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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Merton’

Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving

“To be a presence of perpetual thanksgiving may be the ultimate goal of life.  
The thankful person is the one for whom life is simply one long exercise in the sacred.”
~ Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB from The Psalms: Meditations for Every Day of the Year
“Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence …
For thankfulness brings you to the place where the Beloved lives.”
~ Rumi
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others.”
~ Cicero





Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving


“Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
~ Rumi

“Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude for life.
Join my eyes and soul in their divine applause.”
~ Hafiz

“You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy.”
~ Buddha

“It is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you,
it will be enough.”
~ Meister Eckhart

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends,
the old and the new.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled  by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
~ Buddha

“I thank God for my handicaps for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
~ Helen Keller

“O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”
~ William Shakespeare

“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

”A grateful mind is a great mind
which eventually attracts to itself great things.”
~ Plato

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”
~ Aesop

”Gratitude bestows reverence,
allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies,
those transcendent moments of awe
that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
~ John Milton

“I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual.
It is surprising how contented one can be
with – only a sense of existence.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Gratitude is heaven itself.”
~ William Blake

“No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.”
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
~ Psalm 100


“When you allow your heart to open to the universe’s flow of love, gratitude comes with that flow. Gratitude for the people that you love, and for those who share your life. Gratitude for the Creation of the beautiful Earth as our home in this great cosmos. Gratitude for the Sun that gives us life. Gratitude for being alive, for just existing, for being in the flow of the wonder of life.”
~ Owen Waters



“Gratitude flows unimpeded from an open heart. When you allow it, gratitude will flow as freely as the sunshine, unobstructed by judgments or conditions.”
~ Owen Waters

“Every day should be a day of Thanksgiving for all the gifts of Life — sunshine, water, the luscious fruits and greens,
which we receive as indirect gifts from the Great Giver.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love,
every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God.
For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
~ Thomas Merton 


“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful
and has nobody to thank.”              
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I thank you God for most this amazing day
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky,
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes….
I who have died am alive again today
and this is the sun’s birthday;
this is the birth day of life and of love and wings…
~ e. e. cummings

“When we develop a right attitude of compassion and gratitude,
we take a giant step towards solving our personal and international problems.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

It’s not our longitude
Or our latitude,
But the elevation of our attitude,
That brings beatitude.
***
So an attitude of gratitude
Brings beatitude.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Remember with gratitude,
Life is beatitude –
Even its sorrows and pain;
For we’re all in God’s Grace,
Every time, every place, and
Forever (S)HE will reign!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving”

Dear Friends,

For your utmost happiness on Thanksgiving day and every day, I’ve again posted the foregoing collection of inspiring thankfulness quotes, including treasures of perennial wisdom.

Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday long ago, when I realized that thankfulness is a universal blessing uplifting everyone everywhere, regardless of their cultural, spiritual, secular or religious attitudes or beliefs.  

At age eighty eight (especially since miraculously surviving a near-death taxi rundown in 2014), I’ve become unspeakably grateful for still being alive, aware, ambulatory and interdependently-independent.  Thus I’ve learned that experiencing continual thankfulness is a state of Divine Grace – not just during Thanksgiving holidays, but always; that every day’s a bonus, and every breath a blessing.   

Invocation

May the foregoing Everyday Thoughts For Thanksgiving
inspire and guide us to ever expanding fulfillment and happiness,
with an ongoing attitude of gratitude, on Thanksgiving day and every day.  

May every day be a Thanksgiving day
for everyone everywhere.   

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Happy Thanksgiving Day – Every Day!

Enjoy! – Beautiful Gratitude Video
Narrated by Brother David Steindl-Rast




Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith

“Imagination is everything.
It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world,
and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
~ Albert Einstein
“You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”
~ John Lennon, “Imagine”
“Is all that we see or seem
but a dream within a dream?”
~ Edgar Allen Poe
“Your thoughts create reality. The most pragmatic way to create world peace is to use your power of visualization. Think Peace, Act Peace, Spread Peace, Imagine Peace. Your thoughts will soon cover the planet. The most important thing is to believe in your power. It works.”
~ Yoko Ono
“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
“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
“Faith is the highest passion in a human being.
Many in every generation may not come that far,

but none comes further.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard
“Faith is different from proof;
the latter is human, the former is a gift from God.”
“The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.”
~ Blaise Pascal
“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.”
 . . .
“Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.”
~ Alan Watts



John Lennon
October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980



Introduction

Dear Friends,

The above quotations about imagination and faith, and the following poetic essay and embedded videos, are posted as a tribute to departed hero John Lennon, on his October 9, 80th birthday anniversary. John’s lasting legacy as a charismatic and visionary populist leader who imagined a peaceful planet fulfilling our common needs, is explained in comments after the essay/poem.


Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith


Just as dreamers ‘create’ their dreams,
together we are a ‘dream-team’,
dreaming our world into being;

And, consciously or unconsciously creating a ‘common dream’.

Together, we are awakening to the greatest “secret of secrets”:

That we are not mere powerless perceivers of our “reality”,
but also its co-creators –

That we interdependently co-create our reality with our imagination, thoughts, words and deeds;

That everything we think, do or say changes our world in some way;

That our worldly “reality” depends upon the light of awareness with which we envision, experience and co-create it.

As we are awakening, we are discovering our true nature as Infinite Potentiality, and we are becoming infused with abiding faith in Nature and our Self, and in the impenetrable Mystery beyond every form or phenomenon.

As we are awakening, we are also discovering that our great gift of imagination can immeasurably help us live harmonious, creative, and loving lives.

We are learning – as Einstein taught us – that
what we imagine is “the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

So, as we awaken with abiding faith and love,
together let us “imagine” – like martyred hero John Lennon – that

“Someday …. the world will live as one”.

AND SO SHALL IT BE!

Ron Rattner



Ron’s Comments on Envisioning a Better World
~ With Imagination and Faith:


Dear Friends,

The foregoing poetic essay is a tribute to departed hero John Lennon, on his 80th birthday anniversary. Lennon – like Dr. King and Malcolm X – was martyred at age forty at the pinnacle of his powers, but he bequeathed to us a lasting legacy of unrelenting aspiration and inspiration for planetary peace and love.

Recent US presidential election politics have revealed that most Americans are justifiably dissatisfied with US empire policies and economics; that they especially object to extreme economic inequality, unjustly favoring the super-rich 1% at the expense of almost everyone else, caused by an ever warlike imperial government with much more hypocrisy than democracy.

John Lennon was and remains a charismatic and visionary populist leader who imagined a peaceful planet fulfilling our common needs and deepest desires for a radically new era when our “world will live as ONE.”

Lennon recognized that whatever our political, cultural, generational, or geographical labels or perspectives, we all share overriding common needs and aspirations.  That as Humankind we share the same web of life, the same precious Earth ecology, the same aspirations for health and happiness and for just and loving societies serving basic needs of all life on a peaceful planet. 
 
To honor John Lennon on his 80th birthday, I’ve embedded below two live performances of John singing “Imagine”, plus written lyrics. As we listen to him projecting our heartfelt aspirations, let us join together with faith, to envision and co-create a wonderful new era when our “world will live as ONE.”

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


John Lennon – “Imagine” (live performances)



“Imagine”


Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today



Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace



You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one



Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world



You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one


~ John Lennon


What is Faith? ~
Quotes and Predictions

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

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



“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

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

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

“Faith embraces many truths which seem to contradict each other.”

~ Blaise Pascal

“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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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



Ron’s 2017 Commentary on Mystical 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 four. And why, after four decades of spiritual exploration, I often experience the “real world’ mostly like a movie – a synchronistic simulated reality?

Forty two 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 four decades of spiritual exploration and evolution – so far.

Now I mostly self-identify as eternal spirit enjoying a brief “in a body experience” as an 84 year old retired lawyer and spiritual writer. And I feel 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 in the mystical 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. Please read and reflect on them.

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.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


2020 Epilogue: Predictions of a faith-based optimist.

Dear Friends,

I write today to share optimistic predictions that with faith we are destined to enjoy ever increasing happiness on our precious planet Earth.

Forty five years ago, after an unforgettable OOB experience, I deeply intuited that thought was the genesis of all phenomenal “reality”. Thereafter I gradually became persuaded by Einstein and experience that “space and time are not conditions in which we live, [but] modes in which we think”; and that our perceived space/time “reality” is “an optical illusion of consciousness.” 

But, I have remained unspeakably grateful and devotional as a passenger on “Spaceship Earth”, awed by its amazing existence in space/time, and profoundly concerned about foolishly unsustainable human disruption of its miraculous ecology.

Thus for many years I’ve observed that survival of Earth-life as we have known it is being catastrophically threatened by a tiny group of autocratic mega-billionaires, who insanely control and exploit of our precious planet. Yet, from a deep faith-based perspective I’ve remained confident that we are ultimately destined to end nefarious psychopathic global rule of humankind. (See https://sillysutras.com/ive-found-a-faith-based-life/)

In 2020, since unconstitutionally ordered under house arrest, as an allegedly viral vulnerable elder, I’ve observed that recent extraordinary and shocking events are at long last awakening a critical mass of humankind to awareness which will end our autocratic oppression. So from my faith-based perspective, our current “new normal” pre-planned coronavirus crisis era of worldwide fear and panic presents a once-in-a-lifetime “tipping point” opportunity for humankind to co-create a new and wonderful world of happiness, harmony and health for everyone everywhere, rather than to degenerate into a locked-down dystopian/Orwellian “Big Brother” era of unprecedented and insidious global human control and enslavement by a few malignant psychopaths.

Thus, today I predict that WE THE PEOPLE, will soon democratically reclaim our freedoms and inalienable constitutional and human rights to overcome unjust and immoral control by a few globalist-autocrats, rather than succumbing to their insidious brainwashing techniques of instilling pervasive societal fears and instigating inter-societal polarized controversies. And as a faith-based optimist I foresee that we can transform the world by intuitively, faithfully and fearlessly following our hearts, not the brainwashed herd, and by non-violently refusing to cooperate with our treacherous governments, institutions and enterprises.

From my perspective, recent extraordinary events – especially the purported pre-planned coronavirus pandemic, and the shocking Memorial Day Minneapolis police murder of Afro-American George Floyd, followed by worldwide protests against racist police violence, are mere symptoms – not causes – of current catastrophes, which we will survive and surmount.

The root cause of all these “new normal” problems is our top-down political/economic system of undemocratic autocratic control over almost 8 billion humans by a tiny transnational group of obscenely rich mega-billionaires. Democracy and empire cannot coexist. So to end endless symptoms of insidious top-down global human control by a few malignant psychopaths, we must and shall replace empire with bottom-up democratic governments, institutions and enterprises emphasizing universal peace and justice, and people over profits.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968


Dr. King’s Prescient Predictions.

During the last year of his life, American civil rights hero and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered many forceful sermons and speeches decrying poverty, racism, the immoral Vietnam war, and economic injustice, and describing riots as the language of the unheard. His words then are proving to be presciently accurate as times have changed.

For example, he predicted that:

“The developed industrial nations of the world, – cannot remain secure islands of prosperity in a seething sea of poverty. A storm is rising against a privileged minority of the earth from which there is no shelter in isolation at armament. – – -The storm will not abate until a just distribution of the fruits of the earth enables man everywhere to live in dignity and human decency.”


In “other America” lectures Dr. King proposed redressing extreme economic inequity by reallocation of national spending priorities and suggested “a guaranteed minimum income for all people, and for our families of our country.”

Privately, Dr. King explicitly supported changing our current US capitalist economic-system. For example, he told family friend Harry Belafonte:

“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” ~ “My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race, and Defiance”, by Harry Belafonte & Michael Shnayerson, page 328

In his historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech Dr. King declared that

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”


“Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as His divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.”
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” “The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”

In the 1960’s Dr. King’s assertions and predictions were considered controversial or ‘unpatriotic’ by many Americans. But in 2020 his eloquent descriptions of 1960’s America have become almost incontrovertible and obvious.

In 1967 the US had large and prosperous middle class, with few unemployed workers, in which one blue collar wage-earner could earn enough to buy a home and support a family with children, while accruing pension benefits permitting an economically secure retirement. The US prison population then included approximately 200,000 inmates. It is now over 2 million.

Since Dr. King’s martyrdom in April, 1968, most of the US middle class has been methodically demolished and impoverished by sustained governmental exploitation and inflation, benefiting only the richest Americans. The purchasing power of most US workers has barely increased, while their costs of essential food, shelter and health care have skyrocketed. So to stay economically afloat, most American households now need two wage earners, and have incurred burdensome lifelong debts for home mortgages, car loans, student loans, payday loans, etc

Meanwhile, an unconscionable wealth gap has arisen between rich and poor Americans. By 2017 just three US mega-billionaires – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos – collectively held more wealth than the bottom 50% of the entire population.

In 2020, since an over-hyped and fraudulent declaration of a coronavirus pandemic crisis, billions of working class people in the US and worldwide, have been illegally locked-down and prevented from engaging in normal economic, political and social activities, So they’ve been losing their supposedly “non-essential’ jobs and small businesses, and some are in imminent danger of becoming homeless and impoverished. Many Americans are already waiting in long food bank lines for necessary nourishment they previously earned for themselves.

Yet, while billions of working class people are thus suffering forced impoverishment and authoritarian police state deprivations of their inherent legal and constitutional human rights and liberties, the combined wealth of US billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, jumped by half a trillion dollars since the onset of the purported COVID-19 pandemic And Gates wants to keep the world locked down until we are all forcibly injected with one of his purported vaccines.

Current worldwide problems and protests are awakening a worldwide “coalition of conscience”.

Because normal activities of billions of people worldwide are now disrupted by immoral coronavirus edicts, causing immense needless fears and sufferings, many people are, at long last, realizing how they are victims of delusional human behaviors which unjustly benefit only mega-rich people and their acolytes. And they are becoming determined to resist and replace those very few people who are malignantly threatening not just human lives, but all Earth-life as we have known it.

Concluding predictions of a faith-based optimist.

With unwavering Gandhian faith that the way of truth and love always prevails, I confidently predict that we are destined to end current psychopathic global rule of humankind. And that a “tipping point” critical mass of humankind will soon end our catastrophic oppression by fearlessly and nonviolently resisting and refusing to follow immoral autocratic edicts which unjustly restrict our innate and constitutional human rights and freedoms.

Thus, humankind are destined to co-create a new and wonderful world of happiness, harmony and health for everyone everywhere, rather than degenerate into a locked-down dystopian/Orwellian “Big Brother” era of unprecedented and insidious global human control and enslavement by a few malignant psychopaths.

Invocation.

May WE THE PEOPLE transform the world
by faithfully and fearlessly following our hearts
to a destined new reality
of abiding peace, justice and goodwill
for all life everywhere.

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner


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



“Miracles”

“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
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly,
our whole life would change.”
~ Buddha
“The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air,
but simply walking on this earth.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.
The real miracle is the love that inspires them.
In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.”
~ A Course in Miracles
“All is a miracle.
The stupendous order of nature,
the revolution of a hundred millions of worlds around a million of stars,
the activity of light,
the life of all animals,
all are grand and perpetual miracles.”
~ Francois Voltaire
“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.”
~ Walt Whitman
“When we do the best that we can,
we never know what miracle is wrought in our life,
or in the life of another.”
~ Helen Keller




“Miracles” ~ By Walt Whitman – “Leaves of Grass

Why, who makes much of a miracle?

As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,

Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,

Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;

These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?



Ron’s Reflections Upon and Dedication of “Miracles”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing posting was inspired by Albert Einstein’s wise endorsement of living “as though everything is a miracle.”

Miracles are phenomena which can’t yet be explained scientifically or through common wisdom. Depending on each person’s unique experience of “reality”, different people consider different phenomena to be ‘miracles’.

But, throughout history, spiritually evolved beings – like those quoted above – have humbly recognized and accepted that all earth life is an eternal miracle attributable to ineffable Divine Power beyond comprehension, imagination, or description.

Though THAT mysterious and miraculous Power is ultimately unnameable,
it is often called LOVE.

So Divine LOVE is for me the ultimate Miracle.


“Everything comes from divine LOVE;
and everything that comes from LOVE is a miracle”.


After many years of living more and more “as though everything is is a miracle” of Divine LOVE, I have experienced ever expanding contentment and happiness with unspeakable gratitude for each moment of life, accepting whatever happens as a destined Divine play of consciousness.

And I now often perceive this entire space/time Universe – like a movie – as a miraculous matrix projection onto a ’screen of consciousness’, with ever impermanent forms and phenomena appearing from and disappearing into an eternally mysterious Source.

Accordingly, I gratefully find harmonic resonance with Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s experiential observation that God’s love is an ever present immense gift and grace:

“Every breath we draw is a gift of [God’s] love,

for it brings with it immense graces from Him.”

~ Thomas Merton

Knowingly or unknowingly we are all graced and gifted with Divine LOVE as the eternal Source of infinite miracles which constantly bless us. So – like Thomas Merton – may we experience that blessing every moment of existence.

May expanding awareness of the constant miracle of LOVE, bring us ever growing gratitude, happiness and contentment for every precious moment of every precious life.

And may we:

Remember with gratitude,

Life is beatitude –

Even its sorrows and pain;

For we’re all in God’s Grace,

Every time, every place, and

Forever (S)HE will reign!

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings – “Remember”


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Life’s in the Balance

“Harmony is the secret principle of life.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“When there is harmony between the mind, heart and resolution
then nothing is impossible.”
~ Rig Veda
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”
~ Thomas Merton
“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”
~ Rumi, The Essential Rumi
“As long as you live, you will be subject to change, whether you will it or not – now glad, now sorrowful; now pleased, now displeased; now devout, now undevout; now vigorous, now slothful; now gloomy, now merry. But a wise man who is well taught in spiritual labor stands unshaken in all such things, and heeds little what he feels, or from what side the wind of instability blows.”
~ Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
“As it acts in the world, the Tao is like the bending of a bow. The top is bent downward; the bottom is bent up. It adjusts excess and deficiency so that there is perfect balance. It takes from what is too much and gives to what isn’t enough. Those who try to control, who use force to protect their power, go against the direction of the Tao. They take from those who don’t have enough and give to those who have far too much. The Master can keep giving because there is no end to her wealth. She acts without expectation, succeeds without taking credit, and doesn’t think that she is better than anyone else.”
~ Lao Tzu *





Life’s in the Balance

Our life is in the balance,
Ever < NOW >,

‘Twixt our hopes
and our history,

On a fulcrum of Mystery,

Our life is in the balance,
Ever < NOW > !



Ron’s audio recitation of “Life’s in the Balance”

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* Lao Tzu, translation by Stephen Mitchell



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Life’s in the Balance”


Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotes and sutra poem address an important philosophical and practical question: “How can we live a “balanced life”?”

Have you ever considered what it means to live a “balanced life”?  If so, what did you decide?  Have you considered eating a balanced diet, or balancing and prioritizing your time spent with work, recreation, meditation, relationships, rest, etc.?

Each of us is unique with a unique earth life history and perspective.  So there can be no specific answer or definition for each of us about what constitutes “a balanced life”.  Moreover, everything is in constant flux, precluding any unchanging answer.  Yet this is an issue of considerable importance for all of us, individually and societally – pragmatically and spiritually – on which I have reflected since my mid-life inner awakening. 

Since then, I have learned that – just as our bodies naturally tend toward maintaining a state of homeostasis – there is a strong tendency throughout Nature to maintain homeostatic equilibrium, and to energetically compensate for any disruptions or deviations from that balanced state.  And that “Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature.”

Yet it appears that we Humans are the only earthly species responsible for significant ecological imbalances. Forgetting that Nature is our nature; that we are interdependently ONE with Nature; and, that Nature ‘bats last’, we have mistakenly believed and behaved as if we are separated from each other and from Nature.
 
This behavior has resulted in disharmonious cruelty, wars, and insanely unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet, with widespread psychological suffering and unhappiness. Our mistaken self-identification as supposedly separate entities is what spiritual teachers call “ego”.  And most spiritual teachings are intended to help us transcend such limited ego consciousness. They remind us that


“Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature. Not only higher forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings who, without any religion, law, or education, survive by mutual cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness. The most subtle level of material phenomena is also governed by interdependence. All phenomena, from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests, and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy. Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay.”

~ Dalai Lama

Because we have forgotten the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life everywhere, we have degenerated into insanity – unconsciously committing mass suicide by ecocide, and threatening nuclear catastrophe. So these are critical times of immense jeopardy and suffering, yet immense opportunity.

The human species has developed amazing new technologies, which if wisely and unselfishly used could foster a wonderful new enlightened age. And paradoxically we can advance toward such a new age by emulating past pre-industrial societies.

Isn’t it now crucial that we learn from the wisdom of indigenous people who have lived sane and happy lives by prioritizing sustainable harmony with Nature over it’s unsustainable exploitation; cooperation over competition; respect for prophets over lust for profits; democracy over authoritarianism?

Since Nature is our nature and is in charge of our lives, to live a “balanced life” we must self-identify with Nature, and consciously cooperate with our precious planet’s interdependent ecosystem.  We must behave mindfully without disrupting the crucial homeostatic harmony of our body-minds with our environment.

The foregoing “Life’s in the Balance” sutra poem was composed during an extended period of post-retirement hibernation. May the poem and preceding quotations help us discover innate happiness in our interdependent ONENESS with Nature and all of its lifeforms, and encourage us to give ‘power of attorney’ to Nature as The Lone Arranger of our lives.
 
Realizing that Nature is in charge of our lives, may we learn to leave it to The Lone Arranger in order to live interdependently with all life everywhere in homeostatic balance and harmony. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Amazing Grace

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




‘Amazing Grace’~ by Ron Rattner

Knowingly or unknowingly we seek
Wholeness, Happiness and Love.

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

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

Some call it Grace –
‘Amazing Grace’.

Grace is to mind as gravity is to matter:

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

Knowingly or unknowingly,
we are all seekers, and

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

Wholeness, Happiness and Love.



Ron’s explanation and recitation of “Amazing Grace”

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Ron’s Reflections on “Amazing Grace”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations and poem are shared with the deep aspiration that they may help open our hearts to receiving and sharing gifts of Divine Grace, which are ever potential blessings in our lives.

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

But after my midlife spiritual awakening I began often describing as “amazing grace” what was happening in my life. For example, in a recent SillySutras comment I wrote that:

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


Instinctively, I feel the phrase “amazing grace” invokes powerful subtle spiritual energies long associated with the famous words and melody of the “Amazing Grace” hymn*, regardless of whether one is a Christian believer. So “Amazing Grace” became the title of my foregoing poem – which is not limited to Christianity, but broadly applies theologically to all human spiritual experience.

Because divine grace is universal – and not limited to any particular spiritual path – all quotations about “grace” which precede the poem can apply to all people, whether or not they are religious ‘believers’.

Our loving behaviors rather than our theological beliefs are most crucial in opening us to gifts of Grace.

Ultimately, with utmost gratitude for Divine blessings, may we realize – as did Trappist monk Thomas Merton – that

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


And may we open our hearts to receiving and sharing gifts of Divine Grace, which are ever potential blessings in our lives.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Footnote*

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


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






Dalai Lama – Many Faiths, One Truth


Many Faiths, One Truth

By TENZIN GYATSO


WHEN I was a boy in Tibet, I felt that my own Buddhist religion must be the best — and that other faiths were somehow inferior. Now I see how naïve I was, and how dangerous the extremes of religious intolerance can be today.

Though intolerance may be as old as religion itself, we still see vigorous signs of its virulence. In Europe, there are intense debates about newcomers wearing veils or wanting to erect minarets and episodes of violence against Muslim immigrants. Radical atheists issue blanket condemnations of those who hold to religious beliefs. In the Middle East, the flames of war are fanned by hatred of those who adhere to a different faith.

Such tensions are likely to increase as the world becomes more interconnected and cultures, peoples and religions become ever more entwined. The pressure this creates tests more than our tolerance — it demands that we promote peaceful coexistence and understanding across boundaries.

Granted, every religion has a sense of exclusivity as part of its core identity. Even so, I believe there is genuine potential for mutual understanding. While preserving faith toward one’s own tradition, one can respect, admire and appreciate other traditions.

An early eye-opener for me was my meeting with the Trappist monk Thomas Merton in India shortly before his untimely death in 1968. Merton told me he could be perfectly faithful to Christianity, yet learn in depth from other religions like Buddhism. The same is true for me as an ardent Buddhist learning from the world’s other great religions.

A main point in my discussion with Merton was how central compassion was to the message of both Christianity and Buddhism. In my readings of the New Testament, I find myself inspired by Jesus’ acts of compassion. His miracle of the loaves and fishes, his healing and his teaching are all motivated by the desire to relieve suffering.
I’m a firm believer in the power of personal contact to bridge differences, so I’ve long been drawn to dialogues with people of other religious outlooks. The focus on compassion that Merton and I observed in our two religions strikes me as a strong unifying thread among all the major faiths. And these days we need to highlight what unifies us.

Take Judaism, for instance. I first visited a synagogue in Cochin, India, in 1965, and have met with many rabbis over the years. I remember vividly the rabbi in the Netherlands who told me about the Holocaust with such intensity that we were both in tears. And I’ve learned how the Talmud and the Bible repeat the theme of compassion, as in the passage in Leviticus that admonishes, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In my many encounters with Hindu scholars in India, I’ve come to see the centrality of selfless compassion in Hinduism too — as expressed, for instance, in the Bhagavad Gita, which praises those who “delight in the welfare of all beings.” I’m moved by the ways this value has been expressed in the life of great beings like Mahatma Gandhi, or the lesser-known Baba Amte, who founded a leper colony not far from a Tibetan settlement in Maharashtra State in India. There he fed and sheltered lepers who were otherwise shunned. When I received my Nobel Peace Prize, I made a donation to his colony.

Compassion is equally important in Islam — and recognizing that has become crucial in the years since Sept. 11, especially in answering those who paint Islam as a militant faith. On the first anniversary of 9/11, I spoke at the National Cathedral in Washington, pleading that we not blindly follow the lead of some in the news media and let the violent acts of a few individuals define an entire religion.

Let me tell you about the Islam I know. Tibet has had an Islamic community for around 400 years, although my richest contacts with Islam have been in India, which has the world’s second-largest Muslim population. An imam in Ladakh once told me that a true Muslim should love and respect all of Allah’s creatures. And in my understanding, Islam enshrines compassion as a core spiritual principle, reflected in the very name of God, the “Compassionate and Merciful,” that appears at the beginning of virtually each chapter of the Koran.

Finding common ground among faiths can help us bridge needless divides at a time when unified action is more crucial than ever. As a species, we must embrace the oneness of humanity as we face global issues like pandemics, economic crises and ecological disaster. At that scale, our response must be as one.

Harmony among the major faiths has become an essential ingredient of peaceful coexistence in our world. From this perspective, mutual understanding among these traditions is not merely the business of religious believers — it matters for the welfare of humanity as a whole.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is the author, most recently, of “Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World’s Religions Can Come Together.”

Originally published as an Op-Ed by New York Times on May 24, 2010