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Posts Tagged ‘Einstein’

Questions About Questions

“We never cease to stand like curious children
before the great Mystery into which we were born.”

~ Albert Einstein
“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to
‘who am I?’ 
and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”

~ Rumi
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates
the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.
It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.
Never lose a holy curiosity.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts,

and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre,
it will itself in the end get destroyed.
Then, there will arise Self-realization.”


“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer,
the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Questions are then,
Life is NOW.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Questions About Questions

Q. When do questions arise?

A. Always then, never now.
Questions are thoughts, and thoughts are then.

Q. Can there ever be a question without a thought?

A. I don’t think so.

Without a question, there can be a thought.
But without a thought, there can’t be a question.

Q. Then, when is there never a question?

A. When there is no questioner.



Ron’s Reflections and Questions About Questioning

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations about the Mystery of Divinity and whimsical lines about questionig are offered to inspire and encourage our curiosity and reflection on the ‘Who am I?’ divine spiritual mystery – which Einstein called “the great Mystery into which we were born”

On birth into new human bodies we experience instant amnesia, forgetting what we knew before we withdrew from dwelling in heavenly domains.   Except for very rare Buddha-like saints and sages, we forget that we are immortal Divine Beings – each experiencing a Divine play of consciousness from a unique perspective.

Whereupon, we experience and suffer from ‘a case of mistaken identity’.  Individually and collectively, we mistakenly self-identify only with our mortal physical forms, their emotions and perceptions, and their stories – and we become like actors playing unique roles in an ever expanding and endless play of consciousness.  
 
As Shakespeare metaphorically observed:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”

~ William Shakespeare ~ As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

But knowingly or unknowingly, we are here to experientially remember what we forgot on incarnation into mortal human bodies. 

So our embodied lives become like spiritual mystery stories.  Instead of a ‘who-done-it?’ detective story, each life becomes a ‘who am I?’ spiritual mystery, which we are born to solve. Yet, the ultimate solution to that mystery is beyond our comprehension, imagination or belief.  So we must find it experientially and intuitively, rather than mentally.

However, spurred by unceasing childlike curiosity, our rational minds can lead us to experiential discovery of our immortal self-identity. So we can begin by reverentially and unceasingly asking “Who am I?”.  

“Ask, and it will be given to you …
For every one who asks receives.”
~ Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10

But ultimately, we discover that

“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer,
the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

Thus, as observed by twentieth century Indian sage, J. Krishnamurti, only

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

“Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still –
only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”

The foregoing writings are offered to inspire and encourage our curiosity and reflection on the ‘Who am I?’ divine spiritual mystery.
 
As spiritual siblings – children of Divine LOVE – may we ever aspire to solve that Mystery.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Beyond Limited Being:
~ Infinite Awareness — Ever NOW

“Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.

The forms may change,

yet the essence remains the same. ….

The source is within you

And this whole world is springing up from it.”

~ Rumi
“Into my heart’s night

Along a narrow way
 I groped;

and lo! the light,

An infinite land of day.”

~ Rumi
“There is a life-force within your soul, 
seek that life.

“There is a gem in the mountain of your body, 
seek that mine.

O traveler, 
if you are in search of that

Don’t look outside, 
look inside yourself and seek that.”
~ Rumi
“That which permeates all,

which nothing transcends and which,

like the universal space around us,

fills everything completely from within and without,

that Supreme non-dual Brahman
—
that thou art.”

~ Shankaracharya
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”
~ Albert Einstein ( N. Y. Times , March 29, 1972)




Beyond Limited Being: Infinite Awareness— Ever NOW

Humans are but blips
in a boundless Ocean of Infinite Awareness.

Individuated humans are limited by thoughts:

Thoughts that create the “universe”;
Thoughts that divide and diffuse Awareness
as a prism diffuses light.

Mind is matrix; consciousness is context.

“Human consciousness” is an idea –
a thought which seems to limit boundless Awareness.

But in Reality consciousness can’t be contained.

Time and space are mere modes of thought,
as are matter, energy, and spirit.

Time is how we measure Now,
and space is for the places where we
think we are in time.

So, in space/time,
human body/mind/souls
are seemingly separate and circumscribed beings.

But in Reality,
we are ONE.

Beyond limited being:

Eternally boundless
Infinite Awareness –
Ever NOW.



Ron’s recitation of “Beyond Limited Being: Infinite Awareness — Ever NOW”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Beyond Limited Being: Infinite Awareness— Ever NOW”

Dear Friends,

About two months ago I began an ‘inner retreat’ from following recurrent media reports of outer violence and suffering. Instead of reifying insanely unprecedented pandemic fears and polarized political turbulence, I’ve focused on emanating and disseminating inner light with loving and peaceful ‘vibes’ to help heal and awaken the world.


During this time of ‘inner retreat’ I’ve been synchronistically “rediscovering” many enlightening essays and sutra poems composed long ago after my 1992 retirement from legal practice. 

“Beyond Limited Being: Infinite Awareness— Ever NOW”, is 
one of those poems, which I’ve shared now with the above profound quotations. Also embedded below (with captioned lyrics) is an inspiring YouTube performance of one of my favorite spiritual hymns “Let There be Peace on Earth” .

If you aspire to help awaken the world with loving and peaceful thoughts, words and deeds, please reflect upon, enjoy and share these postings.

May they help illumine the world with peaceful inner light, lovingly benefiting all beings. And may they inspire our deep and grateful remembrance of our Divine Source and immortal identity, with realization that everyone/everything/everywhere is Infinite Universal Awareness – ever NOW.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


“Let there be peace on Earth” song video, with captioned lyrics.



Perfect Paradox

“The truest sayings are paradoxical.”
~ Lao Tzu
“Perfection is a state in which things are the way they are,
and are not the way they are not.
As you can see, this universe is perfect.”
~ Werner Erhard, est
“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
“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
“Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life.”
“[It] is surrender to this moment, not to a story through which you interpret this moment and then try to resign yourself to it.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment…
Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life –
and see how life starts suddenly..
working for you, rather than against you.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
If you can accept the flow of life and give in to it, you will be accepting what is real. Only when you accept what is real can you live with it in peace and happiness. The alternative is a struggle that will never end because it is a struggle with the unreal, with a mirage of life instead of life itself.
~ Deepak Chopra
“Embrace the higher truth that everything comes to pass exactly as it should. Find peace and wisdom by accepting what is.”
~ Dan Millman
“The moment that judgement stops through acceptance of what it is, you are free of the mind.
You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.”
“Your acceptance of ‘what is’ takes you to a deeper level
where your inner state as well as your sense of self
no longer depend on the mind’s judgment of “good” or “bad.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“True surrender . . . . does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and to do nothing about it. Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action. Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life.”
~ Eckhart Tolle




Introduction to “Perfect Paradox”

The following SillySutras poem restates a perennial wisdom principle.

It cautions that we mentally yield to life’s flow in each moment because we can’t change it; that we accept the NOW, as paradoxically “perfect”, even though it is pervaded with painful problems, because causally and karmically “what is” cannot be otherwise.

The poem’s esoteric message is explained by above apt quotations, and by my following comments.

Please enjoy and reflect upon these writings. Moment by moment, may they bring us ever expanding happiness.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Perfect Paradox

Despite Omni-present ignorance,

selfishness, misery and suffering,

and apparent chaotic uncertainty,

Perfection pervades our “Loco Loka * –

the realm of space/time and causation;

the realm of manifest Mystery.


*”Loco Loka = crazy world



Ron’s audio recitation of “Perfect Paradox”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Perfect Paradox”

Dear Friends,

Today’s posting is about accepting as “Perfect” ‘what is’ NOW, despite pervasively perceived suffering and problems.

For millennia mystics have taught that our ever impermanent space/time ‘reality’ is ultimately unreal and illusory, like a mental mirage; that life exists only in the choiceless, thoughtless present moment, which karmically cannot be otherwise.  But we mostly experience this world mentally and conceptually, rather than thoughtlessly. Thus for most humans our life is a thought-created continuing story in which (as William Shakespeare revealed) “nothing’s either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Yet, whatever we may think about ‘what is’ NOW, it can’t be changed. So mentally resisting each present moment is futile, and inevitably causes karmic suffering. (see https://sillysutras.com/dont-seize-the-moment/)

Thus mystics (like those quoted above) perennially counsel us to let go of mental descriptions or characterizations, and to non-conceptually accept each moment of Nature’s spontaneous flow of life.

Background

I first learned about the spiritual principle of choicelessly accepting ‘what is’ soon after my mid-life awakening. In 1977, I attended “est”, an impactful self-help seminar where I was first exposed to certain Eastern spirituality principles cleverly collected and presented by Werner Erhard, est’s founder, to motivate participants to radically transform their lives. 

To communicate an alleged epiphany experienced while he was driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, Werner’s key est teaching was to: Always accept “what is”. [See Ron’s Memoirs: Getting “IT” at est]

To encourage est participants to accept “what is”, Werner described the world as “perfect”, with innovative definitions such as:  

“Perfection is a state in which things are the way they are, 
and are not the way they are not.

As you can see, this universe is perfect.”

Intrigued by est teachings, I began wondering about, and gradually accepting, “what is” in the present moment (because karmically it could not be otherwise).  And non-judgmentally accepting “what is” has significantly spurred my spiritual awakening process. So I have written about it, to help others.
(see https://sillysutras.com/dont-seize-the-moment/) 


“Perfect Paradox” poetry

Today, to encourage our accepting “what is” in the present moment, I have shared the above poetic verses first composed during my post-retirement reclusive period, together with apt quotations, including Werner’s definition of “perfection”.

The poem is oxymoronically titled “Perfect Paradox” because in our space/time polarity duality reality we can’t have “perfection”, without imperfection. (See https://sillysutras.com/what-is-perfection/) Moreover Eastern mystics have persuasively taught for millennia that this so-called ‘reality’ isn’t even real; that it is an optical illusion – like a mental mirage. So to call it “perfect” is cosmically contradictory. Furthermore, words can never describe or express mysterious transcendent Truth beyond illusionary ‘duality reality’.

Nonetheless, words which seem intellectually illogical, can metaphorically, rhetorically, or paradoxically point to otherwise ineffable Truth. So sometimes

“The truest sayings are paradoxical.”
~ Lao Tzu

Therefore today’s “Perfect Paradox” verses and quotations are offered to encourage our acceptance of “what is” NOW, which karmically cannot be otherwise.

Accepting “what is”, need not impede our nonviolent opposition to injustice.

But yielding to life’s flow, need not discourage or impede our vigilantly questioning and peacefully resisting pervasive suffering and injustice caused by human ignorance and greed – as did Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..

“True surrender . does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and to do nothing about it. Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action.

Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

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

~ Thich Nhat Hanh



And so shall it be!


Ron Rattner

Analyzing Einstein’s Autograph ~ Synchronicity Story

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
~ Albert Einstein
“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
“As I look back upon my own life, I see how many events – which at the time appeared horribly painful or unnecessary – contained remarkable lessons which I sometimes did not understand until many years later. Now life appears to me – more and more – as a gorgeous Persian rug. Seen from underneath (that is, from the ordinary human viewpoint), it may be a mess of loose strands, knots, pieces of wool hanging in a disorderly manner; but seen from above – from another level of perspective – what perfect order, harmony and beauty!”
~ Pierre Pradervand



Ron’s Introduction

Many silly sutras, poems and essays were first written on bits of paper during an extended period of solitude, when I had no computer, TV, or daily paper, and was extremely reluctant to participate in the ‘digital revolution’. To express my skeptical attitude about possible technological transformation, I wrote that I chose the “inner net” rather than the internet; that while “the world wants ever more information, Ron seeks infinite inspiration: in the Unknown, in the Mystery – the Mystery of Divinity.

But finally, despite prolonged reluctance to go on-line, I felt obliged to get a computer in 2002 after my son had significant legal problems requiring my help.

Only thereafter did I discover Albert Einstein’s wise quotations on many philosophical subjects other than theoretical physics. I was amazed to learn that Einstein had expressed many of the same ideas which were conveyed in my sutras. Thereafter, in trying to discuss those ideas with others I often used Einstein quotes, rather than sutras. [As a lawyer I learned that it is much more persuasive to cite Supreme Court rulings than decisions of an unknown justice of the peace.]

A few years ago, I wanted to discuss one of these ideas with my friend “KJ” a retired San Francisco medical doctor and self-taught computer ‘guru’, who I met through a mutual friend after going on-line, and who generously has helped me learn how to use my iMac and to resolve many inevitable digital dilemmas. So, I asked KJ “what do you think of Albert Einstein?” I expected him to acknowledge Einstein’s genius, and then anticipated quoting Einstein to him to initiate a conversation about the quotation. But his answer surprised me.

He replied: “If it wasn’t for Albert Einstein, I wouldn’t be here.”

At first, I thought KJ was joking and asked him to explain, expecting some humorous story. Instead he told me how a graphologist’s analysis of Albert Einstein’s signature sychronistically began a friendship which saved the lives of KJ and his parents.

KJ’s Story

Both of KJ’s parents were European medical doctors from Czechoslovakia. In the late 1920’s, before KJ was born they temporarily moved to Freiburg, Germany where his father was a surgical resident. KJ’s mother was then informally studying (and practicing) handwriting analysis, then recognized and taught as a scientific discipline in Germany and other advanced European countries.

One evening, KJ’s mother attended a lecture in Freiburg by a noted handwriting analysis expert. As part of the lecture, the graphologist asked audience members to place their signatures on small bits of paper, which were collected in a container and randomly picked by him for instant anonymous analysis. In so analyzing audience members’ signatures, the expert described one of them as “a quite average person, but with a flare for one particular field”. Thereupon a little man with bushy hair got up from the rear of the room and rushed up to the lecturer, proclaiming “That is the best analysis of my personality that I have ever heard.” He was so pleased, that he spontaneously rewarded the lecturer with a one hundred mark note – which was then a significant amount of German currency.

It was Albert Einstein, who by then was well known and acclaimed world-wide as a “genius” of theoretical physics for which he had received a Nobel prize. But it was not then generally known that in addition to physics, Einstein was quite interested in graphology. After the lecturer’s spontaneous signature readings, there ensued conversations about handwriting analysis amongst the audience members. And KJ’s mother, who had never before met Einstein, discussed with him graphology issues of mutual interest. This ‘chance’ meeting began a long friendship between Einstein and KJ’s mother, focused on their common interests and expertise in graphology. So, in the 1930’s after KJ’s parents left Freiburg and returned to Prague, his mother kept in touch with Einstein.

In Prague, KJ’s father became quite prominent and was appointed Surgeon to the President of the country. He was also a very outspoken political liberal. So, after the Nazis invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939, they listed KJ’s father as an “undesirable” person. And his life was thus jeopardized.

By this time, Einstein had renounced his German citizenship and emigrated to the USA, where as a Professor at the Princeton, NJ, Institute for Advanced Studies he had a free schedule and was using his great prestige to advocate for pacifism and social justice causes, and to tirelessly help countless potential European refugees obtain emigration visas to escape Nazi persecution, which he abhorred.

Via correspondence with KJ’s mother he learned of her family’s jeopardy, and managed to obtain for them an emigration visa, permitting them to come to the USA when KJ was nine years old.

So, but for Einstein KJ wouldn’t be here. And perhaps without KJ, Ron wouldn’t have learned enough about computers to have digitally recorded and published on-line his silly sutras, essays and apt Einstein quotes, or to have shared with you his “synchronicity” stories.

Einstein’s Noteworthy Humility

Professor Einstein’s spontaneously enthusiastic reaction to the graphologist’s reading that he was an ordinary person with a special talent happened when Einstein was already acclaimed world-wide as a “genius”. Yet it was consistent with his historical persona.

Historians say that Einstein was a very humble man who remained simple and self-effacing despite the world’s immense flattery and “genius” label, using his great prestige to advocate for social justice and controversial causes, like pacifism. So he regarded himself as just an ordinary person, with certain abilities in theoretical physics. For example he has said:


“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”


Apart from disclaiming superior intelligence, Professor Einstein once eschewed credit for his scientific accomplishments on grounds of predetermination. Until his death in 1955, Einstein rejected the “uncertainty” principle of quantum mechanics advanced by most respected physicists of his time; he stubbornly maintained his determinist view, consistent with ancient mystical insights, that


‘God does not play dice with the universe’


Thus, in a 1929 interview, when the debate about quantum mechanics “uncertainty” was at its height, Einstein modestly said that:

“I claim credit for nothing” . . “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. 
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
 we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
 [Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 422.]


Einstein’s steadfastly determinist view was consistent with ancient mystical insights, that the principle of cause and effect (or karma) pervades the phenomenal Universe without exception; that the ideas of chance or “uncertainty” arise from mysterious causes and conditions not yet scientifically recognized or perceived.


Some quantum physicists now suggest that recent non-locality experiments show that Einstein erred in rejecting quantum uncertainty theory; that these experiments support what Einstein rejected as “spooky action at a distance”.  However, it is still possible that quantum physicists’ ideas of chance or “uncertainty” arise from predetermined causes and conditions not yet recognized or perceived by mainstream science.

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

Einstein – Jung Synchronicity

Recently, we learned of a synchronistic connection between Albert Einstein and Carl Gustav Jung’s seminal work in coining and developing the concept of “synchronicity” – which on SillySutras.com has been expanded and treated as an important spiritual phenomenon.

According to Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience, “The concept of synchronicity was developed largely by Carl G. Jung, who credited Albert Einstein as his inspiration.”

Einstein and Jung had met for a series of dinners in Zurich while Einstein was clarifying his theory of relativity. Long later in a 1953 letter to Carl Seelig, Jung wrote:

“Professor Einstein was my guest on several occasions at dinner… These were very early days when Einstein was developing his first theory of relativity, [and] it was he who first started me off thinking about a possible relativity of time as well as space, and their psychic conditionality. More than thirty years later, this stimulus led to my relation with the physicist Professor W. Pauli and to my thesis of psychic synchronicity.” … “It was above all the simplicity and directness of [Professor Einstein’s] genius as a thinker that impressed me mightily and exerted a lasting influence on my own intellectual work.” 


Conclusion

The foregoing “synchronicity” story could not have been recounted by KJ and written by Ron, but for an amazing chain of mysteriously related unlikely events.

It couldn’t have happened unless:

1. Dr. Carl Gustav Jung met Professor Albert Einstein, whose “simplicity and directness” inspired Dr. Jung to coin and develop the concept of “synchronicity”.

2. KJ’s mother from Prague, Czechoslovakia and Professor Einstein hadn’t both shared interest as scientists in handwriting analysis; and therefor had concurrently attended a graphology lecture in Freiburg, Germany;

3. Where Einstein’s anonymous handwriting sample was randomly drawn and analyzed by the lecturer as that of ‘an ordinary person with a special talent’ – to Einstein’s delight;

4. Whereupon KJ’s mother met and discussed handwriting with Professor Einstein, and became so friendly with him as to maintain a continuing course of correspondence about graphology which lasted for years;

5. Until the 1939 Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, which resulted in life-threatening jeopardy of KJ’s father and mother as alleged “undesirables”.

6. At a time after Einstein had emigrated to the USA, where as a Professor at the Princeton, NJ, Institute for Advanced Studies he had a free schedule and was using his great prestige to advocate for pacifism and social justice causes, and to tirelessly help countless potential European refugees obtain emigration visas to escape Nazi persecution, which he abhorred.

7. Whereupon KJ’s mother succeeded in communicating with Einstein, who managed to obtain for KJ’s family an emigration visa, permitting them to come to the USA when KJ was nine years old.

8. Where after retiring from a career as a San Francisco MD, KJ became a self-taught ‘computer guru’ who continuously helped Ron with his digital dilemmas after they ‘randomly’ met in 2002 through a mutual friend.

9. After reluctantly going online to help his son with legal problems, and consulting “Dr. Google”, Ron unexpectedly discovered many wise Einstein philosophical observations similar to Ron’s Sutra Sayings, and later innocently asked KJ “what do you think of Albert Einstein?”

So but for Einstein, KJ wouldn’t be here. And perhaps Ron wouldn’t have learned enough about computers to have digitally recorded and published on-line his silly sutras and apt Einstein quotes and essays, much less to have been privileged to share with you KJ’s extraordinary Einstein “synchronicity” story.

Closing questions

According to Einstein, as quoted above, all this was pre-determined
“by forces over which we have no control”.

Do you agree? What do you think?


Was Einstein an Atheist?

“I don’t try to imagine a personal God;
it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world,
insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.”
~ Albert Einstein
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Atheism is a disease of the soul,
before it becomes an error of the understanding.”
~ Plato
“Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism,
but larger amounts bring us back to God.”
~ Francis Bacon
“Yes, all one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal; that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep; and that He is beyond all these.” ….”God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
“The Atheist is God playing at hide and seek with Himself;
but is the Theist any other?
Well, perhaps; for he has seen the shadow of God and clutched at it.”
~ Sri Aurobindo
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization”
~ George Carlin
“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.”
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955)


Was Einstein an Atheist?

Introduction

This essay reveals that Albert Einstein was not an atheist or a monotheist; that he was annoyed by anti-religious atheists who selectively quoted him to support their erroneous contention that Einstein was an atheist.

Einstein explicitly denied that he was an atheist. But he revered and did not deny or disbelieve the existence of an impenetrable supreme universal power – which he called Universal Intelligence. He was a modern Western non-dualistic mystic whose religious views paralleled the most elevated non-dualistic ancient Vedic and Buddhist philosophies.

Discussion

Albert Einstein was not only an acclaimed scientist but a wise philosopher and a pragmatic “true mystic” … “of a deeply religious nature.” (New York Times Obituary, April 19, 1955)

Einstein did not believe in a formal, dogmatic religion, but was reverently awed and humbled with a cosmic religious feeling by the immense beauty and eternal mystery of our Universe.

He often commented publicly on religious and ethical subjects, and thereby became widely respected for his moral integrity and mystical wisdom, as well as for his scientific genius.

Einstein rejected prevalent religious ideas about God, and individual survival of physical death, reincarnation, or of reward or punishment in heaven or hell after physical death. But in an essay entitled The World As I See It, first published 1933, Einstein explained his reverence for God as Eternal Universal Intelligence. He said:

I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature. [The World As I See It]

Because Einstein repeatedly rejected all conventional theistic concepts of a personal “God”, atheists often eagerly have claimed that Einstein was one of them, selectively citing Einstein quotes.

Thus, prominent atheist/scientist Richard Dawkins, devoted an entire section of his book “The God Delusion” to Einstein. And atheist author Christopher Hitchens cited many Einstein quotations in “The Portable Atheist”, mistakenly claiming Einstein rejected all belief in “God”.

Often cited by atheists is a 1954 letter, sometimes called Einstein’s “God” letter, which recently sold for $3 million dollars in an eBay auction. Handwritten by Einstein – a non-observant Jew – to German-Jewish philosopher and author Eric Gutkind, the letter explained Einstein’s rejection of theistic Jewish “God” concepts, superstitions and religious exceptionalism, despite his great appreciation of Jewish culture. It said:

“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.” …….. “For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality ..than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”

Though Einstein rejected the concept of “God” as it has been defined by most theistic religions, he also clearly rejected atheism, which he associated with mistaken certainty regarding nonexistence of a Supreme Power. Thus, he said:

“I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. … But I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”

“There are people who say there is no God, but what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views.” “I’m not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what that is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the most intelligent human toward God.”

“[T]he fanatical atheists…are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional ‘opium of the people’—cannot bear the music of the spheres.”

When once asked by an atheist whether he considered himself religious, Einstein responded:

“Yes, you could call it that. Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything we can comprehend is my religion.”

Despite his rejection of any personal God, Einstein suggested that he would never seek to challenge orthodox religious belief in the existence of a supreme universal power, because “such a belief seems to me preferable to the lack of any transcendental outlook.” Also at times Einstein used the “God” word to explain his reverence for Universal Intelligence.

Thus, he said:

“That deeply emotional conviction of a presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”

And throughout his adult life, Einstein repeatedly affirmed his religious awe of that mysterious eternal power which reveals itself in “the lawful harmony of all that exists.”

Conclusion

Albert Einstein was not an atheist; he did not deny or disbelieve the existence of a supreme universal power. He was a modern Western non-dualistic mystic whose religious views paralleled the most elevated non-dualistic ancient Vedic and Buddhist philosophies.

Einstein’s rejection of prevalent religious ideas about God and individual survival of physical death and afterlife was consistent with his revolutionary non-mechanistic science as well as with ancient Eastern non-dualistic teachings that apparent separation between subject and object is an unreal “optical illusion of consciousness.”

But Einstein’s mystical views – like his non-mechanistic science – have been very difficult for Western materialist minds to comprehend because they question the substantiality of matter and the ultimate reality of space, time and causality.

Like those ancient non-dualistic mystics, Einstein said:

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

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

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

“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.”

“There is no place in this new kind of physics for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality.”

And like non-dualistic Eastern mystics, he was reverently awed and humbled with a cosmic religious feeling by the immense beauty and eternal mystery of our Universe, whose Source he venerated, saying:

“That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.”

Thus, Einstein was a non-dualistic mystic who venerated a supreme universal power which he called Universal Intelligence. He was not an atheist or a monotheist.

Thousands of years ago mystics were able to solve the deepest mysteries of physics with only their power of mind. Einstein made great strides in at long last reconciling modern physics with ancient mysticism.

May he ever inspire contemporary scientists to transcend mechanistic mental blinders and to merge physical science with mystical science, bringing us out of the darkness of ignorance into a bright new age of peace and harmony on our precious planet.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


How I See the World – PBS  Documentary Film About Einstein:



Einstein’s Mystical Ideas About God, Death, Afterlife, and Reincarnation

“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, …Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.
~ Albert Einstein, as quoted in his New York Times Obituary, April 19, 1955)


Albert Einstein
March 14, 1879 – April 18,1955


Einstein’s Mystical Ideas

Albert Einstein was not only a great scientist but a wise philosopher and a pragmatic “true mystic” … “of a deeply religious nature.” (New York Times Obituary, April 19, 1955)

Einstein did not believe in a formal, dogmatic religion, but was religiously and reverently awed and humbled with a cosmic religious feeling by the immense beauty and eternal mystery of our Universe.

He often commented publicly on religious and ethical subjects, and thereby he became widely respected for his moral integrity and mystical wisdom, as well as for his scientific genius.

In an essay collection entitled The World As I See It, first published 1933, Einstein explained his reverence for God as Eternal Universal Intelligence. But he rejected prevalent religious ideas of individual survival of physical death, reincarnation, or of reward or punishment in heaven or hell after physical death. He said:

I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature. [The World As I See It]


On learning of the death of a lifelong friend, Einstein wrote in a March 1955 letter to his friend’s family:

“Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”


Einstein’s rejection of afterlife contradicted many religious teachings and credible experiential accounts of individual afterlife and reincarnation. But it was consistent with Einstein’s revolutionary scientific paradigm and with highest non-dualistic Eastern religious teachings, the most ancient extant of which is Hindu Advaita Vedanta philosophy.

Einstein revolutionized Western science with his 1905 groundbreaking theory of relativity that “mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing”; that there was an equivalence between all matter and energy in the universe, quantifiable by the simple equation e = mc2. On his arrival in New York in 1919, Einstein summarized his theory of relativity in the single sentence:

“Remove matter from the universe and you also remove space and time.”
Clark R.W., Einstein: His Life and Times (1973)

Though Vedic rishis or seers had anticipated Einstein by millennia, their teachings were largely unknown in the West until shortly before Einstein revolutionized Western science. The ancient Vedic Advaita teachings were first brought to large Western audiences by Swami Vivekananda – who came to the West as Indian delegate to the 1893 Parliament of World Religions.

Vivekananda, who was principle disciple of nineteenth century Indian Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, eloquently explained that according to Advaita philosophy this impermanent and ever changing world is an unreal illusion called maya or samsara; and, that “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”…

In an eloquent New York City lecture called “The Real and the Apparent Man”, he equated maya or samsara with “time, space, and causation” and presciently predicted scientific confirmation of the ancient Vedic non-dual philosophy of One Infinite Existence. He said:

“According to the Advaita philosophy, ..this Maya or ignorance–or name and form, or, as it has been called in Europe, time, space, and causality–is out of this one Infinite Existence showing us the manifoldness of the universe; in substance, this universe is one. So long as any one thinks that there are two ultimate realities, he is mistaken. When he has come to know that there is but one, he is right. This is what is being proved to us every day, on the physical plane, on the mental plane, and also on the spiritual plane.

“What then becomes of all this threefold eschatology of the dualist, that when a man dies he goes to heaven, or goes to this or that sphere, and that the wicked persons become ghosts, and become animals, and so forth? None comes and none goes, says the non-dualist. How can you come and go? You are infinite; where is the place for you to go?

“So it is with regard to the soul; the very question of birth and death in regard to it is utter nonsense. Who goes and who comes? Where are you not? Where is the heaven that you are not in already? Omnipresent is the Self of man. Where is it to go? Where is it not to go? It is everywhere. So all this childish dream and puerile illusion of birth and death, of heavens and higher heavens and lower worlds, all vanish immediately for the perfect. For the nearly perfect it vanishes after showing them the several scenes up to Brahmaloka. It continues for the ignorant.”

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

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

“…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.”

“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


Einstein’s non-mechanistic science was very difficult for Western materialist minds to comprehend because his mystical view questioned the substantiality of matter and the ultimate reality of space, time and causality. Like Vivekananda, he said:

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


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


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

“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.”



“There is no place in this new kind of physics for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality.”





“That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.”



Thus, Einstein’s rejection of prevalent religious ideas about God and individual survival of physical death and afterlife was consistent with his revolutionary science as well as with Eastern non-dualistic teachings explained by Vivekenanda that apparent separation between subject and object is an unreal “optical illusion of consciousness.”

Did Einstein’s psyche survive his death?
Was he surprised on his demise?


Though Einstein didn’t believe in individual survival of physical death, he may have been surprised on his demise. Conservation of energy is basic to physics. So Einstein must have realized that his subtle energetic essence was indestructible and could only be transformed from one state to another. But we don’t know how that knowledge may have influenced his opinion about what happens on individual death, or his experience thereafter.

Except for very rare Buddha-like people who transcend all desires, it is probable that all humans survive physical death as psyches or mental bodies, irrespective of their beliefs. So the Dalai Lama has said:

“[Physical qualities] cannot be carried over into the next life.
The continuum of the mind, however, does carry on.
Therefore, a quality based on the mind is more enduring. …
So, through training the mind, qualities such as compassion, love, and the wisdom realizing emptiness can be developed.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama, from Practicing wisdom: the perfection of Shantideva’s Bodhisattva way


Thus, Buddhists say that Gautama Buddha experienced countless incarnations over eons of time before ultimately transcending the cycle of birth and death. And the Dalai Lama has said:

“We are born and reborn countless number of times, and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another.  Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”
~ H. H. Dalai Lama, from ‘The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom”.


But, rather than wondering if on demise of Einstein’s physical body and extraordinary brain, his subtle mental body survived – with its unfulfilled desire to find a single simple “unified field” formula explaining phenomenal reality from perspective of ‘the mind of God’ – let us honor his immense evolutionary accomplishments and take inspiration from his compassionate social activism, and pragmatic wisdom.

And thereby let us learn to live ever more peacefully, harmoniously and skillfully, in this ever changing phenomenal world of space, time and causation, as together we evolve out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of Eternal Awareness.

And so may it be!


How I See the World – PBS  Documentary Film About Einstein:





Synchronicity Story: Dr. King, Alice Walker, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and “If I Was President”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

“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.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If I was President
The first thing I would do
is call Mumia Abu-Jamal.”
~ Alice Walker
Dare to be a nonconformist.
Society rewards conformers.
But, posterity honors reformers.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Let us elevate our aspirations,
from the bottom line to the highest good.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
In these critical times,
we need a critical mass
to solve our critical mess.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

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


Ron’s Introduction.

Today’s posting commemorates the forthcoming 92nd birthday anniversary of American hero and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated over fifty years ago at age 39.

As we honor Dr. King and remember his “dream” for our society, here is an amazing synchronicity story about Dr. King, poet/author and social reformer Alice Walker (and her poem: “If I Was President”), and Mumia Abu-Jamal, well known truth-telling black journalist and innocent political prisoner since 1981.

Over fifty years have passed since Dr. King’s 1963 “dream” speech. Yet the US population still endures most of the flagrant societal injustices addressed by Dr. King and Alice Walker, including unjust imprisonment of countless political truth-tellers and societal reformers, like Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Nonetheless, I again share this synchronicity story with the deepest faith that together we can and will awaken the world from its present fearful ‘nightmare’ to realize Dr. King’s ‘dream’ – 

That ‘free at last’, we will honor the equality and divinity of everyone everywhere, and thereby transcend exploitation and discrimination against the world’s most vulnerable people, using our common-wealth for our common-weal to end the iniquity of inequity in our society. So that as Abraham Lincoln envisioned,

“under God, [we] shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


Synchronicity Story.

One January morning I received an email notice of an archived lecture about departed hero Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. given by poet, author, and Buddhist peace activist Alice Walker, in Atlanta in 2006. The lecture was entitled “We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For.” [a YouTube video is linked below]

Because of my great respect for Dr. King as a national hero, and for Alice Walker’s wisdom, artistic genius and exemplary engagement in non-violent peace activism, I listened to the lecture. It was eloquent and moving.

At one point Alice Walker noted the posthumous persistence of social problems addressed by Dr. King before he was assassinated, and she cited as emblematic of our continuing societal injustices the political incarceration and threatened execution of brilliant truth teller journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, following his eggregiously wrongful political conviction for a crime committed by someone else.


Mumia Abu-Jamal


Especially, because I regard Abu-Jamal as an unjustly imprisoned ‘great soul’ who was subjected to an extraordinarily unjust trial, I had been amongst the millions world-wide protesting his political incarceration and threatened execution.

Synchronistically, a couple of hours after I listened to the Alice Walker lecture mentioning Abu-Jamal, I received a rare phone call from Prison Radio, a charitable organization dedicated to recording and distributing worldwide weekly radio commentaries by Abu-Jamal then telephoned from death row. (If interested you can listen to those commentaries at the Prison Radio website http://www.prisonradio.org/.)

The caller, Sharyn, invited me to a house party at which Abu-Jamal’s current legal situation was to be be discussed in depth. I told Sharyn that I had just been thinking about Mumia because of Alice Walker’s reference to him in her eloquent Atlanta talk about Dr. King. In response, Sharyn told me that shortly before she called me, Prison Radio had that day just received a new poem written and sent by Alice Walker from Mexico about Mumia and other prominent political prisoners.

Entitled, “If I Was President”, the opening lines of the poem say:


“If I was President
The first thing I would do
is call Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

 

Alice Walker

Synchronicity Questions and Reflections.

So why did the universe decide to synchronistically communicate with me that day through Dr. King, Alice Walker and Prison Radio about Mumia Abu-Jamal? It is a mystery, and a reminder of how little we understand our miraculous world “reality”.

From space/time perspective, synchronicities are noteworthy or meaningful coincidences in time. But from a cosmic perspective serial time is just an illusory way we think. So Albert Einstein has said:

“People … who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Inspired by Einstein I have tentatively explained such synchroncities this way:

“Synchronicities are noteworthy “coincidences” in time,
which show us that in Nature,
there is no time and there are no “coincidences –
that everything that is, was, or will be is NOW;
that everything happens in harmony and synchrony
concurrently, not coincidentally.
Synchronicities are like Nature’s positive “bio-feedback’ or ‘radar’ signals showing when we are existing out of time and in the eternal NOW.”

And here is an interesting quote from Deepak Chopra:

“According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things don’t bother you anymore. You become light hearted and full of joy. The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous.”

How do you explain synchronicities in your life?

Whether or not we can ever really explain mysterious synchronicities, may they ever infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for our interdependence with all miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet.


Alice Walker: “We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For.”


Ron’s Commentary Honoring Dr. King.

Dear Friends,

On the forthcoming 92nd birthday anniversary of departed hero Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us join countless others worldwide in honoring and ardently following his visionary legacy of nonviolently seeking world peace and social justice with forgiveness and Love.

Regrettably realization of Dr. King’s vision of world harmony still seems distant, as societal problems he addressed more than half a century ago perilously persist. Moreover, threats of nuclear and ecological holocaust appear more imminent than ever before, as the US empire continues to insanely squander more than than half its budget on wars and weapons, while neglecting the human rights of most of its own citizens, as well as countless other innocent victims worldwide.


Dr. King’s history.

Dr. King was a fourth generation Baptist preacher and non-violent peace and social justice activist especially inspired by Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi.  He honored and followed Gandhi as “guiding light  …. of nonviolent social change’’, and in 1959 journeyed to India to study Gandhian methods.  On arrival there, King said:

“To other countries, I may go as a tourist,
but to India, I come as a pilgrim.” 

Afterwards, inspired by Jesus and Gandhi, Dr. King ardently preached non-violence, saying 

“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.” 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Ultimately, Dr. King’s life paralleled Gandhi’s life.  Each began as an outspoken advocate of inter-racial equality and social justice in racially segregated societies:  Gandhi as a South African civil rights lawyer; and King as a Southern-Baptist preacher.  Gradually their missions expanded to encompass universal peace, freedom and social justice for everyone everywhere.  

Gandhi ultimately inspired independence of the entire Indian subcontinent from almost a century of colonial domination and exploitation by the British raj. 

Dr. King conscientiously  and eloquently decried the fraudulent and immoral US war in Viet Nam, and the entire exploitive US corporate capitalist economic system which fostered perpetual war for perpetual profit of a privileged few, to the undemocratic detriment of an impoverished majority.  He said:

“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.”

“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.” 


Like Jesus and Gandhi, Reverend King preached love and forgiveness, saying:

“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1964 Dr. King was awarded and humbly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, as ‘trustee’ for countless unknown others. And he cited Mahatma Gandhi’s success in India as a key precedent encouraging nonviolent civil rights activism in the USA, saying:

“This [nonviolent] approach to the problem of racial injustice …. was used in a magnificent way by Mohandas K. Gandhi to challenge the might of the British Empire and free his people from the political domination and economic exploitation inflicted upon them for centuries.”

And Dr. King described how (because of technological advances which threaten nuclear/ecological catastrophe) the survival of humanity depends upon our nonviolently solving

“the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war” by “living in harmony” with “all-embracing and unconditional love for all men”.


Eloquently he explained unconditional love as

“that force which all of the great religions [Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist] have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. . . . the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate Reality.”


Dr. King’s 1968 Martyrdom.

Like Jesus and Gandhi, Reverend King was martyred at the pinnacle of his powers.   Dr. King (like President John F. Kennedy) was assassinated by the US military/industrial secret government when his expanding influence became an intolerable barrier to their psychopathic war plans for Viet Nam and beyond.

Concluding Dedication and Invocation.

To honor Dr. King’s lasting legacy as one of the greatest Americans who ever lived, I have shared this posting with deepest faith that together we can and will awaken the world from its present fearful ‘nightmare’ to realize Dr. King’s visionary ‘dream’ of worldwide peace and justice, with love and forgiveness. 

That ‘free at last’, we will honor the equality and divinity of everyone everywhere, and thereby transcend immoral exploitation and discrimination against the world’s most vulnerable people, using our common-wealth for our common-weal to end the iniquity of inequity in our society.
 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Humility: A Supreme Virtue

“Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.”
~ Confucius
“Spirituality automatically leads to humility.
When a flower develops into a fruit,
the petals drop off on its own.
When one becomes spiritual,
the ego vanishes gradually on its own.
A tree laden with fruits always bends low.
Humility is a sign of greatness.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna
“Holy humility confounds pride
and all the men of this world
and all things that are in the world.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi
“Humility grows as ego goes.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Introduction

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

This 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 the third article lists (with an mp3 audio recitation) numerous Sutra Sayings which epigrammatically elucidate humility.

Humility: A Supreme Virtue

Q. What is “humility”?

A. Authentic humility is a core virtue and a sign of spiritual evolution.
It is a state of modesty, free from pretension, pride and arrogance;
a state that intuitively recognizes the Divine equality of all beings as blessed with the same Eternal Essence, and their Oneness with Nature; a state which opens us to learning by allowing us to acknowledge our limitations and fallibilities, and to experience with awe and wonder how little we know about the miraculous magnificence of this Creation.

Yet, it is not a state of powerlessness or of low self esteem, but of powerful inner security, inner knowing, and inner-directedness.

Q. How does humility happen?

A. Humility grows as ego goes.  As we ever more realize that we are part a vast universe and not separate from it, we gradually become less and less egoistic and self centered and more and more compassionate and humble.  As Einstein says, this is a process of “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Q. Why is humility considered a virtue, especially in prominent people?

A. Prominent people are subject to great flattery, praise and adulation which can entice and inflate ego, the enemy of compassion and humility.   Those who have resisted such ego temptations have been lauded as truly great beings.  Eg. Gandhi was called “Mahatma” a Sanskrit word meaning “great soul”.

Throughout history, “humility” has been recognized and appreciated as a supreme virtue manifested by great beings from every tradition and culture, who chose to lead non-pretentious, simple lives dedicated to helping others, and who have thereby  inspired countless others.  Today, for example, H.H. the Dalai Lama who is  revered by millions worldwide as a great sage and religious leader, often describes himself as a “simple monk”, and sometimes publicly responds to questions with “I don’t know.” *

[*According to Buddhism, ego and “enlightenment” cannot coexist.  No “enlightened” Buddhist can acknowledge “enlightenment” because any such acknowledgment would necessarily imply an ego-identity, a personality, a being, a separated individuality. ~  Diamond Sutra, Chapter 9]


Discussion

Enduring scriptures affirm importance of “humility”. For example, the Bhagavad Gita [13:8-12], perhaps the most important Hindu scripture, recognizes humility and lack of pride as virtues essential to Self Realization.

In the Tao Te Ching the great Taoist sage Lao Tzu states that

the Master’s “constant practice is humility.”; and that: “Humility means trusting the Tao, thus never needing to be defensive.”


Various bible passages attest to the humility of Jesus.  Jesus once said of Himself,

“I am meek and humble of heart”
~ Matthew 11:29.


And in the Sermon on the Mount,
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
~ Matthew 5.5.


Jesus claimed no special powers but attributed all to God.  eg.

“I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doth the works.”
~ John 14:10;  

“..I can of mine own self do nothing…I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
~ John 5:30.


And Jesus counseled humility: 

“Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.”
~ 1 Peter 5.5.


Of Moses the bible says: 

“Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.”
~ Numbers 12:3.


Modern humble heroes included Albert Einstein. He remained simple and self-effacing despite the world’s “genius” label and immense flattery, using his great prestige to advocate for social justice and controversial causes, like pacifism. 

Einstein was a very humble man who regarded himself as just an ordinary person, with certain abilities in theoretical physics. [eg. see Synchronicity story: Analyzing Einstein’s Autograph]

For example, he disclaimed the ‘genius’ label, saying:

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
“It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”


Einstein explained his humility, thus: 

“What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.”


In eulogizing Mahatma Gandhi’s virtuous life, Einstein said:

“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”


The great Gandhi, whose example of non-violent relentless pursuit of Truth and selfless service to humanity continues to inspire countless others, remained a humble man despite his immensely important accomplishments.  His humility was evidenced by these Gandhi statements:

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” . . . . 
   
“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”


Ego and Humility

Spiritually, the supreme virtue of “humility” is inversely associated with “ego”. Thus prominent humble people – like the Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein or Mahatma Gandhi –– are often regarded as great beings, because they are not egotistic.

From childhood we are acculturated to identify only with a limited and disempowering self-image.  We are taught to believe that we are born into Nature as limited and separate mortal beings; but not that Nature is our nature, or that essentially we are Beings of Light, sharing limitless immortal Cosmic consciousness with all life-forms.
 
Such restrictive self-image is what spiritual teachers call “ego” – as distinguished from Freud’s salutary psychological definition of “ego”.

Spiritually, “ego” refers to fundamentally mistaken human mental self-identity as personalities separate from eternal Infinite potentiality;
our restrictive self-identity which causes us endless karmic suffering from unskillful thoughts, words and deeds.
 
Thus the ancient Rig Veda called “ego”:


“the biggest enemy of humans.”


And Sri Ramakrishna told us that:

“All troubles come to an end when the ego dies”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

  
Since “ego” arises from mental activity – from thoughts and beliefs – it cannot continue without persistently mistaken thoughts about who or what we are.  Through an evolutionary process of conscious psychological self-transformation, we can transcend mistaken egoic ideas of who we think we are, and gradually realize and remember that ultimately we truly are ONE with Universal Intelligence – with Eternal Spirit. 

As gradually we transcend our illusory ego identities as merely separate mortals, and increasingly self identify as Eternal Spirit, we inevitably become ever more humble.  Our Humility grows as ego goes. The smaller the ego, the greater the being.

Conclusion

Authentic humility is a supreme virtue which ever expands as we become less and less egoistic and self centered and more and more compassionate, thereby “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

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

Life Is But A Dream

“This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.
Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.”
~ Rumi
“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
~ Buddha (The Awakened One)
“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
“Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.”
~ Buddha: Diamond Sutra
“We are like the spider.

We weave our life and then move along in it.

We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream.

This is true for the entire universe.”
~ The Upanishads




Life Is But A Dream

Q. “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”

[*See footnote]


A. Yes. Each person’s life is like a dream story within a dream of space/time reality.

For millennia, mystics have revealed that all we see or seem is mental illusion, ‘samsara’ or ‘maya’ – like a very persistent day dream from which we can awaken, just as we awaken from nocturnal dreams. And scientists like Einstein confirm the mystics, saying e.g. that

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


Just as nighttime dreams are mental images arising during sleep on a ‘screen’ of formless awareness, our daytime “reality” arises from mental images projected on the same screen of formless awareness that perceives nocturnal dreams.

Both mystics and scientists say that all the forms we perceive as “reality” are impermanent – ever appearing and disappearing in timeless formless awareness; awareness which is universal and beyond time and space, beyond birth and death. That formless awareness is in the Bible called “everlasting life” [Daniel 12:1-3] and “eternal life” [e.g. John 17:1-2] And it is our Essence and Ultimate Identity.

We can realize the biblical/mystical promise of eternal life upon awakening from illusory egoic self identification as mere mortal bodies, their thoughts and their stories, and thus awakening to self identification with that timeless, formless awareness in which we perceive our lives and all we call “reality”.

AND SO IT SHALL BE!


Footnote.
*Edgar Allan Poe, “A Dream Within A Dream”, 1849


Ron’s Commentary on Life Is But A Dream.

Dear Friends,

Have you ever yet thought about a “dream” as other than a nocturnal sleep experience?   Or as an unfulfilled ‘utopian’ aspiration such as expressed in Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary  “I Have a Dream” speech,
John Lennon’s “Imagine” lyrics,

“You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one”


or by master lyricist Oscar Hammerstein in “Happy Talk” from “South Pacific”:

“You got to have a dream, 
If you don’t have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?”

To help us validate and actuate those “new age” ideas, I have explained in the above essay why “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream” in response to an insightful 1859 rhetorical question by poet Edgar Allan Poe; and why – as mystics and seers have told us for millennia – what we believe to be reality is, like a dream, just a play of universal consciousness. 

From my “dreamlike” perspective, the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as 45th US president was a major disguised blessing which wouldn’t have happened if Hillary Clinton had been declared the US election winner.   It has sparked an unprecedented mass political awakening to insanely dystopian secret government threats to everyone everywhere.

Because a critical mass of awakened Humankind worldwide are now adamantly demanding and intuitively envisioning a new era of peace and justice for all life everywhere – an era which ends and transcends unconscionable and unsustainable exploitation of our societies and planet to obscenely enrich a tiny group of psychopathic billionaires – I see this as beginning of a new era which will advance the highest good for all life on our precious planet.  

In a recent Happy New Year posting, I said that:

“The personal and planetary are intimately connected.
Just as dreamers ‘create’ their dreams,
together we are a ‘dream-team’,
dreaming our world into being; and,
consciously or unconsciously creating a ‘common dream’”

Quotations from Rumi, Buddha (The Awakened One), and ancient Upanishads which precede the essay, elucidate and illuminate our common dream “reality”. And here are more quotations which can help us realize why our supposed waking life is like a dream:

“As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life and then return after death. Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life, and so it is endlessly, until the very last one, the very real the life of God.”
~ Leo Tolstoy


A dream! What is a dream? And is not our life a dream?
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky


“This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.” 
~ Carl Gustav Jung


“To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil…”
~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet (c. 1599), Act 3, sc. 1. 

Especially since modern medical technology has begun resuscitating apparently dead heart attack victims, many survivors have recounted amazing near death experiences (NDE’s) helping us to learn societally about what happens  “when we have shuffled off this mortal coil”.  And such NDE’s have been portrayed in movies like the 1998 Robin Williams film, “What Dreams May Come”, which paradoxically dealt with post-suicide experience.

Paramahansa Yogananda poetically observed:

“The mysterious soul abides forever’ changing never…. 
It loves to live in the grottos of change, ever steadfast and immovable. It never dreams ought but eternity.” 


May our awakening Human ‘dream team’ ever more self-identify as “the mysterious soul [which] abides forever” .  And may we apprehend as adults the esoteric meaning of this nursery rhyme we recited as children:

“Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Merrily merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream”


Thereby may we at long last create an ever nobler ‘common dream’ that honors the equality and divinity of everyone everywhere, thus transcending exploitation and discrimination against the most vulnerable people and other sentient beings, by using our common sense and our common wealth for our common weal, and to end the iniquity of inequity in our society.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith

“Imagination is everything.
It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world,
and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
~ Albert Einstein
“You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”
~ John Lennon, “Imagine”
“Is all that we see or seem
but a dream within a dream?”
~ Edgar Allen Poe
“Your thoughts create reality. The most pragmatic way to create world peace is to use your power of visualization. Think Peace, Act Peace, Spread Peace, Imagine Peace. Your thoughts will soon cover the planet. The most important thing is to believe in your power. It works.”
~ Yoko Ono
“Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance that it dazzles the mind and darkens all its visions of other realities;
but in the end when we become used to the new light,
we gain a new view of all reality transfigured and elevated in the light itself.”
~ Thomas Merton
“On a long journey of human life,
faith is the best of companions;
it is the best refreshment on the journey;
and it is the greatest property.”
~ Buddha
“Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far,

but none comes further.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard
“Faith is different from proof;
the latter is human, the former is a gift from God.”
“The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.”
~ Blaise Pascal
“Faith—in life, in other people, and in oneself—is the attitude of
 allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time.”
 . . .
“Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.”
~ Alan Watts



John Lennon
October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980



Introduction

Dear Friends,

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


Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AND SO SHALL IT BE!

Ron Rattner



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


Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


John Lennon – “Imagine” (live performances)



“Imagine”


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

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today



Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace



You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one



Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world



You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one


~ John Lennon