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Posts Tagged ‘Aristotle’

Finding Lasting Happiness
~ Ron’s Memoirs

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,

the whole aim and end of human existence”

~ Aristotle
“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away. Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably. Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only. Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problems of human existence.”
~ Erich Fromm
“Our destiny is Divinity.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is a round trip metaphoric journey,
on which we are destined to return to point of origin.
On return, we learn – we never left.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Introduction to “How shall we find lasting happiness?”

Dear Friends,

We are all matriculating as supposed mortal body/minds on the illusory space/time Earth branch of the Great Cosmic University. We’re here to learn lasting happiness from our life experiences, especially from our karmic mistakes, pains and sufferings. We don’t ‘graduate’ until we learn to non-judgmentally accept everyone and everything everywhere in the Universe, (including ourselves and our enemies) with loving-kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Upon ‘graduation’ we find timeless happiness as LOVE, beyond all pain and suffering. There is no prescribed ‘graduation’ date.

But as we begin the ’second biannual semester’ of year 2021, I greet you with great news! The unprecedented “new normal” post-pandemic era of worldwide sufferings and interruptions of normal human life, has given us an unprecedented “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to co-create a new and wonderful world of lasting happiness, harmony and health, with peace, liberty, equality, and justice for all.

To explain how and why I optimistically foresee these blessings, I have today amended and posted the foregoing quotations and sutra sayings, and the following Q & A sutra essay about finding lasting happiness, with explanatory memoirs, and an updated “new normal” era addendum.

These wrings explain why unreal 3D linear time is being quickened by unique Aquarian age cosmic energies, and auspicious cyclical and astrological planetary alignments, to awaken a “critical mass” of humanity worldwide to our instinctive caring for one-another, which will impel us to follow our hearts to an unprecedented Earth-life era of Universal LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Q&A Sutra Essay: “How shall we find lasting happiness?”

Q. How shall we find lasting happiness?

A. We shall find lasting happiness upon transcending our illusionary ego-self, and Being our true SELF.

Knowingly or unknowingly, everyone wants lasting happiness.

However, most seek it futilely in outside worldly pleasures which are always impermanent.

But, ever abiding Happiness is our true inner nature – our eternal SELF – and our ultimate destiny.

So to find lasting happiness we must look within, not outside.

There mindfully we shall uncover and abolish all illusory ego-mind ideas which obscure awareness of our true SELF.

And upon so transcending our ego-self to BE our true SELF,
we shall find lasting happiness – as LOVE.


Ron’s memoir comments on “How shall we find lasting happiness?”

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered why the world seems so crazy? Why so many people suffer from wars, poverty, illness, lack of basic life-sustaining necessities? Why in the richest nation on Earth, suffering is everywhere? Why even super-rich people often become lonely, depressed, addicted, or mentally ill?

Growing up in Chicago in the 1930’s and 40’s, I was intuitively inspired by a then very popular “hit parade” song, titled: “Bluebird of Happiness” passionately sung by operatic tenor and Jewish cantor Jan Peerce. But only on now listening to that classic recording, do I appreciate its inspiring ever-relevant lyrics. (To uplift us linked below are an mp3 copy of that recording and a pdf copy of it’s lyrics.)

In the 1950’s I first began thinking that inhumanely materialistic organization of human societies was unnecessarily causing widespread conflicts and suffering; that much individual pathology was being caused by widespread societal insanity.

I was then deeply influenced by “The Sane Society” a brilliant philosophical analysis by author-psychotherapist Erich Fromm, about the pathology of ‘normalcy’ in our materialistic societies. In “The Sane Society” Fromm suggested that materialistic Western society was lacking in sanity; that the iniquities, inequities and disharmonies of entire societies were pathological, not just the seemingly separate mental illnesses of people therein.

But only after my mid-life change of life, did I begin deeply reflecting on root causes of such societal insanity and unhappiness. I began asking many new questions about our true identity and reality, individually and collectively.

Thanks to continuing curiosity, and divine Grace, I have often been synchronistically blessed with simple spiritual answers to mentally complicated questions about crazy behaviors in a crazy world; answers which have brought me ever-increasing happiness.

I’ve discovered that seemingly complicated questions about living a happy life can often be simply answered from elevated heart levels of awareness; that our experience of happiness depends upon our mental attitude, and upon self-identification as eternal spirit rather than as mere mortal bodies and their stories. And that, ultimately, lasting happiness can only be found within, as Love.

So I’ve shared the foregoing quotations, sutras and Q & A essay/poem, to help remind us of perennially profound but simple answers to seemingly complicated questions about happiness and suffering, and to help us discover that lasting happiness as Love is our true nature, and ultimate destiny.

Invocation

May these writings encourage our experience, individually and societally, of ever increasing inner happiness as Love, in a seemingly crazy world. And since ‘everything we think, do or say, changes this world in some way’, may we ‘contagiously’ help heal this crazy world with heartfelt Love as we realize that “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problems of human existence.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Tenor Jan Peerce singing “Bluebird of Happiness” >

Listen to

Jan Peerce – Bluebird of Happiness Lyrics

http://www.songlyrics.com/jan-peerce/bluebird-of-happiness-lyrics/
Artist: Jan Peerce
Album: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

The beggar man and the mighty king are only different in name,

For they are treated just the same by fate.

Today a smile and tomorrow a tear, we never know what’s in store.

So learn your lesson before it is too late.



So be like I, hold your head up high ’til you find the bluebird of happiness.

You will find greater peace of mind, knowing there’s a bluebird of happiness.

And when he sings to you, though you’re deep in blue

You will see a ray of light creep through

And so remember this, life is no abyss

Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness.



The poet with his pen, the peasant with his plow,

It makes no different who you are, it’s all the same somehow.

The king upon his throne, the jester at his feet,

the artist, the actress, the man on the street.


It’s a life of smiles and a life of tears
It’s a life of hopes and a life of fears.

A blinding torrent of rain and a brilliant burst of sun,

A biting tearing pain and bubbling sparkling fun.

And no matter what you have, don’t envy those you meet.

It’s all the same, it’s in the game, the bitter and the sweet.



And if things don’t look so cheerful, just show a little fight.

For every bit of darkness, there’s a little bit of light.

For every bit of hatred, there’s a little bit of love.

Fore every cloudy morning, there’s a midnight moon above.



So don’t you forget, you must search ’til you find the bluebird.

You will find peace and contentment forever, if you will be like I.

Hold your head up high, ’til you see a ray of light appear.

And so remember this, life is no abyss

Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness.


“New normal” era addendum and dedication

Dear Friends,

Today’s posting (which emphasizes the perennial necessity of looking within to find lasting happiness) was first written before the world entered the unprecedented “new normal” post-pandemic era of worldwide stay at home ‘lock-downs’, with anti-assembly, forced masking and anti-viral inoculations, social distancing decrees, and shutting down most normal human social and economic activities, which may cause history’s greatest economic depression.

As I now write to you, billions of suffering people world-wide, while not distracted by their normal activities, are looking within for origins and answers to humanity’s unprecedented outer problems. Thereby, they are now questioning the causes of current crises, and realizing that their governments have utterly failed to protect or serve their fundamental human rights, liberties and needs.

Thus a “critical mass” of humanity is awakening to discover that we’ve become catastrophically endangered by sacrificing our few remaining precious outer freedoms to uncaring autocratic political and corporate entities and “leaders”; that this has brought humankind to the brink of insanely ending Earth-life as we’ve known it.

Paradoxically, our collective awakening is completely opposite to the malefic intent of those who planned and perpetrated the current crisis to fearfully and physically control us in an Orwellian/dystopian world. Instead of being paralyzed by fear and panic, a “critical mass” of humankind are discovering that by following our hearts, rather than “leaders’” unfounded edicts, we have a unique opportunity to co-create a new and wonderful world of peace, happiness, harmony and health, with liberty, equality, and justice for all.

Because of unprecedented Aquarian age cosmic energies, and auspicious cyclical and astrological planetary alignments, exceptionally advantageous to spiritual evolution, the pre-planned post-pandemic “new normal”emergencies have given us this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.

Accordingly, I urge our joining billions of others worldwide as an awakened “critical mass” of humanity which will, at long last, peacefully end the insane and unsustainable pillaging, poisoning and plundering our precious planet, and of immorally exploiting all vulnerable people and other life forms thereon.

Dedication

May our “new normal” era sufferings
prove an immense disguised blessing.
May they awaken our instinctive caring for one-another,
and impel us to follow our hearts
to a unique Earth-life era of Universal LOVE.


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Why Do We Suffer?
~ Quotations, Questions and Explanations

“Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.” “In Buddhism, ignorance as the root cause of suffering refers to a fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena.” “We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity.”
~ Dalai Lama
“All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others.”
~ Shantideva (Buddhist master)
“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.” “When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now. Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”

~ Eckhart Tolle
“No pain, no gain!”
~ Proverb
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”
~ Buddhist saying
“Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon;
suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is…The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.”
~ Dan Millman
Q. “How Can We End Suffering?
A. Be a Buddha, be a Tara;
Say sayonara to samsara.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“In the school of life we suffer
to learn compassion for those who suffer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Compassion is born from understanding suffering. We all should learn to embrace our own suffering, to listen to it deeply, and to have a deep look into its nature.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards. Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind. It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . . .
Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap. If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”
~ Paramhansa Yogananda
“You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil. Or, you may keep your body and die only in the mind. The death of the mind is the birth of wisdom.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“All formations are ‘transient’ (anicca); all formations are ‘subject to suffering’ (dukkha); all things are ‘without a self’ (anatt ). Corporeality is transient, feeling is transient, perception is transient, mental formations are transient, consciousness is transient. And that which is transient, is subject to suffering. ”
~ Buddha
“When another person makes you suffer,
it is because he suffers deeply within himself,
and his suffering is spilling over.
He does not need punishment; he needs help.
That’s the message he is sending.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering.
When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go,
then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was
for you to drag those burdens around with you.
You’ll see that no one else other than you was responsible.
The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.”
~ Osho
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
~ Helen Keller
“My dear son, be patient, because the weaknesses of the body
are given to us in this world by God for the salvation of the soul.
So they are of t merit when they are borne patiently.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

~ Khalil Gibran
Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.
~ Aristotle
“[I]f the mind is attentive and does not move away from suffering at all, then you will see that out of total attention comes not only energy…but also that suffering comes to an end.”
“…when you suffer, psychologically, remain with it completely without a single movement of thought… Out of that suffering comes compassion.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
”As you would not like to change something very beautiful: the light of the setting sun, the shape of a tree in the field, so do not put obstacles in the way of suffering. Allow it to ripen, for with its flowering understanding comes. When you become aware of the wound of sorrow, without the reaction of acceptance, resignation or negation, without any artificial invitation, then suffering itself lights the flame of creative understanding.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“It is the truth that sets you free and not your effort to be free.
Suffering is but intense clarity of thoughts and feelings which makes you see things as they are.”
“I maintain that truth is a pathless land,
and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever,
by any religion, by any sect.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Shakyamuni_Buddha.


Introduction to “Why Do We Suffer?”

Dear Friends,

We are living in very difficult “new normal” times, with billions of people worldwide now enduring great stresses and sufferings. This posting is dedicated to helping us lessen our sufferings, and to enjoy increasing happiness despite unavoidable worldly problems and turmoil.

Although many of the ideas discussed in the foregoing quotations, and following Q & A essay and comments, are from Eastern teachings, they apply to all human suffering in this ever impermanent and illusory 3D world.

Q & A essay: “Why Do We Suffer?”

Q. The Buddha taught that human life entails unavoidable suffering (duhkha), but that we can be freed from suffering. Why do we suffer, and how can we be freed from suffering?

A. We suffer from ignorance (avidyâ) of our of our true self-identity and ‘reality’, and from our consequent egotistic thoughts, words and deeds, which subject us to the law of karma. Suffering ends when self-identity ignorance ends. Self-knowledge that we are Infinite Potentiality beyond conception, rather than merely mortal, separated, and limited physical persons, happens gradually as we learn from life experience.

Although enduring spiritual traditions propose different dsciplines for attaining such Self knowledge, they can not bestow it, but only point to the Self realization goal. Moreover, each person is unique, with a unique perspective and unique karmic history. So different methods may apply to different people.

An often recommended practice for overcoming such suffering is mindful introspection to identify, realize and transcend our unskillful inner tendencies.  Such attention and realization can gradually decrease and ultimately free us from mental suffering.


Ron’s Commentary on “Why Do We Suffer?”

Many years ago, as I was being treated for painful left leg injuries by Taoist master and Doctor of Chinese Medicine Sifu Wei Tsuei, I had an unforgettable experience.

During an acupuncture treatment, Sifu suddenly inserted a large metal needle into my left buttock, and I loudly exclaimed in pain, “OUCH!”. Whereupon Sifu responded,


“No pain, no gain!”


Then he quietly continued his treatment, which proved quite helpful.

Afterwards I often reflected on the wisdom of Sifu’s words, “No pain, no gain”, and learned they are a popular proverb. With human bodies we experience inevitable physical pain, which can be a crucial catalyst and incentive for spiritual evolution. As stated by another popular Buddhist proverb: 
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”.

Though we may not be free to choose our sometimes painful outer circumstances in life, we are always free to choose our psychological attitude about those circumstances.

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.” “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
~ Viktor E. Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning


Thus every painful earth life experience can be a disguised blessing furthering our spiritual evolution, and our ultimate transcendence of psychological suffering. And, the greater such suffering, the greater its potential blessing.

The foregoing important quotations and brief essay help explain why we suffer and how we can transcend psychological suffering. They are spiritual teachings which can help us suffer less, and live ever happier lives. So I urge our deep reflection on them.

Moreover, as mindfully we experience ever less suffering and ever more happiness, it becomes possible for some of us to realize that everything in human life is an enormous blessing.

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful
for the evolution of your consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not.
The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
~ Joseph Campbell


Addendum: Discussion of why “Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”

Dear Friends,

Hereafter I am privileged to share with you a (little known) profound colloquy about why we suffer between two of the most renowned Eastern spiritual teachers of the 20th century: Sri Ramana Maharshi, and Paramahansa Yogananda.

On Nov. 29th, 1935, Yogananda made a pilgrimage to holy Mt. Arunachala to meet Sri Ramana. During most of that day Ramana sat silently. However, he responded to a few questions from Yogananda, as follows:

Yogananda: How is the spiritual uplift of the people to be effected?
What are the instructions to be given them?

Maharshi: They differ according to the temperaments of the individuals and the spiritual ripeness of their minds. There cannot be any instruction en masse.

Yogananda: Why does God permit suffering in the world? Should He not with His omnipotence do away with it at one stroke and ordain the universal realization of God?

Maharshi: Suffering is the way for Realization of God.

Yogananda: Should He not ordain it differently?

Maharshi: It is the way.

Yogananda: Are yoga, religion, etc., antidotes to suffering?

Maharshi: Who suffers? What is suffering?

(Without responding to these rhetorical questions, Yogananda paused, arose and, prayed for Sri Ramana’s blessings for his own mission.)

Invocation.

With ever expanding and disciplined inner acceptance of inevitable outer problems, and with heartfelt compassion for the sufferings of all other sentient beings, may we

Remember with gratitude,
life is beatitude,

even its sorrows and pain;

For we’re all in God’s Grace,

every time, every place,

and

Forever (S)HE will reign!


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Solstice Salutations and Quotations
~ For a Happy World

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
~ Aristotle
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
~ Dalai Lama
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness,
and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”
~ Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
~ Buddha
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self.
Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi





Solstice Salutations and Quotations For a Happy World

Dear Friends,

Happy Summer Solstice!

With a new summer solstice sunlight zenith, let us envision the dawning of an Aquarian age of divine light, peace, compassion, and joy everywhere on our precious planet and beyond.

May we thereby rededicate ourselves to the Eternal Light of LOVE within and beyond everyone and everything on Earth; to THAT universal spirit of eternal light, love, harmony and happiness, which is the unseen Source of the worlds we see.  
 
And as we optimistically envision a new season of previously unimagined planetary peace and joy, may we be infused with unprecedented illumination and inspiration for harmoniously healing our beautiful blue planet and all its life-forms.

To help inspire us, hereafter posted is a collection of wisdom words about finding timeless happiness. Please enjoy and accordingly consider these inspiring quotations.


Perennial Wisdom Words About Finding Happiness:

“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21

“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”
~ Ramana Maharshi

“Happiness comes when your work and words
are of benefit to yourself and others.”
~ Buddha

“The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul;
one must try to include, as necessary to one’s own happiness,
the happiness of others.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not: what is the purpose of life? From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.
That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not,
whether one believes in this religion or that religion,
we all are seeking something better in life.
So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”
~ Dalai Lama

“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away.
Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“There is only one life and one world, and this one life and one world is appearing to us . . . . like a dream. . .You do not live in your dreams. The dreams come one after another; scene after scene unfolds before you.
So it is in this world of ninety per cent misery and ten per cent happiness. Perhaps after a while it will appear as ninety per cent happiness, and we shall call it heaven. But a time comes to the sage when the whole thing vanishes, and this world appears as God Himself, and his own soul as God. It is not therefore that there are many worlds; it is not that there are many lives. All . . is the manifestation of that ONE.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

“He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.”
“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“Find ecstasy in life;
the mere sense of living is joy enough.”
~ Emily Dickinson

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.
Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,
go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.
Think of the beauty that again and again
discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”
~ Anne Frank

“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“We are formed and molded by our thoughts.
Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts
give joy when they speak or act.
Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.”
~ Buddha

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

“When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now.
Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Happiness does not depend on how the furniture is arranged –
it depends on how I arrange my mind.”
“When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.”
“Simply put, you believe that things or people make you unhappy,
but this is not accurate.
You make yourself unhappy.”
~ Wayne Dyer

“The surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.”
“If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
happiness follows like a shadow.”
~ Buddha

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates

“Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.”
~ Aristotle

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live
that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
~ Epictetus

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

“Cultivate compassion; harvest happiness.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”
~ Richard Wagner

“I am happy even before I have a reason.”
~ Hafiz

“The superior man is always happy.”
~ Confucius

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”
~ Chuang-Tzu

“By letting it go it all gets done.
The world is won by those who let it go.
But when you try and try,
the world is beyond the winning.”
~ Lao Tzu

“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?
Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.”
~ William Blake

“Always be joyful. That is the only truly saintly state.”
~ Teresa of Avila

“Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service,
and have a definite object in life
outside themselves and their personal happiness”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore

“Somehow not only for Christmas
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing
Returns to make you glad.
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination”
~ Mark Twain

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,
it only saps today of its joy.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

“Some cause happiness wherever they go;
others whenever they go.”
~ Oscar Wild


Closing Invocations:

May we consciously and cooperatively participate together in co-creating an ever better world – Happy, Harmonious and Peaceful – as we intend and envision it to be.

May we so become infused and used as instruments of Light and Love for everyone and everything everywhere – on Solstice Holidays and Always!

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so may 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

What Is Life?
~ Quotations and Sutras

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






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

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

Ron Rattner

“What Is Life?” ~ Quotations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Crowfoot, 1890

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What Is Life? ~ Sutra Sayings

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

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

What Is Life?
Life is awakened Awareness.

What Is Life?
Life is aliveness.

What Is Life?
Life is BEING, not doing.

Life is BEING, not becoming.

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

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

depends upon the meaning of death.

When we Know the meaning
of both life and death,

we shall Know no death
–
only awakened Awareness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is Life?
Life is an evolutionary learning process.

Gleaning meaning in matter,

we learn all that matters —

we learn all that matters is

LOVE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

Invocation

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Is Earth-life Purposeful?

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

Gleaning meaning in matter,
we learn all that matters –

we learn all that matters is LOVE!”

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

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

~ Richard Bach





Is Earth-life Purposeful?

Q. Is Earth-life purposeful?

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

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

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

Our purpose is process – evolutionary process.

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

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

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

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

We learn until we leave.

But, we don’t leave until we learn –

LOVE!


Footnote.

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




Ron’s Comments on Life’s Purpose

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

Background  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A.  Why were we born? To love THEE!  

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

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

Invocation

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Pursuit of Happiness
~ Quotations

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

~ Chuang-Tzu
“All happiness comes from the desire for others to be happy.”
~ Shantideva
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,

which is within.”

~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21





Introduction.

Dear Friends,

Everyone wants lasting happiness; no-one wants to suffer. For millennia great mystics have revealed that ever abiding Happiness is our true inner nature – our Self. So how do we discover and experience such Happiness?

This posting is a carefully selected collection of wisdom quotations about the Pursuit of Happiness which reveal perennial insights to the fundamental happiness goal of every human being – whether or not they knowingly follow an enduring religious, spiritual, or ethical path or principle.

These Pursuit of Happiness quotations follow my recent posting about why everyone wants happiness, which suggested that incarnation is limitation and that lasting happiness can only be found in transcendence of ego and merger with Source, after eons of inner evolution with ever elevated heart levels of awareness.

Today’s quotations provide pragmatic insights into ways which can help everyone experience increasing happiness as we evolve beyond ego to Self-identification as Eternal spirit, rather than as mere mortal bodies and their stories. They can help each of us from our unique perspectives find our most suitable path to lasting happiness.

Because we’re each unique with ever fluctuating enegies and unique evolutionary perspectives, different ‘pursuit of happiness’ quotations may apply to different people, concurrently or at different times. Therefore, as you carefully consider these quotations, please follow your heart to determine which ones and when they may apply to your unique perspectives.

Namasté!

Ron Rattner


Pursuit of Happiness ~ Quotations


We hold these truths to be self evident:

that all men are created equal:

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;

that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Declaration of Independence


“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”

~ Dalai Lama


“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”

~ Dalai Lama

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Material progress and a higher standard of living bring us greater comfort and health, but do not lead to a transformation of the mind, which is the only thing capable of providing lasting peace. Profound happiness, unlike fleeting pleasures, is spiritual in nature. It depends on the happiness of others and it is based on love and affection.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Those who are not looking for happiness
are the most likely to find it,
because those who are searching forget that
the surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others.”
~ Martin Luther King,Jr.

“Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.”
“If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
happiness follows like a shadow.”
~ Buddha

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus

“The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates

“Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.”
~ Aristotle

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live
that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
~ Epictetus

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
“Very little is needed to make a happy life;
it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
~ Marcus Aurelius

“Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!”
~ Rumi

“There is only one way to happiness
and that is to cease worrying about things
which are beyond the power of our will.”
~ Epictetus

“The people have a right to the truth
as they have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
~ Epictetus

“A happy life consists in tranquility of mind.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

“If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy.
But if you make up your mind to be happy,
no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.

Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,

go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.

Think of the beauty that again and again 
discharges itself within and without you,

and be happy.”

~ Anne Frank

“Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.
You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature.
Remember that the law works at all times and that you are always demonstrating according to the kind of thoughts you habitually entertain.
Therefore, start now to think only those thoughts that will bring you health and happiness.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase;

if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”

~ C. P. Snow



“Don’t seek happiness.  If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.  Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is, rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well­being  and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

“By letting it go it all gets done.

The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try,

the world is beyond the winning.”

~ Lao Tzu

“I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right.
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you,
but if you turn your attention to other things,
it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?
If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
~ Lao Tzu

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

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

~ Lao Tzu


“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?

Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away.
Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.

What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



“I am happy even before I have a reason.”

~ Hafiz


The word “happiness” would lose its meaning

if it were not balanced by sadness.

~ Carl Jung



“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;

it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast



Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
~ Dalai Lama
“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ Dalai Lama
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self. Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi.
“The purpose of religious lectures and sermons is to awaken in you that irresistible soul-longing for Him.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The desire to be one with God is the greatest of all.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The soul of man has been separated from its source, wandering in exile in a strange land – “I am stranger on earth” (Psalm 119:19-20) – ever yearning to return to that from which it first sprang, and cleave to the Soul of all souls.”
~ Ba’al Shem Tov, Hasidic master
“O God, you are my God – for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, like a land parched, lifeless and without water.”
~ Psalm 63:1
“The longing to go back to the source is present in each being from the very time that it is separated from the source by the veil of ignorance.”
~ Meyer Baba




Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?

Q. Why do all people want to be happy?

A. In seeking happiness, everyone is really seeking Self.

Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously, no matter who or where we are, no matter our age, gender or culture, all humans share a universal and irresistible instinct and desire to return to a soul-remembered original state of Divine Love, Peace and Oneness – a transcendent state beyond words or thoughts so marvelous that its subliminal memory magnetically attracts every sentient being to merge and be At-One with It.

No matter how spiritually evolved we may become, all incarnate human life-forms experience limitation and separation from Source. Though rare beings in deep meditation may transcend this state of seeming separation and limitation, it recurs when they are impelled to return to physicality or subtle form.

Thus great devotional beings like Rumi and Hafiz constantly yearned to return to the Beloved; ever longed for eternal transcendence of the inevitable limitations and sufferings of physical existence.

Rumi said:

From my first breath I have longed for Him –
This longing has become my life.
This longing has seen me grow old. . . .

Hafiz expressed his endless longing thusly:

“My soul endures a magnificent longing. … My pen does not have the ability to describe my condition of intense longing due to separation.”

Sri Ramana Maharshi, renowned twentieth century non-dualist sage, even after attaining self realization, reported regularly shedding tears of longing and devotion during visits to the ancient Meenakshi temple in Madurai. In recounting his experience, Maharshi explained that:

“The spirit therefore longed to have a fresh hold and hence the frequent visits to the temple and the overflow of the soul in profuse tears.”


This phenomenon of infinite longing of even “enlightened” beings was explained by Mother Meera in dialogue with spiritual author and teacher Andrew Harvey, and recounted as follows:

“Even avatars have to desire to be in God in every moment. And when avatars die, they desire with all their being to be united with God. ….. Look at Ramakrishna. How much he wept and prayed for the Divine Mother.”
~ Mother Meera to Andrew Harvey, “Hidden Journey”, Page 236


Thus, incarnation is limitation, and knowingly or unknowingly all beings – even sages – long for transcendence of that limitation. For most humans longing for transcendence is subliminal and experienced as wanting worldly contentment. But what we really seek is return to a soul-remembered state of timeless Oneness beyond any state of mind, beyond conception or imagination.

So, in seeking happiness, what we really seek is Source or Self.


Ron’s Explanation of “Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations and essay help explain why (knowingly or unknowingly) everyone wants lasting happiness.

For millennia wisdom teachers have counseled that
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy” (Dalai Lama). 
 
And to find timeless happiness they tell us e.g. to 
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven, which is within.”  (Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21)

Most incarnate humans perceive and project their self-identity reality only as impermanent mortal beings supposedly separate from Nature and eternally indivisible inner Self-awareness.  And thus we futilely seek – but cannot find – lasting happiness through ever passing worldly pleasures and satisfactions, rather than through inner Self-identity as immortal spirit.  

“Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?” suggests that all beings at least subliminally long for eternal happiness and transcendence of inevitable earthly limitations; that knowingly or unknowingly what we all really seek is return to a soul-remembered state of timeless Oneness as LOVE – beyond mental description, conception or imagination.
 
Thus, even elevated mystics like supreme Sufi poet masters Rumi and Hafiz reveal (in above quotations) their life-long tearful yearnings and longings for return to God.

Perhaps such life-long yearnings, by even the most elevated mystics or sages, can help us understand why inevitably incarnation is limitation.  

And, perhaps our inevitable longings will inspire a new earthly era, as envisioned by Indian Sage Sri Aurobindo, who said:

“The goal is not to lose oneself in the Divine Consciousness.
 The goal is to let the Divine Consciousness penetrate into Matter and transform it.”

~ Sri Aurobindo – The Mother 15: p.191

Invocation

As each of us is drawn by irresistible inner longing toward Oneness with Eternal Light,
may we become instruments of Divine Consciousness on Earth.

And, let us thereby envision and exemplify an era of lasting peace of mind and happiness
for everyone everywhere.

And so may it be! 

Ron Rattner

Vision and Perception
~ Quotations and Sutra Sayings

“The Master observes the world,
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is as open as the sky.”

~ Lao Tzu
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery
“I saw the angel in the marble
and carved until I set him free.”
~ Michelangelo
“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~William Blake
“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
~ Edgar Allan Poe
“Where there is no vision, people perish.”
~ Proverbs 29:18
“True vision is insight, not eyesight.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Vision and Perception Quotations and Sutra Sayings

“Let the waters settle,

you will see stars and moon

mirrored in your Being.”
~ Rumi

”Shut your eyes so the heart may become your eye,
and with that vision look upon another world.”
~ Rumi

“Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception
resembles more than anything else
that celestial source from which we all are come.”
~ Michelangelo

“Your vision will become clear
only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens.”
~ Carl Jung

“The question is not what you look at,
but what you see.”
”I begin to see an object
when I cease to understand it.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Love and fear represent two different lenses
through which to view the world.
Which I choose to use
will determine what I think I see.”
~ Marianne Williamson

”Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees
takes off his shoes.”
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“The eye with which I see God
is the same eye with which God sees me.”
~ Meister Eckhart

“The eyes of the soul of the multitudes
are unable to endure the vision of the Divine.”
~ Plato

“People only see what they are prepared to see.”
”We are immersed in beauty,
but our eyes have no clear vision.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“People think that they see,
but they don’t.”
~ Henry Moore

“Everyone takes the limits of his own vision
for the limits of the world.”
~ Arthur Schopenhauer

“As a man is, so he sees.
As the eye is formed, such are its powers.”
~ William Blake

“The most pathetic person in the world
is someone who has sight,
but has no vision.”
~ Helen Keller

“As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind,
so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.”
~ Helen Keller

”When the sun rises,
do you not see a round disc of fire
somewhat like a guinea?
O no, no, I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host
crying Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”
~ William Blake

“There are many paths to the top of the mountain,
but the view is always the same.”
~ Chinese Proverb

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile
the moment a single man contemplates it,
bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
~ Antoine De Saint-Exupery

“Nothing exists until or unless it is observed.
An artist is making something exist by observing it.
And his hope for other people is
that they will also make it exist by observing it.
I call it creative observation. Creative viewing.”
~ William S. Burroughs

“The soul never thinks without a mental picture.”
~ Aristotle

“For light I go directly to the Source of light,
not to any of the reflections.”
~ Peace Pilgrim

“Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision
to recognize it as such.”
~ Henry Miller

“Because our entire universe is made up of consciousness,
we never really experience the universe directly;
we just experience our consciousness of the universe,
our perception of it – so … our only universe is perception.”
~ Alan Moore

“Perception is a mirror not a fact.
And what I look on
is my state of mind, reflected outward.”
~ A Course In Miracles

”The gull sees farthest who flies highest.”
~ Richard Bach

“Everything in the Universe,
throughout all its kingdoms,
is conscious:
i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind
and on its own plane of perception.”
~H. P. Blavatsky

“In the ultimate stillness
Light penetrates the whole realm;
In the still illumination,
There pervades pure emptiness.
When I look back on the
Phenomenal world,
Everything is just
Like a dream.”
~ Han-shan Te-Ch’ing

“We are such stuff As dreams are made on,
and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.”
~ William Shakespeare

“You can’t depend on your eyes
when your imagination is out of focus.”
~ Mark Twain

“Behold:
Reality’s Essence
is Divine Luminescence.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Seeing the Invisible is Knowing the Ineffable.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Cast your glance inwardly,
and gaze there ‘til you’ll surely see,
beyond supposed mortality
you’ll ever be Divinity!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


What Choice Do We Have?

“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“Excellence is never an accident.
It is always the result of high intention,
sincere effort, and intelligent execution;
it represents the wise choice of many alternatives
– choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
~ Aristotle
“Inflamed by greed, incensed by hate, confused by delusion,
overcome by them, obsessed by mind, a man chooses for his own affliction, for others’ affliction, for the affliction of both and experiences pain and grief.”
~ Buddha
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life.”
~ Deuteronomy 30:19

“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Friedrich Schiller
“The only difference between a human being and a stone rolling down a hill, is that the human being thinks he is in charge of his own destiny.”

~ Baruch Spinoza
“We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The assumption of an absolute determinism
is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”

~ Max Planck
“In Hinduism, the very idea of free will is non-existent,
so there is no word for it.

Will is commitment, fixation, bondage.” . .

“To be free in the world you must be free of the world.

Otherwise your past decides for you and your future.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice.

Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”

“…Choice in every form is conflict. Contradiction is inevitable in choice; this contradiction, inner and outer breeds confusion and misery.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Q. “Are only the important events in a man’s life,

such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined,

or are trifling acts also, such as taking a cup of water or
moving from one part of the room to another?”


A.  “Everything is predetermined.”

~ Ramana Maharshi

 



Introduction to What Choice Do We Have?

Dear Friends,

The forgoing quotations and following poem and comments concern the perennial puzzle of freedom of choice versus fate or destiny. They summarize perspectives which I still endorse, after composing the poem many years ago during an extended period of post-retirement reclusion.

Please forgive redundancies in this posting. Long-ago I investigated and accepted non-dualism determinism philosophy. So today I have no choice but to ask again “What Choice Do We Have?”.

Explanations and reflections about choice versus destiny are offered in comments after the poem. Enjoy!

Ron Rattner


What Choice Do We Have?

Ego is free to choose,
But is never free.

Self does not choose,
But is ever free.

Our only choice
Is to accept or reject
“What is”.

Acceptance is pleasure;
Rejection is suffering.

Acceptance is freedom;
Rejection is bondage.

Acceptance is NOW;
Rejection is then.

So, if choose you must,
Then with faith and trust,

Say “YES” to Life –

NOW!



Ron’s audio recitation of “What Choice Do We Have?”

Listen to



Ron’s explanations and reflections on “What Choice Do We Have?”

Dear Friends,

Except for rare Buddha-like beings who Self-identify only as Universal Awareness – as Absolute – the vast majority of Humans mentally self-identify with their “soap operas” as supposedly separate ego entities in space and time.

And as long as we believe ourselves to be such separate entities, we invariably experience apparent freedom of choice, but are subject to the law of cause and effect, with separate destinies and inevitable karmic consequences.

We have apparent freedom of choice only until we transcend our mental illusion of separation. Whereupon we realize freedom from choice.

If there is no entity separate from Universal Awareness, how can there be any separate choice or destiny? When a mirage bubble bursts into the Ocean of Awareness, it exists only as the Ocean, without supposed separate choice or destiny.

As great beings recurrently remind us, all we call “reality” is an ever impermanent illusory mental mirage, maya or samsara. We transcend or end that mutable mirage, as we experience its Absolute Source and Essence as pure and undivided Universal Awareness.

Quantum science shows us 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 an ineffable matrix of mystery.

“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


“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free 
but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”
~ Albert Einstein


“The assumption of an absolute determinism
is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”

~ Max Planck


For millennia mystical inner explorers have experienced that matrix of mystery through transcendentally elevated awareness, and they have realized that the sole Source of what we call “reality” is ineffable Universal Awareness – Consciousness beyond mental description, conception, or belief.

So from a non-dualist “Buddha’s eye view” our supposedly separate space/time “reality” isn’t really Real – it’s just an immaterial energy mirage; and our beliefs about it – including free choice and destiny – are mere mental illusions.

“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


Suggestion

Whether or not we can agree that whatever happens in space/time “reality” is karmically predestined – that earth-life is like a pre-programmed dream – I have found that assuming predestination can help us find happiness.

We can experience ever growing peace of mind by more and more refraining from exercising apparent freedom of choice, and accepting each moment with the attitude that it could not be otherwise; that everything is happening in the best way and at the best time – as an evolutionary opportunity and incentive. 

So, I sincerely invite your careful consideration of today’s profound quotations and “What Choice Do We Have?” poem. 

Invocation

May these writings help all of us find increasing happiness by accepting difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, and by finding blessings in unexpected interactions with others.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner