Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Turning a 'Teachable Moment' into a 'Teachable Year.'

We’ve recently heard this term ‘A Teachable Moment.’ I think President Obama was the first to use it; at least his use of it was the first time I heard it. I really like this term, as it seems that the highest approach to life is to view each moment as a ‘teachable moment.’ And what is there to learn now? And now? And now?

It’s not that we have to be saying these words in our mind. Spiritual progress is not about words, no matter how sophisticated we become. It is a certain approach to things. Certain words can allude to the approach, but once we understand the true meaning of the words, we go right into the approach without the help of the words. We naturally view life as What can be learned in this moment? How can I contribute to the harmony of this moment? How do I add to the experience of love in this moment?

Yet, it’s not a mental process. There is a mental process to it, but it’s only a small stepping stone. It’s more a process of attention, intention, and will. There is a section in our course that explores the activation and coordination of these 3 qualities. Once we use will to focus attention on our consciously chosen intention, we live according to our inner aspirations, and according to our own dharma.

In the realm of spirituality there are many paradoxes. For example, the yogic scriptures tell us we are already pure and perfect just as we are, and that any attempts to improve are only the persistence of the ego. Yet, on the other hand, it is dharmic to do our own part, to play our own role, to function as whoever we have chosen to be in this particular incarnation. Not only that, the dharma is to do it the very best we can, to give each moment our best shot.

Swami Shivananda once said: Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest of acts. This is the secret of success.

We can simultaneously be pure, perfect, and divine just as we are, while also bringing awareness and presence to each moment through a subtle movement of will. This is doing the sadhana presented to us through our own karma.

There is a delicate balance: one is resting in our present perfection; while the other is performing the next action to participate in playing this particular karmic role in the divine play of life.

If we can maintain this delicate balance, we live on such a subtle and refined realm of being even while in this body, and while performing all the actions associated with our dharma. Our dharma is our right thing to do in this world, in this life, in this moment. It is living so that all our words and actions are for the mutual benefit of all around us, and for all with whom we share any relationship or situation.

Dharma is doing whatever is necessary to be in harmony with our karma. Through the activation of subtle will we can simply be in harmony with our karma, with no other action necessary.

Living according to dharma is living to contribute to the lives of all those around us, according to our own abilities and resources. We cannot live only for ourselves or our soul will atrophy. Giving is the key to keeping the natural flow moving in our own life; otherwise everything is clogged.

With awareness and presence, we can make 2010 a ‘teachable year’ filled to the brim with ‘teachable moments.’ Even as we rest in our own purity, perfection, and divinity, we also remain open to learning what is new. My teacher once told me that there is no end of new things to learn. Since the Internet didn’t even exist then, it has turned out to be very, very true, on many levels of existence. Every day there is something new to learn.

Learning something new keeps us young. When we stop learning new things, we start to age.

There were some very good questions in the comments following the last entry. There is an excellent ‘relationship’ question from Naganath, and I recommend the dialogue with Leela as well.

I’m including the last question posted there in this entry, since I feel the ‘response’ is equally applicable to many people’s life situations—like the man who writes about how to deal with his noisy neighbors, the woman who wonders how to relate to her mother-in-law, the man who wonders how to deal with the death of his wife, the couple learning to live with the reality of cancer, the young mother struggling to keep up with her young children, the couple coping with the onset of Alzheimer's, and so on—the list is long. There is no end of karmic situations to deal with, otherwise there would be no reason to be here, and nothing new to learn.

Here is the question and response:

“I am on Lesson 9, which talks about coming into harmony with everything. There is a lot for me in this lesson! I moved to Ecuador four years ago to be of service. My husband and I are working with the Indigenous Indians in the High Andes. Unfortunately, not all ex-patriots are altruistic. In fact, there are a shocking number of con artists and pedophiles. Since they are ‘gringos’ and there are not so many of us here, these people are often in my ‘present moment.’

“I have a difficult time coming into harmony with them. On three occasions I have come forward and participated in getting them expelled from the country. What I can't get my mind around is this: What inside of me, is reflecting and creating these people? I have done a lot of soul searching and honestly don't find anything within me that would cheat or steal or harm a child. Why are these people in my life? What am I doing wrong? I'm not trying to be argumentative nor take issue with your teachings. I am only trying to understand what I'm doing that creates these people. Because if I knew, I would make every effort to stop.”

The easy answer is "karma." As Paramahansa Yogananda put it, All is karma, all is grace.

In the Bhagavad Gita, when Arjuna asked Krishna why he had to go to war against his cousins and uncles, Krishna told him, and I'm paraphrasing, "There is no way you could possibly understand all the karmic influences that has led to these particular circumstances. All you can do is raise your sword and live the dharma of a warrior."

In the same way, there's no way you could possibly know what put you in those circumstances, or around those particular people; all you can do is the dharma of coming into harmony with it. Through this process you become stronger, and one of the primary reasons we are here is to become stronger in certain ways. We are given karmic circumstances that allow us to develop the inner strength we need in order to be free.

This doesn’t mean that you condone their actions or feel okay about them. You still do what you do to uphold dharma, even if it results in participating in having someone expelled from the country. In this way you are helping to protect the indigenous people, which apparently is one of the primary reasons you are there.

You simply accept such actions as something that happens in the world, and be in harmony with it. We don't live in heaven; we live in the world of karma. Don't allow external karmic circumstances to affect, or determine, your inner state.

When we learn to bring our own highest and best state, our full awareness and presence, into each moment and every situation, we become master of physical life. Then the external never reigns over us again, and we are free from the happenings of this world. We transcend karma and simply watch the karmic play of this body as we would watch an interesting movie. Instead of being personally involved in it, we appreciate and even delight in the play of it, regardless of the various forms it takes.

There is some reason you are faced with the particular situations in your life, but it is not because you did something wrong. All is karma, yes, but since all is also grace, you go through whatever karma you are presented with through grace, and in doing so you become free of something vital for your eventual liberation, or enjoy some major insight that transforms every level of your being, or you become stronger or develop tolerance and endurance, which are essential to breaking free from the conditioning that binds us.

See what it is you have to learn from the situation, and do your best to be in harmony with it. Usually when we come in harmony with a situation, things begin to change on the outside as well.

Our inner consciousness is always reflected as our outer world.

Remember that the play of Consciousness exists equally in all things, and that we purify 'our' limitations and ignorance though seeing the divinity in all things, conditions, and people. Some things are more challenging than others, but remember that those very challenges are the key to your eventual liberation.

May each one of you experience a divine 2010, a year of breaking free, a year filled with ‘teachable moments,’ and most of all, a ‘teachable year.’ Each of us will be so different in a year from now, will have learned so much and expanded in so many ways, yet something eternally remains the same. What is That? Identifying with the changeless is the key to serenity.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email, write:

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Anonymous said...

This is a very good lesson all on its own. The subtelty and essence should give people a better insight. The last sentence is what holds everything together. Mr. Butler is providing a great service to the whole of mankind. Thank you!

Marta said...

In Lesson 26 you say: "I suggest that you refer to at least a couple of pages or at the minimum a couple of paragraphs each day during the two weeks before the next new lesson arrives. If you can read the entire lesson a few times, then all the better. There is much of value in here...
The reasons for this are more profound than one might at first consider."

I recall a time a few years ago when I was fascinated with your former lessons and I would spend my days reading and re-reading them. Reading them was the first thing I would do as I woke up, and the last thing I did before falling asleep. One day I opened up a new lesson which actually was not even close in number to the ones I had been reading, this one lesson was way ahead of the ones I had been reading and re-reading, so I had never read it before. As soon as I started reading it, I realized that I knew it by heart. I was able to close my eyes and recite the whole lesson by heart. This was very shocking to me, and I spent a few days thinking that I had lost my mind. How could that be? Of course, I checked and double checked that I had not read it before, and I had not. Around that same time it also happened that somehow and all of a sudden, the answer to whatever question I would have would arise spontaneously within myself.

It is not that right now I know these current lessons by heart, that happened once only, and at this time I keep learning with them. I believe that I could know something that I had not "read" before because as I read and re-read those words that obviously come from such a high space, my mind opened up to that higher space and I could spontaneously receive that knowledge. The "answering" thing does keep happening.

D. R. Butler said...

Marta, you have been working closely with me for many years. (Marta translates the current course into Spanish.) It is not unusual that you would tune into the same space that I tune into when I write the lessons.

There is basically an 'inner voice' that I tune into for the writing to take place. Anyone can tune into the same space the voice comes from. Often I notice that other teachers are writing or speaking about the same topics that I am writing about myself. It's as though some higher Intelligence wants a certain bit of knowledge to get out, and has many channels with various methods of presentation.

Back in the days of the old course, I would often spend the afternoon working on a new lesson, and then go to a talk by our Guru, who would speak of the same ideas I had just been writing about. I suppose anyone connected to the same lineage could, with practice and a certain degree of openness, tune into the same space from which the knowledge originates.

I also had the same experience that you describe regarding questions and answers. A question would come up, and then the answer would follow. I even tested this with the Guru, asking him the same question, and he would give the same answer that had already intuitively arisen. Once I asked him if the voice answering my questions could be considered to be his voice, and he smiled brightly and replied, "Yes!"

It is the same voice I hear when responding to questions from others, such as this one.

Lots of love to you.

Guru said...

Put your heart , mind , soul into every little thing you do and is the secret of success - is true.

D. R. Butler said...

forget safety.
live where you fear to live.
destroy your reputation,
be notorious.
i have tried prudent planning long enough,
from now on, i'll be mad.


Anonymous said...

I would like to share with those who are taking the lessons what works for me very well. In the evening I read over the bulk of the lesson and in the morning I read the last page where the moment to moment exercises are for the next two weeks. This keeps the Intent fresh in my mind for the day. Thanks D.R. for these lessons which serve as a guide on the spiritual path.

Sea Goddess Treasures said...

It is interesting that Martas letter mentions connecting to your lessons on another less physical level...your words were "tune in", It seems it is a place where we all tune in on some level in some way. After I read your lessons, it is like my spiritual realm wants to have a conversation with your lessons spiritual realm. Sometimes, I will write pages and pages of these conversations. I couldn't be the only one this happens to.... Naturally, I don't want to inundate you with emails and letters that you would not be able to answer but sometimes I wonder about these conversations I am having with your conversations..... Can you speak to this?

D. R. Butler said...

"If we only work with our intellects and with the emptying of our minds and we fail to open our hearts, our journeys can become very dry and brittle. Ultimately, no matter what our methods, we need to achieve balance between our energies, hearts and minds."

--Ram Dass

This recent posting from Ram Dass'
"Words of Wisdom" resonated with me, and I wanted to share it with you. For anyone interested, I shared my experiences with Ram Dass in one of the November, 2008, entries. He was one of my early teachers, and had a great influence on me, as well as on an entire generation of spiritual seekers.

In a course by email, and in this blog, it's challenging to speak of the heart and it's importance to our sadhana, or our spiritual progress, or our self-development--however we wish to think of it, if we care to think at all.

Still, the majority of folks are a bit mental, probably moreso than they might easily admit, and would do well to focus more on the opening of the heart.

Of course, we can't just talk someone into opening their heart. It doesn't work that way. We can't reach the heart through the mind. This is why much of the course, behind the scenes and between the lines, is aimed toward freeing us from the conditioned mind while opening the heart more and more, with a focus on the higher feelings and qualities--love, compassion, kindness, generosity, cheerfulness, lightheartedness, and generally all pleasant feelings.

Unpleasant feelings, or negative emotions, are based in the head, not the heart. They come up when the heart closes. An open heart corresponds with the higher feelings, listed in the last paragraph.

I noticed that someone quoted me on Facebook recently, from a line in one of the lessons: "When there is a 'not' in the mind, there is a corresponding 'knot' in the heart." When we say, "I'm not.....whatever" we do so with a closed heart. The opening of the heart corresponds with an affirmative attitude.

There are also people who limit themselves to the heart--'flaming bhaktis'--and neglect clearing and purifying the mind, or acknowledging the mind at all. When it is all one-sided, when sadhana is tilted, our energies are no longer balanced.

Anyway, as Ram Dass said, we need very much to balance the heart, mind, and energies. This is an offering of a contemplation for today.

Love to each of you who reads this.

D. R. Butler said...

Sea Goddess, it's not that the course is limited to written lessons that arrive by email. The course also takes place on a subtle level, even moreso than the physical level, and we are inwardly communicating with each other all the time. The subtle level, thankfully, is not limited by time and space, so a lot can get 'done' all at once.

There is much more going on than is obvious through appearances only. All that is happening--the course, the blog, the facebook interactions--happens mostly on the subtle level and is only reflected in the physical world.

With our outer eyes we see only the tip of the iceberg. With our inner eyes we are awed and amazed at what all is happening all at once.

rico said...

Ram Dass reminds me of something our Teacher once said (as I recall) "The seat of the mind is in the heart not the head". It seems that until we purify the mind we haven't fully integrated the Heart into our experience.

Martha said...

I'm currently studing Lesson 5, specifically the quote from the sage Vasishta (page 10) "A notion entertained by Consciousness appears as the body. It has a corresponding subtle body composed of mind (manas), intellect (buddhi)..."

I'm having a hard time comprehending the difference between the mind and the intellect. Isn't the intellect part of the mind?
Could you explain?

D. R. Butler said...

This question is answered in one of your upcoming lessons, but for now consider that the mind (manas) corresponds to the outside world, the brain, and the five physical senses. Manas organizes the endless vibrational input of the senses into a coherent world in which our karma is based. It is what we refer to as the "conscious mind," and is what we ordinarily think with when we entertain thoughts.

The intellect (buddhi) is more subtle and refined, and has more to do with inner knowledge, or intuition, or knowing things that we need to know at the time we need to know them without knowing how we know. Intellect, or buddhi (in Sanskrit) is our link to the higher aspect of mind, which leads, guides, prompts, and inspires us as we need it, if we only learn to listen. Many people are too focused on the conscious mind (manas) to pick up the subtler messages coming from the intellect (buddhi.)

The distinction between the two will become more clear to you as we progress in the course.

Naganath said...

Reading Eckhart Tolle's New Earth has sparked an insight into the Lessons. Tolle's book creates a new perspective illuminating sign posts in the evolution of consciousness. This new perspective gives insight that my awareness from the highest perspective is Universal Consciousness. We already exist in a totally awakened state fully realized right now.Through our mind-thoughts we are working with attention, intention, and will to recognize what we already are. But we cannot know our true Self through mind-thoughts since our true being is One Self, One Consciousness, beyond mind and Grace-filled.
From the ultimate perspective no time exists. Time in reality only exists in thoughts, one after the other. Since our true Self exists outside of time, in the realm of the Infinite, all past and future lives necessarily occur simultaneously. (See Jane Roberts The Education of Oversoul Seven.) Therefore, our "future" final realzation exists NOW--never in time. ("What if everything happens at once?")
Humans seem to be playing this game of Becoming One with the Universe by pretending (maya) to exist in time and space with these bodies running around governed by mind/ego creating all these concepts and limitations imposed on this life.
Now, what about cause and effect? Our efforts in using attention, intention, and will to "change" our being in the world viewed from the ultimate perspective (Universal Consciousness) is really an illusion because ultimately there is no cause and effect. Cause and effect can only exist in the realm of time and space which we know is illusory, a useful fiction the mind uses to cope.
So, what are we changing? Are we just playing a game with ourselves? All the events in our lives that create joy, sadness, anger, etc., are not really caused by anything but misconception?
Now I have a headache. Your humble servant, Naganath.

JP said...

I take stock and find that I have changed so much. Later I take stock and find I haven't changed much at all. And then back again to seeing all the change. I have come so far and have so far to go. To the guideposts of relative truths I measure great progress; to the goal of absolute truth, which appears unmarked to my eyes, it is hard to see any progress at all. When I run down a narrow street at night, I am exhilerated at how fast I appear to move. On a vast treeless field my progress is plodding - am I making any progress at all?

Do I really want it? I want what I can see. Maybe that is why I feel stalled out.

Louie said...

In the few months that I've been taking the course, I've started to see my ego and how it works more clearly than ever in my 25 years of spiritual work on myself. It is amazing to finally be able to watch it in action without be affected by it.

I only have one request: would you describe the ego in one paragraph? It would be very helpful to me to see how you might do that?

D. R. Butler said...

Ego feels it is separate and different from everything else, and that it is an entity in itself. It identifies with, or appropriates things to itself, such as the sense of "my body," "my mind, (or "my thoughts," believing itself to be the thinker)," my feelings, and so on. It is a sense of being an actual person, which in truth is only imagination, a temporary identification. That is the impure ego. The right use of ego is to identify with the Truth: "I am Consciousness," "I am Love," "I am the Light," or "I am God." When the ego is used in this way, it is the pure ego. Purifying the ego is the essence of sadhana or spiritual work. Freedom from the ego is the primary liberation we can experience.

ari said...

It's a great teaching to practise replacing our reactions to our samskaras with something more pleasant. However isnt it true our biggest samskaras are ones that are so deeply imbedded we are not conscious of them? Others might suffer because of them yet we remain clueless to their existance on a conscious level (or we're just not ready to acknowledge them perhaps).
How do we flush out these samaskara's so we can begin working on them?

Anonymous said...

I fell a great piognancy at the same time I feel bliss, it seems the ones I love the most are the ones I miss.

A warrior with his weapon a goodbye with a kiss.

D. R. Butler said...

I'm responding to a few earlier posts above. Everything is not exactly in order. For example, I was writing my commentary on the Ram Dass quote while Sea Goddess Treasures posted her question. So my answer to her question comes after my post on the Ram Dass quote. In the same way, some questions have been left behind.

Naganath asks about cause and effect, saying "Cause and effect can only exist in the realm of time and space which we know is illusory..."

Well, this is true, and if you ever get out of the realm of time and space, please let me be the first to know.

We can experience realms of consciousness that are beyond this physical world of time, space, and circumstance, but as long as we are in the body, we live in time and space. The primary law that governs this realm of time and space is cause and effect. Every cause has an effect corresponding to its own nature, and every effect had a cause corresponding to its nature.

As long as we live in the body, this is the world we practically live in. Therefore, awareness of the law of cause and effect is essential.

When we experience the inner Self, in some present moment, we will experience our unmodified, undifferentiated, formless Awareness of Being, or the Infinite Omnipresence.

In all matters pertaining to this world, the world of karma, it is best to consciously and correctly apply the law of cause and effect. In this way we aren't such a complete automaton.

D. R. Butler said...

JP talks about progress, and the sometimes apparent lack of it. You might want to refer to his question above.

The title, and primary philosophy of our course, is Living in the Truth of the Present Moment.

In the Truth of the present moment there is no progress. We simply are as we are. If our vision is pure, we see perfection in everything, including ourselves, which is the toughie.

From this perspective, there is no progress to be made. Progress infers a future in which we will somehow be better or more advanced than we are now. This future does not exist. All that exists is the present moment. In this present moment, we are pure, perfect, and divine just as we are.

This is where the 'Secret of Self-Recognition' (Pratyabhijnahrdayam) comes in.

As my Teacher used to say: You already have everything. All you lack is this awareness.

D. R. Butler said...

Ari asks how do we flush out the samskaras that we are unaware of.

It is very simple, and in truth we don't have to do anything at all. As long as we are in harmony, we don't have to be concerned with samskaras. We can simply be happy and content. There is nothing more to be done. This is our most natural state.

When we have a reaction to something that stirs up habitual negative emotions, then we have come upon a samskara. If we are doing the work of the present moment, we observe the samskara in action, which reduces and gradually eliminates its power over us.

So we don't have to do anything to flush out the samskaras. Our life, our karma, and the people around us, will flush them out for us. All we have to do is watch them pop out, watch our self-righteous reactions, our judgments, our dislikes. Anything that prevents us from seeing perfection in everything is a samskara.

A primary aspect of spiritual work is doing whatever is necessary to break free from the samskaras. We cannot do it simply by deciding to do so, although that is a necessary first step. This is why we have a course through email -- so that we can work on such things step by step.

Naganath said...

Well, I am unable to let you know "when" I get free from the realm of time and space because if I do I am recaptured by the illusion. It seems as though you are trying to trick me into staying bound. I understand the world of karma and cause and effect I just choose to be free. Can I do that or is that cheating? Do I just remain bound in ignorance by even contemplating this freedom because of denial of the laws of human nature?
This dialogue makes me realize how trapped I am in my own head. What an automaton. "Anything that prevents us from seeing perfection in everything is a samskara."-D. R. Butler
Love, Naganath.

Sylvia said...

I have been taking DR's courses since 1980 and love this course even more than the last one. Like Jodi's earlier comment, I am thankful to D.R. and the Grace that brings us all together (again) in this important and life altering way.

For many lessons now we have been using our conscious intent, willpower, and our awareness of pleasant or unpleasant thoughts to create lightheartedness and inner contentment. I find myself being more content than I have ever been in my 68 years. I am loving the ability to create contentment more easily than ever before.

One day when my thoughts (probably ego trying to hang on for its life) were running rampant and nearly driving me crazy, which made me wonder why I was even thinking about this old personal history, I suddenly saw each thought having a cord, like an umbilical cord, going back to this samskara and that samskara. I reached out and pulled the plug on each thought/samskara, like unplugging an electrical cord. Surprising to me, it worked! Each thought deflated like a hot air balloon, even making the sight and sound laughable. It even felt playful.

Now, for the last month, I've been pulling the plug on any thought that tries to pull me back into reliving something from my past, triggering some ancient samskara. Most of those thoughts are unsettling, even painful, events I have not thought of in decades.

Now that the ego knows my system, there have been a few times when the balloon does not want to deflate. It seems to me that the ego is onto me and is trying to keep its foot in the door of my mind to control my thoughts. Okay, so it occurred to me that I could send the ego on a nice trip far away. For just 10-15 seconds, I talk to it about this lovely little bungalow, all expenses paid, to the Bahamas. Immediately, the ego is sitting on the beach with a cool drink in its hand, bathing in the sunshine. Amazingly, this also works long enough to allow me 5-10 minutes, or more, of being in the moment peacefully. DR, I want to check with you on this to see if you, or any of our blogger family, see anything problematic with this method of cleaning up thoughts and unplugging from extreme thoughts/samskaras?

Thank you for helping me strengthen the muscle of simply bringing my mind back to this moment, each moment, over and over. Thank you to all those who submit comments here...I read them almost daily.
Love to you.

D. R. Butler said...

Sylvia, any trick or scheme you can come up with to free you from the tandem of ego and mind for even a few minutes is definitely worthwhile. In short, do whatever works. Sending the ego to the beach for a drink, or anywhere it would like to be for a while, is a great idea.

Since the ego causes us to feel that we are a particular person, the primary thing is to be free from the ego, so that we can experience that we are also the Universal. We have both Universal Consciousness and personal consciousness--although ultimately there is no difference between the two. Ultimately there is only unmodified, unconditioned, undifferentiated, formless Awareness of Being.

D. R. Butler said...

In some of the lessons of the course I refer to a man who wrote the correspondence course I took from ages 15 to 29, when I met my physical Guru. I thought it might be interesting to some to actually read some of his words.

These questions and answers are from a lesson that was written in 1950, which I received 10 years later when I was 15.

Question: How has the Ancient Wisdom been lost to, or ignored by, the majority?

Answer: Because the Ancient Wisdom is the Doctrine of Truth. It naturally denies the false teachings, the bigotries, superstitions, fears and blind belief fostered by those who, since the early part of the 3rd century, have been intent upon developing what is called "religion" rather than the teaching of the individual's personal Power for self-emancipation and successful living in Spiritual at-one-ment with God, which is true Religion. Without exception, every religious group, or organization has been intent UPON ITS OWN DEVELOPMENT. To teach Truth of man's spiritual at-one-ment with God would be to free the individual from the ignorance of dogma, and fear, make him an independent Thinker and therefore, free from reliance, or dependence upon the clergy; which, of course, would spell the end of domination.

Question: What is essential to an understanding of the ancient Wisdom, and the developed ability to control Thought?

Answer: To become familiar with the true teachings of the Initiates and Masters of the ancient Lodge of Mystics Who were the Custodians of the Mysteries. They alone have ever been the Guardians of this transcendental Knowledge Which, to the uninitiated person is inconceivable. Their teachings were suppressed shortly following the exile of the Christ, and all Teachers and Initiates were persecuted and put to death, which forced the Initiates to retire from public instruction; thus the early church secured power over the masses of the people.

It is a matter of history that every scholar who ever attempted to teach the Truth of Life, or the true Sciences, such as Galileo, Bruno, The Christ, and others, were condemned, arrested, forced to retract the provable Truth they taught or, on refusal to do so, put to death. The Christian so-called religion has been developed on the most savage of brutalities. But, as the Christ taught, "thy sin shall find thee out."

Those who have ever opposed the Secret Doctrine, for the intelligence and power it imparts, have been able to destroy what they could not understand, hence the weakness and the innumerable errors, fallacies, denials, and contradictions of so-called Christian teaching and the many revisions of the Bible which have rendered it mostly non-sensical and impractical.

Question: Why does the ancient wisdom appear to be antagonistic, or adverse, to modern thought, or methods of thinking?

Answer: Because the mass of humanity have been taught to be dependent upon a God of Whom, or Which, neither they nor their teachers know anything whatever, whereas man is actually One with and the Same as, in degree, the Creator or Infinite Principle. In ignorance of his true Being, the individual cannot recognize, or express his own inner mental-spiritual Power: understanding his spiritual at-one-ment with the Infinite, he AFFIRMS his conditions and so creates the spiritual pattern from which his every condition of life must become materially manifest. Man is a creator of the good as well as the evil. When he learns to create only the desirable, he becomes free from distress.

Sea Goddess Treasures said...

Sylvia, Your letter was very illuminating and beautiful. The technique is great and I love the imagery you use, especially sending the ego on a nice beach vaca! LOVE IT!!! I have sometimes used the idea of putting the ego schemes my mind is concentrating on at any given time and putting them into balloons that float off and I tell them to "let go" as they float away. Sometimes I have imagined the ego being left behind as I drive off in the car! I laugh when I do this!! Now, lately, in the last month, I have been paying closer attention to the energy of everything in any given moment and really observing and feeling kinethetically the feeling of god in everything, even in things you don't normally think of as filled with universal energy....for instance... I have started observing what I am not concentrating on and what I want to "breeze" anything I feel impatient about like a complaining co-worker, customer, cold weather, problems with work, and blocks to things that come up like a software program failing. I started not judging and quanitfying or explaining things...I just started letting them go and observing the energy in them by feeling it as universal god energy vibrating within me. I started concentrating on the energy in everything about them and not what my mind objects to about the interaction - like slowing down the bhava. I have always had a speedy bhava but recently I started feeling the god like energy within and without me more and more often by paying attention to the energy on a more and more finite level and really feeling it as something grooving on whatever energy arrives as a cool thing to watch. In the past, this was all so very easy to do when I was in retreat or spending time alone but to walk around in the world going to work everyday with difficult and stressful situations that i usually dread and I mean dread... Something has shifted within me and the New Year has brought a quickening of observation power within. Last year I concentrated on meditation and this year I am concentrating on self study by observing the energy of god all around me at any given time. Now Sylvia, if my ego rears its ugly head, it is definatley going on a Bahamian Vacation with your ego!! Thanks, I really enjoyed your letter :)

Anonymous said...

Which Lesson would you recommend my wife re-read in order to better understand that there is no fixed likely outcome or reality. That what thoughts she entertains create her experience not only now but in the future. While she does accept the principle in theory she is not thoroughly convinced that her current thoughts impact her future experience. She, like most of us at first, thinks the concept has merit but there are still some outside forces some objective reality that holds sway over what is likely to happen.

D. R. Butler said...

Which lesson? Beats me. Maybe somewhere in the 'what you think is what you get' section. As long as she believes in an outer power, she'll create difficulty for herself. All she has to do is see clearly in her mind what she wants and then believe that it is already real. That's true faith.

Naganath said...

On a human level, living in the truth of the present moment evaporates one's ego. Since we as individual's manifest our inner world into physical reality helps to understand how the world's religions have manifested to the masses. Ego-mind predominates our being for most people and until living in the truth of the present moment IS the predominant way of Being the world remains as it is. Change begins with us.
The EXAMPLE set by yoginis Sylvia and SeaGoddess show me that the Lessons bring us into harmony and the perfection of being present. So much to learn from these sharings.
Thank you, D. R. For sharing Ancient Wisdom. So extremely familiar. Love to All, Naganath.

Randy said...

I've been subscribing to your Lessons for several months now, and find the guidance in them to be absolutely wonderful -- and beautifully worded. And the concepts in the Lessons have fit very well with my personal journey and clarified issues about the world around me...

And I'm considering starting a discussion group at our Quaker Meeting based on the Lessons. The plan looks something like this:

I present an overview of what the Lessons are like and what they've meant to me to the appropriate Meeting Committee (Quakers love committees!) With their backing, I present the same to the Meeting at large and offer a sign-up sheet. Assuming we get 5 or more folks to join, they enroll in your plan and begin to receive Lessons. Then once a month (probably starting in the Fall) we get together and discuss the most recent two Lessons.

I imagine that you've had other folks with an equivalent plan, and would appreciate any experiences and/or insights you may have gotten from them.

A friend that I bounced this idea off of thought that perhaps you might have some Discussion Questions already worded that could help our group keep focused on the ideas of the Lessons and not get distracted and wander off into the verbal woods. (Quakers do that frequently.)

So any advice you may have will be warmly received.

D. R. Butler said...

Randy, you've beautifully worded a topic that many people have asked about in different ways.

Creating a study group is a good idea because we understand the principles better and more deeply when we can bounce them off others, hear another's perspective of the same idea, and share how the principles work in practical ways in daily life.

There have been several groups to form on their own that meet primarily to discuss the current lesson(s). Perhaps someone from those groups who read this might share what they have learned through trial and experience.

It is a great idea to begin with a group all on the same lesson, yet later there might be others to come along who might want to participate in the group but will not be on the same lesson. Then the group has to expand in approach to accommodate people who are on various lessons. Of course, the principles discussed are always the same, so the lesson one is on is basically irrelevant.

People often write to say they are getting behind in their reading. I remind them that you are never 'behind' if you are reading your current lesson. Your current lesson contains exactly what you need to know now in order to be 'caught up' in every way. If you are on your current lesson, you are completely up to date. If you have missed lessons in the past, go back and read them at your own pace.

The course is not about a lot of reading. The course is about Living in the Truth of the Present Moment. The reading of lessons is simply the form our sadhana is taking right now. The primary thing is actually practicing the principles in one's own life.

Make sure everyone involved in the group actually takes the course on their own. The course is based on a one-to-one relationship, and really doesn't work by merely reading someone else's lessons. There's much more to the process than the words alone.

Regarding the content or discussion of the groups, people can focus on sharing what is real and relevant in their lives in the present. Yet it should not be a therapy group, where people discuss their negative emotions and egotistical melodramas.

If in doubt, to keep everything on track, focus on what is in bold in the lessons. They are the primary guidelines, and contain the key to imbibing the principles.

Hopefully someone with experience of group discussions will share some productive ideas.
Otherwise, follow your inner guidance and see how it goes. Everything that's supposed to happen will happen.

Your mention of Quakers made me laugh. All three of my children have gone to a Quakers' school (Friends School) at George School in PA north of Philly. My daughter is there now. So, between the three of them, we've had a long history of relating to Quakers, and have learned to appreciate them and their traditions very much.

All the best to you, and keep in touch about how things are going.

Karen said...

There is some very inspired writing throughout this blog, and the information contained in the exchanges in the comments is priceless. How can it be that something like this is not well known, that it's just here in its secret little space on the Internet? I imagine that compared to many things, very few people actually read this. Yet that is kind of mind-boggling that this would be true. What is your perspective?

D. R. Butler said...

Karen, I appreciate your appreciation of what we do here. My perspective is that it seems that the 80s and 90s of the last century was a time of large spiritual organizations, and teachers with large followings.

Before the 70s, or before the Beatles met the Maharishi, wisdom was primarily communicated in small groups. Even great teachers had small groups of students that they focused their nurturing energy on.

It seems these days many people are distrustful of corporations and large organizations, as certain ones have gone off the track and led students in a direction that ultimately left them worse off than before, especially in their bank accounts.

So now seems to be a period of returning to smaller groups. A true teacher only wants students who are sincere in their aspirations. Those who won't stay the course are like weeds in the garden. Might as well pull them out as soon as possible so the true flowers can grow.

To get to your actual question, since I first began publishing my writings in 1975, certain people have responded very deeply to them, as though the voice that came through the writings was their own inner voice. These people have the discipline to read the lessons and actually apply the principles in real life.

So there will always be that small band of us, as I sometimes think, who in our own ways sought the Truth of Being to the best of our ability, and did what we could in our own lives, and in our own ways, to be free.

The number doesn't matter. There are many excellent teachers today. You could say there is someone for everyone. Yet it seems as though we are in a cycle of smaller groups. Large numbers often attract the wrong kind of attention. This has been proven over and over.

So I am happy sharing the course and blog with whoever comes along. People learn of them through word of mouth, and I feel most comfortable with this method of growth, as new people arrive through the recommendation of someone who already takes the course. I feel certain that anyone who will benefit from the lessons will be naturally drawn to them through the course of karmic events. It could not be otherwise. Still, it is never a matter of numbers.

There are more seekers of Truth today than ever before in my lifetime. I began my study and practice of yoga and meditation and the truth of creative thought in 1960, and believe me, everything is different now. The Truth is more alive today than ever, even though it seems the outer world is going crazy. When the outer world seems to be going crazy, it is a great time for sadhana, for even the smallest efforts count for a lot.

So there are many seekers, yet there are also many teachers to provide for them. Everyone finds what they need for their own development. Be suspicious of any teacher who is only interested in increasing the number of his followers. In fact, be suspicious of anyone who asks you to follow anything at all.

I would ask of you to never follow, but to lead through the feeling in your own heart. The Truth can only be found within, never without. A true teacher will remind you over and over that the highest Self you seek dwells only within you. The Truth is not in the teacher, not up in the clouds somewhere, not in a church or mosque or temple; it can only be found within us, as our own Awareness of Being.

Harriet said...

Lesson 8! Has so MUCH in it. As does the January blog and comments!

A question: Can belief be set aside? I am having trouble with the term. My perception of the word creates cul-de-sacs and strings (attachments) on the journey that we can get stuck in. Even very beautiful beliefs, seemingly original, can create stuckness. And sometimes that for a very long time. And then there are the inherited beliefs of religion, politics, etc. that create such havoc. Wouldn't we be better off without belief? (Is that possible?) Living in the space between any two thoughts and the present moment, that focus seems preferable. Any comments on my confusion?

One more: If we "know nothing" then the mind is still? Is clarity of mind stillness? Is this result of the mind being purified, no longer allowing it to be in control and running amok all the time? I'm grateful my monkey mind is not so active these days.

Gratitude also for these precious lessons, the blog and those who share in the comments. Sometimes hard to assimilate as there is so much.

Love to all.

D. R. Butler said...

Harriet, as you continue through the course, you will see that you are encouraged to believe nothing. So the answer to your question is yes, you can easily live without beliefs, and will be much freer for doing so. Living in the space between thoughts is much preferable, as you say.

Living in the space between thoughts also gives you access to the mental stillness you ask about. There is a space between thoughts that is always still. It is pure Awareness. When we live aware of Awareness, the mind naturally becomes still on its own accord. Then it is there for when we need it for something practical, not to control us all day long with its lunatic ravings as it did for so many years.

Love to you.

D. R. Butler said...

On another board somewhere, some folks were discussing whether there was ever a historical Jesus or not, or were there ever any actual historical references to his life here.

Since I share with you just about everything I write, the following is my contribution to that discussion:

No matter what we argue, there is no disputing the fact that we have been mentally conditioned and programmed from an early age, and most of our opinions, beliefs, likes and dislikes, attachments and aversions, and so on are not our own, arrived at by independent investigation, but were passed on to us, and have been fairly generally passed down through the generations.

In order to live in the Truth of the Present Moment, we do some work on ourselves to free ourselves from the mental conditioning and programming. Until then we only see things the way we were conditioned to see things. This is why most scriptures urge us to "Wake up!" We live in a dream world and don't even know it. This is why I recommended reading "In Search of the Miraculous" by P. D. Ouspensky. (I have always recommended this book to people who had resistance to a spiritual path, and could see no reason to actually work on oneself for further development; and also to very intellectually inclined people.) It explains very clearly how mechanical we are, how we basically live in a state of sleep, going through life like an automaton.

This way, every thought, every feeling, every reaction is totally predictable. The past is repeated over and over. Nothing new or original ever happens, because we are hypnotized by the past.

As far as all those who have been debating, it doesn't matter if Jesus existed as a historical figure or not. According to my own training, Jesus did live on earth, but not exactly in the way the Christian religion has portrayed him. Even that is irrelevant and not worth debating.

The important thing are His teachings. He taught us to love and respect one another, he taught us to see the Kingdom of God within ourselves, not in the false teachers.

So the only relevant thing is do we practice His teachings or not? Do we live the way He presented to us or not?

All our arguments and debates about anything have such little meaning, such little significance. This is not to put anyone down. It is simply the way of the world. People are trapped in their minds without even realizing it. Ultimately life comes down to unconditional love and compassion, to being respectful towards ourselves as well as all others. When all the debating is over, this is all that will remain.

Anonymous said...

OMG, dear ram. In the middle of the first page of L. 29, I thought of reading about this woman who had done a year of 'living Oprah. Everything Oprah suggested, she did. I thought, Dang! What would it be like to do a year of 'living the Lessons?' As soon as I had that thought, every cell of my body lit up--I mean from my toe nails to the hair on my head. So that is what I am determining to do (note I am not going to 'try') and just see what happens. The idea is so exciting and absolutely fills me with enthusiasm and energy. Who knows where this will go?
And as I read further in L. 29, you said, 'do what is right at the time we know that it is right to do it,' so at page 6, I put down my lesson and am writing to share this with you.
It's amazing to me that at age 71, life can be so much fun. Thanks, dear Ram, for being such a Source. So consider that as of 1pm CST February 2, 2010, I'm beginning my year of Living the Lessons. I'll keep you posted. Now I'm going to go back and finish my lesson.
With lots of love,

Cristóbal said...

Dear DRB and LITPM Participants:

(I am having to break this into two pieces because it's too long for Blogger)

Thank you for recommending the book by PD Ouspensky. I had never learned anything about Ouspesnky or Gurdjieff before, despite having seen the names referenced for years. I checked out the book on Amazon and after reading the first few pages (which they allow you to do online) I was so entranced by it I decided to order it! Maybe his approach will help me in talking about spiritual matters with my very intellectual work colleagues, or maybe it will just be something fun I can do with my own overactive mind.

In the first pages of the book I read something that triggered a big AHA and a concern for me, and so I wanted to share that here. On page 4 Ouspensky talks about his interest in schools, and it is amazing to read what he says about his travel to the East:

"When I went away I already knew I was going to look for a school or schools. I had arrived at this long ago. I realized that personal, individual efforts were insufficient and that it was necessary to come into touch with the real and living thought which must be in existence somewhere but with which we have lost contact.

"This I understood, but the idea of schools itself changed very much during my travels and in one way became simpler and more concrete and in another became more cold and distant. I want to say that schools lost much of their fairy-tale character.

"On my departure I still admitted much that was fantastic in relation to schools. 'Admitted' is perhaps too strong a word, I should say better that I dreamed about the possibility of non-physical contact with schools, a contact so to speak "on another plane". I could not explain it clearly but it seemed to me that contact with a school may have a *miraculous* nature. ... It seemed to me that the barriers of time and space should disappear on making such contact. "

After reading this, I realized that this Course/blog was *exactly* what Ouspensky had been talking about. DRB is doing it, and we are all in a powerful connection through our participation in this course. Pretty darn cool that here we are, 60+ years after Ouspensky hypothesized the existence of such schools, doing it in the West.

(end of part 1)

Cristóbal said...

(Part 2)

However, for me this leaves something to be desired. In the 90's I participated heavily in a yogic spiritual path with a great teacher, and I would visit her ashram as much as possible and found my life greatly enriched by my connection to that teacher and community. However, since then this particular path has taken a turn towards what one might call a "virtual" or "technological" satsang in which being together is emphasized less and less. I have found this to be less and less rewarding, and while I still do the practices of this path and while this teacher's grace is still one of the cornerstones of my spiritual life, I no longer feel the calling to participate as I have done before.

Rather, over the past eight years I have been called to be part of and deeply involved with a community of people whose focus is in shamanic healing and experiencing/celebrating our connection through the energy of fire. Within this group, the entire community is based upon personal relationships, real inter-personal connections. We live and grow through the grace of these relationships. It has been one of the most real and profound blessings to have ever entered my life. While folks in this particular community do organizing of certain things through phone calls and email, actually being together is absolutely the key.

Indeed, even Ouspensky realized this, as he wrote a few paragraphs later in the same book: "I came to the conclusion that no matter the name of the school, occult, esoteric, or yogi, they should exist on the ordinary earthly plane like any other kind of school: a school of painting, a school of dancing, a school of medicine. I realized that the idea of schools on another plane was simply a sign of weakness, of dreams taking the place of a real search."

While I don't believe we have to worry about getting caught in weakness or dreams taking the place of a real search, this still closely echoes my thoughts about the community forming around the teachings of our beloved friend DR Butler. I was very moved and excited when I read his first lesson, in which he told the dream of the people who were doing the "real work" of maintaining the awareness of the present moment, and that this course would bring together that community of people. I can see that this is happening in kind of a limited way, yet I believe that real community is based upon real personal relationships, and I wonder what kind of community can truly exist among a group of people who interact with each other behind the mask of an electronic moniker such as "Anonymous #7", or even 'Cristobal' ?

Is there any possibility that we, who participate in this course and blog, can gather in person and explore what such a community, as dreamed by Ram, would really look like and feel like?

With Love,

Anonymous said...

This translated letter just arrived from one of our Spanish speaking participants in Mexico:

I wish these words will be able to communicate the immense gratitude that I feel at knowing that you are writing this new course. I took your previous course for eleven and a half years, and then it suddenly ended. A few months before the course was over I had received a lesson where you talked about attachment and you invited us to contemplate what our biggest attachment was. After contemplating it for a long time, I realized that my biggest attachment was your course, precisely.

That one lesson prepared me to later let go of the lesson, as they progressively ended. I accepted the situation and I became ready to flow with life and its constant changes. But now that this course is back I feel an infinite gratitude, I feel as if I am getting to meet again an older brother, that one brother to whom I had not have the chance to thank for his great contribution to my own happiness.

Thank you for everything that I received in the past and also thank you for this moment, in which the present is bringing you back to my life.

I wish that this course will be spread througout the whole world and that many more people will receive all the benefits that this exprerience brings with it.

With all my love,

D. R. Butler said...

I want to thank our Mexican friend for her beautiful letter. I am not stating her name since she did not directly post her letter here, but I loved her sincerity, which is true for most Mexicans I have known.

We have many participants of the course in Mexico and Spain and other places who take the Spanish translation. Marta, who translates the lessons, blog, and communications with Spanish speaking people, has worked with me for many years, and has come to learn my nuances, and does an excellent job in producing a very pure Spanish version.

I have contemplated Christobal's 2-part post. The cycles of earth are changing such that more and more we will meet in subtle realms, first through cyberspace, and later telepathically. Even when the physical body is gone, even after the computer is irrelevant, our existence in the subtle realms continue.

Therefore, our subtle relationships are primary. Physical relationships reflect what is subtle, yet they are only the tip of the iceberg. I have just written more about this in a lesson I recented completed.

On the other hand, a lot of participants have asked about being able to communicate with other participants. So far the most direct way is here in the comments of this blog. Also, some of us even have satsang through facebook, of all things. I would never have imagined it had I not experienced it.

There are also the various groups being formed, as mentioned in a comment above.

A couple of weeks ago, Kay said, "You know, at some point there's going to have to be some kind of gathering."

So we are looking into possibilities and accepting suggestions. After a certain point, when the time is right, and enough people have become established in the principles of Truth, and have established a true relationship with the course, perhaps we'll have a gathering where everyone is invited.

Anonymous said...

You know there are the online radio stations, 7th Wave, BBS and more, you could have a call-in radio show?

Lyle said...

in the Decembers' comments Ram writes about his father's death. What struck me was his description of how he felt, "I felt blissful knowing that he was now experiencing freedom from the limitations and pains of his physical body. I felt I was feeling what he was feeling at that very moment."

I have never thought or heard of death in this manner. His thoughts have helped me understand death in a beautiful, truthful way. My wife, who was very sick, was at the end of her physical life. I shall cherish Ram's words forever.

D. R. Butler said...

I was reading over Christobal's post again and feeling as though more could be said about it. Apparently, like Christobal, I have written too long for the blogger to accept, so I will also post this in two parts.

Our Course of Training can be considered a 'school' in the traditional sense, and it is specifically a school for Living in the Truth of the Present Moment. The lessons of the course that arrive by email are very focused on this as a theme. Every lesson is another way of exploring Living in the Truth of the Present Moment, which is the only Truth there is, and which exists only in this eternal Now.

Through giving time and attention to reading and rereading each lesson, and sincerely practicing the exercises at the end of each lesson, we progress very quickly in the art and science of Living in the Truth of the Present Moment.

A great deal of contemplation and meditation went into selecting the theme of the course. I have selected what is to me the primary focus of life if we are to do what we came here for. If we miss the Truth of the Present Moment, we miss the essence of what life has to offer.

Christobal said, "This closely echoes my thoughts about the community forming around the teachings of our beloved friend DR Butler. I was very moved and excited when I read his first lesson, in which he told the dream of the people who were doing the 'real work' of maintaining the awareness of the present moment, and that this course would bring together that community of people."

Please do not misunderstand what is meant here. It is natural if a community forms around the teachings, or the principles as I like to call them. However, please note that I have no original teachings, and have invented no principles of Truth. I function merely as a conduit for the principles of Truth for those who are naturally drawn to this particular form of presentation.

The principles of Truth are the primary thing. They are what must be focused on and practiced in daily life in order for the course to work.

(end of part 1)

D. R. Butler said...

(part 2)

There will never be a community or group focused on me as a particular teacher. As I have said before, there are many fine teachers, and there is someone for everyone. Still, the teacher is secondary, while the teachings are primary. Teachers come and go, which the principles remain the same forever. Therefore, focus on the principles.

As I have said many times, there is not a holy bone in my body. There is no one who looks at me and thinks, "Now there is a guy who is in touch with the Truth of the Present Moment." Believe me, I appear quite ordinary in all ways, and I do my best to maintain that appearance. No one would immmediately point me out as a spiritual person. In fact, most would be amazed to know that I am even interested in the things I write about.

Our community is primarily of a subtle nature. For the most part, we relate in a very subtle way. Yet we are currently investigating ways that participants of the course can interact together, get to know each other, share experiences, and so on.

Relationships do play an important part in spiritual development. Still, the primary relationship is of a subtle nature, and is only to some degree reflected in the physical world. Do not doubt that the subtle connection exists.

Also, as Christobal mentioned in his post, he interacts with a group that focuses on shamanic healing, and has close interpersonal relationships with them, and this satisfies something in him. In the same way, almost anyone who sincerely desires personal contact with a group in a physical way will usually find such a group in some form or another available to them. One thing is certain, and that is that we always get what we need.

There will come a time when we will have a gathering of some sort. The time is not right (Mars in retrograde right off the bat) and I am uncertain for now what form such a gathering might take. It will be very different from anything in the past. Everything evolves and unfolds in its own time, and when the time comes, I am sure everything will be perfect, as it is already.

Meanwhile, in preparation for what is to come, practice the discipline of referring to your current lesson on a regular basis, and actually practice the exercise suggested at the end. This is all we need to focus on for now. Everything else will follow most naturally.

Bindu said...

After reading Randy’s post about forming a discussion group centered around the lessons, I asked our group for comments. We have been meeting once a month for about a year, and are all in agreement that our “group” greatly enhances our individual experiences. Initially we were all on the same lesson, currently we have participants on 4 different lessons. Interestingly enough this is never a problem as invariably our experiences are similar in nature. As one member put it, "It's all one lesson."
One week before we meet an e-mail is sent as a reminder asking for individuals to bring their questions, experiences of how the lessons may have effected their lives, and passages they find especially relevant. Before we begin the meeting we usually have a cup of tea and a SHORT chat time. (Oh so easy to drift into chatter)
We have a reading (most often one of the spiritual quotations from a lesson or the blog) followed by a short meditation. Following that we usually go around the circle giving each person an opportunity to raise a question, or share an experience focusing on the intent of their current lesson. We are an informal group, but we maintain a respectful listening, making for a safe atmosphere. Some of the benefits members wanted me to share with you include: we learn from each other: many sources of insight becomes a group insight; we inspire each other to explore and experience from different perspectives and we renew our commitment to read and reread each lessons. As an added bonus I think we have had the wonderful joy of coming together in our hearts. We remain as a group and as individuals profoundly grateful for this course, and for each other.
Love and best wishes. I know it will work as well for you as it does for us. Bindu

D. R. Butler said...

Thank you, Bindu, for sharing about your group. I was hoping we'd hear from you. Bindu, who met me back in the 70's, leads a group on the coast of South Carolina, and they've been consistently successful for a while now in their exploration of the course, and continue to attract new people, which is always a good sign. Anyone interested in sharing the course with others might be interested in her sharing of their experience.

Michael said...

In the beginning replacing negative reactions with positive intentions felt like trying on a new pair of shoes, but now it's getting more and more natural. I guess the teachings do seep into the subconscious after all. The ego always feels like it has to do more, but it works better if I just allow the feeling of sufficiency to keep things straight.

John said...

For me, it seems the writer of the course and blog has the uncommon ability to enable the reader to actually experience what is being taught. The clarity with which the Truth is revealed has completely transformed my life in just the first few months. Thank you D.R.

Cristóbal said...

John's comment really speaks to what I appreciate about DR's style of teaching. It's not just about clearly explaining the teachings, and doing it in a down to earth way that we can easily relate to. It feels very much like there is a powerful intention that I actually experience through my participation. When I engage with the lessons and remember them throughout my day, I feel like I'm riding piggy-back on a wave of grace that literally shows me how these teachings come to life to enhance my own life experience.

It's not always like the fireworks of past spiritual experiences, it's more like riding a gentle steady current that gradually but inevitably takes me to where I need to go.

Sometimes I like the fireworks, but I also recall that with every peak there is a valley. The gentle steady current is a great blessing. This reminds me of something my teacher once said, I cannot remember her exact words, but it was something along the lines of this:

"Those who have been on the spiritual path for some time come to appreciate the gradual unfolding of the Shakti, because it allows us to really enjoy the process."

I offer my appreciation and love to DR and all those who participate in this course.

Kyle said...

I've been reading the Vasistha's Yoga and I have a question that maybe you can answer. From what I understand, the Transcendental State is the fourth state which pervades the waking, sleep, and deep sleep state. That Transcendental State is actually an awareness...or Consciousness that is my own and it is THE Eternal Consciousness.

For Liberation must you be emerced in this state constantly (sometimes Vasistha or others like Baba say that you need to go beyond even the fourth state for final Liberation....but either way) even while your 'non existant body' is 'awake' or 'asleep', etc. Therefore not having any Experience of your body and the Dramas that your body goes through?
Can you indulge in the senses a little or even a lot and still be considered "Liberated"? If so, what is the difference between that and the unliberated experience of these different states which contain your own Eternal Consciousness regardless?

D. R. Butler said...

I am happy to answer this question from a young man who was a friend of both my sons as they all grew up together in the ashram. Apparently he has become quite a scholar.

The Transcendental State, or in Sanskrit, the Turiya State, permeates the waking, dream, and deep sleep states simultanously. That is why we must eventually discover and, through practice, learn to live in the state that does not change whether we are awake, in the dream state, or experiencing deep sleep.

A liberated one lives in this state. Even now, as we read this, the dream and deep sleep states continue. If you allow yourself to slip slightly out of the waking state, as though beginning to fall asleep, you see the the dream state is right there and ready to go. The dream is already happening.

An enlightened being lives in all three states simultaneously, and beyond them, firmly established in the Turiya State.

As far as the senses, they are a vital aspect of the physical experience, and without them we could not perceive the outer world of other people (the objective world of humanity.)

One who knows the Self observes the play between the senses and the sense objects. It is a part of being in this body. There is no judgment, no right or wrong, regarding the play between the senses and their objects. It is simply something that happens in the natural course of things.

So it's not that we actually 'indulge,' but neither do we repress or deny or push away. There is nothing 'unspiritual' about a sensory or even sensual experience. It is simply what it is.

Living in the Truth of the Present Moment includes observing the play of the senses, delighting in their dance, yet remaining profoundly detached, as though enjoying a good movie.

In the lessons of the course we explore how this physical incarnation is much like a virtual game of Spirit seeing what it is like to have a human experience. In a sense, it is as though the body is operated on remote control, yet we actively participate in the karmic events of personal life, for that is our dharma. It is essential to maintain balance and harmony on all levels of Being.

Tom said...

I have enjoyed reading over your introductory materials and Lesson 1 several times. While I agree with you about living in the present moment, I have a couple of questions regarding the past and future that I was hoping you could answer for me before I go on with the course. I readily agree that living in the past is not a good thing, I also realize that the past has a profound effect on our present situation. How do you deal with this in the course? Also, while living in a "fantasy" world of the future is not good, planning for the future (children, retirement, death) need to be done. How do you incorporate this into the course? I thank you for taking the time to answer my questions

D. R. Butler said...

It is good if you have questions so that we can clarify things. Making the effort to articulate a question opens us up to receiving answers and insights we might never have gotten otherwise.

Of course the past has a profound effect on our present situation. In fact, everything that has happened has led up to this present moment, and everything made its mark. We do not deny that the past happened. There is much to be learned from it.

We have found, however, that it is much more effective, as far as living efficiently from day to day, to not dwell on the past, but to simply focus on living in the awareness of the present moment.

Practically speaking, of course it is important to plan for the future. However, the most efficient planning takes place in the present moment. It doesn't take place later, in some other time. Only now can we truly plan anything.

We focus on preparing for the future, and strengthening ourselves on various levels to best deal with whatever comes up in the future. Again, however, we do not focus on the future; we maintain our focus on the existing reality of the present moment, which for now is the only reality there is.

Hopefully this answers your questions.

Kyle said...

Thank You Ram. That answer has helped me a great deal. Until now, I have been desperately trying to Understand what it means to be Liberated. And although I DO understand what you are saying in your answer on an intellectual level, I have just realized that I will never really Fully understand it through intellectual Exploration. For some reason I thought that if I Understood intellectually, then the experience of Liberation would just "dawn" on me. Now I see that the only way to have the continual Experience of the Turiya State is "through practice", like you said. Although I've heard the importance of practice before, I was stubborn and determined to find this "shortcut". But who knows...perhaps my thorough intellectual understanding will help me know what I am looking for, in the course of my experiential exploration. So, thank you again for your answer.
Om Aim Saraswatyai Namah!

D. R. Butler said...

Kyle, you are right, you can't become liberated through intellectual exploration, because liberation is a state far beyond the mind. The mind cannot comprehend it. Like you mentioned, 'practice' is the key word. Otherwise all the past habits and tendencies (samskaras) will keep us down.

I am sure you experience the highest state from time to time, but when we speak of liberation, we speak of absolute consistency, and being totally established in that state.

Have you ever tried a systematic method starting from where you are and gradually leading to a freer, clearer, and more elevated state? You are welcome to experience our course on a month's trial basis, which includes the first two lessons. Most people are surprised to find what all is in there and what all it leads to. It's challenging to experience in advance the power a 'written course' might have in one's life. It comes as a surprise. At any rate it is here for you if you ever wish to give it a try.

All the best to you.

Sea Goddess Treasures said...

Hi, Before moving onto the next thread I wanted to make a comment in regards to a physcial gathering. My suggestion is for you to find a place close to your homewith a hall and nearby place to stay and local restautants or cooking facilities during the Fall Months. I suggest a hotel with a convention center or meeting hall. Maybe in PA or NY. This gives people plenty of time to plan and save for the trip. You can take reservations so you will have an idea in advance whether you are dealing with 10 people or 500 people. You could take an informal poll on the blog as to who would want to attend and it would give you an idea of what to rent. Meanwhile, you have many friends who would be very happy to help out a bit with the planning and help you facilitate everything. I think it would be fantastic and I look forward to the day you move forward with the idea. :) If it means anything to you, you have my support and help when you decide to move forward. If you are waiting for an invitation to come to a place to hold a gathering then I would state so on the blog and wait for some ideas and invitations to come your way...which I am sure they will.... Melissa Shubha

Camilla Shalini Dawson said...

Testing to see if I have successfully enrolled in Ram's blog page.