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Posts Tagged ‘Vision’

Beholding Divinity in a Crowded Courtroom ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“We are beings of light –
Eternal and bright,
and so shall ever be.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift
It’s not our longitude
Or our latitude,
But the elevation of our attitude,
That brings beatitude.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“The goal is not to lose oneself in the Divine Consciousness.
The goal is to let the Divine Consciousness penetrate into Matter and transform it.”
Sri Aurobindo – The Mother 15: p.191




Beholding Divinity in a Crowded Courtroom

Ron’s Introduction

After my spiritual opening, I gradually realized – experientially and inferentially – that the common Essence of everything in our phenomenal “reality” is the light of pure Awareness.

This process of awakening began with the profound but simple insight that: “I am not my body, its thoughts, or the role in life with which I’ve identified, but pure awareness”. That insight was soon validated by my unforgettable Yosemite experience of beholding as Essence the luminescence of “ten thousand suns”.

Thereafter I gradually reasoned that what is true for Ron must be true for everyone else in our phenomenal “reality”; that pure Awareness, Light and Love, is the Essence of everyone – not just Ron. That inference was soon re-confirmed by more extraordinary mystical experiences which showed me that Divine luminescence is the essence everything – every form and phenomenon, not just sentient beings.

I’ll tell you about one of those memorable mystical experiences which showed me that the eternal light of Awareness is the Essence of everything and everyone.

Story

It happened in a crowded San Francisco courtroom filled with lawyers, soon after my shaktipat initiation by Guruji, who was still then in the Bay Area. By that time, especially after meeting Guruji, I was experiencing an intense longing to return to God, and had been praying fervently for a way to exchange my life of litigation for a life of meditation. But I needed the income from lawyering to help support my young children.

Synchronistically, I was then shown that the Divine is immanent in everyone everywhere – even in crafty lawyers in crowded courtrooms; that experiencing nearness to God is mostly dependent on our state of mind rather than our physical environment.

This revelatory experience happened one morning in the San Francisco Superior Court, Law And Motion department, where all pending civil pre-trial motions were argued and decided. All lawyers were then required to check-in and be seated by 9 am, though dockets were usually quite long and hearings on scheduled motions took up most of the morning.

That day my motion was docketed toward the end of the calendar, assuring a long wait before it was called. I arrived at 9 am, at the last minute, when the courtroom was already filled with seated lawyers awaiting their turns to present legal arguments. I could see only one remaining vacant seat which synchronistically was next to my adversary, who was seated beside the center isle. He was a very amiable, skilled and prominent lawyer, but we did not then have a friendly rapport.

With ‘righteous indignation’, I had become convinced that he was knowingly representing a dishonest client with an obviously contrived and unjust cause. Moreover, I judgmentally considered his pre-trial tactics in our case to have been ethically questionable.

Reluctantly, I seated myself next to him with my motion papers in a small brief case on my lap. Because of the inevitable long wait before our late calendared motion would be called, I decided to close my eyes and meditate. Inadvertently, I went into a very deep state of meditation.

When the case was finally called for argument, I could barely hear the bailiff’s distant pronouncement: “Number 34, R______ versus D_____.”

I opened my eyes, but for the first time in my life I was totally sightless and unable to perceive anyone or anything in that courtroom. Instead of seeing the people and objects in the courtroom, my field of vision was filled only with an amazingly luminescent and radiant effulgence – like a golden mist or miasma.* [See footnote] However, I could sense my adversary getting up and walking up the aisle to the front of the courtroom.

Sightless, I stood and followed him up the aisle. As I was walking without normal vision, the gold effulgence began to clarify. Instead of just a golden mist, I began seeing everything and everyone in the courtroom – including my mistrusted adversary – as silhouetted lines of gold light. It was if a Cosmic artist was sketching in golden outline the shape of every person and every object.

I reached the counsel table, perceiving my adversary (and everything else) only as lines of golden light. And I wondered, with considerable concern, how I could present an important case without being able to view my carefully prepared notes and citations.

Then, just as my adversary and I were asked by the Judge to state our names and to identify the parties for whom we were appearing, my normal eyesight was suddenly restored. It was as if a Divine ‘trickster’ had temporarily blinded me to bestow an enormous insight, and then had waited until the last possible moment before restoring my normal eyesight.

Soon afterwards, I recounted my courtroom experience to my friend Kusuma, one of Guruji’s translators, who then asked him about it. Guruji told Kusuma that with elevated awareness I had perceived everyone and everything in the courtroom from a subtle causal dimension.

Ever since, I have recalled that marvelous experience as an immense blessing which not only revealed and reconfirmed to me that the essence of everyone and everything is the eternal light of Cosmic Consciousness, but which vividly demonstrated that to commune with Divinity I didn’t have to retreat to an ashram, mountain top, cave, or forest – like yogis of bygone eras – but could experience eternal luminosity and numinosity even while continuing my worldly life as a litigation lawyer in a vast urban area; that experiencing God is dependent on our state of mind rather than our physical environment.

* Sri Aurobindo and Aurobindo’s Mother have written descriptions of the light of Supramental Consciousness as appearing to them like “a warm gold dust” “a multitude of tiny golden points”. These are the only descriptions which I have as yet been able to find in mystical literature and poetry comparable to my marvelous courtroom vision.



Epilogue

My realization that Divine awareness depends on our state of mind rather than our physical environment was soon put to its first severe test when the foregoing case was scheduled for trial at the very same time Guruji was giving a retreat at the ‘paradise’ island of Maui, Hawaii.* I intensely wanted to attend that retreat but instead was obliged to conduct a six week jury trial in San Francisco.

So, rather than being with Guruji in paradise, I spent a month and a half in court with my crafty opponent, who appeared with two assistants – a young lawyer and a paralegal – to eloquently and skillfully present his client’s unethical case.

I didn’t again perceive him as Divine light but, constantly remembering the Divine, I silently recited my Ram mantra whenever he was speaking to the judge or jury. It was a civil case, so to prevail we needed votes of only nine of the twelve jurors. But ultimately all twelve jurors voted my client a large cash judgment. Civil and divine justice prevailed.

*Below is a photo of Guruji taken by my friend Ram Dassi in front of the giant Buddha statue at the Lahaina, Maui Buddhist temple, while I was remembering Rama in a San Francisco courtroom.


Guruji in Hawaii


Beholding Divinity in a Weeping Willow Tree ~ Ron’s Memoirs

“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery

“People think that they see, but they don’t.”
~ Henry Moore
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
~ Michelangelo
“True Vision is insight, not eyesight.
Eyesight is mind-sight; insight is soul-sight.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,

The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem 

Appareled in celestial light,

The glory and the freshness of a dream.

It is not now as it hath been of yore;

Turn wheresoe’er I may, 

By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see not more.”
~ William Wordsworth, Intimations of Immortality




Beholding Divinity in a Weeping Willow Tree

In early 1980’s I experienced at Wilbur Hot Springs, an unforgettably revelatory experience of perceiving luminescent Divine light. (*See Footnote)
I was there attending a week-end retreat for Board and staff of the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), as Board Chairman.


One morning I awakened early before any scheduled meetings, and meditated on a wooded hill above the lodge level. After descending I walked with a silent mind on a nature trail near the lodge. Whereupon, I discovered and crawled into a tiny cave where I again sat in deep meditation for a while. (Later, I learned that cave had long been considered a sacred place by original indigenous people there.)

On emerging from the cave and while unknowingly still in an ‘altered’ state of awareness, I walked to the bathhouse, removed my clothes, stepped outside, and immersed my body in a large shallow hot springs pond.  

While standing alone in the stilled pond with a stilled mind, I gazed at a beautiful weeping willow tree beside the pond on the side furthest from the bath house.  Instead of seeing the tree as it appeared during usual waking consciousness, I beheld it marvelously transfigured as ever streaming lines of white light, more beautiful than any imaginable Christmas tree.

Unaware of my exceptional state of consciousness, I kept gazing at the tree in awe. After a while Tara, a CIIS staff member, entered the pond.  Then, innocently I addressed her: “Tara, look at the lights in that tree.  Aren’t they beautiful?”  Puzzled, Tara responded “What lights?”.   And immediately the lights disappeared for me as I was abruptly returned to my usual state of waking ‘un-consciousness’.  

