Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Transcendental State

This month’s entry is inspired by some questions that have come in from readers. I hope you are keeping up with the ‘comments’ following each entry, as some of the best material comes from the question and answer exchanges we share there.

I was happy to hear from a young man who grew up at the ashram as a friend of my two sons. Here is how our dialogue went, and following that are other questions and answers that have come in.

Kyle: 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 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?

DRB: 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. They do not cease to be simply because we are in the waking state. 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.

Kyle: Thank you, 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!

DRB: Kyle, you are right, you can't become liberated through intellectual exploration alone, 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 as well as make us totally predictable.

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. Although beginners are always welcome, most participants are those who have tried everything else and now wish simply to apply the principles of Truth in their everyday lives. At any rate it is there for you if you ever wish to give it a try.

Karen: 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?

DRB: 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 their 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 innermost 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.

DRB: 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 that originally compelled it.

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, predictably reacting to all the same things over and over.

DRB: JP talks about progress, and the sometimes apparent lack of it.

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.

DRB: 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 an ongoing course through email -- so that we can work on such things step by step.


Radha said...

I'm on lesson #25, and kinda spinning on the fundamental principle that "Our inner vision creates whatever is seen in the outer world. It doesn't work the other way around, as we usually presume."

Does this mean that our inner experience, feelings and perceptions and our response to what we see, inside ourselves, is the reality? My inner world? (attention).

Or is it that we create matter, like trees, animals ect. Since this is such an important point, I don't want to let it just go.....

I get stuck thinking I just imagined, created, that traffic jam......

Hugs and gratitude, Radha

D. R. Butler said...

Radha, we don't create matter, trees, animals, or traffic jams. We only determine our perception and experience of such things, and how they will affect us.

Matter is already created, otherwise we wouldn't be in this body, which is composed of matter. In Sanskrit there is a word, prakriti, which is the basis of all matter.

Even so, a baby, for example, doesn't identify trees, animals, or traffic jams. It's just stuff out there, a vibrational dance. Our mind (manas) is what organizes it all into a coherent reality for us to function in, and it takes about the first seven years of life for manas to fully kick in.

In a sense, what you're asking has to do with subjective reality verses objective reality, which is actually a reflection or mirror of the subjective reality we create within, in mind. The subjective reality is much more real than the objective. When we exit this body on the wings of the last exhalation, we take our subjective reality with us, while the objective world is left behind.

So yes, what you said is true: your inner experience, feelings and perceptions and your response to what you see, or your inner world, is the reality. This includes, as you said, attention.

Ultimately, whatever we place our attention on is created as our reality for the time our attention is on it, and when our attention shifts, our reality shifts.

You are entering the section of the course "Attention, Conscious Intent, and Will" that explores everything we're speaking of much more deeply than we are able to go into it here.

Thanks for your question.

Lisa said...

I'm just getting into my new lesson and I'm experiencing something rather curious. After a few lessons, I got it in my mind, okay, this is what the course is about and this is what the lessons are about, and then after another lesson or two, I have a whole different view of what the course is about and what is actually happening. I was just reading the current lesson and I was feeling oh wow I can't believe where this lesson is taking me--like a whole new unexpected experience. It is as though my perspective of the scale of the course keeps expanding. I think the course is something really good, then after a few lessons, I see it is so much greater than I even thought. This is an interesting phenomenon to me, and I wondered if you have any thoughts about it.

William said...

I've been reading D.R.'s writings since the 80's, including the 6 years that he did not publish anything, as I continued to read the old stuff during the fast. I want to share that I have had the same experience all along that you just mentioned. I felt that way about his writings before, and when he finally began the current course, I couldn't believe how far ahead of the previous course the new lessons were starting from. It was as though the course had gone on without us, and now we were having to catch up with what is currently available.

Even with the new course, like Lisa said, I continue to experience this, that the lessons are suddenly heading off somewhere that I could have never expected or anticipated. I am always surprised it can still continue to happen this way, but it does.

I wouldn't be surprised if D.R. has this experience himself. I think he might often be surprised himself at where the lessons go. As far as I can tell, he doesn't seem to be very identified with being the writer, and he sometimes expresses his astonishment of what comes out next.

D. R. Butler said...

William is right. I do experience the surprise in what comes out. Writing to me is like taking dictation. I can stop in mid-sentence, go to the bathroom, and come back and it starts right up where it left off without me even thinking about it. In fact, if I think about it, I have to stop and clear my mind before I can go on.

In the beginning, it was like an identity crisis, as I didn't know where it was coming from. I have somewhat gotten used to it, but I still keep a dictionary handy as I sometimes have to check on words that come up that I've never heard to make sure it's the right word, and it is invariably the most perfect word.

Anyway, it is true that I am always surprised. It is surprising to me that anything comes out at all.

From my perspective it happens through Guru's grace, through the grace of God, and through the grace of the Self. Due to grace the writing happens and people benefit due to their own good karma, as well as through grace.

Steve said...

I started your course back in the 90's and loved it and trusted that your teacher's words and wisdom were coming through you as she continued to give you her blessings to write the course.
When I first started this present course I was really excited about it and it felt right and good. But as time passes and I read each lesson and practice the exercises, I find myself getting more and more alarmed at what you write.

Where are getting your answers from? Are you now a fully enlightened teacher, a Guru yourself? If all one has to do is practice the exercises to master one's life, does that mean we are enlightened? Have you received the final initiation from your teacher to give shaktipat and thus bring your students to a level of your enlightenmet? If not, some of the things I read in the lessons and comments are really disturbing to me.

But I haven't read any comments questioning you in this way: just a lot of gooey adulation and "wow" experiences! Oh well, must be just me, ha, ha.

Still a follower but still skeptical, Steve

D. R. Butler said...

It is amazing how many different perspectives there are of the same thing.

This last comment really surprised me. I wondered, 'Should I actually print this? Is this really worth sharing with others?' Yet, having never been a fan of censorship of any nature, I do my best to be open to allowing everyone the freedom to express their own perspective.

The writing happens through grace. Where do I get answers from? From the same place I always got answers. In 1974 I asked my Guru if the answers that spontaneously came into my mind should be considered to be his voice, and he seemed absolutely delighted with my question and replied, "Yes! Yes!" as though I had just come across the key to something major.

'Steve' asks (many Steves take the course and post comments here) "If all one has to do is practice the exercises to master one's life, does that mean we are enlightened?"

So I ask him, have you practiced and mastered the exercises? How can you already be enlightened if you have not practiced or mastered the exercises? And how can you know their worth unless you practice and master them? For a Master, any exercise in any lesson would be very simple and effortless, if not something he or she does all the time in the natural course of things.

As far as the personal questions, perhaps you did not read the comments following last month's entry. In one I wrote:

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.

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.

Thank you for your stimulating question. Enjoy your day.

D. R. Butler said...

And a Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Let it remind us of the love that eternally resides within us.

Kabir said...

After reading Steve's comment, I would love to know what is so "alarming" to him. In both the blog and all the lessons I have read so far, the thrust of D.R.'s writings are to find the Truth in your own inner self, to focus on living in the Truth of the present moment, and, to quote the topic of a section in the course, "What you think is what you get." What is so alarming about any of that?

My initial experience of the lessons was that they awakened love in my heart in a way I had never before experienced.

Also, I have never experienced the present moment as I do with the lessons. When Eckart Tolle's "The Power of Now" first came out, my first thoughts were, this dude has been taking D.R.'s course. D.R. had already been talking about the power of the awareness of the present moment for many years. Of course, even he will tell you it's not a new teaching, that ancient scriptures spoke of it long before any of us came along.

Just never thought of anything D.R. has written as "alarming." It just never struck me that way. It makes me wonder if I should be alarmed.

Only kidding.

D. R. Butler said...

I was just rereading Steve's comment to make sure I covered everything that might be of universal interest to readers, and I realized that perhaps his last comments should be addressed.

They were: "But I haven't read any comments questioning you in this way: just a lot of gooey adulation and 'wow' experiences! Oh well, must be just me, ha, ha.

"Still a follower but still skeptical, Steve"

Steve, if you truly think that all the comments are "gooey adulation" and 'wow' experiences" then I am convinced that in reality you haven't read many of the comments. Most comments in the blog make up an ongoing question and answer session that many people enjoy and look forward to. Few have anything to do with "gooey adulation" or "'wow' experiences."

It is also untrue that I have never been challenged before in the comments. So my first impression is that you have not actually read very much of the blog or the comments.

You ended with this: "Still a follower but still skeptical, Steve"

First of all, one of the earliest principles to understand is that skepticism is only a product of the mind. It is temporary and comes and goes. As you grow in spiritual maturity, your skepticism will gradually shrink, which will allow you more freedom.

And about being a "follower," maybe you missed it in the current entry of the blog, so I will quote it again here:

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 innermost 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.

kokila said...

I am amazed at this posting since I was just about to ask a question about the very issue of how do I get from here to there. I have just read about a Buddhist monk who meditates 10 hours a day to attain a steady state of dhyana which he calls samatha. According to Buddha this is the first stage towards enlightenment. I can see why I am not a Buddhist !!!but does that mean there is no hope for me? - the Buddha is worthy of respect and he must know what he is talking about.

JP said...

The recent posts have stirred it up for me. The play of the teacher-student relationship has been on my mind so much lately:
- as father to a child who questions most everything I say
- as I am very much still the student
- and as (for reasons that escape me) others seek my council and wisdom

Two teachings come to mind, both of which I have made my own:
- strain your teacher well
- extend respect to the head master at all times
They seem very much paradoxes of each other but really their opposing messages help navigate some difficult terrain. It is important to ask "is he a good teacher", but it is equally important to ask "am I a good student" With self-inquiry a student becomes his own best teacher.

I have often been a disenchanted student. I am grateful for those times that I was able to see that my expectations needed to be adjusted, regardless of the teacher's merit.

Last night I had a dream that now seems relevant to share: D.R. was leading a group through a craggy, mountainous landscape with narrow trails and ledges. Though others were present, only myself and D.R. were visible. He hiked methodically while I followed wantonly. At one point I grabbed a rocky spire and swung around a hairpin turn in the trail, kicking my legs out over the sheer drop. D.R. glanced over his shoulder and said something like 'you might not want to do that'. He kept walking. Soon I lost sight of him, though I knew I could catch up with the group after the hike. I went home, then realized that the rendezvous point was in the parking lot at the base of the mountain. At first I thought that D.R. had failed to be clear about the rendevous point, but it became obvious to me that I had become distracted and wasn't paying attention.

Elizabeth said...

I just had to write to I had an awakening....and at the oddest time. I was watching, "Clean House" I've gotten to really like it and didn't know why.......It's about families and individuals who have massive amounts of clutter.........Hard to believe....any way...I was watching one day when a "dad" refused to get rid of his goat skull....even though promised that he would get all new furniture for his children if he would part with the skull. It hit me, like a bolt of lightening...that I have done that emotionally/spiritually, etc. for most of my life.....I have HUNG ON to so much baggage...even knowing that life would be better ... if I got rid of it! Well, "I SEE" and the analogy will stick with me.....I am a visual and tactal I thank you for all you are giving me in our course.....because it enables me "TO SEE' & 'DO'! With love and thanks... Elizabeth!

D. R. Butler said...

Kokila, thankfully we are not following the path of the Buddhist monk. I have nothing but respect for Buddhist monks, but obviously everyone cannot live that way. For most of us in the world, the course and blog contain all that we need, and we will be intuitively led to anything else that might be needed along the way.

Ekatman said...

I Love the Course, and I love this blog!

Thank you all for sharing and your questions as they have addressed some of my own and with others that I wouldn´t have asked myself but which are relevant to me.

Following the exercises of the course I started to give a try to be in the moment... It is beautiful!! I see more color in things, the world seems to become alive and so do I.

Yet, sometimes I find it hard to do... It is like not flowing and then I relax with the hope that later I will have a better chance.

I discovered that through reading the news compulsively I give my mind a lot to chew, particularly thoughts that will prove to be hard to digest as they contain plenty of past and future thoughts immersed in emotions of praise and blame clearly coming to feed the ego.

Certainly there is a need for me to find a better food for my mind (like this course) and less of the ego supersizing meals available at the news that makes hard for me to apply the principles of the present moment.


D. R. Butler said...

Don't let the news get you down. Through technological advances it is now difficult for anything bad to happen anywhere on the planet that we don't hear about. See the news as a movie of life on Earth during this particular era. It is not always pretty, which is why it is important to balance it by turning within and remaining centered in our own Self--which remains eternally pure, perfect, and supremely unaffected by the outer events of the objective world.

D. R. Butler said...

Someone posted something about searching for the meaning of life on my facebook page. I commented thusly:

Search for meaning? It seems that true meaning in life is intuitively obvious--certainly nothing to search for. I have searched enough. I found what I was searching for. Now I only share what was found. Whatever 'meaning' anything has is what we give it.

Steve C. said...

Well, I must say that I enjoy the blog when it starts getting frisky! So many of the comments and questions just seem to fit so well with my ongoing current experience, and I'm sure many others share this "apropos-ness".

I've basically been focusing on relaxing and being content with the way things are unfolding, in many different arenas. That's a pretty good leap for me, since I am normally, as Ram once put it, "thinking too much," trying to figure out all the details and how everything works. What that kind of attitude produces on a moment to moment basis is a perpetual uptightness, and of course a tendency to worry. I could never see this until I let go just a bit and kind of just agreed that things will always work out for the best, regardless of my worries.

And of course a lot of the questions I entertained in my continuous thoughts are getting answered left and right, and hey, I didn't have to do anything about it, just look at these freebies.

I want to thank all the blog contributors for your forthrightness and willingness to lay it on the line. And of course, thanks to Ram for reciprocating fearlessly. Out in the world this can be touchy stuff. But the great thing about the principles of the Truth is that they do not have to be defended, they are intuitively obvious, which is why we are drawn to the Lessons and the blog.

Well, OK, I guess I'll indulge the mind for one quickie: Lesson 31 was very challenging for me when talking about being in harmony with things as they are. I "worked" on this, but I wonder if you would elaborate on the "how" of being in harmony. When things happen, and it's an endless stream, I have endless opportunities to "be in harmony" with these things. If it's something that's freaking me out, I have been able at times to spot the fact that I'm freaking out, acknowledge that it's a samskara, but I can't seem to identify how to be in harmony with it. I try to be in harmony with it, but it's still freaking me out. What is being in harmony? What is entailed in the act of harmonizing?

Please don't tell me that I'm thinking too much, but it's OK if you do.

D. R. Butler said...

How to come into harmony?

Establish a conscious intent to be in harmony with everything as it is.

See everything as equally the play of supreme Consciousness.

Replace anger or annoyance with amusement or compassion.

Have unconditional love and compassion for everyone.

See only God in everything, even your lack of harmony.

Forgive yourself for getting freaked out. Know that it's okay.

Remember that everything is perfect even when it's not ideal.

See the things of this world as things of this world; it isn't intended to be heaven, although it can be if we see God in everything.

Understand that the reason we participate in our course is so we can learn more and more how to come into harmony with whatever comes up.

Persistently practice.

Elizabeth said...

The best part of my awakening....comes after the realization of what I had been doing for years......I couldn't sleep that night .... so I made out a "FORGIVENESS LIST".....thanks to Lesson 9!.....I had two pages of those I needed to forgive...including myself....I reflected on each one and then "let go" and crossed off that particular person from the list............WOW...WHAT FREEDOM I FELT! Haven't ever felt like that again "THANKS" for helping me to "SEE & DO"! I will keep you posted.....

Love and hugs,

kokila said...

Regarding prakrti... I was surprised at your answer. What about the advaitic teaching that the world is unreal and the world is Brahman?

D. R. Butler said...

What about the teaching of Kashmir Shaivism that the world is the body of God, a manifestation of Shiva himself?

There are lots of philosophies, lots of paths, and lots of teachers; if they are authentic, they all end up at the same place.

What about the teaching that the only reality is the Truth of the present moment?

Our approach is experiential moreso than philosophical. Many people have good philosophical understanding who can't even maintain a positive attitude or a cheerful disposition. Academic knowledge only goes so far.

Ann said...

I thought I would write a letter if only to say that I'm still here, but suddenly I find that I am in tears. I have spent so much time trying to untangle the samskaras of my life only to discover that the more I "see", the more I continue to see and the more horrified I become! And then the more cloudy my life seems to be! (and I promise I am "practicing") . Suddenly Lesson 36 comes along and it seems that there's an altogether different approach that I am seeing for the first time......instead of going from the outside in, perhaps I'll try going from the inside out. Thank you, dear friend, for somehow once again transforming my entire life, and everything in it. I am so grateful for it all.

D. R. Butler said...

Ann, dear one, you've always broken into tears. When people sometimes have the sense that the participants of the course are a community or even family, Ann is the epitomy of that. We used to have weekend workshops in Ann's home in the 70's, and she showed up at workshops at various locations throughout the years. Everywhere she went she would help with the cooking and serving food.

And everytime she first saw me, she broke into tears. So this is nothing new.

Ann, your sharing was so beautiful I had to share it with all.

When you say the more you see the more horrified you get, I am reminded of a recent sharing by one of my facebook friends, someone I have known since the 8th grade in fact, and she was telling of having cataract surgery.

She said once she saw what the world looked like without her cataracts, she was going around going 'Oh Wow! Oh Wow! Oh Wow!' Colors and forms were suddenly so much clearer. Then she looked in the mirror and saw how old she looked, and she looked around her house and saw how dirty it was, and her 'Oh Wow!'s' suddenly became 'Oh Shit! Oh Shit!"

It's true in a certain way as our perspective increases in clarity, we sometimes see that we're actually worse off in some ways than we ever expected.

In reality this happens because as we grow more aware, and our 'faults' become smaller, we are suddenly able to see them for the first time. We go 'oh no, I'm worse off than I thought.'

We don't realize that before the 'fault' or samskara was simply too huge for us to see or for our ego to deal with. As it becomes smaller and less powerful, we are suddenly able to see it and deal with it.

It is because of people like Ann that I write the course. There are many other names I could use, it's just that her message today happened to strike me. There are a great many out there that I write the course for. Of course, primarily I write it for myself.

When I was first writing a course for my Guru, many years ago, in preparation for the work that lay ahead, his primary instruction to me regarding it was "Learn the course well."

He never told me to write it or to teach it; he specifically told me to learn it. So I keep working at that. Lifetime instructions.

So I'm hanging in there with folks like Ann. Something good is happening through our subtle connection to something far beyond us, yet which is ultimately our very own Self.

rico said...

It seems that the only essential difference between "true paths" is semantics.
But even the idea of a path is a bit of a misnomer. In fact there is no where to go. Perhaps Ram Dass said it best some 40 years ago.

"Be Here NOW!"

Raymond said...

It has been a very harsh winter where I live, with lots of snow and ice. It's not inviting to be outside. Also, I don't quite have the physical energy or abilities as when I was younger, and I worry sometime I am not getting enough exercise to maintain decent health. I do practice basic hatha stretches just to make sure I don't get totally stiff, but I wonder if you had any other tips?

D. R. Butler said...

Kay and I dance. We'll both be working on our respective computers, and suddenly one of us will say, 'Hey, let's dance,' and we'll put on some music and go to it. We combine our dancing with hatha yoga, and so we get good stretches with some aerobics added in. My teenage daughter watched Kay in amazement once because she couldn't believe how uninhibited she was in her dancing. So we go to it. Sometimes we'll go for a few songs, and we've had a fairly good workout and are ready to go back to work for a while.

By all means keep up the stretches. Never let the spine get stiff or rigid, because that's when the aging process really takes over. Keep the spine limber enough where you can touch your toes without bending your knees, and do it a few times each day. It will do wonders in keeping you flexible while moving the energies instead of allowing them to become stagnent.

Also we have Meggie the dog, who demands, and deserves, a certain amount of exercise every day, so we have no excuse not to brave the elements. Anyone who does not give their dog enough exercise is basically tormenting them. Dogs need to work out their energy or they'll act out in certain ways. We humans are much the same. We need to work out a certain amount of energy every day or it'll get stagnant and we'll start acting out on some level.

It'll be easier for all of us to get exercise. when spring arrives. Always something nice to look forward to.

HNS said...

I believe that those who take the unseen writings hidden in a secret location literally can't really be taken seriously. That is a statement void of hostility or negativity.

I believe that the best society is one that allows each individual to do exactly what they want to do as long as it makes them happy. I believe that Christians should be able to speak down to those of other faiths. I believe that Muslims should be allowed to kill with impunity because America has been unfair to Islamic societies. I believe that those caught in adultery should be stoned.

Do you respect each of my beliefs equally?

D. R. Butler said...

I'm not very big on beliefs. When people ask me what I believe, I reply, "I don't believe anything. I don't believe in beliefs." I have no interest in dogma, religious or otherwise. I respect anyone's right to believe anything they choose, as long as they don't insist on imposing their own beliefs on others.

The yoga I do focuses on the space between any two thoughts, which is the changeless Truth of the present moment. There is a pure Awareness of Being that each of us shares in common, but this Awareness exists between and beyond thoughts, and cannot be captured by thoughts. It is that which observes and knows the thinker, which the ego quickly identifies with. Then however we describe ourselves, others, and the world around us in words will determine our perception and experience.

So yes, I respect all your beliefs equally, except I feel you are joshing with me and don't equally believe the beliefs you stated.

The Truth of the existing moment, which is the only reality there is, is free from beliefs, which are limited to the mind, which is incapable of knowing that eternal space that exists between thoughts--pure Awareness in the present moment.

We can experience reality through our own awareness, but not through beliefs.

This is where the practice of meditation comes in. Meditation is simply practicing being aware of Awareness, or conscious of Consciousness. The secret is to know the Knower, not the known; to see the Seer, not the seen. What is known and seen is temporary, but the Knower and Seer are eternal.

"Truth is one but wise men speak in many ways." (Rig Veda 1:64:46)

Sea Goddess Treasures said...

I liked Steve's letter and what he had to say about how he felt about the course and what he was going through ... lots of people have had intense periods of doubt about things on thier paths over the years and hey, thats cool, it's better than denying the feelings. One of the things I can tell you is that whenever I have had intense feelings about a teacher or other people in a spiritual group it almost seemed like a watershed time for me where I was letting go of built up negativity and samscaras. Usually it is more about myself then anyone else. I have even deveoped a little inner radar that if I feel these feelings then I better pay attention to my own problems and not project them on to others. Truly speaking, you should only be putting your faith in your own inner self and your own relationship with your own path and not in a teacher. If you feel an affinity for what a teacher is saying and if it affects some transformation and change in your relationship with god and your own inner self then it doesn't really matter what they are talking about. D.R. could pretty much talk about washing his car or going for a bike ride and it would be ok with me. The reason for this is not some kind of blind faith trip that I am on. It is about energy, the energy for the love of god and the search for truth. There is a type of spiritual connection in the energy if satsanga and this course is like satsanga and it integrates in unseen ways on all sorts of levels. You can always take a break from it if you feel overwhelmed. Sometimes we shouldn't always be racing to get to the end of the course letter. There is no reason to feel any pressure. If you read something on one page and it needs to sit with yourself for a few days, that is a GOOD thing...You don't have to blindly rush through the course trying desparately to assimulate it. There is no where to get to, there is only here right now. As far as I can see there is the occasional admonishment from DR to really try to read and re read the course like a father telling us to eat our vegtables. Sometimes he can seem a little stern. But really, give the guy a break, he has been trying to tell us the same thing over and over again for years and years and even if we "get it", we sometimes forget it just as quickly. DR is performing a wonderful service by talking about whatever he talks about to whoever is listening. It's totally ok to be skeptical and no teacher should ever tell you not to be. It is best to use that same skepticism for your own upliftment and refinement. Be skeptical of your own trips, use the sword of skepticism to pierce your own samscaras. Meditate, Study, Breath, Slay your inner demons with that sword. Live and Die by that sword. You are lucky if you have such a weapon on the path :) Anyway, this particular blog exchange this time, is one of the best and mose stimulating since the course began

Sylvia from Colorado said...

I say Amen Sister to your most recent blog, "Sea Goddess." Well worded! You were writing in response to Steve's entry re: Steve's growing "alarm" about Ram as a teacher and what foundation the lessons are built upon. To Steve, I want to say, I was on that so called previous path of which you speak: taking Ram's course for 20 years, spending exquisite time at the ashram and being with our beloved teacher/Guru. Maybe it would help Steve to remember that one of the golden threads which ran thru all these years was always great emphasis placed on our inner experience of the divine. I can tell everyone taking this course that, after 35 years on this "path", this is the real deal for me. I say this based on my experience of clarity, love and lightheartedness when I read each lesson. There is incredible grace and gratitude. These lessons also challenge me because my brain/ego are changing the old patterns/ samskaras.

To Sea Goddess, I like many of your points, one being about not rushing to make sure we get to the end of the lesson and rushing through our life, in general. It is crucially important, to me, to slow down and absorb what I am reading/receiving in order to allow the uplifting experience. In adddition I have several study buddies where we process every principle of each lesson. Therein lies the expansion of pure consciousness. Bless this unusual and wonderful place for satsang. Love to all my fellow explorers.

Thank you Ram for your honesty and humbleness in helping us under-stand how you write this course. Hugs to you and Kay.

Patti said...

i have a question but it doesn't really pertain to your current blog, its just a general question.

Many thanks again, for your lessons, that are so valuable in my life. there is nothing else out there that puts me back in a centered space, if i've gone off track, than your lessons.

I wish meditation did the same but it ends up being me getting involved with my grocery list of issues of the day, in otherwords, egotistical melodramas. i don't feel as clean and uplifted as i do when i read your lessons.

Here is my question. I can wrap my mind around the concept of "everything is fine in the present moment". When i read about this concept i am assuming you are meaning this from a standpoint of letting go of our "mental tendencies" to experience the peace of the present moment. However, this concept seems to not hold up if one is experiencing extreme physical pain.

How could one talk themselves into believing that everything is perfect in the moment, when each separate moment is excruciating physical pain? finding peace and joy in that context seems impossible. yet it doesn't make sense to me that the concept of "perfection lies in the present moment" should apply only to our mind, and not our physical body.

