Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Bliss of Lightheartedness

Here’s affirming that each person who reads this enjoyed a happy January and is looking forward to an even better life in the year ahead. One way we can guarantee a greater life for ourselves and our loved ones, effective immediately, is through spending more time in a lighthearted state. Lightheartedness is our greatest weapon against all the ills of today's world. If we can manage to spend more time being lighthearted, we will be surprised how much more enjoyable daily life will be.

The way this world is set up is very strange--the more difficult it gets for people on the outside, the easier it is to turn within and do the inner work we actually came here for. As a planet, this current cycle is the darkest of all, and most people have a hard time in their physical lives. Yet, for those souls who choose to use this time to deepen their spiritual growth, this cycle presents a great opportunity for upliftment and elevation.

When it is darkest on the outside, inner work happens naturally and spontaneously on the inside. We simply need the conscious intent to be more present, more alert and aware, and definitely more lighthearted.

The state of this world as we move into February, at least if one pays attention to the media, seems to be a time of madness. Yet, the opportunity is present now for significant advances on the spiritual path if only we make use of what is currently available and be sure to apply the principles of Truth in our own lives.

Remember that everything is not as it appears to be, and that there are profound and even sacred processes going on behind the scenes that are not readily observable.

If we practice the principles of Truth, we will actually feel more alive. It is obvious if we look around, perhaps walking down the street in our neighborhood, that some people are simply more alive than others. Some have a bright expression in their eyes, a twinkle of a smile, and walk along with great awareness as though they enjoy the very act of walking, or they are engaged happily in whatever they are doing. Such people love what they do in each moment, regardless of the details.

On the other hand, other people have a dull, lifeless expression in their eyes, they move about as though they have hardly any energy or spirit, and they are obviously not happy, and not enjoying what they are doing. They might even be expressing negative emotions, which is among the very worst obstacles to spiritual growth.

Simply observe and you will see that some people live in a greater degree of aliveness than others. People live on various levels of energy, and some live at a higher vibrational level of energy than others. All this is centered around the degree to which one is present in the existing moment.

Some great questions have come in over the past 2 weeks, so let’s get to them.

Ann: This week a friend's words dislodged a relentless waterfall of thoughts. I was completely aware that the problem was my own and that "she" had nothing to do with it. Trouble is that no matter what I did, I was unable to stop, shift, or stabilize the onslaught of thoughts. I could barely find the space between two thoughts, much less stay there, even though that particular practice has been especially potent for me recently. The continuous flow of thoughts, and my inability to slow them down...much less stop them...caused me to panic at one point.

Question: When a samskara is triggered that causes such an intense reaction, is there anything that can be done other than to stay with it, watch with awareness, and use the will as best you can at the time?

DRB: That is a great question and goes right along with many of the comments that came in during the last two weeks (posted in the "comments" below the January 15th entry). There were some great questions and answers, and I hope you will take the time to read them. It seems that many people are reaching a similar point in growth at a similar time. Sometimes it happens that way when groups are working on the same things together.

The true answer to your question is covered in the lessons of the course. It would be unlikely that I could fully cover the answer here on the blog. As you go through the lessons, you will see that your mind works differently than it did before you began the course. Simply reading and contemplating the lessons enables you to let go of previous mental conditioning and stubborn patterns of thought and emotion, and to actually think and feel in new and expanded ways. When you start to think and feel in new ways, your whole life becomes new. I am sure you have already observed this to be true, and it happens again and again as we grow.

Ann, it is very good that you can see the onslaught of thoughts. Most people go through life never even seeing how out of control their mind is, and assume that being lost in thought is a normal way to live. So just the fact that you are seeing what you are asking about is in itself a sign of growth and maturity.

You will see that it is impossible to “get rid of” an onslaught of thoughts or anything else we are focused on. We cannot get rid of the darkness in a room. All we can do is turn on the light. When we turn on the light, the darkness is already gone.

To be free from such an onslaught, or from any other samskara or tendency, we must have an alternative, an option, to replace the onslaught with. This is a very important step. Getting rid of thoughts or any condition is like getting rid of the darkness. We must “turn on the light” or replace them with something greater.

As we explore in the lessons, the onslaught is too fast to replace it with something else at the moment that it happens. Once it starts, we can only observe it, and the more we truly watch it, the less it will affect us.

Our preferred option or replacement must be created in advance, so that we will know immediately where to focus our attention instead of being pulled along by the onslaught. This is explained in detail in the lessons, but for now that will give you something to work with.

Lisa: I recently completed reading "The Secret," and not long after a friend told me about your blog and course. I am wondering if your course teaches the same ideas that are written about in "The Secret?"

DRB: "The Secret" serves as a nice introduction to the basic principles, and is a great help for beginners on the path who are discovering these truths for the first time. The Course of Training available through email explores on a much deeper scale the principles on which "The Secret" is based.

I appreciate "The Secret"--both the book and the movie--and feel that they serve a great purpose in activating and awakening an interest in learning about the principles necessary for success and happiness. Especially in today's world we must learn how to approach life positively. Yet there is much more to understand for greater spiritual growth and personal development.

The Course is an approach to each moment of life, and we begin by exploring the principles that must first be understood before even greater principles can be comprehended and instilled. This is a process that happens from step to step over time, and cannot be gotten from a book in a way that is permanent and lasting and truly transformative--lasting transformation requires an ongoing commitment to a path of study and self-observation.

If we only read a book, we will be momentarily excited and enthused by the ideas, yet that excitement and enthusiasm will tend to wane as past tendencies of thinking and feeling (samskaras) take over again. In order to overcome the conditioning of the past, a program of development is required, a path to lead from one step to the next, as well as the work necessary to break free from past tendencies and habitual patterns of behavior and reactivity.

The Course of Training through email offers the opportunity to grow from wherever we are right now to a greater state in the very near future, which will be "now" whenever it is experienced as our present Truth. Of course, the Truth of the present moment is true right now. All that is "lacking" is our recognition or realization of the Truth that is eternally unchanging. This is the Truth of our own eternal Being.

Knowing this Truth, living joyfully in the present moment, we live in perfect freedom in this world and while in this very body.

This is why our course is entitled "Living in the Truth of the Present Moment."

Jo: If you were to give us one attribute to focus on during the month of February, what would it be?

DRB: the attribute we all need to focus on most now is lightheartedness.

Due to the current state of the world, it is very important that we avoid getting caught in seriousness or heaviness of any nature. Being too serious or heavy will pull us into a darkness that can be difficult to extricate ourselves from. This is a time that maintaining lightheartedness will be extremely fruitful.

Be laughing, loving, and a little bit loony.

Remain steady in seeing the humor in things. As much as possible, don't take any situation, any other person, or yourself, too seriously. Especially with the state of the world today, it is important to approach life lightheartedly. If we become too serious, we will be vulnerable to negative emotions, and once we get involved in negative emotions, we forget all about the inner Self and get totally lost in egotistical melodramas.

If you want one thing to focus on during the month of February, focus on being lighthearted. The more lighthearted we are, the easier it is for others around us to be lighthearted as well, and the more those around us are lighthearted, the more joyful and cheerful our world will be. If we wish to contribute to the state of the world around us at the current time, then focus on being lighthearted above all else.

For more information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler, write:
For Spanish, write:


rico said...

How does one focus on being lighthearted? It seems that lightheartedness is a side effect of being in the moment. If I take myself or my circumstances too seriously then I'm not in the moment and levity flies out the window. Aside from staying focused on the here and now is there some "trick" to seeing the humor in everything?

D. R. Butler said...

Just laugh.

Remain laughing, loving, and a little bit loony.

Thou shalt not take thyself, and especially thy mind, too seriously.

You are right. Stay in the present moment. At a funeral or a wake, be appropriate, but never lose the twinkle in your eye.

Naganath said...

Ahh. This latest lesson is like dessert, like your workshops used to be. Some of the most life-changing powerful experiences I have had in sadhana have been at your workshops. I am very curious whether the same energy, the Self same Shakti will be present with all of Us at any upcoming workshops/retreats. Laughter and gratitude abound knowing we share this Selfsame space again. Will we go back and do review of past lessons? Lesson 10 I barely got below the surface, yet felt pulled along by rereading.

Sara said...

D.R., here is an experience of lightheartedness regarding your comment about being appropriate at a funeral.
This past summer, my husband's good friend died after being ill for a few years. My husband was away with our kids and I was enjoying a much needed week to myself. I was feeling great! However, this meant my husband was not going to be able to go to the funeral or wake. I did not know this man very well, but he had been the best man at our wedding, so I felt I should go in husband's place. This man was very well known in the community and had a very large family, so there were lots of people at his wake that were all sad and offering serious words of sympathy. Having a different viewpoint of death, as well as feeling very happy within myself, I went in to pay my respects quite cheerfully. I greeted everyone with a hug and a big smile, especially the part of the family I had not seen for a while and I tried to offer words of comfort that were light and heartfelt. I went on my way home, just as content as when I had come in.
Much later, when my husband came back from his trip and contacted this man's son, he was told that of all the people who came through the line to pay their respects, I had stuck out among this man's family "like a light in a dark room". I was feeling so good, I was oblivious to how my state must have looked to everyone else, but they noticed and it helped them all get through all the other sad, serious people they had to greet.
(My goal is to ALWAYS feel this great!)

D. R. Butler said...

Naganath, those weekends we spent together as groups were very special, weren't they? I remember them as among the very greatest days of my life.

People might be amazed at what would be present if we all got together today. Maybe someday it will happen. Many have asked me about it. Right now I am putting everything into the course, and feel that everything is right there in the lessons for anyone who is open to receive it.

At this point I feel no inner prompting to travel or to see people. We'll see if that changes later. If the demand increases, the energy behind doing it might also increase, yet I'm not sure if traveling is something I'll ever been very keen on doing again.

There will be a schedule for reviewing previously received lessons, and at that point you might be amazed at what was in there that you didn't get at the time. For now, it is best to focus on your current lesson.


D. R. Butler said...

Sara, that's a truly great story. I agree that we could all go to funerals with the same brightness of spirit while being appropriate at the same time. The energy we radiate is readily picked up by others, and especially at a funeral, when many are in a state of grief, they are especially open to subconscious influences. By spreading even a subdued lightness during such an occasion, many can be affected for the better.

Thank you for your beautiful sharing.

jimi said...

nvergiI loved the story about the wake. For one thing it exposed a great myth in our culture: we do not truly support people who are feeling miserable by being miserable ourselves.

The other reason I liked it is that it reminded me of the time I also "lightened up" a wake, although I can take none of the credit.

My family was off to a family reunion @ my aunt & uncle's house. We had not been there in awhile & many of the homes in their subdivision look the same, but once we saw the house w/all the cars parked outside, we knew we had arrived. We went in & the kids immediately ran off to play in the family room where they knew my uncle's slot machine was located. The 1st thing that struck me was that everyone was so dressed up...and in black to boot! My next thought was why I wasn't recognizing any of my relatives. Shortly one of the people came up to us & asked if we were in the band! I said, "No....actually we were going to a family reunion." We hurriedly gathered the kids and left a roomful of formerly somber people laughing like crazy!

Ari said...

What a great antidote to our times: "being lighthearted". for myself it's one of my key reminders in my sadhana and it sure makes living so much more enjoyable to myself and others. I noticed in the past when I would visit my spiritual teacher she would always surround her self with children and would only give adults seconds of her time. I understand myself now that I have two small ones why she does this. Kids are great examples to ourselves what attitude to take living life. Take my 2 year old daughter for example. She usually greets me in the morning with a "good morning poo head". And she thinks it's very funny putting herself into a fit of laughter. She and my 4 year old son walk around the house letting gas be expelled with great joy. Yet my wife would be aghast if something like that "slipped". I really enjoy the parodox and it teaches me a lot. I encourage all adults to find time to spend with kids.

Susan said...

Sometimes when I apply the teachings I get the feeling that I'm brainwashing myself. I can maintain the sense of well being, abundance and contentment for a period of time and then an old deep feeling crashes through that says that no matter how hard I try to tell myself that all is well, there's really something missing. I guess it's my ego but it is so persistent. Am I supposed to turn and tell that very non-lighthearted voice to quiet down and go away or does it deserve my attention? I'm confused. I know that it will pass if I wait long enough.

As for workshops, you don't have to travel. We will gladly come to you if and when you feel the pull to meet in person again. For now, it's such a blessing to have you here in our homes and hearts. Thank you.

D. R. Butler said...

Susan, you simply maintain the feelings of well being, abundance, and contentment as long as you can, as often as you can remember to do so, and then when the next samskara comes around pulling you back down, simply come back to the moment, back to the heart, and back to your love--and be okay with whatever is.

One mistake some of us make on the spiritual path is that we think we should be happy all the time. Moods and emotions have their own cycles. Sometimes we simply have to be okay with not feeling so well for a while. Sometimes we get down without knowing why. We need to learn that this, too, is part of the play of Consciousness.

Equality-consciousness is a great state. With this vision, we see the great equality of everything--including feeling bad and feeling good. It's always going to go back and forth as long as we remain human. Even so, even feeling bad sometimes, we can rest in a state of equanimity.

I appreciate very much your willingness to come here in order for us to all be together again. You'll be one of the first to know if the time ever feels right.

Nancy said...

There's something that I've recently discovered about reading your blog that has simplified it and made it so much more fun for me, and I'd like to share it with everyone else because I know that I'm not the only blogger virgin here (your blog is my very first and I'm smitten). Here it is (and don't laugh at me, all of you for whom this blogstuff is second nature): I would enter the blog and start reading from the top, at the beginning of the most recent entry. If I wanted to see the "comments" to that latest entry, I would click on "comments" at the end and comments would appear in small type in a new window--very user unfriendly. But now I've been liberated!!

Because someone recently showed me that all I have to do is click on the title of the most recent entry and the comments will appear in regular, easy-to-read type immediately following the entry. Then when I want to reread an earlier entry, I go to the LEFT of my screen, where the blog entries have been archived, and click on my choice, then follow the same click rountine on the title of the entry to read it, followed by its comments.

This may seem like a small thing, but I urge you to let other "virgins" in on it, as it has changed my life.

With lightheartedness,

Karen said...

I was cleaning my basement and found a copy of Spiritual lesson# 2 and spiritual lesson#3, from 1975. I was so moved by reading them. The worlds were familiar and I was filled with a longing for more understanding. Is it possible to find a copy of those original lessons? They began with the salutation, Dear One.
I very much value these lessons. Thank you,

D. R. Butler said...

Karen, I appreciate that you enjoyed finding the 1975 lessons, but I assure you that the current course is much better. I have, well, matured since then, and the maturity is reflected in the lessons.

All the best to you.

D. R. Butler said...

Among the things a yogi understands:

1) A person cannot respect other people until he first learns to respect himself.

2) Most people have very little respect for themselves or others.

3) Probably the greatest thing people need to learn about themselves is how to generate and maintain respect. As it is, most people go through life disrespecting themselves and everything and everyone around them, sarcastic, cynical, critical, finding fault, and making others wrong.

4) Among our greatest lessons is to first respect ourselves--the greater Self within--and then to recognize that same Self in all others with great love and respect.

5) Only when a person learns to respect himself and others does he finally live as a true human being.

Anusuya said...

Susan's comment made me start dreaming of a big tent on the hill where you go to commune with us daily at sunset, and it is filled with ecstatic chanting and laughter. You know us "Have workshop, Will travel". LOL.
Perhaps we could all meet there in the subtle realms at a pre-ordained time. Love you guys!

Ari said...

Do you think doing spiritual practices develops a persona of aloofness? Or do you think aloofness in itself is a samskara? Or do you think it's people's perception of someone who has to a degree begun to live within the experience of the self.
I have at times been described by others close to me as aloof.

I agree with them and to be honest I feel like it's something I value to a degree. It's like living in your own cocoon. I feel protected and comforted by it. Yet I sense it could cause discomfort or pain to others. How does one reconcile that?

D. R. Butler said...

Well, I think I went through a phase of being aloof. In my case, it was a matter of being around a large number of people most of the time, and it seemed at the time that my best option was to be contained within myself. After a while, though, I broke through whatever was making me feel separate from the others in the first place.

Spiritual practices don't make you more aloof. On the contrary, in the long run, they make you more openhearted and warm. On the way, however, there are various phases. Don't get caught up in any of them as having any great importance or significance. Remember that everything passes. If you don't like something, just be patient--something else will come to take its place.

If your aloofness includes lightheartedness, then it can probably work, but if it keeps you on the serious side, or others are finding you cold, you have to reconsider if it's truly in the best interest of those around you or yourself.

When you are free there is a warmth of expression and a naturally easy-going manner. There is nothing of much importance, and nothing to take too seriously. Only then are things being seen in the right perspective. It is a state of lightheartedness.