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Posts Tagged ‘Thought’

Problems?

“Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.”
~ Erich Fromm
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
~  Erich Fromm
“The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another.”
~ Dalai Lama
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.”

~ Dalai Lama
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Freedom from the desire for an answer
is essential to the understanding of a problem.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“If we can really understand the problem,
the answer will come out of it, because
the answer is not separate from the problem.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“The quest is in the question.
The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Life is not a problem to be solved,
but a reality to be experienced.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard




Problems?

Q. 

What causes problems?
And how can we solve them?


A.  

Ignorance spawns them;

Intelligence solves them;

Wisdom averts them;

Truth transcends them.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Problems?”:

Listen to



Ron’s Comments about seeing and solving “Problems”

Dear Friends,

As sentient beings on planet Earth, we share innate yearning for uninterrupted happiness. But there aren’t utopian Earthly societies inhabited by perfectly happy people without problems.

Thus, individually and societally, all humans inevitably experience problems and limitations which interfere with their happiness – no matter who we are or how we are self-identified or categorized.

Though – like snowflakes – each of us is physically unique with a unique story and history, we are all inextricably interconnected and interdependent – existentially sharing a common spiritual Self identity and common cosmic matrix.

Problems preclude lasting happiness

So solving our societal and interpersonal problems is crucial to fulfillment of our inborn wish for lasting happiness. And just as curing disease normally requires diagnosis of its cause, to solve Earthly problems we need to see their source.

To help us “diagnose” our problems I have posted the foregoing quotations and enigmatic sutra poem – composed many years ago – about seeing, solving and transcending “problems”.

Seeing and solving psychological problems

This poem mainly addresses mental – rather than physical – “problems”, since physical pain is inevitable, while mental suffering is optional.

As to such psychological problems, His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches that

“The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion” because “the need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence;” and because without “love and compassion . . .humanity cannot survive”.

Psychological problems and suffering inevitably arise when we are ignorant of our true spiritual self-identity – which is LOVE – but futilely seek happiness from ephemeral worldly satisfactions. So the poem identifies “ignorance” as the source of “problems”.

Thus Rumi tells us:

“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find

all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi

Mental Problems are Ego Problems

Those mental ‘barriers’ which we have ‘built within’ all arise from ego, to which Buddhist teachings often refer as ‘self-cherishing thought’.

Through ego we mistakenly mentally self-identify as entities separate from the Whole – as separate perceivers of a supposedly objective world.

But this is an unreal ego illusion – samsara. And our self-cherishing beliefs and behaviors seeking psychological self-preservation and protection of that ego illusion of separateness are ultimately futile.

What never was, can never be preserved.

To promote lasting happiness and compassion, most spiritual practice has been aimed for millennia at transcending illusionary ego identity. For example this intention has been mentioned in ancient Vedic and Taoist texts such as Rig Veda and Tao Te Ching, as well as in Buddhist scriptures:

Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”

~ Rig Veda

“The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.”

~ Lao Tzu

“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”

~ Dalai Lama

Thus, according to perennial spiritual teachings, ego must be recognized, renounced and transcended.

No thought, no ego.

Ultimate overcoming of ego happens only when thought ceases NOW, and Universal Intelligence which has been mistakenly regarded as a separate experiencer of sensations and emotions, and a separate performer of actions, exists by itself and as itself, and is not mentally divided and projected.

Happiness grows as ego goes

Only very rare ‘awakened’ Buddha-like beings have completed the metamorphosis from Humanity to Infinite Intelligence – from human consciousness to superconsciousness. So the overwhelmingly vast majority of Humankind are incarnate because we are limited by illusionary ego entity-identity, and we inevitably suffer “problems” in space/time causality/duality.

But all of us can gradually evolve and achieve ever growing happiness by seeing and solving our ego problems from ever elevated mental states of consciousness, subtler than those which created them.

Initially we may use our instinctive intelligence to “diagnose” and abandon the beliefs and behaviors causing our experience of such problems. Later, with wisdom we may avert problems by observing mistakes of others and not emulating such mistakes.

Invocation/Conclusion

May we overcome our sufferings from earthly ‘problems’, and experience ever growing happiness, compassion and fulfillment of our deepest aspirations, by gradually recognizing, renouncing and transcending ego-beliefs and behaviors.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

The Way In, Is The Way Out

“The way is not in the sky.
The way is in the heart.”

~ Buddha
“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi
“As you grow up, you form a mental image of who you are, based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego. It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through constant thinking. The term ego means different things to different people, but when I use it …it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind. …..
As long as you are identified with your mind, the ego runs your life.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”

~ Rig Veda
“As long as you take yourself to be a person, a body, a mind, separate from the stream of life, having a will of its own, pursuing its own aims, you are living merely on the surface and whatever you do will be short-lived and of little value, mere straws to feed the flames of vanity.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Undo ego!
As ego goes,

consciousness grows,

until it Knows
– Its Self.”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



Beyond Ego



The Way In, Is The Way Out

In this crazy age
of mental malaise,
we’re caught
in a mental maze.