But I can never forget the flowing tree lights, nor the insight which they confirmed:  That there is much more to our “reality” than meets the eye; that “Reality’s essence is Divine luminescence”.

Later that day, I recounted my experience to Dr. John Broomfield, then CIIS President, who cited me to this similar experience of author Annie Dillard:

“[O]ne day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it.  I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame.  I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed.  It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance.  The lights of the fire abated, but I’m still spending the power.  Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells unflamed and disappeared.  I was still ringing.  I had my whole life been a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.” 
~ Annie Dillard, A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek 

Like Annie Dillard’s tree vision at Tinker Creek, beholding the transfigured weeping willow at Wilbur Springs was for me an unforgettably inspiring and transformative experience for which I remain ever grateful.

Footnote* Other memorable experiences of Divine light, beginning with an epiphany in Yosemite, are recounted elsewhere in these memoirs.


Vision and Perception: Quotations and Sutra Sayings

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~William Blake
“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift
“True vision is insight, not eyesight.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“ Seeing the Invisible is Knowing the impossible.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Behold: Reality’s Essence is Divine Luminescence.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



“Let the waters settle, 
you will see stars and moon

mirrored in your Being.”
~ Rumi

“Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception
resembles more than anything else
that celestial source from which we all are come.”
~ Michelangelo

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
~ Carl Jung

“The question is not what you look at,
but what you see.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“The eyes of the soul of the multitudes
are unable to endure the vision of the Divine.”
~ Plato

“People only see what they are prepared to see.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“People think that they see, but they don’t.”
~ Henry Moore

“Everyone takes the limits of his own vision
for the limits of the world.”
~ Arthur Schopenhauer

“As a man is, so he sees.
As the eye is formed, such are its powers.”
~ William Blake

“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight,
but has no vision.”
~ Helen Keller

“As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind,
so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.”
~ Helen Keller

”When the sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire
somewhat like a guinea?
O no, no, I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host crying
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”
~ William Blake

“There are many paths to the top of the mountain,
but the view is always the same.”
~ Chinese Proverb

“Where there is no vision, people perish.”
~ Proverbs 29:18

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
~ Michelangelo

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”
~ Antoine De Saint-Exupery

“Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it creative observation. Creative viewing.”
~ William S. Burroughs

“The soul never thinks without a mental picture.”
~ Aristotle

“For light I go directly to the Source of light, not to any of the reflections.”
~ Peace Pilgrim

“Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision
to recognize it as such.”
~ Henry Miller

“Because our entire universe is made up of consciousness,
we never really experience the universe directly;
we just experience our consciousness of the universe,
our perception of it – so … our only universe is perception.”
~ Alan Moore

“Perception is a mirror not a fact. And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”
~ A Course In Miracles

“Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious:
i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception.”
~H. P. Blavatsky

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
~ Edgar Allan Poe

“In the ultimate stillness
Light penetrates the whole realm;
In the still illumination,
There pervades pure emptiness.
When I look back on the
Phenomenal world,
Everything is just
Like a dream.”
~ Han-shan Te-Ch’ing



True Vision

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is,
infinite.”
~ William Blake
“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
~ Jonathan Swift
“Nothing’s impossible for the Invisible.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
~ Michelangelo



True vision is insight, not eyesight.

Eyesight is mind–sight.
Insight is soul sight.

Eyesight is from mental movement.
Insight is from mental stillness.

Eyesight is then;
Insight is NOW.

Eyesight sees separation;
Insight reveals unity of Reality.

Enlightened vision is
Eyesight with Insight.



Ron’s audio recitation of True Vision

Listen to


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

“If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
~ William Blake
“True vision is insight, not eyesight.
‘[N]ow we see through a glass darkly’,
but with ever expanding human consciousness and ever deepening insight,
we can and shall ‘see’ more and more –
we can and shall see what we couldn’t see before.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
~ Carl Jung
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight,
but has no vision.”
~ Helen Keller
“As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind,
so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.”
~ Helen Keller
“Perception is a mirror not a fact.
And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”
~ A Course In Miracles
“Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen.
In the Absolute there is neither time, space nor causation.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

Vision Quest

Introduction.

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

Ron’s Vision Quest.

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

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

When I was eighteen years old and a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a college friend, Sorrel Rosin – who later became a prominent Chicago optometrist, told me about corneal contact lenses, which were then newly developed. And he recommended a Chicago expert who could usually fit them comfortably. Excitedly, I became an early corneal contact lens user. I continued wearing hard contact lenses for about twenty five years, even though they sometimes irritated my eyes. But eventually I became presbyopic, needed reading glasses and couldn’t get bifocal contact lenses. So, reluctantly I resumed using eyeglasses.

Until my midlife spiritual awakening, I had self-identified only with my physical body and believed my defective vision was due to an incurably misshaped cornea, and to unavoidable physical degeneration associated with aging. Never did I consider defective eyesight to be improvable or curable. Nor did I believe vision to be a brain function, or as possibly arising from consciousness beyond the brain. But those beliefs changed after extraordinary inner and outer mid-life experiences.

 

Ron - age 3 1/2

Ron – age 3 1/2

 

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

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

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

Shortly before meeting Guruji I attended a San Francisco ‘new age’ exposition where various ‘green’ products were being displayed and sold. One of the vendors was selling pin-hole glasses and a book she had written about natural vision improvement, as originally taught in the early 20th century by unconventional opthamologist William H. Bates, MD. Synchronistically she told me that possibly I might improve and perhaps even cure my defective eyesight with natural vision improvement techniques; that pin-hole glasses did not improve vision but afforded an opportunity break the ‘addiction’ to glasses via obligatory squint focus through its small apertures. Intrigued, I bought the book and the pin-hole glasses and assiduously began learning and experimenting with natural vision relaxation techniques, such as blinking, sunning, swaying, acupressure massage and palming. Experientially, I became persuaded that just as the so-called “placebo effect” could promote healing of physical ailments through optimistic attitude, that a relaxed and positive psychological attitude could also help improve eyesight.

I was encouraged in this belief by reading many eye improvement books, including “The Art of Seeing” by famed author Aldous Huxley, gratefully attesting to his improved his vision via Bates techniques. For several years I received vision improvement lessons from Anna Kaye, a former Polish attorney who had emigrated to the United States after World War II unable to see a door, and had been diagnosed as suffering from atrophy of the optic nerve. Four ophthalmologists recommended she learn Braille. But, unable to accept near blindness, she studied natural vision improvement with a Bates protegee in New York City and regained 20/30 vision in both eyes. Also, I later met and was inspired by Meir Schneider PhD, a San Francisco healer from Israel who improved from legal blindness and Braille to near normal sight with the Bates Method, supplemented by his own intense regimen of self-massage and movement.

Despite years of effort, I never succeeded in normalizing my vision with Bates relaxation techniques. Apparently, relaxation could not normalize a misshapen cornea and resulting astigmatism. But I am convinced that relaxation and other Bates methods improved and stabilized my vision, deterred cataract formation, and taught me much about my body’s energy system; that thereby they have contributed to good health. At age eighty one, I still get a binocular 20/20 correction with progressive bifocal glasses which are not as strong as glasses prescribed for me over twenty years ago, which I keep as souvenirs.

From Eyesight to Insight.

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

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

For example, I noted that HH The Dalai Lama of Tibet, needed eyeglasses for near-sightedness. And after Guruji returned to India, I met and took kriya empowerments from Paramahamsa Hariharananda Giri, an Indian meditation master who also needed eyeglasses. Also I learned that beloved Saint Francis of Assisi was almost blind at the time of his death, legendarily because he “cried his eyes out” but actually because of chronic trachoma apparently contracted in Africa during the Crusades.

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

Conclusion.

In the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:11-12), Paul observes that “now we see through a glass darkly”, 
but that some day we shall fully know, as we are fully Known now by the Divine.  
Now, we view our “reality” through the ‘mirror of the mind’, which imperfectly refracts and reflects the unseen light of Eternal Awareness onto the screen of our human consciousness.  

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

And so it shall be!