Saturday, December 4, 2010

How I Stopped Searching for Love and Became What I Was Looking For

I wanted it so badly, even desperately. I’m sure it started at the beginning, but it seems that I first consciously noticed it around the age of 12 or 13. I wanted something, and it was so vague I couldn’t describe or define it, couldn’t capture it in words, and yet it persisted as a mysterious ache in my heart.

It became even stronger as I moved into my teenage years and early 20’s. It had to do with other people. I wanted something from other people. I wanted to be liked; I wanted to be loved; I wanted to be accepted; I wanted to be appreciated; I wanted to be noticed and recognized; I wanted to be respected; I wanted others to want me to be their friend. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

This desire, this inexplicable craving, continued for a long time. At some point in my 20’s I remember talking to an older friend, who was a spiritual teacher in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda, and I told him that sometimes I had this strange emotionally painful feeling of wanting something from someone.

He replied, very wisely I always thought, “Sounds like growing pains to me.”

When he said that, something fell into perspective that actually eliminated that particular pain from my life. I could understand that it was only growing pains. This friend and teacher also encouraged me to see a meditation Master from India who would be visiting Manhattan, where I lived at the time. I did and ended up being with him for the rest of his life.

From this Teacher I learned that our own inner Self is the true source of all that we seek from others. If we want more respect, we need to be more respectful. We especially need to respect our own Self. Respect from others is worthless if we don’t have our own respect.

I also discovered that the source of love is within, and could not possibly lie outside or in another. If we want to be loved, we need to love ourselves. Being loved by others is very unsatisfying and mediocre compared to the fullness of loving ourselves, of being the one to love instead of being the one hoping to be loved by another.

The Buddha once said: You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.

Within the heart exists a great central sun that illuminates the inner and outer world. We can rejuvenate ourselves at any point by visualizing this resplendent sun in our own heart to the degree that we actually see and feel the light.

See the light radiated, feel the warmth emanated, allow yourself to flow into the current of bliss—the pulsations of the divine exaltation within you. Feel the bliss in the heart right now. It is always present. Even when we forget about it, even though we remain unconscious of it, bliss remains. Bliss is an aspect of our eternal nature.

Everything in the outer world is a reflection of the inner world. There is no exception to this whatsoever. There is no reality outside of the one Consciousness we all share simultaneously. This is an essential principle that one day will be so obvious to us we’ll be amazed that maya could be so powerful as to cause us to think there is an outer reality independent from our inner reality.

Our true nature is Light. This physical body is animated and enlivened by a body of Light, which is much more substantial and long-lasting than the physical body. The identification with the body is an aspect of ego, which is an aspect of maya—the 6th tattva where there is a split between subject and object, where the perceiver sees the perceived as different from itself.

Recognizing and appreciating Light to be our true nature, we live in the Truth.

Inner Light is reflected outwardly. It is the Light of Being. This Light has a feeling, and the feeling of Light is love. Light and love pervade and permeate the observable universe, and the unobservable universe as well. Don’t get lost in the darkness of this world.

Live in light. Be one to carry a torch through the darkness, so as to be a light for others as well.

We all share the same inner Light. There is only one Light, and not two or more. Individuals are like beams of the one Light. In one sense they are different from each other, yet in a greater sense they are the same. When we become fully aware of the inner Light that illumines the entire cosmos, we finally experience our unity as well.

At this point we experience oneness on a whole other level. The idea of oneness gradually becomes the experience of Oneness. A wise person lives in the awareness of the Oneness of all things.

However we see or treat someone else, we are actually seeing or treating our own selves that way. After all, the same one, the same Awareness of Being, exists in all other bodies as well as our own. Therefore, however we treat others, we experience the consequences accordingly. All actions and intentions return to us like boomerangs. This is how karma works.

If we do what is possible to help others to be happy and free, we will experience great happiness and freedom ourselves. If we love others, we will experience great love. When we put out our best, the universe returns its best to us. If we give importance and priority to petty matters, petty matters will consume us, and we will lose sight of the inner light and lose touch with our inner love.

More than anything else, the Truth of the present moment is love. Love is the underlying feeling of the inner Self. When we experience God, when we experience pure Consciousness, when we experience the fullness of our own inner Self, our primary experience is that of that most profound love. And that love is felt within the radiance of the inner light. Relaxing into this love and light is the most profound bliss.

When we understand that the true Beloved is our own inner Self, the Light of Consciousness within, which is also the Light of the world, then we stop searching for love and become what we were looking for. The transformation is well worth the journey.

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Scott Marmorstein said...

The transformation is seems to occur in lots of ways. I like the idea of melting into it rather than being crushed up against it until we surrender. But then again, I've been described as a bit of a fighter, so how else would I experience it? This is a beautiful post, and I'm so happy you're home to post and share it with us all.

mohan said...

Since I received my first lesson until now, I continue to be amazed by how much clearer and deeper becomes my understanding of the way of Christ which I've been attempting to walk most of my life. As I read your words, familiar Bible verses come to view in a whole new light, like I'm hearing them for the first time.

I read; “Live in light. Be one to carry a torch through the darkness, so as to be a light for others as well” and I remember “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light.” (Luke 8:16). I've grown up thinking that meant I'm supposed to proselytize and try to “convert” everyone I come in contact with. Now I know this teaching to be a vision thing, an inner experience thing, and awareness thing. If I go through my day thinking anyone needs converting then I confine them to my description in my own awareness and shackle my own experience of the moment thrusting the vessel over my head as it were. Blessings flow, love flows, the light shines as I see it and revel in it within this present moment exactly as it is.

1 John says, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all”and “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him”. Thank you for directing our attention to the Light (instead of any particular dogma).


Sylvia in Colorado said...

Welcome back, Dear Ram! Such good news that your 1st of 2 surgeries went well. There is no doubt in my mind/soul that all of your huge spiritual family, plus your personal family, along with the angels, have been holding you with great love. May your total recovery be speedy and as pain free as possible. May I suggest, don't hesitate to use the pain killers at the 1st sign of pain. The current belief is that pain management helps the healing go better and faster.

I am loving each new lesson even more than the last, and even more than the last course I took all the way through to the end. My Study partner and I were astounding yesterday when, in Volume 2, Lesson 6, neither of us remember EVER learning about the various Upaya categories as you explained them. My partner & I have both taken your last home study course and have been doing sadhana for 35 years. Perhaps we just forgot? or we weren't yet ready to fully absorb this teaching? Regardless...we are so happy! What a treasure! Thank you to the questioner who helped bring you, Ram, to the point of discussing the upayas in more depth. This whole course is one of the greatest treasures on earth, thank to you, Ram, and your Guru/Guide/Channel.
With Great Love, Sylvia

Kay Butler said...

As I read this new entry, every sentence seemed to take some old understanding I’d had, and expand it into something much richer and deeper and more applicable to my own life, to who I am today. I’m seeing things today as new, I’m practicing remembering that I’m not the person I was even yesterday and, therefore, it’s pretty likely no one else would be as they were yesterday either.

I promised myself I’d print out this entry and read it along with my current lessons this month, as I often do, but that this time I’ll consciously read one sentence at a time and pause at the end of each sentence and take a breath, close the eyes, and simply allow the meaning of that sentence to permeate and uplift my understanding, and then go on to the next sentence and do the same. This way I become immersed in the sweetness and the stillness of each sentence.

I’ve always found with D.R.’s writings that each sentence is so packed with meaning and transformation, and focusing on it guides me into my deepest meditation.

Thanks again to all of you for your love and blessings to us during this time of healing and rejuvenation for all. I feel that this entry to the blog is in itself a reflection of a ‘rejuvenation’ going on, on so many levels of my life, and that includes the core foundation of my life, the Course.

Bindu said...

This blog is a true treasure, a meditation. Each sentence is complete within its self, carrying the experience of the words. A perfect "opening" for our D.R group which meets one Thursday morning a month.
What a wonderful surprise to find it here on the blog. I figured you would take at least month off . I am so happy and grateful you are home and felling better. sending much love to you and Kay.
Bindu L.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

I grew up in pretty mystical christian upbringing and one of the main teachings was that God is Divine Love and wisdom. The analogy used was always God is the Sun, that His wisdom is the light..and the divine love is heat.
It is fun to see how many parallels there are from a religion I am no longer involved in. I am so grateful for the seeds I received that continue to bloom through sadhana.
The biggest and most delightful shift taking root is that I AM love and I Am Light. They are no more separate from me than heat and light are separate from the sun!
Love my OWN self, YES melt into THAT...the journey continues!
This post is SOOOOOOO POTENT..It is truly a zip file!
Thank you :)

Ghayas said...

Thank you Ram for this compelling post. "See the light radiated". My current lesson says quite the same, adding that my state would be uplifted forever, once this Light seen. Ram, when I read this, I feel deeply optimistic about myself. My mind wonders: is this experience really possible, attainable, reachable ? Ok, then I keep going, I feel THE meaning of my life: seeing Light, experiencing its feeling of Love and sharing it constantly with every single being at every single second. I want THIS life. I see no other meaning for being here, no other direction to give to my actions and thoughts and efforts. Thank you for inspiring this desire. LOVE, Ghayas.
ps: this Teacher you met in Manhattan and you ended up being with him for the rest of his life, I LONG for more stories about him, and your intercations full of sacred teachings, could you some day write a book about Him (just a suggestion for Christmas time)

Kay Butler said...

Ram is in his room at Mercy Hospital for the night and all is well. Two more stents went into the (left) coronary artery today. It was a particularly grey and cloud-covered day here as we headed toward the hospital in the early afternoon.... Driving into the city on the Scranton Expressway, with the hospital on the hill ahead in the background, a huge beam of white light was shining through the cloud cover--the only light in the sky--and I immediately said, "It's all the blessings and love and Reiki breaking through and shining down!" So much love surrounding the globe and pouring into room 430 of the cardiac ward tonight.
After the procedure, as Ram lay recovering on a gurney in the cath lab, we were told that there wasn't an empty bed in the hospital and that, for the first time in their history, someone (Ram) was going to have to sleep right there in the lab, on the gurney all night. He's a Big Guy (6'4") and his feet stuck out over the end of the narrow gurney. It wasn't a happy thought. A line from my current lesson sprang to mind: "We need to see what about our current life helps us to grow stronger, and to appreciate this life exactly as it is, for in reality it is a divine gift." Within an hour, a room in the cardiac ward became unexpectedly available and before long we were blissfully eating dinner after a long day's fast in this tiny monk's cell of a room, where I left Ram all tucked in for the night an hour ago. Love and gratitude abounds! Kay

Nigel said...

Thanks for including the quotation from the Yoga Vasishtha in Lesson 5. I loved it, especially the text that explained how mental activity and ignorance form a cycle that perpetuates each other.

I had a question about the following line:
Whatever pleases you, affirm that and be firm in that. There is no difference between the two, for Awareness is the same in both.

I am totally lost on what is being said here. What do "two" and "both" refer to, and what do they have to do with Awareness?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

D. R. Butler said...

In my understanding, including the entire quote in context, I think it indicates that there is no real difference between mental activity and ignorance, that the two are ultimately the same.

We are conditioned to feel that mental activity is proof of our intelligence. True intelligence, however, is available only in the space between thoughts. Mental activity, no matter how clever we might believe it to be, is only a manifestation of our ignorance.

There is no Truth in mental activity. Truth is only present in silence and stillness, in which lies the beginning and the end, and where the beginning and the end merge into One.

You are early in the course for such understanding to be intuitively obvious. We have not been conditioned to see or understand things this way. Later on, however, it will not seem strange to you at all, but simply the way it is and the only way it could possibly be.

Never be impressed or swayed by mental activity. It means nothing. The true delight, and true bliss, lies in the space that remains completely free of mental activity. Mental activity is only a contraction of Consciousness. Pure bliss and love live where mental activity is absent.

Colette said...

Ram thank you for this manual for remembering who we all are and who we came here to be. The course is a source of love and joy for me . K.C.

Colette said...

I remember my Dad asking me if i had joined a "cult" when I got involved with my Guru, implying that somehow I must be brainwashed. I replied at the time, "Do you think that you raised me in such a way that I would get involved with a cult?" Perhaps a better answer would of been,"of course, and you have no idea how badly my brain needed washing".Thank you to Ram and the sangham for helping me wash my brain. LOL Karuna

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Hi Ram,
"Even when we forget about it, even though we remain unconscious of it, bliss remains. Bliss is an aspect of our eternal nature. "
This "bliss", I used to "think" was something connected to polarity..something like that overwhelming "in love" feeling you can feel when the Goddess rises within :).
I am beginning to experience bliss as a subtle, steady, unshakable Presence. Like the most subtle humming or vibration that is always there-hahahaha- hard to describe I guess.
It isn't that I don't feel more ecstatic states or even immense states of JOY , but I have noticed that, perhaps by the grace of the Goddess, a steady and quiet awareness of not being "the doer" is nicer on my nervous system LOL!

D. R. Butler said...

Kay did not realize I had answered Nigel's question here, and responded to him by email. I feel her answer is a totally different perspective that eventually ends up in the same space, and that it will be an addition to our blog to include Kay's comments to his question here:

Your question was a good one. In your lesson, the sage says: 'Differentiated consciousness is bondage; liberation is its absence. Whatever pleases you, affirm that and be firm in that. There is no difference between the two, for Awareness is the same in both.'

So 'two' and 'both' refers to 'differentiated consciousness (bondage)' and 'liberation' (the 'absence' of bondage). There is no difference between the two, because both are included in the Play of Consciousness and 'Awareness is the same in both'. In other words, Awareness doesn't differentiate between liberation and bondage (or anything else); only the mind makes those differentiations.

Hope this is helpful...that quote is so rich and includes so much wisdom, and I encourage you to read it sentence by sentence, again and again. Thank you for the opportunity to revisit it again today.

With love,

D. R. Butler said...

Sometimes I respond to things on Facebook, and I realize that everyone who comes here does not necessarily go there. Here are a couple of comments I wrote there recently that I feel to include in the blog:

Simply being real is such an essential aspect of inner development. Eventually we realize there is nothing to live up to and no one to impress with our propriety. We can simply relax and know we live in a benevolent universe, with higher powers looking out for our best interests, even if we are consciously oblivious to them. When we fully grasp this, a great humility arises from the heart, and we experience our at-one-ment with universal Consciousness.

It is very easy to recognize a question from someone who doesn't take the course. Why would we live contrary to our inner feelings, which are our connection to intuitive guidance? I imagine the body would become crippled inside, and that spiritual development would be greatly hindered, as an essential aspect of spiritual development is learning to live intuitively, according to our own innermost feelings. Wisdom arises from within and has no external source. We are on a journey of integrating the mind with the heart. Ultimately inner guidance is all we can truly trust.

Ghayas said...

Dear Ram,
My current lesson speaks about the light simultaneously present,permeating all realms of existence and that it is all a matter of how we focus our attention.
Is it really up to me, to decide to "see" this permeating light or does the experience has somehow to come from above, as a prasad ? If it is up to me, what should I do to see it then ?
Also, is it normal that I dread (especially in meditation) at the same time that I long for this experience and vision ?
Love, Ghayas

Anonymous said...

Just when I think there couldn't be anything else "new" to learn about the spiritual journey, i get the next lesson and each one blows my mind - i get a deeper understanding than ever before. The course gives me the focus
i need to grow on a daily basis, a minute-to-minute basis really. From reading lesson 29, my new focus is to remain as unaffected as possible, to remain steady, peaceful and know that everything will be alright. It's a type of giving up control that has caused so much stress in my life. I am ready to direct my will in this new way. Thank you so much D.R. and Kay!!!

D. R. Butler said...

The Self, or pure Consciousness, is Self-luminous. You don't have to strive to 'see the light' because there is nothing separate from the Light to see it. You can simply understand that it is what enables you to see whatever is seen. You can also understand it as the Seer of all that is seen and the Knower of all that is known.

Bob Dahl said...

The focus on actually living your priories in the current lessons is very hard to do, at least for me. I saw a quote today that sums it up for me; "To see far is one thing; going there is another." ~ Constantin Brancusi.

Wishing everyone a beautiful and love filled Christmas and Holiday Season.

Peace and Love,

Anonymous said...

My favorite auto mechanic inherited $500,000. I've been comparing that to spiritual liberation. I'm like Dhruva who asked God that he be raised the the rank of Indra. He could have asked for that same liberation. I'm not sure why he didn't. His ego, no doubt, or the mind. I wonder if there is really a difference between the two.

D. R. Butler said...

Bob, I agree, to focus on living according to our true priorities is very difficult. Most people don't care to even make the effort, rationalizing that it isn't of real importance so why bother?

This is why several lessons are dedicated to this subject alone, because the mind and ego have such a great resistance to our even considering making any true effort to live according to our own heart. Therefore most simply continue all their old habits and tendencies, despite their good intentions.

There is nothing easy about it. The only way it is even possible is to do it now, in the present moment. If we live according to our established priorities for a greater life in only this moment, and then the next moment, when it is 'now,' the future will take care of itself. If we only think about doing it in the future, we will never do it.

Anonymous, there is definitely a difference between the ego and the mind. Their individual features are explored in depth in the lessons of the course. It is very difficult to do sadhana without a fundamental understanding of the exact roles of the ego and the mind in our life.

They do work in tandem, and all of sadhana is primarily the purification of the ego and mind, yet it is not helpful to consider them as the same, except in the sense that everything is the same.

John Rama said...

Once, I had a dream of being with my three sisters talking together in the living room. Our mother was preparing a meal in the kitchen. My older sister, Vicki, who was a Reiki Master and who has since passed, asked whether I thought we were really together or whether we were having a dream. I looked within and felt myself just like when I am awake and then looked in the kitchen and saw my mother, who had passed many years earlier. Remembering her passing, I responded "We are dreaming" all the while having the same feeling in the dream that I did when I was awake - that everything feels real because I feel real.

In the dream, I suddenly felt tired and told my sisters that I was going to lay down and take a nap. The instant that I layed down on the couch and closed my eyes, I travelled through a tunnel, never losing consciousness, and re-entered my body. When I re-entered, my body jolted upon "impact" so-to-speak.

Ever since then I have tried to see the waking state as similar to the subtle state where dreams occur. Maybe if I just don't give the feeling that "this world feels real" any credence, I will make the natural shift from ego to Self? More recently, I knew I was dreaming and began to play with it. When I woke up. I didn't feel small and insignificant as was my usual perspective. Maybe "waking up" from individuality is as simple as having the conscious intent and will to do so?


-John Rama

D. R. Butler said...

What an interesting and profound dream, John. It is great that you are experiencing the blending of the waking and subtle states. That in us which is true and lasting remains the same in both states, and never fluctuates in the least. Truly identifying with inner Awareness as our real and eternal Identity is 'waking up from individuality.' And yes, having the conscious intent and will to do so is a tremendous aid in doing so.

Sukala said...

Ram, I like hearing about the inner hide-and-seek and one's path to discovery. Then we need solutions and reminders for times of forgetfulness and pain. In my current lesson two solutions are offered - gratitude and contentment. I've been practicing gratitude for some time now as the antidote to negativity. More recently, I've been practicing cheerfulness. What strikes me is how, the more cheerful I become, the more quickly I recognize the negativity. Just thinking, 'that's not me' opens me up to making the decision to choose gratitude which then makes it easy to choose cheerfulness. In this way there is always a new fresh, inspired beginning. Thanks for the support and wisdom of the course!

paulmcd said...

I greatly appreciate this post. Learning how to love yourself is not an easy task...

Thank you.


Ghayas said...

Thank You Ram for your answer to "Seeing the Light". (dec 16th).
I guess my mind won't really get it --Who is seeing who --, and that's perfectly fine. It does not have to get anything anyways. I just need to breathe, and come back to the moment, again and mind could keep barking, the caravan of moments is still passing.
Happy 2011, Ram, Kay, and all the community of the Course !!! May we all experience more and more, the simplicity of each divine moment, the joy of breathing, of walking and sitting, with Love, Gratitude for Being, and Generosity with each other.
Thank You Ram for all what you are offering. The rediscovery of the Course was THE HIGHLIGHT of my 2010.
Love and gratitude, Ghayas

D. R. Butler said...

It is an honor to share the onset of 1/1/11 with you. It is a special occurance that will never happen again in the history of the world. Thanks for meeting with us here.

The January entry of the blog will be posted by January 4.

Love from D. R. and Kay.

Colette said...

I just had an aha moment reading the part in lesson 18. I am actually creating myself as I am each moment and I could be anyone I want. It is such a liberating feeling to discover this once again, afresh anew. Wow! I could even be no one in particular and see what arises in my infinite Self/self. Love and blessing to all this grace filled day. Karuna
P.S. My word today was siddlets and that made me laugh.