Saturday, August 1, 2009

“Will I ever ‘Get it’?”—Grace and Self-effort

Someone recently asked, “Will I ever ‘get it?’ Will I ever actually see and experience the Truth of the present moment?”

Lots of people have various versions of this question from time to time. Once I had the realization that wondering what was wrong with me was the primary problem. I also saw that the only aspect of me that would wonder such a thing would be the ego itself.

In a sense, wondering if we’ll ever ‘get it,’ prevents us from ‘getting it’ or experiencing it for oneself, as a present actuality and not merely a premise or some future goal. It reduces the experience of Truth to words, and the true experience is far beyond mere words. In fact, it is the space between words, which is infinite and eternal.

We all experience the Truth from time to time. Otherwise this blog would make no sense and you never would have read this far. You know what experiencing the Truth of the present moment is, or you wouldn’t be here. The very phrase would have no meaning for you had you never experienced it.

Enjoy this moment of getting it. Whether for a moment or an eternity, what does it matter? Ultimately they are the same. We experience the highest Truth, the most expanded state, and then moments later the ego and mind get involved in something again. We go in and out of the experience of the Truth all the time.

When we experience the Truth, we experience that the Truth is eternal and unbroken. When we forget the Truth, we even forget that we ever knew the Truth, and wonder if it’s ever actually possible. Most of us go back and forth between these two experiences, depending on our state at the time.

The point of spiritual work, or work for personal development, or for the expansion of consciousness, or for eventual freedom and liberation—or however we choose to understand it—is to increase the amount of time we experience the Truth and to decrease the amount of time we forget the Truth. Ultimately, as we mature spiritually, we gain consistency, and this greater degree of consistency is true growth.

The experience of the Truth is beyond time and space, therefore a moment of Truth is eternal. There is no ‘Truth’ limited to time or space. The Truth, or pure Consciousness, is timeless and formless. It has no seeming linear reality in the way the physical, objective world does, with our ongoing descriptions of melodramas and so forth.

Appreciate and honor those moments of Truth as they arise. Just because you don’t consciously ‘remember’ them doesn’t mean they never happen. The experience is only real now.

Someone else wrote to ask, “It seems that your course is more about self-effort and not so much about grace? Would you consider this to be true?”

To be honest, it has been my experience and observation that not many people truly understand grace, although many have erroneous ideas regarding it. One person actually quit the course because she preferred to do spiritual work through grace instead of self-effort.

Let’s look at this. Through grace we are alive, through grace we experience love, through grace we have each other, and through grace our predominant thoughts manifest as outer realities. Through grace we breathe and the heart beats. This doesn’t mean that grace is going to do our sadhana (spiritual work) for us.

God has given us the free will to think whatever we choose, and thought leads to action, which leads to reaction. Our habitual thoughts set off chain-reactions that go all around the world for all we know.

Through grace our thoughts do become real, but it’s up to us whether we think of what we want or what we don’t want. It’s up to our own self-effort whether we think pleasant thoughts or unpleasant thoughts. Grace gives us the power to do the work, but grace doesn’t do the work for us. On the level of being an individual, there are certain things we must do for ourselves.

If we are having an unpleasant day, we can be certain that we are thinking unpleasant thoughts. Through grace our thoughts manifest emotionally and physically, usually in that order. Yet we determine what we think with our own free will. The problem is, most of us don’t use it, and instead settle into automatic, predictable patterns of thought and reactivity.

This is our primary responsibility as an individual: to determine what we think instead of mechanically being swept along by a torrent of habitual tendencies from the past.

The weird part is that most of us reading this already think we know this, that we already do this, and that I am merely harping on the most elementary fundamentals. Yet, for the most part we don’t actually practice these principles in our lives on a moment-to-moment basis.

