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Posts Tagged ‘Flow’

I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life.

“Faith is different from proof;
the latter is human, the former is a gift from God.”
~ 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 – The Merging of Spirit and Science




I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life

My life has become faith-based.

I follow my faith,
but I’m not affiliated
with any organized religion or other belief system.

After many years of questioning,
I’ve found faith beyond belief,
beyond dogmas or theology.

I’ve found faith in everything everywhere,
and in the impenetrable Mystery
beyond every form or phenomenon.

I’ve found faith in my Self and in Nature.

I’ve found the faith to follow my Heart.

Mine is not a blind faith based on fear or doubt,
or on inculcated or adopted ideas of others.

It is an abiding inner knowledge,
flowing from a long life
of reflective personal and trans-personal
experience and observation;

An insight arising from – but transcending – reason,
consistent and harmonious with
the highest welfare and unity of all Life.

My life experience has shown that our universe
is a magnificent, marvelous, miraculous and awe-inspiring “reality”;

That immanent in each life-form and in all manifestation
is an ineffable eternal Awareness:

An Intelligence or Divinity
which is the mysterious matrix,
Essence and Source of our reality.

My life experience has thus
indelibly instilled in me
an abiding faith in that Source*

As a purposeful evolutionary impetus in each of us;

A faith that from that Source
we get what we need when we need it,

Assuring that ultimately everything happens for the best,
to promote our evolution;

A faith that we are inevitably evolving toward
harmonious universal expression of greatest good –

As Peace, Truth, Joy, Love, and Compassion.

With such Faith, I am empowered to follow my Heart,
without worry, fear or doubt;

To accept inevitable and inescapable
life difficulties and uncertainties,
and yet to live openly, spontaneously and authentically.

So, without any religious affiliation,
I’ve become a faithful follower:

I follow my Faith;
I follow the Way;
I follow my Heart.

And this above all,

It is my Faith that enables me to be true to my Self.


Footnote.

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



Ron’s audio recitation of “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life”

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Ron’s 2019 epilogue to “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing poem explains insights arising from previously unimagined paradigms of “reality” and “self-identity”, experienced following a profound 1976 midlife awakening. It was composed during a post-retirement reclusive period, and first posted soon after the 2010 launching of SillySutras.com.

Since composing “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life”, I’ve kept experiencing an evolutionary awakening process, and sharing further spiritual insights therefrom. And since then I have continued to be more than ever blessed with a “faith-based life”.

My miraculous survival and healing from a 2014 near death taxicab rundown, has sparked subtly significant attitudinal changes, bringing unprecedented happiness and gratitude for this precious human lifetime, with evolutionary acceptance of Life even beyond that described in the above original essay/poem.

With enhanced faith in the Divine, rather than mere belief, I have now given my ‘irrevocable power of attorney” to The Lone Arranger to resolve all worldly problems and sufferings, and to forgivingly ‘adjudge’ all those who ignorantly cause them.

And more than ever before, I now see this world mostly as a Divine play of consciousness – like a marvelous movie, or mental mirage or simulated holographic ‘reality’ – without fear of physical death, and with absolute Faith in its ultimate Divine denouement.

These verses are respectfully offered to inspire our ever expanding
faith-based acceptance of Life, as it is,
With ever growing Peace, Truth, Joy, Love, and Compassion.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Tuned Out, to Tune In –
Being in the world, but not of the world

“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
Tao and Zen
are NOW,
not then.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Fools follow the desires of the flesh
and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death;
but the wise, knowing the Self as eternal,
seek not the things that pass away”
~ Katha Upanishad 2:1:2
“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold;
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions,
but in having few wants.”
~ Epictetus

 



Tuned Out, to Tune In

I’ve temporarily tuned
out of temporality,

And tuned in to timelessness.

And an inner voice says silently:

Now it’s time to live
in timeless temporality –

In the world,
but not of the world –

NOW.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Tuned Out, to Tune In”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Tuned Out, to Tune In”

Dear Friends,

The above whimsical poem, “Tuned Out, to Tune In”, is about living timelessly in time, and thus being in the world but not of the world – a spiritually significant state.

Spiritual teachings often stress importance of living compassionately in the timeless NOW, while dispassionately letting go of ego attachments to constantly changing outcomes and occurrences.

Yogis and mystics in other times have attained and maintained elevated states of detached awareness by taking refuge in forests, on mountains, or in caves. But such stress-free environments or circumstances are now increasingly rare in wealthy materialist societies. Spiritual aspirants living in crowded and polluted urban environments are especially challenged to maintain such mindfulness, while acting skillfully and compassionately in this turbulent age of mental malaise, rife with suffering of most life forms on our precious planet.

Today’s whimsical verses were composed years ago, after I’d begun wondering about how to best live timelessly in time, in the world but not of the world.  

Initially I was inspired by Jesus’ teachings to abjure earthly treasures and pleasures, but seek treasures of heaven. (See https://sillysutras.com/seek-more-than-meets-the-eye/) Thereafter, Hindu teachings about vairagya (dispassion), and Buddhist scriptures about avoiding attachments were influential.

And by observing the compassion with dispassion of my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and other spiritual masters (like the Dalai Lama), I gleaned great inspiration. 

Thus, gradually I learned that with stilled minds and opened hearts it’s possible for us to psychologically transcend ego-mind attachments to outcomes of ever impermanent and uncertain worldly happenings, even though we have deep concerns about social injustice and suffering. And I have long aspired to attain such a skilled spiritual state.

Living dispassionately, skillfully and sanely in our stressful culture is an evolutionary challenge for all of us. So, “Tuned Out, to Tune In” has been posted today to encourage us to live more and more in the timeless present, yet to follow our heart while dispassionately letting go of ego-mind’s attachments to constantly changing outcomes.

May we thereby bless all Life by compassionately and dispassionately being in the world but not of the world, while letting go of ego.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Butterflies

“What the caterpillar calls the end,
the master calls a butterfly.”
~ Richard Bach




 
Butterflies

Butterflies are living
metaphors for metamorphosis.

They symbolize our
knowing or unknowing
quest for transformation;
for transcending inevitable
earthly miseries and mortality.

We are inspired by the butterfly’s metamorphosis:
from creeping, crawling caterpillar,
to cocooned chrysalis,
transformed by amazing imaginal cells
to beautifully winged wonder.

Butterflies can inspire and symbolize
not only human aspirations and potentialities
for transforming our life on Earth,
they also can remind us that there is much more
to our ever changing “reality”
‘than meets the eye’.

Some butterfly wings which appear to us in colors,
are actually transparent.
Their iridescent scales overlap like shingles on a roof,
refracting light – like rainbows –
so as to give the wings the colors we perceive.

But in some species, like the Glasswing (pictured above),
we can observe the transparency of the butterfly wings.
With such transparency,
we can see what normally we don’t see.

In the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:11-12),
Paul observes that “now we see through a glass darkly”,
but that some day we shall fully know,
as we are fully Known now by the Divine.

Now, we view our “reality”
through the ‘mirror of the mind’,
which imperfectly refracts and reflects
the unseen light of Eternal Awareness
onto the screen of our human consciousness.

But, with meditation and other mind-stilling methods,
we can evolve and transform our mind mirror
from opacity to translucency to transparency.

And thereby, with ever expanding
human consciousness and ever deepening insight,
we can and shall ‘see’ more and more –
we can and shall see what we couldn’t see before.

So, beautiful transparent butterflies
can symbolize and inspire our highest aspirations:
our aspirations for elevating and expanding human consciousness
so as to transform life on our precious planet.

And butterflies can remind us that Reality
is much more ‘than meets the eye’;

That beyond this phenomenal world
of ever passing appearances is one changeless Reality –

One unseen Source and Essence of
all appearances, all phenomena, and all ideas:

Infinite Potentiality – our Eternal SELF.



Undo Ego!

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”
~ Rig Veda
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,
and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego,
the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.
~ Lao Tzu
“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.”
~ Rumi
As ego goes,
consciousness grows,
until it Knows
– Itself.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Q. How much “ego” do you need?
A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi




Undo Ego!

There’s nothing to do
but undo,

Until you’re through and undone.

Then, when nothing’s undone,
there’s nothing to do,

But to BE –

Free and

ONE!



Ron’s audio recitation of “Undoing Ego”

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Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Undo Ego”

Dear Friends,

For millennia spiritual teachings have identified “ego” as an ultimate impediment to spiritual evolution and realization. Thus, the ancient Vedic seers told us that “Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ) And the Dalai Lama says that ego is the “number-one enemy of compassion.”

Spiritual teachers refer to “ego” as mistaken human self-identity as a personality separate from eternal Infinite Potentiality – our true identity. Because of ego’s supreme significance, numerous SillySutras postings [linked here] deal with “ego” as an illusory prison of the mind, causing inevitable karmic suffering. 
 
I have posted the foregoing quotations, sayings and a poem entitled “Undo Ego!” – to remind us of our critical need to let go of who or what we think we are so we can realize and BE what we really are – ONE with Nature as Infinite Potentiality. 

Every Human – except for rare Buddha-like beings – knowingly or unknowingly is in some evolutionary stage of undoing mistaken ego identity – a process indispensable to our inevitable evolution.

For example, in online spiritual memoirs I tell how (after many years of reciting and following prescribed prayers and practices) I became an “Uncertain Undo” looking within to discover and discard remaining ego impediments to spiritual evolution and realization – as eloquently advised by Lao Tzu and Rumi.

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

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

~ Lao Tzu

“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi


Whimsically I’ve suggested that everyone should “seek relief from belief”; because “on the path of Undo we’ll never be through ’til we’re an undone ONE”.

So as an “Uncertain Undo” I’ve gradually been letting go of previously accepted beliefs and concepts about humanity, self-identity and reality.

My present paradigm envisions that we are living earth-lives to experience our essential common self-identity as LOVE – each from a unique karmic perspective.  That each of us is here to transcend suffering by uncovering, discovering and undoing our unique barriers to Self realization – our mistaken ego identities and tendencies.
 
So, this post is respectfully offered to help remind us all of our critical need to let go of who or what we mistakenly think we are, so can realize and BE what we really are – ONE with Nature as its Eternal Source. 

And may these undoing ego ideas help us live ever happier lives, until we become “an undone ONE”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Pathless Paths

“Truth is a pathless land.”*
~ J. Krishnamurti
If you don’t know where you are going,
any road will get you there.
~ Lewis Carroll
“Path presupposes distance;
If He be near, no path needest thou at all.
Verily it maketh me smile
To hear of a fish in water athirst!”
~ Kabir

“Let us accept all the different paths
as different rivers running toward the same ocean.”

~ Swami Satchidananda
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life”
~ John 14:6
“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
~ Buddha



Nicholas Roerich – “En-no-Gyoja”, “Friend of the Travelers”, 1924



Pathless Paths

Q. What are “spiritual paths”?

A. “Spiritual paths” are unique pathless paths
to everywhere/nowhere/NOW.

They are symbols of how
each unique earth person evolves
to transcend his/her entity identity,

Merging with the universal Way or the Tao.

Unlike earthly paths, spiritual paths
do not lead to space/time destinations,

But to transcendence of earthly limitations.

So “spiritual paths” are ways
in which we become the Way.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Pathless Paths”

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Ron’s explanation of “Pathless Paths”

Dear Friends,

The forgoing poem was inspired by 20th century sage J. Krishnamurti’s core teaching* beginning:


“Truth is a pathless land.”


Knowingly or unknowingly every human being is on a timeless metaphoric round trip journey from and to a “pathless land” beyond space/time duality ‘reality’.

On our destined return, we learn we never left – and melt into a timeless ocean of Awareness.


May these writings help hasten our timeless return to THAT – mythical ‘destination’ we never left.

And so may  it be!

Ron Rattner

*Krishnamurti’s Core Teaching – Footnote.

Here is the “pathless land” core teaching:


“Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Universal Intelligence
~ by Tom Atlee

“The harmony of natural law…reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”
~ Albert Einstein, The World As I See It
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals Himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”
~ Albert Einstein, Telegram of 1929
“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.”
~ Albert Einstein [As quoted in Dukas, Helen and Banesh Hoffman. (1979). Albert Einstein – The Human Side, Princeton University Press.]


Albert Einstein


Ron’s Introduction

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 a collection of essays entitled The World As I See It, first published 1933, Einstein explained thusly his reverence for God as supreme Intelligence:

“The harmony of natural law…reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”
~ Albert Einstein, The World As I See It.


In December 2010, I discovered online and republished on SillySutras.com the excellent essay below about Universal Intelligence, believing it to be a verbatim extract from Albert Einstein’s “The World As I See It”, because it began with the above quote.

So I attributed the entire essay to Einstein. But I was mistaken.

Not until December 2016, did I discover that the essay was not written by Einstein, but by Tom Atlee of The Co-Intelligence Institute, a non-profit organization, which had published the Universal Intelligence essay commencing with the foregoing Einstein quotation at http://www.co-intelligence.org/Universal_Intelligence.html .

