“Today you are You,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive
who is Youer than You.”
~ Dr. Seuss
Q. “Sir, shall I ever leave the spiritual path?”
A. “How could you?
Everyone in the world is on the spiritual path.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Overcoming negative tendencies
and enhancing positive potential
are the very essence of the spiritual path.”
~ Dalai Lama
“When I let go of what [I believe] I am,
I become what I might be.”
~ Lao Tzu
“Man learns through experience, and the spiritual path is full of different kinds of experiences. He will encounter many difficulties and obstacles, and they are the very experiences he needs to encourage and complete the cleansing process.”
~ Shirdi Sai Baba
“Each person’s life – each lifeform,
in fact – represents a world,
a unique way in which the universe experiences itself.
And when your form dissolves,
a world comes to an end –
one of countless worlds.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
At bottom every man knows well enough
that he is a unique being,
only once on this earth;
and by no extraordinary chance
will such a marvelously picturesque
piece of diversity in unity as he is,
ever be put together a second time.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
“The spiritual path –
is simply the journey of living our lives.
Everyone is on a spiritual path;
most people just don’t know it.”
~ Marianne Williamson
Different Person, Different Path
No two people experience identical perceptions
or states of consciousness;
Each one’s awareness
is mediated and limited by a unique body/mind;
And each person’s consciousness state
is ever changing and unique.
Beyond each individuated body/mind, is
Unlimited Awareness – Cosmic Consciousness – Infinite Potentiality.
But, body/mind consciousness is
localized and limited, and uniquely experienced.
Purpose of body/mind
is transformation of human consciousness,
which is collectively and individually
created by our thoughts.
Since each body/mind is unique,
each person’s transformational path is also unique.
Different person, different path.
Ron’s audio recitation of “Different Person, Different Path”
Ron’s Comments on “Different Person, Different Path”
The foregoing quotations and essay/poem concern perennial principles which can help us respect and accept all other humans as divine spiritual siblings, each following a unique ‘spiritual path’ to ultimate Self Realization of our common inner divinity. And to realize that we appear and reappear on the world’s ‘stage’ in differing ‘roles’ in an endless Divine play of consciousness, until we express and realize our true Self-identity as Eternal LOVE.
Unlike earthly paths, spiritual paths do not lead to space/time destinations, but to experiencing and transcending karmic causal limitations which are unique to each person.
As each human soul evolves, it repeatedly incarnates into a unique body/mind, to experience and to learn from the effects of its unique karmic causal history. (Like snowflake crystals, not even identical twins are exactly the same.)
Upon incarnation as human body/mind lifeforms, we experience instant amnesia about our true spiritual Self-identity. Whereupon, perceiving and believing ourselves to be separate from each other and Nature, we mistakenly identify, think and behave as separate entities, and thereby become subject to the universal law of cause and effect – karma.
Whereupon each soul becomes ‘encapsulated’ and ‘entangled’ in a self-woven “karmic cocoon” attributable to its unique behaviors – through which we inevitably experience personal and world sufferings.
May we transcend such sufferings,
as we learn to forgive and accept ourselves
and all other humans
as divine but fallible spiritual siblings;
as children of Eternal LOVE
And so may it be!
“To be a presence of perpetual thanksgiving may be the ultimate goal of life.
The thankful person is the one for whom life is simply one long exercise in the sacred.”
~ Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB from The Psalms: Meditations for Every Day of the Year
“Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others.”
Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving
“Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence …
For thankfulness brings you to the place where the Beloved lives.”
“Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude for life.
Join my eyes and soul in their divine applause.”
“You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.”
“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
~ Meister Eckhart
“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
“I thank God for my handicaps for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
~ Helen Keller
“O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”
~ William Shakespeare
“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
“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”
“Gratitude is heaven itself.”
~ William Blake
“No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.”
~ John Greenleaf Whittier
“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
~ Psalm 100
“When you allow your heart to open to the universe’s flow of love, gratitude comes with that flow. Gratitude for the people that you love, and for those who share your life. Gratitude for the Creation of the beautiful Earth as our home in this great cosmos. Gratitude for the Sun that gives us life. Gratitude for being alive, for just existing, for being in the flow of the wonder of life.”
~ Owen Waters
“Gratitude flows unimpeded from an open heart. When you allow it, gratitude will flow as freely as the sunshine, unobstructed by judgments or conditions.”
~ Owen Waters
“Every day should be a day of Thanksgiving for all the gifts of Life — sunshine, water, the luscious fruits and greens,
which we receive as indirect gifts from the Great Giver.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love,
every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God.
For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
~ Thomas Merton
“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.”
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti
I thank you God for most this amazing day
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky,
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes….
I who have died am alive again today
and this is the sun’s birthday;
this is the birth day of life and of love and wings…
~ e. e. cummings
“When we develop a right attitude of compassion and gratitude,
we take a giant step towards solving our personal and international problems.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
It’s not our longitude
Or our latitude,
But the elevation of our attitude,
That brings beatitude.
So an attitude of gratitude
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Remember with gratitude,
Life is beatitude –
Even its sorrows and pain;
For we’re all in God’s Grace,
Every time, every place, and
Forever (S)HE will reign!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving”
For your utmost happiness on Thanksgiving day and every day, I’ve posted the foregoing collection of inspiring thankfulness quotes, including treasures of perennial wisdom.
Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday long ago, when I realized that thankfulness is a universal blessing uplifting everyone everywhere, regardless of their cultural, spiritual, secular or religious attitudes or beliefs.
Especially since miraculously surviving a near-death taxi rundown in 2014, I’ve become unspeakably grateful for still being alive, aware, ambulatory and interdependently-independent. Thus I’ve seen that enjoying continual thankfulness is a state of Divine Grace – not just during Thanksgiving holidays, but always; that every day’s a bonus, with every breath a blessing.
May the foregoing Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving
inspire and guide us to ever expanding fulfillment and happiness,
with a continuing attitude of gratitude, on Thanksgiving day and every day.
May every day be Thanksgiving day
for everyone everywhere.
And so shall it be!
Happy Thanksgiving Day – Every Day!
Enjoy! – Beautiful Gratitude Video
Narrated by Brother David Steindl-Rast
Karma is a cosmic incentive system.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
The Book of Life is a karmic comic book.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards. Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind. It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . . .
Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap. If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”
~ Paramhansa Yogananda
“It is true that we are not bound. That is to say, the real Self has no bondage. And it is true that you will eventually return to your Source. But meanwhile, if you commit sins, as you call them, you have to face the consequences. You cannot escape them.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
Clear your past, to live as presence.
Clear your karma, to live your dharma.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“To go from mortal to Buddha, you have to put an end to karma,
nurture your awareness, and accept what life brings.”
Close Out Your ‘Karma Card’ Accounts
Coming from subtle planes to Earth
(the plane of space/time and causation)
the soul dons an “earth suit” – a human body/mind –
as its vehicle to explore this realm.
Each such vehicle comes equipped with
a revolving “karma card” account.
The object of the visit is to clear all “karma card” debits,
without incurring new ones.
Until we close out all our “karma card” accounts,
our visits to Earth become endless revolving round trips
repeated in a different vehicle for each trip.
So, we’re here to try closing out
all our “karma card” accounts.
Ron’s Karmic Commentary:
Karma is the subtle or spiritual equivalent of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, that for every physical action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is a natural spiritual law which governs all space/time interactions. Thus for every worldly action – every thought, word or deed – there is also an equivalent and opposite reaction on subtle or spiritual planes. So karma can be seen as “a cosmic incentive system”, of cause and effect. As explained by Paramhansa Yogananda: “Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards” – either joy or suffering.
Hence, knowing the law of karma can help encourage us to do good and be good – even if we are motivated initially by what the Dalai Lama has called ‘enlightened selfishness’. Rare Buddhas and sages say that by doing good we may ultimately transcend identification with this space/time world of inevitable suffering, which mystics see as unreal illusion – maya or samsara.
But, as Yogananda observed, “those who cling to the cosmic illusion must accept its essential law of polarity: flow and ebb, rise and fall, day and night, pleasure and pain, good and evil, birth and death.” [Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 30]
Sometimes humor – truth said in jest – helps us remember significant ideas that we might otherwise forget. So I have shared with you the foregoing whimsical sutras and poem about karma.
May they help us sow ever more loving-kindness and compassion, bringing everyone everywhere ever more worldly happiness and fulfillment, until ultimately we reap eternal joy.
And so it shall be!
Ron’s audio comments and recitation of Close Out Your ‘Karma Card’ Accounts
“The ego is a psychological prison
in which suffering is inevitable.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“It is no measure of health
to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Be empty of worrying,
Think of Who Created Thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?”
“You were born with wings.
Why prefer to crawl through life?”
“The world is a prison and we are the prisoners:
Dig a hole in the prison and let yourself out!”
“Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?”
“You have been a prisoner of a little pond,
I am the ocean and its turbulent flood.
Come merge with me, leave this world of ignorance.
Be with me, I will open the gate to your love.”
“I long to escape the prison of my ego
and lose myself in you.”
The ego is a psychological prison
in which suffering is inevitable.
Secular psychology attempts to alleviate that suffering.
Spiritual psychotherapy aims at ending our imprisonment.
Ron’s comments about “Spiritual Psychotherapy”
We live in an age of mental malaise – in an extremely stressful, disharmonious and crazy world, with widespread psychological suffering, individually and societally.
From a spiritual perspective this entire space/time world and all its disharmonies and sufferings originate mentally, and can only be healed by clearing egotistically agitated human minds, with opened hearts:
“The mind is nature’s incinerator wherein you can burn to ashes all mental dross that is not worthy to be saved: your waste thoughts and desires, your misconceptions and grievances, and your discords in human relationships. There is not a single relationship, however estranged, you cannot reconcile, provided you do so first in your own mind. There is not a single problem in life you cannot resolve, provided you first solve it in your inner world, its place of origin. . . . A harmonized mind produces harmony in this world of seeming discord.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda – Journey To Self-Realization: Collected Talks And Essays On Realizing God In Daily Life
“We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. . . . a kind of prison for us. . . Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
~ Albert Einstein (edited excisions)
‘All that we are arises with our thoughts [which] make the world. But the world and its treasures are an illusion – like an alluring mirage. So to escape suffering we must recognize that illusion, and not act [egotistically] as if the world is real.’
~ Buddha (edited)
Spiritually, “ego” is our unconscious mental identification with, and reification of, this illusory world of separation from Nature. And the foregoing Spiritual Psychotherapy sutra metaphorically describes “ego” as “a psychological prison in which suffering is inevitable.”
So psychotherapies aimed at transcending all egotistic sufferings are defined as spiritual and preferable.
May these Spiritual Psychotherapy concepts and foregoing quotations hasten our spiritual healing process, freeing us from unconscious psychological imprisonment, as we harmoniously uncover and discover our Wholeness, Holiness, SELF!
And as we transcend our “optical delusion” of imagined separation from Nature, may we thereby help heal the world for everyone and everything everywhere.
And so shall it be!
“A yogi’s body is like a baby’s body.”
~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas
“Can you coax your mind from its wandering and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become supple as a newborn child’s?
Can you cleanse your inner vision until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things?
Giving birth and nourishing, having without possessing, acting with no expectations, leading and not trying to control: this is the supreme virtue.”
~ Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching – Chapter 10, Translated by Stephen Mitchell
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
“To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear.”
“The first preliminary practice consists of recognizing and giving value in its right measure to the precious human existence and the extraordinary opportunity that it gives to us to practice Dharma and to develop spiritually. It is naive to expect that such a favorable juncture will repeat continuously. Moreover, life is too short. ….If we bear in mind all these things, we will soon realize the need to take advantage of the opportunity that the precious human existence gives us to fully develop all the potential of our being.”
~ Kalu Rinpoche – Foundations of Tibetan Buddhism
Human Body – A Precious ‘Prison’?
Eastern spiritual paths identify human incarnation as an extraordinarily precious opportunity to evolve – beyond that of any other life-form; Buddhist and Hindu teachings say that for enlightenment it is better to be born human than even in a heavenly realm.
Before my mid-life spiritual awakening, I self-identified only with my body/mind and its story. Though I cherished my health, I was totally unaware of esoteric evolutionary perspectives about preciousness of human incarnation. But, since realizing that I was and am much more than my body and its story, I have deeply reflected on the significance and purpose of a human lifetime.
My 1976 realization that I was not my body or its thoughts, but pure awareness, followed a prior out of body experience [OOB] and sparked an amazingly intense ‘rebirth’ process, with convulsive crying, hyperventilation and spasmodic bodily movements. Immediately after that realization/rebirth process I briefly experienced myself not as pure consciousness but as meridians of flowing life-force energy, like those corresponding to ancient Chinese acupuncture teachings. Then I soon returned to “normal” bodily consciousness, but with greatly enhanced vital energies which continued for several months.
Thereafter, with great curiosity sparked by these new experiences, I began wondering about the nature and importance of the human body. And, synchronistically, I gradually learned with interest about body-work disciplines like massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathic, and various mind-body bio-energetic therapies. All these therapies aimed to stimulate or release flow of ‘trapped’ or blocked life-force energies.
I realized that my intense rebirth experience had temporarily released for me a previously unimaginable flow of vital energies (chi or prana), which gradually had abated as I returned to ‘normal’ consciousness. So, I became highly motivated to again access that hidden reservoir of vital energy. Thus, before meeting Guruji I had received chiropractic manipulations and had several sessions with a Reichian therapist to enhance and balance vital body energies. But I had not again experienced the extraordinary vitality which immediately followed my rebirth experience.
Then, after meeting Guruji and observing his amazing physical prowess, even as a centenarian, I learned that he received frequent massages from very few close disciples, which supposedly enhanced his physical well-being, while blessing those privileged disciple/masseurs who in touching his body experienced direct transmission of his extraordinarily intense and powerful cosmic life-force energy (“shakti”).
I began wondering about the relationship, if any, between Guruji’s regular massages, his extraordinary physical condition and his amazing ability to transcend ‘normal’ physical limitations. Then, while Guruji was staying at my apartment, just before his 1980 return to India, I had an unforgettable synchronistic experience with him that related to my mind/body questions.
One weekend morning when I was home from work, I was invited for the first and only time to give Guruji a massage – a rare blessing and privilege. As I began massaging Guruji’s then 100 year old body, I was astonished at its flexibility and softness.
Then, suddenly, I exclaimed in utter amazement:
“Guruji your body is so supple!”
Unforgettably, he replied:
“Rasik, a yogi’s body is like a baby’s body. Your body is like a prison. I am like a jailer with the prison key. I come and go as I please.”
I became and remained intensely curious about Guruji’s revelation that my body was like a prison. I wondered how and why ‘I’ was ‘imprisoned’, and how ‘I’ could get out of ‘jail’ – free like Guruji. Was I imprisoned by body stiffness from subconsciously stored traumas? It was apparent that my body was not supple like Guruji’s body. Though half his age, I couldn’t even sit with crossed legs, much less stand on my head or perform the other advanced yogic postures (asanas) that Guruji demonstrated.
As I remembered the extraordinary vitality which temporarily followed my rebirth “peek” experience, I intuited that it was a glimpse of a potentially achievable bodily state well beyond anything I had theretofore imagined. But how could I restore that state? And even if possible, would the restoration of such a state allow me to get out of prison at will, like Guruji? That remained a mystery.
Gradually and synchronistically, I have been given insights about the bodily ‘prison’ mystery, but haven’t yet ‘solved’ it.
Most memorably, in 1982 I was profoundly moved and inspired by Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi”. There in Chapter 43, Yogananda recounts an unforgettable visit from his beloved Guru, Sri Yukteswar, who miraculously resurrected and reappeared to Yogananda in physical form a few months after his physical death. Yukteswar then explained to Yogananda the genesis of human physical, astral, and causal bodies, saying:
“The mere presence of a body signifies that its existence is made possible by unfulfilled desires.” “The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man’s slavery…”
“Physical desires are rooted in egotism and sense pleasures.”
“So long as the soul of man is encased in one, two, or three body-containers,
sealed tightly with the corks of ignorance and desires, he cannot merge with the sea of Spirit.”
~ Sri Yukteswar
(As recounted by Paramahansa Yogananda in Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 43)
Upon reading Sri Yuktewar’s words, I intuitively and reflectively accepted them as true. And I remembered that Guruji had revealed in San Francisco lectures on “Death, Dying and Beyond” that during a 1971 ‘near death experience’ he had been sent back by Lord Rama from a heavenly realm to his physical body because of his unfulfilled desires to help people. * [See footnote]
I realized that all phenomena and forms – including human forms – that appear in this space/time reality interdependently originate in subtle energy planes pursuant to mysterious laws of causality. And I remembered that even though Guruji had evolved beyond limits of ordinary human consciousness, he had remained in a human body, but with amazing ability to transcend ordinary physical limitations, only because of his unselfish desires to help others. Whereas it was obvious that I was ‘imprisoned’ by bonds of ego desire and ignorance mentioned by Sri Yukteswar.
So, thereafter, I became highly motivated to transcend all such egotistic bonds, and to get out of ‘prison’ – free like Guruji. Expressing these aspirations, I soon wrote (or channeled) sutras and poems like these:
Time is how
“I” Measure “Now”
And space’s for places
Where I’m –
Entangled here in time.
But I long to be – FREE
Where there is no “ME”-
Out of time,
As just Awareness –
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We’ll never have all we want ’til we want just all we have;
So – topping our wish list, is our wish to be wish-less.
For ’til we stop wishing, we’ll ever be wanting.
Though at first – longing to be merged with the Divine – I fervently aspired to transcend all physical and subtle desires, I came to realize that my aspiration was in itself a subtle desire. So, intuitively I began with ever increasing heartfelt faith in universal Awareness – the Tao – to surrender to the mysterious Infinite – “to let go, and go with the flow”.
Deeply inspired by the Buddhist Bodhisattva ideal of altruistically helping all beings end their sufferings, I gradually stopped trying to transcend this world. But with ever growing gratitude I began accepting my life as a cherished evolutionary opportunity; an opportunity to be in my precious human body in a compassionate and loving way which – at subtle levels – might help all life everywhere.
And the more I have gratefully accepted my human incarnation, the greater has been my happiness and the more I have experientially and synchronistically learned from this precious human life.
Though I always cherished and appreciated good health, more than ever before I have become mindful of my bodily needs for appropriate nourishment, exercise, and rest, and have tried to satisfy those needs in a natural way. And remembering that subtle life-force energies are the genesis of every physical form or phenomenon, I have become ever more alert to my thoughts, emotions and attitudes which may influence physical well-being.
Though, unlike Guruji, I have not yet transcended subtle desires and ignorance and am still ‘imprisoned’ in my body, I aspire to emulate his wise and compassionate way of being in this world. Recently, for the first time in this life, I have even started treating my body to regular massages.
Who knows, maybe some day I’ll be able to report to you the massage that ‘sets me free’?
* In 1971, during a terrible Gujarati draught and famine, Guruji became extremely sick and exhausted from selflessly helping people and animals. Guruji’s physical body died, and his soul traveled to the heavenly domain of his “Ishta-Devata” Lord Rama – the principal Divine form of his devotional practices. Though Guruji wished to remain forever in Rama’s indescribably loving Presence, he was told that he would have to return to his Earthly body because of his unfulfilled desires to help people, whose images were then shown to Guruji. Rama told him: “So long as there are any desires in your mind, … you must return to fulfill those desires.”