Friday, November 10, 2017

Love, Light, Bliss--and Infatuation?

On November 2, 2017, Ram (D. R. Butler) posted the following on his Facebook page. He entitled the thread Love, Light, Bliss--and Infatuation?
Someone wrote to say, “Infatuation has really come up strong this year and honestly reveals a pattern of behavior over the years where I periodically develop these odd crushes on people. They seem to last for a while, cause me some degree of pain and confusion. Then they pass. I would like to be free of this pattern and do my best to see the Truth in the present moment. When do we get to the love, light, and bliss you speak of? Any thoughts or ideas will be greatly appreciated.”
First of all, infatuation comes in many forms and on many levels. For example, most of us are greatly infatuated with our own thoughts and with our melodramas. We think they’re so interesting that we can hardly wait to tell others all about them. Meanwhile the others wait for us to finish so that they can tell us their thoughts and melodramas—the ones they are currently infatuated with.
Of course, you mean infatuation with another person, and I know very well how much pain and confusion this causes. The pain and confusion arise from its illusory nature. It feels like we should do something about it, or that there is something to be done, and then it’s painful when it’s inappropriate or impossible to do anything whatsoever. If we do something about it, in many cases we only cause unnecessary karmic complications. So there is pain and confusion either way, whether the infatuation “works out” or not. Infatuation never “works out” in an ideal, Hollywood-ending kind of way.
Infatuation is unrelated to love, even though our mental melodrama tries to convince us that it is real and has great meaning and promise. Infatuation is very powerful, yet it passes extremely fast, and we’re left wondering what hit us. In one moment we’re madly in love, and in the next moment we’re wondering what we got ourselves into.
When we are relatively young it’s very challenging to remain totally free from infatuations. We always think we see a person who is more interesting or more rewarding or more something than the other people we already know. We think she/he is unique in some way, and that she/he can add something indispensable to our life that is available from no other. (Actually, we can share things with others, but we do not really 'get something from' them.)
At my age infatuation is no longer a problem. For one thing, we start to see that no matter how mysterious or unique another might outwardly appear, ultimately it’s only another variation of everyone else, or a different combination of all the traits and qualities we are already familiar with. Under the spell of infatuation she might seem to be a wonderful and mesmerizing creature, but once the spell breaks we might be amazed to see how completely ordinary she is in all ways.
The spiritual path is not different from all the things of regular life. It is not something vague and other-worldly, having nothing to do with the ‘real world.’ It is a certain approach to each moment, to each experience of the 'real world', where we bring our own awareness and presence into every situation life presents, including when we are grabbed by infatuation.
In truth, living a spiritual life is simply being more aware and present in each moment, during the ordinary, worldly happenings that take place in our life. The primary priority of sadhana, spiritual 'work', is focusing attention on higher qualities such as love, light, and bliss, while refusing to focus attention on the more contracted qualities such as anger, agitation, worry, jealousy, suspicion, blame, resentment, infatuation, and the like. Where and how we focus our attention determines everything.
A true spiritual life is how we live each moment—it is being totally focused on the Truth of the present moment. Ordinarily, of course, people hardly ever focus on the actual Truth of the moment. This skill is developed through training.
Love, light, and bliss are available at any time, while undergoing any endeavor. We can sit and experience them in formal meditation, yet there is no reason to limit the higher qualities to sitting meditation. They can be integrated into every situation in life, every relationship, with business ventures, or simply strolling down the street. It is a moment-to-moment thing, independent of circumstances.
There is no limit to how much, or how often, we can experience the love, light, and bliss that is already our own eternal Nature. They are more who we actually are than any verbal description we could make about ourselves.
We only need to take our attention off our apparent problems and difficulties and focus our attention on the already existing love, light and bliss. They are part of our Nature, not just passing phenomena like thoughts and feelings. The nature of the inner Self is love, light, and bliss. After all our thoughts and emotions have come and gone, we will see that this is the way it has always been as well as the way it will always be. Love, light, and bliss are eternal.
So it’s not when do we get to the love, light, and bliss? It’s when do we start focusing our attention on our already-existing love, light, and bliss, which exists without interruption in this very moment? These more expanded qualities exist right now within our own Self. It’s up to us to recognize and appreciate them, and nothing stops us other than the conditioned mind and ego.
Because some work needs to be done to break free from the conditioned mind and ego, and to learn how to consistently focus our attention on our higher qualities, as well as on pure Awareness of Being, we offer the Course of Training Living in the Truth of the Present Moment,  through email. The lessons of the Course lead us step-by-step from where we currently find ourselves to where we ultimately wish to be.
As Shunryu Suzuki once said:  "You are perfect just as you are, and you can use a little improvement."
That about sums it up.

Comment:  Wow, does it ever! And once again, your timing is perfect.
Comment:  Very powerful, Ram. Thank you.
Comment:  The last sentence really made me laugh. Love these summaries of yours Ram, especially when they ask for some scrolling down smile emoticon:-)
Comment: I came upon a quote from Baba yesterday that has been resonating ever since: "You focus the mind and lead it toward the heart."  So clear and simple. I feel more and more that it is indeed a matter of focusing, like you wrote, on what is already there, though when I'm tired my mind gets this kind of wanderlust, tickling old patterns and emotions. Being able to see that now feels like such a great gift, thank you for that! And now off to bed I go.
Comment:  "The spiritual path is not different from all the things of regular life." Thank you Ram. I needed to be reminded of this at this moment.
Comment:  Yaaaaay!!! This could have been me asking the question as it’s a pattern I’ve been stuck in for eons (lol) - this and the envy of thinking I see others getting the attention from the “other” I crave. Due to some of your suggestions and thoughts you’ve offered to me and to others around this issue lately I notice when it comes on and I am able to shift it much much sooner. Did it just last night in a manor of minutes!!! AND was aware it came up and aware of what I needed to do to shift it. (Remember first that I’m making up a story that’s not real, then breathe and bring myself back to knowing love, light and bliss.  This stuff really WORKS. 🙂
Comment: And THEN- I read in my lesson (V3, Lesson 29) “maintain your attention on the choice you make from one moment to the next:   contracted state or light, love, and bliss - the mind or the moment. See what you are doing. Be accountable for the state you choose.” And damned if that wasn’t what I did that night before even reading this lesson (which is my exercise for the next two weeks). I am singing in a public performance next week with all the people involved in the above mentioned interaction. Oh boy, is this gonna be good!!! Thanks, D.R. Butler (Ram), for this amazingly timely exercise. I love this Course!!!!

