Posts Tagged ‘Alan Watts’

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

Memory is “Maya”

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
“Life can be found only in the present moment.

The past is gone, the future is not yet here,

and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,

we cannot be in touch with life.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Mind is memory, at whatever level, by whatever name you call it; mind is the product of the past, it is founded on the past, which is memory, a conditioned state.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Truth is not a memory, because truth is ever new, constantly transforming itself. (M)emory is a hindrance to the understanding of what is. The timeless can be only when memory, which is the `me’ and the `mine’, ceases.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Mind and memory are “then”,
while –
Life is NOW,
ever NOW,
never then!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Tao and Zen
are NOW,
not then.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Introduction to Memory is “Maya”*

Dear Friends,

Memory is “Maya”, is a brief mystical poem which I composed during extended ‘hibernation’ before launching the SillySutras website.  With foregoing key quotations, it metaphorically reveals the crucial spiritual importance of BEing with a quiet mind as the Eternal NOW.

Explanatory comments follow the poem. Enjoy!

Ron Rattner

Memory is “Maya”*

Memory is “maya”.
Memory is mind.
Memory is mentality,

Not Reality.

Memory is then,
Life is NOW.

So transcend “maya” memory.

Forget what you think you are, and
BE what you really are:

Eternal Life

Ever NOW!


*Footnote

“Maya” is a Sanskrit word meaning illusion;
not THAT – Reality beyond illusion



Ron’s explanation and recitation of “Memory is Maya”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Memory is Maya”

Dear Friends,

After my spiritual awakening I intuited that “This world is wrought with naught but thought”. Later I discovered corroborating Buddhist sutras stating that “With our thoughts, we make the world.”

Whereupon, I became (and remain) intrigued about the nature of “mind” – which is the ‘thought processor’ that creates this world.

And soon thereafter I discovered the above-quoted teachings of Indian sage J. Krishnamurti that “mind is memory” and “a hindrance to the understanding of” Truth, which is always new and NOW.

“Memory is Maya” is one of those poems, which I’ve posted today to help remind us that “Life is NOW, ever NOW, never then”.  

So that

“Life can be found only in the present moment.

The past is gone, the future is not yet here,

and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,

we cannot be in touch with life.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Invocation

May these writings encourage us to live ever happier and soul fulfilling lives,
As gradually we still our minds and open our hearts –
To remember that we are the unseen Source of the world we see,
And that “Life is NOW, ever NOW, never then!

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith

“Imagination is everything.
It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world,
and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
~ Albert Einstein
“You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”
~ John Lennon, “Imagine”
“Is all that we see or seem
but a dream within a dream?”
~ Edgar Allen Poe
“Your thoughts create reality. The most pragmatic way to create world peace is to use your power of visualization. Think Peace, Act Peace, Spread Peace, Imagine Peace. Your thoughts will soon cover the planet. The most important thing is to believe in your power. It works.”
~ Yoko Ono
“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
“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
“Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far,

but none comes further.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard
“Faith is different from proof;
the latter is human, the former is a gift from God.”
“The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.”
~ Blaise Pascal
“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.”
 . . .
“Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.”
~ Alan Watts



John Lennon
October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980



Introduction

Dear Friends,

The above quotations about imagination and faith, and the following poetic essay and embedded videos, are posted as a tribute to departed hero John Lennon, on his October 9, 80th birthday anniversary. John’s lasting legacy as a charismatic and visionary populist leader who imagined a peaceful planet fulfilling our common needs, is explained in comments after the essay/poem.


Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith


Just as dreamers ‘create’ their dreams,
together we are a ‘dream-team’,
dreaming our world into being;

And, consciously or unconsciously creating a ‘common dream’.

Together, we are awakening to the greatest “secret of secrets”:

That we are not mere powerless perceivers of our “reality”,
but also its co-creators –

That we interdependently co-create our reality with our imagination, thoughts, words and deeds;

That everything we think, do or say changes our world in some way;

That our worldly “reality” depends upon the light of awareness with which we envision, experience and co-create it.

As we are awakening, we are discovering our true nature as Infinite Potentiality, and we are becoming infused with abiding faith in Nature and our Self, and in the impenetrable Mystery beyond every form or phenomenon.

As we are awakening, we are also discovering that our great gift of imagination can immeasurably help us live harmonious, creative, and loving lives.

We are learning – as Einstein taught us – that
what we imagine is “the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

So, as we awaken with abiding faith and love,
together let us “imagine” – like martyred hero John Lennon – that

“Someday …. the world will live as one”.

AND SO SHALL IT BE!

Ron Rattner



Ron’s Comments on Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith:


Dear Friends,

The foregoing poetic essay is a tribute to departed hero John Lennon, on his 80th birthday anniversary. Lennon – like Dr. King and Malcolm X – was martyred at age forty at the pinnacle of his powers, but he bequeathed to us a lasting legacy of unrelenting aspiration and inspiration for planetary peace and love.

Recent US presidential election politics have revealed that most Americans are justifiably dissatisfied with US empire policies and economics; that they especially object to extreme economic inequality, unjustly favoring the super-rich 1% at the expense of almost everyone else, caused by an ever warlike imperial government with much more hypocrisy than democracy.

John Lennon was and remains a charismatic and visionary populist leader who imagined a peaceful planet fulfilling our common needs and deepest desires for a radically new era when our “world will live as ONE.”

Lennon recognized that whatever our political, cultural, generational, or geographical labels or perspectives, we all share overriding common needs and aspirations.  That as Humankind we share the same web of life, the same precious Earth ecology, the same aspirations for health and happiness and for just and loving societies serving basic needs of all life on a peaceful planet. 
 
To honor John Lennon on his 80th birthday, I’ve embedded below two live performances of John singing “Imagine”, plus written lyrics. As we listen to him projecting our heartfelt aspirations, let us join together with faith, to envision and co-create a wonderful new era when our “world will live as ONE.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


John Lennon – “Imagine” (live performances)



“Imagine”


Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today



Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace



You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one



Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world



You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one


~ John Lennon


The Sacred Secret of Life
~ Ron’s Memoirs, Quotes and Poem

“That which is timeless is found now.”
~ Buddha
Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here,
and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,
we cannot be in touch with life.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
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
Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now!
It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.
~ Leo Tolstoy
“The more we live moment by moment,
the more momentous our lives.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is NOW

Ever NOW

Never then.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Tao and Zen

are NOW,

not then.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Ron’s Introduction

The following ‘channeled’ poem and above quotations, are about a key wisdom concept which is so important for spiritual evolution that with poetic license I’ve called it “the sacred secret of life”. That spiritual secret and my process leading to composition of the ‘secret of life’ poem are explained in comments below.

The Sacred Secret of Life

We evolve and revolve
ever seeking to solve
the sacred secret of life.

But the further we go
the less we know
the sacred secret of life.

The longer our history,
the greater the mystery of
the sacred secret of life.

Yet we never stop trying –
keep birthing and dying, for
the sacred secret of life.

Tho’ we may never solve it,
we’ll ever evolve it:
The sacred secret of life.

So in Awe we bow
to the ever NOW—

The sacred secret of Life.



Ron’s audio recitation of “The Sacred Secret of Life”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “The Sacred Secret of Life”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing “secret of life” poem was inspired by previously unimagined and unforgettable experiences which began after my midlife spiritual awakening. After many years of inner reflection, prayer and meditation, the poem was composed spontaneously during my extended post-retirement reclusive period.

Soon after my awakening, I was synchronistically introduced to Eastern spiritual wisdom through a friend who urged me to read an extraordinary book with an intriguing title – “Be Here Now”. It told about the spiritual transformation of Dr. Richard Alpert, Harvard Ph.D, into Ram Dass, a Western teacher of Eastern wisdom, after meeting his Hindu guru – Neem Karoli Baba.

“Be Here Now” was for me unlike any other book I’d ever before seen or read. Filled with beautiful calligraphy, art, and photos, it imaginatively presented a fascinating melange of Eastern ideas previously unknown to me, with many suggestions and ‘recipes’ for spiritual practices.

Some suggestions interested me, though I didn’t immediately adopt any of them. But the book and its memorable title planted seeds for spiritual practices which I later adopted. The first of these practices – simple repetition as a mantra of the word “Rama” soon miraculously manifested in my life, in a previously unimagined way, and with remarkable continuing consequences.

Gradually the book’s memorable title “Be Here Now!” became for me a key slogan for spiritual awakening; a reminder to live with a quiet mind in the present moment. Through experience and other spiritual teachings, I began to realize the profound evolutionary importance of mental stillness.

I was especially influenced by the teachings of contemporary sage J. Krishnamurti about how “freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.” Much later I felt great resonance with the writings of contemporary teacher Eckhart Tolle, which emphasized “The Power of Now.” Perhaps most important were my experiences in following my beloved Guruji’s emphatic instructions to “meditate regularly”.

Only after many years of meditating regularly did my ‘monkey mind’ finally cease its ceaseless chatter, permitting me to choose whether “to think or not to think” – an option to enjoy precious moments of choiceless awareness. And by learning to live with a quiet mind in the present moment, I understood Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras’ key aphorism that “Yoga is the cessation of mind”; and I discovered that “The more we live moment by moment, the more momentous our lives;” and that “when all thoughts cease, we are at peace.”

Each of us has a unique space/time perspective and karmic history. So each of us has unique challenges and a unique ‘recipe’ for spiritual opening. But the ‘ingredients’ in every such ‘recipe’ are the same – only proportions differ. And precious presence – ‘being here now’ – is crucially important for everyone, not just those who knowingly seek spiritual advancement.

Being present is sometimes called being “in the zone” with a focused or stilled mind. Have you ever noticed how star artists and athletes perform at peak levels while “in the zone”?

Moreover, whether or not we are interested in Eastern wisdom or mindfulness or peak performance, every human being wants happiness, with minimal suffering. And to be in a state of precious presence with a stilled mind is of critical importance to experiencing happiness.

So for me “Be Here Now!” – like “Seek relief from belief” and “Undo Ego!” – has become a key motivational motto encapsulating a wisdom concept crucial to spiritual evolution from Earth life to Eternal Life.

Dedication and Invocation

Thus today’s quotations and poem are offered to inspire our ever expanding realization that “life can be found only in the present moment”, and that ultimately the Eternal happiness we all seek is beyond space and time, but paradoxically ever here NOW.

May we all experience growing happiness by learning to live in the precious present with ever quieter minds, thereby radiating Eternal LOVE and Light, which blesses the world, ever NOW.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Awakening to the “Secret of Secrets”

“If you could get rid of yourself just once,
the secret of secrets would open to you.
The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe
would appear on the mirror of your perception.”
~ Rumi
“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“You are “gods”;
you are all children of the Most High.”
~ Psalm 82: 6
“You cannot teach an ego to be anything but egotistic,
even though egos have the subtlest ways of pretending to be reformed.
The basic thing is therefore to dispel, by experiment and experience, the illusion of oneself as a separate ego.”
~ Alan Watts
“People can’t be talked out of illusions. If a person believes that the earth is flat, you can’t talk him out of that, he knows that it’s flat. He’ll go down to the window and see that its obvious, it looks flat. So the only way to convince him that it isn’t is to say, “Well let’s go and find the edge”
~ Alan Watts
“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
“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.

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

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



Awakening to the “Secret of Secrets”

For millennia there has been a tacit taboo or ‘conspiracy of silence’ against disclosing to all Humankind our true spiritual and immortal identity.  

Except for those raised in so-called ‘primitive’ or indigenous societies, or those imbued with Eastern religious philosophy, most people have been acculturated from time immemorial into societies with “an unrecognized but mighty taboo — our tacit conspiracy to ignore who, or what, we really are.” (Alan Watts: The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Preface.)

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

Nor are we ever taught the greatest “secret of secrets”: that we are not mere powerless perceivers of our “reality”, but also its co-creators – that we co-create our reality with our thoughts, words and deeds; that everything we think, do or say changes this world in some way; and, that this worldly “reality” is dependent upon the awareness with which we envision, experience and co-create it.

To experientially realize that greatest “secret of secrets” is to Know Thyself. And to Know Thyself, is to know the Whole – the Truth that will set us free.

For countless ages sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we are not what we think we are!  That we suffer from perception-deception – with self-identity and reality not what they appear to be; that it is possible to experientially transcend the inevitable suffering of ordinary human existence through self-realization of and self-identification with an undivided eternal spiritual reality – which is the common essence of all space-time causality reality.

Mystics say that we share common Self identity – as Cosmic Consciousness or Non-Duality Reality; that we are not merely our mortal bodies – their names, genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories – or the ‘voices in our heads’.  We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But we’re all the same ‘under the hood’.  

Yet until now that greatest secret has been mostly concealed or denied: predominantly by subconscious suppression or psychological inability of humankind to accept or entertain non-experienced facts which contradict or threaten their cherished illusionary beliefs about “reality”; sometimes by institutions and individuals seeking selfish hierarchical exploitation of our precious planet and all its life-forms and resources.

Until now ignorance of our true identity and immortality, has resulted in humanity’s hallucination of separation from Nature, from each other, and from our sole Self and spirit, with consequent destructive insanity, selfishness and suffering.   

But now, facing ominous and enormous ecological, interpersonal and international crises which cannot be resolved from the same levels of consciousness which created them, we are at long last being awakened from our delusion of separateness and powerlessness. Spurred by increasing suffering and awareness of imminent catastrophe, we are finally dispelling the ignorance which has spawned these crises.

And we shall soon reach a tipping point, when a critical mass of Humankind will have awakened to the “secret of secrets”, uplifting all human consciousness and resolving harmoniously and compassionately the critical mess created by our prior unawareness of that “secret”.

Thus awakened, we shall harmoniously, cooperatively and lovingly resolve our common crises for our common good.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Ron’s commentary on the taboo against knowing who we really are.

The foregoing essay was inspired by the above Rumi “secret of secrets” quote, and by Alan Watts’:
“The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”, ©1966.

Watts was a brilliantly insightful, erudite and articulate UK philosopher, author, and teacher, with post-graduate degrees in Theology and Divinity. After five years as an ordained Episcopal priest, he ‘converted’ to Zen Buddhism and in 1951 moved to Marin County, California from the UK. Thereafter, until his death in 1973, Watts became a counterculture icon,
best-known for introducing Eastern philosophical and religious thought to Westerners.

I first learned about Watts’ teachings listening to KPFA Pacifica radio, Berkeley, which posthumously broadcast his lectures on Sunday nights, while I was driving for visits with my aged parents. Those broadcasts helped me to learn about Eastern wisdom and philosophy of spiritual evolution – of which I was previously ignorant.

Only after launching the Silly Sutras website in 2010 did I discover and read Watt’s 1966 “The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”. By then I concurred with Watts’ assertions about origins of the illusion of a separate ego self, and how that illusion is central to our ominous and enormous ecological, interpersonal and international crises.

Moreover, before 2010 I’d already learned about extreme psychological reluctance of most people to entertain or accept true facts contrary to their cherished beliefs about “reality”. And soon after President Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, I’d become quite aware of powerfully insidious Orwellian propaganda techniques used to ‘brainwash’ people about alleged truth of outrageous government lies, and to marginalize truth-telling dissidents by ridiculing them as “conspiracy theorists”, “kooks”, “foreign agents”, “communists”, or “socialists”, and blatantly censoring or dishonestly denying their ‘inconveniently’ truthful revelations.

So I concurred with Alan Watts’ contentions concerning a tacit taboo or conspiracy of silence against revealing our true identity and infinite potentiality. Thus I have composed the foregoing essay, and endorse Watts’ book “On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”, linked below as an audio book file.

Invocation

May these writings inspire our awakening to “the secret of secrets”, and thereby to irreversibly realize ourselves as uniquely interdependent expressions of ONE universal, ineffable and eternal Reality – the cosmic Self matrix of all Life everywhere.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Audio: Alan Watts: The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.



Other links:
https://binged.it/2E3SoYK
https://binged.it/2GzTYmG

Getting “IT” at est ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Perfection is a state in which things are the way they are,
and are not the way they are not.
As you can see, this universe is perfect.”
~ Werner Erhard, est




Before the divorce, I had attempted to find answers to my new questions by reading articles and books about parapsychology and psychic phenomena, but not about religious mysticism or spirituality, of which I was still ignorant. But upon living alone as a single person with a new life style, I gradually expanded my quest to weekend seminars and lectures where for the first time I began being exposed to Eastern spiritual ideas. The first seminars, “est” and “Silva Mind Control”, incorporated perennial Eastern ideas into a Western self-help context, and were of significant help for me.

When I became single again, est was well known and flourishing in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was then aggressively being promoted as a self-help “training” offering participants exceptional opportunity to radically transform their lives. It had begun in San Francisco five years earlier with a seminar conducted by its charismatic and controversial founder Werner Erhard attended by several hundred people.

Werner had creatively crafted the est training by incorporating self-help ideas he eclectically gathered from various sources and by expressing them epigrammatically and dramatically in his own original est jargon. Est attracted participants by hyperbolically promising to disclose and to experientially teach them esoteric principles of living a happy life, thereby providing them “space” for “getting IT”, an allegedly transformative epiphany which Werner claimed to have experienced while driving across the Golden Gate Bridge in March 1971.

So I was quite curious about est when I became single again. But still an uptight lawyer, I was reluctant to take the est training because of negative reports I’d heard about it and about Werner Erhard. Then Allen Chase, a childhood friend who – like me – was recently divorced, persuasively urged me to take the training by claiming to have been immensely helped by est. So I changed my mind and enrolled.

Thus, with lingering skepticism I attended a 1976 est training in Marin County, in a large hotel where I was joined by hundreds of others eager to “get IT” – the secret of a happy life. At the outset I had negative reactions and considerable resistance to what was happening.

The training was conducted in an hierarchical cult-like atmosphere by a man who talked like Werner, dressed like Werner, and appeared to be somewhat of a Werner clone. To present his ideas he often used a ‘Zen master stick approach’, which was sometimes harsh, profane, and authoritarian. All of this ‘turned me off’. Yet I remained interested and curious.

The trainer told us that the brain mostly functioned automatically as a self-perpetuating “tape” machine, pre-programmed to repeat over and over again the same mechanistic responses to similar situations facing people in their daily lives; that accordingly we’ve developed debilitating habits and beliefs, and have misidentified with the “voice in our head”. He promised us an opportunity to “be at cause, not effect” ; a chance to transcend these debilitating habits by “getting IT”, the alleged central truth of human existence.

Most of us had been lured to enroll by est promotions claiming that when you “got IT”, you got the secret of happiness. And on enrollment we had all signed confidentiality pledges against disclosing “IT”. So we all anxiously awaited our chance for a “getting IT” epiphany. Not until the final moments of the two weekend workshop did the trainer finally disclose “IT”.

AHAA! In est aphoristic jargon, “getting IT” meant realizing that: “What is, is, and what ain’t, ain’t.” ; that “the Truth is what’s so.”

Thus, getting “IT”, was the realization that one must accept “what is” in the present moment of your life; viz. to live happily accept yourself and everything and everyone in your life just as they are, without reflexively resisting or reacting to them, and “take responsibility” for all your responses, choices and actions.

Perhaps in gathering and formulating these ideas Werner was influenced by philosopher Alan Watts who (unknown to me) had taught them to small groups on his Sausalito houseboat prior to his death in 1974. For example, in a 1960 essay entitled “This is It”, Watt’s described the ‘enlightenment’ experience for which est later lured participants:

“To the individual thus enlightened it appears as a vivid and overwhelming certainty that the universe, precisely as it is at this moment, as a whole and in every one of its parts, is so completely right as to need no explanation or justification beyond what it simply is….the mind is so wonder-struck at the self-evident and self-sufficient fitness of things as they are, including what would ordinarily be thought the very worst, that it cannot find any word strong enough to express the perfection and beauty of the experience…The central core of the experience seems to be the conviction, or insight, that the immediate now, whatever its nature, is the goal and fulfillment of all living.”


Werner was less erudite in his presentations, but often more dramatically impactful, than was Dr. Watts. And his enigmatic illogical aphorisms motivated participants to reflect on important ideas about spiritual wisdom transcending “common wisdom”.

Retrospectively, I now see that Werner was astute in creating an extraordinary environment for the est trainings, because in that unusual environment participants were moved out of their habitual ways of thinking and experiencing the world – their left brain patterns – and thereby they were opened to seemingly illogical ‘right brain’ insights and experiences. That’s what happened to me.

After completing est, I remained annoyed and ‘turned off’ by est’s harsh, cult-like ambience and and hyperbolic promotions, but I felt that I had gotten considerable value for my large tuition payment. In fact, I was so glad that I had taken est that I soon urged my friends Dave Weiner and John Rubel to enroll.

The est training planted significant seeds for my spiritual evolution by presenting some important and intriguing ideas from perennial wisdom teachings – like disidentifying with the “voice in my head” and “acceptance of the present moment” – which were then new to me and which remain important after more than thirty years of experience, study and reflection.

Paradoxically, as I now “seek relief from belief” and gradually have winnowed and discarded as no longer useful many ideas and beliefs acquired and embraced since est, I realize that “IT” – acceptance of “what is” in the present moment – remains for me a core principle for living a happy life. And perhaps I was subconsciously influenced by Werner’s other wise teachings and aphorisms, which I didn’t then understand, or appreciate, like “Don’t change beliefs.  Transform the believer.”