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Whimsy

Who am ‘I’, and What is What?
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to ‘who am I?’

and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”

~ Rumi
“Give up all questions except one: “Who am I?”
After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are.
The “I am” is certain. The “I am this” is not.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’, the thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Ramana Maharshi



Introduction to “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

Dear Friends,

Twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi (pictured above) was renowned for his teachings of constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization. The following “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” sutra verses were inspired by those “Who am I?” teachings.

But I instinctively began asking “Who am I?”, when I was ignorant of ancient Eastern spiritual philosophy and identified only with my mortal physical body and its story. It happened after an unforgettably realistic out of body (OOB) experience during a 1974-5 “pot luck” New Year’s Eve party, where I unknowingly ingested marihuana.

Such “Who am I?” questioning resulted in a life changing spiritual awakening and rebirth, which eventually led to my discovery and acceptance of the non-dualism wisdom teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Over forty five years since that previously unimagined midlife awakening, I continue to irreversibly accept non-dualism teachings as pointing to ultimate Truth beyond ego-mind illusion. So I’m gratefully sharing this posting so that it may help others (as it helped me) find ever greater happiness in life.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


“Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

WHO AM ‘I’ and WHAT IS WHAT?

What lives?   What dies?

What laughs?  What cries?

What sleeps?  What wakes?

What gives?  What takes?

What thinks?  What knows?

What comes?  What goes?

What’s grief?  What’s bliss?

What’s that?!  What’s this?!

The quest is in the question; and

THE QUESTION IS THE ANSWER!

The question is the answer?



Ron’s audio recitation of “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

Dear Friends,

As stated in the introduction, “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” was first inspired by ancient nondualism wisdom teachings of twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization. However, I instinctively began asking “Who am I?”, at a time when I was ignorant of ancient Eastern spiritual philosophy and identified only with my mortal physical body and its story.

After repeatedly asking “Who am I?” I experienced a previously unimagined life changing spiritual awakening and rebirth, which eventually led to my later discovery and acceptance of the non-dualism wisdom teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Here is the memoir story about how my life was blessed and transformed by instinctively and irresistibly asking “Who am I?”.

Over forty five years ago, after unwittingly ingesting a marihuana-laced cake at at ‘pot-luck’ New Year’s party, I had an unforgettable out of body experience (OOB) in which from a bedroom ceiling I perceived my body and thoughts as detached below me. Thereupon, I constantly and irresistibly started wondering, if I’m not my body and thoughts, “Who am I?”. 

Fifteen months later, my “Who am I?” question was amazingly answered, when I suddenly realized my true Self-identity as pure awareness, rather than as my body/mind and its story, as previously believed. 

Whereupon, I experienced an unforgettable mid-life spiritual awakening and rebirth, which completely and irreversibly changed my prior ideas of Self-identity and Reality, and began a previously unimagined and continuing new life phase of ever increasing happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude, with faith in the mystery of Divinity: a continuing process of increasingly incorporating into my daily life the realization of Self-identity as eternal universal awareness, rather than as a merely mortal body/mind and its thoughts.

As a secular Jewish lawyer, I had been ignorant of any spiritual or esoteric teachings which might explain my extraordinary awakening experience. But afterwards I was soon synchronistically led to profound non-dualism teachings of twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization.

At the time of my awakening I hadn’t yet learned about synchronicity. But retrospectively I’ve realized that my asking “Who am I?” was a wonderful synchronicity.  And that synchronicities are constantly present as important blessings in our lives.  So  that

“Life will give [us] whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of our consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle



Identifying “Ego”as Source of all Unhappiness and Suffering

In explaining the self-inquiry (vichara) process Sri Ramana identified “ego” as the source of all human unhappiness, and taught that by transcending “ego” we are freed from all unhappiness and suffering.

He defined ego as mistaken self-identification with thought, and equated it with mind and memory. And he identified the ‘I’ thought as root of the ego-mind and, hence, source of all suffering.

For example, he said:

“All bad qualities centre round the ego. .. There are neither good nor bad qualities in the Self. The Self is free from all qualities. Qualities pertain to the mind only.”

“The mind is only a bundle of thoughts [with] their root in the I-thought. Whoever investigates the True “I” enjoys the stillness of bliss.”

“All unhappiness is due to the ego. With it comes all your trouble. If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it you would be free.”



And he taught that

“By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’, the thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.”



Sri Ramana recognized that the “Who am I?” question could never be answered rationally, but only through the inconceivable and ineffable experience of Self-realization. He explained that:

“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer; the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”



Ultimately, I realized the supreme wisdom of Sri Ramana’s ancient non-dualistic method for efficiently dissolving ego, while I’ve remained mostly engrossed in the emotion of devotion. Thus as a frequent crier for God, while ever mindful that I’m only calling and crying to universal Self; that

“[Our] own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”

~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga


Moreover, I’ve also realized that since “ego” is the apparent sole source of all human suffering, all enduring spiritual paths, scriptures and teachings are aimed at ending ego; that for millennia spiritual teachings have identified “ego” as the fundamental impediment to spiritual evolution and realization; as “the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ); and the “number-one enemy of compassion.” (Dalai Lama). The Dalai Lama has said that all Buddhist teachings aim “to wipe out the persistence of ego.” And Eckhart Tolle believes that transcending ego is the only spiritual teaching.

And after decades of observation and experience, I still see “Who Am I?” as a key path to be considered by those with spiritual aspirations;  that persistently asking “who am I”, with constant curiosity, patience and acceptance of inevitable uncertainty can significantly enhance and advance spiritual evolution.

Accordingly, many SillySutras quotations, essays and poems are dedicated to furthering our happiness by recognizing and transcending “ego” through various disciplines, including the nondualism path of self-inquiry, addressed in today’s “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” sutra-verses.

Invocation

May today’s Who am ‘I’ and What is What? posting,
help us live ever happier lives,
and advance our spiritual evolution
until we realize that

“The end of all wisdom is love, love, love.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner.

Egocide

“The mind is a bundle of thoughts.
The thoughts arise because there is the thinker.
The thinker is the ego.
The ego, if sought, will automatically vanish.
The ego and the mind are the same.
The ego is the root-thought from which all other thoughts arise.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda
“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth.”
~ Lao Tzu
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,
and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
“The entire Buddhist path is based on the discovery of egolessness and the maturing of insight or knowledge that comes from egolessness.”
~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
“In essence there is and always has been
only one spiritual teaching,
although it comes in many forms.”

~ Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now
“As ego goes,
consciousness grows,
until it Knows
– Its-SELF.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Beyond Ego


Introduction

Dear Friends,

We are now experiencing exceptionally advantageous Aquarian age cosmic energies, and auspicious astrological planetary alignments, favorable to spiritual evolution. I optimistically intuit that these unprecedented energies and rare alignments are elevating a ‘critical mass’ of humankind to ascend from illusory 3D body/mind or brain/mind consciousness to previously unimagined 5D heart/mind telepathic awareness.

Therefore I am updating and republishing postings which can most help us benefit from these unprecedented evolutionary energies. And because ego is the greatest obstacle to human spiritual evolution, I’m particularly updating and republishing important postings about ego.

According to Sri Ramana Maharshi “The ego is the root-thought from which all other thoughts arise.” So “the ego and the mind are the same” and if recognized, the ego “will automatically vanish”. Thus, it is of critical importance for our spiritual evolution to identify and transcend ego-mind, and (as explained below) ending ego is the fundamental message of all spiritual teachings.

Thus today’s “Egocide” posting is the following sutra-poem (with mp3 recitation), which was composed after I’d realized the crucial importance of undoing ego to transcend inevitable karmic suffering in this illusory 3D space/time causality ‘reality’. It is preceded by above key quotations, and followed by my explanations about ending ego.

Please carefully consider these writings. They are founded on the fact that almost every Human (except for rare Buddha-like beings) knowingly or unknowingly is in some stage of a fated evolutionary process of undoing mistaken ego identity – a process indispensable to inevitable evolution.

Thus these writings and quotations are dedicated to reminding us of our critical need to let go of who or what we think we are, so we can realize and BE what we truly are – immortally ONE with Divine SELF as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Egocide

Ego’s attrition
is our mission;

Egocide’s our goal.

When ego’s dead
we’ll lose all dread,

Knowing we are Soul.

Then we’ll say
that life’s a play,

Each body/mind a role;

That we’re the Glory
and not the story,

Not just parts –
but WHOLE.


Ron’s recitation of “Egocide”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Egocide”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing whimsical “Egocide” poem was composed after I had realized the crucial importance of undoing ego to transcend inevitable karmic suffering in this space/time causality ‘reality’.

As explained in other recent SillySutras postings, “ego” is our thought-created mistaken separate self-identity, rooted in the ‘I’ thought, which as memory originates the ‘bundle of thoughts’ we call “mind”.

For millennia spiritual teachings have identified “ego” as the fundamental impediment to spiritual evolution and realization; as “the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ); and the “number-one enemy of compassion.” (Dalai Lama). The Dalai Lama has said that all Buddhist teachings aim “to wipe out the persistence of ego.” And Eckhart Tolle believes that transcending ego “is and always has been [the] only one spiritual teaching.”

The Egocide sutra-verses are founded on the fact that every Human (except for rare Buddha-like beings) knowingly or unknowingly is in some stage of an evolutionary process of undoing mistaken ego identity – a process indispensable to our inevitable evolution.

From childhood we are culturally inculcated to self-identify only with a restricted and disempowering mental self-image; as merely a separate name, gender, and story about who and what we are, based on our limited projected perceptions of “reality”. We are taught that we are each born into Nature as separate mortal beings; but, not that Nature is our nature, or that beyond any mistakenly inculcated misidentity we are immortal and eternal Universal Awareness, sharing common Self consciousness with all perceived life-forms.

Accordingly, the foregoing “Egocide” sutra-verses and quotations are dedicated to reminding all of us of our critical need to let go of who or what we think we are, so we can realize and BE what we truly are – immortally ONE with Divine SELF as LOVE..