To be continued in the "comments" section...many of the following comments are also from Ram.

For more information on the Course of Training and a complementary Lesson 1, please write us at
drbutler.course@gmail.com



Thursday, September 7, 2017

Some earlier life's memories

Recently, on his Facebook page, D.R. Butler (Ram) has been sharing some memories from his earlier life.  What follows is the first 4 posts of memories.  We'll share more in the comments as the month goes on:

I grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi and I loved it there. In my teens, I thought it was the greatest place on earth. I liked my friends, and we had fun during those years. Somehow I came upon yoga and meditation there, which, looking back, is a great mystery to me. It seems like if I was to go in that direction so early, I should have grown up in California or something.
 
I went to Millsaps College in Jackson, which at the time was the liberal stronghold of Mississippi. We had the first ever mixed marriage in the state in our chapel when I was there. I majored in English Literature and Philosophy. Somehow, I also became the manager and agent of a very good rock band, all college students, and on weekends we traveled all over the South. This paid my living expenses while in Jackson. I graduated from college and was just hanging around, going on gigs with the band and writing. I sold my first short story when I was 20, and sold a couple more before I left the state.
 
Three members of the band, after graduating themselves, were going to New York City, for different reasons. I was still with the band, which was now mostly replacements, and it wasn't the same. I wasn't sure what to do with myself. Then out of the blue, a fellow from Vicksburg who had recently graduated from Harvard called me and told me his roommate was leaving and if I wanted to move to New York to be there within a week. This was totally unexpected. I don't know what prompted him to do that, and talking about it with him in later years, he had no idea either why he called me.
 
I left the Jackson airport and flew to New York for the first time. In the summer of 1968, it was like going to a different planet. It turned out my new apartment was in a wonderful neighborhood in Greenwich Village, on 12th street between 5th and 6th avenues. And it was bustling. And there were flower children everywhere. The movie The Graduate had just come out, and Dustin Hoffman lived on the same block, and I saw him several times. He always smiled and waved. What an amazing new life I stumbled into.
 
This is getting long, so I am going to jump ahead to 1974 when I met the physical Guru in Manhattan. He was visiting there from India, and I looked forward to meeting him. His reputation was that he was a very powerful man, and that he could spontaneously awaken spiritual energy in people through a process known as Shaktipat. I wasn't disappointed. I sat on the floor in a room with about 20 other people, waiting for him. I heard the door open from behind me, and I turned to see if it was him. Then the palm of his hand hit my shoulder so hard that it knocked me over, somewhat off-balance. He laughed and strode to his chair in the front.
A strange thing began to happen. I started feeling this euphoric energy in my spine, and it went all the way up to my head and out the top. I knew about Kundalini and the chakras, so I knew intellectually what I was experiencing, but it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Then the room filled with white light and disappeared. I could barely make out the forms of the other people sitting there, some of them in chairs, but it was very diaphanous. I could see through the world, and there was a formless homogeneous white light on the other side. The energy running up my spine gave me an ecstatic experience. I remember thinking to myself, "Oh, this is why people have a Guru. He can cause things to happen in me that I cannot cause in myself."
 
We were all allowed to go up to him, one by one, and ask him a question. As I sat in front of him, it seemed to me that no one was in his body, like he was being operated by remote control. When I looked into his eyes, there was no self-consciousness stopping me, like what happens with most people, and it was as though I went all the way through and came out the other side. It felt very strongly as though he and I were the same one in two different bodies. I had no idea what to ask him, and I blurted, "How can I be aware of God every moment of every day?"
I still remember his answer vividly. "Why do you want what you do not already have? If you get something you don't already have, you might lose it. When you see what you always already have, which you can never lose and which can never be taken from you, you will be aware of God every moment of every day."
Unknown to me at the time, this was the beginning of a whole new life, containing experiences I had never before dreamed of.

Being with Baba in Manhattan in 1974 was a wondrous time in my life. All of these new energies and insights stirred from within me, and I intuited that life never 'could' be the same, even if I wanted it to, which I didn't. As interesting as I thought my life was, it was humdrum compared to what I was experiencing now. Baba's energy, or, in Sanskrit, Shakti, awakened a new awareness in me of who I actually am. It was as though the previous 29 years I had suffered an identity crisis, where I had forgotten who I actually am.

I would come up with questions for Baba, and as soon as I had them clearly in mind, I would hear very satisfying answers to them. This happened a few times, so once I told Baba what was going on and asked him if I should consider that the answers I heard in my mind were from him. He liked this and emphatically said, "Yes!"

Before he left Manhattan he told me to open a Meditation Center for him in my home. I asked, "But what if they have questions?" and he said, "You will answer all questions perfectly." This is something I have remembered all my life, as it seems to be my fate for questions to come my way. In the 25 years I traveled and led weekend workshops, people always said that their favorite part was the question and answer sessions.

The primary 'commands' the Guru gave me were to teach people about the Self, or the Truth of Being, and to teach people what a Guru is. Oh yes, he also told me to learn the Course well. He also told me to learn Kashmir Shaivism perfectly. I have to admit that I understand it experientially and practically, although not scholarly.

Later I learned that when an authentic Guru says something, or gives even a hint of a command, he also gives the Shakti to do it, or for it to come true. I do not believe this as a mere concept, for everything he ever said to me eventually came true in my life. He is the one who authorized me to function as a teacher--for many years for him and later for his successor.

Let me say that there are many more false gurus than real ones, for an authentic Guru is rare. A Guru must be Self-Realized and completely free from ego. He must have been trained by his own Guru, and commanded by his own Guru to function as Guru. According to Sanskrit scriptures, the Guru is primarily the grace-bestowing power of God.

In the East, people go to a Guru for four main reasons: For prosperity, for a marriage partner, for children, and for spiritual enlightenment. The first three are the more common reasons people see a Guru. As Sai Baba of Shirdi said, "I give people what they want in the hopes that they will one day want what I have to give."

One of my favorite movies is Elizabethtown, and one of my favorite soundtracks is the one to that movie. I love the feeling in the movie, and the feeling it leaves me with. I guess I mention this because I am listening to that soundtrack as I write this.

A primary reason I began writing the story of my life is to take one last look at it, to see what really happened, rather than what I might have thought happened at the time. At the same time, it feels rather presumptuous to talk about myself at all. I mean, get over yourself. As my daughter Sara once said to me, "You teach meditation don't you? Transcend already."

As a teen, I somehow came across yoga and meditation in Vicksburg. A teacher in the 9th grade gave me some magazines (I guess she saw something in me even then) and through the ads I came across books and courses. I was actually able to find some books in Vicksburg, although I had to send away for Paramahamsa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi.

I learned very quickly that such things were not to be shared with others. I tried talking to one supposedly like-minded friend about it, and he said, "Yoga, that's where you lie on a bed of nails, right?" So in high school I kept it pretty much to myself. The only person who really took a sincere interest in it was my mother. She was always so open to what I was learning outside of school. She understood me in some deep and inexplicable way. Truly, she was my first student.

In college, I took a course in Eastern Philosophy. I was amazed that the students could learn about it and pass tests on it, and that the professor could speak knowledgably about it, and yet none of them saw any point in practicing any of it in their own lives. This, at the time, was one of the strangest things I had encountered. How could people learn about such amazing knowledge, and yet have no interest in actually applying it for practical purposes?

Even today I often wonder how some people can 'know' such pristine knowledge, and yet are unable or unwilling to practice it in their daily lives for practical results. You know that I make almost daily postings here on Facebook, open to the public--anyone in the world--reminders on how to enjoy a happier and more fulfilling life. And I am willing to answer all sincere questions, in any thread, and verbalizing questions is one of the easiest and quickest ways to learn. Even Socrates knew that. (In college, on the basketball team, the guys called me 'So-crates.') Anyway, it is actually painful to me sometimes when someone dear to me is in pain, and yet they have no interest in learning what I have spent my entire life studying, understanding, and finally passing on to those who are open enough to receive it.

Today's post doesn't seem to have progressed the story of my life very far. I guess I am still in the process of seeing and understanding what all it is. In a sense, this is also the 'life story' of Consciousness Itself. If someone were to ask me to describe the nature of our Course in one word, I would say that, in the long run, it is about Consciousness.

Consciousness is forever surveying Itself, exploring Itself and all Its creations and manifestations, and understanding Itself in some way we cannot even fathom. Consciousness is right now surveying and understanding Itself through our own individual lives, as we are all manifestations of Consciousness. It is Consciousness that sees what we see, that knows what we know, and that feels what we feel. Through understanding the true nature of Consciousness, our life starts to feel as though we live in Heaven.

In high school I was very athletic. After being fairly good in high school, I earned a basketball scholarship to college and played there for two years before I hurt my back pretty badly. (It still bothers me today.) This was about the time I became the manager and agent of a rock band. I never dreamed during this time, spending weekends with the band at fraternity or sorority parties or in smoky bars across the South, that I would soon move to New York City and spend the rest of my adult life in the Northeast. I certainly never dreamed I would enter into relationship with an authentic Guru from India.

I might not have left Mississippi at that time if my mother were not killed in a car crash at the age of 43. I had just turned 21, and this was devastating to me, as I was very close to her and emotionally attached. I went for years trying to overcome my grief. At some point the grief subsided, and her early death simply became one of the details of my past. Besides, everything changed when I met Baba.

I supported myself as a free-lance writer those early years in New York, but soon after meeting Baba, I began writing the Course. The first lesson was mailed out in August of 1975.  I quit writing for magazines and devoted my time and attention to the Course. Some might wonder why I capitalize Course. As explained in the lessons of the Course, I capitalize words referring to or leading to the Divine. The process of participating in the Course leads one to his or her own Divinity. This has been my own experience, as well as feedback received from countless others.

The Course eventually moved from New York across the country to Palo Alto. This was after a week-long retreat at Mt Shasta. I loved everything about California. I led workshops in various areas, including San Diego, LA, Carmel, Oakland, and up to Seattle, and eventually to Vancouver. Those were fun days.


Soon my karma took me back across the country again to Sarasota. We lived in a house on Siesta Key between the Gulf and the Bay. It was beautiful there, and we enjoyed long walks on the beach almost every day. I loved Florida, and I thought I would spend the rest of my life there.
 
We spent the summers in the ashram in upstate New York. And some Force greater than my own ideas began drawing me further in, and soon we and the Course moved to the ashram. I spent the next 20 years in the ashram and leading weekend workshops in various cities around the world.
 
It was amazing watching my life change after meeting Baba. Before that, no one really seemed to care very much what I thought about anything. Soon after meeting him, people were coming to me with their innermost questions. I had to remember that he had said I would answer all questions perfectly, and that he always spoke the truth. At least, I have never personally experienced or observed that anything he said did not come true.
 
Oh, my, this had gotten so long, and I haven't even gotten to what I was going to write about. All these details of my life came up, and I am experimenting with what it is like to write the story of my life. I don't like revealing the details of my life. I am a very private person. Yet I feel it is good for me, and hopefully it is good for you, too.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Some Thoughts from July 2017

My writings in the Course of Training via email and Facebook present the Truth of the Present Moment as I have come to understand it after 50 years of seeking, studying, training, being whipped into shape by various teachers in various ways, having my ego obliterated over and again by the Guru until I couldn’t be anyone other than who I am, and the experience gained as a teacher, writer, speaker, answerer of innumerable questions, and leader of many classes, workshops, and retreats over the 35 years I functioned in such a role.

The Truth is the one Principle that never changes in a universe where everything else on every level of being constantly changes. The body changes, thoughts change, emotions change, the world around us changes, ‘others’ change, but the Truth of divine Awareness within never varies in the least. It is eternal, all-pervasive, and all-inclusive. Nothing exists outside it. It includes the entire Cosmos of the waking world, the innumerable realms of the dream world, the vast world of deep sleep, and the Turiya state that simultaneously permeates the other three. It is the only Truth there ever is, ever has been, and ever will be. It is without beginning or end. It is an unmodified, undifferentiated, unconditioned, formless Awareness of Being.

My philosophy is to be real, be sincere, be who you truly are, live according to your own heart and your own nature, feel good about yourself as God made you, even manifests as you, just as you are. Drop all pretension. Give up your fake veneer and your hypocrisy even when you think you’re being genuine. Stop playing your phony games that you’ve been playing so long you don’t even remember that they are phony games.

Give up the endless desires to impress anyone or to improve anyone. Please, please stop explaining yourself. There’s nothing worse than someone insisting on explaining something to you and thinking that you’ll understand something about them better after they complete their explanation. We all already get it. Get over yourself.

Rip off your mask of propriety and hurl it into the ethers. Forget everything you’ve ever been taught you should or shouldn’t do. Free yourself from the shackles of conformity. Stop worrying about being good enough for anyone else. You already are all there is. All you lack is this understanding.

Whatever you do, at least don’t feel guilty about it, because the guilt you feel is much worse than whatever you did to feel guilty about. In fact, the secret to truly enjoying a fulfilling life is simply to love every single thing you do during every single moment. Of course, you have to greatly value your own life in order to do this, but then that’s the point, isn’t it?

You are already divine; there’s nothing to become. Don’t do anything to seek the good opinion of others, to make others like you, or to attract others to you. Otherwise you will only lose yourself and fade into oblivion in the objective world of humanity, thinking you exist yet being only a floating reflection of how others see you. This greatly reduces you and in fact dissipates whatever Shakti, whatever inner power you might have gained, by caring how you are perceived by others. Love them, honor them for who and what they are, for whatever function or role they play in your life, and remain in harmony with whatever arises from one moment to the next.

No one needs to see you except yourself. Others need only to see their own Self. No one will ever understand you except yourself. Others have to understand their own Self. When we all do this, when we really get it that we’re the only One here, and that everyone around us is an individualized aspect of the same One, we’ll realize that deep within we share the same Self.

Spirituality is a matter of realization or recognition of the already-existing Truth. Many have the delusion that it’s about becoming something or attaining something we don't already have.

 The Self is already attained. The only reason we do sadhana (spiritual practices) is to purify the mind and ego. Once they are clear and no longer prone to projection, delusion, and false identification, the Truth reveals itself within us naturally and spontaneously.

In a lesson of our Course there is a quote from Ramana Maharshi, the great Indian saint and sage. Let’s end with his words for now, for to me they perfectly sum up everything:
"There is no greater mystery than this: Being Reality ourselves, we seek to gain Reality. We think that there is something hiding Reality and that it must be destroyed before the Truth is gained...A day will dawn when you will laugh at your past efforts. What you realize on the day you laugh is also here and now."

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Self-Interview from Facebook

Little Ado About Much
Curious Person (CP): So, exactly what is it that you do?
This One (TO): For the last 42 years I've written this course on living in the most fulfilling way, based on my studies, observations, and personal experience. It is centered around living in the Truth of the Present Moment.
CP: Living in the present moment? When else can we live? We can't live in the past or the future, except then and there.
TO: Well, mentally and consciously, we are not always present. If we are lost in some thought-dream, we're certainly not in the 'Truth' of the Present Moment. The Truth is not contained in thoughts or emotions or memories. It exists only in Awareness.
CP: Anyone can talk mumbo-jumbo. What does all that have to do with real life? I like to live in practical realities.
TO: If you live your whole life in your head, which you call practical reality, and never touch the Truth of the Present Moment, which is the only time your life actually exists, then it will be one long waking dream from which you never awoke.
CP: Be that as it may. I'm sure it must mean something to someone. What do you do when not writing your course?
TO: Well, I have an active Facebook life.
CP: Oh yeah? Do you post pictures of what you had for lunch? Do you ask for prayers for your sick old aunt? Do you ask for recommendations for Netflix? Do you post pictures of yourself in yogic postures?
TO: Actually I enjoy dialogues with participants of the Course. And I invite all others who are interested to join in the dialogue. It's open to everyone around the world, or at least to whoever is attracted to it. I don't believe that anyone really comes upon it by chance or coincidence.
CP: You dialogue with them? You shoot the breeze?
TO: We discuss topics that we feel are relevant in enjoying a fulfilling life. I invite people to ask questions regarding whatever is up for them. I know, it sounds presumptuous, but my Guru told me to answer people's questions. When the Guru tells you to do something, then the Shakti, the Creative Energy of the Universe, is behind it.
CP: Sounds like you think pretty highly of yourself.
TO: Well, that's something else the Guru told me to do. Before I met him, I tended to think lowly of myself. So it's a pretty big and meaningful transformation. How we feel about ourselves determines how our whole life goes. My life has gone much better since I changed the way I see myself.
CP: So you tell people to think more highly of themselves? And what if that in turn only gives them a big ego?
TO: Most people already have a big ego, only the main function of the ego is that it causes us to think lowly of ourselves and to doubt ourselves. It's mostly a myth that the ego causes us to think highly of ourselves. Thinking highly of ourselves actually goes along with breaking free from the ego. It is a very meaningful process.
CP: I guess I'll just have to think about all this. Although, knowing me, I'll probably forget all about it any second now.