Without a doubt,
to find our way out
we must know
the way we got in.



Ron’s Audio Recitation of “The Way In, Is The Way Out”

Listen to


Ron’s Explanation and Dedication of “The Way In, Is The Way Out”

Dear Friends,

The above poem is dedicated to furthering our conscious spiritual evolution, thereby helping us live ever happier lives.

Upon birth as human lifeforms we experience amnesia about our true spiritual self-identity. Then we are acculturated to perceive and believe ourselves to be mere mortal physical bodies separate from each other and nature. So egoically we think and mistakenly behave as unconnected entities, and become subject to the universal law of cause and effect – karma.

Every Human – except for rare Buddha-like beings – knowingly or unknowingly is in some evolutionary stage of undoing mistaken ego identity – a process indispensable to our inevitable evolution. So for millennia spiritual seers have recognized “ego” as the greatest human “enemy” and impediment to our spiritual evolution.

Thus, because of ego’s supreme significance, numerous SillySutras.com writings describe “ego” and ways to transcend it. (See e.g. website archives linked here.)

In writing about ego I’ve sometimes used fanciful metaphors. For example, I have written that ego identification causes each soul to become ‘encapsulated’ and ‘entangled’ in a “self-woven karmic cocoon” arising from our unique behaviors – through which we often bring about personal and planetary sufferings. And that each “karmic cocoon” becomes a kind of “psychological prison” which restricts realization of our unlimited potentialities and makes karmic suffering inevitable.  But I’ve written that by “undoing ego” we can each mentally transcend our “psychological prison” and emerge “free at last”, no matter what our outer circumstances,.

My midlife awakening sparked a spiritual metamorphosis process from “secular Hebrew”, to “born-again Hindu”, to “uncertain Undo”. Gradually I began letting go of previously accepted beliefs and concepts about Self-identity and Reality. Thus whimsically I’ve long proclaimed that I’m an ‘Uncertain Undo’ seeking relief from belief; and that “on the path of Undo, we’ll never be through, ’til we’re an undone ONE”.

In Rob Tobias’ YouTube documentary film about me, titled: “Walks With Ron (A Spiritual Memoir)”, I’ve explained how butterflies are powerful symbols of our human potential to undo inevitable earthly karmic sufferings and emerge from chrysalis-like self-woven “karmic cocoons”. And I recited the above mental maze lines about how (until then) we’re karmically caught “in a mental maze” seeking the way out.

I hope you’ll enjoy the poem online and in the video. And that it may help all of us who are still “caught by thought” and longing to escape from suffering while psychologically imprisoned in our self-woven karmic cocoons.

Invocation.

May “The Way In, Is The Way Out” help remind us all
of how we can emerge from “karmic cocoons” and transcend earthly sufferings
by letting go of who or what we mistakenly think we are,
and BEING what we really are –
ONE with Nature as its Eternal Source.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


How Can We Think More Objectively?

“Objectivity is an illusory impossibility.”
“All concepts are mental projections of Cosmic Consciousness.
But for name – subject and object are same.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Objective reality does not exist” ….

“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”

~ David Bohm, quantum physicist
“This whole creation is essentially subjective,
and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once:
scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”

~ Carl Gustav Jung
“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
“Those who know how to think need no teachers.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi




How Can We Think More Objectively?

Q. How can we think more objectively?

A. We can’t. Objectivity is an illusory impossibility.

Thinking objectively is an oxymoronic misconception.
All thought is subjective; so everyone thinks subjectively.

All concepts are mental projections
of Cosmic Consciousness.

But for name – subject and object are same.

To transcend thinking in the ‘subject-object’ box,
we can intuit our wholeness – as both subject and object.

And realizing that Cosmic Consciousness is our eternal essence,

We can more and more think intuitively, holistically, compassionately and authentically – but sparingly.

So, with our Heart, not our head,
let’s think less, and BE more –

NOW!


Ron’s comments about thinking “objectively”.


Dear Friends,

Do you accept ideas of individual or institutional “objectivity”?

If so, you may question the above posting which contends that scientifically and spiritually: “Objectivity is an illusory impossibility”; that without a separate subject there can be no separate object, and that “our (apparent) separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Like most Westerners I grew up imbued with ideals of honesty and “objectivity” of our scientific, academic, journalistic and judicial institutions. However, as a social justice lawyer in increasingly dystopian times, I’ve become skeptical of those “objectivity” ideas and ideals.
  
But only after my midlife spiritual awakening, did I begin realizing that ultimate objectivity is an illusory impossibility; that the idea of objectivity refers only to a pre-relativity Newtonian world-view of apparently separate energy forms and phenomena, in which we’ve mistakenly measured matter and phenomena which are perceivable, but excluded Cosmic consciousness – the non-dual immeasurable and imperceivable matrix and Source of all our ego-mind conceptions of ‘reality’.

Ultimately I’ve intuited (and concurred with quantum physicist David Bohm) that “Objective reality does not exist” that ….“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram” . Thus that every humanly perceived form or phenomenon is merely impermanent holographic projection of immeasurable consciousness – of ONE Reality beyond space/time causality/duality.

Despite last century’s revolutionary scientific discoveries of relativity and quantum physics, most materialistic mainstream scientists remain reluctant to recognize the impossibility of accurately describing Nature through ‘objective’ measurement. Nor do they yet confirm Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Planck’s description of matter

“as derivative from consciousness”; so that “science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of Nature.  …. because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of Nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


So still only cutting edge scientists recognize verity of Einstein’s relativity revelations that

“there is no matter”; that “what we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses”; that “our (apparent) separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”


Today’s foregoing posting explains how scientifically and spiritually “objectivity” is an illusory abstraction, causing mistaken belief in the supposed objective ‘reality’ of what we subjectively project and perceive.

May reflection on this posting inspire our evolutionary realization that space/time’s relative ‘reality’ is merely a subjective mental projection of Cosmic Consciousness – our eternal essence and ultimate sole subjective Reality.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner



Subject-Object?

“This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”
~ Carl Gustav Jung
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think”

~ Albert Einstein
‘Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen…In the Absolute there is neither time, space, nor causation.’
~ Swami Vivekananda [Jnana Yoga]
“Objectivity is an illusory impossibility.”
“All concepts are mental projections of Cosmic Consciousness.
But for name – subject and object are same.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Essence Of Nondualism:
Consciousness = Subject = Object = Self
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Albert Einstein



Subject-Object?

Q. Where does subject end, and object begin?

A. Nowhere.

E=mc2.

Everything’s energy everywhere.

Energy’s endless,
So everything’s endless.

But we mistakenly believe what we perceive.

Thus, as Einstein observed:

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Subject and object are mere ways of thinking –
perceptual/conceptual projections of Cosmic Consciousness,
which is our true Self.

As twentieth century Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi observed:

“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything,
you are essentially conscious of yourself.”






Ron’s Subject-Object Commentary:

This “Subject-Object?” essay points to our spiritually limiting illusory belief that we are separate “subjects” observing separate “objects” in space/time.  

Cosmically, as Einstein observed, “Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
 
Due to non-locality of space/time ‘reality’, perceived subjects and objects are not separated, but connected.  All perceptions require projected subjective consciousness, which is immeasurable.  So all perceptions are subjective projections of ONE immeasurable consciousness.

Thus everything perceived everywhere is an impermanent holographic energy form of projected consciousness.  Yet we mistakenly believe in objectivity of what we subjectively project and perceive.

Like most Westerners I grew up culturally imbued with mistaken ideas and ideals of “objectivity” of our scientific, academic, journalistic and judicial institutions – of which as an adult I became disabused.
 
And after my midlife spiritual awakening, I began to realize that objectivity is an illusory impossibility; that the idea of objectivity refers only the measurable material world of forms and phenomena, which mistakenly excludes consciousness – the ultimate immeasurable Reality and source of all perceptions.

Despite revolutionary discoveries in relativity and quantum physics, for the past century most materialistic mainstream scientists have remained reluctant to recognize the impossibility of scientifically ‘objective’ accuracy in describing Nature through measurement without reference to immeasurable consciousness. 

Yet more and more visionary scientists have seen and transcended this mistaken materialist view.  As explained by Nobel prize winning physicist Max Planck:


“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of Nature.
 And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


Invocation

May the foregoing essay encourage our deep ‘subjective’ reflection and recognition that Humankind – and all of its institutions – are part of Nature’s insoluble Mystery, with which we must mindfully and reverentially be ever harmonious. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Knowing The Unknowable

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






Knowing The Unknowable

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

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

If we think we Know,
we don’t.

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

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

So, Knowing is this:

It’s Being —
Bliss —

NOW!


Ron’s audio recitation of “Knowing The Unknowable”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Knowing The Unknowable”

Dear Friends,

In space/time duality reality we can never express ineffable Truth, but only point to it. The forgoing poem, “Knowing The Unknowable”, paradoxically points to our ever mysterious shared purpose as apparent Earthly incarnates.

We’ve appeared on the ‘Earth branch of the great Cosmic university’ as spiritual students, to learn our true Self-identity as eternal Love. Knowingly or unknowingly we all long for LOVE – which is our common spiritual essence and Source. And we’re here to find it, by consciously and conscientiously living our lives.

As unavoidable evolutionary incentives, many of us need to suffer painful experiences. Inevitably we thereby learn that knowing Divinity comes not from fearful or divisive egoic efforts or thoughts, but from fearlessly surrendering to The Lone Arranger, and – with opened hearts and stilled minds – letting go of all ideas of being separate from each other and Nature. Thus

Invocation

May today’s quotations and poetry help inspire realization
of our deepest evolutionary aspiration – of “Knowing The Unknowable”.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Illumination Rumination

Everything's Holy
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
~ Chinese Proverb
“For light I go directly to the Source of light,
not to any of the reflections.”
~ Peace Pilgrim
“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire,
men cannot live without a spiritual life.”
~ Buddha
Into my heart’s night

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

An infinite land of day.

~ Rumi
“Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky
That would be like the splendor of the Mighty One –.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 12
Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.
~ Mahmud Shabestari, Sufi Mystic, 15th century.
“There are two ways of spreading light –
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
~ Edith Wharton





Illumination Rumination

Soul light, like sun light, is Source light.
Mind light, like moon light, is reflected light.

Meditation reveals Soul light,
while rumination reflects mind light.

Rumination requires mental movement.
Illumination is in mental stillness.

Source light surpasses reflected light.
It’s better to Be the Light,
than to reflect it.

As we are guided by moonlight
until sunlight re-appears,
reflected mind light can guide us
until we are again illuminated as Soul light.

As moon light is but reflection of sunlight,
sunlight is but a reflection of Soul light.

So, for illumination,
focus on Soul light.
But at least reflect on it.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Illumination Rumination”

Listen to



Ron’s Explanation and Dedication of “Illumination Rumination”

Dear Friends,

For millennia all Humankind have observed festivals of light and sun, like Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, with participants sharing wishes for universal happiness.

Whether or not we may religiously or secularly observe any such symbolic light rituals, these are especially propitious times to reflect on perennial issues of inner illumination – or “enlightenment” –  because this is an era of apparent ‘darkness’ resulting in unprecedented crises threatening all Earth life as we have known it.

Accordingly, I have posted above another poem, with quotations focused on our inner illumination process as “the light of the world”

Titled “Illumination Rumination”, this poem was inspired by an unforgettable and theretofore unimaginable intense inner experience. It is dedicated to helping all of us find lasting inner happiness.

Over forty years ago, while passionately crying and longing for God on a Yosemite mountain top, with amazing grace I beheld an ethereal inner effulgence, which I can only describe as the ‘light of ten thousand suns’the Eternal Light of Cosmic Consciousness.

Since then – as I have increasingly self-identified with that glorious inner light of Eternal Awareness – my life has become ever more faith based and inner directed. Concurrently I have gradually become happier and more grateful than ever before.

With insight (not eyesight), I have begun to realize that as we evolve through a process of inner illumination we increasingly emanate the divine light of Cosmic Consciousness; that our illumined energy becomes ‘contagious’ and inevitably elevates human consciousness, infusing and inspiring others similarly seeking happiness and love.

And I emphatically concur with Dr. King’s wise words that

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only Light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate:
only Love can do that.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.


Invocation

Especially in this seemingly ‘dark’ age of mental malaise,
May we be inspired to envision and co-create
the dawning of an “enlightened” new age, of lasting
Peace, Joy, Light and LOVE on our precious planet.

May everyone everywhere be happy!

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Cartesian Critique

 “When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” …… “Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still – only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“I think with intuition. The basis of true thinking is intuition.

Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity.”

~ Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

~ Albert Einstein
“The heart has its reasons which reason cannot know.”
“We know truth not by reason only, but by the heart”
“It is the heart which feels God, not the reason.
This then is faith: God felt by the heart, not by the reason”
~ Blaise Pascal
“Faith is different from proof;
the latter is human, the former is a gift from God.”
~ Blaise Pascal
To think or not to think,

that is the question!

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Thinking and Being can’t coexist.

So stop thinking and start Being.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Forget who you think you are

to Know what you really are.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“It is only the innocent mind . . unclouded by experience, totally free from the past; . . that can perceive what is reality.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity. Thought is time. Thought is born of experience and knowledge which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever-limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution.”
~  J. Krishnamurti


J. Krishnamurti



Cartesian Critique: On Confusing Thinking With Being.

Descartes deduced his presumed separate existence with thought.
He reasoned: “I think, therefore I am”.

But wasn’t that putting Descartes before his Source?

Isn’t it apparent that we exist when not thinking?

Isn’t thinking optional, while Being is perpetual?

Why are we called human “beings”, and not human “thinkings”?

Isn’t existence much more than just thinking?

Don’t we exist in thoughtless states?

Doesn’t Being encompass conscious and subconscious
phenomena beyond thought – like emotions, feelings, sounds,
tastes, sensations, moods, dreams, autonomic processes, etc.?

Don’t all thoughts comprise and concern past ideas,
whereas life is ever lived in the Now,
never in the past or the future?

Aren’t we most aware of our existence
when we are thoughtlessly/choicelessly mindful?

What might Descartes say,
if he were here today?



Ron’s Commentary on Confusing Thinking With Being.

Dear Friends,

This essay/poem questioning René Descartes’ famous philosophical proposition: “I think therefore I am.” was written during an extended period of inner reflection following my midlife change of life. Not until then did I ever wonder about how we mistakenly self-identify dualistically with the body/mind’s thoughts and story rather than its existential awareness.

Prior to my spiritual opening, I was most influenced and impressed by the world’s “great thinkers”, such as learned philosophers, professors, authors, authorities, and PhD ‘experts’.  

But after my spiritual opening and discovery of Eastern non-dualistic mysticism – and especially after meeting my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas – I became and remain most inspired by the world’s greatest non-thinkers:  mystics, intuitives and shamans from indigenous spiritual traditions, and those who in secular life acted humbly, intuitively, and authentically – like my heroes Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein.

Guruji dropped out of school as a child and read very few books during his long life as mostly a wandering sadhu.  Yet he was amazingly enlightened, pragmatically wise, intuitive, and prescient and could explain a wide variety of esoteric issues well beyond ordinary scholarly learning.   Once when I asked him about an Indian pundit/professor then lecturing in the Bay Area, Guruji replied that the pundit was a very nice man – a “book yogi”.

Guruji’s “book yogi” comment piqued my curiosity about the difference between ‘book yogis’ and meditation yogis like Guruji.  Soon I began learning to distinguish experiential learning from conceptual learning and belief; and I prioritized learning from life’s experiences rather than from beliefs, concepts or customs inculcated or acculturated by others.  Thus I began to seek relief from belief.

By following Guruji’s instructions to ‘meditate regularly’ I learned that our existence is not dependent upon thinking; that by being “here NOW” with a stilled and thoughtless mind, we can intuitively access inner wisdom ordinarily obscured by ‘the voice in the head’; and, that our intuition facilitates and allows important insights not otherwise attained through worldly logic.

Today’s post is offered to remind us to not confuse thinking with being; that Life persists perpetually whether or not we are thinking. And to help remind us to honor and to prioritize our heart’s “sacred gift” of intuition over the rational mind – our “faithful servant”.  

May we may thereby be enabled to experientially confirm Blaise Pascal’s foregoing insightful assertion that 


“It is the heart which feels God, not the reason.” 


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Reflections on Religious Beliefs

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, and Confucian.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi
“I have learned so much from God
That I can no longer call myself
a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew”
~ Hafiz
“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion, or cultural system.
 I am not from the East or the West,
 nor out of the ocean or up 
from the ground, not natural or ethereal,
 not composed of elements at all.

I do not exist, am not an entity in this world
 or the next, 
did not descend from Adam and Eve 
or any origin story.

My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.
 Neither body nor soul. 
I belong to the Beloved
 have seen the two worlds as one 
and that one call to and know,

First, last, outer, inner, only that 
breath breathing human.” 


~ Rumi, ‘Only Breath’
“Irrevocable commitment to any one religion is not only intellectual suicide;
 it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world.”

~ Alan Watts
“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.”

~ J. Krishnamurti
“We are shackled by illusory bonds of belief.
Freedom is beyond belief.
So, we seek relief from belief.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Follow dharma, not dogma.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Today, … any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate.” . . . .
“[T]he time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”

~ Dalai Lama
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.”

~ Dalai Lama






Reflections on Religious Beliefs

Q. What is religion?

A. “Religion” is a word with many meanings.
Here we define it as “any belief system about Divinity or immortality often including rules, rituals, codes of ethics, and philosophies of life.”

Q. Why do we have religions?

A. There is a subtle Cosmic law of ‘supply and demand.’ Religions have arisen in response to our perennial quest for lasting peace and happiness, and our desire to transcend inevitable earthly psychological sufferings.

Knowingly or unknowingly, everyone seeks Happiness, Wholeness, and Love. Consciously or subliminally, we intuit and long for a state of Being which transcends inevitable Earthly cares and suffering. Knowingly or unknowingly we seek timeless Truth.

Religious belief is a form of attempted life guidance, and psychological self-protection from fear of inevitable physical death and uncertain life experience before death. Though many find transient consolation in accepting religious beliefs about divinity and immortality, such beliefs can’t permanently provide such protection. We can’t find freedom from fear of death and from life’s uncertainties through theories, thoughts or beliefs, but only through direct experiential Knowledge.

Thus, the Buddha who realized such freedom while meditating beneath a Banyan tree, counseled:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
~ Buddha

When twentieth century Indian sage, J. Krishnamurti, was asked
“Is belief in God necessary or helpful?”   he said:

“[B]elief in any form is a hindrance. A man who believes in God can never find God. If you are open to reality, there can be no belief in reality. If you are open to the unknown, there can be no belief in it. … belief is a form of self-protection…” …

“When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” …… “Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still – only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”

Similarly the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a sacred Hindu text, state:

“Yoga is the cessation of mind.”

“The witness is Self, pure awareness, which,
though boundless and unchanging,
appears to perceive creation through the construct of mind.”

“The [mistaken] identification of pure awareness with the mind and its creations
causes the apprehension of both an objective world and a perceiver of it.”

“When the mind withdraws attention from sense experience,
the senses receive no impressions from sense objects,
and awareness rests in its essential nature.”

“When he is not in the state of yoga, man remains [mistakenly] identified with the thought-waves in the mind.”
~ Patanjali – Yoga Sutras

Q. Why is a silent mind important?

A. Through thought we self identify as entities separate from the Whole – as separate perceivers of a supposedly objective world. But this is an ego illusion. So, attempted psychological self-preservation through perpetuation of an illusionary self-image is futile. What never was can never be preserved. Thus, religious beliefs that seek psychological self protection from identification with an illusion of separateness from Self are ultimately futile.

The object of all spiritual practice is to transcend such illusionary ego identity. Such transcendence happens only when thought ceases and the universal intelligence which has been mistakenly regarded as a separate experiencer of sensations and emotions, and a separate performer of actions, exists by itself and as itself, and is not mentally divided.

Q. What about instinctive physical acts of self-protection, as distinguished from religious beliefs aimed at psychological self-preservation?

A. According to J.Krishnamurti:

“Physical self-protection is sane, normal and healthy but every other form of self-protection, inwardly, is resistance and it always gathers, builds up strength which is fear.”

Q. Are religious beliefs important?

A. Our ethical behaviors – not our religious beliefs – are most important.

As the Dalai Lama reportedly has said:

“There is no religion higher than the Truth. … What really is important is our behavior with peers, family, work, community, and in the world. …. Whether or not we follow a religion, what is important is that we become more compassionate, more sensible, more detached, more loving, more humanitarian, more responsible, more ethical.” https://sillysutras.com/your-religion-is-not-important/

So grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate:

“[T]he reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate.

This is why I believe the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”

~ H.H. the Dalai Lama – Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World

Ron’s Comments on Urgently Necessary Ethical Behavior Beyond Religious Beliefs

Dear Friends,

Without universal ethical behavior beyond conflicting religious beliefs, humanity cannot survive.

As explained in the foregoing essay, throughout human history, people have adopted or accepted “religious” beliefs, practices and institutions, in exploring the mystery and meaning of life and existence. About 84% of the world’s population is affiliated with Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or with some form of folk religion. Also there are now an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide.

Paradoxically, some leaders and devotees of religions organized to teach universal “Truth” realized by Great Beings have perpetuated and acted on mistaken egoic ideas of separateness, which the sages transcended. Thus, throughout human history countless people and other precious life forms – all manifestations of that same Universal “Truth” – have been victims of demonic wars, crusades, inquisitions, persecutions, and ‘terrorism’ initiated and perpetrated in the name of “true” religion or God.

Although religious beliefs and practices have also inspired immeasurable good, advances in technological and scientific knowledge now reveal that Humankind urgently need to transcend such behaviors which have spawned immense misery and even threaten all Earth life as we have known it.

But how can this happen?

Inspired by the wisdom of Dr. Seuss that “sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple,” I have long reflected on on this question, seeking simple answers to the immensely complicated crises confronting us.

Perhaps one of the simplest but most powerful answers I’ve found is:

“There is only one God,

the same God regardless of the labels applied by religion. …

There is only one religion, the religion of Love;

There is only one language, the language of the Heart;

There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity”

~ Sathya Sai Baba

But most people are not yet sufficiently evolved to understand and act in accordance with that profound observation.

So I was delighted when His Holiness the Dalai Lama published an important self-help book – “Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World” – which H.H. introduced with this important insight:

“[T]he reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate.

This is why I believe the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”

~ H.H. the Dalai Lama – Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World (2011)

And I have been deeply inspired and encouraged by similar sentiments addressed to all Humankind by Pope Francis, e.g.:

“When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being?”

“[W]e all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other . . . .we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone”. . . .
“[E]verything is connected, and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state.”

“We have so much to do, and we must do it together.”

~ Pope Francis – 2017 TED Talk

And so we must realize that

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.”

~ Dalai Lama

Invocation

With silenced minds and opened hearts may we practice the “golden rule” of reciprocal empathy, do no harm, and compassionately view and treat all sentient beings as spiritual siblings.

May everyone everywhere treat all beings and all Life with the same dignity that they wish for themselves. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Is Earth-life Purposeful?

“One great question underlies our experience,
whether we think about it or not:
what is the purpose of life?”
~ Dalai Lama
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle
“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
“What are we here for?
We are here for freedom, for knowledge.
We want to know in order to make us free.
That is our life; one universal cry for freedom.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“Our purpose is process –
metamorphic process.

Gleaning meaning in matter,
we learn all that matters –

we learn all that matters is LOVE!”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. 

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

~ Richard Bach





Is Earth-life Purposeful?

Q. Is earth-life purposeful?

A. Yes! We are here to learn and evolve.

Though some Eastern mystics may call this ever changing “reality” a dream, maya, samsara, or illusion,
it is a marvelous and miraculous mental creation.

So how can anyone ever imagine earth-life to be without purpose?

Our purpose is process – metamorphic process.

Like unique facets of an infinitely faceted jewel,
each earth being has a unique perspective, but a common Source* – which transcends this world, while everywhere immanent therein.

So, our purpose is harmoniously to realize and experience,
and to actualize from infinite perspectives,
our ONE transcendent Self identity.

As long as we believe ourselves to be seemingly circumscribed
and separated from the rest of our reality,

We incarnate to realize and to actualize
our common Self identity.

We learn until we leave.

But, we don’t leave until we learn –

LOVE!

Footnote.

*Innumerable names – God, Love, Nature, etc. – may be used to signify that Source or any of its infinite 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 Commentary on Purpose of Life.

Dear Friends,

Have you ever reflected on whether human life is purposeful – individually or collectively?
Or have you wondered:
“Why was I born? Why am I living?” Or “What is the meaning of life?”

According to the Dalai Lama “What is the purpose of life?”  is the “one great question [which] underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not”.  And since midlife, I  have found that reflecting about our life’s purpose, if any, has sparked a very helpful process of finding ever expanding happiness. 

So today I’m sharing the foregoing quotations and essay/poem to help us consider perennial  questions about ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning of life.  

Not until my midlife change of life did I ever wonder whether Earth-life is purposeful.  But since then I’ve continued to reflect and write about it.

Tentatively, I’ve hypothesized that, as students matriculating on the ‘Earth branch of the great cosmic University’, we’re learning to let life live us as LOVE, until ultimately we realize that LOVE is our common Self-identity and Universal Reality; that beyond this conceptual space/time relative reality, there are no philosophical questions or concepts or purposes, just infinitely potential Cosmic Consciousness as a ‘maha-matrix’ of all samsaric illusory mirage-like ‘realities’.

While growing up in 20th century America – like millions of others – I greatly enjoyed popular New York musical theater songs.  Many of my favorite lyrics were composed by Master lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, mostly in collaboration with great musical talents like Richard Rodgers with whom he wrote Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music.   

Until midlife I understood Hammerstein’s lyrics to encompass worldly subjects, like romantic love.  But, after spiritually awakening, I began to realize that Hammerstein’s lyrics often esoterically encompassed mystical perspectives. And I started referring to him as “Sri Oscar Hammerstein”.  

When I was born in 1932, one the “top ten” popular songs was Why Was I Born, for which Hammerstein, with composer Jerome Kern, had written lyrics in 1929, beginning with these perennial questions:

“Why was I born? Why am I living?” “What do I get? What am I giving?”  

And they concluded with this enduring answer:
  
“Why I was born? To love you!”  

Fifty years after Hammerstein’s composition of Why Was I Born  lyrics, I began to realize that they could refer to Divine LOVE, beyond just romantic love – e.g. to the ecstatic devotional spiritual path exemplified by Sufi-Persian Mystic Masters Hafiz and Rumi, as an ultimate goal of Human life.  

And so with poetic license I pluralized Hammerstein’s lyric questions and edited his answer: 

Q.  Why were we born? Why are we living? 
What do we get? What are we giving?  

A.  Why were we born? To love THEE!  

Reflecting on life’s purpose, if any, can help us gradually realize that we are not who or what we were taught or ‘labeled’ to be by society, or by our mistaken mental reification of our projected-perceptions: 

That we are not merely our mortal bodies – their genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories, or the ‘voices in our heads’.  We are nondual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But ultimately ‘under the hood’ we’re all the same Cosmic Consciousness.  

By realizing and actualizing our common spiritual identity, may we help transform and transcend this world of suffering. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

“Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here,
and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,
we cannot be in touch with life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
Ordinary human consciousness is conditioned consciousness;
it is pure Awareness conditioned by conceptions.
And our conceptual conditioning determines our condition.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake

 

Marc Chagall – The Praying Jew


Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Mystics and some scientists say that our thoughts or beliefs about our ‘reality’ and self-identity determine our earth-life experience; that those thoughts or beliefs originate unconsciously with very subtle mental impressions (sometimes called in Sanskrit vasanas or samskaras) which through reincarnation are carried by the soul from lifetime to lifetime; that we can radically change our lives and behaviors by changing our thoughts about who or what we are; and that we can become “enlightened” only by transcending all mental conditioning.

Thus, according to twentieth century Indian sage J. Krishnamurti,

“Our problem is how to be free from all conditioning . . When the mind is completely unconditioned then only can [we] experience or discover if there is something real or not. . [A] mind . . filled with beliefs, . . dogmas . . assertions ..is really an uncreative mind; it is merely a repetitive mind.”

Our mental conditioning operates our physical body, like computer software systems operate computer hardware platforms. And, like computer software systems, all mental conditioning comes from the past – from this or prior lifetimes.

But, habitually abiding or operating with beliefs or tendencies from past experience, or projecting them into the future as fear or worry, prevents us from living spontaneously and authentically in the present moment – from fully being here NOW.

Past is history and future’s mystery, while Life is never then – it is only NOW.

“Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Thus, Buddha taught that:

“There is only one time when it is essential to awaken. That time is now.” . . . . .
“That which is timeless is found now.”

Only by wiping the slate clean from past conditioning and resulting thoughts or concerns, are we are fully freed to live in the present – in the eternal NOW. Thus our spiritual evolution is furthered by any activity or practice which helps us live moment by moment in the precious present, spontaneously and authentically without mental pre-conditioning.

My life experience following a dramatic midlife spiritual awakening confirms these teachings. As gradually I have recognized and eliminated or changed beliefs and paradigms which no longer seemed valid or useful, quieted my mind, and more and more self-identified as spirit, my life has become more spontaneous and magical, and I’ve experienced ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious life-time.

For me, it has been a process of mindfully witnessing inappropriate or obsolete behavioral patterns with intention of changing or eliminating them through grateful remembrance that I am not merely a separate mortal entity but universal spirit experiencing a blessed human life.

The more that I have gratefully and mindfully self-identified as spirit – as Universal Awareness – the more I have experienced fulfillment, insight, empathy, and creativity and the less I have manifested unhelpful habits and reflexive behaviors.

I have found that this transformative process of mindful spiritual self-identification has been accelerated through meditation and other universal practices of perennial wisdom traditions which help clear mental conditioning. So I’ve dedicated SillySutras.com to exploring and sharing universal wisdom principles and practices which can help us all live happier lives, as they have helped me.

During Jewish High Holy days, I am reminded of certain practices other than meditation, which may help free us from past conditioning:

1. Non-judgmental forgiveness or atonement of supposed transgressions or ‘sins’ by or against us. [see “Forgiveness And Atonement Of ‘Sins.’”] ; and,

2. Annulment and rescission of obsolete and unhelpful personal intentions, resolutions, or vows.

The Jewish High Holy Days are ten days of religious introspection and repentance, concluding with Yom Kippur [“day of atonement”]. During services, congregants communally repent past “sins” while repeatedly acknowledging that

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

The Yom Kippur observance begins with “Kol Nidre” (“All Vows”), a powerful prayer with a hauntingly beautiful melody which is chanted and recited in ancient Aramaic, and which for many Jews is the religious highpoint of their year.

When I attended Jewish services, during adolescence and later irregularly as an adult (before I became a “born-again Hindu”), the Kol Nidre ritual was for me emotionally memorable, even though I don’t recall knowing the meaning of the prayer until much later receiving a translation in an email message.

So, on ultimately learning the translated meaning, I was quite surprised and puzzled to learn that Kol Nidre enigmatically purports to disavow and annul until the next day of atonement all past and/or future communal or individual oaths or vows, viz.

”Let all our vows and oaths, all the promises we make and the obligations we incur to You, 0 God, between this Yom Kippur and the next, be null and void should we, after honest effort, find ourselves unable to fulfill them. Then may we be absolved of them.”

Since Judaism emphasizes the honoring of promises and obligations to others, I wondered:

“Why does the holiest of Jewish high holy days begin with a communal disavowal of all oaths or vows, which in Jewish tradition are regarded as ethically important?”


Also I began wondering why the Kol Nidre prayer has been so emotionally powerful, even when its meaning is largely unknown. After reflection and research I concluded that:

Kol Nidre applies only to personal vows to oneself or God, not affecting promises or obligations to others; it is not an unconditional request for Divine absolution from guilt for dishonored vows or obligations to others.

Many people – not just Jews – make resolutions or vows concerning their intended future behavior which are unfulfilled or become inappropriate or unhelpful as times change. And often they feel consequent frustration or guilt.

Rather than harboring guilt or frustration for this, Jewish tradition recognizes that it is best to wipe the mental slate clean. Thus, observant Jews can be spiritually uplifted and mentally cleared by communal participation in High Holy Day rituals of forgiveness or atonement of “sins”, and rescission of unhelpful personal resolutions.

And I believe that Kol Nidre has been especially powerful for even those unaware of its meaning, because subtly or subconsciously it invokes Humankind’s universal – yet paradoxically impossible – aspiration to be in this world beyond inevitable human frailty and suffering, beyond “sin” or ‘missing the mark’.

So, perhaps Kol Nidre and its haunting melody, invoke an Eternal inner voice which reminds us of our true nature – ever immanent Divine LOVE – with which we are ultimately destined to merge.

Concluding Invocation

On holy days and every day, may everyone everywhere be blessed to remember their affinity and identity with Divinity; and, may we thus wipe clean the slate of past behaviors or attitudes which impede living in the precious present.

And so, may everyone everywhere be eternally happy –

NOW!


Ron’s Commentary on Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present

Dear Friends,

In lunar equinox seasons of major theistic religious ‘holy days’ – Jewish (days of awe); Moslem (Eid Al-Adha); Christian (Feast of St. Francis); Hindu (Navaratri) – we are often reminded that central to all major theistic religions is the goal of psychologically returning to “godliness”. Moreover, all major religions – Buddhist-Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish – teach a common message of Love as the supreme “unifying principle of Life. . . . the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate Reality.” [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] 

Yet, often in the name of religion, our world remains rife with discrimination, violence and killing which must be transcended for survival of Human life as we have known it.

Whether or not we are ‘religious’, we are all experiencing a mythological perennial process of returning to a psychological state of self-identity and “at-one-ment” with Universal Awareness, our ultimate Essence and destiny – an evolutionary process of gradually living more and more in and as the timeless NOW.

The above essay, Forgiving the Past to Live in the Present, encourages our harmony with this crucially important perennial process.

As gradually we mindfully observe and change behaviors, beliefs, and paradigms which no longer seem valid or useful, and as more and more we commonly self-identify as ONE Eternal spirit, which is LOVE – not just as separate mortals – our lives become more spontaneous and magical, enabling us to synchronistically experience ever more happiness, peace of mind, and gratitude for this precious human lifetime.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner