“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
“Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think.”
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
“The distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”
~ Albert Einstein
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions,
that they exist in the present,
which is what there is and all there is.
~ Alan Watts
“Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen. In the Absolute there is neither time, space nor causation.” “…this separation between man and man, between nation and nation, between earth and moon, between moon and sun. Out of this idea of separation between atom and atom comes all misery. But the Vedanta says that this separation does not exist, it is not real.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga
“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”
“The less we’re illusioned,
the more we’re illumined.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
What Are Illusions?
Q. What are illusions?
A. Illusions are false ideas, conceptions, or beliefs,
accumulated and aggregated in the memory bank
that we call the “mind”.
Illusions are projections from the past
which obscure or obstruct our experience of the present.
We can’t live fully in the present,
when we are living partly in the past.
Illusions are mental obscurations.
They cloud or conceal our insight into
That which is Real.
But, as we clear the ‘mirror of our mind’
of old illusory ideas and paradigms of
who and what we think we are,
We can and shall become ever more present,
insightful and illuminated –
about what we really are.
So let us choose to lose our illusions.
For, the less we’re illusioned,
the more we’re illumined.
Ron’s audio recitation of “What are Illusions?”
Ron’s explanation of “What Are Illusions?”
Have you ever wondered: “what are illusions?” and “what is “real?” Spiritually, these are crucial questions.
According to dictionaries, “illusions” are misperceptions or misconceptions of reality, fact, or truth. Whereas “reality” is that which factually exists.
For millennia, non-dualist Buddhists and Vedantists have taught that our entire space/time ‘reality’ is a mental mirage or illusion, and not true Reality; that what we perceive and believe to be ‘real’ material forms in space and time, are mentally projected misperceptions from misconceptions of our conditioned ego-minds, which see “through a glass darkly”.
We assume that we are independent human beings, separated from each other and Nature, and acting based on our own free-will. But according to non-dualist mystical philosophies, all of this is mere illusion – samsara or maya. Even our supposed free will is an illusion, because we are inseparable from Nature which determines all we experience, via mysterious karmic causes and conditions. Thus, perceived worldly events or phenomena are always determined by invisible cosmic forces which are as yet unknown to our conditioned ego-minds. (see e.g. Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, verses 60-61)
A century has passed since Einstein’s revolutionary relativity theory revealed that “reality” can’t be reduced to objects or entities in space/time. Since then, quantum science has confirmed that everything in space/time is energy (e=mc2); that all forms and phenomena are merely vibrating and radiating immaterial energies endlessly and inevitably appearing (from unknown causes and conditions) out of and disappearing into an ineffable matrix of mystery.
Thus, Western science has more and more shown what ancient shamans, seers, and indigenous societies have known throughout history:
That there is a cosmic web of life connecting everything and everyone in Nature from the greatest galaxies to the tiniest sub-atomic particles; that we are each an integral inter-connected and interdependent part of Nature’s web of life – not separate from it; and that, as Einstein observed:
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness”; “reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”; “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”.
Inspired by Einstein, I have composed the foregoing poetic Q & A essay titled: “What Are Illusions?”, as preceded by apt quotations.
May these teachings help us find relief from belief, bringing us ever expanding life fulfillment and happiness.
From seeing everyone and everything as discrete, and separated by apparently immutable boundaries, may we increasingly realize that all forms and phenomena are ever-changing energies appearing from a common matrix of immutable Awareness – our true Nature, which is LOVE.
And so may it be!
“Whatever we think, do, or say,
changes this world in some way.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Upon learning from Guruji about the spiritual goal of “self realization” or “enlightenment”, I decided to “seek” this goal by meditating and reciting his prescribed Sanskrit prayers and mantras. But after several years, I lost interest in pursuing “enlightenment” though I continued Guruji’s practices and attended his group meditations. Also, I continued reading many spiritual teachings of other masters, scriptures, and stories about saints (hagiographies).
Though ever inspired by Guruji’s “signs and wonders” which I had witnessed and experienced, and those attributed to saints and spiritual masters about whom I was reading, I found that my desire to personally experience these “miracles” was waning. I began realizing that these powers could become pitfalls – big ego traps impeding rather than promoting spiritual evolution.
Before meeting Guruji, I had begun entertaining egoistic ideas that I might be “special” because of all the miraculous things that were happening to me. Thus, I was egoistically forgetting the unforgettable rebirth realization that started the whole purification process – the simple insight that: “I am not my body or its thoughts, but pure awareness; I am not my role in life – lawyer, husband, father – with which I’ve identified, but pure awareness.”
But, after shakipat, as I began reading and reflecting about “enlightenment”, I became increasingly aware that “ego” and “enlightenment” could not co-exist; that anyone who egoistically thinks s/he’s ‘special’ isn’t “enlightened”. So, rhetorically I wondered: “If I am just pure Awareness, not separate from ultimate Reality, how can I be a ‘special’ person?”
My first memorable test of that crucial ‘re-realization’ insight soon came during a meditation retreat with Guruji near Santa Cruz where with extraordinary benevolence he imparted esoteric information to advanced initiates. And amongst these esoteric teachings were instructions about how to travel astrally at will.
By this time I had had spontaneously experienced various OOB’s, including my amazing New York astral projection into the future, and had experienced Guruji’s power to “visit” me in his astral body. Also I was aware of Robert A. Monroe’s teachings and writings about his “Journeys Out of the Body”.
But even though Guruji sanctioned certain initiates to acquire the extraordinary power of traveling astrally at will, I clearly wasn’t interested in it. So I chose not to practice or pursue astral projection.
I was content to let the Universe decide when and whether I would be shown or given any more such “signs and wonders”. And I didn’t have long to wait before it happened again. As I was driving home from that Santa Cruz retreat in my then ‘trusty’ Volvo, I had one of my most extraordinary and memorable OOB experiences.
I left the retreat accompanied by Saskia, the Dutch doctor and acupuncturist who had been one of my passengers during our miraculous ‘sight seeing tour’ with Guruji, which began with our toll-free passage onto the Bay Bridge. She lived in Berkeley, and I was taking her home before returning to San Francisco.
As we drove from Santa Cruz to Berkeley, Saskia and I chatted about spiritual and worldly subjects, including our apparent lack of good fortune at not yet finding worldly “soul mates”. Within minutes after we parted, I was synchronistically granted an unforgettable graphic apparent answer to our question about supposed “lack of good fortune” in certain worldly relationships.
A few minutes after dropping off Saskia, I drove the Volvo onto the Bay Bridge en route to San Francisco. Soon after passing the toll plaza, I was suddenly and unexpectedly taken out of my body. While my physical body continued guiding the Volvo across the Bay Bridge, I was given a fleeting – but amazingly unforgettable – Buddha’s eye view of space/time and causation from a very subtle causal plane of awareness.
From this subtle panoramic perspective – far above and beyond Ron Rattner’s dense physical body, driving its denser (but blessed) Volvo – I was shown an interwoven causal tapestry that is manifesting this phenomenal “reality”; that everything – every form and phenomenon – is perfectly karmically/causally connected; and, that whatever happens to us in this world arises from interdependent, interconnected, and interrelated causes.
Ever since that pivotal experience I have reflected on ideas like “perfection”, “causation”, “synchronicity”, “free will versus determinism”. And while so reflecting, I have written (and have posted on SillySutras.com) many apt sutras, like this one:
Despite Omni-present ignorance,
selfishness, misery and suffering,
and apparent chaotic uncertainty,
perfection pervades our “Loco Loka” * –
the realm of space/time and causation;
the realm of manifest Mystery.
*”Loco Loka” = crazy world
Over thirty years have now passed since that amazing view of “reality” was bestowed. Thanks to that ‘miraculous’ experience, and to countless ensuing ‘miracles’ in my enfolding life story, my life has evolved – in ways which were once unimaginable – to a state of abiding “inner peace and happiness” beyond “any belief or religious affiliation”, just as promised by Guruji in 1978. Thus, with heartfelt gratitude, I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life.
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.