May they so encourage, and quicken our discovery and undoing of “ego” as an illusory prison of the mind, until we’re all out of ‘prison’ –
“Free at last, free at last”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner




Surrender and Let Go of Ego
~ Quotations and Sutra Sayings

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”
~ Rig Veda
“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously,
you become filled with inexhaustible vitality 
and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth.”
~ Lao Tzu
“In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?”
~ The Buddha
By letting it go it all gets done.

The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try,
the world is beyond the winning.

~ Lao Tzu
“They are the chosen ones who have surrendered.”
~ Rumi
“Surrender is faith
that the power of Love can accomplish anything,
even when you cannot foresee the outcome.”
~ Deepak Chopra
Love is the sacrifice of will.
If you cannot leave will behind
You have no will at all.
~ Rumi
Q. How much “ego” do you need?
A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
We have nothing to surrender
But the idea
That we’re someone,
With something
To surrender.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction

Dear Friends,

In many prior postings I’ve explained that the greatest obstacle to our spiritual evolution is ego-mind, our “phantom self” misidentification with thoughts and labels, rather than with infinite Cosmic consciousness, our true immortal SELF. Ancient Rig Veda scripture says that “Ego is the biggest enemy of humans”. And (as suggested by Eckhart Tolle) I believe that transcending ego is the fundamental message of all spiritual teachings.

Therefore, as we are now experiencing exceptionally advantageous Aquarian age cosmic energies and auspicious astrological planetary alignments favorable to spiritual evolution, I am updating and republishing postings which can most help us benefit from that evolutionary energy.

Recently in “Words About Wishes” I’ve explained ego-mind’s futile pursuit of illusory and impermanent external pleasures and desires that can never give lasting happiness. So this posting discusses the most effective ‘antidotes’ to such futile pursuit of external pleasures and desires – viz. the letting go, surrender and thought-free acceptance of those egoic desires.

Surrender and Let Go of Ego writings include the above key quotations and the following large collection of recited sutra sayings, and my explanations about the critical importance of surrendering transcending ego.

May these writings help us, individually and as a global family, let go of ego to reveal and heal all sufferings from unfulfilled and futile ego-mind ideas and desires.

And so may it be!



Ron Rattner


Ron’s Sutra Sayings on Surrendering Ego.

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

Let’s let go
and
let life live us,
as Love.

Let’s leave it to the
Lone Arranger.

Let’s let go, and “go with the flow”.*

*Being “in the flow” is thought-free, effortless, and focused
merging of intention, action, and awareness
as consciousness – consciously letting Life happen through you.

Tao is Now,
Tao is One,
Tao is Doer,
Tao will be done.

Tao will be done.
So let Tao do it.

Give your spiritual
‘power of attorney’
to God.

“Let go, and let God.”*

*Unity Church maxim

Leave it to the Lone Arranger.

Ego Antidote:
The root of all problems is
I/me/mine.
End it with antidote,
Thy/Thee/Thine.

Ego: Use it to lose it!

Immolate ego
in the fire of faith.

As ego goes
consciousness grows
until it Knows –
Itself.

Ego is free to choose,
but is never free.
Self does not choose,
but is ever free.

Our only choice
is to accept
or reject
“what is”.

Acceptance is pleasure;
rejection is suffering.
Acceptance is freedom;
rejection is bondage.
Acceptance is NOW;
rejection is then.

So, if choose you must,
then with faith and trust,
say “yes” to Life.

With radical trust
we do as we must.

The more we trust
the less we try.

Enter a state of enlightened amnesia:

Be now;
forget then.

Remember God;
forget the rest.

Forget who you think you are,
to remember what you really are.



Ron’s audio recitation of Sutra Sayings- Surrender and Let Go of Ego

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of sutra sayings about Surrender and Let Go of Ego

Dear Friends,

I consider of critical importance to our spiritual evolution the surrendering and transcending of our false separate self/identity with our thoughts – our ego.
 
In “The Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle explains and defines “ego” as a “phantom self” and teaches that transcending ego is of universally pre-eminent importance, because as long as we are identified with our mind the ego runs our life.  Therefore  he suggests that transcending ego is the fundamental message of all spiritual teachings. He says that:

“In essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms. . . .
~ Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now


I agree with Tolle and have composed many silly sutras about surrendering ego, including those published above. They are respectfully offered to remind us to follow our eternal inner guidance and always “go with the flow” for the benefit of others. 

This message is particularly important in these extraordinarily turbulent times, which have disrupted and jeopardized earth-life as we’ve known it for billions of people worldwide. As many people are feeling inundated with threatening tidal waves in an endless ocean of samsara, it’s especially crucial for all of us to ‘surf’ those waves by ‘going with the flow’ rather than futilely emanating and emotionally ‘drowning’ with anger, anxiety, or fear.

By so letting life live us as Love, we can discover these challenging times to be an immense evolutionary opportunity for us to co-create not just a better “new normal” world, but a radically transformed world – with constant kindness and compassion for all life everywhere.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Words About Wishes

“All suffering is caused by human desire,
particularly the desire that impermanent things be permanent.
Human suffering can be ended by ending human desire.”
~ Buddha
“To have no wants is divine….
The fewer our wants,
the nearer we resemble the gods.”
~ Socrates
“The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man’s slavery”
~ Sri Yukteswar (Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 43)
“The essence of philosophy
is that a man should so live

that his happiness shall depend
as little as possible on external things.”

~ Epictetus
“Do not spoil what you have
by desiring what you have not;

remember that what you now have
was once among the things you only hoped for.”

~ Epicurus
Topping our wish list,
is our wish to be wish-less.
For ’til we stop wishing,
we’ll ever be wanting.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Introduction

Dear Friends,

We are now experiencing exceptionally advantageous Aquarian age cosmic energies and auspicious astrological planetary alignments favorable to spiritual evolution.

Accordingly this posting discusses a fundamental evolutionary obstacle: the ego’s futile pursuit of illusory and impermanent external pleasures and desires that can never give lasting happiness.

Most humans futilely try to hold on to relationships, health, circumstances, or things that cannot last. And this inevitably causes us karmic sorrow and suffering.  

So the above quotations, and following sutra “Words About Wishes” and comments explain how futile ego desires for external pleasures unavoidably impede our evolution and cause karmic sorrow and suffering.

They are shared to help us as a global family attain “critical mass” for evolutionary ascension toward spiritual freedom.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Words About Wishes

Wishes and wants are mental projections to the future
of remembered pleasures from the past.

Wishes are then,
but Life is NOW.

Well-wishers sometimes sincerely say,
“May all your fondest dreams and wishes come true.”

But, we’ll never have all we want,
’til we want just all we have.
And – unfulfilled wishes can be Divine blessings.

So – topping our wish list,
is our wish to be wish-less.

For ’til we stop wishing,
we’ll ever be wanting.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Words About Wishes”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Words About Wishes”

Dear Friends,
 
The foregoing quotes and whimsical sutra verses concern a spiritually crucial subject – our futile mental desires or wishes as root impediments to spiritual evolution.

Buddhist philosophy’s primary purpose is to help end human suffering. Gautama Buddha taught that humans suffer because we mentally strive for illusory and impermanent pleasures that cannot give lasting happiness. We futilely try to hold on to relationships, health, circumstances, or things that cannot last. And this causes sorrow and suffering.
According to Buddhist teachings we suffer from ignorance (avidyâ) of our true self-identity, and from our consequent mistaken thoughts, words and deeds.

Suffering ends when ignorance ends. Ignorance ends gradually with experiential Self knowledge that we are Infinite Potentiality beyond conception, rather than merely mortal and limited persons.

Thus the Dalai Lama explains that

“In Buddhism, ignorance as the root cause of suffering refers to a fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena.”

Unfulfilled desire is similarly discussed in Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi,” Chapter 43, The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar.  Therein Yogananda recounts an amazing astral visitation by his departed spiritual master Sri Yukteswar, who declares with detailed explanations that: “The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man’s slavery.”

According to Sri Yukteswar even very subtle or unconscious desires of highly evolved beings can keep them from Being Infinite.

Also an amazing near death experience consistent with Sri Yukteswar’s  teaching was recounted by my beloved Guruji, Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas:



During a terrible Gujarati draught and famine, in 1971 Guruji became extremely sick and exhausted from selflessly helping people and animals. Guruji’s physical body died, and his soul traveled to the heavenly domain of his “Ishta-Devata” Lord Rama – the principal Divine form of his devotional practices. Though Guruji wished to remain forever in Rama’s indescribably loving Presence, he was told that he would have to return to his Earthly body because of his unfulfilled desires to help people, whose images were then shown to Guruji.  Rama told him:

“So long as there are any desires in your mind, … you must return to fulfill those desires.


Thus various spiritual traditions have recognized enlightened beings – like Buddhist Bodhisattvas – who compassionately forgo spiritual Freedom, or nirvana, or the kingdom of heaven, in order to help others who suffer from unfulfilled ego desires.

Dedication

May the above “Words About Wishes” help us, individually and as global family, reveal and heal all sufferings from our unfulfilled and futile ego-mind desires.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Seeing GOD

“I have now come to a stage of realization in which I see that God is walking in every human form and manifesting Himself alike through the sage and the sinner, the virtuous and the vicious. Therefore when I meet different people I say to myself, “God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“Yes, all one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal; that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep; and that He is beyond all these.” …. “God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
How can the divine Oneness be seen?
In beautiful forms, breathtaking wonders, awe-inspiring miracles?
The Tao is not obliged to present itself in this way.
If you are willing to be lived by it, you will
 see it everywhere,
even in the most ordinary things.
~ Lao Tzu
“The self, harmonized by yoga,
sees the Self abiding in all beings,
all beings in the Self, everywhere he sees the same.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, Krishna to Arjuna

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Seeing GOD?

Q. What is God?

A. What isn’t God?

Q. Is it possible to see God?

A. Is it possible to not see God?

God is ONE: God is All –
God is immanent in and manifest as
everything and everyone everywhere.

So, everyone sees God everywhere.

But few know it.

 

Ron’s audio recitation of “Seeing GOD?”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of “Seeing GOD?”

Dear Friends,

Have you ever imagined seeing God?  Or wondered whether that was possible? Or heard of anyone claiming to see God?

During my early Jewish acculturation, I accepted the core Bible proclamation:


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

Thereafter, I consistently conceived of “God” as formless and invisible and assumed it impossible to perceive or to be enfolded in God. So I never understood Jesus’ esoteric pronouncement that “I and the Father are ONE”  [John 10:30].

But after my mid-life awakening, while crying for God with total surrender on a Yosemite mountain top, I beheld within (but did not merge with) the Divine light of ten thousand suns. Thereafter I began wondering about “seeing God”, especially after reading the Gospel and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa – famed 19th century Indian holy man who often experienced communion with the Divine.

I first learned about Sri Ramakrishna while at Dakshineshwar, his long-time residence place outside Calcutta (now Kolkata) during my 1982 ‘trip of a lifetime’ pilgrimage to India.  There – almost a hundred years after Sri Ramakrishna’s death – I experienced his life-force presence with an intense feeling of déjà vu while visiting a room where he had lived; a place which felt so comfortably familiar to me that it seemed I could happily remain there forever.

On returning to the US I began reading with fascination about Ramakrishna’s life and his teachings.  I learned that like Saint Francis of Assisi, he too was an ascetic mystic who completely renounced worldly pleasures and lived in utter simplicity.  Ultimately, of all the saints whose stories I’d reflected on, I came to feel most intuitive affinity with Sri Ramakrishna as well as with Saint Francis of Assisi, both of whom were extraordinary ascetic exemplars of Divine devotion and blessed with ‘the gift of tears’.  Though Francis had lived in a vastly different age and culture seven hundred years before Sri Ramakrishna, they had similar devotional traits with which I’ve felt great rapport.

As an enlightened mystic Sri Ramakrishna affirmed to his principal disciple Swami Vivekenanda and others that he had indeed seen God during states of spiritual ecstasy.  At first he worshiped God through a personal deity as the compassionate Mother, or the all-loving Father.  Thereafter, he aspired to and quickly realized the transcendental or Brahman aspect of God which is Divine communion beyond human description.

Ultimately he taught that God is All – omnipresent as all manifestation, while timelessly transcendent as unmanifest Infinite Potentiality.

Thus the foregoing whimsical verses about seeing GOD were inspired by Sri Ramakrishna and his teachings.

May those verses and teachings encourage us all to ever remember – and perhaps perceive – that everyone and everything is Divine!

And so may it be!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner


The Way In, Is The Way Out

“The way is not in the sky.
The way is in the heart.”

~ Buddha
“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi
“As you grow up, you form a mental image of who you are, based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego. It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through constant thinking. The term ego means different things to different people, but when I use it …it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind. …..
As long as you are identified with your mind, the ego runs your life.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”

~ Rig Veda
“As long as you take yourself to be a person, a body, a mind, separate from the stream of life, having a will of its own, pursuing its own aims, you are living merely on the surface and whatever you do will be short-lived and of little value, mere straws to feed the flames of vanity.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Undo ego!
As ego goes,

consciousness grows,

until it Knows
– Its Self.”

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


~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings







Introduction to “The Way In, Is The Way Out”

Dear Friends,

The following written and recited sutra poem is about undoing ego’s misidentification with the mind. The poem metaphorically tells how we’re each caught (by ego) in a mental maze; so that to find our way out, we must know the way we got in. It is explained by above key quotations and comments below.

In addition to the poem’s posted voice recitation. there is a brief video segment of Ron reading this sutra poem on his computer screen in “Walks With Ron”, a free YouTube spiritual memoir film about me, by Rob Tobias.

I hope you’ll enjoy and be helped by this whimsical poem and by viewing that video memoir.

Ron Rattner

The Way In, Is The Way Out

In this crazy age
of mental malaise,
we’re caught
in a mental maze.

Without a doubt,
to find our way out
we must know
the way we got in.



Ron’s Audio Recitation of “The Way In, Is The Way Out”

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Ron’s Explanation of “The Way In, Is The Way Out”

Dear Friends,

Upon birth in human bodies we experience amnesia about our true spiritual self-identity. Thereafter we are acculturated to perceive and mentally believe ourselves to be mere mortal physical bodies separate from each other and Nature. So, because of “an optical illusion of consciousness” we mistakenly identify and behave as separate entities, and become subject to the karmic law of cause and effect.

Every Human – except for rare Buddha-like beings – knowingly or unknowingly is in some evolutionary stage of undoing mistaken ego-mind identity – a process indispensable to our spiritual evolution. Hence for millennia spiritual seers have recognized “ego” as the greatest human “enemy” and impediment to our spiritual evolution.

Only as a 42 year old adult did I begin learning about mistaken ego identification. My midlife awakening sparked a previously unimagined spiritual metamorphosis process from “secular Hebrew”, to “born-again Hindu”, to “uncertain Undo”. So I’ve long proclaimed that I’m an ‘Uncertain Undo’ seeking relief from belief; and that “on the path of Undo, we’ll never be through, ’til we’re an undone ONE”.

As an “uncertain Undo”, I’ve experienced an ever happier life by gradually letting go of outdated beliefs and ideas about Self-identity and Reality. And, to help others find similar happiness, I’ve often written about this process of undoing ego, because of its fundamental spiritual significance. (See e.g. website archives linked here.)

So I hope you’ll enjoy today’s metaphoric ‘mental maze’ poem. And that it may help all of us who (knowingly or unknowingly) are longing for freedom from ego’s ‘mental maze’ by finding the way we got in.

Dedication

Today’s “Way In, Is The Way Out” posting is sincerely dedicated to helping us live ever happier lives, by undoing ego until “we’re an undone ONE”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Undo Ego!

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”
~ Rig Veda
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,
and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego,
the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.
~ Lao Tzu
“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.”
~ Rumi
Q. How much “ego” do you need?
A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
“Undo Ego!
Use it to lose it.”

“As ego goes,
consciousness grows,
until it Knows
– Itself.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Lau Tzu


Undoing

Undoing

There’s nothing to do
but undo,

Until you’re through and undone.

Then, when nothing’s undone,
there’s nothing to do,

But to BE –

Free and

ONE!



Ron’s audio recitation of “Undoing”

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Ron’s explanation of “Undo Ego”

Dear Friends,

For millennia spiritual teachings have identified “ego” as a fundamental impediment to spiritual evolution and realization. Thus, the ancient Vedic seers told us that “Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ) And the Dalai Lama says that ego is the “number-one enemy of compassion.”

Spiritual teachers refer to “ego” as mistaken human self-identity as a personality separate from eternal Infinite Potentiality – our true identity. 
Ego is often described as a psychological prison, causing inevitable karmic suffering. 

“The world is a prison and we are the prisoners:

Dig a hole in the prison and let yourself out!”

“Why do you stay in prison 
when the door is so wide open?”

~ Rumi


I have posted the foregoing quotations, sutra sayings and poem about undoing ego to remind us of our critical need to let go of who or what we think we are, so we can realize and BE what we really are – ONE with Nature as Infinite Potentiality. 

Every Human – except for rare Buddha-like beings – knowingly or unknowingly is in some evolutionary stage of undoing mistaken ego identity – a process indispensable to our spiritual evolution.

For example, in spiritual memoirs I tell how (after many years of reciting and following prescribed prayers and practices) I became an “Uncertain Undo” looking within to discover and discard remaining ego impediments to spiritual evolution and realization – as eloquently advised by Lao Tzu and Rumi.

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

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

~ Lao Tzu



“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi



Whimsically I’ve suggested that everyone should “seek relief from belief”; because “on the path of Undo we’ll never be through ’til we’re an undone ONE”. So as an “Uncertain Undo” I’ve gradually been letting go of previously accepted beliefs and concepts about humanity, self-identity and reality.



My present paradigm is that we live earth-lives to learn from experience our essential common self-identity as LOVE – each from a unique karmic perspective. 

That each of us is here to transcend suffering by uncovering and undoing our unique barriers to Self realization – our mistaken ego identities and tendencies. As we mindfully identify those mental mistakes, it becomes possible for us to use ego, to lose ego. As revealed in the Bhagavad Gita, Hinduism’s best known scripture, it is possible for our mind to become our “best friend”, rather than “worst enemy”


One must elevate – and not degrade – oneself with one’s own mind, as the mind is both a friend and an enemy.

For those who have subdued and conquered the mind, it is the best of friends.

But for those who fail to do so, the mind remains the greatest of enemies.

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Six, Lord Krishna to Arjuna


Dedication


This posting is respectfully offered to help remind us of our critical need to let go of who or what we mistakenly think we are, so we can realize and BE what we really are – ONE with Nature as its Eternal Source. 



Also, these undoing ego writings are sincerely intended to help us live ever happier lives, until we all become “an undone ONE”.



And so shall it be!


Ron Rattner

God is ONE!

“Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29
“There is one Cosmic Essence, all-pervading, all-knowing, all-powerful. This nameless formless essence can be approached by any name, any form, any symbol that suites the taste of the individual. Follow your religion, but try to understand the real purpose behind all of the rituals and traditions, and experience that Oneness.”
~ Swami Satchidananda
“Mind and manifestation are ONE.”
~ Mary Saint-Marie
“There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe. 
The horizontal threads are in space.
 The vertical threads are in time.
 At every crossing of the threads, there is an individual.
 And every individual is a crystal bead.
 And every crystal bead reflects not only the light
 from every other crystal in the net, 
but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.”
~ Indra’s Net – from the Vedas of ancient India, 7000 years old
“God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”
~ Empedocles (500-430 B.C., Greek Poet)
We’re whole,

we’re whole,

we’re whole!
Nothing ever

can dissever our soul!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




God is ONE!

God is ONE:

God is All – manifest and unmanifest.
God is Infinite Potentiality.

God is ONE:

Divinity ain’t divisible.
Visible and invisible are indivisible;
Perceptible and imperceptible are inseparable;
Material and immaterial are integral.
SELF subsumes ALL.

God is ONE:

God is non-denominational.

So, let us celebrate – not separate – the Whole;
Let us balance our differences on a fulcrum of
< LOVE >.

And may we ever remember that:

We’re whole,
we’re whole,
we’re whole!

Nothing ever
can dissever our soul!



Ron’s audio recitation of God is ONE

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Ron’s comments and explanations about “God is ONE”

Dear Friends, 

Today’s posting “God is ONE!” is a sutra poem composed long ago about post-awakening insights and questions concerning “God”. Please consider it with these explanations and above quotations. It is offered to encourage exploration and recognition of our common inner divinity and state of ONENESS with “God”.

During my early Jewish acculturation as a pre-teen,  I learned that the core Hebrew prayer, which was constantly recited and even kept (inside ‘mezuzahs’) at the door posts of observant Jews, was 

“Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29

But I never then deeply reflected on the meaning of that prayer.  Instead, as I grew into adulthood I began wondering why so many people religiously indoctrinated into Western monotheism – as Jews, Christians or Moslems – seemed to have quite disparate and disharmonious views of their “ONE God”, and often didn’t get along with one other. For example in posted Monistic Musings I raised many philosophical questions about “God” and Divinity, such as:

“If there is just one “God”,

how can that one God

be a different “true God”

for Christians, Muslims, and Jews

and their diverse denominations?”

After my midlife awakening, I learned about Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist non-dualism teachings, which I accepted as valid. And I realized that non-dualism philosophy seemed quite consistent with Western monotheism – but spiritually deeper. 

Even before my awakening, I imagined ONE God as formless Universal spirit imminent in everyone and everything, not as a bearded old man in heaven, or other humanoid deity or divine symbol.  After awakening I consciously began longing to explore inner divinity in my meditations and prayers, as a metaphoric child of THAT – ONE God.

During my long career as a litigation lawyer I had enjoyed professional fulfillment in helping civil clients get ‘justice’.  But by the time I retired, I was so ‘ burned out’ that I didn’t want to spend any more precious time helping people fight over money.  Instead, I wanted to pray and meditate and delve deeply within, without worldly distractions. 

On retirement in 1992, I made a pilgrimage to India to pay respects to my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas.   On meeting with him, I told him:
 
“Guruji I am retiring from being a lawyer, and I now want to devote the rest of my days to thinking about God.”

His simple encouraging reply was:  “Good!”  

As always, Guruji spoke little but said much.

Thereafter, on my return to San Francisco, for many years I lived a monk-like life in relative seclusion. Until 2003, I had no TV, computer, or newspaper to connect me to the “real world”, and I spent much time alone in my ‘condominium cloister’ praying, meditating, crying, and experiencing various subtle energies and states of consciousness.  

This post-retirement period of seclusion was a wonderfully gratifying life phase. But often I jokingly told others that the best part of my retirement was in not having to deal with lawyers every day.

Many of the SillySutras poems and essays now posted online were composed during that reclusive post-retirement period. 

Initially I often used the “God” word. But gradually I began using synonyms and phrases – like  “universal intelligence” or “Infinite Potentiality” or “Cosmic Consciousness”, or “Emptiness”, or “the Tao”, or “Nature” – to denote THAT eternally ineffable Divine Power which is the ONE unchanging Source or matrix of our illusory world of fleeting forms and phenomena.  

Also, I often began whimsically referring to divinity as “The Lone Arranger” – a term I coined to humorously communicate with skeptics. In recent insanely turbulent times I have metaphorically given “The Lone Arranger” my ‘general power of attorney’ to justly judge, forgive and rule the world, and to be my ‘appointments secretary’.

Thus, paradoxically but necessarily, I have used “God”, “The Lone Arranger” and various other words or phrases to point to THAT divine mystery which is beyond words.  

Today’s “God is ONE!” posting is offered to encourage exploration of our common inner divinity – in furtherance of our (conscious or subconscious) universal longing for a state of ONENESS with Divinity – with “God”.

May these writings help hasten our inevitable evolution from wondering about the meaning of “God”, to ultimately BEiNG THAT ineffable Reality.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Questions About Questions

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

~ Albert Einstein
“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to
‘who am I?’ 
and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”

~ Rumi
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates
the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.
It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.
Never lose a holy curiosity.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts,

and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre,
it will itself in the end get destroyed.
Then, there will arise Self-realization.”


“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer,
the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Questions are then,
Life is NOW.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Questions About Questions

Q. When do questions arise?

A. Always then, never now.
Questions are thoughts, and thoughts are then.

Q. Can there ever be a question without a thought?

A. I don’t think so.

Without a question, there can be a thought.
But without a thought, there can’t be a question.

Q. Then, when is there never a question?

A. When there is no questioner.



Ron’s Reflections and Questions About Questioning

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations about the Mystery of Divinity and whimsical lines about questionig are offered to inspire and encourage our curiosity and reflection on the ‘Who am I?’ divine spiritual mystery – which Einstein called “the great Mystery into which we were born”

On birth into new human bodies we experience instant amnesia, forgetting what we knew before we withdrew from dwelling in heavenly domains.   Except for very rare Buddha-like saints and sages, we forget that we are immortal Divine Beings – each experiencing a Divine play of consciousness from a unique perspective.

Whereupon, we experience and suffer from ‘a case of mistaken identity’.  Individually and collectively, we mistakenly self-identify only with our mortal physical forms, their emotions and perceptions, and their stories – and we become like actors playing unique roles in an ever expanding and endless play of consciousness.  
 
As Shakespeare metaphorically observed:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”

~ William Shakespeare ~ As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

But knowingly or unknowingly, we are here to experientially remember what we forgot on incarnation into mortal human bodies. 

So our embodied lives become like spiritual mystery stories.  Instead of a ‘who-done-it?’ detective story, each life becomes a ‘who am I?’ spiritual mystery, which we are born to solve. Yet, the ultimate solution to that mystery is beyond our comprehension, imagination or belief.  So we must find it experientially and intuitively, rather than mentally.

However, spurred by unceasing childlike curiosity, our rational minds can lead us to experiential discovery of our immortal self-identity. So we can begin by reverentially and unceasingly asking “Who am I?”.  

“Ask, and it will be given to you …
For every one who asks receives.”
~ Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10

But ultimately, we discover that

“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer,
the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

Thus, as observed by twentieth century Indian sage, J. Krishnamurti, only

“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.”

The foregoing writings are offered to inspire and encourage our curiosity and reflection on the ‘Who am I?’ divine spiritual mystery.
 
As spiritual siblings – children of Divine LOVE – may we ever aspire to solve that Mystery.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

“Creation”/ “Evolution”/ Rumination

“We never cease to stand like curious children
before the great Mystery into which we were born.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Whence come I and whither go I?
That is the great unfathomable question,
the same for every one of us.
Science has no answer to it.”

~ Max Planck
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.
Never lose a holy curiosity.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Sometimes the questions are complicated
and the answers are simple.”

~ Dr. Seuss
The quest is in the question.
The question is the answer.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
When questioning begins, certainty ends.
When certainty ends, wisdom begins.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




“Creation”/ “Evolution”/ Rumination

Was space/time causality “reality” ‘created’ 5000 years ago
– or previously?

Or is “reality” ever ‘created’ instant by instant
– ever NOW?

If so, how?

Is there a Divine ‘design plan’?

If so, who is the Divine ‘designer’?  Is S/HE friendly?

And if so, why and how did S/HE ‘design’ “reality”?

Is evolution ever implicit in “creation”?

As evolution happens, who/what evolves:
‘Human consciousness’? Living organisms? Beings? “Life”? “Reality”?

Is evolution inevitable, or just optional;
is it imperative, or just elective?

Do we always evolve, or sometimes devolve?

What is our Source? 
Do we emerge from Divinity?

After ‘creation’, do we seek our Source,
as a matter of course?

Do we ultimately dissolve in Divinity
– and merge with Mystery?

Does Spirit mind, 
and does mind matter?

What really matters?

It’s all MYSTERY!



Ron’s comments on “Creation”/ “Evolution”/ Rumination, and
about finding ever increasing happiness with continuing curiosity


Dear Friends,

The foregoing whimsical “Creation”/ “Evolution”/ Rumination poetic inquiry/essay was composed with great curiosity after my mid-life change of life, which began an immeasurably helpful and still continuing spiritual questioning process.

Thanks to continuing curiosity with open-minded uncertainty, I’ve sometimes been blessed with seemingly simple spiritual answers to complicated questions about “reality”, “self-identity”, and societal insanity – insightful answers which have brought ever-increasing happiness to my life, from intuitive levels of awareness beyond prior conceptual consciousness.

For example, inspired by curiosity I’ve occasionally received and shared ‘simple’ sutras, like these about “reality”, “death” and “silence”:

“Reality isn’t Real”;

Theory of Everything: e = mc2 = consciousness = Self”;


“Remember God, forget the rest”;

“Birth and Death are virtual,
but Life is perpetual”; 


“In the beginning was the Word,
but in the end Silence says all.”


As these sutras suggest, thanks to continuing curiosity with open-minded uncertainty I have discovered and adopted helpful new life paradigms, which were unimagined before my spiritual awakening. And ultimately I’ve concluded that beyond all intellectual inquiry – beyond thought – there is only Mystery.

I’ve shared my curiosity questioning process, and the preceding poetic inquiry/essay, sincerely aspiring to encourage all of us to seek and discover within ever increasing spiritual happiness, by following Albert Einstein’s wise advice: 


“Never lose a holy curiosity” . . . . 

“The important thing is not to stop questioning”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner