Friday, September 5, 2008

A Time to Remember, and a Time to Forgive and Forget

It is with great joy and gratitude that I am able to meet with you again in this way. The fact that we can now meet on the Internet is like a fantastic science fiction movie. A few years ago we could hardly have imagined any of the possibilities available today. It is amazing what the Spirit Guiding-Force of the universe comes up with to make it easier for us to communicate spontaneously in real-time in ways far beyond anything previously available in recorded history.

I am elated with the response to the blog and the new course. To be honest, I am surprised and a little taken aback that there is such an enthusiastic audience not only ready and willing, but eager to begin the next step and get to their next new lesson. I can only say that I am very thankful for you guys hanging in there all this time and remembering who we truly are, what we are truly about, and what we have come to this world to do.

Some things have happened over the past few years regarding the words and descriptions of the past from people I thought I knew that, frankly, have surprised me, to put it lightly. It is amazing how different people can see the same set of circumstances in completely different ways, and have entirely different memories of whatever actually happened.

If there is anyone reading this who feels any lingering hurt or anger associated with any of my past words or actions, I humbly ask for your forgiveness. If I said or did anything that caused any pain to anyone on any level, it was only that I did not know what I was doing at the time, or that I was unaware of the impact my words and actions might have on another. I was living my life the best I knew how at the time, and I can say in all honesty that I have learned a great deal over the last 10 years or so. It has been an intense time for me, but the end result is that I have matured in a good way.

Anyone who knows me is very aware that I am no saint, that I am quite human in all ways. I wrote in the earliest lessons back in the 70s that there isn’t a holy bone in my body, and nothing has changed since. Neither am I some self-righteous do-gooder who goes on the Internet to point out the mistakes and imperfections of others. I admit my mistakes and move on. There is no need to pout.

On the Internet you can read of people condemning or persecuting this path or that teacher, finding fault after fault, as though the negativity they are spewing into the atmosphere is a sensible alternative to what they are complaining about or blaming for their current condition or past experience.

It is easy to say a method or practice or path “doesn’t work” if we never actually apply it in our own life. Too many people do this. I practiced that path for thirty years and all I got was trouble. The question is, were there any actual efforts made to be in harmony or to think constructively? Were there actual efforts made to replace the limited patterns and tendencies of the mind and ego with something more pleasant and expanded? Were there sincere efforts to replace negative thoughts and emotions with positive ones? No path works if we don't do the work.

Having said the above, this is about as much as I will ever say regarding the past. Please read my comment in the "comments" section below the “Entering a New Era” entry of this blog to see more of what I have to say about the past, if interested.

We can feel our remorse for past words and actions, which is purifying, and we can extend our heartfelt apology and genuine invitation to begin anew in the present moment, and then it is entirely up to the other whether they wish to meet in present harmony or not. Can there be forgiveness and forgetting of all that came before now? Who knows? We can only speak for ourselves, and for me there is only the ongoing process of forgiving and forgetting. The past is over. As of now I already don’t even remember what I was talking about.

The past is over. Once we are in harmony with it, we are healed.

All that matters now is the Truth of the present moment, and the future we are creating and living into.

The future we live into is up to us, as we are creating it now as we go, through the creative power of our current thoughts and actions.

We can be whoever we want to be, and create a life of harmony, balance, and beauty forever. Nothing stops us except our own limited understanding and our own contracted awareness. We are not limited by the past unless we persist in bringing it into the present and recreating it all over again. Otherwise it is gone. Forget about it. Let it go. Live new here and now, and let’s create something beautiful and fulfilling to move into from here. Let's move on in lightness and freedom.

For the most part, who we think we are right now is only a concept we are heavily invested in—yet one that we are manifesting and living out as a seeming reality in space and time. Who we think we are is what is often referred to as the ego. The ego works in tandem with the conditioned mind, and actually identifies with our definitions and descriptions of ourselves, with the memories stored in the subconscious, and considers all this to be its own life.

The mind describes and defines the world of the present moment as it was conditioned, as it learned from others when very young. Then the ego identifies with these concepts and habitual ways of thinking and believes itself to be this person we consider ourselves to be. It is the character in the movie of our life that we identify with as being who we are.

Yet who we truly are goes back eons, way before this body was ever conceived even as a spark of an idea, much less as a miraculous physical formation. The splendor of our own inner Self exists right now in all its glory, if only we have the inner vision to perceive it. The magnificence of our own Being is hidden from us by the conditioned mind and ego. For this reason alone there is work to do.

Our higher nature already exists in all its fullness. Yet contracting thoughts, negative emotions, and egotistical melodramas cause us to focus on our lower, more limited nature, and we have our anger about it and our resentment and our depression and our irritation and all the rest of it.

Ultimately, simple as it seems, all we must do is to experience the Truth of the present moment, which is our greatness, our beauty, our purity, our perfection, and our divinity. Yet, due to the conditioned mind and ego, we are concerned with conditions and circumstances that bring our awareness far away from the peace and the fullness of our true nature.

This is known as delusion, which is basically seeing things other than how they are. Delusion is seeing things as they appear to be, or as we think they are, instead of how they truly are. A major aspect of spiritual work is attaining freedom from delusion.

