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Posts Tagged ‘Sri Ramana Maharshi’

Knowing The Unknowable

“Since no one really knows anything about God,
those who think they do are just 
troublemakers.”
~ Rabia of Basra (first female Sufi saint)
“When the mind is completely empty –
only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.”
“Only when the mind is wholly silent,
completely inactive, not projecting,
when it is not seeking and is utterly still –
only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self.
Man’s real nature is happiness.
Happiness is inborn in the true Self.
Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self.
The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it,
he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
The less we think we know,
the more we really Know.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings






Introduction to “Knowing The Unknowable”

Dear Friends,

The following “Knowing The Unknowable” verses paradoxically point to our ever mysterious shared purpose as Earthly incarnates, which can only be known experientially, but not mentally.

They are explained in the foregoing quotations and in comments following the verses.

Please reflect on these writings. And enjoy!

Ron Rattner

Knowing The Unknowable

Knowing is bliss;
ignorance isn’t bliss
– it’s suffering.

Knowing’s not mental,
– it’s existential.

If we think we Know,
we don’t.

Knowing’s not thought,
and knowing’s not taught.

Knowing’s never then or how;
Knowing’s always here and now.

So, Knowing is this:

It’s Being —
Bliss —

NOW!


Ron’s audio recitation of “Knowing The Unknowable”

Listen to





Ron’s explanation of “Knowing The Unknowable”

Dear Friends,

In space/time duality reality we can’t express Ultimate Truth, which is ineffable – beyond conception, comprehension, imagination, or belief; but (like the Buddha legendarily pointing to the moon), we can only indicate it.

The forgoing “Knowing The Unknowable” poem paradoxically points to our ever mysterious shared purpose as Earthly incarnates.

We’ve appeared on the ‘Earth branch of the great Cosmic university’ as spiritual students, to learn our true Self-identity as eternal Love.

Knowingly or unknowingly we all long for LOVE – which is our common spiritual essence and Source. And we’re here to find it, by compassionately and lovingly living our lives.

As learning incentives, many of us suffer painful experiences. Inevitably we thereby learn that knowing Divinity comes not from fearful or divisive ego-mind efforts or judgmental hostility, but from opened hearts and stilled minds – lovingly letting go of all ideas of being separate from or exploiting each other or Nature. Thus

Dedication

Today’s quotations, comments and poetic verses
are deeply dedicated to inspiring timeless realization
of our universal aspiration –
to experientially “Know the Unknowable” by
Being –
Bliss –

NOW!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional

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




Ron’s Introduction to Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional

Dear Friends,

Have you ever wondered why the world seems so insane?  Why billions of people worldwide suffer unnecessarily from wars, poverty, illness, lack of basic life-sustaining necessities?  Why even in the richest nation on Earth, suffering is ubiquitous?  Why even materially rich people are often depressed, addicted or mentally ill?  

To help us answer those questions, I’ve posted below “Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional”  a pithy whimsical poem which emphasizes the crucial spiritual truth that Life is eternal, though suffering is optional. In comments following the poem I’ll explain it’s origination and dedication.

Ron Rattner
 
Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional

Life is perpetual;
Happiness is optional.

God gives Life eternal.
Humankind makes it sublime or infernal.

Timeless delight,
or endless night:

However we choose it,
we never can lose it.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional”

Listen to



Ron’s commentary on “Life Is Perpetual; Happiness Is Optional”

Dear Friends,

Long before my mid-life spiritual awakening, I often wondered about seeming needless injustice and suffering in our supposedly ‘advanced’ societies.

And I attributed societal suffering to societal insanity. But only after spiritual awakening, did I begin deeply reflecting on root causes of such societal insanity and unhappiness. With continuing curiosity, I began asking many new questions about our true identity and reality. That process of constant questioning has proved immeasurably helpful.

Thereby, I’ve often been blessed with simple spiritual answers to seemingly complicated questions about insane human behaviors which cause needless suffering in our beautiful world; answers which have brought me ever-increasing happiness.   Like Dr. Seuss, I’ve discovered that: “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple”; that seemingly complicated questions about living a happy life often can be resolved with simple answers from elevated levels of inner awareness.  

I have found that human suffering arises from ignorance of our true nature and spiritual Self-identity; that we inevitably suffer karmically while seeking happiness through satisfaction of ephemeral worldly desires, because lasting happiness can only be found within; and, that our experience of happiness depends upon our self-identification as eternal spirit rather than as only impermanent mortal bodies and their stories.

So inspired by my beloved Guruji, I’ve shared many SillyStutras writings about happiness, to help us discover within that eternal happiness is our true nature.

Recent realization and dedication

The foregoing pithy poem was composed many years ago. But only recently have I discovered an ancient phenomenon which significantly impedes and complicates humanity’s quest for happiness. While vehemently rejecting current governmental pandemic edicts denying billions of people their core freedoms and human rights, I began relentlessly researching the source of this extraordinary phenomenon.

Thereby, I found persuasive evidence that our societies, enterprises and “leaders” are afflicted and dominated by ancient subhuman malignantly evil energies or entities which parasitically polarize, divide and exploit humankind, by provoking anger, anxiety, and fear. [See Discovering and Escaping an Illusory Matrix “Reality”; and “Is the world being ruled and ruined by psychopaths?”]

And I’ve realized that countless beings who are now dependent or dominated, or are hungry, sick, impoverished, or enslaved, are being forced or instinctively intimidated to prioritize physical survival over seeking happiness within to discover that life is Eternal.

But as we begin a rare Aquarian Age of peace, justice and goodwill, I’m confident that Humanity is about to recognize, reject, and replace current exploitive autocratic leaders and systems with loving societies serving people and planet over profits.

And this posting is deeply dedicated to contributing to that transcendent new Age.

Invocation

May today’s writings help us recognize
current extraordinary difficulties
as rare evolutionary opportunities,
and encourage us to nonviolently and non-judgmentally
resist and transcend them
with innate love, forgiveness, righteousness and justice.

May we thereby live ever happier, peaceful and harmonious lives.

 
And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


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

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

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

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



Introduction

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

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

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

Discussion

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

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

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

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

Spinoza said:

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

Thus, in 1932 Einstein told the Spinoza society:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


Determinism versus morality and social justice

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

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

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

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

This was explained by Swami Vivekananda as follows:

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

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

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

*Footnote

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



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




What Choice Do We Have?

“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
“Excellence is never an accident.
It is always the result of high intention,
sincere effort, and intelligent execution;
it represents the wise choice of many alternatives
– choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
~ Aristotle
“Inflamed by greed, incensed by hate, confused by delusion,
overcome by them, obsessed by mind, a man chooses for his own affliction, for others’ affliction, for the affliction of both and experiences pain and grief.”
~ Buddha
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life.”
~ Deuteronomy 30:19

“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Friedrich Schiller
“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
“We must believe in free will, we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
“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
“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
“Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice.

Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.”

“…Choice in every form is conflict. Contradiction is inevitable in choice; this contradiction, inner and outer breeds confusion and misery.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
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

 



Introduction to What Choice Do We Have?

Dear Friends,

The forgoing quotations and following poem and comments concern the perennial puzzle of freedom of choice versus fate or destiny. They summarize perspectives which I still endorse, after composing the poem many years ago during an extended period of post-retirement reclusion.

Please forgive redundancies in this posting. Long-ago I investigated and accepted non-dualism determinism philosophy. So today I have no choice but to ask again “What Choice Do We Have?”.

Explanations and reflections about choice versus destiny are offered in comments after the poem. Enjoy!

Ron Rattner


What Choice Do We Have?

Ego is free to choose,
But is never free.

Self does not choose,
But is ever free.

Our only choice
Is to accept or reject
“What is”.

Acceptance is pleasure;
Rejection is suffering.

Acceptance is freedom;
Rejection is bondage.

Acceptance is NOW;
Rejection is then.

So, if choose you must,
Then with faith and trust,

Say “YES” to Life –

NOW!



Ron’s audio recitation of “What Choice Do We Have?”

Listen to



Ron’s explanations and reflections on “What Choice Do We Have?”

Dear Friends,

Except for rare Buddha-like beings who Self-identify only as Universal Awareness – as Absolute – the vast majority of Humans mentally self-identify with their “soap operas” as supposedly separate ego entities in space and time.

And as long as we believe ourselves to be such separate entities, we invariably experience apparent freedom of choice, but are subject to the law of cause and effect, with separate destinies and inevitable karmic consequences.

We have apparent freedom of choice only until we transcend our mental illusion of separation. Whereupon we realize freedom from choice.

If there is no entity separate from Universal Awareness, how can there be any separate choice or destiny? When a mirage bubble bursts into the Ocean of Awareness, it exists only as the Ocean, without supposed separate choice or destiny.

As great beings recurrently remind us, all we call “reality” is an ever impermanent illusory mental mirage, maya or samsara. We transcend or end that mutable mirage, as we experience its Absolute Source and Essence as pure and undivided Universal Awareness.

Quantum science shows us that everything in space/time is energy (e=mc2); that all forms and phenomena are merely vibrating and radiating immaterial energies endlessly and inevitably appearing (from unknown causes and conditions) out of and disappearing into an ineffable matrix of mystery.

“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.”

~ Albert Einstein


“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


For millennia mystical inner explorers have experienced that matrix of mystery through transcendentally elevated awareness, and they have realized that the sole Source of what we call “reality” is ineffable Universal Awareness – Consciousness beyond mental description, conception, or belief.

So from a non-dualist “Buddha’s eye view” our supposedly separate space/time “reality” isn’t really Real – it’s just an immaterial energy mirage; and our beliefs about it – including free choice and destiny – are mere mental illusions.

“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


Suggestion

Whether or not we can agree that whatever happens in space/time “reality” is karmically predestined – that earth-life is like a pre-programmed dream – I have found that assuming predestination can help us find happiness.

We can experience ever growing peace of mind by more and more refraining from exercising apparent freedom of choice, and accepting each moment with the attitude that it could not be otherwise; that everything is happening in the best way and at the best time – as an evolutionary opportunity and incentive. 

So, I sincerely invite your careful consideration of today’s profound quotations and “What Choice Do We Have?” poem. 

Invocation

May these writings help all of us find increasing happiness by accepting difficulties as evolutionary opportunities, and by finding blessings in unexpected interactions with others.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Amazing Grace

“Amazing grace!
how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now i see.”
~ John Newton
“Above all the grace and the gifts
that Christ gives to his beloved,
is that of overcoming self.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi
“Every breath we draw is a gift of [God’s] love,
every moment of existence is a grace,
for it brings with it immense graces from Him.”
~ Thomas Merton
“Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave ’til it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.”
~ Rumi
“Love cannot be learned or taught.
Love comes as Grace.”
~ Rumi
“The winds of grace are always blowing,
but you have to raise the sail.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna
“Grace is ever present.
All that is necessary is that you surrender to it.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Grace comes to forgive and then forgive again.”
~ Rumi
“I know, to banish anger altogether
from one’s breast is a difficult task.
It cannot be achieved through pure personal effort.
It can be done only by God’s grace.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“As far as inner transformation is concerned,
there is nothing you can do about it.
You cannot transform yourself,
and you certainly cannot transform your partner or anybody else.
All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen,
for grace and love to enter.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — 
not by works, so that no one can boast.”
~ Ephesians 2:8-9




Ron’s Introduction to “Amazing Grace”

Dear Friends,

“Amazing Grace” is a visionary poem about blessings of Divine Grace and Love. Comments following its words and recitation explain that Divine Grace is universal and not limited to any particular spiritual or religious path.

So the phrase “Amazing Grace”, the moving Soweto Gospel Choir and Andrea Bocelli performances of the hymn “Amazing Grace” embedded below, and all of today’s posted quotations can apply to all people. May they encourage our appreciation of Divine Grace and Love, and the circumstances which inspire them.

The 2020 Winter Solstice holiday season is an especially auspicious time for reflecting upon and opening our hearts to Amazing Grace, as we are extraordinarily privileged to witness an unprecedented Aquarian Age turning point in modern human history, with marvelous opportunities for realizing blessings of Divine Love.

So I’m blessed to share with you this Amazing Grace posting, with the deep aspiration that it may help open our hearts to receiving and sharing gifts of Divine Grace, which are ever potential blessings in all our lives.


‘Amazing Grace’
~ by Ron Rattner

Knowingly or unknowingly we seek
Wholeness, Happiness and Love.

Consciously or subliminally,
We intuit and long for a state of being
which transcends inevitable Earthly cares and suffering.

And there is a transcendent spiritual Force
which impels and rewards our longing.

Some call it Grace –
‘Amazing Grace’.

Grace is to mind as gravity is to matter:

Grace is an inescapable centripetal force
drawing mind to its Source –
To the Sacred Heart.

Knowingly or unknowingly,
we are all seekers, and

With ‘Amazing Grace’,
we shall all be finders, of –

Wholeness, Happiness and Love.


Ron’s recitation of “Amazing Grace”

Listen to


Ron’s reflections on “Amazing Grace”

Dear Friends,

Though never a “born-again Christian”, I recall being emotionally moved on hearing the wonderfully powerful gospel hymn “Amazing Grace” by John Newton, long before ever considering the blessings of Divine Grace in my own life. [*See Footnote]

Then at midlife I was spiritually awakened 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. Thus after my spiritual awakening I began gratefully describing as “amazing grace” what was happening in my life.

Because Divine Grace is universal – and broadly applies to all human spiritual experience – the “Amazing Grace” title of my foregoing poem and all above quotations about “grace” can apply to everyone, whether or not they are born-again Christians or other religious ‘believers’.

Rumi reminds us that our loving behaviors, rather than our theological beliefs, are most crucial in opening us to gifts of Grace.

“Love cannot be learned or taught.
Love comes as Grace.”
~ Rumi

Thus Grace comes without warning to those who have opened their hearts to receive it.

“The winds of grace are always blowing,

but you have to raise the sail.”

~ Sri Ramakrishna

So I’m blessed to share with you this Amazing Grace posting with the deep aspiration that it may help us open our hearts to receiving and sharing gifts of Divine Grace, which are ever potential blessings in all our lives.

Invocation

With unspeakable gratitude for our constant Divine blessings,
May we open our hearts with faith
to receiving and sharing endless gifts of Divine Grace,
which are ever potential blessings in all our lives.

Ultimately, may we realize that

“Every breath we draw is a gift of [God’s] love,
every moment of existence is a grace,
for it brings with it immense graces from Him.”
~ Thomas Merton

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Footnote*

“Amazing Grace” first became well known as the title of a powerful Christian hymn text, composed in 1779 by English poet, abolitionist, and Anglican clergyman John Newton – who wholeheartedly wrote from his genuine ‘born-again’ Christian experience, after leading an extraordinarily miserable, difficult, and dissolute life as a slave trader.


“Amazing Grace” by John Newton ~ Sung By Soweto Gospel Choir



Andrea Bocelli: Amazing Grace – Music For Hope (Live From Duomo di Milano) – Easter Sunday April 12, 2020



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

Lau Tzu

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