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Posts Tagged ‘Sri Ramana Maharshi’

Human Conciousness

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
‘Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen…
In the Absolute there is neither time, space, nor causation.’
~ Swami Vivekananda [Jnana Yoga]
“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.”
~ Lao Tzu
“Consciousness is the basis of all life
 and the field of all possibilities.
Its nature is to expand and unfold its full potential.
The impulse to evolve is thus inherent in the very nature of life.”
~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything, you are 
essentially conscious of yourself.”
~ Ramana Maharshi





Human Consciousness

Q. What is “human consciousness”?

A. Universal Awareness is the sole essence and Source of all life/forms.

Human thought divides universal Awareness as a prism divides light.

So, “human consciousness” is a mental conception which seemingly circumscribes Universal Awareness.

“Human consciousness” is Universal Awareness conditioned by conception.

 
Ron’s Comments on “Human Consciousness”

Dear Friends,

In these critical times when humans are the only species creating huge ecological and other crises which disrupt and threaten life on our precious planet, it seems especially imperative that we bring expanded awareness of our true identity and infinite potentiality into the world. So i have posted the foregoing definition and quotations about “human consciousness” as reminders of our unlimited potential to expand and evolve.

“Human consciousness” is a much used concept with different meanings for different people. So I have specifically defined it above to clarify its immense spiritual significance in SillySutras postings. This definition is based on my post-awakening intuitive insights and reflections.

Background

At midlife I was spiritually awakened (through Amazing Grace) to self-identity as pure awareness, rather than as a mere mortal body, its thoughts and its story. That realization initiated an evolutionary process of inner transformation bringing previously unimagined blessings of peace and happiness, to be shared with others.

After initially self-identifying as pure awareness, I gradually surmised that Ron’s awareness must be the same as that of every other sentient being; that I am not merely an individual consciousness separate as a person from other sentient beings, but Universal Awareness – the mysterious spiritual matrix and Source of all manifestation and all phenomena.

Thereafter I began wondering about seemingly differing space/time states of “human consciousness”, and consciousness of all other life-forms.  For example I became curious about how human consciousness might differ from dog consciousness, cat consciousness, bird consciousness, fish consciousness, plant consciousness, insect consciousness, cell consciousness and perhaps even consciousness of apparently inanimate and lifeless forms like rocks and manufactured objects (like the 1976 Volvo miraculously blessed by my Guruji).

After much reflection, I decided that what we call “human consciousness” apparently differs from consciousness of other life-forms – which seem spontaneously harmonious with Nature – because most humans mistakenly perceive and think of themselves to be separate from each other and Nature due to what Einstein called “an optical illusion of consciousness”

Conclusion

Thus I’ve concluded that all our ideas about so-called “states of consciousness” arise and subside in Infinite Awareness; that we are never in those states of consciousness – they are in us as Universal Awareness. ( See States of Consciousness )

So from experience and intuition I’ve decided that as we “widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty”, we gradually free ourselves from the optical illusion of separation from other life-forms, and we increasingly experience elevated consciousness of Infinite Awareness – our ultimate essence; and that we are thereby blessed with infinite potential to collectively advance life on planet Earth.

Dedication and Invocation

The foregoing writings are respectfully offered to help encourage and inspire our collective participation in the elevation of “human consciousness” to resolve all crises on our precious planet, bringing universal peace, light, and love.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Awakening to the “Secret of Secrets”

“If you could get rid of yourself just once,
the secret of secrets would open to you.
The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe
would appear on the mirror of your perception.”
~ Rumi
“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“You are “gods”;
you are all children of the Most High.”
~ Psalm 82: 6
“You cannot teach an ego to be anything but egotistic,
even though egos have the subtlest ways of pretending to be reformed.
The basic thing is therefore to dispel, by experiment and experience, the illusion of oneself as a separate ego.”
~ Alan Watts
“People can’t be talked out of illusions. If a person believes that the earth is flat, you can’t talk him out of that, he knows that it’s flat. He’ll go down to the window and see that its obvious, it looks flat. So the only way to convince him that it isn’t is to say, “Well let’s go and find the edge”
~ Alan Watts
“The individual is separate from his universal environment only in name. When this is not recognized, you have been fooled by your name. Confusing names with Nature, you come to believe that having a separate name makes you a separate being.
This is—rather literally—to be spellbound”.
~ Alan Watts
“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.

If you are conscious of anything,
you are essentially conscious of yourself.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



Awakening to the “Secret of Secrets”

For millennia there has been a tacit taboo or ‘conspiracy of silence’ against disclosing to all Humankind our true spiritual and immortal identity.  

Except for those raised in so-called ‘primitive’ or indigenous societies, or those imbued with Eastern religious philosophy, most people have been acculturated from time immemorial into societies with “an unrecognized but mighty taboo — our tacit conspiracy to ignore who, or what, we really are.” (Alan Watts: The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Preface.)

From childhood we are taught to self-identify only with an illusory and disempowering ego image; with a separate name, gender, and story about who and what we are. We are taught that we are each born into Nature as limited beings; but, not that Nature is our nature, or that we are Beings of Light sharing limitless immortal common consciousness with all life-forms.

Nor are we ever taught the greatest “secret of secrets”: that we are not mere powerless perceivers of our “reality”, but also its co-creators – that we co-create our reality with our thoughts, words and deeds; that everything we think, do or say changes this world in some way; and, that this worldly “reality” is dependent upon the awareness with which we envision, experience and co-create it.

To experientially realize that greatest “secret of secrets” is to Know Thyself. And to Know Thyself, is to know the Whole – the Truth that will set us free.

For countless ages sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we are not what we think we are!  That we suffer from perception-deception – with self-identity and reality not what they appear to be; that it is possible to experientially transcend the inevitable suffering of ordinary human existence through self-realization of and self-identification with an undivided eternal spiritual reality – which is the common essence of all space-time causality reality.

Mystics say that we share common Self identity – as Cosmic Consciousness or Non-Duality Reality; that we are not merely our mortal bodies – their names, genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories – or the ‘voices in our heads’.  We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But we’re all the same ‘under the hood’.  

Yet until now that greatest secret has been mostly concealed or denied: predominantly by subconscious suppression or psychological inability of humankind to accept or entertain non-experienced facts which contradict or threaten their cherished illusionary beliefs about “reality”; sometimes by institutions and individuals seeking selfish hierarchical exploitation of our precious planet and all its life-forms and resources.

Until now ignorance of our true identity and immortality, has resulted in humanity’s hallucination of separation from Nature, from each other, and from our sole Self and spirit, with consequent destructive insanity, selfishness and suffering.   

But now, facing ominous and enormous ecological, interpersonal and international crises which cannot be resolved from the same levels of consciousness which created them, we are at long last being awakened from our delusion of separateness and powerlessness. Spurred by increasing suffering and awareness of imminent catastrophe, we are finally dispelling the ignorance which has spawned these crises.

And we shall soon reach a tipping point, when a critical mass of Humankind will have awakened to the “secret of secrets”, uplifting all human consciousness and resolving harmoniously and compassionately the critical mess created by our prior unawareness of that “secret”.

Thus awakened, we shall harmoniously, cooperatively and lovingly resolve our common crises for our common good.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Ron’s commentary on the taboo against knowing who we really are.

The foregoing essay was inspired by the above Rumi “secret of secrets” quote, and by Alan Watts’:
“The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”, ©1966.

Watts was a brilliantly insightful, erudite and articulate UK philosopher, author, and teacher, with post-graduate degrees in Theology and Divinity. After five years as an ordained Episcopal priest, he ‘converted’ to Zen Buddhism and in 1951 moved to Marin County, California from the UK. Thereafter, until his death in 1973, Watts became a counterculture icon,
best-known for introducing Eastern philosophical and religious thought to Westerners.

I first learned about Watts’ teachings listening to KPFA Pacifica radio, Berkeley, which posthumously broadcast his lectures on Sunday nights, while I was driving for visits with my aged parents. Those broadcasts helped me to learn about Eastern wisdom and philosophy of spiritual evolution – of which I was previously ignorant.

Only after launching the Silly Sutras website in 2010 did I discover and read Watt’s 1966 “The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”. By then I concurred with Watts’ assertions about origins of the illusion of a separate ego self, and how that illusion is central to our ominous and enormous ecological, interpersonal and international crises.

Moreover, before 2010 I’d already learned about extreme psychological reluctance of most people to entertain or accept true facts contrary to their cherished beliefs about “reality”. And soon after President Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, I’d become quite aware of powerfully insidious Orwellian propaganda techniques used to ‘brainwash’ people about alleged truth of outrageous government lies, and to marginalize truth-telling dissidents by ridiculing them as “conspiracy theorists”, “kooks”, “foreign agents”, “communists”, or “socialists”, and blatantly censoring or dishonestly denying their ‘inconveniently’ truthful revelations.

So I concurred with Alan Watts’ contentions concerning a tacit taboo or conspiracy of silence against revealing our true identity and infinite potentiality. Thus I have composed the foregoing essay, and endorse Watts’ book “On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”, linked below as an audio book file.

Invocation

May these writings inspire our awakening to “the secret of secrets”, and thereby to irreversibly realize ourselves as uniquely interdependent expressions of ONE universal, ineffable and eternal Reality – the cosmic Self matrix of all Life everywhere.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Audio: Alan Watts: The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.



Other links:
https://binged.it/2E3SoYK
https://binged.it/2GzTYmG

Why Do We Suffer?

“Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”
“In Buddhism, ignorance as the root cause of suffering refers to a fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena.”
“We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity.”
~ Dalai Lama
“All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself.
All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others.”
~ Shantideva (Buddhist master)
“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way
as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.”
“When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now. Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”

~ Eckhart Tolle
“No pain, no gain!”
~ Proverb
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”
~ Buddhist saying
“Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon;
suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens.
Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is…
The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.”
~ Dan Millman
Q. “How Can We End Suffering?
A. Be a Buddha, be a Tara;
Say sayonara to samsara.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“In the school of life we suffer
to learn compassion for those who suffer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Compassion is born from understanding suffering.
We all should learn to embrace our own suffering,
to listen to it deeply, and to have a deep look into its nature.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“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
“You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil. Or, you may keep your body and die only in the mind. The death of the mind is the birth of wisdom.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“All formations are ‘transient’ (anicca); all formations are ‘subject to suffering’ (dukkha); all things are ‘without a self’ (anatt ). Corporeality is transient, feeling is transient, perception is transient, mental formations are transient, consciousness is transient. And that which is transient, is subject to suffering. ”
~ Buddha
“When another person makes you suffer,
it is because he suffers deeply within himself,
and his suffering is spilling over.
He does not need punishment; he needs help.
That’s the message he is sending.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering.
When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go,
then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was
for you to drag those burdens around with you.
You’ll see that no one else other than you was responsible.
The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.”
~ Osho
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
~ Helen Keller
“My dear son, be patient, because the weaknesses of the body
are given to us in this world by God for the salvation of the soul.
So they are of great merit when they are borne patiently.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

~ Khalil Gibran
Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.
~ Aristotle
“[I]f the mind is attentive and does not move away from suffering at all, then you will see that out of total attention comes not only energy…but also that suffering comes to an end.”
“…when you suffer, psychologically, remain with it completely without a single movement of thought… Out of that suffering comes compassion.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
”As you would not like to change something very beautiful: the light of the setting sun, the shape of a tree in the field, so do not put obstacles in the way of suffering. Allow it to ripen, for with its flowering understanding comes. When you become aware of the wound of sorrow, without the reaction of acceptance, resignation or negation, without any artificial invitation, then suffering itself lights the flame of creative understanding.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“It is the truth that sets you free and not your effort to be free.
Suffering is but intense clarity of thoughts and feelings which makes you see things as they are.”
“I maintain that truth is a pathless land,
and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever,
by any religion, by any sect.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Shakyamuni_Buddha.


Introduction.

We are living in very stressful times with billions of people worldwide now enduring great stresses and sufferings. This posting is dedicated to helping us lessen our sufferings, and to enjoy increasing happiness despite unavoidable worldly problems and turmoil. Although many of the cited and discussed ideas are from Eastern teachings, they apply to all human suffering in this ever changing world.

Why Do We Suffer?

Q. The Buddha taught that human life entails unavoidable suffering (duhkha), but that we can be freed from suffering. Why do we suffer, and how can we be freed from suffering?

A. We suffer from ignorance (avidyâ) of our of our true self-identity and ‘reality’, and from our consequent unskillful thoughts, words and deeds, which subject us to the law of karma. Suffering ends when ignorance ends; ignorance ends gradually with experiential Self knowledge that we are Infinite Potentiality beyond conception, rather than merely mortal and limited persons.

Although enduring spiritual traditions propose different methods for attaining such Self knowledge, they can not bestow it, but only point to the Self realization goal. Moreover, each person is unique, with a unique perspective and unique karmic history. So different practices may apply to different people.

An often recommended method for overcoming such suffering is mindful introspection to identify, realize and transcend our unskillful inner tendencies.  Such attention and realization can gradually decrease and ultimately free us from mental suffering.


Ron’s Commentary on Why We Suffer

Dear Friends,

I feel privileged to share with you a profound colloquy about why we suffer between two of the greatest Indian spiritual teachers of the 20th century:
Sri Ramana Maharshi, and Paramahansa Yogananda.

On Nov. 29th, 1935, Yogananda made a pilgrimage to holy Mt. Arunachala to meet Sri Ramana.  During most of that day Ramana sat silently.  However, he responded to a few questions from Yogananda, as follows:

Yogananda
How is the spiritual uplift of the people to be effected?
What are the instructions to be given them?
 

Maharshi: They differ according to the temperaments of the individuals and the spiritual ripeness of their minds. There cannot be any instruction en masse. 

Yogananda: Why does God permit suffering in the world? Should He not with His omnipotence do away with it at one stroke and ordain the universal realization of God? 

Maharshi: Suffering is the way for Realization of God. 

Yogananda: Should He not ordain it differently? 

Maharshi: It is the way. 

Yogananda: Are yoga, religion, etc., antidotes to suffering? 

Maharshi: Who suffers? What is suffering? 

(Without responding to these rhetorical questions, Yogananda paused, arose and, prayed for Sri Ramana’s blessings for his own mission.)

Discussion of why “Suffering is the way for Realization of God.” 

Many years ago, as I was being treated for painful left leg injuries by Taoist master and Doctor of Chinese Medicine Sifu Wei Tsuei, I had an unforgettable experience.

During an acupuncture treatment, Sifu suddenly inserted a large metal needle into my left buttock, and I loudly exclaimed in pain, “OUCH!”. Whereupon Sifu responded,


“No pain, no gain!”


Then he quietly continued his treatment, which proved quite helpful.

Thereafter I often reflected on the wisdom of Sifu’s words, “No pain, no gain”, and learned they are a popular proverb. With human bodies we experience inevitable physical pain, which can be a crucial catalyst and incentive for spiritual evolution. As stated by another popular Buddhist proverb: 
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”.

Though we may not be free to choose our sometimes painful outer circumstances in life, we are always free to choose our psychological attitude about those circumstances.

Thus every painful earth life experience which induces an elevated attitude can be a disguised blessing furthering our spiritual evolution, and our ultimate transcendence of psychological suffering. And, the greater such suffering, the greater its potential blessing.

The foregoing important quotations and brief essay help explain why we suffer and how we can transcend psychological suffering. They are spiritual teachings which can help us suffer less, and live ever happier lives. So I urge our deep reflection on them.

Moreover, as mindfully we experience ever less suffering and ever more happiness, it becomes possible for some of us to realize that everything in human life is an enormous blessing. For example, renowned master mythologist, author and teacher Joseph Campbell taught that

“Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not.
The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”


Invocation.

May our ever expanding and disciplined inner acceptance of inevitable outer problems, and our heartfelt compassion for the sufferings of all other sentient beings, motivate us to constantly

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!


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Free Will or Fate?

“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
“God alone is the Doer.
Everything happens by His will.”

~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
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
“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 predetermined or fated?

A.  Our experience of apparent freedom of choice or of predestiny depends on our evolutionary history and perspective.

In space/time ego/mind causality/reality, most “normal” people experience freedom of choice, and make decisions and plans about ostensible options in their lives. And some people consciously choose the attitude or state of mind with which they experience earth life. Because each person is unique, with a unique evolutionary perspective and personality, we each choose our life experiences differently. And as our self awareness becomes more focused, our free will powers increase.

But according to mystics, our belief in free will is ultimately 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 world reality, and experiencing it as an illusory play of consciousness, sometimes called ‘samsara’ or ‘maya’. Such masters do not self-identify mentally as only 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 mentally or rationally.

Free will requires ego/mind separation in space/time.

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]

So

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


But, our ego/mind 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 infinite Potentiality. 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”,

Ever
 
NOW!

Footnote.

*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 predestiny, 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”;
so 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 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 many aphorisms, essays and poems reflecting my theories, intuitions and speculations about them, 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, proposing 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 which motivate us to transcend them by choosing to improve or peacefully accept 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: that ‘God doesn’t play dice’, so

“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]


Assuming predestination while always acting morally can help us find happiness.

Whether or not we agree with Einstein and rare mystics that what happens in space/time reality is like a preprogrammed dream predestined by mysterious karmic causes and conditions, I have found that assuming predestination, while always acting morally, can help us find happiness. 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. 

Gradually 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 enjoy countless unplanned synchronistic meetings with ordinary people as ‘holy encounters’ with divine beings wearing ‘space/time soul suits’.

Conclusion.

So, whether or not we believe in spiritual evolution or predestiny, 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 inevitable difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, and by finding blessings in unplanned events and interactions with others.  

And if we do accept predestined karma, let us remember that
when we sow love, we harvest happiness.

Accordingly, (whether or not predestined) I invite you to join with me frequently in the heartfelt affirmation which appears atop every SillySutras.com page.

“Infuse us, enthuse us, and use us, to bless all life as Love!”


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Commentary Footnote.

*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.


What is “Reality”?

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
“There is no place in . . [Quantum] physics both for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything, you are
essentially conscious of yourself.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”
~ Carl Gustav Jung
“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
~ Buddha
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha
“What appears to be a stable, tangible, visible, audible world, is an illusion.
It is dynamic and kaleidoscopic — not really “there”.
What we normally see is the explicit, or unfolded, order of things, rather like watching a movie.
But there is an underlying order that is mother and father to this second-generation reality.”

~ David Bohm, Quantum Physicist




What is “Reality”?

“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” – like beauty –
is in the eye of the beholder.

It is a mental concept arising in consciousness,
and projected by the beholding self-awareness
onto certain perceived objects.

As rays of sunlight are in essence
the same as the emitting sun source,
perceived “reality” is in essence
the same as the Awareness
from which it originates.

But, because of the “magic mirror” of mind,
“reality” is mistakenly perceived
and objectified as separate and distinct
from the perceiving subject.

So, isn’t it NOW
time to really realize
that “reality” isn’t really real;

That only Awareness is REAL?



Ron’s Reflections on What is “Reality”?

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered what is really  “Real”? –  or “unreal”?
These are crucial questions because our beliefs about “reality” determine our Earth-life experiences.

Today’s What is “Reality”? posting focusses on mystical perspectives of “Reality”.  It can help explain how in our world of duality – of apparent opposites – our projected mental perspectives determine our experience of “reality”.  

“Reality” and “the real world” are  common concepts; frequently used but rarely deeply considered. They mean different things to different people.

According to dictionary definitions, “reality” is that which actually exists as distinguished from that which is merely apparent.   So what in this world actually exists?  And what in this world is merely apparent, like a non-existent mirage or a dream? – or a virtual or simulated reality?

Albert Einstein realized that cosmically everything is energy – e=mc2; so that when we experience as reality our perceived separation from other life-forms, it is is an “optical illusion of consciousness”.   And Einstein said that

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”;

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think”.

Similarly, Eastern mystics have long revealed from inner exploration that this world is not actually real, but an ‘unreal’ illusion: 


“The world, indeed, is like a dream and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion, does not act as if it is real,
so he escapes the suffering.”
~ 
Buddha

Also for millennia, indigenous shamans and mystics everywhere have told us that there is only ONE eternal and immutable Source, of the seemingly countless impermanent forms we perceived as “reality”; that  therefore this  world of apparent multiplicity and separation is merely an ever impermanent dream-like mental projection of That ONE matrix.

“All things come out of the One, and the One out of all things.”
~ Heraclitus, 500 BCE

“Reality cannot be found except in One single source,
because of the interconnection of all things with one another.”
~ Gottfried Leibniz, 1670

“Though One, Brahman is the cause of the many.”
~ Rig Veda, 1500–1200 BCE

“We did not weave the web of life. We are merely strands in it.
All things are bound together. All things connect.”
~ Chief Seattle

“At the center of the Universe dwells the Great Spirit and —
this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
~ Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

“This separation between man and man, between nation and nation, between earth and moon, between moon and sun.
Out of this idea of separation – – comes all misery.
But the Vedanta says that this separation does not exist,
it is not real.
~ Swami Vivekananda


Shakespeare wisely told us that


“there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. 

[ Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2]

Similarly, cutting edge scientists increasingly confirm that what appears to us as “real” or “unreal” depends upon our thinking – the projected mental perspectives of those concepts. Also, that the supposedly ‘solid’ Earth reality of our limited perceptions is an ever impermanent energetic illusion – only a virtual, simulated, or relative ‘reality’. (https://sillysutras.com/our-mentality-is-our-reality-quotations-and-reflections/)

Conclusion.
 
Our spiritual evolution is greatly advanced if we realize and remember our true self-identity and “Reality” as universal Awareness or Eternal spirit, not just as mere separate and mortal physical body/minds. Such realization will dramatically transform our Earth-life experience. If we stop separately self-identifying and labeling everyone and everything, it will bestow happier and more fulfilled human lives, with ever expanding compassion for all other life-forms, and with  less suffering from unhelpful worldly emotions, desires and attachments.

In the current “new normal” era, it is particularly important that we end our immensely limiting illusions of self-identity as merely mortal separate entities.

As presciently explained in 1980 by brilliant quantum physicist and Einstein protege David Bohm, our

“widespread and pervasive distinctions between people (race, nation, family, profession, etc., etc.) .. are now preventing mankind from working together for the common good, and indeed, even for survival.”
~ David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980

Thus transcendence of our “optical illusion” of separation has become especially crucial in the current 2020 “new normal” coronavirus era of unprecedented worldwide human deprivations, suffering and turmoil, with extremely imminent threat to survival of life as we’ve known it.

Dedication and Invocation.

Realization that our precious planet is only a virtual or simulated ‘reality’ need not in any way diminish our immense awe and thankfulness for Earth’s magnificence as part of Nature’s miraculous manifestations, well beyond our comprehension or imagination. 

Nor need it detract from our unspeakable gratitude for our experiences in “space/time soul suits” as precious human body/minds – harmonious life-form manifestations of Nature, to be lovingly and skillfully nurtured from our unique perspectives.

So may we find growing happiness and fulfillment in this precious human lifetime, as we ever evolve toward Self-identity as universal Eternal spirit, not just as mere separate and mortal life-forms.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

We’re not what we think we are!
~ Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies

“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything, you are essentially conscious of yourself.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Personal entity and enlightenment cannot go together.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“You will know the truth, 
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“You are “gods”; you are all children of the Most High.”
~ Psalm 82: 6
“Your own will is all that answers prayer,
only it appears under the guise 
of different religious conceptions to each mind.
We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
Essence Of Advaita
E = mc2 = Consciousness
Subject = Object = Consciousness
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Theory of Everything:
E = mc2 = Consciousness = Self.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Ramana Maharshi



Ron’s Introduction to “Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies”

The following poem was composed during my extended post-retirement reclusive period of prayer and introspection. With the above quotations, it succinctly summarizes previously unimagined pivotal insights about our spiritual Self-identity and ultimate Reality realized after my midlife spiritual awakening. I will hereafter comment on these perennially transformative insights.



Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies

You are not what you think you are:
You are not a person, or a personality.
You are not a body, or a nobody.
You are not your mind, or your thoughts.
You are infinite Eternal Awareness.

You are the screen, not the movie.
You are Rama, not the drama.
You are the glory, not the story.
You are the Whole, not your role.

So, wake up, and  –
Transcend entity identity!

* Advaita means non-dualism: it is
the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy

Ron’s audio recitation of Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies

Dear Friends,

We’re not what we think we are; not separate labels, but Universal Awareness!

Until midlife I self-identified only with my mortal physical body, its thoughts and story, and assumed that bodily death ended life.

But I was then blessed with a transformative spiritual awakening, which fundamentally changed my perceptions and perspectives of self identity and reality, bestowing ever increasing happiness and peace of mind. The foregoing quotations and poem succinctly summarize my previously unimagined pivotal insights about our Self-identity and ultimate Reality.

Since launching the SillySutras website in 2010, I have been sharing these insights online with the aspiration of helping others to similarly experience ever increasing happiness and peace of mind by transcending our acculturated mental limitations.

From childhood we have been labeled and  taught to self-identify only with an illusory and disempowering ego image; with a separate name, gender, and story about who and what we are. We are taught that we are each born into Nature as limited mortal beings; but, not that Nature is our nature, or that we are Beings of Light sharing limitless immortal common consciousness with all life-forms.

Thus, for millennia humans’ ignorance of our true identity and immortality, has resulted in our hallucination of separation from Nature, from each other, and from our sole Self and spirit, with consequent destructive insanity, selfishness and suffering. 

Yet, for countless ages sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we are not what we think we are!  That we suffer from perception-deception – with self-identity and reality not what they appear to be; that it is possible to experientially transcend the inevitable suffering of ordinary human existence through self-realization of and self-identification with an ultimate universal spiritual reality – which is the matrix and common essence of all space-time causality reality.

We are not merely our mortal bodies – their genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories – or the ‘voices in our heads’.  We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles. 
But we’re all the same ‘under the hood’!  

What we call “death” is just a vacation – immortal spirit vacating temporary physical vehicles.   Cosmically, there is no death or time, just Eternal NOW! 

Conclusion

This mystic message is especially important in these turbulent and troubled times, because it can encourage and inspire us to fearlessly be inner – not outer – directed; and to thereby follow our heart, rather than the frightened herd.

Therefore, I have reposted the foregoing key quotations and Advaita-Vedanta* For Dummies  poem, emphasizing our shared Self identity – as Cosmic Consciousness or Non-Duality Reality.   And I’ve embedded a powerfully inspiring four minute YouTube viral video by rapper *Prince Eo already viewed over 100 million times and titled:

“I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White”


[*Prince Eo a/k/a “Makmantis X” also posted this video on Facebook titled: “This literally made me question everything.” There have been over 100 million YouTube and Facebook views. Prince credits his spiritual perspective to inspiring ancient wisdom texts such as the Tao Te Ching and Bhagavad Gita.]

Invocation

May the above quotations, poetry and video, encourage and inspire us to fearlessly be inner – not outer – directed; and to thereby follow our heart, rather than the frightened herd.

And by so living from inside-out, may we find ever expanding happiness and peace of mind, as we realize and actualize our common Self identity as Infinite Potentiality, Being, Awareness, Bliss; Eternal Peace, Life, Light – LOVE!
 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Discovering and Honoring Devotional “Holy Fools” ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
~ 1 Corinthians 3:19
“Love is the highest, the grandest, the most inspiring, the most sublime principle in creation.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda – Journey To Self-Realization
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
~ 1 John 4:7-8
“Full of love for all things in the world;

practicing virtue in order to benefit others,

this man alone is happy.”

~ Buddha
“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi
“Love Is The Law Of Life:

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. 
Love is therefore the only law of life. 
He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. 
Therefore, love for love’s sake,
 because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.”

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

 



Introduction

In prior memoir chapters I have recounted my midlife transformation from Secular Hebrew social justice litigation lawyer to “Born-again Hindu”, and then to “Uncertain Undo”, devotional and emotional lover of God. [See e.g. Crying For God and other ‘Kundalini Kriyas’]

In this chapter I will explain how, as a newly transformed ‘lover of God’, I came to appreciate rare ascetic and eccentric lovers of God, who’ve often been regarded as God intoxicated “heretics” or “holy fools”.

To help you understand why I have honored spiritual “heretics” and “holy fools” as lovers of God, I will first summarize my devotional history.

Ron’s Devotional history summary

Until my profound midlife spiritual awakening to Self identity as Awareness, I hadn’t shed tears as an adult. But thereupon, at age forty three I cried for twenty four hours. Then, after the Awakening experience, I initially wondered why I was crying so much. But I soon realized with amazement that I was crying with intense longing for God. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.) 

Thereafter, I became and remained an extremely devotional, and inwardly unconventional, frequent crier for God – often ecstatically longing and calling for the Divine.

After meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and receiving his shaktipat initiation into the path of kundalini yoga, as “Rasik: one engrossed in devotion”, I gradually learned that my continual longing and profuse crying for God was an immense transformative blessing – recognized not only in the bhakti Hindu devotional tradition, but also in various other devotional and mystical spiritual traditions, such as the Sufi Supreme LOVE tradition of Rumi and Hafiz, and the Orthodox/Catholic “gift of tears” tradition of St. Isaac of Ninevah, St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis of Assisi.

I came to realize that my profuse crying spells – which Guruji called kriyas – were purifying my body and nervous system, and permitting ‘peek experiences’ advancing spiritual evolution.  For example, in addition to crying, I began experiencing previously unprecedented and protracted laughing spells, and numerous other spontaneous and unpremeditated actions, sensations, and feelings – like indescribable peace, joy and ecstasy.

Thus, when not crying I often had what I called ‘alternative LSD experiences’ of spontaneous (and sometimes ecstatic) Laughing, Singing, and Dancing. And even as an octogenarian “Uncertain Undo” I still often privately experience spontaneous outbursts of laughing, crying, and calling to God, though with advanced age singing and dancing have been curtailed.

Guruji’s explanation was that:

“There are two kinds of kriyas, one is for purification and the other for the manifestation of joy. ..
Whenever one experiences great joy or bliss, this also manifests physically as crying or laughing.”
~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


St. Isaac of Ninevah, explained that as signs of Grace, “unspeakable joy arises in the soul”, and that:

“The fruits of the inner man begin only with the shedding of tears. When you reach the place of tears, then know that your spirit has come out from the prison of this world and has set its foot upon the path that leads towards the new age.” 

~ Isaac of Nineveh, 7th C. Orthodox Saint and Persian Mystic


Learning about devotional spirituality

Not until my 1976 spiritual awakening, did I begin learning about spirituality.

On moving from Chicago to San Francisco in 1960, I was ignorant about spiritual subjects, or religions other than Judaism.

I knew nothing about Christian saints, or core Christian teachings. I didn’t even realize that my new “San Francisco” home city was named for history’s most popular Christian saint. Moreover, apart from Christianity, I was ignorant of Eastern spiritual and religious teachings.

Growing up in Chicago, I had become familiar with Judaism’s core teachings:

“ Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One”;  and
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5

However, I had no idea of their supremely profound esoteric importance.

But my midlife spiritual awakening experiences triggered an unprecedented interest in spiritual subjects. Initially – sparked by inner experiences and amazing synchronicities – I experienced great curiosity about Saint Francis of Assisi, and about Christian teachings which inspired him.

Later I began reading hagiographic stories about other Eastern and Western saints and sages. Gradually, I learned that – apart from Jesus and a few other world-famous exemplars of Divine LOVE – the Divine devotional path has been followed by countless unknowns, especially in certain societies which for centuries have honored and emphasized devotional Love.

And gradually I became inspired by genuine “lovers of God” as exemplars of an important spiritual tradition, with which I had instinctively joined.

Lovers of God as “Heretics”

On discovering Rumi poetry, I learned that Persian culture has long encompassed all aspects of love, culminating with mystical Divine LOVE as the ultimate goal in life. And, similarly, that Sufi philosophy has so honored eccentric lovers of God that it has specifically identified many of them as “masts”persons so overwhelmed with love for God, that they appear externally disoriented.

Also, during my 1982 pilgrimage to India I learned that for millennia India has honored avadhutas, self-realized bhakti mystics living beyond usual egoic consciousness and worldly concerns, without adhering to accepted social standards. (See e.g. Advadhuta Gita, and Avadhuta – Wikipedia)

I especially remember seeing a peacefully smiling elderly man sitting stark naked on a rock in freezing temperatures midst ice and snow near the Himalayan headwaters of the holy Ganges river.

Like Sufi “masts” and Indian avadhutas, worldwide there have been countless unknown lovers of God – who sometimes were so immersed in Divine Love as to be out of touch with the outside world. Western Christianity, Eastern Christianity, and other Eastern mystical religious and spiritual paths have all recognized God intoxicated ‘holy fools’ with extraordinarily unconventional behaviors inconsistent with social norms.

Famous Devotional “Heretic” Prophets

In Western Christianity Paul the Apostle proclaimed that

“The wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
(1 Corinthians 3:19)


So, Christianity has at times rejected as foolishness “the wisdom of this world”. And it has endorsed the ‘Imitation of Jesus Christ’ – who preached “Love your neighbors” and even “your enemies”. And ‘heretically’ repudiated socially condoned hypocrisy, brutality and thirst for worldly power and gains; forgivingly endured crucifixion, mockery and humiliation from ignorant crowds; and even audaciously proclaimed the ultimate non-duality ‘forbidden mystical Truth’ – that “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

In learning about Jesus’ “heretic” teachings – especially his Sermon on the Mount – I instinctively saw him as an outspoken social justice reformer, and Truth telling political and religious nonconformist. And I intuitively honored him as a wise man, like prophets of other great religions, but not as God’s “only Son”.

I always thought of “God” as ONE universally immanent nameless, formless, nonjudgmental Supreme Power. So I rejected any idea of a personal or judgmental God, and considered the Bible a collection of metaphoric legends – not as ‘the word of God’ who spoke only through special messengers.

And just as I always rejected Torah teachings about Jews as “chosen people”, I could never accept Christian dogma that Jesus was God’s “only Son” because he proclaimed “I and the Father are one”. Nor – like Gandhi – could I morally accept non-egalitarian Hindu scriptures justifying socially stratified caste systems, with some people deemed “untouchables”.

But I accepted that perennially, in historically dark and threatening eras of rampant world materialism, decadence, and violence, there propitiously have appeared renowned wise beings – like Jesus – to prophetically guide Humankind to societal and spiritual renaissance. And that as religious nonconformists and social dissidents these famous reformers often were considered and punished as “heretics” by contemporary worldly authorities.

‘Discovering’ Saint Francis of Assisi and Sri Ramakrishna as heretic “holy fools”.

Most famous Christian imitator of Jesus was Saint Francis of Assisi who in midlife – as an eccentric apostle of Love – renounced and relinquished all his worldly possessions and privileges as son of a wealthy merchant, to live as a hermit in the Umbrian countryside; and later to establish an exemplary order of Franciscan Friars who gave away all possessions and survived only on alms while preaching in the streets to common people. Francis so completely identified with Jesus that, near the end of his earthly life, he became the first saint in history to miraculously receive crucifixion stigmata.


st-francis-of-assisi

St. Francis of Assisi




Perhaps the best known Indian saint of the nineteenth century was Indian Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa – an extraordinarily charismatic and eccentric ascetic, sometimes compared to St. Francis of Assisi.
(See Sri Ramakrishna and St. Francis of Assisi, by Sister Devamata, 1935)


Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa



After my midlife spiritual awakening, I felt increasing egalitarian affinity and harmony with people living unconventionally from inside out, rather than worldly outer directed and conventional people.

And in learning about many famous saints and mystics, somehow I clearly felt most affinity with Saint Francis of Assisi and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa.

Both of them were extraordinarily charismatic ascetics, having relinquished and renounced all worldly pleasures and privileges, to live unconventionally in utter simplicity. Both were remarkably unconventional and seemingly erratic “God intoxicated” exemplars of Divine Love and devotional faith – blessed with the ‘gift of tears’ and of spontaneously praying, singing, conversing and calling to the Divine, which as egalitarians they beheld everywhere and in every being.  Both saints eschewed punditry and were simple, unschooled and unscholarly, yet with vast inner wisdom imparted conversationally and recorded by others.

Both historically helped to religiously reform the world by charismatically living their teachings. And both were so eccentrically unconventional that they were even considered insane by some worldly people, including a few friends and relatives.

Perhaps I found exceptional rapport with both St. Francis and Ramakrishna because my own private devotional tendencies and unconventional behaviors seemed similar to theirs, and especially because of inner and synchronistic experiences, including amazing and unforgettable déjà vu of their still palpable divine energies (shakti) during pilgrimages to India and Assisi.

Later, I learned that that renowned mystical poet-masters Hafiz and Rumi, were Supreme exemplars of the Sufi-Persian path of love. But that even in their Persian societies which honored Love, they were considered by Moslem authorities to be “heretics” or “holy fools” because – like Jesus – they realized and truthfully proclaimed their mystical self-identity as Divine LOVE – a fundamentally forbidden heresy to ruling mullahs. Thus, though Hafiz was not executed, his remains could not be entombed in a Moslem cemetery in his beloved birthplace and cultured home city, Shiraz, Iran.

LOVE as the unseen Source of the world we see

Only after first ‘discovering’ famous God intoxicated “Holy Fools”, did I later learn about the countless unknown others who bless this world as LOVE. And gradually I have realized that the eccentric but loving behaviors of all “holy fools” can help reveal that societal sanity requires radical reform of orthodox worldly rules and beliefs.

Moreover, I have realized that Divine LOVE, which they embody and emanate, inevitably advances human spiritual evolution –

That as we open our hearts, we ultimately remember we are ONE spirit eternally encompassing all life as LOVE;

That we are the unseen Source of the world we see!

Invocation – Love for all, Hatred for none!

So let us love GOD with all our heart and soul and with all our might.

And with firm faith, may our guiding motto ever be

‘Love for all, Hatred for none!’


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


2020 Coronavirus Epilogue.

Dear Friends,

After my midlife spiritual self-identity awakening epiphany, I began experiencing an ever-expanding and ever-blessed faith-based life. (See https://sillysutras.com/ive-found-a-faith-based-life/.) Especially after miraculously surviving a June, 2014 near-death taxicab rundown, I’ve been blessed by living with constant faith in God, without worry or fear of inevitable death or disease, while gratefully experiencing every day as a bonus, and every breath a blessing.

From my faith-based perspective, the current “new normal” coronavirus pandemic crisis of worldwide fear and panic is a once-in-a-lifetime ‘fork-in—the-road’ opportunity for humankind to co-create a new and wonderful world of happiness, harmony and health for everyone everywhere, rather than degenerate into a locked-down dystopian/Orwellian “Big Brother” era of unprecedented human control and enslavement by a few psychopaths.

Because of my advanced age, as an allegedly viral-vulnerable 87 year old elder, I’m probably soon scheduled to bid ‘bye bye’ to the 21st century. But while this blessed lifetime continues, I wish to help others find spiritual happiness by sharing spiritual memoirs and perspectives which have guided me to faith-based living, as my beloved Guruji, Sri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas requested in 1992.

Because normal activities of billions of people worldwide have been disrupted by current coronavirus edicts, fears and quarantines, with many people suffering unanticipated deprivations of basic needs, most humans have been motivated to observe and reflect on what’s wrong with current societal restrictions, and how we can improve all causes of much needless suffering and unhappiness. In my view, we are thereby imminently destined to experience an urgently needed ’tipping point’ in which a critical mass of humanity will begin to co-create a much more compassionate world, with bottom-up societies serving people and planet over profits.

Accordingly, while “sheltering in place”, I’ve been updating SillySutras postings from my optimistic faith-based perspectives. So far I’ve explained how we can find ever increasing happiness for everyone everywhere:

1) By self-identifying as universal spirit, and not as just mortal bodies and their thoughts;
2) By embracing the whole of Nature with loving-kindness and compassion, and thereby ending all unsustainable pillaging, poisoning and exploiting of our precious planet and its vulnerable beings;
3) By consciously expressing love, gratitude and goodwill through our bodily and global electromagnetic and hydrologic systems; and
4) By lovingly and forgivingly transcending negative tendencies (like selfishness, fear, and anger) which always hurt us and others.

Today, I’m updating my foregoing memoirs posting about Honoring Devotional “Holy Fools” to explain how coronavirus suffering is awakening our deepest caring instincts, to reveal why we must intuitively and conscientiously follow our heart, even if we’re ridiculed as “conspiracy theorists”, fools or ascetic ‘heretics’. This is a crucial life lesson which my beloved Guruji humbly taught by instructing:

“Follow your heart – even if it contradicts my words.”

“If there is love in your heart, you don’t have to worry about rules.”

~ Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas


Similarly, Shakespeare wisely advised:

This above all: to thine own Self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any [person].”

~ William Shakespeare ~ Hamlet, Act I, Scene III

And by following our heart – our Self – we are guided by intuitive faith,
which is beyond thought or reason:

“Faith is a knowledge within the heart,

beyond the reach of proof.”

“The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.”

“Faith is different from proof; the latter is human,
the former is a Gift from God.”

~ Blaise Pascal

The coronavirus emergency is a disguised blessing, awakening our deepest caring instincts.

Humanity is a “social species” which has survived and thrived mostly communally and interdependently. According to famed anthropologist Margaret Mead, compassionate caring for one-another is the first sign of human civilization.

Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones. But Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.

“A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts,” Mead said. “We are at our best when we serve others.  Be civilized.”

~ Ira Byock, The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life (2012)

Although compassionately caring for one-another is a primordial human propensity, since advent of the industrial age we’ve become increasingly ruled by reductionist systems rather than by universal compassion. And we’ve been thinking a lot (unlike other species), without remembering or realizing that our thoughts create our “reality”; that for each of us “this world is wrought with naught but thought”.

Thus we’ve forgotten that:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought:

it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.

If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him,

as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.”

~ Buddha


Accordingly, we mistakenly self-identify as and with our physical bodies and thoughts, rather than as our shared spirit of universal Love. Also, although we’re able to perceive only a tiny part of the vast spectrum of quantum field energy, we mistakenly think and believe that “reality” is only what we can directly or instrumentally perceive, identify and measure. So we don’t deem as ‘real’ that which we can’t yet perceive or detect.

Ignorantly believing only what we can see or measure, we mistakenly self-identify as separate from each other, and all other apparent objects of our extremely limited perceptions. But all space/time forms and phenomena are immaterial endless energy. E=mc². So our supposed perceived “reality” is “an illusion”, as similarly explained by Albert Einstein and Gautama Buddha:

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The world, indeed, is like a dream

and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”

“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,

does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.”

~ Buddha


To transcend inevitable space/time karmic suffering as supposed separate entities, perennial wisdom teaches that we must think and behave lovingly and nonviolently, not fearfully, harmfully or violently.

Hence compassionate nonviolence is morally and ethically imperative.

Therefore, instead of fighting unjust others in ways which polarize, divide and separate us, it’s best for us to harmoniously live our own inner truth. When we violently oppose perceived enemies we enhance the optical illusion of our separation from each other; viz. as supposedly separate subjects acting against supposedly separate objects, we reify what we resist.

Mahatma Gandhi and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. were inspiring exemplars of faith-based nonviolent pursuit of political harmony and spiritual Truth.

Thus, Gandhi maintained only nonviolent and respectful satyagraha advocacy of his social justice causes. E.g. To oppose extremely unjust British Raj taxes and edicts against refining or manufacturing essential salt in occupied India, Gandhi led a nonviolent satyagraha salt march to the Arabian Sea coast where he technically defied British law by gathering salt crystals. The British arrested and jailed almost 60,000 peaceful march participants, including Gandhi, after British police had violently attacked 2,500 marchers. But the Indians didn’t react violently.

Similarly, American hero Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired by Gandhi’s satyagraha philosophy, led faith-based nonviolent anti-segregation sit-ins peacefully defying egregiously immoral and unjust Southern racist laws, wherein protestors peacefully endured violent beatings and jailings.

Gandhi’s faith-based satyagraha philosophy was elucidated in his wise words, that:

“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness.”



“There are many causes that I am prepared to die for
but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”

“My faith runs so very much faster than my reason that I can challenge the whole world and say,
’God is, was and ever shall be’.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi


The whole world is blessed by compassionately loving and nonviolent beings.

Our supposed space/time “reality” is only immaterial and impermanent energy. So everything we think, do, or say energetically changes this world in some way: our love-thoughts invariably bless this world, while fear-thoughts afflict it. Thus for millennia India has honored avadhutas – self-realized bhakti mystics who bless the world while living beyond usual egoic consciousness and worldly concerns, without adhering to accepted social standards. (See e.g. Advadhuta Gita, and Avadhuta – Wikipedia) And, similarly, Sufis respectfully recognize unconventional God intoxicated masts.

Worldwide there have been countless anonymous or unknown faithful lovers of God – who were sometimes so immersed in Divine Love as to be out of touch with the outside world. Western and Eastern Christianity, and other Eastern mystical religious and spiritual paths have all approvingly recognized God intoxicated ‘holy fools’ despite their eccentric behaviors which are inconsistent with (unwise) “conventional wisdom” and social norms.

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”

~ 1 Corinthians 3:19

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God;
and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

~ 1 John 4:7-8

In our relative “reality”, Love always triumphs over the fearful illusion of ‘evil’.

For millennia saints and sages have revealed that God is Absolute Unity, whereas this space/time world is “maya”: an illusionary thought-formed “reality” of relativity and duality – with perceived opposites, like then/now, light/dark, in/out, good/bad, win/lose, etc.

Thus, Paramahansa Yogananda tells us that in our space/time world

“Newton’s [3rd] Law of Motion is a law of maya: “To every action there is always an equal and contrary reaction; the mutual actions of any two bodies are always equal and oppositely directed.” “To have a single force is impossible. There must be, and always is, a pair of forces equal and opposite.”


And Yogananda reveals that

“To surmount maya was the task assigned to the human race by the millennial prophets. To rise above the duality of creation and perceive the unity of the Creator was conceived . . [by the millennial prophets] as man’s highest goal. 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.”

And he says that according to Divine design, prodded by suffering, we will ultimately remember our Absolute Unity, and transcend the illusions of duality and relativity:

“The good and evil of maya must ever alternate in supremacy. If joy were ceaseless here in this world, would man ever seek another? Without suffering he scarcely cares to recall that he has forsaken his eternal home. Pain is a prod to remembrance. The way of escape is through wisdom! The tragedy of death is unreal; those who shudder at it are like an ignorant actor who dies of fright on the stage when nothing more is fired at him than a blank cartridge. [Humankind] are the children of light; they will not sleep forever in delusion.”

Coronavirus suffering is awakening Humanity to triumph with Love over the fearful illusion of ‘evil’.

While prevented from pursuing our normal activities, we are remembering and realizing the primary importance of compassionately caring for one-another. And we are observing and rejecting unwarranted edicts, fears and ‘lock-downs’, which cause much needless suffering and unhappiness. Also we are recognizing and rejecting the utter insanity of a tiny few of our autocratic “leaders”, who until now have thwarted expression and satisfaction of our primordial need for happiness as Love.

Just as enduring spiritual traditions have invariably recognized and honored eccentric beings (like avadhutas) who bless this world while consciously immersed in universal Love, they have also traditionally recognized and rejected (as demons or Archons) seemingly sub-human eccentrics lacking in compassion or devoid of empathy, who try to prevent our evolution to non-material realms by provoking panic and fear to polarize, divide and control us. Nowadays expert psychologists may identify and diagnose such beings as “psychopaths” who are ruling and ruining this world.

Thus we are about to recognize and replace current exploitive autocratic leaders and systems with loving societies serving people and planet over profits. Despite our inevitable ‘ups and downs’ our ultimate success is divinely destined.


“When I despair, I remember that all through history
the way of truth and love has always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers
and for a time they seem invincible,
but in the end they always fall — think of it. Always.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Invocation.

May we be compassionately inspired to help end needless suffering,
By faithfully following our Hearts
To co-create a new and wonderful world
Of happiness, harmony and health
For everyone everywhere,

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Finding Lasting Happiness

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,

the whole aim and end of human existence”

~ Aristotle
“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away. Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably. Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only. Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
~ Erich Fromm
“Our destiny is Divinity.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is a round trip metaphoric journey,
on which we are destined to return to point of origin.
On return, we learn – we never left.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





How shall we find lasting happiness?

Q. How shall we find lasting happiness?

A. We find lasting happiness upon transcending our illusionary ego-self, and Being our true Self.

Knowingly or unknowingly, everyone wants lasting happiness.

However, most seek it futilely in outside worldly pleasures which are always impermanent.

But, ever abiding Happiness is our true inner nature – our eternal Self – and our ultimate destiny.

So to find lasting happiness we must look within, not outside.

There mindfully we shall uncover and abolish all illusory ego-mind ideas which obscure awareness of our true Self – which is LOVE.

So, we shall find lasting happiness upon transcending our ego-self, and Being our true Self – as LOVE.



Ron’s comments on finding lasting happiness

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered why the world seems so crazy? Why so many people suffer from wars, poverty, illness, lack of basic life-sustaining necessities? Why in the richest nation on Earth, suffering is everywhere? Why even super-rich people often become lonely, depressed, addicted, or mentally ill?

Growing up in Chicago in the 1930’s and 40’s, I was intuitively inspired by a then very popular “hit parade” song, titled: “Bluebird of Happiness” passionately sung by operatic tenor and Jewish cantor Jan Peerce. But only on now listening to that classic recording, do I appreciate its inspiring ever-relevant lyrics. (For your upliftment an mp3 copy of that recording is linked below.)

In the 1950’s I first began thinking that inhumanely materialistic organization of human societies was unnecessarily causing widespread conflicts and suffering; that much individual pathology was being caused by widespread societal insanity.

I was then deeply influenced by “The Sane Society” a brilliant philosophical analysis by author-psychotherapist Erich Fromm, about the pathology of ‘normalcy’ in our materialistic societies. In “The Sane Society” Fromm suggested that materialistic Western society was lacking in sanity; that the iniquities, inequities and disharmonies of entire societies were pathological, not just the seemingly separate mental illnesses of people therein.

But only after my mid-life change of life, did I begin deeply reflecting on root causes of such societal insanity and unhappiness. I began asking many new questions about our true identity and reality, individually and collectively.

Thanks to continuing curiosity, and divine Grace, I have often been synchronistically blessed with simple spiritual answers to mentally complicated questions about crazy behaviors in a crazy world; answers which have brought me ever-increasing happiness.

I’ve discovered that seemingly complicated questions about living a happy life can often be simply answered from elevated heart levels of awareness; that our experience of happiness depends upon our mental attitude, and upon self-identification as eternal spirit rather than as mere mortal bodies and their stories. And that, ultimately, lasting happiness can only be found within, as Love.

So I’ve shared the foregoing quotations, sutras and Q & A essay/poem, to help remind us of perennially profound but simple answers to seemingly complicated questions about happiness and suffering, and to help us discover that lasting happiness as Love is our true nature, and ultimate destiny.

Invocation
May these writings encourage our experience, individually and societally, of ever increasing inner happiness as Love, in a seemingly crazy world. And since ‘everything we think, do or say, changes this world in some way’, may we ‘contagiously’ help heal this crazy world with heartfelt Love as we realize that “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


2020 Coronavirus addendum

Dear Friends,

Today’s posting (which emphasizes the perennial necessity of looking within to find lasting happiness) was first written before the world entered the unprecedented “new normal” coronavirus pandemic era of worldwide stay at home ‘lock-downs’, with anti-assembly, forced masking and social distancing decrees, shutting down most normal human social and economic activities, and activating history’s potentially greatest economic depression.

As I now write to you, billions of unhappily suffering people, while not distracted by their normal activities, are beginning to look within for origins and answers to our unprecedented outer problems. Thereby, they are now questioning the causes of current pre-planned crises, and realizing that their governments have utterly failed to protect or serve their fundamental human rights, liberties and needs.

Thus a “critical mass” of humanity is awakening to discover that we’ve become catastrophically and imminently endangered by sacrificing our few remaining precious outer freedoms to uncaring autocratic “leaders”; and that we are imminently at-risk of becoming abjectly dependent for physical survival on a few obscenely rich trans-national multi-billionaire-psychopaths planning to establish and control a dystopian/Orwellian world, and to keep us under house arrest until we are all vaccinated against the next purported pandemic.

Paradoxically, our awakening is completely opposite to the intent of those “leaders” who planned and perpetrated the current crisis, and who have intentionally provoked and stoked stressfully debilitating fear and pandemic panic, by repeatedly reporting immensely exaggerated and completely false coronavirus pandemic death and disease projections and statistics.

Instead of being paralyzed by fear and panic, we are discovering that by following our hearts, rather than unfounded government edicts, we have an unparalleled opportunity to collectively and cooperatively realize an abiding “new normal” era of cooperation, harmony and peace.

In my opinion, the coronavirus pandemic emergency has given us an unprecedented “once-in-a-lifetime” (‘use it or lose it’) opportunity to co-create a new and wonderful world of peace, happiness, harmony and health, with liberty, equality, and justice for all.

Accordingly, I urge you to please consider joining billions of others worldwide as an awakened “critical mass” of humanity which will, at long last, peacefully end the exploitive ‘industrial’ capitalist age of insanely and unsustainably pillaging, poisoning and plundering our precious planet, and of immorally exploiting all vulnerable people and other life forms thereon.

Let us unite to nonviolently replace, with localized and civilized sane societies, and cooperative communities, the psychopathically profit-seeking autocratic empires and colonizers, which have brought humankind to the brink of ending Earth-life as we’ve known it.

Invocation
May the coronavirus crisis prove a revolutionary disguised blessing by awakening our instinctive caring for one-another, and impelling us to follow our hearts to realization of a “new normal” wonderful world of LOVE.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Tenor Jan Peerce singing “Bluebird of Happiness”

Listen to

Finding Freedom ~
Question, Quotes and Comments

“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“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
“Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice.
Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Bondage is of the mind; freedom too is of the mind.
If you say ‘I am a free soul. I am a son of God who can bind me’ free you shall be.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“Be empty of worrying,

Think of Who Created Thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?”

~ Rumi
“The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body,
the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him –
that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“All life is an effort to attain freedom from self-created entanglement;
it is a desperate struggle to undo what has been done under ignorance,
to throw away the accumulated burden of the past,
to find rescue from the debris left by a series of temporary achievements and failures.”
~ Meher Baba
“Freedom is of the nature of the soul, it is its birthright:
.. real freedom of the soul shines through veils of matter in the form of the apparent freedom of man.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“To acquire freedom we have to get beyond the limitations of this universe;
it cannot be found here. ….
The only way to come out of bondage
is to go beyond the limitations of [karmic] law,
to go beyond causation.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“Liberation is our very nature. We are that.
The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“The soul can grow only in freedom. Love gives freedom.
And when you give freedom, you are free, that’s what detachment is.
If you enforce bondage on the other, you will be in imprisonment on your own accord.
If you bind the other, the other will bind you; if you define the other, the other will define you;
if you are trying to possess the other, the other will possess you.”
~ Osho
“Spiritual freedom is freedom from all wanting. . . When the soul breaks asunder the shackles of wanting, it is emancipated from bondage to body, mind, and ego. This freedom brings realization of the unity of all life and puts an end to all doubts and worries.”
~ Meher Baba
“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“The most fundamental message of Gautama the Buddha is not God, is not soul… it is freedom: freedom absolute, total, unconditional. He does not want to give you an ideology, because every ideology creates its own slavery. He does not want to give you a religion, because religion binds you.”
~ Osho
“We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.”
~ Ron Rattner – Sutra Sayings
“You are truly free when you are not a person.”
~ Deepak Chopra – The Book of Secrets
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual,

“Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. — “I Have a Dream” speech, August 28, 1963

 

Free Fall


Finding Freedom

Q. What is “freedom”, and how can we experience it?

A. “Freedom” is a word with different meanings.

Here we define “freedom” as an ultimate spiritual Reality beyond thought or ego – beyond human comprehension, imagination, description or belief –
which can only be known experientially, not rationally or mentally.

Ultimate “freedom” is our divine birthright, our nature and our destiny. Freedom is ever NOW, never then.

After mystically experiencing “freedom”, great beings like Jesus, the Buddha and Krishna have encouraged us to aspire to this ultimate transcendent experience. Knowingly or unknowingly, all people – including atheists, non-theists, and agnostics – long for “freedom”.

Mystics say that as long we self-identify only with our thoughts in ever changing space/time/causality reality we are inescapably ‘imprisoned’ in a state of psychological bondage, with inevitable suffering; that we experience ultimate “freedom” only in the present moment – the NOW – as we choicelessly self-identify with timeless universal awareness or spirit imminent in each of us.

Essential wisdom teachings of all enduring spiritual, mystical and mythic paths allude to spiritual “freedom”.

Thus, the most important Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, is a teaching by Divine Avatar Krishna about the ultimate spiritual goal (“moksha”) of liberation or “freedom” from the cycle of death and rebirth (“samsara”).

Similarly, all of Gautama Buddha’s teachings were aimed at ending human suffering through attainment of “freedom” from mental fetters or chains (samyojana) of mistaken self-identification with samsara.

When Jesus said: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) he meant that we will experience “freedom” on realizing our true self-identity as soul or spirit. And in declaring: “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30), Jesus showed that we can only find such freedom when we self-identify with ONE Divine spirit – the kingdom of heaven within – rather than as supposedly separate embodied personalities.

“Freedom” is the esoteric essence and mythical message of the biblical Passover story. Many Jews and Christians annually remember and ritually observe the biblical Exodus legend about God miraculously rescuing Jews from bondage as slaves in Egypt, with Christians recalling that a Passover seder dinner was Jesus’ last supper.   Some Afro-American Christians celebrate by singing the popular spiritual song “Go Down Moses

The Exodus story symbolizes humanity’s eternal quest for spiritual freedom – for societal escape from enslavement by mistaken beliefs in false external Gods or goals to an inner ‘promised land’ of ONE eternal Divinity universally imminent within each of us, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, if any. So Passover rituals of lighting outer candles, can symbolically remind us of humanity’s perpetual quest for the eternal inner light of universal freedom.

Conclusion

We find and experience ultimate freedom only in choiceless awareness beyond our apparent subject/object separateness; beyond our beliefs, religions, ideologies or philosophies. By recognizing and transcending illusory belief barriers which seem to imprison us, we are –

“Free at last, free at last!”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.”


NOW – ever NOW, never THEN!


Ron’s Commentary on Finding Spiritual Freedom

Dear Friends,

Spiritual freedom is an ultimate goal of all perennial wisdom paths. Most people associate “freedom” with personal, political, and economic liberty.  But spiritual freedom is an extraordinarily rare transcendental state which can be inwardly attained even by those who do not enjoy external freedoms, like slaves or prison inmates. 

I first deeply reflected on transcendental concepts of “freedom” during the 1950’s on learning of Abraham Maslow’s humanistic psychology theories concerning self-actuated people, and when I read “Escape From Freedom” by German-born psychotherapist Erich Fromm, who endorsed the fundamental importance of not submitting to outer-dictates from an autocratic societal system that prescribes inauthentic beliefs and behaviors.

Though I’ve always been instinctively inner-directed, after becoming a lawyer I rarely reflected about inner “freedom” until I had a memorable face-to-face exchange with my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, just prior to his 1980 return to India. 

While then residing in my apartment, Guruji told me: “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.”

Thereupon, I became intensely curious about Guruji’s surprising revelation that my body was “like a prison”. And I wondered how and why ‘I’ was ‘imprisoned’, and how ‘I’ could get out of ‘jail’ – free like Guruji. So I began deeply exploring spiritual freedom, as distinguished from personal, political, and economic freedoms.  

Soon, I was reminded of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary  “I Have a Dream” speech, and wondered why his words “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last” were so deeply powerful. 

Ultimately, I realized that those words were rooted in the biblical Exodus Passover story; and I intuited that spiritual “freedom” is the esoteric essence and mythical message of that story.  I concluded that the Passover story symbolically emphasizes escape from outer bondage to a Divinely ‘promised land’ within – viz. escape from enslavement by mistaken beliefs in false external idols, Gods or goals to an inner ‘promised land’ of ONE eternal Divinity imminent in each of us.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is ONE!”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4
 


Later, I noted that Jesus powerfully alluded to spiritual freedom by prophesying:

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32

 

So Jesus was teaching that we will find freedom (from self-imposed worldly slavery) only when we transcend entity identity and self-identify as ONE Divine spirit – the kingdom of heaven within – rather than as supposedly separate embodied personalities.

Ultimately, I concluded that our limited and limiting ego ideas about self-identity and reality confine each of us within a kind of psychological prison in which suffering is inevitable, and which restricts realization of our infinite potentialities.  

However, the masters teach and demonstrate that we can each mentally transcend that “prison” and emerge “free at last” from our self-woven karmic cocoons, no matter what our outer circumstances.  

Thus, Rumi reminded us:

“Be empty of worrying,

Think of Who Created Thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?”

~ Rumi


The encouraging possibility of getting out of jail FREE is explained in the foregoing quotations and essay.  May they help us evolve toward precious inner freedom, our divine birthright.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner
 

2020 Coronavirus Epilogue

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter/Passover pandemic season!

In this extraordinarily unprecedented epochal period of pandemic panic, billions of people worldwide are fearfully keeping socially distant from one-another or are locked-down and “sheltering at home” instead of living normally. Observant Christians and Jews were barred from worshiping together at Easter services which memorialized the death and resurrection of Jesus, or at Passover seders (like Jesus’ last supper) which ritually observed the biblical Exodus legend of God’s miraculous deliverance of Jews from slavery in Egypt, to seek and find freedom in a ‘promised land’.

As a longtime social justice attorney, I’ve become extremely concerned about egregiously unconstitutional autocratic laws and regulations which prevent billions of people from democratically enjoying innate and personal, political, and economic “freedoms”. And I encourage revolutionary resistance to such autocratically immoral edicts by countless confined or restricted people everywhere.

But to fundamentally address the psychological origin of our worldly pandemic panic and fears, I’ve republished the foregoing posting about finding transcendental inner “freedom”.

Paradoxically, this is a time of both immense threat and epochal opportunity. Because pervasive panic and fear precludes us from authentically addressing current quandaries, it is crucial that we transcend such fears in order to skillfully solve our potentially disastrous problems; and, to deeply reconsider our life purposes and priorities as sentient Earth beings instinctively seeking “freedom”.

Invocation

May today’s writings (and music) help dispel our fears and panic, and inspire and encourage our democratic worldly progress toward liberty, equality, fraternity and justice for all, and hasten our inner evolution, until we are

“Free at last, free at last.
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

“Go Down Moses”

Afro-American spiritual about exodus story, sung by Louis Armstrong and chorus.



Death? Afterlife? Rebirth?
~ Easter Reflections on Resurrections.

At my death do not lament our separation …
as the sun and moon but seem to set,
in reality this is a rebirth.
~ Rumi
“I tell you the truth,
no one can see the kingdom of God
unless he is born again.”
~ John – 3:3
“The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”
“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time,
nor does it come into being again when the body is created.
The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless,
and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed.
Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel, in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies verily accepts new bodies.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear?
When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as man,
To soar with angels blest;
But even from angelhood I must pass on …”
~ Rumi
death, as men call him, ends what they call men
–but beauty is more now than dying’s when…
~ e. e. cummings
“The dewdrop belongs to the sea.
Separated, it is vulnerable to the sun and wind and other elements of nature;
but when the droplet returns its source, it becomes magnified in oneness with the sea.
So it is with your life.  United to God you become immortal.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Eternal Life is gained by utter abandonment of one’s own life.
When God appears to His ardent lover the lover is absorbed in Him, and not so much as a hair of the lover remains.
True lovers are as shadows, and when the sun shines in glory
the shadows vanish away.
He is a true lover to God to whom God says,
“I am thine, and thou art mine! ”
~ Rumi


Tree of Life


The Last Supper



The biblical story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection raises crucial issues about life and death – about afterlife and rebirth – and about our true identity and reality.

As countless millions traditionally commemorate the rebirth and resurrection of Jesus following his physical death by crucifixion, let us contemplate the deep significance of that story.  Whether we regard it as historic or metaphoric, the story raises crucial issues about life and death – about afterlife and rebirth – and about our true identity and reality.

Physical death is inevitable, but Life is perpetual.

Death of the physical body is inevitable and unavoidable. After birth, “no matter how we strive, no body leaves alive.” Uncertainty exists only about time of death, and about whether there is conscious life after physical death.

For millennia seers, saints, philosophers and mystics have addressed perennial questions of life after physical death and of our true identity and reality. Since the beginning of the 20th century when Albert Einstein revolutionized Western science with his theories of special and general relativity, quantum physicists and other non-materialistic scientists have begun confirming ancient mystical insights.

Raymond A. Moody, Jr., PhD, MD coined the term ‘Near Death Experience’ [NDE] in his 1975 best-selling book “Life After Life”. Since then NDE’s have become widely considered, especially by millions who claim to have experienced them. And some leading-edge non-materialist scientists have cited testimonies about NDE’s and other extraordinary mystical experiences as evidence that consciousness survives physical death.

For example, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, respected scientist, author and pioneering authority on death and dying, believed in survival of spirit after physical death, and used butterflies as symbols of the death process.

Soon after World War II, she visited the children’s barracks at the Maidanek concentration camp in Poland. There, amazingly, she observed hundreds of butterfly images drawn by the inmate children on the walls, even with pebbles and fingernails. Spellbound by the sight of butterflies drawn on the walls, she wondered why they were there and what they meant.

Twenty-five years later, after listening to hundreds of terminally ill patients, she finally realized that the imprisoned children must have known that they were going to die and intuitively were using butterflies as images of the physical death process. Dr. Kubler-Ross thus explained in The Wheel of Life, A Memoir of Living and Dying:

“They knew that soon they would become butterflies. Once dead, they would be out of that hellish place. Not tortured anymore. Not separated from their families. Not sent to gas chambers. None of this gruesome life mattered anymore. Soon they would leave their bodies the way a butterfly leaves its cocoon. And I realized that was the message they wanted to leave for future generations. . . .It also provided the imagery that I would use for the rest of my career to explain the process of death and dying.”


Dr. Kubler-Ross’s writings have inspired many other non-materialist scientists who have followed her lead. Also, of great importance in helping us understand whether spirit survives physical death were the ground breaking scientific studies by Dr. Ian Stevenson, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who for forty years studied children world-wide who spontaneously remembered past lives. Dr. Stevenson objectively validated and documented about twelve hundred such cases.

What survives physical death?

If – like snowflakes – each of us manifests as an absolutely unique physical form, what is it about us that can survive death of that unique form, and be “born and reborn”?

“Reincarnation” is often understood to be the transmigration of a “soul” – viz. apparently uniquely circumscribed spirit – to another body after physical death.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Hinduism’s most cited ancient scripture, Divine Avatar Krishna instructs Prince Arjuna that:

“The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”; “The soul never takes birth and never dies” but “when the body is destroyed” or when “giving up old and worn out bodies . . [it] accepts new bodies.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2


Though in Buddhism there is no concept of separate soul or individual self that survives death, Buddhists believe in rebirth. Like most mystics, Buddhists say that in addition to our physical body, we are enveloped by subtle astral and mental bodies, which survive death of the physical body and become consciously associated with successive physical bodies.

Thus the Dalai Lama says that:

“We are born and reborn countless number of times, and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another.  Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”


A detailed and compelling description of afterlife can be found in “Autobiography of a Yogi”, by Paramahansa Yogananda, Chapter 43 – The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar .   There Yogananda credibly recounts a long discussion with his physically deceased Guru, Sri Yukteswar, who – like Jesus – resurrected to explain to his disciple Yogananda many details of afterlife.  [You can read that extraordinarily fascinating story at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Autobiography_of_a_Yogi/Chapter_43

Many psychics say that on physical death “we” survive and enter different realms. eg. http://www.victorzammit.com/Whenwedie/whatdoeshappen.htm

But ancient Vedic and Buddhist non-dualism philosophies (“Advaita”;”Advaya”) have for millennia taught that this impermanent and ever changing world is an unreal illusion called maya or samsara; and, that “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”… .

“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
~ Buddha

“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real,
so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha


Notwithstanding the Buddha’s non-dualist teachings, the Dalai Lama says he practices death and rebirth eight times daily. And, as Tibetan Bodhisattva of Compassion, he intends to return until all sentient beings are liberated from suffering.

If you had the option of a one-way exit pass to ‘heaven’, would you volunteer as a Bodhisattva to come back to this crazy world?

Vivekananda and Einstein.

The ancient Eastern non-dualism teachings were first brought to large Western audiences by Swami Vivekananda, principal disciple of nineteenth century Indian Holy Man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, at and after the 1893 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago.

In an eloquent New York City lecture called “The Real and the Apparent Man”, Vivekananda equated maya or samsara with “time, space, and causation” and presciently predicted scientific confirmation of the ancient Vedic non-dual philosophy of One Infinite Existence. He said:

“According to the Advaita philosophy, ..this Maya or ignorance–or name and form, or, as it has been called in Europe, time, space, and causality–is out of this one Infinite Existence showing us the manifoldness of the universe; in substance, this universe is one. So long as any one thinks that there are two ultimate realities, he is mistaken. When he has come to know that there is but one, he is right. This is what is being proved to us every day, on the physical plane, on the mental plane, and also on the spiritual plane.”


“What then becomes of all this threefold eschatology of the dualist, that when a man dies he goes to heaven, or goes to this or that sphere, and that the wicked persons become ghosts, and become animals, and so forth? None comes and none goes, says the non-dualist. How can you come and go? You are infinite; where is the place for you to go?
 
“So it is with regard to the soul; the very question of birth and death in regard to it is utter nonsense. Who goes and who comes? Where are you not? Where is the heaven that you are not in already? Omnipresent is the Self of man. Where is it to go? Where is it not to go? It is everywhere. So all this childish dream and puerile illusion of birth and death, of heavens and higher heavens and lower worlds, all vanish immediately for the perfect. For the nearly perfect it vanishes after showing them the several scenes up to Brahmaloka. It continues for the ignorant.”


“Your own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”


~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga


Revered 20th century Indian sage, Sri Ramana Maharshi – who was a renowned exponent of non-dualism – taught that for self-realized beings there is no reincarnation, but that reincarnation exists until self-realization – that self-realization reveals this entire world of space/time/causality as illusionary maya or samsara. Thus, responding to the question: “Is reincarnation true?”,  he said: 

“Reincarnation exists only so long as there is ignorance. There is really no reincarnation at all, either now or before. Nor will there be any hereafter. This is the truth.”


Einstein’s revolutionary non-mechanistic science and unconventional religious ideas were consistent with highest non-dualistic Eastern religious teachings, because they questioned the substantiality of matter, the ultimate reality of space, time and causality, and reincarnation. Like Vivekananda, Einstein said:

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”



“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”



“Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”

“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”

“There is no place in this new kind of physics for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality.”




“That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.”

“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, …Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.”

~ Albert Einstein


Conclusion.

Whatever our ideas about death, afterlife or rebirth, may we – in this precious human lifetime on our precious planet Earth – realize together our common dream for a better world, where everyone everywhere is happy.


“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu!”


AND SO IT SHALL BE!


Ron’s Explanations and Reflections on Reincarnations and Resurrections.

Dear Friends,

As an octogenarian, I have long reflected upon crucially important perennial questions concerning life, death, afterlife, and rebirth.  And I’ve thereby been blessed to realize that what we call “life” continues eternally after inevitable physical death.

Until my mid-life spiritual awakening, I self-identified only with my mortal body, its thoughts and its story, and I assumed that death of the body ended life. So I had no knowledge, opinion or belief concerning reincarnation or afterlife in ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’, or of an immortal “soul”.

Then in my early forties, I had irreversibly transformative experiences of spiritual self-identity and afterlife: I realized that I was not merely my body, its thoughts and story, but eternal and universal awareness. And I began seeing visions of apparent past lives, and inner and outer appearances of deceased people, including my maternal grandfather and Mahatma Gandhi, my first inner spiritual guide.

So, I began accepting Eastern ideas of reincarnation and transmigration of an eternal soul, while gradually losing fear of inevitable physical death. Then, on meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I learned that from childhood he had been preoccupied with two perennial puzzles: “Who am I?” and “What is death?”; and, that at age thirteen, inspired by irresistible inner longing, Guruji had run away from home in search of experiential answers to those eternal questions.

Inspired by Guruji, I developed a deep curiosity and philosophical interest in the spiritual significance of death and dying, reincarnation and karma. Elsewhere, on SillySutras.com I have shared many experiences, essays, quotes and poems on these subjects. (See, e.g., https://sillysutras.com/category/afterlife/ ;https://sillysutras.com/category/life-and-death/; https://sillysutras.com/category/reincarnation/ )

Ultimately I’ve concluded that cosmically there is no death; that “birth and death are virtual, while Life is perpetual”. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/know-death-to-know-life-know-death-to-know-that-there-is-no-death/ )
Consequently, I’ve become ever more detached and less fearful about my own inevitable and perhaps imminent bodily death – a great blessing.

Moreover, I’ve become persuaded that from a rare non-dualistic timeless ‘Buddha’s eye view’ all our supposedly separate incarnations, emanations or appearances can be seen concurrently – formed like ink blots in a ‘big bang’ Rorschach test; but that until we become Buddhas we are karmically challenged to live each space/time lifetime as lovingly and skillfully as possible, while ever mindful that we are not mortal separate entities but indivisible formless and eternal Infinite Potentiality.

To encourage our deep insights on perennial questions of afterlife and reincarnation, like “Who am I?” and “What is death?”, I have shared the foregoing writings.

On Easter and every day, may they help us discover within ever expanding fulfillment and happiness during our precious ephemeral lifetimes on planet Earth.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


2020 Coronavirus Epilogue.

Dear Friends,

Since last year’s April equinox holidays, we have entered an extraordinarily epochal and unprecedented “new normal” era of worldwide coronavirus pandemic panic, in which billions of people on “spaceship Earth” are gripped by fear of death, illness or imminent calamity, and are voluntarily or compulsorily refraining from normal economic and social activities, and sheltering at home rather than reverently joining together to commemorate the holidays. 

Paradoxically, this is a time of both immense threat and epochal opportunity; an especially appropriate time for us to deeply reconsider our life purposes and priorities as sentient Earth beings.

Because pervasive panic and fear precludes us from prudently addressing current quandaries, it is crucial that we transcend such fears in order to skillfully solve our potentially disastrous problems.

To help us overcome our fears, I have reposted the foregoing essay and key quotations. In reviewing them, I sincerely invite our deep contemplation of possible eternal life after physical death, and of rebirth or afterlife in physical or subtle planes.
  
May such reflection encourage us to fearlessly follow our conscience without panic or worry about inevitable bodily death, and thereby to lead ever happier lives.

And so may it be!  

Ron Rattner