For now, be careful how you describe things, and what descriptions of current situations or past events you accept from others. Any description of the past, especially where more than one person was involved, is simply one perspective of the whole, and is never in itself the gospel concerning what actually happened. The low-minded will wallow in their own contracted descriptions of things, while the high-minded will continue to rise, grow, and experience a refined awareness.

In this context, “low-minded” refers to negative thinking while “high-minded” refers to positive thinking.

In every moment, consciously or subconsciously, we choose one or the other, and we can go either way in each and every new moment. How we think determines our perception and experience of ourselves, our world, and other people that we know. We experience life as we describe it to ourselves. Use your God-given creative power of thought wisely, and as a result you will live in a great sense of completeness and contentment in your own life.

You are a Creator, and you create your own life as you go along. Never allow anyone to tell you otherwise. Know the Truth in your heart and live it throughout each day.


chris said...

I was at the nursing home today feeding lunch to my wife. Of course, many of the residents are very old and some are quite ornery, patently unhappy with their lives and circumstances. Although, at 43, my wife, incapacitated due to MS is quite young, she manages to keep a quite cheerful disposition. It occurred to me that, although we all have different ages, we share the same lifespan. All of us have a lifespan of just one moment, this one. As lesson one puts it as the first thing to understand is that “only the present moment exists”. To be “old” or to be “young”, miserable or cheerful, full of life and uplifting to others, or to be bitter and depressing is a matter of a choice I make now in this present moment. It impressed me then that the attitude I will have when I'm “old” will be determined by the attitude I choose now, at this moment. When I got home today and read the new bog post say, “The future we live into is up to us, as we are creating it now as we go, through the creative power of our current thoughts and actions.” , I'm grateful for the grace that gave me an experience of that truth today.

Melissa Abbott said...

I read your latest post last night and the part where it was said: "You are a Creator, and you create your own life as you go along. Never allow anyone to tell you otherwise. Know the Truth in your heart and live it throughout each day" really made an impression on me and the phrases resounded in my mind throughout the night. It seems I sometimes I have let other people and circumstances dictate to me and then when I am resentful or unhappy I am somehow surprised? The reprecussions from these things can really last for years. It reminds me of when I was a young woman and I didn't realize the power I wielded with say the opposite sex. I made all kinds of errors on that front. The power we have inside ourselves is immense and I was thinking about how to really come to terms with it and take action that is comiserate with that power and not be living in a world with "power blinders". Geez if I bury my fear, lack of trust, feeling of inadequacy etc etc, selfishness, and actually lived in the present moment that what a co creative opportunity. Just exactly how do I want to live...and if this is it...well forget the past...move forward into this moment.

I was also thinking about what you said about having the dream where a group is remembering (Yes, that would be us)the perfection in each moment together and thats why you wanted to write the course again..... yes yes great...You have to remember that we have been together and have shared many experiences in the past that are wonderful, bonding, like family. We have shared meals, expectations of the laughs, time in meditation, walks around the block, letters,work, events,celebrations,stories,sharings,children, and time spent together that was looked forward to with love. We have been community all working on each other, all part of that 70's meditation revolution. We are the seekers of that time. Yes, and life happens and if any of are saints, well great, so what. We are all living many years on the planet. Life continues. Because of the nature of past karmic impressions and the lessons we are all here to learn about living in the body our past impressions actually keep us in the body for more and more learning. If we think about this, we can realize that all our mistakes help us to really "get it". The eternal now in an ecstatic state, which is our true identity but we forget and forget and forget in a spiral of melodramatic conciousness of high, low, and in between. We have been through myriad relationships, births, deaths, battles, fights, moves, loves, hates, marriages, divorces, family fights, our own lust for money, power, shakti, recognition, love, stability, drugs, alcohol, various addictions, diets, relationships we desired, and just plain living. I think it is all part of a generational trend that is a seeker generation. Earlier in our time many of us were rebels, wanted expanded consiousness, railed againest the establishmnet, hated the vietnam war and other wars, experimented with free love, communal living, back to the land, vegitarian cooking, yoga, meditation, and many other actualities to search and find the inner self.
But I don't think anyone has mentioned yet, that we are kind of like a family or old good friends. It doesn't matter if we don't communicate for many years, we are still friends, we still are family. We still share the seeker gene in our dna and have met each other on the sadhana path a few times already. In families sometimes, if there hasn't been communication there is a time of "vetting". Everyone has to talk about everything that happened to them to kind of catch up. So maybe you are hearing all kinds of "catching up" which you don't want to print because sometimes this stuff is better to be private because it hurts everyone less and like you say it might not be all that positive. Meanwhile, because you are the actual writer you take a lot of the heat and more or less are asked to vibrate to everyones samscaras and issues. That is why this blog is a good idea because it takes all the focus off of you and puts it into a forum. Anything that you may be held accountable for I can attest that I have done as much or worse on my highway to nirvana but no one is holding me up to the light because I don't actually write the course. If it is to be a forum, then everyone has to have the guts to write in it and not just sit back and judge. If you've had a life where you have done little to further your own sadhana with a sprinkling of your own mistakes then 'lucky you" maybe you are one of those saint people.

