“From wonder into wonder existence opens.”
~ Lao Tzu
“We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make the world.”
“Life will give you whatever experience
is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“Whatever we think, do, or say,
changes this world in some way.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Synchronistic “Manifestation Miracles”
After many years of reflection, I’ve become convinced that my life has unfolded and evolved perfectly, as if a Divine novelist was writing Ron’s life-plan script. Accordingly my attitude toward life’s inevitable ups and downs has become that everything happens for the best – to promote our evolution; that in every adversity there is an evolutionary opportunity. (See https://sillysutras.com/ive-found-a-faith-based-life/)
Also, I now believe that I’ve been and am now continually blessed and guided by frequent ‘miraculous’ synchronicities – premonitions and meaningful or noteworthy apparent coincidences in time – which Western science can’t yet explain. Therefore, in these memoirs I’m sharing with you some of those synchronicities.
For many years after my midlife spiritual awakening – beginning with a three month period of extraordinarily high energy – such synchronicities have included numerous amazing mystical and psychic experiences elsewhere described.
I learned from my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, that many of these experiences could be considered manifestations of an autonomic kundalini purification process; an evolutionary process enabling us – each in our own unique way – to live happier and more meaningful lives, and thereby to further evolution of all life on our precious planet with which we are inseparably connected.
Virtually all of my many synchronistic experiences have happened unexpectedly. They have been noteworthy because they were surprising, and often meaningful.
But, in recent years, one type of synchronicity experience – manifestation of desired circumstances or artifacts – has happened so often that I am no longer so surprised by such experiences. However, they remain for me frequent meaningful reminders of our miraculous relative reality and of our blessed life therein, for which I am unspeakably ever grateful.
I haven’t sought psychic powers – and am wary that they can be ego traps – so I haven’t consciously willed such experiences. Yet, frequently some circumstance has fortuitously arisen, or some person or artifact has appeared in my life, fulfilling a wish or perceived need. And sometimes I have perceived such synchronicities as significant spiritual experiences.
The most important of such spiritual experiences was the inner appearance of Guruji and my later synchronistic meeting with him. This happened only after I wholeheartedly began seeking answers to spiritual mysteries arising in my life, had discovered a deep inner yearning for God, and had intuitively begun reciting a Sanskrit Ram mantra.
Probably my most amazing synchronicity experience happened while I was taking a daily walk toward San Francisco Bay, more than twenty years after my 1982 “trip of a lifetime” spiritual pilgrimage to India. At a time when I was trying to recall details of that journey, I found in a garbage dumpster a rare documentary video about that pilgrimage of which I was previously unaware. See https://sillysutras.com/synchronicity-story-miraculously-manifesting-memories-of-a-spiritual-pilgrimage-to-india-and-nepal/
One of the most noteworthy synchronistic circumstances not apparently associated with my spiritual longing, but with an aesthetic longing, was the fortuitous manner in which I found my spectacular San Francisco view condominium and later acquired it as an almost free gift from the Universe. I have now resided in that apartment for over forty years, as a high-rise hermitage, and it has been the happiest dwelling place of my adult life. So elsewhere I’ve shared the story of how it was virtually given to me.
Also, I now have in my lovely dwelling place dozens of previously desired items: plants, furniture and clothing items, other artifacts, and (formerly) even a ‘stash of cash’, all of which I unexpectedly found or received after wanting them. I call these experiences “manifestation miracles”.
Such “miracles”, which are happening continually and with ever increasing frequency, are far too numerous for me to recall and recount. But, in addition to my dumpster and condominium stories, I have recounted other memorable synchronistic “manifestation miracles” which are emblematic of this phenomenon, and which have been especially noteworthy for me.
(* See footnote)
These spiritual memoirs stories are shared, as requested by my Guruji, to help inspire our faith that life always gives us whatever experiences are appropriate for advancement of our happiness and spiritual evolution.
And so may it be!
*For example, see my previously posted essays on synchronicity. These include A Stash of Cash For Y2K – a “Manifestation Miracle”. And see Apples and The Road Not Taken, a synchronicity story about a “manifestation miracle” involving my unforgettable friend Carol Schuldt.
“May the Lord give you peace.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi
“You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
On December 1st, 2018 my unforgettable friend Carol Schuldt painlessly left her body at age 85, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and heart failure. Thereafter, on December 8th, her body was interred in a wild nature place overlooking the Pacific Ocean, after spontaneous rituals and stories were shared by Carol’s friends on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
Carol was a a legendary San Franciscan, sometimes known as ‘Queen of the Beach’ or ‘Mother Teresa of the Sunset’. She lived as a life-long nature lover and natural born shaman, authentically, intuitively, generously and spontaneously. (See Carol’s SF Chronicle obituary)
Carol and I had innumerable synchronistic encounters, after we first met in the 1980’s. And we repeatedly shared our many ‘miraculous’ synchronicity stories (a few of which are posted here on SillySutras.com).
Before meeting Carol, I miraculously ‘discovered’ and became a lover of St. Francis of Assisi. And soon after meeting Carol, I regarded her as a ‘female St. Francis’ who constantly communed with Nature, even with the sun, the moon, and many nonhuman lifeforms.
So in tribute to Carol’s transition, I write now about her spiritual history, and to tell how wistfully and intuitively I bid her farewell through our shared synchronistic harmony with St. Francis of Assisi.
Summary of Carol’s spiritual history.
Carol and I first met long ago while sitting at Aquatic Beach on San Francisco Bay (across from Ghirardelli Square), where I walked and where she often came to escape ocean fog and swim in the sun (without a wet suit). Afterwards we exchanged many “miracle” stories about our lives stemming from our countless experiences of synchronicities, or meaningful ‘coincidences’.
I deeply appreciated Carol as an amazingly free spirit with great instinctive wisdom and generosity. Before we met, she’d already become a ‘living legend’ throughout and beyond her San Francisco ocean front neighborhood. And many stories were written or told about her. For example, an excellent story: “A Benevolent Queen of the Beach” appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 25, 2000. And in 2005 Carol was interviewed on film by the SF Public Library, about her history and life in the ‘hippie’ 1960’s.
The Chronicle article told of Carol’s exceptional inner wisdom even from childhood, when at Catholic school she adamantly refused to worship a bloody Christ on a crucifix, and was the only child exempted therefrom by the nuns, who recognized her wisdom.
The article also told how Carol had dedicated her life to helping troubled souls – especially young people. But that paradoxically Carol experienced great family tragedy with all of her three children: her two daughters whose lives were lastingly impacted by drug addiction, and her son Pete who was permanently brain damaged in a childhood car accident. Because of her great generosity, especially toward needy young people, Carol was sometimes known as the “Mother Teresa of the Sunset District”. And as a daily swimmer/surfer she also became known as ‘Queen of the Beach’.
From childhood Carol was an extraordinarily intuitive free spirit. She never knowingly followed any prescribed Western or Eastern religious path, despite attempted childhood Catholic inculcation. Instead, she instinctively followed her own unique spiritual path of communing with Nature while surfing, swimming, sunning, hiking, biking, organic gardening, and helping troubled souls – especially young people.
Carol’s muraled house and organic garden.
Carol’s muraled house and aesthetic organic garden have symbolized her unique lifestyle as a ‘female St. Francis’. Especially noteworthy is an artistically beautiful St. Francis of Assisi “Peace & Joy” mural at her home’s entryway – a delightfully surprising tourist attraction for visitors to San Francisco’s ocean beach area. On Carol’s roof top (above the mural) is an artistic portrayal of ‘Brother sun’, her main deity, and unfurled above the roof is a red Tibetan prayer flag, symbolizing Carol’s respect for the Tibetan culture and Dalai Lama.
Thus Carol’s house has eloquently exemplified her simple inner-directed life of instinctively communing with Nature, often without concern for outer–directed societal standards.
Ron’s Synchronicity Story: “Goodbye St. Francis”= Farewell Carol
During forty years of living in the same San Francisco high-rise hermitage, my apartment has been adorned with many pictures and portrayals of St. Francis, my favorite saint, and of the peace prayer which he inspired. And until recently St. Francis in a stone statue also presided over my outside deck garden.
But in July 2018, I was obliged to remove everything from my outdoor deck so it could be renovated and repainted. Thereafter, I realized that I could no longer physically maintain my deck-top garden. So I decided to give away the plants and planters blessed by my St. Francis statue. While I’ve been looking for new homes for my plants, the St. Francis statue has been stored in an inconspicuous corner of my bedroom which is temporarily filled with many deck plants.
On December 1, 2018, my long-time neighbor and community gardener friend, Jan Monaghan, came to take pictures of my plants and planters, to help me find a new home for them. While showing Jan the St. Francis statue, I suddenly and inexplicably started crying, thinking and saying “goodbye Saint Francis”. Thereafter for several hours I remained tearful.
The next day, Sunday December 2nd, I learned (via email) that Carol’s soul had departed her body Saturday evening, and I intuited that while Ron was tearfully saying goodbye to St. Francis Carol’s soul was astrally bidding Ron ‘adieu’.
On Monday morning, realizing that my St. Francis statue needed an appropriate new place to stand, I decided to move it to my my high-rise hermitage view living room, where I spend most indoor waking hours. So I telepathically told the saint in the statue that (on returning from a brief walk) I was moving him to a perfect place on my living room wool carpet, and that I would find an appropriate indoor pedestal for him there ASAP.
Soon thereafter, I took a brief walk on nearby Vallejo street. After walking for about fifteen minutes I noticed an amazing manifestation miracle. Amongst a curbside pile of discarded objects, I saw a perfect pedestal for St. Francis, which I carried home. On returning home, I moved St. Francis to a new perfect place on my living room carpet where he now resides on that miraculously manifested pedestal. And just as Carol’s St. Francis mural appears below a red Tibetan roof-top prayer flag, my St. Francis statue stands beneath a red Tibetan Kalachakra thangka mandala, symbolizing Ron’s respect for the Tibetan culture, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Moral of the story?
“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great,
pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature,
and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.”
~ Deepak Chopra, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire
“Miraculous synchronicities in time,
are meaningful reminders of eternal Reality
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
After briefly blessing this world as a female St Francis,
the divine soul we’ve known as Carol Schuldt,
has returned to the Sun,
from where she’ll reappear eternally
for endless new lifetime adventures,
in endless new forms, of
And so it shall be!
Ask and it shall be given;
Seek and ye shall find.
~ Matthew 7:7; Luke 11.9-13
“A yogi, seated in solitude and alone,
should constantly try to contemplate on the Supreme Being
after bringing the mind and senses under control,
and becoming free from desires and proprietorship.
One should sit on his or her own firm seat that is neither too high nor too low, covered with sacred Kush grass, a deerskin, and a cloth, one over the other, in a clean spot.
Sitting there (in a comfortable position) and concentrating the mind on God, controlling the thoughts and the activities of the senses, one should practice meditation for self-purification.”
~ The Bhagavad-Gita – 6:10-12, Krishna to Arjuna
My life has become filled with frequent ‘miraculous’ synchronistic “Manifestation Miracles” – noteworthy manifestations of desired circumstances or artifacts without my consciously willing them. Mostly I’ve been given what I wished. But sometimes the universe sent something else, which proved better than what I thought I wanted.
Here is a story about a synchronistic ‘miraculous’ gift from the Lone Arranger that proved more useful than what I thought I was seeking.
A Reindeer Gift For Peaceful Meditations
Before my midlife spiritual awakening, I didn’t intentionally meditate and was unaware of the crucial importance of a stilled mind. Thereafter, until meeting Guruji – my spiritual master, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas – I sometimes experienced spontaneous meditative states with unprecedented inner experiences. But only after meeting Guruji did I begin regular meditation practice and learn of the spiritually supreme importance of a quiet mind.
Guruji gave us various Sanskrit spiritual practices, but his most important message was to “meditate regularly”. And inspired by Guruji I was strongly motivated to meditate.
Guruji taught that our meditations would be aided by sitting in firm but relaxed postures in places conducive to peacefulness. Also, at a meditation retreat Guruji revealed that if we sat on a deerskin its tranquil vibrations would help our meditations.
At first, I tried to follow Guruji’s meditation advice by sitting and praying in quiet places with relaxed straight spine posture. But I didn’t look for a deerskin on which to meditate.
Although Guruji and Krishna (in the The Bhagavad-Gita) recommended meditating on deerskins, I was reluctant to follow that advice. I’d always loved deer as beautiful, graceful, and peaceful creatures, not needed as a food source or as hunters’ trophies. So I questioned hunting and killing such innocent animals as a sport, or for commercial exploitation, rather than only for necessary sustenance. *(see footnote)
In 1980, my apartment was the last place Guruji stayed before returning to India. Following his departure, I had an amazing experience of Guruji’s shakti energy while carrying his mattress to a van in my garage. Thereupon, I realized that my living room sofa where Guruji had sat had been transformed to become a holy relic imbued with his spiritual energy. So I made it into an altar, where for over thirty years I worshiped, prayed, cried and meditated, and experienced Guruji’s holy energy still emanating from it. ( see https://sillysutras.com/experiencing-unforgettable-divine-shakti-rons-memoirs/)
After I set up the altar my friend Kusuma gave me a small meditation rug with artistic drawings of deer on it. So instead of sitting on a deerskin asana (sitting place) in front of the sofa-altar, I sat there on that rug with images of deer. And rather than receiving ‘spiritual tail-wind’ from subtle deer vibrations, I received it from the sofa which was infused with Guruji’s shakti.
But, with mixed emotions, I kept wondering if my meditation experience could be enhanced by a real deerskin asana as suggested by Guruji. By this time I had stopped eating all animal flesh and was reluctant to use clothing and other products fabricated from any animals. For example, whenever feasible I wore non-leather shoes.
Yet, because of Guruji’s recommendation, I finally decided to seek from a taxidermist a small deerskin on which sit in meditation. But I didn’t know how to find taxidermists. It was then long before the computer-Google-Amazon era, and no taxidermists were then listed in the San Francisco telephone directory. So I obtained a regional business telephone directory, in which I found a few California taxidermist listings.
After a couple of unsuccessful phone inquiries, I called a woman taxidermist near Yosemite national park, who pleasantly answered the phone. I explained that I wanted to buy from her a small piece of deer-hide to use for meditation.
She told me she had no deer-hide and did not foresee obtaining any soon. But then – almost as an afterthought – she told me that she had two caribou pelts which she could not use and asked if I would be interested in one of them.
At first, confused about caribou, I asked her to describe the pelts. Her response reminded me that caribou are “reindeer”, like Santa’s legendary helpers; that they are part of the same ruminant mammal family that includes deer, but with longer fur. After listening to a description of the pelts, I intuited that I might be able to use one, and asked what she’d charge. Surprisingly, she said she be happy to give it to me without charge, and she promptly offered to mail it to me if I wanted it. So I gave her my address, but insisted on at least paying her shipping costs. But she graciously declined.
A few days later, the postman delivered a bulky parcel containing a beautiful caribou pelt. But it was much bigger than I had imagined and was so irregularly shaped that it clearly was inappropriate for placement in front of my altar. With guilty conscience for accepting a gift I couldn’t use, I wondered what to do with the caribou pelt – whether I should return it to the generous taxidermist. But she had told me she had no use for it and was happy to dispose of it.
Then suddenly – Eureka! – I had a flash of insight that the reindeer pelt might be draped over an upholstered lounge chair opposite the sofa-altar. And it worked. The pelt fit perfectly and looked great on the chair! And it was so peacefully comfortable to sit on!
Thereafter, for about twenty five years, I spent countless blissed-out hours sitting on that transformed reindeer chair, when not in vajrasana pose at my altar. Only after the peace-giving reindeer pelt was disintegrating from sunlight did I reluctantly dispose of it, with great gratitude for the many blessings it had brought.
Moral of this reindeer synchronicity story
For evolution, we synchronistically get what we need when we need it, whether or not we know it or think we want it.
Such synchronicities can infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for all miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet. They show that we’re in the flow; that we are in harmony with Nature. And the more we are in harmony with the universe, the more blessings we receive.
*To me, the senseless slaughter to near extinction of many precious species like buffalo and wolves has been brutally insane and emblematic of unsustainable alienation from Nature of many non-indigenous North Americans. So I didn’t want to indirectly participate in such senseless killings.
Except for extremely rare Buddha-like beings, virtually all humans are caught by ego in the karmic cycle of death and rebirth. But, depending on whether or not we use our conditioned minds to satisfy or subdue ego, we can either deter or advance our spiritual evolution toward transcendence of karmic suffering. (See https://sillysutras.com/what-is-the-human-mind-is-it-best-friend-or-worst-enemy/.)
I’ve theorized that there is a sort of ‘cosmic law of supply and demand’ which provides what we need when we need it for our spiritual evolution – a ‘cosmic incentive system’. Sometimes we are given painful experiences to help us advance, and sometimes when spiritually motivated we may ‘ask and receive’ or ‘seek and find’ that which spurs spiritual evolution – as demonstrated by the foregoing A Reindeer Gift Synchronicity Story.
May all such synchronicities, whether pleasant or painful, infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for our miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet.
And so may it be!
“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great, pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature,
and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.”
~ Deepak Chopra, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire
“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
As explained in other posts, during a traumatic 1976 divorce, I experienced a transformative mid-life spiritual awakening. Two years later, I met a hundred year old Hindu guru, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and evolved from being a secular Hebrew, to becoming a “born-again Hindu”. Then gradually I developed ever increasing interest and curiosity about Indian spirituality and culture. After a few years, the “universe” presented me with an ideal opportunity to satisfy that curiosity.
In 1981, soon after my beloved Guruji, Dhyanyogi, had returned to India, I met Sant Keshadavadas, a devotional Indian spiritual teacher known as a singing saint. Especially in the absence of Guruji, I appreciated Sant Keshadavadas’ loving demeanor, singing, stories and teachings. So I frequently attended programs at his Oakland, California “Temple of Cosmic Religion”. Thereafter, on learning that Sant Keshadavadas would be conducting a spiritual tour of Indian holy places, I wanted to join that tour.
So after obtaining Guruji’s approval, in January and February 1982, I journeyed with Sant Keshadavadas on a wonderful spiritual pilgrimage to Japan, India and Nepal. That guided tour was, and remains for me, the most important trip of my lifetime.
Never before had I been in a land with such a palpably spiritual ambiance as I experienced everywhere in India. Our tour group crossed the length and breadth of that vast country (mostly by airplane and local buses) visiting many spiritual shrines and meeting saintly beings, like Mother Teresa and Satya Sai Baba. And I had numerous wondrous experiences. (In other chapters I have recounted some of those experiences.)
Ten years after that trip, in 1992 I retired from law practice and returned to India to pay my respects to Guruji, who at age 114 requested that I write and publish my spiritual memoirs. Though initially bewildered by this request, I knew that such memoirs needed to describe experiences during my 1982 ‘trip of a lifetime’. But I hadn’t kept a diary during that pilgrimage trip, and had to rely mostly on memory to tell about it.
Thereafter, many years passed during which I lived in introspective semi-seclusion, without a TV, computer, newspaper, or radio news of the “real world”, meditating, praying, seeking philosophical answers to ultimate questions, and “enlightenment”. During these years I did not yet feel ready to honor Guruji’s request that I write and publish my spiritual memoirs. But I was always mindful of the importance of fulfilling his wishes.
More than twenty years after my ‘trip of a lifetime’, while thinking about Guruji’s request, I discussed it with two long-time spiritual friends. I told them that while I was delaying in writing and publishing my spiritual memoirs they were being edited by time, as my memories waned. And I expressed concern about whether I could remember sufficient details of the 1982 pilgrimage to India, suggesting that my friends might be able to help me remember stories I had previously shared with them.
Thereafter, within a couple of weeks, the universe produced an amazing double synchronicity – two “manifestation miracles” which re-kindled memories of that momentous trip.
Here is what happened:
One afternoon while walking to the Marina Green adjoining San Francisco Bay I intended picking some dandelion and fennel leaves for my salad. But as I passed across the street from the Marina Safeway supermarket, I realized that I’d forgotten to bring a plastic bag in which to carry my ‘harvest’. After momentarily considering a detour into the Safeway, I decided instead to keep my eyes peeled for stray small bags which then commonly could be seen blowing around in the public park area where I was walking.
Soon I saw at a distance on the sidewalk ahead of me a white plastic bag, and presumed that it was just what I needed. But as I approached it, I saw that it was far too large for my purposes – a Bed & Bath bag rather than a Safeway bag. So, rather than leaving it cluttering the sidewalk where it might be blown into the water, I decided to put the plastic bag into a nearby waste dumpster.
I picked up the bag, walked a few a yards to the dumpster, and opened the dumpster lid prepared to discard the bag. But I was diverted by a surprising sight. Clearly visible, at the very top of the refuse pile in the dumpster, were about a dozen commercial VHS video tapes, which I began to examine with curiosity. If I’d come sooner, the tapes probably wouldn’t yet have been discarded; if I came later they’d probably already be covered over with much more trash, and not be visible.
As I looked at the video titles, I saw that they all seemed related to spiritual subjects that interested me, like yoga. Though never before a ‘dumpster diver’, I decided that I’d like to take all those videos home and check them out.
Thereupon, I wondered momentarily how I could carry them. Then, remembering the large plastic bag that had led me to the dumpster, I laughed as I realized that the universe had not only led me to the videos, when they were clearly visible, but also had provided me a bag perfectly sized to carry them home. So I put them in that bag, which when loaded became quite heavy.
So, unable to continue walking as planned, I returned home with the heavy bag of videos but without dandelion or fennel for my salad. At home I discovered to my amazement that the universe had just produced perhaps the most extraordinary “manifestation miracles” of my life.
On examining the videos, I found one titled “Call of the Flute – Spiritual Journey To India And Nepal”*. To my delight and amazement, I discovered that it was all about my 1982 pilgrimage to India with Sant Keshavadas.
And then I remembered that a team of professional videographers, led by a devotee of Sant Keshavadas, David Karp, had accompanied our tour group. Apparently afterwards they had produced and distributed this one hour documentary video for display on some non-network and cable television outlets. I had never acquired a copy of the video, and don’t recall ever before seeing it.
Yet somehow, over twenty years later, a copy of that video had synchronistically manifested for me in a Marina garbage dumpster which I unexpectedly visited at a rare time when videos were visible at the top of the garbage pile, and when I had just found a plastic bag large enough to carry them home.
And on viewing the video at home I found that it included numerous scenes which had been filmed when I was present, thus serendipitously rekindling memories of that momentous trip, and fulfilling my recently expressed desire for such reminders.
Who can explain such synchronicity “miracles”? Nonetheless, despite their mysterious origins, such synchronicities can fill us with feelings of awe and gratitude for our miraculous life on this precious planet, and remind us that we are part of Nature, connected and interdependent with all Life everywhere.
Einstein once observed that: “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” As I have been ever more blessed by such noteworthy and amazing “coincidences”, they ever more inspire and infuse me with heartfelt gratitude for the grace of this lucky life, and for the omnipresent but ‘anonymous’ Divine Source – The Lone Arranger – of all appearances therein.
*Videographer David Karp has generously permitted me to share with you on You Tube this documentary video, which so miraculously manifested for me just when I was trying to recall details of our 1982 pilgrimage to India and Nepal.
“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.”
~ Walt Whitman
“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great, pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature, and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.”
~ Deepak Chopra, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire
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.
In deciding to move to San Francisco from Chicago I was attracted by San Francisco’s climate, physical beauty and ambiance. Within its boundaries there are more than fifty hills, several islands, and significant stretches of Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. So, some lucky San Franciscans enjoy wonderful views from their dwellings and working places.
When Naomi and I arrived in San Francisco in 1960, I was immediately attracted to view places, especially places with Bay and Golden Gate views. Though Naomi did not seem to share my great aesthetic appreciation of view places, our first tiny apartment was situated atop Buena Vista hill, and enjoyed a lovely Southeast panoramic city and Bay view. But we soon outgrew that apartment and rented a larger place in a more elegant neighborhood, without any view, where we resided for most of our remaining fifteen married years. But I never lost my love of view places, and ultimately rented law offices with lovely views.
Upon divorce, I moved into a one room furnished studio apartment without a view, intending later to find a larger unfurnished view apartment. My studio apartment was in a very large high-rise building with a magnificent panoramic view from its roof deck, which I sometimes enjoyed. When standing on that roof, I noticed a few corner apartments in the high-rise building across the street, with obviously wonderful views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.
“The people living in those view apartments are lucky,” I thought, without imagining myself as a fortunate one of them. I remained in the studio apartment for over two years planning, but not actively trying, to move.
One morning as I left my studio apartment and was about to walk to work I met in the elevator, Mark, an upstairs neighbor and real estate lawyer. Mark offered me a ride to the financial district which at first I declined, telling him I preferred walking. But he persisted and urged me to join him – and I agreed. Whereupon he told me that before driving, he was going across the street (to 1998 Broadway) for a few minutes to register on a waiting list for an apartment rental there. And at his request, I accompanied him.
As we walked across the street, Mark told me that all apartments at 1998 Broadway were soon going to be converted from rentals to condominiums. He said he was registering to rent because tenants would be given the first option of purchasing their rented apartments, a good “investment” opportunity. Then he importuned me to also register for an apartment there.
Until this time I had been so occupied with my law practice and in adjusting to life as a single person, that I hadn’t yet looked for an unfurnished apartment. And I wasn’t then in the mood to do so. So at first I was reluctant to register for an apartment across the street before evaluating possible alternatives. But Mark explained that registering for an apartment at 1998 Broadway would not oblige me to take any apartment offered to me.
So I followed Mark’s well meaning advice and told the office manager that I too wished to be wait-listed for an apartment. She asked me whether I wished a one, two, or three bedroom apartment and if I had any other requirements. Without thinking I responded, “whatever first becomes available”.
Many months passed. I met Dhyanyogi, was fully occupied with personal and professional activities, and had almost forgotten about that apartment waiting list. Then I was surprised by a call from the 1998 Broadway building manager informing me that an apartment had become available for me.
She said she needed to rent it promptly and that she was calling me because she had been unable to contact Mark, who was ahead me on the waiting list, but out of town. I told her I’d call her back later in the day. Only after confirming that Mark was traveling abroad and was unreachable, did I tell her that I would promptly come to see the newly available apartment.
Miraculously, it was one of those few view apartments that I had noticed from the roof of my building across the street. It was apartment #1204 with two bedrooms and two baths, and the fourth best Bay and Golden Gate Bridge view in the entire 82 unit building.
On beholding the panoramic view, I immediately signed rental papers, and soon moved into apartment #1204. But, I felt concern about Mark, who was my benefactor but had missed this opportunity. However, the universe soon assuaged my concern. Shortly after Mark returned to San Francisco, he was called to rent an apartment above mine, #1404 with an even more panoramic view. I was happy that the waiting list sign-up thus turned out to be very lucky for both of us.
But renting my view apartment was only the beginning of this “manifestation miracle”. After I had been renting the apartment for about a year, Mark’s prediction of potential apartment ownership proved prescient. All tenants were notified that there were new owners of the building who intended converting it to condominiums.
Under San Francisco ordinances at that time, the new landlords were required to obtain majority tenant ratification of their conversion subdivision plans. So a tenants’ committee was organized to negotiate with the new owners. Mark and I were then the only lawyers in the building, and were asked to help with our legal skills. I agreed, but Mark was mostly busy with other matters.
After spending much time in legal research and in personally checking building records at City Hall and at the Department of Public Works, I discovered some significant “loop holes” enabling the tenants to exert much unforeseen bargaining power with the new landlords.
Ultimately, my legal work enabled the tenants’ committee to negotiate significantly reduced proposed purchase prices for those who wished to buy their apartments, plus generous bonuses for tenants who elected to move-out. I believe that aggregate value of these price reductions and move-out bonuses was about $2 million.
Tenant negotiators Alyce and Leonard Brown told me that the negotiating committee intended to accept the landlord’s latest offer, and invited me to attend their final meeting with the developer and his attorney. At the meeting, to my amazement, the committee informed the landlord that his latest offers of price reductions and move-out bonuses were acceptable, only subject to one further condition – that he pay Ron Rattner a very large specified fee for legal services rendered to the tenants.
The landlord immediately agreed to this condition, and I soon received, for legal services which I had intended as a pro bono gift to all my neighbors, what proved to be the largest legal fee of my entire professional career. That fee not only covered my condominium purchase down-payment but much of the rest of the purchase price as well.
For over thirty years the apartment has been the happiest dwelling place and best financial investment of my adult life. Moreover, in 1981, my apartment was the last place in the USA where Guruji stayed before returning to India.
His presence was another great gift, and it imbued the apartment with lasting spiritual energies and “good vibes” in addition to its wonderful view – all of which have continuously nurtured my spiritual evolution during a long and transformative life period.
So, I consider my condominium “high-rise hermitage” a synchronistic gift from the Universe and an important “manifestation miracle”, for which I remain ever grateful.