilgrim to honor my beloved Guruji in Gujurat; and that I was in Tiruvannamalai to honor Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Thereupon, while standing before me the Yogi raised his right hand in blessing pose and in English he intermittently and repeatedly decared “my Father blesses you”. While so blessing me with his raised right hand, the yogi held between the fingers of his left hand and puffed alternately on three lighted bidis (Indian hand-rolled cigarettes, like those sold and smoked by Nisargadatta Maharaj).

Though it didn’t surprise me to see a smoking saint, never before had I imagined a holy man smoking three cigarettes concurrently. So it was apparent – as I had been informed – that Ramsuratkumar was an avadhuta, who lived simply and unconventionally without concern for social standards. In all events, I was and remain ever grateful for his blessings.

Conclusion

Since my 1992 pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai (and more than ever before as an octogenarian), I have remained unspeakably grateful for my continuing “gift of tears” as a supreme devotional blessing ultimately consistent with highest wisdom of non-duality Self-identity. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/crying-for-god-and-other-kundalini-kriyas-rons-memoirs/ ) And especially since darshan with Yogi Ramsuratkumar I have gratefully appreciated the infinite human manifestations of non-duality Reality as LOVE.


Hallucinations or Reincarnations?
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“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



chinese-girl

Hallucinations or Reincarnations?

Until my mid-life change of life, I identified solely with my physical body, its thoughts and its story and assumed that physical death ended our existence. Until then, stories of afterlife, reincarnation, ghosts or other disincarnate spirits were fanciful fiction for me.

But after my transformative mid-life spiritual awakening I became clairsentient and began having many extraordinary clairvoyant experiences, including seeing apparent apparitions and visions of what seemed ‘past lives’.

So with great curiosity I wondered about this new apparent ‘reality’ of ephemeral forms and phenomena which I’d begun to perceive. Even though I had realized that my ultimate identity is pure awareness – and not my physical body or its story, I wanted to understand the nature and meaning of our apparent individuality as energy entities in space/time reality.

Through synchronistic inner and outer experiences I was gradually given answers to my questions about phenomenal ‘reality’, and became convinced of the relative reality of reincarnation and afterlife, while still realizing that ultimately all such phenomena are mental projections of universal consciousness; that “birth and death are virtual, while Life is perpetual”.

Early experiences

Hereafter I’ll tell you about some of my earliest memorable experiences of apparent afterlife and reincarnation. [See also https://sillysutras.com/pilgrimage-to-assisi-communing-with-saint-francis-rons-memoirs/]

The first of these experiences happened when I was alone one weekend in an attic room of our family house, where I was living separately from my wife during the traumatic divorce period shortly before moving out. Never do I recall feeling more miserable and heartbroken.

Then while seated in an armchair and gazing out of the attic window, I felt a comforting presence seemingly embracing me from behind the chair. Momentarily I glanced behind me and perceived my deceased grandfather, Morris, who had died five years earlier in 1971. He had silently come to console me. I was quite sober then, and this experience seemed very ‘real’ – not an hallucination.

Months later, I again saw Grandpa Morris in inner – rather than outer – images while in meditative or ‘alpha’ states of consciousness, after attending a Silva Mind Control seminar. [See https://sillysutras.com/silva-mind-control-rons-memoirs/ ] During and after the Silva seminar Mahatma Gandhi had begun appearing within as my first inner spirit guide. But sometimes, instead of Gandhi, Grandpa Morris also came to guide me.

Other lifetimes

During the same period of inner and outer encounters with Grandpa and Gandhi, I began having dreams and visions of apparent other lifetimes. [See https://sillysutras.com/visions-of-past-and-future-rons-memoirs/]

These visions radically challenged my prior Newtonian paradigm of ‘reality’. But still I remained skeptical about their meaning. So the universe kept giving me synchronistic experiences which answered my questions and confirmed new ideas of reality.

The first of my memorable experiences which seemed to authenticate an apparent past life vision began during the period of my traumatic divorce, when a broken heart had opened my heart.

Here is what happened:

In the early 1970’s my wife and I were San Francisco neighbors of a prominent family living across the street. Both we and our neighbors had children the same age attending the same private schools. Our youngest children attended a pre-school kindergarten. The mothers, who were both professionally busy, agreed to carpool our children to school on alternate days. I assisted in carpooling, on days when my wife was teaching at City College.

Mysteriously, while driving our children to school I kept feeling an extraordinarily strong attraction or affinity to my neighbors’ darling little four or five year old daughter Tara as she sat in the back seat of my car, especially noting her beautiful dark eyes and charismatic energy.
*[See Footnote] 

During this period, I had begun having many extraordinary clairvoyant experiences, including precognition and seeing apparent ‘past lives’. While wondering about my mysterious attraction to Tara, I saw myself in a ‘past life’ vision as a pre-Christian era Chinese male farmer with several children, one of whom – a darling little girl – was ‘the apple of my eye’. It was Tara.

Shortly after having this past life vision, I synchronistically met Tara’s mother while attending a program at the Masonic Auditorium. Briefly I alluded to my inner experience and, at her request, afterwards I sent her a confirming note recounting the story.

Soon she sent me a reply note saying that Tara “has said several things to me that suggest she has access to information from other times” and she suggested I question Tara about my vision.

So thereafter, with her mother’s approval, I told Tara that I had a vision of her as my daughter in another lifetime in Asia. Tara’s spontaneous response, which I immediately noted, was “Yes, I know.”
There was no further discussion.

As a long-time lawyer, I immediately accepted Tara’s guileless statement as ‘corroborating evidence’ validating my past life vision of her.

Epilogue

Years later, I learned that there is considerable empirical evidence of very young children with memories of other lifetimes, beginning with ground breaking scientific studies by Dr. Ian Stevenson, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. For forty years Dr. Stevenson studied children world-wide who spontaneously remembered past lives, and objectively validated and documented about twelve hundred such cases.

I have elsewhere posted quotations, aphorisms, poetry and essays about afterlife and reincarnation, to help readers overcome fear of death and mitigate grief from loss of loved ones. I have learned from experience that as we lose our fear of leaving life we gain the art of living life – authentically and lovingly; that we lose fear of death as we self-identify with eternal spirit rather than our temporary space/time soul suits.

*Footnote

Tara’s actual name and some identifying details have been changed to protect her privacy. She is now internationally known for her artistry.


How Can We Become Immortal?

The dewdrop belongs to the sea.

Separated, it is vulnerable
to the sun and wind and other elements of nature;

but when the droplet returns its source,
it becomes magnified in oneness with the sea.

So it is with your life.  United to God you become immortal.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Eternal Life is gained
by utter abandonment of one’s own [ego] life.
When God appears to His ardent lover
the lover is absorbed in Him,
and not so much as a hair of the lover remains.
True lovers are as shadows,
and when the sun shines in glory
the shadows vanish away.
He is a true lover to God to whom God says,
“I am thine, and thou art mine! ”
~ Rumi
“The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”

“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.”

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2
What is birth? Is it of the “I-thought” or of the body?
Is “I” separate from the body or identical? How did this “I-thought” arise?
Is the “I-thought” your nature? Or is something else your nature?
The “I” of the wise man includes the body but he does not identify himself with the body. For there cannot be anything apart from “I” for him.
If the body falls, there is no loss for the “I”. “I” remains the same.
If the body feels dead, let it raise the question. Being inert, it cannot “I”.
“I” never dies and does not ask.
Who then dies? Who asks?
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi


Sri Ramana Maharshi

Introduction

Today’s Q and A essay, quotations, and comments about immortality are shared to help those who fear death avert and transcend inevitable suffering by remembering that we are not merely our mortal bodies and stories, but ONE immortal spirit experiencing fleeting lives from infinite perspectives in transitory earthly space/time vehicles, which are all the same ‘under the hood’!

Though based upon perennial wisdom, these writings are particularly important in current critical times, which insanely, unsustainably and catastrophically threaten all Earth Life as we’ve known it.

So it is especially appropriate for us to now deeply reflect upon these writings.

How Can We Become Immortal?

Q. How can we become immortal?

A. To become immortal,

BE more than a mortal.

Consider:

What lives? What dies?

What exists? What persists?

Observe:

That every thing and every phenomenon
that arises and appears on the screen of our consciousness

Is but a fleeting holographic mirage projected in space/time,
by and within the Infinite Light of Eternal Awareness;

That nothing is permanent in the ever changing universe,
where all that appears, disappears.

Be aware:

That only Eternal Awareness
exists and persists beyond time.

So, to be immortal,
just don’t be a mortal –

BE:

Eternal Awareness

NOW!



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “How Can We Become Immortal?”

Dear Friends,

To reveal important information yet unknown to those who fear death, today’s Q and A essay (with quotations) asks and answers a deliberately deceptive rhetorical question:
 
 
“How Can We Become Immortal?”  

In Truth we’re already immortal – we are ONE eternal spirit. But (except for rare Buddha-like beings), we’ve forgotten our immortality, and suffer societally from universally mistaken identity.

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

Sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us for millennia that we’re not what we were taught or think we are.  That our self-identification as merely mortal physical bodies, seemingly condemned to inevitable death in space/time, is an ego-mind illusion – like a mirage; that we suffer from perception-deception; and, that our True Self-identity and Reality is not what it impermanently appears to be.


“We are not merely mortal drops
in an ocean of ephemeral forms,
but the eternally Infinite Ocean of Universal Awareness,
appearing as drops!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


So today’s writings are dedicated to helping us remember that we are not merely our mortal bodies – their names, genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories – or the ‘voices in our heads’.  That we are ONE immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But that we’re all the same ‘under the hood’! And that we can transcend inevitable suffering of ordinary human existence through Self-realization of our universal spiritual essence.

Urgency

After insanely and unsustainably pillaging and plundering our precious planet, humans are now confronting possibly imminent end of earth life as we have known it. Such potentially omnicidal ecological catastrophe can be averted only from elevated human consciousness, beyond that which created this dire insanity. So today’s writings are especially important in these critically crazy times.

We must at long last awaken from our delusion of separateness and powerlessness, to transcend the ignorance of our immortality which has spawned these crises. And we must resist control by a few hierarchic psychopaths who promote fear to dominate and greedily exploit Humankind.

Dedication

Whatever our ethical, religious, or spiritual path, if any, let us together deeply reflect upon today’s quotes and verses about our true immortality.  May they spur our inevitable awakening as the “kingdom of heaven within” – as eternal LOVE.   

Thus Awakened, may we harmoniously, cooperatively and compassionately lovingly resolve our common crises for the common good.
 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner



Mute The Mind

“Yoga is the cessation of mind.”
~ Patanjali, Yoga Sutras
 “When the mind is completely empty –
only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” ……
“Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive,
not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still –
only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“I think with intuition.
The basis of true thinking is intuition.

Indeed, it is not intellect,
but intuition which advances humanity.
”

~ Albert Einstein
To think or not to think,
that is the question!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is not a problem to be solved,
but a reality to be experienced.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard




Introduction

The following sutra verses, with mp3 recitation, quotations and explanations, are about the importance of stilling the mind.

They are shared to encourage us to honor intuition over intellect, and to still our mind, so we can hear and follow our Heart.

Please consider and enjoy them!

Mute The Mind

Bliss abides when thought subsides.

When all thoughts cease, we are at peace.

Spirit speaks when mind is mute.

Mute your mind to hear your heart.

The power to think is a great gift;
but, the power to not think is a greater gift.

So, to think or not to think, that is the question.


Ron’s audio recitation of “Mute The Mind”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Mute The Mind”

Dear Friends,

When we hear the word “yoga”, what do we think of?
 
We probably think of a widely practiced art of physical postures and related practices (not necessarily associated with religion), for harmonizing body, mind and spirit.  But few think of mental stillness or mind control.

However, according to Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the most ancient and central Sanskrit yoga text, yoga is defined as “cessation of mind”, not merely as methods to achieve such a state of thoughtless awareness.  

