Posts Tagged ‘Swami Yogananda Paramahansa’

My ‘Near Death’ Experience
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Birth and death are virtual, but Life is perpetual.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




My ‘Near Death’ Experience ~ Ron’s Memoirs

Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following memoirs chapter recounts an extraordinary 1979 out of body [OOB] experience, in which I initially thought I was dying of a stroke. But it soon proved not to be a stroke or a near death experience [NDE].

However, because I wasn’t afraid of dying (though not “enlightened” by the experience), I’ve compared it to the famous Self-Realization experience of renowned 20th Century Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Since 1979 I’ve been blessed with many more amazingly related experiences, from which I’ve continued to learn.

So in 2022 I’m republishing and augmenting this memoirs story before my probably imminent transition at almost age ninety.

Like all other SillySutras postings this memoirs chapter is dedicated to helping us live ever happier earth lives. And in these extraordinary post-pandemic times, this posting is particularly intended to help console those bereaved by deaths of dear ones. May they not worry, and be happy.

May everyone everywhere be happy!

Ron Rattner

Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Self-Realization Death Experience.

A few years after the death of his father, the famous sage was suddenly overcome with a fearful premonition that he too was about to soon die, which impelled him to investigate the bodily death experience. So he introspectively imagined that he was dying, and thereby Self-Realized that he was not his mortal body, but eternal consciousness of the body and all else.

Long afterwards, in response to a devotee’s question about his “enlightenment” Sri Ramana replied as follows:


“The shock of the fear of death made me at once introspective or ‘introverted’. I said to myself mentally, ‘Now that death is come, what does it mean? Who is it that is dying? This body dies’. ….The material body dies, but the Spirit transcending it cannot be touched by death. I am therefore the deathless Spirit. … Fear of death vanished at once and for ever. The absorption in the Self has continued from that moment right up to now”.


My Almost ‘Near Death’ Experience

In early 1979 I too had an extraordinary presumed near death experience. Unlike Ramana Maharshi’s pretended death experience, I really believed I was dying of a stroke, and decided to observe the death process without resistance. Unlike Sri Ramana’s experience, my supposed death experience didn’t result in my instant “enlightenment” or permanent absorption in the Self. But, it was an extraordinary and unforgettable event, and it spurred my gradual transformation process of more and more identifying with spirit rather than body/mind; a process which began with my 1976 realization and rebirth experience.

After receiving shaktipat initiation from Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas (Guruji) in 1978, I began following his practices. But, with Dhyanyogi’s approval, I also continued exploring spiritual mysteries by attending various other events and lectures. When asked about our seeking information from other teachers, Guruji said it was OK but unnecessary.

My supposed near death experience happened after I’d attended an inspiring lecture and experiential program given by Sufi master Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. At the program I whole-heartedly participated in a Sufi remembrance of God ritual called Zikr, featuring repetition of names of Allah. Fervently repeating in unison with other participants: “La Ilaha Illallah” , “La Ilaha Illallah”, I vigorously rotated my body, head and neck, and became quite ‘high’ and rapturous.

The next morning I awakened feeling fine, and prepared to attend an important Federal Appeals Court hearing. I had put on my grey pinstriped suit trousers, shirt and tie, and was in the bathroom, when suddenly I collapsed and fell onto the tiled floor in a supine position. I was unable to move my head or body up or over, but discovered that I could inch along on my back like a caterpillar. In that manner with tremendous difficulty, I managed to move out of the bathroom and into my carpeted living room floor, still in a supine position.

I was not then near a phone and couldn’t call for help. Lying on my back, without pain, I said to myself mentally,

“I must have suffered a stroke and am about to die.
Now I will see what happens when I die.”


I closed my eyes and went into a deep state of relaxed awareness.

Suddenly my consciousness was astrally projected into the cosmos, where it was surrounded by magnificent luminescent silver, blue and gold heavenly bodies (like in pictures from the Hubble telescope).

Next, my inner vision shifted from outer space to vividly beautiful, luminescent and intricate geometric yantras – like mandalas associated with Vajrayana Buddhism, only more ethereal.

As I was silently sensing these celestial scenes, thought returned. First, I thought that dying was quite an interesting experience. Then, suddenly, I thought:

“I never took Naomi off my life insurance policies. I can’t die now.”


The ethereal visions immediately ended and consciousness returned to my supine body on the carpeted floor.

I don’t remember how much time had passed before my return to body consciousness. But when that happened I found that I could move easier and managed to slither supine to answer a telephone when it rang.

Synchronistically, it was a call from my friend Kusuma, who had been one of Guruji’s translators and cooks. I told her what happened, and she dispatched Stan, a disciple of Dhyanyogi then living in San Francisco, to come help me. By the time Stan arrived, I was able to crawl with difficulty to the front door to let him in. He called my doctor who said my symptoms sounded like extreme vertigo from an inner ear problem, not a stroke. Later, Kusuma asked Guruji about my dizziness symptoms. He told her that they came from “shakti”, intense kundalini spiritual energy activated in my head.

What I learned

Following my nearly ‘near death’ OOB experience, my identification with immortal spirit was immeasurably enhanced, while psychological fear of bodily death diminished.

But I didn’t become “enlightened” enough to transcend long-lingering psychological traumas of my contentious divorce. So, after reverting to usual consciousness I soon removed my former wife Naomi’s name as a beneficiary on my life insurance policies.

Also I became curious to learn about Tibetan Buddhism, and the spiritual symbolism of yantras and mandalas, like the Sri Yantra below and on SillySutras’ home page. This led to my receiving Tibetan Buddhist refuge, empowerments, and teachings from Kalu Rinpoche, a Very Venerable Tibetan Buddhist master, and then from other Tibetan lamas, including H.H. the Dalai Lama – who became a living hero for me.

Remaining Fear of Death

Because of my calm fearlessness during the assumed ‘near death’ OOB experience, I wondered whether I’d transcended all fear of death. That question was soon answered when a deranged young driver raced his car right at me as I was walking across an intersection on Broadway, the busy four lane street where I live.

Instinctively and reflexively I jumped out of the way, and screamed “Jesus!” so loudly that it probably could have been heard for a block or two away. Thereafter, for several hours I had a “fight or flight” adrenaline rush. Moreover, since then I’ve had several similar (though less intense) precarious experiences while crossing San Francisco streets.

So, despite my serenity during the assumed near death experience, some instinctive fear of bodily death or injury remains, even though I accept physical mortality as unavoidable. As Sri Ramakrishna Paramahanse revealed some ego/mind (either helpful or harmful) is inevitable even for Mahatmas returning to their bodies from nirvikalpa samadhi. Hence while incarnate on earth we cannot avoid living with egos.

While yogis in other times and places could attain and maintain elevated states of awareness by taking refuge in forests, on mountains, or in caves, such stress-free physical environments aren’t available for most humans living in present day US society.

For me attempting to live authentically and sanely in our crazy US culture has at times been quite challenging. I’ve found that in San Francisco courtrooms and environs midst societal insanity, without some ego I’d would have been metaphorically and actually run over while traversing my spiritual path, as well as while crossing streets. So I now accept physical ‘fight or flight’ bodily self-preservation instinct as “normal” and necessary.

Suzuki Shunryū, Roshi, who popularized Zen Buddhism in the United States, was once asked by a student:

“How much “ego” do you need?”  He replied: “Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.”


I wonder now what past spiritual masters would have done when suddenly confronted with immediate bodily threat? It’s quite unlikely that they would’ve shouted “Jesus”, with an adrenaline rush. Maybe they would have stepped quietly out of harms way. Or, like Gandhi, uttered “Ram” with their last bodily breath.

What do you think?

2022 Epilogue: More Related Learning Experiences

Since first publishing this memoirs chapter I’ve been blessed with many more related synchronistic and mystical experiences, from which I’ve continued to learn. Hereafter I’ll discuss some of them:

1) Another near death experience?

I’ll first recount to you a critical taxicab rundown experience that happened over eight years ago.

My 1979 ‘fight or flight’ fear of being hit as a pedestrian ultimately materialized thirty five years later when I was suddenly run down by a taxicab while crossing a busy San Francisco intersection which can be seen from my high-rise view apartment.

I’m unable to recall what happened immediately before and after the taxicab incident, and while I was comatose. Thus for such details I must rely on paramedic and hospital records, and on a cam video showing the taxi hitting me.

My wise expert MD friend, Dr. Solomon Sevy, (who retired after decades of Kaiser California clinical experience as a pediatric cardiologist) succinctly summarized his “diagnostic” opinion after reviewing my medical records.
Dr. Sevy told me:


“Ron, you should be dead!”


My my medical records reviewed by Dr. Sevy revealed the following bodily injuries and symptoms, radiologically and clinically diagnosed:

Traumatic bleeding brain contusion and concussion, with extended loss of consciousness; large 2” chronic subdural hematoma pushing brain .6” out of normal alignment; massive soft tissue tears and other traumatic shoulder injuries, temporarily rendering both shoulders largely non-functional, with prosthesis recommended for left shoulder; multiple facial fractures, bruises and swelling, with broken nose, fractured sinus areas, etc.; facial lacerations requiring sutures; lacerated and bleeding liver; cracked ribs; slight spinal fracture; excessive external bleeding, with anemia requiring prompt two unit blood transfusion; tibial plateau (“bumper”) fracture and extreme swelling of right knee and leg, with large knee wound, open and seeping for over two months; continuing post-traumatic stress syndrome [PTSD]; retrograde amnesia; mental confusion, headaches, dizziness, and dyslexia.


Today at almost age ninety, I’m again living alone without caretakers in my high-rise hermitage. Considering my advanced octogenarian age and the multiplicity and severity of my injuries and symptoms, my survival, recovery and healing so far have been miraculous.

Moreover, I have amazingly survived without any pain drugs or brain or shoulder surgical interventions recommended by various allopathic doctors, and (until the pandemic lock-down with closure of SF Bay public toilets) I’d resumed a largely independent pre-injury life style with frequent walks, after extended convalescence, and treatment with acupuncture, organic herbs, and physical therapy. And I still don’t voluntarily take prescribed allopathic drugs.

Unlike most people who can describe their near death experiences I can’t tell you what happened while I was comatose due to residual post-traumatic stress syndrome [PTSD] and retrograde traumatic amnesia. So I don’t know if it was a conventional NDE.

But I consider my bodily survival and recovery an immense spiritual blessing and am psychologically happier than ever before in this precious human lifetime.

Further details of this Divine blessing are recounted in a prior memoirs chapter titled: “Another near death experience?”.

2) Another vertigo seizure?

The foregoing 1979 almost near-death OOB story began with a completely disabling vertigo experience, which I mistakenly thought was caused by a cerebral stroke. Since then I’ve had many episodes of varying degrees of dizziness, especially after the 2014 taxicab rundown. But not until this week (over forty years later) have I again been completely incapacitated by vertigo from a possible stroke seizure.

In 1979 my extreme dizziness was medically diagnosed as a middle-ear problem, but explained by Guruji as a kundalini cerebral “shakti” kriya. This week, without asking for assistance, I introspectively self-diagnosed the disabling dizziness as kundalini “shakti”.

Here’s what happened:

On August 12, 2022 I was composing my Cartesian Critique essay about confusing thinking with being. While writing about how most humans mistakenly self-identify with their thoughts, rather than consciousness of their thoughts and behaviors, I had a rare inner epiphany.

Whereupon I was suddenly stricken with intense vertigo, like the vertigo I experienced over forty years ago when I was young and healthy. Now at almost ninety I am physical injury and age limited and subject to recurrence of serious taxicab rundown traumatic brain injuries. Moreover, in these extraordinary post-pandemic times, ubiquitous environmental heath threats are causing even young and apparently healthy people to often experience physically fatal strokes.

Nonetheless, as I will hereafter explain, in all apparently paradoxical rational versus intuitive dilemmas, with complete faith I’ve learned to follow my heart. And my heart said:

“You’ve been immeasurably blessed; keep composing and sharing to help others”.


My heart clearly confirmed this perennial wisdom:

“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

In 1979, I accepted my primary care doctor’s medical diagnosis of an inner-ear problem, not a stroke. In 2022, without seeking a medical diagnosis, I’ve followed my Sacred Heart and keep composing to help others.

Explanation

1) In all space/time relative “reality” everything’s energy [E=mc2].

2) In earth’s dense three dimensional [3D] energy sphere, humans (individually and collectively) create “reality” with their thoughts.

“We are what we think.

All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts, we make the world.”

~ Buddha

3) Each incarnate human is individually unique, creating a unique personal “reality” with apparent freedom of choice, which subjects them to experience the karmic consequences of their unique thoughts and behaviors.

“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards.
Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind.
It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . .

Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap.
If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering.
And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”

~ Paramhansa Yogananda

4) We each have freedom of choice to perceive only Divine spirit or God until we ultimately awaken from this dream-like relative “reality” to BE the eternal mystery of Divinity – as LOVE.

“You should love everyone because God dwells in all beings.”
“Have love for everyone, no one is other than you.”
“Yes, all one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal; that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep; and that He is beyond all these.””God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

Conclusion and Dedication

By following my Heart with Faith, I choose to create a new Earth “Reality”;
an elevated energy dimension beyond all current environmental catastrophes, wars, deprivations, diseases, miseries and sufferings now being inflicted upon and fearfully experienced, and condoned or denied or allowed by most humans.

Therefore I refuse to reify this illusionary mental mirage-like samsara ‘reality’ which is constantly discussed and reported on by global “leaders”, institutions and media. Instead I constantly meditate and pray for Nature, and all its life-forms on our precious planet; and for the happiness of everyone and everything everywhere.

Inspired by Jesus Christ – the historic paragon of LOVE – my prayers forgivingly include even those who insanely and selfishly despoil and unsustainably exploit earth-life through their ignorance of our common eternal Self identity as timeless LOVE.

And I deeply dedicate this memoirs chapter to inspiring a “critical mass” of other empathic humans, who together will collectively transcend current earthly psychopathic insanity, by co-creating an envisioned wonderful
New Reality.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


© The Perennial Wisdom Foundation – “From Secular Hebrew, to Born-Again Hindu, to Uncertain Undo – An ex-lawyer’s spiritual metamorphosis from Litigation to Meditation – and Beyond.”
~ by Ron Rattner


Players’ Prayer

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”
~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
May we bless the whole
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“You are awareness, disguised as a person.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks
“You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

“For in truth it is life that gives unto life –

while you, who deem yourself a giver,
 is but a witness.”

~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
“Love is the highest, the grandest, the most inspiring,
the most sublime principle in creation.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Love Is The Law Of Life:

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. 

Love is therefore the only law of life.

He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. 

Therefore, love for love’s sake,

because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.”

~ Swami Vivekananda






Ron’s Introduction of “Players’ Prayer”

Dear Friends,

The following “Player’s Prayer” poem (composed years ago) was inspired by William Shakespeare’s mystical insight that all world’s a stage on which we each play different roles. (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII).

It was intended to remind us to help us bless the world every day, not just on days deemed ‘special’ for expressing love, kindness and affection – like Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or anniversaries; but to always “bless the Whole, as we play our role in the cosmic theater of life”.

Whatever our role in each ephemeral human lifetime, this “Players’ Prayer” encourages our always behaving with instinctive tolerance and generosity. It is intended to help awaken us to our true common Self-identity; to Realization that we all are Universal LOVE, disguised as persons on the ‘world’s stage’, in a Divine play of Cosmic Consciousness.

Until our destined ultimate Self-Realization as timeless LOVE, may we thereby live ever happier and more fulfilling lives.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner



Players’ Prayer

May we bless the whole
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life.

Ever a part in it,
never apart from it,
in happiness or strife.

May we grow wise
and harmonize,
though chaos seems e’er rife.

‘Til we’re the Whole –
and not the role,
and Holiness is Life.



Ron’s recitation of “Players’ Prayer”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Players’ Prayer”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing “Players’ Prayer” reminds us that we are all spiritually connected, and that everything we think do or say changes this world in some way.  So we need not be avowed spiritual seekers or practitioners to spiritually bless this beautiful world. Whatever may be our role as ‘players’ in an ever changing cosmic drama, we bless the world by lovingly accepting and treating others – not just those deemed near and dear to us by affinity or consanguinity.

Most ordinary people with different life roles, are instinctively motivated to be tolerant and helpful in their relationships with others, even though they may live in societies corrupted by greed and injustice.  They just want to live and let live in peace.  So we gradually and instinctively can learn to accept others as divine sisters and brothers, as we lose illusory ego-mind inhibitions and apprehensions, and realize our deep spiritual Oneness with them, and with Nature and all its lifeforms.

Moreover, we can learn from history’s greatest exemplars of Divine LOVE to not mentally judge others, but to accept and forgive everyone, even supposed adversaries or betrayers (like Judas Iscariot). That is why Jesus (as an incarnate avatar of LOVE) taught by example to love even our enemies, not just our neighbors, and why he prayerfully beseeched Divine forgiveness for his murderers while suffering an excruciatingly painful death by crucifixion:

“Father, forgive them  they know not what they do.”
(Luke-23:34).

We ignorantly hurt ourselves by hurting or hating others, until we learn the divine Truth that we and others are ONE.  Whereupon we realize that unconditional forgiveness and acceptance of others is true LOVE, which eternally blesses all creation. 

Conclusion and Invocation.

Whatever our role in each ephemeral human lifetime, may our instinctive tolerance and generosity help awaken us to our true common Self-identity; to Realization that we all are timeless LOVE, disguised as persons on the ‘world’s stage’, in a Divine play of Cosmic Consciousness.

Thereby may we live live ever happier and more fulfilling lives, as we realize that 

“Love is the highest, 
the grandest, 
the most inspiring,
the most sublime 
principle in creation.”

And thus shall we

“Bless the Whole,
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life”.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner