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Posts Tagged ‘Divinity’

When Does Life Begin?

“Whence come I and whither go I?
That is the great unfathomable question,
the same for every one of us.
Science has no answer to it.”
~ Max Planck

“The two most important days in your life

are the day you are born

and the day you find out why.”

~ Mark Twain

“Death is truly part of life …
‘what we called death is merely a concept’.”

“This happens at the gross level of the mind.

But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call ‘clear light.’”

~ Dalai Lama

“Birth and death are virtual,

but Life is perpetual.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“As we lose our fear of leaving life,

we gain the art of living life.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Introduction to When Does Life Begin?

Dear Friends,

The following mystical poem (composed many years ago) rhetorically questions our ideas of birth and death. It whimsically asks and answers the unanswerable question – When Does Life Begin?

Explanations and interpretations are included in comments which follow the verses. Please enjoy!

Ron Rattner


When Does Life Begin?

Q. When does life begin?

A. Never.

Life never begins,
because it never ends.

Life transcends time.
Life is timeless.

Human conception, birth and death are virtual,
but Life is perpetual.

So, the beginning of Life,
or the end of Life,
are self-contradictory ideas arising in,
and subsumed by –

Eternal Mystery.



Ron’s audio recitation of “When Does Life Begin?”

Listen to



Ron’s Explanation of “When Does Life Begin?”

Dear Friends,

The word “Life” is an idea – a mental concept arising in human consciousness – with different meanings for different people. Definitions of “life” can differ when applied to space/time, to phenomenal realms beyond space/time, or to Ultimate Reality beyond conception, comprehension, imagination, or description.  (See e.g. my speculations about the meanings of “Life” at https://sillysutras.com/what-is-life/)

Throughout human history philosophers have wondered about the purpose or significance of “life” on Earth. And for millennia rare mystics and other inner explorers have reportedly discovered in deep meditation an infinitely potential Universal Awareness – which is the sole Source of all we call the “real world”; an indescribable ultimate and trancendant Reality beyond space/time’, yet everywhere immanent in it.

In Buddhist and other enduring spiritual teachings birth and death are inherent in “life”; which at subtle mind levels metaphorically continues after physical death and before rebirth.   Thus the Dali Lama says that according to Tibetan Buddhism:

“Death is truly part of life …
‘what we called death is merely a concept’.”

“This happens at the gross level of the mind.

But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call ‘clear light.’”

~ Dalai Lama

Most humans self-identify as mortal beings, and fear inevitable physical death, believing it ends life. But fear of death deters our spiritual evolution and loving behaviors, and causes karmic suffering.

So today’s poem and quotations are offered to enigmatically inspire our spiritual evolution beyond fear of death, and toward experiencing ever elevated levels “life”, with ever growing happiness and fulfillment of our deepest aspirations.

Invocation

May these teachings about “life”
help us realize that physical death is normal and necessary,

and not to be feared;

that it opens us to ever expanding

new vistas of self-discovery and fulfillment

of our deepest aspirations as eternal souls;

that beyond physical birth and death

we are destined to discover and enjoy

ever increasing inner peace and happiness,

until we melt and merge with Mystery –
The mystery of Divinity.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Swami Vivekananda: 15 Laws of Life

Love Is The Law Of Life:
All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. 
Love is therefore the only law of life.
He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. 
Therefore, love for love’s sake,
because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.”

~ Swami Vivekananda
“…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]
‘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 [Jnana Yoga]
“Your own will is all that answers prayer,
only it appears under the guise
of different religious conceptions to each mind.
We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”
~ Swami Vivekananda [Jnana Yoga]
“But if there is ever to be a universal religion, it must be one which will hold no location in place or time; which will be infinite, like the God it will preach; whose Sun shines upon the followers of Krishna or Christ, saints or sinners, alike; which will not be the Brahman or Buddhist, Christian or Mohammedan, but the sum total of all these, and still have infinite space for development; which in its Catholicity will embrace in its infinite arms and find a place for every human being … It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polity, which will recognize a divinity in every man or woman, and whose whole scope, whose whole force, will be centered in aiding humanity to realize its divine nature.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

 

Swami Vivekananda, January 12, 1863 – July 4, 1902 *


Photo Inscription. *In September 1893 in Chicago, USA, Swami Vivekananda reverently autographed this photo with the handwritten inscription:

“One infinite pure and holy –
beyond thought beyond qualities
I bow down to thee”
.


Introduction.

Today we honor Swami Vivekananda, the great 19th century Indian sage and orator, and founder of Western Vedanta Societies, on his forthcoming 158th birthday anniversary.

As principle disciple of Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Vivekananda first brought universal Indian wisdom to large Western audiences beginning as Indian delegate to the historic 1893 Chicago Parliament of World Religions, where his opening remarks famously addressed his “Sisters and Brothers of America”, and concluded with this prayerful invocation:

“I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.”


[Reenacted excerpts from his Parliament speeches are linked below.]

Thereupon and thereafter Vivekananda eloquently explained to Westerners ancient perennial principles of Hinduism, and why according to Advaita Vedanta philosophy this impermanent and ever changing world of space, time and causality is illusory; that “In the Absolute there is neither time, space nor causation.”

Though Vedic rishis or seers had anticipated Einstein’s 1905 theory of relativity by millennia, their teachings were largely unknown in the West until first explained by Vivekananda soon before Einstein revolutionized Western science.

Vivekananda experientially had realized as impermanent and illusory the appearance of our space, time, causality reality. From his rare level of nondualist consciousness he shared many wise perennial teachings to guide our lives on Earth, including the “Fifteen Laws of Life”, which follow.

Written over a hundred years ago, these wisdom teachings remain relevant worldwide in current critical times.

May they deeply inspire and guide us to help heal the World by realizing and experiencing their fundamental truths.


Swami Vivekananda: 15 Laws of Life.

1. Love Is The Law Of Life: All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore, love for love’s sake, because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.

2. It’s Your Outlook That Matters: It is our own mental attitude, which makes the world what it is for us. Our thoughts make things beautiful; our thoughts make things ugly. The whole world is in our own minds. Learn to see things in the proper light.

3. Life is Beautiful: First, believe in this world – that there is meaning behind everything. Everything in the world is good, is holy and beautiful. If you see something evil, think that you do not understand it in the right light. Throw the burden on yourselves!

4. It’s The Way You Feel: Feel like Christ and you will be a Christ; feel like Buddha and you will be a Buddha. It is feeling that is the life, the strength, the vitality, without which no amount of intellectual activity can reach God.

5. Set Yourself Free: The moment I have realised God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him – that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.

6. Don’t Play The Blame Game: Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.

7. Help Others: If money helps a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better.

8. Uphold Your Ideals: Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.

9. Listen To Your Soul: You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.

10. Be Yourself: The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves!

11. Nothing Is Impossible: Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin – to say that you are weak, or others are weak.

12. You Have The Power: All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.

13. Learn Everyday: The goal of mankind is knowledge… now this knowledge is inherent in man. No knowledge comes from outside: it is all inside. What we say a man ‘knows’, should, in strict psychological language, be what he ‘discovers’ or ‘unveils’; what man ‘learns’ is really what he discovers by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge.

14. Be Truthful: Everything can be sacrificed for truth, but truth cannot be sacrificed for anything.

15. Think Different: All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.


Ron’s Dedication.

This posting honors both Swami Vivekananda and his renowned Spiritual Master, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, whose lives and teachings have been extraordinarily inspirational for countess beings, including me. Additionally it honors my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi, who was also inspired by Vivekananda.

Vivekananda considered Shri Ramakrishna as “higher and nobler than all ordinary” teachers, and attributed all his powers to Ramakrishna, saying:

“All that I am . . is owing to my Master, Shri Ramakrishna, who incarnated and experienced and taught this wonderful unity which underlies everything, having discovered it alike in Hinduism, in Islam, and in Christianity.” [His] “One touch, one glance, can change a whole life.”


Synchronistically, my Guruji Shri Dhyanyogi – who was another one of those rare great beings whose “One touch, one glance, can change a whole life.” – was crucially inspired and helped by Vivekananda. 

The fascinating story of how this happened is told in “This House is on Fire, The Life of Shri Dyanyogi”, pp  61-64, by Shri Anandi Ma.

After fifteen years of solitary wandering in rural India Guruji had a dramatically transformative vision of Vivekanda, who assured Guruji that he would reach his spiritual goal. 

Soon thereafter Guruji discovered and was enthralled by Vivekananda’s teachings published in the book Raja Yoga, which included his apt lectures in the West, and commentaries explaining Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, widely accepted as a foundational Sanskrit text of  Raja Yoga philosophy. 

Guruji continuously read and re-read Vivekandanda’s Raja Yoga book, like a scripture, and ultimately he repeatedly recommended it to his disciples, including me.

Invocation.

May these precious wisdom teachings continue to inspire and guide countless people worldwide in current critical times.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Reenacted audio excerpts from Vivekananda talks at 1893 Chicago Parliament of World Religions.








From Darkness To Light

“And God said,
“Let there be light,”
and there was light.”
~ Genesis 1:3-4
The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
~ Isaiah 9:2
 “See, I will create new heavens
and a new earth.”
~ Isaiah 65:17
“The night is as bright as the day.”  
“Darkness and light are both alike.”  
~ Psalms 139:10-11
For nothing is hidden,
except to be revealed;
nor has anything been secret,
but that it would come to light.
~ Mark 4:22
“I wish I could show you
when you are lonely or in the darkness,

the astonishing light of your own being.”

~ Hafiz
Into my heart’s night

Along a narrow way
 I groped;

and lo! the light,

An infinite land of day.

~ Rumi
“Do not be sad.
For God sends hope in the darkest moments. 
The heaviest rain comes from the darkest clouds.” 
~ Rumi




From Darkness To Light

Dear Friends,

We are immensely privileged to observe a pivotal time in human history,
as Humankind passes from a violently fearful and dark era to an age of lasting peace, light, and liberation.

With the December 21, 2020 Winter Solstice, we are about to emerge from eons of outer darkness to a new age of inner eternal Light; from an evil epoch of collective psychosis which threatens to end all our inherent freedoms, virtues and values, to an evolutionarily “enlightened” new Aquarian age of freedom, courage, honesty and Love.

Time is perpetual in our space/time relativity “reality”.  So until we transcend illusory ego mind thoughts of separation from Source, every ending is a new beginning in time. And the ending of the age of Pisces and beginning of the age of Aquarius is a marvelous turning point in modern human history, with unprecedented opportunities for realizing blessings of Divine Love.

In this new Aquarian age many souls will be blessed to ascend to previously unknown levels of human consciousness, by emanating and radiating harmonious heart levels of loving serenity and calmness. But such ascension with Love will require consciously opening to Divine Grace.

“Love cannot be learned or taught.

Love comes as Grace.”

~ Rumi
“The winds of grace are always blowing,

but you have to raise the sail.”

~ Sri Ramakrishna

For ascension to elevated states of human awareness, we must individually and collectively radiate heartfelt loving energies, without harmful thoughts and emotions of helplessness, anxiety, aggression or hatred, which invariably weaken us and reify illusory egoic separation from each other and Nature.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We can open our hearts to such ascension by realizing that these dreamlike dark and dystopian times cannot threaten or harm us, because our true immortal identity and Reality is the Eternal LIGHT and LOVE of Universal Awareness.

So let us calmly, peacefully and harmoniously observe current psychopathic space/time events like a projected movie or “Light Show” – just a dreamlike ever changing illusory play of Universal Awareness.

Thereby we will avert harmful reflexive reactions or judgments about what we see or learn, especially revelations of crimes or betrayals by those we’ve trusted.

Conclusion

This is a pivotal time in human history, when much of humankind will ascend to loving higher states of consciousness and spiritual freedom.

We are immensely fortunate to witness and cooperatively participate in so raising humanity’s collective consciousness, as we return to inner Source.

Invocation

Whatever happens in this ever impermanent illusory world of inevitable karmic suffering, 
may we never forget our eternal immortality and spiritual Oneness with Nature and all Earth-life, 
and may we ever emanate and widely radiate universal peace and happiness,
while realizing that this world is like a projected movie or “light show” –
just a dreamlike ever changing illusory play of Universal Awareness.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Humility ~ Sutra Sayings

Humility grows as ego goes.
The smaller the ego,
the greater the being.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction

Posted today are three related articles about “humility” as a supreme spiritual virtue. Please consider them collectively.

The first article, is a Q and A essay which defines humility and explains why it is considered a great spiritual virtue inversely associated with “ego”; the second article includes many important quotations about humility; and this third article lists (with an mp3 audio recitation) numerous Sutra Sayings which epigrammatically elucidate humility.

Humility ~ Sutra Sayings

Humility grows as ego goes.
The smaller the ego,
the greater the being.

Humility is next to godliness.
No one enters the highest heaven
believing s/he belongs there.

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

We ever evolve
As our boundaries dissolve.

The essence of nobility

is not heredity,
but humility;
not pedigree,
but integrity.

To name and define
is to constrain and confine.
So, to be free,
be a nameless nobody.

The more we know we’re no one,
the more we’re seen as someone.

So BE nobody nowhere


NOW!


Ron’s recitation of Humility Sutra Sayings

Listen to


Dedication and Invocation

In these critical times of immense suffering and jeopardy, yet unprecedented opportunity, let us join together with utmost love and humility in envisioning our precious planet democratically ruled bottom-up by humble, peaceful and compassionate citizens, rather than top-down by insensitive and egotistic purported “leaders” who are emotionally sociopathic or psychopathic.

May these biblical passages prove prescient:

Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
~ Proverbs 16:18


God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.
~ James 4:6


And so shall it be.

Ron Rattner

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

Saint Francis of Assisi: His Life and His Prayer

Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon
“All the darkness in the world can’t extinguish the light from a single candle.”
~ Francis Of Assisi (The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi)
“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
~ Francis of Assisi
“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”
~ Francis Of Assisi
“Vi volglio tutti in paradisio!” [ “I wish all in heaven!”]
~ Francis of Assisi
“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.”
~ Francis of Assisi
“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”
“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”
~ Francis of Assisi


Praying to Brother Sun and Sister Moon

Saint Francis of Assisi
September 26, 1181 – October 3, 1226 [*See footnote]


Saint Francis of Assisi is one of history’s most beloved saints. For almost eight hundred years since his canonization by the Catholic Church (in the year 1228), he has been remembered and revered not only by Christian denominations, but by countless others world-wide, who have been inspired by his life of universal love, his teachings, and his oneness with Nature. More than three million people come every year to his tomb in Assisi.

He is patron saint of Italy and of many other places, like San Francisco, a city blessed with his name, his spirit, and a national shrine including the Porziuncola Nuova, the only papally declared holy place in the USA. Also, he is patron saint of birds, animals and ecology. Francis loved peace, communed with all living creatures, and lived a life of kindness, simplicity and poverty in contrast to the wealth and apparent corruption of the Church. He was the founder of the Franciscan order of the Catholic Church, and inspired founding of the Poor Clares order for women, and a third secular order for laity sworn to peace.

After living a worldly life of youthful revelry for the first half of his short lifespan, Francis volunteered to fight in a war between Assisi and neighboring Perugia. He was captured during a bloody battle at Collestrada, and was imprisoned and chained in solitude for a year in a dark Perugian dungeon, until ransomed by his wealthy father. Beginning during this time, and thereafter, he suffered a period of protracted physical and psychological illness, remorse and reflection. After fervent prayer, deep introspection, and profuse tears, Francis ultimately decided that money and worldly pleasures meant nothing to him, and as a traumatized battle survivor he came to abhor war. Whereupon, he devoted his life to solitude, prayer, helping the poor, caring for lepers, and promoting peace. Seeing himself as God’s troubadour or fool, he lived in absolute poverty, patterning his life after the life of Jesus and dedicating himself to God.

On returning from a pilgrimage to Rome, where he begged at Church doors for the poor, Francis received a mystical message from Jesus while praying in the ruined church at San Damiano outside of Assisi. There while he was enchantedly gazing at the painted wooden crucifix – a Byzantine image of the crucified Christ still alive on the cross – the silent voice of Jesus telepathically ‘spoke’ to Francesco, instructing him: “Francesco, Francesco, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.” Thereafter, he devotedly began rebuilding San Damiano and other ruined churches.

Though Saint Francis took literally that mystical message from the crucifix, its true meaning was metaphoric and profound. And by the end of his short lifespan, Saint Francis and his orders had by their example inspired a renaissance of the Catholic Church.

Francis’ exemplary lifestyle inspired and attracted followers who joined with him in his in his Divine mission and life of poverty. Clad in ragged, gray robes with rope belts, they went out barefoot in pairs to spread the Gospel. When they needed food or shelter, they asked someone for it. It was against their rules to “own” anything. Thus, they were known as the “begging brothers”.

In 1209 Francis received permission from Pope Innocent III to form a brotherhood, a religious order of the Church called the “Friars Minor,” (littlest brothers). As “friars” they worked in communities, actively preaching and helping residents, as distinguished from “monks” who then usually lived alone in isolated places. They soon acquired the name “Franciscans”, proliferated and today remain important international symbols and instruments of Francis’ legacy.

The Franciscans’ first headquarters was a simple, tiny chapel near Assisi which Francis received from the Benedictines, and personally restored, naming it “Porziuncola” [“a small portion of land”]. The Porziuncola became Francis’ most beloved and favorite place. Because of his presence and prayers there, it was and continues to be one of the world’s rare holy places. Here, Francis lived, fervently prayed, wrote his rule, created his order of friars minor and consecrated his friend Clara (Chiara), who became Santa Clara, founder of “the poor Clares”, a female religious order dedicated to Franciscan ideals of holiness and poverty. Francis so loved this little place that he chose to die there.

In 1216, while Francis was fervently praying in the Porziuncola, a light filled the chapel and he beheld above the altar a vision of Christ, the Virgin Mary and a company of angels. They asked him what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francis replied: “Vi volglio tutti in paradisio!” [I wish all in heaven!] And Francis then asked that all those persons who shall come to this church, may obtain a full pardon and remission of all their faults, upon confessing and repenting their sins. The request was granted based on Francis’ worthiness, and the indulgence was later officially confirmed by Pope Honorius III, and became known as “The Pardon of Assisi”.

Francis was extremely democratic and humble. He referred to himself as “little brother Francis” and called all creatures “brothers” and “sisters”. He loved Nature and pantheistically considered it to be the “mirror of God on earth.” He spoke of “Sister Water” and “Brother Tree” and in one of his writings, he referred to “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon”. There are legends about sermons he preached to trees full of “Sister Birds” in which Francis urged them to sing their prayers of thanks to God. And it is said that rabbits would come to him for protection.

In another legendary story, Francis spoke to a wolf which had been terrifying the entire village of Gubbio, scolding “Brother Wolf” for what he was doing. That wolf not only stopped his attacks but later became a village pet, and was fed willingly by the same villagers, who missed “brother wolf” after he died.

Francis was determined to live the gospels and was strongly influenced and motivated by Jesus’ teachings. “Give to others, and it shall be given to you. Forgive and you shall be forgiven” were his frequent teachings.

Also as a traumatic battle survivor and war hostage Francis cherished peace. So, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” ~ Matthew 5:9 and “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” ~ Matthew 5:44 were often recited by him.

According to a recent biography, Francis was “the first person from the West to travel to another continent with the revolutionary idea of peacemaking.” On a mission of peace, Francis journeyed to Egypt in 1219 idealistically hoping to end the 5th Crusade by converting the Egyptian leader – Sultan Malik al-Kamil – to Christianity. Though his visionary peace mission did not succeed, it proved nonetheless a miraculous portent and important symbol of potential reconciliation between Christians and Muslims and others.

At a time when most Christians demonized Muslims as enemy “infidels”, Francis regarded and treated Muslims with respect, never echoing the negative comments or conduct of his contemporary Christians. Moreover, in Egypt Francis – a devout and gentle peacemaker – was appalled by the crusaders’ sacrilegious brutality.

Francis arrived in Egypt during an ongoing violent and bloody conflict at Damietta, an important city on the Nile, besieged by the Crusaders. There, in the midst of horrible bloodshed, Francis miraculously crossed battle lines totally unarmed and vulnerable, and was able to reach the Sultan’s encampment unharmed and welcomed. Moreover, Francis was admitted to the august presence of the sultan, who was nephew of the great Saladin who had defeated the forces of the ill-fated Third Crusade.

The Sultan was a wise and pragmatic devout Sunni Muslim, influenced by Sufi mystical teachings. He was ready to make peace, and reciprocated Francis’ peaceful and respectful attitude. For at least several days Kamil hosted and dialogued with Francis as an honored guest, before having him safely escorted back to the Crusader encampment. The Sultan – who was amenable to philosophical conversation, but not to conversion – probably noted and honored Francis’ sufi-like appearance and peaceful demeanor, and his regular greeting – “may the Lord give you peace” – uncommon for Christians, but similar to the Arabic “salam aleykum” greeting.

Reciprocally, Francis was deeply impressed by the religious devotion of the Muslims, especially by their fivefold daily call to prayer – call of the muezzin.

On returning to the crusader camp Francis desperately tried to convince Cardinal Pelagio, whom the pope had authorized to lead the 5th Crusade, that he should make peace with the Sultan. But the cardinal who was certain of victory would not listen. His eventual failure, amidst terrible loss of life, brought the barbaric age of the crusades to an ignominious end.

In 1224, near the end of his earthly life, according to legend, Francis became the first saint in history to miraculously receive crucifixion stigmata. It happened after he had been taken to Mount Alverna, a wild nature place in Tuscany, to be in solitude for a forty day retreat.


Though already in a very feeble state, he fasted and prayed intensely with deepest longing for God. In the midst of his fast, while he was so praying he beheld a marvelous vision: an angel carrying an image of a man nailed to a cross. When the vision disappeared, Francis felt sharp pains in various places on his body.

In locating the source of these pains, Francis found that he had five marks or “stigmata” on his hands, feet, and sides—like the wounds inflicted with nails and spears on Jesus during His crucifixion. Those marks remained and caused Francis great pain until his death two years later.

On October 3, 1226 A.D. Francis died in a humble cell next to the beloved Porziuncola, his favorite holy place where the Franciscan movement began. He was blind from trachoma, suffering from malaria and other illnesses, emaciated and racked with pain from the stigmata and other wounds. As he lay dying, the brothers came for his blessing. They sang “Song to the Sun”, a song which Francis had composed.

Sometime before he drew his last breath, he said, “Let us sing the welcome to Sister Death.” Francis welcomed ‘Sister Death’ knowing that “it is in dying that we are reborn to eternal life”, the concluding line of a beautifully inspiring and best known peace prayer mistakenly attributed to him. (**See Footnote)

In conclusion, we offer that prayer in grateful tribute to his blessed life and legacy. May he ever inspire countless beings to become instruments of Divine peace and love, in perfect harmony with Nature and the kingdom of heaven.

“Vi vogliamo tutti in Paradiso”; “We wish ALL in Heaven”.


And so it shall be!

Prayer Of St. Francis Of Assisi **

Beloved, we are instruments of Thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
despair, hope;
darkness, light;
discord, harmony;
sadness, joy;

Divine Mother/Father, grant
that we may seek not so much
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving, that we receive;
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying – to ego life –
that we are reborn to Eternal Life.

 


Footnotes

* This narrative is based on Ron Rattner’s intuitive interpretation of many disparate and sometimes conflicting historical accounts of the life of Francis of Assisi. The reader is free to accept or reject any part of it.

**This inspiring peace prayer does not appear in any of Saint Francis’ known writings. According to researchers, the first appearance of this prayer was in a French language magazine, La Clochette, in 1912; it was probably then first written by a forgotten Catholic Priest, Father Bouquerel. Later, the prayer was translated into English and widely distributed on cards with a reverse side picture of Saint Francis, without any claim that he wrote the prayer. But, because of his picture and because it invokes his spirit, the prayer thereafter became commonly known as the Prayer of Saint Francis. The foregoing version of the prayer has been edited by Ron Rattner.



Ron’s audio recitation of the Prayer of Saint Francis Of Assisi

Listen to


Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“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
“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”

“That which is timeless is found now.”
~ Buddha
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“Our problem is how to be free from all conditioning . . When the mind is completely unconditioned then only can [we] experience or discover if there is something real or not. [A] mind . . filled with beliefs, . . dogmas . . assertions ..is really an uncreative mind; it is merely a repetitive mind.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Ordinary human consciousness is conditioned consciousness;
it is pure Awareness conditioned by conceptions.
And our conceptual conditioning determines our condition.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake

 

Marc Chagall – The Praying Jew


Introduction

In lunar equinox seasons of major theistic religious ‘holy days’ we are often reminded that our spiritual goal is returning to “godliness” – to Ultimate Reality. This memoirs posting explains how we can advance our evolution toward attainment of that goal, by clearing past mental conditioning to increasingly be here NOW in the precious present.

Because this posting coincides with the Jewish High Holy Days, it outlines my positive experience with Yom Kippur communal practices of: (1) non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us; and of (2) annulment or rescission of obsolete and unhelpful private intentions, resolutions, or vows to ourselves or God. Thus it explains my opinion that such practices which are premised on inevitable limitation and fallibility of all incarnate humans, can be universally beneficial in advancing everyone’s spiritual evolution.

Further it explains why our spiritual evolution can be advanced by other practices or activities which help us quiet the mind and clear mental pre-conditioning to increasingly live moment by moment in the precious present, with Love as the supreme unifying principle of Life.

Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Mystics and some scientists say that our thoughts or beliefs about our ‘reality’ and self-identity determine our earth-life experience; that those thoughts or beliefs originate unconsciously with very subtle mental impressions (sometimes called in Sanskrit vasanas or samskaras) which through reincarnation are carried by the soul from lifetime to lifetime; that we can radically change our lives and behaviors by changing our thoughts about who or what we are; and that we can become “enlightened” only by transcending all mental conditioning.

Our mental conditioning operates our physical body, like computer software systems operate computer hardware platforms. And, like computer software systems, all mental conditioning comes from the past – from this or prior lifetimes.

But, habitually abiding or operating with beliefs or tendencies from past experience, or projecting them into the future as anxiety, fear or worry, prevents us from living spontaneously and authentically in the present moment – from fully being here NOW.

Past is history and future’s mystery, while Life is never then – it is only NOW.

Thus, Buddha taught that:

“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”
“That which is timeless is found now.”

Only by wiping the slate clean from past conditioning and resulting thoughts or concerns, are we are fully freed to live in the present – in the eternal NOW. Thus our spiritual evolution is advanced by any activity or practice which helps us live moment by moment in the precious present, spontaneously and authentically without mental pre-conditioning.

My life experience following a dramatic midlife spiritual awakening confirms these teachings. As gradually I have quieted my mind, recognized and eliminated or changed beliefs and paradigms which no longer seemed valid or useful, and more and more self-identified as spirit, my life has become more spontaneous and magical, and I’ve experienced ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious life-time.

For me, it has been a process of thinking less, and being more; and of mindfully witnessing inappropriate or obsolete behavioral patterns with intention of changing or eliminating them through grateful remembrance that I am not merely a separate mortal entity but universal spirit experiencing a blessed human life.

The more that I have gratefully and mindfully self-identified as spirit – as Universal Awareness – the more I have experienced fulfillment, insight, empathy, and creativity and the less I have manifested unhelpful habits and reflexive behaviors.

I have found that this transformative process of mindful spiritual self-identification has been accelerated through meditation and other universal practices of perennial wisdom traditions which help still the mind and clear mental conditioning. So I’ve dedicated the SillySutras website to exploring and sharing universal wisdom principles and practices which can help us all live happier lives, as they have helped me.

Jewish High Holy days practices

During Jewish High Holy days, I am reminded of certain practices other than meditation, which may help free us from past conditioning:

1. Non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us. [see “Forgiveness And Atonement Of ‘Sins.’”] ; and,

2. Annulment and rescission of obsolete and unhelpful personal intentions, resolutions, or vows.

The Jewish High Holy Days are ten days of religious introspection and repentance, concluding with Yom Kippur [“day of atonement”]. During services, congregants communally repent past “sins” while repeatedly acknowledging that

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins,” [ Ecclesiastes 7:20 ]

The Yom Kippur observance begins with “Kol Nidre” (“All Vows”), a powerful prayer with a hauntingly beautiful melody which is chanted and recited in ancient Aramaic, and which for many observant Jews is the religious high-point of their year.

When I attended Jewish services, during adolescence and later irregularly as an adult (before I became a “born-again Hindu”), the Kol Nidre ritual was for me emotionally memorable, even though I don’t recall knowing the meaning of the prayer until much later receiving a translation in an email message.

So, on ultimately learning the translated meaning, I was quite surprised and puzzled to learn that Kol Nidre enigmatically purports to disavow and annul until the next day of atonement all past and/or future communal or individual oaths or vows, viz.

”Let all our vows and oaths, all the promises we make and the obligations we incur to You, 0 God, between this Yom Kippur and the next, be null and void should we, after honest effort, find ourselves unable to fulfill them. Then may we be absolved of them.”

Since Judaism emphasizes the honoring of promises and obligations to others, I wondered:

“Why does the holiest of Jewish high holy days begin with a communal disavowal of all oaths or vows, which in Jewish tradition are regarded as ethically important?”


Also I began wondering why the Kol Nidre prayer has been so emotionally powerful, even when its meaning is largely unknown. After reflection and research I concluded that:

Kol Nidre applies only to personal vows to oneself or God, not affecting promises or obligations to others; it is not an unconditional request for Divine absolution from guilt for dishonored vows or obligations to others.

Many people – not just Jews – make resolutions or vows concerning their intended future behavior which are unfulfilled or become inappropriate or unhelpful as times change. And often they feel consequent frustration or guilt.

Rather than harboring guilt or frustration for this, Jewish tradition recognizes that it is best to wipe the mental slate clean. Thus, observant Jews can be spiritually uplifted and mentally cleared by communal participation in High Holy Day rituals of forgiveness or atonement of “sins”, and rescission of unhelpful personal resolutions.

And I believe that Kol Nidre has been especially powerful for even those unaware of its meaning, because subtly or subconsciously it invokes Humankind’s universal – yet paradoxically impossible – aspiration to be in this world beyond inevitable human frailty and suffering, beyond “sin” or ‘missing the mark’.

So, perhaps Kol Nidre and its haunting melody, invoke an Eternal inner voice which reminds us of our true nature – ever immanent Divine LOVE – with which we are ultimately destined to merge.

Ron’s Commentary on Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Dear Friends,

In lunar equinox seasons of major theistic religious ‘holy days’ – Jewish (days of awe); Moslem (Eid Al-Adha); Christian (Feast of St. Francis); Hindu (Navaratri); Asian (Moon festivals) – we are often reminded that central to all major theistic religions is the goal of psychologically returning to “godliness”. Moreover, all major religions – Buddhist-Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish – teach a common message of Love as the supreme “unifying principle of Life. . . . the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate Reality.” [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] 

Yet, often in the name of religion, our world remains rife with discrimination, violence and killing which must be transcended for survival of Human life as we have known it.

Whether or not we are ‘religious’, we are all experiencing a mythological perennial process of returning to a psychological state of self-identity and “at-one-ment” with Universal Awareness, our ultimate Essence and destiny – an evolutionary process of gradually living more and more in and as the timeless NOW.

The above essay, Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present, encourages our harmony with this crucially important perennial process.

As gradually we mindfully observe and change behaviors, beliefs, and paradigms which no longer seem valid or useful, and as more and more we commonly self-identify as ONE Eternal spirit, which is LOVE – not just as separate mortals – our lives become more spontaneous and magical, enabling us to synchronistically experience ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious human lifetime.

Invocation

On ‘holy days’ and every day, may everyone everywhere be blessed to remember our affinity and identity with Divinity;

May we thereby wipe clean the slate of past behaviors or attitudes which impede our living and being in the precious present.

Thus, may everyone everywhere be eternally happy – NOW!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

We’re not what we think we are!
~ Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies

“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything, you are essentially conscious of yourself.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Personal entity and enlightenment cannot go together.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“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
“Your own will is all that answers prayer,
only it appears under the guise 
of different religious conceptions to each mind.
We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
Essence Of Advaita
E = mc2 = Consciousness
Subject = Object = Consciousness
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Theory of Everything:
E = mc2 = Consciousness = Self.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Ramana Maharshi



Ron’s Introduction to “Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies”

The following poem was composed during my extended post-retirement reclusive period of prayer and introspection. With the above quotations, it succinctly summarizes previously unimagined pivotal insights about our spiritual Self-identity and ultimate Reality realized after my midlife spiritual awakening. I will hereafter comment on these perennially transformative insights.



Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies

You are not what you think you are:
You are not a person, or a personality.
You are not a body, or a nobody.
You are not your mind, or your thoughts.
You are infinite Eternal Awareness.

You are the screen, not the movie.
You are Rama, not the drama.
You are the glory, not the story.
You are the Whole, not your role.

So, wake up, and  –
Transcend entity identity!

* Advaita means non-dualism: it is
the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy

Ron’s audio recitation of Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies

Dear Friends,

We’re not what we think we are; not separate labels, but Universal Awareness!

Until midlife I self-identified only with my mortal physical body, its thoughts and story, and assumed that bodily death ended life.

But I was then blessed with a transformative spiritual awakening, which fundamentally changed my perceptions and perspectives of self identity and reality, bestowing ever increasing happiness and peace of mind. The foregoing quotations and poem succinctly summarize my previously unimagined pivotal insights about our Self-identity and ultimate Reality.

Since launching the SillySutras website in 2010, I have been sharing these insights online with the aspiration of helping others to similarly experience ever increasing happiness and peace of mind by transcending our acculturated mental limitations.

From childhood we have been labeled and  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 mortal beings; but, not that Nature is our nature, or that we are Beings of Light sharing limitless immortal common consciousness with all life-forms.

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

Yet, 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 ultimate universal spiritual reality – which is the matrix and common essence of all space-time causality reality.

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 we’re all the same ‘under the hood’!  

What we call “death” is just a vacation – immortal spirit vacating temporary physical vehicles.   Cosmically, there is no death or time, just Eternal NOW! 

Conclusion

This mystic message is especially important in these turbulent and troubled times, because it can encourage and inspire us to fearlessly be inner – not outer – directed; and to thereby follow our heart, rather than the frightened herd.

Therefore, I have reposted the foregoing key quotations and Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies  poem, emphasizing our shared Self identity – as Cosmic Consciousness or Non-Duality Reality.   And I’ve embedded a powerfully inspiring four minute YouTube viral video by rapper *Prince Eo already viewed over 100 million times and titled:

“I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White”


[*Prince Eo a/k/a “Makmantis X” also posted this video on Facebook titled: “This literally made me question everything.” There have been over 100 million YouTube and Facebook views. Prince credits his spiritual perspective to inspiring ancient wisdom texts such as the Tao Te Ching and Bhagavad Gita.]

Invocation

May the above quotations, poetry and video, encourage and inspire us to fearlessly be inner – not outer – directed; and to thereby follow our heart, rather than the frightened herd.

And by so living from inside-out, may we find ever expanding happiness and peace of mind, as we realize and actualize our common Self identity as Infinite Potentiality, Being, Awareness, Bliss; Eternal Peace, Life, Light – LOVE!
 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Another ‘Near Death’ Experience?
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Birth and death are virtual, but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


tree_of_life

Introduction.

Nowadays, at age eighty seven, when commonly greeted by others with “Hello, how are you?”, almost always I spontaneously and enthusiastically respond: “Grateful to be alive! – Every day’s a bonus!”

I cannot recall when I began so exclaiming this attitude of gratitude. But mostly it has happened since six years ago, when (on June 29, 2014) I was suddenly run down by a taxicab and critically injured while crossing a busy San Francisco street.

Here is a memoirs story about that incident which I share hoping to inspire for others a similar attitude of gratitude, which has proven for me to be a great blessing. For

“It is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast


My First ‘Near Death’ Experience [NDE]*

In 1979 I experienced and have written a prior memoir about an extraordinary and unforgettable out of body event [OOB] which I called a ‘Near Death’ Experience’ [NDE]*. [See https://sillysutras.com/my-near-death-experience/ and *footnote about NDE’s.]

During that experience, I mistakenly believed that I had suffered a stroke and was dying. But I later was told (by my Guruji) that I had not experienced illness but a sudden infusion of Divine shakti energy. So it is unlikely that I suffered from diminished vital signs which are usually associated with NDE’s. Nonetheless, that extraordinary and unforgettable OOB event significantly advanced the spiritual transformation process which had begun with my 1976 realization and rebirth experience.

That transformation process has blessed me with ever increasing self-identification as eternal spirit rather than as mere mortal body/mind. Ultimately, it has led to my realization that Life is perpetual while physical birth and death are virtual; that what most humans call death is merely a vacation – eternal Life-force vacating an inevitably mortal physical vehicle.

This crucial realization has resulted in ever decreasing fear of death, and ever expanding openness, empathy, gratitude and happiness.

Still, I recognize that human bodies are extraordinarily precious life-forms, enabling us to develop and to lovingly advance spiritually. So the longer we are able to skillfully inhabit a functioning physical body, beyond fear of death or disability, the greater our opportunity to learn and to evolve.

Past as Prelude; Another NDE?

In my first NDE* narrative I told how I hadn’t feared presumed peaceful death by a supposed stroke; but, how soon thereafter I experienced an instinctively fearful ‘fight or flight’ reaction when almost run over while crossing a street. (I’ve come to believe that such normal instinctive protection of a precious mortal body is distinguishable from ego’s ever fearful separate self-identification with a body rather than with eternal universal awareness.)

Paradoxically, my 1979 ‘fight or flight’ fear of being run down as a pedestrian ultimately materialized thirty five years later when I was suddenly run down by a taxicab and critically injured while crossing a busy San Francisco street. Today at age eighty seven, I have miraculously survived and largely healed from that incident, after perhaps another ‘near death’ experience.

The shock and trauma of my injuries have left me with continuing retrograde amnesia, so I am unable to recall what happened immediately before and after the taxicab incident, and while I was comatose. Thus for such details I must rely on paramedic and hospital records, and on a cam video showing the taxi hitting me.

Accident Injuries.

The following bodily injuries and symptoms, among others, were radiologically and clinically diagnosed:

Traumatic bleeding brain contusion and concussion, with extended loss of consciousness; large 2” chronic subdural hematoma pushing brain .6” out of normal alignment; massive soft tissue tears and other traumatic shoulder injuries, temporarily rendering both shoulders largely non-functional, with prosthesis recommended for left shoulder; multiple facial fractures, bruises and swelling, with broken nose, fractured sinus areas, etc.; facial lacerations requiring sutures; lacerated and bleeding liver; cracked ribs; slight spinal fracture; excessive external bleeding, with anemia requiring prompt two unit blood transfusion; tibial plateau (“bumper”) fracture and extreme swelling of right knee and leg, with large knee wound, open and seeping for over two months; continuing post-traumatic stress syndrome [PTSD]; retrograde amnesia; mental confusion, headaches, dizziness, and dyslexia.

Considering my advanced octogenarian age and the multiplicity and severity of my injuries and symptoms, my survival, recovery and healing so far have been miraculous. Moreover, I have amazingly survived without any pain drugs or brain or shoulder surgical interventions recommended by various allopathic doctors, and have been able to resume a largely independent pre-injury life style with frequent (pre-lockdown) walks, after extended convalescence, and treatment with acupuncture, organic herbs, and physical therapy.

Guruji, Rama mantra, and hints of heavenly help.

Unlike some NDE* survivors I have no memory of what happened while I was comatose, or of any contact with heavenly beings or departed loved ones. However I gratefully intuit that my survival and healing are blessings from my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji, from Saint Francis of Assisi and other divine or celestial beings or emanations, and from prayers, acts of kindness and good wishes of many friends, health providers and others.

Previously I have explained the importance of the Rama mantra in my transformational process; how spontaneously I began reciting Rama before receiving shaktipat initiation by Guruji, who synchronistically gave me a Ram mantra. I believe that the power of my Ram mantra helped my miraculous survival and recovery.

Also I have told how recitation of the name Rama was the principle spiritual practice of Mahatma Gandhi – my first inner spiritual guide – who recited it from childhood until his assassination; how even as Gandhi fell to an assassin’s pistol fired point-blank into his heart, in forgiveness he uttered nothing but “Rama, Rama …” his last words from the eternal depths of his heart.

Referring to his repetition of “Rama” Gandhi said:

“that the Word is in my heart, if not actually on my lips, all the twenty-four hours. It has been my saviour and I am ever stayed on it.” “The mantram becomes one’s staff of life and carries one through every ordeal….” “Each repetition … has a new meaning, each repetition carries you nearer and nearer to God.”


During weeks before my taxi rundown incident, I noticed that I was constantly reciting my Ram mantra; and that it was in my heart when not on my lips. So, I may have been reciting the mantra when hit by the taxicab.

On my ambulance arrival at San Francisco General Hospital trauma center, according to hospital records, I was “pleasantly confused and repetitive”, and was ‘repeating phrases’. And more than one doctor noted my positive attitude despite critical injuries.

Intuitively I believe that my repetitive utterances were Ram mantra recitations which helped invoke the subtle presence and assistance of my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji.

Amongst my first hospital visitors were my long-time spiritual friends Carolyn and Monte, who are also Guruji devotees. Very soon after my admission to the ICU they synchronistically learned of my injuries, and immediately came to the hospital, where they were admitted after regular visiting hours.  On observing my completely bruised, discolored  and swollen head and face they became very concerned and did hands on healing, with repetitions of the Ram mantra.  Shortly after returning home, Carolyn prayed to Guruji for my health and recovery.  Whereupon Guruji responded telepathically that he was already helping me.

Similarly another spiritual friend, Michael, a long-time devotee of Guruji’s successor Shri Anandi Ma, reported to me his intuitive flash of insight that I could not and would not have survived the taxicab injuries but for Guruji’s intervention.

And soon after the accident I received an email assurance from my (now departed) friend Pravinji Jani, Anandi Ma’s father and Vedic pundit and astrologer, assuring me that “Guruji is always with you showering his blessings” for healing and for “return to your normal activities with inspiring sutras”.

These encouraging communications from Guruji devotees supported my intuitive insights of Guruji’s subtle presence and help.

Prayers, good wishes, and other acts of kindness and compassion.

The prayers and good wishes of family, friends, health care providers and many others who cared for and about me, and wanted me to get well, also helped my miraculous survival and healing. Many staff people at the hospital and rehab facility were kind and compassionate, and did their very best to help me.

I was especially touched when I awakened in the hospital ICU one morning to see taped on the wall this “get well” message:


It had been placed there by one of my loving nurses with whom I had discussed my “attitude of gratitude” for surviving the taxicab rundown and my love for Saint Francis of Assisi, whose peace prayer I’d recited for her. (Details of our “holy encounter” are posted at https://sillysutras.com/remembering-an-attitude-of-gratitude-a-holy-encounter-rons-memoirs/)

Other acts of loving-kindness and compassion by those attending me were too numerous for me to recall or recount. But they all helped me get well.

Prayers can be powerful, and have been integral to all enduring religious and spiritual traditions from time immemorial. Throughout recorded human history prayers have been offered by countless saints and sages, and by ordinary people of every religious or spiritual denomination.

Moreover, persuasive scientific evidence now confirms healing efficacy of prayer. So I am gratefully convinced that heartfelt prayers and good wishes of many people who cared about me helped my miraculous survival and healing.

Why was my life was endangered, and why have I miraculously survived?

I don’t know. Presumably this incident arose from mysterious karmic causes and conditions. And presumably I have survived because my predestined assignments for this lifetime have not yet been fulfilled.

Before the taxicab rundown, I already was happier, more grateful and less fearful than ever before. And I already had abiding faith in the Divine, which more than ever before enabled me to accept inevitable and inescapable life difficulties and uncertainties, and yet to live openly, spontaneously and authentically, without worry, fear or doubt. (See: I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life.)

But I’ve become even more grateful for this precious human lifetime, and for the opportunity to continue learning to live with ever expanding loving-kindness and compassion.

Now I feel that every day is a bonus; that every breath is a blessing. And I am convinced that I have been permitted to remain in this body only because I’ve not yet fully accomplished the purposes for which my soul incarnated; that the miraculous survival and healing have been Divine blessings bestowing an evolutionary opportunity for karmic ‘purification’ and enhanced incentive to spiritually make the most of what remains of this precious human life-time.
 
One of the greatest joys of living a long earth-life is that there is always something new to learn, and that through synchronicities we are led to ever new opportunities for learning to become more loving – our purpose here.
So I feel blessed to have been allowed to keep learning appropriate evolutionary lessons – and also to have been afforded an opportunity to continue honoring Guruji’s request that I write and publish spiritual memoirs so as to inspire others.

[**See footnote]

Moral of the story?

With an enduring ‘attitude of gratitude’, I share this story hoping to inspire our fearless faith in that Mysterious Power which eternally guides our lives
through inevitable and inescapable difficulties and uncertainties,
and which enables us to live gratefully with loving-kindness and compassion,
and without worry, fear or negative attachments.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Footnotes:

*NDE’s. The term ‘Near Death Experience’ [NDE] was coined in 1975 by Raymond A. Moody, Jr., PhD, MD, in his book Life After Life which sold over thirteen million copies worldwide. Since then numerous NDE accounts have been published and discussed in mainstream media, on the internet, in films and videos and in magazines and books – including NY Times best sellers. Many spiritually inspiring NDE stories have been published and researched by the International Association For Near-Death Studies [IANDS] and others. So NDE’s have become widely considered, especially by those who claim to have experienced them. And some leading-edge non-materialist scientists cite NDE’s as evidence that consciousness survives physical death. For millions of people NDE’s, and other extraordinary mystical experiences, have proven to be spiritually inspirational, and transformative events, diminishing or ending fear of death and encouraging a newly open, sensitive, trusting and loving lifestyle. (see e.g. Atlantic Monthly: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.)

**The Perennial Wisdom Foundation (PWF) plans to publish ebooks containing these memoirs and other on-line writings. Also, PWF has arranged to keep SillySutras.com on line for at least another ten years, whether or not I am able to continue writing.


What is Faith? ~
Quotes and Predictions

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

“When I despair, I remember that all through history
the way of truth and love has always won. 
There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible; 
but in the end they always fall—think of it. Always.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi



“Faith is a knowledge within the heart,
beyond the reach of proof.”

“Faith is an oasis in the heart which can never be reached by the caravan of thinking”

~ Khalil Gibran

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

“Faith is different from proof;
the latter is human, the former is a Gift from God.”

“Faith embraces many truths which seem to contradict each other.”

~ Blaise Pascal

“The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. …
To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms,
this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Faith is much better than belief.
Belief is when someone else does the thinking.”
~ Buckminster Fuller
“Faith means living with uncertainty –
feeling your way through life,
letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark”
~ Dan Millman
“My faith runs so very much faster than my reason
that I can challenge the whole world and say,
’God is, was and ever shall be’.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi
“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”
~ William Shakespeare
“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.
Have faith in yourselves!”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“Intelligence must follow faith, never precede it,
and never destroy it.”
~ Thomas Kempis
“Faith 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
“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,
you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move.”
~ Matthew 17:20



Ron’s 2017 Commentary on Mystical Faith.

Dear Friends,

In reviewing and revising previous SillySutras postings, I’ve been wondering about the subtle circumstances which have seemed most important in furthering my spiritual evolution from age forty two to age eighty four. And why, after four decades of spiritual exploration, I often experience the “real world’ mostly like a movie – a synchronistic simulated reality?

Forty two years ago, I was self-identifying as an uptight and unhappy middle-aged secular litigation lawyer on the brink of divorce, when I had an unforgettable “out of body” experience [OOB] which has sparked four decades of spiritual exploration and evolution – so far.

Now I mostly self-identify as eternal spirit enjoying a brief “in a body experience” as an 84 year old retired lawyer and spiritual writer. And I feel blessed with great happiness and gratitude for this precious fleeting lifetime, despite its inevitable ups and downs.

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

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

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


2020 Epilogue: Predictions of a faith-based optimist.

Dear Friends,

I write today to share optimistic predictions that with faith we are destined to enjoy ever increasing happiness on our precious planet Earth.

Forty five years ago, after an unforgettable OOB experience, I deeply intuited that thought was the genesis of all phenomenal “reality”. Thereafter I gradually became persuaded by Einstein and experience that “space and time are not conditions in which we live, [but] modes in which we think”; and that our perceived space/time “reality” is “an optical illusion of consciousness.” 

But, I have remained unspeakably grateful and devotional as a passenger on “Spaceship Earth”, awed by its amazing existence in space/time, and profoundly concerned about foolishly unsustainable human disruption of its miraculous ecology.

Thus for many years I’ve observed that survival of Earth-life as we have known it is being catastrophically threatened by a tiny group of autocratic mega-billionaires, who insanely control and exploit of our precious planet. Yet, from a deep faith-based perspective I’ve remained confident that we are ultimately destined to end nefarious psychopathic global rule of humankind. (See https://sillysutras.com/ive-found-a-faith-based-life/)

In 2020, since unconstitutionally ordered under house arrest, as an allegedly viral vulnerable elder, I’ve observed that recent extraordinary and shocking events are at long last awakening a critical mass of humankind to awareness which will end our autocratic oppression. So from my faith-based perspective, our current “new normal” pre-planned coronavirus crisis era of worldwide fear and panic presents a once-in-a-lifetime “tipping point” opportunity for humankind to co-create a new and wonderful world of happiness, harmony and health for everyone everywhere, rather than to degenerate into a locked-down dystopian/Orwellian “Big Brother” era of unprecedented and insidious global human control and enslavement by a few malignant psychopaths.

Thus, today I predict that WE THE PEOPLE, will soon democratically reclaim our freedoms and inalienable constitutional and human rights to overcome unjust and immoral control by a few globalist-autocrats, rather than succumbing to their insidious brainwashing techniques of instilling pervasive societal fears and instigating inter-societal polarized controversies. And as a faith-based optimist I foresee that we can transform the world by intuitively, faithfully and fearlessly following our hearts, not the brainwashed herd, and by non-violently refusing to cooperate with our treacherous governments, institutions and enterprises.

From my perspective, recent extraordinary events – especially the purported pre-planned coronavirus pandemic, and the shocking Memorial Day Minneapolis police murder of Afro-American George Floyd, followed by worldwide protests against racist police violence, are mere symptoms – not causes – of current catastrophes, which we will survive and surmount.

The root cause of all these “new normal” problems is our top-down political/economic system of undemocratic autocratic control over almost 8 billion humans by a tiny transnational group of obscenely rich mega-billionaires. Democracy and empire cannot coexist. So to end endless symptoms of insidious top-down global human control by a few malignant psychopaths, we must and shall replace empire with bottom-up democratic governments, institutions and enterprises emphasizing universal peace and justice, and people over profits.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968


Dr. King’s Prescient Predictions.

During the last year of his life, American civil rights hero and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered many forceful sermons and speeches decrying poverty, racism, the immoral Vietnam war, and economic injustice, and describing riots as the language of the unheard. His words then are proving to be presciently accurate as times have changed.

For example, he predicted that:

“The developed industrial nations of the world, – cannot remain secure islands of prosperity in a seething sea of poverty. A storm is rising against a privileged minority of the earth from which there is no shelter in isolation at armament. – – -The storm will not abate until a just distribution of the fruits of the earth enables man everywhere to live in dignity and human decency.”


In “other America” lectures Dr. King proposed redressing extreme economic inequity by reallocation of national spending priorities and suggested “a guaranteed minimum income for all people, and for our families of our country.”

Privately, Dr. King explicitly supported changing our current US capitalist economic-system. For example, he told family friend Harry Belafonte:

“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” ~ “My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race, and Defiance”, by Harry Belafonte & Michael Shnayerson, page 328

In his historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech Dr. King declared that

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”


“Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as His divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.”
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” “The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”

In the 1960’s Dr. King’s assertions and predictions were considered controversial or ‘unpatriotic’ by many Americans. But in 2020 his eloquent descriptions of 1960’s America have become almost incontrovertible and obvious.

In 1967 the US had large and prosperous middle class, with few unemployed workers, in which one blue collar wage-earner could earn enough to buy a home and support a family with children, while accruing pension benefits permitting an economically secure retirement. The US prison population then included approximately 200,000 inmates. It is now over 2 million.

Since Dr. King’s martyrdom in April, 1968, most of the US middle class has been methodically demolished and impoverished by sustained governmental exploitation and inflation, benefiting only the richest Americans. The purchasing power of most US workers has barely increased, while their costs of essential food, shelter and health care have skyrocketed. So to stay economically afloat, most American households now need two wage earners, and have incurred burdensome lifelong debts for home mortgages, car loans, student loans, payday loans, etc

Meanwhile, an unconscionable wealth gap has arisen between rich and poor Americans. By 2017 just three US mega-billionaires – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos – collectively held more wealth than the bottom 50% of the entire population.

In 2020, since an over-hyped and fraudulent declaration of a coronavirus pandemic crisis, billions of working class people in the US and worldwide, have been illegally locked-down and prevented from engaging in normal economic, political and social activities, So they’ve been losing their supposedly “non-essential’ jobs and small businesses, and some are in imminent danger of becoming homeless and impoverished. Many Americans are already waiting in long food bank lines for necessary nourishment they previously earned for themselves.

Yet, while billions of working class people are thus suffering forced impoverishment and authoritarian police state deprivations of their inherent legal and constitutional human rights and liberties, the combined wealth of US billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, jumped by half a trillion dollars since the onset of the purported COVID-19 pandemic And Gates wants to keep the world locked down until we are all forcibly injected with one of his purported vaccines.

Current worldwide problems and protests are awakening a worldwide “coalition of conscience”.

Because normal activities of billions of people worldwide are now disrupted by immoral coronavirus edicts, causing immense needless fears and sufferings, many people are, at long last, realizing how they are victims of delusional human behaviors which unjustly benefit only mega-rich people and their acolytes. And they are becoming determined to resist and replace those very few people who are malignantly threatening not just human lives, but all Earth-life as we have known it.

Concluding predictions of a faith-based optimist.

With unwavering Gandhian faith that the way of truth and love always prevails, I confidently predict that we are destined to end current psychopathic global rule of humankind. And that a “tipping point” critical mass of humankind will soon end our catastrophic oppression by fearlessly and nonviolently resisting and refusing to follow immoral autocratic edicts which unjustly restrict our innate and constitutional human rights and freedoms.

Thus, humankind are destined to co-create a new and wonderful world of happiness, harmony and health for everyone everywhere, rather than degenerate into a locked-down dystopian/Orwellian “Big Brother” era of unprecedented and insidious global human control and enslavement by a few malignant psychopaths.

Invocation.

May WE THE PEOPLE transform the world
by faithfully and fearlessly following our hearts
to a destined new reality
of abiding peace, justice and goodwill
for all life everywhere.

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner


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