Tag Archives: Happiness


3 May

Always Intend Goodness Over Dogma

2 May
Always Choose Goodness Over Dogma

Reverence for Life

2 May

The Nourishment of Life

28 Apr


Unveil your Love

24 Apr

We are an integral part of everything.

22 Apr

As we have seen in other chapters, the ultimate, even the very idea of the ultimate, cannot be known by discursive thinking. In the now we live our life as it is. Also, through the practice of silent meditation, we focus on life awareness. With this awareness, we experience the interconnectedness of all things and compassion for all sentient beings. Knowing shatters illusions Knowing, then, begins with the release of illusions, with disillusionment. Knowing means to penetrate through the fog, to arrive at the reality; knowing means to “see” the reality without illusion. Knowing is that the ownership of truth is not possible. The I-Thou relationship cannot be explained; it simply is. Through the I-Thou relation, we interact with the world in this whole Being. It is not a means to some object or goal, but an authentic relationship involving respect for the whole being of each subject. Buber considers “I-Thou” communication the fundamental expression of the uniqueness of relation within inter-being. These relation patterns of rapport and affinity are usually found when beings relate with brotherly love, friendship, openness, and care. In the I-Thou encounter, we relate to each other as authentic beings, without inquisition, prejudice, enmity, or predisposition. I meet you as you are, and you meet me as who I am. In the I-Thou relationship, I am with you openly in my heart and mind. However, there are many people who never live through this deeper level of relation. This is unfortunate because living through relationships that enable “I-Thou” brings deep satisfaction and richness in life and opens a greater sense of the original relation with the Absolute. When an I-Thou encounter occurs I am meeting the other as a thou with openness, directness, and presence by means of real mutual action, meaning and confirmation. As Buber wrote, “This person is other, essentially other than myself… I confirm it; I wish his otherness to exist, because I wish his particular being to exist”. We are interconnected, “not just with people, but animals too, and stones, clouds, trees” (Aitken 1984, p. 10). We are an integral part of everything. Nothing exists by itself; nothing has a separate existence, a separate self. As human beings we are Being, one with All. The truth is pure interbeing, beyond the dualistic thinking of the alienated mind. Thus, we are aware of the impermanence, and the ignorance of the “IT” world. Serenity comes with the acceptance of impermanence and interrelatedness. The insights of such Sages as the Buddha, the Hebrew prophets, Jesus, and Master Eckhart show that knowing begins with the awareness of the deceptiveness of our common-sense perceptions; our picture of physical reality does not correspond to what is “really real”. Therefore, most people are half-awake, half-dreaming, and are unaware that most of what they hold to be true and self-evident is an illusion produced by the influence of the dualistic alienated world in which they live. Knowing, then, begins with the transformation of illusions, disillusionment and alienation. Knowing means to penetrate through the fog, to arrive at reality, and “see” the reality without illusion. Knowing is not to have the truth, as possession is not possible, but to be the truth. The being mode of knowing allows us, as psychologist Erich Fromm (1992, pp.117-120) also observed, to go beyond ourselves, outside the ego. The goals are to be kind to oneself and another, to transcend the barriers that separate us from one another, and to live life with recognition of interdependence and impermanence. When communicating at this level, we move beyond social roles, identifications and objectifications. In I-Thou dialogues, we trust and can disclose deep, private, aspects of ourselves that enable us to engage in “I-Thou” relationships. The Buddha, one of the greatest Apophatic teachers, said in his last words to the monks, “It may be that after I am gone that some of you will think, ‘now we have no teacher.’ But that is not how you should see it. Let the Dharma and the discipline that I have taught you be your teacher. All individual things pass away. Strive on, untiringly.” Now, as we have explored in this book the similar meditation instructions and doctrinal perspectives taught by the many Apophatic spiritual teachers, we know we can attain Awakening and know Emptiness and end our suffering, and harmful consequences of dualistic alienation. Let us all follow the Path and accomplish knowing the ‘unknowable’ – No-thing

What is Important to You- Personal Reflections

18 Feb

What things do you think you cannot live without?

I was asked to answer that question and in fact, this is an important and complex question. There are many things that are important factors that I cannot live without.

Most of what I definitively cannot live without are my body’s physical necessities to survive, such as oxygen, clean water, nutrients, warmth and coolness, protection from the elements, movement, sleep, etc.. Without all of these and others, my life would be short and miserable. So, I am careful to honor these requirements by being mindful that I have them of good quality in my life allowing me to maintain sound physical health.

For because of my body’s healthy balance, with a good physical foundation and salutary environment, and the quality of my emotions and thoughts being uplifted and positive, I am much less likely to become depressed, anxious, etc.. My life will not be constricted and unhappy. Also, in this regard, I can not live well without the wisdom of maintaining a balanced perspective on life and my situation in it.

And then there is the spiritual social aspect. By spiritual I mean
intuitive knowing that everything is interconnected and interdependent within the mysterious universe. A quote from Albert Einstein expresses this well, ‘The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as aII serious endeavor in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. Ta sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our mind can not grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me, it suffices to wonder about these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.’ This perspective prevents any alienation since I know that all the creatures on this earth are a part of the larger universal life force that we share together. All beings on all levels want to thrive, we are all intertwined in the web of life. We are all together.

This brings me to the point of how I came to know and value that experience of oneness. Well, when I was younger and with many extended camping trips with friends, in the wilderness, I came to see not only the awesomeness and vastness of the universe but also my companionship, on this planet, with all other sentient beings including the forests, plants, etc.. Then, finally, after a long search to
clarify that intuition for me, first with awareness training and then the meditative and ethical Buddha’s Path and Satori, I came to clearly recognize the oneness of everything with the subsequent empathy and
compassion for all life of this world. This insight I cannot live well without.

So, I cannot live without the requirements of life which means
having shelter, and other necessities that give my physical needs
support and basic comfort to thrive. I cannot live happily and satisfied without my knowing my innate inter-connection with everything alive on this earth. I cannot live happily without simple expressions of my interests and activities. Finally, I cannot live well without actively expressing my feelings of connectedness and openness, on various levels, with other people and beings, measured by the available and possible reciprocity.

Overall, besides the requirements of the survival of my physical life, the foundation of my happiness and satisfaction and guiding principle is my spirituality of feeling the interconnectedness and interdependency of all life on this planet. This is always a satisfaction I know and honor through my positive interactions in living.
 Rodger R Ricketts Psy.D. 2021

The Universality of the Mystical Experience

16 Feb

Over the centuries and throughout many cultures, ordinary people as
well as monks and mystics, have reported a personal experience that
transformed their lives and perspective on life and existence. While
interpretations of this experience have differed, researcher Walter
Stace outlined important common characteristics which distinguish
them from any other kind of experience. These include:
*The Unitary Consciousness; the One; pure consciousness.
*All life is interconnected and the One is in all things.
*Nonspatiality, non-temporality.
*Sense of objectivity or reality.
*Peace, bliss, serenity, rapture.
*Feeling of the sacred or mysterious.
*To be transcendent, immanent, indescribable, ineffable.
*No judgmental quality. “Insight into depths of truth
unplumbed by the discursive intellect.”
*Transiency. Most transcendent experiences have a short
occurrence, but their effect persists.
While the discernment of this Reality is subjective, it is not
exclusively personal as the experience has been shared often
throughout different epochs and localities.
Although a supramundane experience can occur spontaneously, it
is usually discerned profoundly after living virtuously and immersion
in deep states of meditation. In that consummate state of awareness,
the illusory boundaries of the separate self-dissolve and there is no
longer any cognitive distinction between subject and object, and
time and space disappear. To paraphrase psychologist William James:
This overcoming of all the usual barriers between the individual and
the Absolute … we become aware of our oneness, however, (labeling it
as) “union with God” is only one possible interpretation of it, which
should not, therefore, be given as its definition. The same experience can
be interpreted non theistically as in Buddhism…. All this can be
experienced and felt without any creed at all. … The mystic in any
culture usually interprets his experience in terms of the religion in
which he has been reared. But if he is sufficiently sophisticated, he can
throw off that religious creed and still retain his mystical experience.’
This discernment can be experienced without any ideology at all and
it is still understood as sacred and spiritual.

The Apophatic theology proposes that instead of aiming for worldly
glory, wealth, or power, it is far more worthwhile that we become
fulfilled with our own existence and strive for virtue, goodness, and a
quiet mind to eventually gain access to the essence of Being or ‘God’.
In fact, as Angelus Silesius wrote, ‘God’ is a pure No-thing; concealed in
now and here; the less you reach for ‘Him’, the more ‘He’ will appear.

The All is the divine immanence that embraces all.

The Apophatic and Cataphatic Relationship
‘The (Emptiness)relation between the individual and ‘God’ is a universal
relation which is the foundation for all other relations.’
said Martin Buber
Reflecting Apophatic theology. Jiddu Krishnamurti, an
philosopher, and teacher taught that the Middle Way offers healing
from the dualistic mechanical perspective of science and technology
by reuniting the divide between subject and object, and emotions
and rationality – making our personal world whole again.
A core of Krishnamurti’s teaching is contained in the statement:
“Truth is a pathless land”. For Krishnamurti, humans cannot realize
the Truth through any organization or creed, through any dogma,
priest or ritual, nor through any philosophical knowledge or
psychological technique. It must be found through the
understanding of the contents of one’s own mind, through
observation, instead of through endless intellectual analysis or
introspective dissection.
The religious, political, and personal descriptive manifestations of
symbols, ideas, beliefs that dominate our dualistic thinking,
relationships, and daily life, create our alienation for they divide us
from our true nature, each other, and nature. Instead, Awakening to
Nothingness by showing the interconnectedness and inherent
emptiness of all reunites us with our true nature and each other.
Once a practitioner has succeeded in experiencing, thereby
understanding, that the Apophatic relation is based on the pure
experience, all their encounters are free of a cataphatic
categorization and separateness. It is a relation not driven by
a dualism using categories of “same” and “different” which promotes
experiences of a detached object from subject, fixed in space and
time. To perceive from the dualistic, rational perspective makes the
world classified, predictable, manipulable, and an alienated
object. The I is detached or separated from the other. The world is
viewed as consisting of categories and rationally knowable objects.
While in a pragmatic way this positive relationship with the world is
necessary, to only live with this perspective is living in a world of
ignorance and alienation, ending in a refusal to affirm life. Every
natural impulse is viewed as bad or evil.
In this dualistic-based relationship, Interaction with people is mostly
guided by a person’s social role. The conversations are mainly
superficial and impersonal. A person stays within their social roles
and keeps their private selves veiled. Communication is with less
depth than with those we love most. Casual friends, service
providers, work associates, and interactions with distant family
members typically involve this type of communication.
Differently, the Apophatic relation participates as the dynamic, living
process. In the Empty, non-dualistic relation there is no split self, or
simultaneous experience and self-reflection. It is not used to gain or
have an object or goal, but a relationship involving the whole unified
being of all. No aim, no craving, and no attachment are possible. There
is not a thing among things.
This Apophatic relationship cannot be explained; it simply is. This
relation is based on mutuality, openness, directness, and being in the
present. It reveals the mystery that underlies all forms. By
understanding that mystery, as manifest through all things, existence
becomes a divine picture, and each sentient being is expressed
through that transcendent mystery. Those who understand that
always greet each other with the awareness of the divine presence in
each other. It is a recognition that the divine is within all. We
interact with the world in its whole being which brings a deep
richness and empathy to life

Of the Book, God is No-thing. The Apophatic Assertion. Copyright Rodger Ricketts Psy.D.,2020. All rights
reserved. Protected by international copyright conventions. No part of this chapter may be
reproduced in any manner whatsoever, or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted,
without the expressed permission of the Author-publisher, except in case of brief quotations with
due acknowledgment. Published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Creating Heaven on Earth.

15 Feb

Written and copyright claimed by Rodger R Ricketts, Psy.D. July, 2019
‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and
getting the same result, but expecting a Different One.’
Albert Einstein

The Creators of our own destiny
Indeed, the path of human existence is solely in the hands of
humans. This is a path that requires training
, discipline, a giving
up of selfishness, immaturity and unethical living to achieve a human
existence resulting in well-being, happiness, compassion and
wisdom. As the expression is: “If we have not found the heaven within,
we have not found the heaven without.” While this project of the
construction of peaceful coexistence, dignity, equality and prosperity
for all sentient beings at first glance might seem if not impossible,
very difficult, it is possible.
This needed profound change in our fundamental model of
understanding correctly how reality is, while paradoxically not new,
it finally needs its rightful place of importance and actuality in
human’s operational definitions of sanity and wisdom. Therefore,
humankind must shift from the predominate dogma of dualism
which creates most of our problems, to a non-dualism which is not
only different, but also better. Non-dualism is a radically different
way of understanding and organizing
personal beliefs, complex
systems and organization policies, by transcending dualistic thinking
and organization.
Both the principles of life-based on Transcendental Idealism and a
course based in Transcendent Psychology require recognizing a very
different even radical approaches how to live our lives as successful and
prosperous human beings. But, as history has continually shown us
and human behavior continues even today to destroy, murder,
annihilate and create massive suffering not only for all sentient
beings but also the destruction includes the earth – transformation
from ignorance is absolutely necessary. The course is clear and the
guidelines are well situated and proven. What is needed as in any
important human endeavor is not only the desire, which in this case,
humans want peace, prosperity, and happiness, but also the correct
effort and knowledge for success.

The New Possibility
The simile which expresses well what will it take to reach this new
phase of harmonious human existence on earth is that of the
butterfly. To actualize its beauty and freedom it must emerge from
the darkness of a cocoon. However, through the natural process of
giving birth to itself, with the correct effort and intention, the
butterfly larvae slowly emerge from the cocoon into the mature and
capable butterfly. Similarly, following the path away from immature
greed, anger, and ignorance into the light of the day and out of
darkness is the basic thing humans must do in order to reach a level of
stability and peace. Ultimately, the way we understand and think
about existence, a paradigm shift must be advanced which will
change our human character and end further suffering.
This opportunity of living in a world without the horrendous
suffering and destruction of war and conflict created through
ignorance has long been recognized by visionaries as a possibility
since it is solely in the hands of human beings to do this. It is only
through taking responsibility for our actions, thoughts and emotions
and living in a way that will we create our own peace. We also see
that by not including others in this vision, we are still living in the
cocoon, in ignorance, selfishness, and in anger which is based on our
old dualist mindset rooted in separation and alienation.
The lesson is that our deep happiness depends on our
mental/emotional state as well as living conditions. And in both
cases, we have the possibility of creating positive, realistic and
pragmatic mental states which include the living conditions that
promote, foster and sustain our well-being. This project depends on
the way we understand and implement it. Our suffering is created by
ourselves; therefore, the ending of our suffering is also possible by
ourselves together.

Looking to each other to remove the ignorance and hindrances to
our vision of life on earth without the suffering created through
wars, greed, hatred, ignorance, and injustice are a must. As Wells
wrote during WWI: ‘This monstrous conflict in Europe, the
slaughtering, the famine, the confusion, the panic and hatred, and
lying pride, it is all of it really only in the darkness of the mind. At the
coming of understanding, it will vanish as dreams vanish at
awakening. But never will it vanish until understanding has come.’ For
the mind enmeshed in ignorance, greed, and anger feeds on itself
and, therefore, has difficulty letting go and rising above the quagmire
in which it remains.
This blindness needs an empathetic and compassionate approach to
assist in showing how it is possible to live in a world without the pain
and distrust and suffering created through ignorance. And the
path can be clear and successful without much difficulty. What is
difficult is allowing oneself to give up the hatred, the anger, the
greed, the points of view of egoism and selfishness – like those of a
child. In the book, Lost Horizon, there is this passage: ‘Look at the
world today. Is there anything more pitiful? What madness there is!
What blindness! A scurrying mass of bewildered humanity crashing
headlong against each other. The time must come when brutality and
the lust for power will perish by their own sword. When that day comes,
the world must begin to look for a new life.’ The new paradigm is away
from that, and instead, the whole movement is a development of
maturity of perspective and therefore action with wisdom about the
way we understand and think about existence. Therefore incorrect
ideas and beliefs have to be renounced, which will change our
human character and end further suffering.

For as the Buddha taught and is now clear through scientific
investigation, humans and the environment are deeply enmeshed
and co-dependent on each other. This is one world and every action
by all living and non-living forces interact with and alter the previous
reality- some more than others. Therefore, once we are inspired and
apply the truths that the Buddha discovered and now are explicated
in more modern terminology and description, there is a real
possibility for a heaven on earth without the distraction of seeking
supernatural intervention. The heaven on Earth can briefly be
described as a world of humans acting through wisdom and empathy
and compassion


Express your Love

14 Feb