Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Evolution of Wisdom

I invite you to join me in a journey of investigation and inquiry into the nature of the Truth of Being. This Truth—our own inner Being, the inner Self—is who we truly are. The Truth includes the highest and best of us, the great qualities of love, compassion, bliss, and wisdom. It is also pure Consciousness, pure Awareness, the sense of I am, I exist, and I am here—right now. It is our innermost “I”—that which we refer to ourselves as being. It is that in us that knows we are here, that we are present.

The essence of our own Presence is love. Words are truly inadequate to speak of love, for it is all-feeling and no-mind. Even so, we can use words in ways that will allow us to experience, to ever-increasing degrees, the Truth of our own Self. We can utilize words to allude to the Self, and in doing so we experience the Self more and more.

Because words can only point the way to the experience, consistent repetition is necessary. In reading various ways of directing the attention to the same Truth, the mind might sometimes protest, I’m reading the same ideas over and over—as though it might be better if we went on to something different or more “advanced.” It is the ego thinking it “already knows” something, and that it has a better idea of what to do next.

The evolution of wisdom is not a matter of educating the mind. The mind has already been educated far too well. Many things we think we know actually prevent us from seeing and experiencing the Truth as it is. There is this term from Kashmir Shaivism: limited knowledge. We have “knowledge” that limits our potential to see and experience what is actually real, right now. For example, if we know that our back will hurt if we lift something, then chances are we will be unable to lift anything without pain. If we know with all certainty that all will be well, then the chances are better than ever that it will be.

Certain words and phrases resonate with the heart and awaken dormant wisdom. Inner growth is not nearly as much an intellectual process as many of us make it out to be. Wisdom arises from within, in the form of intuitive insights and promptings at the exact time they are needed.

With ordinary knowledge we can go around “knowing” things, and can impressively present facts to others, but wisdom isn’t like that. It arises at the most unexpected times, as a silent prompting from within (more a feeling than words) to pursue a certain course of action, or as an insight or realization. Or perhaps a certain light is cast on some personal situation or relationship, and we suddenly understand what’s going on from a more expanded perspective.

The evolution of wisdom, in part, is a deeper and clearer understanding of what we already know. Yet it is also the process of opening up to new ways of seeing and understanding the world, life, ourselves, and others—ways that we have been previously oblivious to.

Wisdom includes the capacity for the truth about anything to arise at the very moment we need to be aware of it. A wise person doesn’t go around filled with facts and knowledge of details; it’s not that if we walk up to him, he will know what’s in our pockets or our purse. Our fascination with details often gets in the way of true understanding. We have no idea how often we get lost in extraneous details and, in doing so, lose the true essence of the moment. Sometimes hard and cold facts can cause us to lose touch with the preciousness of something dear to us. Most of us experience this to some degree, whether we are consciously aware of it or not.

Wisdom is being open to what is new right now, as well as being flexible in how we see things. Ordinary knowledge is of the past; it is old. True wisdom is an awareness of the Truth of the present moment, which is always new. A true state of inquiry—what nowand what now—accelerates growth on the spiritual path. The Truth is ever new, and the most genuine experience of life is the open exploration into each new now.

Another significant aspect of wisdom is a compassionate attitude toward life and all beings. Compassion includes an awareness of the poignancy of life’s situations. When we know people very well—relatives, friends, parents, children—it’s very easy to see the poignancy of their lives. When we relate to others with an awareness of their pains, fears, and needs, and stop obsessing on our own, we relate to them with compassion.

Compassion is an essential aspect of wisdom. Without genuine compassion, wisdom does not exist.

If our partner or good friend says or does something we don’t like, or that we have a tendency to react to, we can remember to immediately be aware of the poignancy of his or her life. Isn’t there something in her life, something that has nothing to do with us, that led up to her saying or doing that? There is no reason to have a negative reaction, to disapprove, to be disappointed, or to make wrong.

If we relate compassionately to those we love, we will enjoy richly rewarding relationships. If we relate defensively, or competitively, or from I’ll show her who’s right, we will poison the relationship. In relationships, first comes compassion and respect. Without compassion and a genuine mutual respect, the relationship will manifest as one conflict after another.

I invite you to accept no dogma, to believe nothing simply because you read it here, and to accept nothing on blind faith. In the Truth of the present moment, there can be no dogma or beliefs. In this realm of pure vision, mere opinion is folly. Most of our opinions are but the conditioning of the mind. The day might come when we find it peculiar that people actually believe in opinions—their own or others’—confusing their opinions with knowledge.

I knew someone who was infatuated with his own opinions, and when in public he would tend to speak to whoever he was with more loudly than necessary, so that the people around him would be impressed with his cleverness. In truth, he mostly embarrassed the one he was with and impressed no one. This is a good example of thinking one thing is happening while the truth is quite another matter.

Opinions are among our chief obstacles in the evolution of wisdom. Wisdom has nothing to do with having opinions about something, or thinking anything about anything. Wisdom is an awareness of what is. The ego and mind can describe what is, and however it is described is what will appear as real to the individual.

To perceive and experience the Truth of what exists right now, we need to see things as they are, and not as we think things are or as they appear to be—both of which result from how the world has been described to us all our lives. Our own thoughts, as well as appearances, can be deceiving.

Right now is the only Truth there is. If our most basic understanding is of the reality of the existing moment—and we are not merely following the incessant activity of the mind—then we have a foundation of Truth that will underlie all other understanding. The awareness of the present moment is the basis as well as the pinnacle of wisdom.

The Truth is the most obvious thing there is—it is right in front of us everywhere we go. It also exists within us all the time. When the mind is clear, the Truth is intuitively obvious—we don’t even need to think about it. The Truth cannot be captured in thoughts or words. On the contrary, unnecessary thinking colors our vision. Our own thoughts and beliefs superimpose themselves upon our perception and experience, and the Truth of the existing moment is obscured.

The Truth does not exist in the past or the future. The Truth does not exist in other people, although we can see the “windows of the soul” in their eyes. The Truth does not exist in words or in our descriptions of present or past situations, or in the ways we hold others accountable for our own feelings. The Truth does not exist in the objective world or in objective humanity. The Truth is not outside our own Awareness.

The Truth does not exist in memories, or in blame, or in self-righteousness, or in describing others or the world around us negatively, or in any particular feeling or thought. The Truth does not exist in all the things we think happened badly in the past—after all, if we could tell God what He (She, It) should have done instead, His (Her, Its) whole Creation would have certainly been better off than the way it actually happened—and the Truth certainly does not exist in our worries and concerns of the future. Neither does it exist in our constant oneupmanship, or in all our making wrong and being right, or in all our grievances that we blame outside ourself.

The Truth exists in the heart right now, in that state of unconditional love and compassion for others as well as for ourselves.

Can we truly forgive? The answer to this lies deep in the soul. Can we forgive all others for their trespasses, can we forgive everything that’s ever happened? Can we forgive ourselves? We have been perfectly imperfect for years, we have made mistakes, we feel remorse for our previous stupidity and lack of sensitivity, yet can we forgive ourselves and know that we are yet whole and pure as we are right now? Full forgiveness for everyone and everything must exist before we enjoy the sweetness of the experience of universal Being.

As long as something remains unforgiven, then it lies out there, something separate and “other than” the harmonious whole of the cosmos. By allowing anything to remain unforgiven, and therefore separate from ourselves and our own inner harmony, we perpetuate our own duality and delusion. Only then is the true experience of Oneness possible. Practice forgiveness and heal yourself.

Gaze deeply within yourself and experience your own Truth. It is the Truth of Being. The Truth is unconditional love and compassion, and it is the play of the divine lightheartedness. Be cheerful and see in everything and everyone that eternal essence of Being that permeates the cosmos.

As we evolve in wisdom, we live more and more in our own eternal and indivisible Truth. It is our own inner Self, our own Awareness of Being. Be still and know your own inner Truth. Be established here, and live now in the awareness of the Truth.

For information about D. R. Butler’s new Course of Training write: drbutler.course@gmail.com

Friday, August 1, 2008

Entering a New Era

This August is a very special time for us. For many, it is a time of reawakening; for others, it is a time of coming back together. It does not take a genius to see that the outer world is, as usual, on the brink of some disaster or another. It is definitely a time to know how to turn within. With this in mind, the first lesson of the new course will be sent by email on August 15th. Interestingly, it was 33 years ago, in August 1975, that the original course lessons were mailed to the first students. Now here we go again with a brand new course for today's modern age, where we can send lessons, newsletters, notices, and whatever else is necessary or helpful spontaneously via the Internet.

There has been a great response in the weeks since we first began to tell people of this blog and the new course, and through word-of-mouth we anticipate reaching many more old friends as well as newcomers to these writings. If you know of people who might be interested, please pass on the link to this blog.

For now, let's try an exercise:

Look around you, be aware of the world as it exists for you in this moment, and observe within yourself. See what actually exists right here, right now. Set aside the emotional agitations, the melancholy musings of the mind, and the melodramatic ups and downs of personal life. Look within right now to see if you can glimpse the unbroken joy and contentment that naturally and independently dwell within you. They are essential aspects of your own Self, your own Being.

Observe how your thoughts continually return to the past or the future, and to the ordinary melodramas of life. We go through life focused on things that were once real, or that might eventually be real, and in doing so we miss out on the beauty of what is actually real right now. Let’s open up to discovering the Truth of our own life, which is something much greater than anything we might previously have imagined. We could not have previously known the potential glory of the present moment. Everything has led up to this.

Are you willing to experience the adventure of self-discovery? Along with reading each lesson as it arrives, and referring to it during the two weeks before the next lesson, there are a couple of important requirements: that you are willing to be open to what is new, to what is presently unknown and unrealized, and that you put the knowledge into practice in the situations and circumstances of your daily life. When the principles are applied to real life, the results are immediately obvious and true transformation takes place.

The principles of Truth are not about something to believe in. There is no dogma. Living by them is a way of life—a certain attitude and approach to life, and an openness to what is new, for each present moment is absolutely new; it has never existed before now. Only now can you be new. Are you willing to do what is necessary for your own inner transformation?

No matter how well educated a person might be, there are certain universal truths that are beyond the scope of conventional knowledge. These principles take us into the very heart of what a few in all ages have known, and which all true Masters of all traditions have taught. I ask you to take no one’s word for anything, but rather to prove the truth for yourself through your own practical application of the principles which you recognize to be true.

The Truth is revealed within yourself. You might read words here alluding to the Truth, but your experience of it is your own. Through being open to these new ideas you will allow yourself the opportunity to experience the reality of them within yourself. The truth of any situation or relationship will become intuitively obvious.

If you honestly apply yourself to the process at hand, you will be amazed at the results, and you will enter the realm of the extraordinary. If by some chance this is the only thing you ever read of all that I have written, let me leave you with this to ponder in your days ahead:

That Self that exists within you is the same Self that exists within me. On the deepest level, we actually refer to the same “I.” The “I” we refer to is our own Awareness, our Awareness of Being, and it is the same Consciousness we all share in common. It is that which lets us know that we exist, that we are present here and now. It is the awareness, “I Am.” It is the awareness that exists prior to thought, before words arise, and before the initial stirring of the first ripple of emotion. It is our own inner joy, and it is also the love we experience in our heart.

In a sense, we share the same heart. Even while we are in different bodies, we share the same inner love. Eventually, we depart from these physical bodies on the wings of the last exhalation, making the grand transition from this limited world of space and time to a more subtle existence, that wondrous world of pure Light and Being. The love we experience in our heart, the love we share, never goes anywhere. It exists forever. In this way we are always all together. The love in the heart will remain the same a hundred years from now, a thousand, and a million. It is eternal.

There is no such thing as death. Physical death is simply the transition from one realm of awareness to another. No one ever goes anywhere. The inner Presence remains eternally. Remember, the identification with this body is only a temporary illusion. Where will we be in a hundred years? A hundred years is not very long in the overall scheme of things, and our inner Awareness will remain the same even then.

Every day, every moment, hundreds of thousands of beings depart from this world, while other beings continuously enter into new bodies. It would be an amazing experience had we the vision to see the grand phenomenon of all the souls going back and forth.

Focus within now, on the eternal Self, and allow your awareness to go beyond the temporary existence of this physical body. In the eternal now, there is no beginning or end. It simply is. Enjoy every moment of this physical life, be profoundly alive with each new breath you take, and enjoy the love we share eternally in perfect oneness. It is only a temporary illusion that we are different or separate from each other. That is the great game of life. Recognize that life is truly a game, and enjoy it for all that it is.

Nothing is in itself more or less spiritual or worldly than anything else. Do not make these differentiations, for they exist in the mind only. Spirituality is simply bringing presence, aliveness, to the moment. It is being aware and alert here and now. True spirituality is loving what you do from one moment to the next. If you love what you do, then you feel profoundly alive, and that aliveness is spontaneously communicated to others through your words and actions.

All we can ever truly share with another is our own state. The greater our inner state, the more we have to share. If we share the state of love, then we live in love, and we see that all this time the only reality was the simplicity of pure love. Knowing this, we go through our life in perfect contentment and joy.

In spiritual communion, we can all enjoy this month of August together. Join me at sunset each evening, wherever you are, and let's give thanks to our 'Heavenly Father' for providing us with all the great things present in our life. There is great power when, as a community, all together, we affirm our heartfelt gratitude for the goodness we experience.

That for which we experience gratitude will naturally be attracted to us. When we feel gratitude for something, we get more of that, just as when we complain about something, we get more of that. In feeling gratitude for all the goodness in our life, we attract goodness to ourselves and those around us. At sunset, wherever you are, join us as we give thanks to God.

For more information about D. R. Butler's new Course of Training write: drbutler.course@gmail.com