Sunday, May 2, 2010

Focus Attention on Perfection

Thank you for meeting with me here this month. It means a lot to me that you come here to be a part of our ongoing dialogue. Last month we had a lively discussion of the Guru, with many insightful questions and responses in the comments following the entry. Please feel invited to participate in our ‘satsang’ we share in the comments following each blog entry, where we maintain an introspective level of dialogue.

As you have seen, this month’s entry is “Focus Attention on Perfection.” The first part is ‘focus attention.’ Ordinarily even the most intelligent and educated among us do not notice that our attention determines our entire experience of life. From one moment to the next, our experience depends on how we focus our attention.

If we place our attention on our aching back, then we will experience the utmost degree of aching back. If our attention is on our confused state of mind, then confusion is indeed what we will experience. And if our attention is focused on some transitory and momentary anger, guess what, we dive into the innermost angst of anger. If our attention is focused on depression, we experience an award-winning depression.

If our attention is focused on love and light, we experience love and light no matter where we are or what we are doing. If our attention is focused on beauty, we see and experience the beauty of all things wherever we go. If our attention is focused on perfection, then we see and experience perfection from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. Indeed, there is nothing in God's universe that is imperfect to any degree.

Why focus on perfection? Well, in the present degree of spiritual evolution on the planet, the vast wave of humanity has focused their attention on imperfections, on fault-finding, on seeing flaws in others and noticing others' mistakes. We almost think it’s a sign of cleverness to find something wrong with something. On the contrary, an idiot can find something wrong with something.

It takes one willing to see the Truth wherever it leads him to see the perfection of all things.

It is hard for the mind and ego to grasp the concept of perfection, because the whole world that tandem has created is devised around the reality of imperfection. If we accept the perfection of all things, many of our cherished concepts are blown. All of our grievances suddenly collapse without any support.

Our usual anger and contrariness doesn’t know where to look to find an appropriate object in order to justify itself. Our agitation is suddenly stuck with nothing to be agitated by. Our egotistical drive to find what is wrong and to improve things is left with nowhere to go once it is confronted with the reality of eternal perfection.

The more expanded our perspective, the more we will see things as they are—the ultimate perspective being the Truth of the present moment, which includes the perfection of everything as it is.

There is nothing wrong anywhere in your life unless you first think something is wrong. You are encouraged to refrain from making someone wrong for something they said or did, and from finding things wrong in the world around you. Seeing everything as already perfect as it is, you will experience the already existing harmony and perfection of the cosmos.

There is no reason to take anyone’s word for anything. You can prove this truth to yourself simply by applying the principle, by using your God-given power to see perfection in all that is.

If anything is troubling you, it is because you are thinking that something is wrong. Embrace the already existing harmony and perfection of all things and you will enter a state that seems like floating, as though you are weightless and all tension and effort have suddenly left you. The notion that anything is wrong is diffused like clouds becoming clear space again. Then you live in that simple play of Consciousness, in the Tao, in the harmonious flow of the constant change of all things, as well as the awareness of your eternally changeless inner Reality.

The illustrious Buddha said: "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

Now a couple of questions from last month’s comments, with added remarks in my responses:

Kay: I am in my mid-60’s and I have a question regarding your response to the earlier question about lust. Can you make a distinction between "sexual desire," which you spoke about in your response to the question on lust, and "sexual energy," which might continue for many years past our sexual prime?

DRB: Sexual desire, as I recall, is the feeling of really wanting to have sex with someone. Certain hormones act to inform us that the time is now.

Sexual energy is quite different. It is a certain aspect of universal energy, or the Shakti, or Kundalini energy, or the all-pervasive energy that creates, sustains, and eventually dissolves the universe. All of Tantric philosophy and practice is based around this universal energy, which is the creative force behind everything in this world, and indeed this world itself.

Sexual energy is ordinarily experienced in the second chakra. The same energy can rise to the third chakra and enable us to become an egotistical maniac, and to the fourth chakra which we experience as love.

When we make sex into a meditation, the same energy goes up into the ajna chakra, the sixth chakra, in the center of the head between and above the eyes. When we focus the same energy, which on one level is sexual energy, and which is in truth the divine Shakti that manifests the entire cosmos, our head fills with white or golden white light that expands into the heavens, and we experience our formless nature, as well as an exalted sense of well-being.

Sexual energy in itself is not affected by age. It is a matter of how alive do we maintain the Shakti within us through certain practices, including a certain consciousness we have of ourselves. We outwardly experience ourselves as we inwardly conceive ourselves to be. Different people experience Shakti to varying degrees, usually depending on their degree of awareness of the Truth of the present moment.

At least that's my experience and understanding of sexual energy. If I learn more I will let you know, but I truly feel my lessons are finished in this particular realm.

Michael: Please help me understand more fully letting go, emptying out. Is it the mind that lets go, or the ego, or both?

DRB: Emptying out and letting go ultimately includes giving up your concepts of what the mind and ego are.

Of course, it is important to understand the mind and ego, which is why they are explored fully in the lessons. Letting go and emptying out, however, is allowing your being to be cleansed of all mental and egotistical activities, so that you rest in pure awareness and equanimity.

You can't mentally approach the subject of letting go and emptying out. That would just be more entertainment for the mind.

To live in this world, of course, we need the mind. Without its use we might end up in an institution to be cared for. In a certain way we also need the ego, although it is necessary to identify ourselves correctly and accurately, instead of with all the stuff we ordinarily identify with.

Our true state is an unconditioned, unmodified, formless Awareness of Being. If you can let everything go, this is what remains. This is what you live in when you give up everything else. Then, knowing yourself to be pure Awareness of Being, you can live in the highest way without having to think about it or figure out anything. This is letting go and emptying out.

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

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Terry said...

I am reading the lesson group of "When feeling creates reality," and I am finding and understanding much truth in the lesson. At the same time, I've been called to speak up about a situation of unfairness at work with of course, the possibility of consequenses to myself. I know whatever happens, I'm going to be okay, but I also know that's a universal truth.

The funny thing is, the entire feeling around this situation is that everything will be okay....but I'm having a difficult time seeing or creating anything into the future about this situation because it feels like the dissolution of some kind of karma to me. (I'm risking a lot by speaking up but my soul says I'm risking more by not speaking up.).

Part of me (the part where all the fear is is concerned that being courageous in this situation could harm me) and that part feels I should "picture or feel" the situation away, but a deeper part of me feels that it will be fine and just to go with the flow. So, my question is, should we always be "consciously creating" the truth, or is it okay to just be and accept and watch what unfolds?

D. R. Butler said...

Personally, I prefer to live by the ancient adage, 'Be content with what comes unsought.' God has already cared for me much better than I could have ever cared for myself. I imagine that with Him (Her, It) in charge, everything will be perfect from here on out. Why ever doubt it?

In this thing you feel you must do, make sure that your impulse to speak your mind comes from the heart and not from the ego. If it comes from the heart it will have a positive and uplifting feeling to it, while if it comes from ego it will have a contracting and unpleasant feeling to it.

Part of our training via email is to understand how to 'consciously create' as opposed to 'unconsciously creating.' It is important to understand how the world works, how our individual life comes to be, and the creative nature of the mind. Otherwise we will be creating one negative situation and relationship after another without ever knowing why.

Once we've attained the capacity to not unconsciously recreate past patterns, then we don't have to concern ourselves with consciously creating anything. We can go with the flow, which is always good enough, if we don't insist on imposing our own stuff on it.

The 'stuff' is of the conditioned mind and ego. In our training we learn to see ourselves as pure inner Awareness as opposed to definitions and descriptions we have of ourselves. In the end, we are pure Awareness of Being.

Regarding your situation, and 'consciously creating,' simply feel how you want to feel when it is all said and done. Feel how great it will feel that it has the most uplifting and freeing conclusion possible. Feel this feeling, and everything else will work out for the best. This is all we need to know about 'consciously creating.'

Archana said...

My family has been in NYC for a couple of days. I have had a little silent retreat at home, have been reading your course and learning how to relax into the present moment. This morning I was contemplating what you say in Lesson 3...

"If we manage to transcend the limitations of ego, we eventually recognize ourselves to be much greater than we previously imagined. We discover that we have abilities and intuitive insights we never dreamed of. We see that much goes on in and around us all the time on levels of being we never knew about. We come to understand that living in the Truth of the present moment is the ultimate meaning of life, the ultimate purpose of being here."

I was sitting on our back porch looking out at our beautiful field, listening to the birds when I noticed the most amazing cloud formation in the sky. It was the side view of a dinosaur, complete with it's mouth open, just the way my 9 year old son draws them. This cloud was unmistakable and the only one in the sky, right in front of me.

As I was watching, I became aware of what sounded like a mini airplane flying around me on the porch. It was a massive bumble bee and it came and paused a few feet directly in front of me for what seemed a long time, then circled around and came back in front of me. It did this three times, pausing each time. It seemed so much to want to have my attention and it seemed so unreal my hands went together in namaste because I felt that was the only thing I could do to honor it's presence in front of me and the magic of the moment! The whole series of events felt surreal.

Moments later my husband Michael texted me a picture of my son Wynn standing in front of a dinosaur skeleton facing in the same direction as the cloud dinosaur. I had no idea that their plan was to visit the natural history museum!

Consciousness is so playful and has such a sense of humor! I am realizing how much I miss when I am distracted by the ongoing ramblings of my thoughts. Being in the present moment is so much more exciting, simple and FULL of joy.

with gratitude and love,

Sarah said...

This is just an enthusiastic shout out from "the Burbs". I havent given any time to reflect on the deeper meaning in this blog. I'm just writing in to share that my husband and I had a good laugh about this blog entry. Saying "Oh this perfect moment (kids whining in the background). And remember when they did THAT? perfect." We were on the way back from The Mall of all places. We had our two children with us ages 4 and 6. Anyone wanting to hone their skills at finding perfection in "any situation" is welcome to join me in my minivan for an hour...
Oh there's perfection there, but you might want earplugs 'cuz the perfection can get kinda loud.
Love ya, D.R. Keep those blogs coming, my kids know I need them.

Jill Chandralekha said...

The experience of seeing perfection comes from a high spiritual state. Focusing on perfection when you are not truly in that high state is just pushing away ones true feelings that don't feel so perfect. The state of seeing perfection is truly reached by going through one's feelings through self inquiry and with the support of others. Better to learn self acceptance.

Jill Chandralekha said...

I read this to my husband Bob who replied, "Perfection can be a direction, but also a way of judging against oneself and others. The notion of perfection is, in fact, a symptom of imperfection. It's only getting beyond those concepts that one can truly live in fullness."

D. R. Butler said...

Jill, self-acceptance is a vital aspect of seeing the perfection in all things. In fact, it is a practice of seeing yourself as already perfect, just as God made you, unless you accept the doctrine of 'original sin,' which is about the most odius thing organized religion has yet come up with.

When it comes to harmonizing feelings, a lot more is involved than elementary psychology. There is a whole section of the course, 'The Incredible Power of Feelings,' that you never got to. There we go into the spiritual nature of feelings more extensively than I have personally ever seen anywhere. It is an important subject because our feeling from moment to moment pretty much makes up our experience of life.

Your approach, as I understand your post, which I read several times, is that you think it is more important to sift through aspects of darkness than it is to simply turn on the light.

You are correct when you say that focusing on perfection comes from a high spiritual state. I disagree, however, when you say that focusing on perfection when you are not in that state only pushes away feelings that should be dealt with. On the contrary, focusing on perfection leads to that high spiritual state faster than anything we can do, along with focusing on love.

Focusing on emotions as though to deal with them is playing with the darkness. It is like a drug addict playing with his drugs in order to be free from them.

Focusing on the perfection of all things as they are, whether they are ideal or not--which is an entirely different matter--is a simple way to turn on the light. Once there is light, the darkness is already gone.

The truth is, focusing attention on perfection will lead to a high spiritual state about as fast as anything one can focus attention on. And we're always focusing attention on something, consciously or unconsciously--more commonly the latter, until we consciously learn to focus attention on the very best of life.

In my world, focusing the attention on perfection is a very high and refined spiritual practice. I am happy to share it here for your contemplation and meditation.

Thank you for sharing the opinions of your husband. Is he a metaphysical teacher?

Ghayas said...

Thank you for May's entry on the blog. You say: "Sexual energy in itself is not affected by age. It is a matter of how alive do we maintain the Shakti within us through certain practices, including a certain consciousness we have of ourselves." What are these practices ? Could you please name them ? Thank you very much. Love, Ghayas

D. R. Butler said...

Ghayas, I love your openness and enthusiasm. It is obvious you are ready for the very highest.

The 'practices' you ask about, however, are available only to participants of the Course of Training via email. They must be earned.

If they are given freely, they will never be appreciated or valued, and they might easily be misused.

There are certain things on the spiritual path that you actually must go through a process to get to. Many people don't understand why everything isn't freely handed out, wondering why should spiritual wisdom should have a cost?

It is because the necessity of investing something of ourselves, and of being open enough to go through a certain process to get there, is what gives the final results true value. If it were given freely at the beginning, it would soon be cast aside as nothing whatsoever.

The blog is primarily a satsang. I share what is topically relevant, and positive energy that anyone can tune into at any time from anywhere in the world. I also answer questions here in the comments, and most questions from participants of the course, like yourself, are answered here--unless they are of a purely personal nature.

Sometimes, like this month, I will offer a very high and refined spiritual practice, such as focusing attention on perfection. Yet, take the comments from the previous poster. She does not participate in our course, and the blog entry seemed to have been something to disagree with, and to share her husband's opinions on it.

And I am not putting her down in any way; she is a fine person whom I have known for many years. If ego work goes on behind the scenes, I am personally uninvolved with it. It just happens. What to do? I am only using her comments as an example of the principle that whatever is received for free is often not valued or appreciated.

Ghayas, in parting, I feel you will always have the Shakti you need, on any level, for whatever purpose. Whatever 'practices' are involved will come very naturally to you.

D. R. Butler said...

Ghayas, who lives in Montreal, is beginning to translate the lessons into French. If anyone knows anyone who might appreciate a French version of the lessons, please let us know.

If anyone has any ideas on how to promote and market a French version of the course, please inform us. We are always learning on the run and are happy to listen to anyone with something helpful to offer.

Melodie said...

Today it occured to me that I can read my lessons on my new iphone which means I can read them anywhere. I can read a few paragraphs while waiting for an appointment. How perfect!

Love, gratitude and delight!

Jill Chandralekha said...

Better to get one's ego busted and learn something. ♥

Anusuya said...

My understanding of why spiritual wisdom has a cost is that it's about exchanging energy. In this society we exchange energy through the use of money. When we give it comes back to us, whether it is spiritual wisdom, healing or anything else in life.

Sylvia in Colorado said...

Dear D.R., I've been really happy while practicing our recent lessons, which focus on seeing perfection everywhere. I have felt greatly uplifted reading there is nothing wrong anywhere or with anyone. Then...

I am a lover of nature, perhaps beyond the norm. I imagine there are many bloggers here who feel the same as I do. Maybe there are some bloggers who will contribute to this subject. Please, Ram, would you speak to seeing perfection in the multiple levels of damage caused by the gigantic oil spill happening right now in the Gulf of Louisiana? How do we stop feeling heart sick about the marine life choking to death.

Thank you for everything you do for us as service to God.

D. R. Butler said...

Anyone who truly loves God also loves nature. As a young man I had the great fortune to live on Siesta Key in Sarasota. The Gulf was my best friend--I walked along it, and in it, every single day.

How do we stop feeling heart sick? I do not know the answer. I can hardly watch the news regarding the oil disaster in the Gulf. I turn off the TV or turn to another station. Something deep inside just can't take hearing about it.

How do we see the perfection in it? Well, it certainly isn't ideal, is it? This as much as anything else points out the difference between being ideal and being perfect.

For one thing, we don't know what the Earth has to do to protect itself. It was Gurdjieff who said that all organic life on earth, including all of humanity, is only a fungus growing on the surface of the planet.

We also don't know the long range effects of this--and I don't necessarily mean the immediate effects, which won't be very good. Long term, however, events such as this has a way of teaching humanity something and eventually immproving the way things are done on earth.

I forget the exact town, but I recently read of a town in the midwest that had been totally destroyed by a tornado, and now it had rebuilt itself from scratch using all green technology, and is now one of the most complete all green communities in the country. So disasters have their own strange way of leading to progress.

All the things we see happening around us, in the news, the catastrophies and tragedies, were all prophesized long ago. It has always been known that the early part of the 21st century was going to contain some pretty rough going. Floods, famines, natural disasters of all varieties--these have been talked about for many years leading up to this time.

Also phophesized is a 40-year war with factions of the Middle East. I'm not sure how far down the stretch we are--it's hard to determine exactly when it started. The good news is, following that, there will be an extended period of peace on earth as we in our lifetimes have never known.

But of course, none of that has anything to do with the Truth of the present moment. Still, when trying to understand natural disasters in perspective, it's something to ponder.

Steve C. said...

I'd like to extend gratitude to all those sharing who just lay it all out there with their honesty and yearning for greater understanding. I don't know that I could be quite so fearless, and it strikes me that all involved in this work are indeed warriors. I'd also like to thank those like Sarah that lighten our days with a bit of much needed humor, and a reminder that life keeps rolling right along in the trenches.

I also have a question about awareness in the moment. Lesson 37 states "Some of us, for example, will think we are working diligently on seeing divine Consciousness in everyone, yet an hour later we are intensely angry with someone for something he said, and that we didn’t like, or for simply having a different perspective regarding something than we do."

When this happens, I sometimes get an eye opening glimpse of the magnitude of the samskaras, and I feel like, holy cow, they're so incredibly pervasive and powerful, how could they ever be overcome? And the answer always arises, diligence, keep moving forward.

But lately I've become more aware in the moment, you know, the moment when you realize that the samskara has sneaked by your conscious intent, and you're embroiled in whatever fun the samskara is enjoying. It's like taking the wrong fork when you're paddling down the river, and the realization dawns, "Uh oh, here we go..."

When I'm in that moment, and I can see the negativities almost with a life of their own, I'm thinking, "Here I am again, here's this needless anger (or whatever) manifesting again." Is there something I can do midstream, so to speak, to stop the samskara, or dial it down, toss a little water on the fire?

At times, it's all over before I'm aware of it, a done deal, just keep going. But when I become aware of what's going on in the middle of it should I try to do something or just let it go?

D. R. Butler said...

As explained in the lessons, samskaras are too fast for us to do anything about them in the heat of the moment. Usually, the best we can do at the time is simply to watch them in action. Even this much is very freeing, as samskaras don't like to be watched, and tend to slink away once we observe them.

Ideally, we need to come up with replacements in advance, so that when anger or any other habitual emotional reaction comes up, we already know in advance what we want to replace it with. Then it's just a matter of using will power to be as we choose to be instead of as the samskaras would have us be.

All this is explained in detail in the lessons of your course. Breaking free from samskaras is also the purification of the ego. When we are free from samskaras, we are free. There is nothing left binding or limiting us in any way.

Taylor said...

Thank you D.R. and Anusuya for giving me more insight into why spiritual wisdom has a cost. I give you my gratitude in exchange.

Pama said...

Greetings to you, D. R., and to everyone on the blog and fellow course participants. This venue, this way to communicate with one another, leaves me in constant amazement of and gratitude for the Grace we share.

Steve C.'s comment is prompting me to share the experience of the recent discovery of "an elephant in my living room", the existence of a samskara previously unrecognized. I was reading the description of a certain trait of a fictional character and there I am! Once again, time for the re-
grouping process: deciding how to replace this trait, and watching for it to arise with my will ready to pounce.

Recently, in a group, the catch phrase "If it's on its way up, it's on its way out" came to our attention. This works for me as a good verbal metaphor to use when faced with yet another samskara. How blessed we are to have this process available to us.

For many years, Ram, I have had the great good fortune to read and study your lessons with Sylvia in CO. I continue to do so with gratitude. The many paradoxes we examine together are a constant source of higher awareness and laughter. Recently, I was touched by a quote of Jean Houston, "At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a
kaleidoscope of new possibilities." May we all avail ourselves of the multitude of possibilities provided through laughter by Grace. Love to AllOne.

A side note: The town you mentioned above is Greensburg, KS. And, today! is the 3rd anniversary
of that tornado. It is near my hometown. Through online newspaper I keep up with the courageous activities of those people totally rebuilding their community. Who knew when their town was named, probably a century ago, that they would become the epitome of "living green". Although, they are now much stronger people, they are the first to admit, "it ain't easy bein' green".

Gandiva said...

I'd like to reply to the point about the devastating disaster happening in Gulf, and how it could possibly be "perfect".

I see this as the natural consequence of layering one too many levels of technological complication on top of a situation way out of balance. We, as a species, have made a bad decision of building our whole way of life around a cheap, dirty and limited energy source (oil), without thinking through the consequences. The way we've lived for the past few hundred years is not how humans lived for hundreds of thousands of years before that, it's been an experiment in how to not live sustainably. And anything that is not sustainable must end. This is a wake-up call.

What does this have to do with Living in the Truth of the Present Moment? The Truth is that we are living in a way that cannot continue. Being able to live in this truth means being able to look it squarely in the face and accept it. Even taking away the deeper spiritual meanings, there is a lot of practical value here: those who can look at the situation and acknowledge this truth will be our leaders in finding our way out of this mess.

Mohan said...

Every time I read my lesson, I am reminded of Bible verses and I see them in a greater, brighter light with a deeper understanding. I’m curious why you find the concept of original sin so offensive. Because you know me, you might expect I have a different take on this subject, one I hope you might not find so “odious”. We know, as you have also stated in the lessons that we are all here because of karma. We are here, because we are not yet “there”. We have not plumbed the depths of understanding or shed all vestiges of attachment, the sense of separate, individual, finite existence. Hindu traditions explain this with various philosophies. Shaivism describes it anatomically by saying the Shakti lies dormant waiting to be awakened by grace.
Original sin, in the Judeo/Christian tradition comes from the story of creation and the garden and is merely a different method of saying the same thing using an anthropomorphic narrative. We are not born “enlightened”. There is limitation, ignorance, pain (the 1st Noble Truth of the Buddha). Sin literally means “missing the mark” and original sin means we are born missing the mark and we wait for grace to lead us to the light. Because of grace I met my Guru, “left” my Guru, “came back” to my Guru, take the course, meditate, work in a church, etc. Grace is more and more leading me to understand the Truth as it appears wherever it appears and I am very grateful for the Bible and for the course.
love, mohan

"There seems no plan, because it's all plan. There seems no center, because it's all center." - C.S. Lewis

D. R. Butler said...

Mohan is one of these rare individuals who balance practicing the principles of the course with being a practicing fundamentalist Christian. It's not that it's never been done before, but it's an unusual combination, as usually one side has a strong tendency to immediately reject the other.

Mohan, once again I feel that I truly understand where you are coming from. You know I was raised a Southern Baptist. I am very familiar with what it is all about. And you know I respect your path and your beliefs.

I also feel that your attitude toward original sin is a bit more expanded or enlightened than most other fundamentalist Christians that I have known.

In my world, the only sin is the consciousness of sin. What is ordinarily considered universally sinful, such as being cruel to another or harming another, is adharmic, or against dharma (right action.). Being adharmic has a totally different connotation than 'sinful.' Once we realize we are being adharmic, we can change and live according to dharma.

In pure Consciousness, which has not yet become anything in particular, which has not yet thought any thoughts or performed any actions, which has not yet described or defined anything, and which simply experiences its own blissful presence, there is only 'original purity.' The notion of 'sin' arises much further on down the road.

The sense of being 'sinful' is particular dangerous if in being a miserable sinner we also feel guilty about it, or shameful regarding it. The feeling of guilt, for the most part, is much worse than whatever 'sin' we feel guilty about, as far as spiritual growth goes.

Ultimately we need to go beyond all sense of being sinful, beyond any sense of guilt or of looking down at ourselves in any way. This inner Consciousness, which is our true and eternal nature, is always pure. Nothing the body does, or the mind thinks, or the emotions feel can disturb or taint this original purity.

Focus attention on perfection. Why even hold onto the concept of 'sin.' Let it go, and it will be as though it never existed. It was only another concept to be free from.

Deb said...

This concept of perfection has me thinking about the description of the Universe by the Eleventh Century Shivasts of Kashmir as being holographic. It's the idea that the entire universe could be recreated from any particle of it, since every particle contains the microcosm of the whole.

In considering the heartbreak of the Gulf Oil disaster, I have to realize that every particle of my being contains all the suffering of this event, and so does everyone else. In fact, we all carry in every particle of our being the pain of the entire world.

You wrote about the coming Golden Age on earth, D.R. I am wondering what the human experience would be like if rather than every particle of our being carrying the pain and suffering of the entire world, it carried a Golden Life.

I would think the difference would be noticeable. We take for granted what it feels like to be a human. But I'm thinking it might feel much different if the yuga was different.

D. R. Butler said...

Your question reminds me of a time in the late 70's when I was a guest at Kripalu Ashram when Amrit Desai was still there. We, the invited guests, were having dinner, and I was sitting next to Amrit and across from Swami Satchitananda--the same one who leads chanting and meditation in the movie 'Woodstock.'

Someone asked Swami Satchitananda a question about living in Kali Yuga. Swamiji answered her question politely, then said, "Of course, I don't myself live in Kali Yuga. I am in it but not of it. I personally live in Sat Yuga, the golden age."

When he said that it was obvious to me that we live in whatever realm, or age, we are conscious of. Some people live in expanded and refined subtle realms, while others live in more contracted and traumatic subtle realms. It's all a matter of where we habitually focus our attention.

I agree that the experience of being a human being is different in Sat Yuga than in Kali Yuga. Still, it is not a matter of what cycle the outer world is in, or the world of objective humanity. It totally depends on our own consciousness. We can live in heaven or we can live in hell -- it all depends on how we choose to focus our attention.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Ah it is so good to be back here, commenting myself directly. Just last week I had a series of major heart attacks, coded (died) a few times, and was finally stabilized. I’ve been home now for two days and loving every moment of it. So, one could say what happened to me was a disaster, tragic, etc. All I felt was the experience itself, and a tremendous amount of Grace. There are large pieces of last week that I do not remember, because I was put on a drug to make me forget what they did to me. I do remember distinctly being shocked back into my body. I don’t think any drugs can make you forget something like that. At least I remember, anyway.

On my own blog I said that we do not understand nor can we fully comprehend the mystery of our planet, of Mother Nature. Our faux pas are eventually restored by us and Her and we are, as Ram said, able to progress from our mistakes. In the meantime, it occurs to me that ALL living creatures have karmic debts to pay, whether we can understand that or not is of no consequence to the Truth of Karma and the “Karmic-law-bands”, as Swami Yogananda Paramahnsa put it. What this tells me is that, while it is painful to witness or contemplate what is happening, either personally, or globally, we can understand and allow the karmic repercussions of past actions to unfold as they do. I think one of the most misleading things about Nature, or animals etc. is that they are innocent because they have “lower intelligence” than do humans, and so are incapable of making a “wrong” decision.

There’s a new book that was being promoted on a comedy channel on TV about ants. Ants apparently have an entire system of civilization, in some ways as complex and more than our own. There are TRILLIONS (you read that right) of ants! We’re outnumbered. :) They actually have wars, are very aggressive, and even have laws and courts. While it may sound absurd at first, if you really look at it, all species play their roles and play out their karmas. What, I think, we should focus on is our ability to have SO much compassion for creatures that we do not even remotely understand--because of our personal biases (of look at how cute that dolphin is!) The rest seems to me to be Lila, or Play. I find that if I look in this expanded way, I maintain my compassion and minimize my stress of factors I have no control over. In this way I feel I can send love and blessings to the people who are directly involved in cleaning up the mess, so that they may be clear on their path of help. Similarly, I find I can direct my uplifted energy to the animals of the sea and to Mother Nature, Herself, even though I cannot comprehend why they Play has spun out in this manner. Just offering my thoughts on this. It seems tied to seeing everything as perfect as it is.


D. R. Butler said...

Scott, it is so great to have you back fully in this world again. For a while the firsthand reports I was getting made it seem fairly iffy if you'd continue on with this particular incarnation or not.

I'm happy you decided to continue. You are a rising light in the spiritual field, and people will need you even more in the years ahead than they do now.

The readers of our blog followed your progress closely, as you can see in the comments of the previous entry on the Guru. Interesting that all that happened under the auspices of the Guru.

I imagine you don't even consciously realize all the ways this experience has changed you on the inside. According to the doctors, you shouldn't even be here. (Scott's case was so unusual that they are now including it in the training of heart surgeons.) Logically, you should not have been able to withstand all that your physical body went through. So, as we already knew, there is a strong spirit inside you.

If there is anything, after you've contemplated your experiences, that you would care to share with readers of this blog regarding your inner experience during all that. Surely you must have been very attuned to that which never changes, which was never born and could never die. You must have reached a point of being very detached from the physical body, and yet feeling very peaceful about it all.

Anyway, we'd love to hear more of your experience, when you feel like sharing more with us.

I'm sure you now have the love and blessings of everyone who reads the blog. Possibly you have felt love, since all this began, to a much greater degree than you ever have in your life. You were constantly surrounded by an ocean of it.

Eileen said...

Before Scott’s heart attack, I did not know who he was (I actually still have not met him in person). So I was a little surprised that I became extremely interested in his situation, feeling much more than the level of concern that typically accompanies sad/bad news about someone who someone you know knows. I felt called to chant the Rudram several times throughout the time we all believed Scott’s life was in danger. And I chuckled when I read someone’s post about going from her puja to her computer, checking on Scott’s progress - because that is basically what I was doing myself, many times staying logged on well into the night. And honestly, I felt just a little bit impatient when I’d check online and there was no new update on Scott’s status.

Over the days, I began to understand a little bit more the reasons for my heightened level of interest and I began to understand the huge gift that Scott had offered to possibly countless of us. I now see that as I was rooting for Scott, I was also rooting for myself. Above, Ram says, “Surely you must have been very attuned to that which never changes, which was never born and could never die. You must have reached a point of being very detached from the physical body, and yet feeling very peaceful about it all.” While this message from Ram is nothing new (he so patiently repeats the same principles over and again), a dramatic scenario such as Scott’s really drove the lesson home. It is very clear that those words from Ram delineate what I/we must do in any grave (and maybe even in the not-so grave) circumstances of life. Scott was spiritually strong enough – and imbued with unquestioning trust in God – to pull through his gargantuan ordeal so gracefully. An honest-to-goodness real-life inspiration! It reminds me of the Guru’s account of a dream in which she was drowning and made the decision to consciously surrender herself to the ocean, coming out whole and unhurt. Such pure, unadulterated trust in God’s amazing love for His own Creation…

Please accept my enormous thanks, Scott and Ram, which I offer whole-heartedly, "whole-beingly!" May I always be grateful to have received the blessing of your wisdom and compassion. May I always remember how so generously and openly you function as conduits of the Guru’s bountiful love and grace.


D. R. Butler said...

Our young friend Kyle was featured in an exchange in the February 13 entry, 'The Transcendental State.' Kyle recently joined in a discussion on Facebook, and I'd like to share it here with blog readers who might not be on Facebook.

I posted this: The first step to genuinely improving anything is to start out by being totally in harmony with everything exactly as it is.

Kyle responded with this: If we are part of the 'everything as it is' already...even if we are being "disharmonious", then that is still 'as it is' therefore harmonious. If you are asking everything to be as it is, what is the already is? So what is it exactly that you are asking us to do?

DRB: I wasn't asking anything of anyone. I simply said that the best way to improve anything is to first be in harmony with everything as it is. Being 'disharmonious' only affects the one that feels that way. Even so, everything is still in harmony, so why not recognize the Truth?

Kyle: Well, what I am trying to say is that if you are trying to "become" harmonious with something or you see yourself as being in harmony then there are two things, You and the object you are in harmony with. But if there is one without a second, to whom can you be in harmony with?

DRB: You have an interesting mind, Kyle. I can see why you were a good friend to both my sons. I understand totally what you're saying. The fact is, there is no 'object' to harmony. We simply exist in a state of harmony. In the same way, truly speaking, there is no 'object' to love. We simply exist in a state of love. There is really no reason to live as part of objective humanity at all; simply remain in a state of harmony within yourself, know that all is one, and in each moment recognize that everthing apparently 'out there' is only the mirror.

Kyle: Ok. So let me have one more go at this. Let's say I'm watching a bunch of people in a heated argument. Instead of letting it bother me i think, "Look at these typical people in a Beautiful Argument! My These people are just PERFECT at arguing" Allowing myself to fully enjoy the chaos in perfect harmony within myself. no need to DO anything, just enjoy the show.
OR i could get involved as a peace maker, putting forth lots of effort in order to create harmony amongst those who are NOT seeing the harmony (Because right now I'm seeing it as futile) Like you said, everything 'out there' is just a mirror...really there is no one in distress, it's just a snake in the rope as they say.

DRB: First option is best by far. All we have to do is to be in harmony within ourselves. If others are arguing, your vision is perfect, you simply enjoy the perfection of their argument. No reason to get involved. When you become a peace maker of other people's problems, you get pulled into them and sometimes lost in them. Even if a person has a problem with us, we remain in perfect harmony if we don't accept his problem as our own or take it personally. Only the other will remain out of harmony, which is not our problem.

Kyle: Thank you Ram.

rico said...

Interesting exchange between you and Kyle. I was following your rationale until towards the end you said,

"Even if a person has a problem with us, we remain in perfect harmony if we don't accept his problem as our own or take it personally."

Which is fine as long as we are acting dharmically. But what about those times when our actions are a bit off, maybe even way off? Perhaps another's problem with us is appropriate.

There is an old Buddhists saying,

If my neighbor thinks I'm a scoundrel it's a good idea to find out why.

I do understand your point but there are times when the mirror's words should be considered.

D. R. Butler said...

You are right, Rico, although I didn't mean my statement quite the way you took it. I was just saying that we can be in harmony with another even if that other is not in harmony with us. His agreement of our harmony is not required for harmony to exist for us.

My memory of the Buddhist saying, which I have quoted often, is, 'If a man calls me a rascal, it behooves me to find out why he thinks so.'

Scott Marmorstein said...

I have just gone through one of the most intense traumatic experiences anyone could ever have, and I might add at a young age--30. Think back, or reflect on if you already are, to when you were 30. Can you imagine how difficult it might seem if your world were turned upside down? I’m living with my parents because my apartment is on a 3rd floor walk up and I can’t climb stairs yet. I’m stuck to this thing called a LifeVest which is monitoring me constantly, day and night, (and which is uncomfortable to wear, I might add) and all my old routines, like chanting and meditating in peace are out the window. A television pretty much constantly goes on the background and privacy is down to a minimum. D.R. remarked that I was really being tested right now. He’s right. I am.

Before I tell you how to get out of such a personal hell of your own making, I want to respond to something D.R. asked me here on the blog. I also want to say that I did notice and read all the beautiful and inquiring comments about me during my most critical moments. The outpouring of love was truly touching. I also wanted to say I’m very happy that there are those of you who could not pray for me personally, who instead prayed for the Highest Outcome. I LOVE that! That really puts things in God’s court.

D.R.: “Surely you must have been very attuned to that which never changes, which was never born and could never die. You must have reached a point of being very detached from the physical body, and yet feeling very peaceful about it all.”

I died a couple times (or coded). And I do remember this very clearly. There were a couple times I went to a VERY dark place of unknowing, of no memory, of nothingness. When I came to I remembered this very dark and scary place. The Awareness of remembering, this I, is truly the only thing I or you are. I was never once frightened during any of my ordeal. I was able to anchor myself constantly back into the Awareness of Being.

(Continued in next comment)

Scott Marmorstein said...

At one point I woke up (apparently, I don’t remember) while I was intubated and hand wrote the following: “What’s a little pain? You are all my blessing. Everything is Grace.” I was apparently in touch with what was going on in the Truth of the Present Moment. And this was at the height of total personal trauma. I point this out because it doesn’t have anything to do with me personally. I point this out because this is what is inside ALL of us. This is what we are ALL like in the deepest sense.

Moving on. So, how to get out of one’s personal hell? If you have read my most recent blog post ( and look at Scott’s Blog) you’ll see I talk about saving one’s self. I re-read it and I remembered all the love. I had to really work hard to get into the space between any two thoughts and witness my passing emotions, which were horribly intense, the worst inner ‘astral storm’ ever. The mind was harping on and holding onto all the very most intense stuff any making everything personal, even while I was watching.

I noticed matrika that wasn’t there before arise: “I’m a broken person.” It kept repeating this over and over again. A bigger part of me was not believing this mantra at all. After each repetition I would repeat Om Namah Shivaya and visualize the mantra as explosives that would crash into the words and feelings of “I’m a broken person” and explode on impact, rendering them untrue. It took a while. I cried a lot and laid in bed, still fighting.

My own Guru did contact me, by the way, during all this directly and I won’t tell you with what means she did that, but some of you who know will probably figure this out. Her message to me was: “Good job! Good job! Well done! Well done! You fought the good fight! God has blessed your heart!” I let this also go on to soothe me. I must tell you, in the darkest moment of your soul, all you can do is try to remember the Truth, to remember everyone who loves you, to never ever give up, to keep fighting the inner demons. Obviously there were a few hiding and they are persistent and very mean.

Naturally I’m a very jovial, happy go-lucky kind of guy. So all of this is very foreign to me. There’s an old saying/question that goes: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I say, if you even remotely believe in that question that it’s because only the “good people” can withstand it and make a useful example to other good people. Honestly though, all this has been my karma. I’m sharing this with you because hopefully, very hopefully, you’ll never ever experience what I did, and that you can appreciate the spectacular beauty and health of your own body, mind, and soul. When you realize how much power and freedom you have for real, when you compare yourself to my current situation, you might find a level of gratitude you had not previously experienced.

I sincerely hope you realize how awesome your life is, and how much potential you have to fully embrace all your potential. You are love. You are perfect. You are all SO great. Try, try, really try not to forget what you are capable of, and what is possible for you with such good health. Take nothing for granted, because it could be over before you realize it. Embrace the people in your life that you love, and do your best to forgive others, and give yourself a break for the things you might otherwise judge yourself for. Don’t judge yourself. Love yourself.


Karen Jo said...

Thank you, Scott for this beautiful share. It has really touched me. I don't know you personally but I followed along as (a so far silent) part of this community what was happening and will send my blessing now for your continued recovery.

I am writing this in bed while sick with pneumonia which I became sick with on a business trip last week. While it can not compare with what you have experienced, I do take comfort in your words. When my body was at its sickest it was indeed a challenge of trying to remind my mind and attention to go back to the highest and not get stuck on scary dark thoughts. Having the mantra has been a lifeline.

This community brings light to each other and the world.

Karen Jo

Taylor said...

Welcome back to our blog community Scott. May your trials and tribulations do nothing but make you stronger and wiser and full of gratitude.

Jane said...

Scot, thank you so much for sharing your experience. Reading your experience is very uplifting. I have had health issues as well, though I have never coded. What I have found is that illness has been my greatest on-the-job teacher. Every spiritual principle I've ever studied and hoped to imbibe was called up. I understand my life is a gift, but it is a gift not meant for myself but meant to be shared with others. Words don't quite capture what I mean.

Mostly what I keep coming back to immense gratitude for every single moment that I am given. I never felt this deep, abiding gratitude when I was able-bodied. Isn't that odd? But I kind of took health for granted. I unknowingly took much for granted. I don't anymore. I think I am most grateful for the ability to be grateful.

Great teachers, great community, vast love...what is a little pain, a little physical limitation? It could be worse. One could have a dry heart.

Anusuya said...

Don't know why I feel to share this, but since you shared that the thing you learned from your Mom was to trust your inner feeling I'll go on that. Our tong ren teacher has various things that we hear him say frequently when we have healing class. Some of them have been put on little plaques on the walls throughout the space. They remind me of the sutras posted near Baba's chair. There is one person who comes to class and has the capacity to push numerous buttons for some class members and some practitioners. I have a sense of what it is, but it doesn't really bother me...she's just different. When her turn came, 2 practitioners turned their backs to the group and walked towards me and one said "there's a new sign, it should be where the group can see it". I hadn't seen it during class since it was behind a post but moved to see it. It said NO POOR BABY
Probably 1/3 of the people have cancer, the next 1/3 are a combination of serious illnesses, and the rest are less serious issues. This group repeatedly shows me that attitude is everything. Being with them regularly feels like satsang in some ways because the energy is so uplifting. It's not what you would expect with a roomful of sick people. There is rarely a poor baby in the room.

D. R. Butler said...

One thing that most struck me from Scott's three comments above, which make a great story, was his sharing of the Guru's words in his time of need. This fits perfectly with last month's focus on 'the Guru.' Scott's experience was that the Guru is very real, very present, vibrant, and alive in the moment.

Those few who mentioned feeling the Guru's absence, or that the Guru had 'disappeared,' might want to comtemplate Scott's experience. When the chips are down, when the time is right, the Guru is always alive and fully present. The Guru never goes anywhere. The Guru Principle manifests in different ways in different times, yet it is always present. We only have to be open to it, in whatever form it now presents itself.

Colette said...

I feel so blessed because I have never felt separated from the Guru.I have always loved to be around the physical form when it was present, and when it wasn't I found the Guru inside through the practices,the course and the blessings of work. Everything in my life has always worked out for the best, and for this I am very grateful.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have anything further to say about gratitude as a spiritual practice?

Scott Marmorstein said...

I'm pretty sure Gratitude is an attitude, and by itself generates a pristine spiritual energy, a soft energy, that prepares your body and mind to go inward, toward the Source of all the beauty you have in your life. In this way, you literally appreciate (as in, magnify the value of) that which you are grateful for in your life--more comes to you directly. There is no formal practice of gratitude that I am aware of, it should naturally arise from within. As it does, the quality and magnificence of your life should stand out in vivid detail.

D. R. Butler said...

A person who goes through life experiencing gratitude has an entirely different experience from one who goes through life complaining and see what is wrong with things. Gratitude leads to contentment, while the absence of gratitude leads to agitation and frustration.

Gratitude is an experience of openness and receptivity. Complaining and fault-finding are experiences of being closed to all the great things the universe has to offer.

Gratitude has an attractive energy; complaining and fault-finding have a repelling energy. In fact, when seeing what is wrong with something or someone reaches a certain level of intensity, it even becomes repulsive.

When we experience gratitude, we attract more of what we are grateful for. When we complain, we experience more of what we complain about. They each attract that which corresponds to their own nature.

I like Scott's answer a lot too.

Jane said...

With regard to gratitude, there are some things that I do to expand my awareness of my blessings. I do consciously focus on the beautiful in my life when I can. When something about my home, or my child, or my spiritual path, or whatever, brings me even a tiny moment of joy/gratitude I kind of lean into it. I purposely focus my awareness even more deeply on what is wonderful about this or that. Kind of like soaking in a bath instead of taking a quick shower. It is a discipline of my mind, but it isn't hard to do because I feel so much more love when I see all the beauty.

There are things in life that have a hard edge, a roughness. My state isn't always uplifted (yet). But always coming back to gratitude really, really helps. But it has to be, for me, a real sense of gratitude, the true experience of "thank you again and again". That upon which I focus may seem a tiny thing of no consequence to someone else. It doesn't matter if the object of my gratitude is great or seemingly insignificant. My heart's reaction is what matters. It makes me a better mother, a better friend, a better person, and brings me closer to That.

So basically, the practice of gratitude is exactly what Ram has been writing about for decades. See how blessed we are!

ari said...

I've been fortunate enough in my job to see a lot of people die. I feel like my job and taking on a spiritual practise in this life have gone hand in hand.
I thinks it's rare in society for people to contemplate death. Most of us live like we are ignoring the obvious white elephant in the room. I may be wrong but I think DR even at a young age you mentioned that you meditated in graveyards.

From my experience when people pass into the light there is a tremondous amount of love at that place. People experience grief and pain but even if they are not tuned into the truth they also experience that love. It suprised me the first couple of times it happened. I didnt really "know" the person beyond my professional duties. But I was really moved at times when people passed.

Ghayas said...

Hi Ram,
I thank Scott for his sharings and for pointing out the importance of embracing our life and not taking it for granted. At some point, he writes "I died a couple times (or coded). And I do remember this very clearly. There were a couple times I went to a VERY dark place of unknowing, of no memory, of nothingness. When I came to I remembered this very dark and scary place. The Awareness of remembering, this I, is truly the only thing I or you are." Is this "THE" experience of death or does the experience of death vary from one being to another according to the life he had lead ? This experience sounds quite scary and dreadful to me. How could I prepare myself the best for it ? Is meditation a good practice for that ? Many great teachers point out the importance of "learning to die". Sounds creepy a bit. I prefer by far the title of our course starting with the word "Living". Yet when I read Scott's sharing, I feel this emergency rising suddenly within me and telling me : yes I should prepare myself the best I can for this ultimate experience and not only think about it once in a while. What was the teaching you got Scott from this experience ? Did you feel ready for it thanks to your regular spiritual practices? Ram, are we going to have lessons about "learning to die" ? Is it just my ego freaking out, or it is fine to aspire to and prepare a luminous and fearless death ? Thank you, love. Ghayas

Achla said...

It’s been quite a month: much talk of death and dying! In the past week I have had to confront the possibility of losing a loved one! Fortunately events resolved in a favorable manner, and in the moment of crisis I was filled with gratitude for grace that poured in and supported us in immeasurable ways. I also realized that at the moment of crisis I did not want to be in the present moment, I wanted the moment to pass –to be erased and I was unable to surrender to ‘ whatever may happen”. Ram, you talked of Scott being a strong spirit, and I want to know: how can I make myself strong in spirit?


Scott Marmorstein said...