We give ourselves credit for understanding the principles, we say, I’ve known about creative thought for years. Let’s get to the good stuff, let's study the more advanced aspects of Advaita Vedanta, yet we don’t do it in the most practical ways in day-to-day life. We don’t actually practice what we think we already know. Therefore, most of us need more self-effort—which is primarily an activation and coordination of attention, conscious intent, and will. This is discussed in detail in the lessons by email.

To many of us this sounds very simple. Yet to actually practice it in our own life often seems almost impossible. Through grace we come upon these teachings, through grace we gain an awareness of the principles, and through grace the principles do bear fruit if we practice them and not merely agree in theory. Grace even gives us the inherent power to practice. Yet we have to practice the application of the principles through our own self-effort. It does no good to merely “know about” the possibility.

There were some excellent questions in the comments following the previous entry, and if you haven’t read them, please take time to do so. I hope you include the comments in your reading of the blog, as a lot of information and inspiration is there. Here are a couple of questions from last time that are well worth rereading:

Jackson: Sometimes (my wife) relates to me very disrespectfully and criticizes me for things that seem to me like her own projections and have nothing to do with me. My question is how do I know whether she is deluded and sees things about me that are her own imagination and actually have nothing to do with me, or whether I am deluded to the point that I can’t see the truth of what she says?

D. R. Butler: It is important to first understand that it does not matter if your wife knows the truth about you or not. Ultimately, of course, you might need to understand this, but that’s not where you start off. You start off by understanding why you are seeing her as you are, and what is being reflected back to you that you need to understand about yourself.

We each experience the consequences of our own actions and attitude, and our own ways of seeing and understanding things. If you see your wife as “disrespectful and critical,” it is important that you understand what it is about yourself that causes you to see this particular reflection. In other words, the important thing is not to understand your wife’s projections onto you, but to understand your own projections onto her.

See that you are the one who is conscious of disrespect and criticism, therefore including them in your personal reality. Don’t blame them on your wife or anyone else. Replace them with respect and appreciation instead, and you’ll see something totally different in your life as well as your wife.

Relate to her with love and respect, with lightheartedness, and don’t take her too seriously when she seems to be the ways you have the most trouble with. Don’t come back at her when you feel unjustly blamed or attacked. Don’t get defensive. Simply stay centered in your own harmonious state. Of course it will be challenging, but that is where you have to start if you truly wish to change anything.

If you can remain steady within yourself, and not be pulled into reacting to whatever she is or isn’t experiencing, or how she does or doesn’t see you, or however you happen to see her, things cannot remain as they presently appear to be. You will see that your relationship always reflects your own attitude and your own vision. The way the other person affects you is not up to them; it is up to you.

See and relate to your wife in the ways you would like for her to see and relate to you. Ultimately everything in our own life originates from our own vision. We see it before it becomes real for us, and how we see something is the cause of what we see. This especially applies to relationships of any nature.

Susan: The part that I am still struggling with is how I relate to myself. I'm less kind and less positive in my internal dialog when that part of me that I call the "Judge" gets on a roll. Any hints about how to develop internal compassion?

D. R. Butler: The closest we have to an actual “original sin" is thinking lowly of ourselves, being critical of ourselves, and generally feeling unworthy. We do not outgrow this, and it does not fall away on its own accord. It is the human condition, and was described in certain scriptures thousands of years ago.

We have to consciously practice thinking well of ourselves, respecting ourselves, and loving ourselves. When done correctly, the persistent ego is humbled. This is the highest discipline.

This does not happen automatically, or simply by deciding to do so. We have to do the work, or actually apply the principles in real life, in order for the transformation to occur. We are currently, thanks to grace, engaged in that process.

I look forward to the comments following this entry, and I give thanks to those who contribute their questions. Often, in reading the answers to the questions of others, our own questions are answered as well, and through each simple exchange all of us can learn something new.

27 comments:

Melodie said...

Just finished my first reading of Lesson 23. I love your writings. You always explain things in a way that is fresh and it makes me see things in a new way. I especially like it when the bubbles of my understanding are popped and I finally "get it" on another level. This is such a fun path! There are so many pleasant surprises.

Roslyn said...

You really outdid yourself in both the latest blog entry and the current lesson. The new entry is "lesson-quality" and I hope everyone who reads it values what they're getting. Your writings get better and stronger as you get older, and it's a great sign to see that it's possible for us to improve as we age. Thanks for all the writings (and understanding) you make available to us.

Brian said...

I wanted to write just a few lines to you about a useful and helpful discovery I have made when feeling inertia about my daily lesson reading. I am sure it is not news to everybody either but still I felt moved today after using it again, to write about it.

As simple as it is, I have found it to be exceptionally useful and something which, amazingly ADDS a dimension to the reading by providing extra focus and allowing The Reader and The Read to blend elegantly.

When I feel a bit draggy, weighed down by Tamas Guna and not so disposed to look at my lesson I simply read it OUT LOUD to myself.

I have come to understand that the more draggy I feel about reading a lesson the more important it is for me to read it so I am really glad to have discovered this method.

Of course, we are all different but I thought that at least some others might profit from knowing of it and for that reason alone, as elementary as this tip is, I thought it worth writing to you about it.

D. R. Butler said...

Thanks for your tip, Brian. I have heard others speak of the benefits of reading the lessons out loud. There are even those who read it out loud to record it, and then listen to the tape of the lesson.

It's true that, due to tamas guna, and our own resistances, including ego and samskaras, rereading a lesson we consciously feel familiar with sometimes just doesn't feel like the thing we really want to do. Sometimes we are far less enthusiastic than other times. This is perfectly normal; yet we find that if we read the lesson anyway, even when we don't want to do so, or aren't in the 'mood' for it, the benefits are even greater than usual, and often our state is uplifted and transformed simply by making that little extra effort.

A developed will is necessary for success in any field, and this subject is something explored in detail in the lessons.

Steve said...

The present Course seems very much more unfettered than anything you ever wrote in the past. Things are explained to the nth degree, and repetitively, to boot. (Thank You, Lord, for this) Nevertheless, the principles offered can be starkly challenging. As an example, sitting, standing, walking, with great awareness: as I conjure what it would be like to be a self-realized being, it is so obvious that these simple things must be the pinnacle of life in the present moment.

If this is one's experience then there is indeed no such thing as time. I have such a time trying to wrap my, my what? around this concept. I can perceive it, just out of reach, so tantalizing. My sincerest hope is that the little-by-little practice of the principles in the Course will lead to this constant awareness.

Believing this to be so, I am brought once again to a feeling of profound gratitude. Which, as an aside, is where I always ended up, doing the various exercises imagining what it would feel like to have any particular heartfelt wish already be a reality.

The present Course feels like some kind of fast track, exquisitely detailed, on the road to realization.

joanelyia said...

Just wanted to share a little "Aha!" moment with everyone. I found myself looking at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Awareness shifted, and inner wisdom surged. In that precious now, I was the perceiver, the perceived, and the perception. Wow. Now I'm finding it difficult to look in the mirror without the expectation of a repetition of the experience. Any suggestions?

Michael said...

To all spouses / partners who feel nagged or put down:

When I began to observe my own reactions to my dear wife's habitual critical remarks or behavior (slamming doors / cupboards, giving me that look), I discovered that I had been harboring (since early childhood) thoughts like, "I am blameworthy. I am immature. I am selfish, careless and irresponsible. I am manipulative and deceitful. I am stupid. I am moody. I am a qualitatively flawed, not-good-enough human being. I am a coward. I am a loser." I remember "hearing" phrases like that from parents, grandparents and teachers, siblings and peers -- whether they actually used those exact words or not -- and these "tags" became part of my subconscious conditioning.

An "I am blameworthy" samskara or conditioned impression subtly "expects" or attracts blame or criticism. I began to see the connection behind my wife's so-called nagging and the corresponding judgments I was still - on some level - believing. I would fail to put something away in the kitchen, she'd fuss and as I looked behind my defensive anger, I saw or subtly heard the thought-whisper, "I am careless. I am inconsiderate," like a weird echo.

I found that once I verbalized the thought, I was able to see how false it was, and finally, finally! let it go, let them all go. To facilitate this process, I actually imagine myself being criticized, notice the conditioned reaction, then replace it with humor, tolerance, sweetness or compassion. Lately I can't help but notice how much more patient and understanding and tolerant and genuinely loving my dear wife seems to be! As D.R. is fond of saying, "My, how you've changed since I've changed!"

Nathan said...

D.R., this is something I've wondered about for a while, ever since I became aware of your writings a few years ago.

Why do you think it is that so many people love your writings, and are so enthusiastic about them and loyal about recommending them to others, while others read the same writings and feel nothing from them, or find something weird about them? What makes your way of presenting these ancient teachings so inspiring to many, while perhaps being even a turnoff to others? I personally wonder, "What's not to like?" but apparently some people see the course (and blog) different from how I see them.

Perhaps the question is not worth anyone's attention, and if that is the case, then toss it aside, or wherever rejects end up. I am mainly just curious about your perspective of my question. If you have none, simply ignore the question.

D. R. Butler said...

Nathan, your question seems worthy to me, so let's look at it. There are so many answers that would all be true, so many levels of understanding regarding your question. I'll share a bit of how I understand it--since you sincerely ask for my perspective.

On one level there are those who are consciously doing spiritual work, or work for conscious development, including greater access to the Truth of the present moment, and there are those who are not the least bit interested in such things, and even find such ideas as absurd. So we can quickly eliminate the latter group.

Of those that's left, which is by far the smaller group, there's the difference between learning "about" spiritual principles verses actually "applying" the principles in one's own life.

One person even said to me, "You shouldn't use the word 'work' in your promotional material, because who wants to work?" Well, you can pretty much eliminate those who are turned off by the idea of spiritual work, as it states in Lesson 1 that the course is for those who want to actually do the work from one present moment to the next, without allowing ourselves to get away with so much negativity and so many mechanical tendencies and predictable reactions.

Then, of those truly willing to do the work and sincerely aspiring to greater spiritual development, some are attracted to one form of teaching while others are attracted to completely different presentations, even though the ultimate teachings or principles are the same.

Since I first published magazine articles about various aspects of yoga, meditation, and creative thought back in the early 70's, there have been a certain amount of people who find that they "resonate" with the "voice" that comes through these writings. It is a voice I learned long ago not to take personally. I prefer to not describe or define it in any way. It is what it is.

I immediately saw that the writings resonated with some people and not with others. In fact, sometimes it resonated with those I least expected it from, while others I thought would truly appreciate it weren't very excited about it in any way.

So I continue writing for those who resonate with the writings, and those who do not resonate with my particular 'style' will eventually come upon, or are already practicing, another way of reaching the same end. There is no doubt regarding the spiritual evolution of every individual. It is why we are here; it is what happens.

Some will immediately be amazed by the power of the lessons, by their impact on their actual experience and awareness; others will remain unfazed, wondering how could anything of true value possibly be in the words of a written course. It is simply the way it works.

As long as enough people want the writings to keep me going, I'll keep going. All are in God's hands anyway, and I'll humbly help out in whatever way I can for those He chooses to come in contact with these writings. Obviously, since He created the writings, He created the readers as well.

Like I said, there are so many levels of understanding this, so many different true answers. Basically, some are drawn to teachings of the Truth of Being, and others fight them or renounce them for whatever reason. This is the way it has always been.

Anonymous said...

Hi D.R. and all...Lesson 23has barreled through my life and left me feeling more clarity and freedom inside--like all the lessons that came before, only moreso. Thank you to you and to the Source from which the lessons flow.

During the time of this lesson, my husband remarked to me that there is a very good reason why I have trouble maintaining my own highest vision of him. He pointed out that my vision of myself is "fragmented." When I asked what did he mean by that, he answered something like this: Because I basically see myself as both, on the one hand, this mature, spiritually evolved, loving, and kind person--the person I always wanted to be--and, on the other hand, this evil twin, who can pop up at any time, to one degree or another, and ruin my own experience of the moment as well as his, there is fragmentation in my vision of myself.

When I look at him through the filter of my own highest vision of myself, I can see only that in him. When I look at him through the filter of the evil twin...well, you get the picture.

Since there are so many ways for an individual to manifest, I'll just focus, from now on, on being responsible for how I'm seeing and describing myself and trust that if I'm loving my own manifestation in the moment then I'll be loving the reflection as well. Any comments on that?

D. R. Butler said...

Well, if there is a question in that, you basically answered it yourself. Most of us have a "fragmented" view of ourselves--sometimes seeing ourselves in the highest ways, and other times thinking lowly of ourselves. Of course, however we are seeing ourselves, is how we are likely to see others as well. If we see the best in ourselves, we see the best in them; if we see the worst in ourselves, we are likely to see the worst in them.

This is why one of the highest principles is to think well of ourselves. (Not in an egotistical sense, but to remember that deep within we share the same divine Self that dwells within all.) How we see ourselves determines so many things, especially how we see and relate to others.

It is hard to love others when we are not loving ourselves. Conversely, it is hard to not love others when we are loving ourselves. Love yourself and you love the whole world. Don't love yourself and you have a hard time loving anything.

The outer always reflects the inner. This especially applies to how we are seeing and feeling about ourselves.

juanananda said...

Woohoo! Think I finally got signed on. Loved getting my lesson on August 15--what a blessed day, as you say. Loving the course and sending you and Kay lots of love.
Jean

Michael said...

When I read in the current lesson about life "happening" in the same way that plants spring up on their own, I felt a cool relief wash over me: like, I no longer have to worry about how it's going to turn out. It's going to "fill out" according to the way it's been "seeded," with or without "me" -- an idea that assumes it's a "person."

I am also relishing the growing experience that I am living in a "loving universe," kind of like an eternal "hug." I used to feel so alone and vulnerable. More and more I feel "companioned and championed" by a dear Friend who's always in the background, a quietly knowledgeable, uplifting, compassionate and slightly mischievous Presence that keeps me informed, entertained and mostly out of trouble, as long as I stay in touch.

One of the fruits of participating in the Course is that I'm getting better able to separate my idea of a thing from the thing itself. D.R., you've written repeatedly that we literally live in our thoughts, and that as these are thinned or purified, our experience of ourselves and our world changes dramatically. Would you comment?

D. R. Butler said...

This area is covered fully in the lessons. Primarily, for now, see if you can spend more time in the space between thoughts, and less time lost in thought. Also, when you think, make sure to think only of what you actually want, of what makes you happy, and refrain from thinking of what you do not want, or what makes you unhappy. The best answer to this 'question' will lie in your own experience. Your own experience will be much greater than any comment I could make.

Naganath said...

The last lesson blew me away and I am glad I wasn't wearing a hat 'cause I would have lost it. Reading the part about your experience with your Masters tore me up. A flood of emotion and tears of gratitude, joy, and longing. That sense of separation is profoundly emotional and I really can't figure it out. As suggested, I do the practices and feel gratitude for all I have been given and All I Am. Your sharing your life is a heart punch.

Anonymous said...

Since I got bogged down with all the verbiage in the Lessons, I have lost track of which issue is the formal "last lesson" of the first year. I want to compile all of them into my two large binders. Gosh, they have been an odyssey for me. I am so grateful for these writings. Around June I rebelled and just stopped printing them out. Now in August, I am not reading them anymore, I am DOING them.

What a difference that makes! Some days I dedicate myself to being serene and non reactive (when appropriate). I am literally almost blown over at the full amount of negative thoughts and bitter repartee in my mind. I have usually thought of myself as a bubbly, optimist! My eyes are opened.

I Have enough info right here (piles of it to work with) so I do not think it is good for me to re-subscribe, having messed up the first year's instructions. Help me with my thinking.

D. R. Butler said...

Your comment made me smile. You asked to help with your thinking, so how about this? Simply focus on your current lesson. You'll find stated in your current lesson (24) that it takes the average participant about 2 years to fully grasp the full value of the course and to actually read the lessons as recommended.

Focus on Lesson 24, and if you go on to 25, then focus on that one for the two weeks allotted to it. It doesn't matter whether you read or understood any of the past lessons. The secret is to focus on your current lesson. As long as you are regularly referring to your current lesson, you are 'up-to-date.'

As for the first year, since you receive 2 lessons a month, the first year would be considered to be the first 24 lessons. Any insight regarding whether you should "continue" or not, however, will most likely be inspired by focusing on Lesson 24, which is your current lesson.

The power of the Course comes through the current lesson, not on anything in the past.

Consider the "verbiage" to be a facade, a test, an appearance, an illusion, or even maya. To experience the value of the course, we need to experience that which occurs between sentences and far beyond the words. When the lessons are read as intended, we enjoy insights and revelations that might apparently be completely unrelated to the actual words. Everything is not as it appears.

Whether you "continue" or not, we all share the same love and experience our unity in the same heart. We include all and exclude none. All the best to you in every way, and may your inner Omniscience always inspire you to do what is best.

Chris said...

I would like to testify to the benifits of simply rereading the current lesson. As I began reading my new lesson 24 where it says, "life is ultimately about being and has very little to do with doing", I realized that I was understanding this on a whole new level. I experienced a wave of love and forgiveness for all the things I've "done" and I felt I understood in a new way how God loves me. It isn't about what I've done at all, but about what I am, my being, THE Being. How many lessons and scriptures have I read that have spoke about this already is not important. This reading allowed this teaching in this moment which allowed this experience of the truth.

Rico said...

I came across this posted in a discussion forum I tend to frequent. I thought perhaps you might have some better insight into the highlighted section since I believe you are more familiar with Gurdjieff than I. While I can relate to most of this passage in the context of God does everything I'm a bit troubled by the highlighted section if for no other reason than this attitude would seem to foster an abdication of self effort on the part of a sincere seeker.

from the book "In Search of the Miraculous" (1950).

"Man's chief delusion is his conviction that he can do. All people think that they can do, all people want to do, and the first question all people ask is what they are to do. But actually nobody does anything and nobody can do anything...All his deeds, actions, words, thoughts, feelings, convictions, opinions, and habits are the results of external influences, external impressions.

"But no one will ever believe you if you tell him he can do nothing. This is the most offensive and the most unpleasant thing you can tell people. It is particularly unpleasant and offensive because it is the truth, and nobody wants to know the truth.

"Try to understand what I am saying: everything is dependent on everything else, everything is connected, nothing is separate. Therefore everything is going in the only way it can go. If people were different everything would be different. They are what they are, so everything is as it is."

D. R. Butler said...

Often people ask me what I think of a certain teacher or spiritual leader, or what do I think a certain teacher means by something in particular that he or she has said.

It is actually not possible for a third person to explain what another person meant by anything he said. The only way I can address such a question as this is to examine it in our own terms, through the terminology of the course.

You cannot pick out a page of Ouspensky's book you quoted from and understand it without putting it in context of the entire book, the system as a whole. Guirdjieff's system is very complex, yet very fascinating, especially to those who are more intellectually or scientifically inclined, rather than what we usually think of as "spiritual."

At one point, he explains that even when he uses a word such as "man" what he means depends upon what level of man he is speaking of. In his system, there are seven levels of man, and the lowest are the masses of humanity. This is who he was referring to in your quote. As you "work on yourself" to become more conscious, more awake, more present, you evolve upward throught he seven levels of being. The highest is being totally awake and present, while the lowest is totally automatic and mechanical.

In our terminology, we would explore this in terms of samskaras (subconscious impressions, automatic tendencies) and the conditioned ego (sense of separation, doership, and a sense of "me" the object rather than "I" the subject.) The entire first year of the course explores how we are bound, limited, and restricted by samskaras and the conditioned ego, and what steps are necessary to break free from these limitations to our freedom.

As long as we are the puppet of ego and samskaras, we can do nothing, just as Gurdjieff says. Everything just happens, according to past conditioning, according to the momentum of each samskara. Before we begin conscious work on ourselves, we would be amazed to see just how mechanical and predictable we are.

Once we consistently manage to do the work of the present moment, and not just now and then when we happen to think of it, we develop mastery, we develop will, we learn how to focus our attention on our innermost aspirations. Then we actually can do something or create something. But to the degree that we remain restricted by ego and samskaras--as explored in the lessons of the course--we remain mechanical and predictable.

I have included this question and answer as I feel contemplating it gives a powerful perspective of what "freedom" or "liberation" actually means. To many it is vague what we are not free from, and this exchange gives a certain perspective of freedom.

Most people simply assume they are free and can do whatever they want, but in truth authentic freedom must be earned. To become free is why we came to this planet, why we have a human body. It is what we are here for.

Michael said...

I began making a list of all the changes in my life since I began taking the Course last July. I still haven't finished. I get up every morning and instead of worrying about what I have to do or what might go wrong, I wake up with gratitude ringing in my ears. My neuroses have been lobotomized, revealing a natural delight in my own being. I'm having more fun on more levels than I ever imagined. Every day is like Christmas! My wife is even sharing the Course with me and my two (well, really three!) dear friends (thank God for three-way calling). I can honestly say I'm living the life of my dreams.

Michael said...

As year one draws to a close I wanted to share the greatest benefit of our collaboration: I have replaced the habit of projecting and accepting blame with forgiveness. Forgiveness is now my "default response" to negativity of any kind. Thank you, DR, for offering this vehicle of transformation to us, and thank all of you who share it.

Ann said...

Has it really been a year since my life has turned upside down? The lessons have been such a great boon, and like so many others, I am truly grateful for each and every one. I think the biggest surprise of all is that I'm finding I really like to "practice!" What's up with that! And I continue to "practice" as often as I can remember to do so, and the best ways I know how. I am so happy that you keep reminding us.

Chris said...

Dear DRB,

Thank you so much for this new course, and for all of your years of learning and sadhana that went into creating it. I just recently started this course after years since I participated in your last course, and I am amazed at the "punch" that it packs.

It's very interesting to me that your blog entry this month is about self effort and grace. The lesson content is filled with perspective and guidance on how to exert the right kind of effort to be aware in the present moment.

Yet along with it, I experience an IMMENSE amount of grace. I feel as if in the last few days since starting the course, I have become reconnected with the goddess in a way that I have not been in years, or ever for that matter.

I guess there is no question here, but an acknowledgment of the great value for me in the new course. The truth of the present moment (known in other circles as "the power of now") has been an important teaching and exploration for me for years now. I feel that with starting this new course I am being invited to step up and start *living* the teachings I have been learning and studying for years. What a gift!

All the best,
Chris

A student said...

Thanks for the reminder in lesson 25 about coming back to the heart, and for challenging us to constantly engage the will. For me it's like driving: there's coordinating foot, hands, eyes, ears as well as remembering the directions and making sure I stay in my own lane. I deeply look forward to exploring the treasures ahead with everyone!

chris said...

Would you agree that ultimately it is consciousness that does everything? While we can choose to turn left rather than right, the outcome is not in our hands?

D. R. Butler said...

Consciousness definitely does everything, but the individual is endowed with will power, the power to choose. Therefore we can choose to turn left or right. However, Consciousness enables us to choose as well as to turn.