Posts Tagged ‘impermanence’

Doing Time
~ Ron’s Memoirs and Sutra-Poem

“Be empty of worrying,
Think of Who Created Thought!

Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?”
~ Rumi
“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken.
That time is now.”
~ Buddha
“That which is timeless is found now.”
~ Buddha


Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas

Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


Ron’s Introduction to “Doing Time”

Dear Friends,

Today’s posting, on my ninetieth birthday, is a sutra-poem with memoirs, paradoxically titled “Doing Time”. Instead of being about the colloquial English idiom meaning serving a prison sentence, today’s posting is about the psychological imprisonment of almost all 8 billion humans, except for rare Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who intentionally incarnate to help others.

Spiritually most humans are unknowingly imprisoned in time by illusionary ego/mind ideas of self-identity and “reality”. We are mass acculturated and psychologically ‘programmed’ to mistakenly believe ourselves to be separate physical entities in space and time apart from each other, Nature, and Eternal Divinity.

Today’s quotations, sutra-poem, and memoirs remind us that in Truth we are the unseen spiritual Source of the world we see – ONE Eternal Spirit; ONE Life; ONE Light; ONE LOVE!

After my midlife spiritual awakening I experienced many years of intense longing for the Divine, beyond the inevitable suffering of this world. It began with the amazing experience on a Yosemite mountain-top of beholding inner luminescence of “ten thousand suns”. But only after another unforgettable experience with my beloved Guruji, did I begin considering myself imprisoned and condemned to suffer in a human body.

While massaging Guruji in my San Francisco apartment, I exclaimed at the flexibility and softness of his then hundred year old body. Whereupon Guruji unforgettably responded:

“Rasik, a yogi’s body is like a baby’s body.
Your body is like a prison.
I am like a jailer with the prison key. I come and go as I please.”


Thereafter, during many years of seclusion, prayer and meditation, I considered myself metaphorically ‘imprisoned’ in a space/time human body. It was then that I was given the following sutra-poem, which I called “Doing Time”.

In comments following the written and recited verses, I will summarize my evolution from longing to escape incarnate worldly suffering to aspiring to be in this world but not of this world, so as to help others transcend suffering.

A more detailed description and explanation of that transition is recounted in my prior memoirs chapter Human Body – A Precious ‘Prison’.

Here is the “Doing Time” poem. Please, enjoy it.


Doing Time

Time is how
“I” Measure “Now”,

And space
Is for places

Where I’m –
Entangled here in time.

But I long to be – FREE
Where there is no “ME”-

Nowhere,

Out of time,

Beyond I’m,

Beyond hereness/thereness-

As just Awareness –

NOW!



Ron’s audio comments and recitation of Doing Time

Listen to




Ron’s Explanation of “Doing Time”

After birth in a human body and until physical death, we are compelled to be in this world of inevitable pain and suffering. But we are not obliged to be here mentally. With focused awareness and self-control of our thoughts, emotions and attitudes, we can remain mentally peaceful, grateful and joyful.

Thereby we can ‘be in this world’ physically, but ‘not of this world’ mentally, attitudinally or spiritually.

While “tuning in” to our ever present worldly problems, we can “tune out” from much worldly suffering by non-judgmentally and forgivingly focusing on our Eternal and infinite inner Essence, which is LOVE and Light.

Background

Eastern spiritual paths identify human incarnation as an extraordinarily precious opportunity to evolve – beyond that of any other life-form; Buddhist and Hindu teachings say that for enlightenment it is better to be born human than even in a heavenly realm.

Before my mid-life spiritual awakening, I self-identified only with my body/mind and its story. Though I cherished my health, I was totally unaware of esoteric evolutionary perspectives about preciousness of human incarnation. But, since realizing that I was and am much more than my body and its story, I have deeply reflected on the significance and purpose of a human lifetime.

After previously unimagined spiritual awakening experiences, I began wondering about the nature and importance of the human body. I realized that my initial intense rebirth experience had temporarily released a previously unimaginable flow of vital energies (chi or prana), which gradually had abated as I returned to ‘normal’ consciousness.

So, I became highly motivated to again access that hidden reservoir of vital energy.

This motivation greatly intensified and was deeply inspired after I met Guruji and observed his amazing physical prowess, even as a centenarian, and experienced his extraordinarily intense and powerful cosmic life-force energy (“shakti”).

I received confirmation of Guruji’s exceptional energy upon an unforgettable synchronistic experience with him. While massaging Guruji in my San Francisco apartment, I exclaimed at the flexibility and softness of his then hundred year old body. Whereupon Guruji unforgettably responded:

“Rasik, a yogi’s body is like a baby’s body. Your body is like a prison.
I am like a jailer with the prison key. I come and go as I please.”


I became and remained intensely curious about Guruji’s revelation that my body was like a prison. I wondered how and why ‘I’ was ‘imprisoned’, and how ‘I’ could get out of ‘jail’ – free like Guruji.

Was I imprisoned by body stiffness from subconsciously stored traumas?
It was apparent that my body was not supple like Guruji’s body. Though half his age, I couldn’t even sit with crossed legs, much less stand on my head or perform the other advanced yogic postures (asanas) that Guruji showed us.

As I remembered the extraordinary vitality which temporarily followed my spiritual rebirth “peek” experience, I intuited that it was a glimpse of a potentially achievable bodily state well beyond anything I had theretofore imagined. But how could I restore that state? And even if possible, would the restoration of such a state allow me to get out of prison at will, like Guruji? That remained a mystery.

Gradually and synchronistically, I’ve been given insights about the bodily ‘prison’ mystery, but haven’t yet ‘solved’ it.

I discovered an important clue, in Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi”, Chapter 43, wherein Yogananda’s master Yukteswar resurrected to reveal the genesis of human physical, astral, and causal bodies, saying:

“The mere presence of a body signifies that its existence is made possible by unfulfilled desires.” “The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man’s slavery…”
“Physical desires are rooted in egotism and sense pleasures.”
“So long as the soul of man is encased in one, two, or three body-containers,
sealed tightly with the corks of ignorance and desires, he cannot merge with the sea of Spirit.”

~ Sri Yukteswar


Upon reading Sri Yuktewar’s esoteric explanations of human ‘bondage’, I intuitively accepted them as true. And I remembered that Guruji had revealed in San Francisco lectures on “Death, Dying and Beyond” that during a 1971 ‘near death experience’ he had been sent back by Lord Rama from a heavenly realm to his physical body because of his unfulfilled desires to help people.



I realized that all phenomena and forms – including human forms – that appear in this space/time reality interdependently originate in subtle energy planes pursuant to mysterious laws of causality. And I remembered that even though Guruji had evolved beyond limits of ordinary human consciousness, he had remained in a human body, but with amazing ability to transcend ordinary physical limitations, only because of his unselfish desires to help others.

Whereas it was obvious that I was ‘imprisoned’ by bonds of ego desire and ignorance mentioned by Sri Yukteswar.
 
So, thereafter, I became highly motivated to transcend all such egotistic bonds, and to get out of ‘prison’ – free like Guruji. Expressing these aspirations, I soon composed the above “Doing Time” verses.

Evolutionary Insights

During the forty year period since then, I have been blessed with an ongoing evolutionary process. Now, instead of longing to escape incarnate worldly suffering, I am unspeakably grateful for the immense privilege of encouraging others to transcend suffering by publishing memoirs insights about “Reality” and Self-identity, as requested by Guruji, which are consistent with those expressed for millennia by non-dualist Mystics.

And by so helping others it has helped me find previously unimagined happiness and peace of mind, which I aspire for everyone everywhere.

Conclusion and Dedication

Most humans are unknowingly imprisoned in time by illusionary ego/mind ideas of self-identity and “reality”. 

However we are exceptionally privileged to live in an era with unprecedented opportunities for spiritual awakening and evolutionary elevation to a wonderful new ascended Earth-age, forever beyond “doing time” ‘imprisonment’ with fear and suffering, and concern about future earth-life.

These “Doing Time” writings are deeply dedicated to helping everyone everywhere soon awaken to such a wonderful new Earth-age.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

My ‘Near Death’ Experience
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Birth and death are virtual, but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




My ‘Near Death’ Experience ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following memoirs chapter recounts an extraordinary 1979 out of body [OOB] experience, in which I initially thought I was dying of a stroke. But it soon proved not to be a stroke or a near death experience [NDE].

However, because I wasn’t afraid of dying (though not “enlightened” by the experience), I’ve compared it to the famous Self-Realization experience of renowned 20th Century Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Since 1979 I’ve been blessed with many more amazingly related experiences, from which I’ve continued to learn.

So in 2022 I’m republishing and augmenting this memoirs story before my probably imminent transition at almost age ninety.

Like all other SillySutras postings this memoirs chapter is dedicated to helping us live ever happier earth lives. And in these extraordinary post-pandemic times, this posting is particularly intended to help console those bereaved by deaths of dear ones. May they not worry, and be happy.

May everyone everywhere be happy!

Ron Rattner

Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Self-Realization Death Experience.

A few years after the death of his father, the famous sage was suddenly overcome with a fearful premonition that he too was about to soon die, which impelled him to investigate the bodily death experience. So he introspectively imagined that he was dying, and thereby Self-Realized that he was not his mortal body, but eternal consciousness of the body and all else.

Long afterwards, in response to a devotee’s question about his “enlightenment” Sri Ramana replied as follows:


“The shock of the fear of death made me at once introspective or ‘introverted’. I said to myself mentally, ‘Now that death is come, what does it mean? Who is it that is dying? This body dies’. ….The material body dies, but the Spirit transcending it cannot be touched by death. I am therefore the deathless Spirit. … Fear of death vanished at once and for ever. The absorption in the Self has continued from that moment right up to now”.


My Almost ‘Near Death’ Experience

In early 1979 I too had an extraordinary presumed near death experience. Unlike Ramana Maharshi’s pretended death experience, I really believed I was dying of a stroke, and decided to observe the death process without resistance. Unlike Sri Ramana’s experience, my supposed death experience didn’t result in my instant “enlightenment” or permanent absorption in the Self. But, it was an extraordinary and unforgettable event, and it spurred my gradual transformation process of more and more identifying with spirit rather than body/mind; a process which began with my 1976 realization and rebirth experience.

After receiving shaktipat initiation from Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas (Guruji) in 1978, I began following his practices. But, with Dhyanyogi’s approval, I also continued exploring spiritual mysteries by attending various other events and lectures. When asked about our seeking information from other teachers, Guruji said it was OK but unnecessary.

My supposed near death experience happened after I’d attended an inspiring lecture and experiential program given by Sufi master Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. At the program I whole-heartedly participated in a Sufi remembrance of God ritual called Zikr, featuring repetition of names of Allah. Fervently repeating in unison with other participants: “La Ilaha Illallah” , “La Ilaha Illallah”, I vigorously rotated my body, head and neck, and became quite ‘high’ and rapturous.

The next morning I awakened feeling fine, and prepared to attend an important Federal Appeals Court hearing. I had put on my grey pinstriped suit trousers, shirt and tie, and was in the bathroom, when suddenly I collapsed and fell onto the tiled floor in a supine position. I was unable to move my head or body up or over, but discovered that I could inch along on my back like a caterpillar. In that manner with tremendous difficulty, I managed to move out of the bathroom and into my carpeted living room floor, still in a supine position.

I was not then near a phone and couldn’t call for help. Lying on my back, without pain, I said to myself mentally,

“I must have suffered a stroke and am about to die.
Now I will see what happens when I die.”


I closed my eyes and went into a deep state of relaxed awareness.

Suddenly my consciousness was astrally projected into the cosmos, where it was surrounded by magnificent luminescent silver, blue and gold heavenly bodies (like in pictures from the Hubble telescope).

Next, my inner vision shifted from outer space to vividly beautiful, luminescent and intricate geometric yantras – like mandalas associated with Vajrayana Buddhism, only more ethereal.

As I was silently sensing these celestial scenes, thought returned. First, I thought that dying was quite an interesting experience. Then, suddenly, I thought:

“I never took Naomi off my life insurance policies. I can’t die now.”


The ethereal visions immediately ended and consciousness returned to my supine body on the carpeted floor.

I don’t remember how much time had passed before my return to body consciousness. But when that happened I found that I could move easier and managed to slither supine to answer a telephone when it rang.

Synchronistically, it was a call from my friend Kusuma, who had been one of Guruji’s translators and cooks. I told her what happened, and she dispatched Stan, a disciple of Dhyanyogi then living in San Francisco, to come help me. By the time Stan arrived, I was able to crawl with difficulty to the front door to let him in. He called my doctor who said my symptoms sounded like extreme vertigo from an inner ear problem, not a stroke. Later, Kusuma asked Guruji about my dizziness symptoms. He told her that they came from “shakti”, intense kundalini spiritual energy activated in my head.

What I learned

Following my nearly ‘near death’ OOB experience, my identification with immortal spirit was immeasurably enhanced, while psychological fear of bodily death diminished.

But I didn’t become “enlightened” enough to transcend long-lingering psychological traumas of my contentious divorce. So, after reverting to usual consciousness I soon removed my former wife Naomi’s name as a beneficiary on my life insurance policies.

Also I became curious to learn about Tibetan Buddhism, and the spiritual symbolism of yantras and mandalas, like the Sri Yantra below and on SillySutras’ home page. This led to my receiving Tibetan Buddhist refuge, empowerments, and teachings from Kalu Rinpoche, a Very Venerable Tibetan Buddhist master, and then from other Tibetan lamas, including H.H. the Dalai Lama – who became a living hero for me.

Remaining Fear of Death

Because of my calm fearlessness during the assumed ‘near death’ OOB experience, I wondered whether I’d transcended all fear of death. That question was soon answered when a deranged young driver raced his car right at me as I was walking across an intersection on Broadway, the busy four lane street where I live.

Instinctively and reflexively I jumped out of the way, and screamed “Jesus!” so loudly that it probably could have been heard for a block or two away. Thereafter, for several hours I had a “fight or flight” adrenaline rush. Moreover, since then I’ve had several similar (though less intense) precarious experiences while crossing San Francisco streets.

So, despite my serenity during the assumed near death experience, some instinctive fear of bodily death or injury remains, even though I accept physical mortality as unavoidable. As Sri Ramakrishna Paramahanse revealed some ego/mind (either helpful or harmful) is inevitable even for Mahatmas returning to their bodies from nirvikalpa samadhi. Hence while incarnate on earth we cannot avoid living with egos.

While yogis in other times and places could attain and maintain elevated states of awareness by taking refuge in forests, on mountains, or in caves, such stress-free physical environments aren’t available for most humans living in present day US society.

For me attempting to live authentically and sanely in our crazy US culture has at times been quite challenging. I’ve found that in San Francisco courtrooms and environs midst societal insanity, without some ego I’d would have been metaphorically and actually run over while traversing my spiritual path, as well as while crossing streets. So I now accept physical ‘fight or flight’ bodily self-preservation instinct as “normal” and necessary.

Suzuki Shunryū, Roshi, who popularized Zen Buddhism in the United States, was once asked by a student:

“How much “ego” do you need?”  He replied: “Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.”


I wonder now what past spiritual masters would have done when suddenly confronted with immediate bodily threat? It’s quite unlikely that they would’ve shouted “Jesus”, with an adrenaline rush. Maybe they would have stepped quietly out of harms way. Or, like Gandhi, uttered “Ram” with their last bodily breath.

What do you think?

2022 Epilogue: More Related Learning Experiences

Since first publishing this memoirs chapter I’ve been blessed with many more related synchronistic and mystical experiences, from which I’ve continued to learn. Hereafter I’ll discuss some of them:

1) Another near death experience?

I’ll first recount to you a critical taxicab rundown experience that happened over eight years ago.

My 1979 ‘fight or flight’ fear of being hit as a pedestrian ultimately materialized thirty five years later when I was suddenly run down by a taxicab while crossing a busy San Francisco intersection which can be seen from my high-rise view apartment.

I’m unable to recall what happened immediately before and after the taxicab incident, and while I was comatose. Thus for such details I must rely on paramedic and hospital records, and on a cam video showing the taxi hitting me.

My wise expert MD friend, Dr. Solomon Sevy, (who retired after decades of Kaiser California clinical experience as a pediatric cardiologist) succinctly summarized his “diagnostic” opinion after reviewing my medical records.
Dr. Sevy told me:


“Ron, you should be dead!”


My my medical records reviewed by Dr. Sevy revealed the following bodily injuries and symptoms, radiologically and clinically diagnosed:

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


Today at almost age ninety, I’m again living alone without caretakers in my high-rise hermitage. Considering my advanced octogenarian age and the multiplicity and severity of my injuries and symptoms, my survival, recovery and healing so far have been miraculous.

Moreover, I have amazingly survived without any pain drugs or brain or shoulder surgical interventions recommended by various allopathic doctors, and (until the pandemic lock-down with closure of SF Bay public toilets) I’d resumed a largely independent pre-injury life style with frequent walks, after extended convalescence, and treatment with acupuncture, organic herbs, and physical therapy. And I still don’t voluntarily take prescribed allopathic drugs.

Unlike most people who can describe their near death experiences I can’t tell you what happened while I was comatose due to residual post-traumatic stress syndrome [PTSD] and retrograde traumatic amnesia. So I don’t know if it was a conventional NDE.

But I consider my bodily survival and recovery an immense spiritual blessing and am psychologically happier than ever before in this precious human lifetime.

Further details of this Divine blessing are recounted in a prior memoirs chapter titled: “Another near death experience?”.

2) Another vertigo seizure?

The foregoing 1979 almost near-death OOB story began with a completely disabling vertigo experience, which I mistakenly thought was caused by a cerebral stroke. Since then I’ve had many episodes of varying degrees of dizziness, especially after the 2014 taxicab rundown. But not until this week (over forty years later) have I again been completely incapacitated by vertigo from a possible stroke seizure.

In 1979 my extreme dizziness was medically diagnosed as a middle-ear problem, but explained by Guruji as a kundalini cerebral “shakti” kriya. This week, without asking for assistance, I introspectively self-diagnosed the disabling dizziness as kundalini “shakti”.

Here’s what happened:

On August 12, 2022 I was composing my Cartesian Critique essay about confusing thinking with being. While writing about how most humans mistakenly self-identify with their thoughts, rather than consciousness of their thoughts and behaviors, I had a rare inner epiphany.

Whereupon I was suddenly stricken with intense vertigo, like the vertigo I experienced over forty years ago when I was young and healthy. Now at almost ninety I am physical injury and age limited and subject to recurrence of serious taxicab rundown traumatic brain injuries. Moreover, in these extraordinary post-pandemic times, ubiquitous environmental heath threats are causing even young and apparently healthy people to often experience physically fatal strokes.

Nonetheless, as I will hereafter explain, in all apparently paradoxical rational versus intuitive dilemmas, with complete faith I’ve learned to follow my heart. And my heart said:

“You’ve been immeasurably blessed; keep composing and sharing to help others”.


My heart clearly confirmed this perennial wisdom:

“Faith is different from proof;

the latter is human,

the former is a Gift from God.”

“Faith embraces many truths

which seem to contradict each other.”

~ Blaise Pascal

In 1979, I accepted my primary care doctor’s medical diagnosis of an inner-ear problem, not a stroke. In 2022, without seeking a medical diagnosis, I’ve followed my Sacred Heart and keep composing to help others.

Explanation

1) In all space/time relative “reality” everything’s energy [E=mc2].

2) In earth’s dense three dimensional [3D] energy sphere, humans (individually and collectively) create “reality” with their thoughts.

“We are what we think.

All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts, we make the world.”

~ Buddha

3) Each incarnate human is individually unique, creating a unique personal “reality” with apparent freedom of choice, which subjects them to experience the karmic consequences of their unique thoughts and behaviors.

“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards.
Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind.
It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . .

Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap.
If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering.
And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”

~ Paramhansa Yogananda

4) We each have freedom of choice to perceive only Divine spirit or God until we ultimately awaken from this dream-like relative “reality” to BE the eternal mystery of Divinity – as LOVE.

“You should love everyone because God dwells in all beings.”
“Have love for everyone, no one is other than you.”
“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.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

Conclusion and Dedication

By following my Heart with Faith, I choose to create a new Earth “Reality”;
an elevated energy dimension beyond all current environmental catastrophes, wars, deprivations, diseases, miseries and sufferings now being inflicted upon and fearfully experienced, and condoned or denied or allowed by most humans.

Therefore I refuse to reify this illusionary mental mirage-like samsara ‘reality’ which is constantly discussed and reported on by global “leaders”, institutions and media. Instead I constantly meditate and pray for Nature, and all its life-forms on our precious planet; and for the happiness of everyone and everything everywhere.

Inspired by Jesus Christ – the historic paragon of LOVE – my prayers forgivingly include even those who insanely and selfishly despoil and unsustainably exploit earth-life through their ignorance of our common eternal Self identity as timeless LOVE.

And I deeply dedicate this memoirs chapter to inspiring a “critical mass” of other empathic humans, who together will collectively transcend current earthly psychopathic insanity, by co-creating an envisioned wonderful
New Reality.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


© The Perennial Wisdom Foundation – “From Secular Hebrew, to Born-Again Hindu, to Uncertain Undo – An ex-lawyer’s spiritual metamorphosis from Litigation to Meditation – and Beyond.”
~ by Ron Rattner


Death? Afterlife? Rebirth?
~ Easter Reflections on Resurrections.

At my death do not lament our separation …
as the sun and moon but seem to set,
in reality this is a rebirth.
~ Rumi
“I tell you the truth,
no one can see the kingdom of God
unless he is born again.”
~ John – 3:3
“The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”
“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time,
nor does it come into being again when the body is created.
The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless,
and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed.
Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel, in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies verily accepts new bodies.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear?
When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as man,
To soar with angels blest;
But even from angelhood I must pass on …”
~ Rumi
death, as men call him, ends what they call men
–but beauty is more now than dying’s when…
~ e. e. cummings
“The dewdrop belongs to the sea.
Separated, it is vulnerable to the sun and wind and other elements of nature;
but when the droplet returns its source, it becomes magnified in oneness with the sea.
So it is with your life.  United to God you become immortal.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Eternal Life is gained by utter abandonment of one’s own life.
When God appears to His ardent lover the lover is absorbed in Him, and not so much as a hair of the lover remains.
True lovers are as shadows, and when the sun shines in glory
the shadows vanish away.
He is a true lover to God to whom God says,
“I am thine, and thou art mine! ”
~ Rumi


Tree of Life


The Last Supper



The biblical story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection raises crucial issues about life and death – about afterlife and rebirth – and about our true identity and reality.

As countless millions traditionally commemorate the rebirth and resurrection of Jesus Christ following his physical death by crucifixion, let us contemplate the deep significance of that story.  Whether we regard it as historic or metaphoric, the story raises crucial issues about life and death – about afterlife and rebirth – and about our true identity and reality.

Physical death is inevitable, but Life is perpetual.

Death of the physical body is inevitable and unavoidable. After birth, “no matter how we strive, no body leaves alive.” Uncertainty exists only about time of death, and about whether there is conscious life after physical death.

For millennia seers, saints, philosophers and mystics have addressed perennial questions of life after physical death and of our true identity and reality. Since the beginning of the 20th century when Albert Einstein revolutionized Western science with his theories of special and general relativity, quantum physicists and other non-materialistic scientists have begun confirming ancient mystical insights.

Raymond A. Moody, Jr., PhD, MD coined the term ‘Near Death Experience’ [NDE] in his 1975 best-selling book “Life After Life”. Since then NDE’s have become widely considered, especially by millions who claim to have experienced them. And some leading-edge non-materialist scientists have cited testimonies about NDE’s and other extraordinary mystical experiences as evidence that consciousness survives physical death.

For example, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, respected scientist, author and pioneering authority on death and dying, believed in survival of spirit after physical death, and used butterflies as symbols of the death process.

Soon after World War II, she visited the children’s barracks at the Maidanek concentration camp in Poland. There, amazingly, she observed hundreds of butterfly images drawn by the inmate children on the walls, even with pebbles and fingernails. Spellbound by the sight of butterflies drawn on the walls, she wondered why they were there and what they meant.

Twenty-five years later, after listening to hundreds of terminally ill patients, she finally realized that the imprisoned children must have known that they were going to die and intuitively were using butterflies as images of the physical death process. Dr. Kubler-Ross thus explained in The Wheel of Life, A Memoir of Living and Dying:

“They knew that soon they would become butterflies. Once dead, they would be out of that hellish place. Not tortured anymore. Not separated from their families. Not sent to gas chambers. None of this gruesome life mattered anymore. Soon they would leave their bodies the way a butterfly leaves its cocoon. And I realized that was the message they wanted to leave for future generations. . . .It also provided the imagery that I would use for the rest of my career to explain the process of death and dying.”


Dr. Kubler-Ross’s writings have inspired many other non-materialist scientists who have followed her lead. Also, of great importance in helping us understand whether spirit survives physical death were the ground breaking scientific studies by Dr. Ian Stevenson, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who for forty years studied children world-wide who spontaneously remembered past lives. Dr. Stevenson objectively validated and documented about twelve hundred such cases.

Thanks to the ‘leading edge’ work of Dr. Kubler-Ross and Dr. Stevenson, and of distinguished non-material scientists inspired by them, there now exists overwhelming scientific evidence that consciousness and mind are independent of physical bodies; that our physical bodies and brains are not originators of consciousness and mind, but their receptors, tuners and transducers.  And that until we evolve beyond space/time duality reality, apparent reincarnation or rebirth may happen after death of the brain and physical body.

What survives physical death?

If – like snowflakes – each of us manifests as an absolutely unique physical form, what is it about us that can survive death of that unique form, and be “born and reborn”?

“Reincarnation” is often understood to be the transmigration of a “soul” – viz. apparently uniquely circumscribed spirit – to another body after physical death.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Hinduism’s most cited ancient scripture, Divine Avatar Krishna instructs Prince Arjuna that:

“The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”; “The soul never takes birth and never dies” but “when the body is destroyed” or when “giving up old and worn out bodies . . [it] accepts new bodies.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2


Though in Buddhism there is no concept of separate soul or individual self that survives death, Buddhists believe in rebirth. Like most mystics, Buddhists say that in addition to our physical body, we are enveloped by subtle astral and mental bodies, which survive death of the physical body and become consciously associated with successive physical bodies.

Thus the Dalai Lama says that:

“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.”


A detailed and compelling description of afterlife can be found in “Autobiography of a Yogi”, by Paramahansa Yogananda, Chapter 43 – The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar .   There Yogananda credibly recounts a long discussion with his physically deceased Guru, Sri Yukteswar, who – like Jesus – resurrected to explain to his disciple Yogananda many details of afterlife.  [You can read that extraordinarily fascinating story at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Autobiography_of_a_Yogi/Chapter_43

Many psychics say that on physical death “we” survive and enter different realms. eg. http://www.victorzammit.com/Whenwedie/whatdoeshappen.htm

But ancient Vedic and Buddhist non-dualism philosophies (“Advaita”;”Advaya”) have for millennia taught that 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”… .

“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
~ Buddha

“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


Notwithstanding the Buddha’s non-dualist teachings, the Dalai Lama says he practices death and rebirth eight times daily. And, as Tibetan Bodhisattva of Compassion, he intends to return until all sentient beings are liberated from suffering.

If you had the option of a one-way exit pass to ‘heaven’, would you volunteer as a Bodhisattva to come back to this crazy world?

Vivekananda and Einstein.

The ancient Eastern non-dualism teachings were first brought to large Western audiences by Swami Vivekananda, principal disciple of nineteenth century Indian Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, at and after the 1893 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago.

In an eloquent New York City lecture called “The Real and the Apparent Man”, Vivekananda 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.”


“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


Revered 20th century Indian sage, Sri Ramana Maharshi – who was a renowned exponent of non-dualism – taught that for self-realized beings there is no reincarnation, but that reincarnation exists until self-realization – that self-realization reveals this entire world of space/time/causality as illusionary maya or samsara. Thus, responding to the question: “Is reincarnation true?”,  he said: 

“Reincarnation exists only so long as there is ignorance. There is really no reincarnation at all, either now or before. Nor will there be any hereafter. This is the truth.”


Einstein’s revolutionary non-mechanistic science and unconventional religious ideas were consistent with highest non-dualistic Eastern religious teachings, because they questioned the substantiality of matter, the ultimate reality of space, time and causality, and reincarnation. Like Vivekananda, 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.”




“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.”

“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


Ron’s Explanations and Reflections on Reincarnations and Resurrections.

Dear Friends,

As an 89 year old octogenarian, I have long reflected upon crucially important perennial questions concerning life, death, afterlife, and rebirth. And thereby I’ve been blessed to realize that consciousness we call “life” continues eternally after inevitable physical death.

Until my mid-life spiritual awakening, I self-identified only as my mortal physical body, its thoughts and its story, and believed that inevitable death of the body ended life. I had no opinion, knowledge or belief concerning reincarnation or afterlife in ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’, or of an immortal “soul”.

Then in my early forties, I had irreversibly transformative experiences of spiritual self-identity and afterlife: I began to realize that I was not merely my mortal body, its thoughts and story, but eternal and universal awareness. And I started seeing visions of apparent past lives, and inner and outer appearances of deceased people, including my maternal grandfather and Mahatma Gandhi, who I now regard as my first perceived inner guide.

So, I began accepting Eastern ideas of reincarnation and transmigration of an eternal soul, while gradually losing fear of inevitable physical death. Then, on meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I learned that from childhood he had been preoccupied with two perennial puzzles: “Who am I?” and “What is death?”; and, that at age thirteen, inspired by irresistible inner longing, Guruji had run away from home in search of experiential answers to those eternal questions.

Inspired by Guruji, I developed a deep curiosity and philosophical interest in the spiritual significance of death and dying, reincarnation and karma. Elsewhere, on SillySutras.com I have shared many experiences, essays, quotes and poems on these subjects. (See, e.g., https://sillysutras.com/category/afterlife/ ;https://sillysutras.com/category/life-and-death/; https://sillysutras.com/category/reincarnation/ )

Ultimately I’ve concluded that cosmically there is no death; that “birth and death are virtual, while Life is perpetual” and that “as we lose our fear of leaving life, we gain the art of living life.” (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/know-death-to-know-life-know-death-to-know-that-there-is-no-death/ )

Consequently, I’ve become ever less fearful about my own inevitable and perhaps imminent bodily death, and often witness Earth-life like an illusionary play or movie, rather than Reality – which I now consider timeless LOVE as Infinite Potentiality beyond comprehension, imagination or description.

Moreover, I’ve become persuaded that from a Self–realized ‘Buddha’s eye view’ all our supposedly separate lifetimes, incarnations, emanations or appearances can be Seen timelessly and concurrently – formed like ink blots in a ‘big bang’ Rorschach test; but that (except for rare Avatars or Buddhas) we are karmically challenged to live each supposed space/time lifetime as lovingly and empathetically as possible, while ever mindful that we are not separate mortal entities but indivisible formless and eternal Infinite Potentiality as LOVE.

To encourage our deep insights on perennial questions of afterlife and reincarnation, like “Who am I?” and “What is death?”, I have shared the foregoing writings.

On Easter and every day, may they help us discover within ever expanding fulfillment and happiness during our precious ephemeral lifetimes on planet Earth.

And so may it be!

2022 Epilogue.

Dear Friends,

Since the 2019 equinox holidays we have entered an unprecedented “new normal” era of post-pandemic social, psychological, political, and economic turbulence, violence, and polarity, with possibly imminent nuclear war or other omnicidal catastrophe ending earth-life as we’ve known it.

More people than ever before are suffering fears of death, illness, impoverishment, or imminent calamity, and are unable to live normally. They’ve been deprived of God-given human rights and necessities, and prevented from engaging in customary economic and social activities. Some are homeless or ‘sheltering’ unable to reverently commemorate the equinox holidays with others. 

More than ever before our species is ignorantly, insanely and unsustainably plundering, polluting and pillaging our planet’s precious resources and destroying it’s precious ecosystem and climate.

But, paradoxically, this is also a time of epochal opportunity, not only a time of immense suffering and potentially imminent catastrophe caused or condoned by our species. Thus, this an especially appropriate time for us to deeply reflect upon our fundamental life purposes, priorities and responsibilities as sentient Earth beings.

Because ignorance of our immortal Self-Identity causes continual fearful sufferings which impede evolution and progress, it is crucial that we transcend fears. So to help us overcome our fears and enter an unprecedented new era of peace and prosperity, I have today posted the foregoing writings and reflections.

Dedication

These writings concerning life and death, afterlife and reincarnation, and Ultimate Reality as timeless LOVE, are deeply dedicated to encouraging our continuing curiosity and reflections about our common and non-dual eternal and Infinite Self-identity.

May they help us discover ever expanding fulfillment and inner happiness during our precious ephemeral lifetimes on planet Earth, whatever our ideas about death, afterlife or rebirth.

Invocation.

May we – in this precious human lifetime
on our wonderful planet Earth –
realize together our common dream for a new reality,
where everyone everywhere is happy.

May Everyone Everywhere Be Happy!
“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu!”


And so shall it be!!

Ron Rattner

Different Person, Different Path

Q. “Sir, shall I ever leave the spiritual path?”
A. “How could you?
Everyone in the world is on the spiritual path.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Q. “What is the path?”
A. “Everyday life is the path.”
~ Zen Master Nansen
“The spiritual path –

is simply the journey of living our lives.

Everyone is on a spiritual path;

most people just don’t know it.”

~ Marianne Williamson
“Overcoming negative tendencies
and enhancing positive potential
are the very essence of the spiritual path.”
~ Dalai Lama
“When I let go of what [I believe] I am,
I become what I might be.”
~ Lao Tzu
“Man learns through experience, and the spiritual path is full of different kinds of experiences. He will encounter many difficulties and obstacles, and they are the very experiences he needs to encourage and complete the cleansing process.”
~ Shirdi Sai Baba
“Each person’s life – each lifeform,
in fact – represents a world,
a unique way in which the universe experiences itself.
And when your form dissolves,
a world comes to an end –
one of countless worlds.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
At bottom every man knows well enough
that he is a unique being,
only once on this earth;
and by no extraordinary chance
will such a marvelously picturesque
piece of diversity in unity as he is,
ever be put together a second time.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
“Today you are You,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive
who is Youer than You.”
~ Dr. Seuss




Introduction to “Different Person, Different Path”

Dear Friends,

“Different Person, Different Path” is an essay-poem (with oral recitation) about perennial principles intended to help us respect and accept all other humans as Divine spiritual siblings, each following a unique ‘spiritual path’ to ultimate Self Realization of our common inner Divinity.

Also to realize that (through mistaken illusory perception-projection) we continuously appear and reappear as supposedly separate ‘players’ in differing ‘roles’ on the world’s ‘stage’, in an endless Divine process and play in and of Cosmic consciousness, until we realize our true Universal non-duality Self-identity as Eternal LOVE.

The essay’s principles (with above quotations and explanatory comments below) are especially important in current unprecedentedly troubled times, when a majority of humans are fearful and polarized by earthly illusions, which they can transcend spiritually.

To help each other and the world, please enjoy and intuitively reflect upon these writings.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Different Person, Different Path

No two people experience identical perceptions
or states of consciousness;

Each one’s awareness
is mediated and limited by a unique body/mind;

And each person’s consciousness state
is ever changing and unique.

Beyond each individuated body/mind, is
Unlimited Awareness – Cosmic Consciousness – Infinite Potentiality.

But, body/mind consciousness is
localized and limited, and uniquely experienced.

Purpose of body/mind
is transformation of human consciousness,
which is collectively and individually
created by our thoughts.

Since each body/mind is unique,
each person’s transformational path is also unique.

Different person, different path.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Different Person, Different Path”

Listen to



Ron’s Comments on “Different Person, Different Path”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing essay-poem and quotations concern perennial wisdom principles about spiritual paths. Unlike earthly paths, spiritual paths do not lead to space/time destinations, but to experiencing and ultimately transcending karmic limitations which are unique to each person.

As each human soul evolves, it repeatedly incarnates into distinct body/minds, to experience and to learn from the effects of its unique karmic causal history. (Like snowflake crystals, not even identical twins are exactly the same.)

Upon incarnation as human body/mind lifeforms we experience ‘amnesia’ about our true spiritual Self-identity. Then, perceiving and believing ourselves to be separate from each other and Nature, we mistakenly identify, think and behave as separate entities, and thereby become subject to the universal law of cause and effect – karma.

Whereupon each soul becomes ‘encapsulated’ and ‘entangled’ in a self-woven “karmic cocoon” attributable to its unique behaviors – through which we inevitably experience personal and world sufferings.

Spiritual transcendence of our mistaken earthly illusions of being separate from each other and Nature is especially important in current unprecedentedly troubled times, because a majority of humans worldwide are polarized and fearful of death, disease and/or deprivation of necessities and God-given rights.

Thus, this posting is dedicated to our helping each other and the world advance toward achievement of such transcendence with our loving emotions and behaviors.

Invocation.

May we transcend such sufferings,
as we learn to forgive and accept ourselves
and all other humans
as Divine but fallible spiritual siblings;
as children of Eternal LOVE.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Players’ Prayer

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”
~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
May we bless the whole
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“You are awareness, disguised as a person.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks
“You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

“For in truth it is life that gives unto life –

while you, who deem yourself a giver,
 is but a witness.”

~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
“Love is the highest, the grandest, the most inspiring,
the most sublime principle in creation.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Love Is The Law Of Life:

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. 

Love is therefore the only law of life.

He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. 

Therefore, love for love’s sake,

because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.”

~ Swami Vivekananda






Ron’s Introduction of “Players’ Prayer”

Dear Friends,

The following “Player’s Prayer” poem (composed years ago) was inspired by William Shakespeare’s mystical insight that all world’s a stage on which we each play different roles. (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII).

It was intended to remind us to help us bless the world every day, not just on days deemed ‘special’ for expressing love, kindness and affection – like Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or anniversaries; but to always “bless the Whole, as we play our role in the cosmic theater of life”.

Whatever our role in each ephemeral human lifetime, this “Players’ Prayer” encourages our always behaving with instinctive tolerance and generosity. It is intended to help awaken us to our true common Self-identity; to Realization that we all are Universal LOVE, disguised as persons on the ‘world’s stage’, in a Divine play of Cosmic Consciousness.

Until our destined ultimate Self-Realization as timeless LOVE, may we thereby live ever happier and more fulfilling lives.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner



Players’ Prayer

May we bless the whole
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life.

Ever a part in it,
never apart from it,
in happiness or strife.

May we grow wise
and harmonize,
though chaos seems e’er rife.

‘Til we’re the Whole –
and not the role,
and Holiness is Life.



Ron’s recitation of “Players’ Prayer”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Players’ Prayer”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing “Players’ Prayer” reminds us that we are all spiritually connected, and that everything we think do or say changes this world in some way.  So we need not be avowed spiritual seekers or practitioners to spiritually bless this beautiful world. Whatever may be our role as ‘players’ in an ever changing cosmic drama, we bless the world by lovingly accepting and treating others – not just those deemed near and dear to us by affinity or consanguinity.

Most ordinary people with different life roles, are instinctively motivated to be tolerant and helpful in their relationships with others, even though they may live in societies corrupted by greed and injustice.  They just want to live and let live in peace.  So we gradually and instinctively can learn to accept others as divine sisters and brothers, as we lose illusory ego-mind inhibitions and apprehensions, and realize our deep spiritual Oneness with them, and with Nature and all its lifeforms.

Moreover, we can learn from history’s greatest exemplars of Divine LOVE to not mentally judge others, but to accept and forgive everyone, even supposed adversaries or betrayers (like Judas Iscariot). That is why Jesus (as an incarnate avatar of LOVE) taught by example to love even our enemies, not just our neighbors, and why he prayerfully beseeched Divine forgiveness for his murderers while suffering an excruciatingly painful death by crucifixion:

“Father, forgive them  they know not what they do.”
(Luke-23:34).

We ignorantly hurt ourselves by hurting or hating others, until we learn the divine Truth that we and others are ONE.  Whereupon we realize that unconditional forgiveness and acceptance of others is true LOVE, which eternally blesses all creation. 

Conclusion and Invocation.

Whatever our role in each ephemeral human lifetime, may our instinctive tolerance and generosity help awaken us to our true common Self-identity; to Realization that we all are timeless LOVE, disguised as persons on the ‘world’s stage’, in a Divine play of Cosmic Consciousness.

Thereby may we live live ever happier and more fulfilling lives, as we realize that 

“Love is the highest, 
the grandest, 
the most inspiring,
the most sublime 
principle in creation.”

And thus shall we

“Bless the Whole,
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life”.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Perennial Permanence Puzzlement

“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds
.
To watch the birth and death of beings
is like looking at the movements of a dance.

A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain.”
~ Buddha (563 – 483 BC)
A corporeal phenomenon, a feeling, a perception, a mental formation,
a consciousness, which is permanent and persistent, eternal and not subject to change, such a thing the wise men in this world do not recognize;
and I also say that there is no such thing.
~ Buddha (563 – 483 B.C)
“In the beginning was Atman; the one without a second.”
“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.”
~ Aitareya Upanishad of Rig Veda
“In this ever-changing space/time world,
nothing is immutable,
but much is inscrutable.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Perennial Permanence Puzzlement

Is there anything permanent
in Heaven’s vast firmament?

Is there a Perfection
beyond all conception –
a Cause of all that’s so?

Is there a force –
an Eternal Source –
that we can ever know?

Is it our task, to seek and to ask,
and so to ever grow?

‘Tis a Perennial Puzzlement!


Ron’s recitation of Perennial Permanence Puzzlement

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Ron’s Comments on Perennial Permanence Puzzlement

Dear Friends,

The foregoing written and recited sutra verses were initially inspired by actor Yul Brynner’s legendary performance of the song “A Puzzlement” in the award winning Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I”. In that song Sri Oscar Hammerstein’s spiritually insightful lyrics emphasize the inevitable uncertainties about our beliefs and behaviors in an ever changing world. For example:

“There are times I almost think
Nobody sure of what he absolutely know”

“And it puzzle me to learn
That tho’ a man may be in doubt of what he know
Very quickly he will fight
He’ll fight to prove that what he does not know is so”


So (like Hammerstein’s lyrics) the above verses emphasize inescapable uncertainties in this ever impermanent duality reality. They all ask rationally unanswerable rhetorical questions, in a world of “Perennial Puzzlement”.

But beyond rational thought, all sutra verses point to immutable Eternal Awareness ever imminent in everything/everyone everywhere.

Thus, with above quotations, they are deeply dedicated to hastening Humanity’s awakening to That Eternal Source.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

We Are The Universe!

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

~ Albert Einstein
“Objective reality does not exist” ….

“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”

~ David Bohm, Quantum Physicist
“Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.”
~  Mahmud Shabestari, Sufi Mystic, 15th century.
“There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe.

The horizontal threads are in space.
 The vertical threads are in time.
At every crossing of the threads, there is an individual.

And every individual is a crystal bead.
 And every crystal bead reflects not only the light
 from every other crystal in the net,

but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.”
~ Indra’s Net – from the Vedas of ancient India, 7000 years old
“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” is a holographic theater of the mind,
where we are microcosmic mirrors of the macrocosm.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following written and recited poetic verses, together with explanatory comments and above quotations, supplement the related “What Is The Universe?” posting.

Both postings propose that cosmically “We Are The Universe”. They are intended to help us open our hearts to all beings and all life everywhere.

Please consider them accordingly.

Ron Rattner


We Are The Universe!

The “universe” is like a cosmic hologram:

An ever changing but persistent illusion
appearing in an eternal, immutable,
infinite ocean of Awareness –

Awareness arising from pure potentiality.

Each of us is an integral, pin-point part of the whole picture,
which wouldn’t be complete without us.

But, though we appear as only a speck of the Whole,
we are like parts of a hologram;

Hidden within each of us is the whole cosmic picture,
and the awareness screen
on which we envision and project the picture.

In our Essence, we and the “universe” are ONE.

So, we are the “universe”.



Ron’s audio recitation of “We Are The Universe”

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Ron’s reflections on Non-dualism and “We Are The Universe”

Dear Friends,

Today’s We Are The Universe! posting together with the related “What Is The Universe?” posting propose that cosmically “We Are The Universe”.

These and many more SillySutras writings pertain to non-dualism – an important philosophy which has inspired many recent Silly Sutras writings about spiritual evolution and the nature of “reality”.

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

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

Yet, for millennia sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we inevitably suffer from radically mistaken self-identity; that our self-identity and reality are not what they appear to be; that it is possible to limit or avoid most suffering of ordinary human existence through experiential self-identification with the unseen Eternal spiritual Source of all space-time causality ‘reality’.

Soon after my mid-life change of life, I began discovering enduring wisdom teachings about the Vedic path of Advaita, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy. Advaita means non-dualism, and its teachings are about experiencing non-dual Self Realization via focused self-inquiry – relentlessly asking “Who am I?”.

I first found these teachings in books by or about legendary Indian sages J. Krishnamurti, Swami Vivekananda, and Shri Ramana Maharshi; also in New Dimensions Radio interviews by Michael Toms, and in KPFA radio lectures by Alan Watts, contemporary Western philosopher/teacher of Eastern spiritual wisdom, from which I learned about similar Buddhist and Taoist non-dualist philosophies.

After initial perplexity, I gradually became convinced of the ultimate Truth of non-dualistic teachings, as eloquently explained by Swami Vivekananda that:

“…this separation between man and man, between nation and nation, between earth and moon, between moon and sun . . does not exist, it is not real” ; and that
“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”


Non-dualism has even seemed quite consistent with the primary prayer of my early Jewish acculturation:

“Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29


Yet, while accepting Eastern non-dualism wisdom teachings, I have continuously displayed preponderantly devotional propensities of praying, calling and crying to the Divine. And in reading hagiographies I have most identified with Saint Francis of Assisi and Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa – both extremely ascetic and devotional holy men – more than with the wisdom teachers who introduced me to non-dualism.

Until retirement, while maintaining my busy law practice I found limited time to read and reflect on non-dualism teachings, except on weekends. So I used to jestingly tell spiritual friends that on weekdays I prayed and cried as a devotional bhakta, but that on weekends I became a “Seventh Day Advaitist”.

Ultimately, I’ve become an every day – not just a seventh day – Advaitist. So whimsically I sometimes say that I am now a devotionally open-minded “Advaitist-fundamentalist”.

While accepting non-dualism, my primary path seems devotional. Over forty years since beginning to cry for God, I still frequently display devotional tendencies of spontaneously praying, singing, and calling to the Divine. Apparently, my Guruji was quite prescient in naming me Rasik – “one engrossed in devotion”.

As a devotional “Advaitist-Fundamentalist” I have composed many poems and essays encouraging the heartfelt path of ‘non-dualism’ – including today’s “We Are The Universe” quotations and poem.

May these writings help remind, encourage and inspire us to open our hearts with deep empathy and compassion for all people and all Life everywhere.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


We Create “Reality”

Embedded below is a helpful 10 minute YouTube video montage titled “We Create “Reality””, previously linked on the related What Is the Universe posting


Certainty ~ by Sant Tukaram*

“Certainty can become an illness

that creates hate and greed.”
~ Sant Tukaram
“The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning.
Uncertainty is the very condition
to impel man to unfold his powers.”
~ Erich Fromm
“Since no one really knows anything about God, 

those who think they do are just 
troublemakers.”
~ Rabia of Basra (first female Sufi saint)
“Never lose a holy curiosity” . . . .
“The important thing is not to stop questioning”.
~ Albert Einstein
“The whole problem with the world is that
fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves,
and wiser people so full of doubts.”
~ Bertrand Russell
When questioning begins, certainty ends.
When certainty ends, wisdom begins.

The fewer our certainties, the greater our possibilities.
With complete uncertainty, we have infinite possibility.

Everything is possible when nothing is inevitable.

We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.
So, we seek relief from belief.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Certainty

Certainty undermines one’s power, and turns happiness
into a long shot. Certainty confines.

Dears, there is nothing in your life that will
not change – especially your ideas of God.

Look what the insanity of righteous knowledge can do:
crusade and maim thousands
in wanting to convert that which
is already gold
into gold.

Certainty can become an illness
that creates hate and
greed.

God once said to Tuka,

“Even I am ever changing –
I am ever beyond
Myself,

what I may have once put my seal upon,
may no longer be
the greatest
Truth.”

~ Tukaram*

Source: “Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West”, with interpretation by Daniel Ladinsky

Footnote: *Sant Tukaram was a 16th century Indian devotional poet-saint, still widely regarded as one of India’s greatest and most influential poet-saints.


Ron’s Comments About “Certainty”:

Dear Friends,

Are you absolutely certain about anything in your life?
Have you ever been absolutely certain about something or someone, and later learned that your certainty was mistaken?
    
If so, please consider the foregoing quotations and wonderfully translated poem by 16th century devotional poet-saint Tukaram, one of India’s greatest and still most influential poet-saints.

These wisdom writings remind us that nothing is “certain” in this world of permanent impermanence; that inflexible certainty – even about God – “can become an illness that creates hate and greed”.

Throughout recorded human history, individuals and societies have been compelled to abandon previously cherished inflexible beliefs about religion, science, philosophy etc. which limited learning, impeded progress, and motivated evil and harmful behaviors.

How could we have advanced believing that the earth was flat, or that it was the center of our solar system, or that intuitive women should be burned as witches?

Thanks to quantum science ‘uncertainty’ theory, we have learned from physicists that what we’ve believed to be physical ‘reality’ isn’t really real; that ultimate “Reality” is indescribable consciousness.


“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”

~ Niels Bohr, quantum physicist

“I regard consciousness as fundamental.
I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.
We cannot get behind consciousness.
Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

~ Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist


After an unforgettable midlife spiritual awakening, I have learned that open-minded curiosity and awareness are crucial for life-long learning and spiritual advancement. My awakening epiphany completely and irreversibly changed prior paradigms of Self-identity and Reality, and began a new life-phase of previously unimagined new discoveries.

One of my greatest joys has been in continuously learning from life itself, especially from inevitable difficulties and challenges. Thus I’ve found that we don’t need college or post graduate academic degrees to learn our most important lessons.

In recent years, many people worldwide have been experiencing and behaving from polarized fearful and reactive states of mind directed to others with conflicting political perspectives. To address this disturbing divisiveness, and consequent turmoil, we can follow principles of ageless wisdom revealed by Sant Tukaram’s critique of “Certainty”.

Although purported world “leaders” may seem insanely “certain” of themselves, Earth’s suffering citizens can best address crucial interpersonal and international political challenges, by compassionately honoring the spiritual essence and divine equality of everyone everywhere, without mistaken certainty about them.

Invocation

May Sant Tukaram’s wisdom inspire us
to transcend mistaken certainty
“that creates hate and greed”.

With quiet minds and open hearts
may we compassionately honor
the spiritual essence and equality of everyone everywhere.

Thereby let us overcome exploitation and discrimination
against the world’s most vulnerable sentient beings,
and the iniquity of inequity in our societies.


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Reincarnation
~ Quotes From Famous People

“The entire universe is God’s cosmic motion picture, and . . individuals are merely actors in the divine play who change roles through reincarnation; mankind’s deep suffering is rooted in identifying too closely with one’s current role, rather than with the movie’s director, or God.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“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”
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear ?
 When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as man,
To soar with angels blest;
But even from angelhood I must pass on …”
~ Rumi
“I have been born more times than anybody except Krishna.” 

~ Mark Twain





Reincarnation ~ Quotes From Famous People

“Lord Krishna said: …. The learned neither laments for the dead or the living. Certainly never at any time did I not exist, nor you, nor all these kings and certainly never shall we cease to exist in the future. Just as in the physical body of the embodied being is the process of childhood, youth and old age; similarly by the transmigration from one body to another the wise are never deluded.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna

“But know that by whom this entire body is pervaded, is indestructible. No one is able to cause the destruction of the imperishable soul. The embodied soul is eternal in existence, indestructible and infinite, only the material body is factually perishable….”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna

“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time nor does it come into being again when the body is created. The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed. Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel, in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies verily accepts new bodies.” “The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna

“God generates beings, and sends them back over and over again, till they return to Him.”
~ Koran

“Souls are poured from one into another of different kinds of 
bodies of the world.”
~ Jesus Christ in Gnostic Gospels: Pistis Sophia

“Reincarnation is not an exclusively Hindu or Buddhist concept, but it is part of the history of human origin. It is proof of the mindstream’s capacity to retain knowledge of physical and mental activities. It is related to the theory of interdependent origination and to the law of cause and effect.”
~ The Dalai Lama (Preface to “The Case for Reincarnation”)

“Rebirth is an affirmation that must be counted among the primordial affirmations of mankind. The concept of rebirth necessarily implies the continuity of personality. Here the human personality is regarded as continuous and accessible to memory, so that, when one is incarnated or born, one is able, potentially, to remember that one has lived through previous existences, and that these existences were one’s own, ie, they had the same ego form as the present life. As a rule, reincarnation means rebirth in a human body.”  
~ Carl Jung

“Why should we be startled by death? Life is a constant putting off of the mortal coil – coat, cuticle, flesh and bones, all old clothes.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

“I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and 
believing as I do in the theory of reincarnation, I live in the hope 
that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug 
all of humanity in friendly embrace.” “The greatness of the human being is not in the reincarnation of the world but in the reincarnation of ourselves.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand 
times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the 
amplitude of time.”
~ Walt Whitman

“I look upon death to be as necessary to the constitution as sleep. 
We shall rise refreshed in the morning.” And, “Finding myself to 
exist in the world, I believe I shall, in some shape or other always 
exist.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

“I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of 
millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, 
promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born.”