Since the essay is inspired by and harmoniously consistent with Einstein’s views, I am continuing to republish it with corrected attribution, and with sincere apologies to Tom Atlee and any prior visitors to the Silly Sutras website who may have been misled by my mistaken attribution.


Universal Intelligence
by Tom Atlee

“There is something about the universe — an elegant order in the way everything fits and unfolds, an inexplicable beauty in its living patterns, and the mysterious depth and expressiveness of it all — that reminds us of the brilliance we see in the works of great artists, scientists, engineers, and saints.

Some people believe that human intelligence is the pinnacle of natural evolution and can outdo anything nature has to offer — and that there is no God, and that nature has nothing remotely resembling consciousness or intelligence. Others say that nature’s (or God’s) brilliance is greater than any human intelligence — ultimately awesome in its scope and endlessly surprising in its details — and that human intelligence is a small but elegant expression of this larger intelligence and has much to learn from it.

More often than not, I find myself in this latter group — those who sense some kind(s) of universal intelligence. To some degree, this is a matter of faith. To some degree, it seems that the evidence surrounds us. For those of us who see things this way, I suspect it honors universal intelligence more if we contemplate it, share our sense of it, and tap into it rather than argue about it with others who see things differently. In any case, this article describes how I see it.

Christians see a higher intelligence they call God’s plan, or the will of God. Taoists see a higher intelligence they call the Tao, the Way of Nature. Meditative traditions speak of cosmic consciousness. Most indigenous peoples consider all of nature to be intelligent and alive. Scientists speak of natural laws — and some are now researching what they call complex, adaptive systems — systems that respond to the world around them, in ways that look a lot like learning. The whole process of evolution is clearly a learning process, a developing of new variations that work better, or work in new environments. Some people see evolution as the dynamic unfolding Great Story of the Living Universe and consciously celebrate and learn from it.

I bundle all these phenomena into one package and label it “universal intelligence.”
When I’m feeling esoteric, I might describe it something like this:

We live in a sea of information, a web of interconnection, a field of what some Buddhists call inter-being — a dynamic state of interactive, resonant existential communion. There are universal patterns, powers and wisdom at the core of our being, and the universe vibrates with our every act and thought. What happens in one place and time is linked to everything else far more intimately than we could ever imagine. Synchronicities and analogs abound. Certain patterns keep cropping up: We see BRANCHES in trees, rivers, roads, fields of study, computer circuitry. We see CYCLES in planets, electrons, food chains, wheels, the flows of water and carbon through the biosphere, and the recycling bin. It is no accident that we use the word VISION to describe perception, imagination, insight and prediction. Patterns like these (branches, cycles, vision, etc.) are alive with useful meaning. At every level, the universe is rich with lessons and resonances as it in-forms itself, intimately co-being and co-evolving, learning and remembering. Intelligence is everywhere. There is information and wisdom here we can tap into. There are flows and textures and energies, resistences and assistances, that we can join and follow, or grow stronger and wiser wrestling with.

Among those who see such intelligence operating in the world around us, there is endless speculation about its nature. Is universal intelligence built into nature by a human-like Creator and then left to unfold — or a sign of a Creator’s continual, contemporary engagement in creation? Are the natural patterns that we think of as intelligent merely analogs of our own intelligence, or are they somehow the same thing, writ large? Are we anthropomorphically projecting our experience of consciousness into the dumb matter of the world, or is our own intelligent consciousness somehow an expression or facet of some larger intelligent consciousness? Are we dreaming God, or is God dreaming us? I, myself, entertain several seemingly contradictory beliefs at once about all this, and keep it all balanced with a generous ballast of “maybes.”

For my purposes here, though, we don’t have to agree on the nature of universal intelligence. Despite all the disagreements about that, few will disagree that there is something ultimately mysterious and creative about the order of the universe. Even top scientists who see nothing “spiritual” in the world around them agree on that. At the very least, the word “intelligence” provides an excellent metaphor to describe that reality. So for now let us not argue over the exact nature of this thing I call universal intelligence. Rather, let us explore our relationship to it.

In the explorations that follow, I simply assume that there is an order that is larger than us, which has its own logic and direction which we are not in charge of. If this is true, then working against this higher power will demand more effort than working with it, and will generate little, if anything, of lasting value except learning — which is always available — and sometimes catastrophe. This would suggest that we subjugate ourselves to this higher intelligence. However, experience suggests that we can, to a certain degree and with great caution, manipulate this higher intelligence for our own ends — which we do through science and engineering by applying natural laws and through religion by praying. But natural order is complex beyond our capacity to know fully, and if our manipulations are at all arrogant — presumptuous that we know what we’re doing — we will likely end up creating a mess like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. A third — and, to me, more satisfactory — strategy than total submission or manipulation is to respect, befriend, cooperate with and creatively move in harmony with this infinitely powerful and complex intelligence, to the best of our ability.

Humility is, naturally, an excellent place to begin in our efforts to cooperate with universal intelligence. Humility in this case simply means an honest appreciation of our own limitations and a real respect for the ancient and awesome wisdom of the greater intelligence(s) in which we’re embedded. Humility means starting from a place without arrogance, with flexible certainties, a place of respect, curiosity, wonder and willingness to learn — in every situation we can manage it.

“Letting go” is another part of cooperating with universal intelligence — being unattached to outcome, realizing we’re not in control. Not being in control doesn’t mean that we don’t have a significant role. Indeed, our influence is part of what shapes the unfolding of whatever happens next. But that is influence, and not control — sometimes more, sometimes less, and always participatory, not unilateral. (This also means leaving behind blame and shame and reconceptualizing responsibility as our [or another’s] actual role in events in which all of us have roles. Taking responsibility for the past would mean consciously acknowledging that what we did — whatever we did — played a role in what happened. Taking responsibility for the future would mean consciously choosing a role and playing it out as best we can, knowing that we are only one of many players.)

In what I experience as my best times, I feel more like a conduit for a larger, all-inclusive intelligence, or like my life is an active part of something larger that is trying to happen. When I’m in that state of awareness, there is a sense of being guided. It isn’t so much that I’m told what to do in so many words (although that has happened occasionally, too), but rather that I can feel when I’m “on track” or “off track.” It is a gut feeling that what I’m doing is the right thing (or not) at this time. Often it is more than a feeling of “being in the flow,” but an apparently objective fact. Ideas, resources, opportunities, and other openings inexplicably appear in ways that facilitate rapid progress in a particular direction — as if someone or something were clearing the way for me.

But sometimes “the way opens” (as the Quakers say) in directions that seem to me wrong. So I end up having to make judgments and choices anyway. How do I know that this impulse is aligned to universal intelligence while that other one is not? I’m not even sure we can talk about universal intelligence as something we can “know.”

So I certainly don’t believe that any of us can legitimately claim to know what its marching orders are, even if we wanted to follow its dictates. I see our challenge as more complex. In the spirit of co-intelligence — as noted above — I prefer to view what seem to be the patterns and promptings of universal intelligence not as something to submit to or manipulate, but as something to join in partnership with, in a sort of dance, as one would with a good friend or lover or comrade. We influence each other. My intentions have a role in shaping The Plan, and my actions have a role in realizing The Plan, but I never know exactly what The Plan is, although I often think I sense its patterns in my life and in the life of the world around me. I open myself to universal intelligence, and let my inevitably limited perception of it inform — but not control — my reason, my passion, my intuition, my action.

One part of that Plan — that intelligence — is crystal clear: Universal intelligence is definitely concerned with more than me. It is concerned with the operation and well-being of the Whole — a Whole so large I can’t fathom it. So opening myself to universal intelligence automatically influences me to keep my intentions for myself in perspective. And from that perspective, I know that when I try to benefit myself at the expense of someone or something else, it’s not going to work out as neatly as I think, because the Plan simply doesn’t operate that way. On the other hand, the closer I get to benefiting The Whole, the more aligned I become with the operations of universal intelligence.

And, since I can’t know The Whole, that translates into doing the best I can while giving universal intelligence lots of space to do what it does. In fact, I can become an ally with universal intelligence by providing contexts in which things can co-creatively self-organize, rather than forcing them into pre-determined outcomes. That doesn’t mean just standing back (although that’s often what’s called for); it means going with the grain of life, not against it. This can be quite active, like helping children learn what they really want to learn instead of forcing them to learn what they’re not interested in (or neglecting them) — or creating an open space conference where all the issues hidden inside the participants can emerge and get dealt with, rather than organizing a conference where experts tell people what to think. This is working with universal intelligence, giving universal intelligence the space it needs to do its thing through whatever aliveness is present.”



Source

http://www.co-intelligence.org/Universal_Intelligence.html



What is Ego?

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda
“I hold three treasures
 close to my heart.

The first is love;

The next simplicity;

The third, overcoming ego.”
~ Lao Tzu
“When I let go of what [I think] I am,
I become what I might be.”
~ Lao Tzu
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama
“A spark of truth can burn up a mountain of lies. The opposite is also true. The sun of truth remains hidden behind the cloud of self-identification with the body.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj



What is Ego?

Q. What is ego?

A. Ego is what you think you are –

If you don’t self-identify with Universal Awareness, Nature or Divinity.

And your body is your ego incarnate.

As you learn what you really are,
you’ll change what you think you are –

Until without thinking what you are
or who you are,

You just ARE.





Helpful quotations:

“When you think or speak about yourself, when you say, “I,” what you usually refer to is “me and my story.” This is the “I” of your likes and dislikes, fears and desires, the “I” that is never satisfied for long. It is a mind-made sense of who you are, conditioned by the past and seeking to find its fulfillment in the future. Can you see that this “I” is fleeting, a temporary formation, like a wave pattern on the surface of the water?”
~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

“As you grow up, you form a mental image of who you are, based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego. It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through constant thinking. The term ego means different things to different people, but when I use it …it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind. …..As long as you are identified with your mind, the ego runs your life.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

“As long as the egoic mind is running your life, you cannot truly be at ease; you cannot be at peace or fulfilled except for brief intervals when you obtained what you wanted, when a craving has just been fulfilled. Since the ego is a derived sense of self, it needs to identify with external things. It needs to be both defended and fed constantly. The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

“Ego could be defined as whatever covers up basic goodness. From an experiential point of view, what is ego covering up? It’s covering up our experience of just being here, just fully being where we are, so that we can relate with the immediacy of our experience. Egolessness is a state of mind that has complete confidence in the sacredness of the world. It is unconditional well being, unconditional joy that includes all the different qualities of our experience.”
~ Pema Chodron

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

“When the line between myself and what happens to me is dissolved and there is no stronghold left for an ego even as a passive witness, I find myself not in a world but
as a world which is neither compulsive nor capricious.”
~ Alan Watts

“The ego says that the world is vast, and that the particles which form it are tiny. When tiny particles join, it says, the vast world appears. When the vast world disperses, it says, tiny particles appear. The ego is entranced by all these names and ideas, but the subtle truth is that world and particle are the same; neither one vast, neither one tiny. Every thing is equal to every other thing. Names and concepts only block your perception of this Great Oneness. Therefore it is wise to ignore them. Those who live inside their egos are continually bewildered: they struggle frantically to know whether things are large or small, whether or not there is a purpose to joining or dispersing, whether the universe is blind and mechanical or the divine creation of a conscious being. In reality there are no grounds for having beliefs or making comments about such things. Look behind them instead, and you will discern the deep, silent, complete truth of the Tao. Embrace it, and your bewilderment vanishes.”
~ Lao Tzu

“The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth. Understand this if nothing else: spiritual freedom and oneness with the Tao are not randomly bestowed gifts, but the rewards of conscious self-transformation and self-evolution.”
~ Lao Tzu

Q: “How much “ego” do you need?
A: Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.”
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi



Ron’s audio recitation of What is Ego?

Listen to


Life Is NOW, Never Then!

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

~ Albert Einstein
Tao and Zen

are NOW,

not then.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Life Is NOW, Never Then!

Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Life is NOW or never,
Life is NOW forever,
Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Past is history,
Future’s mystery;
But, life is never then.

Life is NOW or never,
Life is NOW forever,
Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Time is how
We measure now.
But, life is never when.

Life is NOW or never,
Life is NOW forever,
Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.

Life is NOW or never,
Life is NOW forever,
Life is NOW
Ever NOW
Never then.



Ron’s audio singing of “Life Is NOW, Never Then!”

Listen to


A Sunday Synchronicity Story

“We get what we need when we need it.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
~ Matthew 6:26
See how the lilies of the field grow.
They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you that
not even Solomon in all his splendor
was dressed like one of these.
~ Matthew 6:28-29
But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that
the hand of the LORD has done this?
~ Job 12:7-9




A Sunday Synchronicity Story

On a sunny Sunday morning, I awakened to a gorgeous and warm November day. After showering and watering my plants, I dressed and happily walked to the Fort Mason farmers market. After chatting with farmer sellers and shoppers, and filling my cloth shopping bag with some delicious organic veggies, I was ready to return home. But it was just too lovely not to be outdoors.

So I decided to walk out to the end of the San Francisco Municipal Pier, one of my favorite walking destinations. Usually I hike there in the afternoons after eating brunch, my first meal. But daylight savings time had ended and afternoons had been getting cloudy and cool at my usual walking time. So I decided to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ and walk to the pier before eating.

To get from the farmers market onto the path to the pier, I needed to climb up a very steep concrete stairway, perhaps the equivalent of four or five apartment building stories. Gratefully I climbed the stairs with alacrity and walked out onto the pier carrying my bag of veggies, happily chatting with strangers along the way. But as I started going home my body began ‘running out of steam’, since it hadn’t been refueled since Saturday night and wasn’t accustomed to walking before eating.

I decided that I needed to rest somewhere before walking home. So I took a ‘detour’ route into Fort Mason where I planned to sit on a sunny bench in the community garden there. But the detour route required me to climb another steep bank of concrete stairs about as high as the others I’d ascended.

By the time I approached the garden, I was a bit ‘pooped’ and ready to rest for a while to recharge my body’s batteries. Just as I reached the garden gate, I was greeted with a smile by a very friendly lady who was about to leave, and asked: “How are you today?” I told her I had just climbed some steep stairs and needed to rest on the garden bench before walking home.

Whereupon, to my amazement, she asked “would you like me to give you a ride home?” I felt reluctant to impose on her generosity if she would have to drive out of her way to take me home. So I asked where she’d been planning to drive before meeting me at the gate. She said “I’m your neighbor Jan Monaghan, and I’m going to same building where we both live.” Only then, to my embarrassment, did I recognize her. She was wearing sun glasses and a cap, and never before in the twenty five years that we’ve been neighbors had I ever seen her away from our apartment building.

I then promptly accepted Jan’s offer, got into her Honda and was quickly taken home with my bag of fresh veggies. Jan drove right into the garage. So I got out of her car, into the elevator, and rode up to my high-rise hermitage without any further exertion or enervation.

And I ate my late lunch, with ever growing gratitude for this miraculous life and its wondrous blessings.

Moral of the story:

Synchronicities can infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for our miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet, and remind us that we are part of Nature, interdependent with all Life everywhere.

Transmuting Agony to Ecstasy: An Unforgettable Indian Commuter Train Ride ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“The hurt that we embrace becomes joy.”
~ Rumi
“Suffering, cheerfully endured, ceases to be suffering and is transmuted into an ineffable joy.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Acceptance of the unacceptable is the greatest source of grace in this world.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“Surrender, one could say, is the inner transition from resistance to acceptance, from “no” to “yes.” When you surrender, your sense of self shifts from being identified with a reaction or mental judgment to being the space around the reaction or judgment. It is a shift from identification with form–the thought or the emotion–to being and recognizing yourself as that which has no form–spacious awareness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“This is the miracle. Behind every condition, person or situation that appears bad or evil, lies concealed a deeper good. That deeper good reveals itself to you, both within and without through inner acceptance of what is. “Resist not evil” is one of the highest truths of humanity.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
We have nothing to surrender
But the idea
That we’re someone,
With something
To surrender.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

 

003

Introduction

In January, 1992, just after my retirement as a San Francisco litigation attorney, I journeyed to India to pay respects to my then one hundred fourteen year old beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and thereafter to visit my daughter Jessica who – known as “Yogini” – was living an ascetic life on Ammachi’s ashram in Kerala.

During my six week stay in India, I was blessed with many wonderful spiritual experiences with Guruji, and with other holy people and places. But, apart from my brief visit with Guruji, [See https://sillysutras.com/introduction-to-rons-memoirs/] my most memorable and instructive spiritual experience happened unexpectedly on a commuter train to Bombay (now Mumbai).

By that time – sixteen years after my mid-life spiritual awakening – I had already learned from my traumatic divorce that life’s most painful and difficult experiences can prove disguised blessings. Suffering extreme sadness from unexpectedly being separated from my two young children – the most psychologically traumatic time of my adult life – had triggered my spiritual awakening process. A broken heart had opened my heart to new ‘realities’ and sparked a crucial new evolutionary period of spiritual self awareness and self inquiry – a tremendous blessing!

And prior to 1992 I had learned experientially and from many spiritual teachings the importance of spiritual surrender – of giving up imagined control and of letting go to go “with the flow”. For example, during a presumed 1979 ‘near death’ experience, when I mistakenly thought I was dying from a stroke, by watching within without resistance to presumed imminent death, I had an unforgettable inner experience. [ See https://sillysutras.com/my-near-death-experience/ ] But it is much easier to say “go with the flow” or “let go and let God” or “leave it to The Lone Arranger” than to practice that wise advice – especially when you are suffering. Except for very rare beings, like Guruji, we are all in the process of ‘undoing’ and letting go of who we think we are, to thereby realize what we really are – Divinity incarnate.

My Bombay commuter train experience proved an important demonstration of how accepting “what is” can bring great blessings, and how the blessings of letting go of ego, can be triggered by extreme pain and suffering.

Description

Here is what happened:

At the end of January 1992, I flew from San Francisco to Bombay, India [ now Mumbai] with my friends Pundit Pravin Jani, father of Shri Anandi Ma, Guruji’s successor, and Kusuma, Guruji’s former cook and translator. We were also honored to be accompanied by Shri Swami Shivom Tirth, a respected Indian shaktipat guru who, as successor to Swami Vishnu Tirth, headed India’s largest shaktipat lineage with several ashrams. We had known and learned from Swami Tirth for a few years before our trip to India and greatly honored and respected him.

With Pravinji and Kusuma as companions, I planned on visiting Guruji, who was then in Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat State. However, our visit was delayed until after my Indian friends first attended to other personal matters.

Shivom Tirth

Shri Swami Shivom Tirth


So Swami Shivom Tirth invited me to stay with him at his Bombay area ashram, until I was ready to fly to Ahmedabad. Gratefully, I accepted his kind invitation and was granted the honor and privilege of staying with him in his private quarters, rather than in the general ashram housing area.

Soon after my arrival at the ashram, Swami Tirth told me that he had arranged a special sight-seeing excursion for me to view legendary seventh century Hindu and Buddhist temples in rock-cut caves on Elephanta Island in the Bay of Bombay; that a senior Bombay area swami was to be my guide and companion on the excursion; that I was to meet him – in a few days – in central Bombay, where we would get ferry boat transportation to the island.

At the ashram it was very hot, so I wore light white clothes and sandals, instead of shoes. Before my scheduled tour day I suffered a wound on my left foot, which became infected. Despite first aid, the infection grew and became increasingly more painful. On the day of my scheduled tour I awakened with a very sore left foot. Nonetheless I was determined to see the Elephanta Island caves and relics.

So I walked to a nearby train stop, to catch a morning commuter train into central Bombay where I would meet my Swami tour guide. Instead of wearing sandals which were inappropriate for hiking on the rocky island paths, I was obliged to use shoes. It was a very hot day, with morning temperatures already approaching 100º fahrenheit.

My feet expanded as I walked to the train stop in the heat, and the already painfully infected left foot began aching more than ever before as I reached the train stop. Within fifteen minutes, the Bombay commuter train arrived, and stopped for boarding passengers. But there were no seats, and not even standing room in the vestibule. Yet in order to get to central Bombay on time, I needed to board that train for a forty minute ride.

Somehow I squeezed into the vestibule, which was already so filled with people that there wasn’t even an accessible pole or strap to hold for balance. People were packed in like sardines, and I was virtually unable to move. I stood there in the intense heat with excruciating pain that seemed to have become unbearable. But I could do nothing about it. Whereupon, suddenly and unexpectedly I had a radical change of attitude; I stopped resisting and stopped thinking how terribly I was suffering, and mentally accepted the situation just as it was.

With a surrendered and stilled ego/mind no longer resisting the intense heat, crushing proximity of sweaty human bodies, and excruciating pain, all at once I experienced an extraordinary and unforgettably indescribable state of extreme bliss which persisted for the remaining thirty minute train ride into central Bombay.

Even after that bliss state abated in Bombay, I was able to peacefully enjoy my tour to Elephanta Island because I was no longer resisting the pain in my foot.

Epilogue

The Bombay commuter train experience of transmuting agony to ecstasy has proven an invaluable lesson for this entire precious lifetime. It showed that by giving up and surrendering all we think we are we may gain deep experience and insight of what we really are; that it is in dying to ego life that we are reborn to eternal life; and, that such letting go of ego entity identity is perhaps our ultimate purpose in this precious human lifetime.