The word “yoga” is rooted in an ancient Sanskrit term meaning to unite or integrate.  And for millennia Vedic seers called Yogis have followed various disciplines – such as wisdom enquiry, devotion, meditation, service, body postures, austerities and breathing techniques – attempting to merge their limited human consciousness with Universal Awareness or Brahman.
 
Until meeting my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, who was a great Yogi, I knew virtually nothing about yoga or yogic science. But inspired by his teachings and example I gradually have experienced countless blessings from an often silent mind.
   
Before meeting Guruji I was philosophically mostly influenced by the world’s ‘great thinkers’.  But now I’m mostly inspired by the world’s greatest non-thinkers — mystics, intuitives and shamans (from various traditions), and others who have lovingly, authentically and instinctively lived a secular life, like Albert Einstein.

From his life experience, Einstein taught that we can best solve human problems by emphasizing intuition over intellect, thereby raising our level of consciousness beyond that which created our problems. Thus he observed that:  

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant
and has forgotten the gift.”
~ Albert Einstein


Dedication

Today’s writings are dedicated to helping us still our mind, so we can hear and follow our Heart, until we achieve “enlightened” states of awareness.

May we thereby enjoy lives of ever increasing fulfillment and happiness.  
 
And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Belief or Faith?

“We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.”
~ Blaise Pascal
“Faith is a knowledge within the heart,
beyond the reach of proof.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”
~ William Shakespeare
“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
~ Mark Twain
“Faith is much better than belief.
Belief is when someone else does the thinking.”
~ Buckminster Fuller
“On a long journey of human life,
faith is the best of companions;
it is the best refreshment on the journey;
and it is the greatest property.”
~ Buddha


Belief or Faith?

Q. What is “belief” and what is “faith”; and, how are they synonymous or different?

A. “Belief” and “faith” are words used by different people to communicate different ideas about trust or confidence in Divinity or Nature. In each instance their meaning depends on the intention of the person using each word, and the context of such use.

Sometimes the words are used synonymously. For example, English language bible translations (from original Aramaic} sometimes equate belief in Divinity with faith.

Thus in Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,
you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move.”


While in Mark 9:23 alluding to faith in Divinity he says:

“All things are possible for him that believes.”


But because there can be a significant difference between experiential intuitive trust in Nature or Divinity and ideological trust in religious dogma or secular ideas, for clarity in addressing these questions we here distinguish between “belief” and “faith” and do not use them synonymously.

Both belief and faith may be founded on discrimination or rationality.
But, though faith may be balanced with reason, faith transcends reason. Belief follows ideas from the past which may or may not support faith – but can never negate it, for faith is beyond belief. So,


“Faith is transcendental,
while belief mental.
Faith is NOW;
belief is then.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


“Faith” means intuitive trust or confidence in Life, especially in the miraculous unknown,
whereas “belief” means adopting or accepting ideas of others that something or someone is true or exists.

Faith arises from experience, discrimination and intuition and promotes our life journey, while blind belief deters it.

“On life’s journey faith is nourishment,
virtuous deeds are a shelter,
wisdom is the light by day and
right mindfulness is the protection by night.
If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.”
~ Buddha


Dogmatic religious or other beliefs limit or preclude openness, spontaneity and authenticity;
and, they often follow and mask doubt and uncertainty.

“Irrevocable commitment to any one religion is not only intellectual suicide;
it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world.
Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.”
~ Alan Watts

“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Doubt and fearfulness preclude openness, spontaneity and authenticity.
Fearlessness is openness. Fearfulness is closeness.

“Faith—in life, in other people, and in oneself—is the attitude of
allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time.”
~ Alan Watts


Faith in transcendental Power or Divinity, named or unnamed, follows the Heart,
while belief follows fear of the unknown. Fear and Faith cannot co-exist.

Faith follows That which benefits everyone and everything, but belief may be inconsistent with universal good.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all,
then accept it and live up to it.
~ Buddha

Faith follows intuition;
Faith follows the Way;
Faith follows the Self;
Faith follows the Heart.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Dedication

This essay is deeply dedicated to inspiring us to find ever growing happiness, as we

Follow our Heart, and
Follow our Faith –

As LOVE!


And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner


Seek Relief From Belief!

Q.  “Is belief in God necessary or helpful?”  
A.  “Belief in any form is a hindrance.
A man who believes in God can never find God.
If you are open to reality, there can be no belief in reality.
If you are open to the unknown, there can be no belief in it.
… belief is a form of self-protection…”
“When the mind is completely empty –
only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.”
~  J. Krishnamurti
“In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.

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

~ Lao Tzu
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
~ Buddha




Introduction to “Seek Relief From Belief!”

Dear Friends,

Today’s “Seek Relief From Belief!” posting epigrammatically encapsulates many crucial wisdom concepts with key quotations, comments, and sutra verses (with mp3 recitation) which can help us find ever expanding happiness.

Please consider and enjoy these writings.

Ron Rattner

Seek Relief From Belief!

As conception is body/mind’s inception,
Its imprisonment begins with conviction.

We are shackled
by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.

So, seek relief
from belief;
and  get out of jail —
FREE.

Let us end our universal malaise –
our chronic belief syndrome.

Believing is deceiving.

To know what’s so,
Question credo.

Follow your faith,
But “dis” your belief,
Lose your illusions, and
Drop your dogmas.

Follow dharma, not dogma.

Seek relief from belief,
And find clarity
beyond doctrinairity.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Seek Relief From Belief!”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Seek Relief From Belief!”

My midlife awakening started a spiritual metamorphosis process from “Secular Hebrew”, to “Born-again Hindu”, to “Uncertain Undo”. Gradually I began letting go of previously accepted beliefs and concepts about Self-identity and Reality.  Since it began over forty years ago, that process continues. And I’m still learning as an “Uncertain Undo”. In this posting I’m sharing some of my most important discoveries, so far.

Whimsically I’ve often proclaimed that I’m yet an ‘uncertain undo’ because

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


And as key motivational reminders my mottos became:

“Seek relief from belief”; and
“Undo Ego!”


So far I’ve discovered that “ego” is the greatest impediment to Self realization. Thus overcoming ego’s illusory self-identification as a supposedly separate entity is essential for realization of Absolute Reality.

Egoic misidentification can’t exist and persist without illusory beliefs about separate self-identity and perceived “reality”. And transcendance of ego requires learning truth from life experience.  As Einstein asserted: 

“The only source of knowledge is experience; … learning is experience, everything else .. just information.”  


Thus Gautama Buddha taught that to Know Truth, we must each observe and investigate; that true wisdom can’t come from unquestioningly accepting and believing information from others: 

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.

Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.

Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.

Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all,
 then accept it and live up to it.

~ Buddha


So today’s “Seek Relief From Belief!” posting includes important wisdom writings about experientially overcoming “belief” and resulting “ego”.  For example, when twentieth century Indian sage, J. Krishnamurti, was asked “Is belief in God necessary or helpful?” ,  he responded:

“Belief in any form is a hindrance.
A man who believes in God can never find God.”


And Taoist master Lao Tzu epigrammatically revealed that we evolve toward attaining timeless states of being – sometimes called Tao or Zen – when gradually we give up our mistaken beliefs, saying

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

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

~ Lao Tzu


Although often the words “belief” and “faith” are used synonymously, they are not so equated on SillySutras. In these writings, “belief” means adopting or accepting ideas of others that something or someone is true or exists, whereas “faith” means intuitive trust or confidence in Life, especially in the miraculous and mysterious Unknown. (See  Belief or Faith?)

Thus, my memoirs explain that while ‘seeking relief from belief’  I’ve found a faith-based life, with ever growing gratitude and reverence for this precious life on our beautiful planet.  

Dedication

May today’s “Seek Relief From Belief!” writings (and mp3 recitation) encourage and inspire our deep reflections upon mistaken beliefs about our perceived earthly Reality, and illusory separate Self identities, and thereby hasten our experiential realization of eternally timeless states of being, beyond this ever impermanent world of time and space. 
 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

States of Consciousness?

“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.

If you are conscious of anything,
you are 
essentially conscious of yourself.”

~ Ramana Maharshi
“Consciousness is the basis of all life
 and the field of all possibilities.

Its nature is to expand and unfold its full potential.
The impulse to evolve is thus inherent in the very nature of life.”

~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts
in Eternal awareness or
Pure consciousness without objectification,
knowing without thinking,
merging finitude in infinity.
~ Voltaire
“Yoga is the cessation of mind.”
~ Patanjali, Yoga Sutras
Thought divides Awareness as a prism divides light.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Human consciousness is conditioned consciousness;
it is pure Awareness conditioned by conceptions.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, 
a part limited in time and space. 
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings 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. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”

~ Albert Einstein ( N. Y. Times , March 29, 1972)
/h5>

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
~ Albert Einstein





States of Consciousness?

Q. How can we enter higher states of consciousness?

A. All states of consciousness arise and subside in Infinite Awareness. We are never in states of consciousness; they are in us.

We increasingly experience elevated consciousness of Infinite Awareness, and gradually free ourselves from the optical illusion of separation from Nature and other life-forms, as we open our hearts, still our minds, and “widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty”.

What’s really “Real”?

“Reality is merely an illusion,
albeit a very persistent one.”;
“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think”.
~ Albert Einstein
“I regard consciousness as fundamental.
I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.
We cannot get behind consciousness.
Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
~ Max Planck, Nobel laureate physicist
“The very study of the physical world leads to the conclusion that consciousness is an ultimate reality and, all the possible knowledge, concerning objects can be given as its wave function”
~ Eugene Wigner, Nobel laureate physicist and co-founder of quantum mechanics

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness”; “reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”; “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”.

“That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.” ….“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe.”
~ Albert Einstein

What appears to be a stable, tangible, visible, audible world, is an illusion. It is dynamic and kaleidoscopic — not really “there”. What we normally see is the explicit, or unfolded, order of things, rather like watching a movie. But there is an underlying order that is mother and father to this second-generation reality.
~ David Bohm, Physicist and Einstein protegé
Theory of Everything:

E = mc2 = Consciousness = Self.
 ~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Introduction to What’s really “Real”?

Dear Friends,



Have you ever wondered what’s really “Real”? Or what isn’t “Real”?   
Do you see “reality” as only physical, measurable, perceptible, or comprehensible? Where for you does earthly “reality” end, and ‘unreality’ or illusion begin – if anywhere?

Mystics say that we’re experiencing life on Earth to learn what’s really Real; that experientially we discover that in this always changing three dimensional world only unchanging consciousness persists; that our inner I AM observer is Absolute Reality and Source of all our thoughts, experiences and perceived forms and phenomena.

Thus the nature of “reality” is a spiritually crucial question, addressed for us herein, with numerous quotations and detailed explanatory discussion.



May these writings and reflections help inspire our ever increasing happiness, as we lovingly and harmoniously ascend spiritually toward THAT which is really “Real”.


And so may it be!



Ron Rattner

Explanation of What’s really “Real”?

Our ideas of reality are spiritually crucial. Knowingly or unknowingly they deeply affect our beliefs about who and what we are; and, our beliefs about who and what we are determine our thoughts, behaviors, experiences and philosophies of life, both individually and societally.

Thus, human reality paradigms which do not recognize our essential Unity with Nature and all its life-forms have proved environmentally, economically, internationally and inter-personally disastrous.

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


How different would be our behaviors if we truly realized and always remembered that we are part of Nature, deeply connected and unified with all life-forms; that our apparent separation from each other and Nature is a perceptual illusion!

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


Jesus legendarily told us that with faith human potentialities are unlimited:

“All things are possible for one who believes.”
~ Mark 9:23

“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
~ Matthew:17-20


But limited beliefs about “reality” are conceptual cages confining us in a kind of psychological prison, restricting realization of our unlimited potentialities.

“The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveals itself in nature. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole.”
~ Albert Einstein


Culturally, our concepts of “reality” are an unspoken consensus abstraction dependent upon predominantly shared beliefs about what is “real”.

“Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.”
~ Alan Watts

“Reality is nothing but a collective hunch.”
~ Lily Tomlin


Until now, most of us have been unconsciously acculturated and indoctrinated with restrictive ideas of self-identity and “reality”, without ever reflecting upon or intuiting who or what we really are and what’s really Real.

Our ideas about “reality” – both individually and societally – differ with different people at different times and different places.

But beyond our ever changing ideas of relative “reality”, isn’t there an ultimate transcendent Reality – which is the eternal Source of all relative realities?   Beyond thought can we experience such ultimate Reality?

In universally seeking happiness, doesn’t everyone knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously, remember and intuitively long for the experience of Divine Oneness?

Mystical  “inner explorers” have answered all of the foregoing questions affirmatively. Shamans and Mystics – from both East and West – have for millennia reported their discovery of ONE ultimate, unchanging non-duality Reality; THAT which is beyond definition, comprehension or imagination – yet, everywhere invisibly immanent in and Source of our space/time polarity/causality relative reality.


“Though One, Brahman is the cause of the many…
The One manifests as the many,
the formless putting on forms.”
~ Rig Veda, 1500–1200 BCE

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

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

“We are a part of Nature as a whole whose order we follow.”
~ Spinoza, Ethics, 1673

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

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

“Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen…
In the Absolute there is neither time, space, nor causation.”
~ Swami Vivekananda


And now more and more scientists are agreeing with the mystics.  Matter has melted into Mystery. Physics and metaphysics are merging.
Both science and spirituality agree that Reality is undivided Wholeness.

And for some Quantum physicists – like Nobel laureate Max Planck – beyond “uncertainty” about reality of “matter” there is only consciousness and Divinity.

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
~ Max Planck, as quoted in The Observer (25 January 1931)

“There is no matter as such.  All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter. ”
~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist

“Both Religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.”
~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist – Religion and Natural Science (Lecture Given 1937) Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, trans. F. Gaynor (New York, 1949)


Thousands of years ago, Eastern seers called this permanently impermanent and ever changing world of countless forms and phenomena a dreamlike illusion, maya or samsara; a mere projection of the One Reality – of Infinite and Eternal Existence.

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


Einstein intuited that:


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


Now many other scientists are agreeing with mystics and affirming Einstein’s observation about the illusion of physical “reality”.

For example, Einstein protege and distinguished physicist David Bohm has questioned any objective tangible reality. Bohm theorized that the universe is fundamentally like a gigantic hologram; that underlying apparent reality is a deeper order of existence, from which all the objects and appearances of our physical world arise and appear in much the same way that a two dimensional holographic film gives birth to a three dimensional hologram in space.

What appears to be a stable, tangible, visible, audible world, is an illusion. It is dynamic and kaleidoscopic — not really “there”. What we normally see is the explicit, or unfolded, order of things, rather like watching a movie. But there is an underlying order that is mother and father to this second-generation reality.
~ David Bohm


Until his death in 1955, Einstein maintained his intuitive view, consistent with ancient mystical insights but challenged by some quantum physicists, that “God does not play dice with the universe”; that the principle of cause and effect (or karma) pervades the phenomenal Universe without exception; that the ideas of chance or “uncertainty” arise from causes not yet recognized or perceived.

Since Einstein’s death, some physicists like his protege David Bohm have advanced theories which reconcile apparent contradictions between universal “causality” and quantum “uncertainty” and “non-locality” and they are thereby ever narrowing remaining apparent disparity between scientific and mystical views of “Reality”.

“Science and religion will meet and shake hands…When the scientific teacher asserts that all things are the manifestation of one force, does it not remind you of the God of whom you hear in the Upanishads? Do you not see whither science is tending?”
~ Swami Vivekananda, London talk, 1896


As presciently envisioned by Swami Vivekananda, science and religion will ultimately agree on the ONENESS of phenomenal “reality”. And realizing such ONENESS, Humanity will at long last – as it must – discard destructive illusionary beliefs and behaviors which have brought it to the brink of ecologic, economic, inter-personal and international disaster.

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

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena,
it will make more progress in one decade
than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
~ Nikola Tesla


Thereupon, Humankind and all other life-forms on our precious planet, will harmoniously and peacefully flourish and evolve with Nature with ever increasing happiness, until we spiritually ascend to transcend this wonderful world, as Universal LOVE.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner