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Whimsy

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”

Listen to


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”

Listen to


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

Listen to



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

Cartesian Critique

“If you correct your mind,
the rest of your life will fall into place.”
~ Lao Tzu
“The mind is a bundle of thoughts.
The thoughts arise because there is the thinker.
The thinker is the ego.
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
 “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
“To think or not to think,

that is the question!”

“Thinking and Being can’t coexist.

So stop thinking and start Being.
”

“Forget who you think you are

to Know what you really are.
”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Lau Tzu



Introduction

The following Cartesian Critique essay challenges the well-known philosophical proposition deduced and propounded by influential 17th century French philosopher René Descartes – “I think, therefore I am”.

Descartes’ philosophy, known as Cartesian dualism, assumed separation between the human body and mind. Although it became very influential in Western philosophy, Cartesian dualism ignored contradictory ancient Eastern non-dualist philosophies of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, which were scientifically validated by 20th century physicists.

This essay, with above and following quotations and comments, explains how Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” proposition confuses thinking with being; and the ego/mind with universal thoughtless awareness.

Please reflect on these writings with open and intuitive awareness.

Ron Rattner

Cartesian Critique: On Confusing Thinking With Being.

Descartes deduced his presumed separate existence with thought.
He reasoned: “I think, therefore I am”.

But wasn’t that putting Descartes before his Source?

Isn’t it apparent that we exist when not thinking?

Isn’t thinking optional, while Being is perpetual?

Why are we called human “beings”, and not human “thinkings”?

Isn’t existence much more than just thinking?

Don’t we exist in thoughtless states?

Doesn’t Being encompass conscious and subconscious
phenomena beyond thought – like emotions, feelings, sounds,
tastes, sensations, moods, dreams, autonomic processes, etc.?

Don’t all thoughts comprise and concern past ideas,
whereas life is ever lived in the Now,
never in the past or the future?

Aren’t we most aware of our existence
when we are thoughtlessly/choicelessly mindful?

What might Descartes say,
if he were here today?



Ron’s Commentary on Confusing Egotistic Thinking With Being.

Dear Friends,

The above “Cartesian Critique” essay is shared to encourage us to transcend harmful egotistic thoughts and behaviors, and to help us live in harmony with each other and Nature.

It questions famous French philosopher René Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” proposition, and explains how it confuses thinking with being; and the ego/mind with universal thoughtless awareness. 



This essay was composed following my midlife spiritual awakening as consciousness. After so awakening, I learned about and accepted Eastern non-duality philosophy which contradicts Descartes’ duality philosophy of body-mind separation. And gradually I realized that “Ego is the biggest enemy of humans”, and that transcending Ego is the ultimate purpose of all enduring spiritual teachings.

So on learning about Descartes’ influential declaration, I questioned it and composed the above critique.

In my view, Descartes mistakenly presumed and deduced his supposed separate existence with egotistic-thought, which paradoxically placed Descartes before his Source, and violated both Eastern and Western wisdom cautioning against reversing the natural order of things.

For example a Western proverb cautions: “Don’t put the cart before the horse.”

And ancient Taoist wisdom enjoins us to go with the flow, without mental resistance:

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.”

“If you correct your mind,

the rest of your life will fall into place.”

~ Lao Tzu

Conclusion

Honoring the natural order of things remains of great importance today, because the vast majority of Humans continue to egoically identify with thought and their mistakenly perceived separate mental mirage projections.

In current critical times, when humans are the only species creating huge ecological and other crises which disrupt and threaten life on our precious planet, it is especially imperative that we bring compassionate awareness of our true collective identity and infinite potentiality into the world.

Dedication.

So these writings are dedicated to reminding us to not confuse thinking with being; and to helping us transcend harmful egotistic thoughts and behaviors, allowing us to live in harmony with each other and Nature in current critical times.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Go With The Flow!

“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
“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
“Those who flow as life flows,
know they need no other force.”
~ Lao Tzu
“By letting it go it all gets done.
The world is won by those who let it go.

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

~ Lao Tzu
“If you correct your mind,
the rest of your life will fall into place.”
~ Lao Tzu
“Tao is Now,
Tao is One,
Tao is Doer,
Tao will be done. –
Tao will be done,
So let Tao do it.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutras Sayings



Introduction to “Go With The Flow!”

Dear Friends,

The following whimsically poetic sutra verses and explanatory comments are about ‘common wisdom’ advising us to “go with the flow”. Together with posted quotations from Taoist Master Lao Tzu, these writings reveal esoteric insights into fundamental principles promoting spiritual evolution. Please enjoy and deeply reflect upon them.

May these writings inspire us to honor and yield to Nature’s flow, which will inevitably carry us back beyond ego-mind to our spiritual Source – an indescribably joyous and eternal Infinite ocean of Universal Awareness.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Go With The Flow!

Go with the flow!
Go with the flow!

Everyone says
to go with the flow.

Go with the flow!
Go with the flow!

But nobody knows
where the flow goes.

So, where will we go,
if we go with the flow?

Nobody says;
Nobody knows.


Ron’s audio recitation of “Go With The Flow”

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Ron’s explanation of “Go With The Flow”

After much reflection and observation, I’ve concluded that being “in the flow”, or “in the zone”, or “in the Tao”, are all salutary and substantially similar spiritual states. So with poetic license I’ve often equated or conflated them in spiritual writings – where “Flow” and “Tao” and “zone” are often used synonymously.

From a poetic perspective all of these concepts point to non-dualistic Universal Intelligence or Infinite Potentiality which is the mysterious Source of the universe and all energy patterns that cosmically keep it harmonious, balanced and ordered.

Definition

I’ve defined going with the “flow” or the “Tao” – or being in the “zone” – as thought-free, effortless, and focused merging of intention, action, and awareness – consciously letting Life happen through us, to harmlessly harmonize with Nature and achieve effortless action. 

Contrary to some interpretations, “Going with the “flow” or the “Tao” is the antithesis of being passive, apathetic or indolent. Or of just letting things happen without rational response.

When “in the flow” we skillfully and spontaneously respond to ever changing conditions or stimuli, like accomplished athletes, artists or stand-up performers who are “in the zone”. Such responses help us harmoniously co-create this ever impermanent world while maintaining homeostatic equilibrium and balance. And it is a sign of our spiritual progress in the evolutionary process of ultimately merging with Mystery.

Taoist Perspectives

Some of the wisest reflections on these perennial questions are in Lao Tzu’s enduring masterpiece the Tao Te Ching, including those preceding the above “Go With The Flow” verses.

And here are some further Tao Te Ching verses which have especially interested me:

“Stop thinking and end your problems.”



“To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.”



“Become totally empty

Quiet the restlessness of the mind

Only then will you witness everything unfolding from emptiness”



“Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.”



“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously,
you become filled with inexhaustible vitality
and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth.

”

“Understand this if nothing else:
spiritual freedom and oneness with the Tao
are not randomly bestowed gifts,
but the rewards of conscious self-transformation and self-evolution.”


Invocation

May these “go with the flow” writings
inspire us to honor and yield to Nature’s flow,
which will inevitably carry us back
beyond ego-mind to our spiritual Source –
an indescribably joyous and eternal
Infinite ocean of Universal Awareness.

And as we awaken to harmlessly harmonize with Nature,
may we consciously and cooperatively
co-create an ever better world –
as we intend, intuit, and imagine it to be.


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Related Post:
Like A Waterfall

Life’s in the Balance

“Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature.”
~ Dalai Lama
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity
but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”
~ Thomas Merton
“Life is balance of holding on and letting go.”
“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”
~ Rumi
“joy and sorrow are inseparable. . .
together they come and when one sits alone with you . .
remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
~ Khalil Gibran
“what is joy without sorrow? what is success without failure?
what is a win without a loss? what is health without illness?
you have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. there is always going to be suffering. it’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.”
~ Mark Twain
“In Attunement with God you will find the way to true success,
which is a balance of spiritual, mental, moral, and material attainment.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“As long as you live, you will be subject to change,
whether you will it or not –
now glad, now sorrowful;
now pleased, now displeased;
now devout, now undevout;
now vigorous, now slothful;
now gloomy, now merry.
But a wise man who is well taught in spiritual labor
stands unshaken in all such things,
and heeds little what he feels,
or from what side the wind of instability blows.”
~ Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
“As it acts in the world, the Tao is like the bending of a bow.
The top is bent downward; the bottom is bent up.
It adjusts excess and deficiency so that there is perfect balance.
It takes from what is too much
and gives to what isn’t enough.
Those who try to control, who use force to protect their power,
go against the direction of the Tao.
They take from those who don’t have enough
and give to those who have far too much.
The Master can keep giving because there is no end to her wealth.
She acts without expectation, succeeds without taking credit,
and doesn’t think that she is better than anyone else.”
~ Lao Tzu, translation by Stephen Mitchell
“Let us celebrate – not separate – the Whole;

Let us balance our differences on a fulcrum of

< LOVE >.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Life’s in the Balance

Our life is in the balance,
Ever < NOW >,

‘Twixt our hopes
and our history,

On a fulcrum of Mystery,

Our life is in the balance,
Ever < NOW > !



Ron’s audio explanation and recitation of “Life’s in the Balance”

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Ron’s explanation of “Life’s in the Balance”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations and sutra verses address an important philosophical and practical question: “How can we live a “balanced life”?”

Have you ever considered what it means to live a “balanced life”?  If so, what did you decide?  Have you considered eating a balanced diet, or balancing and prioritizing your time spent with work, recreation, meditation, relationships, rest, etc.?

Each of us is unique with a unique Earth life history and perspective.  So there can be no specific answer or definition for each of us about what constitutes “a balanced life”.  Moreover, everything is in constant flux, precluding any unchanging answer.  Yet living a “balanced life” is an issue of considerable importance for all of us.

Especially since my mid-life inner awakening, I have learned that – just as our bodies naturally tend toward maintaining a state of homeostasis – there is a strong tendency throughout Nature to maintain homeostatic equilibrium, and to energetically compensate for any disruptions or deviations from that balanced state.  Also that “Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature.”

Yet it appears that we Humans are the only earthly species responsible for significant ecological imbalances. Forgetting that Nature is our nature; that we are interdependently ONE with Nature; and, that Nature ‘bats last’, we have mistakenly believed and behaved as if we are separated from each other and from Nature. So people unsustainably neglect or try to control Nature, and mistakenly disrupt Nature’s homeostatic equilibrium.
 
This behavior has resulted in catastrophic threats to all Life as we’ve known it, from disharmonious cruelty, wars, and insanely unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet. So we now see widespread physical, psychological, and economic suffering and unhappiness. Our mistaken self-identification as supposedly separate entities is what spiritual teachers call “ego”.  And most spiritual teachings are intended to help us transcend such limited ego consciousness.

For example the Dalai Lama reminds us that

“Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature. Not only higher forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings who, without any religion, law, or education, survive by mutual cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness. The most subtle level of material phenomena is also governed by interdependence. All phenomena, from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests, and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy. Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay.”

Because we have egocentrically forgotten our inseparable interconnectedness and interdependence with all life everywhere, we have degenerated into insanity – unconsciously committing mass suicide by ecocide, and threatening nuclear catastrophe. So these are critical times of immense jeopardy and suffering, yet immense opportunity.


The human species has developed amazing new technologies, which if wisely and unselfishly used could foster a wonderful new enlightened age. And paradoxically we can advance toward such a new age by emulating past pre-industrial societies.

Isn’t it now crucial that we learn from the wisdom of indigenous people who have lived sane and happy lives by prioritizing sustainable harmony with Nature over it’s unsustainable exploitation; cooperation over competition; respect for prophets over lust for profits; democracy over authoritarianism?

Conclusion

Since Nature is our nature and is in charge of our lives, to live a “balanced life” we must self-identify with Nature, and consciously cooperate with our precious planet’s interdependent ecosystem.  We must behave mindfully without disrupting the crucial homeostatic harmony of our body-minds with our environment.

Dedication

May the foregoing “Life’s in the Balance” sutra verses and quotations help us discover innate happiness in our interdependent and inseparable ONENESS with Nature and all of its lifeforms, and encourage us to allow Nature to bless all life everywhere with interdependent balance and harmony. 

 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Atheists Beware!
~ Verses, Quotations and Explanations

“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
“I don’t try to imagine a personal God;
it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world,
insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.”
~ Albert Einstein
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself
in the orderly harmony of what exists,
not in a God who concerns himself
with fates and actions of human beings.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Atheism is a disease of the soul,
before it becomes an error of the understanding.”
~ Plato
“There are few people so stubborn in their atheism who,
when danger is pressing in, will not acknowledge the divine power.”
~ Plato
“Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism,
but larger amounts bring us back to God.”
~ Francis Bacon
“The Atheist is God playing at hide and seek with Himself;
but is the Theist any other?
Well, perhaps; for he has seen the shadow of God and clutched at it.”
~ Sri Aurobindo
The worst moment for the atheist
is when he is really thankful
and has nobody to thank.                    
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization”
~ George Carlin
“I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist.”
~ Albert Camus
“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
“Since no one really knows anything about God,
those who think they do are just troublemakers.”
~ Rabia of Basri (First female Sufi saint)




Atheists Beware!

We reify what we resist.

And as we persist in resisting,

We attract and become what we resist.

So atheists, beware!

In vehemently denying Divinity,
you are reifying and deifying “God”.

And as you opine,
you’re becoming Divine.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Atheists Beware!”

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Ron’s explanation of “Atheists Beware!”

The foregoing whimsical “Atheists Beware” verses were composed after I’d begun to sometimes see our space/time ‘reality’ as an ever paradoxical play of Divine ONENESS.

Before my midlife awakening to Self identity as Awareness, I don’t remember thinking about existence (or non-existence) of a creator “God”. However, I tacitly accepted the core Hebrew precept: “Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” (Deuteronomy 6:4), and considered “God” as ONE universally immanent, nameless, formless, nonjudgmental Supreme Power. And I rejected ideas of a humanoid, personal or judgmental God. Hence, after childhood I always interpreted Bible legends metaphorically – not as ‘the word of God’ explicitly spoken through special messengers.

Until my midlife awakening, I hadn’t shed tears as an adult. But upon awakening to a new life at age forty three, I cried for twenty four hours. Thereafter, while others were frequent flyers, I became a ‘frequent crier’. And I wondered why I was crying so much, until experientially realizing with utter amazement that I was crying with intense longing for “God”. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.) 

Since then, I’ve spent much time reflecting about “God”. And I’ve found that my beliefs and ideas about “God” have evolved as I’ve opened spiritually; that my curiosity about God has emanated from a universal human longing (conscious or subliminal) for a state of ONENESS with THAT.

Curiosity about “God” soon sparked interest in “atheism” and “atheists”. (See Monistic Musings – Reflections and Questions on “God” and Divinity) Also, I soon realized that – as the Bible says – “God” is word – used by different people to designate their different ideas of a transcendent power; that, whether or not the “universe” was created by God, “God” is a concept created by man. (See God is a Word.)

And ultimately I irreversibly accepted and honored the perennial mystery of Divine Reality beyond space/time duality.  
(See e.g. Mystery of Divinity)

Thus it paradoxically appeared to me that worldly people who adamantly professed with certainty to be most religious – or atheistic – were usually most intolerant of those with other religious, spiritual or philosophic views; that their professed fundamentalist certainty about superiority of their philosophy – masked deep doubt, ignorance or insecurity about the transcendent Divine mystery.

Ultimately, my reflections about “God” resulted in my living a faith-based life. After years of questioning, I found faith beyond belief, beyond dogmas or theology. I found faith in everything everywhere, and in the impenetrable Mystery beyond every form or phenomenon. I found faith in my Self and in Nature. And faith to devotionally follow my Heart. So I became a non-dualist lover of God – a Bhakta – especially inspired by by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who taught and demonstrated that

“[A]ll one’s confusion (about God) 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.”

(See I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life and Discovering and Honoring Devotional “Holy Fools”)

So the foregoing whimsical “Atheists Beware” verses were composed from a faith-based perspective of Divine ONENESS; that “it is God who manifests …. as [both] the atheist and the believer.”

The poem ironically reveals that, in adamantly resisting “God”, worldly atheists are unable to realize their ultimate divinity – that paradoxically they are what they resist; a realization that is transcendentally Knowable only by rare beings, like Ramakrishna.

Dedication and Invocation of “Atheists Beware”

Inspired by deep curiosity, reflection and intuition about “God”,

may we gradually discover and experience our common inner Divine Source,

Until ultimately our ego-minds melt and merge with THAT:

Universal Spirit, Being, Awareness, Bliss;
Eternal Peace, Life, Light, LOVE

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner