“We mark birthdays annually,
but celebrate Life constantly.
For birth and death are virtual,
while Life is perpetual –
a perpetual blessing.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Growing up I rarely thought about the mystery of inevitable bodily death.
Not until a transformative midlife awakening to self-identity as eternal spirit, followed by inner visions of apparent other lifetimes, and meeting my Guruji, who taught about death, dying and beyond, did I begin experiencing deep reflection about the mystery of inevitable bodily death.
And eventually I even began wondering whether our lifespans might be karmically predetermined upon birth. That reflection was triggered over thirty years ago when I received a memorable Vedic astrology prediction that I would die “at age 84”, based upon my precise time and place of birth.
Here is what happened.
Story of death prediction.
After Guruji returned to India in 1980, I met and learned from many other spiritual teachers, in addition to Guruji’s successor, Shri Anandi Ma, while always maintaining my heartfelt inner relationship with Guruji – above all other teachers.
Especially after my 1982 pilgrimage to India, for many years I considered myself a “born-again Hindu” and was especially attracted to Indian spiritual teachers. Thus in August 1986 I attended programs given by Sri Hariharinanda Giri, a self-realized Kriya Yoga initiate of renowned Master and Vedic astrologer Sri Yukteswar Giri and of Swami Yogananda Paramahansa, who continued a spiritual lineage beginning with “Mahavatar Babaji” – an etherial being who apparently I beheld at the 1982 Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India.
Inspired by Sri Yukteswar, Hariharinanda Giri [affectionately known as ‘Baba’] had become an expert Vedic astrologer, and offered optional readings to those receiving his Kriya empowerments. So on August 10, 1986, I had a private astrological reading with Baba in which he interpreted my Vedic chart – which I called a ‘karmic map’.
In Vedic astrology or Jyotish, the ascendant sign is often deemed the most defining element in the chart. Both my Vedic and Western astrology charts show Libra – which is ruled by the planet Venus – as my ascendent or rising zodiac sign.
And so in his reading Baba emphasized this significant aspect of my chart. But in his Indian English he unwittingly mispronounced the name of my ruling ascendant planet, Venus. In a tape recorded session, two or three times he approvingly told me: “Your Penus is rising”. And he lovingly offered enlightened advice for my skillful spiritual behavior under that auspicious rising sign.
On conclusion of his reading Baba showed me my written chart, and asked if I had any questions. I pointed to a notation at the top, and asked him what it meant. Whereupon Baba turned off the tape recorder and replied: “That shows when you will die.”
Until then I had never heard that Vedic astrology could determine time of death from a chart based on planetary configurations at time of birth. Nor had I begun to think about my time of death. So in response to this surprising revelation, I simply exclaimed, “Oh!”
Whereupon, without my asking him, Baba voluntarily told me: “You will die at age 84”.
Post-prediction death reflections.
After Baba’s surprisingly specific death prediction, I continued to reflect on death and gradually discovered persuasively apt writings about esoteric ancient Vedic philosophy, astrology and prophesy, as well as about Einstein’s revolutionary relativity science. And I found credible quotes from non-dualist masters suggesting that that not only one’s lifespan but our actions, and even our thoughts, are predetermined by natural laws of causality until we transcend the ‘wheels of karma’. [See Einstein’s Mystical Ideas About God, Death, Afterlife, and Reincarnation; and Indian Astrology, Free Will or Fate? ~ An Amazing Synchronicity Story ]
On my 84th birthday anniversary (on November 8, 2016) I completed a full 84 year Uranus cycle, of exactly 1008 months. So since then I’ve increasingly wondered how much time is left for Ron Rattner; whether he is imminently ‘scheduled’ to say “bye-bye” to this twenty first century.
Life is eternal, but human lifetimes are ephemeral. So as an octogenarian (not knowing when this precious lifetime will end), I have been augmenting and updating my Silly Sutras postings concerning physical death – a profoundly important spiritual subject. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/dealing-with-death-and-dying-rons-memoirs/)
May these writings motivate our reflections upon our inevitable physical departure from this relative “reality”, where “however we may strive, nobody leaves alive”.
And may they hasten fulfillment of our deepest aspirations for Self realization beyond “birth and death”, as Eternal NOW.
And so may it be!
“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.” . . . .
“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The assumption of an absolute determinism is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”
~ Max Planck
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.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“[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.” . . . .
“This is the goal of the Vedantin, to attain freedom while living.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – Karma Yoga
“In Hinduism, the very idea of free will is non-existent, so there is no word for it.
Will is commitment, fixation, bondage.” . . . .
“To be free in the world you must be free of the world.
Otherwise your past decides for you and your future.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“There is only one central issue, crisis, or challenge for man,
which is, that he must be completely free.
As long as the mind is holding on to a structure, a method, a system, there is no freedom.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
Ultimate freedom is not freedom of choice,
but freedom from choice.
Ego is free to choose,
but is never free.
Self does not choose,
but is ever free.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Every Cause has its Effect;
every Effect has its Cause;
everything happens according to Law;
Chance is but a name for Law not recognized;
there are many planes of causation,
but nothing escapes the Law.”
~ The Kybalion
“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
“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
“Free-will is a non-entity, a thing consisting of name alone” . . . . .
“The will of man without the grace of God is not free at all, but is the permanent prisoner and bond-slave of evil since it cannot turn itself to good.” . . . .
“For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because “free-will” can do nothing.”
~ Martin Luther – The Bondage Of The Will
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
“The only difference between a human being and a stone rolling down a hill, is that the human being thinks he is in charge of his own destiny.”
~ 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
“Not my will but Thy Will be done.”
~ Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42
“God alone is the Doer.
Everything happens by His will.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
“Man plans, God laughs” (Mann traoch, Gott Lauch)
~ Yiddish proverb
Free Will or Fate?
Q. Do we have free will, or freedom of choice, or is our life pre-determined or fated?
A. Our experience of apparent freedom of choice or of pre-destiny depends on our evolutionary history and perspective.
In space/time causality/reality, most “normal” people experience freedom of choice, and make decisions and plans about ostensible options in their lives. And most people have the apparent option of determining the attitude or state of mind with which they experience life. Because each person is unique, each experiences life and apparent free will differently, depending on their unique evolutionary perspective and personality. Such apparent free will increases as powers of self awareness increase.
But according to mystics, our belief in free will is illusory. For example, both Albert Einstein and Ramana Maharshi have asserted that every detail of worldly life “is predetermined.” And Swami Vivekananda told us that “free will” is a self-contradictory concept; that with worldly will there can be no freedom, which is always constrained by the universal law of cause and effect. Similarly, Vivekananda’s master, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, taught that
“God alone is the Doer.
Everything happens by His will.”
Enlightened saints, sages, shamans and mystics for millennia have reported attitudinally transcending this ever impermanent reality, and experiencing it as an illusory play of consciousness, sometimes called ‘samsara’ or ‘maya’. Such masters no longer self-identify mentally only as mere mortal embodied beings, but experientially as non-dual universal intelligence or spirit which is the Source and essence of this ever impermanent world.
They report realizing experientially – as Albert Einstein explained scientifically – that:
“reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one;” [that] “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”, and [that our separate self-identity] “is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
They define “freedom” as a timeless non-dual immutable spiritual Reality beyond thought or ego – beyond human comprehension, imagination, description or belief – which can only be known experientially, not rationally or mentally.
Since free will implies separation of one who wills or chooses from the objects of his/her will, there can be no free will or free choice without an imagined or conceived doer or chooser separate from objects of his/her actions or choices. And without time there can be no destiny of any supposedly separate doer or chooser.
Thus, in space/time causality/reality, as long as we self-identify as supposedly separate entities distinct from the apparent objects of our perceptions, choices or intentions, we have apparent freedom of choice, until we transcend separate self-identity and experience existence as universal choiceless and timeless awareness, or consciousness without an object. [*See footnote]
But, our exercise of apparent freedom of choice creates karmic causes and conditions which can keep us believing in the “optical illusion” – that we are separate entities rather than ONE universal intelligence. And with the law of karma we reap as we sow. According to Swami Yogananda,
“If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. If you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”
With Self realization there is transcendence of illusory separate self-identity; whereupon there remains only Being – only Infinite Potentiality – with no separate someone to will or intend or separately experience anything in time.
Thus, upon total transcendence of separate entity identity, there is no free will or free choice,nor is there time in which karmic fate or destiny unfolds –
Only choiceless “Freedom”,
*According to Eastern philosophies, Karma is universal law of cause and effect applied at subtle levels to everything we think, do or say during repeated reincarnations as supposedly separate beings. A similar concept is implicit in Western teachings that we reap as we sow [e.g. Galatians 6:7-9]
Ron’s Reflections on Free Will or Fate.
After my midlife change of life, I reconsidered all prior paradigms about self-identity, reality, free choice or pre-destiny, and began entertaining intriguing ideas about reincarnation and karma. After experiencing my self-identity as universal consciousness, gradually I realized that space/time reality – which previously I had considered as the only reality – is an ever impermanent projection of universal intelligence which is the essence and matrix of all worldly phenomena.
Ultimately, I concluded that space/time “reality” is a digitally preprogrammed simulated world – a “holographic theater of the mind”; that space/time “reality isn’t really real”.
But even though it appeared to me that “reality isn’t really real”, like all other “normal” people I’ve lived this lifetime mostly behaving as if this crazy space/time world is very real – yet ever aware of a deep intuitive aspiration to be ‘in this world but not of this world’. And I’ve never stopped wondering with great curiosity about how and why space/time reality was created and how it works, and why we are here.
For example, on returning to San Francisco from a February 1977 miraculous week in New York where I amazingly experienced many previously foreseen events, I began wondering:
“What is time?”
“Are there really any coincidences or accidents,
or is everything that happens to us predestined by laws of causation or karma?”
“Do we really have free will as most people believe?
And if so, what free will?”
Forty years since then, I am still uncertain about answers to those mysterious perennial questions. But I have written many aphorisms, essays and poems reflecting my theories, intuitions and speculations about them, which are posted with apt quotations on SillySutras.com.
Thus I have posted the above quotations and Q and A essay about free will or fate, suggesting that karmically and cosmically our lives are predetermined, but that morally we must live as if we have freedom of choice to heal the world.
I suggest that cosmically free will is an illusionary aspect of Nature’s predetermined evolutionary incentive system; that we are subjected to inevitable earthly sufferings motivating us to transcend them by choosing to improve our life’s circumstances. Thus, I think that Nature’s determinism promotes evolution by fating us to make apparent choices, individually and collectively, which ultimately will advance human consciousness until we experientially realize our essential common self-identity beyond death as Infinite Potentiality – Universal spirit, Being, Awareness, Bliss, Eternal Life, Light, LOVE.
Mostly I agree with Einstein’s Mystical Views on Free Will or Determinism. I believe that Professor Einstein was right in observing that what we perceive and consider to be reality “is merely an illusion”; that “space and time are not conditions in which we live, [but] modes in which we think”. And also that he correctly insisted that everything in space/time is subject to the law of cause and effect; that
“human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.” [* See commentary footnote]
Whether or not we agree with Einstein and some rare mystics that what happens in space/time reality is karmically predestined by Natural law via mysterious causes and conditions – that earth-life is like a preprogrammed dream – I have found that assuming predestination can help us find happiness; that we can experience ever growing peace of mind by more and more accepting each moment with the attitude that it could not be otherwise, and that it is happening in the best way and at the best time – as an evolutionary incentive and opportunity.
More and more we can thereby accept inevitable difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, without remorse or regret about the past, or worry or fear of the future. This attitude of assuming everything as predestined has helped me experience ever increasing equanimity and contentment, and to experience countless unplanned synchronistic meetings with ordinary people as ‘holy encounters’ with divine beings wearing ‘space/time soul suits’.
So, whether or not we believe in spiritual evolution or pre-destiny, I invite your careful consideration of the above quotations and essay. I hope these ideas can help all of us find increasing happiness by accepting difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, and by finding blessings in unplanned interactions with others.
And if we do accept predestined karma, let us remember that when we sow love, we harvest happiness.
So, whether or not predestined, I invite you to join with me frequently in the heartfelt affirmation slogan which appears on the header atop every SillySutras.com page.
“Infuse us, enthuse us, and use us, to bless all life as Love!”
And so may it be!
*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.
Some quantum physicists now suggest that recent non-locality experiments show that Einstein erred in rejecting quantum uncertainty theory; that these experiments support what Einstein rejected as “spooky action at a distance”. However, it is still possible that quantum physicists’ ideas of chance or “uncertainty” arise from predetermined causes and conditions not yet recognized or perceived by mainstream science.
“On a long journey of human life,
faith is the best of companions;
it is the best refreshment on the journey;
and it is the greatest property.”
“Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far,
but none comes further.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard
“I tell you the truth,
if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,
you can say to this mountain,
“Move from here to there” and it will move.”
~ Matthew 17:20
Ron’s hints for happiness:
Even if it’s difficult for you to believe these spiritual principles, your life will be happier if you live as if they were true, with faith and love. Whether or not you believe in spiritual evolution or predestiny, just pretend that everything in your life is happening for the best, in the best way and at the best time. And accept difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, without remorse or regret about the past or worry or fear of the future. Sow love, harvest happiness.
Downloadable pdf file: IndianSpirituality
* Source and author are unknown
Ron’s Optimism Commentary:
Today I share the above simply written but possibly profound article – by an anonymous author – titled “Indian Spirituality Principles”, preceded by quotes about faith. Please reflect on their message.
The article says that there are no coincidences or accidents in our lives; that everyone we encounter and everything that happens or doesn’t happen to us, can help us learn to live happier lives.
From long life experience, I have gratefully and joyfully discovered that our earth life in precious human bodies is a rare and immense evolutionary opportunity for us to advance – individually and societally – toward realization of unlimited human and spiritual potentialities.
With boundless and abiding faith that our lives are completely enveloped, controlled and guided by Divine LOVE, beyond human comprehension, imagination or description, I have realized that we are Eternal spirit incarnate with nothing to fear but fear itself. [ see e.g. I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life ]
Though it may be difficult for us to accept principles of spiritual evolution or pre-destiny, I respectfully suggest our lives will be happier if we live as if they are true.
So with faith and love let us assume that everything in our lives is happening for the best, in the best way and at the best time; so that – like philosopher Gottfried Leibniz (and unlike Voltaire and “Candide”) – we may accept difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, without remorse or regret about the past, or worry or fear of the future.
Thereby we will optimistically sow love, and inevitably harvest happiness in ‘the best of all possible worlds’.
And so it may it be!
“Whatever we think, do, or say,
changes this world in some way.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Upon learning from Guruji about the spiritual goal of “self realization” or “enlightenment”, I decided to “seek” this goal by meditating and reciting his prescribed Sanskrit prayers and mantras. But after several years, I lost interest in pursuing “enlightenment” though I continued Guruji’s practices and attended his group meditations. Also, I continued reading many spiritual teachings of other masters, scriptures, and stories about saints (hagiographies).
Though ever inspired by Guruji’s “signs and wonders” which I had witnessed and experienced, and those attributed to saints and spiritual masters about whom I was reading, I found that my desire to personally experience these “miracles” was waning. I began realizing that these powers could become pitfalls – big ego traps impeding rather than promoting spiritual evolution.
Before meeting Guruji, I had begun entertaining egoistic ideas that I might be “special” because of all the miraculous things that were happening to me. Thus, I was egoistically forgetting the unforgettable rebirth realization that started the whole purification process – the simple insight that: “I am not my body or its thoughts, but pure awareness; I am not my role in life – lawyer, husband, father – with which I’ve identified, but pure awareness.”
But, after shakipat, as I began reading and reflecting about “enlightenment”, I became increasingly aware that “ego” and “enlightenment” could not co-exist; that anyone who egoistically thinks s/he’s ‘special’ isn’t “enlightened”. So, rhetorically I wondered: “If I am just pure Awareness, not separate from ultimate Reality, how can I be a ‘special’ person?”
My first memorable test of that crucial ‘re-realization’ insight soon came during a meditation retreat with Guruji near Santa Cruz where with extraordinary benevolence he imparted esoteric information to advanced initiates. And amongst these esoteric teachings were instructions about how to travel astrally at will.
By this time I had had spontaneously experienced various OOB’s, including my amazing New York astral projection into the future, and had experienced Guruji’s power to “visit” me in his astral body. Also I was aware of Robert A. Monroe’s teachings and writings about his “Journeys Out of the Body”.
But even though Guruji sanctioned certain initiates to acquire the extraordinary power of traveling astrally at will, I clearly wasn’t interested in it. So I chose not to practice or pursue astral projection.
I was content to let the Universe decide when and whether I would be shown or given any more such “signs and wonders”. And I didn’t have long to wait before it happened again. As I was driving home from that Santa Cruz retreat in my then ‘trusty’ Volvo, I had one of my most extraordinary and memorable OOB experiences.
I left the retreat accompanied by Saskia, the Dutch doctor and acupuncturist who had been one of my passengers during our miraculous ‘sight seeing tour’ with Guruji, which began with our toll-free passage onto the Bay Bridge. She lived in Berkeley, and I was taking her home before returning to San Francisco.
As we drove from Santa Cruz to Berkeley, Saskia and I chatted about spiritual and worldly subjects, including our apparent lack of good fortune at not yet finding worldly “soul mates”. Within minutes after we parted, I was synchronistically granted an unforgettable graphic apparent answer to our question about supposed “lack of good fortune” in certain worldly relationships.
A few minutes after dropping off Saskia, I drove the Volvo onto the Bay Bridge en route to San Francisco. Soon after passing the toll plaza, I was suddenly and unexpectedly taken out of my body. While my physical body continued guiding the Volvo across the Bay Bridge, I was given a fleeting – but amazingly unforgettable – Buddha’s eye view of space/time and causation from a very subtle causal plane of awareness.
From this subtle panoramic perspective – far above and beyond Ron Rattner’s dense physical body, driving its denser (but blessed) Volvo – I was shown an interwoven causal tapestry that is manifesting this phenomenal “reality”; that everything – every form and phenomenon – is perfectly karmically/causally connected; and, that whatever happens to us in this world arises from interdependent, interconnected, and interrelated causes.
Ever since that pivotal experience I have reflected on ideas like “perfection”, “causation”, “synchronicity”, “free will versus determinism”. And while so reflecting, I have written (and have posted on SillySutras.com) many apt sutras, like this one:
Despite Omni-present ignorance,
selfishness, misery and suffering,
and apparent chaotic uncertainty,
perfection pervades our “Loco Loka” * –
the realm of space/time and causation;
the realm of manifest Mystery.
*”Loco Loka” = crazy world
Over thirty years have now passed since that amazing view of “reality” was bestowed. Thanks to that ‘miraculous’ experience, and to countless ensuing ‘miracles’ in my enfolding life story, my life has evolved – in ways which were once unimaginable – to a state of abiding “inner peace and happiness” beyond “any belief or religious affiliation”, just as promised by Guruji in 1978. Thus, with heartfelt gratitude, I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life.
So, without any religious affiliation,
I’ve become a faithful follower:
I follow my Faith;
I follow the Way;
I follow my Heart.
And this above all,
It is my Faith that enables me to be true to my Self.
“People .. who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think”
~ Albert Einstein
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
~ Albert Einstein
“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.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.”
~ The Kybalion
An Amazing Experiment With Time
In April 1976, during a traumatic divorce, I experienced a transformative mid-life spiritual awakening. Thereupon, I began having many extraordinary psychic or mystical experiences previously unknown to me, including experiences which challenged my prior ideas about linear time and free will versus destiny.
In January and February, 1977, I was having so many unusual premonitions, dreams, synchronicities and precognitive experiences that I started making diary notations about them, though I’d never before kept any such diary. These extraordinary experiences radically challenged my “normal” linear time paradigm, and motivated me to try understanding what they meant and why they were happening.
At the end of February, 1977, I spent a week in New York City, so filled with amazing synchronistic and precognitive experiences, that I became convinced it was possible to mystically transcend serial time perception.
Before telling you what happened to me in New York that week, I must recount prior circumstances and events in San Francisco which were crucially related to those New York experiences.
Extraordinary experiences in San Francisco
One month before my New York trip, on January 22, 1977, I had an unforgettable mystical experience of traveling astrally super-fast to an unknown place. The inner experience happened when I was partially awakened from a sound sleep in the middle of the night. I was out of my body and traveling with a whirring/whistling sound, so swiftly that intuitively it seemed I was moving faster than the speed of light – a supposed physical impossibility.
My first destination was a room which appeared from its furnishings to be a typical hotel room. After observing the room, I suddenly traveled right through many walls in the same building and stopped in another similarly furnished apparent hotel room – again a supposed physical impossibility.
In the second room, I looked out the window and saw far below what I thought was a kidney shaped swimming pool on a platform, surrounded by geometric designs. At that point I briefly awakened in wonderment about this unprecedented experience, and later recorded it in my diary.
At this time, I was seeking explanations for my extraordinary experiences by attending various psychic/spiritual programs, including events sponsored by Arica Institute. Arica was a spiritual mystery school founded by Chilean mystic Oscar Ichaso, who used enneagrams – nine star polygons – to esoterically model and analyze human personalities. On Monday, February 7, 1977, I attended an Arica program in San Francisco where I was encouraged to visit Arica’s new beautiful headquarters facilities in New York City.
Also, during this same time period, I experienced several unusually vivid dreams, wherein I saw an unknown dark haired woman with short bangs, and became very curious about her identity and why she was in my dreams.
After jogging to the Golden Gate bridge each morning, I regularly walked to my office in the financial district. On the way to my office I often passed a store front Christian Science reading room on Polk Street where I read the selected bible passages displayed in the window. On Tuesday, February 8, 1977, the day after the Arica meeting, I had walked a short distance past the Christian Science reading room without stopping, when suddenly I felt impelled to go back and read the bracketed bible passage then on display in the window.
It was from Genesis, Chapter 29, about Jacob and his uncle Laban and Laban’s two daughters, Lea and Rachel who were both betrothed to Jacob. Jacob loved Rachel, Laban’s youngest daughter, but couldn’t marry her until after he had first worked for Laban seven years, married Lea, the eldest, and then spent seven more years laboring for Laban as a condition to his marriage to Rachel.
The commentary noted that because of Jacob’s love and devotion for Rachel, the two seven year periods passed quickly – as if ‘time stood still’. That night I noted this in my diary.
In New York I was to participate in a week of class-action depositions. Since I was unfamiliar with New York city I asked my uncle Richard, a New York resident, to reserve a room for me at a hotel near the Rockefeller Center deposition site. He picked the Wellington. But thereafter I learned from other lawyers attending the depositions that the New York Hilton was closest to the deposition site. So I called the Hilton from San Francisco, but was told they were then booked. So, I planned to stay at the Wellington.
A miraculous trip to New York City
Here is what happened during my 1977 trip to New York which forever changed my views about the ‘reality’ of serial time:
On Monday, February 21, 1977, I boarded an airplane flight from San Francisco to New York City. En route I began reading a book by J. W. Dunne, entitled “An Experiment With Time” about precognition and human experience of time. I had just purchased the Dunne book, after reading “The Roots of Coincidence” by Arthur Koestler which discussed time seriality and synchronicity in light of observations by physicists. I was trying to understand the numerous precognitive and synchronistic experiences that then had been regularly occurring in my life for almost a year since my rebirth experience.
Dunne’s book proposed that past, present and future all happen concurrently, though ‘normal’ human consciousness experiences them linearly, except in dreams. Dunne’s theory was based on his own precognitive dreams and induced precognitive states. Though Dunne’s essay was originally published in 1927, this was my first exposure to these fascinating ideas about linear time. Soon, however, my amazing experiences during the week in New York convinced me of the probable validity of Dunne’s theory.
I arrived at JFK airport Monday evening, checked into the Wellington Hotel, and was assigned an uncomfortably warm room, in which I didn’t want to stay another night. On awakening Tuesday morning, I called the Hilton where I was able to reserve a room. So, I checked out of the Wellington and into the Hilton, where I was given room 2541.
On entering my new Hilton room I gazed out the window and was astonished to see below me an extraordinary mosaic art display of colored tiles arrayed in geometric forms. I immediately recognized it as the apparent “raised platform” with the same geometric design which I had mistakenly perceived as a swimming pool in my January 22 astral time travel experience. But instead of a swimming pool on a raised platform, I was viewing the roof of the Ziegfeld Theater, as covered with this artistic mosaic tile display.
Thereupon, I realized with amazement that my astral travel vision had been precognitive and, moreover, that my perception then that I was traveling faster than the speed of light – and thus traveling into the ‘future’ – was probably correct.
Soon after checking into the Hilton, I attended the first deposition at 1345 Avenue of Americas, in the offices of Arthur Anderson Co. Synchronistically, the extraordinary Ziegfeld Theater rooftop display was also visible from from the deposition conference room.
On Tuesday evening after the first deposition and before dinner, I decided to visit the New York Arica Institute headquarters, as suggested by San Francisco Arica people. Located at 24 West 57th Street, it proved unusual and beautiful as they told me – with even an interesting art gallery. There was only one other visitor when I arrived at Arica that evening – Pat, a dark haired woman with short bangs, wearing jeans and a denim jacket, who was viewing displayed art works.
We soon began chatting and learned that we were both quite interested in similar psychic phenomena. Pat, like me, had attended and valued Werner Ehrhard’s est training and had been having numerous psychic experiences following a recent divorce. She told me that she was self-employed as a free-lance model. (I later learned that she was then one of New York’s top fashion models.)
After talking for some time at Arica, we went to a nearby small restaurant where at dinner we were engrossed in conversation about logic versus experience of psychic phenomena and precognitive dreams – a conversation that seemed only to have begun when we needed to part. So we agreed to and did meet again for dinner the next night, Wednesday, February 23. And again we continued conversing about seemingly illogical but very real psychic phenomena which we had experienced.
On parting, I invited Pat to join me for dinner on Friday night, since I had a dinner engagement with my uncle and aunt on Thursday night. Until then, I had planned to return to San Francisco on Friday evening after the depositions, but decided that I’d like to stay in New York to see Pat again. She told me that she’d like to meet me again, but wouldn’t know if that was possible until Friday. So, we agreed that she would let me know by calling me at the deposition. I gave her a phone number which I’d been told would directly connect to the Arthur Anderson conference room where the depositions were happening.
That Wednesday night, I awakened suddenly from a sound sleep with the “ahaa!” realization that Pat was the dark haired woman with bangs who I’d earlier seen in San Francisco dreams. In a phone conversation the next day, I asked her if she’d always styled her hair with bangs. She replied that she hadn’t worn it that way for a long time, but that she had just had her hair cut with bangs, the week before we met. (So, when I saw her with bangs in my dreams, she wasn’t yet wearing them.)
On Thursday night I had dinner with my uncle Richard and aunt Roseanne. This was our first meeting since my spiritual awakening. So, tactfully, I tried to explain my recent experiences and new intense interest in psychic phenomena and precognition. But it seemed that these subjects were a bit too ‘far out’ for them.
On returning to my Hilton Hotel room before bed-time, I decided to read passages from the Gideon bible which I found in a drawer under the telephone. Randomly, I first opened that bible to the Book of Numbers where synchronistically I read this passage about significance of dreams and visions:
And the Lord said to them, “Now listen to what I say: “If there were prophets among you, I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! (Numbers 12:6-8)
Next, I decided to review again Genesis 29:16 et. seq., the passage about Jacob and Laban’s two daughters, Leah and Rachel, which had so intrigued me two weeks earlier in the Christian Science Reading Room window.
And finally I ruminated deeply about the meaning of this passage, suggesting infinite possibility of ‘miracles’:
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believes” ~ Mark 9:23.
An amazing day
I arose Friday morning intending to stay in New York that night only if I could spend another evening with Pat, the lovely dark haired ‘woman of my dreams’. Otherwise, I would return to San Francisco on an evening non-stop flight. I received no phone message from Pat during the morning deposition session. Assuming she couldn’t meet me, I checked out of the Hilton at 1 p.m., and left my bags in the hotel lobby baggage room.
Only after checking out, was I informed by the Hilton desk clerk of Pat’s unsuccessful attempt to reach me there, and of her answering service call-back number. But I wasn’t able to contact her until after 5 p.m.
When I finally reached her, she told me she’d been trying to call me at Arthur Anderson all afternoon to arrange our meeting, but that no-one answered the Anderson private line number, so she had given up on seeing me, and had returned home outside Manhattan. By this time, it was too late for me to catch the hotel limousine bus service to JFK for the evening non-stop to San Francisco.
So I stepped up to the Hilton front desk and registered for a room for one night. Synchronistically, I was given room 2506 on the very same floor and very same side of the hotel as room 2541 (where I had been staying until then), except at the opposite end of the corridor. I entered the new room looked out the window, again beheld the extraordinary colored tile mosaic art display on the roof of the Ziegfeld Theater, and began crying. At long last I realized why in my January 22nd astral travels into the future I had moved through many walls from one hotel room to another. I had moved from Hilton room 2541 to room 2506. How AMAZING!!
Unexpectedly alone in New York on a Friday night when I had planned to return to San Francisco, and wondering how I would spend the evening, I went down to the hotel lobby bar for a drink. There I met an English woman named Pam, who told me she was visiting from London to spend time with her friend, actor Rex Harrison, who was then starring on Broadway in “Caesar and Cleopatra”, which had just opened at the Palace Theater.
Pam urged me to join her at the play that night and promised to introduce me to Rex Harrison after the performance. That sounded interesting, so I agreed to see “Caesar and Cleopatra” with her.
Then, I asked Pam what she did in London when not vacationing. She told me she was an actress on leave from the London production of “Fiddler on the Roof”. We talked a bit about Fiddler. I had seen the movie adaptation of the play, but not the play, and as we talked I was reminded of how much I had enjoyed the film.
Set in Tsarist Russia in 1905, the Fiddler story centers on Tevye, a village milk man and father of five daughters, and his thwarted attempts to follow religious traditions and maintain family unity in turbulent times; how he coped with both the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters and with the edicts of the Tsar banishing the Jews from their villages and dwellings.
The story was set at the very time when my beloved Jewish father, Harry, was born in a similar Ukrainian village. Especially because my father and his extended family were obliged to flee for their lives from Tsarist Russia, in the same way as the fictional characters in Fiddler were obliged to flee, I was exceptionally interested in the story and loved the music.
While Pam and I chatted about Fiddler, she mentioned that a Fiddler revival was then running on Broadway with Zero Mostel in the lead role, as Tevye the milkman. I had always wanted to see a Fiddler production but didn’t know until that moment that it was being performed on Broadway. On learning this, I diplomatically explained to Pam that though it would be fun to meet Rex Harrision with her, I would prefer seeing Fiddler on the Roof.
I’d heard that with Zero Mostel, the original star, the play was wonderfully entertaining, and perhaps better than the movie in which Mostel wasn’t cast. So, after explaining this to Pam, I quickly went to the Winter Garden Theater box office where I was able to get a good center balcony single seat.
Thus on Friday, February 25, 1977, I was unexpectedly about to see a Broadway revival of “Fiddler on the Roof”, with Zero Mostel, because I had unexpectedly failed to return that night to San Francisco as planned, and had unexpectedly remained in New York City, where I was unexpectedly staying at the Hilton Hotel, in a 25th floor room at the opposite end of the corridor from the 25th floor room where I had unexpectedly stayed earlier in the week, after unexpectedly checking out of the Wellington Hotel.
As I sat that night in the Winter Garden balcony awaiting the opening curtain, I read the brief playbill story summary. But nothing therein prepared me for my emotional experience during scene six of the first act. Prior to that scene, a young man named Perchik – an itinerant bible scholar passing through Tevye’s village – had met kind hearted Tevye, who gave Perchik room and board in exchange for Perchik’s commitment to teach bible lessons to Tevye’s daughters.
Amazingly, act one, scene six, opened with Perchik giving Tevye’s daughters a lesson about Jacob and Laban’s two daughters, Leah and Rachel, from Genesis 29:16 – the same passage that had engrossed me in San Francisco when I read it in the Christian Science Reading Room window and again when I read it in my hotel room Gideon Bible.
For me this was such a miraculous, mysterious, and meaningful synchronicity, culminating so many similar amazing events during my extraordinary week in New York, that I spontaneously burst into tears. And I kept crying for the remainder of the play.
On returning to San Francisco from that miraculous week in New York, I began wondering:
“What is time?”
“Are there really any coincidences or accidents, or is everything that happens to us predestined by laws of causation or karma?”
“Do we really have free will as most people believe?
And if so, what free will?”
What do you think?