Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Living in the Truth of the Present Moment

I began studying and practicing yoga, meditation, and learning of the creative power of mind at the age of 15 in 1960. In the years since then I have spent time with and studied with many teachers from many paths and traditions. My first teacher, a man who had lived 17 years in a lamasery in the Himalayas of Tibet, wrote a correspondence course, which I began at 15, a year after he had left his physical body.

I never met him physically, although I have had many dreams and meditation experiences with him. They always have the same lighthearted, uplifting feeling. He wrote his course during his late 80’s summing up all he had learned during his extraordinary lifetime. His course lasted 14 years and played a major role in my own training and development. Sometimes even now I feel he speaks through me in the lessons of my new course, Living in the Truth of the Present Moment, available via email (please inquire at drbutler.course@gmail.com

I met the physical Guru in 1974, received Shaktipat (divine initiation), and began writing my first course in the summer of 1975. Among other things, I strongly recommend the physical Guru for anyone who feels he or she needs work on the ego. There is no better cure anywhere in the world. Also, of course, there is the supreme initiation, which is an awakening, a rebirth.

When it was time to write the new course and blog in 2008, I wanted to sum up what I felt, after all my years of study and practice, was the absolute essence of the spiritual path. So I titled the course, “Living in the Truth of the Present Moment.”

To live in the Truth of the present moment is truly all we can do. Years back, when I was traveling and leading workshops, I would ask for volunteers to come up to the front of the room and demonstrate how they did sadhana (spiritual work; inner work). No one ever outwardly did anything, since all we can do is live from the highest (most expanded) perspective in the present moment, from one moment to the next.

The course via email is for those who are truly committed to their own spiritual growth or self-development, who want to progress step-by-step to establish a solid foundation on which the Higher Principles can be imbibed as one’s own, and actually practiced in one’s daily life, and not simply be a philosophy to agree with or believe in, which results in no true transformation.

Here in the blog is where we stay up-to-date with each other, and in the comments we have an ongoing Q&A session. I heard my wife Kay remark recently to someone that the comments of the blog was like the workshops of old, complete with sharing sessions, Q&A sessions, and a general sense of camaraderie and the feeling of a family reunion that used to pervade the workshops when I was still a traveling man.

The blog is open to everyone, and while presenting suggestions and tips for spiritual opening and reminders of the Truth of the present moment, and offering positive energy that anyone can tune in to from anywhere in the world, it also serves as the primary introduction to the course. We do not advertise, and the course grows completely from word-of-mouth, which I feel is the purest form of growth.

So I feel that ‘Living in the Truth of the Present Moment’ is the essence of the spiritual path because, when you come right down to it, it’s the most we can do. I know many people who practice various paths and believe and agree with spiritual principles, yet they are rarely consciously present in the existing moment. Instead, their minds wander through the past, future, and fantasy-worlds, and while this is the case, they literally do not know what they are doing or what is actually going on around them.

This requires a conscious presence which can’t be merely agreed with or believed in. It is the work of the present moment, of maintaining awareness of the existing moment, which is the only time we are actually alive, or actually here for that matter.

The past exists in memory (in Sanskrit, chitta) and only influences the present to the degree that we allow it to through our own attention. The future does not yet exist; it is the ‘now’ we are currently living into. We can live into any future we like, but if we only repeat past patterns and habits we will only create new versions of the past, over and over again.

Whether you take the course or not, please make extra efforts this month to maintain an awareness of the present moment. We can never, no matter what we do, get out of the present moment. We will always be here and it will always be now. ‘There’ and ‘then’ are points of reference only. The only time we are alive is right now. The only time we can live life to the fullest is right now.

What’s more, the higher, more refined feelings—love, compassion, cheerfulness, lightheartedness, joy, peace, contentment, fulfillment—are only available now, in this very moment.

Unfortunately, many of us habitually focus attention on ‘past’ feelings, which are generally negative emotions—fear, worry, anger, jealousy, envy, the sense of unworthiness, resentment, blame, and any other unpleasant feeling you can think of. These all have their origin in the past, and do not exist in the present unless we ourselves bring them into the existing moment by focusing our attention on them, which many of us do habitually.

Living in the Truth of the Present Moment affords the opportunity for a new life, a clean slate, and the availability of all the greater feelings and experiences accessible while in human form.

In the Present Moment there are no limitations. In the past or future there is no freedom.

Now for some Q&A from last month’s comments:

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

DRB: 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, Elder Brother--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.

Shanti: I remember when I was doing seva, telling myself: 'I'm not the doer.' What do you do to remember this?

DRB: 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 are 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 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."

Anonymous: posted his or her experience when he or she became ‘enlightened’ and ‘Self-realized.'

DRB: 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 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.

JP: refers to a quote from a lesson regarding how we tend to manifest in front of others according to how they see us, and how her ego is concerned with controlling how others see her.

DRB: 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 exist 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.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email, write: drbutler.course@gmail.com

For Spanish, write: drbutler.cursoesp@gmail.com


Joyce said...

Are you familiar with John Friend and Anasara Yoga? Any impressions? Do you recommend their training?

D. R. Butler said...

John Friend is a dear friend, and in my mind he is the best Hatha Yoga teacher in the world, as well as being the best trainer of yoga teachers. I first met John in 1994 when we were both staying in an ashram in India, and he privately taught me some special exercises then that I still practice to this day, for great benefit.

The best thing about John, aside from his expertise as a teacher, is that he is as real as you could hope someone to be; he is consistently humorous and lighthearted, and simply a joy to be around. You are uplifted simply by being in his presence.

I would imagine that if you wanted to learn or correctly practice hatha yoga, anyone John has trained and authorized to teach--an Anasara Yoga teacher--will make sure you are in good hands, and that you will be trained in the best possible way.

Hatha yoga helps to keep the body at its prime. When we lose our flexibility, on any level, we start to age. Stiffness and rigidity, mentally or physically, are the primary signs of aging. Keep stretching, keep your body in good shape. Don't let it wither into uselessness.

I will be 65 on July 4th and I can still place my palms flat on the ground without bending my knees. Keep the spine flexible and you will nurture your own youth on all levels of your being.

Ben said...

I've been enjoying your blog for a few months now. I can relate very easily to how you say things. You mention your course a lot, although you make clear that the blog serves as the introduction to your course.

Being on a limited income, I was wondering how much the course costs, or do I need to write to your email for that information? Also, what all is involved in taking the course? What do you get from the course that you don't get from the blog?

Thank you for what you make freely available for everyone on the blog.


D. R. Butler said...

Ben, regarding the cost of the course, we ask a minimum donation of $15 a month, and you can save by signing on for a year for a minimum donation of $150.

We are well aware of the relative costs of things in the world, as well as the relative costs of things of a spiritual or transformational nature. I know you can pay a lot more and receive a lot less than what is asked for the course.

We are also aware that many people are experiencing financial difficulties these days. For this reason I prefer to keep the price down where anyone can afford it. I know that if some of the people who take the course manage to take it, then anyone can do it if they are dedicated enough to inner growth and transformation.

There are participants of the course who can afford more than the minimum suggested donation, and they send more simply because they can, due to their appreciation of what they gain through the course. Because of this, it enables us to keep the price low enough for those who are on limited incomes, so that the course is essentially available to everyone who is willing to learn and practice the principles.

As far as what is involved in taking the course, you get a lesson the 1st and 15th of each month of around 10 pages, and all that is asked is to read the lesson at least 2-3 times during the two weeks, referring to the current lesson daily if possible, and simply applying the practical principles explored in the lessons in your own daily life.

As far as what you get that is unavailable on the blog, you get step-by-step guidance to progress from wherever you find yourself now to wherever you want to be next, spiritually speaking, and then onward to spaces and places that you might not now even imagine.

Anyone can receive the first month of the course for free simply by writing and requesting it. Please do not request it for others, as it does not have the same energy exchange, and chances are that they would pass it off as invaluable.

If you have more questions, I am happy to answer.

Enjoy your day.

rico said...

As a student of the Course in one form or another for over 30 years I can say without reservation there is nothing more valuable in this world. If I had to choose between a roof over my head or paying for the Course I'd opt for the Course. Of course I now have a pretty nice roof over my head in large part because of what I learned in the Course.

Applying the principles taught in the course on a regular basis yields benefits the mind cannot even imagine.

If you new me personally you would know I am not prone to hyperbole.

Jacob said...

This month's entry seemed more personal than usual. I was interested in the way you talked of your two primary teachers. Can you say anymore about how you benefitted from each of them, and how they were different from each other? I am fascinated by where your clarity of understanding comes from.

D. R. Butler said...

After looking over your questions, I'm not certain, consciously, I can answer any of them.

I came upon my first teacher in the form of a correspondence course when I was 15. He had left his body a year earlier, so I never met him physically. Yet his course was authentic and complete and having that understanding as a teenager was the foundation of the rest of my life. I would not be who I am today in any way if I had never taken that course, which was written in the 50's by a man in his late 80's.

At 29 in 1974 I met who was to be my physical Guru. I was not looking for a Guru. I was not interested in having a Guru. I thought I was doing just fine. Yet when I met him, my perspective and experience of myself, my life, the world, and others was almost instantly transformed. It was he who gave me the blessings to do what I do today. He was the one who 'authorized' me to communicate to others the principles of Truth.

I write more personal stuff in the lessons than I do in the blog. The participants of the course are very special people in my life, and I share all with them.

As far how I have my understanding. I remember when I was manager and agent of a rock band during my college days, and we traveled all over the South playing for college and high school dances during the school year, and clubs during the summer. They were amazingly good, and were almost invariably a huge surprise wherever they played, and always managed to be better than anything anyone had expected.

One of the band members, a fellow of Cuban descent named Sergio, was equally adept on drums and organ, and played either depending on the song. He was the most liked person I had ever known. Everyone who came across him just loved him. Even to this day, he has a faithful following on FM radio in Jackson, MS.

One day I just had to know. "Sergie," I asked, "Why is it that everyone who ever meets you loves you so much? What about you makes you so univerally well-liked?"

He simply shrugged and said, "Beats me."

That's pretty much how I feel about how I know or understand anything I know or understand.

ari said...

Lesson 43 was very relevant to what's going on in my life.

Lately I've been feeling angry which is a samskara I never really thought was part of my samskaras that I have to deal with. I've been angry with my wife, annoyed at times by my kids and even considered quitting the course thinking I'm just running around in circles with your concepts from lesson to lesson.

At times I was able to just observe the samskara. At times I was lost in it. I'm sure I was difficult to deal with. Only meditation seemed to lift me from it's shackles and give me some perspective.

I knew the truth was I loved my family and I cherished the lessons and what you have offered me. I really think doing all this work has enabled me not to over react to my emotions and samaskaras that I have experience from time to time. For that I am grateful.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Hey Ari...

I'm just curious, have you checked your physical health lately? I know sometimes when the liver/gallbladder is upset it can cause anger. Sometimes our emotional symptoms are directly related to our physical body, chemically.

It could be worth looking into. Sometimes our samskaras are not exactly what we think they are. The Truth also exists in our physical well being--this I have found all throughout my life since my father is a doctor, and more recently when I had a heart attack.

At any rate, it could be worth looking into. If your body is fine, have you considered having some compassion on yourself and your actions?

All the best,

Deb said...

Ari's comment strikes a familiar chord. I didn't know I had anger to deal with either. I was at the ashram when one of the swami's was talking about her reaction to the war in Iraq. She said, "I was so filled with anger..." and at that moment I was flooded with anger. I have never understood if it was even my anger. But it was there and remained there for years. I began smoking cigarettes as a way to keep the anger stuffed down. Finally, only a few months ago I quit, knowing full well that the anger would come up. I tried to just observe it as an energy and let it be, but often gave expression to it. Being an angry person is no way to make a good impression on others, but I decided it was more important to just BE with it and not consider how others saw me. I focused on being the seer and not the seen. Now it seems to all be gone. The same people who made me furious before only make me laugh inside now. What a relief! I don't think I would have gotten through it without this course and blog. Thank you everyone.

ari said...

Scott your spot on with the health issue. I have a certain auto immune arthritic issue that really flares up from time to time. I was mabe in the worst physical state of my life. On a very strict limiting diet while I was undergoing a new immunotherapy treatment for it. I was lacking in a lot of essential vitamins/minerals. I have since completed the worst part of the treatment and my health has returned. I probably should have been more cognizant of it being an RN and seeing how sickness effects people's attitudes.
Thanks for pointing that out.

Ellen Longo said...

Hi, Ram. I just wanted to let you know how much your comment at the end of your post "you won't even care what you think, much less what anyone else thinks" has meant to me over the years. I remember reading it in one of the first lessons I took from you. You said something like, "I don't even care what I think, let alone what anyone else thinks." I can't tell you how many times this has come to my mind as the truth of a given moment, and what freedom there is in not caring what you think. Thanks!

D. R. Butler said...

Interesting dialogue on anger. Anger is explored a lot in the lessons, as well as all our other predominant emotions.

The most common reason for anger is that we don't like the way something is, or we can't get something the way we want it to be, or we can't sufficiently control someone else, and so on. In short, when we don't get our way, we get angry.

It's a trick we learned as a young child. We saw that often if we got angry enough, we'd get what we wanted. For this reason, it is good for parents to not give in to anger, as a means of eliminating the anger, for it only nurtures and encourages more of it later.

What Scott said is also very true. I'm into Chinese herbology myself, have taken care of myself and my family with herbs for about 30 years now, and in my own experience it's the only system that actually works--at least for me.

In Chinese medicine, if the energy moving through the liver/gallbladder channel gets stuck, or stagnant, we get angry, irritable, agitated, easily set off, and so on. The Chinese don't see the dichotomy between physical and emotional that we do--they see them as all part of the same whole. So if someone is angry or agitated, it's already known in their culture that there is some blockage in the liver or gallbladder.

This is even the primary reason women experience pms. Before the monthly cycle begins, there is a buildup of energy in the liver, and it becomes stagnant there, leading to the pms symptoms. Once the flow has started, the blockage is released and she feels greatly relieved.

Sometimes I can't believe what I'm writing about.

D. R. Butler said...

Ellen, thank you for your sweet comment. Yes, at one point I realized I no longer cared what I thought, why should I care what someone else thinks?

Even harder for me, as a Cancer, is not caring what I feel. I have a strong tendency to want to feel good. I work more and more on being okay, and knowing I am whole and complete and perfect just as I am, even when I don't feel good.

Ellen is a superb astrologer, and I invite you to check out her very informative blog:

It won't come out as a link in the comments, but you can copy and paste. It's worth a visit.

Scott Marmorstein said...

I feel that we can't neglect any part of the spiritual equation, which includes the physical body and its dictates. The body has a big sway over the mind and emotions whether or not we are aware of that.

Working with and understanding the body is a tremendous sadhana all by itself. Especially when integrated with the principles of Truth.

rico said...

A swami once told a friend he was addicted to being comfortable. As I suspect many of us are.

D. R. Butler said...

True, Rico, I feel inclined toward comfort myself. Definitely not worth going through life uncomfortable.

When you get a chance, check out the last two videos I put on my Facebook page--the recent one from Baba Rampuri, and the one from Japanese TV--and as you watch think of them in terms of 'comfort.'

Obviously, at some point, we go beyond the polarity of comfort and discomfort, and settle into something much deeper altogether.

Stuart said...

Hello D.R. I never thought I would be writing to you. I went to one of your workshops about 20 years ago, and you seemed arrogant and cocky. Of course, I was also arrogant and cocky in those days, so maybe it was one of those reflection-like things.

I never took your course. In fact, certain people I knew spoke of you unfavorably, so I figured you were probably someone to stay away from.

Still, I've been reading your blog lately and you seem here to be a no-nonsense kind of guy. What I experience reading your words is very different from anything I ever previous heard about you.

So I'll present you with this question: Why is it that I can come here and your words seem like they're right out of my own heart, and yet people have said things about you that made you sound dislikeable? What is this conflict? Why is it that I hear one thing and experience something else? What is your perspective on this?

D. R. Butler said...

Stuart, your comment amuses me more than most. I am a fairly even-keeled guy, but this one really made me laugh. Of course, I'm usually prone toward laughter, no matter what happens. Mostly I laugh inwardly, however.

You know, people say all sorts of things. One of the first things my Guru warned me about was gossip, and the dangers of either passing it on or listening to it. Right from the beginning, I was taught to never pass on gossip and to never allow it to affect me when there was gossip about me. I guess he saw it coming. Yet, the ego gets all excited to hear the lastest juicy gossip, so what to do?

There has never been a univerally popular figure in the field of spiritual growth or self-development and transformation. All of them had those who resonated with their presentation of the principles and were totally open and receptive, yet all of them also had their detractors, those who were against them and focused on the seeming imperfections in their personal lives.

In the past there were crucifixions; today there are Internet sites that spread the worst gossip anyone can come up with. And, in their delusion, they think they are providing a service.

I will be 65 next month. I have enjoyed a long life. In all that time, surely there are some things you could pick out to make me sound really bad, if you really wanted to focus on those things. I can't think of anyone for whom this might be different, regarding their own lives. We are all very human. We can come up with a highlite film of our life or a lowlite film. I'll take the highlite version every time.

My understanding is that my seva, my dharma, my duty, my work, my thing to do in life, my service, my contribution, is to write the course that goes out via email, and to keep this blog up to date and answer questions in the comments. Whatever comes through, whatever is received by others, happens through grace. It happens because of my Guru. It happens through God. It is the way it is. It has nothing to do with me personally. Talking about what I was doing in 1982 is not really relevant to anything.

If I were you, or if I were to advise anyone, I would say definitely go with your own experience over the words of others. Objective humanity is invariably in error. Don't even go there.

If anyone reads these two comments and wonders, what on earth are they talking about, what are they referring to, forget it, it means nothing. It has nothing to do with the Truth of the Present Moment. It is only a question and an answer to that question.

rico said...

Just watched Baba Rampuri's vid on your Facebook wall.


It seems that the true measure of addiction is how one acts when the object of addiction is not available. Does a foul mood arise complete with complaining and obsession with reclaiming the object.

Those of us who choose to renounce the machinations of the mind and focus on what it is that is Aware of those machinations are as much sanyasin in spirit as those who choose the ochre cloth.

In one of Baba Rampuri's other vids he says that to the sanyasin of his order the highest renunciation is to focus one's attention on the Witness. If this is so then there is no need to travel far and practice austerities since this Awareness is always available Here, Now in the Present Moment.

Alexi said...

When you lived in the ashram, what was most fascinating to you about having a relationship with a physical Guru?

D. R. Butler said...

Probably the most fascinating aspect of the relationship, to me, was being with someone who does not in the slightest way do anything to protect or pander to any aspect of your ego.

In the winter of 1978 I was called to quickly, quickly, come to where the Guru was. He urgently wanted to see me. I ran to where he was and waited outside in cold, drizzly rain for about 20 minutes. Then someone came out and said, 'He says he's not in the mood to see you now.'

We don't usually relate to people this way, nor do we allow them to relate to us in such a way. Many people would say, 'To heck with this, I'm outta here.'

So you have to learn to live without caring how the ego reacts to anything, seeing it as more stuff to give up and be free from. This is very powerful.

ari said...

That comment about Baba making you wait in the rain and then telling you he was in no mood to see you had me laughing for quite some time. He was a rascal that guy.

To add to the health issues for people I have been through the gamet of modalities to treat my condition. From Ayreveda, naturopaths, , chinese herbs and acupunctures to alopathetic medicine. It's very easy to embrace a certain ideology until you actually get a serious illness. then you have some decisions to make. I've witnessed people in my job in the hospital suffer serious health consequences from being stubborn about embracing their particular way of treating themselves. No one system is the best. It's always good to view everything with an open mind.

D. R. Butler said...

Ari, like I wrote above, I definitely agree that we must remain flexible, in bodies and in mind. Once rigidity begins to set in, mentally or physically, the aging process truly begins, and further spiritual growth is challenging.

By all means--and it seems almost too obvious to bother to write it--we should be open to the best possible alternative at any given moment.

Steve C. said...

Lesson 39 begins with a question posted to the blog about "inner contact" from a quote from the Yoga Vasishtha. I, also, am having trouble getting any kind of understanding of what is meant by "inner" contact. I can resonate with your words, "There is no ‘other’ to experience contact with, or to seek contact with." I take this to relate to "outer," but what is meant by "inner" contact?

D. R. Butler said...

The quote from the Yoga Vasishtha says, "The conditioned mind is bondage; liberation is freedom from conditioning (inner contact, attachment, or identification). This inner contact (which presupposes fictitious division) alone is the cause for bondage and liberation."

So the sage says that liberation is freedom from 3 things: 1) inner contact; 2) attachments; and 3) identification.

We have explored attachments and identification quite extensively in the lessons. Most seekers (and finders) are familiar with their meanings. But what is meant by "inner contact?"

Speaking of inner contact, Vasishtha says that it, "presupposes fictitious division."

Now we need to contemplate what is meant by "presupposing fictitious division." Obviously it is something important to be included among the 3 factors that make up conditioning.

Fictional division must be a division that does not actually exist; it is fictional.

In fact, since there is ultimately only One of us, and we are all manifestations or expressions of the same Consciousness, or Infinite Omnipresence, there is not really "another" to contact. To suppose that there is another to contact is to create a fictitious division.

Ultimately all Consciousness dwells within as our own Self. The fact that it also pervades and permeates the Cosmos is another aspect of the Truth; yet we can only experience it within as our inner Awareness of Being.

There is no "other" to experience contact with, or to seek contact with. All we see out there is the mirror of our own Self. The only possible true contact is a conscious alignment with and attunement to the living presence of the inner Self. Once we contact our own Self, we will be quite fulfilled and content.

Sherri said...

D.R., I have to hand it to you, you really know how to maintain a topnotch Facebook page. I hope you don't mind me mentioning here, but I just had to say it. I have many Facebook friends and have visited many pages, but yours is by far the most uplifting and inspiring that I have ever seen. It is a joy to go there. Even when you share music they are such beautiful songs. Most people don't keep their pages nearly as clean or as interesting as you do, and I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate it and enjoy virtually visiting with you often.

Scott Marmorstein said...


Can you help me clear up a confusion? In lesson 11 you state: "Seeing someone in the highest way is the greatest service one
person can render another."

Somewhere else on the blog you state that Baba has said, "If anyone says something about another person they are deluded."

I do realize that 'seeing' is different than saying--that's not confusing. What is confusing is that 'seeing' often leads to 'saying' and so... Is it delusional to state that someone else is the Self?

Could I state phrases about others as, "This person appears to be so and so" without fully committing one way or another--even if I am very aware of their actions?

What about my saying how beautiful and amazing my own Guru is? Is that delusional or just my understanding of them? I

Is delusion, in this context, similar to being dishonest, either with one's self or with others--or is it just completely faulty understanding all the way around?

I hope whatever Voice you tap into can help me and perhaps others with this apparent misunderstanding I have.


D. R. Butler said...

Scott, I love your question, and I love the fact that you asked it. You are one who guides others, and many come to you with their own questions. It shows great humility that you would ask your own question publically.

Also, it is a great example. Many don't realize that when we actually make the effort to verbalize a question, we open ourselves up to receiving a higher knowledge than we might have had access to before. Also, through verbalizing the question, it enables us to hear the answer on a more expanded level than if we just happened to hear it.

Yes, in Lesson 11 it is written, "Seeing someone in the highest way is the greatest service one person can render another."

I still agree with that. I haven't changed my mind since I wrote it. It is one of my primary practices.

And yes, the Guru said, "If anyone says something about another person they are deluded."

And yes, 'seeing' and 'saying' are two different things.

When understanding the words of the Master, or the words of the Scriptures the principles are based on, we have to listen in a refined way. The words, on a certain level, become very subtle, and we kind of have to learn to read between the lines and attune ourselves to the unspoken insight.

You said, "Is it delusional to state that someone else is the Self?"

Yes, it is delusion, because the Self is One. How can 'someone else' be the Self, since 'someone else,' by definition, is different and separate from our own Self? The idea that there is 'someone else' to be the Self is delusion.

You asked, "Could I state phrases about others as, 'This person appears to be so and so' without fully committing one way or another--even if I am very aware of their actions?"

We can always state what appears to us. We will see what people do, even with the awareness that we all share the same Consciousness.

How another appears to us is not something about the other, it is something about us, as we are the source of the appearance. We can also be aware of the actions of individuals without getting into duality, or the sense of 'other.' We can simply see the play of Consciousness.

You asked, "What about my saying how beautiful and amazing my own Guru is? Is that delusional or just my understanding of them?"

You are just stating your understanding of them, and also how they appear to you. Still, no matter what you say about the Guru, there is no 'other' involved, because God, Guru, and the Self are one.

So the statement was spoken with the highest understanding--that there is no 'other,' that there is only One. Therefore, to say something about 'another' is delusion, for there is no one like that. All are reflections of the same Self. We live in the house of mirrors.

Hope you find this helpful Uddhava.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Yes, on a word-level this is helpful.

My logic tells me that if you can't 'say' anything about 'another' because there IS no other--then you also can't 'see' anything in 'another' (not even the highest) because no such other exists like that.

I find it rather convenient that I don't exist--takes all the pressure off. (Said with total love.)

The Highest View is too much chocolate pudding for me. There is something about diversity and 'otherness' the Lord appears to love--else none of this would be here. I can't square away in my mind that this world is a problem to be overcome by reaching the realization that all is one consciousness--even though that's True, it doesn't take me away from the world etc.

I love this world and its diversity, its craziness, its multiplicity, and our universe, what we are beginning to see of it and understand about it. This is all so amazingly beautiful.

When I was flying home the other day I had a window seat. I was looking down at the lush green of our American continent and marveling and really rapt in the exquisite beauty of this world from above.

To me, this is not samsara, it's not a mistake to be overcome. To me it is the most beautiful prasad (the greatest gift) and it is precisely because the One has become many that it is this way.

Maybe the only time you can enjoy this world is if you are fully aware that there is one consciousness acting through all as all? It's like the Self is SO full it can do nothing other than experience itself as all this and much more we cannot possibly perceive at this time. I find the infinite range of expressions of the Self to be delightful, powerful, and mind-blowing.

Anyway, just my non-existent thoughts rambling on. Hahahaha!

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Wow Ram and Scott,
Isn't this play is krama/akrama?
Does the "knowing" that ALL is Supreme Consciousness make the relative world "disappear"?

This brings up a juicy contemplations.

Hmmm to use an Advaita term, "neti neti"..so from that perspective, is everything said delusion?

I am all for Matrika..so here it goes :).

When I was teaching about the koshas this weekend, it hit me again how we label things and talk about the layers of embodied existence in human form as levels of subtlety..ie: anamayakosha up through anandamayakosha, as a way of developing our understanding. (or the tattvas for that matter)
These ways of speaking are the matrix..the shakti, the relative, that are held in the infinite ocean of Awareness.
These are ways for the Self as human form to delight in conversation and discovery. A kind of play in the unfolding 'knowingness' of Itself.( even though the knowingness is always full-haha)
Still, aren't there infinite layers of koshas, subtle and even more subtle? To pick a number like 6 seems silly to me although perhaps it is an arbitrary structure to support understanding of that which is beyond words.
As a teacher it is my job to see the highest in my students, and also to use the power of words to support them in their understanding.

If a student is suffering and asks me if I think they are unworthy..I will tell them that they are "pure" and that they are paying too much attention to "what their own mind is telling them"
This then becomes funny because the Self as the mind is deluded because it is "talking about that person"-hahah
I am deluded because I am telling them they are pure. :)

so what about levels of speech then?
Some feels like it is from "thinking" and identification with separation, and some from speech that flows, perhaps more unobstructed, from a more subtle level( para para vac and pashyanti)
Ie: when I teach, I am surprised every time at what comes out. In fact the Self as "Michelle" is learning by what is flowing out and there is a kind of, " WOW-I didn't know that" kind of experience-hahahahah.

Baba also says " God dwells within you AS you." is that delusional?

too many questions :)


rico said...

After all these years I still marvel at how the Lessons correspond to what is going on in my life. This seems to be even more the case when life is more difficult than usual. Or perhaps I just turn to the Lessons more when I'm stressed.

Until recently the boon of having ready access to D.R. via this blog was unimaginable. But even as great as this opportunity is there are times when the Lessons can be even more on point than a more or less immediate answer to a question posed here.

Deb said...

I'm remembering something the Guru said regarding perception. It was that the experience of the Self versus the self, was a matter of perception. That it's not enough to just say, There is only the One. Unless that is your perspective, to say that is a cop out. And cop out was the term she used. Until that is your perception, you have to work from your perspective of the self. She said you can't know who has the perception of the Self until you do yourself. You don't have that meter. Does anyone else remember this talk?

My understanding may not be correct, but it seems to me that this is a paradox we have to embrace. To know that we don't exist, but to enjoy our existence, if that makes sense. Or is this just my mind trying to make sense of something designed to take me beyond my mind?

Scott Marmorstein said...

I've always wondered and gotten the impression--ever since I learned of the term that is--if it isn't all some Cosmic game of multiple-personality disorder...

Of course, there's no order, therefore no disorder either. One consciousness, many egos and minds... makes me think my pondering isn't far off...

Oh well, I'm an unabashed Tantrika. It's quite a bit different than Advaita Vedanta.

To speak to Ram's earlier comment about my being humble enough to ask a question given my guiding position in life, all I can say about that is that I'm always a student before I'm a teacher of anything. I can't guide anyone effectively if I never follow along. I suspect that's the same for us all.

Anyway, I'm not intending to sound flippant in any way around my questions or Ram's stellar responses. I am just interested in generating conversation that is worthwhile, and that is what is happening here, and I am grateful. I'm sure people will get a lot out of the dialogues that are going on here between us all as we reread them--like mini-lessons.


Anusuya said...

"God dwells within you as you" delusional? What a funny idea. Seems basic to sadhana, and Baba stressed the point. He gave us the experience of it too, just so the truth of it would resonate with us. The idea really made me laugh, which is always uplifting. Thank you for sharing it and focusing me on it. It's like a bubble of bliss, and a relief to be aware of it in this moment.

Cristobal said...

Thank you Scott for your comments. I personally relate to them. I also am a spiritual healing practitioner and while I understand and have experienced that we are all one, we also live and relate to each other in a world where we are individual people.

As a shamanic healing practitioner, I have to recognize that there are differences in manifestation of energy. For instance, you are not the same as I in our physical, mental and spiritual health. We are all different in manifestations as jiva (jivas?).

When I work with someone, I use the techniques I have been taught to see where, within the spectrum of manifestation of spiritual essences, a person's primary imbalance lies. Then I call on the spirit of a plant that has the medicine for that particular need.

The spiritual energies of different plants, also known as "plant spirits", are not all the same. Not more than D. R. Butler and I are the same. You can ask Ram a question, and you can ask me a question. You'll get different answers, different perspectives, and also two different energetic effects from our responses.

I do accept that it is the same Shakti that has manifested the various forms (jiva) in this universe, however to ignore the fact that we are different - while it may be a great practice to attain enlightenment - would not work for me as a healer. Nevertheless, in the midst of the distinctions a great oneness can be felt and experienced.

Ram talks about healing energy in my current lesson, so I hope this is not too off topic.

Deb said...

DR, you recently posted this: All We Really Need to Know -- via Ramana MaharshiShare
Today at 12:58pm
Let’s consider three short quotes from the great sage, Ramana Maharshi, which actually state all that we need to know when it comes down to the nitty-gritty.

Ramana was one of India’s greatest sages of the 20th century. Look him up on the Internet. Look at various photos of him at various ages. His expression is always the same. His eyes always have the same serene glow. Anyway, I have put the quotes together, as though they are one:

The state we call Realization is simply being one’s self, not knowing anything or becoming anything. If one has realized, one is that which alone is and which alone has always been. One cannot describe that state, but only be That. Of course, we loosely talk of Self-realization for want of a better term.

What is to be done? Realization is an illusion. Practice only seems to be necessary. Who is to practice? Realize what is present here and now. The sages did so before and still do that only. Reality is not new.

The Self is eternally realized. The fact is that it is the state of effortless, ever alert, peace. Effortless while remaining aware is the state of Bliss, and that is Realization.

For more see: http://truthofthepresentmoment.blogspot.com/

So my question is, if this is what you believe is true, why the blog or the course or anything? Why do your lessons give us exercises to do, which you say are of importance, when this FB note says there is nothing to do???

I have to go back to my earlier post where the Guru said this was a cop out. Your input please.

Deb said...

I have a dear friend that I have brought back from the brink of suicide more than once, because he is so influenced by such comments by Ramana Maharashi and Wayne Liquorman and others who say such things. What is the point of such statements and are they Truth??? If you are Realized, you don't need to hear it, and if you are not, then how is it helpful to not practice??? I would really like to know, because my experience is that statements like this really do destruction to the lives of others. How is this enlightened? How does this serve our fellow may? D.R. don't you have a responsibility to those who look to you for guidance?

Scott Marmorstein said...


I think the problem is this: to contemplate Ramana Maharshi's quote from only the standpoint of intellectualism would be suffering incarnate. Also realize that RH is speaking somewhat culturally.

We may forget that the goal of the Self is absolute unbounded and ever-new bliss. It is true freedom.

Vedanta is clear yet dry in its offering only. By experience, it is extremely exquisite.

Tantra is clear, joyful, life-affirming, and celebratory, yet it offers the same outcome (ultimately) as Vedanta.

The difference between these two philosophies is in words and interpretation only. Tantra is fully embracing the form of Self, completely in love with what is here. Vedanta is fully embracing the essence beyond the form.

Culturally and historically we need some reference. Life has not always been so easy as it is now. I know that sounds funny, but think about all the luxuries you have (that even your own friend has) that people in Ramana's day would never know or get to enjoy. Running water from your sink or wall is one example that comes to mind. Internet, clothing, vehicles, and so on are blessed creations of the Self through mind. Back in Ramana's day life was significantly more difficult and often joyless, as people worked with extreme physical rigor to get anything done at all.

India was and still is very hot, humid, and poor. The masses didn't and for the most part still do not have any such luxuries that we take for granted every day. To know the Self then, was a means of bypassing the hardships people endured moment to moment. In an odd sense, it was just easier to 'check out' of this very painful and difficult world while yet living in it.

Tantra is a brilliant response to Vedanta, and with Tantra has come inspiration, technological and psychological growth and profound shifts and changes in the possibility of this world and how we interact with it.

We forget how incredibly abundant and fortunate we are, whether we are aware of it or not. I'm not just talking on a physical mundane level, but the very fact that we can have a discussion about such high topics, to begin to grasp some very potent teachings and to really churn them in our minds and hearts is all by itself phenomenal. It is thanks to certain swamis, scholars, and professors that we have access to any of this.

The mind and ego make even the bliss of Heaven completely arid and dry. It would make anyone want to kill themselves without a proper experience. Though all this is Ocean, it is also waves and rich vastness of Self-expression.

Hope this helps give perspective.

Scott Marmorstein said...


I totally understand where you're coming from. My intention in my interactions with Ram has merely been to be lighthearted, amusing (if possible) and yet completely sincere.

I also practice the art of healing, and am constantly healing. Not one thing is totally applicable to all beings, so we have to look into different vibrations and or frequencies of healing. That's how it's always been. I could do my Source Healing Energy work on someone's shoulder, but if the bones aren't aligned properly and are pinching nerves, my channeling this healing energy may do little to make them feel better right away. Better to move their bones into a more normal position and take pressure off the nerves.

All of these things are not different from Supreme Consciousness, and are completely beautiful and sweet manifestations of the Divine.

D. R. Butler said...

Deb, you brought over a note from my Facebook page. Some blog readers do not participate on Facebook and might not immediately grasp why you are bringing this up. So let's just clarify that you are questioning a note I recently posted on my Facebook page.

My response on Facebook follows here in am expanded and more complete version, since we have more space here:

It is important to remember that the Guru teaches from all 4 upayas, or means or methods or levels of doing sadhana. In a talk given to a large audience, all 4 upayas must be addressed. In a smaller audience she might only speak in one or two upayas, depending on who he/she is talking to and why. Ramana was speaking from the highest upaya--anaupaya--which is the method of just being there.

What is true in one upaya might sound like a contradiction in another upaya. There are many seeming paradoxes in sadhada. Yet the mind says, 'Aha, a contradiction,' and gets all hung up on that and loses the point of the principles being presented.

As we become more mature in our sadhana, we start to understand certain principles in the context of certain upayas, and then we see that there are never any real contradictions, except in the mind.

I assure you that the Guru would in no way disagree with these quotes from Ramana Maharshi, which deal with anaupaya--the method of already being there.

The other 3 upayas deal with various levels of doing things. There is anavaupaya, which is the realm of practices: meditation, chanting, mantra repetition, hatha yoga, mental exercises, studying scriptures, performing rituals, etc. Then there is shaktaupaya, which is simply using the mind to remember the Truth: 'I am Consciousness, I am pure, perfect, eternal, and divine, just as I am. I am the Self.' Then there is shambaupaya, which is the slightest use of will to remember the truth if we should ever forget. Finally, there is anaupaya, the state of already experiencing the Truth, and this is where Ramana Maharshi was speaking from.

Just to be clear, his quotes, presented here as one, were:

"The state we call Realization is simply being one’s self, not knowing anything or becoming anything. If one has realized, one is that which alone is and which alone has always been. One cannot describe that state, but only be That. Of course, we loosely talk of Self-realization for want of a better term.

"What is to be done? Realization is an illusion. Practice only seems to be necessary. Who is to practice? Realize what is present here and now. The sages did so before and still do that only. Reality is not new.

"The Self is eternally realized. The fact is that it is the state of effortless, ever alert, peace. Effortless while remaining aware is the state of Bliss, and that is Realization."

These quotes are also used and expounded on in one of the lessons of the course via email.

Deb said...

Dear Ram,
I hope you do not see this as a challenge nor a personal attack as that is not my intention. But, you stated that there are levels, and I have to go back to the guru stating that to not work toward enlightenment is a cop out... and from my personal experience a danger to others. I sincerely hope that this charged dialog will result in a breakthrough for others. As, I believe we do have work we can do that draws grace and blessings.

Deb said...

So let me just be clear here Ram...are you saying that this FB Post was just for those in the highest anauppaya? This is not for the rest of us?

D. R. Butler said...

Deb, I had to go look and be certain that you actually take the course. I was certain that you did, but I had to go look and see for myself just to confirm it.

Anyway, I guess this is what you signed up for. I admire you for being willing to expose yourself publically like this. Most people are not willing to do that. Like the Guru once said, "How can I chop off the neck of your ego if you never stick it out?"

So you say, "I have to go back to the guru stating that to not work toward enlightenment is a cop out"

Let's be very clear: If one is enlightened, how can he or she work toward it? How can you work toward what you already are?

If one is not enlightened, there is some element of feeling different or separate from the whole, from God, from divinity. Not only do we experience ourselves as different and separate, we feel less than and inferior, as though we're not quite good enough yet to be God.

This is the anava mala, the original taint on the jiva (individual) that prevents us from perceiving and experiencing the Truth of our own nature, which is that we are one with and the same as the Universal, the Infinite Divinity that we have always thought of as God, and which exists within us as our own Awareness of Being.

When one has a hard time understanding that he or she is one with God, with Divinity, it is because of the anava mala--the sense of unworthiness, or not being good enough, of being inferior, of being small and insufficient.

When this is the case, one has to work in anava upaya, aptly named, to help break free from the limiting influence of the anava mala. These are the outer practices we do that involve the body and the mind.

(Continued in next post)

D. R. Butler said...

This is what you seem to be referring to as 'working toward enlightenment' -- doing the practices of anava upaya to break free from the anava mala.

We have to somewhat understand the Truth that we are one with Omnipotent Omnipresence in order to work in the other upayas. We have to have the underlying understanding that we are one with Consciousness before we can practice shaktaupaya, which is using the mind to remind ourselves of the Truth, through affirmation. If we don't fully believe it, how we can remind ourselves of it?

Shambaviupaya is even more subtle. We basically remember that we are one with the Absolute, then something momentarily throws us off, and we gently use the will to move ourselves back into our clearest understanding and our highest state.

All the upayas are, as you say, 'working toward enlightenment.' Anava upaya has a lot to do with purifying the mind and emotions, negative states, and egotistical tendencies. These have to be somewhat harmonized and purified before we can truly practice in the more subtle upayas.

So, why do you want to impose a limitation on what I shared in my Facebook post? You said, "So let me just be clear here...are you saying that this FB Post was just for those in the highest anauppaya? This is not for the rest of us?"

No, I'm not saying that at all. That would never occur to me as something to say. If it's on Facebook, it's obviously for everyone.

I was simply sharing a taste of anaupaya with everyone, through the words of Ramana Maharshi, so that each of us can enjoy and appreciate the nectar of it in our own way.

You seem to assume I was saying to not do something, to not work toward enlightenment, to not do the practices, etc. Now truly, I ask you, why would I assert that and at the same time write a course, which you take, and participate in this blog, as we are right now. If this isn't working toward enlightenment, I don't know what is. What more can we do than work together like this?

The anava upaya level of the course is simply reading the lessons. Of course, everyone also has their own practices that they have performed over the years for great benefit, but the actual 'practice' of the course is to refer to your current lesson and apply the principles in practical ways in your daily life.

Hopefully this clarifies something essential for you. Thank you for having the courage to speak your mind and express how you feel. The power inherent in such an exchange is priceless.

Scott Marmorstein said...


"Be content within your own self."

Is this an aim, like something we strive to be?

Also, can we be content even if we are feeling an emotion that would otherwise seem oppositional to the notion of contentment?

Example: could I be content to feel the sense of grieving the loss of someone or something as it comes up in the present moment?

To that end, is it possible that trying to feel something other than what we're feeling in the present moment is denying the truth of the present moment? Like if I were feeling grief about something, and then I tried to shove it out and feel happy instead--is that a denial of the truth of the present moment, or is that sort of the idea?

Thanks in advance!

D. R. Butler said...


For best understanding, it is best to not consider contentment to be an ordinary emotion. It is related to the indwelling bliss, which has no opposite or polarity, and no cause or cessation.

In the Tao Te Ching, it is said that contentment is the highest goal.

One who experiences contentment also experiences that there is nothing else to strive for. You can be creative and productive, but there is no longer a struggle. As Ramana Maharshi put it, it is an "effortless awareness."

You can definitely experience contentment while another emotion is raging. I have experienced contentment even when I was finding myself agitated. They do not nullify each other, although once you are truly content, negative emotions stop coming around so often.

Grief, that you used as an example, is not really a negative emotion in the sense that I use the term. Grief is a very real feeling that comes up at a time of loss. There is a certain poignancy regarding grief. It should by no means ever be stuffed or suppressed. It should be fully experienced, until we are finally at the end of it, so that we can finish with it, be free, and move on.

Anger is another emotion that is best not stuffed or surpressed. It needs to be let out of us or it can provoke physical problems. We have to learn to either drop it, which is the most effective means, or find some way to work through it in a healthy way without imposing it on another. Often physical exercise will do the trick.

Contentment is definitely the place to hang out. If you want to develop a habitual state, contentment would be the one you'd want to live in.

Purnima-Carla Orlandi said...

A PERSON CRAVES A SELF THAT THOUGH SEPARATE IS ATTACHED TO THE FACTORS CONSTITUTING THE PERSON. This craving leads to the invention and projection of a self. This self, being attached to the factors making up a person, suffers when the identification is threatened by changes in the factors to which it is attached, whether these be the factors of that person, other persons, or other objects and activities in the world.

WITHOUT THIS false ego-self, which is only a CREATION OF IGNORANCE, there would be no looking to the past, bemoaning what has been lost, and no looking forward to the future lamenting over what has not yet come about. Without this ego-self life could be lived in the full richness of the present moment, without distinction, division or attachment.

Consequently, once this ignorance is removed LIFE WILL BE FOUND COMPLETE AND PERFECT JUST AS IT IS.
Blessings to all~

Scott Marmorstein said...

Sometimes it seems like when we're talking about the Self or Enlightenment, it's this vast, tall, infinitely big stone wall...

It's like we try to rationalize our way in. I pretend for a moment like each of us is looking at different potential structural weaknesses in this wall and someone shouts, "Ooh! I got it!" They hammer for a while but nothing happens, then being disappointed they move onto another piece of the wall.

Someone else tries to climb the wall, and even gets very high but then inevitably falls and crashes, hurting themselves and wondering what is wrong with themselves.

Still others sit in front of the wall, meditate, pray, chant, yell, have bond fires, and some even try to feed the wall food.

Nothing ever changes. When it comes to this topic of the Self, it never gives an inch about what it's really like.

The thing about this topic, this wall, that amuses me the absolute most?

... We're none of us walled OUT from the Self--we're walled IN. Those of us that turn around realize the wall has nothing to do with the Self after all, but that we forget we Are That.

The images in my mind are so fun to play with. Hope everyone has a great day!


rico said...

Great imagery Scott, reminds me of Adyashanti's assertion that the notion of a path to enlightenment is delusional since a path implies going somewhere and there is no where to go. What is sought is right Here, right Now!

JohnRama said...

In response to D.R.'s post on "Kindness" on his FB page, I was moved to share the following:

"In the early days, when no one in my life had the compassion to see the highest in me, D.R. always did. Having just one person see and treat me in this way saved my life. He shall always have my eternal gratitude."

Rico said...

Something just occurred to me:

It's interesting how the only thing worth doing eventually becomes everything that we do!

Jane said...

Thanks to the lessons (now at #13), I’m finally understanding (on a deeper level) that no one can affect my inner state unless I allow them to. However, throughout the day, I observe that I’m too often pulled away from this state and ‘forget’ to redirect the mind, imagine myself as a being of light, breathe deeply, repeat the mantra, or otherwise find a way of turning within to the peaceful place that transcends all mental chatter.

Lately, ‘my’ ego is really getting bashed around by searching for employment (and I know I’m not alone). As I’ve told myself (in various contexts not just during the job search), I want to avoid stepping onto the rollercoaster of emotional reactions but sometimes I’m on downward slide before I even realize I’m on the ride!

I can see that my limitations/samskaras are impinging on my ability to enjoy the present moment and the many benefits of not having a full-time job so I want to address this issue sooner rather than later.

I realize the answers are all in the lessons (and perhaps I just need to continue to practice all the suggestions!) but I would also appreciate any other practical tips about how to deflect the feeling of being a victim of circumstances/others before the fact rather than after it begins to emerge.

Many thanks to Ram, Kay, and this beautiful community of seekers who I feel so connected to,

Deb said...

Rico, that is a brilliant comment. And I also love Scott's metaphor of the wall. What strikes me is our sincere and all consuming drive toward something unknowable and beyond the imagination, at the expense of our very existence! It is completely illogical, and yet the soul's deep longing propels us and holds our feet to the fire. I marvel at it. True seekers of the Truth are something,eh? It's why your company here is so precious to me.

D. R. Butler said...

Sometimes when I have been away from the computer for a while, a few comments come in. So I could possibly lose touch with something I might respond to. If anyone feels unresponded to, let me know.

Scott, I like your wall analogy, and especially how we're walled in, not walled out. We have no choice except to be and experience the Self. Whatever we see or experience at any given moment is simply the Self seeing or experiencing that.

Some people want to experience the Self. Guess what? ALL experiences are of the Self. There is nothing else to experience.

Only the ego thinks what we see or experience has something to do with us as a separate individual. The ego takes everything personally. Of course, ego is an essential aspect of the game, so it serves its own purpose.

Jane, if you sincerely wish to have a job, develop the feeling that you would have if you already had the perfect job. Feel yourself feeling totally happy about your job. This feeling will create a magnetic attraction that will draw you to the perfect job.

The deflated feeling of not having or finding a job actually repels opportunities to ever find one.

Feel as though your aspiration is already real. This is how creative energy is directed.

D. R. Butler said...

Good to see that Deb is feeling better and back to being her old (yet ever-new) Self:)

Catherine said...

D.R., I am gathering all my courage to ask you this question. There is a large community of us who shared the same spiritual path for upwards of 40 years. As far as I can tell at this time, there are plenty of places on the Internet that we can go to read negative comments about our path, but the only place I know of that we can go to for positive satsang is this blog. Of course, there are many who keep the community alive on facebook as well, but this blog seems the best place for true satsang right now. Why do you think that is?

There is also the one catch, we can speak of our community but we can't refer to it by name, or name the Gurus associated with the glorious lineage of our path. Well, I'm okay with this one. After all, the Self is nameless and formless.

And I apologize to all those who have no idea what I am talking about. I'm just running off something and this is the only place I know to do it.

D. R. Butler said...

Catherine, your post reflects the questions of many. Some people are still confused. This blog, and the course via email, is one means of helping to clear up that confusion.

As to as why there are places on the Internet for negativity, I wrote in the original course in 1975, "Anyone who attempts to teach the Truth during this era of time will invariably be attacked, criticized, persecuted, and, as we know, in some cases actually crucified by the ignorant masses."

This is the way it has always been. Someone speaks of the Truth. Some hear and are awakened to the Truth. Some have their lives transformed, and begin living in a higher state of Being. Some are ready and ripe to hear the Truth at that time.

Others get in their egos and think, "Who does he think he is to speak of the Truth? Look at all these things regarding his personal life in the past. How could he possibly know anything about the Truth? He is an imposter and a fraud."

Don't ask me why people prefer to see the worst in others over seeing the best in them. This has puzzled me for a long time.

As for not being able to name our path or Teacher, this is perfectly understandable. The purpose is to preserve the purity of the path. When others are allowed to speak of the path in public, or quote the Guru directly, things get distorted and misinterpreted. The Guru, according to my own understanding only, is currently focusing her attention on the younger generation, and she wants the purity of the path preserved for them and future generations as well.

As for why can we meet here for satsang, I asked the Guru for years if I could have an Internet site where I could interact with participants of the course online. For years she ignored me. Perhaps this is her way of finally saying yes.

Deb said...

I truly am better! There was so much grace in that experience for me. I was blessed with humility and love. And I got a tremendous dose of shakti. I understand one more bit of what limits me, and I am grateful to you all for bearing witness. I am especially grateful to you Ram for your patience and wisdom. :-)

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

There is an expanding experience of joy so steady and exquisite and it is revealing itself in every present moment.
When I was a child I was filled with enthusiasm. I used to sing and laugh and wonder why no one else around me was. In a funny way I felt like I had "landed on the wrong planet"-hahah. I remember so many times saying to my friends even as I got older, "hey there is so much joy inside you..can you feel it? You don't have to take drugs to feel joy..there is a natural high inside you."
The reason I share this is because this innate joy was always there, LOVE/JOY is the Essence and it was such a 'no brainer' (hahaha-pun intended)
From the outside looking in I had a 'grim life' to say the least before I met my Guru, and yet nothing could squash this Ananda. In fact meeting my Guru only amplified it in my awareness. It was bursting out of me and now is like a nuclear shakti-plosion!
This is absolutely gob -smackingly beautiful to me!
Whether or not I forget this does not change the Truth, and this Truth is revealing it's fullness in every present moment!
love and light

Taylor said...

Lesson 21 answered all the reactivity angst of my previous post. Page 5 is so powerful. Imbibing "no one and nothing outside ourselves can cause how we feel" is so strong for me. I am literally standing taller.
Thanks D.R.

rico said...

lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

-May all beings everywhere be happy

A mantra worth repeating in these troubled times here on planet Earth

JP said...

Yesteday my daughter emailed me this (from the other room): "I hope world peace comes soon and I hope to find the lost kitten Smokey if she is still lost. I hope she isn't lost. :-(
There isn't world peace right now but there is house peace because our
house is very peaceful. :-)"

Ari said...

When I first started practicing meditation I didn't question my teacher or organization. Perhaps I was naive not to, but my experience was so powerful that I didn't feel the need to. However I came across some of those negative sites after many years of practice and I admit I was jolted. In the end I went back to relying on my own experience.

Do you think we project too much of our own concepts of how we think a teacher of the truth should behave? Should someone who teaches the truth be held to a higher degree of accountability in his personal life? Again is this a projection? From what I have studied, most gurus exhibit what we would deem bizarre behaviors such as throwing rocks at dicipiles, smearing feces on their bodies, living on a pile of garbage.

D. R. Butler said...

Ari, more than anything, go by your own experience, and not by what anyone says about anyone.

There is a lot of negative spiritual gossip on the Internet these days. It only serves to mess with the minds of sincere seekers who only want the Truth. You already know how I feel about those who speak badly of spiritual teachers or paths--it serves no good purpose, does not 'save' anyone from a horrible fate, and only creates questions and doubts in the minds of those who are not yet firmly established in their own path. Everything and everyone serves its own function and can be honored as such.

When we come upon a teacher or a certain path, we soon experience inwardly whether there is anything to be gained or not. When I first met my teacher, something came alive in me that I had never recognized in myself before. The experience itself was so real and vivid that it hardly mattered what my own mind thought about it, much less what someone else's mind might think.

As you know, my first teacher was through a correspondence course I began as a teen, and since he had left his body the year before I began his course, I never met him physically. Yet he always emphasized that he as a person was irrelevant--that all that truly mattered were the teachings themselves, and our ability to apply the principles of Truth in practical ways in our own life. His lessons were written in the 50's, and throughout them he discouraged us from putting any importance on the teacher as a particular person.

Yes, I think any concepts we have at all regarding how a teacher should behave is too much of a projection on our part. Otherwise we have spiritual babies placing judgments on how their much more mature parents (teachers) should behave. We know so little beyond our own previous conditioning that it is almost absurd to consider having any sort of opinion about one who lives established in the awareness of the Self.

Yogic Masters are totally different from our Western ideas of how holy people should appear and act. They are not exactly pious, live totally spontaneously, and could care less about the conventions and opinions of society. They don't always go around with a serene or beatific expression. They might behave the total opposite of our conditioned expectations of a spiritual teacher. What's more, it doesn't even matter whether we 'agree' with them with our conditioned mind or not. What matters is what we actually receive from them, which is on a level much higher than words or concepts.

It is true that Bhagavan Nityananda, one of the great saints of India--who 'coincidentally' left his body the same year as the teacher of my early correspondence course--would sometimes throw rocks at people when he was tired of seeing them and wanted them to go away. Of course, those rocks contained great blessings, and the devotees would gather them up and place them on their pujas, and miraculous things would happen in their lives.

The other things you mention were done by great beings, enlightened but not functioning as a 'Guru.' While a Guru must, by definition, be enlightened, we can be enlightened without playing the role or serving the function of being a Guru.

When one serves as a Guru guiding people spiritually, he or she must by necessity live exemplary lives and is more accountable for their actions than, say, an enlightened being who is free to be as eccentric as he or she might like.

My Guru once said, "I traveled all over India and I met many saints and many rascals, and it was often hard to tell which were which."

Go by your own experience. The words of others can help when it comes to recognizing a true teacher, especially when they share their own experience of what they received and how their own lives were transformed, but if they are only spreading negative gossip, avoid them like the plague.

JohnRama said...

D.R. - I am reading Lesson 18 and last night I had a dream of walking on a path surrounded by the most beautiful fall foliage. The inner feeling was so peaceful and blissful. More and more I am choosing to feel what feels great and to ignore or dismiss what doesn't as recommended in your course. Amazing how making such an effort can be so profoundly powerful. Thank you so much for the course.

Devorah said...

I wanted to clarify something I read in the lesson. One of the goals you speak of is to be able to listen to someone without there being modifications of the mind. (Vrittis?) Does that mean to be able to have NO thoughts while someone else is speaking to me for example or No judgements?

I ran into an old friend and we went out for a bite to eat. She spoke most of the time and I noticed some of what she spoke felt like gossip. I don't think I was being judgmental however I heard my mind say that is "gossip." Is that a modification in the mind? Please clarify exactly what the modifications are and are not if you would.

D. R. Butler said...

That last question, clarifying what the modifications of the mind are and are not, sounds like something for a future lesson of the course. There is simply too much to go into regarding a true understanding of vrittis for the limited space we have on the blog.

In the course we explore the importance of listening, as opposed to automatically thinking of our response while the other is talking. We also emphasize that it is far more important to understand the other person than it is to make the other person understand us.

This was why, in my exchange with Deb above, I told her I had to go and make sure that she was actually taking the course, because she was coming from a place of insisting on her point without really hearing what was being communicated to her.

If someone is spreading gossip, then of course the observer in you notices that this is gossip. The observer has no reaction to it or judgment about it, it simply notes what is happening. This is natural, and is not considered a vritti in the sense of what we need to break free from. We are simply noticing what is happening.

You might find the answer to the previous question relevant in some way.

Hopefully you find this helpful. We'll discuss vrittis (mental modifications) later in the course.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

I feel a huge opportunity for continued healing around the Guru as these conversations continue- I am so grateful for all of it.
Yes Ram we are babies..little embryo's! Tiny specs of light in the infinite fullness of Supreme Consciousness. This is so beautiful to contemplate...so truly awesome and humbling especially when other lokas and universes are brought into the mix.-WOW!
I feel closer to the Guru "now" than ever. When I listen to and read the words offered by the Guru Principle pouring through the physical Guru it is NOW. I am in the Presence of the Guru NOW, and NOW.
I used to listen and feel "sad" about not being with her for years, and now I am grateful that is not the case.
When am I not with the Guru? When I am not Present, and even then it is only my perception that is clouded.
When I was lost in the melodrama I was missing the now, the fully present experience of the Guru's love. Yes the outer form of that company has shifted, but nothing else has.
This outer form shifting continues to burn through concepts/ego/malas.
what a profound gift!

Scott Marmorstein said...

I like the idea that Michelle is putting forth about being present, about really being now (which has everything to do with this blog and course).

The sense that I get from what she is saying is that the words from the Guru Principle are timeless signposts. We can't get lost in the words themselves, but we should dissolve into what they indicate or point to. To my mind, that's the most thrilling part of it all, that only if we are truly in the present moment can we imbibe the timeless Truth.

To me, the healing around the Guru is not that of perceived 'abandonment' or sleights by a person who plays the role of Guru, but the healing is in our own perception. We can only heal our past and future by not giving into them, by being fully anchored in the present moment, which has all the Power in the world.

Right on, Michelle!

D. R. Butler said...

Someone who just received and read Lesson 4 of the course sent this in an email, and in the spirit of sharing in real time, she said:

"I am enjoying the course immensely and realizing that what I have been missing the most is what is right here right now! Amazing...I had no idea how much of my time was spent on the past and the future, none of which are right now."

Scott Marmorstein said...

Since everything is the Self, this really gives a whole new meaning to: "You are what you eat."

Just tickles me!

Naganath said...

Having a hard time with this oil gusher. My early understanding was that it is God, a beautiful event, a divine manifestation--Shiva the Destroyer at work. This hemoraging in the Gulf will create major change in the world and it is all for the best even though we may not comprehend it at this point in time. That such an event is inevtable due to past actions. And it is powerful when contemplated in the Truth of the Present Moment.
But now, when I drive along our beautiful bay in Franklin County, I just cry.

ari said...

Lesson 44 "Anger". I had recently asked a question about anger so thanks for the personalizing the lesson for me. It's been something I've been contemplating lately and perhaps as you mentioned analyzing it too much with the ego. What I have found to be helpful is to remember not to blame the object of my anger and to chant. Chanting brings me close to the heart more then anything.

One line you wrote in the lesson piqued a question I have. You stated "if we simply developed some humility to replace arrogance etc.". Can you really "develop" humility? Is it not more of a byproduct of our spiritual practises when we become more heart centered? Perhaps this is what you meant or could you expand on that more.

Kathryn McC said...

Okay, speaking of personalization...you know how you log in to the blog and there is the box to leave your comment and there is a word verification you need to type in to be able to respond? Well, the word is "grace". How could I not respond? How are these words generated? And, in a bigger way, how is "grace" bestowed?

D. R. Butler said...

Ari, humility is indeed developed through spiritual practices. As long as the ego is solidly in control, we have a lot of arrogance and a great sense of self-importance. These things, paradoxically, come from a sense of smallness and the fear of insignificance.

One of the most ironic aspects of humility is that, as we grasp how great we are, as we glimpse our true inner beauty, purity, perfection, and divinity, our humility increases proportionately. Truly understanding that our eternal nature is pure Consciously leads to great humility.

D. R. Butler said...

Kathryn, I have no idea how the words are generated. I have no idea how anything on the Internet works. In my world it is still part of a science fiction movie.

I know a little more about grace, although it also is a mysterious force. We create a greater access to grace through humility, through developing a more expanded awareness of the Truth of the present moment, and through surrendering or giving up ego, pride, the compulsive need to improve things, and the addiction to being in control. All these things block our access to grace.

Grace is an aspect of the Self that initiates, awakens, expands, deepens, guides, protects, frees, and liberates.

In the Eastern scriptures it is said that the Guru is the grace-bestowing power of God. We had a great deal of discussion regarding the Guru a couple of months back.

Scott Marmorstein said...

I have a theory that some of the words...oh heck, ALL the words generated are done by magical "computer grace"... I wonder if there's such a thing as "grace dust" because I'd be bathing in it every day!

Actually, I have a real question...

What's the difference between 'randomness' and 'coincidence'?

Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

Kathryn McC said...

Thank you.
So much to unpack....

D. R. Butler said...

Scott, coincidence is related to 'coincide,' which is to happen simultaneously, or at the same time. Randomnous is haphazard, without plan or purpose.

In my particular view of the world I don't recognize coincidence or randomness as having any kind of valid reality. I see everything as intricately connected to everything else, and that a large part of sadhana is understanding the right relationships and connections between things.

Tonight I was randomly looking on a friend's facebook page, and actually looking at her profile photo when a note came up on the computer saying that, coincidentally, this very person had just 'liked' my recent post. We were on each other's page at the same time.

Is it really randomness or coincidence, or is something much deeper happening on some subtle realm that we don't have the vision to see or recognize?

Who can know such things?

Taylor said...

Thank you for the knowledge about the subtle/dream world in Lesson 22. My mind had recently been saying, why bother trying to get closer to the subtle world when I am in the physical world. I'll be back in the subtle world soon enough. However, the lesson helped me to understand that I am actually in both the subtle and the physical world right now.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Ram and Scott,
When reading your posts on coincidence, the "entanglement theory" immediately pops into awareness. Science has proven in this theory that EVERYTHING is intrinsically entangled, woven, loomed, or- a tantra :).
And yet we will never be able to connect all the threads- ahh the mystery! Only 1/4 is knowable...3/4 is unknowable and even if that feels 'random' it is just that we will never be privy to such connectivity.
I find this "dark side of the moon-ness" rapturous!

rico said...

Great dialogue on your facebook page about anger.

Isn't it fascinating that the things that bother us most about the people that are closest to us highlight the very things we most need to work on in ourselves!

Laura Flora said...


I am just joining this course and am a certified Anusara yoga teacher. I have studied in the system and with John since 2005. I find he is a person of very high integrity as well as extremely skillful and doing his very best to bring more light into this world in his way. I have never been anything but uplifted by my engagement in the Anusara community.

Laura Flora said...

I am just reading Lesson 2 of the course and would love for you to elaborate on this "What is most practical, coincidentally, is often what is most convenient." I suppose I am quite conditioned to think that the highest thing is usually not the easiest thing. Your thoughts, please!

Laura Flora said...

In response to randomness, coincidence, entanglement, I love this example from The Holographic Universe...Imagine a fish swimming in an aquarium but that you had no knowledge of fish or aquariums. Imagine that there were two cameras focused on the fish in the aquarium, one with a front view and one with a side view. If you were watching the film from these two angles side by side you would perhaps think there were two different fish, two different aquariums doing different things, but you would soon start to notice that at the same instant one fish was turning right, the other fish was turning towards you etc. There would seem to be an instantaneous communication. After watching for a while, you might come to the conclusion that they are actually the same fish...and so it is with us!

D. R. Butler said...

Laura, I like your analogy of the fish. Anyway, it's always seemed to me that the most convenient and most practical were often the same thing. You have been conditioned to think that the highest is not always the easiest? At least you are honest and seem to know yourself somewhat.

What is the 'highest?' If there is high, there is also low. How do we do the lowest things, and what are they? What are the 'highest' things. In reality, what we call the 'highest' is the 'most expanded' as opposed to exist in a state of contraction.

The Truth is simplicity itself. The 'highest' thing to do is nothing, because the highest state is effortless. Of course, in complete effortlessness life happens; karma happens as though it has a life of its own, and we are just along for the ride.

True sadhana is living in the Truth of the Present Moment. We are always in the present moment; this is an eternal reality, it never changes.

If we are aware of the Truth (pure, formless Awareness of Being) right here and now, we live in a state of supreme contentment, and it is totally effortless.

In this very thread we have discussed the upayas. The 'highest' upaya is effortless. Anava upaya, which we work in to purify the anava mala (the original taint that causes us to feel impure and unworthy) and in which we make use of the body, mind, and prana, does require effort, and in fact consistent discipline.

Anava upaya probably contains those things you think are not so easy. And it's true--our conditioned ego does not want to do those things: meditate, practice hatha yoga, think well of others as well as ourselves, maintain a positive attitude, and all the other things we do to rid ourselves of the ties that bind us.

Anyway, you are on Lesson 2. You have much to look forward to. Thank you for joining us here on the blog.

Kathryn said...

It just dawned on me
that all those things I was griping about in my earlier email to you aren't really me but are done through me.

It was just the ego claiming stuff.
(Not that I'm telling you anything)
Seemed so real at the time, though..

And then the other thing that occurred today as I was watching the trees, there is this sort of awareness place that is very soothing,
whereas thoughts coming up = agitating.
If this is the difference between buddhi and manas,
I had heard the terms before, but did not really get it. and still feel a fledgling.
and one more thing which is kind of fun/funny,
every time I read the lesson, the same page says something new and different.
and this is very intriguing.
Thank you for helping me with noticing. K

D. R. Butler said...

It seems that you are already getting a great deal out of the course, and have already discovered the correct understanding regarding reading the lessons. When read again as though for the first time, we get so many insights that never occurred to us during earlier readings. It is inexplicable, yet it is everyone's experience.

Your analogy of buddhi and manas is pretty good. Manas is primarily agitating if we focus our full attention on it, as though it's the most important and significant thing going on in life. Buddhi is higher wisdom, discrimination, inspiration, intuition, the link between the individual and Universal Mind.

We fully explore all this and more in the course via email.

Kateri said...

I got very excited while reading Lesson 6 when you wrote "To attain freedom...it is essential to place an emphasis, a priority, on breaking free from these samskaras...". Somehow in that moment I felt the actual possibility of breaking free from the grip of the samskaras...they really get old after a while!

There is one particular incident that occured when i was 9 years old that has shaped my life ever since - it is so clear. I did something out of line in school and was publicly reprimanded - I was always a "good girl" it was the first time I ever "got in trouble". In an instant I went from being bold and brazen to always doubtful of myself, and fearful of criticism and correction. This samskara is holding me back from bringing my gifts to the world. This is no small thing, for many reasons that i won't go into. It is becoming a matter of life and death for me to manifest what i am here for in this lifetime.

I was hoping that the subsequent paragraphs would give some very focused, pointed advice and directions for breaking free from a very clear samskara. I certainly appreciate that breaking free can be a lifetime (s) work through the yogic vehicles you mention.

Given the clarity of the incident that generated this samskara, can you give me any additional advice for returning to the truth of my being rather than the tainted vision of myself and life that was my reaction to this incident? I desperately want and need to be free of this samskara.

D. R. Butler said...

Kateri, at one time in my life I had a very similar experience. Perhaps sharing my own experience will shed some light.

You described your samskara as: "In an instant I went from being bold and brazen to always doubtful of myself, and fearful of criticism and correction."

In my personal life I tend to be shy and in the background hoping not to be noticed too much, but as a spiritual teacher I was always on the side of being bold and brazen. Early on I identified with the Avadhuts--the great beings, enlightened Masters, Siddhas that did not care about the conventions of society or of being 'politically correct.'

So there was a time, let us say, that I behaved inappropriately in a public way. I had little discrimination and even less discretion.

When we are embarrassed or humiliated, it is very good for the ego. It is purifying and leads to greater humility. Public humiliation is even more effective. We can really purify a lot of ego through public humiliation.

At first, of course, I was "always doubtful of myself, and fearful of criticism and correction." I became well-behaved and conservative.

Finally, one day in India, I was working with a group that included psychologists, swamis, other teachers, and an interesting assortment of others. It was like a spiritual version of a group therapy session, with a swami and psychologist leading the session.

At one point the swami said to me, "You walk around the ashram like a ghost. You seem to be a shell of the person you used to be. You lost your fun-loving and spontaneous nature."

"But Swamiji," I protested, "when I was spontaneous and fun-loving, I was always getting into trouble."

"Yes," the swami said, "but you were a much more interesting person then. At least no one ever knew what you were going to do next."

So now I feel I have reached a healthy and natural balance. I can be spontaneous without being inappropriate. Somehow this was a big lesson for me.

Anyway, perhaps you are (were) making too big of a deal out of getting into trouble. I'd say most of the most interesting people I know and respect have 'gotten into trouble' over one thing or another at some point. Just let it go and feel free to be yourself again.

Lorna said...

I would be SO VERY grateful to you if you would answer my question in your usual thoughtful style

I get stuck in one place: We create our reality moment by moment and are living today with the results of our past thoughts. Thanks to your teachings I am living now recognizing my ego and not letting it get away with anything. It has been a wonderful challenge and has given me a huge boost spiritually and of course I am a happier person. But, what do I do about the results of the first half of my life? My years of lack of self love and concomitant behaviors that led to multiple sclerosis (It’s generally agreed upon that there is a huge emotional component) and I have been very sick with this with symptoms that remind me moment to moment that I do not have health. I have been in a wheel chair for 20 years. Do I DO nothing (and of course watch my ego) which should prevent further karma developing and then the body can rebuild?

Thanks, Lorna

D. R. Butler said...

Lorna, unfortunately none of us can do anything about the first half of our life. It was what it was, it was all karma, and every piece of it was necessary to lead up to this. Nothing was ever done wrong, and there were no mistakes. All those are human judgments that have nothing to do with the Truth of the Present Moment.

I strongly advise to meditate and focus on the subtle body, the body of light and energy that animates and enlivens this physical form, which is basically a corpse waiting to happen. Your subtle body is pure and perfect and in it you are always at your peak, at your best.

The physical body is so temporary. It is our dharma to keep it in as good shape as possible, but we don't have to aim for unattainable ideals. In a hundred years from now, what will it matter?

The important thing is that you obviously have good understanding. You understand the importance of purifying the ego. Part of that purification is realizing that we are not the body, we are Spirit temporarily occupying a body, which has its own karma. The most we can do is remain in harmony with the karma of the body exactly as it is, without feeling a need to change or improve anything. Harmony is always the key and the goal.

Focus on your inner perfection, purity, beauty, and divinity. This is the reality of you. One day we will 'wake up' from this physical life as though it were only a dream, and on one level that's all it really is.

Thank you for your question, and I am happy that you are enjoying the course.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the dialogue 18-20/6 I find Laura's fish imagery amazing. After three lessons I finally surrendered completely to my acceptance of the "fish" staring me in the face. I had glimpsed at it with the corner of my eye constantly seeking physical confirmation, losing it every time I turned towards it. It was always "coincidence" when people answered/verbalised my thoughts. Funny that the same hole in the bottom of the sea that made me take up the course also made a friend from very far away and very long ago phone me for a chat. Another coincidence! I rarely do contact my people we are always there when the need arises and we are always there all the time. So I have found peace and thank you for the course because I can acknoweldge both fish and follow their movement without looking: the difference between looking at someone in the eye and at the eyes and being in the ocean and about to jump in it.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Dear D.R.
Lesson 24 is so powerful, There is an Anahata-'unstruck sound' experience these words are ringing deep inside my soul- and a flood gate opened and I cry every time I read it. Especially this part:
"and yet you keep plugging away and doing the best you can from one moment to the next, for you know deep in your heart that it truly os all you can do, that looking within once again gives you your best shot at remembering the Truth, and that ultimately there is really nothing more important to do, nothing more worthwhile, than looking within for your own awareness of Awareness, your own love, your own peace, an your own sense of eternal perfection."
Thank you and love!

Shanti said...

I want to thank Kateri for sharing
one experience of being wrong, once at school and for your answer Ram. At some point I can indenti-
fied with that samskara of being fearful of criticism and correction.

Recently it still happend to me and I react emotionaly out of control. I recongnized my reaction and try to understand
why I was still having this samskara. Kateri made me remember that at the age of 8, I was shy, unconfident in myself, and a good child. My teacher started to find my mistakes and used to humiliate me in front of the class, ridiculing me a few times a week for a year. I felt stupid and ashamed. Not strong enough to denounce her behavior at least with my mother. Now I understand the root of it.

In 2000, I was at the ashram and there were informal meetings with the Guru who asked us 'What does it mean for you to be real?'
For years before, I was praying God 'Please, help me to be who I really am, I want to be my real Self.'

A few days before, I was the MC for an evening program in honor of my Guru's birthday. So I
was in front of 1,200 people, telling a story and I didn't say the right word. (English is not my language) They all started laughing and I said: 'Did I say a bad word? And the swami answered, 'no Shanti it's all right'. Then I sarted to laugh & laugh so much, I could hardly continue to speak. Suddenly, out of grace, the more I talked, the more I felt this great expansion within myself, I felt beautifull, joyful, happy, centered and most of all, so at ease.

This is the gift the Guru gave me.
I had a glimpse of being who I really am.

Writing this, I just realized that I was anxious about saying a 'bad '
word. Since that event, I am more self-confident and I can return to that experience as often as I need. In the Truth of the Present moment, I am in contact with the greatness inside myself.

Once again, thak you so much Ram, for the course and this blog.

Rico said...

Don Juan's admonition to Castenda counseling him to eliminate his personal history has popped up a lot lately. Then I read your Facebook post today. It brings the focus right to eliminating personal history moment to moment. It seems the best approach is to not entertain any idea that proposes to tell me who I am.

This brings up another recent musing. I don't have any idea how it may work but I find myself repeating the "Lokaha Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu" mantra frequently. I wonder who am I to presume that I can influence the happiness of all beings, everywhere?

D. R. Butler said...

Words have great power -- much more power than we ordinarily give them credit for.

Sanskrit words are the most powerful of all. Sanskrit words have not only a sound, but a particular vibration that has a certain power inherent within it.

Each of us affects the whole world, just as the whole world affects each of us. We are all part of the same, all on the same team, all in the same boat; we're in it together. Whatever vibrations we send out determines not only our impact on others, but also what kinds of vibrations will come back to us from others.

The original Tibetan culture was established around the affirmation of happiness and peace for all beings everywhere, and this is a priority for these people, even more than their own personal welfare. Imagine if the whole world took this approach.

Taylor said...

In lesson 22, you refer to the subtle body as containing the "design" for the physical body. How does this relate to DNA? I thought that the DNA contained the "blueprint" for the physical body.

D. R. Butler said...

The subtle body contains the design or blueprint or matrix of the physical body. Therefore it contains the blueprint of the basic DNA as well.

The subtle body exists much longer than the physical body. We were in the subtle body when we entered this physical body on the first inhalation, and we will remain in the subtle body when we exit the physical body on the final exhalation.

Even now, we are primarily in the subtle body, which contains the mind and emotions, memory, ego, and the intuitive source, or link to Omniscience. The subtle body animates and enlivens the physical body, which is basically a corpse waiting to happen, through the breath.

Therefore, breathe as deeply and with as much awareness as possible. The breath is literally our lifeline.

Jenn said...

The two questions are from Lesson 22. The first is about samskaras. I was reading on page 2 about the physical body, and was contemplating the eternity of the subtle body. It made me wonder what samskaras are attached to. I would have said it was the subtle body, but then as I was considering it further, I was realizing that there are samskaras that I've had and still had that seem very closely tied to this particular physical body. So it just got me wondering, and I thought it would be fun to ask you!

The second question is about dreams. You speak a lot about dreams and the dream state in the Course. It seems to me that I barely ever dream, or if I do, I barely ever remember my dreams or have any awareness of them. Is this normal? I feel like I'm missing a key to so much subtle information by not remembering my dreams. I have several friends with very rich dream life, and it seems like it offers them tons of insight into their spiritual life. Is there any way to cultivate this more? Is it in any way an indication of one's spiritual development? I'm looking forward to hearing your answer.

Well, thanks again for all you offer. My appreciation and gratitude seem to grow with each read of my lesson. I feel so blessed, and like one of the luckiest people on the planet to have access to the truth that you share with us every month. Thanks for this very precious gift.

D. R. Butler said...

Jenn, the subtle body doesn't exist throughout eternity. It has a beginning and an end just like the physical body, it just lasts a lot longer and grows and matures through the process of many physical incarnations, each taking up where the last left off.

The samskaras are contained in the nadis, which is basically the nervous system of the subtle body. Most are in the sushumna, the column of light and energy that exists in subtle form along the area of the physical spine.

Samskaras affect us in this lifetime, or we wouldn't be affected or influenced by them. They can be physical, emotional, mental, psychological, and so on. They are subtle tendencies. In modern psychology they might be thought of as subconscious impressions, which invariably come from the past.

Dreams are experiences of the subtle body in the various subtle realms or lokas. The subtle world is infinitely more varied than the world of form, which is very slow and limited in comparison. It is not really relevant if you remember your dreams or not, and if you do, the main thing to be gained from them is to understand the feelings contained in the dream.

The subtle body is very much a body of feelings. All our feelings, even now, take place within the subtle body. The physical body, in itself, doesn't have this capacity.

Enjoy your day.

Taylor said...

I totally relate to your expression of gratitude - "I feel so blessed, and like one of the luckiest people on the planet to have access to the truth that you share with us every month. Thanks for this very precious gift."
And, I love the way that you expressed it. A big "ditto" from me. :-)

Anonymous said...

What happens to the subtle body when it ends. does it just melt back into the absolute?Does this happen when the absolute absorbs everything back into itself?

D. R. Butler said...


Yes, that too.

Sukala said...

Thank you Deb, Rico, Ram - for your lighter approach to sadhana. When I was new to my spiritual path and daily practices (meditation, chanting, etc.), I read my Guru’s warning about people who do cave sadhana and how important community is to keep us in touch with the Truth. So I did my sadhana with the local community who had chosen the same path – and I had a small cave on the side. After many years of having this arrangement I became aware of one downside of cave living. It was the need to improve my social skills (sincere interest in others, good listening and physical relaxation around people). It was my outrageous sister who, in the 1970’s, had shown me a true path. Just three years ago, after I left the city to move to her rural community, she introduced me to Hafiz to spice up my stress management articles for the local paper. Hafiz is a saint who talks about making love and farting (not necessarily together), liberally injecting our humanity into every breath of sadhana to make it more fun. This apparently was his path to God. Since moving here I have committed to having a strong drink or two at least twice a month whether I need it or not. Last night’s concoction was pretty lethal and I’ll measure it next time. In November I strayed from vegetarianism to eat a pre-cooked chicken that smelled so good it didn’t reach the plate. The fun in that was sharing the experience with my sister who said she’d done the same thing at the same time in her home!