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Posts Tagged ‘Leo Tolstoy’

Honoring the Relentless Pursuit of Truth:
Gandhi’s Original 9/11 Truth Movement
and Dr. King’s Message of World Peace Thru Nonviolence and Love


“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this
ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”
~ Albert Einstein (after Gandhi’s 1948 assassination)

“Many ancient Indian masters have preached nonviolence as a philosophy. That was a more spiritual understanding of it. Mahatma Gandhi, in this twentieth century, produced a very sophisticated approach because he implemented that very noble philosophy of nonviolence in modern politics, and he succeeded. That is a very great thing. It has represented an evolutionary leap in political consciousness, his experimentation with truth.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama, from “The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness”
“Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart,
cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“I found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi … the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.”
~ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.






Introduction

Dear Friends,

Today’s posting (on the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC), is dedicated to advancing worldwide social justice by inspiring nonviolent civil disobedience to extraordinarily irrational, immoral, and tyrannical edicts of current world “leaders”. The posting highlights histories of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as the most prominent and inspiring 20th century spiritual practitioners of nonviolent resistance to those in power.

And it explains how the Gandhian nonviolent Satyagraha truth movement has brought humankind “an evolutionary leap in political consciousness” beyond centuries of spiritual philosophy preached by Indian mystic masters. (See above Dalai Lama quotation)

Background

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, many people regard September 11 as a day that will live in infamy – a day of treachery, often cited (disingenuously or duplicitously) as pretext for an Orwellian era of endless war, violence and dystopian deprivations of civil liberties.
(See PBS Documentary 9/11-Explosive Evidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l-8PFk8j5I)

But, paradoxically, few realize that on a century earlier September 11th Mahatma Gandhi launched his extraordinary “satyagraha” peace and justice movement through which Gandhi, and countless others inspired by him, have accomplished much good in the world by non-violently resisting and transforming widespread social injustice and oppression.  As recognized by the Dalai Lama’s above quotation, Gandhi’s nonviolent truth movement represented “an evolutionary leap in political consciousness”.

Of countless humans inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s life and words, most prominent and influential has been Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who honored Gandhi as a spiritual “guiding light …. of nonviolent social change”, and who in 1959 journeyed to India to study Gandhian methods, saying:


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


During and since Mahatma Gandhi’s extraordinary lifetime, he has been venerated worldwide as one of the greatest spiritual and political leaders not just of our time, but of all times. Because he walked his talk authentically, peacefully, and spiritually, his words and life have been exceptionally inspiring and powerful.

Mahatma Gandhi changed the world by being the non-violent change he wanted see, particularly the end of the British Raj in India, followed by Indian independence and democracy.  But few people realize that Gandhi’s legacy includes not just his campaign for Indian independence, but that it began with his brilliantly waged struggle against institutionalized apartheid racism in South Africa, with ground-breaking inter-religious dialogue and cooperation.  

Gandhi’s Original 9/11 Truth Movement

On September 11, 1906, a young lawyer named Mohandas K. Gandhi organized and addressed a meeting of 3,000 people crowded into the Empire Theater in Johannesburg, South Africa. Members of the Indian community – both Moslem and Hindu – had gathered there in opposition to a proposed law that would require Indians to register, be finger-printed and carry special identity cards at all times, and which would further deprive them of civil liberties for failure to comply with the egregiously immoral law.

Gandhi argued that the law be resisted, but warned that resisters realize that they could be jailed, fined, beaten and even killed. The assembly not only declared its opposition to the legislation; its members raised their right hands and swore, with God as their witness, that they would not submit to such an unjust law.

Gandhi’s legendary talk at the Empire Theater meeting is dramatically portrayed by academy award winning actor Ben Kingsley in this excerpt from the epic film “Gandhi”:


The next day after the anti-apartheid meeting, the Empire Theater was mysteriously destroyed by fire.

Following their September 11th meeting and pledge, Indians refused to register and began burning their ID cards at mass rallies and protests. Thus began the original 9/11 non-violence movement that would literally change the world as the most powerful positive tool for salutary social change.

Satyagraha

The September 11th Johannesburg event began a powerful anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Thereafter, in 1908 Gandhi carefully coined a new word – “satyagraha” – to describe the movement.

Satyagraha is Sanskrit neologism combining “satya” (Truth) with “agraha” (holding firmly). But because Satyagraha is rooted in Vedic spiritual wisdom it is extremely difficult to translate into English.

Gandhi was a spiritual man in search of God, who equated “Truth” with “God”. He grew up inculcated as a Hindu, and in South Africa called the Bhagavad Gita his “spiritual reference book”. However, he acknowledged that he had been influenced by the teachings of Jesus, the writings of Tolstoy, and Thoreau’s famous essay, “Civil Disobedience.”

Thus, Gandhi’s satyagraha movement was fundamentally spiritual, not just political. It encompassed relentless pursuit of spiritual Truth through the political practice of active, faith-based civil disobedience. It was steadfastly dedicated to asserting and living Divine Truth by nonviolently and respectfully resisting institutional injustice to achieve societal and political justice. Beyond mere “pacifism” or “passive resistance”, it encompassed an actively militant, yet resolutely non-violent faith-based assertion of one’s moral beliefs, with open defiance of unjust laws or decrees.

The movement began with the above recounted defiance of South African apartheid decrees, and burning of racially discriminatory ID cards. Later in India it actively defied unjust British Raj laws, like laws forbidding Indians to make their own salt, and requiring export of all Indian grown cotton to be fabricated in England. Gandhi’s “satyagraha” movement disobeyed those laws with the famous “salt march” and by not purchasing British produced fabrics, while fabricating their cotton with spinning wheels. And Gandhi actively opposed the Indian “untouchable” caste system, condoned by the Bhagavad Gita, as well as by immorally exploitive societal customs.

Gandhi often and broadly spoke about “satyagraha”. Here are a few of his apt quotations:

Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves
as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement Satyagraha, that is to say,
the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase
“passive resistance”, in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing
we often avoided it and used instead the word “satyagraha” itself.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The word satya (Truth) is derived from Sat which means ‘being.’ Nothing is or exists in reality except Truth. That is why Sat or Truth is perhaps the most important name of God, In fact it is more correct to say that Truth is God than to say God is truth. On deeper thinking, however it will be realized that Sat or Satya is the only correct and fully sign fact name for God.”

“Devotion to this Truth is the sole justification for our existence. All our activities should be centered in Truth. Truth should be the very breath of our life. When once this stage in the pilgrim’s progress is reached, all other rules of correct living will come without effort, and obedience to them will be instinctive. But without Truth it is impossible to observe any principles or rules in life.”

“[W]hat may appear as truth to one person will often appear as untruth to another person.
But that need not worry the seeker. Where there is honest effort,
it will be realized that what appear to be different truths are like the countless and apparently different leaves of the same tree.
Does not God himself appear to different individuals in different aspects?
Yet we know that He is one. But Truth is the right designation of God.
Hence there is nothing wrong in every man following Truth according to his lights.
Indeed it is his duty to do so.
Then if there is a mistake on the part of any one so following Truth it will be automatically set right.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi – Mohandas Gandhi on the Meaning of Truth 1/1/1927

“Satyagraha means resisting untruth by truthful means”
“It is a religious duty to fight untruth.
If one remains steadfast in it in a spirit
of dedication, it always brings success.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi – 3/30/1911 Cape Town speech

“Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart,
cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

”Non-violence is the greatest force man has been endowed with.
Truth is the only goal he has. For God is none other than Truth.
But Truth cannot be, never will be, reached except through non-violence…
That which distinguishes man from all other animals is his capacity to be non-violent.
And he fulfills his mission only to the extent that he is non-violent and no more.“
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Satyagraha Conclusion

Thus the “satyagraha” movement has been a militant, but resolutely non-violent active assertion of fundamental human morality, which has brought this world an unprecedented “evolutionary leap in political consciousness”.

Thereby Mohandas K. Gandhi has become one of the most inspiring and positively influential human beings in our current history.


Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr’s, Message of World Peace Through Love and Gandhian Nonviolence

Like Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King, a Christian minister, dedicated his life to nonviolent religious spirituality, not just to political social justice.

In 1964 (at age 35) Dr. King became the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for his nonviolent social activism in opposing racial segregation, poverty, and war. As a dedicated Christian disciple of Jesus, Dr. King

“found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi … the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.”


Dr. King’s life paralleled Gandhi’s life.  Each began as an outspoken advocate of inter-racial equality and social justice in racially segregated societies.  Gradually their nonviolent missions expanded to encompass universal freedom, peace and social justice for everyone everywhere.
 
On humbly accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, as ‘trustee’ for countless unknown others, Dr. King cited Gandhi’s success in India as a key precedent encouraging nonviolent civil rights activism in the USA, saying:

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


And King described how (because of technological advances which imminently threaten nuclear/ecological catastrophe) the survival of humanity depends upon our nonviolently solving “the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war” by “living in harmony” with “all-embracing and unconditional love for all men”.

Eloquently he explained that


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


Whereupon he recited this wisdom passage from the First Epistle of St John:

“Let us love one another: for love is of God;
and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God.

He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love.

If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His

love is perfected in us.” [1 John 4:7-8; 12 ]”


Like Gandhi and Jesus – who also ‘heretically’ preached nonviolent love and forgiveness – King was martyred at (age 39), when his ‘heretic’ truth telling and expanding prophetic powers became intolerable barriers to the US Empire’s military/industrial war plans for Viet Nam and beyond.



Conclusion and Dedication



Today’s posting is deeply dedicated to inspiring a new era of global social justice through peaceful noncooperation and resistance to pervasive “new normal” era political and institutional social injustice, and its insane desecration of Nature on our precious planet.

May the prophetic seeds of political and spiritual Truth first sewn by Gandhi on September 11, 1906, and nurtured worldwide by Dr. King, at long last soon end needless suffering, and allow an unprecedented new era of global peace and harmony, beyond fear and hostility.

And  may humankind now heed Dr. King’s crucial warnings that we must “learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] or perish together as fools”; that our survival depends upon “living in harmony” with “all-embracing and unconditional love for all men [and women]”.  

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (full audio+text)



Everything’s Holy

“The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness,
the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside.”
~ Swami Vivekananda


Everything's Holy

Ron’s Introduction to “Everything’s Holy”

Dear Friends,

Today’s “Everything’s Holy” posting includes a visionary sutra-poem, a quotation collection about “Holiness”, and an explanatory commentary about THAT transcendent “miraculous” and mysterious Divine Reality beyond illusionary space/time duality reality. Also embedded is an inspiring video performance by Louis Armstrong (with lyric captions) of his legendary song “What A Wonderful World”.

This posting was inspired many years ago after I was emotionally moved and uplifted by Peter Mayer video performances of his song “Holy Now”. (See https://sillysutras.com/holy-now-by-peter-mayer/ ) Since imagining and composing the “Everything’s Holy” sutra-poem, I’ve gradually transformed to a “holy” state of being, with virtually constant gratitude and awareness that all Life is Divine and Holy.

Thus, I’ve learned from life that we can evolve, from just hearing about “holiness”, or observing “holy days” or ‘holy seasons’ with ‘holy songs and scriptures’, or visiting rare ‘holy places’, holy people, or holy artifacts, to always experiencing the Divine Holiness of everyone, everything, everywhere.


And I’m sharing these ‘holiness’ writings and Wonderful World song with the heartfelt aspiration that they may advance our inner evolution from seeing everything everywhere as separate and impermanent manifestations of mortal matter, to realization that all phenomena are reflections of Eternal Holy Spirit – that all Life is an endless gift of God’s Grace and LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Everything’s Holy

Everything’s a miracle:

E=mc2 – all manifestation is miraculous.

Everything’s Whole:

Mind and manifestation are ONE!

Everything’s Holy:

All matter manifests from Mystery,
and melts to merge with Mystery –

The mystery of Divinity.

So essence of everything is Divine Mystery, and

Everything’s Holy.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Everything’s Holy”

Listen to



Quotation Collection about “Everything’s Holy” and “Holiness”


“For everything that lives is Holy,
life delights in life.”
~ William Blake – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

“The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness,
the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside.”
“This perfection must come through the practice of holiness and love.”
“Every step that has been really gained in the world has been gained by love; criticising can never do any good, it has been tried for thousand of years. Condemnation accomplishes nothing.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

“There comes a holy and transparent time
when every touch of beauty 
opens the heart to tears.

This is the time the Beloved of heaven 
is brought tenderly on earth.

This is the time of the opening of the Rose.”

~ Rumi

“If you put your soul against this oar with me,

the power that made the universe will enter your sinew

from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm

that lives in us.

~ Rumi – “That Lives in Us”

“A holy spirit lives within you.”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“The wisdom of the Holy Spirit is much greater than the wisdom of the entire world. Within the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, silence prevails; the wisdom of the world, however, goes astray into idle talk.”
~ Isaac of Nineveh

“Everything is interwoven, and the web is holy.”
~ Marcus Aurelius

“Even the merest gesture is holy if it is filled with faith.”
~ Franz Kafka

“Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will,
and being just what God wants us to be.”
~ Saint Therese of Lisieux

“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.”
~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

“However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
If you do not act on upon them?”
~ Buddha

“Many good sayings are to be found in holy books,
but merely reading them will not make one religious.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

“The mind, unless it is pure and holy, cannot see God.”
~ Seneca the Younger

“What the world needs today is neither a new order, a new education, a new system, a new society nor a new religion. The remedy lies in a mind and a heart filled with holiness.”
~ Shirdi Sai Baba

“One need not scale the heights of the heavens, nor travel along the highways of the world to find Ahura Mazda. With purity of mind and holiness of heart one can find Him in one’s own heart.”
~ Zoroaster

“The most holy and important practice in the spiritual life is the presence of God –
that is, every moment to take great pleasure that God is with you”
~ Brother Lawrence

“One should hallow all that one does in one’s natural life. One eats in holiness, tastes the taste of food in holiness, and the table becomes an altar. One works in holiness, and raises up the sparks which hide themselves in all tools. One walks in holiness across the fields, and the soft songs of all herbs, which they voice to God, enter into the song of our soul.”
~ Martin Buber

“To the poet, to the philosopher, to the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!”
~ Allen Ginsberg

“If God gives you an abundant harvest of trials, it is a sign of great holiness which He desires you to attain. Do you want to become a great saint? Ask God to send you many sufferings.
~ St. Ignatius of Loyola

“Many people are so imprisoned in their minds that the beauty of nature does not really exist for them. They might say, ‘What a pretty flower,’ but that’s just a mechanical mental labeling. Because they are not still, not present, they don’t truly see the flower, don’t feel it’s essence, it’s holiness-just as they don’t know themselves, don’t feel their own essence, their own holiness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Throw away holiness and wisdom, and people will be a hundred times happier. Throw away morality and justice, and people will do the right thing. Throw away industry and profit, and there won’t be any thieves. If these three aren’t enough, just stay at the center of the circle and let all things take their course.”
~ Lao Tzu

“I disbelieve all holy men and holy books.”
~ Thomas Paine

“I studiously avoided all so-called “holy men.” I did so because I had to make do with my own truth, not accept from others what I could not attain on my own. I would have felt it as a theft had I attempted to learn from the holy men and to accept their truth for myself. Neither in Europe can I make any borrowings from the East, but must shape my life out of myself-out of what my inner being tells me, or what nature brings to me.”
~ Carl Jung

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein

“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.”
~ Walt Whitman

“Do you realize the unimaginable greatness, the holiness of what you so casually call ‘consciousness’? It is the unmanifest Absolute aware of its awareness through the manifestation, of which your mind-body is presently a part.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Do you realize the unimaginable greatness, the holiness of what you so casually call ‘consciousness’? . . . . How can you ever forget the basic truth that consciousness is the very expression of what-we-are. It is through the stirring of consciousness that the unmanifest Absolute becomes aware of its awareness through manifestation, and the whole universe comes into existence.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

”When all the false self-identifications are thrown away, what remains is all-embracing love.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Only if one knows the truth of Love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled [ego] knot of life be untied. Only if one attains the height of Love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only Love, which is seeing only Love, hearing only Love, feeling only Love, tasting only Love and smelling only Love, which is bliss.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“Mind and Manifestation are One”
~ Mary Saint-Marie


Ron’s Reflections on “Everything’s Holy” and “Holiness”

Dear Friends,

The Louis Armstrong video below and the foregoing ‘Holiness’ quotations and sutra-poem are shared with the heartfelt aspiration that they may further our inner evolution from seeing everything everywhere as separate and impermanent manifestations of mortal matter, to realization that all phenomena are reflections of Eternal Holy Spirit – that all Life is an endless gift of God’s Grace and LOVE.



So that – with opened Hearts in “a holy and transparent time” – we may realize all space/time phenomena as appearances of Divine Holiness.

Yet, as we are blessed to perceive this Wonderful World as holy, let us always remember that our space/time perceptions are like an ego-mind projected movie – an unreal and illusory play of Universal Consciousness in which nothing’s really Real but Divine LOVE.

“Only if one knows the truth of Love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled [ego] knot of life be untied. Only if one attains the height of Love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only Love, which is seeing only Love, hearing only Love, feeling only Love, tasting only Love and smelling only Love, which is bliss.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

”When all the false self-identifications are thrown away,
what remains is all-embracing love.”  
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

And so shall it be!

Namasté! 

Ron Rattner


“What A Wonderful World” sung by Louis Armstrong with captioned lyrics



Solstice Salutations and Quotations
~ For a Happy World

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
~ Aristotle
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
~ Dalai Lama
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness,
and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”
~ Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
~ Buddha
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self.
Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi





Solstice Salutations and Quotations For a Happy World

Dear Friends,

Happy Summer Solstice!

With a new summer solstice sunlight zenith, let us envision the dawning of an Aquarian age of divine light, peace, compassion, and joy everywhere on our precious planet and beyond.

May we thereby rededicate ourselves to the Eternal Light of LOVE within and beyond everyone and everything on Earth; to THAT universal spirit of eternal light, love, harmony and happiness, which is the unseen Source of the worlds we see.  
 
And as we optimistically envision a new season of previously unimagined planetary peace and joy, may we be infused with unprecedented illumination and inspiration for harmoniously healing our beautiful blue planet and all its life-forms.

To help inspire us, hereafter posted is a collection of wisdom words about finding timeless happiness. Please enjoy and accordingly consider these inspiring quotations.


Perennial Wisdom Words About Finding Happiness:

“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21

“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”
~ Ramana Maharshi

“Happiness comes when your work and words
are of benefit to yourself and others.”
~ Buddha

“The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul;
one must try to include, as necessary to one’s own happiness,
the happiness of others.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not: what is the purpose of life? From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.
That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not,
whether one believes in this religion or that religion,
we all are seeking something better in life.
So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”
~ Dalai Lama

“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away.
Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“There is only one life and one world, and this one life and one world is appearing to us . . . . like a dream. . .You do not live in your dreams. The dreams come one after another; scene after scene unfolds before you.
So it is in this world of ninety per cent misery and ten per cent happiness. Perhaps after a while it will appear as ninety per cent happiness, and we shall call it heaven. But a time comes to the sage when the whole thing vanishes, and this world appears as God Himself, and his own soul as God. It is not therefore that there are many worlds; it is not that there are many lives. All . . is the manifestation of that ONE.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

“He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.”
“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“Find ecstasy in life;
the mere sense of living is joy enough.”
~ Emily Dickinson

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.
Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,
go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.
Think of the beauty that again and again
discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”
~ Anne Frank

“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“We are formed and molded by our thoughts.
Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts
give joy when they speak or act.
Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.”
~ Buddha

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

“When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now.
Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Happiness does not depend on how the furniture is arranged –
it depends on how I arrange my mind.”
“When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.”
“Simply put, you believe that things or people make you unhappy,
but this is not accurate.
You make yourself unhappy.”
~ Wayne Dyer

“The surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.”
“If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
happiness follows like a shadow.”
~ Buddha

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates

“Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.”
~ Aristotle

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live
that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
~ Epictetus

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

“Cultivate compassion; harvest happiness.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”
~ Richard Wagner

“I am happy even before I have a reason.”
~ Hafiz

“The superior man is always happy.”
~ Confucius

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”
~ Chuang-Tzu

“By letting it go it all gets done.
The world is won by those who let it go.
But when you try and try,
the world is beyond the winning.”
~ Lao Tzu

“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?
Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.”
~ William Blake

“Always be joyful. That is the only truly saintly state.”
~ Teresa of Avila

“Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service,
and have a definite object in life
outside themselves and their personal happiness”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore

“Somehow not only for Christmas
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing
Returns to make you glad.
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination”
~ Mark Twain

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,
it only saps today of its joy.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

“Some cause happiness wherever they go;
others whenever they go.”
~ Oscar Wild


Closing Invocations:

May we consciously and cooperatively participate together in co-creating an ever better world – Happy, Harmonious and Peaceful – as we intend and envision it to be.

May we so become infused and used as instruments of Light and Love for everyone and everything everywhere – on Solstice Holidays and Always!

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Faith-Based Surrender
~ Quotations and Sayings

“Setting aside all noble deeds,
just surrender completely to the will of God.
I shall liberate you from all sins.
Do not grieve.”
~ Bhagavad Gita 18:66





Introduction

Dear Friends,

As explained in my recent Faith-Based Surrender posting, I’ve become dedicated to inspiring a newly elevated societal view of spiritual concepts (previously separated) as interconnected appearances of Divine Grace, Faith, Humility, and Love, which are beyond all ego illusions. We need to see, from a “New Earth” perspective, that: “What is the root of all these words? One thing: LOVE.” (Hafiz)

So I’ve gathered and offer for our edification, upliftment, and enjoyment the following collection of profound and interrelated quotations on these spiritual subjects.

To help illuminate their meaning, repeated quotations from the same spiritual teachers, poets or authors are included. I apologize for these redundancies, but deem it very important that we now realize why we must let go of and transcend past ego illusions that have precluded our elevated understanding of these key concepts.

Thereby may we be inspired by unconditional and irreversible intuitive Faith, to completely surrender to the will of God – to the infinite power of LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Faith-Based Surrender ~ Quotes and Sayings


“In the end these things matter most:

How well did you love?

How fully did you love?

How deeply did you learn to let go?”

~ The Buddha

“Love conquers all; let us surrender to Love.”
~ Virgil

“Surrender is faith that the power of Love
can accomplish anything,
even when you cannot foresee the outcome.”

~ Deepak Chopra

“Love is simply creation’s greatest joy.”
“We have not come here to take prisoners
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.”
~ Hafiz

“Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude for life.”
~ Hafiz

“What is the root of all these words? One thing: Love.
But a love so deep and sweet it needed to express itself with scents, sounds, colors that never before existed.”
~ Hafiz

“Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, ‘you owe me.’
Look what happens with a love like that!
It lights up the whole sky.”
~ Hafiz

“Looking at my life
I see that only Love
Has been my soul’s companion
From deep inside
My soul cries out:
Do not wait, surrender
For the sake of Love.”
~ Rumi

“How did you get here?

Close your eyes and surrender.”

“The hurt that we embrace becomes joy.”

“There is no reality but God,

says the completely surrendered sheik,

who is an ocean for all beings.”

~ Rumi

“They are the chosen ones who have surrendered.”

~ Rumi

“Love is the sacrifice of will.

If you cannot leave will behind

You have no will at all.”

~ Rumi

“Be crumbled.
So wild flowers will come up where you are.
You have been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
Surrender.”
~ Rumi

“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

“Faith is a knowledge within the heart,

beyond the reach of proof.”

“Faith is an oasis in the heart

which can never be reached by the caravan of thinking.”

~ Khalil Gibran

“Steady faith is stronger than destiny.

Destiny is the result of causes, mostly accidental,

and is therefore loosely woven.

Confidence and good hope will overcome it easily.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Grace is ever present. All that is necessary is that you surrender to it.”
“Surrender is to give oneself up to the original cause of one’s being.”
“Abide in the heart and surrender your acts to the Divine.”
“Self surrender is synonymous with eternal happiness.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“Place your burden at the feet of the Lord of the universe
who is ever victorious and accomplishes everything.
Remain all the time steadfast in the heart,
in the Transcendental Absolute.
God knows the past, present and future.
He will determine the future for you and accomplish the work.
What is to be done will be done at the proper time.
Don’t worry. Abide in the heart and surrender your acts to the Divine.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“Willpower should be understood to be the strength of the mind, which makes it capable of meeting success or failure with equanimity. It is not synonymous with certain success. Why should one’s attempts always be attended by success? Success breeds arrogance and man’s spiritual progress is thus arrested. Failure, on the other hand, is beneficial, inasmuch as it opens his eyes to his limitations and prepares him to surrender himself. Self surrender is synonymous with eternal happiness.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“By whatever path you go,
you will have to lose yourself in the one.
Surrender is complete only when you reach the stage
`Thou art all’ and `Thy will be done’.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me;

nevertheless not My will, but Thy will, be done.”

~ Luke 22:42.


“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done
in earth, as it is in heaven”

~ Matthew 6:10

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you,
If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
~ Matthew 17:20


“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.”

~ Proverbs 3:5-6


“Surrender your self-interest.
Love others as much as you love yourself.
Then you can be entrusted with all things under heaven.”
~ Lao Tzu

“When I let go of what I [think] I am,

I become what I might be.”

~ Lao Tzu


“By letting it go it all gets done.

The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try,
the world is beyond the winning.”

~ Lao Tzu

“Accept disgrace willingly… Accept being unimportant…
Surrender yourself humbly;
then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own self;
then you can truly care for all things.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Fame or integrity: which is more important?

Money or happiness: which is more valuable?

Success or failure: which is more destructive?

If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.

If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.

When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

~ Lao Tzu

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

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

~ Lao Tzu

“The words of truth are always paradoxical.
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Knowledge is learning something every day.

Wisdom is letting go of something every day.”

~ Zen Proverb

We have nothing to surrender

But the idea

That we’re someone,

With something

To surrender.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Q. How much “ego” do you need?

A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.

~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

“Absolute surrender to God is the criterion of faith. This surrender is not laziness, expecting God to do everything for you – your utmost effort to bring about the desired result is also necessary – rather, it is a surrender through love for God and veneration of His supremacy.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“Faith is intuitive conviction,

a knowing from the soul,

that cannot be shaken even by contradictions.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“It is so wonderful to be good and to be humble.
Egotism repulses, humility attracts. When man behaves in a humble way, he strikes a beautiful chord in the hearts of others. A man of humility easily exercises a spiritual influence on others. Such a one has the satisfaction that he has done his best on this- earth.
The more humble you are, the stronger you will be in Spirit.
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.”
~ Matthew 5.5

“Spirituality automatically leads to humility. 
When a flower develops into a fruit,
 the petals drop off on its own.
 When one becomes spiritual,
 the ego vanishes gradually on its own.
 A tree laden with fruits always bends low. Humility is a sign of greatness.”

~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“[The Master’s] constant practice is humility.”;
“Humility means trusting the Tao,
thus never needing to be defensive.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.”
~ Confucius

“Two things are necessary for the realization of God;
faith and self-surrender.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“Have faith. Depend on God. Then you
will not have to do anything yourself.
Mother Kali will do everything for you.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“God has put you in the world. What can you do about it?
Resign everything to Him. Surrender yourself at His feet.
Then there will be no more confusion.
Then you will realize that it is God who does everything.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“Surrender everything at the feet of God.
What else can you do?
Give Him the power of attorney.
Let Him do whatever He thinks best.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“Truth will never come into our minds
so long as there will remain
the faintest shadow of Ahamkâra (egotism).
All of you should try to root out this devil from your heart.
Complete self-surrender is the only way to spiritual illumination.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.

Have faith in yourselves!”

~ Swami Vivekananda

“Without an unreserved surrender to His grace,
complete mastery over thoughts is impossible.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Don’t seek God in temples.
He is close to you. He is within you.
Only you should surrender to Him,
and you will rise above happiness and unhappiness.”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“When you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power. You do not need it anymore. Presence is the key. Now is the key.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“To some people, surrender may have negative connotations, implying defeat, giving up, failing to rise to the challenges of life, becoming lethargic, and so on. True surrender, however, is something entirely different.
It does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and to do nothing about it.
Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action. Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to, rather than opposing, the flow of life.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand
and becoming comfortable with not knowing.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Always say “yes” to the present moment.
What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is?
What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now?
Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life —
and see how life suddenly starts working for you, rather than against you.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Not until you surrender does the spiritual dimension become a living reality in your life.
When you do, the energy you emanate and that then runs your life is of a much higher vibrational frequency than the mind energy that still runs the world.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Surrender is surrender to this moment,
not to a story through which you interpret this moment
and then try to resign yourself to it.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Surrender comes when you no longer ask, ‘
Why is this happening to me?'”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment…
Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life –
and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you,
rather than against you.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“The moment of surrender is not when life is over.
It’s when it begins”
~ Marianne Williamson

“Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor. Perhaps, in a way, that’s where humanity is now: about to discover we’re not as smart as we thought we were, will be forced by life to surrender our attacks and defenses which avail us of nothing, and finally break through into the collective beauty of who we really are.”
~ Marianne Williamson

“Spiritual Work is not easy. It means the willingness to surrender feelings that seem, while we’re in them, like our defense against a greater pain. It means that we surrender to God our perceptions of all things.”
~ Marianne Williamson

“Spiritually, no action is more important than surrender.
Surrender is the tenderest impulse of the heart, acting out of love to give whatever the beloved wants. Surrender is being alert to exactly what is happening now, not imposing expectations from the past. Surrender is faith that the power of love can accomplish anything, even when you cannot foresee the outcome of a situation.”
~ Deepak Chopra

“At the level of spirit, everything is always unfolding perfectly, and you don’t have to struggle or force situations to go your way. It is only your ego mind that is fearful. When you surrender to spirit and listen to the voice of your deeper intelligence, you free yourself from fear and release the obstacles your ego has created.”
~ Deepak Chopra

“In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty…
in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past,
from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning.
And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.”
~ Deepak Chopra

“The deeper you surrender to existence, life, nature,
the more loving, more understanding, more insightful you become.”
~ Rajneesh

“I surrender my anxiety and my sense of urgency. I allow God to guide me in the pacing of my life. I open my heart to God’s timing. I release my deadlines, agendas, and stridency to the gentle yet often swift pacing of God. As I open my heart to God’s unfoldings, my heart attains peace. As I relax into God’s timing, my heart contains comfort. As I allow God to set the tone and schedule of my days, I find myself in the right time and place, open and available to God’s opportunities.”
~ Julia Cameron

“Every genuine expression of love grows out of a consistent and total surrender to God.”
“In a real sense faith is total surrender to God .”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The more you struggle to live, the less you live.
Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure….you are above everything distressing.”
~ Baruch Spinoza


“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”

~ William Shakespeare

“Our real journey in life is interior;
It is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts. Never was it more necessary to respond to that action.”
~ Thomas Merton

“Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance 
that it dazzles the mind
and darkens all its visions of other realities, 
but in the end when we become used to the new light, 
we gain a new view of all reality
 transfigured and elevated in the light itself.”

~ Thomas Merton

“The person who surrenders absolutely to God,
with no reservations, is absolutely safe.
From this safe hiding-place he can see the devil,
but the devil cannot see him.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard

“Surrender means accepting this moment, this body, and this life with open arms.
Surrender involves getting out of your own way and living in accord with a higher will,
expressed as the wisdom of the heart.
Far more than passive acceptance, surrender uses every challenge as a means of spiritual growth and expanded awareness.”
~ Dan Millman

“May you find grace as you surrender to life. May you find happiness, as you stop seeking it. May you come to trust these laws and inherit the wisdom of the Earth. May you reconnect with the heart of nature and feel the blessings of Spirit.”
~ Dan Millman


Invocation

May we be inspired by unconditional and irreversible intuitive Faith, to completely surrender to the will of God – to the infinite power of LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

What Is Life?
~ Quotations and Sutras

“Life is everything. Life is God.
Everything changes and moves,
and that movement is God. . .
To love life is to love God.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace






Introduction to “What Is Life?” ~ Quotations and Sutras

Dear Friends,

Throughout human history philosophers have wondered about perennially puzzling questions of life’s meaning or purpose, if any. For example, Aristotle declared that “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

Most SillySutras writings are offered to help us live happier lives; and some address questions about possible purpose or meaning of human existence. (E.g. see “Is Earth-life Purposeful?”)

For those who wonder why we’re here, this posting shares many noteworthy philosophical and mystical quotations about “Life”, plus a collection of Ron Rattner’s Sutra Sayings about “What Is Life?”.

Please consider and enjoy these quotations and sutras, not as spiritual truths but as philosophical speculations about human life on Earth. And don’t forget that with a completely silent mind there are no philosophical questions or answers – just choiceless Universal Awareness.

Ron Rattner

“What Is Life?” ~ Quotations

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
“The end of life is to be like unto God;
and the soul following God, will be like unto Him;
He being the beginning, middle, and end of all things.”
~ Socrates

“Life is a pilgrimage.
The wise man does not rest by the roadside inns.
He marches direct to the illimitable domain of eternal bliss,
his ultimate destination.”
~ Swami Sivananda

“One word
Frees us of all the weight and pain of life:
That word is love.”
~ Sophocles

“Life without love, is no life at all.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci

“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”
“Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving”
~ Khalil Gibran

“Life is not a problem to be solved,
but a reality to be experienced.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard

“What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
 It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
 It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

~ Crowfoot, 1890

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle

“Be happy for this moment.
This moment is your life.”
~ Omar Khayyam

“You are not ‘in the now;’ you are the now.
That is your essential identity-
the only thing that never changes.
Life is always now. Now is consciousness.
And consciousness is who you are.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.
~ Hans Christian Andersen

“Life is God’s novel. Let him write it.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer

Life is a process. We are a process.
The universe is [an evolutionary] process.
~ Anne Wilson Schaef (edited)

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.
Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry.
Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.
The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.”
~ Lao Tzu

“The history of our spiritual life is a continuing search
for the unity between ourselves and the world.
Religion, art, and science follow, one and all, this aim.”
~ Rudolf Steiner

“Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is a succession of lessons
which must be lived to be understood.
All is riddle, and the key to a riddle is another riddle.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Death is a stripping away of all that is not you.
The secret of life is to “die before you die” —
and find that there is no death.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“The two most important days in your life are
the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
~ Mark Twain

Life is a dream for the wise,
a game for the fool,
a comedy for the rich,
a tragedy for the poor.
~ Sholom Aleichem


What Is Life? ~ Sutra Sayings

What Is Life?
Life is a word – an idea –
with many meanings
which are mental,
not fundamental.
As beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
the meaning of “life” is what we think it to be.

But beyond our Earth-life “reality”
Life is not mental,
but Transcendental:
Life is Eternal Mystery.

What Is Life?
Life is awakened Awareness.

What Is Life?
Life is aliveness.

What Is Life?
Life is BEING, not doing.

Life is BEING, not becoming.

What Is Life?
Life is infinite experience
Of Infinite Potentiality
From infinite perspectives.

What Is Life?
What is death?
In duality ‘reality’
the meaning of life,

depends upon the meaning of death.

When we Know the meaning
of both life and death,

we shall Know no death
–
only awakened Awareness.

What Is Life?
Life is an “in a body” experience.

What Is Life?
Life is an ongoing identity crisis:
An endless opportunity to
transcend entity identity.

What Is Life?
Life is an idea game
in which we’re challenged
to make ideal
our ideas of what’s “real”.

What Is Life?
Life is endless exploration in time.
Until we discover that:
Life is NOW,
Ever NOW,
Never then!

What Is Life?
Life is an exploration-experience-experiment in space/time..

What Is Life?
Life is a semantic space/time sojourn.

What Is Life?
Life is a round trip metaphoric journey,
on which we are destined to return to point of origin.
On return, we learn – we never left.

What Is Life?
Life is a journey: an ego trip.
Life is a journey: a mind trip.

What Is Life?
Life is a workshop for ego addicts; an ego trip.

What Is Life?
Life is a healing/wholing gnosis process.

What Is Life?
Life is an evolutionary learning process.

Gleaning meaning in matter,

we learn all that matters —

we learn all that matters is

LOVE!

What Is Life?
Life is a mind field –
a field of dreams,
where all we ever see or seem
is but a dream within a dream.

What Is Life?
Life is a cosmic game of hide and seek.
Self hides in plain insight
and, knowingly or unknowingly,
we seek Self.
We seek and seek
until we find
beyond the mind,
that we are what we seek –
that what we seek is the seeker.

What Is Life?
Life is a learning laboratory
for discovering immortality –
experimentally and experientially.

What Is Life?
Life is suffering;
Life is mystery.
Life’s miseries are mental,
while it’s mystery is Transcendental.

What Is Life?
Life is a cosmic masquerade;
an endless comedy/tragedy/mystery drama.
The masquerade play continues with countless acts and scenes.
Each actor must participate in innumerable roles,
until each is ultimately unmasked,
with true identity revealed as
Common “I-ness”.

What Is Life?
Life is a mystery school
in which knowingly or unknowingly
we are all students –
each learning about,
and seeking to solve,
the same Mystery –
the mystery of Divinity.

Though we may never solve it,
we shall ever evolve it –
NOW!


Ron’s Comments about “What Is Life” ~ Quotations and Sutras

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations and whimsical sutra speculations about Earth-life may help point to ways for us to live happier lives.

Throughout human history philosophers have wondered – and keep wondering – about the purpose or significance of “life” on Earth.  

And for millennia rare avatars, saints, sages and other mystical inner explorers have reported discovering within an infinitely potential Universal Awareness – which is the sole Source of all we call “Life” in the “real world” – that can be experienced in deep meditation, but not described. Some of their quotations are shared above.

Though I’ve irreversibly accepted the existence of an indescribable Divine Life Source, I have nonetheless shared the foregoing quotations and sutras about “Life” – which are based on philosophical theories and mystical musings – as helpful hints for living happier Earth-lives.

Invocation

May the foregoing “What Is Life?” quotations and sutra sayings help all of us find increasing happiness and fulfillment of our deepest inner aspirations, as we live our lives from ever elevated perspectives.

And so may 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




Einstein’s Mystical Views & Quotations on Free Will or Determinism

”All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.”
~ Buddha
“The Now is as it is because it cannot be otherwise.
What Buddhists have always known, physicists now confirm:
there are no isolated things or events.
Underneath the surface appearance,
all things are interconnected,
are part of the totality of the cosmos
that has brought about the form that this moment takes.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
Q. “Are only the important events in a man’s life,
such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined,
or are trifling acts also, such as taking a cup of water or
moving from one part of the room to another?”
A.  “Everything is predetermined.”
~  Sri Ramana Maharshi 
“Nothing perceivable is real.
Your attachment is your bondage.
You cannot control the future.
There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage.
You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj 
In the mind there is no absolute or free will; but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause, which has also been determined by another cause, and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.
~ Baruch Spinoza 
“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Johann Friedrich Von Schiller
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Nothing in the universe happens by chance or accident.  The universe is a coherent concurrence and interaction of innumerable conditions attendant on the infinite number of energy patterns.  In the state of Awareness, all this is obvious and can be clearly seen and known.  Outside that level of awareness, it could be likened to innumerable, invisible magnetic fields which automatically coalesce or repel one’s position and which interact according to the positions and relative strengths and polarities.  Everything influences everything else and is in perfect balance.
~ David R. Hawkins
“Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice. .
Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”
“…Choice in every form is conflict. Contradiction is inevitable in choice; this contradiction, inner and outer breeds confusion and misery.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Everything happens through immutable laws, …everything is necessary… There are,  some persons say, events which are necessary and others which are not. It would be very comic that one part of the world was arranged, and the other were not; that one part of what happens had to happen and that another part of what happens did not have to happen. If one looks closely at it, one sees that the doctrine contrary to that of destiny is absurd; but there are many people destined to reason badly; others not to reason at all others to persecute those who reason.”
~  Voltaire
“The assumption of an absolute determinism
is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”
~ Max Planck – Nobel Laureate Physicist
“We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer

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

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



Introduction

We honor Albert Einstein not only for his extraordinary scientific genius and moral integrity, but for his mystical wisdom and intuitive realization of ineffable Reality beyond human comprehension.

In other posts (linked below) we have shown that although Einstein rejected conventional views about God, individual survival of physical death, reincarnation, or of reward or punishment in heaven or hell after physical death, he was not an atheist but a deeply religious mystic. Though Einstein did not believe in formal dogmatic religion, his views on religion were consistent with highest non-dualistic Eastern religious teachings, like Indian Advaita Vedanta philosophy, as well as with his revolutionary non-mechanistic science. So he was an exemplar of the inevitable confluence of Western science with Eastern religion.

Here we highlight Einstein’s unconventional views about free will and determinism and show how they were also largely consistent with highest Eastern non-duality mystical teachings.

Discussion

Until his death in 1955, Albert Einstein rejected the “uncertainty” principle of quantum mechanics advanced by most respected physicists of his time. Einstein stubbornly maintained his view, consistent with ancient mystical insights, that “God does not play dice with the universe”; that the principle of cause and effect (or karma) pervades the phenomenal Universe without exception; that the ideas of chance or “uncertainty” arise from causes and conditions not yet recognized or perceived.

In a 1929 interview, when the argument about quantum mechanics “uncertainty” was at its height, Einstein modestly said: “I claim credit for nothing”, explaining that:

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
[Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 422.]

Though theologians have mostly believed that people choose and are morally responsible for their actions, Einstein agreed with medieval philosopher Baruch Spinoza that one’s actions, and even one’s thoughts, are determined by natural laws of causality.

Spinoza said:

“In the mind there is no absolute or free will;
but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause,
which has also been determined by another cause,
and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.”

Thus, in 1932 Einstein told the Spinoza society:

“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”

Einstein’s belief in causal determinism seemed to him both scientifically and philosophically incompatible with the concept of human free will. In a 1932 speech entitled ‘My Credo’, Einstein briefly explained his deterministic ideology:

“I do not believe in freedom of the will. Schopenhauer’s words: ‘Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills’ accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of freedom of will preserves me from taking too seriously myself and my fellow men as acting and deciding individuals and from losing my temper.”

Einstein’s 1931 essay “The World As I See It” contains this similar passage:

“In human freedom in the philosophical sense I am definitely a disbeliever.
Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. Schopenhauer’s saying, that “a man can do as he will, but not will as he will,” has been an inspiration to me since my youth, and a continual consolation and unfailing well-spring of patience in the face of the hardships of life, my own and others’. This feeling mercifully mitigates the sense of responsibility which so easily becomes paralyzing, and it prevents us from taking ourselves and other people too seriously; it conduces to a view of life in which humor, above all, has its due place.”

Schopenhauer – who had studied Buddhism – postulated that human experience is but a reflection and manifestation of universal law – not human “will”; that humans must adhere to the imperatives of natural laws (like gravity and magnetism) which harmoniously rule everywhere without exception. Thus Schopenhauer said:

“The fate of one individual invariably fits the fate of the other and each is the hero of his own drama while simultaneously figuring in a drama foreign to him—this is something that surpasses our powers of comprehension, and can only be conceived as possible by virtue of the most wonderful pre-established harmony.”

So in rejecting “free will” and other prevalent theistic religious ideas while humbly expressing his awe, reverence and cosmic religious feeling at the immense beauty, harmony and eternal mystery of our Universe, Einstein was influenced by both the philosophies of Spinoza and Schopenhauer and by his intuition and his science.

But despite his deterministic philosophy and science, Einstein realized that people’s belief in free will is pragmatically necessary for a civilized society; that it causes them to take responsibility for their actions, and enables society to regulate such actions.*[see Footnote] So he said:

“I am compelled to act as if free will existed, because if I wish to live in a civilized society I must act responsibly. . . I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime, but I prefer not to take tea with him.”*[see Footnote]


Thus Einstein dedicated his life to going beyond the “merely personal” and acted morally with a self-described “passion for social justice”. In a letter to his sister, Einstein stated that “the foundation of all human values is morality”. And in addressing a student disarmament meeting, he said:

“The destiny of civilized humanity depends more than ever on the moral forces it is capable of generating.”

But, like the non-dualistic mystics, Einstein believed that morality was for humanity not divinity. He said:


“Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God.”


Determinism versus morality and social justice

Since acting morally implies human freedom of choice, how can we reconcile Einstein’s passion for social justice and morality with his deterministic ideology that “Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.” ?

How would Einstein explain the apparent contradiction between his many idealistic efforts as a social justice activist, pacifist, and democratic socialist and his deterministic philosophy and science? Would he attribute his efforts and passion for a peaceful, civilized society to a pre-destined causal compulsion?

We can only speculate. But it is quite possible that Einstein would have agreed with Isaac Bashevis Singer’s statement that “We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”

According to Eastern non-dualism, as long as we self-identify as limited persons within space/time/causality we have apparent free choice but are inescapably subject to the law of karmic causality. Thus our every thought, word or deed inevitably reaps its corresponding reward of either suffering or joy in this or another lifetime. Only when we self-identify with spirit or soul, do we transcend this illusory impermanent world of samsara and its inevitable causal sufferings.

This was explained by Swami Vivekananda as follows:

“[T]he soul is beyond all laws, physical, mental, or moral. Within law is bondage; beyond law is freedom. It is also true that freedom is of the nature of the soul, it is its birthright: that real freedom of the soul shines through veils of matter in the form of the apparent freedom of man.”

“[T]here cannot be any such thing as free will; the very words are a contradiction, because will is what we know and everything that we know is within our universe, and everything within our universe is moulded by the conditions of space, time, and causation. Everything that we know, or can possibly know, must be subject to causation, and that which obeys the law of causation cannot be free.”

“The only way to come out of bondage is to go beyond the limitations of law, to go beyond causation.” [by self-identifying with soul or spirit] . . . . “This is the goal of the Vedantin, to attain freedom while living.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – Karma Yoga

Conclusions

Like ancient non-dualistic mystics, Einstein had realized – through his revolutionary non-mechanistic science – that “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”; and that “Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think.” Consequently, he knew that from an ever mysterious Cosmic perspective, our apparent phenomenal reality is but an illusionary play of consciousness.

But, Einstein’s acceptance of the necessity for recognizing humanity’s freedom to choose a moral rather than evil destiny was also consistent with highest non-dualistic Eastern religious teachings that we ‘reap as we sow’ until we transcend this illusionary world, as well as with prevalent Western religious ideas that we are morally responsible for our actions.

Thus, Einstein’s insistence that the principle of cause and effect (or karma) pervades the phenomenal Universe without exception and that morality is for Humanity not Divinity was consistent with ancient non-dualistic mysticism as was his rejection of a personal “God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation”.

Though Einstein had not achieved the mystic goal of attaining “freedom” from causality while living, his mystical wisdom and professed behaviors in not “taking too seriously myself and my fellow men as acting and deciding individuals and from losing my temper” were consistent with a very evolved – if not “enlightened” – state of being.

*Footnote

Einstein’s views on pragmatically living with supposed free will notwithstanding a belief in universal determinism, were similar to those of Leo Tolstoy, whose epic War and Peace novel reflected Tolstoy’s view that all is predestined, but that we cannot live without imagining we have free will. Like Einstein, Tolstoy was greatly influenced by Schopenhauer and, also, he was later enthralled by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda.



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




Life Is But A Dream

“This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.
Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.”
~ Rumi
“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
~ Buddha (The Awakened One)
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real,
so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha
“Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.”
~ Buddha: Diamond Sutra
“We are like the spider.

We weave our life and then move along in it.

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

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




Life Is But A Dream

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

[*See footnote]


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

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

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


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

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

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

AND SO IT SHALL BE!


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


Ron’s Commentary on Life Is But A Dream.

Dear Friends,

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

“You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

Paramahansa Yogananda poetically observed:

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


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

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


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

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

The Sacred Secret of Life
~ Ron’s Memoirs, Quotes and Poem

“That which is timeless is found now.”
~ Buddha
Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here,
and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,
we cannot be in touch with life.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.
~ Alan Watts
Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now!
It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.
~ Leo Tolstoy
“The more we live moment by moment,
the more momentous our lives.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is NOW

Ever NOW

Never then.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Tao and Zen

are NOW,

not then.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Ron’s Introduction

The following ‘channeled’ poem and above quotations, are about a key wisdom concept which is so important for spiritual evolution that with poetic license I’ve called it “the sacred secret of life”. That spiritual secret and my process leading to composition of the ‘secret of life’ poem are explained in comments below.

The Sacred Secret of Life

We evolve and revolve
ever seeking to solve
the sacred secret of life.

But the further we go
the less we know
the sacred secret of life.

The longer our history,
the greater the mystery of
the sacred secret of life.

Yet we never stop trying –
keep birthing and dying, for
the sacred secret of life.

Tho’ we may never solve it,
we’ll ever evolve it:
The sacred secret of life.

So in Awe we bow
to the ever NOW—

The sacred secret of Life.



Ron’s audio recitation of “The Sacred Secret of Life”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “The Sacred Secret of Life”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing “secret of life” poem was inspired by previously unimagined and unforgettable experiences which began after my midlife spiritual awakening. After many years of inner reflection, prayer and meditation, the poem was composed spontaneously during my extended post-retirement reclusive period.

Soon after my awakening, I was synchronistically introduced to Eastern spiritual wisdom through a friend who urged me to read an extraordinary book with an intriguing title – “Be Here Now”. It told about the spiritual transformation of Dr. Richard Alpert, Harvard Ph.D, into Ram Dass, a Western teacher of Eastern wisdom, after meeting his Hindu guru – Neem Karoli Baba.

“Be Here Now” was for me unlike any other book I’d ever before seen or read. Filled with beautiful calligraphy, art, and photos, it imaginatively presented a fascinating melange of Eastern ideas previously unknown to me, with many suggestions and ‘recipes’ for spiritual practices.

Some suggestions interested me, though I didn’t immediately adopt any of them. But the book and its memorable title planted seeds for spiritual practices which I later adopted. The first of these practices – simple repetition as a mantra of the word “Rama” soon miraculously manifested in my life, in a previously unimagined way, and with remarkable continuing consequences.

Gradually the book’s memorable title “Be Here Now!” became for me a key slogan for spiritual awakening; a reminder to live with a quiet mind in the present moment. Through experience and other spiritual teachings, I began to realize the profound evolutionary importance of mental stillness.

I was especially influenced by the teachings of contemporary sage J. Krishnamurti about how “freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.” Much later I felt great resonance with the writings of contemporary teacher Eckhart Tolle, which emphasized “The Power of Now.” Perhaps most important were my experiences in following my beloved Guruji’s emphatic instructions to “meditate regularly”.

Only after many years of meditating regularly did my ‘monkey mind’ finally cease its ceaseless chatter, permitting me to choose whether “to think or not to think” – an option to enjoy precious moments of choiceless awareness. And by learning to live with a quiet mind in the present moment, I understood Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras’ key aphorism that “Yoga is the cessation of mind”; and I discovered that “The more we live moment by moment, the more momentous our lives;” and that “when all thoughts cease, we are at peace.”

Each of us has a unique space/time perspective and karmic history. So each of us has unique challenges and a unique ‘recipe’ for spiritual opening. But the ‘ingredients’ in every such ‘recipe’ are the same – only proportions differ. And precious presence – ‘being here now’ – is crucially important for everyone, not just those who knowingly seek spiritual advancement.

Being present is sometimes called being “in the zone” with a focused or stilled mind. Have you ever noticed how star artists and athletes perform at peak levels while “in the zone”?

Moreover, whether or not we are interested in Eastern wisdom or mindfulness or peak performance, every human being wants happiness, with minimal suffering. And to be in a state of precious presence with a stilled mind is of critical importance to experiencing happiness.

So for me “Be Here Now!” – like “Seek relief from belief” and “Undo Ego!” – has become a key motivational motto encapsulating a wisdom concept crucial to spiritual evolution from Earth life to Eternal Life.

Dedication and Invocation

Thus today’s quotations and poem are offered to inspire our ever expanding realization that “life can be found only in the present moment”, and that ultimately the Eternal happiness we all seek is beyond space and time, but paradoxically ever here NOW.

May we all experience growing happiness by learning to live in the precious present with ever quieter minds, thereby radiating Eternal LOVE and Light, which blesses the world, ever NOW.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Why Be Here Now?
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“That which is timeless is found NOW.”

~ Buddha
“Life can be found only in the present moment.

The past is gone, the future is not yet here,

and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,

we cannot be in touch with life.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment…
Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life –
and see how life starts suddenly ..
working for you, rather than against you.”

~ Eckhart Tolle
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
~ Hillel
Life is NOW

Ever NOW

Never then.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Tao and Zen
are NOW,
not then.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”
~ Leo Tolstoy
“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
The only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything or feel anything, or express any feeling or emotion, or respond to an event, or grow, or heal, is this moment, because this is the only moment any of us ever gets. You’re only here now; you’re only alive in this moment.
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity. Thought is time. Thought is born of experience and knowledge which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever-limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Why Be Here Now?

Introduction.

Today’s memoirs posting “Why Be Here Now?” explains how the memorable book title “Be Here Now” became for me an inspirational spiritual slogan, encapsulating the essence of all spiritual teachings: viz. to live in thoughtless presence (as Universal Awareness) rather than in the past (as an ego-mind story of a separate mortal being); because Life is NOW, ever NOW, never Then!

This universal teaching has so significantly advanced my spiritual awakening process, that I am now experiencing life in ways I couldn’t imagine when I first learned about being in the present moment. So I often share it to help others (as hereafter explained).

Learning to live moment by moment, ever NOW.

Here is a summary of my process of learning about living NOW, as Universal Awareness:

Soon after my midlife spiritual awakening, I attended “est”, an impactful self-help seminar, on the urging of a long-time friend. There I was first exposed to certain (unsourced) Eastern spirituality principles cleverly collected and presented by Werner Erhard, est’s founder, to motivate participants to radically transform their lives by ‘getting IT’.  The key est teaching was to:

Always accept “what is”. [See Ron’s Memoirs: Getting “IT” at est]

After attending est in 1977, I started to learn that for millennia there have been spiritual teachings about thoughtlessly accepting “what is” {sometimes called “letting go” or “surrender”). This began happening when I read an extraordinary book called “Be Here Now”, which told about the spiritual transformation of Dr. Richard Alpert, Ph.D, psychologist, into Baba Ram Dass, a Western teacher of Eastern wisdom, after meeting his Hindu guru – Neem Karoli Baba.

Discussion re “Be Here Now” as Root Spiritual Teaching.

“Be Here Now” was my first memorable exposure to Hindu and other sourced Eastern spiritual teachings. It was an extraordinary book, unlike any other I’d ever before seen or read. Filled with beautiful calligraphy, art, and photos, it imaginatively presented a fascinating melange of Eastern ideas previously unknown to me, with many suggestions or ‘recipes’ for spiritual practices, some of which I later followed, though I didn’t immediately adopt any of them.

Apart from the book’s contents, its “Be Here Now!” title gradually became a memorable guide for my spiritual awakening process; a reminder to live with a quiet mind in the present moment. Gradually, I found this reminder repeated so often in other spiritual teachings and books that, ultimately, I considered it to be the root essence of all spiritual teachings. I deemed this teaching so crucial that (with poetic license) I once called it “The Sacred Secret of Life”. (See https://sillysutras.com/secret-of-life/)

“Be Here Now” by Ram Dass



My realization about the crucial importance of living as thoughtless presence, was especially advanced by the teachings of world renowned spiritual philosopher J. Krishnamurti, that

“Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Much later I approvingly concurred with the writings and lectures of contemporary author/teacher Eckhart Tolle, which skillfully emphasized “The Power of Now.” (Another memorable book title which became a popular spiritual slogan.)

Probably I best learned about living with a stilled mind by faithfully following for many years my beloved Guruji’s emphatic instructions to “meditate regularly”. Ultimately, after thus meditating regularly, my ‘monkey mind’ finally ceased its ceaseless chatter, permitting me the option of using it or not, and of choosing to enjoy moments of choiceless awareness.

These chosen moments of living with a stilled mind changed my experience and deep understanding of incarnate human life, in previously unprecedented ways. For example, they bestowed new insight into Patanjali’s root aphorism that

“Yoga is the cessation of mind.”
~ Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras


Also I realized that many people (like French philosopher René Descartes) have mistakenly confused “thinking” with “being”. So I wrote an essay critique of that mistaken belief, to remind us that “being” as Awareness exists and persists perpetually, whether or not we are thinking. (See https://sillysutras.com/cartesian-critique/)

And precious moments of thought-free awareness confirmed and validated spiritual insights from other mystical experiences. For example, they were reminders that human consciousness remains beyond death of human bodies and brains; that consciousness creates brains and subtle thought bodies which inevitably survive death of physical bodies. (See https://sillysutras.com/brains/)

Whereby I observed that most people (like Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet) mistakenly believe that death of the physical body and brain, ends all consciousness and thought.

Thus Prince Hamlet incorrectly equated physical mortality with timeless Awareness in his famous “To be, or not to be” soliloquy contemplating his possible suicide. (William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1)

And to share this realization about Hamlet’s confused suicide speculations,
I composed this sutra:

“To think or not to think, that is the question.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

which implies that Being is perpetual, not optional, whereas thinking is optional and does not end on bodily ‘death’; but that paradoxically the less we think, the more we are Being (‘here now’) as perpetual Awareness.

Essential Message of “Be Here Now”.

Through the process of learning to live with a stilled mind in the present moment, I’ve discovered that:

Being is timeless. But thought is time (and space). So, when we egoically think of ourselves merely as entities separate (in space) from each other and Nature, we mistakenly preclude or deter our realization of spiritual Freedom as eternal Being beyond space/time.

Instead, we experience our existence only as an ever impermanent past illusion, or mental mirage, but never NOW. However as we self-identify moment by moment as thoughtless, choiceless awareness, we are Being NOW.

And we learn that

“The more we live moment by moment,
the more momentous our lives;”
and that
“When all thoughts cease, we are at peace.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Ultimately we discover

“That which is timeless is [only] found NOW”

~ Buddha

Conclusion.

Each of us has a unique karmic history and space/time perspective. So each of us has unique challenges and a unique karmic ‘recipe’ for spiritual opening. But the ‘ingredients’ in every such ‘recipe’ are the same– only proportions differ.

And Presence – ‘being here now’ – is crucially important for everyone, not just for spiritual aspirants. For example, being present is sometimes called being “in the zone” with a stilled or focussed mind. Have you ever noticed how star artists or athletes perform at their highest levels while “in the zone”?

Thus today’s quotations, memoirs and discussion are offered to inspire our ever expanding realization that “life can be found only in the present moment”, and that ultimately the Eternal happiness we all (knowingly or unknowingly) seek is beyond space and time, but paradoxically immanent ever here NOW.

Peanuts by Charles Schulz

Dedication.

May everyone everywhere experience ever expanding happiness by increasingly living moment by moment in precious presence, with ever quieter minds.

Thereby may we all radiate love and joy, which blesses the world, ever NOW.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner