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Posts Tagged ‘Alan Watts’

What is Faith? ~
Quotations and Comments

“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”

~ William Shakespeare
“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.

Have faith in yourselves!”

~ Swami Vivekananda





What is Faith? Quotations and Comments


Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following profound quotation collection concerns heartfelt intuitive faith, as distinguished from mental belief.

Comments below the quotations explain how inner faith can bring us previously unimagined and ever growing happiness, with continuing learning from life.

Accordingly, these quotations and comments are shared to help all of us find such happiness through inner faith. Please consider them accordingly.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

What is Faith? ~ Quotations


“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,

you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”,
and it will move.”

~ Matthew 17:20

Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far, 
but none comes further.
~ Soren Kierkegaard

“The heart has its reasons
that reason does not know.”
~ Blaise Pascal

“Faith is a knowledge within the heart,

beyond the reach of proof.”
“Faith is an oasis in the heart
which can never be reached by the caravan of thinking.”
~ Khalil Gibran

“Faith is intuitive conviction,
a knowing from the soul,
that cannot be shaken even by contradictions.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“On a long journey of human life,
faith is the best of companions;
it is the best refreshment on the journey;
and it is the greatest property.”
~ Buddha

“The most beautiful and most profound experience
is the sensation of the mystical. …
To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, 
manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty 
which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms 
this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”
~ Albert Einstein

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

“Faith is different from proof;

the latter is human,
the former is a Gift from God.”
“Faith embraces many truths
which seem to contradict each other.”
~ Blaise Pascal

“Faith is much better than belief.

Belief is when someone else does the thinking.”

~ Buckminster Fuller

“Faith means living with uncertainty –

feeling your way through life,

letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark”

~ Dan Millman

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

~ Alan Watts

“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”

~ William Shakespeare

“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.

Have faith in yourselves!”

~ Swami Vivekananda

“Intelligence must follow faith,
never precede it,

and never destroy it.”

~ Thomas Kempis

Faith follows intuition;

Faith follows the Way;

Faith follows the Self;

Faith follows the Heart.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance
that it dazzles the mind
and darkens all its visions of other realities,

but in the end when we become used to the new light,
we gain a new view of all reality
transfigured and elevated in the light itself.”

~ Thomas Merton


Ron’s Comments on “What is Faith?”

Dear Friends,

In reviewing and revising previous SillySutras postings, I’ve been wondering about the subtle circumstances which have seemed most important in furthering my spiritual evolution from age forty two to age eighty seven. And why, after over four decades of spiritual exploration, I’m blessed with previously unimagined and still growing happiness,

Forty five years ago, I was self-identifying as an uptight and unhappy middle-aged secular litigation lawyer on the brink of divorce, when I had an unforgettable “out of body” experience [OOB] which has sparked over four decades of spiritual exploration and evolution, with still ongoing learning from life.

Now I mostly self-identify as eternal spirit enjoying a brief “in a body experience” as an 87 year old retired lawyer and spiritual writer. And I feel immensely blessed with great happiness and gratitude for this precious fleeting lifetime, despite its inevitable ups and downs.

Perhaps my best explanation for being so blessed, is that I’ve enjoyed ever growing deep faith as ONE with Divine LOVE, the inner mystery of Divinity. Previously, I have explained in essays how “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life” and defined faith as distinguished from belief.

Today I have posted the foregoing profound quotations to help inspire our deep faith in our Divine Self and Source. Please read and reflect on them accordingly.

Also I’ve embedded below a beautiful youtube video performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s inspiring song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as excerpted from the film version of their classical musical play “Carousel”. The emotions we feel from that performance can also help inspire our deep realization that with faith and hope in our heart we’ll never walk alone

Invocation

May we enjoy ever growing deep inner faith and
Self-identity as ONE with Divine LOVE,
Bringing us previously unimagined and ever growing happiness,
with continuing learning from life.

And thereby may we help co-create a new Earth reality
of abiding peace, harmony and goodwill
for all life everywhere.

May everyone everywhere be happy!


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel”.



We Are The Universe!

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

~ Albert Einstein
“Objective reality does not exist” ….

“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”

~ David Bohm, Quantum Physicist
“Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.”
~  Mahmud Shabestari, Sufi Mystic, 15th century.
“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
“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” is a holographic theater of the mind,
where we are microcosmic mirrors of the macrocosm.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following written and recited poetic verses, together with explanatory comments and above quotations, supplement the related “What Is The Universe?” posting.

Both postings propose that cosmically “We Are The Universe”. They are intended to help us open our hearts to all beings and all life everywhere.

Please consider them accordingly.

Ron Rattner


We Are The Universe!

The “universe” is like a cosmic hologram:

An ever changing but persistent illusion
appearing in an eternal, immutable,
infinite ocean of Awareness –

Awareness arising from pure potentiality.

Each of us is an integral, pin-point part of the whole picture,
which wouldn’t be complete without us.

But, though we appear as only a speck of the Whole,
we are like parts of a hologram;

Hidden within each of us is the whole cosmic picture,
and the awareness screen
on which we envision and project the picture.

In our Essence, we and the “universe” are ONE.

So, we are the “universe”.



Ron’s audio recitation of “We Are The Universe”

Listen to


Ron’s reflections on Non-dualism and “We Are The Universe”

Dear Friends,

Today’s We Are The Universe! posting together with the related “What Is The Universe?” posting propose that cosmically “We Are The Universe”.

These and many more SillySutras writings pertain to non-dualism – an important philosophy which has inspired many recent Silly Sutras writings about spiritual evolution and the nature of “reality”.

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

Thus, for countless ages human ignorance of our true identity and immortality, has resulted in our hallucination of separation from Nature, from each other, and from our sole Self and spirit, with consequent destructive selfishness and suffering.

Yet, for millennia sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we inevitably suffer from radically mistaken self-identity; that our self-identity and reality are not what they appear to be; that it is possible to limit or avoid most suffering of ordinary human existence through experiential self-identification with the unseen Eternal spiritual Source of all space-time causality ‘reality’.

Soon after my mid-life change of life, I began discovering enduring wisdom teachings about the Vedic path of Advaita, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy. Advaita means non-dualism, and its teachings are about experiencing non-dual Self Realization via focused self-inquiry – relentlessly asking “Who am I?”.

I first found these teachings in books by or about legendary Indian sages J. Krishnamurti, Swami Vivekananda, and Shri Ramana Maharshi; also in New Dimensions Radio interviews by Michael Toms, and in KPFA radio lectures by Alan Watts, contemporary Western philosopher/teacher of Eastern spiritual wisdom, from which I learned about similar Buddhist and Taoist non-dualist philosophies.

After initial perplexity, I gradually became convinced of the ultimate Truth of non-dualistic teachings, as eloquently explained by Swami Vivekananda that:

“…this separation between man and man, between nation and nation, between earth and moon, between moon and sun . . does not exist, it is not real” ; and that
“Your own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – “Jnana Yoga”


Non-dualism has even seemed quite consistent with the primary prayer of my early Jewish acculturation:

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


Yet, while accepting Eastern non-dualism wisdom teachings, I have continuously displayed preponderantly devotional propensities of praying, calling and crying to the Divine. And in reading hagiographies I have most identified with Saint Francis of Assisi and Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa – both extremely ascetic and devotional holy men – more than with the wisdom teachers who introduced me to non-dualism.

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

Ultimately, I’ve become an every day – not just a seventh day – Advaitist. So whimsically I sometimes say that I am now a devotionally open-minded “Advaitist-fundamentalist”.

While accepting non-dualism, my primary path seems devotional. Over forty years since beginning to cry for God, I still frequently display devotional tendencies of spontaneously praying, singing, and calling to the Divine. Apparently, my Guruji was quite prescient in naming me Rasik – “one engrossed in devotion”.

As a devotional “Advaitist-Fundamentalist” I have composed many poems and essays encouraging the heartfelt path of ‘non-dualism’ – including today’s “We Are The Universe” quotations and poem.

May these writings help remind, encourage and inspire us to open our hearts with deep empathy and compassion for all people and all Life everywhere.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


We Create “Reality”

Embedded below is a helpful 10 minute YouTube video montage titled “We Create “Reality””, previously linked on the related What Is the Universe posting



What is the Universe?

“There is no reality but God,

says the completely surrendered sheik,
who is an ocean for all beings.”
~ Rumi
“Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same. ….
The source is within you
And this whole world is springing up from it.”
~ Rumi
“You are not IN the universe,
you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it.
Ultimately you are not a person,
but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself.
What an amazing miracle.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself.
Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies.
We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”
~ Alan Watts
“In oneself lies the whole world,
and if you know how to look and learn,
then the door is there and the key is in your hand.
Nobody on earth can give you either that key or the door to open,
except yourself.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“The world, indeed, is like a dream and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage! Like the apparent distances in a picture, things have no reality in themselves, but they are like heat haze.”
~ Buddha
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Nothing perceivable is real. Your attachment is your bondage. You cannot control the future.
There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Objective reality does not exist” …. “the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”
~ David Bohm
“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” is a holographic theater of the mind,

where we are the unseen Source
of the World we see.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

 



What is the Universe?

Q. What is the Universe?

A. The “Universe” is a word – an idea –
symbolizing Humankind’s perception of a space/time/causality “reality”.

But, space/time/causality
is an illusionary relative reality
of apparently separate forms and phenomena;

An ever impermanent appearance of
ONE eternally immanent Ultimate Reality –

An Ultimate Reality which is Infinite Potentiality
beyond space/time/causality;

An Ultimate Reality beyond conceptuality –
unimaginable, incomprehensible, and inexpressible;

An Ultimate Reality eternally and infinitely
appearing and disappearing
as ephemeral forms and phenomena,
from infinite space/time perspectives;

An Ultimate Reality eternally and infinitely
expressing and experiencing

ITSELF!



Ron’s audio recitation of “What is the Universe?”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of why “We Are The Universe”

Dear Friends,

Have you ever read or heard that: “We are the universe” or that “You are the world”?  Such statements have been attributed to various prominent spiritual teachers, including Alan Watts, Deepak Chopra, J. Krishnamurti, and Eckhart Tolle.  

Only after my midlife change of life did I encounter and begin wondering about these teachings. Understanding their meaning has proved very helpful in my life.  So today I have posted the foregoing important quotations and a brief essay/poem, which were inspired by what (I think) I’ve learned about these teachings.

Soon after my midlife awakening as pure awareness – which cracked, but didn’t destroy, my self-woven ‘karmic cocoon’ – I was given numerous glimpses of previously unknown clairvoyant and psychic phenomena which persuaded me that the universe didn’t work the way I’d been taught or thought.   

Having realized – but not always remembered – that I was pure awareness and not just my physical body and its story, I began wondering about the true nature of this world and the universe which we seem to inhabit.   To satisfy my newly aroused cosmic curiosities I began reading teachings of Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti  who was then known worldwide as a contemporary sage. Initially I read a  Krishnamurti book which was was intriguingly entitled:

“You Are The World”.

The book included a Krishnamurti  talk at Stanford University containing this perplexing statement:

In oneself lies the whole world, and if you know how to look and learn, then the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either that key or the door to open, except yourself.”


   
What did Krishnamurti mean?  How could the whole world be within us? 

Though puzzled, I was determined to understand Krishnamurti’s enigmatic assertion.  And gradually that seemed to happen.  

Ultimately I deduced that since Ron was pure awareness encompassing a transient body/mind, so too was everyone and everything else in space/time; that, therefore, all humans share common Cosmic consciousness which encompasses, perceives and projects the world.  

But, because  we  mistakenly perceive and believe ourselves to be separate from each other and Nature, we suffer individually and societally from the universal law of cause and effect – karma.   Thus, our misconceptions of separateness create an illusory world of suffering.

However, as gradually we unselfishly open our hearts with compassion beyond personal desires and affections, our karmic sufferings diminish, and we reap increasing happiness.    As astutely observed by Albert Einstein:


“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.” 

( N. Y. Times , March 29, 1972)


Einstein also revealed to us that what we perceive as ‘reality’ “is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”; and that  “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”.

Mystics say that ultimately, upon Self Realization of our true divine identity, our sufferings ceace. In the meanwhile, we avoid or reduce suffering by behaving with remembrance that this space/time world isn’t really real, but an “optical delusion of .. consciousness.”    So, according to the Buddha,


“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,

does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”


To help us “escape the suffering” of this crazy world, today’s profound quotations and “What is the Universe?” essay/poem can remind us of our true divine self-identity as Universal Awareness – that we ARE the Universe. Also embedded below is a highly recommended and very pithy 10 minute YouTube video montage titled “We Create “Reality””

May these writings and video encourage and inspire us to live ever happier and soul fulfilling lives, as gradually we compassionately open our hearts to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature – as we remember that we are the unseen Source of the World we see.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

We Create “Reality”



Are Fools and Foolishness Scuttling “Spaceship Earth”?

Look how the caravan of civilization
has been ambushed.
Fools are everywhere in charge.
Do not practice solitude like Jesus.
Be in the assembly, and take charge of it.”
~ Rumi
“We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth.”
~ Buckminster Fuller
“There are no passengers on spaceship earth.
We are all crew.”
~ Marshall McLuhan
“We must learn to live together as [sisters and] brothers,
or perish together as fools.” ..
“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence,
but between nonviolence and nonexistence.” 
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Cherish or Perish.

Co-exist cooperatively, or

Co-expire catastrophically.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“The whole problem with the world is that
fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves,
and wiser people so full of doubts.”
~ Bertrand Russell
“Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
~ Shakespeare – A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act III, scene II
“When fear becomes collective, when anger becomes collective, it’s extremely dangerous. It is overwhelming… The mass media and the military-industrial complex create a prison for us, so we continue to think, see, and act in the same way… We need the courage to express ourselves even when the majority is going in the opposite direction… because a change of direction can happen only when there is a collective awakening… Therefore, it is very important to say, ‘I am here!’ to those who share the same kind of insight.” 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power





Are Fools and Foolishness Scuttling “Spaceship Earth”?

Dear Friends,

On this second coronavirus April Fools’ day, like countless others worldwide, I am deeply concerned that life on our precious planet Earth is threatened by unprecedented and potentially catastrophic crises fomented by fools. So this is a time for our serious reflection on these critical problems jeopardizing all life on “Spaceship Earth”, rather than merely a day for frivolous thoughts or behaviors.

Worldwide we are facing unprecedented ecological, economic, health and interpersonal crises so serious that they cause misery for millions and threaten all life on our precious planet as Humanity allows the world to be ruled and ruined by psychopaths.

In my opinion, current crises have been precipitated by transnational world “leaders” – a few obscenely privileged financial, corporate, political and religious oligarchs – who without remorse amorally and ignorantly acquire, abuse and misuse power, and excessive material wealth far beyond their conceivable needs; people so crazy, ignorant and insensitive that they are unjustly and brutally harming countless humans and creatures, and myopically scuttling Spaceship Earth, committing ecocide/omnicide/suicide by corrupting and destroying the life support systems which sustain us.

Bucky Fuller and “Spaceship Earth”

Buckminster Fuller



In the mid-1960’s visionary American architect, inventor, and author R. Buckminster Fuller [Bucky] popularized the term “Spaceship Earth” to explain how our precious planet is a single system with its apparent separations inextricably interdependent and interconnected.

Bucky foresaw that to ensure our long-term viability and to avert global catastrophe humanity must wisely and cooperatively inhabit and operate our amazing ‘Spaceship’ – like skilled astronauts. He said:“We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth.”

So I’m wondering whether “Spaceship Earth” has become a “ship of fools”, not only because of those insanely commanding and ‘steering’ it, but also because we its imminently endangered crew foolishly tolerate such insanity without immediately mutinying and claiming command.

Current critical times

Since inception of the current coronavirus pandemic countless people worldwide have been experiencing and demonstrating considerable fear, anxiety, anger, hatred and other polarizing negative emotions. More people are fearful than ever before in my long lifetime. And in the US such fears are being fomented by mainstream media.

Whatever our political, cultural, generational, or geographical perspectives may be, we share overriding common needs and aspirations: the same common Cosmic consciousness; the same web of life; the same precious Earth biosphere; the same aspirations for health and happiness; and for just democratic societies serving basic needs of all life on a peaceful planet.

However, until now virtually all of us in varying degrees have been suffering from an illusory sense of separation from each other and from our ONE common spiritual essence. According to many mystics and non-material scientists we suffer from perception deception, mistakenly believing as ‘reality’ all we perceive as separate. But, as Albert Einstein revolutionarily revealed: “Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

And Alan Watts reminds us that we’ve “been fooled” by our illusory separation from Nature:

“The individual is separate from his universal environment only in name. When this is not recognized, you have been fooled by your name. Confusing names with Nature, you come to believe that having a separate name makes you a separate being. This is — rather literally — to be spellbound”.
~ Alan Watts


Perhaps each of us has known subliminally that we are participating in a great cosmic hoax about our supposed separate reality and identity.   And perhaps April Fools’ day has been an expression of that subliminal awareness. But at long last it’s time for us to awaken and together act to preserve life on “Spaceship Earth”.

Suggested solutions

Current turbulent times require our compassionate courage and wisdom to consciously realize, and nonviolently assert, Humanity’s urgent need to take charge of navigating “Spaceship Earth”.

“We need the courage to express ourselves even when the majority is going in the opposite direction… because a change of direction can happen only when there is a collective awakening.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

And for conscious realization of our true common identity, we need to heed and follow our sacred heart’s wisdom of loving/kindness and compassion, and not those few fools who are destroying all we cherish.

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”
~ Bertrand Russell


Conclusion

In this critical age of immense jeopardy and suffering, yet uprecedented opportunity, we are collectively awakening from a long-inculcated illusion of separation from each other and Nature. 

As common ‘crew’ of “Spaceship Earth”, we must awaken to immediately take charge of guiding our precious planet to assure that it is no longer unsustainably desecrated by Humankind; but that it is cooperatively and democratically guided and honored bottom-up by and for compassionate societies, rather than ruled and ruined top-down by and for a few foolish “leaders”.

We must “live together as [sisters and] brothers”, rather than “perish together as fools.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Honoring Nature
~ Quotes and Video

“One touch of nature
makes the whole world kin.”
~ William Shakespeare
“Nature is our nature;
Honoring Nature is honoring Self.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Introduction

Dear Friends,


In this critical era of worldwide violence and turmoil, our amazingly beautiful planet is imminently and insanely threatened (by immensely destructive technologies) with possible human caused omnicidal nuclear or climate catastrophe, ending Earth life as we’ve known it.

Therefore we must urgently awaken humanity’s instinctive primal awareness that Nature is our nature; that Nature knows best and will have its Way; that we are not dependent upon exploitation of our precious planet or its lifeforms, but interdependent with it and all life thereon; that we can no longer unsustainably exploit Nature and others without dire consequences; that we must honor – not desecrate – Nature.

The following profound “Nature” quotation collection and beautiful “Creation Calling” embedded video are offered to help awaken our minds and open our hearts to realization of Humankind’s urgent need to avert calamity by Honoring Nature, NOW!

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Honoring Nature ~ Quotation Collection

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
~ William Shakespeare

But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; 
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea inform you.  
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
~ Job 12:7-9

“Look deep into nature, and then
you will understand everything better.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The entire world we apprehend through our senses
is no more than a tiny fragment in the vastness of Nature.”
~ Max Planck

“Human subtlety will never devise an invention
more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature;
because in her inventions nothing is lacking,
and nothing is superfluous.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
“All art, all education, can be merely a supplement to nature.”
~ Aristotle

“If one truly loves nature one finds beauty everywhere.”
~ Vincent Van Gogh

“In nature we never see anything isolated,
but everything in connection with something else
which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Every particular in nature,
a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time
is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Lose yourself in nature and find peace.”
“Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature.”
~ Rachel Carson

“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth
and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.”
~ Rachel Carson

“When we pay attention to nature’s music,
we find that everything on the Earth contributes to its harmony.”
~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

“Nature is the living, visible garment of God.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity;
so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion
to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”
~ Albert Einstein


“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things,
man will not himself find peace.”

~ Albert Schweitzer


“There are no passengers on spaceship earth.
We are all crew.”
~ Marshall McLuhan

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors;
we borrow it from our children”
~ Chief Seattle


“Ultimately, the decision to save the environment
must come from the human heart,
[from] a genuine sense of universal responsibility
that is based on love, compassion and clear awareness.”

~ Dalai Lama


“Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister,
Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us,
and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs”

“This sister now cries out to us
because of the harm we have inflicted on her
by our irresponsible use and abuse
of the goods with which God has endowed her.”

~ Pope Francis – Climate encyclical message

“Nature is neither pleasant nor painful.
It is all intelligence and beauty.
Pain and pleasure are in the mind.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Deviation from Nature is deviation from happiness.”
~ Samuel Johnson

“Each thing tends to move towards its own nature.
I always desire happiness which is my true nature.
My nature is never a burden to me.
Happiness is never a burden to me, whilst sorrow is.”
~ Adi Shankara

“Because after all, you ARE a symptom of nature.
You . . . grow out of this physical universe
in exactly the same way an apple grows off an apple tree.”

~ Alan Watts

“I thank you God for this most amazing day,
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,
and for the blue dream of sky
and for everything which is natural,
which is infinite, which is yes.”
~ e. e. cummings

“I see trees of green, red roses too.
I see them bloom for me and you.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue and clouds of white.
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world”
~ Louis Armstrong


Honoring Nature ~ Creation Calls — are you listening?



Invocation

May Humankind Awaken NOW
from our long-inculcated illusion
of separation from Nature. 

So Awakened,
may we deeply realize that Nature is our nature;
that what we unsustainably do to Nature
we do to ourselves; and
that it is our responsibility
to honor, cherish and preserve
Earth-life as we’ve known it.

And so Awakened,
may we urgently honor
Nature’s uniquely precious ecology and environment,
with a “genuine sense of universal responsibility
that is based on love, compassion and clear awareness.


And so shall it be!
!

Ron Rattner

Belief or Faith?

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


Belief or Faith?

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

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

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

Thus in Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:

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


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

“All things are possible for him that believes.”


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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


Dedication

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

Follow our Heart, and
Follow our Faith –

As LOVE!


And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner


What’s New?

“What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.”
~ Ecclesiastes 1:9 *
Tao and Zen
are NOW,
not then.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Everything’s NOW,
So nothing is new.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“I have realized that the past and future are illusions,
that they exist in the present,
which is what there is and all there is.”
~ Alan Watts
“People .. who believe in physics,
know that the distinction between past, present, and future
is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
~ Albert Einstein
Time is how we measure NOW,
and spaces
are for places where we think we are in time.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Life is NOW or never,
Life is NOW forever.
Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






What’s New?

“There is nothing new under the sun.”*

Everything’s NOW,

So nothing is new.

Discovering is but uncovering –

Timeless Truth.



Ron’s audio recitation of “What’s New?”

Listen to



Ron’s reflections on “What’s New?”

Dear Friends,

The above verses, sutras, and quotations offer uncommon answers to a common worldly question, “What’s New?”.   

After my midlife awakening I wondered whether past and future are mere mental illusions occurring in the eternal NOW.  And I concluded that from a cosmic perspective, Einstein was right about space/time/reality – that

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”; that “the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion”; and, that  “space and time are not conditions in which we live, [but] modes in which we think.”


Amazing synchronicities about illusion of serial time

In February, 1977, I spent a miraculously transformative week in New York City, so filled with amazing synchronicities and precognitive experiences, that I became convinced it was possible to mystically transcend serial time perception; but that while on Earth we must experience our lives serially, even though there is no time cosmically.  (See e.g. An Amazing Experiment With Time)

Since then – while still experiencing serial time – I’ve begun seeing earth-life like a perpetual play of universal consciousness on the world’s “stage” – with continuing ‘performances’ of perennial story plots, only featuring different players, acts and scenes.  And I’m now mostly experiencing this lifetime like a pre-scripted movie filled with constant synchronicities.

Inspired by these mystical perspectives, I’ve composed and shared the foregoing verses and sutra sayings.

Dedication

These writings are dedicated to inspiring our ever growing happiness and peace of mind, as we evolve beyond serial time toward timeless Being as eternal Universal Awareness.

Thus may we increasingly live moment by moment in the timeless NOW, accepting “what is” as the inevitable consequence of ever mysterious karmic causes and conditions.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


*Footnote re Ecclesiastes 1:9

The above intuitive interpretation of Ecclesiastes 1:9 is inconsistent with some theological interpretations. Those who disagree are free to reject it.



What’s really “Real”?

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

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

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

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

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


Introduction to What’s really “Real”?

Dear Friends,



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

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

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



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


And so may it be!



Ron Rattner

Explanation of What’s really “Real”?

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Einstein intuited that:


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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

What Are Illusions?

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

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think.”

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


“The distinction between past, present, and future
 is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

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



~ Albert Einstein
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions,

that they exist in the present,

which is what there is and all there is.

~ Alan Watts
“Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen. In the Absolute there is neither time, space nor causation.”
“…this separation between man and man, between nation and nation, between earth and moon, between moon and sun. Out of this idea of separation between atom and atom comes all misery.
But the Vedanta says that this separation does not exist, it is not real.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga
What appears to be a stable, tangible, visible, audible world, is an illusion. It is dynamic and kaleidoscopic — not really “there”. What we normally see is the explicit, or unfolded, order of things, rather like watching a movie. But there is an underlying order that is mother and father to this second-generation reality.
~ David Bohm
“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha
“The less we’re illusioned,
the more we’re illumined.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Introduction

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered: “What are illusions?” and “What is “real?“?

Spiritually, these are crucial questions. So today’s posting esoterically answers them for us, with the foregoing quotations and following Q and A essay and explanatory comments.

May these writings and reflections help bring us ever-growing life fulfillment and happiness, until we lose all illusions and transcend this wonderful world as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

What Are Illusions?

Q. What are illusions?

A. Illusions are false ideas, conceptions, or beliefs,
accumulated and aggregated in the memory bank
that we call the “mind”.

Illusions are projections from the past
which obscure or obstruct our experience of the present.

We can’t live fully in the present,
when we are living partly in the past.

Illusions are mental obscurations.
They cloud or conceal our insight into
That which is Real.

But, as we clear the ‘mirror of our mind’
of old illusory ideas and paradigms of
who and what we think we are,

We can and shall become ever more present,
insightful and illuminated –
about what we really are.

So let us choose to lose our illusions.

For, the less we’re illusioned,
the more we’re illumined.



Ron’s audio recitation of “What are Illusions?”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “What Are Illusions?”

According to dictionaries, “illusions” are misperceptions or misconceptions of reality, fact, or truth. Whereas “reality” is that which factually exists.

For millennia, non-dualist Buddhists and Vedantists have taught that our entire space/time ‘reality’ is a mental mirage or illusion, and not true Reality; that what we perceive and believe to be ‘real’ material forms in space and time, are mentally projected misperceptions from misconceptions of our conditioned ego-minds, which see “through a glass darkly”.

We assume that we are independent human beings, separated from each other and Nature, and acting based on our own free-will. But according to non-dualist mystical philosophies, all of this is mere illusion – samsara or maya. Even our supposed free will is an illusion, because we are inseparable from Nature which determines all we experience, via mysterious karmic causes and conditions. Thus, perceived worldly events or phenomena are always determined by invisible cosmic forces which are as yet unknown to our conditioned ego-minds. (see e.g. Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, verses 60-61)

A century has passed since Einstein’s revolutionary relativity theory revealed that “reality” can’t be reduced to objects or entities in space/time. Since then, quantum science has confirmed that everything in space/time is energy (e=mc2); that all forms and phenomena are merely vibrating and radiating immaterial energies endlessly and inevitably appearing (from unknown causes and conditions) out of and disappearing into ineffable mystery.

Thus, Western science has more and more shown what ancient shamans, seers, and indigenous societies have known throughout history:

That there is a cosmic web of life connecting everything and everyone in Nature from the greatest galaxies to the tiniest sub-atomic particles; that we are each an integral inter-connected and interdependent part of Nature’s web of life – not separate from it; and that, as Einstein observed:

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


Inspired by Einstein, I have composed the foregoing poetic Q & A essay titled: “What Are Illusions?”, as preceded by apt quotations.

These teachings are deeply dedicated to helping us find relief from belief
and thereby bringing us ever-growing life fulfillment and happiness.

Invocation

From seeing everyone and everything as discrete,
and separated by apparently immutable boundaries,
may we increasingly realize that all forms and phenomena
are ever-changing energies appearing from a common origin
of Universal Awareness – our true Nature and Source,
which is LOVE.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Reflections on Religious Beliefs

“Today, … any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal,
and so will be inadequate.” . . .
“[T]he time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”

~ Dalai Lama
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.”

~ Dalai Lama
“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, and Confucian.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi
“I have learned so much from God
That I can no longer call myself
a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew”
~ Hafiz
“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion, or cultural system.
 I am not from the East or the West,
 nor out of the ocean or up 
from the ground, not natural or ethereal,
 not composed of elements at all.

I do not exist, am not an entity in this world
 or the next, 
did not descend from Adam and Eve 
or any origin story.

My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.
 Neither body nor soul. 
I belong to the Beloved
 have seen the two worlds as one 
and that one call to and know,

First, last, outer, inner, only that 
breath breathing human.” 


~ Rumi, ‘Only Breath’
“Irrevocable commitment to any one religion is not only intellectual suicide;
 it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world.”

~ Alan Watts
“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.”

~ J. Krishnamurti
“We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.
So, we seek relief from belief.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Follow dharma, not dogma.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Reflections on Religious Beliefs

Q. What is religion?

A. “Religion” is a word with many meanings.
Here we define it as “any belief system about Divinity or immortality often including rules, rituals, codes of ethics, and philosophies of life.”

Q. Why do we have religions?

A. There is a subtle Cosmic law of ‘supply and demand.’ Religions have arisen in response to our perennial quest for lasting peace and happiness, and our desire to transcend inevitable earthly psychological sufferings.

Knowingly or unknowingly, everyone seeks Happiness, Wholeness, and Love. Consciously or subliminally, we intuit and long for a state of Being which transcends inevitable Earthly cares and suffering. Knowingly or unknowingly we seek timeless Truth.

Religious belief is a form of attempted life guidance, and psychological self-protection from fear of inevitable physical death and uncertain life experience before death. Though many find transient consolation in accepting religious beliefs about divinity and immortality, such beliefs can’t permanently provide such protection. We can’t find freedom from fear of death and from life’s uncertainties through theories, thoughts or beliefs, but only through direct experiential Knowledge.

Thus the Buddha, who legendarily realized such freedom while meditating beneath a Banyan tree, counseled:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

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

When twentieth century Indian sage, J. Krishnamurti, was asked
“Is belief in God necessary or helpful?”   he said:

“[B]elief in any form is a hindrance. A man who believes in God can never find God. If you are open to reality, there can be no belief in reality. If you are open to the unknown, there can be no belief in it. … belief is a form of self-protection…” …

“When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” …… “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.”

Similarly the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a sacred Hindu text, state:

“Yoga is the cessation of mind.”

“The witness is Self, pure awareness, which,
though boundless and unchanging,
appears to perceive creation through the construct of mind.”

“The [mistaken] identification of pure awareness with the mind and its creations
causes the apprehension of both an objective world and a perceiver of it.”

“When the mind withdraws attention from sense experience,
the senses receive no impressions from sense objects,
and awareness rests in its essential nature.”

“When he is not in the state of yoga, man remains [mistakenly] identified with the thought-waves in the mind.”
~ Patanjali – Yoga Sutras

Q. Why is a silent mind important?

A. Through thought we self identify as entities separate from the Whole – as separate perceivers of a supposedly objective world. But this is an ego illusion. So, attempted psychological self-preservation through perpetuation of an illusionary self-image is futile. What never was can never be preserved. Thus, religious beliefs that seek psychological self protection from identification with an illusion of separateness from Self are ultimately futile.

The object of all spiritual practice is to transcend such illusionary ego identity. Such transcendence happens only when thought ceases and the universal intelligence which has been mistakenly regarded as a separate experiencer of sensations and emotions, and a separate performer of actions, exists by itself and as itself, and is not mentally divided.

Q. What about instinctive physical acts of self-protection, as distinguished from religious beliefs aimed at psychological self-preservation?

A. According to J.Krishnamurti:

“Physical self-protection is sane, normal and healthy but every other form of self-protection, inwardly, is resistance and it always gathers, builds up strength which is fear.”

Q. Are religious beliefs important?

A. Our ethical behaviors – not our religious beliefs – are most important.

As the Dalai Lama reportedly has said:

“There is no religion higher than the Truth. … What really is important is our behavior with peers, family, work, community, and in the world. …. Whether or not we follow a religion, what is important is that we become more compassionate, more sensible, more detached, more loving, more humanitarian, more responsible, more ethical.” https://sillysutras.com/your-religion-is-not-important/

So grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate:

“[T]he reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate.

This is why I believe the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”

~ H.H. the Dalai Lama – Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World

Ron’s Comments on Urgently Needed Ethical Behaviors
Beyond Religious Beliefs

Dear Friends,

Without universal ethical behavior beyond conflicting religious beliefs, humanity cannot survive.

As explained in the foregoing essay, throughout human history, people have adopted or accepted “religious” beliefs, practices and institutions, in exploring the mystery and meaning of life and existence. About 84% of the world’s population is affiliated with Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or with some form of folk religion. Also there are now an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide.

Paradoxically, some leaders and devotees of religions organized to teach universal “Truth” realized by Great Beings have perpetuated and acted on mistaken egoic ideas of separateness, which the sages transcended. Thus, throughout human history countless people and other precious life forms – all manifestations of that same Universal “Truth” – have been victims of demonic wars, crusades, inquisitions, persecutions, and ‘terrorism’ initiated and perpetrated in the name of “true” religion or God.

Although religious beliefs and practices have also inspired immeasurable good, advances in technological and scientific knowledge now reveal that Humankind urgently need to transcend such behaviors which have spawned immense misery and even threaten all Earth life as we have known it.

But how can this happen?

Inspired by the wisdom of Dr. Seuss that “sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple,” I have long reflected on on this question, seeking simple answers to the immensely complicated crises confronting us.

Perhaps one of the simplest but most powerful answers I’ve found is:

“There is only one God,

the same God regardless of the labels applied by religion. …

There is only one religion, the religion of Love;

There is only one language, the language of the Heart;

There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity”

~ Sathya Sai Baba

But most people are not yet sufficiently evolved to understand and act in accordance with that profound observation.

So I was delighted when His Holiness the Dalai Lama published an important self-help book – “Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World” – which H.H. introduced with this important insight:

“[T]he reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate.

This is why I believe the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”

~ H.H. the Dalai Lama – Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World (2011)

And I have been deeply inspired and encouraged by similar sentiments addressed to all Humankind by Pope Francis, e.g.:

“When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being?”

“[W]e all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other . . . .we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone”. . . .
“[E]verything is connected, and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state.”

“We have so much to do, and we must do it together.”

~ Pope Francis – 2017 TED Talk

And so we must realize that

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.”

~ Dalai Lama

Invocation

With silenced minds and ever opened hearts
may we practice the “golden rule” of reciprocal empathy;
do no harm, and compassionately see and treat all sentient beings
as spiritual siblings.  

May everyone everywhere treat all beings and all Life
with the same dignity that they wish for themselves. 

And so shall it be.

Ron Rattner