Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I originally wanted to interview the Self for this month’s entry, but it didn’t say anything. It spoke to me, yet it was wordless.

As a poor man’s substitute, I decided to interview myself. It seems like a good change-of-pace. (First he writes his autobiography and then he interviews himself—what an egotistical maniac.) It’s a little longer than usual, so feel free to quit reading whenever you feel too bored or tired to go on.

Q: Have you ever interviewed yourself before?
A: Last time was when I was in college, I did a self-interview for the school paper, which appeared as a ‘guest-editorial’ and was titled ‘Turtle Soup.’ Eudora Welty was the writer-in-residence at the time, and she told me it was one of the best things she’d ever read by a college student. She was very inspiring and encouraging to me.

Q: Is it true that you blasted the tradition of fraternities and sororities in that college interview?
A: Nah, it was organized independents that bothered me.

Q: So why do another self-interview now?
A: Why not? What else is there to write? Do you have any idea how much stuff is already in this blog, not to mention the lessons of the Course of Training that people get through email? It’s challenging to come up with enough variety to make it fun for myself, and if it isn’t fun for me, it definitely won’t be fun for anyone else.

Q: Then on with the show. Could you say that you have your own path?
A: Perhaps the pathless path. Not really though. I have no desire to be identified with any particular path. If I have a path, it is the path of all-inclusiveness. No one is excluded; no one is ever left out. There are no outcasts on my path. Sometimes we are our own outcast, and think we are left out when no one is leaving us out, but that’s an ego thing. Ultimately all are embraced. There is no ‘them.’ There is only ‘us.” If I were to create a path, I’d simply want everyone to see the highest and the best in everyone, and to stop thinking anything is ever going wrong. Yet a person has to do a lot of work on himself to actually be able to do this. One might think he can do it simply by deciding to, but he’ll quickly discover that this isn’t the case.

Q: Has anything surprised you since you started writing the new course?
A: Oh, many things actually. One thing that surprised me was that many people I thought would be excited about the new course had no interest in it whatsoever, while many that I presumed would have no interest whatsoever are participating with great enthusiasm. This reminded me to never assume anything regarding another or to think you really know someone. Of course, there are also those whom there was no doubt whatsoever about, people who will remain in my life and dear to me as long as I am in this body, and beyond. Kay and I refer to them as 'course people.'

Perhaps what has surprised me most has been the power of the lessons themselves. They seem much clearer and more powerful than anything I have written before, and I feel this intense power (Shakti) flowing through me as I write. By time I actually complete a lesson, my mind is totally blown all over again.

Q: Let’s examine your writings on the Internet and in your course. What’s the point? Why do it? What’s behind it? And what keeps you going?
A: There is no point to it; it just is what it is. Why do it?—because writing has been the most joyful and fulfilling thing for me to do since I was a young teen. Most people don’t know I published my first short story at age 20. I originally thought I might write novels, but Truth became stranger than fiction.

What’s behind it?—the divinity inherent in the universe—the ‘Force’ is with me (as It is with all of us once we open to its omnipresent beneficence.) What keeps me going? Probably feedback from people who mysteriously enjoy and benefit from what I write. How do people enjoy and benefit from it? Beats me—ask the ‘Force.’

Q: So you started your quest for Truth, and the practice of yoga and meditation, in the early 60’s when you were a young teen. How did that happen?
A: You got me. I remember walking out of the Southern Baptist church when I was 13 when the preacher said we’d all burn in hell for eternity if we did not accept someone who supposedly lived at some point as our personal savior. I felt extremely smothered, and had never felt so uncomfortable in my life. I couldn’t take it. I just got up and walked out, took a breath of fresh air, and never went back. I tried every church in Vicksburg, but obviously none of them quite did it for me. Of course this was Mississippi in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Hopefully things are presented more positively and joyfully now. There’s nothing worse than a gruesome religion.

I think I originally discovered yoga and meditation in some books I found at an old book store. I read ‘Autobiography of a Yogi.’ At 15 I discovered a delightful book by Robert Collier titled ‘The Secret of the Ages,’ and it impacted me more than anything else had at that point. I signed up for a few correspondence courses and ended up dropping them all except for one that made total sense and spoke to my heart. That’s when I first started feeling that I wanted to write a similar course someday.

Q: Objectively speaking, your writings have been well-received and consistently popular for many years. Any ideas on why that might be so?
A: It might be because I am honest and say what I feel and how I see things without sugarcoating anything or trying to live up to anyone’s idea of ‘PR’ or how things should be properly presented. I was never much of a proper person, and I tend to do things incorrectly.

I’ve been told by many that they feel they can trust me regarding spiritual matters, because they know that, if nothing else, I’m at least honest about what I say, whether anyone actually likes what comes out or not. I spent enough time around the Guru to no longer cater to another’s ego, and if they’re serious about sadhana they appreciate that and recognize its value.

Also I’ve been told that my writings are very clear. I have some kind of innate ability to communicate principles of Truth in ways that others actually experience what I’m saying. It happens beyond mere intellectual give and take. Yogis might think of it as a siddhi. But all this is simply feedback I get from others. To me I just write what feels good and what I enjoy reading as I write.

Q: Do you honestly feel true transformation is possible through simply reading words, as in the lessons of your course? Isn’t there some kind of inherent limitation in the written word?
A: Well of course there’s a limitation to written words, but who says the course is limited to written words? They are only the apparent outward form. Any path, any practice, has an outer form, and then, behind the scenes and between the words, there is Essence, there is Being, there is Presence, and this is quite palpable. No one has to take anyone’s word for anything. The written course is only the tip of the iceberg. Also, people gain a lot through our interactions, if they are open to putting themselves out there and not protecting the ego at any cost, especially in a public way. The sooner we realize there is nothing to hide, the freer we will be.

Q: You do have your detractors, though. I’ve read some stuff about you that borders on the obscene.
A: I can’t believe all the stuff I’ve heard and read about myself, or whoever used to be me, over the years. I can’t believe how many different people I am in the eyes of different people. My Guru once said, “I am as you see me,” and more and more I understand exactly what he meant by that.

Apparently you can’t be popular with some without simultaneously being attacked by others. I’ve been called everything from a sexual predator to a snake-oil salesman. I can see why people who are really famous have to totally give up caring whatever anyone else says or writes about them. It isn’t worth it trying to correct all the untruths, and you finally have to simply let them be. Thankfully none of it affects anything that truly counts.

Q: What about the girl?
A: Yes, the girl. I experienced an indiscretion of sorts 16 or so years ago that had unexpected consequences. Warren Zevon, on writing his classic, ‘Lawyers, Guns, and Money,’ said that before he wrote the song he had experienced a day of “improbable and grotesque mischief.” I thought that captured the story of my life quite nicely.

As far as ‘the girl,’ however, she contacted me a while back for the first time in many years to apologize for what she had written. Now she takes the course, reads this blog, is a friend on Facebook, and has an ongoing dialogue with Kay, so her story written all those years ago hasn’t much merit or substance anymore, if it ever did. I certainly wouldn’t recommend that anyone rush out to read it, and neither would she. It was just one person’s perspective of something that once happened, a karmic hiccup along the way. We all do strange things when we’re young. And look at me—I am stranger now than I was then.

Perhaps one day she’ll write her own comments here as she readjusts to the course community and reassumes her rightful place in it. Who knows? This world is strange and unpredictable. I always knew she’d be back when she came back to her heart. She still is who she always was, only, like all of us, more mature and a bit wiser regarding what life is truly all about.

Also, genuine remorse must be honored. If it isn’t, then what honor is in that? How can we live a life of respect and integrity if we refuse to forgive when sincere remorse appears? Forgiveness is the key to the experience of oneness and unity. As long as someone remains unforgiven, that’s a part of us that we are holding separate from God and making less than God. We cannot truly experience God until everyone is finally forgiven for everything (including ourselves). Forgiveness is a great sadhana all in itself.

Q: You recently wrote on your Facebook page, ‘In the process of dissipating the power of personal history, so to reclaim my true life in the present moment, I am tossing out all personal secrets.’ What did you mean by that?
A: Our personal history has a certain power to it. Not in itself, per se, but in our identification with it. If I am still identified with my life of 20 years ago, then I am limited to who and what I was then. If someone else sees and relates to me as I was 20 years ago, then they are limiting me to who and what I was then. If I try to hide any of it, and hope no one ever discovers something about my past, then I am bound by that and it becomes more heavy baggage to lug around. I want to travel lightly, so I do whatever is necessary to break free from the bondage of personal history. To be free from the bondage of personal secrets, reveal them in appropriate ways, and you will be free. This applies only to your own secrets, though. It is adharmic (against dharma) to reveal another’s secrets that you might be privy to.

Q: So you’re tying all the ‘loose ends’ of your past, and, as you sometimes say, bringing everything into a ‘coherent and harmonious whole?’
A: Really, what else is there to do at my age?

Q: Can we ask about Kanti, the mother of your 3 children? How is she?
A: Kanti is living in Manhattan and is doing absolutely great. She never ages, and pretty much looks the same as she always did. She’s like Richard Alpert in ‘Lost’ in that way. We have remained great friends and have mutually determined to maintain a happy family environment for our 3 wonderful children, who are all doing so well in their own lives. She is still offering astrology readings and is excellent at helping people to understand the nature of their karma and to get some perspective on the focus of their own personal sadhana. Kay and I get readings from her every few months to maintain some perspective on what’s happening in our own karmic play. If anyone wishes to contact Kanti for astrology, or for old time’s sake, contact her at This also contains her Facebook name if you care to friend her there.

Q: The Internet seems to be a great place to contact people and groups that exist to promote spiritual evolution on the planet, yet there are also sites that basically post all the dirt that can be gathered regarding spiritual teachers and groups. You’ve made it clear before that you have a bit of disdain for such sites, comparing them to ‘ticks, mosquitoes, and skunks.’ Any further comments on that?
A: I can’t believe they think they are providing a service. I guess they think they’re helping people to not get duped by dubious teachers and groups, and there’s some merit to that, but the problem is that they’ve lumped all the good guys in with the bad, and no one can really tell which is which anymore. My Guru once told me that there are so many false teachers around that it makes it very difficult for anyone to recognize or appreciate the genuine article when it comes along.

Still, if you’re focused on digging up all the dirt and gossip you can gather about everyone, you end up throwing the baby out with the bath water. Even the greatest teachers end up with disgruntled former students whose egos couldn’t take the fire, or who couldn’t accept some aspect of the whole, and who are quick to publically turn against the very ones that most tried to help them.

More essentially, and relevant to all of us, my Teacher said that if more people like you and say good things about you, it won’t help you, and if more people dislike you and say bad things about you, it won’t hurt you. Like everything else he ever said, I have found this to be very true.

I have been the golden boy, loved and respected by so many I didn’t really have time for any of them, and I have been the rejected and frowned-upon outcast who led the whole world in mistakes. I was surprised to learn that it didn’t matter much either way. As far as my inner experience went, I remained the same under both extremes. This actually surprised me, but it was one of the greatest teachings I have had the grace to receive.

Q: Why bring up the past at all?
A: To help bring closure to anyone who’s ever been affected by reading (or writing) such things. To resolve and harmonize all that has come before now. Besides, you’re the one who brought up the past.

Q: So, getting back to the present, how would you currently describe your course, your writings in general, your philosophy, and what you have to offer others?
A: The lessons of the course offer people something to do with their minds instead of habitually following their usual mental routines. It gives a certain focus in an expansive direction. Simply reading and rereading the lessons expands the ways we think and see things. It causes the mind to work in different ways than it’s used to, as well as offering it new avenues to explore instead of repeating the same old parrot-like patterns without ever once recognizing what we’re doing or that our thoughts aren’t even our own.

The lessons are a means of opening up within and discovering and consistently experiencing who we truly are, instead of the dream we’ve had about ourselves ever since we were programmed as children. It’s a way of ‘waking up,’ as the scriptures put it. It’s not for everyone, but for many it’s the best way they’ve yet found.

My writings in general, including the course, the blog, and Facebook, present the Truth of the Present Moment as I have come to understand it after 50 years of seeking, studying, training, being whipped into shape by various teachers in various ways, having my ego obliterated over and again by the Guru until I couldn’t be anyone other than who I am, and the experience gained as a teacher, writer, speaker, answerer of innumerable questions, and leader of many classes, workshops, and retreats over the 30 years I functioned in such a role.

The past is a memory; the future is a projection; neither exists now except in our mind. What is the Truth of the existing moment? Is it the pain in my back and hips? Is it the confusion in the mind? Is it the continuous emotional ups and downs? Probably it’s not any of those, as they all come and go; relative truth is only temporary, or for this time only.

The Truth with a capital ‘T’ is the one Principle that never changes in a universe where everything else on every level of being constantly changes. The body changes, thoughts change, emotions change, the world around us changes, ‘others’ change, but the Truth of divine Awareness within never varies in the least. It is eternal, all-pervasive, and all-inclusive. Nothing exists outside it. It includes the entire cosmos of the waking world, the innumerable realms of the dream world, the vast world of deep sleep, and the Turiya state that simultaneously permeates the other three. It is the only Truth there ever is, ever has been, and ever will be. It is without beginning or end. It is an unmodified, undifferentiated, unconditioned, formless Awareness of Being.

Did you know that scientists are now discovering that perhaps there never was a ‘big bang’ that began the universe? Those on the ‘cutting edge’ are now discovering that, wonder of wonders, the universe had no beginning and has no end. Welcome to the Vedas, the Upanishads, and all the other scriptures that have existed for thousands of years saying the same thing.

As for my ‘philosophy,’ I’m not sure I really have one that could be put into words other than, in my own experience and observation, all of life, and all spiritual seeking, leads to eventually living in the Truth of the present moment. I don’t have any mental speculations. The mind is only the 16th of 36 Tattvas (levels of creation); what does it know? I wouldn’t put my trust in thoughts or concepts. The only thing concepts are good for are to be broken.

My philosophy is to be real, be sincere, be who you truly are, live according to your own heart and your own nature, feel good about yourself as God made you, even manifests as you, just as you are. Drop all pretension. Give up your fake veneer and your hypocrisy even when you think you’re being genuine. Stop playing your phony games that you’ve been playing so long you don’t even remember that they are phony games.

Give up the endless desires to impress anyone or to improve anyone. Please, please stop explaining yourself. There’s nothing worse than someone insisting on explaining something to you and thinking that you’ll understand something about them better after they complete their explanation. We all already get it. Get over yourself.

Rip off your mask of propriety and hurl it into the ethers. Forget everything you’ve ever been taught you should or shouldn’t do. Free yourself from the shackles of conformity. Stop worrying about being good enough for anyone else. You already are all there is. All you lack is this understanding.

Whatever you do, at least don’t feel guilty about it, because the guilt you feel is much worse than whatever you did to feel guilty about. In fact, the secret to truly enjoying a fulfilling life is simply to love every single thing you do during every single moment. Of course, you have to greatly value your own life in order to do this, but then that’s the point, isn’t it?

You are already divine; there’s nothing to become. Don’t do anything to seek the good opinion of others, to make others like you, or to attract others to you. Otherwise you will only lose yourself and fade into oblivion in the objective world of humanity, thinking you exist yet being only a floating reflection of how others see you. This greatly reduces you and in fact dissipates whatever Shakti, whatever inner power you might have gained, by caring how you are perceived by others. Love them, honor them for who and what they are, for whatever function or role they play in your life, and remain in harmony with whatever arises from one moment to the next.

No one needs to see you except yourself. Others need only to see their own Self. No one will ever understand you except yourself. Others have to understand their own Self. When we all do this, when we really get it that we’re the only One here, and that everyone around us is an individualized aspect of the same One, we’ll realize that deep within we share the same Self.

Spirituality is a matter of realization or recognition of the already existing Truth. Many have the delusion that it’s about becoming something or attaining something we don't already have. My Teacher said the Self is already attained. The only reason we do sadhana (spiritual practices) is to purify the mind and ego. Once they are clear and no longer prone to projection, delusion, and false identification, the Truth reveals itself within us naturally and spontaneously.

What have I to offer others? In myself, there is nothing. I love and honor all, but there is nothing I can offer anyone except to share what I have learned from the universe in the forms of all my teachers. If I can do or say anything to help anyone recognize their own inner Self, their own inner value, then I am immensely fulfilled. I am fulfilled anyway, yet there is a great dharma in helping others to recognize their own Truth and to enjoy their own freedom, and it is very gratifying.

On Facebook, I offer lighthearted friendship, a humorous perspective, some words of wisdom, and even some good music. On the blog, I offer all that anyone can or will accept. However, due to the nature of the way things work, one is limited in how much he or she can or will open up to accepting and receiving until there is some degree of commitment to the process of uncovering and dismissing all that is false, and some contribution to the source of the possibility of new knowledge and an expanded sense of being.

My friend Baba Rampuri, an American who was the first Westerner to ever be initiated in the glorious tradition of the ancient Naga Babas in India, and who now functions as a guru himself—and whom I hope Western yogis will come to know better, for he has much to offer us—recently wrote that people have this delusion that knowledge should be free, yet knowledge is the most expensive thing there is, and it has to be highly valued before it can actually be received and used in meaningful and transformational ways.

(I recommend Rampuri’s excellent book, “Autobiography of a Sadhu,” and you might also enjoy his website: Obviously I like him a lot, as you know I don’t recommend people lightly. He has experienced over the past 40 years a life that most of us could hardly imagine. If I didn’t have my own peculiar karma, I’d probably be a Naga Baba. Or perhaps it’s just fond memories of another incarnation.)

In the lessons of the Course of Training via email, I offer all that the universe is willing to pour through me. Everyone starts out on the level of his or her own current understanding and perspective of things, and with each lesson, on the 1st and 15th of every month, we take another step in the process of breaking free from all that we’re not and opening up to all that we truly are.

In one of the lessons there is a quote from Ramana Maharshi, the great Indian saint and sage. Let’s end with his words for now, for to me they perfectly sum up everything:

"There is no greater mystery than this: Being Reality ourselves, we seek to gain Reality. We think that there is something hiding Reality and that it must be destroyed before the Truth is gained...A day will dawn when you will laugh at your past efforts. What you realize on the day you laugh is also here and now.”

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

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Debra Hodgen said...

That about sums it up. Bravo.

Scott Marmorstein said...

This is fabulous, D.R.!

I can think of nothing to add, and nothing to ask you. You've said it all "until there isn't anything left to say."

I love this!
Love to you!

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Thanks Ram!!!!
It was SO worth the wait. I can't wait to re-read it again!
One of MY FAVORITE parts is stop playing phony games, the games that you don't even realize you are still playing..drop all of it!
YES!!!!!! This is the recipe to stand in the freedom that we ARE-svatantrya!
Going to work with a huge smile-Blessings to you
love Michelle

Anusuya said...

The most powerful blog yet. Blasted my heart open. The tears are still streaming down my face. Thank you for being.

Naganath said...

So amazing. Causes such joy and yearning, love and tears.

Mark said...

In his book From Science To God, Peter Russell writes, "The conventional understanding of forgiveness is of absolution or pardon: 'I know you did wrong, but I'll overlook it this time'. But the original meaning of forgiveness is very different. The ancient Greek word for forgiveness is aphesis, meaning to let go. When we forgive others we let go of the judgments we may have projected onto them. We release them from all our interpretations and evaluations, all our thoughts of right or wrong, friend or foe. Forgiveness is not something we do for the other person so much as something we do for ourselves."

Deb said...

Not surprised your Self would have something to say about Baba Rampuri. He's certainly burst onto the scene in a big way. Do you feel a bit like Ed Sullivan? (Asking Self...) I'm so happy you introduced him to us. That a Naga Baba Guru would read and reply directly to a post or comment blows me away. Such access to such Shakti. I feel things coming unstuck.

Cathy said...

This is just a fine example of why I still follow the course. I followed the first course and I am so glad to have found the present correspondence course. I appreciate the fact that your writing shines Light in all corners - mundane and the Highest.
Your writing continues to offer me "aha's" after all these years. I took a workshop many years back that you led in Atlanta and had one insight that was a cornerstone in me living my life free of guilt of the past (and other's past). It enabled me to move on with my life and to continue to experience my "everyday" divinity.
I'll take and experience Truth where I can find it and it just happens to be the course supports that.

JP said...

Why the tears when you end it with laughter?
One eye is laughing and the other is crying.

Crying because you're saying "lay your burden down"

Like my high school physics teacher once joked: why did the man bang his head on the wall? - because it felt so good when he stopped.

Now this song playing in my head:
Glory Glory (the Tuck and Patti version)

I feel so much better
So much better
Since I laid my burden down

And if you get there before I do
you know that I'll be coming through...

To you who is pathless, thanks for showing the path. The path back to where I already am.

Bindu said...

This is the Best ever. I am in awe of the power. I am in Love with the Love, and I am in Gratitude for for the tears that welled up when I read this blog.
It feels so complete, so whole. A knot in my heart, which I didn't even know was there,has released.
Thank you.

jimi said...

DR said: "I recommend Rampuri’s excellent book, “Autobiography of a Sadhu,”

I guess by now I should be used to this sort of thing happening, but I started reading the book yesterday, the day before you recommended it. Great book BTW...I can hardly put it down & am already telling stories from it to my wife & a few friends and I'm only 1/3 of the way through it.

Purnima Orlandi said...

Thank you for this one! I feel like this is the only place where I can have these conversations and insights!
It was so powerful! I related to your experience leaving the church. In my case I got sick of the stomach at the church and threw up in the bathroom after a sermon...I must have been 10. I remember telling my grandma I never wanted to go back there, because the teachings were barbaric...she thought it was funny, but I never returned. Not that I had anything against Jesus, but the church and their ideas of sin, condemnation and hell just didn't sit well within me.
I thank you for all that you do! You once answered a question I had about 14 years or so ago at the West LA center about my search for my biological mother, I had just recently found out I was adopted.. You said "establish a relationship with the Universal Mother instead". At the time I had no idea of how to even start! Today I have a relationship and it is so pure and humbling! Rich and compassionate. Deepening every day, opening itself revealing it's essence and connection to all. That was a turning point for me!
My heart is so grateful for the lessons and for your daily facebook and blog connection.
Gracias mi amigo del alma!

Narayani H. said...

Thanks Ram!
I just received lesson 7. I am finding that the last couple of days of a lesson create a sense of "oh no! I only have (2) days left to learn all of this!" And I read the entire lesson almost every day. At first I began to take notes and post them around me so I could remember key phrases and concepts I didn't want to forget. I used to do this with the old course, too. Is this "trying/doing" instead of "Being"?
I feel so much pressure to do it right. To really imbibe all the Truth I am capable of imbibing. When the next lesson arrives, I am sure this has not happened. And then I do it again with the present lesson! Something needs to change!

Colette said...

Hearts dancing, playful in the sunlight's stream
Flowing into laughter the gaiety of dream
Gratitude the attitude that flows forth from your pen
So happy to be here, once more free again Love to all, Karuna

jennasplundh said...

This was amazing! I really enjoyed reading it, and am so glad that you decided to interview your self (Self!) for us all to enjoy.

I will definitely read this again, and just like the Course, I'm sure I'll get more out of it the next time.

I, too, loved the part about dropping the phony games we play - even when we don't even know that's what we're doing! So great. . . :-)

Thanks for doing what you love, and being willing to share it again. It makes a profound difference to many people - and I'm so grateful that I'm one of them!

Great to meet you the other day, too! An unexpected pleasure, indeed!


CDM said...

I love the Dylan Thomas poem "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," a villanelle he wrote for his dying father. But reading D.R.'s lessons and all your blog entries is giving me a different perspective on death and loss. So, I've written an alternate version as a tribute to D.R. and the wonderfulness of all the bloggers here. (My apologies to the great Dylan Thomas. I'm not really a poet.)

Go gentle then into that pure white light,
That neither dies nor ever fades away;
Merge, merge into the absence of the night.

Be wise and still the play of blinded sight,
With space between forked thoughts hold doubt at bay;
Go gentle then into that pure white light.

Dear One, watch wave on wave, and feel how right
That deeds should ebb and flow as God’s own play,
Then merge into the absence of the night.

Let’s laugh and rise on wings of blissful flight,
And learn, just now, that love is here to stay,
And gentle go into that pure white light.

Content are we with vision and delight,
Clear-eyed we pierce the veil that’s in our way
And merge into the absence of the night.

As we, all Selflings, rise to such great height,
Bless, bless us now as with glad tears, we pray.
Go gentle now into that pure white light.
Merge now into the absence of the night.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ram for sharing yourself :) I feel that it's easy to connect with you even though I've never met you in person. I feel lucky to "get to know you" in this present time and unconcerned with anything I haven't experienced. My first reaction to reading personal history, was: "only one?" but then I'm only getting the 3 sentence version of the drama. My biggest reaction comes to your comments about Baba Rampuri... of which I keep getting "inflamed" every time you mention that you like him. I give respect and honor to him and his students as I feel a good vibe from him, as if he is filled with wisdom. However my experience has been that it's easy for me to open up to "other worlds" but VERY difficult to open up to THIS world and even more difficult reality. My meditation teacher has helped me tremendously with this and it's had a very positive affect on my life. I'm much more content and present as a result, and I get to keep the life I'm living now and not become something else. I'm so grateful, and would never tell a friend they should go elsewhere to find spirituality as a result of this change. However, I do know that my own path has been so far also full of other things that aren't the REAL deal, that I have enjoyed and exhausted in order to come closer to the real deal... so is the spiritual materialism aspect just part of that path, and something for those souls inclined to play in? Would it be helpful to read his book anyway? Love & Gratitude to you~

D. R. Butler said...

SriKalimi, thank you for sharing your reactions, and I am happy you are visiting the blog. Hopefully you might find a home of sorts here.

Only one? Yes, only one--contradicting rumors to the contrary. No one ever actually made any effort to discover the actual truth about anything. On the contrary, many people simply grabbed the worst rumors they could come across and ran with them, exaggerating them all the while as they ran.

You mentioned a couple of things that I'm not sure what you mean or where you are coming from. For example, 'other worlds' vs 'this world.' For me there is no such distinction. It's not really an either-or type of thing. All the various levels and realms existent simultaneously here and now. We have coarser and more refined vibratory frequencies, and some confuse different ranges of frequencies to be different worlds--whereas in reality they are only various aspects of the one world.

Another example is when you said you would never tell a friend to go elsewhere to find spirituality. I'm not sure what you are referring to. I wouldn't tell anyone that either. I would recommend to anyone to find spirituality in their own life exactly as it is. We don't become more or less spiritual by being here or there.

In the 'Vishwasara Tantra' it is said: 'What is here is also there; what is not here is nowhere.' So either we find it here or we find it nowhere. Spirituality is not an outer thing, or something that we 'do.' If I asked you to demonstrate some spirituality for me, what would you do? I haven't the faintest idea of what I would do.

(continued in next comment.)

D. R. Butler said...

Spirituality is a lighthearted approach to each new moment of life, an attitude of greeting each new moment with gratitude and compassion, and of maintaining as expanded a perspective of life, the world, others, and ourselves, as we can stretch our capacity to perceive.

If we go to satsang and sing kirtan and feel serene for a few hours, and then go out into the world and react with anger and hostility if someone bumps against us as we walk down the street, what have we gained? Are we actually any better off after our satsang and kirtain if there is no true transformation? It would be far better to simply be in harmony with being bumped into, whether we went to satsang or sang kirtan or not.

Interesting your reaction to my mention of Baba Rampuri. What's going on there? Your words became vague after you mentioned his name, and I'm not sure what the reaction was all about. I simply find him to be an intelligent and fascinating guy. He's one of the few I've come across that actually says things I don't expect. I enjoyed his book because it reminded me of so many aspects of my own experiences around the Guru and living in a spiritual community, and he shared many interesting insights about what he has experienced and observed. He writes from the perspective of a modern Westerner who just happens to have been initiated into a very ancient and traditional path, and I relate to him easily. I don't think we need to run to him to get something we don't aleady have. Yet, since he is available and accessible online, why not avail ourselves to what he has to offer? I'm a 'let's open up to all the help we can get' kind of guy.

'Those souls' playing in spiritual materialism? Are you sure you aren't yourself playing in spiritual materialism simply to have such reactions and strong opinions regarding certain things? Sounds as though you are creating your own path as you go along, and setting up your own ideas of how things should or shouldn't be.

Of course, we do each have to find our own unique path that will be different from any other's, yet the tendency to be judgmental is very sly and wily about sneaking upon us before we even realize what we're doing.

I always recommend seeing perfection and divinity in everything equally. Then I never have to bother about this or that, for ultimately it is all part of the same show and the same game. Ultimately there is only one game in town.

Tony said...

Thank you so much for your comment that 'Spirituality is a light-hearted approach to each new moment of life....'. And for the posts on 'dropping, letting go, and laying down'. A memory returned of quite a few years ago, during a time of taking things ever so seriously; I was doodling pen on paper, trying to put together a few limericks to lighten my mood, when all of a sudden Saraswati popped up and dictated this in a single rush, and, strange to relate, in a strong Mississippi accent :-

'A Conversation with God'.

As I was trudgin' down the road,
I cried ' O Lordy, please relieve me of my heavy load!'
She said 'Well, why don't you lay your burden down?
C'mon, forget the Guru Gita, let's hit the town!'
I said 'Lord, surely that's not what you mean,
'Cos I feel I'm more devoted than I've ever been'.
He said 'Blessings my son, that was just a test,
I wanted to make sure I wasn't second best,
But it's not that I'M insecure, 'cos I really am ALL THAT,
The Unmanifest, the Manifest, Ananda, Chit and Sat!
And remember I'm in all places and all things, I'm the joy and astonishment that living in each moment brings.
So, y'all, it really doesn't matter what you do or where you are,
If you always think of Me you will never stray far
From the bliss of Liberation, if you know what I mean.
Then I guarantee more happiness that you've ever seen!'

Blessings to you all.

D. R. Butler said...

A comment submitted to the blog, paraphrased here so as to make it more concise, clear, and understandable:

"blah, blah, blah."

My response: You go ahead and believe what's written about others on the Internet if you want, and I will continue to believe in my own direct experience. In the end we will discover which option leads to greater happiness and contentment.

Chimène said...

Dear Ram,

I just loved your self interview, I love the voice that asks the questions, I think that would be a good exercise to do with oneself, be the interviewer, asking, probing and getting to some real answers, looking at our past story from a less self-centered approach, actually in a more Self centered approach. Also thank you for lesson 13, learning to not take things personally is so valuable, I am a teacher and when students are slow, unmotivated, I wonder what I did wrong and then I remember that I give my best and they must take it from there and be responsible for their own learning...
Love, lots of love.

D. R. Butler said...

Chimene, regarding what you said about teaching, I relate totally:)

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Hello all happy warriors of the truth and such. Thanks D.R. for being such a funny and profound being. This phrase comes up for me...telling the story of the many in one and the one in many. Thank you for opening many voices by so extraordnarily articulating one.

Rico said...

Narayani H., RELAX, there won't be a pop quiz. The proper approach to the Course is to just read and re-read your current Lesson as much as is convenient. There isn't anything to learn in an intellectual sense. In fact the intellect often gets in the way. Just reading the Lesson tunes you into a deeper space. If your worried about learning something you might not even notice it.

After you've taken the Course for a while you'll notice that a lot of what is discussed has kind of seeped in without you even noticing it. One of the benefits of the Course is realizing how to enjoy living. I don't think stressing out over "doing it right" qualifies as enjoyment.

Just relax and read your Lessons as they arrive and put what you read into practice as best you can without expectations. If you do something magical will happen!

BTW, Kudos Ram on the latest Blog posting. Keep them coming.

D. R. Butler said...

A few days ago an IM popped up on my 'wall' from a Facebook friend. I related to him casually, as I do to all whom I don't personally know, yet after a few moments he said the Shakti was thick and thanked me for my time. Later, there was a personal message from him, and I wrote back. Then he wrote to share about a correspondence course he'd taken for many years while in prison that had totally changed his whole life, and said I reminded him of those lessons. I said, 'You honestly don't realize that I'm the one who wrote that course?' His mind was appropriately blown. He said, 'No wonder the Shakti was so thick that day--you are already in my heart.'

Interesting all the various ways that we all come together again.

Ghayas said...

Thank You Ram for your guidance. While reading the Self-Inteview, there was this sentence and that other one I wanted to note on a post-it as a precious reminder... I guess I should read the whole thing over and over again: I can just not copy it all ! Thank you for offering this uplifting alternative food to our minds. Love, Ghayas

Anonymous said...

Ram thanks for the anti-inflammatory :) I realized that I should have just asked you why you recommended him instead of assuming that the recommendation carried more than it does.

Also it's cool because getting triggered by it gave me a chance to see clearer and better appreciate how profound the transformation I've been through so far actually is. (which I didn't see so well) When I referred to "other worlds" I meant my tendency to want to seek out foreign places & cultures ect. And by "this" world I meant both the hillbilly small town culture I was raised in but also, the world that I create in my everyday living. I loved watching his videos online of the naga babas :) amazing that we can see that. Yet I'm feeling that it's also my dharma to share what has worked for me in my day to day??? For me letting go of seeking out something other than me and enjoying freedom from my own dramas was and is huge!

I've got a lot of spiritual materialism, yes for sure, I love it! I feel like my reaction was more around the question i have of: do I speak about my experience when someone else says something different? Than it was against him. After all isn't the name of the game "it's all god's love"?? Thanks for the reality check, I welcome those. My own investment in Maya is relative to my heart, and others theirs, it's good to be reminded again and again :) thank you.

I feel like the path is creating itself without me, and yes I'm setting my own ideas and trying out what works and that seems to include an array of teachers that kick my butt :) but things seem to be getting brighter and lighter.

Thank you for your thorough response. If you will allow me to share a bit of personal history, I've also had an indiscretion in the past. You sharing further helps to let me off the hook of being "perfect" and doing it all "the right way". Also It gave me a chance to reflect and see that going through my own indiscretion was actually grace, because growing up I would judge others harshly for their downfalls, and it actually took away my judgement.

twice I've noticed that you wrote my name with an i at the end instead of an a. Is there a meaning or is it a typo/random? love~

D. R. Butler said...

No 'meaning' in the spelling. Just a lack of attention on my part. I've got it right now, Srikalima. Usually a single correction is all I need and I'm good to go from then on.

Baba Rampuri said...

Ram Butler is part of an ancient Wisdom Tradition, not just because he is a disciple of a great yogi who carried on this tradition through his lineage, but because he is a storyteller capable of moving knowledge through time and place. And this is how the tradition works. There are no instruction manuals, the texts are all storybooks! And the storybooks are the stories, some heard, some remembered, but written down. They are all esoteric, for they require commentary.

Ram Maharaj questions himself, "Do you honestly feel true transformation is possible through simply reading words, as in the lessons of your course? Isn’t there some kind of inherent limitation in the written word?"

I'll emphasize his answer in traditional terms. An oral tradition differs from a literate tradition in terms of authority, assigning it to a voice or a chorus of voices rather than a printed text. Gutenberg and the printed press marks the beginning of our Speech of Consumption, as the new mass media has things to sell - first of all, ideas. And, indeed, the very first market pitch was that, yes, true personal transformation from reading printed words was possible - from all the Bibles that were being printed, and thus Bible thumpers were born.
All words whether spoken or written have their limitations without guidance or commentary. But words that are used as a means of selling an idea, however sublime, remain in the speech of consumption, and not in a wisdom tradition.

In a literate tradition, story is frozen on the page. Once the ink dries, nothing may change. There is basically only one Bible sanctioned by the Christian Faith, ok, a couple of versions with somewhat minor variations.

But, the “Ramayana” and “Ramcharitmanas” are only two versions of the many thousands of stories comprising the Story of Ram, and even these two disagree on very major points. Many of the stories have never known ink, and in fact can change from one telling to the next. There are always more details and story trails to discover. This is why storytelling in the oral tradition maintains “living story.”

This is where the significance of words may change. Words may become hooks and signposts. No longer must they remain in their frozen identities.

What I find most impressive about Ram’s blog is that he is storytelling living story that links and connects with other living story in a grand network of the Indian wisdom tradition.

What Ram calls the inherent limitation of the written word, I call its frozen identity, and as long as it remains isolated, it is indeed a major limitation.

Transformation becomes possible through connection, identifying oneself with a greater analogy that sacred ritual, some theater, and storytelling provide. So by simply reading and discarding words, as we do with our other consumer items, no significant transformation will take place, but by using those same words in their expanded potential, with authoritative commentary, and the BLESSINGS of the speaker, in this case, Ram Maharaj, a lot more becomes possible.

I recently wrote the following to Ram: “Good work. You will probably say, "It's just Guru Maharaj working through me." But, of course, and that's just the point. He doesn't work through everyone, but only one or two. That's my experience. He does the choosing.”

I think we are all lucky to have a running daily discourse accessible to many people, capable of connecting us to a wisdom tradition.

D. R. Butler said...

Speaking of Baba Rampuri in my response to SriKalima above, I said, 'He's one of the few I've come across that actually says things I don't expect.'

Now he's gone and proved me true once again.

I hardly know how to respond to the above post, and I'm sure he feels that no response is necessary. It's just...he said so much. Not in quantity, but in quality. People speak on different levels of being, and if you go up a notch you have to hear everything on the corresponding next level, instead of in an ordinary way. If we listen in an ordinary way, we miss the most profound communication.

Over the years I have given many people many things to read over and over again, and now I suppose it is only my karma to have something that I feel I must read many times in order to fully imbibe all he is communicating on the highest levels.

We all have something new to contemplate. Thank Goddess.

Harriette said...

Dear Ram - A question that has persisted for so long: Is this trip necessary? If so why? If not, if all "this" is illusion, why not wake up and return since it seems that's what we'll do anyway. Not that we've ever been "gone". Why hang around to up-grade the game? To move from a bad dream to a good dream, or make the good dream a better dream? We are not the mind or the body (I gather this includes the subtle body). So what is left is the real non-stuff. It is a real puzzlement. Are there answers?

And such gratitude for these precious lessons. The internet . . . . a new way of experiencing the shakti! What an expansion.

Love . . . . Harriette

D. R. Butler said...

I know she will squirm when I say this in public (well, it's just 'us' here, right; none of 'them' would bother to be here) but Harriette is one of the people who generously supports the course on all levels. People like her help to make it all possible.

When I first read her question, I thought, well I could write a whole blog entry on this one. Then I read it again and I thought, I could probably write a whole lesson about this. I just read it a third time, and I feel I could write a whole course exploring all the various aspects of it.

Let me take each question one by one and answer simply and concisely:

'Is this trip necessary? If so why?'

What trip are you referring to? There is no trip. Nothing is happening. It is all a play of Consciousness. The great saint Van Morrison said, 'It ain't why, it just is.'

'If not, if all "this" is illusion, why not wake up and return since it seems that's what we'll do anyway.'

We never went anywhere. There's only here to return to, and we're already here. 'Waking up' is simply realizing that none of it ever happened.

'Why hang around to upgrade the game? To move from a bad dream to a good dream, or make the good dream a better dream?'

Nothing is being upgraded. The game is simply the game, and is created and enacted by Infinite Intelligence. There is no bad dream or good dream. Shakespeare himself said, 'Nothing is either bad or good, but thinking makes it so.'

'We are not the mind or the body (I gather this includes the subtle body). So what is left is the real non-stuff. It is a real puzzlement. Are there answers?'

What is left is what was always already here. We have a physical body for the physical world, a mental body for the mental world, and a subtle body for the subtle world. Yet they are all only vehicles and we are the inner Being. Being never changes, it never becomes anything, and it never contracts or expands. It permeates and pervades the whole at one and the same time.

Our true nature is Consciousness--pure, unmodified, unconditioned, formless Awareness of Being. Everything else is only its play. Relax and know your true and eternal Nature. We live as much in eternity right now as we ever will. Enjoy the Truth of your Being and be peaceful.

Rico said...

I always liked the stories the best. It seems Baba Rampuri has revealed why.

ari said...

What you say resonates within me. That's why I have always been attracted to your writings. It seems like you really have been emphasizing being authentic and releasing your past. Being authentic has really been on the front stage of my practise in the past 6 months. It seems to have really come up for me when a great yogi friend of mine died. There is something very freeing about developing a strong sense of being authentic. Not having any airs, not caring what people think of you. Balanced with a good heart there is no better state to experience.

Chris said...

Ram, I wonder if you've considered doing a Podcast, or a pod-cast version of the lessons?

I recall from workshops way back when that your voice captured so much of the essence of who you are. In fact, my experience of the lessons was quite different after I heard your voice.

It's been years now and your voice has kind of melded with Coleman Barks's voice in my memory, but I remember it is great!

I guess the danger is that folks might listen while driving and drift off into meditation, and maybe drift too far over into the other lane...

There is an interesting podcast I came across called "Chasing Hermes" done by two guys from the Golden Dawn Hermetic tradition, and their podcast inspired me to think that you could do something really awesome in that vein.

jimi said...

Yeah, Rico, I always liked the stories best too. When Ram 1st started up the course again, I thought the lack of stories was a "weakness", but I guess it just took him awhile to get warned up. There is indeed great power in stories.

Anusuya said...

I feel that way about Baba Rampuri's comments too. There are so many layers to contemplate. For me, it seems much of it is too refined for the mind to comprehend, but I keep going back to it, and catch little glimpses. Have been reading his book and know I will be reading it again to digest it more fully.

D. R. Butler said...

Jimi, I'm just getting warmed up.

My next blog will be 'Stories I Could Never Tell.'

Scott Marmorstein said...

After my first visit, my first real visit, with Ram whom I hadn't seen in years, I had an inspiration which I let go of for the time being. It was to write a whole blog about this great being, Ram! I will, I feel, sooner rather than later, write such a blog post about this most excellent Being!

Ram Maharaj... and you know what? That totally suits him. Someone asked me if Ram was more humble than I am after I got back from my visit. I told her, "Ram makes me look like Mr. Arrogance."

Actually, Ram has been so very respectful and gracious with me since I began his Course via email. I lived in the same Ashram where it was available, and both my parents took it for many years. I remember one day Ram came to see my father at our home office and Ram asked me back then if I wasn't interested in his course. I said I wasn't. And truthfully, I really wasn't ready. Back then, of course, I thought I knew something else or knew what he knew and so my arrogance was quite apparent, though not to me.

Later again, Ram asked me to read his newest Course online and I finally agreed, realizing how weak my understanding of things really was. Thank you so much, Ram! I am truly grateful for all our back and forth both here on your blog and in person.

Wildly enough, I feel our Lineage more strongly than ever pouring out of the Earth itself these days. I don't think about stuff very much anymore. When I write, it just pops out like it was written by someone else. So now I know what you mean from direct experience that you learned the lessons of the Course by writing them and reading them!

Jai Ram!

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Holy cow, Ram Maharaj AND Baba Rampuri?
What great blessings are being rained down upon us!
I have told ALL of my students to get the Course, read the blogs by both of you, and to read Babajis book. We are so fortunate!
We meet here in the Hrdaya,, in the cyber-space of the heart, and there is so much potential for magic.
The Universe has sung it's story as us into existence and now it is hearing it's story unfold as we continue to sing the story of our lives. How we choose to sing our story is the beauty, is the gift if we choose to make it so!
Watching the formless in form is the best story EVER and it is eternally shifting and changing. The narrative IS dynamism in itself and we have the key to that unfolding ONLY in the present moment. It is in the Present and only in the present moment that we can sing whatever story we want- a NEW story, a story that is TRUE and uplifting to all, a story free from the stuck grooves with the same old worn out ending. A story that is FRESH.
Did I say how much I love stories- :)

Kristopher Stillwell said...

The traditions of storytelling is all there really is. This is the setting for real transformation. I realized after years of listening to the Guru tell stories that storytelling itself was where I got to be alive in the process. A story is not static. I love how Baba Rampuri articulated this. A story is a living being.

Anonymous said...

amazing how Ram's prompting of how to read Baba Rampuri's comment totally shifted how I read it and my experience of the words. It's amazing the power of our focus. Thanks Ram Maharaji's

seems to me that the stories are meant to free us, and what we need freeing from is also a living entity ?

Colette said...

We all are living into our own story, our descriptions are our story, and we can learn so much about ourselves from the story that we tell ourselves and each other. My heart is touched so deeply by all the words that I hear from all these many seekers and finders of the truth that meet here on our blog. I felt a deep stirring inside me at Baba Rampuri's words they left me filled with a warm sweetness and longing for my own Self

Ralph said...

I think you have written a masterpiece in this blog D.R. Like a great painting that reveals its essence beyond words. Something that we can feel in our hearts that is so true that we can't deny it. A true trail guide to our heart of hearts. I'm feeling the freedom similar to skinny dipping, dropping the robes of socially needing to conform to everyones expectations and just being free to be myself. Salutations Ram!

D. R. Butler said...

Good going Ralph. Just be socially appropriate when the occasion calls for it, and don't get caught with your pants down.

Ralph said...

I think I can pull that off, no pun intended.
Blessings and Love,

D. R. Butler said...

We finally had a chance to see 'Eat, Pray, Love' today. For those who don't know, the ashram mentioned in the book and movie is the same one that Kay and I spent half our adult lives in. It was fun seeing a movie about one person's journey there, and how being there transformed her life. It's a story shared by many, and there could be innumerable movies of all our stories and the miracles we have lived.

CDM said...

My husband, Jack, and I enjoyed the movie. There's even more in the book (for example, the author's unexpected encounters with the guru's guru). Storytelling really does connect us.

D. R. Butler said...

I just received an unpleasant private message on Facebook from a woman expressing disdainfully how much she hasn't enjoyed what I've been writing about lately either here or on Facebook.

Of course, she's never ventured into the world of the course where all the pieces are fit together and the subtle connections and relationships between things come to be seen and understood.

From my perspective, it is all one process: the course, the blog, and Facebook. Each serves its own unique function. Also, each of the three is complete in itself and can be enjoyed without venturing out to the other two. Yet the full impact of what is available is experienced when all three are put together as one.

For me it's all the same writing, the same work, the same creative principle, the same seva, the same offering. It's not that I go into supreme mode when writing the lessons, relative to the other two. The primary thing the course adds is a commitment to your own process, while the blog and Facebook can be enjoyed for what they are without any commitment necessary.

Of course, that commitment to the process--to one's own self-development, to one's sadhana and openness to the absolute Truth wherever it leads us--is huge. The commitment is everything.

No significant progress is possible without commitment. Otherwise we do sadhana when we feel like it and loaf around when we don't. We think positively when we like something, and automatically drift into negative patterns when we don't like something. And of course, all likes and dislikes are of the ego. The Self sees everything equally.

With commitment, we are disciplined enough to relate to everyone--including our loved ones, who often get the brunt of our frustration--with love and respect. Lacking in commitment to the Truth, we justify treating others any old way the ego feels at the time--to hell with the impact it might actually have on them.

(continued in next comment)

D. R. Butler said...

And, don't get me wrong, I'm by no means saying that the course we offer is the only valid form of commitment. Such a statement would be delusion and ludicrous. Commitment to the Truth, to living in the awareness of the Self, takes many forms, as different types of people need different forms to work in. I'm only saying that it takes commitment to take the course.

Going back to the strange message I received, I really had to wonder, if my writings agitated her so much, why on earth did she bother to read them?

I was immediately reminded of the story about the little old lady who called the police to complain that her neighbor was indecently exposing himself. The police came and looked out her window, from which they could see into the neighbor's bathroom. One of the policemen said, "Lady, you can only see him from the waist up. There's nothing illegal about that."

The little old lady retorted indignantly, and with great self-righteousness, "Yes, but if you stand up on this stool here, you're see what I mean."

No one needs to stand on the stool. If what is written here disturbs your inner state, please don't press yourself to read it.

We charge a fee for the course for good reasons, and not because we're being cruel. The primary reason is that we only want those who truly value the lessons, and who will apply the principles presented in them in their own lives, to have access to them.

Everything in the blog and on Facebook is free and open to all, and is of the same high quality as the lessons themselves, as you can see. (tongue in cheek) The difference is that you can read and enjoy all of it without feeling like you're wasting your money if you don't actually apply the principles in your own life. In a sense, this lets you off the hook.

There's a lot of tongue in cheek in my writings. Often I'm writing with a big smile on my face, yet many people tend to take it more seriously than intended. From simply looking at me, one might never imagine how totally non-serious I am.

You might come across some things I write and have a reaction of some sort, and what you don't realize at the time is that it was written to produce that very reaction. The limiting aspects of ego must be exposed before they can be dispelled.

Oh, one thing the woman who sent me the mean message said was that I talk about myself too much. Oops. There I go again. Hope she doesn't see this.

Ekatman said...

I Loved this Blog Entry!

There is something I have been thinking about the course of training: it´s title:

Living in the Truth of the Present Moment.

It tell´s you where to find that truth but it does not tell you what it is...

It pushes you to find it for yourself... and not to put it into words.

I liked that.

But RAM I have always had the suspition that you have achived something.

Something Big

Are you a Siddha?

Someone who has achieved uninterrupted conscious connection with the universal self?

I guess you may say, that I am there too as means to avoid my question. I know I only lack the awareness of it... But are you aware of this truth in yourself.

Because otherewise, Do you channel the course? or Do you speak standing from an enlightened State?

Some of your writtings suggest so, but perhaps that might be subject to interpretation.

I hope my question is not so intrusive, but I guess many of us have the same question...



Colette said...

We are always talking about ourselves and it is ourselves that are listening ,but sometimes we forget and think that it is someone else. One of the things that I value about you Ram is I am absolutely certain that whatever you are saying you are coming from love. I have known you through the lessons for many years. I never felt a need to write because every time the current lesson answered my question of the moment. It is so nice to know that everyone is just as strange as everyone else, that helped to heal my little kid. I now realize that I was fortunate not to be able to hide my strangeness. Any way, with great love and respect to all of you from all of me, Karuna

D. R. Butler said...

Ekatman, that is an interesting question.

Another question at least as interesting is, 'Who' are we asking this question of?

If I should answer, 'Oh Yes, I am indeed an enlightened dude,' that could only be ego laying claim to its own enlightenment.

If I should answer, 'Oh no, not at all, I am far from anything close to actual enlightenment,' once again it's only ego thinking it's a limited, finite, mortal, individual, different and separate from the whole.

So there cannot truthfully be either a yes or no answer to your question.

In a sense, it is presumptuous to assume that there is anyone in there to be questioned in such a way. 'Who' could that be?

Also interesting contemplation is 'who' is asking the question? If we are truly all one, and share the same exact Consciousness or Awareness of Being, then isn't it ultimately only Self asking Self?

The one who will someday be enlightened is already enlightened. All we truly need is to recognize the Truth of our own eternal nature.

The one who is desperately seeking enlightenment is only a figment of our imagination, and the sum total of our programming or conditioning. Enlightenment naturally arises when we realize the one doing the seeking does not actually exist.

All along nothing has existed but pure Consciousness. Everything else that appears to be or to happen is only the play of Consciousness, the drama, the performance, the dance, the leela.

When you rest in your own enlightened state, then for all intents and purposes, everyone is enlightened. Until you rest in your own enlightened state, for all intents and purposes, no one is enlightened.

Therefore be enlightened, for all of us.

Colette-Karuna, thank you for your most beautiful comment. It touches my heart.

Naganath said...

Do you sleep?
Do you dream?
Do you row row row your boat gently down the stream?

Deb said...

Ram's shift in focus has certainly stirred things up.

I'm reminded of our guru saying, "You didn't expect the test to come in this form, did you?"

D. R. Butler said...

"I would not speak of myself so much, if there were anyone else whom I knew as well," ~William Shakespeare

Taylor said...

Thank you for your answer to Ekatman's question. It is very instructive. Your answer gives us more to contemplate than whether one individual is enlightened or not.
I'm thinking that enlightenment is not something that happens to us. I think that we choose it each moment that we choose to be present and this choosing leads to becoming established in that present state.
On the other hand, I've heard that we wake up from this dream just as naturally as we wake up from sleep so maybe it does happen to us! Such a paradox. I know it's beyond the mind - right?!

D. R. Butler said...


D. R. Butler said...

At some point we have a ‘realization’ of our true and eternal nature. Or we ‘recognize’ it – the Doctrine of Self-Recognition. Yet it is not ‘developed’ or ‘attained’—it is already here in all its fullness and glory. The only thing that is developed, through spiritual work, is our degree of awareness of the Truth. Yet the Truth itself remains what it was in the very beginning; it will be the same Truth forever; the Truth is eternally changeless. It is the Truth of the existing moment.

Anonymous said...

I've had a question for a while, and your last comment makes me want to ask it, but I also feel like it's potentially a presumptuous question. So I'm asking it with respect...

When I meditate I feel the Real ME, but in the last few months I can still feel that ME even walking around with my eyes open- Solid, full, open, vast... awareness that feels beyond everything. Is that It? Is that the Truth? (haha like a kid asking: Are we there yet?)

I also wonder if just the fact that there is a question about it shows that "it's not" or that is the "separate me" that questions?

Anonymous said...

Or as Adyashanti might say, the question is not "How do I become enlightened?", but rather, "How, in each moment, am I managing to unenlighten myself?"

Taylor said...

Thank you Ram. I am so happy and grateful that you have a blog. You word things so perfectly and simply that it becomes crystal clear what you are saying and the confusion disappears. Thank you for your patience too in repeating the Truth over and over. Thank God it is sinking in slowly but surely. We are also blessed because when you do repeat the Truth, you use creative ways of saying it each time so that it is always new. May the Truth reign on this day of remembrance of tragedy.


joani said...

i can't believe you got a cranky pants personal message from someone who could just as easily have hit the "navigate away" button. that is hilarious! as was your post about it.

i love that you write about your own journey and experiences, ram. i remember workshops with you many years ago, and those personal stories from back then right this minute make me laugh at loud! not only are they thigh slappingly funny, but they are encouraging, inclusive, engaging and universal. they are STORIES, and like baba rampuri teaches, powerful by virtue of being stories.

and speaking of baba rampuri, he visited our city a few years back and stayed in our guest cottage for several days. you could not hope for better company, more laughter, or more shakti, not to mention incredible, awesome STORIES! even the little critters like lizards, hummingbirds, butterflies, etc would line up on the front porch of his cottage for those stories <3

so please, keep the stories coming!

D. R. Butler said...

SriKalima, the whole point of meditation is to gradually bring that state of meditation into our moment-to-moment life. If it's only something we experience when we sit and close our eyes, then how practically useful can it be?

I've always experienced that my meditation soon became regular life, and as it did my meditation zoomed to something new altogether.

We are always already the Self, and nothing else, whether we believe it or are aware of it or not. It is the mind and ego that questions and doubts. When they come up, don't take them seriously or give them too much attention. Simply recognize them for what they are and allow them to be part of the play without disturbing your inner state.

D. R. Butler said...

Since Scott has now announced it, I will pass the word that Scott Marmorstein's mother, sweet Gitesha, passed away a couple of days ago. Only a short time after enduring his own heart attack at age 30, now he must deal with his mother's passing. What a lot of intense karma in such a short time. He must be being prepared and strengthened for even greater work ahead.

Last time I saw Scott, not long ago, I told him that his mom had such a homey feeling. Every time I went to get some work from his dad, Stu, a Master Chiropractor and the best I've ever known, Gitesha welcomed us as though we were coming home. He said that when he told her this, tears welled up in her eyes. Let's all offer Scott and Stu, and the rest of their beautiful and close-knit family, all our love and support.

Scott Marmorstein said...

My Mom was and still is a Great Being.

She taught me some of my most powerful and effective healing work, from which thousands of people have already benefited greatly, and I am sure thousands more will.

She saw in me the potential to use her gifts for the betterment of those I came in contact with. In India, it is said that your parents are your first gurus, your first real teachers. My Mother really was such a woman, as has my Father been.

I feel tremendous honor in being able to pay that forward, and expand into my own realm of healing awareness. Without my Mom's compassion and wisdom, I wouldn't even be a tenth of the man I am today.

To her this day, I bow with great love.

D. R. Butler said...

Beautiful words from Uddhava.

Today is also his father Stu's birthday.

The poignancy of birth and death in one family.

Love and blessings to each of them.

D. R. Butler said...

When Scott first worked on me, I thought it was Stu. When Stu called the other night, I thought it was Scott. Being with both of them at once would be trippy.

Colette said...

Gitesha was well loved by me and many others and will be with us in our hearts forever.

Bob Dahlstrom said...

Someone Should Start Laughing - By Hafiz

I have a thousand brilliant lies
for the question:
How are You?

I have a thousand brilliant lies
for the question:
What is God?

If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,

If you think that the Sun and the Ocean

Can pass through that tiny opening
called the mouth,

Oh someone should start laughing!

Someone should start wildly laughing --


D. R. Butler said...

That about says it all.

Bob Dahlstrom said...

The Endless Path - By Rumi

On the Endless Path in God
Don't stay in any of the stations,
Don't stay in any station you have won –
Go on! Go on! Desire more and more!
The man who has dropsy can never have enough water.
The Divine Courtyard is the infinite plane;
Leave behind you the place of honor.
What is the real place of honor?
The Path itself.


DR - Thank you for endlessly pointing out the Endless Path

Anusuya said...

There's always something that jumps off the page at me as I print the new lesson. Today it was the Crosby Stills and Nash quote, "Don't let the past remind us of what we are not now." That is key to living with cancer as a chronic disease. Clearly a source of discontent when I allow myself to be think about what was. Without any awareness of this, the present moment is enough.
Unrelated, but my philosophy class seems so shallow and uninformed. Actually it seems like total bs to me after years of being steeped in Eastern Philosophy and exposure to Kashmir Shaivism. It's Philosophy as seen from a Western standpoint and seems to have so little actual basis to back it up.

Steve C. said...

Thanks for the straightforward strength in Lesson 46, and for leaving it unsweetened. The reading of it today coincided nicely (to the minute, really) with developing events in our lives, providing that much needed ongoing perspective of the reality of the present moment.

Chris said...

D.R. I was wondering if you would comment on the relationship and difference between the emotions of sympathy, empathy and compassion.

Is sympathy really an "enabling" emotion? Is compassion really all that different from sympathy?

Dennis Taraporewala said...

Dear Ram,

This is the best interview I have ever read. This is truly how interviews should be. Gratitude and appreciation. It deserves a special place in the akashic scheme of present moments.



D. R. Butler said...

Chris, questions like yours always drive me to my trusty dictionary, as there are such subtle differences between terms such as the ones you bring up.

(I use the dictionary when writing lessons because words often come up that I never heard of or am unsure of their exact meanings, and I want to make sure it's what's supposed to be there. Invariably, it is the perfect word, even the ones I never heard of.)

Sympathy: 'Mutual affinity between individuals in which whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other.'

Empathy: 'Identification with and understanding of another's feelings, situation, and motive.'

Compassion: 'Sympathetic concern for the suffering of another, together with the inclination to give aid or support or to show mercy.'

Did you realize that in the dictionary these three words go backwards?

Contemplating the definitions, you probably can answer your questions well as I, but in my seva of commentator I'll share what comes up for me.

Obviously all three play a large part in human experience. Compassion and empathy are particularly important to develop as essential aspects of sadhana.

A person is truly isolated when he or she cannot feel or understand what another person is going through and the feelings the other is experiencing.

Empathy, as we have seen, is understanding another's feeling, situation, and motive. If we could work on perfecting this, life in general and relationships in particular would be so much grander, greater, and fulfilling. Understanding another's situation and motive is very important in true understanding, but often we fail to grasp these.

Is sympathy really enabling?

Enable: 'To supply with the means, knowledge, or chance to do something. To make possible.'

In these days of drug and alcohol rehabilitation, 'enabling' has taken on a negative connotation, which obviously the dictionary did not intend. In its general current use, 'enabling' is thought of as making it possible for the alcoholic to get more alcohol, or the drug addict to procure more drugs. In an even subtler sense, it is sometimes thought of as turning away and pretending, consciously or subconsciously, not to notice the infraction.

Simply from intuiting what you might have been actually asking, sympathy probably can be enabling. You might even be thinking of it in the sense of one's emotional or mental state, and that being sympathic towards it might encourage the other to maintain or even increase it. So if someone is emotionally or mentally (and when do these not go together?) out of sorts, to be sympathetic with it can be taken to be encouraging it.

To not be sympathetic in this sense is often interpreted as being cold or indifferent or uncaring. However, there are some situations and conditions when, while maintaining deep empathy, it might be best to not show sympathy. Sometimes the best way to help one get over feeling low or thinking negatively is to simply ignore it as much as possible and not get personally involved in any way.

To really do this actually requires discipline, since the other almost invariably takes it as an affront or a refusal to understand.

Is compassion really that different from sympathy? Since compassion is the 'sympathetic concern for the suffering of another,' it would seem they are not actually that different. Perhaps sympathy is more of an understanding of what the other is experiencing or going through, while compassion includes directly showing or expressing that sympathy in some manner.

Hopefully this is helpful.

Kay said...

Hello everyone…it’s Kay…and although you don’t hear from me much unless we correspond through the ‘business’ end of the Course, D.R. keeps me up-to-date by reading aloud in our evening satsangs from Facebook and the blog comments, and I wanted to weigh in on Chris’s question. Chris and I are the oldest and dearest of friends, so I know he won’t mind my putting in my thoughts on the matter.

For many years, with one family member or another, I had a lot of opportunity to learn about issues such as ‘enabling’, ‘codependence’, and compassion vs. pity, etc., so here’s something of what I’ve learned from experience (and from the perspective of the substance-abuse/mental-health field).

First, when my Guru gave me the name of Kunti, the little card he handed me with the name on it said “The personification of compassion,” so I’ve had thirty years since then to contemplate the meaning of that word in my own life. Thanks to the patience of my husband, the lessons, and the guidance of my great Teachers all these years, I now know that the greatest form of compassion is to be able to maintain my own highest inner state in the moment—and as the lessons say, not necessarily THE Highest state, but my own highest possible state in the moment—and from there whoever I’m relating to will have the most possibility of experiencing my truest compassion.

Another thing I’ve learned is that compassion can often take forms (like ‘tough love’) that the person on the other end might not agree is compassionate. And I’ve learned that when the sympathetic, concerned, empathetic feelings for loved ones in distress are not balanced with our own understanding of the perfection of everything just as it is, then the other person can be ‘brought down’ by our concerned feelings rather than uplifted. Or their own patterns can be reinforced (or ‘enabled’) by that pity and concern, rather than helping to open the way to freedom in the moment.

(continued in next comment)

Kay said...

During the years of my (at the time) young son’s worst addictive patterns manifesting, I asked a question of D.R. in a workshop: How can I get out from under this feeling of having to go home and sleep it off every time I’ve been with my son? How can I most help him get through this intense karma without always carrying his pain?

The answer: “You have to learn to see him exactly the way you see everyone else in the world. Then your feelings won’t interfere with your ability to help him uplift himself.”

It’s been a long time since then, so I’ve had a lot of opportunities to practice that advice. I’ve come to experience fully that the person for whom I have loving concern is directly affected by my inner feeling—WHETHER THEY ARE PRESENT OR NOT. That was the hard part to get, but the most important part for me—that whatever I’m feeling in relation to another is picked up on by them on some level, subtle or not so subtle, and it either adds to their own down-pulling tendencies to feel self-pity or it gives them a real shot of inner support.

That bit of knowledge from D.R. is the most important thing I’ve ever learned in relationship—that the other person is affected according to my own feeling in the moment. It has been the one thing that helped me to get out from under my own deeply ‘concerned’ feelings and it has taught me the difference between ‘caring’ for another and CARING too much about what they are going through. In fact, the head counselor at my son’s first rehab center pegged me the first time he saw me. He asked me: “Does the word ‘caretaker’ mean anything to you?”

There’s a lot to be learned about dealing with our loved ones who might be in one kind of trouble or another by contemplating the difference between caring for them in our heart and CARING what kind of karmas they signed on for this time around in order to learn the soul-lessons they came here to learn. The true meaning of Compassion, for me, has grown out of learning to make that distinction.

With lots of love and gratitude to this great community of the Course, and especially to our magnificent tour guide on this trip, the one through whom that Voice comes so naturally and powerfully.

Harriette said...

Dear Ram - Thank you for responding to my question. I read and re-re-read your answer just as I do the lessons. Something has opened up for me about the repetition. The words seem to play with the mind, maybe entertain while the real work goes on behind, between, beyond the words. Your comment in the blog about words being the tip of the iceberg was the trigger. A blessed newbie . . . .

Lesson 23 is rich, rich, rich. And the tears flow. There is such gratitude . . . .

Love, Harriette

Chris said...

Thank you Ram and Kay for your words about the words Sympathy, Empathy and Compassion.

I was actually asking from a bit of detached, intellectual perspective as there is no person or situation I had in mind while asking the question. But now, reading what you have written, I realize that there are a lot of relationships in my life where this subject is important.

And yes, I now see that there is an aspect of Compassion which is an offering to help, where in sympathy and empathy it is not necessarily there. And also that at times the most Compassionate thing to do might be to NOT be sympathetic, as that might really help more than a pat on the back and a "there there".

Kay, your response inspires me to see that built into Compassion is the knowledge and vision of the greatness within us all. So when someone is going through something hard, and we might on one level be sympathetic, to relate to their greatness is going to reinforce that which will carry them through and will not present something that might enable them to wallow in their stuckness, or whatever they are in.

Thank you for your perspectives!

D. R. Butler said...

Excellent perspective yourself, Chris.

"The root of compassion is not empathy, that’s kindness. That’s great, but it is not the ultimate compassion. The ultimate compassion is the act which has the potential to relieve every level of suffering. It relieves the suffering that comes from separateness. The suffering that comes from separateness is relieved only when you are fully present with another person, not when you are separately present."
~~Ram Dass

D. R. Butler said...

Someone sent this to me on Faceboook, and I feel to share it with you here:

DEVOTEE: Are all awakened men Gurus?
ADI DA: No. Guru is not a kind of status. It is a specific function. There are some who awaken, but who simply live, without becoming active as t...he function of Guru. There are others who awaken and do in fact perform that function. Truth, not the "role" of Guru, is the enjoyment of all who are awake.
DEVOTEE: It's hard to figure out from what I have read. In one holy scripture, a "Realized" man wiped out his father, another killed off his whole family. How can such phenomena be explained?
ADI DA: There is a point where one's search becomes inappropriate. This is that point. All of the Scriptures a person reads, all of the remarks and experiences and traditions come to an end when the import of those Scriptures ceases to be academic. In the presence of the Heart, seeking is inappropriate.

It is not any kind of significance, any appearance, any suggestion, any implication of what we see that is the Truth. The traditions say that you can't find the Guru in his actions. In other words, it is not by watching how various people act and speak that you find the Guru. He is always a paradox. His action is a paradox, like the universe itself.

The old texts that talk about realized beings killing others are allegories for spiritual transformations within a man. One of the classic statements of Vedanta is that once a man has realized the Self he could slay a Brahmin and it would not be a sin for him. It wouldn't affect him. All of these statements are simply suggesting or somehow trying to imply the freedom of the Jnani, the Self-Realized man.

So it is that Self, that Reality to which these Scriptures are trying to turn you. If you miss the point, and the Self doesn't become your direction after reading such Scriptures, you are stuck with something you can't understand. You are stuck with something that seems to say what can't be true. So all of these old Scriptures are loaded. There are always two sides. But they only have one purpose, which is to create interest in the Truth, in Realization.

After the interest has been created, the Scriptures have served their purpose. They just serve to move you along and entertain you for a period of time until this whole possibility becomes significant enough that a crisis, a breakdown in your ordinary functioning begins to take place.

And, hopefully, when this crisis begins,
you will also find yourself in the company of a truly Self-Realized man,
one who lives as the Self.

When that contact is made,
all of these suggestive sentences become obsolete.

They lose their function at the point where that meeting takes place.
The more you have accumulated before that moment,
the more there is that becomes obsolete.
And so also the more resistance there is.

Truly, the Self is mad. The Self is unlearned. The appropriate foundation of human life is not an entity, a separate self-sense, an ego, even a soul. Such is not the appropriate foundation for human life. The appropriate foundation for human life is the Heart, the Self. It is utterly mindless, utterly free, uncontained, unqualified.

But, paradoxically, when the Heart is lived, the human being becomes functional, usable, alive, moved. Such a one makes no complicated use of the things an ordinary man uses to survive. Like a child, he moves by delight. He is a man of pleasure, of enjoyment. Like a madman, he learns nothing from life. He doesn't helieve what he sees. He doesn't take it to have any limiting significance.

He throws away all the things that seem to everyone so profound, so serious. He attributes nothing to them. So the Realized man is like a madman and a child.See More

Steve C. said...

That is an exquisite passage Ram, thanks for sharing.

ER said...

Kay I am so very grateful to you for taking the time to write this. You have hit my nail on the head completely precisely! I hardly know you at all bar a couple of emails but I always get this intensely comforting warmth from everything you write, even the standard openings and parting greetings of lessons.

Since my children severed the spiritual umbilical cord through which they were teaching me I have been trying to apply their teachings to other humans and trying to stand on a large glass ball and slipping off every time. At the moment they are the biggest challenge to my spirituality. Not because of anything they do but because all the feelings of universal love, unity, compassion and forgiveness dissappear the moment someone impacts them negatively.

I have been caught unawares twice and allowed their little hearts to get affected by strangers and as I write the fur on my tail stands on end. Only recently and thanks to DR have I managed to control though not extinguish those feelings. At the point where I am I can see completely your Guru's statement. I have to see my children like everyone else but first I have to stop hissing and puffing at everyone else because of them.

For the last three or four years I have been walking around feeling this happy anticipation that everything is wonderful and something even more wonderful is hiding round every corner and every tree to the extent that I have caught myself bending my head to see as one does when playing peek-a-boo. Very very recently I have had this sense of wonder in front of me/in me, not round the corner. I have managed to look at other humans with tenderness and even love.

People totally accidental like someone crossing the street in front of my car. I remember the first person I saw thus a few weeks ago and the feeling took me completely by surprise. It has happened with children before which I suppose is why they always run at me with open arms and I give them a twirly hug (very un-politically correct in my line of business) the moment we see each other. But never with adults.

To conclude my tirade: in this single month you and DR have given me enough homework for....I have found my focal point: see everyone the way I see the people who have seen/made me see the workings of my depths and then I can see my children the way I see everybody. Eternally grateful

D. R. Butler said...

This is my most recent post on my Facebook page: It takes a while for many to realize that the only thing worth seeking or finding in this lifetime is the awareness of our own Truth, our own inner Self. In this awareness of our own Truth arises the greatest love. Once this love arises spontaneously in the heart, we feel that we have found all there is to find in this life. Nothing can add to it or enhance it. It already is all there is.

In the thread someone responded this way, with a question: "Beautiful. It brings such a sigh of relief to read this.

"At the same time it conjures up the question - 'and after the inner Self is found and/or DURING the seeking and finding, one must use their time in a certain way - so what about the ...seeking for our purpose in this life - you know, the purpose that also helps to pay the bills, get our kids to nice schools, etc?'

"That is actually the work I do. I coach people to find their true purpose - the contribution they are meant to make (with the great assistance of their inner guides). I was clearly told that my mission was "to know and seek the truth that lies in the heart of all and share that knowledge with others."

This is my reply: The 'seeking for our purpose in this life' is completely unnecessary. Your particular line of work, for example, didn't it come naturally to you? Did you do anything to seek it out? In my own peculiar seva, I could have never dreamed what I would be doing. The fact that I can communicate with a number of people at once in real time online totally blows my mind. Who could have imagined such a thing? It didn't happen through seeking or trying or even planning.

Things like that just happen, as a natural consequence of our karmic destiny. The primary arena of our life is all set up before we enter the body at the first inhalation. We have a lot of free will within the process of the karmic play, yet we karmically find ourselves with a particular set of circumstances and relationships, and within a certain backdrop on a particular stage upon which the play of our life is performed.

You are perfect for your job . I am sure that many people benefit greatly from you. Yet it comes from your state, not your seeking. As far as paying the bills, educating the kids, etc, simply know in your heart how you want it to be and feel that is it already true. We explore this in detail in the lessons of the course, and I only have room to hint at it here.

Regarding the children, remember that while they are your karma, they also have their own karma, much of it independent from you, and they'll end up wherever they need to be, including the right schools, regardless of anything you do or don't do. I've been amazed watching the development and the lives of my own children, whom you know very well. I couldn't have, through my own efforts, gotten them where they are today. They simply experienced their own karma. Therefore don't take on the responsibility that you need to hold the world on your own shoulders so that everything will work out okay.

Simply relax and watch the perfect unfolding of the play of your life.

D. R. Butler said...

I have written before, both here as well as in the lessons, that it takes the average participant of the course approximately 2 years to fully appreciate the power of reading, rereading, and regularly referring to each current lesson. If you take the course, please be above average in this regard.

It is irrelevant if you have already read a lesson once and feel you are familiar with the contents. The process of the course is not about the words. It is about tuning into a certain space, a certain state, a certain perspective, and a certain attitude and approach to each present moment. In this way true transformation can take place. If the lessons are seen either as an intellectual endeavor or simply something nice to read because it feels good at the time, you are missing out on the true value and power of what is actually available.

From time to time someone writes to say that they have fallen behind in their reading and that they feel they need to take a break from the course until they get caught up with all they have already received. I tend to wait a while before I begin to procrastinate as well, so I understand the tendency perfectly.

Still, my experience and observation over the years has been that it is far better to simply focus on your current lesson, for it offers a portal through which we can re-enter the actuality of the existing moment. It is never a matter of merely 'knowing' what is written in the lessons, in the sense that you could pass a written test on it.

Tonight I received just such a question from someone, and this time I replied this way:

You are 'caught up' simply by reading and referring to your current lesson. The process of the course is not about a lot of reading; it is about living in the Truth of the present moment.

From experience, I would suggest that you continue with your focus on the current lesson, and if you haven't given other lessons your full attention, go back and read them at your own pace. The Shakti of the course lies in our attunement to and alignment with our current lesson, which provides you with exactly what you need to know or understand at this point in your life.

Taking a 'break' from sadhana invariably interrupts the flow, and it can often be challenging to simply get back to where we could currently be. Our spiritual evolution happens whether we consciously participate in it or not, but it goes infinitely faster and is much more enjoyable and fulfilling if we are actually engaged in the process in some day-to-day and moment-by-moment way.

The sadhana of the course includes rereading and regularly referring to the current lesson during the time before the next new lesson arrives. Through doing this we advance as fast as we can individually go, as there is no limit whatsoever.

D. R. Butler said...

Above I quoted from a Facebook exchange with someone I have known for many years, and who actually used to 'babysit' with my children. She now offers a great service in her own work with people.

She found objection to my statement that 'seeking is unnecessary' in the sense that she was using the word. Since I like for all truly relevant exchanges to be available here on the blog, I will quote what I replied to her:

I just read your private message to fully understand where you are coming from. I will reply to it here, as I think a lot of what you wrote in it was for your own clarification. I think a lot of your 'disagreement' is more a matter of semantics than anything else. We do not differ in our philosophies. You quoted me saying, "the seeking for our purpose in life is completely unnecessary" and that "it doesn't happen through seeking, trying or even planning."

When you originally used the word 'seeking' it was in relation to finding your life's work, paying the bills, your kids' schools, etc. It was in this sense that I meant that, ultimately, this kind of seeking is unnecessary, as such things naturally unfold. As I said, in my own case, I could not have planned out or strived toward the life I have been given, nor could I have planned out my children's futures, including the schools they attended, etc, any better than they have worked out. All 3 of them ended up where they are through their own efforts, applying for and earning scholarships, etc.

However, your objection to what I said went off into 'seeking' in terms of sadhana and spiritual unfoldment, and that's not what we were really talking about. If I did not believe in seeking and doing what needs to be done, I would not have been writing lessons of a Course of Training since 1975, nor led all the workshops, classes, programs, and retreats that I offered from 1975-2002. In fact, I invite you to a trail participation in at least the first month of the current course via email. I know you are an old hand with great understanding, yet most people who participate in the course are teachers themselves to some degree, and use it for refinement and tuning into their own highest space, no matter how far along they might be on the path.

I still feel very strongly that at some point we must graduate from 'seekers' to 'finders'. Of course we go on learning; our Guru once told me that she learns something new every day. Still, at some point we must declare ourselves 'finders' and live established in the Truth that exists only in the existing moment. There is nothing else to find.

With great love.

Colette said...

I love what you wrote about your life path unfolding, because that is exactly how it has been for me. My husband who has passed over did not experience it that way. He even admitted to being a little jealous that I did. How it occurs to me is that people get to conceptual about what their life purpose is in the way of work and don't realize that it is not the work they do but who they bring to the work,and what they learn from the work that is important. The learning from my perspective is about the self/Self. Each moment is another petal unfolding, an exciting adventure. With Frea Love and respect to all, Karuna

CDM said...

Dear Ram, In one of my recent lessons you talked about trying to see yourself in a dream--you know, like trying to look at your hand or see yourself in a mirror while you were dreaming. So, I have tried thinking about this before going to sleep at night. I wasn't sure whether or not I had ever really seen myself in a dream. Anyway, a couple of nights ago I did finally see what I thought was myself in a dream. I saw a woman who looked like me, but who was a good bit more beautiful, sophisticated, and refined, sort of an air-brushed version of what I usually see in the mirror when I'm awake. But now I'm not sure what to make of that image, because I wonder who it was who was seeing that version of me. I was hoping to see my Self, the Self, a beautiful and loving light of Consciousness instead of a physical me. Not sure what to make of all this. Ram, can you shed some "light" on this? Am I missing the point of the lesson? I hope this line of thought doesn't sound egotistical or frivolous. I don't intend it to be. My love and respect to you and all fellow journeyers here.

Achla said...

Hello Kay,

I want to thank you for sharing your experience of compassion in your life. It is one of the richest sharings that I have received and contains so much wisdom. I know your words will stay with me and allow me to be a better "caretaker" . So thank you for your sadhana and for allowing it to unfold within you.


mohan said...

A big thanks to Kay for your post. I truly value the wisdom and heart that you have always shown towards me.

I have a question from lesson 2, volume 2, Ram. You say, “...while still ‘feeling your feelings’, never allow a passing feeling to disturb your state.”

Can you elaborate on the mechanics of this? How do we observe the feeling and still feel the feeling and, at the same time maintain a state equanimity?

D. R. Butler said...

CDM says, "A couple of nights ago I did finally see what I thought was myself in a dream. I saw a woman who looked like me, but who was a good bit more beautiful, sophisticated, and refined, sort of an air-brushed version of what I usually see in the mirror when I'm awake. But now I'm not sure what to make of that image, because I wonder who it was who was seeing that version of me. I was hoping to see my Self, the Self, a beautiful and loving light of Consciousness instead of a physical me. Not sure what to make of all this. Ram, can you shed some "light" on this?"

The exercise of remembering yourself in a dream is primarily to exercise our capacity to gently move our focus of awareness from one realm to another, even though, in itself, Awareness eternally remains the same. The waking state, dream state, and deep sleep state all exist right now, concurrently and spontaneously.

Only once we are in form, we forget about the other realms. When we are awake, we forget the dream state and the deep sleep state; while we are dreaming, we forget the waking state and the deep sleep state. When we are in deep sleep, we forget everything.

Pure Awareness, however, exists every bit as much even within that realm of the causal body or deep sleep state; otherwise how could we know when we wake up that we have been experiencing the deep sleep state. Obviously something observes it and then reports to us when we are consciously cognizant again.

This is the answer to your question of who is it that sees that version of you. There is only one Seer, one Knower, one Consciousness, one Awareness that we all share in common. Individually we simply have different perspectives, and we arise from pure Consciousness much like a wave rises from the depths of the ocean. Ultimately, like the wave, we merge back into the depths of the ocean of Consciousness.

It is challenging to begin with seeing yourself as the Light of Consciousness. While incarnated, we are almost exclusively related to the world of form, and should we see ourselves in a dream, we are likely to see ourselves as some form, simply because this is what we are used to and what we at least subconsciously expect.

Of course, the subtle body does have form. Many people have the subtle sight to see subtle forms and processes. The aura, which some see clearly, is an extension or radiation or emanation of the subtle body. Still, we are not nearly bound so much by subtle form as we are by the physical body.

(continued in the next comment.)

D. R. Butler said...

When I first started seeing myself in dreams and meditations, which was sometime back in the early 70's, I would most often see myself as a radiant and beautiful child, and sometimes I saw myself as an extremely handsome and lovable teen. I've never been able to catch myself 'old' in a dream, but perhaps that is because there is nothing in me identified with being old.

The beautiful, refined, air-brushed version is much closer to who you truly are and to your inner Self than you could ever physically manifest. The physical body has limitations, and for as long as it lives and breathes it will also have its own karma, as a certain amount of karma must exist simply to keep the physical body alive.

Our true and eternal form is radiant, brilliant, sparkling, shimmering Light. There is only Consciousness and nothing else. In this state we recognize and know ourselves to be pure, unmodified, undifferentiated Consciousness, without beginning or end.

In subtle form, we are at our best, our highest, our most beautiful, our most open-hearted, and the most real we can be while still related to individuality. We are also always at our peak, as we haven't taken on the limitations of a particular incarnation yet. Our subtle form is not bound by the samskaras that define and determine physical life.

We take incarnations to do what is necessary to break free from those samskaras. Each lifetime, in a sense, is a cycle of purification through which we gradually burn out the remaining karma and break free from all samskaras that have limited us or held us back in any way. This includes the samskaras of aging and illness, as well, as such conditions do not exist in subtle form. They are a physical phenomenon only. When we are free from samskaras, we are truly free, even while in this body.

All this will be explored much more deeply in future lessons of the course. The first two years are primarily to establish a strong foundation from which we can do the work in a way that holds together and does not come apart at the first sign of a challenge. These early sections of the course are also to develop true understanding of what life is and how life actually works. The majority of people incarnated on earth during this current era have no inkling of such things whatsoever, nor any interest in learning about them, nor any openness to even hearing about them should they hear someone speak of them.

Trust and appreciate that beautiful, perfect, air-brushed version of yourself. It contains many hints regarding your true nature, your true character, and who you truly are as an individual soul or spark of God. In this way you gradually come to accept your own beauty, your own purity, your own perfection, your own divinity, and your only true Identity.

D. R. Butler said...

Mohan asks, "Can you elaborate on the mechanics of 'while still feeling your feelings, never allow a passing feeling to disturb your state?' How do we observe the feeling and still feel the feeling and, at the same time maintain a state of equanimity?"

This is another topic that is covered much more fully in the lessons, but we can touch on it here for immediate understanding.

It is possible to do what you ask about because we live on different levels of Being, or different realms, simultaneously, and even whether we are currently incarnated in human form or not.

Our true state of Being is remaining aware of Awareness and conscious of Consciousness. This happens whether we mentally hook up with it or not. Pure Consciousness always exists and always experiences itself as pure Consciousness and nothing else.

The emotions that have the power to disturb our state happen on a much more contracted level of Being, far more dense that the open expansion of pure Consciousness. One day we will have no interest in them and will naturally ignore their remnants as they try to push back into personal consciousness and remind us of themselves: 'Hey, what about me? I have real feelings. Pay attention to me.'

As I have often stated, there is a superflous and superficial realm of thoughts and emotions that happen on their own accord. This particular realm of mental and emotional activity is truly irrelevant to the Truth of the present moment, even though our attention might be occupied by the activities that naturally occur in that realm.

In a certain sense, this realm of superfluous and superficial thoughts and emotions simply comes as an aspect of the incarnation itself; they go along with the body.

As we explore in the course, we can quite easily go beyond this contracted realm simply by redirecting the focus of our attention inward instead of outward. In the sense that we are speaking of them, this realm of contracted thoughts and emotions are considered as outward, as an aspect of the phenomenal world.

Through consciously participating in sadhana, or in one's own spiritual evolution, we more and more become aware of and attuned to the inner Light of Consciousness. This pure Light of Consciousness is so bright that thoughts and emotions cannot be distinguished as anything real. The Light always vanquishes any form of darkness, even the vague forms certain thoughts and emotions take for us.

The realm of feelings will never stop or cease to be. Like the ego itself, it is an existing aspect of the Whole. However, through practice, we can learn to not be grabbed or captured by it, and we easily shake off lower thoughts and emotions like so many droplets of water from a shower. There is no need to be mentally or personally identified with any of them. If fact, this identification is a huge part of our present predicament.

In this way it is very simple to feel your feelings, be aware of them, and yet not allow your inner state to be affected or disturbed by them. This is one thing we are learning to master through the process of participating in the Course of Training via email, as you well know or you wouldn't have even asked the question.

Anonymous said...

How can I see more from the Adi da passage about the Self realized man?

"Heart is still primitive. And it is good that the universities have not yet found a way to teach the Heart and make it civilized. That is the only hope for humanity to survive." osho

Colette said...

I had to laugh when I read my sign of what was meant to be great and turned out to look like a misspelled Free. Love is already wild and free, and I do wish it for all beings.

I love the part of lesson 12 where we get to be NEW IN EACH MOMENT. That is just so wonderfully playful and delightful. What an adventure we are all on. Karuna

D. R. Butler said...

SriKalima, I simply quoted something that was offered on his site. I think it's something like, and you could probably get the correct address, and probably the site as well, simply by trying that one.

I quoted something from him that I liked, as I am open to all teachers' method of presenting Truth and transformation. I quote from a great variety of teachers and traditions, although to me they are all simply different ways of stating the same Truth.

I do not care to put down other teachers in any way. From my perspective, the work happens on many different levels, and each level of person needs a corresponding level of teacher. Having said that, my quoting Adi Da is in no way recommending that anyone seek that particular way.

Adi Da left his body and moved on to the next realm around a year or so ago by our time. Still, he left behind a library of a particular way of teaching for anyone who might benefit from it. In my experience and observation, it is more effective and far safer, if one were to seek or become involved in a particular path, that the Teacher is of the living, embodied variety. There are many reasons for this, but far too many to mention in this comment.

D. R. Butler said...

Colette, I wish there were more like you, your comments are always so beautiful, but I will remain content with one Colette.

Keep being new in each present moment. Stop dragging that draggy past around with you.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Ram, I'll check out that website. In your earlier post you said "see more" at the end so I was curious what you meant. That passage really spoke to me in everyway, I can't wait to read more. Interesting that my post read to you as if I was responding from a negative reaction.. Sorry if it read that way~ thanks & love

D. R. Butler said...

SriKalima, your post did not read to me as though you were responding to a negative reaction at all. I wonder why you would think that. I don't even think of you as a 'negative reaction' sort of person.

rico said...

I've noticed that emotions often arise with no apparent external stimuli. When the emotion is pleasant contentment is usually experienced. But if the emotion is unpleasant the mind kicks in with reasons for the feelings or a search for where this emotional "attack" came from, what's making me feel this way? If I follow the where the mind leads the feeling usually gets stronger. If I ignore the mind the unpleasantness often dissipates in short order.

D. R. Butler said...

Astute observations as always, Rico. This movement of emotions is actually the activity of the subtle body or astral body. We go into this in depth in our course, as you know. Feelings most definitely have a life of their own, relatively speaking.

As explored thoroughly in the course, we can think of the natural progression of the Creative chain from the Universal to the individual as beginning with pure, unmodified and unconditioned Consciousness. From there is a 'link' to higher mind (in Sanskrit, Buddhi), which we recognize consciously as 'intuition.' If we are open and receptive to intuitive guidance, we allow that to gently influence will, which is the next realm, from which we act and move and have our power (either consciously or subconsciously).

Hopefully we apply will to use vigilance in what we think, since thought is creative energy. Either conscious or subconscious application of will directs the conscious mind (manas in Sanskrit), and from there the flow of manifestation goes to the emotional realm (as experienced by the subtle body), and finally from there directly to the physical body. It is quite a chain of events, and the above delineates the flow of creation from the Universal to the individual.

You are absolutely right, when we inexplicably feel good, we don't associate those feelings with patterns of past thought. We might wonder if we unknowingly digested something wonderful or if someone slipped something into our drink, but usually we simply accept such blissful feelings as natural and unrelated to cause. We think, "I feel good today. Must be good vibes in the air." Actually, the 'good vibes' exist within our own subtle network.

When negative emotions come up--which are among the chief obstacles to sadhana or spiritual growth--they are immediately associated with all the samskaras and vasanas we have stored up that we think are the 'cause' of our unrest and discomfort.

Truly speaking, they are exactly the cause of our unrest and discomfort, but not in the way we ordinarily think, which is to 'blame' persons or circumstances. Blame is totally misguided energy and we will do well to be rid of that one, in all its forms and manifestations, as soon as possible. Breaking free from blame introduces more integrity and less perversity in our lives.

For this reason, and the practical point of all this, now that you got me started, is when unpleasant feelings arise, it is VERY IMPORTANT to not attach them to thoughts or memories. Once we do this, we are entangled in its net until we finally manage to break free once again, usually with some help.

If we can refrain from associating the unpleasant feeling with thoughts of any nature, and simply observe the feeling itself--watching it as a vibration along the nervous system--we immediately distance ourselves from it. Once we can simply observe it as a nervous vibration without any reaction to it, we withdraw all power from it and it becomes helpless and impotent right then and there. If we maintain our observation with great vigilance, it will never bother us again.

D. R. Butler said...

The further along we go in life, the more we are faced with the physical loss of family and friends. Someone just wrote to me assuming I might have some experience with people who were nearing their transition to the next world, and asking if I had any advice regarding dealing with this situation. In part, this is my response:

Yes, I have had experience with this; even so it always feels a bit awkward in some sense. Once the sister of a course participant in Monteal called to say that she was actually on her 'deathbed' in the hospital and might not last the night. Before she departed from this world, she wanted to speak to me one last time.

Can you imagine talking on the phone to someone when you both know it will be one of the last dialogues she ever has?

I had known she had cancer for some time. She had brought it up publically in a workshop in Montreal some months earlier, and was mostly troubled by the fact that she was leaving behind four young children, who would soon be in the loving hands of her sister.

When she came on the phone her voice was indeed so weak that you could tell it came from a very deep space and that physically she was 'hanging on by a thread.' Stupidly, I asked, 'How are you?'

She was not without wit. She replied, 'Dead!'

We talked as long as she had the strength to. Mostly I focused on the reality of the subtle body and the subtle world, as this was the realm she was now mostly focused on, and the one she would very quickly be primarily moving into. She was satisfied with our talk, and passed from the body a few hours later.

This contains whatever 'advice' I have to offer on this delicate subject. We know from the start that this physical body will only go so far. This entire incarnation, from the initial inhalation to the final exhalation, is a cycle of karma along the journey of the soul. While we are here, let's focus on spiritual or inward unfoldment. And while enjoying physical life, let's never lose our contact with the underlying subtle reality.

At some point, for all of us, there comes a time when it just doesn't feel worth it, or even the highest focus, to keep persisting in the physical world.

Here I have to inject one of my favorite 'famous last words.' The Swedish playright, Enrique Ibsen, was on his deathbed among family and close friends. One of them said to him, 'Enrique, cheer up, you'll be feeling better in no time,'

'On the contrary,' Ibsen replied, and immediately died.

As far as how to relate to people nearing transition, I would maintain some focus on the reality of the subtle body and the subtle realm, for truly no one is actually going anywhere. It is a natural transition we have all experienced millions of times. They will probably appreciate it, also, if you keep the tone of your dialogue as light as possible. At least, that's the way I would want friends and family to be around me during my last days or hours.

In a larger sense, we are all on our 'deathbeds.' We are each here for only a short while, and we are all in the process of dying right now. Paul said, 'I die daily.' Freedom from this sense of death comes when we rise above the egotistical desire to continue and simply focus on Being.

Bob said...

Tripping Over Joy

What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, "I Surrender!"

Whereas, my dear.
I am afraid you still think

You have a thousand serious moves.


D. R. Butler said...

A Facebook friend shared that she'd had a hard day, including receiving some bad news. I like for all relevant exchanges to be included in the blog, so here is my response:

I hate stuff like that--disappointments and delays and all. It's like our worthy opponent suddenly gets in an unexpectedly effective blow, and we're momentarily stunned. Just keep breathing for a while. As much as possible stay centered in the present moment. Hear the words, 'This, too, shall pass.' A path you haven't yet dreamed of awaits your delightful discovery. The One in charge of Everything is absolutely beneficent. Watch the perfection of your life unfold in the most natural way possible. Relish no longer being in control. Let the details go with their own free flow. Relax, breathe, remember the sun, enjoy.

Anonymous said...

This thread from facebook bugs me: it churns all kinds of rubbish lurking in the deep and rubbish goes in circles but: I still believe all questions have an answer somewhere if I only keep looking so: as a summary of all the wise statements everything always works out perfectly until one involves other people and then one hits wall. My natural answer is monasticism, a solitary sadhu in the depths of the jungle:)Is it possible to conclude this phase in someone else's company? Love

D. R. Butler said...

What thread on Facebook are you referring to? There are many. And what kinds of rubbish does it stir up inside you? Stirring up rubbish is an important aspect of the purification process; otherwise all that rubbish remains stuck and locked up inside us, leading to many unpleasant consequences. It is essential for it to be exposed, and to be seen clearly, before it can be expelled.

Of course it's possible to conclude anything in another's company. Very few of us can actually disappear into the jungle or find a cave somewhere to seclude ourselves in.

A large part of sadhana is coming in full harmony with everyone in our lives. As long as they are our karma, our particular arena of sadhana must happen among them. One thing is for certain--we cannot progress in sadhana as long as we are avoiding others or running from human contact.

Of course it's difficult to focus on the pure inner Self while with others. However, that's a major reason that they are there--to challenge us in the exact ways we need challenging.

Never avoid relationship. Don't chase after one; in fact be relieved if they all fall away. For the great majority of us, howver, there are always others around us to, unknowingly, test and challenge our state.

If we feel we can meditate more deeply or know God more directly if we can avoid contact with others, we are stuck in some deluded state. We are only avoiding our karma, our dharma, and our means toward ultimate freedom if we make efforts to avoid others.

When we see the play of Consciousness equally everywhere and within all beings, we are no longer disturbed by the company of others. Then we see the same Self in everywhere and within everyone.

CDM said...

Taking a break from work to write this. This blog is a great mirror for our day-to-day life. Anonymous ER's comment about the difficulty of relating to other people and D.R.'s compassionate response are both meaningful to me. Earlier this week, I went to a meeting in Washington, DC, as part of my job. On the way there in the train, I listened to some of the music (downloaded on my i-Pod) that D.R. has introduced us to on Facebook. I was practicing seeing everyone on the train as a reflection of the divine. I imagined that the guy from one of the video's D.R. shared on Facebook (the man who engages everyone in uncontrollable laughter on a train or subway car) was with us. Things were going pretty well.

But then, during the actual meeting, I had to interact with others in a less subtle way. I had to converse with them, listen to the informal gossip, and then watch and listen to the more formal PowerPoint presentations. The ego started to edge its way in. When I asked a question, the ego would wonder if I sounded stupid or impressive. By the end of the day I was a bit overwhelmed with conflicting ego-thoughts about what others thought of me and what I thought of them.

On the way home on the train, I tuned in again to the inspiring i-Pod music, smiled, and gazed into fellow passengers' eyes, looking for the Self in all. That calmed me down and began to restore me.

But I realize I have a lot of work to do and "miles to go" before the ego "sleeps."

My sincerest gratitude to you, Ram/D.R. for creating this blog, this amazing exchange among open, loving souls.

Eileen said...

I accidentally wandered back to the August entry and came across "Love is eternal. We are love. We are eternal. All that exists is the Truth of the Present Moment. The trick lies in understanding the fullness of exactly what that means on the very highest, deepest, and most expanded level." This makes me cry. I find that a lot of what you write makes me cry. Your words have a way of tugging at my heart and reading them often feels like I've come home after a long absence. I invariably connect once again with that all-knowing beneficence, which comes through so forcefully through your writing. I immediately feel that I am standing on very safe ground - or lying in a warm, loving, protective womb.
You rock, Ram! I read your words and I know without a doubt that God loves me - why else would He have led me to you?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminders DR and I get the message: "keep quiet and listen...keep quiet and listen". Hope that comes from you not my new antivirus. Antiviral either way. And thank you for the reminder CDM. I had forgotten to do that in the school playground at pick up time when I can easily respect and love adults by seeing them as children. Little things like sitting on their hands or shaking their legs while sitting on a fence and then remember...

Naganath said...

In Lesson 2 Volume 2 it is written: "Pleasant feelings are associated with experiences of the Truth, while unpleasant feelings are characteristic of delusion."
The feeling of physical touch and sexual contact with my lover are some of the most pleasant feelings I have experienced in this life. Although my programming tends to inhibit these feelings from being associated with the Truth. I also realize that the physical world is illusory but are the pleasant physical feelings also illusory, or are they truely associated with the Truth? Are pleasant physical feelings such as these a limitation of the Truth? Or are they as divine as they feel? How does eastern philosophy view human sexuality?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the fb invite to participate here today. Can you speak a little about the guru relationship and why it might be confusing? If you accept someone as your teacher when should you keep personal boundaries so the Maya doesn't get entangled in the teachings or is that part of the whole deal?

Also can you speak about when to be nice to people if they attack you, and when to not take the attack and push back? Ive recently discovered a new personal freedom in expressing myself without worrying about offending others. Several instances have come up where ive offended others while trying to reach out and help them or when I feel free to be myself. It doesn't bother me that I offend them but I also don't feel the sympathy I think they are looking for and sometimes want to laugh, even though I genuinely care about them. But also it seems that the same few attacks have come from people I had background feelings of jealously for in the past, karma? Just let it go?

D. R. Butler said...

Naganath, regarding your last sentence,'How does Eastern philosophy view human sexuality?' I imagine you could find about every view imaginable somewhere in the vast realm of Eastern philosophy. In the East, there is a great tradition of pundants and scholars debating among themselves. Everything that could be agreed with could also, in a slightly varied tradition, be just as easily disagreed with.

So I cannot speak as a representative of 'Eastern philosophy,' as though I am a proponent of Eastern philosophy over Western philosophy. There may or may not be more in Eastern philosophy that coincides with my particular view and experience of the world, but I in no way speak for or represent any particular philosophy. Neither am I considered a scholar by any means.

It is true, however, that the Vijnana Bhairava, a major text of Kashmir Shaivism, states that if we trace any experience under the sun back to its source, we eventually come to an experience of the Self.

From this we see that if we trace the feelings of physical touch and sexual contact back to their source, we experience the Self. Exactly who else would be experiencing any of this anyway?

Anything we experience as human beings is the Self experiencing that as a human being. The Self sees through our eyes, hears through our ears, feels with our skin and nerve-endings, and so forth. There is no separate being to feel or experience anything. There is only the Self experiencing itself in all these varied forms.

The idea that we are someone who can experience something other than the Self is delusional. There is no one like that. There is only the Self and this ongoing play of Consciousness.

D. R. Butler said...

SriKalima, you ask, "Can you speak a little about the guru relationship and why it might be confusing?" lol. With a question like that to begin with, how could you not be confused? The question itself is confusing. It is important to be clear about what you truly want to know. The more clear your question is (to yourself) the more clear will be the answer you receive.

Anyway, the wording of your initial question amused me. Can I explain why something might be confusing? lol

Then you ask, "If you accept someone as your teacher when should you keep personal boundaries so the Maya doesn't get entangled in the teachings or is that part of the whole deal?"

This question is way complex. This, and the rest of what you ask about, are explored extensively in our course. I am very happy that you engage so openly here in the blog as well as on Facebook, but since your questions are so sincere and come from such a genuine space within yourself, I wonder why you resist commitment to the course, which is the underlying basis of all that we discuss here and on Facebook.

In a sense, those who take the course are involved in a whole different dialogue than those that don't. This isn't meant in an elitist way, it's just that the lessons create a certain specific language for exploring certain subtle topics that we could not otherwise approach in any truly transformative way.

I don't want to sound like an advertisement, either. I'm just suggesting you look at whatever holds you back. Is it purely a financial consideration (there is no need to answer this, just look at it) or is it a resistence to commitment? I think it is good that you understand this for yourself.

As for your other questions, using myself as an example--for there is no one else I know quite so well--I no longer allow myself to be in the position of being attacked. No matter what anyone in the world might think they are attacking, I am established in the certainty that they are not attacking me.

Neither am I someone to be offended. Who am I to be offended by something? It is just as bad to take offense as it is to give offense.

(continued in next comment)

D. R. Butler said...

You might still be too caught in the illusion of other people.
You must have read the 'Self-Interview' above. I'd like to share a few selected sentences from it here with you:

Give up the endless desires to impress anyone or to improve anyone. Free yourself from the shackles of conformity. Stop worrying about being good enough for anyone else. You already are all there is. All you lack is this understanding.

Don’t do anything to seek the good opinion of others, to make others like you, or to attract others to you. Otherwise you will only lose yourself and fade into oblivion in the objective world of humanity, thinking you exist yet being only a floating reflection of how others see you.

No one needs to see you except yourself. Others need only to see their own Self. No one will ever understand you except yourself. Others have to understand their own Self.

Anyway, to get back to the question of why it's confusing to have a Guru, you go on to mention 'teacher' and 'personal boundaries' in the same sentence, which rings a bell for me. The Guru Principle, or even 'Teacher tattva,' can only truly be understood or experienced in an impersonal way, and goes beyond 'personal boundaries.' There should never even be a question of confusing or conflicting the two.

Teaching happens now. The teaching happens, the learning happens, the evolution of wisdom happens, the initiation into grander spheres happens, and none of it has anything to do with personal boundaries. Teachings are more significant than teachers. Don't identify the teacher in a personal way. This is one reason I like being some vague, amorphous figure on the Internet that no one has to personally deal with.

Personal karma is its own thing. That is the realm of relationships. Teachers and Gurus are in another realm. You can have a personal relationship with a person, but the only relationship you can have with a teacher or Guru is of a totally impersonal nature.

Renee said...

This course is so interesting! Even when I take a break from reading the lessons, I can't escape seeing things differently. Last night, I was watching King Abdullah II of Jordan on the Daily Show. I kept thinking, "who is this interesting person who doesn't seem at all like a what I think of as a 'king' and how did he wind up with that accent?" I looked up his schooling and it all made sense. I felt like I could see "past conditioning" in action. And like that moment of "Ah ha! Of course this is how he is. This is who he was" I see "Ahhh, and this is how I am, because I drag forward all that I ever was."

Am I making any sense?

Vandita said...

I have a question for you :). In my current lesson you talk about practicing being alone while being with others. This is the way things have been for me for the last few years: When I am outside, I am aware that there are people moving around and there is activity taking place. I don´t even try to focus my attention on them, and I move around with ease. If I want to focus my attention on people, I need to make a huge effort. Sometimes I even think 'hey, I am going to focus on people now...' but then I either forget to do so, or I am able to do it for a second, and then my attention comes back to this general vision of things, it is like a camera that is not really focused on a specific object or body, or person. Of course when someone interacts with me I respond, but this inability to just keep my attention on people in general is interesting to me. I feel very comfortable with it because I don´t care about whatever others might think or whatever I am doing or looking like. Is this what you mean by "practicing being alone while being with others"? Or am I just a weird girl who spends too much time alone?

Scott Marmorstein said...

Even though you have been given everything. Even though you have been shown and told all, still you do not see. Still you ask questions when the answers are already provided. This is the plight of the modern mind. There is a continual agreement and understanding that something good can always be made better. Something 'new' can be heard/understood/felt etc. if we just do x, y, or z.

As long as you are possessed by the mindset of your upbringing and mild exposure to the world, so long you will live with the fear and uncertainty of really 'getting it' as the saying goes.

The problem is not with what is. The only problem is in what you think and believe.

D. R. Butler said...

Vandita, everything you say seems totally normal to me. You are simply observing how your attention is gradually withdrawing from the objective world of humanity and becoming more centered in your own subjective realm within. Deep in your heart you know there's nothing out there, that ultimately it's only a cosmic bowl of nothingness. Also, it's being more focused on the subtle realm and less focused on the physical realm. After a certain point we realize there is nothing we can 'get' or 'obtain' from the outer world, including other people. Gradually we lose interest in the ongoing appearance.

Of course, you remain vital in your own life, you generate and maintain your own enthusiasm for your very valuable work, and you enjoy the play of your own life, but it no longer has anything to do with anyone else. Yes, you are being alone while with others. And there is nothing weird about you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, that was tremendously helpful. Well I've already experienced massive transformations just from the blog & FB and am a little afraid of what it would be like with the course ;)

D. R. Butler said...

I can tell:)

Chris said...

Sri Kalima,

I don't know if this will help you, but in my experience the transformation comes when it is needed and when you are ready for it. If you are reading the blog it'll come through that channel. If you're reading the lessons it'll come through that channel. If you meditate it will come through your meditation. If you're doing nothing to follow you're heart, it'll knock you over and get your attention!

I've been reading Ram's course for over a year now, and for many years in its previous incarnation within our Guru's organization. Just last week, after all of these years, I finally got it. I realized what it was, what it does, what it means for me.

Being attuned to the lessons teaches you many incredible things, but the greater gift is just having the opportunity to be in greater alignment with the dynamic creative power of the universe, that flows in abundance through our friend Ram's work. I feel like when I am in alignment with this power, I am naturally more aligned and receptive to the messages and guidance that the divine sends for me, and I can experience the transformation that I need in a much smoother way, without having to learn my lessons in the hardest way possible.

In this way, the lessons are a great blessing to smooth and facilitate our journey. My perspective, I hope it helps...

Vandita said...

Thank you so much for your answer to my question Ram. You gave me a lot more clarity.

Lots of love, --Vandita

JohnRama said...

I had a dream last night and during it I realized it had to be a dream. In that moment, I remembered to look at my hand and then went to look at myself in a mirror. I decided to "float over to the mirror" and saw myself. What did I see in the mirror? Just a regular guy. Cracks me up! I have done alot of "floating" and "flying around" in my dreams. I remember seeing the guru in a dream once in which she was just walking along with her focus still inward. It really impressed me that the guru is so centered in all the realms and such a real model for me to live by. I am working on becoming humble enough not to want to go "flying around" in this world or the next... :)

Ghayas said...

Just a burst of gratitude I feel like sharing with everyone before it fades. I just fnished reading three pages of my current lesson and I feel so happy ! I'm grateful for this mysterious process of the Course that constantly reminds me of my inner Love and brings me back to the inner center. THANK YOU GOD FOR TAKING THIS FORM IN MY LIFE. LOVE TO YOU ALL. Ghayas

Achla said...

Hello Ram,

Once again I am pitted against my worst samaskara and once again I seem to sea saw with it.
So it takes me considerable effort to believe its just a role this incarnation is playing-because even when I witness it I really feel sorry for “my incarnation”. I am talking about feeling like a victim.
I have the sense that not only has it played out through my entire life, but in previous incarnations as well. And now it has reared up again. This time however I want to play my cards right –so what is the best way that I can handle my feeling of victimization and powerlessness so it never comes back again. I have been trying to dissociate the feeling from any “past or present scenarios” , but the only way I seem to distance myself from it is by engaging myself in activities that can allow me to forget about it- which some call avoidance. It seems to me I am always engaged in a losing battle.
Do you have any suggestions on how I can say a final farewell to these samaskars?

jimi said...

Vandita, Ram is not the Pope, so he is not If weird means "not normal" (which in the common parlance it seems to), then you ARE most certainly weird. And as one very wise person once said, the normal person on this earth is insane, so "weird" can be a very good thing, and I think in your case, it is.
Would love to be "weird" like that.

D. R. Butler said...

Ghayas, expressing his appreciation above, long with his wife Chimene and others, is translating the lessons of the course into French. If anyone knows of anyone interested in a French version of the course, or how to pass the word among French-speaking people, or any ideas on how to market such a course, please let us know.

Vandita has been translating the lessons into Spanish for a long time now, and she maintains the Spanish version of the blog as well as a Spanish version of a D. R. Butler Facebook page (D. R. Butler Espanol.) She is weird, as opposed to normal, just like Jimi says, although no one would think so by seeing her, as she is as beautiful and charming as she is free from the objective realm of humanity.

No one would think Jimi was weird, either, as he rides his motorcycle through the deserts of the American southwest, yet if we only glimpsed what was going on deep within his soul, we'd know the Truth.

Achla, don't be the victim anymore. In order to assume the role of victim, you first have to come up with an external power. The belief in an external power is the first sign of delusion. All power has its source within you. Once you locate it and recognize it within your own Self, you will understand why Truth can only exist in the Subjective realm within.

The victim is totally lost in the world of objective humanity, which is invariably in error. Others are only shadowy reflections unless we give them our own power to use against us, and then we have to project how they will use our own power against us before they have the power to actually affect us in any way.

It is much simpler to locate ALL power within, in the inner Self, where power actually exists right now. This wisdom is the Sun that shines away the 'darkness' of victim-consciousness. You are the inner Sun. In Truth, this is what the Christ referred to when He identified his Self as the 'Sun of God.' Since God's Light exists within us and as us, we are each the 'Sun of God' once we are conscious of the Truth.

Chris said...

In my current lesson you state: "If we actually understood that it is possible to simply ‘forget about’ our unpleasant emotions, there would be an amazing change in our life"

In what way is this different from suppressing emotions? If we are experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one, while this may not be pleasant, it doesn't seem right to just forget about it.

Or in another situation, when I found out my ex-wife was cheating on me, I was very angry with her. The anger wasn't pleasant, but I certainly wasn't going to forget about my anger at her, otherwise I might have stayed longer in that abusive relationship.

Am I missing something about your teaching?

D. R. Butler said...

Chris, yes, you are missing a lot.

Have you gotten to the lesson where you are instructed how to 'forget' something? 'Get,' means 'to procure,' and 'for,' means 'in place of'; so you procure another thought or feeling 'in place of' the thought or feeling you wish to 'forget.'

You can't just push the darkness out of the room. You have to turn on the light. In a sense, you are procuring light to replace the darkness.

Also, the lessons very clearly state how of all the feelings that we absolutely should not suppress or 'stuff,' the two main ones are grief and anger. Suppressing either of these will lead to physical and/or psychological problems in the future.

It's better to grieve until grieving is finished. Grief is not considered a 'negative emotion' in the sense that I use the term in the course.

We have to learn to physically vent anger without directing it toward another person in a personal way. Otherwise we unnecessarily create unwanted karma.

Usually, the course recommends the 'turning on the light' method, and when focusing attention on higher feelings centered in the heart, such as love, compassion, cheerfulness, etc, the lower (negative) emotions fade away, as the darkness fades away when light is introduced.

Achla said...

Hello Ram,

Thank you for your prompt reply.
It’s amazing that I have gone through this lifetime and owned my role fully only now.
I recognize it’s up to me to create what I experience without and it is by choice that I assume the role of a victim. It is the palace of mirrors –and even though I ``knew`` it
I had not owned it.
So now I can choose a lighter role and stay connected to my inner power.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us so generously.

With gratitude,

Anonymous said...


thank you for sharing such a sweet perspective :) I have no doubt taking the Course is top notch help... It's nice to hear your words.

Francis said...

If we work hard can we achieve the goal of sadhana in this life?

Is a topic discussed in the study group



Sukala said...

Dear Francis,

In answer to your question I'll share from this week. For years I've disliked parties. Too much fun I guess. My sister called me on it and after my defenses quieted down, I contemplated our discussion.(Being able to do that is a tangible gift of sadhana.) Contemplation revealed several themes or samskaras, like having expectations, thinking critical thoughts and other ways I limit my joy. (Being able to identify samskaras is another gift of sadhana.)
For the purpose of what happened next, you could say I did the work.
A day or two later I went into the pharmacy and the pharmacist rang in my purchase. He asked me a question and I noticed how carefully I formed my answer to not criticize. (Another gift of doing the work -- change, freedom from a samskara that has been identified.)
Then I told him how I'd thought it was Thurs, but it was Wed, and he shared how he'd had the same experience that day. Lots of laughter followed by a sweet comment about time being mischievous. (Total gift of sadhana, there was no one really there inside to block the spontaneity and joy.)
As I walked down the street there was a lovely sensation of clarity and joy. I focused on this sensation. Within another block, I noticed another sensation, more intense. It was like there was no body, no limit, and there was blissful contentment. My body felt weightless.

I subscribe to the course and after writing about this in my journal this a.m. I went online to receive lesson 35 where I had time to read the practice it contained, to imagine being formless. Cool because this was my experience.
Since beginning sadhana 30 years ago, I often receive this experience, the gift of in-tuned-ness with what matters, with what is real. It helps keep me motivated and grateful.