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Posts Tagged ‘Sermon on the Mount’

Asking Is The Answer


“We never cease to stand like curious children
before the great Mystery into which we were born.”
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
~ Albert Einstein
“What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure
that we can comprehend only very imperfectly,
and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility.
This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Ask, and it will be given to you

For every one who asks receives.”

~ Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10
The quest is in the question.
The question is the answer.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“I claim to be a simple individual
liable to err like any other fellow mortal. 

I own, however, that I have humility enough

to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi



praying


Asking Is The Answer

In asking, we are curious.
In asking, we don’t know.
In asking, we are humble.
In asking, we are ever open to inspiration.

Ever asking,
ever curious,
ever open,
ever humble,
ever unknowing:

This is the answer
to the enigma of the Unknowable,
to the mystery of Divinity –

The sacred secret of Life.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Asking is the Answer”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Asking is the Answer”.

Dear Friends,

The above “Asking Is The Answer” sutra poem summarizes one of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far from living a long and blessed lifetime: viz. to always keep curious and open minded, just as when we begin our lives as unacculturated children.

Since my midlife spiritual awakening, I’ve learned that open-minded curiosity and humility are crucial for life-long learning and spiritual advancement.

One of my greatest joys has been to continuously learn from life, while realizing that we live as part of Nature, in a world of infinite mystery with infinite possibility.

In his wonderful poem “Certainty” Sant Tukaram reminded us that nothing is “certain” in this world of permanent impermanence; that inflexible certainty – even about God – “can become an illness that creates hate and greed”.

And similar perennial wisdom was expressed and demonstrated by Albert Einstein, a scientific genius who was always intrigued by the eternal mysteries of Nature. Einstein, who described himself as a deeply religious man awed by the mystery of the eternity of life, and the … marvelous structure of reality, observed that:

“We never cease to stand like curious children
before the great Mystery into which we were born.”

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

~ Albert Einstein


Especially in these extraordinarily turbulent and divisive times of worldwide interpersonal and international challenges arising from our “leaders’ and our species’ harmful and unsustainable behaviors, we can best address life’s challenges by heeding and following perennial wisdom demonstrated and counseled by our wise ancestors like Einstein and Sant Tukaram.

So let us learn, individually and societally, to get along with all others, especially our supposed adversaries or enemies.

Let us remain open-minded, humble and curious, always remembering and compassionately honoring the spiritual essence and divine equality of everyone everywhere, without mistaken certainty or hostility about them.

Invocation

With stilled minds and opened hearts, may we resolve current crises and compassionately live with peace and justice everywhere, without immoral exploitation and discrimination against the world’s most vulnerable sentient beings, and the iniquity of inequity in our societies.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Uniquely The Same

“You are the light of the world.”
~ Matthew 5:14
Into my heart’s night

Along a narrow way
 I groped;
and lo! the light,

An infinite land of day.
~ Rumi
“There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, …
beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in your Heart.”
~ Chandogya Upanishad 3.13.7
“If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky
That would be like the splendor of the Mighty One –.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 12
Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.
~  Mahmud Shabestari, Sufi Mystic, 15th century.
And this is the reason the cosmos first
needs to be divided into the tiniest parts,
and enormous shatterings must take place
in order to separate the smallest particles.
And after they are polished up and clarified, behold:
each speck will contain the whole of all existence,
and it all is filled with God’s light and his glory.
~ Rabbi Avraham Kook
“There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe. 

The horizontal threads are in space.
 The vertical threads are in time.

At every crossing of the threads, there is an individual.

And every individual is a crystal bead. 

And every crystal bead reflects not only the light 
from every other crystal in the net,

but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.”
~ Indra’s Net – from the Vedas of ancient India, 7000 years old
“Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Introduction

Dear Friends, 

The following “Uniquely The Same” sutra poem tells us that we are unique in form, but in Essence eternally identical.

Together with the above quotations and following recitation and explanation, this posting is dedicated to reminding us that as identical Cosmic Consciousness, we are “the light of the world” – our Sacred Heart’s Eternal Light of Universal Awareness.

Also, that we can experience ever increasing happiness and soul fulfillment as we evolve toward destined Self-realization, by mindfully remembering our true Self identity and using our mind as our best friend, rather than worst ego enemy.

Please enjoy and consider this posting accordingly.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Uniquely The Same

We are all
uniquely the same.

In form we’re unique,
but in Essence identical:

Spirit, Light, Life, Love.

Deeply, but subconsciously,
we share common Cosmic Consciousness –

Common “I”ness.
Common “I am” ness.

As ever more we experience our Universality,
We shall ever more transform our “reality”.



Ron’s audio recitation of Uniquely The Same.

Listen to


Ron’s Comments on “Uniquely The Same”

Dear Friends, 

Today’s posting is dedicated to our remembering and realizing that our true Self-identity is as “the light of the world”– our Sacred Heart’s Eternal Light of Universal Awareness; that although we appear separated, spiritually we are ONE.



As Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount reminds us, we “are the light of the world”  – a world in which the law of the Prophets must persist “until heaven and earth disappear” [Matthew 5:14-18]. 

Except for rare Avatars and Bodhisattvas virtually all incarnate humans are in process of evolving from humanity toward Divinity.

As we mentally experience ourselves as separate from Nature and everyone and everything else, we are subject to karmic law of cause and effect. But we can experience ever increasing happiness and soul fulfillment as we evolve toward destined Self-realization, by mindfully remembering our true Self identity, and by using our mind as our best friend, rather than worst ego enemy.

Thus Hinduism’s best known scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, reveals this core teaching about achieving spiritual liberation or Moksha.

One must elevate – and not degrade – oneself with one’s own mind, as the mind is both a friend and an enemy.

For those who have subdued and conquered the mind,
it is the best of friends.

But for those who fail to do so,
the mind remains the greatest of enemies.

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Six, Lord Krishna to Arjuna


However, until we are blessed to transcend karmic causation and achieve Self-realization that we “are the light of the world”

“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.”

~ Swami Vivekananda – Karma Yoga


Dedication

May these “Uniquely The Same” writings help inspire our ever increasing happiness, and spur our evolutionary advancement toward Self-realization of our universal goal that we are “the light of the world”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Forgiveness And Atonement Of “Sins.”

“To understand everything is to forgive everything”
~ Buddha
“It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.”
~ Saint Francis of Assisi, peace prayer
“To err is human; to forgive, Divine.”
~ Alexander Pope
“Forgiveness is the demonstration that you are the light of the world. Through your forgiveness does the truth about your Self return to your memory. Therefore, in your forgiveness lies your salvation.”
~ A Course in Miracles

If you are harboring the slightest bitterness toward anyone, or any unkind thoughts of any sort whatever, you must get rid of them quickly. They are not hurting anyone but you. It isn’t enough just to do right things and say right things – you must also think right things before your life can come into harmony.”
~ “Peace Pilgrim – Her Life and Work in Her Own Words” Pg. 16




Forgiveness And Atonement Of “Sins.”


Introduction

Dear Friends and Fellow ‘Sinners’,

Posted hereafter is an essay with key quotes and comments about Forgiveness And Atonement Of “Sins” , a spiritually important subject for all of us.

We are all here to evolve human consciousness by gradually realizing and actualizing – beyond our perceived separation from each other – our common Oneness with all Life.   Yet, despite our common spiritual essence, each of us is unique, with unique propensities, abilities and fallibilities, which provide unique evolutionary opportunities and challenges.  So ‘clearing our karma’ involves mindful identification, observation and purification of our unique mental tendencies and obscurations which impede realization of Oneness.

For most of my adult life, forgiveness been a great challenge.  So I don’t claim to be an accomplished “expert” on this subject, but now share with you as one who has long reflected on judgmentally perceived moral failings of other fallible humans.

Religious Teachings of Forgiveness



Most major religions teach the importance of forgiving or atoning for transgressions committed by or against us – our “sins”. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism teach forgiveness.

Forgiveness is especially emphasized in Christianity. Thus, in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly taught forgiveness. Eg.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
~ Luke 6:37

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”
~ Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27


And even while in excruciating pain as he was dying on a cross, Jesus beseeched God’s forgiveness of those who crucified him:

“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'”
~ Luke 23: 34


In emphasizing “they know not what they do” Jesus invoked Divine forgiveness in response to apparent unwitting (rather than malevolent) sins of the Roman soldiers who crucified him.

What are Sins?


“Sins” are often considered acts or omissions violating moral or ethical codes, with emphasis on what is wrong. But the original meaning of “sin” in Greek is to miss the mark – like an archer missing the target.

“According to Christian teachings, the normal collective state of humanity is one of “original sin.” Sin is a word that has been greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted. Literally translated from the ancient Greek in which the New Testament was written, to sin means to miss the mark, as an archer who misses the target, so to sin means to miss the point of human existence. It means to live unskillfully, blindly, and thus to suffer and cause suffering. Again, the term, stripped of its cultural baggage and misinterpretations, points to the dysfunction inherent in the human condition.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth


When sins are considered ‘missing the mark’ from ignorance rather than malevolence, expiation requires that we focus on what is right, and on how to get back ‘on target’, rather than on what was wrong with mistaken acts or omissions.

Recognition and transcendence of “sins”

Thus to transcend the negative, we realize the positive.

“There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness. That realization is true forgiveness. With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges – the power of Presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth


“Jesus’ teaching to “Forgive your enemies” is essentially about the undoing of one of the main egoic structures in the human mind. The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that. And what is a grievance? The baggage of old thought and emotion.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth


“It requires honesty to see whether you still harbor grievances, whether there is someone in your life you have not completely forgiven, an “enemy.” If you do, become aware of the grievance both on the level of thought as well as emotion, that is to say, be aware of the thoughts that keep it alive, and feel the emotion that is the body’s response to those thoughts. Don’t try to let go of the grievance. Trying to let go, to forgive, does not work. Forgiveness happens naturally when you see that it has no purpose other than to strengthen a false sense of self, to keep the ego in place. The seeing is freeing.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

Yom Kippur: Jewish Day of Atonement for “Sins”

In the Jewish tradition, the highest of High Holy Days is Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement and forgiveness. While fasting on that day, observant Jews communally confess their wrongs and ask Divine forgiveness, humbly acknowledging that there are none amongst them so righteous that they have not sinned.

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins,”
~ Ecclesiastes 7:20


Recognizing the inevitability of ‘sin”, the Torah enjoins Jews to return to a righteous path with a process of societal repentance and reparation called teshuvah. “Teshuvah means returning to God and godliness.”; and returning to God is the essence of Judaism. ~ Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro,“Open Secrets”, pp.12-13

Forgiveness as returning to At-one-ment with Godliness

The process of returning to “godliness” which is the essence of Judaism is also central to all other major theistic religions.

Eastern religions emphasize “freedom” as an ultimate spiritual Reality and goal beyond thought or ego – beyond human comprehension, imagination, description or belief – which can only be known experientially, not rationally or mentally. (See https://sillysutras.com/what-is-freedom-question-and-quotes/)

All enduring religious and spiritual wisdom traditions recognize need for human transcendence of ego’s optical illusion of our imagined separation from each other and Nature; of our returning psychologically to a state of “At-one-ment” and self-identity with Universal Awareness – which is our ultimate Essence, and our ultimate destiny.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Ron’s Commentary on Forgiving and Atoning for “Sins”

Dear Friends and Fellow ‘Sinners’,

The foregoing quotations and essay about Forgiveness And Atonement Of “Sins” address a spiritually important subject for all of us. 


We are all here to evolve human consciousness by gradually realizing and actualizing – beyond our perceived separation from each other – our common Oneness with all Life. Yet, despite our common spiritual essence, each of us is unique, with unique propensities, abilities and fallibilities, which provide unique evolutionary opportunities and challenges. So ‘clearing our karma’ involves mindful identification, observation and purification of our unique mental tendencies and obscurations which impede realization of Oneness.

Whether or not we are spiritual ‘seekers’, we are all spiritual ‘sinners’ who inevitably ‘miss the mark’ and make mistakes. Otherwise we wouldn’t be exploring and learning in ‘space/time soul suits’ on the ‘Earth branch of the great Cosmic university’. Except for rare Avatars, Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, all humans are fallible; even Pontiffs and Prelates aren’t infallible.

Before further discussing the spiritual importance of nonjudgmental forgiveness of ‘sins’, I will summarize my long history of judging others, to help you understand, and perhaps appreciate, my present perspectives on non-judgmental forgiveness.


History of judging others

After a midlife awakening, I began identifying my particular spiritual evolutionary challenges and opportunities. And gradually I realized that – as a litigation lawyer and long-time ardent social justice advocate – I had long established tendencies of often being outspokenly and acerbically judgmental, and of sometimes being unforgiving and angry about perceived injustices. Also I realized that these habits were not helpful to others or me; that they were impediments to my spiritual evolution, and inconsistent with mystical insights of Oneness with all Life, beyond our perceived separation from one another.

However, since first identifying these unhelpful habits decades ago, it hasn’t been easy to transcend them. Thus, on retiring from legal practice in 1992, by deactivating my law license it was easy for me to stop lawyering. But it was hard to stop gratuitously judging or blaming others – especially if they seemed to act immorally, hypocritically or harmfully.


Only gradually have I discerned significant – but often subtle – distinctions between being unduly judgmental and unforgiving of others, and my life-long ardent and conscientious advocacy for social justice. This often has required difficult discernments and decisions about conscientious truth telling and nonviolently resisting those who unjustly harm others, without vindictively, condemning, blaming and judging them.

The most challenging behaviors for me have been instances of apparently harmful betrayal of public or private trust. Apart from numerous flagrant betrayals of public trust by politicians and corporations which I have resisted, there have been a few unforgettable and psychologically traumatic events which I personally experienced as betrayals, but now see with forgiveness as disguised blessings which furthered my spiritual evolution.

Slowly my pain and suffering from harboring anger or bitterness, have helped awaken me to the futility and harm of blame. I have realized that blame, rancor or vengeance do not change others, and are always incompatible with a loving peaceful mind. But that love requires forgiveness, and does not preclude – and often necessitates – conscientious advocacy for social justice, and nonviolent resistance to harmfully immoral acts.

As inspiringly demonstrated by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., love and forgiveness, are integral to such nonviolent resistance. He explained that:


“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”
”The time is always right to do what is right.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


Ultimately I have realized how hating hurts the hater; that all unforgiving behavior is ego-mind trying to preserve its falsely imagined separate identity. Thus, that human unconsciousness and ignorance of our true self-identity is the root cause of all perceived evil, and that any bitterness we harbor against perceived “others” separates us from our divine Oneness with everyone and everything everywhere, and beyond.


As I have slowly understood that human unconsciousness, and ignorance of our true identity, is the root cause of all perceived evil, I have learned to forgive it, and thereby to live an ever happier life. And thus, I have concluded that our purpose on Earth is not to judge, condemn or criticize apparent evil but to transcend it with LOVE.

Thereby, and only after many years of unsuccessfully addressing my negative judgmental tendencies, I may have now mostly transcended them, by realizing that they arose from ego trying to preserve its falsely imagined separate identity.

So I’ve finally granted my irrevocable general power of attorney to The Lone Arranger to judge all “sinners”, including corrupt and prominent institutional and political “leaders” worldwide for whom I now feel sorry, as countless humans conscientiously and nonviolently resist their patently insane and ecologically suicidal behaviors which threaten to catastrophically destroy all human life on Earth as we have known it.


And while so deferring to the unerring law of cause and effect, with absolute faith in the Divine, I have enjoyed unprecedented peace of mind.


Discussion

We are here to learn and to demonstrate divine LOVE. But if we behave fearfully or selfishly, instead of lovingly and compassionately, we inevitably ‘miss the divine target mark’, and thereby ‘sin’. And if we miss our mark and ‘sin’, we’ll inevitably suffer karmically from the law of causality. So how do we avoid ‘sinning’, and atone for past ‘sins’?



First, we must become aware of how ‘sins’ happen.

On investigating, we learn that human “sins” and sufferings are karmically inevitable and unavoidable while we unknowingly perceive “through a glass darkly” with conditioned ego-minds. We realize that all our perceptions are illusory projections of past conceptions, which obscure our experience of the timeless NOW. Thus, we learn that our space/time causality reality is like a persistent illusion – a mental mirage; and we discover that

“space and time are not conditions in which we live, [but] modes in which we think.”, that “the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion”, and that “our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein


Such new-found awareness can reveal simple solutions to previously persistent behavioral problems, from levels of consciousness beyond those which unknowingly caused our mistaken ‘sins’. For example, the Buddha taught that: “to understand everything is to forgive everything”.

So we may discover that a significant solution to our ‘sinning’ problems is to forgive NOW (in the precious present), all unknowing mental mistakes made by ourselves and others. That “to err is human; to forgive, Divine.”

Then, with ‘amazing grace’ we can finally see that our non-judgmental forgiveness of mental mistakes is Divine, since human ‘sins’ of the conditioned ego-mind have arisen from ignorance of Self; from fear, not LOVE.

As a rare exemplar of Divine LOVE, Jesus Christ has inspired millions with his words and deeds of non-judgmental and merciful forgiveness, of even enemies and persecutors, for their spiritually ignorant behaviors. So even while suffering excruciating pain on a crucifixion cross He beseeched: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Yet, without judging ignorant beings but criticizing their disharmonious behaviors, Jesus was a passionate social reformer and redeemer who frequently decried hypocritical conduct and ethics by people who did not ‘walk their talk’ but practiced the very behaviors they decried – like those whose piety was on their tongue but not in their heart; those who claimed to love God but hated others. [John 4:20; Matthew 15:7-9] And without judging the beings but their behaviors he cast out those changing money and conducting commerce in the sacred temple courtyard, thereby demonstrating that we cannot serve both God and greed. [Matthew 6:24 and 21:12]


Perhaps, from Jesus’s supremely divine perspective, ‘mortal sin’ can be seen (with insight, not eyesight) as ignorantly believing oneself a “mortal”, rather than immortal; and, “original sin” can be seen as ego’s mistaken belief of itself as separate from ONE Eternal Spirit or Universal Awareness.

During a long lifetime of often morally judging those who betray or hurt others, I finally learned that it is infinitely easier to forgive and atone for, our ‘sins’, by mindfully recognizing how they egotistically happen, than to exist Christ-like or Buddha-like as divine LOVE. And that on becoming mindfully aware of our unwitting sins we inevitably spur our spiritual evolution process.

And so may it be!

NE Eternal Spirit or Universal Awareness.

Dedication and Invocation

May these teachings on “Forgiveness And Atonement Of “Sins” help all of us to forgive and transcend ’sins’ with love. But with quiet minds and open hearts may we continue to non-judgmentally, nonviolently, and conscientiously resist social injustice, while honoring the spiritual essence and universal equality of everyone everywhere.

And may this posting thereby help spur our spiritual evolution process,
so that we may open our hearts to forgive and give up
what we mistakenly think we are –
to BE, eternally, what we truly are:

The unseen Source of the world we see –
ONE spirit eternally encompassing all life as LOVE!

Hallelujah!!! 

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Questions About Questions

“We never cease to stand like curious children
before the great Mystery into which we were born.”

~ Albert Einstein
“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to
‘who am I?’ 
and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”

~ Rumi
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates
the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.
It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.
Never lose a holy curiosity.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts,

and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre,
it will itself in the end get destroyed.
Then, there will arise Self-realization.”


“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer,
the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Questions are then,
Life is NOW.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Questions About Questions

Q. When do questions arise?

A. Always then, never now.
Questions are thoughts, and thoughts are then.

Q. Can there ever be a question without a thought?

A. I don’t think so.

Without a question, there can be a thought.
But without a thought, there can’t be a question.

Q. Then, when is there never a question?

A. When there is no questioner.



Ron’s Reflections and Questions About Questioning

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations about the Mystery of Divinity and whimsical lines about questionig are offered to inspire and encourage our curiosity and reflection on the ‘Who am I?’ divine spiritual mystery – which Einstein called “the great Mystery into which we were born”

On birth into new human bodies we experience instant amnesia, forgetting what we knew before we withdrew from dwelling in heavenly domains.   Except for very rare Buddha-like saints and sages, we forget that we are immortal Divine Beings – each experiencing a Divine play of consciousness from a unique perspective.

Whereupon, we experience and suffer from ‘a case of mistaken identity’.  Individually and collectively, we mistakenly self-identify only with our mortal physical forms, their emotions and perceptions, and their stories – and we become like actors playing unique roles in an ever expanding and endless play of consciousness.  
 
As Shakespeare metaphorically observed:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”

~ William Shakespeare ~ As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

But knowingly or unknowingly, we are here to experientially remember what we forgot on incarnation into mortal human bodies. 

So our embodied lives become like spiritual mystery stories.  Instead of a ‘who-done-it?’ detective story, each life becomes a ‘who am I?’ spiritual mystery, which we are born to solve. Yet, the ultimate solution to that mystery is beyond our comprehension, imagination or belief.  So we must find it experientially and intuitively, rather than mentally.

However, spurred by unceasing childlike curiosity, our rational minds can lead us to experiential discovery of our immortal self-identity. So we can begin by reverentially and unceasingly asking “Who am I?”.  

“Ask, and it will be given to you …
For every one who asks receives.”
~ Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10

But ultimately, we discover that

“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer,
the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

Thus, as observed by twentieth century Indian sage, J. Krishnamurti, only

“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.”

The foregoing writings are offered to inspire and encourage our curiosity and reflection on the ‘Who am I?’ divine spiritual mystery.
 
As spiritual siblings – children of Divine LOVE – may we ever aspire to solve that Mystery.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Justice versus Judgment:
Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged;
Resist Not Evil

“Ignorance is the root of all evil.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Resist not evil.”
~ Matthew 5:39
“Judge not, that you be not judged.
For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
~ Matthew 7:1-5
“Judge not according to the appearance,
but judge righteous judgment.”
“Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.”
~ John 7:24; 8:15
“We cannot change anything until we accept it.
Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
~ Carl Jung
“Great Spirit, grant that I may not criticize my neighbor
until I have walked a mile in his moccasins.”
~ Native American prayer
“One ought to examine himself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.”
~ Moliere
“Judge not thy neighbor until thou comest into his place.”
~ Rabbi Hillel
“But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
~ Amos 5:24 
“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”
“People of the world don’t look at themselves,
and so they blame one another.”
“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
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Evil cannot be overcome by more evil.
Evil can only be overcome by good.
It is the lesson of the way of love.”

~ Peace Pilgrim
“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.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda


Enlightened Justice

 
Introduction to Justice versus Judgment

Dear Friends,

As we enter an Aquarian age of immense opportunity with immense jeopardy, it has never before been so imperative for Humankind to heed and follow the ancient teachings of rare avatars and mystic masters to live as LOVE, in harmony with all Life everywhere.

For the first time in our recorded history we are forced to realize that because of advanced technologies any more war will probably trigger an omnicidal nuclear, ecological, biological, or radiological catastrophe insanely ending earth-life as we’ve known it.

Yet, paradoxically, we concurrently have gained unprecedented technical capacity to sustainably and peacefully transcend human suffering from injustice, exploitation, starvation and poverty. And in these very violent and politically polarized times of immense suffering, yet immense opportunity, many are awakening to our infinitely unlimited human potentialities by embracing unconditional LOVE for everyone and everything.

To help us learn to live as LOVE, the following essay and comments address often misunderstood perennial spiritual issues of justice versus judgment as demonstrated by the life and teachings of Jesus, who was a rare avatar and exemplar of Universal LOVE with social justice.

Because these teachings are extremely relevant to our unprecedented current era, I urge our deep reflection upon them.

Ron Rattner


Justice versus Judgment*

Q. In his sermon on the mount, Jesus counseled “Resist not evil.” and “Judge not, that you be not judged.” But the Bible encourages us to live righteously and seek justice. How is it possible for us to pursue justice and righteousness without judging and resisting “evil”?*

A. By following our sacred heart with love, forgiveness and empathy we can live with justice and righteousness in a manner consistent with Jesus’ teachings – his words and life example.

Jesus was a rare Divine being who – like a Buddha or Krishna – transcended the illusion of separation from God. From his Divine perspective, Jesus realized and proclaimed that “I and the Father are one” [John 10:30] , and he perceived as “evil” only that which – from ignorance of Divine law – creates disharmony with Divine order and consequent suffering. But, as a loving Divine truth teller he did not condemn beings acting with the the illusion of separation from God – only their ignorant behaviors. [John:3:17]

Jesus knew that – until realizing our unity with Divinity – we reap as we sew. [e.g. Job 4:8; Galacians 6:7]; that we suffer the karmic consequences of our unconsciously unenlightened behaviors. Thus from his rare cosmic perspective he compassionately could see that our ignorant behaviors are karmically predestined, and do not arise from presumed free will.

As a Divine being, Jesus also knew that true Vision comes from intuitive insight, not eyesight; that our perceived separation from others and from Nature is an illusion of consciousness; and, that blind to our own repressed faults we often project them upon and detect them in others.

As Rumi observed:

“People of the world don’t look at themselves, and so they blame one another.” [But,] “Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”

So Jesus cautioned the Pharisee fundamentalists of his time to

“Judge not according to the appearance,
but judge righteous judgment.”
[John 7:24]
And he taught: “Judge not, that you be not judged.
For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged;
and with the measure you use,
it will be measured back to you.”
[Matthew 7:1-5]

Thus, when fundamentalist Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman allegedly caught in adultery, a capital crime, Jesus challenged any one of them who was without sin to cast the first stone at her. Speaking as non-judgmental Divine Love, Jesus explained his refusal to condemn her thus:  

“Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.”
[John 8:15]

Without judging beings but criticizing their disharmonious behaviors, Jesus was a passionate social reformer and redeemer who frequently decried hypocritical conduct and ethics by people who did not ‘walk their talk’ but practiced the very behaviors they decried – like those whose piety was on their tongue but not in their heart; those who claimed to love God but hated others. [John 4:20; Matthew 15:7-9]

And without judging the beings but their behaviors he cast out those hypocritically changing money and conducting commerce in the sacred temple courtyard, thereby demonstrating that we cannot serve both God and greed. [Matthew 6:24 and 21:12]

So, it appears that Jesus, who was a social reformer, did not intend to discourage us from living piously while seeking justice and righteousness for others and society. Bible passages against resisting “evil” or “judging” others are warnings against hypocritically and insensitively criticizing or opposing perceived faults or disharmonious behaviors in others which we cannot see in our own shadow selves.

Also, they are cautions against reflexive or revengeful resistance or opposition to perceived “evil”, because when we see ‘through a glass darkly’ what we resist persists.

Jesus’ admonition to not resist “evil” was given after his allusion to the Book of Exodus teaching about taking “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” [Exodus 21:23-5] which was then misunderstood and strictly interpreted by Pharisees as encouraging revenge or retribution. But when we ignorantly act with reflexive revenge, we are disharmonious with divine law and must suffer the karmic consequences.

So rather than vindictively seeking retribution for wrongs, or reactively condemning others, or judgmentally attempting to change them, it is wise to first empathetically look within to see and change our own undesirable traits. Then like Gandhi we will “not cooperate with evil” but be the non-violent change we wish to see in the world and lovingly inspire others to do likewise.

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner

Footnote.

*Because the New Testament gospels were all ‘hearsay’ written and translated from Aramaic into Greek and various other languages long after Jesus’ death, we cannot know with certainty the meaning or accuracy of current translations of his sermon on the mount. So there are many differing interpretations of the words “Resist not evil.” and “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Their true meaning and intent can best be determined from their context and from Jesus’ own Divine actions to uplift the world rather than condemn it. Our interpretation is intuitive, not scholarly, and based on perennial principles taught by most enduring religious, spiritual and ethical traditions, not just Christianity. You are free to question or reject it.


Ron’s comments on “Justice versus Judgment”.

Dear Friends,

This posting addresses perennial spiritual issues which are extremely relevant to the present advent of an unprecedented Aquarian age of great risk but great potential. Worldwide we are living in very violent and politically polarized times.

In order to peacefully resolve current critical political and environmental threats from a spiritual perspective, we must mindfully calm our fearfully disturbed, judgmental and reactive states of mind. Rather than vindictively seeking retribution for wrongs, or reactively condemning others, or judgmentally attempting to change them, it is wise to first empathetically look within to see and change our own undesirable mental habits. Thereby with quiet minds and open hearts we can non-violently and non-judgmentally resist injustice, while honoring the spiritual essence and universal equality of everyone everywhere.

The foregoing quotations and interpretations of Jesus’ scriptural teachings can help us consider important philosophical and pragmatic perspectives about issues of justice versus judgment. Also hereafter discussed is my relevant experience as a social justice attorney.

Discussion

For much of my adult life as an egalitarian litigation lawyer, I tended to be judgmental and unforgiving of perceived wrongdoers. Thus, on retiring from legal practice in 1992 it was easy for me to stop lawyering – by deactivating my law license – but hard to stop gratuitously judging or blaming others who seemed to act hypocritically or harmfully.

But after my midlife spiritual awakening I decided that we are all here to evolve by gradually realizing and actualizing our common spiritual Oneness with all Life – beyond our mistakenly perceived separation from each other;  and, that we can advance such evolution by mindful identification, observation and purification of our mental tendencies and obscurations impeding realization of Oneness.
   
So, with increasing mindfulness, I began identifying my particular mental challenges and evolutionary opportunities in this lifetime.  And gradually I realized that – as a litigation lawyer and ardent social justice advocate – I had longtime propensities of often being outspokenly, acerbically, and reactively judgmental, unforgiving and sometimes angry about perceived injustices; that these tendencies were not helping others or me; and that they were impediments to spiritual evolution.

Since first identifying these unhelpful tendencies, it has been challenging for me to transcend them. Most challenging have been instances of apparently harmful betrayal of private or public trust.   Apart from numerous flagrant betrayals of public welfare by politicians and corporations which I have resisted, there have been a few unforgettable and psychologically traumatic events which I experienced as personal betrayals, but now see with forgiveness as disguised blessings which furthered my spiritual evolution.

Ultimately I have realized that blame, rancor or vengeance never change others and are always incompatible with a peaceful mind; that all unforgiving behavior is ego trying to preserve its falsely imagined separate identity; and, that any bitterness we harbor against a perceived “other” separates us from our divine Oneness

Thus Peace Pilgrim insightfully instructed that:

“If you are harboring the slightest bitterness toward anyone, or any unkind thoughts of any sort whatever, you must get rid of them quickly. They are not hurting anyone but you. It isn’t enough just to do right things and say right things – you must also think right things before your life can come into harmony.”
~ “Peace Pilgrim – Her Life and Work in Her Own Words”


And because human unconsciousness and ignorance of our true self-identity is the root cause of all perceived evil, the Buddha taught that: 


“To understand everything is to forgive everything.”

 
Dedication

May these teachings help all of us learn to forgive everyone and everything,
and to not judge or condemn apparent evil,
but to nonviolently resist and transcend it
with love, righteousness and justice, and

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

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


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


How can we find “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 immanent 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.




Seek More Than Meets The Eye

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust consumes
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
~ Matthew 6:19-21
“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
~ Luke:18:25 ; Matthew 19:24
“Fools follow the desires of the flesh
and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death;
but the wise, knowing the Self as eternal,
seek not the things that pass away.”
~ Katha Upanishad 2:1:2
“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold;
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions,
but in having few wants.”
~ Epictetus
“What really counts in life can’t be counted.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The most precious things in life are not those one gets for money”. . . . . Money only appeals to selfishness and always irresistibly tempts its owner to abuse it. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus or Gandhi with the moneybags of Carnegie?”
~ Albert Einstein



Seek More Than Meets The Eye

Do not cherish
that which will perish.

Do not treasure
fleeting pleasure –

Or what you can measure.

Do not believe
what you perceive;

And do not seek
what you can speak.

Seek the ineffable
and it is inevitable

That you will know
the Unknowable –

The Inconceivable!

That you will find –
Beyond your mind –

Eternal Peace!



Ron’s audio recitation of Seek More Than Meets The Eye

Listen to



Ron’s Explanation and Dedication of “Seek More Than Meets The Eye”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing poem, “Seek More Than Meets The Eye” was inspired by Jesus’ teaching to lay up “treasures in heaven”, rather than earthly treasures. [Matthew 6:19-21].

Before discovering that scriptural passage, my midlife spiritual awakening had apparently revived previously subdued ascetic propensities – perhaps from other contemplative lifetimes. So, I had begun following a life-style much simpler and more reclusive than during my married years. And I became evermore convinced of the wisdom of living a simple and virtuous life, largely detached from worldly pleasures and treasures, while focusing on infinite spiritual riches within.

Hence after discovering Jesus’ teaching about forgoing worldly treasures I was inspired to poetically share its essence, which was consistent and harmonious with my deepest intuitions and tendencies. And soon I found many more inspiring parallel teachings in all other enduring wisdom traditions, like the quotations (preceding the poem) about renouncing worldly wealth.

These perennial teachings are especially important today in affluent corporate-capitalist societies where people are importuned and ‘brain washed’, via insidious advertising and marketing techniques, to greedily seek unneeded things and experiences, as our species insanely and unsustainably pillages, plunders, and poisons our precious planet’s finite resources crucial to sustaining life on Earth as we’ve known it.

But pleasures from such possessions and experiences are always fleeting, and can never bring enduring happiness and peace of mind.

As the Dalai Lama observes:

“Physical comforts cannot subdue mental suffering, and if we look closely, we can see that those who have many possessions are not necessarily happy.
In fact, being wealthy often brings even more anxiety.


So the foregoing poem and quotes are offered to remind us to lay up “treasures in heaven”, rather than futilely pursuing transient earthly possessions and pleasures.

May they help us discover that the enduring happiness we all (knowingly or unknowingly) seek is never in superfluous possessions or pleasures, but ever in our sacred hearts and souls.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

2020 Epilogue

Living a virtuous life, detached from worldly pleasures and treasures, may be more important now than ever before in modern recorded human history.

On January 23, 2020 the ‘Doomsday’ clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was reset to 100 seconds to midnight, symbolizing potential human destruction by nuclear catastrophe or climate collapse as nearer than ever before.

To explain, the atomic scientists said to leaders and citizens of the world that:

“Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.”

“Public engagement and civic action are needed and needed urgently. Science and technology can bring enormous benefits, but without constant vigilance, they bring enormous risks as well.”

Invocation.

May the foregoing “Seek More Than Meets The Eye” poem and wisdom teachings inspire our enhanced collective vigilance and awareness that the enduring happiness we all (knowingly or unknowingly) seek is never found in superfluous diversions, possessions or pleasures, but ever abides in our eternal hearts and souls.


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner