Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Participating in the Inner Process

In case you haven’t noticed, today’s world is changing at a very rapid pace. Although the principles of Truth are eternal and changeless, the presentation and application of these principles must be immediately relevant in today’s somewhat unpredictable world in order to be practically useful to us.

Someone recently told me that someone had referred to this blog as “recycled wisdom.” I laughed when I heard that. Considering that the principles of Truth were first stated in scriptures written thousands of years ago, who among us can come up with new and improved wisdom? Should we come up with bits of wisdom that the sages who wrote the scriptures never considered or experienced? Since the principles were expressed in scriptures thousands of years ago, all teachings of any era since then are "recycled" to some degree or another. There is only commentary on what has already been stated quite clearly, as well as updated methods of presentation.

The most useful communication now is to make the ancient principles relevant and practically applicable in everyday life at the present time. At no point in our lifetimes has the outer world changed at such a fast rate as is happening now. It is important to keep up, on some corresponding inner plane, with the world as it is. This includes how our personal lives are going at the present time. The primary thing is to be established in harmony with the present moment as it is.

Some interesting questions have come in from those who take the course through email, and I’ve chosen to answer a couple of them here.

William: Can you discuss the relationship between going beyond desire and seeing harmony in all things, or remaining content with what comes unsought, verses the discipline of determining what we think so as to create more pleasant results. In the lessons, sometimes you seem to say to simply remain content with what comes unsought and see the perfection of the world as it is, and other times you seem to imply that the priority is our work on ourselves, the work of the present moment to break free from past conditioning. An elaboration on these two approaches would be very much appreciated.

D. R. Butler: There are many approaches to sadhana, to working on ourselves for spiritual growth, or for personal development—however we wish to think of this process we are engaged in that induces us to read the blog or our current lesson. After all, we could spend our time watching one of innumerable TV channels, or checking out our favorite sites on the Internet, or bickering with our partner for that matter. After all, many couples are addicted to bickering just to have something to do together.

Everyone is at a certain level of work on oneself for spiritual advancement. Some of us might be practicing seeing God in all things, and living in the awareness of pure Consciousness being and doing everything. Most of us, however, get caught up in thinking that something else is happening in addition to God’s play, or that someone other than God is present among us, and that such a godless situation or person must be dealt with somehow. The result of this is that it creates unnecessary stress and anxiety

A truly wise person, one who consistently sees the Truth, sees everything as equally the play of the same divine Consciousness. There is no higher or greater vision than of pure Consciousness appearing as everything we perceive and experience. If we could see everything as a manifestation of Consciousness, we would live in the awareness of the Truth of the present moment.

The practical truth, however, is that most of us are constantly thinking of stuff, constantly imagining how things are, constantly describing the world, others, as well as ourselves. We reap the results of these thoughts, of our imagination, and of the ways we describe the world to ourselves. All these things start appearing to be real in our own life.

Therefore, since we are creating our own world anyway, often in the very ways we wish it were not, why not learn to be aware of the creative power of mental energy? Since our thoughts set energies into motion that have consequences in the emotional or physical realms, we might as well be aware of what is going on, and have some conscious input as to how mental energy is directed. Otherwise, habitual patterns will repeat themselves endlessly, and we will live as though we have no choice regarding what we say and do, or how we react to what others say and do.

If there were no conditioning affecting us in limiting ways, then there would be no reason to “break free from past conditioning,” as it says in the question. Most of us, however, have conditioned ways of being and seeing things that limit our perception and experience. This limitation exists until we consciously do whatever is necessary to break free from that conditioning.

This is why in the lessons we explore what needs to be done in order to break free from past conditioning, as well as how to do it. Even though the highest understanding is that everything is the play of the same Consciousness, it is still practically important that the individual comes to understand the creative process, and how situations and events come into being in one’s personal life.

Principles of Truth must be examined from many different approaches, and seen on many different levels, before they become clear enough that we can live by them.

Susan: My current lesson describes a pattern of behavior that I would like to change having to do with reacting to something someone says and immediately wanting them to behave differently. I can see the behavior now as a conditioned response, but I don't have the skill yet to stop my reflexive behavior—(anger). Wanting to explore how to upgrade my response I brought the subject up for conversation. I was then reminded that focusing on the problem gave it more energy. So my question is, how can I explore strategies to upgrade my reactions without focusing on the past negative behavior?

D. R. Butler: You will see that we can go into such things to a much greater degree in the lessons than here in the blog, simply because one lesson lays the foundation for the next. Your question is classic. It is a question all of us wish to be more clear about.

Concisely, the answer is that when you become aware of a habitual tendency, you can change it by creating something more harmonious to take its place in advance. This way you don't focus on the problem; you create beforehand how you will respond instead of being pulled along by past habitual reactions. Focus of attention requires intention and will, which we will explore in detail.

The fact that you have such a question is exactly why we go into such things in the lessons. No matter how sublime and expanded we aspire to be, we still have the nitty-gritty stuff of life to go through and come into harmony with. It is part of being a human being and a process that happens on many levels simultaneously.

You will see that you don't have to refer to or describe past negative behaviors in order to improve the future. All that is required is to focus on what creates or maintains harmony in the present moment. Once we establish harmony within ourselves right here and now, there is no outer force strong enough to disturb it. It is a great thing to be established in a harmonious state, no matter what challenges it.

We don't have to solve past problems. More likely we simply need to see something in a new way right now, which transforms who we are and how we deal with the outer world and other people. As we will learn, it is primarily a matter of focusing attention. This is what we are being taught to do through practicing the principles explored in each current lesson.

Your question was, “How can I explore strategies to upgrade my reactions without focusing on the past negative behavior?” Simply remain focused on whatever contributes to the harmony of the present moment. Allow each moment, through your most mundane actions and words, to be your contribution to the harmony of the world, simply through maintaining your own harmony no matter what happens around you. This is the very best strategy.


Kristina said...

I just read Lesson 17 last night and it made me react. It seems like I have ten zillion "yes BUTS". But I will only share one with you. It seems like you are saying that we should put up with any kind of bad behaviour and let people walk all over us. This I suppose is my wrong understanding since I am a person who to avoid conflict would put up with alot. Isn't it better to say something to another if their behavior is really bugging us, in a respectful way, than just bottle it up and then blow up later feeling resentful, feeling like a doormat, and causing a major fight. I have put up with so much from my family and my friends that I am just tired of people taking advantage of me. Are you saying we should be butt kissers because I am tired of being a butt kisser. I am confused!

D. R. Butler said...

I assure you that nowhere in Lesson 17 is there any hint that you should allow people to walk all over you, or that you should 'kiss butt,' or that you should be a people-pleaser in any way.

Lesson 17 is primarily about how we see and relate to other people. It is not about how we should allow other people to relate to us. Our focus needs to be on how we are, how we act and respond to others, and not how they might be treating us.

In one of the Lessons it is pointed out that one of our highest dharmas (righteous duties) is to do what is necessary to take care of ourselves, and that it is not dharmic to allow others to mistreat or take advantage of us in any way. Usually, however, if we relate to others in a truly respectful way, they will be respectful to us in return, sometimes almost in spite of themselves and their tendencies.

If you apply the principles presented in Lesson 17 in how you relate and communicate with others, regardless of how another is treating you, you will experience a surprising transformation in your relationships.

Try it and see.

Rico said...

I'm writing today after reading the most recent Lesson and in particular about your emphasis on "seeing the light". This was at one time something of an issue for me since literally seeing the light was not a readily accessible experience for me. I had "seen" an internal light on a few occasions but it certainly wasn't something I could call up or focus on at will. So I "dealt" with your suggestion with a metaphoric approach. I "saw" the light as the light of Awareness of Consciousness and not as a lighthouse beacon from within. This approach has worked well for me and makes me wonder if your reference is literal or if perhaps one's experience "of the light" is different for each individual. I have found the Tibetan Dzogchen description, (to paraphrase) "The clear Light of Awareness boundless like the cloudless sky" more applicable to my own experience.

I am reminded of many comments from fellow travelers lamenting their lack of "experiences" and how this concept of an "experience" can often cause one to miss an experience not fitting one's model. Once I dropped the expectation of "seeing" the "light" my own experience revealed a light in a different form than I had expected.

D. R. Butler said...

As usual, your understanding is good, Rico. Different people do experience seeing the light in various ways. Certainly the clear light of Awareness is as good of a way of understanding it as any.

In a sense, light is that which illuminates. It is that which enables us to see anything, or to be aware of anything in particular. It illumines our waking state, our dream state, and even our deep sleep state. Otherwise, how would we see the world, how would be see and remember our dreams, and how would we see that we have enjoyed deep sleep?

Sometimes someone will say that when they meditate all they see is the darkness. Yet, there is a light that illuminates that darkness, otherwise how would we see it? How would we be aware of darkness if there were no subtle light revealing it to us?

Our interpretation of 'light' is limited and influenced by the fact that ordinarily we associate the perception of light with the eyes. However the inner light spoken of by the sages and scriptures is much subtler than anything that could be perceived with the senses. It is indeed the clear Light of Awareness.

Terry said...

In my current lessons there are a lot of teachings about the ego. It's always helpful to be reminded to notice the ego's unpleaasant and painful manifestations. However, I am at the point where I see that to navigate in this world the ego is completely necessary -- call it the purified ego, or whatever -- but to try to erase the ego is silly and pointless. It's a function of the out of control ego, if that makes sense. Viewing the ego as if it is an enemy at some point stops being productive. It is, after all, a divine creation, too. I'm not saying that it should run someone's life, but I am saying that the ego has its place and is useful in living life in the world. I spent years seeing my ego as a bad thing, trying to squelch it and erase it, and the net result was kind of like being burdened with original sin -- As in "I have this ego, this inherant flaw, how awful!" I see it differently now.
Re: Kristina's comment, I think a healthy, or purified ego, an awareness of ego, helps one "stand up" for oneself, coupled with deep respect for oneself and others.
Thanks so much for the course -- it's very helpful.

D. R. Butler said...

Terry, after contemplating your question, I think you might be thinking more of past beliefs and attitudes you had regarding ego, before you began the lessons, than how ego is presented in the course.

There is nothing in the lessons to indicate that ego is a bad thing or that there is anything wrong with it. As you say, we could not really function in this world without it.

Ordinarily, the ego identifies with the body, thoughts, and emotions, and thinks they are vital aspects of its identity. There is nothing wrong with this, yet it is a limiting way to go through life. It is being oblivious to the higher aspects of ourselves.

The ego is part of the whole and simply does what it does. Yet, we have a certain choice regarding how it functions. For example, instead of thinking, "I'm no good," we can think, "I am theSelf." It's all a matter of what concept we identify with.

What we don't ordinarily realize is that we can decide for ourselves whether to identify with limiting qualities, such as the tendency to stir up conflict and agitation, or to identify with expanding qualities, such as living each moment in a way that creates or maintains harmony in our personal lives.

So, I agree, it is "silly and pointless" to try to "erase the ego." Like you say, the ego (or "ahamkara" in Sanskrit), is as much a part of the divine creation as anything else. There is no need to consider it as an "enemy" or as a bad or negative thing in any sense. It simply is what it is.

What we explore in the course is to be aware of how the ego works instead of being obvious to what it is doing. The important thing is being free from identification with ego. Otherwise it is like we have become lost in a virtual reality game amd think we are a fictional character. If we remember that we are the one playing the game, and not simply a puppet or pawn acted upon by external forces, then we can observe the ego in action as a way to be free from it.

One way of using the ego is to think, "I am a loser, I've done everything wrong, I'll never get out of the mess I'm in now." Another way is to think, "I am calm, poised, and capable of handling whatever comes up next. I have a good heart and radiate love to all others in my life." The ego is which one of these people we think we are.

In a sense, we use the ego and mind to describe ourselves, and then we identify with that description of ourselves, and that limiting description is the aspect of ego that we need to recognize and break free from.

With training and practice, we can develop the ability to describe ourselves in the highest, most freeing ways. In the most expande sense, the ego feels, "I am pure Consciousness; I am unconditional love."

Some might say, "How egotistical." Well, of course. As long as we consider ourselves to be these individuals, everything is egotistical to some degree or another.

Until we are free from words and concepts altogether, much of our personal life will be determined by descriptions we either accept from others or create ourselves in imagination.

You are very early in the course. There is much more to be understood regarding ego, as well as all that exists beyond ego--the pure Self of all. Allow yourself to see what is new in the lessons, and be careful not to associate ideas with similar ideas from the past. It is very important to see what is new in the course, even though certain ideas might seem familiar, as though they are ideas you already understood in the past.

If we aren't willing to see what is new, what's the point of taking the course? We already know the old and the familiar. The ego very quickly identifies with what is old and familiar. Therefore, to move closer to freedom, it is important that we focus on what is new.

Ari said...

Enjoying lesson 19. You state that it's best to develop a somewhat impersonal attitude towards family members and what they are going through. That seems real tough with your kids. How do you be somewhat detached yet not come across as aloof? How do you love them and not feel their pain and joys?

D. R. Butler said...

Ari, I think this is an excellent example of the contrast between what is actually stated and how those words can be interpreted.

The paragraph you are referring to in Lesson 19 is: "For example, it can be very difficult to watch a family member or close friend or relative go through a hard time, and yet if we are personally pulled into that experience of difficulty, we become part of the problem, rather than a contributor to the uplifting and transforming energies that actually have the power to heal and rejuvenate."

Basically, it is best to remain positive and uplifting and therefore a part of the solution, rather than to get involved in the negative emotions associated with the situation, which is becoming part of the problem.

Being detached does not mean you are any less loving or empathetic. It's just that, if another is going through a hard time, the most you can offer that person is your own best state. If you get pulled into their depression or anger or whatever, you simply add energy to the problem.

I've said to my own children, "If I had my way, I'd set up your life where you would experience only happiness and never any suffering, but in reality all I can do is to be here for you when you need me." They each seemed to understand and appreciate my perspective.

You don't show your love through being concerned about their problems. You show your love by helping them to understand that this, too, will pass, and that all things eventually come to a harmonious conclusion. We show our love by being an example of that harmony.

My own children have taught me that the most I can add to their happiness is by being happy myself. Life seems better when your parents are happy, just as it seems better when your children are happy.

Jodi Voyevodin said...

In reference to Ari's post and your response:

I'm on Lesson 5 and I am amazed at the power of your course. I truly love it. I have a 4 year old son and I cannot develop ANY detachment in regards to his life. How can I not be "concerned" about his problems? He has some developmental issues and a lot of my energy is devoted to trying to get him help. I guess my question is about the age of children. I can imagine letting go more as he gets older and more independent, but right now it seems impossible. I seem to have a lot of success in practicing the principals with anyone but my son. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again Ram for giving us this incredible course, it is such a blessing.

D. R. Butler said...

Once again I remind you that the primary thing when dealing with children of any age is to be as positive as possible. Our negativity will only contribute energy to our childrens' problems. Don't be so concerned with detachment or letting go. Simply be as positive as possible. That is the greatest contribution you can make.

Jodi Voyevodin said...

Thank you. It is exactly what I needed to be reminded of. It really is so simple.

ari said...

Thanks for your responses to our questions about parenting our young kids.
I should mention thats kids sure teach us a lot about how to approach life. Have fun and laugh a lot. I've noticed in studying saints/realized beings that they seem to have a lot of childlike qualities. It gives you an example of the possibilities as adults to maintain that state.

Stuart said...

D.R. wrote...
> Considering that the principles
> of Truth were first stated in
> scriptures written thousands of
> years ago, who among us can come
> up with new and improved wisdom?

This is a key point, worthy of careful attention. Where do we look for Truth? Do we attend to our own moment to moment experience? Or is it better to study the words of thousand-year-old scriptures?

It's an easy thing to explore for oneself. For a day (or week etc), find an old scripture, and whenever you have to make a decision, refer to the words/ideas in the book for guidance. Then, for a similar time-period, forget about the book, and seek guidance from your own direct experience of each situation that arises.

When this little test is over, then you can decide which way you like.

Each of us, everyday, has the experience of stepping into a shower. How do we know whether the water is too hot or too cold? Which scripture will guide us? In fact, we all naturally know that we can test the water and know for ourselves what the temperature is.

Perhaps some people think that they can believe in their own experience when taking a shower, but in other situations, it's better to follow the old scriptures as D.R. suggests. That gives rise to the key question: at exactly what point should we stop believing in our experience, and start following a book?

The other can of worms is that there are lots of different old stories that people call "scriptures." D.R. would recommend following certain books, but the Christians (far more numerous) would choose entirely different books. So even if we believe that the principles of Truth come from a book... how is that useful in real life? When it comes to the choice of which book to believe in, we still don't know whether to follow D.R., the Christians, or someone else entirely.

rico said...

Hey Stuart,
The only "thing" to believe in is your own experience. If one pays close enough attention the Truth always lies in one's experience. We know "which book to believe in" by how that book resonates with us. If the words ring true and they prove true in our own experience then that book is probably worth some attention.

D. R. Butler said...

Stuart comments on my statement in the last entry: "...the principles
of Truth were first stated in scriptures written thousands of years ago...", and from that he presents an argument against relying on books over one's own innate wisdom.

No one familiar with my writings would agree that I would recommend following books over one's own experience. I didn't say that wisdom 'originated' from scriptures, or that the scriptures are the 'source' of wisdom; only that the principles were first elucidated in scriptures written by sages thousands of years before we arrived in these current bodies. Still, long before there were scriptures, there existed the Truth of Being.

Everyone who reads this agrees that it is best to rely on one's own experience. However, it is also good if one's own experience is aligned with the wisdom of the ancient scriptures; this gives us the power to fully trust the authority of our own experience.

On the other hand, if our own experience is contrary to what is written in the scriptures, perhaps we need to look at it more closely. After all, now and then delusion does creep in, even for the best of us.

In his comment Stuart says, "D.R. would recommend following certain books, but the Christians (far more numerous) would choose entirely different books."

Yet if he read just a few entries back he would see that I quote from the Bible as well as other scriptures, therefore his remark has no practical meaning. I also disagree that Christians are "far more numerous" than other religions.

In Lesson 20 of the course by email, it says: "To be sure the teachings always come from the right place, I like for the lessons to be grounded in the scriptures that are generally respected as expressions of the highest Truth. I quote from scriptures of all traditions, and from many ancient masters and modern teachers—whatever is useful in clarifying the point of our immediate field of exploration."

I feel is it very good for a spiritual teacher to be grounded in the scriptures. There is more to it than merely "recycled wisdom," as Stuart might say. There is a matter of making the wisdom relevant and practically useful during these modern times. If the teachings aren't grounded in the scriptures, then it is very easy for the teacher to go on his own ego trip, and at this point he's only sharing his own delusions with others.

Anyway, it was interesting observing Stuart finding something wrong with what I had written. He is a regular contributor to sites that reveal the 'dirt' and 'gossip' surrounding various spiritual teachers and groups. I suppose we should feel honored that he chose our humble blog to find something to challenge. He is quite a character. People like him make the world, or at least the Internet, a more interesting place.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, "This Self is never born, nor does It die, nor after once having been, does it go into non-being."

This is powerful knowledge. It is very powerful to understand that after once having been, our own inner Self does not ever go into non-being. Understanding the scriptures can lead to an expanded state and an expanded perspective of things.

If you go by your own experience, you will eventually reach the same conclusion. You will see that once that awareness in you has been, it never goes into non-being. You will see that your own inner Awareness goes on forever.

We can certainly experience the Truth of Being without the help of the scriptures. Yet, many insights and realizations happen much faster through reading the scriptures than might have happened otherwise. Also, there is something very powerful about having one's own experience confirmed by those scriptures written by sages whose words have lasted over the ages.

Francis said...

I have a sister who tells people in my surroundings that I belong to a cult. When I meet her, I think I must keep a distance between her and me because she is that kind of person who displays all of her charm when she is with me, but when I am not around she tells harmful things about me.

D. R. Butler said...

There will always be people saying one thing about you or another. There is an Indian saying, "Let the dogs bark." Don't be affected by the words of another, even your sister. You know you are not in a cult, you are on a path that teaches you to turn within to your own inner Self. Therefore simply know the truth about yourself and allow others to think what they want. You will find that their words won't hurt you at all, while if they said nicer things about you it wouldn't help you. The only thing that matters is to know the Truth about yourself.

Ari said...

I was a little suprised you took the time and energy to refute Stuart's inquiry.
I too for a very brief time spent some time on certain websites dedicated to desecrating the very spiritual path that I was on for past 15 years. I was mainly on to offer my own positive experiences with my practice but I quickly realized it was to no avail. These people are using the same zeal they had when they actually participated in these very practices.

It became mostly an energy drain and I moved on. Stuart's contribution was a reminder of a kind of cynicism I want no part of. I actually wish you would not give those people time. i see this as a sacred place for me.

Steven said...

I have seen Stuart's posts on other sites, and he is definitely one of the most opinionated people I have come across, in a very arrogant way, as though he possesses some special insight that the rest of us have missed out on. I too was a little surprised that you bothered to post his comment.

Melissa Abbott said...

Hi Ram, Thanks again and again for the course. I just want to know one thing....
What is wrong with recycling? Use and Re-Use, its something everyone should be doing on all kinds of levels...make what is old new and relavant...Better for the Planet :)
Recycle your garbage into a mulch for growing beautiful vegtables to eat and enjoy.....Recycle your knowledge into new and greater understanding of the spirit...

D. R. Butler said...

Regarding Stuart's post, I don't mind a respectful challenge. It's not that one has to say only good things about the blog in order to post a comment.

The blog is for a free discussion of the principles of Truth. Not all comments are from those who take the course by email. It is best, however, if comments are not hostile or disrespectful, but there are very few that come in like that.

Perhaps someone will learn something significant through the exchange with Stuart. Everything can be useful in the evolution of wisdom. The important thing, as far as our own lives are concerned, is how we see things. We create our world through our vision of it.

Anonymous said...

I was out weeding the flower garden this morning and saw some similarities with the lessons that you have been imparting. FIrst of all thank you for pointing out areas where work is needed such as negative thought that need to replaced in order to advance spiritually. Some weeds have blooms and look pretty for a while but are pulling the nutrients from the soil and the flowers in the same way negative thoughts sap my energy and keeps me form advancing and becoming more happy with my life. I have made it a priority to recognize negative thought patterns and replace them with uplifting thoughts and feelings. This is making a significant difference in my life. I have been in Yoga for many years thinking that everything is fine as it is with very little change and not much did change with that mental stance. There is no way I can repay you with the true worth of these lessons. Blessings to you, Ralph

Steve said...

I'm kind of having a "moment" this morning and wanted to extend heartfelt thanks for the Course. Lesson 16 feels like one of those that is deserving of permanent contemplation, something I feel I could spend the rest of my life "getting."

I don't know if I'd go so far as to say I've had an epiphany, but I have indeed experienced a feeling as regards the necessity of the presence of words or descriptions for a problem to exist. The notion of refusing to "see" something as a problem, and especially "consistently refusing to believe the evidence of the senses regarding it," seems an unbelievably bold concept to actually put into action. The evidence of the senses is often the only thing we believe in at the moment.

The feeling I had was that I could see the Truth of this passage, but that to actually put it into action I had to "wake up." It's as though one was trying to make out the scenery through a fog, something just out of reach. I think just a few short months ago I would have experienced frustration at my inability to follow through with this concept, but I can see that it is something that can indeed be "done" in the present moment, moment to moment.

Which is where my feeling of gratitude welled up, as I realized that repetition of the reading of the lesson would have an impact on my subconscious, and I wanted to extend thanks to you for providing the opportunity to continue on this course, out of the fog.

jimi said...

In lesson 20 you talk about the importance of being lighthearted. It reminds me of one of your lessons from about 24 years ago. You said that people always want some sort of "meter" to gauge how well they are doing on the spiritual path. You went on to say that if we were lighthearted, we were doing fine & if we were serious, not so fine.

Coincidentally I have been rereading all the books by Carlos Casteneda, which are about his relationship w/his "teacher" Don Juan Matus whom he called a "benefactor" but whose actual role was more like that of a "guru". I am on the 8th book. This is probably an exaggeration, but it seems like there's hardly a page goes by where Don Juan is not rolling on the floor laughing. It seems he could find humor in anything.

joanelyia said...

I, too, just read Lesson 17, and I am completely blown away! In the Lesson you stated: "Words no longer have the power to determine how such a one feels or what she thinks, because a ‘great being’ is firmly established in a space of no-mind— the space between any two thoughts." When I read those words, it's like something finally clicked for me. Words DO have the power to affect ones's thoughts. Thanks D.R., keep the words coming!

Sally said...

My son asked me a question today: What is the difference between thinking and knowing? As I tried to discuss it, I realized that it wasn't so easy for me to explain.

D. R. Butler said...

Thinking is mental activity, or mind in motion. It usually involves something regarding the past or the future: "What should I do today? Shall I go to the gym or work on my art project?" or, "The more I think about what he said to me last week, the more angry I get."

Thoughts, in general, don't have much to do with the Truth of the present moment. They are simply meanderings of the mind, verbal descriptions of egotistical melodramas.

Knowing, on the other hand, doesn't actually require thought. For example, someone asks, "What is your name?" and immediately you know your name. You don't have to think about it, remember it, or conjure it up. Your name simply arises in your awareness because it is something you already know. You have a firm conviction regarding it. There is no doubt.

Before we can tap into true knowing, we first need to move into that space between any two thoughts. When we are in that space, we have momentarily transcended the mind, and 'knowing' arises intuitively, without any necessity for thinking.

Steve said...

Some amazing changes have
occurred in our household, fruits relating directly to the re-reading of
the lessons. It's more difficult to see changes in ourselves I think, than
in others close to us. Susan, in particular, has become a completely
different person. Her perseverance and devotion to her path is a great
model for me. I'm sure that part of the change I perceive has to do as well
with how I "see" her, but either way our whole environment is a new world.
Lesson 17 is a strong reminder of how we've changed, and how we must
continue to evolve, and is greatly appreciated. Thanks again for reiterating
certain points that will always need monitoring.

Ari said...

What is the best way to get others to appreciate the worth of the course and to awaken their interest in taking it for themselves?

Just this past month I've had three people ask for an introduction to the course. It is so exciting to have people I can talk about the principles with.

D. R. Butler said...

The best way to interest someone in the lessons by email is to tell them exactly how taking the course benefits you and your life. After all, if there are no actual benefits, there is no reason to take it.

As far as appreciating the worth of the course, it takes even the most sincere participants of the course a while to truly appreciate its true value, even though they might immediately experience benefits and enthusiasm. It is challenging to appreciate the full value of reading the lessons until you experience it for yourself. Even in your enthusiasm to interest others in the course, in a year from now your own appreciation of the course will be so much greater than it is now. That is the best part.

Regarding an introduction to the course, the best introduction is the very first entry on the blog, posted in July of 2008, and titled "Introduction." Anyone who wishes to get an idea of what the course is about should read that entry. It will be obvious then whether the course is suitable for a person or not.

In fact, I invite all current participants of the course, no matter what lesson you are on, and all readers of this blog, no matter how long you have read it, to go back and reread that first entry in the blog. Many people will see it with an entirely different perspective than they did the first time they read it. Try it, just to see how it feels now, and to see if your understanding of it has grown and deepened since your first reading.

Vivir en la Verdad del Momento Presente said...

Your course is better now than ever! (That has been my thought for many years, so it must be that each lesson gets better and better). As I am translating one of the lessons, once again my mental structure is dislodged (is that a good word?)... restructured, renovated, changed, transcended... all of that. T h a n k y o u f o r t h i s w o r k !!! ---Marta (Vandita).

Michael said...

What participating in the Course has meant to me:

I'm getting better at shifting my attention from the drop (woe is me) to the Ocean (wow is me)!

D. R. Butler said...

Some final thoughts on the exchange with Stuart:

It is written somewhere, on some Internet site, that this blog is "highly censored" and that I would "never allow any dissenting views to be posted."

In truth, the comments in the blog are hardly censored at all. Very few submissions are not posted, and in most cases they are for reasons the submitter would never guess. I certainly do not censor out dissenting views, and truthfully, not many come in.

Thankfully, most comments are appreciative of what is available in the blog as well as the course by email. Still, there is a freedom here, to discuss whatever, as long as it is respectful and with civility. I'm a live and let live type, and generally don't even disagree with the people who disagree with me.

Anyway, just some final thoughts for this particular section. The questions among the comments following the next entry are excellent. Be sure and check them out, if you haven't already. Thanks to each of you who contributes in any way.