Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Precious Holiday Gift Especially For You

My mind is trying to accept that it is already December.  Not only that, it is the last month of 2011.  The year will soon be gone, finished, over with forever.  We’ll refer to it as ‘Hey, remember what happened back in ’11?’  Coming soon is…ta! ta!…2012—the year of destined great changes that affect all.
Actually, from our own individual perspective, the primary thing that matters, isn't it, is how we and our loved ones are affected.  This is only natural.  And the very best part is, it is an infallible and immutable truth that we have the power to determine in advance how any situation will affect us.
We do not have the power to determine what happens to us.  Whatever happens to us is determined by karma.  However, thankfully, karma has no power over what happens in us.    This is determined wholly by us alone in the present moment.
The trouble is that most people fail to recognize that they actually possess this power, and when we do not actually exercise our God-given free will, our perception and experience is determined by whatever patterns and tendencies we habitually live by. 
In each new moment the universe presents us a completely clean slate to begin from.  If we chose to, and exercised appropriate will power, we could create a beautiful new reality right here and now.  Instead, we habitually bring the past over and superimpose it upon the present.  This way, we never consciously realize we could easily change something if we simply used our innate and inherent power to determine our own intention--something new, more expanded, and more pleasant than before--along with the will power necessary to implement it.
It is all so simple.  Yet, while knowing this and agreeing with it wholeheartedly, we rarely are conscious enough of what we are doing and thinking in the present moment to ever apply the principle in any practical way.
Yesterday on Facebook I posted, ‘Many people who come here think they already know that they create their own personal reality through the activity of their mind.  They have accepted as a fact that thoughts are creative energy.  Yet, few actually practice the principle in a practical way in their own daily life, and continue to deal with obstacles and problems that they create in their own mind, and then wonder why things are going so badly.
I have been formally or officially communicating principles of Truth since 1975, and I began my studies and practice in 1960.  Since then, I have seen and heard a lot.  I have had the good fortune to know firsthand how the sadhana of many different kinds of people was going.  I learned about people through what people openly and honestly shared with me over the years.  I thank God every day for the great fortune of coming across and getting to know so many great people.
One of the primary things I have learned about people is that all of us are much more alike than most of us would ever think we are.  Over the years I have had the opportunity to stay with many people of various types and lifestyles, including all areas of America and while leading weekend workshops in five other countries as well.
And I have seen beyond all doubt that we are all very much the same.  We might look different, we might dress differently, we might be of various colors and cultures, yet fundamentally all human individuals are basically the same inside.  Even the fact that we have such variant karmic conditions and situations to live in, such as one person is wealthy and famous, while another is a taxi driver, does not mean much at all in the grand scheme of things. 
Each person only experiences what in going on in his or her consciousness, which is determined by the thoughts the individual is focusing his or her attention on at the time.  There is no existing exception to this whatsoever.
If I could give each person who reads this a holiday gift—and I would dearly love to—I would give them the gift of knowing that they create their own personal reality, from one moment to the next, by their habitual thoughts and predominant mental attitude.  This is truly the Secret of the Ages.  There is no greater knowledge than this anywhere.
Many who see themselves as ‘spiritual people,’ which we discussed in depth in the previous (November) blog entry, look down on the teaching that thought is creative.  They say it is only an ego-trap to go around making any attempt to create a greater life or to transform our own state, which includes our vision and experience from moment to moment. 
Instead, they practice more advanced avenues of sadhana, such as focus on devotion to whatever they consider to be their higher Power, sacrifice, surrender, seva (selfless service), kirtan (chanting in Sanskrit), mantra-repetition, performing rituals, hatha yoga, meditation, showing up at spiritual gatherings (satsang),  and so on and on—whatever we do to try to get to wherever we think we’re going.
There is nothing whatsoever wrong with any of these practices.  They are all divine and have profoundly beneficial effects on those who practice them.  In fact I myself have practiced each of them at some point or another, many of them over long periods of time, otherwise I wouldn’t even know what I was talking about.  They are all very valuable practices, and they each serve a great function for anyone who openly and sincerely practices them. 
I will never put down another person’s practice or tradition.  All types are required, and each type serves its own function.  Different people are open to principles of Truth in different ways.  Many who have experienced many paths and methods have found our Course of Training, for example, to be perfect and ‘form-fitting’ for exactly what is needed in this present moment.  For other people, the lessons of the course would in no way be relevant or even sensible.  They would require a different type of path.
There is a path for everyone, and it is important that we find our own path and never try to do another’s path.  The Bhagavad Gita says, ‘It is better to do one’s own dharma imperfectly than to do another’s dharma perfectly.’  The paths of Gurdjieff and of Krishnamurti, for example, are completely divergent, yet at the end of each is the same goal or endgame.  Ramana Maharshi was very different from Ramakrishna, and neither of them were anything like the Buddha.  Yet they have all created or transmitted authentic paths for attaining knowledge of the Self, and even more so, the experience of the Self. 
A true teaching does not simply impart information.  A true teaching carries with it a certain energy or power or Shakti that enables the open and sincere student to actually experience the understanding inherent in the teaching in an experiential way, and not simply as theoretical knowledge.
No matter how ‘advanced’ we become in our sadhana, it still remains a Truth that what we think is what we get.  What good does it do to meditate 20 years if we’re still going to think about what we don’t want, hardly ever focusing on what is actually preferred.  If we’re going to indulge in unpleasant feelings when they could be replaced naturally and easily simply by changing the focus of our attention, what is the point of spiritual practices? 
It is the ‘elementary, basic’ principle that everyone seems to know but few actually practice in practical ways in everyday, daily life.
Once again, my gift to you this holiday season is the reminder of what you already know, although the significance of your knowledge is much more profound that you might ordinarily think:  Thought is creative energy in motion, a cause of an eventual effect corresponding to the nature of the thought that caused it. 
This is the way the world works.  The great text, the ‘Yoga Vasishtha,’ which explains everything about how the universe works and how the Universal becomes the individual, is basically transmitting this simple Knowledge over and over in many different ways—which is the only way it can truly be communicated or learned.
The Truth cannot be imbibed merely by agreeing with it.  Sadhana is becoming so attuned to and aligned with the Truth that we finally realize that we ARE the Truth.
We are what we think,
having become what we thought.
Like the wheel following the cart pulling ox,
Sorrow follows an evil thought.
And joy follows a pure thought,
like a shadow faithfully tailing a man.
We are what we think, having become what we thought.
~~The Dhammapada (believed to have been written by the Buddha)
We have space for a couple of exchanges from last month’s comments.  I truly recommend reading through them.  The heart of the blog is the comments, not the entries.  I look forward to the comments that will come in this month as well, and to interacting with you.  Now I’ll post my responses to a couple of recent questions relevant to this blog entry.
Chris, there is no directive in the course to use creative power to change anything about your life, especially if it is perfect as it is and you have no desire to change anything.
That principle is only for people who are displeased with some aspect of how their life is currently manifesting, and who need to know the principle for the transformation of some condition or situation to something that is more helpful and dharmic—or what is for the good of all, which is in truth the primary aspect of dharma.
If you see everything as perfect all the time, then you can think whatever you want all you like. Or you might not think at all, who knows?
Of course all feelings serve various functions and purposes. This is explored with great clarity in the lessons of the course. Fear has a purpose, anger has a purpose. However, some people have the misfortune of fear and/or anger imposing themselves upon them unnaturally, and experiencing fear and anger when it is totally unnecessary and serves no purpose other than to bring them down to a more fearful and contracted state.
The principle deals with the unwanted and unnecessary fear and anger, not the useful and necessary kind.
When reading the lessons, it is important to read everything in the context in which it is presented, as well as seeing each statement or contemplation from the highest or most expanded perspective possible. Perspective is everything when it comes to how we see what.
Chris was not satisfied.  He wrote back to say, , 'My whole personal beef with the whole "creating your own reality" thing is that it could be used as an ego trip.'
Neither of us knew at the time was that this would be the inspiration for the current blog entry.  I responded:
I truly understand your 'conflict' with the 'creating your own reality' thing. It sounds like a lot of other things that have left a bad impression on some, like 'The Secret,' for example, which many people liked a great deal, but which many didn't, for the same reasons you bring up yourself--that it wasn't really the highest approach to spiritual development.
Here is the reason I present the principle in the early part of the course: We use this Creative Power all the time anyway, only we do it subconsciously, according to conditioned patterns—which are primarily and persistently thinking about and creating the very things we do not want and which do not serve us or anyone around us in any positive way.
Since we use this power anyway to create all our troubles and obstacles in life, why not be conscious of it and its true potential? Truly, most people are totally unconscious of the principle, even though they unknowingly use it to create their own personal life, including all that is difficult about it.
If you create your reality through what you predominantly think, don't you want to know about it?  Don’t you prefer to actually know what you are doing?
The first year or two of the course, while presenting the highest principles of the Truth of Being right from the beginning, also focus on helping us to get our physical lives in order, so that we can enjoy harmony and prosperity in daily life.  Only then are we truly ready, open, and receptive to delve into deeper principles.  
We can't be committed to our own spiritual path if we are constantly distracted by egotistical melodramas in the mind, which result in a disorderly and largely dysfunctional life.
As mentioned, everything is revealed from the beginning. Nothing is held back for later. It's just that, two years after first reading Lesson 1, you go back and read it anew and you are amazed at all that is in there that you didn't even notice the first time through. This is because your awareness is now awakened and expanded to such a degree that you can literally see things that you once just couldn't bring into your consciousness.  A greater clarity arises—which we know as ‘The Evolution of Wisdom,' which is an early section of the course that explores much that must be understood before true progress is possible.
Basically, it is that everything we know and understand can be known and understood on a more expanded level. That is why the course is not about ‘presenting new information.’  There is no new information available anywhere, unless you are interested in scholarly pursuits. 
The course is about the generation and reception of an elevating energy that expands our perspective from the inside, and presents us with an entirely new vision and experience of life.  Of course, this can neither be truly comprehended or accepted without the actual experience of the course.  This is why Lesson 1 is freely available to anyone who requests it.
Enjoy your holidays.

 For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email—along with a free Lesson 1 so that you can experience what happens for yourself—write:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Eternal Serenity of All Things

Not long ago someone said to me, ‘So these are the things I need to focus on to get my life more on track.’  And she started listing all these complicated and irrelevant things that she was going to keep in mind to do, so that her life would generally be better.

I finally interrupted her and said, ‘Please forget all of that, for none of it will do you any good whatsoever.  All you have to focus on is the eternal serenity of all things.’

We make things so complicated and difficult for ourselves.  Sometimes we wonder why life seems so hard, never realizing that we ourselves are the one making it hard.  If we changed our attitude, our approach, our perspective of things, and our thoughts and feelings about whatever is happening, everything would be so much lighter, so much more fun.

All we need to focus on is the eternal serenity of all things.  Nothing is going wrong anywhere.  Nothing bad is happening to anyone.  I know that it appears that such things are happening, but maya is very powerful and very convincing, and things are not as they appear to be.  

Focus on the eternal serenity of all things.

Thank you for your great responses to the special blog entry posted about a week ago.  It has already broken the old record for number of comments following a blog entry that was originally set following the entry of July, 2010, and it has only taken a few days. 

My heart soared when I saw so many writing to say that they never realized how much uplifting activity was going on here, and how such a great feeling of community was in the comments, and promising to make a more regular stop here to keep up with and possibly interact with the others in the blog comments.  I was extremely happy and grateful that you had truly ‘heard’ the message in that special entry, and if you haven’t yet seen it, especially if you participate in the Course of Training, please read the previous entry and all the great comments following it as well.

There have been some excellent Q&A exchanges in the comments recently, and some of them are good enough that they deserve a more prominent presentation, so that others can have easier access to them.  If you have already read them, please be assured that reading them again will be surprisingly beneficial.  Also, I have enhanced the answers for this blog entry.
Rico:  'How do you know what you see in another is actually there and not just a projection or a reflection?'

DRB:  Good question. If you see something in another that is actually there, you simply notice it, but you have no feelings about it. There is no emotional charge. For example, you see a black cat, and you acknowledge that the cat is black. It's a simple fact and you have no feelings about it either way.

If you are projecting or seeing reflections, you almost always have corresponding emotional reactions. You might not like it; something about it might bother you; you might have an intense fear of or aversion toward it; you might tend to be defensive and to make wrong and be right. All these things come up with a projection or reflections.

Something about what we are seeing feels off to us. What is off is that we don't recognize that it is our own projection, or a reflection of something we don't want to acknowledge and accept about ourselves.

Anonymous asks how walking and sitting can be spiritual practices. Here is something very important to understand about my approach to sadhana: everything is equally a spiritual practice. Truly, what is not a spiritual practice? It all depends on the consciousness brought to it.

I can sit in meditation and think of all kinds of worldly things. I can go to a movie and experience deep meditation.  So which is the true spiritual practice?

Walking and sitting are both ways to meditate. Why sit or walk if you are not going to meditate? This doesn't mean you have to walk with your eyes closed. Practice open-eyed meditation. This doesn't mean you have to ignore others during conversation. If you can't meditate while you're talking to another, then what's the point of meditating at all?

Everything is a spiritual practice. Simply carrying around this corpse waiting to happen is a spiritual practice. It simply depends on how you are directing attention.

All this, of course, is explored fully in the Course of Training.
Scott Uddhava Marmorstein—healer, personal guide, writer, and teacher, whose website is—wrote in several questions, including an observation about ‘spiritual people.’  This was my reply:

Excellent post, Scott. A lot to chew on there.

One question I have: Who are the 'spiritual people?' What distinguishes them from unspiritual people, or from just regular people? If we were around certain people whom I consider to be the most 'spiritual' of all, there might not be anything about them that anyone would consider 'spiritual' in the least. In fact, from appearances I doubt that anyone just seeing me or being around me might categorize me as 'spiritual' in any way whatsoever. So I truly wonder what a 'spiritual person' is.

As far as who gets what, aside from karma, it is extraordinarily simple, whether one is in the least bit 'spiritual' or not. When, as you say, 'someone wants something with a fervor,' they are obviously conscious of lack, of not having it—otherwise there would be no fervor to get it.

We don't get what we want. We get what we are conscious of having.

Even the most subtle desire is the consciousness of lack—of not having what is desired. This repels any opportunity we might have of ever getting it. To 'get' something—and personally I prefer to be cheerful with what comes unsought—we must affirm its existence, at least in subtle form, which will invariably be reflected physically if we have enough emotional intensity to feel it into existence.

If we are conscious of already having something, there is nothing that can prevent us from having it. If we are conscious of not having something, there is nothing that can make it possible for us to have it.

Regarding the 'spiritual people,' a lot of people can read a few books or articles on the Internet and pick up a bit of knowledge and think they have become 'spiritual' as a result. Or they might even attend a few yoga classes or meditation classes, learn how to chant in Sanskrit, and go on to practice these things at home on their own. They can do excellent hatha yoga postures, meditate for hours without breathing, repeat a mantra, either out loud or silently, burn incense from the local center or ashram, put up some pictures of saints, wear yoga clothes, dress in white, grow or cut their hair, change their diet and lifestyle, give up their pleasures, wake up in the middle of the night to do their practices before the day begins, and speak glowingly of the fruits of their practice to others.

Yet they know nothing of the creative nature of thought, do nothing to change thought patterns to be more uplifting and cheerful, or to do whatever is necessary to be in harmony with others at all times, or KNOW that their income is commensurate with their degree of CONSCIOUSNESS of wealth or poverty—which alone is the determining factor.

Just because one is a 'spiritual person' means nothing in regards to how proficiently they function in the world, or their capacity to generate an income that actually meets all their needs and more, which is easily possible if a person actually learns to think for himself instead of being a slave to past conditioning.

This is why we have a Course of Training. We can learn how to live in complete freedom and contentment whether we are 'spiritual people' or not.

Scott chimed in again with this:  ‘You say to KNOW that you have everything at least in subtle form. I can at best 'know about' it (intellectually) but it does not equate to a FEELING as though what I KNOW is true. How to KNOW something that doesn't yet exist even in my feeling? Is that truly Creation? For example, I can know all about India, but it doesn't make me Indian. I can know all about money, but it doesn't mean I know I have it. I recognize that this is a global samskara for many, especially when one simply looks to our national economy, it is a reflection of the poverty consciousness at large.  How is it possible to know something you don't really know? Or does one address whatever is resistant or unbelieving in the first place before the other can take root?’

I answered:  It's not about knowing 'about' anything, like about India and about money and the other examples you mentioned.

You said, 'You say to KNOW that you have everything at least in subtle form.'

Then you went on to ignore the principle in several different ways. It's so challenging to truly understand a simple sentence, a simple principle of Truth.  You, of all people, are skipping over the part about 'in subtle form' almost as though you don't recognize the significance of the words.

Can you visualize a candle flame, or a rose, in your 'mind's eye'? I imagine that you can do this rather easily. When I first started this path in my teens, one of the first things in my own sadhana was developing the ability to concentrate and to visualize.  I practiced certain exercises diligently to develop these abilities.  Without them, we have very little power in this world. With them, our power is unlimited.

Through practice, you can visualize a rose so clearly and vividly that you can bend over and actually smell it, the subtle fragrance of a rose. When you can do this, this rose does exist subtly. It is not mere 'imagination' as though your mind's eye counts for nothing. What you 'see' with your mind's eye is subtle reality.

You asked if this is truly Creation. Yes, it is truly Creation. It is the Creative Principle at work. There is nothing in this world that is more powerful. It's literally being aligned with the Creative Power of God.

So there is this question of prosperity.  Funny, my original teacher that I came across at 15 had been sent by his Master in the Tibetan lamasery where he had lived for 17 years to America to teach the principles of how to get out of the depression and restore prosperity.  Of course, this is exactly what happened.  Now, in a sense, at least from your questions, the same thing seems to be repeating itself again.  People need to once again learn how to create prosperity.

Yes, the international economy, the economy of the world today, is in the worst shape of our lifetimes. We see this reflected everywhere, to the boarded up stores on our streets to the long unemployment lines. It is not currently a time of mass prosperity, as we have experienced from time to time in the past. Such things always happen in cycles.

As you know, I encourage participants of the Course of Training to learn to be more focused on the subtle body and subtle realm than on the physical body and realm, which is very short in duration in comparison. It seems like we have a long life, but a bug probably experiences itself to have a long life also. On a scale of cosmic or even astronomical events, our lifespan is extremely ephemeral. We are here today, gone tomorrow. We don't even have that long of a half-life, which manifests in the form of the memories others have of us. Before long they are all gone too.

Regarding our finances. Obviously it is best to position ourselves where we don't collapse when the outer world collapses, where we remain unaffected and undisturbed no matter what happens out there.  The only way to do this is to develop the sense of reality regarding the subtle realm, and truly getting it that it is not mere imagination. It is, in fact, much more real, and much longer lasting, than this world.

This physical incarnation is like the subtle body having a dream—the dream of the jiva. We never left the subtle world. We live there even now, only most of us are largely focused on the physical world only, like being hypnotized without knowing it, which is usually the case.

Each person has a 'feeling' regarding their personal financial situation. That feeling is our subtle belief about the state of our finances. The subtle world is a world of feelings; in fact, all our feelings take place subtly; feelings are not a physical phenomenon.

If we feel somewhat shaky about our financial foundation, then the reality of our situation will probably be a little shaky as well. If we live with the feeling that whatever is truly need always comes to us when, or before, it is actually needed, sometimes in the nick of time, then this is the reality we will experience.

To KNOW something as a subtle reality you literally have to deny the evidence of the senses. You have to see that this physical world as it is now, in all aspects, are the result of the past. It is the experience of seeing the past happening in front of your eyes, which happens all the time.

Subtly, however, in visualization and concentration, something entirely new can be created, something unprecedented. However, we have to ignore the apparent reality of the current physical manifestation. At first this feels somewhat like sticking your head in the sand to avoid outer reality, but by holding our preferred reality in our heart subtly, KNOWING that it is ALREADY REAL, as an emotional feeling, then there is no force in this world that can stop its manifestation.

Do not think of details of how it will be accomplished. Something much greater than the mind takes care of all the details. Simply create the feeling that you would enjoy if your greatest aspiration were already a reality. When you establish this feeling as your inner reality, then you are participating in the process of Creation.

Scott’s partner, Michelle Synnestvedt—hatha yoga teacher supreme, teacher of hatha yoga teachers, and owner of, and forms a team with Scott for healing, aura cleansing, and balancing of chakras—had this to say:  Volume 2 Lesson 9 is the most extraordinary lesson I have come to so far. It is an energetic PORTAL. It is an immediate experience of the most intense is altering in so many ways. We have access to SO is hilarious how small we keep pretending to be. Thank you for this is my favorite so far...or at least in this moment, lol.’
I responded:  Thank you for sharing your enriching comments with all of us, Michelle. Being such a respected teacher in your own right, it is a cool example to openly reveal your acknowledgment and appreciation of what you are being given through the form of the course.

That lesson is one of my personal favorites as well. Like you say, it is a portal into a whole new way of seeing and understanding things. It is a peek into the future that we are living into; a glimpse of where we're headed.

So many people comment about how they reach a point in the course and realize that the course is a whole greater thing than anything they had previously grasped, even though they already loved it and had benefitted so much. As our understanding deepens ('The Evolution of Wisdom'—the title of one of the early sections of the course, and something important to understand) we develop the capacity to see things for the first time that we had never seen before even though they were always present.

There are various levels of initiation. An initiation gives us a greater awareness and understanding of what we already thought we knew. It is an expansion of personal consciousness, as Impersonal Consciousness is already fully expanded.

What you experienced in that lesson is only a sign of what is to come. We've only explored the tip of the iceberg so far. Many great portals lie ahead to take us to greater depths of experience.

The average person would have no way of understanding or even comprehending what the course is actually about, or what level it actually takes place on. Others have some idea, but think they have to go all the way to India to get it.

I posted the following near the end of the comments following the previous entry:  You guys have showed yourselves, shared of yourselves, introduced yourselves, and revealed something of your thinking in these comments. It is a very fascinating process. I truly appreciate your contributions in any form.

I also recognize that many of you are readers and not posters, and that it is a matter of one's own nature and preference, and that it is as perfect as everything else.

We are generating and creating a greater feeling of community, which is very important. Being a part of a community, a kula, while totally being yourself, and true to yourself in all ways, will soon reveal how your very presence contributes to the community.

It is important to share a sense of community, to know there are others out there just like you and involved in the same process that you yourself are. It creates the possibility for a whole new level of sadhana.

Thanks so much to all the new people who have come forward for the first time and revealed that you exist and that you actually do read the blog. Thanks for sharing in our Love.

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


Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Special Note to Participants of the Course of Training

This will not replace the November entry to be posted on the 1st or at least during the first few days of November, and it will be a really good entry, so prepare to open up wide.  We'll have a lot to cover.

The blog serves certain functions unique to itself.  Any course participant who does not keep up with the current comments following the entry to the blog is simply not getting all they could be getting from the course.  One way, of course, the blog is different from the lessons is that the blog is public.  Anyone is welcome to come here, as we are all-inclusive, and not exclusive in any way.  People of all traditions and backgrounds come here.  The comments in the blog are a great way of seeing how much alike we all are.

I loved the dialogue in the comments last month.  They were more like I had hoped the comments would eventually be from the very beginning--more personal, more open, more dialogue among each other and not just with me, sharing more openly and truly getting to know each other more deeply.  It is important for participants of the course to be able to converse among themselves, to share experiences and insights with each other, to discuss the course together, to get to know each other better.  Then the community truly grows, organically, naturally, and we come to realize just how much we are all the same, and why we are sharing the experience of the course together, and more and more, as we progress through it, we see and understand exactly what that means.

Yes, much progress has been made since the current course first started a bit over 3 years ago.  By reading the sharings in the comments of the blog, and also on Facebook, where we have a satsang of a different nature, and which is even more public, we can easily see the impact the course has had in various people's lives.  Many of you have done absolutely great, and have worked to make the principles of Truth your own, so that you can live according to them without any longer having to think about it.  Many could not have done much better in any way; they have given it their all.

Others, though, could do better.  I do not write like this often.  I believe others are most helped through encouragement, support, and inspiration; not through being told how they could do better.  Yet, every now and then, it becomes necessary in order for me to completely fulfill my own function in working with you.               

A large number of you are not reading, or referring to, your current lesson often enough.  You are not receiving full benefit of the course if you only read a lesson once or twice and imagine you know the contents.  It does not matter how familiar your mind becomes with the ideas presented.  There is a certain energy transmitted through the act of surrendering to read it, and simply by referring to a few paragraphs here and there during the day, or at night before bed, we tune into that energy as well as to the Truth of the Present Moment.

The course is not about learning ideas and concepts, like you would to be able to repeat them to another, as though you already knew it, or as you would for a test on the contents, like you had at school, to check out your memory and reasoning powers.  The course isn't like that.  It is a process that, through surrendering to reading it more often, tunes us into an incredible energy, as well as to an incredible Love and Light that is palpable and undeniable.

Even more than not referring to your current lesson enough, you have to be more diligent about applying the principles in practical ways in your own moment-to-moment life.  I do not care to discourage anyone from writing what is going on with them, for when we share, especially in public, like in the comments here or on Facebook, we become revealed to ourselves in ways that wouldn't be possible if we hold everything in and never express ourselves to another in open, real, and honest ways. 

Even so, questions come and descriptions of one's life often arrive when the very answers and solutions are in one's current lesson.  It's like we don't see exactly what we need even though it is right before our eyes.  We read something, agree with it, think how wonderful it would be if everyone else knew it as well, and then in a few moments or hours or days, we are acting completely contrary to the principle, as though we were completely ignorant of it and had never heard of it.

It does no good to simply 'know about' something, or to 'agree' with something.  Neither does it matter in the least if we 'disagree' with something.  It's only a certain stance the mind has taken.  Either something is true or it isn't, and it matters not at all whether we agree or disagree.  Instead of trying so hard to be understood, or to prove our point, it would be much more expansive to open up to discovering the Truth no matter where it leads.  And we cannot see the Truth unless we see something NEW.  Seeing what is familiar is not Truth.  It is only familiarity.

A basic principle of the course, presented very early in the lessons, is to treat everyone with love and respect.  I have asked that this be the mark of one who participates in the course: that he or she relate to all others with love and respect.  Yet some are still argumentative, challenging, contrary, unfriendly, even hostile.  Not to me, of course, but at your own home, around the very ones we are closest to and love most.  Sometimes we are downright nasty.  Yet, if we were asked, we would insist that we treat all others with great love and respect.  We love to attribute to ourselves qualities that we haven't come close to fully developing.

We refuse to see certain things about ourselves; we are blind to certain tendencies.  And if a loved one were to point out something to us that was obvious to everyone except ourselves, and which would be very helpful for us to know, we might only accuse the loved one of describing us in negative and limiting ways, for always seeing us in the worst ways.  If we take this stance, we can never learn anything new about ourselves, and when this happens, no further growth is possible.

If you take the course, read the lessons more.  See what happens when you tune into the energy of the lesson, which is on a completely different level than the written words.  There are some who go into great states of bliss simply by reading their current lesson, yet afterwards they couldn't tell you a single word they had read.  Don't ever think you 'already know it.'  If you do, you miss the whole point of the course.  It is not something to 'know.'  It is a way of life, an approach, an attitude.  It is meeting life head-on from the highest perspective possible.

Reading the lessons transforms the ways our mind works, and rewires our conditioned tendencies in ways that lead to breaking free from them, and to enter something new and more expanded than before.  Still, mere reading is not quite enough.  The principles must actually be practiced.  It is not enough to simply agree that they are great ideas, and that they will surely lead to a better and freer life someday.  They have to be practiced in real life, this day and every day.  They are not something to try later, when you have more time, or when you are in a better mood.  Practice the principles even when it is difficult to do so.  This is when we experience the greatest growth.

Okay, something moved me strongly to write this.  How many taking the course will even notice that it is here?  Only those who check the comments regularly, to see what is new, to stay up to date.  Those who assume there's nothing worthy of their time and attention until the November blog is posted might miss this altogether.

What I hope is for us to eventually reach the point that we could never possibly miss a message addressed to all participants of the course simultaneously, regardless of what particular lesson they might be on.  This message can be understood and applied at any level of understanding.  Open up and let it open you up on the inside; open up to something completely new.  Only then is it possible to go on to the next thing.

The November blog entry will be posted in a few days, and I look forward to your comments both here and there.  It will be well worth your time to give it your all, as many subtle teachings are being transmitted.

For information about the Course of Training, available through email, and a free Lesson 1, which comes in two parts, write to:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Skeptics and Cynics—Money—Kind and Wise Taxi Driver Revisited

Occasionally on Facebook someone will put me into a ‘group,’ usually of a spiritual nature, which blends with my own nature, and I never know what to expect there.  Some are mostly sincere, and that is good to see.  However, what has stood out most clearly about many such groups is the amazing degree of skepticism and cynicism. 

One group, with several hundred members, discusses spiritual topics and has posts or links for various spiritual teachers, and yet most posts on most threads contain some degree of skepticism and/or cynicism, which also includes doubt.  In many, who think of themselves as 'spiritual people,' there is much more doubt than there is faith.  It’s as though they hope the Truth is true but don’t quite yet believe the Truth is true.

On my own Facebook page, which maintains a dialogue of a certain level among people of all religions and spiritual traditions, there is very little blatant skepticism or cynicism simply because they wouldn’t be comfortable with the feedback they would get from the others.  The little that comes out now and then is mostly of a very subtle nature, and the one expressing skepticism or cynicism or doubt on this level is not consciously aware of doing so. 

In fact, in many cases, were I to point out to a person, ‘You’re being a little cynical aren’t you?’ the reply would almost invariably be, ‘No I’m not!’  Sometimes this is followed by something like, ‘You do not understand me.  If you really knew where I was coming from, you would see that there is not a cynical bone in my body.’

People do not like to be told what they are doing.  Well, their ego does not like it.  The indwelling Identity doesn’t mind, but the ego hates to be called on what it’s doing.  If you say to a person, ‘You’re being defensive,’ they’ll almost always immediately reply, ‘No I’m not!’—which is a totally defensive statement.

Or sometimes you can say to a person who is being grumpy, ‘You’re being grumpy,’ and instantaneously they’ll smile sweetly and ask in the gentlest voice, ‘Now what would make you think that?’  The ego has various nuances, and it transitions from one to the other very smoothly, without our even noticing.  Like Gurdjieff once said, ‘The one who sets the alarm clock at night is not the same one that the alarm clock wakes up in the morning.’

Just as a fun exercise, observe yourself and see if skepticism, cynicism, or doubt come up in ways that you might not ordinarily notice or be aware of.  You just might learn something valuable about yourself through seeing something new, as though for the first time.  When you see something new about yourself, as though for the first time, it is the most valuable form of Self-Knowledge.

Someone wrote and asked if I could concisely explain the money thing to him.  He admitted he was having financial troubles and having a hard time generating the income that he needs, and wanted me to simply remind him once again in a way that, hopefully, he could finally get it.

This is basically what I told him, for anyone who can use the same information.  Money is possibly the most amenable thing in the world when it comes to manifesting according to our consciousness OF it.  One reason for this is that it does not exist, it is not real; it is a conscious concept.  These days people tend to pass money back and forth over the Internet.  How would that be possible if it were a real, tangible thing?  Do you think there’s enough gold in Fort Knox to cover all the existing ‘money?’ 

If the stock market goes up, the amount of available money increases.  When the stock market goes down, money disappears.  It doesn’t change hands; it disappears, it no longer exists.  If we understand that money doesn’t even exist, that it’s only a conscious concept, we can somewhat grasp the understanding of how easily it is controlled by our consciousness OF it.

People with money have prosperity-consciousness.  People without money have poverty-consciousness.  The cause is in consciousness, the effect is our financial situation.  If we feel in our own heart, in our own consciousness, that we don’t have enough money, there’s no energy there making it possible to generate any.  If a person is conscious of having all that he needs, opportunities arise and situations develop that make it possible to generate money.

The secret to financial security is to KNOW without any doubt that you have all that you need.  If you have the consciousness of having all that you need now, there is no reason that this condition should change later, in the future.  Our consciousness of any quality determines the reality of it for us, in our own personal life.  The objective world around us is only the mirror, the reflection of the Subjective world within.  What we create on the inside determines what manifests on the outside.

All this and much more is discussed thoroughly in the lessons of the Course of Training, yet this is the concise answer, or explanation, or exploration, of how the money thing works.

You might remember Kind and Wise Taxi Driver.  If you don’t, please see the blog entry of June 1, 2011—it is certainly worth a read.  We had a visit from Narayana on his birthday last month, which is how he usually likes to spend his birthdays.  This time he became 59.  You have to understand that I have known Narayana since he was 16.  And he hasn’t changed yet.  He is still the same in every way, although his wisdom has evolved over the years, and there is a slight aging process happening physically.  If I hadn’t seen him in those 43 years, however, I’d recognize him immediately. 

Aside from his sister that lives in LA, (imagine her surprise to start reading the front page lead article and the first thing she sees is her brother’s name,) I am probably as close as anyone to being ‘family’ in his life.  In October of 1974 I met an incredible meditation Master who  transformed my entire life and made me into a teacher.  He asked me to lead a meditation center for him.  At the very first satsang in January, 1975, Narayana was there.  Several years later there was a blizzard in NYC.  It hit on the night of our satsang.  I said to the person I was with then, while looking out the window at the utter intensity of nature, ‘It looks like no one will be here tonight.  It’s too bad for anyone to go anywhere.’ 

A few minutes later the doorbell rang.  Narayana had walked through several feet of snow to get to the subway, and then had walked quite a long distance with snow blowing in his face from the subway station closest to us.  He was, of course, the only visitor present.  The three of us had a wonderful satsang.

For many years now, he has driven a Taxi in Manhattan during the evenings.  He could write a book about all his experiences.  Maybe Martin Scorsese would even make a movie about himJ

Narayana presented us with a copy of the September 11, 2011, Los Angeles Times.  The lead story on the front page was about the 9/11 tribute in Manhattan near Ground Zero.  The first two words in the article was Narayana’s name.  The writer of the article was the same man who inspired the character of the journalist played by Robert Downey Jr in the movie ‘The Soloist.’

Turns out, when this journalist came to Manhattan to cover the original 9/11 happening, he hailed a taxi and was picked up by Narayana.  Narayana essentially became his guide for the whole time he was here, and he wrote an article about his experiences with Narayana then.  Coming back for the 10th anniversary, the writer called Narayana and asked him to escort him about and be his guide again. 

So he wrote the 2nd article about him, 10 years later.  Narayana was quoted a few times, but what most sticks in my memory was when he was quoted as saying, at Ground Zero, ‘This place shows how we should never forget how quickly our lives can end.  This present moment is precious.’

You have to understand that Narayana driving around New York City is like a mini-ashram on wheels.  If you hail his taxi, you are in for satsang, regardless of what you expected or how big of a hurry you are in.  He interacts with many different people on any given night, and you never know who might step into his taxi.

He was telling us that not long ago a woman stopped him and got in the back seat and that she seemed to have a frustrated energy about her.  As he got a better look at her, he saw that it was the actress, Marisa Tomei.  One ironic ‘coincidence,’ is that the movie that really kicked off her career was ‘My Cousin Vinny,’ and it happens that ‘Vinny’ is Narayana’s birth name.  (Yes, he’s from Brooklyn, too, still lives there.)

So when she exhibited this frustrated energy, he asked her what was bothering her.  She replied, ‘Just relationship problems.  They get me every time.’  Narayana said, ‘Are you not focusing on the present moment?’  She sat up with a start and said, ‘What?’ as though she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  So they had a nice chat on their way to her destination, and by the time they got there she was totally calmed down and in a cheerful mood again.  Of course, Narayana give her the address of the blog and encouraged her to take the course, as he does with many lucky passengers.

Anyway, just a quick note to catch you up on Kind and Wise Taxi Driver.

We have ‘space’ for an exchange or two from last month’s comments.  Terry asked, ‘I really liked this paragraph: "Ego is not created by thought, as someone suggested. It is a sense of duality and separateness that exists even before the first thought arises. Impure or conditioned ego identifies with the thoughts of the mind, the feelings of the emotions, and the actions of the body, and believes itself to be the thinker, the feeler, and the doer of bad and good actions. I had "thought" that the ego arose in the moment with the "I" thought where i-dentification occurs. It seems a closer look is needed at the "sense of duality and separateness" which is prior to the I thought.’

The response was this:  Terry, the primary philosophy behind ego coming before the first thought is mostly simply the fact that ahamkara (ego) is the 15th tattva, while manas (thinking, conscious, waking mind) follows that as the 16th tattva.

A deeper answer to your question, going higher up the tattvas, might be the 6th tattva, which is the Maya tattva. During the first 5 tattvas there is still no sense of separation, but various nuances of Awareness becoming aware of Itself. At the 6th tattva, the Maya tattva, there is a split between subject and object, where there appears to be a difference between the conceiver and the conceived, the knower and the known, the seer and the seen, the experiencer and the experience, which are in reality all the Same, and which is obviously so in the first 5 tattvas. Anyway, all this happens before the first thought.

Finally, a ‘comment’ shared last month, which was originally posted in a relevant thread on Facebook:   The subconscious is formed and molded through conscious concentration and repetition. If we do something consciously often enough, it will be passed on to the subconscious. Therefore we have to make sure that we feed it the right 'food' in positive and uplifting conscious thoughts. So the process of 'conditioning' the subconscious happens through habitual conscious thoughts, and what we consciously accept as true. Then the process of sadhana is the purification of the subconscious impressions, which we know in Sanskrit as 'samskaras.'

Thank you for joining me for our chat this month.  Hopefully you will read it more than once, as you can experience for yourself simply by doing so that it will be good for you.  You can be sure that I, if no one else, will read it againJ

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