Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Spiritual Perspective on Speaking Your Mind

How freely can we speak our minds?

Can we say whatever we want around our loved ones without worrying about their reactions, or do we have to walk on eggshells so that we don't disturb anyone's ego?

As is obvious to anyone, if our relationship is based around preserving each other's ego, then it is a very limited connection and probably will not be very fulfilling. We can't enjoy an open and harmonious relationship if we worry about the other's reaction every time we voice what we are truly feeling or observing. When this happens, couples tend to stop communicating altogether, and this marks the end of the enjoyment of the relationship, for open communication is essential.

All couples should establish the foundation of communication that either of them can freely say anything without the other reacting. Otherwise, if you can't speak your mind without the other coming down on you because of it, the relationship cannot grow.

Only the ego reacts. The inner Self simply observes the dialogue without taking anything personally, or feeling that anything has to be righted, corrected, or confronted.

I will be focusing more and more on the lessons of the Course of Training available through email, and working with those who are actively participating in the course. Of course, we will continue with new blog entries twice monthly as a means for staying current with each other, and as a great avenue for questions and answers. We have enjoyed an interesting discussion over the past couple of weeks, and I'm bringing up 3 exchanges in particular so that everyone can see and perhaps focus a little more deeply on what is being discussed, which I find very valuable and relevant.

I feel that the entries already posted in the blog are an excellent introduction to the Course of Training, and anyone who reads over the blog should have a fair idea of what is available through the course. I especially recommend the entry of November 1 for learning more about the course, as well as more specifically where we are coming from. Also, at the end of the very first entry in July, titled "Introduction," there is a list of topics that are among what we are exploring in the Course of Training.

While the group who began the new course in August/September will receive Lesson 6 sometime later tonight, work is also being done for the future. Speaking of the course in Lesson 17, it is written:

"This Course is for those who are open to the possibility that rapid spiritual growth is possible if we are willing to work toward it. It is for those people who simply want to come into harmony with the present moment and to be content in their own life as it is right now. It is for those who have experienced a fruitful spiritual path for many years and want to explore even deeper. It is also for all those who simply have some inkling that there is much more to life than what they have previously known, yet for whom the ideas and terminology of the lessons are new and unfamiliar.

"The Course is simultaneously for those who are absolute beginners on the spiritual path and for those who might have done sadhana (spiritual work) for many years. Most people who will appreciate the lessons are those who begin the Course having already attained some understanding of spiritual principles. I work primarily with those who have been around awhile, and few absolute beginners show up; but they are indeed welcome.

"Ultimately, the Course is for anyone who sincerely aspires to see and experience the simple Truth of the existing moment.

"We can learn what is new only when we maintain a state of inquiry. True self-inquiry is an exploration of what is true right now.

"I invite you to accompany me on this fascinating adventure, this exploration of the Truth of the present moment. As we proceed along this journey together, our experience of life can be transformed and our understanding deepened and refined. On one level, the Truth of the present moment is eternally changeless. On another level—the fun part—we have no idea what might happen next."

I truly recommend that all the comments under each entry are read, as I don't allow anything that doesn't contribute positively to our opening through dialogue. There are really great sharings of the course, as well as many thoughtful questions and answers regarding the day-by-day process of spiritual growth.

If you are new to these writings, please note that the person who posts under the name "DRB" is none other than myself, the writer of the blog and the Course of Training, D. R. Butler.

Now on to the questions:

Kristina: I have been working on myself for awhile and it seems that I am not what I thought I would be when I started the course many years ago. I am often confused and I certainly don't feel like I am beaming with the light of god. I often feel quite the contrary. I do accept myself a lot more and I am less scared to say what is really on my mind. This is what bothers me. I used to be a very timid and reserved kind of person (I didn't get into any trouble) and now it seems I speak up more and I have more personality and I care less what others think. This scares me because I think I am becoming some kind of monster. It just seems that before I was always safe and pleasing to everyone, while now I have become the opposite. I don't know if I am going in the right direction towards my Self or if I am just going around displaying my big fat ego and making a total fool of myself. It seems I am getting into more trouble these days. Things don't always seem harmonious. Sometimes I am afraid of what comes out of my mouth and after I think, I can't believe I just said that. I challenge what people say to me and I am more critical of things others say. Like I want to think for myself more than just listen to someone else's jibber jabber. It doesn't seem very positive to me. Obviously, I know that I am not an enlightened person which I aspire to, but am I on the right track?

DRB: Kristina, I relate totally to everything you are saying. I was just describing to someone not long ago about how I have changed over the past few years. One is that I speak my mind more without being afraid of what others are hearing. I also complain more, as I figure at this point it's better to just say something than to keep it bottled up where it will fester. If I have the freedom to complain without there being a reaction to my complaint, it only takes a moment to get it off my chest and then it's forgotten (if the other doesn't take it personally, that is; otherwise, it can initiate a whole chain of negative reactions). Repressing the feeling, however, builds up toxic energy that will lead to unpleasant consequences.

Kay and I have an agreement that either of us can say anything to the other without the other taking it personally or reacting to it, just so that we are both allowed complete freedom of expression. We both strongly recommend that all couples and partners adopt this principle in your own relationship. Neither partner should feel censored regarding what he or she is allowed to express to the other. Holding things in is bad for both physical and emotional health--which are obviously closely linked.

Kay has expressed to me that she thinks I've grown grumpier over the years, but that she's also noticed that I seem to be happiest when I'm simply allowed to be grumpy without anyone thinking anything of it or feeling that it needs to be addressed somehow.

There is certainly no reason to take another's grumpiness personally. After all, it is just as egotistical to take offense as it is to give offense.

The feeling I got from reading your question was that you are simply becoming more real, more spontaneous, and less of a people-pleaser, which are all big steps. It's a huge step to finally just stop caring about how others see or hear us, or what they think of us.

A great teacher once said, "If people think better of you, it will not help you; if people think worse of you, it will not hurt you"

I can certainly attest to this in my own life. I have had large groups of people at a time relating to me with great love and respect, and it didn't do anything for me, it didn't enhance my own experience. I still had to maintain my own state. And I have had people say and write the worst things about me imaginable, and spread the most ignorant rumors, and it didn't hurt me at all. I still had to maintain my own state.

You said, "I do accept myself a lot more and I am a lot less scared to say what is really on my mind."

This is a good sign, Kristina, and a big step to take. I'd say keep heading in the direction you're going. You have a good heart, and one day you will attain all your dreams.

Mary: Thank you to Kristina for her honest share - I feel like I'm in the same club - letting my "inner monster" out after 54 years - but I also feel my inner affectionate, tender self coming out as well. I think I have to be able to feel my pain to feel my joy - and go through it cleanly (or let it go through me, rather) without letting the ego do its "misery" thing. I find that really tricky. My question is, do you agree, and how does that fit in with refusing to consider what is unpleasant? I know you said not to complicate things, and I don't want to either, but sometimes clarification helps to cut off my ego from protesting with "yes, but" stuff. Thank you so very much

DRB: There is a truth to the fact that as we break free from our tendencies to be inhibited and reserved, and allow ourselves to freely express those things that are not so people-pleasing, our "more affectionate and tender side" comes out as well.

When we are enslaved by inhibition, we prevent the expression of the best of ourselves as well as what we fear might be the worst of ourselves. This is why ultimately we have to be free from inhibition. Only then can we be truly spontaneous.

Later in the course, we will explore the "Seven Deadly Samskaras," and we will examine how inhibition is a limitation we must break free from. Otherwise the highest cannot freely express through us, which only happens spontaneously. The Creative Power of the universe doesn't have to plan things out in advance.

I loved when you said: "I have to be able to feel my pain to feel my joy - and go through it cleanly (or let it go through me, rather) without letting the ego do its 'misery' thing."

It is a great attainment to go through pain cleanly without getting into the negative emotion of misery, or without using the pain as a justification for allowing ourselves to be miserable, or to make a martyr of ourselves ("Oh, my life is so hard. So many bad things happen to me.")

Pain in itself is not an egotistical melodrama. Misery is. Misery comes up when we create a mournful story to go along with our pain.

Much better to, as you said, go through the pain cleanly and be done with it without making a big deal of it.

When we discipline ourselves enough to think only of what is pleasant, which is true discipline, then even our pain will never lead to misery. If we continue considering what is unpleasant, then we can experience misery even when there is no real or valid pain. In this way misery itself is an egotistical melodrama.

Ari: It was very liberating to read what you and Kristina wrote about expressing yourself freely and not worrying so much about how others view us. When I was young I was very outgoing and always spoke my mind (I'm talking grade school here). Then I suffered some trauma in my life and went into a shell for a long time. Through it I found yoga and a spiritual practice. I feel I have come full circle again but have not had the courage to really start speaking my mind until recently. With it I started to have doubts because it felt like such a big change. I felt at times it was "unyogi" like. So it was reassuring for me to read your posts on this subject.

My only added comment on it is how do you know when you're just being an ass or speaking your mind? I remember reading a quote from my spiritual master on the subject. She said why would you spend all this time doing meditation if you're going to be mean to the first person that you come across? I think if you are coming from the heart you will be coming from a good place and wont have to worry if people are approving of you.

DRB: Ari, you answered your own question: "I think if you are coming from the heart, you will be coming from a good place and won't have to worry if people are approving of you."

This is so true, and the very best answer to the question you presented. Simply come from the heart--from a place of love, kindness, and respect--and whatever comes out is what is best for everyone involved.

It's more a matter of vibrations than semantics. In other words, it's not so much what is said as what is felt as the words are spoken. Someone teases us playfully, but the ego is quick to take offense at the imagined slight, interpreting the words as a serious insult. Many of us have a hard time with imagined slights.

Your spiritual master is obviously very wise when she said: "Why would you spend all this time doing meditation if you're going to be mean to the first person that you come across?"

Too many of us practice our practices, meditate, repeat homilies and platitudes about what is good and best and right, and then we act like an absolute jerk the first time someone says something we don't like.

Kristina's post seemed to strike a nerve with several people. A lot of people think it's "unyogi like" to speak their mind--but the yogic Masters I have worked with didn't seem to subscribe to that particular point of view. They spoke their minds to me several times, pulling no punches, and it was always very good for my ego.

You can speak your mind and still come from the heart, still come from a place of love and respect. Sometimes fierceness is required in certain situations.

I am reminded of a story I once heard about Swami Satchitananda, one of the yoga teachers I met and studied with for a while in the early 70's. He was traveling on a crowded train in India with an older swami. The older swami had to leave his chair for a moment and asked Swami Satchitananda to please save his chair for him. Soon after he left a burly man came and sat down testily on the seat. Swami Satchitananda sweetly explained to him that the seat was saved for an elderly swami who would be right back. The burly man refused to budge.

Suddenly, Swami Satchitananda turned to the man and roared like a lion. You could hear his roar throughout the crowded coach. The burly man took one hasty look at the apparently mad yogi, and then quickly retreated from the chair. Soon the elderly swami returned to his seat without further incident.

Sometimes we have to roar like a lion. Sometimes, when faced with extreme negativity, stupidity, or rigidity, what is most appropriate is not always the nicest or most people-pleasing thing to do. Sometimes intensity is called for to serve a noble purpose.

Look at Arjuna, in the Bhagavad Gita; he had to go to war with cousins, uncles, gurus, and sages on the other side. When Arjuna doubted that war was the best option, Krishna reminded him, "It is the duty (dharma) of a warrior to fight for a noble cause."

Sometimes we have to fight for a noble cause--and such noble causes may be big things or seemingly smaller things. Yogis aren't always sweet people. My own Master once said, "I am not the kind of swami that turns the other cheek."

I enjoyed all the comments from last time, and I look forward to seeing what all of you come up with this time.

For more information about D. R. Butler's new Course of Training available through email, write:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

See Your Course New

Wow, today is November 1, 2008. I feel like I am living in a science fiction movie, like I am living in the future. Everything amazes me these days. Just that we can communicate together on this level in this blog amazes and awes me.

One of the primary aspects of the blog, and the Course of Training available by email, is the section at the end of each blog entry containing "comments" from readers. There have been very good questions and answers there in the comments section.

Once again we will present a couple of questions and answers that have not been published yet, and then we will also include 3 of the exchanges from the comments following the previous entry. I suggest strongly you read all of the comments posted under each entry, if you have not already, as some incredible stuff has been shared. So here we go:

Kevin: I met you a few years ago when you were leading some programs in Santa Monica. I was always impressed with how evenly you answered questions. No matter what anyone asked, or how unexpected their questions might have been, you always came from the same steady place and seemed to give the perfect answer to every single question.

I wanted to get my own "perfect answer" so I raised my hand and when the microphone came I said, "No matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to meditate. I can't even make my mind still enough to sit for meditation." And your answer totally caught me offguard, as you said, "Do you take my course?"

I confessed that I didn't take it, and you said, "Take the course."

Well, I figured I could recognize a sales pitch as well as the next guy, and I thought, Boy, he'll say anything to get people to take his course.

Of course, I didn't take your course, as I was much too stubborn and proud for that. What could you possibly know that I needed enough to pay money for? I enjoyed your program very much, but did not see how a course by mail could create or even sustain the experience of the program with you.

To make this short, years passed. I forgot all about the program and I never thought about the course again. Then about a month ago, a friend told me that you had started a new course that was available by email. He said everything had changed for him since beginning it. I finally agreed to commit to three months of your online course, mostly to pacify my friend.

As I started reading Lesson 1, I would read a paragraph or two, and suddenly I would fall into meditation. Then I would start reading again, and I kept falling into meditation. I figured I just wasn't used to the way you wrote, so I didn't think too much about it. Then Lesson 2 arrived, and by now I was looking forward to something new. I read the first three or four paragraphs, and then started falling into meditation again. Before I had read half the lesson I had experienced several pauses for meditation.

Finally I remembered what you had said to me at the program in Santa Monica: that since I had a hard time meditating, I should simply take your course. It never sank in at the time that you were only stating a simple truth, that there was no sales pitch at all. In fact, now I know you are quite detached from whether others take your course or not, and that you simply love your work. At least that's what my friend told me, and this time I trust her to know what she's talking about.

Tell me, though, how does meditation happen through reading the lessons? Can you explain that one?

DRB: The most honest answer that initially comes up is, I don't know.

I do know that I have gotten similar feedback from many people over the years, so I understand that it is something that happens. I can report that when I sit to write the lessons, I go into a state of meditation as I write, so it is sensible that certain others who are sensitive and receptive enough might be pulled into meditation as well.

The main thing that happens through the Course of Training is that there is a transmission of energies through the lessons. I can't intellectually explain it where it conveniently fits into everyone's mindset, for there are some who will accept no explanation whatsoever, and who are not impacted in the least by the readings. I do have full faith that each individual gets exactly what he or she needs at the moment. Anyone can prove this true simply by experimenting with an open mind.

That much should be obvious even in the blog.

Cheryl: Since you started making your writings available again in July I have been keeping up with everything--the lessons, the blog, the comments, and everything else you send--and since I have started the course anew it feels like my life has sped up big time. Everything is just happening faster now. Things even get done faster, and with less effort it seems. Somehow I actually seem to have more energy.

It occurred to me, like William mentioned in his comment last time, that you are putting out an awful lot, with a new lesson and blog entry every two weeks, not to mention answers to questions in the comments. Is there any connection between that and the fact that life seems to have sped up for myself as well as for some friends of mine who also take the course? We all feel like everything is going much faster since beginning the course. Can you write a little about what is going on?

DRB: I am including this question in the blog because several people have expressed the same thing in various ways.

Once again, all I know for certain is that my life has sped up too. Before July, I never would have dreamed of doing all the stuff I'm doing now, interacting with so many people, or even spending time in a world where such interactivity is possible. Since the first entry of the blog was published and Lesson 1 was sent out, it seems like I am living on an entirely different energy level. Kay has had the same experience, and all our children have noticed this about us--that we are faster, more efficient somehow, more focused on whatever is happening.

In my experience over the years, I have found it best to not try to explain certain things too much, or to cling to grasping things with the mind. Some things cannot be grasped by the mind, because they are processes taking place on higher and more refined levels than mental activity.

Certain things can only be experienced; they cannot be explained or understood by the mind.

In the same way, there are certain things that you cannot know--you can only be.

Observe your experience as you progress through the course. Yet do not think everything has to be explained, or even that everything can be intellectually undestood, because the mind only goes so far. There is a great deal that exists beyond the mind, and the first step to discovering what is actually present is to grasp the fact that a lot is beyond the realm of mental activity.

Sometimes things might seem to speed up. Sometimes things might seem to get very intense. Other times you might go so deeply into a state of living bliss that your mind can hardly comprehend why or how you are feeling so wonderful without any apparent reason or cause whatsoever. Simply observe what happens, see what is intuitively obvious, and don't expect or demand too many explanations for the inexplicable.

I mentioned in the last entry that I am deliberately writing more than the mind can keep up with. Anyone who has read everything I have published since July has had to imbibe a lot of stuff very fast, and it's almost impossible to keep up with or assimilate at a reasonable pace.

This has two primary consequences: one, we are forced to assimilate ideas at an unreasonable pace, which is good for us as well as expanding and quickening to the mind; and two, we are gradually and gently forced to go beyond the mind altogether. There is much more to discover about life and the inner Self once we enjoy the extraordinary realization that all mental activity, and all our egotistical melodramas, take place within a very small, narrow, and limited world.

The lessons of the course aren't about what's in the mind; they are about that which is beyond the mind--which is a lot.

Also, please consider that I might not always remain this prolific. There is no guarantee that there will even be another entry past this one. Right now I am enjoying writing a lot, and the planets are aligned just right to give me the capacity to communicate on a very subtle level; yet later on, who knows what might happen? Ram Dass had a stroke in his sixties, although thanks to God he is still going strong. Still, he has slowed down, and while the quality remains ever-pristine, he is no longer quite as prolific as he had previously been. Anyway, we'll see how far I can go before these batteries wear out, and then we can spend the rest of our lives assimilating all that was written.

Hopefully you know I tend to be very tongue-in-cheek, and you will never take me too seriously.

Chris: In Lesson 4 you write, “Each of us lives in a world of our own making. In reality, we create everything from scratch every moment.”

After having practiced consciousness and spirituality all of my adult life, I often wonder, is it ever truly possible to understand someone else? What I think I understand of them becomes part of my own personal reality, how can I ever know if it is synch with the other person’s reality? This trail of questions often leads to a deep, aching loneliness.

Could this be my mind trapped in an incomplete understanding and the ego grasping it as its own?

DRB: As always, Chris' posts have a way of being very in-pulling. When I read what he writes I feel very deeply pulled inside. He is a deep thinker who is sincere in his contemplations.

Chris, responding to your contemplation, I'll simply share an experience I had once. There were a group of us in a totally dark room, all sitting on the floor--although we could no longer see each other--and we all had on headphones that were connected to the microphone in the center of the room. There was no sight, and the only sound was what came over the headphones, which was exactly the same for each of us since the one microphone was the only source of sound. If one of us spoke, we would all simultaneously hear the same voice in the exact same way. Even the speaker would hear his or her voice as though someone else had said it, or as though everyone else were hearing it.

After a while we all began to feel strangely like we were floating giddily in space, bodiless, and there was one single voice that had many different sounds and melodies, and sometimes there would be a crescendo of laughter that would cascade through the earphones and throughout our one Being with such electric jolts of bliss that it began to seem absurd that we had ever thought there was any difference between us in the first place.

Is it truly possible to understand someone else? Here is another question: Is it truly possible to understand ourselves? The average person in today's world has very little understanding of who he is, much less who anyone else is.

Many years ago it was written: "Know thyself." Yet we have not advanced very far since then in that particular area, even though we've made brilliant technological advances in the outer world, which enables us to communicate in this real time way around the planet, among other things. The wise King Soloman himself said, "Wisdom is the principle thing, and with all thy getting, get understanding." This is the primary reason for being, if indeed there is anything like a "reason" required in order to be.

With such little understanding of ourselves, what chance do we have of really understanding another? As far as that goes, what is the actual difference between us and another in the first place?

Going back to the experience I described in my previous comment, as we were in the darkness and had only the sound from the microphone coming into our heads, we lost all sense of separateness and difference. There was just one Being with all these various voices. Is this not who we truly are anyway, in reality?

This body comes and goes; it does not last forever. It is here for a cycle of karma, which will be explained thoroughly in the lessons of the course so that we can enjoy complete understanding. Once we depart the physical body on the wings of the final exhalation, we realize very vividly and lucidly that we are indeed not the body, and that something very real and very present continues long after this body has returned to the elements of the earth from which it came.

If we are not the body, or the mind, or the emotions, or the various psychic phenomena--both noticed and unnoticed, depending on our development in awareness--then what is the real difference between us anyway? If there is only one Consciousness, one Self, one Being peering from all these pairs of eyes, then aren't we only seeing our own Self in everyone?

It is when we grasp the true magnitude of our aloneness, and the true glory and resplendence of our own eternal Self, that we go beyond the "deep, aching loneliness."

That loneliness comes from the delusion that there is another to be united with. It is what the poet saints of India refer to as "the pain of separation." As long as there is a sense of separation, there is pain and loneliness.

Once we get it that no one else is ever there, or anywhere; that there are only reflections of our own Self in all these bodies, we suddenly grasp the great Aloneness that pervades and permeates the entire cosmos. It is a sense of eternal completeness and an ultimate contentment. It is the great wholeness of Being.

Then a deep joy radiates upward and outward from within, and light pours from us into the universe around us. In this state we live fearlessly, and our very presence brings light and comfort to others.

The understanding of our own Self is the greatest contribution we can make to the world, to humanity at large, because there is only One of us that needs to be understood, only One that needs to be realized, and we can do this at any moment once we are conscious of the Truth of our own Being.

Finally it is clear that there is no difference between knowing ourselves and knowing another. To know one's own Self is to know everyone simultaneously.

William: I feel like I am in one of the workshops of old, except that it is happening online very fast, and on the inside at the same time, and it's requiring me to make some subtle adjustments inside somewhere to keep up with what is happening.

Last night a question came up for me, so I decided to write DR and see what he had to say about it if anything. To my surprise, I received an answer about fifteen minutes later, and he mentioned to me that he was just hanging out online with students of the course. At first I wished I could be one of them, and then I realized that I was one of them, that he had answered my question as immediately as if I had been sitting with him, and exactly in the way I needed at the time, which DR has some natural knack for doing.

So I am taking him up on his offer to join him during the day Sunday if we liked, and I have a question. I admit, this one is the businessman in me coming out, but I have to ask just to hear what is the reply, so that I don't have to worry about it anymore.

DR, you seem to be giving out a great deal right now. I have received all 4 lessons so far and read all the blog entries and comments and everything else you've been involved in, not to mention immediately answering my question by email last night. Really, who would have thought that you'd be sitting around on a Saturday night online with students of the course?

Anyway, my question is, you are giving so much for free here on the blog. Aren't you afraid that, by giving so much away for free, many people who would otherwise take your course won't be taking it, since you are giving most people as much as they can keep up with in the blog alone? Does my question make sense?

I know that you still have children in school and that you must generate an income to live in this world, just as we all do, especially in today's craziness. Thanks for your comments on living in the world in the recent entry, btw. Anyway, I just wonder if there is anything to my concern that you are giving away too much for free? Can you address this for me?

DRB: Am I giving away too much for free? What a fascinating question.

I thank you for your concern, William. You have a generous heart, and I appreciate where you are coming from.

Many of you probably know that I came in touch with yoga and meditation at the age of 15, when I lived in Mississippi, and moved to Greenwich Village in Manhattan at age 22, and over the next few years came across many different spiritual paths and traditions and teachers. I chanted with the Buddhists, danced with the Sufis, meditated with the yogis, worked on myself in Gurdjieff groups, went to see Krishnamurti, Yogi Bhajan, Dr Ramurti Mishra, Swami Satchitananda, the Sufi Master whose name escapes me, Yogi Rama, Ram Dass, Guru Bawa, and a hoard of others that I just can't think of right now. All these great teachers, excepting Ram Dass, thank God, have left their bodies now. Yet, in their time, they each contributed in major ways to the growth of those who crossed their paths.

And who has come to take their places? No one can step forth today, or before you know it there will be a site on the Internet condemning them. Makes you wonder what that crucifixion stuff was really all about, and if anyone would actually do anything any differently today.

Of these that come to mind, excepting Ram Dass who thankfully remains among us--I remember Guru Bawa most vividly. He was a little old man who had appeared out of the jungles in Ceylon somewhere, and he was recognized by many as an enlightened being, a God-realized one--one who sees God and only God in everything everywhere he looks.

Speaking of Indian poet saints, one was named Tukaram Maharaj. Tukaram said: O Lord, this is how I worship You: You are everywhere. You are in every direction. Wherever I turn, You are there. Wherever I go, You are there also. There is not a place, there is not a thing, there is not a person in whom You do not exist.

So I went to see Guru Bawa in the basement of this church in New York City. I took my place in the audience near the front, and since the program had not yet begun, I went to find the restroom.

I went down a hallway and opened a door that I thought led to the men's room. When I opened it, Guru Bawa was sitting quietly in a chair all by himself. I remember him like the sun itself, for he literally lit up when he saw me. He was a tiny brown man, dressed totally in white, bald but with a full glorious white beard, and he had these penetrating, sparkling, twinkling eyes that seemed somehow to be dancing with my own eyes. He looked absolutely delighted to see me. Then he humbly bowed down to me.

I had never been bowed to before. It was a humbling experience. And it was the last thing in the world I expected him to do. It just blew my mind more than anything else, and I suppose at the time that's probably exactly what I needed more than anything else.

I simply pardoned myself and backed out, but I knew inside that it had been well worth it to go to that church in New York City that evening, and to meet Guru Bawa in person. If someone could see God in me, I thought at the time, then he was indeed a God-realized being, for anyone less would not be up to the task.

Anyway, should I charge anyone money to quote Tukaram Maharaj or to tell them about the teachers I met along the way who added to my development? To me, it is only dharma, right action, to share my understanding freely with anyone who is open enough to receive it.

William touched on an excellent point when he said: "Aren't you afraid that, by giving so much away for free, many people who would otherwise take your course won't be taking it, since you are giving most people as much as they can keep up with in the blog alone?"

The truth is, it is more than most people can keep up with. I have unloaded a lot on you guys in the last 3 months. I went for 6 years in virtual seclusion without talking to any of you, remember. I have a lot stored up. Get ready. Brace yourself.

If you really want to do the work, you will keep up. If you don't, you won't. It's as simple as that.

The really bizarre part about all this, from my point of view, is that only a handful of you will actually read all this. I remember once when I was with a genuine yogic Master, who must remain unnamed for now, and a man came to him and said, "My father says I am going against our faith by coming to see you, he insults you to my face, and I don't know how to deal with him."

The wise Master laughed and said, "Among a thousand people, only one will wish to know God. Your father is not that one."

So the weird thing to me is the number of people who might hear about this blog but never even take the time to read it. Or those who will skim over it without thinking it really has anything to do with their own life. Or those who think, how did one guy put it, that it is all "new-age mumbo-jumbo," which is not exactly an enlightened point of view, yet it is real out there nonetheless. Do my own children read my blog? I don't know. I guess I'll find out now. Anyway I write all this knowing that only a few of you will truly hear in your heart what I am communicating.

I used to travel around the world giving workshops, and I would always wonder where all the people came from. If there was a hall for 500 people, 500 people showed up. If the hall would hold 200, then 200 would show up. Where did they all come from? No matter what city I was in, people would come from many different states, even different countries, to take the workshop. What attracted those people to those particular workshops at those particular times? That is the question. And what is the difference between those people and those who don't have the time to read the blog at all even though they know of its existence?

What makes a person ready to do the work required to know his own inner Self? When is a person ready to begin this? These are questions we each must answer at our own time.

I have seen over the years that certain people are attracted to this particular work. There are people taking the course now who originally started taking my course by mail back in the 70's, and I went for years without having anything to do with them, and they are still here. Where do they come from? God only knows.

Still, the people who are ready, willing, and able to do the work of the present moment will be attracted to the course in a most natural way. Some mystical energy pulls us all together to do the work of the Self so that we can come to know and experience the same Self.

There will be lots of people who read the blog who don't take the course. I welcome them with love. Everything here is offered freely and humbly. Hopefully there is something positive for you, something that will make a true contribution to your life.

There will be people who take the course who will say they don't have time to keep up with the blog. They only miss out on a certain aspect of the course.

Then there are those who are naturally attracted to the course, and these are the perfect people at the perfect time, just like everyone showed up at all the right times and places for all the workshops during the 25 years I actively led them.

What is my particular area of expertise at this point in my life? How, after all my study, training, and practice, can I function in a person's life that offers a unique impact?

The primary answer that comes up for me, in answering my own life's quest, from my own observation of many years, and after receiving much feedback from others around the world, is that I apparently function in the realm of transformation. I can work with a person in a way that helps guide him in his own personal transformation from one point of understanding and experience, to an entirely new, more expanded and elevated point of understanding and experience.

This is something that can only be done through the ongoing process of the Course of Training available through email.

I can share information, experiences, and positive energy in the blog as I am now, but the course must be taken for a person to be individually guided from one level of awareness and functionality to the next. Such a transformation requires an exchange of energy, and is not available for free. This is not my personal policy; it is simply the way the universe works.

If you look at any of the authentic spiritual paths and traditions, there have always been two levels of teaching available. One is the general teachings that are freely available for everyone, for the upliftment and enrichment of humanity at large. The other level of teachings are available only after an inner commitment has been made. The commitment is not to the teacher, but to being consistent and persistent in one's own path, and to not lollygag around, or be too lazy for too long, or to let the ego get away with too much, or to let the mind get too entangled, or to let the emotions get too negative, or to allow one's own state to be too contracted -- before coming back to the Truth of the present moment, back to the heart, and back to our love.

And here we are.

As I am writing, the Beatles are gently singing in the background, "All you need is love." And what was it that they said at the end of Abbey Road: that in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.

How very true.

Brad: Your gift in writing has a way of working on the subtler levels of consciousness. As I read the new lesson, I find myself in different places as if I am standing there dealing with a reality in my mind, in a different place, time, situation, or aspects of dealing with what comes at me. Almost like parallel universes existing right here and right now. Not as if I took a trip somewhere, it was here and now. That is why the reading of the lesson is so healing. Now, if you understand what I just wrote, you can shed some light on it.

DRB: I appreciate your share very much, Brad. So you want me to shed some light on what you just said? Well, to begin with, you already said it very well, and your share sheds its own light.

The process of writing and reading takes place on various levels simultaneously. There is the mental level that we all know and love, where everything is translated into words and ideas, yet there are also deeper levels of being that are touched, nudged, awakened, nurtured, empowered, and eventually brought out into physical expression and eventual manifestation through the process of our Course of Training.

Many people can read an entry on the blog, or their current lesson, and have a perfectly enjoyable and uplifting experience, and then afterwards are not able to repeat a single word they read. It's almost as though they couldn't tell you what they just read, they only know that something within them was transformed during the process of reading.

It reminds me of a talk I was giving many years ago. In the back of the hall sat two women--one who had never heard me talk before, and another who had heard me speak many times. The woman who had never heard me before kept asking, "What is he saying? What is he saying?" And the woman who had heard me speak many times kept replying, "It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter."

This is somewhat how the course works. It is not about learning new information. All the information we could possibly need or use is already available on the Internet. As Rico pointed out in his comment following the previous entry, we can simply google whatever we choose if we only want information about it. Thankfully, there is something greater than the information itself.

The course is about expanding from one level of being to another, newer, more aware, and freer level of being. This process requires work on many levels of being simultaneously, and takes place naturally and spontaneously through participating in all the various forms the course takes.

This is one reason that rereading the lessons are so important. It is not merely assimilating knowledge. There is an inner transformation that takes place each time we refer to our current lesson. This is why a single reading can be interesting and momentarily uplifting, but will in itself produce no true transformation. For that, the acceptance of repetition as a method is required, as well as a commitment to consistency and persistence on the path that lies ahead right now.

You get a good idea of how the process works by simply reading the blog--especially in the inner workings and subtle rearrangements that take place during the process of exchanging questions and answers. The questions themselves bring out answers that were not consciously known to the one supplying the answer.

Now if any of us can understand that, it might shed lots of light for all.

Enjoy the blog as well as the new lesson you received today (except for those of you who have recently received Lesson 1; you will receive Lesson 2 on the 15th, which is also when I will post the next entry.) Meanwhile, be sure and check the new comments. If they are anything like last time, we're in for another subtle yet powerful workshop for the soul.

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D. R. Butler, offered by email, please write: