July is Happy Birthday month around here. My own birthday is July 4—I came in with a bang. Kay’s birthday is July 20. And the first ever blog entry and introduction to the beginning of the new course was published here on July 14, 2008, so the blog is two years old this month. Lesson 1 was emailed to participants for the first time from July 15 to September 1, 2008.
If you’ve never read the original entry of the blog, I invite you to do so. It was the first introduction to the course and the blog and everything that we do here. It also contains an outline of the topics explored in the course.
If you’d like to read that introductory entry, simply click on the link below this paragraph and scroll to the bottom to the July 14, 2008 entry, which is where it all began (if it doesn’t come out as a link, simply copy and paste into your browser).
So July is a month of celebration around our place. We invite you to join us, and to enjoy the month in the spirit of celebration. Anything can be celebrated. The moral of the story is to live all of life as a celebration.
Just yesterday I told Kay, “Every day is a party for me. All I do these days is party.”
You see, simply sitting here writing to you is a party for me. I’m enjoying a great time. Writing has been the most fun thing for me since about the age of 14, when I wrote my first short story of a utopian existence. Of course at the time I’d never heard of ‘Utopia'. It was just a story of how I thought life could be.
I'm still working toward that utopian existence. Actually, I feel that I already live in my own Utopia. I cannot think of a single way my life could be improved or made better. Do you have any idea how freeing that is?
There is a story that my Teacher told many times over the years. The story was very mysterious to me at the time, and I found it very interesting that he seemed to make such a point of it.
In the story, a Master and his student were traveling, the student supposedly taking care of the Master on the journey. The Master was elderly in physical form, and from all appearances, seemed to be a simple and humble man. The disciple was a young man who was eager to get somewhere in his sadhana, and he was happy to be traveling with his Guru.
It was evening and they were both very tired from walking all day when they came upon an inn. The only problem was, they didn’t have enough money to pay for the night. The Master suggested that they go in and find a place where they could get some sleep, and said that if they were quiet and stayed to themselves they’d be able to rest without disturbance.
He gave the disciple only one instruction: “No matter whatever happens,” the Master said, “don’t become anyone.”
The disciple thought that would be a very easy task, and they quietly went inside and each found an empty room to sleep in.
In the middle of the night, some men came into the room where the disciple was sleeping and woke him up rudely. “What are you doing here,” they demanded. “You haven’t paid for the night.”
Half asleep the disciple cried back, “Don’t you know who I am? I am the disciple of a great Guru. He is so famous, so adored by many, yet I alone am traveling with him.” He told them his Guru’s name over and over, so they’d be impressed and understand how important and worthy he was, but they only became angrier with him and threw him out.
Outside, the disciple spent the rest of the night on the ground. It was cold, and the ground was hard. He slept fitfully. In the morning, as the light came up, his Guru came out of the inn, well rested and refreshed.
The Guru laughed when he saw the student. “Did you remember what I told you?” he asked first thing. The disciple answered sheepishly: "Telling them I was the disciple of a great Guru was the only thing I could think of that would impress them enough to let me stay.”
Then he looked at the Master and said, “How did you get away with spending the whole night in the inn?”
“Oh, the same men came in my room also,” the Master said. “They woke me up roughly and demanded to know what I was doing there. I was very feeble and humble in their presence. I said I was just a tired old man who hoped for a few hours of rest, with their blessings. So they said to each other that I was a harmless old man and to just let me sleep.”
I have no idea, consciously, why this particular story comes to mind now. Perhaps it is related to certain comments that have been made here in the comments and in the threads on my Facebook page. The story seemed somehow appropriate, and it makes a great deal more sense to me now than it did when I first heard it. For one thing it reminds me of something the Guru once said to me directly: “Never become anyone.” I feel I have done nicely in this regard.
Let’s consider a couple of exchanges from last month’s comments. There are over a hundred comments a month now following each month’s blog entry, and I only have room here for 3 or 4 at the most. It is impossible to select the ‘best’ so I can only be representative. I sincerely encourage you to check out all the comments for yourself, for the essence of the blog lies in them.
Ben: asked about specifics regarding the course, including the cost.
DRB: 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 in exchange 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 low enough so that anyone can afford it. I know that if certain of the people who take the course now are managing it, then it is managable for anyone if they are dedicated enough to inner growth and transformation.
There are participants of the course who are able to afford more than the minimum suggested donation, and they send more simply because they can, and due to their appreciation and gratitude for what they gain through the course. Because of their generosity, we are able to keep the minimum fee 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 of Truth.
As far as what is involved in taking the course, you get a lesson of around 10 pages on the 1st and 15th of each month, 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. It is challenging to imagine the impact of the course in advance, for it is similar to a child attempting to imagine what it must be like to be an adult.
Anyone can receive the first month of the course free of cost, simply by writing and requesting it (email@example.com). Please do not request it for others, however, as it does not have the same energy exchange, and chances are that they will pass it off as being of little or no value. This type of information and guidance is available only to those who truly want it. (Having said that, it is always appropriate to share the link to this blog with anyone you think might be open to it.)
Stuart: asked about the conflict he feels between his actual experience of reading the blog--which he describes as 'very powerful'--and some ‘unfavorable’ things he previously heard or read about the writer.
DRB: Stuart, your comment amuses me more than most, and I am easily amused. 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 Teacher warned me about was gossip, and the dangers of listening to it or passing it on. He taught to stay immune to gossip and to remain unaffected by such conversations. Yet, the ego gets all excited to hear the latest juicy gossip, so what to do?
There has never been a universally 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 provide a service.
I will be 65 on July 4th. I have enjoyed a long and full life. In all that time, surely there are some things you could pick out to make me sound really bad, if you 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 highlight film of our life or a lowlight film. I'll take the highlight 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, what I do, and what happens, is to write the course that goes out via email to many around the world, 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. Their own readiness and receptivity attracts it to them.
The process of inner evolution happens due to the grace of the Universal Uplifting Principle—the initiating, awakening, expanding, and uplifting force of Nature, called by various names throughout time and place. Whether we call it 'the Shakti', the 'Holy Spirit', the 'Guru Principle', or by any other name, it awakens in us through the grace of God and stays active in our lives through our intention and effort to stay attuned to it at all times. It is the way it is; it is what happens.
If I were you, or if I were to advise anyone, I would say to definitely go with your own experience over the words of others. 'Objective humanity' is invariably in error. Don't even go there.
Laura: asked if the most convenient thing is really the most practical thing, as she’s always felt that doing the ‘highest’ thing is not always so easy.
DRB: 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 so easy? 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 existing in a state of contraction.
The Truth is simplicity itself. The 'highest' thing to do is nothing, because the highest state is effortless. It's about remaining aware in the present moment. In complete effortlessness life happens; the karma of the body 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 thread we have discussed the upayas. The 'highest' upaya, Anupaya, is effortless. Anava upaya, on the other hand, which we work in to purify the anava mala (the original taint that causes us to feel small, impure, and unworthy) and in which we make use of the body, mind, and prana, does require consistent self-effort and, in fact, self-discipline--the effort to continually 'come back to the present moment, come back to the heart, come back to our love.'
Anava upaya includes those things you could think are not so easy. And it's true—our conditioned ego does not want to do those things: meditate, keep the body strong and flexible through the practice of hatha yoga or other means, think well of others as well as ourselves, maintain a positive attitude, see all things as the play of Consciousness, remember the love that dwells eternally in the heart, 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.
Lorna: writes that while she is benefitting greatly from the course, she has multiple sclerosis and asks what to do about the first half of her life that might have led up to living in a wheelchair for the last 20 years.
DRB: 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 aspect 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, for all of us, a corpse waiting to happen). The subtle body is pure and perfect, and in it you are always at your peak, at your best, quite independent of physical age. Through reading your lessons and applying the principles in your daily life, become familiar with the subtler aspects of your being.
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?
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.
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