~ Jack London

“The theory of Reincarnation, which originated in India, has been welcomed in other countries. Without doubt, it is one of the most sensible and satisfying of all religions that mankind has conceived. This, like the others, comes from the best qualities of human nature, even if in this, as in the others, its adherents sometimes fail to carry out the principles in their lives.”
~ Luther Burbank

“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

“I adopted the theory of reincarnation when I was 26. Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives”..“To me this is the most beautiful, the most satisfactory from a scientific standpoint,
the most logical theory of life. For thirty years I have leaned toward the theory of Reincarnation. It seems a most reasonable philosophy and explains many things.”
~ Henry Ford

“I am certain that I have been here as I am now a thousand times before,
and I hope to return a thousand times.”
~ Goethe

“Live so that thou mayest desire to live again – that is thy duty –

for in any case thou wilt live again!”

~ Freidrich Nietzsche

“The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal.” “It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals… and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some strange new disguise.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The Celts were fearless warriors because “they wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from one body to another…”
~ Julius Caesar

“Reincarnation contains a most comforting explanation of reality by means of which Indian thought surmounts difficulties which baffle the thinkers of Europe.”

~ Albert Schweitzer

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting. And cometh from afar.”
~ William Wordsworth

“My life often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and no end. I had the feeling that I was an historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing.

I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries 
and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer;
 that I had been born again because I had not fulfilled the task given to me.”
~ Carl Jung

“I am confident that there truly is such a thing as living again, that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the
 dead are in existence.”

~ Socrates

“As a man, casting off worn out garments taketh new ones, so the dweller in the body, entereth into ones that are new.”
~ Epictetus

“It is not more surprising to be born twice than once;
everything in nature is resurrection.”
~ Voltaire

“He saw all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships become newly born. Each one was mortal, a passionate, painful example of all that is transitory. Yet none of them died, they only changed, were always reborn, continually had a new face: only time stood between one face and another.”
~ Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

“All pure and holy spirits live on in heavenly places, and in course of time they are again sent down to inhabit righteous bodies.”

~ Josephus (Jewish historian from the time of Jesus)

“All human beings go through a previous life… Who knows how
 many fleshly forms the heir of heaven occupies before he can be 
brought to understand the value of that silence and solitude of
 spiritual worlds?”
~ Honore Balzac

“Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life.”
~ Arthur Schopenhauer

“What is of particular importance . . is conviction with regard to reincarnation and karma. This conviction, will essentially transform modern life, will create new forms of life, an entirely new social life, of the kind that is necessary if human culture is not to decline but rise to a higher level. Experiences in the life of soul … are within the reach of every modern man, and if only he has sufficient energy and tenacity of purpose he will certainly become inwardly convinced of the truth of reincarnation and karma.
~ Rudolf Steiner

“When the physical organism breaks up, the soul survives.
It then takes on another body.”
~ Paul Gauguin

“Friends are all souls that we’ve known in other lives. We’re drawn to each other.
Even if I have only known them a day, it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to wait till I have known them for two years, because anyway, we must have met somewhere before, you know.”
~ George Harrison

“Know, therefore, that from the greater silence I shall return…
Forget not that I shall come back to you…
A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind,
and another woman shall bear me.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“There is no death. How can there be death if everything is part of the Godhead?
The soul never dies and the body is never really alive.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer, Stories from Behind the Stove



How Can We Become Immortal?

The dewdrop belongs to the sea.

Separated, it is vulnerable
to the sun and wind and other elements of nature;

but when the droplet returns its source,
it becomes magnified in oneness with the sea.

So it is with your life.  United to God you become immortal.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Eternal Life is gained
by utter abandonment of one’s own [ego] life.
When God appears to His ardent lover
the lover is absorbed in Him,
and not so much as a hair of the lover remains.
True lovers are as shadows,
and when the sun shines in glory
the shadows vanish away.
He is a true lover to God to whom God says,
“I am thine, and thou art mine! ”
~ Rumi
“The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”

“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time,
 nor does it come into being again when the body is created.
 The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless,
 and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed.
 Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel, in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies verily accepts new bodies.”

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2
What is birth? Is it of the “I-thought” or of the body?
Is “I” separate from the body or identical? How did this “I-thought” arise?
Is the “I-thought” your nature? Or is something else your nature?
The “I” of the wise man includes the body but he does not identify himself with the body. For there cannot be anything apart from “I” for him.
If the body falls, there is no loss for the “I”. “I” remains the same.
If the body feels dead, let it raise the question. Being inert, it cannot “I”.
“I” never dies and does not ask.
Who then dies? Who asks?
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi


Sri Ramana Maharshi

Introduction

Today’s Q and A essay, quotations, and comments about immortality are shared to help those who fear death avert and transcend inevitable suffering by remembering that we are not merely our mortal bodies and stories, but ONE immortal spirit experiencing fleeting lives from infinite perspectives in transitory earthly space/time vehicles, which are all the same ‘under the hood’!

Though based upon perennial wisdom, these writings are particularly important in current critical times, which insanely, unsustainably and catastrophically threaten all Earth Life as we’ve known it.

So it is especially appropriate for us to now deeply reflect upon these writings.

How Can We Become Immortal?

Q. How can we become immortal?

A. To become immortal,

BE more than a mortal.

Consider:

What lives? What dies?

What exists? What persists?

Observe:

That every thing and every phenomenon
that arises and appears on the screen of our consciousness

Is but a fleeting holographic mirage projected in space/time,
by and within the Infinite Light of Eternal Awareness;

That nothing is permanent in the ever changing universe,
where all that appears, disappears.

Be aware:

That only Eternal Awareness
exists and persists beyond time.

So, to be immortal,
just don’t be a mortal –

BE:

Eternal Awareness

NOW!



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “How Can We Become Immortal?”

Dear Friends,

To reveal important information yet unknown to those who fear death, today’s Q and A essay (with quotations) asks and answers a deliberately deceptive rhetorical question:
 
 
“How Can We Become Immortal?”  

In Truth we’re already immortal – we are ONE eternal spirit. But (except for rare Buddha-like beings), we’ve forgotten our immortality, and suffer societally from universally mistaken identity.

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

Sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us for millennia that we’re not what we were taught or think we are.  That our self-identification as merely mortal physical bodies, seemingly condemned to inevitable death in space/time, is an ego-mind illusion – like a mirage; that we suffer from perception-deception; and, that our True Self-identity and Reality is not what it impermanently appears to be.


“We are not merely mortal drops
in an ocean of ephemeral forms,
but the eternally Infinite Ocean of Universal Awareness,
appearing as drops!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


So today’s writings are dedicated to helping us remember that we are not merely our mortal bodies – their names, genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories – or the ‘voices in our heads’.  That we are ONE immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But that we’re all the same ‘under the hood’! And that we can transcend inevitable suffering of ordinary human existence through Self-realization of our universal spiritual essence.

Urgency

After insanely and unsustainably pillaging and plundering our precious planet, humans are now confronting possibly imminent end of earth life as we have known it. Such potentially omnicidal ecological catastrophe can be averted only from elevated human consciousness, beyond that which created this dire insanity. So today’s writings are especially important in these critically crazy times.

We must at long last awaken from our delusion of separateness and powerlessness, to transcend the ignorance of our immortality which has spawned these crises. And we must resist control by a few hierarchic psychopaths who promote fear to dominate and greedily exploit Humankind.

Dedication

Whatever our ethical, religious, or spiritual path, if any, let us together deeply reflect upon today’s quotes and verses about our true immortality.  May they spur our inevitable awakening as the “kingdom of heaven within” – as eternal LOVE.   

Thus Awakened, may we harmoniously, cooperatively and compassionately lovingly resolve our common crises for the common good.
 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner