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Posts Tagged ‘Swami Vivekananda’

My Life of “Prayer”
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general,

for God knows best what is good for us.”

~ Socrates
“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”

“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”

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

~ Swami Vivekananda







Ron’s Introduction to My Life of “Prayer”

Dear Friends,

Since my mid-life spiritual awakening at age forty three, I have experienced a previously unimagined transformative new life-phase of growing inner-awareness in which spontaneous prayer has become fundamental.

So these spiritual memoirs appropriately include the following recollections and explanations of “prayer” in my life, both before and since the midlife awakening. In them I recount how I began this lifetime only praying rarely in organized religious programs, but how after years of evolutionary process I now instinctively pray constantly and spontaneously, with an unprecedented and all encompassing concept of “prayer”.

These memoirs are written and dedicated to help spiritually “inspire many people”, as requested and foreseen by my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas. 


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

My history with “prayer”

I don’t recall spontaneously praying or crying to God prior to midlife.  But I do remember feeling emotionally moved while singing collective prayers, and on hearing chanted cantorial prayers, at organized Jewish high holy day services. Even though I didn’t understand the words, I was especially affected by “Kol Nidre” (“All Vows”), an emotively powerful prayer with a hauntingly beautiful melody which is chanted and recited in ancient Aramaic, to begin Yom Kippur services.

Only after the midlife awakening did I synchronistically begin regularly praying with daily recitations of the “make me an instrument of Thy peace” prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi – heartfelt recitations which have continued for over forty years.

Before the midlife awakening I hadn’t shed tears as an adult. But thereupon, I cried for twenty four hours, and soon realized with amazement that I was crying with intense longing for God. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.) And that prayerful ’gift of tears’ still persists.

Two years after the midlife awakening, I met my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and received shaktipat initiation into the path of kundalini yoga. Thereupon I was given a sacred “Rama” mantra and spiritual name “Rasik: one engrossed in devotion”. Afterwards, as Guruji presciently had foreseen, I became and have ever since remained “engrossed in devotion”, intensely yearning for the Divine, and often spontaneously calling and weeping for “Rama” with deep longing.

Also, in addition to the Saint Francis prayer, I began regularly reciting prayers and mantras recommended by Guruji, and soon became a “born-again Hindu”. Though some Hindu prayers were directed to mythological Hindu deities – including the legendary monkey-god Hanuman – in calling, crying or praying to the Divine, I consistently conceived of “God” as formless and invisible. Ultimately, on my acceptance of Advaita non-duality philosophy, “God” as ultimate Reality became (and remains} for me an inconceivable Mystery.

Especially during my extended post-retirement reclusive period, I daily prayed for particular people, envisioning them as enveloped by divine light, while silently praying for everyone everywhere. Sometimes I prayed for specific outcomes, like healing or wellbeing, while continuing to pray for all Life everywhere.


Now, although all specific loving prayers are beneficial, I instinctively pray with faith for best outcomes, without specifying desired results. Especially since miraculously surviving and recovering from a June, 2014 near-death taxicab rundown, I have gratefully given my ‘irrevocable power of attorney’ to The Lone Arranger to determine appropriate outcomes for all Life everywhere.

What is “prayer”?

On first meeting Guruji I simply thought of prayer as ‘talking to God’, and meditation as listening. So I didn’t then even consider calling and crying for God or reciting mantras as “prayers”. But since then my view of “prayer” gradually widened to include those and many other behaviors not previously regarded as “prayer”. Thus my concept of prayer now includes all heartfelt longings for eternal communion with the Divine. And I accept Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that “prayer is nothing else but an intense longing of the heart”. Also, I believe it possible for us to prayerfully open our hearts to all Life, without excluding anyone or anything, even vile enemies. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/how-st-francis-of-assisi-inspires-pope-francis/)

How shall we pray?

Prayer is universal – a concept recognized worldwide by all cultures and people. But it is understood and practiced in different ways at different times.

In perceived dire sudden emergencies or threats most humans spontaneously pray for help, even if they haven’t previously prayed and their instinct to pray is subliminal. Thus, once before becoming a “born-again Hindu”, I suddenly began calling and crying out to God as “Rama, Rama, Rama”, upon fearfully being lost in a jungle-like Hawaiian nature preserve. And I remember instinctively exclaiming “Jesus” when twice almost run down by crazy car drivers, though I’d never before prayed to Jesus.

All humans share a common instinct to return to our Divine Source. But, as unique beings with uniquely conditioned karmic perspectives and limitations, we each experience different evolutionary challenges and different theoretical spiritual paths. So, as we evolve toward realization of our common spiritual Source and Self identity, different practices and behaviors are most appropriate for each of us – including whether, when or how we pray. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/different-person-different-path/ ) In my experience, our inner insights and instincts best help us determine our unique evolutionary paths.

Thus, though I began this lifetime only praying rarely in organized religious programs, after years of evolutionary process I now instinctively pray constantly and spontaneously, with an unprecedented and all encompassing concept of “prayer”.

I am unqualified to tell others how, when or whether to pray. But it is my aspiration that SillySutras readers may find guidance about prayer and other spiritual practices from these memoirs and cited spiritual quotations. So I will hereafter share my opinions and observations about prayer in our lives.

Observations and quotations about “prayer”

Praying is instinctive. Throughout recorded human history prayers have been offered by countless saints and sages, and by ordinary people of every religious denomination. Even Buddhists who don’t believe in a Creator God recite many mantras and pray a lot. 

Different people have differing ideas about meanings and methods of “prayer”. Most often prayer involves asking for divine help or expressing gratitude to God or other higher power. But “prayer” can be broadly considered as all spontaneous, heartfelt, or worshipful longing for or communion with Universal Intelligence, Nature, or Divinity.   And all such selfless loving prayer may be magically powerful.  For example, I’ve become gratefully convinced that heartfelt prayers of others helped my miraculous survival and healing from a 2014 near-death taxi rundown. And that all our compassionate prayers are often answered. Mahatma Gandhi has said that prayer “is the most potent instrument of action”; that “with the Grace of God everything can be achieved.”

“Everything we think, do or say changes this world in some way”. So we are all co-creating our earthly mental reality. As Universal Spirit, we are ONE, and we ‘contagiously’ influence one another, positively or negatively. Every thought affects our collective consciousness. We have infinite potentiality to lovingly and prayerfully bless this world. But our fearful and worrisome thoughts and behaviors are tantamount to negative prayers, which can unknowingly afflict the world.  So mental mindfulness helps us avert such worrisome thoughts.

Beyond historically helpful traditional prayer customs and practices, even Western scientific double-blind “placebo effect” studies, now support efficacy of prayer.  A 2006 Washington Post article even asserted that “prayer is the most common complement to mainstream medicine, far outpacing acupuncture, herbs, vitamins and other alternative remedies.”

The stiller and more focused our minds, the more opened our hearts, and the deeper our harmony with Nature, the more impactful are our prayers. And, whether or not we intentionally “pray”, our focused awareness of conditioned mental propensities can be key to fulfilling our deepest evolutionary aspirations.

It’s best to be givers, not getters. For it is in giving that we receive. So, it’s preferable to pray selflessly for peace and welfare of all others, rather than for perceived self-interests; to ‘pray for God to do through us – not for us’.

“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing — nothing.”
~ Saint Francis of Assisi to his Order of Friars Minor


And it’s best to leave to Supreme Authority details of how to accomplish all our prayerful wishes, rather than to specify them.

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general,
for God knows best what is good for us.”

~ Socrates


As we evolve beyond our illusionary perceptual/conceptual separation of each other, and all our other mistaken beliefs which theoretically divide ONE Reality, those illusions gradually melt into mystery. And increasingly we realize that we are THAT eternal Self to which we which we pray, and to which we intensely aspire to return. We see that

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

~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga


Becoming “prayer”

There are now, and always have been, rare Avatars, Saints and Buddha-like beings who are completely devoted to blessing all Life, without exception or exclusion. Hence, it is possible to live life as continual prayer, not just with continual prayer. So it can be evolutionarily feasible that ultimately

“We should seek not so much to pray, but to become prayer.”
~ Saint Francis of Assisi to his Order of Friars Minor


Realization of humanity’s shared evolutionary aspiration.

Realization of such a perpetually prayerful saintly state is humanity’s deepest aspiration. Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously, no matter who or where we are, no matter our age, gender or culture, all humans share a universal and irresistible instinct and desire to return to a soul-remembered original state of Divine Love, Peace and Oneness – a transcendent state beyond words or thoughts, so marvelous that its subliminal memory magnetically attracts every sentient being to merge and be At-One with THAT.

Conclusion

SELF Realization of THAT to which we pray, and for which we deeply aspire, is our ultimate destiny. May these writings on “prayer” help advance us toward that destiny.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Everything’s Holy

“The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness,
the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside.”
~ Swami Vivekananda


Everything's Holy

Ron’s Introduction to “Everything’s Holy”

Dear Friends,

Today’s “Everything’s Holy” posting includes a visionary sutra-poem, a quotation collection about “Holiness”, and an explanatory commentary about THAT transcendent “miraculous” and mysterious Divine Reality beyond illusionary space/time duality reality. Also embedded is an inspiring video performance by Louis Armstrong (with lyric captions) of his legendary song “What A Wonderful World”.

This posting was inspired many years ago after I was emotionally moved and uplifted by Peter Mayer video performances of his song “Holy Now”. (See https://sillysutras.com/holy-now-by-peter-mayer/ ) Since imagining and composing the “Everything’s Holy” sutra-poem, I’ve gradually transformed to a “holy” state of being, with virtually constant gratitude and awareness that all Life is Divine and Holy.

Thus, I’ve learned from life that we can evolve, from just hearing about “holiness”, or observing “holy days” or ‘holy seasons’ with ‘holy songs and scriptures’, or visiting rare ‘holy places’, holy people, or holy artifacts, to always experiencing the Divine Holiness of everyone, everything, everywhere.


And I’m sharing these ‘holiness’ writings and Wonderful World song with the heartfelt aspiration that they may advance our inner evolution from seeing everything everywhere as separate and impermanent manifestations of mortal matter, to realization that all phenomena are reflections of Eternal Holy Spirit – that all Life is an endless gift of God’s Grace and LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Everything’s Holy

Everything’s a miracle:

E=mc2 – all manifestation is miraculous.

Everything’s Whole:

Mind and manifestation are ONE!

Everything’s Holy:

All matter manifests from Mystery,
and melts to merge with Mystery –

The mystery of Divinity.

So essence of everything is Divine Mystery, and

Everything’s Holy.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Everything’s Holy”

Listen to



Quotation Collection about “Everything’s Holy” and “Holiness”


“For everything that lives is Holy,
life delights in life.”
~ William Blake – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

“The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness,
the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside.”
“This perfection must come through the practice of holiness and love.”
“Every step that has been really gained in the world has been gained by love; criticising can never do any good, it has been tried for thousand of years. Condemnation accomplishes nothing.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

“There comes a holy and transparent time
when every touch of beauty 
opens the heart to tears.

This is the time the Beloved of heaven 
is brought tenderly on earth.

This is the time of the opening of the Rose.”

~ Rumi

“If you put your soul against this oar with me,

the power that made the universe will enter your sinew

from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm

that lives in us.

~ Rumi – “That Lives in Us”

“A holy spirit lives within you.”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“The wisdom of the Holy Spirit is much greater than the wisdom of the entire world. Within the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, silence prevails; the wisdom of the world, however, goes astray into idle talk.”
~ Isaac of Nineveh

“Everything is interwoven, and the web is holy.”
~ Marcus Aurelius

“Even the merest gesture is holy if it is filled with faith.”
~ Franz Kafka

“Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will,
and being just what God wants us to be.”
~ Saint Therese of Lisieux

“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.”
~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

“However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
If you do not act on upon them?”
~ Buddha

“Many good sayings are to be found in holy books,
but merely reading them will not make one religious.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

“The mind, unless it is pure and holy, cannot see God.”
~ Seneca the Younger

“What the world needs today is neither a new order, a new education, a new system, a new society nor a new religion. The remedy lies in a mind and a heart filled with holiness.”
~ Shirdi Sai Baba

“One need not scale the heights of the heavens, nor travel along the highways of the world to find Ahura Mazda. With purity of mind and holiness of heart one can find Him in one’s own heart.”
~ Zoroaster

“The most holy and important practice in the spiritual life is the presence of God –
that is, every moment to take great pleasure that God is with you”
~ Brother Lawrence

“One should hallow all that one does in one’s natural life. One eats in holiness, tastes the taste of food in holiness, and the table becomes an altar. One works in holiness, and raises up the sparks which hide themselves in all tools. One walks in holiness across the fields, and the soft songs of all herbs, which they voice to God, enter into the song of our soul.”
~ Martin Buber

“To the poet, to the philosopher, to the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!”
~ Allen Ginsberg

“If God gives you an abundant harvest of trials, it is a sign of great holiness which He desires you to attain. Do you want to become a great saint? Ask God to send you many sufferings.
~ St. Ignatius of Loyola

“Many people are so imprisoned in their minds that the beauty of nature does not really exist for them. They might say, ‘What a pretty flower,’ but that’s just a mechanical mental labeling. Because they are not still, not present, they don’t truly see the flower, don’t feel it’s essence, it’s holiness-just as they don’t know themselves, don’t feel their own essence, their own holiness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Throw away holiness and wisdom, and people will be a hundred times happier. Throw away morality and justice, and people will do the right thing. Throw away industry and profit, and there won’t be any thieves. If these three aren’t enough, just stay at the center of the circle and let all things take their course.”
~ Lao Tzu

“I disbelieve all holy men and holy books.”
~ Thomas Paine

“I studiously avoided all so-called “holy men.” I did so because I had to make do with my own truth, not accept from others what I could not attain on my own. I would have felt it as a theft had I attempted to learn from the holy men and to accept their truth for myself. Neither in Europe can I make any borrowings from the East, but must shape my life out of myself-out of what my inner being tells me, or what nature brings to me.”
~ Carl Jung

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
~ Albert Einstein

“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.”
~ Walt Whitman

“Do you realize the unimaginable greatness, the holiness of what you so casually call ‘consciousness’? It is the unmanifest Absolute aware of its awareness through the manifestation, of which your mind-body is presently a part.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Do you realize the unimaginable greatness, the holiness of what you so casually call ‘consciousness’? . . . . How can you ever forget the basic truth that consciousness is the very expression of what-we-are. It is through the stirring of consciousness that the unmanifest Absolute becomes aware of its awareness through manifestation, and the whole universe comes into existence.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

”When all the false self-identifications are thrown away, what remains is all-embracing love.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

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

“Mind and Manifestation are One”
~ Mary Saint-Marie


Ron’s Reflections on “Everything’s Holy” and “Holiness”

Dear Friends,

The Louis Armstrong video below and the foregoing ‘Holiness’ quotations and sutra-poem are shared with the heartfelt aspiration that they may further our inner evolution from seeing everything everywhere as separate and impermanent manifestations of mortal matter, to realization that all phenomena are reflections of Eternal Holy Spirit – that all Life is an endless gift of God’s Grace and LOVE.



So that – with opened Hearts in “a holy and transparent time” – we may realize all space/time phenomena as appearances of Divine Holiness.

Yet, as we are blessed to perceive this Wonderful World as holy, let us always remember that our space/time perceptions are like an ego-mind projected movie – an unreal and illusory play of Universal Consciousness in which nothing’s really Real but Divine LOVE.

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

”When all the false self-identifications are thrown away,
what remains is all-embracing love.”  
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

And so shall it be!

Namasté! 

Ron Rattner


“What A Wonderful World” sung by Louis Armstrong with captioned lyrics



“Holy Now”
~ by Peter Mayer

“The more we grow in love and virtue and holiness,
the more we see love and virtue and holiness outside.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“The most holy and important practice in the spiritual life
is the presence of God –
that is, every moment to take great pleasure
that God is with you”
~ Brother Lawrence
Everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now
~ Peter Mayer. “Holy Now”





Ron’s Introduction to “Holy Now” by Peter Mayer

Dear Friends,

Many years ago I was emotionally moved and uplifted by video performances of the song “Holy Now”, with inspiring lyrics composed and beautifully sung by Peter Mayer. So today I’m sharing with you those videos and lyrics.

In his lyrics Mayer describes his transformation from an awestruck child hearing in church about wondrous biblical “miracles”, to a spiritual life stage wherein Mayer has evolved to see everything as a divine “miracle” – so that for him everything is “Holy Now”.

On being inspired by “Holy Now”, I soon composed a poem titled “Everything’s Holy” which I’ve posted with an online quotation collection and discussion about “holiness” at https://sillysutras.com/everythings-holy/.

Since first hearing “Holy Now”, I have gradually evolved to a state of being similar to Peter Mayer’s, with virtually constant gratitude and awareness that all Life is miraculous and holy.

So I’ve learned from life that we can evolve within, from just hearing about rare “miracles”, or observing a few “holy days” or ‘holy seasons’ with ‘holy songs and scriptures’, or visiting rare ‘holy places’, holy people, or holy artifacts, to always experiencing the miraculous holiness of everyone/everything/everywhere.

Peter Mayer’s inspiring lyrics and video performances herein are dedicated to furthering our inner evolution from seeing everything everywhere as separate and impermanent manifestations of mortal matter, to realization that all phenomena are reflections of Holy Spirit – that all Life is a miraculous and Eternal gift of God’s Grace – as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Lyrics to “Holy Now” by Peter Mayer


When I was a boy, each week
On Sunday, we would go to church
And pay attention to the priest
He would read the holy word
And consecrate the holy bread
And everyone would kneel and bow
Today the only difference is
Everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

When I was in Sunday school
We would learn about the time
Moses split the sea in two
Jesus made the water wine
And I remember feeling sad
That miracles don’t happen still
But now I can’t keep track
‘Cause everything’s a miracle
Everything, Everything
Everything’s a miracle

Wine from water is not so small
But an even better magic trick
Is that anything is here at all
So the challenging thing becomes
Not to look for miracles
But finding where there isn’t one

When holy water was rare at best
It barely wet my fingertips
But now I have to hold my breath
Like I’m swimming in a sea of it
It used to be a world half there
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

Read a questioning child’s face
And say it’s not a testament
That’d be very hard to say
See another new morning come
And say it’s not a sacrament
I tell you that it can’t be done

This morning, outside I stood
And saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then
Everything is holy now

It used to be a world half-there
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now



Peter Mayer singing “Holy Now”







Dedication

May Peter Mayer’s inspiring lyrics and video performances of “Holy Now”
help further our evolution from seeing everything everywhere
as separate and impermanent manifestations of mortal matter,
to inner realization that all phenomena are reflections of Holy Spirit –
that all Life is a miraculous and Eternal gift of God’s Grace –
as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies
~ You are not what you think you are!

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


Sri Ramana Maharshi



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

Dear Friends,

Advaita-Vedanta means non-dualism: it is the oldest extant school of Hindu philosophy.

The following sutra-poem was composed after my midlife spiritual awakening. With the above quotations, and following explanations, it succinctly summarizes previously unimagined perennial wisdom insights about our true spiritual Self-identity and ultimate Reality.

These insights are especially important now because of current quickened “new normal” era cosmic energies which are elevating a “critical mass” of humanity toward unprecedented 5D lasting happiness beyond suffering in illusory 3D matrix reality,

So I have updated this posting and dedicate it to our inclusion in the awakening “critical mass”, and attainment of lasting happiness in these unique times.

May we consider and enjoy it accordingly!

Ron Rattner


“You are not what you think you are!”

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

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

So, wake up, and  –
Transcend entity identity!


Ron’s audio recitation of “You are not what you think you are!”

Listen to


Ron’s explanation of Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies

Dear Friends,

As revealed by the foregoing quotations and sutra-verses, we’re not what we think we are, but Infinite Eternal Awareness!

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

But then I was then blessed with a synchronistic spiritual awakening, which revealed previously unimagined perennial wisdom insights about our true non-duality Self-identity and ultimate Reality, and bestowed ever increasing happiness and peace of mind.

The foregoing quotations and poem succinctly summarize my previously unimagined pivotal insights about our Self-identity and ultimate Reality.

Encouraged by my Guruji, since launching the SillySutras website in 2010, I have been sharing these insights online with the aspiration of helping others to similarly experience ever increasing happiness and peace of mind by realizing the illusion of “ego” and the true reality of non-duality.

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

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

Yet, for countless ages sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we are not what we think we are!  That we suffer from perception-deception – with self-identity and reality not what they appear to be; but that it is possible to transcend inevitable karmic suffering of space/time body/mind 3D human existence through Self-Realization of infinite spiritual Reality – which is the Source and essence of all perceived creation.

Thereby we ultimately learn that:

1) We are not merely our mortal bodies. What we call “death” is just a vacation – eternal spirit vacating temporary physical vehicles. Cosmically, there is no death or time, just Eternal NOW! 

2) We are not our genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories – or the ‘voices in our heads’. 

3) We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But no matter how we are ‘labeled’, we’re all the same ‘under the hood’.
 
Concluding observations and dedication 

The foregoing perennial wisdom insights are especially important in these painfully turbulent and troubled post-pandemic “new normal” times. Paradoxically, they provide a unique opportunity for a “critical mass” of humankind to compassionately transform the world!

Although much of humanity continues to suffer illusory separation from each other and Nature, many others are awakening. Deeply disturbed by irrational and immoral interruptions of their normal lives, more and more people are compassionately awakening to our sacred connection with, and deep moral responsibility to cherish and lovingly preserve, all life on our precious planet Earth.

Moreover, currently quickened cosmic energies are elevating a “critical mass” of humanity to ascend toward unprecedented lasting 5D happiness beyond suffering in the illusory 3D matrix reality.

Such “critical mass” ascension will transcend current insanely unsustainable ecological desecration of precious planet Earth, and end barbaric exploitation of vulnerable beings and other life-forms, which now catastrophically threatens unprecedented destruction of all Earth life as we’ve known it..

Therefore, this updated Advaita-Vedanta For Dummies posting is dedicated to inspiring the spiritual awakening of a “critical mass” of our global family, and thereby our attainment of unprecedented happiness in these uniquely troubled times, until our ultimate spiritual Self Realization – as Infinite Non-Duality Reality.

And so shall it be!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner

Video

Also embedded and highly recommended below is this powerfully inspiring four minute YouTube viral video by rapper *Prince Eo already viewed over 100 million times and titled: “I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White” and also “I Am Not a Label; We Are One Race, The Human Race”

“I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White”


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

Who am ‘I’, and What is What?
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“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
“Give up all questions except one: “Who am I?”
After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are.
The “I am” is certain. The “I am this” is not.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’, 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.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Ramana Maharshi



Introduction to “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

Dear Friends,

Twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi (pictured above) was renowned for his teachings of constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization. The following “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” sutra verses were inspired by those “Who am I?” teachings.

But I instinctively began asking “Who am I?”, when I was ignorant of ancient Eastern spiritual philosophy and identified only with my mortal physical body and its story. It happened after an unforgettably realistic out of body (OOB) experience during a 1974-5 “pot luck” New Year’s Eve party, where I unknowingly ingested marihuana.

Such “Who am I?” questioning resulted in a life changing spiritual awakening and rebirth, which eventually led to my discovery and acceptance of the non-dualism wisdom teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Over forty five years since that previously unimagined midlife awakening, I continue to irreversibly accept non-dualism teachings as pointing to ultimate Truth beyond ego-mind illusion. So I’m gratefully sharing this posting so that it may help others (as it helped me) find ever greater happiness in life.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


“Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

WHO AM ‘I’ and WHAT IS WHAT?

What lives?   What dies?

What laughs?  What cries?

What sleeps?  What wakes?

What gives?  What takes?

What thinks?  What knows?

What comes?  What goes?

What’s grief?  What’s bliss?

What’s that?!  What’s this?!

The quest is in the question; and

THE QUESTION IS THE ANSWER!

The question is the answer?



Ron’s audio recitation of “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?”

Dear Friends,

As stated in the introduction, “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” was first inspired by ancient nondualism wisdom teachings of twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization. However, I instinctively began asking “Who am I?”, at a time when I was ignorant of ancient Eastern spiritual philosophy and identified only with my mortal physical body and its story.

After repeatedly asking “Who am I?” I experienced a previously unimagined life changing spiritual awakening and rebirth, which eventually led to my later discovery and acceptance of the non-dualism wisdom teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Here is the memoir story about how my life was blessed and transformed by instinctively and irresistibly asking “Who am I?”.

Over forty five years ago, after unwittingly ingesting a marihuana-laced cake at at ‘pot-luck’ New Year’s party, I had an unforgettable out of body experience (OOB) in which from a bedroom ceiling I perceived my body and thoughts as detached below me. Thereupon, I constantly and irresistibly started wondering, if I’m not my body and thoughts, “Who am I?”. 

Fifteen months later, my “Who am I?” question was amazingly answered, when I suddenly realized my true Self-identity as pure awareness, rather than as my body/mind and its story, as previously believed. 

Whereupon, I experienced an unforgettable mid-life spiritual awakening and rebirth, which completely and irreversibly changed my prior ideas of Self-identity and Reality, and began a previously unimagined and continuing new life phase of ever increasing happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude, with faith in the mystery of Divinity: a continuing process of increasingly incorporating into my daily life the realization of Self-identity as eternal universal awareness, rather than as a merely mortal body/mind and its thoughts.

As a secular Jewish lawyer, I had been ignorant of any spiritual or esoteric teachings which might explain my extraordinary awakening experience. But afterwards I was soon synchronistically led to profound non-dualism teachings of twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who endorsed constantly asking “Who am I?” to attain Self-realization.

At the time of my awakening I hadn’t yet learned about synchronicity. But retrospectively I’ve realized that my asking “Who am I?” was a wonderful synchronicity.  And that synchronicities are constantly present as important blessings in our lives.  So  that

“Life will give [us] whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of our consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle



Identifying “Ego”as Source of all Unhappiness and Suffering

In explaining the self-inquiry (vichara) process Sri Ramana identified “ego” as the source of all human unhappiness, and taught that by transcending “ego” we are freed from all unhappiness and suffering.

He defined ego as mistaken self-identification with thought, and equated it with mind and memory. And he identified the ‘I’ thought as root of the ego-mind and, hence, source of all suffering.

For example, he said:

“All bad qualities centre round the ego. .. There are neither good nor bad qualities in the Self. The Self is free from all qualities. Qualities pertain to the mind only.”

“The mind is only a bundle of thoughts [with] their root in the I-thought. Whoever investigates the True “I” enjoys the stillness of bliss.”

“All unhappiness is due to the ego. With it comes all your trouble. If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it you would be free.”



And he taught that

“By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’, 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.”



Sri Ramana recognized that the “Who am I?” question could never be answered rationally, but only through the inconceivable and ineffable experience of Self-realization. He explained 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.”



Ultimately, I realized the supreme wisdom of Sri Ramana’s ancient non-dualistic method for efficiently dissolving ego, while I’ve remained mostly engrossed in the emotion of devotion. Thus as a frequent crier for God, while ever mindful that I’m only calling and crying to universal Self; that

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

~ Swami Vivekananda – Jnana Yoga


Moreover, I’ve also realized that since “ego” is the apparent sole source of all human suffering, all enduring spiritual paths, scriptures and teachings are aimed at ending ego; that for millennia spiritual teachings have identified “ego” as the fundamental impediment to spiritual evolution and realization; as “the biggest enemy of humans.” (Rig Veda ); and the “number-one enemy of compassion.” (Dalai Lama). The Dalai Lama has said that all Buddhist teachings aim “to wipe out the persistence of ego.” And Eckhart Tolle believes that transcending ego is the only spiritual teaching.

And after decades of observation and experience, I still see “Who Am I?” as a key path to be considered by those with spiritual aspirations;  that persistently asking “who am I”, with constant curiosity, patience and acceptance of inevitable uncertainty can significantly enhance and advance spiritual evolution.

Accordingly, many SillySutras quotations, essays and poems are dedicated to furthering our happiness by recognizing and transcending “ego” through various disciplines, including the nondualism path of self-inquiry, addressed in today’s “Who am ‘I’ and What is What?” sutra-verses.

Invocation

May today’s Who am ‘I’ and What is What? posting,
help us live ever happier lives,
and advance our spiritual evolution
until we realize that

“The end of all wisdom is love, love, love.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner.

God is a Word

“In the beginning was the word
and the word was with God
and the word was God”
~ John 1:1
“And God said to Moses,
I AM THAT I AM”
~ Exodus 3:14
“An important part of the adventure of life is to get hold of the mind, and to keep that controlled mind constantly attuned to the Lord. This is the secret of a happy, successful existence.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda — Man’s Eternal Quest
“God alone is the Doer.

Everything happens by His will.”

~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
Remember God, forget the rest.

Forget who you think you are,

to know what you really are.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.

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

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“This separation between man and man,
between nation and nation, between earth and moon,
between moon and sun . . does not exist, it is not real” ;

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

~ Swami Vivekananda – “Jnana Yoga”


"In the beginning was the word  and the word was with God  and the word was God"


God is a Word*

Q. What is God?

A. As the Bible says – God is word:

A word used by different people
to designate their different ideas
of a transcendent power;

An omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotence
which they may intuit, accept or reject,
but can’t ever comprehend.

Nor can such transcendent power
ever be aptly named.

For any designation would
constitute limitation
of the illimitable –

THAT.

So, whether or not the “universe” was created by God,

“God” is a word created by humans.

But, just as ‘a rose by any other name is the same’,
However humankind calls or tries to imagine it

There exists an indescribable infinitely potential and supreme Power:

An Absolute Reality and Existence, and Origin of All,
as

THAT.


Footnote.



*Innumerable words – God, Love, Nature, etc. – may be used to signify an ineffably infinite divine Power or any of its infinite potential aspects. Or as in the Jewish tradition it may be acknowledged that no name can denominate “THAT” which is beyond conception or expression – since naming limits the illimitable and ineffable Infinite Reality.



Ron’s Comments about “God is a Word”

Dear Friends,

The word “God” is extremely common. Countless people commonly curse, exclaim, read, think, or pray to “God”. “In God we trust” appears on all US currency and coins.

But who of us has deeply considered what “God” really means to us or other life-forms? How many times have we unthinkingly uttered or heard such exclamations as “thank God!” “God bless you”, “God love you” – or even curses including the word “God” – without wondering about their significance.

Encouraged by my beloved Guruji I have spent much of my post-retirement life-period reflecting about “God”, and other synonymous words. And I’ve found that our beliefs and concepts about “God” evolve as we evolve spiritually; and that continually contemplating God as non-duality Reality furthers our evolution.

The above poetic essay was composed to propose that “God” is a word used by different people to designate their different ideas of a transcendent power, which ultimately is beyond words. Thus, it explains that humans created the word “God” – with thoughts from ruminations, revelations, intuitions, and speculations, paradoxically trying to identify THAT which is beyond words, beyond all thought.

It is offered to encourage exploration of our common inner Divinity and SELF-identity – in furtherance of our (conscious or subliminal) universal longing for a state of ONENESS with Divinity – with “God” or THAT.


“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

~ Proverbs 23:7


“A man is but the product of his thoughts;
what he thinks, he becomes.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“We are what we think.

All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts, we make the world.”

~Buddha


With our continuing reflections and thoughts about “God”, may we increasingly discover and experience our joyously loving common inner Divinity – until ultimately we non-dually melt and merge immortally as ONE Divine LOVE.

And so may  it be!

Ron Rattner

Solstice Salutations and Quotations
~ For a Happy World

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
~ Aristotle
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
~ Dalai Lama
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness,
and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”
~ Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
~ Buddha
“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.”
~ Ramana Maharshi





Solstice Salutations and Quotations For a Happy World

Dear Friends,

Happy Summer Solstice!

With a new summer solstice sunlight zenith, let us envision the dawning of an Aquarian age of divine light, peace, compassion, and joy everywhere on our precious planet and beyond.

May we thereby rededicate ourselves to the Eternal Light of LOVE within and beyond everyone and everything on Earth; to THAT universal spirit of eternal light, love, harmony and happiness, which is the unseen Source of the worlds we see.  
 
And as we optimistically envision a new season of previously unimagined planetary peace and joy, may we be infused with unprecedented illumination and inspiration for harmoniously healing our beautiful blue planet and all its life-forms.

To help inspire us, hereafter posted is a collection of wisdom words about finding timeless happiness. Please enjoy and accordingly consider these inspiring quotations.


Perennial Wisdom Words About Finding Happiness:

“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21

“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”
~ Ramana Maharshi

“Happiness comes when your work and words
are of benefit to yourself and others.”
~ Buddha

“The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul;
one must try to include, as necessary to one’s own happiness,
the happiness of others.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not: what is the purpose of life? From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.
That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not,
whether one believes in this religion or that religion,
we all are seeking something better in life.
So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”
~ Dalai Lama

“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away.
Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“There is only one life and one world, and this one life and one world is appearing to us . . . . like a dream. . .You do not live in your dreams. The dreams come one after another; scene after scene unfolds before you.
So it is in this world of ninety per cent misery and ten per cent happiness. Perhaps after a while it will appear as ninety per cent happiness, and we shall call it heaven. But a time comes to the sage when the whole thing vanishes, and this world appears as God Himself, and his own soul as God. It is not therefore that there are many worlds; it is not that there are many lives. All . . is the manifestation of that ONE.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

“He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.”
“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“Find ecstasy in life;
the mere sense of living is joy enough.”
~ Emily Dickinson

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.
Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,
go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.
Think of the beauty that again and again
discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”
~ Anne Frank

“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“We are formed and molded by our thoughts.
Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts
give joy when they speak or act.
Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.”
~ Buddha

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

“When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now.
Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Happiness does not depend on how the furniture is arranged –
it depends on how I arrange my mind.”
“When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.”
“Simply put, you believe that things or people make you unhappy,
but this is not accurate.
You make yourself unhappy.”
~ Wayne Dyer

“The surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.”
“If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
happiness follows like a shadow.”
~ Buddha

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates

“Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.”
~ Aristotle

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live
that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
~ Epictetus

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

“Cultivate compassion; harvest happiness.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”
~ Richard Wagner

“I am happy even before I have a reason.”
~ Hafiz

“The superior man is always happy.”
~ Confucius

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

“By letting it go it all gets done.
The world is won by those who let it go.
But when you try and try,
the world is beyond the winning.”
~ Lao Tzu

“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?
Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.”
~ William Blake

“Always be joyful. That is the only truly saintly state.”
~ Teresa of Avila

“Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service,
and have a definite object in life
outside themselves and their personal happiness”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore

“Somehow not only for Christmas
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing
Returns to make you glad.
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination”
~ Mark Twain

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,
it only saps today of its joy.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

“Some cause happiness wherever they go;
others whenever they go.”
~ Oscar Wild


Closing Invocations:

May we consciously and cooperatively participate together in co-creating an ever better world – Happy, Harmonious and Peaceful – as we intend and envision it to be.

May we so become infused and used as instruments of Light and Love for everyone and everything everywhere – on Solstice Holidays and Always!

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

What is Faith? ~
Quotations and Comments

“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”

~ William Shakespeare
“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.

Have faith in yourselves!”

~ Swami Vivekananda





What is Faith? Quotations and Comments


Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following profound quotation collection concerns heartfelt intuitive faith, as distinguished from mental belief.

Comments below the quotations explain how inner faith can bring us previously unimagined and ever growing happiness, with continuing learning from life.

Accordingly, these quotations and comments are shared to help all of us find such happiness through inner faith. Please consider them accordingly.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

What is Faith? ~ Quotations


“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,

you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”,
and it will move.”

~ Matthew 17:20

Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far, 
but none comes further.
~ Soren Kierkegaard

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

“Faith is a knowledge within the heart,

beyond the reach of proof.”
“Faith is an oasis in the heart
which can never be reached by the caravan of thinking.”
~ Khalil Gibran

“Faith is intuitive conviction,
a knowing from the soul,
that cannot be shaken even by contradictions.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“On a long journey of human life,
faith is the best of companions;
it is the best refreshment on the journey;
and it is the greatest property.”
~ Buddha

“The most beautiful and most profound experience
is the sensation of the mystical. …
To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, 
manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty 
which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms 
this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”
~ Albert Einstein

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

“Faith is different from proof;

the latter is human,
the former is a Gift from God.”
“Faith embraces many truths
which seem to contradict each other.”
~ Blaise Pascal

“Faith is much better than belief.

Belief is when someone else does the thinking.”

~ Buckminster Fuller

“Faith means living with uncertainty –

feeling your way through life,

letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark”

~ Dan Millman

“Faith—in life, in other people, and in oneself—
is the attitude of allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous,
in its own way and in its own time.”

~ Alan Watts

“This above all, to thy own Self be true.”

~ William Shakespeare

“The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature.

Have faith in yourselves!”

~ Swami Vivekananda

“Intelligence must follow faith,
never precede it,

and never destroy it.”

~ Thomas Kempis

Faith follows intuition;

Faith follows the Way;

Faith follows the Self;

Faith follows the Heart.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance
that it dazzles the mind
and darkens all its visions of other realities,

but in the end when we become used to the new light,
we gain a new view of all reality
transfigured and elevated in the light itself.”

~ Thomas Merton


Ron’s Comments on “What is Faith?”

Dear Friends,

In reviewing and revising previous SillySutras postings, I’ve been wondering about the subtle circumstances which have seemed most important in furthering my spiritual evolution from age forty two to age eighty seven. And why, after over four decades of spiritual exploration, I’m blessed with previously unimagined and still growing happiness,

Forty five years ago, I was self-identifying as an uptight and unhappy middle-aged secular litigation lawyer on the brink of divorce, when I had an unforgettable “out of body” experience [OOB] which has sparked over four decades of spiritual exploration and evolution, with still ongoing learning from life.

Now I mostly self-identify as eternal spirit enjoying a brief “in a body experience” as an 87 year old retired lawyer and spiritual writer. And I feel immensely blessed with great happiness and gratitude for this precious fleeting lifetime, despite its inevitable ups and downs.

Perhaps my best explanation for being so blessed, is that I’ve enjoyed ever growing deep faith as ONE with Divine LOVE, the inner mystery of Divinity. Previously, I have explained in essays how “I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life” and defined faith as distinguished from belief.

Today I have posted the foregoing profound quotations to help inspire our deep faith in our Divine Self and Source. Please read and reflect on them accordingly.

Also I’ve embedded below a beautiful youtube video performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s inspiring song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as excerpted from the film version of their classical musical play “Carousel”. The emotions we feel from that performance can also help inspire our deep realization that with faith and hope in our heart we’ll never walk alone

Invocation

May we enjoy ever growing deep inner faith and
Self-identity as ONE with Divine LOVE,
Bringing us previously unimagined and ever growing happiness,
with continuing learning from life.

And thereby may we help co-create a new Earth reality
of abiding peace, harmony and goodwill
for all life everywhere.

May everyone everywhere be happy!


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel”.



Vision Quest: From Eyesight to Insight
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake
“True vision is insight, not eyesight.
‘[N]ow we see through a glass darkly’,
but with ever expanding human consciousness and ever deepening insight,
we can and shall ‘see’ more and more –
we can and shall see what we couldn’t see before.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
~ Carl Jung
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight,
but has no vision.”
~ Helen Keller
“As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind,
so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.”
~ Helen Keller
“Perception is a mirror not a fact.
And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”
~ A Course In Miracles
“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


Introduction.

Dear Friends,

This is the story of how I learned from inner and outer experiences that true vision depends on our state of mind and upon imagination and insight beyond mere eyesight; that even people with no eyesight, like Helen Keller, can be visionaries.

Since childhood I wore eyeglasses for normal eyesight. And until my midlife spiritual awakening, I self-identified only with my physical body. So when diagnosed and told by “expert” eye doctors that I suffered incurably defective vision, requiring corrective lenses I never questioned that diagnosis. Nor did I consider defective eyesight as improvable or curable. Nor did I understand vision as a brain function, or as possibly arising from consciousness beyond the brain.

But those beliefs changed after extraordinary inner and outer post-awakening experiences, which began a still continuing vision quest process from eyesight to insight.

My eyesight history

At about age three my parents brought me to an ophthalmologist for a misaligned eye. I was diagnosed with astigmatism and far-sightedness and prescribed thick eyeglasses – which I always required, but never liked. Gradually, I was given ever stronger prescriptions.

I became so habitually dependent on eyeglasses that I would grope for them upon awakening every morning, and wore them constantly. Once when I was a pre-teen at a YMCA summer camp, one of my cabin mates, with a distorted sense of humor, hid my glasses for several days. I still remember how lost and miserable I felt without them.

When I was eighteen years old and a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a college friend, who later became a prominent Chicago optometrist, told me about corneal contact lenses, which were then newly developed. And he recommended a Chicago expert who could usually fit them comfortably. Excitedly, I became an early corneal contact lens user.

Thereafter, I continued wearing hard contact lenses for about twenty five years, even though they sometimes irritated my eyes. But eventually I needed reading glasses and couldn’t get bifocal contact lenses. So, reluctantly I resumed using eyeglasses, which I believed necessary until after the extraordinary inner and outer spiritual awakening experiences hereafter recounted.
 

Ron - age 3 1/2

Ron – age 3 1/2

 
Out of body visions

At a 1974-5 San Francisco New Year’s Eve party, I had an unprecedented and unforgettable out of body experience (OOB). While lying face down on a bed in a small dark room, “I” floated out of my body and up to the ceiling. And from the ceiling, with my glasses on a bedside table, I beheld my body lying face down on the pillow. For the first time in my life I had 20/20 vision without eyeglasses, and without even using my eyes – or maybe my brain.

The New Year’s OOB experience soon led to a pivotal rebirth epiphany at age forty three, which, opened an emotional/intuitive flood-gate closed since childhood – unleashing for the first time in my adult life numerous synchronistic inner and outer experiences which gradually but radically changed my beliefs about “reality” and self-identity.

After the rebirth experience I had other out of body experiences with perceived visions, as well as innumerable inner visions and insights. Ultimately, I associated inner visions with a mysterious “third eye” associated with the pineal gland – providing apparent perception beyond ordinary eyesight. For example, I took shaktipat initiation from my Hindu master Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas only after perceiving his extraordinary silver aura and seeing him in inner visions, one of which was as clear as a color TV picture. And I learned from Guruji that such auric perceptions and inner visions were associated with the kundalini purification process.

Bates Bioenergetic Vision Improvement Method

Shortly before meeting Guruji I attended a San Francisco ‘new age’ exposition where various ‘green’ products were displayed and sold. One of the vendors was selling pin-hole glasses and a book she had written about natural vision improvement, as originally taught in the early 20th century by unconventional ophthalmologist William H. Bates, MD.

Synchronistically she told me that possibly I might improve and perhaps even cure my defective eyesight with natural vision improvement techniques; that pin-hole glasses did not improve vision but afforded an opportunity break the ‘addiction’ to glasses via obligatory squint focus through its small apertures.

Intrigued, I bought the book and the pin-hole glasses and assiduously began learning and experimenting with natural vision relaxation techniques, such as blinking, sunning, swaying, acupressure massage and palming. Experientially, I became persuaded that just as the so-called “placebo effect” could promote healing of physical ailments through optimistic attitude, that a relaxed and positive psychological attitude could also help improve eyesight.

I was encouraged in this belief by reading many eye improvement books, including “The Art of Seeing” by famed author Aldous Huxley, who gratefully affirmed how he improved his vision via Bates techniques. For several years I received vision improvement lessons from Anna Kaye, a former Polish attorney who had emigrated to the United States after World War II unable to see a door, and diagnosed with incurable atrophy of the optic nerve. Four ophthalmologists had recommended she learn Braille. But, unable to accept near blindness, she studied natural vision improvement with a Bates protegee in New York City and regained 20/30 vision in both eyes.

Also, I later met and was inspired by Meir Schneider PhD, a San Francisco healer from Israel whose vision improved from legal blindness and Braille to near normal sight with the Bates Method, supplemented by his own intense regimen of self-massage and movement.

Despite years of effort, I never succeeded in normalizing my vision with Bates relaxation techniques. At my present level of consciousness, relaxation did not normalize a misshapen cornea and resulting astigmatism. But I’m convinced that relaxation and other Bates methods improved and stabilized my vision, deterred cataract formation, and taught me much about my body’s energy system; that thereby they have contributed to good health. At age eighty eight, I still get a binocular 20/30 correction with progressive multifocal lenses which are not as strong as eyeglasses prescribed for me about thirty years ago, which I keep as souvenirs.

Ron’s Vision Quest: From Eyesight to Insight

On meeting Guruji, I was amazed not only by his miraculous spiritual powers but also by his extraordinary physical prowess at age one hundred, including his ability to see normally without glasses. Initially, I surmised that Guruji’s miraculous physical condition had resulted from his enlightened state of mind, and his mastery of yogic meditation, mantra, movement, and breathing techniques. So naively I began believing that “enlightenment” required not only a mind free from ego defilements, but also a healthy physical body with normal eyesight. And this belief motivated me more than ever to attempt normalizing my eyesight via Bates bioenergetic techniques.

But, gradually Guruji became physically exhausted and debilitated from his tireless schedule of selflessly helping others in the US. Yet he retained his enlightened state of mind. And soon I learned of other spiritual masters and saints with unhealthy bodies and/or impaired eyesight. So, I learned it was possible to be spiritually elevated, notwithstanding visual and other physical impairments.

For example, I noted that HH The Dalai Lama of Tibet, needed eyeglasses for near-sightedness. And after Guruji returned to India, I met and took kriya empowerments from Paramahamsa Hariharananda Giri, an Indian meditation master who also needed eyeglasses.

Also I learned that beloved Saint Francis of Assisi was almost blind at the time of his death, legendarily because he “cried his eyes out” but actually because of chronic conjunctivitis apparently contracted in Africa during the Crusades.

Thus, though ultimately I accepted my inability to normalize eyesight without glasses, I’ve never lost faith in our evolutionary potential of ever elevating inner vision through mindful identification and diligent purification of mental defilements.

Conclusion

In the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:11-12), St. Paul observes that “now we see through a glass darkly”, but that some day we shall fully know, as we are fully Known now by the Divine.  

In our illusory space/time duality world, we view “reality” through the ‘mirror of the mind’, which imperfectly refracts and reflects the unseen light of Eternal Awareness onto the screen of our human consciousness.  

But, we can evolve and transform our mind mirror from opacity to translucency to transparency.  And thereby, with ever expanding human consciousness and ever deepening insight, we can and shall ‘see’ more and more – we can and shall see what we couldn’t see before.

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner