Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Self-Interview -- Part 2

Several readers, including my wife Kay, have requested that I write another self-interview following the popularity of the original interview posted September 1, 2010. It was fun writing the first one, people seemed to like it, and I have no reason not to, so here goes:

Q: So why would you accept the challenge of writing another self-interview?

A: Having specific questions to answer gives me something to write about. Otherwise I have to wonder what this month’s blog entry will be and can I once again come up with something new. This relieves me of being concerned with that. I can simply focus on answering your questions.

Q: You don’t think it’s being overly egotistical to interview yourself?

A: Not really. Who is ever asking who questions anyway? And who is it that answers?  If I took the process personally none of it would be very interesting to anyone. Thinking of myself as egotistical would be a very limiting view of this particular expression of Consciousness.  Everyone should be careful about how they describe themselves.  We become what we describe ourselves to be.  Such descriptions as being 'egostistical 'exist only as an element of objective humanity, akin to what yogis might think of as ‘duality,’ or what most people think of as ‘others.’

I don’t have to bother to wonder if something is true or not, because whatever is true remains so forevermore, no matter what I think, and is not worth checking up on every few minutes just to feel that all is well. The Truth is already true, always has been, always will be. It is far beyond our agreement or disagreement, and cares nothing for whether we ‘believe’ in it or not. Our beliefs include our most rigid limitations. True freedom includes freedom from beliefs.

Q: You don’t ‘believe’ anything? Don’t you believe the things you write about?

A: I don’t have any beliefs in the sense of dogma. I write by taking dictation from this voice I hear clearly in my head. My mind used to sometimes question what came up, but over the years I found that everything is practically applicable, so I’ve given up questioning it. It is what it is. I see it as the inner voice of all.

Q: You occasionally use this term, “objective humanity.” Can you explain what you mean by that?

A: Basically, it’s the sense of ‘other,’ or there being ‘someone else.’ According to the conditioning of society, this concept seems perfectly logical and normal. Of course there are others. I see them around me all the time. We even talk to each other. I have significant relationships with these other people.

According to the scriptures and the Masters of all traditions (not to be confused with religions) (except the one Wisdom Religion which remains eternally undivided and unchanged) there is only one Being, one Self, one Consciousness permeating and pervading the cosmos and simultaneously taking the forms of all these appearances, including ‘other people.’

When we give these ‘other people’ an external reality, and see them and relate to them as though they are different from us and they have some independent reality, they become ‘objective humanity’—which is invariably in error because it is based on illusion. Freedom from objective humanity ranks right up there with freedom from ego.

Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of thing we can fully understand simply by having it explained to us. Certain levels of understanding are attained as a result of a process, not from learning new facts. To get the full answer to your question, from my perspective, you’d have to take the course via email. Not because the answer is exclusively available to participants of the course, but because the process of participating in the course is what leads to the answer. That is the nature of the course. Yet it can only be experienced and never adequately explained.

Q: You seem to feel strongly that the present moment is the basis of life.

A: Show me the existence of another time and I’ll consider otherwise. Where is it? Is another time over there somewhere—perhaps behind that wall? Another time never actually exists. It is either a memory or a presumption. We can never truthfully say, I finally escaped from the present moment. We’ll always be here now.

The awareness of the present moment at least gives us an opportunity to enjoy a fulfilled and content life. If we are ‘lost in thought and lost in time,’ as Pink Floyd put it, we are missing out on the reality of our own life, which exists only now, in this present moment.

The future is a presumption, since any moment could be our last. The past is the interplay between memories and emotions based on melodramas that seemed important at the time. We can bring up negative feelings simply by remembering them from the past. Be free from memory except when it’s uplifting or useful in a practical way.

Q: Can you give an example of the present moment?

A: I’ll rather tell you how absurd that question is, but it’s probably easier, and in better taste, to simply give you an example:

The other day I walked into the kitchen and Kay was standing still, like in some combination of tadasana and samadhi, her head tilted slightly backward, her arms raised upward and outward.

I said, ‘What on earth are you doing?’

She replied, ‘I’m waiting to remember.’

I said, ‘Remember what?’

‘If I knew that,’ she answered, ‘I wouldn’t be waiting.’

So that is an example of the present moment. We’re in a state of waiting to remember, although we’re not actually ‘waiting’ for anything. Being fully present has no anticipation. More specifically, we’re in the space between thoughts, whether we ever remember anything again or not.

The space between any two thoughts is the present moment, and this continues undisturbed throughout eternity. One who can live and function in the space between thoughts, lives in eternity, completely unaffected by temporary appearances.

Mental and emotional activities often take our awareness out of the present moment and back into the story of our so-called life. Then we think we are these people and that these things are going on in our lives. And when we reach this point the Truth has been forgotten. It has even been forgotten that the Truth was ever of any true significance or relevance. We once again consider ourselves to be a part of objective humanity, and we get caught in mass thinking.

On the other hand, we can reach the point where thoughts and feelings are simply something happening in the present moment, so that we are free from identification with them and are no longer affected by them. They no longer disturb our state. We simply observe them pass by. If the thoughts, words, and actions of others no longer disturb our state, we are free from objective humanity.

Q: There is so much information available on the Internet and elsewhere. Out of all this, what makes this course so special? Couldn’t we just as easily get the same thing elsewhere?

A: You might be able to get the same thing elsewhere, but the chances of that actually happening are much slimmer than you might believe. The course isn’t about communicating information, although that happens too. The course is a process of transformation that happens through participation.

Participation consists only of referring to one’s current lesson, for the two weeks devoted to that lesson, as regularly as possible. Also, of course, it is highly beneficial to actually apply the principles of that lesson in practical ways in one’s own daily life. This way it becomes part of our being, an aspect of our inner wisdom, and not simply something that we ‘know’ in an intellectual way, which is of little value and will probably be soon forgotten.

It’s not like you take a written quiz at the end and then you’re graded according to how well your mind learned it. It’s more like you simply live your life differently, more freely and easily, more harmoniously and flowingly, and more enjoyably than you were able to before. It’s not like the mind can explain why this happens. Besides, there’s no one to explain it to except the ego.

Like you said, there is plenty of information out there.  There are plenty of teachers and groups who will happily fill your head with new facts, according to their own interpretation of things. Participation in the course is a dynamic process, not a study of new facts. Yet talking about it doesn’t capture the experience of the process of participating. That would be like wanting a banana, and instead someone comes and tells you about how it feels to eat a banana. This is never satisfying. We want our own banana.

Q: And this transformation through participation in the course happens why?

A: It has a lot to do with the teachers I have studied with over the years, as a lot is being passed on to others that I received from my own teachers. Many things aren’t fully received until they are sufficiently passed on.

Q: Do you think this blog is read only by participants of the course?

A: I certainly hope not. If it is, the participants aren’t doing a very good job of letting others know about the blog. It’s very simple to forward the link to a friend or post it on their Facebook page or wherever interested people might see it. It’s not going to do anyone any harm to read this. There’s nothing that weird, nothing too offensive. It’s just a certain take on the ways things work that makes perfect sense to certain people.

To certain people, the course speaks to their heart, it awakens inner awareness, it reminds them once again of the Truth of the Present Moment. Some people have taken the course for many years now. Why, after all this time, are they still looking forward to their next lesson? It’s not because they’re hoping to learn a new fact. It’s more because they know they’ll experience the Truth once again, or in some new way. The Truth, with a capital ‘T,’ is always new, even though it is also ancient.

Q: Any final words for us at this point?

A: I am happy to know you; yet I have known you deeply for a long, long time. We each share the same Self. This is not a theory or an opinion. One day you might be amazed at how obvious it is. I invite you to meet in the space of love, which is eternal.  All temporary phenomena passes.

Everything is available through the openness, willingness, and commitment to actually begin and then to keep going. Very soon the most amazing and unexpected process begins to happen, and it continues to happen more and more expansively for quite a long time. And there’s nothing really to think about—it’s either intuitively obvious or absolutely meaningless. And ultimately it doesn’t matter either way. It just depends on what we are ready for now.

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

Spanish: drbutler.cursoesp@gmail.com
French: drbutler.course@gmail.com


Michelle Synnestvedt said...

So Far at first read through, the first big belly laugh and delight is from your beautiful description of Kay in the kitchen..I can just picture her doing this :).

Marc said...

Am I right to presume that an egotistical melodrama does not necessarily require a real person? Sometimes I find myself arguing or creating drama with someone that's not even with me, the whole thing is in my mind. It might not even be someone I know but will be meeting at some future time.

D. R. Butler said...

All egotistical melodramas take place in the mind. It is only our consciousness of objective humanity that makes it seem that other people are involved.

Renee said...

Ram, this is fantastic! I want my banana! :p

Seriously, thank you for this month's blog. Wonderful, fun and full of juicy new ways to see the things I'm working on in my Lesson. I'm also really enjoying what you put on Facebook today:

"When we are open to unexpected surprises, we are more open to seeing the Truth. Whenever we are open to seeing something new, something we have not seen or realized before, we can grasp a larger view of the Truth. Whenever we think we already know how things are, we close ourselves off from discovering anything new. Nothing is more limiting than to think we already know everything worth knowing."

This is so interesting to ponder and see what "comes up". I put that in quotes because what I'm seeing was always there it seems. I'm just really seeing it for the first time. I make it into a game: how quickly can I see something right here as new? What else? What else again?

Would you say that people are all new each moment because all our cells are turning over, the walls and floors are aging and changing minutely, the breeze brings something never before smelled...? Am I on the right track?

Thanks again! I love it!

D. R. Butler said...

Yes, Renee, we are all new each moment. We just habitually bring the past along with us, as though it has no choice except to continue.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Hi D.R.,

Feels like it's been a while for me.

Lately for me, every time I feel a question beginning to form, it somehow dissolves to God only knows where. I believe there is something I need to say, and before my fingers can type it or my mouth can speak it out loud, it vanishes.

I am experiencing this more and more. Little to say. I guess my question is this: is this a cyclical process? Sometimes, there is a lot to say...and sometimes, nothing. It reminds me of a Sage in India one of our Gurus used to speak about.

Something. Then, nothing. Poof.

rico said...

Not only is the world a house of mirrors but some that cross our path become bright bits of glass for the kaleidoscope that is our perception. When we can incorporate their perspective the light that is the Shakti's dance appears in ever more beautiful and changing patterns.

Harriette said...

Scott's comment . . . . yes! How many times have I formulated a question to ask. Then it simply disappears. Just doesn't seem to matter. Love, Harriette

Evie said...

I am experiencing the same as Scott- it seems like words just disappear somewhere in that wordless space by themselves. It´s fun to watch! I noticed that when I just let it happen as it happens then it actually feels very tender and soft, and I am just flowing with it.
Also,when I read my lesson the same wordless space is there and there seems to be just me and the lesson as I read through it, as a matter of fact just ONE space where me and the lesson just are. It´s the sweetest thing I have ever experienced.
Thank you with all my heart

Chimene said...

Hi Ram and the blog community,
Thanks for this months' entry, what caught my attention is this statement
" Mental and emotional activities often take our awareness out of the present moment and back into the story of our so-called life. Then we think we are these people and that these things are going on in our lives. And when we reach this point the Truth has been forgotten".
I have a comment/question about this, let's say I went to see a great movie, like I went to see the Kings' speech, I got totally into it and when it was over, these thoughts came up: so who am I again? What day is it? What I am suppose to do now? I was forcing myself to come back to my 'so-called' life and it felt like I was contracting back into a limited perspective, being the witness of the King Georges' life was so much more fun, than coming back to my life - but is this being in the present moment?
I love science-fiction and fantasy, because I can switch off from my so-called life, and even go into stories that won't remind me in the least the details of my life, so I can just be a witness, the audience of another story without identifying to it.

Anonymous said...

So 'other people' have no external reality?

I have been contemplating this whole teaching you are giving us about giving energy to what we don't want and thereby that is what we get because we have created it by giving it so much attention.

There is a certain person with whom I keep thinking "I don't want to feel this way" with this person.

So are you saying that I am creating both the 'other person' and the 'don't want to feel this'?

And then replace it with I want to feel peaceful, at ease, etc, regardless of whomever the One appears as?

Chimene said...

this is what I love about the course, I wrote my question/comment this morning and this is what I read on page 4 of my lesson this evening : '..in truth we are the witness of the movie, not the one who experiences the momentary conditions and circumstances projected on the screen of space and time...'
so if anyone is reading this that does not take the course already, this is the magic of the course, it answers your questions before you ask them...
I love it!
ps- it's still fun to write them here and share them with y'all.

Kristopher said...

I must chime in with the bunch here! I recall the same experiences consistently in the temple of a certain Elder Baba some of us know. Though, my experience with this iteration of the course of instruction is rather brief, I'm learning to trust as the questions arise and dissolve back into themselves regularly.
Here's a really cool addition to it all, certainly taking place while participating in the course. For years,in my younger years, whenever something came up to think about (LOL)I would do just that take a lot of time to think about it. Very naturally more and more I opt for "what is the simplest solution here?" That invariable involves mimimal or no mental effort or at least effective mental use. These leaves lots of room for remembering my heart more as a continuous act.

D. R. Butler said...

Chimene, I love science fiction and fantasy also--anything other-worldly. Growing up my favorite TV show was 'Twilight Zone.' I still enjoy the same sort of thing.

You probably know I love going to a movie as an analogy. We experience anxiety, worry, fear, and pain, and we go to a movie and get absorbed in the movie and forget all about those things. For a while nothing exists but the enjoyment of the movie. Where did our anxiety, worry, fear, and pain go during the movie? We simply put our attention on something else. In our course we explore replacing the unpleasant with something pleasant--a simple yet powerful principle.

As we witness the movie, in the same way we can practice witnessing our own life without being affected by it, without our inner state being disturbed. When we are the Witness we are in the present moment.

Anxiety, worry, fear, and pain become much smaller when we witness them and much larger when we identify with them. This is why it is important to see the Seer, not the seen; to know the Knower, not the known.

I love that your question was answered in your new lesson. This is one of the greatest, most mysterious and inexplicable things about our course. It certainly demonstrates the Truth of one Shakti, one Power, in charge of all things and regulating the whole. Otherwise life would be a series of coincidences, and there's no way this could work on a large scale, or planets and suns would be crashing into each other.

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous, your question is complex, or rather the nature of the subject is complex. As long as we are identified with objective humanity we have a hard time understanding the true nature of 'other people,' even when we have the understanding that we all share the same Consciousness.

The question of whether we 'create' other people or not is more for the lessons of the course than the blog. We do and we don't. Other people are our karma, yet this is a simplistic statement without true understanding of exactly what it means.

Your statement, 'I don't want to feel this way,' is a negative statement simply because of the use of the word 'don't.' Thinking about what we don't want to feel is as powerful as thinking about what we want to feel, as we are still focusing our attention on the feeling.

Never think about what you don't want, otherwise you only create or attract more of it. You cannot possibly be free of it by not wanting it.

Still, you can't really replace it with 'I want to feel peaceful, at ease, etc.' Thinking about what we want is actually the consciousness of lack. If we truly had what we wanted we wouldn't be thinking about wanting it.

So the focus is to simply feel peaceful and at ease. Perhaps at first this will require some practice. When we discover how easy it actually is, and how powerfully it invariably works, it soon becomes a way of life and part of our own nature. Then we don't want or not want, or like or dislike. We simply focus our attention on our highest state, and how we focus our attention determines our experience at all times.

D. R. Butler said...

‎'A person who lives for greatness, who seeks esteem, who is pleased when others honor him, and who dwells in self-importance, is full of ignorance. He proclaims his learning, makes a great show of his good deeds, behaves outwardly in a friendly way, but inwardly he is against everyone. His deeds appear superficially to be good, yet such a person is a storehouse of ignorance. This is the truth.' ~Jnaneshwari

A free being is unaffected by praise and blame. To him (or her) they are the same. And as my teacher used to say, 'There are two things that lead one to the foulest hell. One is the sense of self-importance and the other is the craving for the good opinions of others.'

D. R. Butler said...

More from Jnaneshwari: 'In his speech he displays his righteousness like a rope tied to a tree, and sets it up like a broom on a temple roof. Although he smears his body with ash and deceives others, he is a mine of ignorance. Just as a bellows first swells up and then collapses, such a person is elated by good fortune and depressed by misfortune. When people praise him, he leaps with joy like dust blown into the air by a whirlwind. At the slightest rebuff he is cast down, just as earth is dampened by a few drops of rain but is dried by the wind. A person who is so hypersensitive to praise and blame is full of ignorance.'

D. R. Butler said...

Today I was going through the mail--both online as well as the traditional mail that arrives in paper or manila envelopes, and such a feeling of gratitude welled up inside me as I read the messages from participants of the course. And I want to thank those of you who participate in that process and who support the course and make it possible. I can't even express how much you mean in my life.

That was posted on Facebook a few minutes ago. A higher percentage of readers here in the blog are course participants than in the very public Facebook page. I truly want you to know how much gratitude Kay and I both have that you participate in this process with us and help support this work.

A large part of most days we spend on the computer, Kay keeping up with practicalities and 'business' stuff, and me writing one thing or another. For example, now, there is this.

In a certain sense this means we stay in almost constant contact with you in a subtle yet very powerful way.

You can be subtly in contact with us simply by tuning in to the space the lessons come from.

Our subtle relationships are much deeper and longer lasting than whatever physical karma we might share--which for most of us is simply sharing the course and perhaps meeting online like this.

Subtle reality is not limited to time or space. Therefore it doesn't matter where you are or when you read this. Subtly it remains the same in all times and places, simply because it is beyond time and space.

Perhaps I will explore this more in the April blog entry. For now, I just wanted to say thanks for your love and support on all levels. If not for you, I would be living a completely different life. I like this one. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Dear Ram,

I would love to read your take on the subtle reality of relationship in your next blog. I am sure it would be of great benefit to everyone who reads it. It is something that is not only 'interesting' but also profoundly valuable. You probably could do sets of lessons on this.

I wonder how many people understand the awesome nature of the subtle body and subtle realms and how it threads everyone to the greater Self.

I too, by the way, am grateful for your blog and Course and for the way in which you so generously offer your time and talents to 'unearth' it from the Voice.

So many people think they know or have an idea what it is you offer here, but I assure you they only know a tenth of the power involved in the Course and what is really coming through. Luckily though, I do not have to be modest about it so can state accurately its benefits and blessings to the reader.


ER said...

Thank you Ram and Kay. Kristopher's post makes me laugh because it reminds me of a person I used to inhabit. There were these flying statements that people would release and I would hold on to them sometimes for years and then something would happen or I would grow and I would get it. Here it feels like a butterly field: they are everywhere fluttering with their validations all I have to do is open my eyes and stretch my arms. I barely have to listen, I don't have to think and I don't have to ask any more. "I just wanted to say thanks for your love and support on all levels. If not for you, I would be living a completely different life. I like this one. Thanks for sharing it with me." I don't even need to articulate, it is all being said:)

Chimène said...

And thanks for sharing your life with us Ram !

We receive so much from the course, just another example I would like to share: we went to see Hamlet last night and there is this famous line that Hamlet says that Ram loves to quote:
"Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so". Well I can safely say that when I heard that again, in the context of the play, my appreciation and understanding were at another level from what they were just a year ago - evolution of wisdom, this process is so amazing!
So I love my life too, with the course in it, just as it is!

Anonymous said...

‎'A person who lives for greatness, who seeks esteem, who is pleased when others honor him, and who dwells in self-importance, is full of ignorance.

Living for greatness is very different than knowing greatness. I used to suffer from this so much and one of the most helpful things you (Ram) ever said was "become a nobody". I"m still so grateful for those few little words. Yet what has unfolded since has been a beautiful unveiling of my actual greatness, our deeper greatness and it's like breathing in fresh air. So I wondered if that ceaseless striving for greatness is coming from a deeper desire to know our own greatness, our own divinity within the humanity. Not to need power fame praise, but to be able to actually see & experience the glory of our being in it's fullness day to day. To experience the AWEsome power our body, life & spirit actually contain.

For Kay, I also have played that role and it's incredible the deep training you get just by running a business dedicated to people's freedom, isn't it?


D. R. Butler said...

Kalima says, 'So I wondered if that ceaseless striving for greatness is coming from a deeper desire to know our own greatness, our own divinity within the humanity. Not to need power fame praise, but to be able to actually see & experience the glory of our being in it's fullness day to day.'

Yes, Kalima, this is correct. I couldn't have put it better myself.

There is an aspect of our awareness that intuitively knows, from eons of knowing, that its true essence is far beyond anything glimpsed or hinted of in the physical world. We intuit our own inner greatness, our divinity, our eternality, our purity and perfection.

This aspect of awareness is beyond ego, beyond the mind, beyond all samskaras, beyond bondage of any nature. It is pure knowledge, which is knowledge of the Truth.

Michael said...

What did you mean by that last sentence here from interview #2 with Self?

"A: It has a lot to do with the teachers I have studied with over the years, as a lot is being passed on to others that I received from my own teachers. Many things aren’t fully received until they are sufficiently passed on."

D. R. Butler said...

We can receive a lot from our teachers, from the Guru or Master, yet we receive it most fully when we do our part to pass it on to another or others. This is why we are out in the world among people instead of huddled safely together in the ashram.

The world will need leaders and teachers--those who are somewhat in touch with the Truth. Many of us have been trained to give to others for many years, and now it is time to give freely to those we come in contact with.

As we share what we have received, we find that we receive it even more fully. It becomes a part of our very Being, and not simply something that we know and agree with. We have been given knowledge that can help others. Now we only need to discover our own right (dharmic) way of sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Service...it all seems to come back to that. The most beautiful moments in life are the moments I am able to offer in service to others, not that they are truly "other". Of course there are the different paths to God, but for me it has always been about seva, with a blend of the other paths mixed in. I now see that my years of seva prepared me for the time when my path would cross with Tom's and I can offer all he shares with me back to others. There is no doubt this is my dharma. Always knew the work was healing but none of the methods I came across felt like my path till tong ren, and in that I have been blessed by living near the Master. Wow! What a life. I have been showered in grace to have known so many great beings in this lifetime. Love to you and Kay.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Ram says, "...We have been given knowledge that can help others. Now we only need to discover our own right (dharmic) way of sharing it."
So often, these days I fall into silence when perhaps well chosen words could benefit the situation or another person. I know all to well how my comments have, at times, been less skillful. So it's a process. I love the 4 gates of speech Sally Kempton reminded us of recently on Facebook: Is it true, is it kind, is it appropriate, is it the right time?

Lotus said...

Dear Anusuya,

You suggested tong ren earlier for my husband who is suffering from severe GVHD following a bone marrow transplant. Could you recommend a website with more information? We live in the Atlanta area. Do you know of any classes here? Did you mentioned a webcast for distance healing? Any suggestions are welcome. It remains a daily struggle for both of us. Thank you.


D. R. Butler said...

Lotus, Anusuya would like to be in contact with you, but we do not know who you are. If you like you can drop a note at our gmail address and we'll forward your address to her.

Naganath said...

I find that when I speak the Esoteric, a Deeper Meaning, in my relationships, I tend to make light of it and become absurd. As if I am afraid to express what I truely know in my heart, what I have "learned" from my Teacher. It seems I am more readily able to express and communicate from that space of Truth when I am with like-minded others at the Ashram, prison program, or center. I feel I am in The Zone when I am in the environment of devoted spiritual practice. What is it that limits me, causes fear and inhibition in the world? Is my ego too identified with my words and actions? How does one channel like D. R. the shakti and Truth of the Teacher?

Lotus said...


You said.."We have been given knowledge that can help others. Now we only need to discover our own right (dharmic) way of sharing it."

My question is how do we do that? How do we "discover our own right (dharmic) way of sharing it"?

Maybe even a broader question...how do we discover our individual dharma...our svadharma?


LaTosha Brown said...

This was such a creative idea. I constantly interview myself in private. Thank you for teaching me a new tool for self- analysis and introspective discovery.

D. R. Butler said...

Couple of good questions expressed that I will address tomorrow with a clearer mind than tonight.

JB said...

To me, the topic of helping others is a broad, multifaceted subject, that is often much misunderstood in society at large and especially in 'spiritual circles', and it is probably too deep to be adressed properly on this blog alone.

What is considered 'help' by many is probably not much help after all and vice versa. For example, help that is provided with the feeling: 'I give you what you don't have' is maybe food for the giver's ego, inflating a certain sense of doership or of being useful, and probably diminishing for the one receiving it, as it carries a reinforcing feeling that the receiver is lacking in some areas.

I think sharing in a direct fashion 'spiritual truths' is not for most of us and is best left for the ones that have this peculiar dharma. The best 'help' we can provide others is probably to work on maintaining our best state at all times, and applying sincerily what we know is best. And also, probably our best help is simply to play our dharmic role in life. For example, if you are a plumber and you repair pipes, then that is your 'help' offered to the world and in the eyes of God, maybe this is as much valued as doing 'social work'...

Anonymous said...

To Lotus, I love your question.
To me your own dharma is where the two teachings of "uninterrupted loving service" and "just being" can be in harmony together... If you can find a way to serve others and at the same time just relax and enjoy yourself... Like a mother that gives milk to her baby, she doesn't have to try, it just flows out of her when the baby is there.

but I also would so love to hear much more about dharma and swadharma~

D. R. Butler said...

First of all, JB, I pretty much agree with everything you said. Your post was well stated.

Naganath, your question is almost clear. I learned a long time ago that it is useless to talk about principles of Truth in social relationships, unless the other specifically and sincerely asks us about what we seem to understand.

The highest Truth to us might be someone else's 'new age mumbo-jumbo.'

You know I have experienced many years of teaching and working with others. You were at some of our gatherings in the past. And one thing I have learned from this is that it can be very challenging to communicate aspects of the Truth to those who sincerely wish to learn; to attempt to communicate principles of Truth to someone who at best is only mildly interested is pretty much impossible.

There has to be an open listening in order for the communication to take place. Communication is very much a two-way street.

So the first step is, there must be someone asking you to share with them your understanding of the Truth. If there is no receptor, then how can you give?

A true teacher must also live his life according to what he teaches. It is never acceptable to teach how to do something unless it is something we actually apply in our own life.

Also, you know I spent many years being trained and guided by the Guru, so that the communication could come from the highest and purest place. I would second-guess myelf every day if I hadn't been guided to share the Truth with others by the Master teacher. Because you know you have the blessings, the grace, there is no need to ever doubt yourself. A Higher Power is in charge.

At this point you teach whenever you speak and whatever you do, whether you have an audience waiting for you to expound on the Truth or not. You become an embodiment of the Truth in your own life. Then you are a teacher for anyone around you whether you consciously care to teach or not. And this is the highest teaching.

Lotus, as far as knowing what is your dharma, simply look and see what it is that you do. Discovering our dharma isn't finding something we never dreamed of before. Our dharma is what we're doing. Discovering it is understanding what we're doing in a new and more expanded way.

It's our dharma to do what we're doing as consciously and compassionately as possible, so that everyone involved is benefitted by our words and actions.

The highest dharma is to love your Self, and to see that same Self or Consciousness in everyone around you, and love It in them as you love your Self.

The best dharma is to live in love.

Scott Marmorstein said...

I think Nisargadatta said, "You cannot save others unless you yourself have been saved."

It reminds me of help. People come to me all the time for help.

I know in my heart that the people who come to me do indeed get what they need. I also know it has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with That which we both tap into in subtle form that does all the Work.

This is how it really goes. Only the Self can do the helping and saving, the Loving and Living.

D. R. Butler said...

Here is my favorite story about helping others:

My Guru once said, "A man came up to me today and said, 'All I care about in my life is helping others.' Yet I took one look at him and it was obvious that he needed lots of help himself."

Colette said...

Thank you all for touching my heart with your questions and heartfelt answers. Who can any of us really be but ourselves? Through the lessons, and my contact with all of you, I am finding that that is quite enough. Our Dharma seems to be in knowing and being we came here to be. Though seemingly simple, we make it very complicated, and then it is very complicated.

Lotus said...


You said:

"Our dharma is what we're doing. Discovering it is understanding what we're doing in a new and more expanded way."

Somehow, I had been identifying what I'm doing more with karma than with dharma. Your statement opened up a whole new perspective, and I want to make sure I understand what you're saying. I find myself in need of clarification on karma vs. dharma in relation to what I do (day-to-day) vs. what is my duty or calling in this life.

Thanks for your help,

D. R. Butler said...

Lotus, from the clarity of your questions, I do hope you are participating in our course with us, as we explore all these things in much greater detail than what is possible here.

Our karma is basically what is happening around us and in our personal lives--details, circumstances, situations, conditions, relationships. It is how the outer world affects us personally, or the impact of the objective upon the subjective.

Karma is the route of the soul in its journey through earthly existence. It is what happens TO us, although not necessarily what happens IN us, which is up to us, and which few ever realize.

Dharma includes harmoniously accepting karma as it is, remaining content and cheerful with all that comes unsought, and living in ways that benefit all involved equally.

Dharma is taking the hand your karma gives you and playing it well. It is doing what we do the best we can, with as much integrity as possible, so that we love the life we're living, and that we'll always love the life we lived.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Hi Ram,
I am intrigued with lesson 42. You say:
"So the question arises, when is it the same to not go out and see the full moon as to go out and enjoy the full moon?"
You mention contemplating equality consciousness.

Last night as I was playing outside with my wee one and some friends under the great full moon, I felt so grateful for this little precious snap shot. The laughter was marking my heart. I was grateful for the capacity to be present, to witness and participate in the playful play feeling the preciousness of it.
The Self remains 'the same' whether I play outside or not and yet the Self loves to play.
In the Siva Sutras it says, 'the worlds/states of yoga(union with the Self) are astonishing (filled with wonder).'
Whether I sit on my couch or play with Liam when I am anchored in what IS there is an eternally expanding newness arising..the joy/ WOW just keeps getting more WOW.
The WOW is always subjective. It is not dependent on any "thing".
AND what a beautiful gift to share this WOW in great company. To share the subjective as and with Itself as the objective..as all this. I am soooooooooooo grateful for the beauty the ONE shares as this Universe!
Spring is in full bloom inside and out :)

Renee said...

Ram, this post regards the video of Napoleon Hill you shared on Facebook. It seems for all the world like you posted this link for me, as my lesson this week is number 21, in which you say, “Whatever we can conceive and believe, we can achieve. The knowledge that our perception and experience are but states of mind is the truth that will make us free.” I’ve been trying to put the two thoughts together for a week now, and I’m not sure I’m getting it.

Napoleon Hill says (I’m paraphrasing a little here and posting for those who didn’t get a chance to watch the video)

“1. Write down a clear description of your major desire in life, the one circumstance or position or thing that you would be willing to accept as your idea of success. The only limitations are those of your own mind or those you permit others to set up for you.

2. Then write down a clear statement of precisely what you intend to give in return for that which you desire in life. Then start in right where you stand now and begin giving.

3. Memorize both statements and repeat them at least a dozen times a day. Follow each repetition with a statement of gratitude. “I ask not, divine providence, for more riches but the wisdom to make wiser use of the riches you gave me at birth consisting of the power to control and direct my own mind to whatever ends I desire.”

I’m struggling to frame a clear statement of my one desire in life. It’s something like “I desire to *know* the Truth, to maintain and enjoy deep contentment and serenity regardless of outer circumstances, to see the Divine in all things, equally, everywhere.” Perhaps I shouldn’t work so hard and just state, “I desire to Live in the Truth of the Present Moment.”

But I can only think of things to give *up* such as identification with my ego, selfishness, self-centeredness, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, fear, resentment... Should this be a positive statement? In other words, should I frame it as “I intend to give compassion, kindness, love, patience at all times” or something like that? I’ll be honest. When I’m feeling selfish, it’s easier to remind myself, “I intend to give up selfishness” than “I intend to be kind and loving.” Any advice is welcome.

I am deeply grateful for this meditation.

Many blessings to all!

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

So beautiful and clear. I know these paragraphs on karma and dharma alone can provide much benefit if I, if we, contemplate them day to day.

Thank you.

D. R. Butler said...

Michelle, your comment was very beautiful. I love your perspective of life and your focus on living in the Truth of the present moment.

Renee, from a yogic point of view, it is actually best to be free from desires altogether, or at least to no longer allow desires to control our actions and decisions.

Napolean Hill and many like him around the same time had the primary mission to help people recover from the Great Depression. The collective attitude had become very negative, and poverty and loss were accepted without question. Therefore teachings of Truth in this era were more focused on material well being--because that's what was needed more than anything else at that point in time. Everything needs to be seen and understood in perspective.

Your stated goal is perfect: “I desire to 'know' the Truth, to maintain and enjoy deep contentment and serenity regardless of outer circumstances, to see the Divine in all things, equally, everywhere.” What better goal could we possibly have?

My goal is very similar. I also have a 'group goal' regarding all participants of the course--that we are always all together, that everyone is content and in love, that we are all included, each accepted as he or she is, and we share the awareness of our own unity.

We're past the point of needing to visualize a new house or a new car. We can aim for higher goals, or for the highest of all. As you said, it is Living in the Truth of the Present Moment. What could make a greater experience of life than that?

Vandita said...

In your note on Facebook entitled Being in Harmony with the Conditions and Situations of Life you say "...truly everything does happen according to divine plan, regardless of whatever choices or decisions we ever think we make". If God dwells within us, who/what does plan the plan? If the divine plan goes on regardless of whatever choices we think we make, is it best to just let everything happen and not make so many decissions? Thank you so much in advance for your answer.

D. R. Butler said...

Vandita, that is a good question, and it requires a very subtle understanding. Who plans the plan?

In the highest sense, everything is a play of Consciousness. There is no one separate from that to decide anything. And even if we are to decide something, hasn't every second of our entire life led up to what we will decide?

We all have some degree of free will, yet only an Absolutely Free Being has access to absolutely free will. If we are not Absolutely Free, the patterns and tendencies that keep us in bondage (samskaras) limit the degree of free will we have access to. As you know, the lessons of the course make all this very clear. And your question adds to that clarity.

You can just 'let everything happen' to whatever degree you can, and use free will to make necessary decisions the best you can. We're all a 'work in progress.' Yet we are also pure Consciousness, without beginning or end. It is a strange and fascinating game.

The answer to your question is different for all people, depending on where they're at and what they need. One thing can be written, yet what is written is interpreted in many different ways.

When we fully understand what is the play of Consciousness, we see that no one in particular is doing anything. There is no planner, and also no plan. There is no one making a decision; everything happens in absolute balance and harmony, except in our own minds. There's what happens in the present moment, and the Truth of the Present Moment, and that's all there is.

Marc said...

These two concepts seem to be contradictory. Could you please comment on them?

1. "The mind is not to be stopped, suppressed, or denied. Let it be; be in harmony with it as it is."

2. "We take responsibility by choosing to think in new, positive, uplifting
ways instead of old, negative, contracting ways."

It seems to me that being "in harmony with the mind as it is" would include changing nothing about it.

What I do is, while I'm repeating the mantra mentally, when I see that my attention has been drawn into a thought, I simply dismiss it and return to the mantra. I periodically "check in" to make sure that my mantra repetition is taking place consciously.

Is my "returning my attention to the mantra" the same as being in the space between thoughts?

Thank you

D. R. Butler said...

Marc, the concepts seem to be contradictory, but actually they are not. Each needs to be understood and practiced on its own level. With practice we get more accustomed to living in a multi-layered world.

On one level, is is essential to be in harmony with whatever the mind is doing, and to not allow the undisciplined mind to cause emotional upset.

On another level, it is important to think positively, and of what is pleasant, instead of negatively, and of what is unpleasant. This is the level of free will, where we can determine what we think if we activate sufficient will to do so.

They can, and must, both be practiced simultaneously.

We can be in harmony with the mind and all its creations. At the same time we need to be aware of the creative nature of mind, and know that what we think is what we get.

The reason it is important to think of what is pleasant instead of what is unpleasant, is because they generate different emotional vibrations to those around us, which affect them due to the impact of our vibrations on their nervous systems. If we radiate vibrations that go out and affect the world around us, and other beings in our karmic sphere, why not do it in a pleasant way instead of an unpleasant way?

Jim said...

Marc, may I suggest referring to the November 19, 2009 blog post for further reading on your question - specifically the first question and answer in the comments there.

I read your question and DR's response this morning and then immediately reviewed the November 2009 post since it is referred to in my own current lesson. Couldn't help myself but to call out the similarities.

Ghayas said...

Ram, I'm missing your voice ! Eventhough I hear it when I read my lessons or feel it when I say outloud the sentences before translating them into french. What about a tele-class one of these days or even a Skype workshop ? Much Love, Ghayas

Jane said...

Ram - Thank you for stating the group goal (march 21). As soon as I read it, I felt a deep sense of comfort. The inner compass is always present and the lessons are giving me the strength and guidance to hold onto the highest!

Every time I reread the 'group goal' I feel anchored into the subtle space of unity.

With much love and gratitude,

D. R. Butler said...

Marc, I just realized that I did not respond to the last part of your question, regarding mantra repetition. Mantra repetition is something I don't teach as a practice.

Participants of the course practice their own paths, and have had different backgrounds. Many participants practice mantra repetition because this is something they have been taught to do by a previous teacher, or because their teacher or Guru gave them a mantra and encouraged the repetition of it.

Mantra repetition is a time-honored path. Yet it is not included as a practice in our Course of Training. There are many sources from which one can learn all about mantra repetition, so there is no reason to include it in our course.

As for whether repetition of the mantra is the same as being in the space between thoughts, I don't think so. It is more accurate to say that the space between thoughts is the same as the space between the syllables of the mantra.

The most essential understanding regarding the mantra is in the experience of the space between the syllables.

D. R. Butler said...

Ghayas, that's probably a good idea. I know it's probably very simple and that many speakers and teachers and what have you (how does that translate in French?) do this all the time.

The truth is, we are not technologically advanced enough to know how to do this.

If anyone has had experience in such things, and knows how to pull it off, drop us an email at drbutler.course@gmail.com. We are certainly open to looking into ways to expand the process of participating in the course, for those who enjoy such things.

Ghayas said...

Dear Ram, is the space between thoughts the same as the space between the in-breath and the out-breath ? I find it difficult to focus on the space between thoughts. When I intend to do so, my intention feels as a thought in itself and somehow as an obstacle to glide in the space "between" thoughts. While when I try to focus at the pause between the in breath and the out breath, the physical aspect of this exercice feels to me somehow less abstract and discouraging than the previous one and even sometimes fun. Do they both (between thoughts and between breaths) lead to the same result ? Thank You. Thank You also for your answer agreeing on the probability of having some day audio gatherings in the Truth of the Present Moment. Looking forward. Love, Ghayas
Love, Ghayas

D. R. Butler said...

Yes, Ghayas, you can consider the space between thoughts as the same as the space between the in-breath and the out-breath, and they lead to the same result. Practice that which feels most natural to you

There is an inhalation, then a space, then an exhalation, then a space, then an inhalation, and so on. That space is the space of the Self, and focusing our attention on that space leads to the experience of the Self.

Ultimately we find that it is the same as the space between any two thoughts.

Naganath said...

Coming together via internet sounds great. Count me in. I also have been hearing D.R.'s voice recently--when I concentrate on hearing it. It makes me slow down.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Dear Ram, in lesson 41 you say:
"Aversions show us where we have limited, contracted, or distorted ideas of something. We see something as less than pure, perfect, and divine, and aversion arises. Isn’t it amazing how we disapprove of aspects of God’s creation? When we expand our vision and understanding of what we are averse to, and open our heart to it, the aversion no longer exists. What we were once averse to simply is as it is. How can we be annoyed by something that is as it is?"
Thank you so much for this lesson, it is really hitting home deeply :)
I was telling someone that my experience is that when I am identified as michelle only, I am unable to love unconditionally, and I feel this quite acutely. I feel this huge wall with aversions and opinions and judgements filtering what I see.
In fact , it feels great to say/ call michelle out, and say .."dear one you have no idea what true love is." and still hold the contraction of the mind with compassion.
It is only when I am still/quiet, and michelle is no longer "there," that unconditional love arises...it arises effortlessly when I am with my little one..because I am lost in simply enjoying him...I don't NEED anything from him, I am completely content just sharing time with him. In that space there is no desire, just the fullness of the moment as it is. what a gift!
it is exciting to see where the duality is still active. The places where I still hold onto to concepts. I am so grateful 'I' sees them!!!!
blessings to you.