Since we haven't been hearing from you in a while and like you said, life hasn't been all that kind to some of us, maybe, its a good and positive thing that there is a time to get things out in the open a bit. You have more or less said we can talk about it to a degree but not mention an names or places and maybe it might be best to just move forward. Yes, agreed, but I still think we have much to share with those who might not be ready to move forward as quickly as others because we are all at different levels. So, I think you last letter was very good because if you read between the lines you are telling us your own state about what you are hearing. I think its cool and its where it is supposed to be.
Maybe we should all publically apologize for all the wrongs we did to each other or any fights or misrepresentations that have occurred. I am sure I have done things to people I didn't realize were wrong and they are still mad at me. I bet if I came clean with all my transgressions there would be even more people upset. yeah, well, whether there were any transgressions or not, they are in the past and I want to move into a place of "now" and how great is it that maybe some of you have the same experience and if you do, we have so much to talk about. maybe we can help each other too. Very exciting prospect for a seeker. Thank-you for writing the blog and course because of the nature of our past it is what brings us to this now and what a fabulous thing it is and will be. So no one can tell me this isn't so because I have the truth in my heart and the love for all of you. Life is like the ocean. Some days are stormy, some days are calm. It is all the ocean, it is all god. Swim in the ocean of eternal bliss in the hear and now. I'll meet you down at the beach!
Kind Regards, Melissa
Kind Regards

Susan said...

I was so interested to read about your dream in the first lesson.
I had a very similar dream a couple months ago.
I had come to a very beautiful spiritual community, and the feeling there was sublime. The vibration was heightened, I could feel it in my body.
I experienced a sense of oneness, of unity with all. This community was living the higher truths that I had been so longing for.
I embraced the teacher and began to cry with the deep emotion of homecoming. I smiled at him thanking him. He said "your smile is one of sadness".
I said,"I've longed for this experience for ages, and here it all is now, I have only to let it really sink in. There is no separation."
Other teachings were given, and then it was time to go. I knew I never wanted to leave this heavenly place. I woke up very slowly, spanning the two worlds for a bit longer, feeling deep sadness at having to leave this community, and having to "brave it" and go back into the world of illusion.
The feeling of the dream stayed with me for some time.

But really, isn't that dream community the same one that we are all a part of in the dimension of spirit? We haven't left our home, not really.
When I really pay attention, everything is all here now, together, one consciousness,
Thank you so much for the reminders of what's really important in this life!
with love and gratitude,

Anonymous said...

Well said Melissa. Before long it will be time for a beach party.

Mely said...

A time to forgive, a time to forget... this is beautiful, I like it.
But I´m confused, is it the same to live in the truth of the present moment and to forgive myself of the past?

D. R. Butler said...

"is it the same to live in the truth of the present moment and to forgive myself of the past?"

Yes, Mely, it is the same.

When we live in the truth of the present moment, we are attuned to all the higher feelings that exist in potential in the depths of our being. These higher feelings include love, compassion, joy, cheerfulness, contentment, and forgiveness.

Ultimately, to experience our own purity and perfection, our own oneness with the cosmos, we must forgive everyone of everything, including ourselves.

We need to be free from blame in order to experience our own inner harmony. Blame presumes a 'wrongness' somewhere. Also, 'blame' includes both blaming and accepting blame. There is no reason for us to either blame another or to be the object of blame in someone else's deluded reality.

Live blame-free and be free.

If we are no longer to live in blame, then there is a natural and spontaneous inner shift where we find ourselves forgiving everyone for everything, including ourselves for everything that we feel guilt, shame, or blame about.

Forgive others of everything, and forgive yourself of everything as well, all the stupidity and the insensitity and all the rest of it. It is over now. It is time to move on.

We cannot fully forgive another unless we first forgive ourselves. Only then do we know what true forgiveness is. When full forgiveness has set in, which usually happens after an experience of inner surrender, we finally live free from blame.

Living in the Truth of the present moment is living in attunement to, and at-one-ment with, all the higher feelings potential in us, whether it be love, harmony, joy, peace, compassion, or forgiveness.

This openness, where we are one with all higher feelings simultaneously, is the state of an exalted sense of well-being. In this state we can live out our highest and grandest dreams, and truly live as our own hero.

Anonymous said...

glad forgetting is good as sometimes it's hard to tell one moment from the other, i come here leave coments and rarely publish,. so good to remember, so easy to forget...this spot was here before i was born, cool darkness in the light, ....

Lisa said...

I have totally enjoyed the new Lesson 1, the September Newsletter, the last entry on the blog, and the last question and answer in the comments.

I can't believe that all this has happened since I heard about the new course and excitedly requested information, and it all came so immediately and effortlessly it seemed.

Thank you for coming back. I never thought we would be doing this new all over again, from where we are now, but here we go, and boy, just hold on, because things are now moving very fast.

Your words put me in a state of bliss, as always. Please don't stop writing this time.

Mely said...

Thank you very very much for your words Don!
It´s just that I want to LIVE this course, I want to experience the truth of the present moment, I want to feel in my heart the Truth, not just to know it, but to feel it.
I´m so happy that my good friend Kushala invited me to take this course...
I was reading the lesson 1, and I was like: Oh my god! I don´t have to do anything... just to be. And this is it. I feel so relax!
Thank you for let me be here and be part or this beautiful community.
Love, Mely.

Frank said...

I love this quote from Lesson 1:

"If we are to entertain memories, why not remember the good things, the memories that leave us with a pleasant feeling? If we remember the best things, our present state expands. If we remember the worst things, our present state contracts. Life would be so much nicer if we would stick to the memories that feel good to us, and let go of the rest."

I have had this same experience regarding memories recently. I notice that when I focus on memories of things that made me feel bad at the time, I start to feel bad all over again in the present. But if I focus on memories of things that made me feel good at the time, I start to feel good all over again in the present.

It seems like a no-brainer to entertain only pleasant memories. Thank you for this very pleasant and practical reminder. It is only one of many treasures I have uncovered in the first lesson of the new course.

Sadie said...

A couple of months ago, I had a dream that your words were coming back into my life. In the dream I remember saying, "What do you mean that his words are coming back into my life, that we are going to start reading all the old lessons again?"

And the voice, or whoever I was talking to, replied, "No, we are going to get a brand new course with an entirely fresh outlook on things."

I thought it was a nice dream, but just the other day I got an email from a dear friend, telling me that you'd started writing again, and giving me the link to the blog. Now it feels like God is in his heaven and all is right with the world.

I just got the new Lesson 1, and all I can say is WOW, and that I can't wait to read it again.

Don't know how I can ever thank you, but hopefully you know in your heart what gratitude is there.

Nathan said...

Thank you so much for your beautiful blog. As I read your latest entry I felt my whole body relax as though a great load were lifted from my shoulders. And the word Yes! shouted up from within, as someone finally said something to those negative poops who dump so much junk onto the Internet regarding their egotistical grievances. I am writing for information about the new course so that I can get started immediately. I really need a shot of positive energy in my life, and your lessons are just the thing to do it. I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to be the bummer here, but how does one stay in the moment? I know and do breathing, mantra, meditating, but still, some of the old worries creep up on me. I come back and find that I'm holding my breath, I'm tense as steel cable and my thoughts are running wild.

Also I don't think the lessons are too long, and the newsletter could be longer but I really like this whole Course/Blog thing alot Thanks, L.L.

Ari said...

I like having something I can use on a daily basis and in each moment I want to connect to my authentic true self.

D. R. Butler said...

"I don't want to be the bummer here, but how does one stay in the moment? I know and do breathing, mantra, meditating, but still, some of the old worries creep up on me. I come back and find that I'm holding my breath, I'm tense as steel cable and my thoughts are running wild."

Well, L.L. (you're not Bean are you?) the question you ask, "how does one stay in the moment?", is exactly what the course is about. It is a Course of Training focused on living in the Truth of the present moment. So I can't simply answer your question, as such, except to say to just keep on enjoying and practicing the principles present in the lessons and the blog. It is the kind of thing we learn little by little.

Your question is a little like going to the first day of a month-long swimming class and asking right off the bat, "By the way, how do you swim, anyway?"

If we were to suddenly be thrust into full consciousness of the absolute Truth of the present moment, we would be disoriented and feel as though we had lost touch with "normal reality." So we take it one step at a time and keep building the foundation until we begin to approach the point that we can actually be present in the moment more and more often, and for longer and longer periods of time. It is a matter of practice, and of constant reminders, which is why we participate in the course.

Breathing, mantra, meditation, and all the various yogic practices are excellent means of purifying the mind and psychic system so that being present in the moment is possible. Still, we have to do the work of the present moment. It's not something we do "later," or something we've done "before now."

We either practice the principles of Truth now, in this present moment, or we speak and act (and react) mechanically, according to how we have been conditioned or programmed in the past.

The only way to break through all the entanglements that catch us and hold us down is through consistent repetition and persistent practice. This is why we read the blog, and this is why we take the course.

Anonymous said...

How delightful to discover you are "back"!

I would like to offer a comment, something I've been contemplating. It has to do with being in the present moment, and being "positive."

The more I find myself resting in the present, the more the present reveals itself as being neither positive nor negative. It seems to embrace both equally. If I am in the present, and someone brings up something "negative" from the past, that seems 100% equal with someone else's "positive" comment about the present. I don't feel any greater need to run from the one than to run toward the other. Why would I want to run the length of duality... to get where? Besides, the closer I look, the less I see a difference between the so-called past and the so-called present...

At any rate, I've noticed some spiritual folks sound overly sugary because of the desire to avoid voicing anything too "negative." Not saying there is anything wrong with this, if they like it. But isn't it a bit unauthentic? Again, not a problem per se. Unless one really wants the Truth. How will one be able to see Truth without going beyond these dualities?

...Offered in a spirit of discovery, with interest in your response, if you have one...

D. R. Butler said...

Hi Anonymous. I wonder if you take the course, and if you do, who you might be. Most people who take the course don't post anonymously, so I'm just expressing a little genuine human curiosity. Of course, impersonal works as well as personal for me, and as someone with your mind probably already understands, there isn't much difference anyway.

Your "comment" was very interesting to me. As you know, I took a couple of days to ponder my response, in case you wondered about the apparent hesitation. I actually contemplated your comment (and would advise everyone else to do the same) for you express an expanded perspective in your question, which you presented so clearly for the rest of us.

As a 'refresher,' this excerpt contains the essense of the question: "If I am in the present, and someone brings up something 'negative' from the past, that seems 100% equal with someone else's 'positive' comment about the present. I don't feel any greater need to run from the one than to run toward the other. Why would I want to run the length of duality... to get where? Besides, the closer I look, the less I see a difference between the so-called past and the so-called present..."

Run the length of duality? Where do you come up with something like that? What a great phrase. I felt that the entire quoted excerpt was a stroke of brilliance. What do you do in your day job, anyway?

Anyway, hopefully you get that I hear your question and I think it is a significant one. Because, in reality, in the Truth of the present moment, it is exactly as you say so splendidly: "I don't feel any greater need to run from the one than to run toward the other."

The answer to your question--and from my perspective, the answer is simply the other side of the question; they are both in essence the same process. In the genuine, heartfelt question, the answer becomes intuitively obvious.

As you say, negative and positive are simply two opposite ends of the same spectrum. The spectrum itself includes the whole gamut. All opposites are contained in the realm of polarities.

The highest peaks of the mountain existence simultaneously and concurrently with the lower, more densely vegetated levels of the same mountain. There would be no light as we know it if there were no darkness. There would be no lightheartedness if there were no seriousness or heaviness. There would be no expansion if there were no contraction.

So there is the polarity of negative and positive. If we truly live in the state you so eloquently describe, then everything is absolutely fine in our own life, and we read the blog and lessons for the simple exalted enjoyment of it--having nothing left to attain, yet delighting in the reminders.

Yet, if perchance a person lacking your understanding started feeling glum, or blue, or agitated, or irritated, or angry, or accusative, or defensive, or depressed, or empty, or useless, or anything else of a negative or contracted nature--then it is good to understand the principle that we have the choice at each and every moment whether we wish to focus our attention on the negative or positive.

So, you are right, they are both equal, and for a person who lives established in equality-consciousness, there is no reason to even think in terms of positive or negative. Like you say, why would you want to run the length of duality? I love that.

Before a person attains equality-consciousness, which includes most of us at this point, it is good to remember that we have the choice of whether to see, experience, or describe anything either negatively or positively. The choice is ours.

As someone already mentioned in a previous comment, it was Shakespeare who said, "Nothing is either bad or good, but thinking makes it so." It is obvious in his writings that the bard had a great deal of understanding regarding human nature and the natural laws governing the ways things work.

Thank you for your clear, concise, and stimulating question. It contributed to my enjoyment of the weekend.

Enjoy a great day.

jimi said...

After reading the "Why would I want to run the length of duality... to get where? " cosmic question from Anonymous, I was going to write & say how brilliant I thought that was (like goosebumps!). However SOMEBODY beat me to it. But I would like to add..........just kidding!

Well, OK, I will add that my friend Ramona & I have this thing where if one of us comes up w/something really profound, we call it a ________sutra, so like if she comes up with one, it's a Ramonasutra & if I do, it's a jimisutra. Unfortunately in the case above we can only call it an "anonymoussutra". In any case, it is definitely of scriptural quality.

Michael said...

Thought this might be interesting:

melodrama. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved September 15, 2008, from website:

"a dramatic form that does not observe the laws of cause and effect and that exaggerates emotion and emphasizes plot or action at the expense of characterization."

I find that I need to recover a little of my attention from the stream of melodramas my mind construes. I begin by breathing, consciously, deeply, respectfully. I affirm, "yes, the responsibilities of life ARE important, ARE worthy of attention, yes! BUT SO IS the Awareness of the One who is OBSERVING the contractions and expansions of this human existence with such ease, contentment, trust and delight."

In my effort to keep my attention evenly balanced, gracefully poised between the play of the mind and its blissful Observer, I find that to affirm both with gratitude and wonder helps a great deal.

With love,


Anonymous said...

I'm struck by how this Blog with the give and take of the comment section is evolving into an amazing resource. The give and take is becoming much like the discourse and debates we hear about that the Sages of old had. The interplay of our varied experiences gives an added dimension to the Course that was unavailable before except at workshops. Through the miracle of cyberspace we can all now participate in an ongoing "workshop".

Karin said...

I was very delighted with Anonymous' question on "negative" and "positive" in the present moment, also. I had been trying to frame the same comment in my mind as I was reading along, but I am sure I couldn't have done it as eloquently or clearly. So thank you, Anonymous, for that.
I find that when I am feeling contracted, notice it, and bring my attention to my actual experience in this present moment, it just sort of evaporates and becomes irrelevant, revealing a soft state of bliss - the one you describe so nicely in Lesson 1, the one that isn't about 'euphoria'. Same thing happens when I am feeling "positive" and I notice it and bring myself into this present moment. It all dissolves into the bliss and loses its charge.
I have also discovered that if I pay attention to the sounds I can hear right now, my noisy, busy mind has to be quiet for a moment so I can hear - and lo and behold! My mind is quiet! It is a fun practice.
And like everyone - thank you for writing again and making this community available.

D. R. Butler said...

Looking over the comments, I see that I did not fully answer the last part of the question from Anonymous, which said: "I've noticed some spiritual folks sound overly sugary because of the desire to avoid voicing anything too 'negative.' Not saying there is anything wrong with this, if they like it. But isn't it a bit unauthentic? Again, not a problem per se. Unless one really wants the Truth. How will one be able to see Truth without going beyond these dualities?"

Well, I did answer the part about going beyond dualities. We go beyond dualities so that we can encompass the whole, the totality, and not be limited to a partial reality. As long as we have an attachment to one polarity and an aversion to the other, that is when we start trouble for ourselves and others.

I know what you mean about folks sounding too "sugary." I don't like that syrpy stuff either. It probably comes down to who you are describing as "spiritual folks," because some so-called spiritual folks are lost in sugary melodramas, and so we have to ask ourselves, what makes them "spiritual folks" after all?

As far as who is truly a "spiritual person," I'd vote for one who sees the play of Consciousness in everything, and the same divine Awareness in each and every individual. Otherwise, what makes a person "spiritual" anyway? If they don't see the divine play in everything equally, then what is so spiritual about them?

The reason that there is an emphasis on positive statements rather than the negative mantras of many, is that our words affect other people who hear them. When we focus on the negative, it triggers the habitual negative patterns of others.

When we choose to focus on the positive instead, it sends positive suggestions out into the world, positive perspectives of things, more pleasant ways of seeing and understanding situations and other people. This opens and expands us through new possibilities, rather than the contracting cringe we get from hearing or reading about someone's limited point of view or egotistical complaints.

Anyway, just a couple of thoughts. Today is a special day, as Lesson 2 is being sent out for the first time. We have a lot to look forward to.

Karin said...

I was thinking more about the subject of the past and memories and forgiving & forgetting. It seems to me that holding grudges or arguing about what really happened or feeling bad (or good) about the past, assumes the existence of an objective reality, a ‘reality’ outside of ourselves that we compare our experiences to in order to see whose memory is more ‘accurate’. We tend to ask what really happened, as if our memories are a distortion of an objective reality, but I think what really happened is there were some subjective experiences perceived through the individual’s veil of samskaras. The distortion is not of an objective reality, but of our own highest Truth. When I was reading your letters before, Ram, and really meditating on what you were actually saying, suspending my preconditioned interpretations of what I thought you were saying, I started to really get it that there is no objective reality. What the scientists think they are measuring is still the reality each of us is creating in this moment by believing it; they find to measure what they are looking for (seek and ye shall find), thereby creating it as they go. Back to the past and memories: You spoke about how two people can be in the exact same situation and because of their differing attitudes, have vastly different experiences. You have spoken about how the world is a reflection of our own inner state, our own deepest beliefs about it. So what I remember is a reflection of my own current samskaras, not any objective happening. I have noticed that as I process through some of my painful childhood memories, come to terms with them and forgive, my memories begin to shift and not be the same. My inner memory picture of the past is different than it used to be. So I would hesitate to be quick in trying to forget the past, but rather use it as an accurate reflection of where I am, right now, with my samskaras. The memory of something that I reacted strongly to will hold on to me, keep rising up when I am not consciously trying to keep it down, and if I am still reacting strongly to that memory, then I need to look into myself and the source of that reaction, the belief that is offended, and let that go. Then the forgetting kind of happens on its own. The charge kind of just dissipates, not requiring any special effort on my part to ‘forget’. I would agree that talking it over endlessly and rehashing it can simply be a way to solidify it and perpetuate it. I think this is what you were saying, only I wanted to add about the objective reality, and maybe call attention to how we tend to focus on the reflection (our memory and feelings about it) rather than what is being reflected (our conditioned beliefs that make the memory an issue in the first place, and cause our feelings about it).
Just some thoughts I had on the subject that I wanted to share. Now on to Lesson 2!

D. R. Butler said...

"I'm struck by how this Blog with the give and take of the comment section is evolving into an amazing resource. The give and take is becoming much like the discourse and debates we hear about that the Sages of old had. The interplay of our varied experiences gives an added dimension to the Course that was unavailable before except at workshops. Through the miracle of cyberspace we can all now participate in an ongoing 'workshop'."

This particular "Anonymous" expresses exactly what I hope anyone who ever attended one of our "workshops" over the years will experience in this blog.

It is indeed intended to be an "ongoing workshop" here in cyberspace. The blog entries are like the morning talks, and the "comments" contain the sharing session as well as the Q&A session. The good thing about our cyber workshop is that we can tune in anytime we wish in the comfort of our own home (or wherever we choose to participate.)

I am just very happy with the way things are going. My thanks to each of you for reading and participating.

Anonymous said...

The “original” Anonymous here.

Thank you, Ram, for your answer. I delighted in reading it.
I took your course before, and graduated. I’m not enrolled now.
You were curious about not using my name. In fact, I have to admit it’s a reflection of my proclivity for avoiding the negative, based on past cyber experience. (Yes, I know, how ironic. Undoubtedly the universe is laughing…)

Anyway, before I discovered that you posted a part 2, I wrote the following.

You addressed part of my question, to the extent that it was a question. Basically you’re focused on what is useful “before” a person attains equality-consciousness. We can choose how our thoughts will create our personal reality. That’s practical. We can also choose how we affect others. That’s compassionate. If we’re going to live in a personal reality, why not a pleasant one, right? As you say, it is “good” to remember this.

Or is it? Suppose I’m more focused on attaining equality-consciousness than on creating a more pleasant dream (assuming equality-consciousness is something to be “attained”). Then remembering I have a choice loses much of its salience. Its value is overshadowed by the fact that it might just keep me locked into my perception of duality.

I tend to get in trouble with analogies. They never seem to hold up all the way. But here’s one anyway. You’re speaking to someone who lives in a desert where oxygen is considered “good” and hydrogen is “bad.” And he’s thirsty. Because you believe in it, you teach him to choose good and reject bad. But in the process, you effectively keep him from being able to make the water he really needs.

To me, it’s about the focus of guidance. Is it encouragement to do practices that will keep the mind in a habitually positive state, or is it on looking for what is beyond that? We may all agree choosing the positive has practical benefits. At the same time, I saw that focus stunt my own growth in awareness for years. Cementing the belief that is good to be positive is, it seems, one way to prolong sadhana.

D. R. Butler said...

Hey, there's another message from "The 'original' Anonymous. Pretty soon, we'll have to have an Anonymous #1, Anonymous #2, Anonymous #3, and so on. Line up and choose your number, lol.

Anyway, I do appreciate this particular Anonymous, as I gushed in my last response. And the original Anonymous came up with some other good points, as before.

First of all, in response to your own recent post, I reject your analogy of the man in the desert dying of thirst, for I cannot relate to being one to tell him that one element of water is "good" while another is "bad." You were right, you do "get in trouble" with analogies.

One of the primary dharmic principles referred to in the lessons is to do whatever is practically necessary to take care of ourselves on all levels--physically, emotionally, mentally, and on a psychic level as well. I could accept your analogy when speaking of, well, the Catholic Church, for example, or even Islamic extremists, but I cannot see how it could apply to the Course of Training on Living in the Truth of the Present Moment. In our course, the man would simply be taken some water, or advised to get some asap.

Speaking of the course, herein might lie the source of your confusion -- well, I can see that you're not confused, per se, perhaps, so let's say: your question.

You revealed that you are a graduate of the original course. This being the case, you are coming from a place of one who experienced all levels of the teachings available at the time. So in a sense, you are asking me why are we going through the basic and elementary principles of focusing on being "positive" instead of "negative" when in truth the secret to liberation is to go beyond polarities altogether.

Here I will repeat that it is my intention for the blog to be a place of positive energy that anyone can tune into at any time, whether they take the course or not. It is offered freely to all who will simply make the effort to read it.

Even though we use the blog as a way to stay currently in touch, and for sharings and Q&As, we do not in the blog go into the same depth exploring the highest principles that are covered in the lessons of the course. Otherwise there would be no reason to take the course.

You might go to the very bottom of the blog, at the end of the original entry, and read the list of topics covered in the lessons. Note particularly "The Inner State," "Love is Where the Heart is," "God in Human Form,""Living in Your Own Secret Heaven," and "Entering the Stillness."

If you were with us in our exploration of these particular sections of the course, you would have the answers to all your questions.

Of course, in order to get there, you have to go through the early lessons regarding being positive instead of habitually and mechanically negative.

My experience as teacher and observer over the the 50 years is that most people, regardless of how "advanced" they are "spiritually" -- "spiritual folks" as you say -- need to be reminded, even trained, to replace all their habitual negativities with something more expansive. Otherwise they are bound to these negativities.

You are right, it is best to live beyond polarities altogether, but the truth is that this is not the way most people live. And if we are negative habitually and mechanically, without even knowing what we are doing, then we need to take a look at what we are doing and admit what does and what does not work.

My experience is that until a person can be positive and expanded at least as easily and as often as being negative and contracted, knowing about the "higher spiritual principles" does no practical good anyway. It is all merely philosophy and theory until it can be applied in daily life. Obviously you already know this, or we would not be engaged in this dialogue.

Therefore, when given a choice, I'd go with what is pleasant and expansive for everyone, instead of creating or maintaining habitual negativities and limitations that have an adverse effect on ourselves or those around us and in relationship to us.

Thank you again for your very good question and for participating in a most enjoyable dialogue.

rico said...

Formerly anonymous but not "original" anonymous. I too graduated from the original course. Actually it was the third incarnation of the original course. I started studying D.R.'s writings (sorry Don doesn't work for me) in 1977. My mind is quite familiar with his way of relating the most important concepts that exist.
I have found the latest incarnation of his writings to be most beneficial. If I choose to remember, these "basic" principles were first introduced to me over 30 years ago and have been repeated many times in the ensuing years. If the new lessons are read with this mindset they are not very entertaining.
But! if I stay in the moment these old familiar words can ease me into a very expansive space. After all isn't the purpose of the exercise to focus on the present moment?
If you have been reading this blog but have yet to commit to the lessons; perhaps because you think you've heard it all before; take it from another "old timer", take the plunge it's well worth the effort. Besides, uplifting contemporary writing is very rare these days!

jimi said...

Dear Original A,
So I think what you are saying is that choosing the positive over the negative is still operating in the realm of duality...the "relatively real world" as our man DR has called it. And that further, the terms "positive" and negative are just concepts...that is to say ultimately limitations. Well, if that's what you actually mean, then I have to agree. That makes us both right, right? Just kidding.

Anyway, now I have to do a "however". Speaking only for myself (also a former student of the original Course for 17 years or whatever), I have been so mired in negative thinking these past number of years (probably because there was no Course, eh?), that for now I'm in need of some positive concepts just to feel good enough to even want to continue. So the analogy would be: I want to climb the stairway to heaven, but could someone please turn on the light so I can find the bottom of the stairwell? This current course might just be that light. Gotta run now...need some more batteries.

Charolotte said...

I have a question with which you might help.

I have always had great difficulty meditating, but no difficulty reaching that place of pure bliss inside. I just have to close my eyes and relax into it, let it spread throughout my being. It is like breathing in G-D (the Universe, the Only One, etc.).

Should I continue to try to empty my mind through meditation or just continue to enjoy the freedom of Bliss? I much prefer this to trying to be without thought. The more that i drift in this lovely state, the longer i am able to enjoy it.

With much love,

D. R. Butler said...

Hi Charolotte. Nowhere in the course are you advised to "empty the mind" or "be without thought." These must be concepts you have picked up elsewhere. It is not my suggested approach in any way.

Specifically, the aim of meditation is to rest in the space between any two thoughts. This space between thoughts is the bliss you refer to.

We tend to complicate our process so much with our intellectual presumptions that come up as a result of coming in contact with various people's interpretations of what meditation is or should be.

So please, forget about stopping the mind, which is unstoppable, and return to enjoying "the freedom of bliss" as you put it so beautifully. The enjoyment of meditation is about the simplest thing we can come up with. It requires no effort whatsoever, but only a simple awareness and receptivity to the Truth of the present moment.

Enjoy a blissful day all day long.

Michael said...

I am relishing the ongoing "Anonymous Dialogues." Many of the Anonymities, from the original to the most recent incarnations, appear to be persons who have at least participated in, if not completed, one or more of the preceding courses.

I completed the previous course in the mid nineties, and am enthusiastically consuming this one with the help of two dear friends, with whom I chat on an almost daily basis for about twenty minutes or so. After reading the whole lesson, we focus on a page a day, choosing a phrase that attracts us, and holding it in consciousness to see what is revealed from within concerning it.

Before this course became available, the three of us had been meeting regularly for the past two years, using the three-way cslling feature on our mobile phones, for the purpose of helping one another to deepen our spiritual practice in whatever ways we could. Each of us has been actively pursuing a path of spiritual development since the late seventies or early eighties.

It is remarkable, to me at least, that one who seems so avid about completing the process of sadhana in this lifetime (unless he or she has already completed it, in which case, congratulations, and please continue to pave the way for all of us who are still trudging / dancing along) would not take advantage of an aid as beneficial as the current course of training.

I have not been tepid in my sadhana, yet I have to admit that I am still reactive, still inclined to look at things in limited ways while wrongly assuming I am seeing the whole picture. Then before I know it I find myself acting according to that fragmented, filtered perception, and unleashing a torrent of unpleasant consequences that I had not at all intended. I had secretly hoped that by the time I turned fifty (two weeks ago, by the way) that all of this tapasya -- austerity, spiritual "work" or purification -- would be behind me.

Instead I find myself vigorously participating in a highly effective form of sadhana I never would have dreamed of twenty-five years ago -- a laptop, printer, and a cell phone.

And the best news is this: I'm finally noticing the ego defaulting to a submissive posture instead of fighting to stay on top of, or worse, try to manage, the mysterious and wonderful waves of life.

Whoever the original Anonyomous is, and I feel I already know you well, I wish you blessings and enthusiasm, wherever you are at.

With love,


Anonymous said...

Dear Ram and Kay,
Thank you very much for this wonderful course, which gradually helps us to rebuild. I live in Spain, Barcelona and attempted tradurcir lessons for myself, still trying to read every day, before I start my day's work.
There are two issues that I would understand to resolve it.

One is how to regain the confidence when you consider that people do not act as it should? For example, that people perish with responsibility, or manipulate situations for selfish act.

The other issue is how can we solve the fear of success, "Although I imagine they are samskaras, can do something to dissolve it?

Thank you for these valuable lessons.

With love and gratitude,


D. R. Butler said...

Hi Francis. Thank you for your question. I wonder if I met you during my visit to Barcelona a few years ago? That was such a sweet group of people that hosted me, and I enjoyed the visit totally.

As far as other people go, I doubt that they will ever act in an ideal way, otherwise there would be no reason for us to go through all this karma with them. Just be firmly established in your own heart, and have infinite forgiveness and compassion for those "who know not what they do." Only a rare individual here and there has no trace of delusion, so we truly have to deal with the rest of humanity in as compassionate and understanding a way as possible.

Af for "fear of success," some people do not feel that they truly deserve to be successful. We all deserve what we will allow unto ourselves. Our inner Consciousness is the God that bestows goodness and success in our life. Let us freely be generous with ourselves.

When we are freely generous with ourselves, we will finally be able to be freely generous with everyone else in our life as well.

My love and good wishes to all those in Spain and Mexico, and other Spanish speaking people everywhere who are brave enough to wade through my English.

Love to everyone everywhere.