TO: Probably so. At any rate, if anyone reading this has any further questions, today is a good day to post them in the thread below, and I'll be around to respond. Curious Person has warmed me up to the task.

[for some comments and questions that followed this post, please click on the entry title above and scroll down to "comments" below]

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Recent Writings from D. R. Butler (Ram)

It’s been a while since we’ve added a new article to this site.  Today, by popular request, we’re going to be sharing some of the recent Facebook writings of D. R. Butler [to take part in the dialogue on his Facebook page, go to D.R. Butler (Ram)—no space between the D. and the R.—and make a “friend request”]. 

For more than forty years, D. R. Butler has been the author of the Course of Training Living in the Truth of the Present Moment, now available via email.  For more information about the Course and a complementary Lesson 1, please write to drbutler.course@gmail.com

You are also invited to check out the archived articles available elsewhere on this page, which date back to July 2008 and which give a good overview of the writings of this prolific, humorous, and very insightful writer.

If you wish to post a question or a comment regarding this current article, please do so on the most recent thread of the Facebook page, as the “Comments” section that follows the first posting below will be dedicated solely to additional posts by the author as they become available from Facebook throughout the month.

To access the “Comments” section in an easily readable form, simply click on the article title, “Recent Writings from D. R. Butler,” and then scroll to the end of the article.

The first entry is entitled “Who Is a True Teacher?”:  The popularity of the Internet has led to a proliferation of spiritual teachers, each with his or her own little niche or specialty.  We can’t keep up with all of them; we can’t practice/follow/read/hear all of them.  How do we know what is best for us?  How to trust a teacher?  Which one to listen to?

I was fortunate enough at the age of fifteen to come in contact with a Teacher who had spent seventeen years in lamaseries of Nepal and Tibet before being instructed to return to the West to help individuals to rise out of the Great Depression of the 1930s, through the end of his life in 1961.  He gave talks over the radio and wrote a correspondence course that transmitted a clarity of understanding and a palpable experience of the Truth of Being.  He had left his body the year before I discovered his course, so I never had actual physical contact with him, except through his wife, years after his passing.  I was saved from being attached to his physical form, for the training I received from him took place subtly.  Dreams of him took place on a regular basis for many years.  I can still vividly recall certain discussions we had in those dreams, mostly in the form of him responding to my questions.

In one of them, he showed me with one glance how the entire Cosmos is put together and how everything works.  It was something that took no time, but was an instantaneous revelation, as when Krishna first revealed his true form to Arjuna in the Indian epic saga Bhagavad Gita.

If I were to attempt to tell you who he was, or what tradition or lineage he actually represented, you would probably think I was about two french-fries short of a happy meal.  He wasn’t publicly known.  He was careful not to be.  He was cleverly disguised, as many of the Great Ones are.  He emphasized often that the value lies in the teachings themselves, never in the teacher.  Teachers will come and go; teachings of Truth always remain the same.

The well-known and popular teachers that we all know about and discuss on the Internet might never approach the attainment or development of someone whom very few have even heard of, other than the small band who somehow come in contact with him or her and experience what comes through as a subtle transmission.

Such beings avoid becoming ‘public’ at all costs, for they know that public knowledge of them can only bring trouble.  To a true Teacher, public recognition is the worst thing, and he or she will deliberately remain known to only a relative few.  It is the way of the world to take down a saint, to put him in his place, to prove he was never so great in the first place.  Once upon a time there were crucifixions; now there are Internet sites that will happily give us all the dirt they can find or imagine.

Do not assume a teacher can transmit to you something of value simply because he or she is popular or well-known, or might have large followings and circus-like scenes wherever they go.  Having followed the spiritual scene since the early sixties, I can assure you that the great majority of such teachers come and go.  Don’t get attached to bodies, forms, or personalities, for none of these are the source of your true inner connection to your own Being.

Never listen to someone who tries to convince you of something or to win you over, or who acts and speaks so that you will think well of him.  A true teacher is detached from the fruits of his work, and whether someone gains anything from him or not will be according to their own destiny, their own karma.  He has no interest in how another sees him or whether he is liked or appreciated or approved of.  If others are attracted to him, it is because of what comes through him; he does not take it personally.

As the Christ put it, “It is not I that do the works, but the Father within, that same Father that is within you.”

A true Teacher won't go around being your best buddy.  If she is true, she will never appease the ego; she will always keep the ego a little bit uncomfortable.  Otherwise she is not fully functioning as a Teacher; she is only a friend.  A friend is nice; a true Teacher is rare.

Especially don’t pay attention to teachers who 'explain themselves' regarding anything.  The Shakti (spiritual Energy) doesn’t explain Itself; to do so would be contrary to Its nature.  It doesn’t need to cause you to think in any particular way.  How you think is up to you.  A true Teacher will never present a dogmatic system of beliefs.  Rather, she will free you of the limiting beliefs that already hold you down.  Specifically, he or she will free you from the shackles of the mind and ego, and teach you to think for yourself.

The saint can’t help having a human, personal life as long as he or she is incarnated in a physical body.  She won’t have a halo, she won’t walk on water, she’ll only shatter your concepts about who you think you are.  She might lovingly and compassionately smash your ego into pieces.  In the end, she simply reveals the Truth of Being and leaves us established in our own Self, supremely independent and supremely free.

The primary thing regarding a spiritual teacher is your actual inner experience of contact with him or her.  Your own heartfelt experience, and nothing else, tells you whether there is something to be gained or not.  Your mind might think he is ‘off his rocker’.  It doesn’t matter; go by your own inner feeling always.

The greatest Teachers come from the heart, not the head.  The Teacher’s words might not make any sense at first, yet you experience a profound opening in your heart.  You experience something inside yourself—a light, an insight, an exaltation, some sense of new possibility, of pending new life.  Yet you might not even remember what was verbally communicated.  It is not something that happens physically or mentally.  It is a subtle communication, a subtle transmission that transforms us on a very deep level of our Being.

A true Teacher passes on to us a spiritual Energy that gives a palpable ‘boost’ to our inner work (our sadhana) and to our inner state.  If there are only ideas and words to be learned, and especially if they are simply ‘beliefs’, there is nothing of value to be gained.

Never accept another’s words without proving them true in your own life.  Truth is always provable and practically workable.

I love this quote from my first Teacher:
     "He, or she, is great who feeds other minds.  He is great who inspires others to think for themselves.  He is great who tells you the things you already know, but which you did not know you knew until he told you.  He, or she, is great who disturbs you, irritates you, even affronts you, so that you are shaken out of your habitual ways and pulled out of your mental ruts, lifted up above the commonplace.  He may be a teacher, or a speaker, or a writer, a clergyman, or a scientist; or he may be a close friend.  It makes no difference who or what he is, or may be, but it does make a great difference what he means, and can do, to you.
     "The writer, for instance, is great whom you alternately hate and love—whom you cannot easily forget.  In his private, personal life he may be proud, arrogant, crude, coarse, irritable, absurd, or even immoral...I grant all that...and yet be great.  He is not great because of these reprehensible qualities, but in spite of them.  The apparent inconsistencies and inequalities of his nature may contribute in great measure to his power, just as the rocks, boulders, chasms, woods, mountains and valleys make up the grandeur and majesty of the Yosemite, or Yellowstone Park."

A true Teacher, even though our ego may react from time to time, ultimately helps us to feel good about ourselves and to see ourselves in the highest way.  Someone who ultimately makes you feel even worse about yourself can never be considered a true Teacher.

Ultimately no one can tell you who your Teacher is—any more than someone can tell you who to fall in love with.  At some point it becomes obvious.  Since recognizing a Teacher is like falling in love, here’s a tip:  Fall in love with your Self and be your own Teacher.  This is my truest and most sincere advice.

In the end, of course, we will each live in love with our Self and be our own Teacher, for there could be no other conclusion; it is a simple recognition of the way it always is.  The Truth always exists within and never without.  Look within and you will know the Truth without any doubt.  Look outside and you are lost, and doubt will haunt you at every turn.  Remember love.  Love is always the best bet in any case.

Friday, September 16, 2016

More Than One Exists in Appearance Only

Even after all these years of posting here, my wife Kay reads each new post to see if 'new people' were receiving a clear introduction to our Course.  I don't honestly know how many 'new people' (I always get the image of people only now being made) come here.  If you are a 'new person,' which I guess means to be reading these writings for the first time, please stop by in the comments following this to say hi, maybe share your impression of the ideas presented.  Everyone is invited to share any questions that might come up for you, as making the effort to verbalize a question opens up channels to receive new insights.  To get to the comments, simply click on the title of this entry, and a page will come up where you can easily scroll down to the comments.

To encourage Kay's happiness and contentment, we will have a brief introduction to the Course.  It is based around the theme of Living in the Truth of the Present Moment, which is our title here.  This Truth is what actually IS, right here and now, and not memories of the past, projections of the future, or just plain mental cogitations, figuring things out, going over and over things in the mind.

What actually exists in the present moment is different from appearances, or of our thoughts about what is.  We easily live in an imaginary world, and our Course focuses on the process of waking up.  This 'waking up' is coming to the awareness of what is here now, and all that is truly here now is Consciousness, or the Awareness of Being, sometimes referred to as the Self, and by many other terms.  This Awareness of Being cannot be understood intellectually.  Awareness is much more expanded in nature than is the mind, so we cannot comprehend Awareness with the mind.  It must be actually experienced.

Of course, this process cannot all be explored or understood through one short reading.  Understanding, or wisdom, does not exist in words alone.  This is why I prefer to present higher Knowledge through an ongoing Course, so that one lesson can naturally lead to the next, so that a strong foundation can be built.  Of course, it was considered to simply write a book, but a book can be read and put down and forgotten.  Through the process of the Course, there are constant reminders, and regardless of what is going on outwardly in our personal life, we are always reminded of the higher Truth simply through our participation in the Course.

Participation in the Course is simple.  We begin a new lesson, through email, every two weeks, and for those two weeks we simply focus on the principles presented in that lesson, and practice applying them in real daily life.  Intellectual knowledge is of some value, but in itself it is not enough.  We must be taken through a process of going from one level of experiencing and perceiving life to a more expanded level of experiencing and perceiving life.  This expansion cannot be adequately described in advance; it must become our actual experience.

One way the principles are presented are through interaction in the form of responses to questions.  This is offered here freely for anyone to read and make use of.  The questions usually come in the comments, and you are invited to participate.  An honest and open question and response is meaningful to everyone who reads it, and we each make use of the interaction in our own way.  So now I will present some questions with their responses.

Q:  "You have been writing lessons since 1975, which was a few years ago.  I am wondering how your approach and presentation has changed over the years.  How do you see what you are doing differently than, say, how you understood it twenty years ago?"

I am happy that you only consider the passed time to be only 'a few years ago.'  To me it seems like a lifetime.  It is true, I was quite different when I first started writing the lessons of the original Course in 1975.  From my current perspective, I can honestly say that I had no idea what I was talking about in those days.  I am amazed that anyone wanted to take those lessons, and even more amazed when I recall their feedback.  One person wrote, on the original Lesson12--six months into the Course-- "Why is it that when I read the lessons, I experience inexplicable jolts of euphoria?  The experience seems to have nothing to do with the particular words being read.  It is a kind of energy that the words evoke from deep within."

I gradually realized that something viewed as valuable was happening to people attracted to these teachings, which come from way back and are simply being expressed in a modern way, and that they were being made available to those who were ready to open up to whatever they receive through the Course.  More and more I began to trust it that it just happened, not because of me, but in spite of me.  Also, more and more I began to write from my own experience, rather than relying only on what I had been taught by my own great Teachers.  A true Teacher encourages the student to not merely accept anything on faith, or on blind belief, but prove the teachings true for himself.  Don't allow it to be merely theoretical; for a principle of Truth to be helpful, it must be actually applied for results in one's own daily life.

Here is one major change between then and now.  For many years, unable to define myself any more distinctly, I somewhat thought of myself as a 'spiritual teacher.'  I suppose, through my work, I did function as a 'spiritual teacher' for many who needed that at the time.  Today, however, thinking of myself as some kind of 'spiritual teacher' feels very pretentious, as though who could possibly imagine himself in that way?  Who would he think he is, anyway?

I've had to understand that the teachings and spiritual energy (Shakti) I have received from my own Teachers are communicated and transmitted through these writings, and to accept that it can be trusted to be received and applied in all the right ways for the benefit of humanity.  My own Teachers indicated that I should pass the teachings and the energy on to those who would come later.  Maybe I am simply trying to say that it is just happening, and I am just as stunned and surprised by what is written as anyone else.  Since this is what is happening, I am very happy that you are here sharing it with me.  It gives us something very valuable to share together.

Q:  "How can I best respond to a person that is describing a problem, disliking, or is seeing something as wrong, without sounding like I am correcting their view, or that I am giving advice?"

When someone describes a problem to me, or tells me about their dislikes, or expresses whatever they think is going wrong, I listen, and sometimes I may appear that I understand their view, I often make a lighthearted remark, demonstrating seeing the humor in things.  I would NEVER attempt to point out that I disagree, for it feels weird to me to convince someone that they are wrong about something.  Of course, if they really need to know they are wrong about something, that can happen too.  I am happy to share my perspective if I am asked for it, but it helps no one to impose it on them before it is requested, as before that they are not ready for it.

Mostly, we have to be compassionate enough to allow others to have their own perspective of things.   It is only when someone opens enough to try participating in a regular practice, like our Course of Training via email, that they are initiating a willingness to explore a more expanded perspective than what they are used to. This willingness to grow and to develop is what opens a person up to a new way of seeing and experiencing things. Before this happens, it is more harmonious to simply be compassionate enough to allow the other person their own point of view.

Q:  "Karma is the law of cause and effect, so I think that we are accountable, yet, I am told that God is the author and the player and the stage of this drama or dance?  I do not totally understand how this fits together.  Please, explain this to me."

Your questions exist primarily because you are confusing different levels of Being.  On the level of individuals, we each create our own perception and experience through what and how we think.  As we say in the Course, what we think is what we get.  Due to the law of cause and effect, which is more profound than what people often grasp, we experience, as karma, the effects of our own thoughts, words, and actions.  So we are always accountable and invariably experience the consequences that we ourselves have created.

On a more Cosmic level, however, all individuals are manifestations of a single Consciousness that is eternal and all-pervasive.   This Consciousness is the Source of all our thoughts, words, and actions.  In this way, God does all things.  Another way of understanding this is that all things, including all aspects of the karmic movie of the individual, are included in the play of Consciousness.

Q:  "Why do we come back repeatedly to work through our wounds only to get to the understanding that our perspectives and personalities aren't even real?  Am I really missing the whole point of all your wisdom?  Should I put my head in a bucket of water now?  What's really the end game here?"

You are not missing the point, but you have brought a bunch of things together that do not naturally go together.   Ultimately, of course, everything is connected to everything else, but there are different realms and levels of Being and even various levels of understanding.  This year we understand the things we know a whole lot more than we used to, even though we 'knew' it then.  As we explore in the lessons, wisdom evolves, and understanding expands as we go along.

You are the actor, the soul is the producer/director, but what you have left out is that you are also the writer. You decide how the play will go, and you decide how to respond to challenges and obstacles. Mostly, you simply learn how to flow with change and remain in harmony at all times.

We don't come back to work on our 'wounds.' We come back to experience the karma that we ourselves have created. In this way everything is eventually balanced and harmonized. You don't have to be concerned with what isn't real. If it isn't real, it isn't worth thinking about.

Q:  "In your blog you said 'I know that anyone who participates in the Course is taken care of for the rest of his or her life.' What a beautiful and comforting statement. Could you elaborate more on this?"

The Course contains everything one could possibly need to know to lead a powerful and successful life, impacting others in a positive and inspiring way. The lessons contain 'The Secret of the Ages,' and the truths that all the great Masters and Saints have taught over the centuries. Once a person begins the Course, he or she is immediately given the most powerful Knowledge a person could need to make it in this world. What's more, he or she receives the blessings and Shakti (spiritual Energy) from several different lineages and traditions.

This year marks 51 years since I first came in contact with the Truth of Being, and began studying with what would be many great Teachers of Truth, as well as studying and practicing various forms of yoga and meditation, as well as the teachings of applying Creative Energy for practical results in one's own life. Everything of value that I have gained in all those years are packed into the Course and made useful for anyone who will apply it in their own life.

So, yes, I feel that once someone begins the Course, he or she is in good hands from that point on, and there is no longer any reason to be concerned about them.

Q: "In a recent Lesson you write
'See what is'
SEEMS like a simple enough statement.
Is detaching and identifying being the witness the same as 'seeing what is'?

Or are you perhaps referring to a different perspective/state/realm?"

To see what is, as you say, is simple enough. It is simply seeing what actually is, instead of what we 'think' is, or what 'appears' to be. We usually tend to see appearances only, or we see what we think. It can be challenging to see what actually IS. 

Q:  "Thank you for your quick reply.
'To see what IS'
Beyond appearances and thoughts.
Quite a contemplation! My mind says "but there are so many levels beyond appearance!"

There is only one level beyond appearance.
More than one exists in appearance only.

For information about the Course and a complimentary lesson, write:

drbutler.course@gmail.com










Thursday, July 14, 2016

Are You Open to Experience This?

I've been posting entries here since July of 2008.  I could squeeze a whole book, or a new course, from all that's been written here, both in the previous entries and in the comments following each entry.  Many might be surprised at what is available here if it were actually investigated, as it appears an unlikely source for transformative material.  Still, it is a truth that few things are as they appear to be, and appearances themselves are not reality.

Originally, eight years ago, this was begun as an introduction to our Course of Training, available through email, that is designed to enable each participant to create and live in a reality of his or her choice.  There are certain Principles of Truth that apply to all people, at all times, and in all places.

These Principles or Laws are immutable and infallible.  They work unfailingly whenever they are applied.  No one has to take anyone's word for this, or believe anything on faith.  The Truth is always easily proven in one's own life simply by applying the Principles to see what happens as a result.

In this current era of human's existence on Earth, the vast majority are ignorant of the Principles of Truth, and generally are not inclined to believe them or recognize them for what they are should they be encountered.  Instead, most have been conditioned by appearances and the words of others ever since drawing the first breath to induce life and animation in this physical form.  This is very similar to being hypnotized and taught to believe in a false reality.

The lessons of the Course of Training, Living in the Truth of the Present Moment, present the Principles necessary to 'wake up' from the hypnotic trance, or mental conditioning, and to manifest or generate a life corresponding to our innermost Nature, which is the most beneficent life available to us as an individual being functioning in the physical world. 

There is a lot available today on the Internet and in books and texts that in many cases date back centuries.  One might wonder, with all this available, why should one need to participate in a Course available through email?  Well, it is helpful if someone eliminates the superfluous and presents the essentials in an orderly way in ten pages every two weeks.  Especially if those essentials are immediately applicable in our own daily life, benefitting us as well as those with whom we come in contact.

If you have never visited here before, another aspect of this place is that we consider people's questions.  Questions and responses have always been an important part of communicating higher knowledge; Socrates is a well known historical figure who taught this way.  When one verbalizes a sincere question--even if one could answer the question if someone else were to ask it--it opens up an avenue of communication, as verbalizing the question enables one to actually hear the answer in a new way. The end result is a communication beyond words.

In a question that recently came in, someone asked, "Since you have been teaching for so many years, what changes about the questions people might have, and has your method of answering questions changed over time?  How do you understand spirituality more clearly now?"

This brought about some contemplation, and here is the response:  People have generally the same issues and questions; the difference is only a matter of degrees and combinations of traits and tendencies.  Most people are concerned with their own well-being and the well-being of loved ones.  This is only human.

In the beginning, I was tempted to help people solve their problems.  After a while I began to see that most people's problems existed primarily in the mind.  It would not even be a problem if we did not describe it as such, including describing what is going 'wrong,' as though that were an actual possibility.  Focusing on problems and what is 'wrong' (including dislikes, which are only egotistical contractions) is a weak form of using the mind. 

It is possible to use the mind in ways of seeing only the highest, seeing conditions and situations in positive, uplifting ways.  This is using the mind from a position of strength.  We cannot do this simply by deciding to, however.  We must actually be taught how to do this.  People tend to think they already 'know' this, but for the most part, we really don't.  There is always something new to learn, and a new and expanded level of understanding knowledge from the past.

So I suppose I gave an example of responding to a question, instead of only describing how I approach it.  Actually, I don't 'approach' it at all; it is simply what is happening.  As for how I more clearly understand spirituality, it's more 'normal' than it used to be.  It used to seem like something very special in a way that was different from the rest of life.  Now I see spirituality as simply a natural way of going through life.  If we see the play of Consciousness equally in all things, that's as spiritual as we can get, no matter what else is going on.

This question was in the comments following the previous entry, but was never responded to:  "My current lesson talks of having an inner knowing, without knowing how we know. I was new to spiritual work when I started the Course over four years ago, but 'knew' from the first lesson that this was something I would do for as long as possible.  However, I sometimes think that I'm not doing as well as I should be by now.  When, for example, my lesson says, 'I know you would not still be here if you were unable to meet in the space of the heart'. I don't know whether I am doing that. As I cannot tell, I worry that I'm not. I feel I am failing. Am I just over thinking something that cannot be understood by the mind?"

You are definitely 'doing as well as you should be.'  There is no one, certainly no divine Power, that expects anymore from us than what we are.  We are loved unconditionally by the Infinite regardless of what we do or don't do, or how much we have or have not developed spiritually.  There is no minimum score that we must reach in order to be okay.  We can simply relax and be as we are.

When it comes to our capacity to meet in the space of the heart, however, we have this capacity to the degree that we are open to further development, to a more expanded understanding, to a deeper and more refined inner experience.  Your question shows that you are open to development, and as long as that remains, there is nothing more you can do.   The process of participation in the Course allows all that needs to happen.  You do not have to wonder if everything is okay.

If you are not happy with your life, if you experience some degree of lack or limitation, if you are confused, if you suffer from negative emotions, then through applying the principles presented in the lessons in your own daily life, it is possible to create or attract the life you are happy with and that corresponds to your true inner Nature.

And, yes, you are over thinking something that cannot be understood by the mind.  The mind is good for many things.  In fact, the mind is creative, and what we think is what we get.  Still, in the Western world in particular, we tend to use the mind for what it was never intended, and we habitually overthink things that cannot be understood by the mind.  Some things can only be understood intuitively, as a flash of insight, perhaps without knowing how we know it.  True understanding lies in the heart, yet it takes a while to fully imbibe and assimilate what this means.

If you have questions or comments to be responded to, simply present them in the comments and I will respond to them as soon as possible.  The best way to get to the comments is to click on the title of the entry and scroll down.

For information about the Course of Training via email, and a complimentary lesson, please write us at:

drbutler.course@gmail.com