I feel a lot of compassion for your feelings arising right now. When I was a child I would really get freaked out about death. I guess it’s unusual for a young person to be so existential, but I was. Anyhow, I totally understand how what I wrote would look scary. I know a lot about death, long before I was experiencing it in this body a couple of weeks ago. How? I’ve done a lot of astral traveling (literally leaving my body on purpose), among other things. However, my sense of what happened to me most recently, is that it was a holding place. It was scary only when I came back to my body and remembered it. Let me just say, that is not the ONLY place that I went to. I actually remember going other places. The point I was trying to make is that, while this place was scary, very scary, I was AWARE of being there--meaning, I and you are both Awareness in Truth. However, our souls do move on. I was trying to get a lot of things straightened out in the Ethereal realms in order to really return and stick around in my current body, thus the dark holding places I mentioned. They were scary because of the way my brain interpreted it upon arrival back in my body and consciousness. Now that I’ve had some time, I can tell you unhesitatingly, I am completely unafraid of death. Grant yourself the permission to not be worried. The fact and the truth is, you don’t even realize how many times you have incarnated and reincarnated, taking one body and casting it away only to take another one. When that direct realization comes, there is a sweetness and a lifted feeling in your being.

I apologize to many others of you who may have misinterpreted what I said. I believe it is Mercury Retrograde still, after all. It was never my intention to frighten anyone, but to remind us all that at our core, we are Awareness, and That never ever ‘dies’ no matter what happens to these transient bodies we inhabit. We are only here for a short time. So, let me ask you this, do you want to focus on preparation for death, or do you want to focus on Love? The ultimate preparation for our physical demise is to fully Love, to fully be here and now. If you give your mind something so morbid to focus on you will get lost in mind and forfeit all of the teachings (the central teaching) of Ram’s course. In a way, I’m glad you asked about this question, and I’m glad I could answer you directly. If you want to really focus on the only death possible, then focus on the death of the ego. The Self doesn’t really have any stake in what happens to the body thereafter. Truly speaking, Ghayas, you are only Love. Get in touch with that, and you’ll live more fully in the Truth of the Present Moment.

Love and Clarity,

D. R. Butler said...

Achla, so many things strengthen the spirit. Just being in the physical body makes us stronger. The karma of a single incarnation is to help us grow stronger, to help our wisdom to evolve, to free us from various things, to help us develop endurance and tolerance, and simply going through the karmic cycle of this lifetime makes us stronger. That is one reason we are here.

Just the fact that you are reading and participating in this blog shows that you are being proactive in making yourself stronger. Otherwise, why would you be here? Why would you be asking such a question? Of course, taking the course via email and practicing the suggestions and exercises in the lessons is designed to help us grow stronger in all ways on all levels.

Believe me, Scott is a lot stronger after his experience now than he was before. He might not be very consciously aware yet of exactly how he was affected, or elevated, but it will be clarified at some point in the future.

I can always truthfully say that I am much stronger now than I was five years ago. There's never been a decrease in strength of spirit. I imagine that you will also find this to be the case. Don't worry too much about what you have to do. Simply allow the development to naturally unfold.

The same Power that put you here in the first place is also in charge of the process of your personal development. The best way we can help is to not fight or resist the process.

Steve C. said...

I have found that gratitude is the most natural way for me to experience God. The Lessons often talk about love, compassion, contentment and other higher qualities, and I am often left feeling I'm a bit dry in the arena of these higher spiritual aspects of this life. But when I contemplate any aspect of this rich life I have been graced with, the one true thing that never changes is that at the core of everything is a profound gratitude. It is simply oftentimes unbelievable for me (yes, that unworthiness samskara) that I have been given so much, such an incredible physical environment in which to live, an astounding array of people that are such extraordinary characters with whom to relate, and loved ones and family that provoke such a wonderful love. So I basically get choked with gratitude whenever I can manage to think about any of these aspects. Add on top of all this the grace to have been able to meet a master and receive her blessing, and to continue this work on such a moment to moment basis through the Lessons and the blog, and gratitude is the only possible experience.

rico said...

Death and gratitude what an unusual juxtaposition. It a strange way they seem to be connected. If one is truly, completely grateful then the Moment is experienced as perfect. Have you ever felt so perfectly content that if you left this body in that Moment it didn't matter because your life is complete?

Scott Marmorstein said...

Hi Rico,

Since I was just knocking at death's door not long ago, I can only say that I was obviously not content enough to leave this world. That being said, I do not fear death whenever it should come looking for me again. Could I have left? Sure. But then I'd have to come back and start over again to a certain extent. Anyone can feel totally content and ready to peacefully give up the ghost, but believe me there's always something we're not aware of that needs our attention--until it no longer does.

There's always more to do, and I for one am not done by a long shot. Just my thoughts on your question.

With love,

Ghayas said...

Thank you very much Scott for your generosity, clarity and encouragements. True, the Focus should be on Love and only Love. In Love, all fears shall disappear. Thank you again et prompt recovering to your current physical body. Love, Ghayas

Colette said...

Life has been so kind to me, every time I have needed an obstacle, it has been provided. Every time I was off course my course has been corrected and it has always left me in a deeper state of love.

Love truly conquers death. When my husband died , he visited me the night after his death in his youthful illuminated light body telling me how happy he was to be moving on, leaving me with the feeling that death was wonderful, something to be as grateful for as life. Everything is a blessing and I am full of love and gratitude for it all.

D. R. Butler said...

Rico said, "Have you ever felt so perfectly content that if you left this body in that Moment it didn't matter because your life is complete?"

A true spiritual warrior lives his life as though each moment could be his last. He knows in his heart that nothing matters, yet outwardly he lives as though it does. He does not need to continue beyond this present moment in order to experience the most exquisite contentment.

When he was shot, Mahatma Ghandi raised his hands together, bowed to the man who shot him, and said, "Ram!"

That is truly the way to go.

Colette, I love the experience you shared about your husband following his transition from the physical body to subtler existence. It was a very beautiful and intimate experience, and I appreciate that you shared it so openly with us. I was truly touched.

We are all here to love, and we are all here to die. Let us at least make sure that we love. The dying will take care of itself at exactly the right moment, and as always, leads to new life. Know that something deep within you never changes, is never born and never dies, and eternally remains as it is. This is the true Self of all. Know your Self and you will know God.

Achla said...

Thank you Ram for your prompt and compassionate response. And Colette thank you for your heart felt sharing. I realize I have a long way to go to be able to have an inner poise during an emergency situation. I also felt truly grateful for being in the company of spiritual souls who inspire me to set my goals high and expect the best of my self.
I cannot say I am unafraid of death. At this point, the single most fear that grips me is that I still have so much to do spiritually, and that my family still needs me. ( my ego , I know).

Naganath said...

It dawned on me the other day that the actual experience of death by one is a very beautiful experience. Our culture does not have this view for the most part. As George Carlin said, life is backwards: we should start as old people and grow younger until the end of life is orgasm.

Colette said...

Achla, my husband experienced fear as part of the end process of dying even though he was consciously willingly himself out of his body. I think that was part of the reason that he came to me after to let me know that it was not a fear filled experience. As far as your family goes they will miss you, and they will get along without you and unfold the way they need to. This period since my husbands death has been one of the most dramatic growth periods of my life, and I needed to be in just the situation that I am in for it to unfold. I am sure that your life and your families will be no less perfect. as my husband Randy would say even though not an Aussie"No worries Mate."
I know that I am very blessed indeed to have the satsang of so many courageous seekers of the truth.

D. R. Butler said...

Step lightly through life.
Some will touch you,
many will brush you,
and you will see yourself
in a few.
It goes so fast,
it hardly ever moves.
Be a feather,
floating in the breeze,
as light as light itself.
Even your resistance and your struggle are part of the flow. Nothing ever happens,
it never did.
Relax and enjoy your Self.

D. R. Butler said...

An exchange on Facebook brought over to the blog, and expanded upon a bit:

Martha: Would you mind sharing something about finding/identifying true spiritual guides/teachers?

D.R. Butler: A true teacher first needs a true student--one who is open and willing to learn something completely new and different from anything she's ever glimpsed. When you are at this state of openness and receptivity, be absolutely clear about what you want to learn from a teacher or guide. What is your highest goal? When you are clear about this, you will intuitively recognize the true teacher.

Everyone has a true Teacher, Guru, Guide, Master--by any name--on some level and in some form. Sometimes more than one form is used. The Guru tattva (principle of awakening, initiating, expanding, deepening, freeing, liberating) is in no way limited, and will use whatever means is karmically available and convenient through which to reach us.

We recognize the true Teacher, in whatever form it appears in the moment, through our own inner experience. There is a simple and subtle 'knowing' about it that transcends any aspect of doubt or hesitation.

You can't tell another who his Teacher is any more than you can tell him who to be in love with. We simply fall in love because that's what's happening. In the same way, we recognize true teachers and guides as they appear for us along our journey toward the Light.

Many have led and guided me, and helped to expand my vision; my major teachers and influences can be counted on one hand. The true Teacher is One. The 'how' or 'why' of it is a simple matter of recognition, just as we recognize our own inner Self. It is a higher vision than what we ordinarily use.

Anonymous said...

Gratitude and feathers...yes... thank you. Thank you for the light touch and thanks for the leaves that are shooting out and for the baby bird that just managed to unhinge itself from the branch over my head and fly of as I was watching it, thanks for the squirel who managed to cross the road and for the clouds that had the shape of an arrow over the western sky and for the ancient tree that is here one more day and thanks for the opportunity I have to see everything, thank everybody

Shanti said...

Since May 1st, I am contemplating
the word perfection and what came
out from it is this. I used to read your lessons for 10 years in the old days, and I took all your workshops when you came into my country. When it stopped, I felt a bit lost.

I was sad and not happy at the same time. I didn't understand. I did continue to do my practices and reread the old lessons.

When a friend told me two weeks ago that you have a blog, I came to see what it looks like and here I am, here you are, the same... You are taking about the same Self and how to live our lives in the same way. I feel so fortunate to have you in my life, really I mean it.

As I was reading your words about the Guru Principle, tears came out
on my cheeks. I couldn't believe that not only can I take your lessons again, but you give us the opportunity to have satsang together on the blog.

It is Perfect!!! Can you believe that you're the only one I know in the world who speaks about the Truth, Love and the Self in a blog or on Facebook!

Since I have started to read your reflections and each comment that I find so relevant, my inner state
has changed. I feel happy and I don't have this feeling of isolation that I felt since I live here, in the country, an hour and a half from the Center. Instead of watching television now, I visit your blog and what I appreciate the most, is the fact that you live in the world like
us and your level of Consciousness is so deep.

Thank you so very much for this decision you made in 2008 to begin the blog and new course. You are the only one who unites us, the oldtimers and of course everyone who communicates with you or through the blog. Thank you all.

Of course, I checked who were
your friends on Facebook, and it felt so good to see so many shiny
faces that I recognized because I did seva with them at the ashram.

With much love, Shanti.

Colette said...

Shanti, I felt so moved by your share, and I feel much the same way. The ability to communicate in the present moment with so many of like mind and heart, so many with the courage and love to go forward in life to be the Jivas we came to be of that one great Self. It move me to tears. Om that is perfect. This is perfect. from the perfect springs the perfect. If the perfect is taken from the perfect, the perfect remains. Thank you all for being perfect just the way you are and aren't. LOVE, KARUNA-COLETTE

Peter said...

Shanti, I also want to thank you for your share. And I agree that we have so much grace to have a space such as this that we can come to and share openly with each other.

I find it somewhat ironic after all this time that D.R.'s blog is about the only place on the entire Internet that, as you said, unites us all, all the old-timers and the newcomers as well. It is the comfortable, family-reunion feeling of the workshops of old, except now we can all meet, right here and now, in the comfort of our own home.

Ekatman said...

It is very interesting that certain aspects of the course as well as of the blog are related to my current experiences.

in Lesson 9 it is said that when we react to something or someone, we are part of the "thing" we are reacting to...

This struck me very much! I cannot change what other people say or do, but I can change my reactions to them.

God! I react so much to what my mother says or does, she is being a great teacher to me, because I remain very lighthearted to most other people, so they would give me fewer opportunities to work with my reactions than the opportunity that my mother does.

One question, I have a constant pressure upon my ajna chakra, I am starting to think that it is a great thing by following an upgrade of the descriptions of myself and what happens to me because I tend sometimes to worry.

But, could you give me a second opinion?

Should I gently focus on my Ajna chakra repeating the mantra, the feshness of the air coming up my nostrils or becoming aware of Satchidananda?

or Should I just let it be?

Sometimes it doesn`t even let me sleep.

D. R. Butler said...

Ekatman, yes, your mother is a great teacher to you. Anyone who stirs up reactions in us is a great help to our sadhana if we understand the process in the right way. This includes not blaming them for our own reactions.

Regarding the pressure in your ajna chakra, perhaps it's that you think too much. You said you have a tendency to worry; maybe that has something to do with it. I wouldn't put your attention on it too much. It is a great thing to focus your attention on the ajna chakra is the center of the head, but don't put attention on the 'pressure.'

Simply allow the ajna chakra to radiate light, which it does naturally, and allow your head and aura to fill with light. Allow your entire being to be permeated by pure light. You will find this to be very soothing and healing.

Anonymous said...

Is there such a thing as perfect resistance to the perfection of the Truth of the present moment?

D. R. Butler said...

Of course. Everything is perfect.

Regarding our own experience, however, especially when we have a choice in the matter, some things are more pleasant than others.

The experience of resistance, though perfect as it is, is much less pleasant than the experience of consciously flowing with the perfection of each moment.

Shraddha said...

Can I be any more happier than now with You all in This space together? It is the perfect blend of Unity with the Self and the perfect separation of longing for my Beloved. I love this state of which Rumi writes. Perfect love and Perfect separation, together.

Harriette said...

Subjects on the blog: gratitude and death! Heavy duty. Gratitude is in my life so much. Not the kind that is thankful "for" anything. Just the feeling the chant evokes, "Thank you, thank you, thank you . . . ." It seems to create an opening, an expansion.

And death: always so interesting to contemplate. We are told to make friends with Death so when the friend arrives there will be no confusion, no fear, no struggle. My prayer is to work with the process wide open when we meet for the final time.

These blog comments remind me of my happy partner's death. He wanted to "be present" as much as possible (and he was). Wore a button for weeks that said, "I Let Go." A message not only for him, but me, his family, those who loved him. It was a conscious experience. Nothing was hidden. And I am forever grateful.

Love to all . . . . Harriette

Colette said...

My husband was much the same as Harriet's. In his last week of life when we all knew he was leaving soon, he was cracking jokes to help others be more comfortable with his passing. He died on his birthday, on the full moon with the Guru Gita playing. It was a very inspiring death. Karuna-Colette

Christobal said...

I've made it to Lesson 18 and just read this -

"What you feel—now—as already real, is what will manifest outwardly for you. It could never be otherwise."

I have experienced this and on some level believe it to be true. However, it also starts pushing some of my "new age alert" buttons, as this statement could be interpreted to say "Think and feel in such and such a way to manifest whatever you want."

This would ignore the laws of karma and seems to imply that we can have whatever we want.

How can this be true? Not everyone can have everything they want. And sometimes our karma just won't allow something.

For instance, no matter how much I feel that I will be a great quarterback, no matter how often I visualize it and feel the exhilaration of throwing that touchdown pass, I will never be an NFL quarterback. (I have actually had several exciting dreams that I was playing receiver for the Patriots, are you a Jets fan?)

In any case I doubt I will play for the Patriots as I'm past my prime (for football that is!).

Do you have any wisdom to help me see how what you say can really be true?

D. R. Butler said...

The statement you quote from the lesson is: "What you feel—now—as already real, is what will manifest outwardly for you. It could never be otherwise."

Nothing could be more accurate. What you currently feel to be already feel is what manifests outwardly for you. It could not possibly be otherwise, for any person at any time or place.

You can prove this true for yourself at any moment of your life. There is never any good reason to take anyone's word for anything. "Prove all things; hold fast to that which is true."

What you feel right now to be already real determines your experience of reality. You might think reality determines your feeling, but that is getting it backwards. Feeling determines our personal reality.

You said it would ignore the laws of karma. On the contrary, it IS the law of karma. Our karma includes the conditions and situations we create in our own thoughts and feelings. Karma is not handed to us capriciously by some outside source. Karma comes from the inside out, like a spider producing a web from itself. We have the free-will to create our own karma.

Forget your 'new-age alert buttons.' This has nothing to do with having anything you want. Whimsical desires and deep inner feelings rarely work together.

Speaking of NFL quarterbacks, I used to want to be Joe Namath. I thought he was about as cool as a person could be. And speaking of dreams, I once dreamed just a couple of years ago that I learned that I had another year of high school that I needed to complete.

As the man was enrolling me, I said, "If I have to go back to high school, I want another year of basketball eligibility restored. I don't want to go to high school without being able to play basketball."

The man looked at me incredulously and said, "You don't find many 62-year-old guys playing high school basketball."

This jolted me back to reality, especially regarding the reality and limitations of the age this body had come to be. So, you're right, it's not that we can just have anything we think up. It doesn't work like that. There are karmic limitations.

I have noticed this, however: Anything that was truly impossible to do, I could never work up a feeling that it was already real. It seems we can sustain that feeling of something already being real only when something is physically possible.

We can't just fly by believing we can fly. On the other hand, have you ever truly believed you could fly?

Anonymous said...

Has your Master given you blessings to teach and guide others spiritually?

D. R. Butler said...


Actually, I simply type on the computer. It doesn't require much competence to do that.

The 'spiritual teaching and guidance' happens through the grace of the Shakti, of the Guru principle.

The computer typist is not personally involved.

Chimene said...

Thank you Ram for your answer to the last question, "yep (...) the computer typist is not personally involved." thank you for reminding me that we are not the doers and that you are doing your seva as we are doing our seva whatever it might be and the more we get out of the way, the better the result will ultimately's the getting out of the way that is sometimes (if not most of the times) difficult.

D. R. Butler said...

Getting out of the way is very easy once we realize how totally unnecessary we are for anything, and that everything would happen equally as well without us. Once we realize this, then we can serve without being personally involved or being attached to the results.

Cristóbal said...

Thank you DR for your answer to my question. And Yes, I have believed that I can fly. I have flown many times in my dreams, and I have memory somewhere in there of doing it in real life.

When I was a child I also remember several times leaving my body and flying around my neighborhood at night when all were sleeping.

Shanti said...

Thank you Ram for the answer 'Yep...'
I didn't understand your answer, but Chimène reminded me that we are not the doers...Thank you so much Chimène for this enlightening. I remember when I was doing seva, telling myself:'I'm not the doer.'

What do you do, Ram, to remember it?

Love, Shanti

D. R. Butler said...

I don't do anything to remember that I'm not the doer.

It doesn't occur to me anymore that I am the doer. I know better than that. I learned all the easy ways and also all the hard ways. May you only learn through the easy ways.

I don't (listen to me saying 'I don't') do anything to affirm that I am 'not' anything.

Using 'not' in an affirmation is not truly an affirmation. It's simply the denial of what we actually (perhaps subconsciously) think is true.

We don't ever have to 'not' be or do anything. It is much more productive to focus attention on what we are actually doing or being, and seeing only the best in it.

At least focus attention on what is pleasant and what feels good. There's no reason to focus attention, which is our connection to the Creative Power of the universe, on what is unpleasant or on what feels bad. Because if we do, guess what's next?

If we focus on knowing we are the Self of the universe, we could not possibly think we were the doer. Therefore the pointlessness of thinking we are not the doer. How can we not be what we never were in the first place?

We use the vast power of the mind to complicate things. The great Zen teacher and writer Alan Watts said: 'Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.'

rico said...

Focusing Attention on Perfection can get very subtle.

I just re-read the comment and one line in particular stood out as particularly relevant.

"If anything is troubling you, it is because you are thinking that something is wrong."

The way I earn a living is as a project manager. I have noticed that prior to the start of a project this feeling arises that something will go wrong. Sometimes it's a very nauseating feeling. I have often wondered where this feeling comes from and why it is so recurrent since I have been doing this for a very long time and I'm pretty good at it.

I have learned to watch this emotional wave rise and fall more times than I can recall but still it returns. It has just dawned on me that perhaps the reason it keeps coming back is that I have been seeing it as something wrong. Perhaps if I can accept the the Perfection of this too, the exquisite Perfection of this nauseating feeling, it will lose it's impact.

D. R. Butler said...

Rico, someone was just asking me something similar privately. She was saying that upleasant feelings would come up in her as she had premonitions of something bad about to happen. In her case, her premonitions were true, as she is apparently quite psychic, and she was asking how do you deal with bad feelings when they come up like that, associated with something unpleasant that is actually about to happen.

I am wondering, when you have the feeling that something will go wrong, is this a true premonition that actually happens, or just a habitual feeling that never has anything to do with reality?

If it is the latter, there is a simple solution: simply replace it with the feeling that everything happens for the best. We will feel what we think and what we think is up to us if we apply free will in the present moment. If we don't, of course, we live according to past tendencies, which is somewhat like being an automaton.

If you're having bad feelings because you sense something unpleasant or undesirable is about to happen, and it is true and actually happens, the feeling is simply an aspect of the intuitive prompting you experienced.

It is very important to not get into judging emotions. Emotions are simply emotions--vibrations along the nervous system of both the physical and subtle bodies--and are not in themselves good or bad, spiritual or unspiritual.

The ego wants very badly to identify with them and appropriate them to itself, yet they are simply emotions, astral weather, passing through like clouds in the sky.

Remember you are the Observer, the Witness, of all that is happening on all levels of Being. You are the Knower of all that is known, the Seer of all that is seen.

Deb said...

I am also reading the lesson group "how feeling creates reality." In my current lesson you ask,..."How would I feel if I were already permeated with the bliss of Self-realization?" In one of your recent replies, you told someone that it won't happen if you can't really create the feeling. I have to admit that I have no idea what the bliss of Self-realization feels like. It seems beyond my mind and imagination. You have said before in lessons, that this bliss is not like the bliss we ordinarily think of. So basically, my question is this...How do we feel what we don't know? How does an individual feel Absolute?

D. R. Butler said...

Deb, that's a very good question.

When I suggest that you ask yourself, "How would I feel if I were already permeated with the bliss of Self-realization?" -- it is given as a contemplation, as a direction in which to lead the mind, or to focus attention.

I don't think I ever said that you have to create the feeling before something can happen. Everything happens with or without us; we're not nearly as vital or necessary as we'd like to presume.

I did say that in order for the method of creative visualization to actually work, an essential aspect of the process is to feel as though you'd feel if your goal were already realized.

As long as you're only hoping something will be true later, you're still conscious of it not already being true now, and your subjective consciousness is what manifests as objective reality.

Of course your mind has no idea what the bliss of liberation would actually be like. After all, it is only the mind, which is basically a contraction of the Self. So how can a contraction of something comprehend the thing itself in a fully expanded form?

Even so, a contemplation that includes focusing our attention in a certain direction is part of the process of eventually experiencing the fullness that such a direction leads to.

So we begin by imagining the unimaginable so that one day we might experience the fullness of our true potential.

david harshada wagner said...

I love this dialog. I am inspired to write about psychic premonitions.

I often hear spiritual types describing psychic premonitions, or mystical dreams or "signs" that they receive. It often feels like people are a little lost when they're speaking about them.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good practice to hone one's intuition and to be sensitive to mystical messages.

But often, the same people who are "reading the signs" and intuiting other worldly messages are quite out of touch and insensitive about the present moment.

I recall being in Chicago at our local meditation center. A lady came to satsang who was into astrology and was sort of working the room after satsang guessing people's signs and giving unsolicited intuitive advice. When she was done, she went to leave, opened the closet door and walked briskly into the closet! I felt the Guru was giving me a sign!

Someone asked Ramana Maharshi about past lives. He responded- what do you know about this incarnation you already have? Know this one first.

The waking state- the plain old waking state- purely experienced, is so rich. No significance, just pure innocent being. What if the butterfly landing on us is not telling us something else?
What if it was just a butterfly- a miracle. Not God in disguise. Just God.

D. R. Butler said...

Harshada, your comment reminds me once again of the quote from Alan Watts:

"Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes."

Harshada Wagner said...

Somehow this sparked a lot of content. I didn't want to spew here so I wrote it as a facebook note. I will share something here though because many of the LTPM readers were/are part of the same SY community I started off in.

One day I was living in NYC and was "called" to the ashram to be in a meeting with the Guru. In those days, I lived in the city but had a full time position with the foundation so I was always going back and forth.

On this day, as I was getting dressed and packing my bag, I had this thought:

"I should make time to meditate before I leave so that I can be in a good state when I meet with the Guru." As fast as the thought arose, insight also dawned. Suddenly a most basic ignorance was laid bare in front of me.

Forgive me if it sounds cliche, but I got how that moment packing my socks was JUST AS IMPORTANT of a moment to be in a good state. I got how I would wait for special moments and in a certain way live special moment to special moment. Like walking on stepping stones.

Anonymous said...

DRB, you say: "...feel as though you'd feel if your goal were already realized"

So rarely have I felt like I though I would when I reached a goal.

Most recently I earned a black belt in a martial arts discipline that I've been studying at for several years. Aside from feeling a sense of accomplishment, I don't feel like I thought I would (e.g. a sense of security and ease around large angry people).

So I consider what you are saying as an exercise, like you said, a way of focusing the mind in a constructive way. I don't think you are in any way promising that how we imagine we will feel when we reach our goal will necessarily match how we will actually feel when we are there.

Something you wrote once (my memory of it): "How many realized beings are walking among us - 50, 100?" And then you would encourage us to imagine ourselves exactly as we are now, but as realized beings. Like you were trying to dispell the concept of sainthood being unattainable.

From what I've learned here so far I imagine that when I am realized I will be ordinary in many ways. I might even still have some habits that annoy other people, or that will seem weird for a realized being to have. I think I will be very amused that I have become realized. I think I will laugh a lot at the thought of it - I'll point at myself in the mirror and laugh until my eyes water.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, when I became enlightened I stopped thinking. I laughed, I cried, I jumped for joy, I recognized my own Self as sovereign, instead of my self as the source of all experience.

Actually, when I became Self-Realized I was in a state of deep, silent, black meditation, a meditation of total bliss for 6 hours, but it only seemed like a moment.

I was no longer imagining anything. I was of the Awareness that every state of so called "contraction" was just a perfect expression of IS. That I was EVERYthing--including the mind's inner critic that wants to judge and make 'bad' that which has no other quality but to be what it IS, and that I AM that particular thing. No THING exists apart from me, including but limited to bliss, joy, happiness, peace, love, respect, worry, fear, despair, depression, anger, jealousy, and on and on.

I am even heaven and hell--simultaneously. So...the question became, where to focus my Awareness? Continually coming back to the Truth of the present moment--I focus on whatever comes up (whether elation or despondence) as a perfectly enlightened manifestation of what IS--how I am choosing to manifest myself beyond the consciousness of mind. So I focus on the Truth of the Present Moment as being however I am in that moment, and knowing beyond all doubt that this is just my own Perfect (not ideal) Self representing this particular experience in this now.

Ah to be so fully God!

D. R. Butler said...

Referring to the previous comment by anonymous, it is beautifully written and perfectly expressed. I do not see or feel anything delusional in it, as it feels very sincere.

I would be very careful, however, about referring to oneself as "enlightened" or "self-realized." Anyone who has truly attained this state is firmly established in it, to the degree that one's state never fluctuates and is never disturbed on any level. It doesn't take 'time out' from its enlightened state.

We can't be Self-realized when we see a flower but something else altogether if someone bumps into us on the street and calls us an idiot.

Also, 'who' is making the assertion of being enlightened? The ego can't be enlightened. It can only be deluded. I have been asked before if I was enlightened, and I couldn't find anyone inside myself that the question could either be directed to or answered by.

Who would answer, 'No'? 'No, I'm not enlightened. What kind of fool would think I was enlightened?'

We certainly don't want to define or describe ourselves this way, for it is obviously very limiting.

Yet, who is there to answer 'Yes'? If someone answers 'yes, I am enlightened, I am Self-realized' then who is it defining or describing oneself as such? The Self doesn't use words to describe itself. For this reason the Self cannot be be contained in any particular description or definition.

The Self exists in a non-verbal space.

To ask the question is to presume that there is someone to answer the question, and there is no one like that.

The Self doesn't go around thinking, "I am enlightened, I am Self-realized." The pure Self, or Consciousness, is beyond descriptions, beyond words and concepts. It simply is.

I realize the comment was posted by 'anonymous,' so we can't assume anyone is describing anyone as anything. This is just what came up for me when I read the comment. I appreciate the comment. Thank you.

D. R. Butler said...

Kay and I will be away for the weekend attending my son Shane's college graduation in Boston. I will take my laptop with me, but will obviously not be around as often until we return late Monday. Responses to our gmail address for the course via email will obviously be slow until after the weekend.

Love and blessings to all.

ari said...

It was nice to see you give a shout out for equality consciousness. I think being presented with concepts like this is what seperates your course from many. A lot of people can relate to "living in the present moment" (but perhaps actually not practising it) and many other concepts we talk about. We're not taught terms such as equality consciousness in school so they are such a gift to be presented with.

When I first heard you describe equality consciousness in the old course around 15 years ago I was so blown away by that approach. It was very valueble for me at the time and I'm once again reminded of it. I too have done a lot of world travel and was craving different experiences. Now I seem content to hang out at home doing much of nothing. I dont feel like I'm missing anything. I could be happy travelling, I could be anxious travelling. I could be happy at home. I could be anxious at home. My experience of life doenst seem as dependent on what's happening or where I am. It's all on the inside.

Suzanne said...

I have only received 3 months of the lessons, but I am amazed at how powerful and transformative they are. I am already actually seeing and experiencing things differently than when I began. As far as spiritual understanding, I have learned more in the last 3 months than in my previous 12 years of study. Thank you so much for making this amazing course available. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't sign up for it, but I suppose most people think they already know what is worth knowing. I abide in supreme appreciation for what I have already received, and I can hardly imagine what is to follow.

Ghayas said...

Guilt ! Guilt ! Guilt ! Help ! Help ! Help ! Ram, what's the antidote to guilt ? Why do I feel guilty again ? Answering to this and analysing the reasons of this feeling don't seem enough to remove it. There is this just this dark cloud over my head, this predominant, vague, independent and general feeling of guilt that pops up when I first wake up and keeps me company during the day, expressing itself quite creatively in different situations throughout the day. I feel it preventing me from a great expreience of inner freedom, sabotaging it. I'm fed up of feeling guilty, yet I feel guilty of feeling fed-up of feeling guilty. What's the way out ? Ghayas

Scott Marmorstein said...

Guilt is a trip from the past.

Guilt is like a time-traveler, trying to make relevant that which no longer exists.

Guilt is like a ton of bricks you have slung over your shoulder. Who or what are you carrying it for?

Guilt absolutely denies the present moment.

Guilt wishes to consume you in the flames of misery.

In Truth, guilt has no power other than what you give it.

You are the Power of Love or the Power of Hell. Guilt is a messenger from Hell.

Guilt is like the lying devil's tongue, trying to convince you that you are wrong, and that it (the thing you feel guilty about) is right.

How do you let go of guilt? Inner forgiveness and a complete surrendering to the Light, to God.

Begin to develop contenment for the things you have done which are wonderful. If you can't be in the present moment, then contemplate that which is truly beautiful in your life and about your life.

God will ultimately bless you with Peace.

Ghayas said...

Thank you very much Scott for this food for contemplation. Ghayas

D. R. Butler said...

I appreciate Scott 'filling in' in my absence from the blog. Although I have checked it every day, I have not posted since before we left for Boston. We returned home tonight after a wonderful time with my son Shane (Shri) and seeing his graduation from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, following by an exhibition of the major works the graduating class had completed that year. It was quite a show. It's amazing how much talent attends that school. Shane himself had a grand exhibition of some amazing videos he and a friend had collaborated on, and it's truly gratifying seeing his artistic talents blooming and coming to life as he matures within himself.

Kay and I also found a couple of hours to meet with some old friends from the Cape Ann area--including Gloucester, which is the town involved in the movie, 'The Perfect Storm.' It was a small group of people who began attending workshops and taking the course I offered back in the 70's. It was the first time in many years that I have met with a group of any kind, and these were people we hadn't seen in over 10 years. There was lots of laughter and a great lighthearted feeling, as well as that familiar sense of a family reunion.

I agree with everything Scott wrote in response to Ghayas' question. I only have a couple of comments to add:

Only the ego feels guilt. The Self, or our inner Consciousness, never experiences guilt regarding anything. It only experiences the absolute perfection of everything.

At the same time, paradoxically, guilt is an aspect of the divine play of supreme Consciousness. Indeed, nothing is excluded from the play of Consciousness, while everything is included simultaneously.

Even understanding this much, we'd realize there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Guilt is also as aspect of the anava mala, for those who have studied Kashmir Shaivism. The anava mala is the original 'taint' upon the otherwise perfect individual aspect of the Universal.

The anava mala is the major obstacle in sadhana, or self-development. The anava mala is the sense of not being good enough, of not being enough, of feeling small, worthless, useless, etc. It is that which primarily prevents our experience of our true divine nature.

One last thing. This was something my Teacher once said, and it made a big impression on me at the time. This statement has had a major influence on the way I see and understand things.

He said, "Guilt is the absolute worst thing anyone can feel. It robs us of our Shakti, our inner power, and obscures our vision of the Truth. Do your best to do only good things and to not do bad things, but if you cannot do good things, and can only do bad things, at least don't feel guilty for your bad actions, for that guilt is worse than anything you have done."

Ultimately guilt is simply misunderstanding our true nature. Once we realize we are one with supreme Consciousness, guilt fades into oblivion forever.

Ghayas said...

Thank you Ram. Ghayas

Rajinder said...

Hello Ram,

I have a question that has been troubling me for a while. I am at lesson 6 of your course and whenever I read, "what you think is what you get", I interpret it to mean that I can perceive anything that is manifesting in my life as positive or negative and I will accordingly experience it that way. But I cannot create anything that I wish. How can I create something that is not manifesting in my life which I would like to see happen. I have been without a job for almost 18 months now. It is fine that I can see my unemployed status as a free time to do sadhana and perceive it in a positive light. But what I want to see manifest is a job that I can go to and that pays the bills. How do I create that ? If you would not mind shedding some light on this it will be much appreciated. Thank you. Rajinder

Anonymous said...

On Facebook, you mention we are in Kali Yuga. Could you explain how you know this, when did it start, and why is it the best time for spiritual growth?

I can feel everything moving to something but I'm not sure what, Maybe just my imagination, maybe it's the "2012" thing. What do you think about that?

Love & light, Linda

D. R. Butler said...

Rajinder, you are approaching the section of the course that exactly explores, in depth, the answers to your questions.

Basically, concisely, you SEE (mentally) what you actually want and FEEL that is is ALREADY real. Once you do this, you create it subtly, and what we create subtly is invariably manifested in the mirror of the objective world.

The trouble is, due to mass ignorance regarding the way things actually work, most people subtly create the very conditions and experiences that they do not want, simply because these are the things they believe to be already real.

Stop thinking about how long you've been without a job. Start feeling how you'd actually feel if you already had the ideal job. The consciousness of being without a job repells opportunities from us, while the consciousness of already having a job attracts opportunities to make the job a physical reality.

All this is explored thoroughly in your upcoming lessons, so that you will have a strong foundation of understanding how this world works.

D. R. Butler said...

Linda, about Kali Yuga, this is one thing that all my primary teachers spoke of and agreed about, and they were from varying traditions.

I was fascinated by your question, though, and wondered myself how I knew, so I went to Wilkepedia, which says:

Kali Yuga (Devanāgarī: कलियुग [kəli juɡə], lit. "age of (the male demon) Kali", or "age of vice") is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. The other ages are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga.

The Kali Yuga is traditionally thought to last 432,000 years.

Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually during Kali Yuga, which is referred to as the Dark Age because in it people are as far removed as possible from God. Hinduism often symbolically represents morality (dharma) as a bull. In Satya Yuga, the first stage of development, the bull has four legs, but in each age morality is reduced by one quarter. By the age of Kali, morality is reduced to only a quarter of that of the golden age, so that the bull of Dharma has only one leg.

Kali Yuga is associated with the apocalyptic demon Kali, not to be confused with the goddess Kālī (read as Kaali) (these are unrelated words in the Sanskrit language). The "Kali" of Kali Yuga means "strife, discord, quarrel, or contention."

That pretty well sums it up I think, and there is much more about Kali Yuga on Wilkepedia as well as many other places on the Internet. It is not something hidden or difficult to learn about.

As far as 2012, I think something wonderful will happen.

Rajinder said...

Thank you Ram for your prompt response. I feel supported and I will practice what you explained.

With gratitude,

Chimene said...

I have been thinking about Rajinders' question and asking myself: why is my life the way it is?
What does it reflect from within me?
My understanding is that my life outwardly manifests what I deeply believe to be true, and what I really want (but unconsciously I might not be aware of this), like a magnet that attracts conditions and circumstances that correspond to my inner feeling.
So what I was thinking about Rajinder's question is that maybe be on some reasonable level he wants a job and feels maybe that he should have one to be a productive member of society and that being without one is not good ect...but on a deeper level what he really wants, what he really thinks is meaningful is the pursuit of sadhana and so he has created this time for himself to do sadhana intensely. Does this make sense?
This understanding has often helped me understand the deeper meaning of happenings in my life.
Regards to all.

D. R. Butler said...

Chimene, you make a good point. Perhaps his heart's desire is to have the free time to devote to sadhana. In such a case, this would manifest as his reality even as he vaguely holds the thought that he should get a job.

We are conditioned very subtly, and it takes time and attention to see and break free from past conditioning--including ways we feel we should be and what we should be doing with our life.

When I lived in the ashram, someone asked the Guru about what was the right way to do something.

The Guru responded, "I didn't know that life was about doing. I thought that life was about being."

The ego often gets involved in what all it should be doing, how much it should be getting done, and struggling to keep up with one's own self-imposed expectations, which in most cases were originally impressed upon us at a very early age and which affect us even now as impulses and tendencies to be or not be certain ways. In short, it causes a lot of grief.

One point that Rajinder made, however--and which is a very vital point--is that he needs to generate an income to 'pay the bills.' It is our dharma to take care of ourselves in practical ways, which includes finances.

If we are a monk or a fulltime student or an older person past working years, it is not our dharma to take care of ourselves. Such people are dharmically taken care of by householders, or those whose dharma it is to earn a living during their working years.

It is dharmic to take care of ourselves, as well as to help take care of students and elders in our family. It is also an element of traditional dharma to help care for and sustain the source of our spiritual guidance--which in Sanskrit in known as dakshina. This exchange is important to maintain the right balance of energies.

Anyway, there is a lot to consider here. I am positive that Rajinder will be guided from within to do exactly the right thing.

JP said...

In Lesson 11 you write: "We tend to manifest around a certain person according to how that person sees us. If someone sees us as great, we tend to exhibit all our best qualities around that person. If someone thinks we are a
jerk, the very worst of us tends to come out around him."

I was amazed to see this in print. I thought this was a personal idiosyncrasy in me which I have been working to overcome. Is this something that is beyond our control? Do we just accept it as perfect, as the play of consciousness? I would guess that we could watch with amusement while another evokes a certain response from us - "Wow, this guy must think I'm a jerk, because I sure am acting like one". Most of all I would like to feel OK within myself regardless of how another sees me. It's my sense of self (ego) that wants to control how others see me.

I would like to understand this better. Many thanks.

Gandiva said...

JP, I'm no DRButler, but I must speak up to say that I would not let how another person sees you determine how you manifest your own life. That's like allowing the wind to blow you whatever way it wants.

I haven't gotten to that part of the course, but I'm sure that this is where willpower and intention come in.

I find that this is most important around my birth family. When I'm around them, they tend to relate to me as being the same person I was when I was 17, and it would be easy for me to just do that same old thing all over again. It's up to me to use my willpower to maintain my state and manifest my better qualities, to share the best of myself.

Otherwise, I am just an automaton, doing what I have been programmed to do; or as you have pointed out, doing what another expects of me. Better to surprise and shock them with a manifestation they weren't looking for!

D. R. Butler said...

We simply accept it as the perfect play of Consciousness. When someone treats us like we're great, we become very magnanimous. It's like they draw it out of us. If someone treats us like we're a deadbeat, there's not very much to live up to. Everything we say and do will be interpreted through their view of us. What to do?

Nothing. Who cares?

You said, "Most of all I would like to feel OK within myself regardless of how another sees me."

Another only sees the projections of their own thoughts, unless they have the capacity to see the Truth in others, and then they will only see the Self manifesting in your own peculiar way.

Give up the idea of controlling how others see you. It can't be done. Be yourself, live true to your own nature, and above all else, be the Seer and never the seen. Remain content within yourself.

People have said great things about me and treated me as though I was a wonderful person. Others have said terrible things about me and speak as though I'm a horrible person. None of this affects me anymore. My Guru treated me like the greatest, and no one else could possibly make me feel any greater. My Guru also treated me like the lowest, and no one else could possibly make me feel any lower.

There is only one Consciousness peering out of all these pairs of eyes simultaneously. Any particulars exists in the mind only. See the same Self equally in everyone all the time, and you won't even care what you think, much less what anyone else thinks.

rico said...

I'm a bit confused by the concept of being able to do sadhana more intensely when one isn't limited by a job. It's been my experience that my job has always been the most intense aspect of my sadhana. Of course it's important maintain the awareness that this aspect of life is also an arena for growth.

D. R. Butler said...

That's an excellent point, Rico. I've certainly never been able to make any distinction between my sadhana and my work; they have long ago become one and the same.

Sadhana isn't something we do independent from the rest of life. Sadhana is how we go through our life, as our karma presents it, from moment to moment.

I remember at some workshops I asked for volunteers for someone to come up and demonstrate how they did sadhana, but no one ever did anything.

Sadhana is how we respond to the next person who speaks to us. Sadhana is, as we go through the checkout line, are we spreading love and peace or agitation and impatience?

Sadhana is being in harmony with everything as it happens. Sadhana is living in the Truth of the Present Moment.

We do these things on the job and off. We do them regardless of situations and circumstances, because that is who we are and what we're about. That is how we choose to live our life. We live this way because we could never be happy or satisfied living any other way. It's the only game in town.

Shanti said...

Last night I was having a seva meeting and I didn't react well to the questions my co-sevites asked me and their advice, even if it was told with respect.

Suddenly, I felt overwhelmed and started blaming them.

At the end of the call, I felt so bad, all I could do was to accept my state and be the witness of that state, not able to see my Self within. I knew that I was caught up with something I would understand later on.

When I woke up early this morning,
it was worse. I wrote how I felt and I realized that I was having the same pattern of many years ago. I was being a victim, trying to justify my anger. I asked God to please help me to overcome this tendancy.

Here I am reading your response to Chimène,and you wrote exactly what I needed to be told.

It starts with the quote, "I didn't know that life was about doing, I thougth life was about being."

Than, all of the paragraph after, "The Ego often gets involved in what all it should be doing, how much..."

I feel very gratefull and I thank you so very much for your words and your time for us, it's actually very healing. I feel this is a big breakthrough.

JP said...

Thank you Gandiva, thank you DR for your help. I appreciate your advice.

I jive with everything said, but have been wrestling with "See the same Self equally in everyone" all day, justifying why I can't or won't make that jump. But you have taken the time to recommend it to me, so I will honor that by giving it a fair test run, as you say ... "You can prove this truth to yourself simply by applying the principle."

Thanks again and all the best.

D. R. Butler said...

JP, there is no one else for anyone to be. Everyone is a manifestation of the same Self, the same Consciousness, and we all share the same Awareness.

When we see another it is like looking into the mirror, seeing the same One that dwells within us as our own Awareness of Being.

Taylor said...

D.R., in lesson 20, you say that we get caught up in what temporarliy appears to be real and that to experience your own life, remain focused on that which never changes or ends.

If someone is saying something irritating about me, does this mean that I can focus my attention on my own subtle awareness of Being instead of the remark. This would be a very subtle focus compared to the irritating remark.

Or do I reframe my description of what is being said so that it is no longer irritating to me?
Or do I just accept the resulting crankiness and contraction and Witness it. Or do I remain focused on being Lighthearted and somehow make the remark funny?

It seems like there are many options. Do I just experiment and see which is most effective for me?

Will this just happen once in a while until I am firmly established in Lightheartedness?

Thank you for your guidance. I would like to be proactive for next time and have a better focus.

Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Taylor said...

D.R., I just re-read your blog for May and, of course, another option in the irritating remark scenario is to see it as perfect that the person made an irritating remark.
How does the first step of focusing on being Lighthearted relate to focusing attention on perfection?

D. R. Butler said...

Taylor -- whatever works.

Any of the above.

The primary thing is that if someone says something 'irritating' about you (I wouldn't let it get that far myself, as I wouldn't allow myself to be 'irritated') do not let it affect you in any way. Remain in your own state. Never allow your own inner state to be disturbed by words or other people.

In one of the lessons of the course we speak of all the various categories of things that we allow to disturb our state, but the main point is that we not allow our state to be disturbed by words or anything else.

Don't even let another's words 'irritate' you. They might say something disrespectful of you, yet you can remain poised and radiant. It is very important to be free from words, especially the words of others, or from the world of objective humanity.

Remain in your own solid, happy state no matter what happens around you.

D. R. Butler said...

This has been a great discussion this month. Thank all of you so much for participating and contributing. All our exchanges are meaningful to all who read this.

The new entry in the blog will be posted June 1.

eddie89 said...

How do we focus on perfection?
I feel inclined to chant Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
At least it is Indian and east oriented. There is a lot of resistance to that in me.