I was discussing the "perfection in the moment" concept with my husband and he brought this pont up - and i had to agree - how would one find peace and joy in the moment when their bodies are screaming that something is very wrong? i'm not referring to a minor headache, more along the lines of people who are in serious medical trauma. How would one realistically find peace without the help of medical intervention, like morphine or painkillers? thankyou,

D. R. Butler said...

After reading Patti's question I had to go out for a long walk to contemplate. Meggie the dog and I tromped through the snow in the back field. What a great question. Ever since I had a major back injury when playing basketball in college, I've had to deal with pain to some degree or another. Funny, just today a man from Long Island wrote to ask if I still had back pain, as he is in the profession of doing something about such things.

After a lot of meditation on my physical condition I came to understand that pain is simply an aspect of the physical world. None of us can hope for a totally painless experience of a physical incarnation. So, to a certain extent, physical pain is just part of being in this body.

Kay and I have been watching the reruns of HBO's excellent "Band of Brothers" which goes into some World War II experiences quite graphically. We can all agree that if a man gets his leg blown off, and blood is gushing out and he's feeling a pain like nothing he ever imagined, he doesn't want the medic to run over and remind him, "Don't worry; in the present moment everything is perfect."

I guess the short answer, which is all that is possible here on the blog, is that there is a distinct difference between ideal and perfect. Having your leg blown off is no one's ideal; yet in the realm of karma, which includes many physical lifetimes, it can be totally perfect, and just what one needs to learn the most in this particular incarnation.

So, as far as that medic, let's thank God he injected morphine instead of merely telling the guy everything is actually perfect.

When I was in a yoga ashram in India in the 70's, there was an Indian woman Swami who was also a doctor in the clinic. The Westerner in front of me told her, "I'm a very natural person. I don't like meditations." The swami doctor told him, "The medicine is Shakti too. God exists equally in everything."

So thank God we have that morphine and those pain-killers when we truly need them. The downside, of course, is that they are fiercely addictive, and addiction can be a worse problem than pain, so we have to be very careful in our use of them.

It requires a very subtle intellect and a steady state to see the perfection in traumatic pain. For this we'd need to be able to see the whole picture, the whole chain of cause and effect that led up to this particular karma.

There is no answer that readily satisfies the mind, because the mind is caught in the pain/pleasure polarity itself. Hopefully, however, some of these comments are helpful.

D. R. Butler said...

In the beginning of Patti's question she mentioned a couple of things I'd like to address.

First of all, questions or comments do not need to be related to the topic of this particular entry. In fact, the entry itself came from previous interactions in the comments. This is an open discussion about anything related to the spiritual path, or to self-development, or personal growth.

Also, Patti mentions that reading the lessons are more effective for her than formal meditation. Reading the lessons is a form of meditation in itself. We leave the normal meanderings of the mind to become focused on uplifting and expanding perspectives that are transformative both immediately and in the long term. Many people over many years have written to share that reading the lessons was when they experienced the very best meditation.

As a disclaimer, I do not write this to discourage formal meditation. I began meditation myself at the age of 15. I simply wanted to mention that many have expressed that reading the lessons works as the most effective form of meditation for themselves in particular.

To actually practice the course includes practicing certain exercises presented at the end of each lesson. In order to correctly practice most of the exercises, a deep degree of meditation is required. In this sense, it is a most excellent course for truly learning to meditate.

In one lesson, for example, the exercise for the two weeks of that lesson is to radiate love outward to the world, and to all others in our karmic sphere. It requires a certain degree of meditation to tune into the inner space from which love is radiated. We don't actually 'do' anything to radiate love, but when we are absorbed in our own inner love, the love we feel is radiated outward like heat and light from the sun.

Sea Goddess Treasures said...

In regards to the "staying in the present moment in extenuating circumstances" such as physcial pain.....I thought about what D.R. said overnight and I am hoping I can add a bit to it or bring in another view.
In a sense your amazing body system is always in the present moment and if you are in outrageous pain, then the present moment for you is about protecting and healing the body. If the body doesn't scream with pain (which is the truth of that moment) you might not pay attention to your problem. So the protective mechanisms of the body are perfect in themselves and the equilibrium of that moment is a balancing of the need for healing.
I know that many yogis contemplate thier own death extensively and swamis do thier own funeral. Why is this? It is because "to contemplate your own pain and/or death" it makes you realize how little time you have on this planet and that you don't have an infinate amount of time to do all the work you are on the planet to do? If you are truly to ask yourself what is most important thing for you to do in this body, in this life....what would it be...? For many seekers, doing your sadhana is high on the list and purifying your outlook in each present moment and that mindfulness is key to the experience of the power within your very self. You only have so many moments in this body and realizing this and contemplating it is truly a landing step on the spiral of stairs during the sadhana path. Sadhana isn't always about being laid back and being empty and in some kind of dreamy world. Sadhana is about paying attention to the energy all around you at all times. If you ignore the facts of life like death, taxes, paying your bills, pain in life, working your job, and cleaning your house what kind of seeker are you? The power of this universe is all around us for the taking. The present moment is all around us at all times if we pay attention. Patty , what a wonderful way your question was paying attention to your path. Thanks ever so much :)

D. R. Butler said...

Today let us take time to love and honor our own inner Self. We might worship an outer God, but truly there is only the divine Presence that animates this bodily temple we have temporarily identified with. Recognize the infinite Presence that animates and enlivens the entire cosmos, and know this to be your true and eternal Identity. Love this inner Self with all your heart, and you will love your life.

rico said...

It seems that we are, each one of us, a vantage point for the Lord to experience His/Her creation.

If we can be aware of this in every Moment then life will truly be Heaven on Earth.

Susan said...

As I observe and listen to you your words and ideas become more and more powerful as time goes by. Those words go deep and resonate more and more fully. Maybe just now you are starting to hit your are awesome!!!! Thanks.

Sylvia in Colorado said...

Pain is an experience I deal with daily, mostly back pain in 3 places where the x-rays have shown deterioration related to aging, ruptured disc, and agitated nerves that are almost pinched. This is according to the most respected spine specialists in this part of Colorado. Many times, I do experience what some people on this blog have called, near "screaming pain." I am the queen of home remedies: ice and heat packs, PT postures, pain relieving creams, using massagers, getting massages, accupuncture, rest, prescription muslce relaxers and pain killers, although I limit my intake of meds per day.

Here is my question for D.R. Years ago I took a meditation workshop with Sally Kempton, aka Swami Durgananda. In this workshop, she gave us a special way of working with any mind distraction that is taking our attention away from being peaceful in the moment, espciallly during meditation. It is important to say, the absolute premise of this exercise/prayer is that we/it/everything is God. One must come from total respect and humbleness.

Okay, it goes like this: speaking to, in my case, the pain, "I recognize you in this form...I acknowledge you in this form... I honor you in this form." There is an inward and literal bowing of the head. Then be quiet.

So many times, saying this little prayer has surprisingly decreased or totally stopped the pain in a short period of time. Other times, not.

D.R., I have contemplated the dynamics of this for decades. How could this this little prayer possibly work...other than the (thank God) compassionate Grace of God!

My conclusion on this is: God (me) working with God (pain) plus God recognizing God, God acknowledging God and humbly honoring God (the pain) is a form of accepting the pain. Instead of fighting the pain and being unhappy or troubled with it, the pain is divine, along with the whole world. Doing this always creates a slight shift in consciousness for me. I would appreciate any other insights you, or any of the bloggers can offer. Much love and blessings to all!

Cristóbal said...

I wanted to respond to DR's statement:

"Don't let the news get you down. Through technological advances it is now difficult for anything bad to happen anywhere on the planet that we don't hear about. It is not always pretty, which is why it is important to balance it by turning within and remaining centered in our own Self--which remains eternally pure, perfect, and supremely unaffected by the outer events of the objective world."

I agree and see the importance of this. But I also see another perspective: as members of a global society, we have a responsibility to look at what is happening in it and recognize what is happening. If we just go along being part of it, we are complicit with the crimes of our society. For instance, a big one for me is how our society (via corrupt governments and corporations) exploits indigenous people around the world. These are perhaps the last societies of the world who are still living in the truth of the present moment because that's just the way that their cultures are. They have a lot to offer us, we have a lot to learn from them.

Our governments and corporations are kicking them off their land, exploiting them for labor and natural resources, and sometimes outright murdering them in the process so that we can live an ultimately unsustainable way of life.

If we just go along with this and do not take some action, are we not complicit in these acts?

If my neighbor were doing this to another of my neighbors, I would do something to stop it. Yet due to the nature of our society, this can happen for our material benefit and with our own support whenever we unconsciously buy cheap goods from Wal-mart or Sam's Club, and if there is no awareness of it we are just blindly going along with it.

I think that the movie "Avatar" has brought awareness to some of the plights of indigenous people here on this planet, horrendous injustices that are happening right now, in this very moment, so that we can have special components to put into cell phones and oil to put into our cars.

I think it's important to really see this reality, even if doing so does have the (hopefully temporary) effect of "getting us down".

It feels to me that through participation in spiritual activities such as this course, that there is a temptation to turn a blind eye towards what one does not want to see.


rico said...

Avatar was a great movie and hopefully it will influence a lot of impressionable viewers. But it has been my experience that boycotts of any kind only serve to salve the conscience of the participants. They never accomplish their intended purpose (with the possible exception being the United Farm Workers boycott of table grapes in the early 70's). What I have noticed is that reacting to the injustice that I see regularly portrayed in the media only serves to take me out of the Moment.

It took me many years (I was an anti-war radical in the late 60's and early 70's) to realize that the only thing I could influence was my own perception. I have found that it is a much more productive use of my energy to focus my attention on the innate divinity of everyone I meet and to do what I can to help those less fortunate in my own back yard. I am not saying that if one feels strongly about serving indigenous populations they should stay home and ignore their inner direction. But for most of us the best thing we can do is to bring some light into our own neighborhood.

D. R. Butler said...

Chris, I hear you, and I imagine anyone who reads these comments feels the same way you do.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna: "Liberation is attained through actions, not through inaction."

There is nothing in our course that encourages anyone to turn a blind eye to anything. People of all occupations and lifestyles practice sadhana. It's not just people who sit around meditating all day. I've never known anyone like that, and I've known several swamis (monks) in my day. They were all quite active and even dynamic.

We all do what we do to end suffering wherever we find it. Still, we cannot focus on the fruits of our actions. Karma yoga is offering the fruits of one's actions to God, and being detached from the results.

Due to the particular cycle the planet Earth is in right now, there's not much chance of everyone becoming dharmic overnight anytime soon. It is a time of ignorance, and of most worldly powers and governments being ignorant of the principles of Truth.

The good side of this is that when the outer world gets this crazy, it is a great time for the rest of us to do sadhana. It is said about kali yuga, the current cycle we are in, that we can make great progress on the spiritual path with even the smallest of efforts.

So everyone does what they do. Some work in politics, some are actors or musicians, some drive taxis, some are the mothers of small children--we are do our own dharma, and it is always intutively obvious in the moment what that is.

If you read my quote once again, you will see that a great emphasis was placed on balance. It is not a good idea to get caught up in, or obsessed with, the happenings of the outer world. They are what they are, and the result of karmas we could never understand. The only way we can possibly help anything or anyone is if we are somewhat focused within, on our changeless inner nature.

D. R. Butler said...

Reading Rico's comment, I am reminded of a recent interview I heard with the surviving members of "The Band." One of them said, "Back in the early days we thought we could change the world, we could end war, we could promote a culture of universal love and acceptance. Now we just do what we can do to help make it a better neighborhood."

For some reason I am also reminded of the words of a Leonard Cohen song: "There is a war between those who think there is a war and those who think there's not one."

Kathy said...

Want to thank you again for writing the lessons, they are a real anchor for me in a world of what sometimes can be turbulent seas.

I was wondering if you wouldn't mind elaborating on the idea of "there's no such thing as trying" which you mention in the last lesson. From starting to do something...... to actually doing it..... isn't the time in between the time you are "trying?" I feel this is important and I know that the "I'm trying" idea has been sandblasted into our makeup. Just love to chat about this a second.

D. R. Butler said...

Good question, and the answer has a lot to do with understanding doership. One aspect of sadhana, or spiritual practices, is to gradually transcend the idea of being the doer of actions. The divine universal Power of God (Shakti) performs all actions.

Our part in this is exercising control over what we think and what we create, because our thoughts determine how Shakti will create our personal reality.

The sense of 'trying' is mostly associated with the ego. The ego is greatly identified with being the doer of action, and is actually a little put off at the idea of there not being a doer.

The way to accomplish anything is to first create in thought exactly what we want, and the next step is to feel as though our creation is already real. All this is explained in detail in the first year of the course.

Once we see the end result and feel that it is already real, there is no further need for 'trying.' We will be intuitively guided regarding what we need to 'do' in each present moment to do our part in allowing our creation to manifest outwardly.

Once we understand the nature of 'trying,' we see that it is not only unproductive but actually distracting. It is much easier and simpler to simply know that our ideal is already real in our feeling, which is our subtle reality, and what is real subtly will in time be reflected outwardly in the physical world.

Bindu said...

For most the last twenty years I have been involved in the "peace and justice" movement in the United States. It took me a long time to realize that the goal for me was to " be in it but not of it." I do not remember ever thinking I want to "do this". It sort of just happened. Due to a series of circumstances I found myself in Central America in a time of great chaos. My response was a passionate horror for the injustices that seemed to be happening there. Back in the United States I became an outspoken advocate for changes in US policy. Speaking Truth to Power was a great awakening, incurring both political and personal penalties. Now I look back on those experiences with great gratitude for the opportunities they provided for me to grow in compassion and understanding, while recognizing and appreciating the underlying perfection of it all. I think I was given the gift of simultaneously witnessing first hand both the violence and the beauty of human beings, in an environment that to me was so "foreign", my own cultural concepts were not operable. In Truth I learned we are all "brothers and sisters", both the good guys and the bad guys. So, I don't think it is dharmic to ignore undharmic actions, however, I am aware that all violent actions invariably spring from ignorance of the Truth. When I stay centered in the Truth I am able to act without blame or bitterness, instead I am present in detached compassion. Thank you for your willingness to continue these precious lessons.

Kathy said...

Thanks I think I got it. Totally enlightening! In a sense "trying" is a type of "doubting" correct? Doubting in action so to speak or doubting in sheeps clothing.

There is no middle step needed between the idea of what you want to create and getting there except following your intuitive guidance. Ah.... that's the trick isn't it.

If that's so, now the question is, how do we stay totally in tune with our intuitive guidance from any point A to point B. Sometimes it seems obvious and sometimes it does seem like you have to try. So maybe when we find ourselves trying we should stop doing that!

D. R. Butler said...

Funny, Bindu and Kathy posting so close together in time, and knowing that they are good friends.

In fact, it's been a wonderfully active day on the blog. It is a true satsang that we enjoy here in the current comments, and it is very fulfilling. If it is meant to be, more and more people who seek satsang will find this place. It seems that more and more are already becoming aware of, and appreciating, what we do here. And this happens entirely through word-of-mouth.

Kathy, you are absolutely correct. When you notice you are trying, remind yourself that your ego has gotten involved, and you need to let go once again.

Weird thing about this letting go thing; we have to keep letting go over and over again. It takes a while for something to actually be finished to the point that it doesn't come up again. And 'trying' is a deeply ingrained samskara from a very early age.

You said: "There is no middle step needed between the idea of what you want to create and getting there except following your intuitive guidance. Ah....that's the trick isn't it?"

Your words speak the truth. That is the trick. Inner guidance always exists in the present moment. It won't tell us what we need to do later, which the mind endlessly tries to figure out, but it will always tell us what we need to do right now.

Sometimes the most vital thing to do right now is to relax and be completely at ease for a while. If it seems that it is not obvious what to do now, then I would go that route. Most of us are too busy trying to do the next thing, when we actually need to kick back and do something fun for a while. Fun, laugher, and relaxation are very rejuvenating.

Kathy said...

What about those times when you feel you should be doing something but you're not sure what it is? Is that a sign that's it's still not time to do anything?

D. R. Butler said...

That is the ego. The ego persistently thinks it should be doing something, getting somewhere, making some progress with something, staying busy, getting things done.

Once someone asked my Teacher how to know what to do next. My Teacher replied, "I didn't know life was about doing; I thought life was about being."

It is so easy for us to exhaust ourselves doing, whether we actually accomplish anything worthwhile or not, but for some reason we have such a hard time simply enjoying being. In the grand scheme of things, it is much more important to be than to do.

Practice enjoying simply being without feeling like you have to constantly be busy doing. It goes against our conditioning, but it will bring much joy and contentment to your life.

It is just as important to relax and enjoy ourselves as it is to do our work. There must be a harmonious balance, without going too far in either direction.

Kathy said...

Ram, this has really given me great insight, hope I can remember it daily. Thanks

D. R. Butler said...

In this quote Ram Dass beautifully expresses the nature of true wisdom:

"Wisdom and knowledge are two entirely different matters. Knowledge is very finite and miniscule in comparison to wisdom. To become wisdom is to transcend the time-space locus that says, ‘I am me who knows.’ You merge with that which is around you and lose awareness of distinct knowledge. You don’t know that you know."

D. R. Butler said...

Kathy, thank you for your dialogue. The great question was a perfect start, and you were willing to hang in there until you fully understood and had clarity regarding your original question.

It was a beneficial dialogue for all of us. I'll probably use it in one of the lessons one day, which in my world is the ultimate compliment.

Love to you and also please tell your sister that I send my love.

Steve C. said...

I'd like to thank Kathy for her questions and Ram for the responses; this provided me as well with great insight into something that has been a large part of my life. As Kathy says, I hope I can remember it daily.

I have a question about being "enlightened." My current Lesson has as an exercise the contemplation of what it would be like to be already enlightened. This contemplation has produced some interesting insights, but it was during a reading of another part of the Lesson that my question came up. The Lesson discusses not being attached to the inevitable polarities of life as they come up, such as how things are going or how we are feeling, stating, "We've already established that a state of enlightenment doesn't manifest in any particular way, such as being an ideal human, or being in a good mood all the time."

As I watch my moods and emotions come and go, I wonder if I would appear any different to others if I were enlightened. Is it that the moods and emotions and, for example, cantankerousness, would continue to arise on their own, but that I would simply not be attached to them, would not identify with them as being me, would not invest in them so much? If this were so, with this awareness, this experience of equanimity, wouldn't I be more relaxed and less likely to manifest foul moods, etc.?

My personal experience of of you Ram, for example, is one of someone deeply invested in a very deep river of equanimity, someone fazed by very little or nothing. Imagining my incredibly quirky character in an enlightened state is challenging. Would truly nothing change in my character, just my attachment to it?

D. R. Butler said...

Steve, I appreciate your question, and admit that I feel just a little presumptuous when it comes to definitively describing what an enlightened state might be like.

From what I have studied in the scriptures, and from having the great fortune to closely observe a couple of genuine enlightened beings in my lifetime, here is what it seems to me:

Most great beings were pretty quirky. Remember our Teacher would give talks about the idiosyncracies of the great beings he had met. Once he said he had met many rascals and many saints, and that it was often difficult to tell which was which.

Anyway, whether anyone would be able to tell any difference in us or not if we were to suddenly be enlightened, it would depend on their own state. For an ordinary person, no, there would be no difference, for what in his awareness could he compare enlightenment to? In his eyes, we'd be just as ordinary as he is.

As far as I can tell, the true personality doesn't change much. Personality is simply the outer expression of the inner person. We still have our quirks. Our Teacher wrote, "O Lord, why did you give me such an arrogant nature. I don't know."

So it's not that we become an ideal person that stands out to all people as being somehow 'above' all the rest. In enlightenment, of course, there is no 'above' or 'below' as there is only One. We continue on the outside to be pretty much the same character we always were.

There are a few outer changes, however. For one, one is no longer reactive. Since everything is an aspect of the same play of Consciousness, there is nothing in particular to react to. There is also a certain consistency, a steadiness, always being the same one with no fluctuations in one's state. There is always a certain twinkle in the eye, a lightheartedness, and supreme fearlessness.

Also, we are more spontaneous, and live free from the inhibitions and reservations of the pretentious ego. We are free from identification from mind, emotions, and body. Of course, this is something only we could know; another couldn't tell unless he were also in the same state.

As you know, we go into this much more deeply in the course. This is a taste, and hopefully answers your question. All the best to you.

Steve C. said...

Thanks Ram, yes that answers my question, especially the last few paragraphs. As always, your responses give me a sense of, "Yes, exactly." And I guess I'm good on knowing whether or not I get enlightened, Susan says she'll tell me.

Cristóbal said...

Dear DR: thanks for your reply to my question. I can see that Action is indeed part of my own individual path, as about half the time you reply to me you make this assertion regarding the Bhagavad Gita. Thank you, it is not lost on me. Indeed I have been directly called to activism in the world through my spiritual connections. I’d love to share about that sometime, but this doesn’t seem to be the right forum.

Rico, I cannot agree with what you say. I believe that activism CAN accomplish great things. It was due to the efforts of many people all around the globe that Apartheid in South Africa came to an end. If it weren’t for people trying to make a change in the world, there wouldn’t have been a civil rights movement in the United States. Taking action for change is not all about boycotts. One great teacher of yoga started a “Meditation Revolution”, and this required action on the part of many people. Arjuna had to take violent action to follow his dharma (fight and kill his own relatives) yet this doesn’t mean one has to be out of the moment. You used the word “react”. An action can be a response that originates from the space of stillness within.

There was even something about this in the lessons: DR wrote that you wouldn’t just walk by a child drowning in a pond and say “tough karma kid, that’s just the way the puck slides”. No, dharmic action is to go in and save him. My point in the posting is that when one takes a good look at the world around us, there really is a set of actions that would lead to positive social change. Just because the scale of what is needed is so much greater doesn’t mean we should have an attitude of resignation regarding it. But, yes, I agree with you that it all starts in our own backyard.

This is a big topic for me, and I imagine I’ll be speaking up about it from time to time as I work out the relationships between my spiritual viewpoint, my experience, and my callings to action in the world.

Thank you all


Ekatman said...

I have a question. I am on lesson 4 and the practice for this lesson is to come back to the present moment as much as we can and to mantain this experience for as long as we can...

It is my impression that it is stated in several places in the course that The Truth of the Present Moment is the same as the Awareness of Awareness.

I have practiced to try to be "in the moment" consciously intaking all the sensory experiences as they happen focusing to be present as they go by without entering into any thought or description of them and then I feel a wonderful experience of Life in this realm as I had never experienced it before... perhaps only when I was a child.

And yet it seem to me that is a real challenge and requires a lot of determination to remain in this state...

But, if I otherwise turn into the Awareness of Awareness (which can only happen on the Now) then I have a sense of the bliss living inside of me, but then I become somewhat less conscious of the experience of my senses... it is easier for me to mantain this inner state than the one focusing on the external experience of my senses in the now.

Is there a bridge between them both?

How can I have the experience of awarness of awareness while at the same time fully engaging with my senses and what they experience moment by moment in the now?

D. R. Butler said...

Ekatman, noting that you are on Lesson 4, please consider first of all that everything you ask about will be discussed in full in future lessons of the course.

We could say that living in the Truth of the present moment is maintaining an awareness of Awareness, or a consciousness of Consciousness. That about says it all, in fact.

Understand that the play between senses and sense-objects happen on their own, with or without us. If we can personally remove ourselves from it and see it as impersonal activity, we will understand the sensory world with much greater clarity.

The play between senses and their objects is a vital aspect of the play of Consciousness. It happens simultaneously or concurrently with the consciousness of Consciousness, or the Awareness of Being. There is no dichotomy between the two. They are all various levels of God's play.

A Master, a Siddha, maintains awareness of Awareness while also observing the play of the senses. It all happens simultaneously, and there is really no difference between them. One does not disrupt the other. The movie, the screen, the projector, the producer, the director, the writer, and the audience are all ONE and the SAME.

Contemplate this for now. Meditate on it. The answers to all your questions will be forthcoming.

david harshada wagner said...

Thanks for bringing my attention to this dialog Ram. I love the practice of just being. For me I can clearly see the old habits of "who should I...what...what should I....where should I...." which arise into the space. And how sweet it is to resist their goads and just enjoy the surging gap in this moment.

As for the enlightened state- what I call awakened living. I have all but given up on trying to decide. I know something has happened- and I know stuff keeps arising. Meaning, something fundamental in me has let go- and this awakening has happened within the context of "Harshada" which is a complex scheme which has a sort of momentum of its own. I could imagine the momentum running itself down over time but for now I still act and live and appear mostly like the guy from Peoria I've been playing all these years.

As for rest- for me it is crucial. Much of what arises in the Harshada Scheme seems to be simply hormonal. Meaning the body experience of balance and imbalance. What I eat, how much I exercise or rest, all effect the mental emotional body. Just now- I ate too late and slept too little last night so I am waking up a little groggy and I'm sure my patience is short too. Am I this body? No. Am I the patient/ non patient one? No. But none the less- this is the weather in this body this morning.
But thanks- this was a delightful groggy impatient reflection on this too early Sunday morning.
Love to you Ram!

dhruvamusik said...

I remember living in the ashram walking to an afternoon talk from the guru, hundreds or "everyone" was attending, but Butler was playing Basketball with his son, I remember grasping an essential lesson, "the self is inside of me and everywhere, there is no place there is not" so that image helped my Relax my stay in this planet, trully relaxing, saying yes to all existance is to realize awareness, and that is what is all about.
then sadhana is not about seekeng but celebrating discovery.

D. R. Butler said...

Yes, playing basketball with my sons are some great memories. We had some good times back there at the basketball hoop. Now I play with my daughter, Sara, who is 14 and plays at George School, and she is the first one to be able to beat me. Love what we are doing now, and we have reached the pinnacle of spiritual searching.

D. R. Butler said...

Great hearing from Harshada. I've known him since he was a youngster at the ashram, and he has become quite the meditation teacher. I can vouch that he has a great heart and a great future as well.

Check his photo and see something about his work here:

rico said...

Some interesting musings on what it means to be enlightened. Perhaps the problem with determining if one is "enlightened" is that when one is truly enlightened there is no "individual" left identify with the thought. At some point along the way one needs to give up even the desire to be enlightened. I have noticed that whenever someone asks an enlightened master if they are indeed enlightened their answer is often one of perplexed amusement. It appears that the enlightened one can't relate the concept!

D. R. Butler said...

Exactly. There is no one there to give an answer. Either a 'yes' or a 'no' would come from the ego.

Naganath said...

Re: Doership
It seems to me that it is not the action itself that matters but only the the place where the action originates that DOES. In other words, if one is acting in complete harmony with the (inner) Self, the act itelf is irrelevant. Thus, "activism" or "passivism" if expressed as LOVE and oneness with Divinity is the same, and the results are divine. Killing selflessly (Arjuna) or loving selflessly, same result? Action purified through wisdom, living in the present moment, it is all Perfect. Being attached to the results is also perfect, but needs more work.

Love, Naganath.

D. R. Butler said...

Harshada tagged me in a 'note' on my Facebook page. It was this:

(This is something Mother Teresa wrote/spoke to her nuns the Missionaries of Charity)

It is not possible to engage in the direct apostolate without being a soul of prayer. We must be aware of our oneness with Christ as he was aware of oneness with his Father. Our activity is truly apostolic only in so far as we permit him to work in us and through us, with his power, with his desire, with his love. We must become holy, not because we want to feel holy, but because Christ must be able to live his life fully in us. We are to be all love, all faith, all purity, for the sake of the poor we serve.

Love to pray - feel often during the day the need for prayer and take trouble to pray. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of himself. Ask and seek, and your heart will grow big enough to receive him as your own.


In my perspective this is being a true Christian. How could it be expressed more perfectly than this?

I also enjoyed Harshada'a 'favorite quote' in his Facebook 'info':

"A problem that does not exist has no solution."

Kathy said...

Ram, here's one out of the blue. Just read lesson 37, it is fabulous. Just curious, why is it that "the ego feeds on agitation?" Why doesn't the ego have a better diet? Why does the ego only feed on the negative stuff? For instance, wouldn't it be delightful if the ego could fill up on a bit of humor, or perhaps happiness or kind words.

Kathy said...

Ram, I just read your last comment regarding my first question to you. I will tell Diana you send your love. She is an amazing woman and I do know that what she learned and imbibed all those years ago has made her a wonderful example of the teachings, till this day. Talking to her always helps to center me.
I forgot to sign my last post, but it was me who asked about the ego feeding on agitation.

Anonymous said...

DR - Thanks so much for the course and the blog which is so lively & interesting & uplifting. I'm truly grateful that you are doing the course again. It's invaluable. The posts about taking action to help others brings up for me an issue that I hope you will comment on and that is animal cruelty -- I find all forms of cruelty repugnant but animal cruelty is very difficult for me to let go of. I experience very intense feelings of anger, compassion, sadness and helplessness when I encounter it, because I know that it's happening in lots of places -- that it's a fact of life, and that disturbs me a lot. I live in a place where I've come across animal cruelty and neglect by people who one would think would know better -- unintentional cruelty perhaps. I can look at so many other things with equanimity but this really pains me. And, any time that I can take action to help an animal in distress, I will. Of course I will help people, too, when I can, but I feel like animals, and children, are so at the mercy of adults that not helping if I can would be a betrayal. Once I heard a reporter ask a politician what his definition of evil is and he said "Cruelty". I've never been one to see life in terms of good and evil and prefer not to give "evil" the time of day. But when I heard his answer I thought he had a good point.
Love to everyone here -

D. R. Butler said...

Kathy, I agree, it would be a much nicer world if the ego enjoyed feeding on happiness, kindness, and humor instead of being so addicted to agitation and irritation.

When we're happy and kind, and when we're enjoying the humorous aspects of things--especially laughter--the ego doesn't have much to do. It's not necessary for fun and harmony; it's only necessary for distraught distraction. So when it gets bored enough with happiness and humor, it starts to find fault, find things wrong with things, find problems, and focus on imperfections. Stir up a little conflict perhaps. Now life is interesting again.

If it weren't to feed the ego, there would certainly be no other reason for us to use up our energy and time experiencing any degree of agitation, irritation, contrariness, or conflict of any nature. They are perfectly dreadful experiences of life, compared with all that life has to offer. Yet the ego is most satisfied with them, because when everything is going wrong, the ego gets to be totally in charge.

I was happy to read what you said about Diana. She was, as you know, a big help to me when I first started out. I am happy she is happy and that, from your perspective, she lives her life as a great example of the principles of Truth. Interesting that in the end you would be the one actively continuing with the course.

Thanks for your continued participation in our satsang here in the comment section. You come up with some good ones.

D. R. Butler said...

Thank you for contribution, Anonymous/Terry. (I sometimes wonder why people post as anonymous and then sign their name.) Anyway, everything is perfect as it is.

I hear you regarding animal cruelty. We all, each person reading this, hear you plain and clear. There's not one among the whole bunch of us that has animal cruelty on our agenda for later.

You know, it's just one of those things about the physical world. The physical world is primarily composed of polarities or opposites, such as pain and pleasure, or light and dark.

For everything that exists in this world, there must simultaneously exist its polar opposite. In order to have goodness or kindness or generosity, there has to exist cruelty somewhere in some form.

There is also a great deal of human cruelty in this world. Some of the things being done to the populations of some countries on Earth is almost unbelievable. There is a great deal of cruelty out there in many, many different forms.

There's no reason to let the polarities upset us. It does no good to be happy with one polarity and upset with its opposite. If we have one side of the coin, the other must exist. It's just the nature of the way things work.

We can all be upset with the cruelty of all kinds going on--to children, to mothers, to animals, to the forests, to the oceans, to the atmosphere, and so on and on. Yet our being upset about it helps nothing in any way.

The only way we can contribute to this world in a positive way is to maintain a positive feeling within ourselves, which is achieved by consistently thinking positive thoughts. The only way to contribute to the love, light, and harmony in this world is to maintain love, light, and harmony within our own heart.

It originates within and radiates outward. We can emanate whatever we choose to focus our attention on. I choose to focus attention on love, lightness, and freedom. I have compassion for the poignancy of this world, and for all suffering at the hands of cruelty. Yet the most any of us can do to help is to maintain our own highest state and to constantly send our very best out into the world.

Terry said...

DR -- Thank you for your comment to my post. I read it very early this morning after a sleepless night from being faced with a situation of animal abuse/neglect when I got home from work last night - I did take action and deal with it in what I believe is a dharmic way and it is very helpful reading your thoughts, which help me step back and up to see from a broader and higher perspective -- I'm finding it a bit difficult to let go of the situation, not keep playing it back in my mind and the situation is not resolved -- however I've done I think all I can for now. For me this type of thing is really when the rubber hits the road as far as spiritual practice goes -- Thank you again.

Cristóbal said...

Naganath States:

"It seems to me that it is not the action itself that matters but only the the place where the action originates that DOES. In other words, if one is acting in complete harmony with the (inner) Self, the act itself is irrelevant."

This is the argument that I've heard used over and over to defend spiritual teachers who have had charges of sexual improprieties spoken about them. It's like saying "if one is in an enlightened state, then it's really a blessing that they had sex with those young ladies." This has bitten many spiritual teachers in the past 40 years, there's no point in naming them, but let's just say it's a recurring phenomenon.

This is, once again, something that I have a hard time with. I am totally open to being wrong on this, but I believe that there are some actions that are just wrong. If my teenage daughter went to such and such an ashram and ended up being bedded by a spiritual teacher, in what way could that act be considered to be irrelevant?

I know this is a controversial subject, I don't know if it will make it past the filters, but in the spirit of exploring the Truth, I would love to hear perspectives on it. It remains one of the big unanswered questions my mind has regarding specific spiritual organizations.


D. R. Butler said...

"This has bitten many spiritual teachers in the past 40 years, there's no point in naming them, but let's just say it's a recurring phenomenon."

Maybe in our awareness it's been the past 40 years, but the past 4,000 years might be closer to the truth.

The great 19th century saint Ramakrishna is known for his warnings regarding "Women and gold! Women and gold!" These were considered the two potential downfalls of yogis.

Almost any teacher you can look up on the Internet who has taught in modern times will have corresponding accusations of their sexual misconducts. It's so common it's almost ridiculous except for the gravity of the topic.

Even Shiva, in his deepest meditation, was tempted by the Goddess who had taken the most beautiful and alluring female form and went to Shiva 'swinging and twisting,' as my teacher put it, saying "Oh Shiva, let us not waste this youth."

She gets to him and Shiva even takes up with her and they go off, quite the couple. Finally Vishnu himself had to intervene, and went to confront them. "Oh Ma Maya," he implored, "Remember who you are. And You, the great Shiva, oh God, do not think this temporary form is your true Identity."

When Vishnu spoke, they both awakened from their spell, and returned to their higher states of being. This is an ancient story, yet it is lived out over and over in various manifestations in this world.

There is much that happens that we don't understand. Our conditioning doesn't allow for it. Through the course, which gradually breaks through the oldest, most rigid conditioning, we can gradually begin to see the reality of the world we live in, our true life, and our true Identity.

There is something to what Naganath said. An action in itself is not as significant as the level of consciousness behind the action. All is not as it appears to be.

All the rumors and gossip were not true. It has been said that if something is repeated often enough by enough people, it is assumed by everyone else to be true.

Many rumors and accusations are insisted upon by people who are simply inclined by their nature to do so, self-righteous do-gooders, knowing nothing of the truth of anything that actually happened. I know this to be true as I have been very close to such situations. I know the power of the written and spoken word whether there is any truth to it or not.

This is why our Course of Training via email, as well as our blog, focuses on Living in the Truth of the Present Moment. We are not concerned with the past or with the actions of others. If we get lost in that, we lose touch with the Truth of the Present Moment.

Remain focused on this Truth. Do not get lose in the maya, even 'spiritual maya,' or the maya of spiritual groups and organizations. There is a great fog out there, and it is easy to get lost in.

Remain focused in the Truth of the Present Moment, love your Self, and see the same Self in all others. Everything is the play of Consciousness, and nothing happens unless God allows it.

Never condemn anything that God allows. It is like an ant passing judgment on a Goddess. Purify your vision and see only the Truth everywhere and in everything.

Naganath said...

I am still pondering why I used the term "irrelevant". It perplexes me why it came out that way.


I have also questioned that issue and put such reports in the category of"news". Which means it is more maya and maybe true, maybe not, and who gives a shit whether it is true or not? Other than those, of course, directly affected by having such karma. If such reports happen to be true, on one level it is sad. But on another level doubt and recrimination can be so purifying. (More grist for the mill.)

Love, Naganath.

JP said...

It would be sacrilegious of me to post before acknowledging the stellar conversation that is taking place here: Thank you to all students, teachers, and student-teachers for your great contributions.

DRB, I've done about eight years total course work with you, and I don't recall ever being this frustrated or unable to grasp the concepts that are being taught. Could be I never tried this hard to actually apply the lessons in my daily life. I haven't felt this over my head since freshman year engineering calculus. If you ever decide to write a "Living the Truth of the Present Moment for Dummies" version of the course, please let me know.

I think I have been trying too hard, not just in the course, but in all areas. Today I set out to take a vacation from everything - all the ambitions, striving and self-improvement. I recalled something you once wrote about evoking the feeling of being on vacation ALL THE TIME. Also an exercise we did in a workshop once where we pretended to have amnesia. These are some of my favorite lessons from you, probably because they speak to what is typically out of balance for me.

The vacation thing felt great and I was able to maintain it until about midday. There were some moments in it where I felt more on the beam with the course even though I wasn't trying to do the course. Like Steve C. wrote about earlier 'I let go just a bit and kind of just agreed that things would work out'.

The root of my frustration is losing the intention. Losing the vacation vibe, getting lost in thought, creating melodramas hours/minutes/seconds after reading in the course about melodramas. It seems to me that this is a pivotal aspect of practicing the course or any spiritual practice: getting back on the beam when you have fallen off. Could you talk to this critical moment and how to channel frustration that might arise? Also would be great to hear you riff on the vacation frame of mind again.

D. R. Butler said...

Getting back on the beam when you have fallen off. Truth is, all we must do is come back into the awareness of the moment. Once we are in tune with the Truth of the present moment, we are back on the beam. It was only a dream that we ever fell off.

Frustration comes only from ego. Only the ego is frustrated about anything. The Self doesn't care enough to be frustrated; besides that, from the perspective of the Self everything is always perfect. There is nothing to be frustrated about.

Even falling off the beam is just something that naturally happens at this point in sadhana. It couldn't be otherwise. No one walks the beam without falling off without a lot of practice. Just keep getting back on and forget any tendency towards frustration. Be compassionate towards yourself, and acknowledge how you are perfectly imperfect.

The course is not about doing anything right. The course is about living in the Truth of the present moment. We can, in any moment, cast off any melodrama and come back to our awareness of the moment. Once we do this, there is no lost time, no wasted moments, no mistakes, no taking the wrong path, and no falling off the beam. It is all equally a part of the process.

It's easy to always be on vacation. Being on vacation is simply being at ease, staying relaxed, and enjoying the moment. What else can we hope for in a vacation? Don't buy into any limited concepts regarding your life or what is required of you. All that is ever truly required is that you remember the Truth of your own Being, the Truth of the Self. It is the best vacation ever invented.

It is a matter of living in a lighthearted way, remembering that only the ego takes anything seriously or passes any kind of judgment. When we can consistently live in a lighthearted way, we will truly enjoy our life as it is, without having to change anything.

rico said...

After reading JP's comment I remembered something our Teacher once said "Be the Seer not the Seen". Isn't taking in the scenery one of the best things about being on vacation? Remembering to just watch what passes through our perception. Much like the perspective one has when stopping at a scenic vista to take in the view whether it's a mountain vista or a raging volcano.

Cristóbal said...

Dear all, thanks for your various replies. Good advice, good guidance. My response to the various accusations has always been that they didn't really change my relationship to the Guru, to the Truth, and they didn't in any way reflect my real relationship with the physical teacher.

I also believe in Naganath's point, that the energetic that an action is grounded in has much more to do with its effects in this "world" than what it looks like on the surface. The problem is that this teaching/reality, like many others, provides a direct challenge to the egoic mind. This challenge seems good.

JP said...

Many thanks for the support. I was heavy on self-effort and short on grace. After receiving guidance here there is a small shift in my experience, more detachment than before.

"Don't buy into any limited concepts regarding your life or what is required of you" is my get-out-of-jail-free card. This is a great weight lifted.

jimi said...

Since Ram mentioned “vacation”, I thought I’d toss this in.

When I go on vacation, I have a great time. The reason is that my mind is actually the “one” on vacation (from its normal pattern of negative thoughts.) Because of the newness of the experience compared to daily routines, I think I become way more focused & thus present. And of course being present is totally fun. In fact, can one even have fun w/o being present?

Being an etymology geek, I find the following very interesting:
Vacation comes from several Latin words:
vacatio - freedom from something
vacare - to be empty

What's not to love about a vacation?

John said...

My current lesson is lesson 12 - and has empowered me to change my perspective and attitude towards my ex-wife, who is a real pill. Believe me, I could tell you things she has done that would get unanimous agreement that she should be avoided at all cost. Yet, she is in my life for a reason. I have decided it is better to keep the focus on who I am and how I relate to others rather than who they are, or think they are.

Anyway, the question about whether DR is enlightened caught my attention. I used to be interested in that if certain others were enlightened. I finally decided it doesn't really matter.

One time I was watching my guru at a time when she was just being and relating to someone in the most causual, ordinary way. I was so struck at how unassuming she was. I decided that the true mark of enlightenment is to have no concern about oneself in relation to another. Seeing only the Self, noticing the egos but not being concerned one way or the other about it.

If I can do that, if anyone can do that - you are enlightened. Maybe it's a simple as never having another thought or judgment about yourself again - just be without any thoughts about it whatsoever. Or not caring if you have such thoughts, maybe that's what eventually helps you to become established in the Self?

eddie89 said...

I loved Eudora Welty when I read her in community college. She is a woman, isnt' she?
I was also very fond of Flannery O'Connor. The genders of these writers have been left a mystery to me. I'm supposed to know according to their name or is it their writing?

Chuck said...

I was reading Lesson 39 today which was a response to a reader: "In my current lesson you quote from an ancient text: “The
conditioned mind is bondage; liberation is freedom from conditioning (inner contact, attachment, or identification). This inner contact (which presupposes fictitious division) alone is the cause for bondage and liberation.” After contemplation, I still don't get the meaning of “inner contact” in this context. Can you comment?"

I'm also still not sure what "inner contact" is except that I believe you are saying that any division between inner and outer is and illusion or fictitious. Yet, in the same lesson you say that "inner growth is the next great revolution." So there is a distinction made between inner and outer. I've note so many apparent contradictions in the lessons, but I believe they seem contradictory because they are written from different perspectives, and done so purposely to keep us questioning and to avoid just giving us "the truth" so that we abandon our own "inner" source of truth. I believe you've said this before. We can easily get conditioned to only believe that which an authority tells us, hence be drawn away from our own source (which also is not different from other's inner sources). You give an example of a dog who simply comes when called and say wouldn't it be great to be that disciplined, yet that dog is just responding to conditioning, and, in fact, unlike us, is unable to learn that he/she is conditioned. So that point is well taken though the metaphor, like all metaphors, has its limits. I think one of the best metaphors is the blind men and the elephant in which each blind man describes a different thing or animal from touching the elephant. We are much the same way, being blind or conditioned to see only part of the whole. From what I can tell, our best path is to initially divert ourselves from the outer realm and focus on our inner experience, so that we can discover that the outer only reflects the inner, and so in that way the outer and inner are the same. But I also imagine that eventually we will learn that the outer is even something beyond that, beyond the limits of our perception and words. Also, I know that you deliberately remind us that you are only one of the blind persons, attempting to perceive the infinite but not wanting to limit us by relying on your own perceptions while intending to lead us in a helpful direction. I appreciate all you do!