Friday, April 1, 2011

Subtle Relationships in a Subtle World

The other night Kay and I were sitting in our den where we enjoy our nightly ‘satsang,’ and devote our energy and attention to something of an uplifting nature. We might read aloud from a book or a lesson; we might listen to one of the great communicators of Truth available on video or vocal recordings. We might discuss something that seems relevant to sadhana at the time. We might play music and dance and stretch in that disco-yogic way of ours, dancing like no one is watching, dancing like we wouldn’t care even if they were.

Usually, following our ‘satsang’ time, we have a time of restful recreation, which is rejuvenating, before time for bed. We might watch a movie or one of the better TV shows (‘better,’ I suppose, being totally subjective.) We live like most other people in our age range, although there might be some things that they do that we don’t, and there might be some things that we do that they don’t. After Kay goes to bed, I often stay up and participate for a while in dialogue in the comments of the blog or on Facebook.

The other night Kay said, ‘During our satsangs, it feels like there are many others here with us.’

When she said that, I too became aware of them. Suddenly I felt as though I was in one of my dreams. I have frequent dreams of being with or around large crowds of people. Sometimes it seems we are working together for some common purpose that I can’t quite consciously grasp. Sometimes we are in huge halls of an extremely large ashram or temple. Other times the location is very other-worldly.

Last night we were scattered about an exquisite palace. The entire place was extraordinarily beautiful and glowing. In my dream I looked into what was perhaps the most beautiful room I had ever seen. I thought, Wow, even though this is only a dream, the details of the room are so vividly clear. I was deliberately focusing on the details of the room, amazed that they were so clear even in a dream. I could not identify any objects; there were designs and brilliant colors that did not correlate to the objects of waking life. I do not always remember that I am dreaming at the time of the dream, but this night it was quite vivid.

Anyway, when Kay said it felt like many others were present, I had the familiar sensation that I experience around the huge crowds in my dreams. There was a sense of Wow, we’re all here together after all, as though my affirmation was already true.

Many years ago I was at a meditation gathering in Tucson. During one of the chants, I sensed very vividly the presence of Native Americans in subtle form. During a break I went to a host of the gathering, who himself was Native American, and told him of my experience.

He responded with a smile, “They’re here for the programs a lot. They come down from the mountain that overlooks the city. Many of the local Native Americans believe that when they leave the body they go to live with their ancestors on the mountain. They seem to particularly like the chanting.”

Subtle beings are all around us. Many more souls are in subtle form than in physical form. Yet, even now we are also in subtle form. The subtle body doesn’t go away when we take birth in a physical body.  It is the subtle body that animates and enlivens the physical body.  The physical body is like a spacesuit that enables us to live on the planet Earth for a little while.

After my father’s funeral in Albuquerque in the early 90’s, I sat in a chair near his grave. I was very aware that it was easy to communicate with him, even more so than it had been physically. I sensed his confusion and started explaining to him, in terms he could understand, what the process of exiting the body and returning to subtle reality was all about, so that he might more easily and harmoniously flow with what was happening.

As I was ‘talking’ I began to sense other subtle bodies from around the cemetery gathering, as they were also interested in the same topic. So we had a little subtle workshop for the confused souls still hanging around their bodies not knowing what to do next. It was a deep and moving experience for me.

Last month I wrote this in the comments: 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. 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 participants, 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, the space of the present moment, the space of the heart, the space of love.

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. It might seem like a simple process physically, but in subtle reality it is huge, powerful, and significant.

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. When we tune into this together, we meet in the space of the heart, the subtle heart where higher feelings originate, even though we might be in a different time or place physically.  It is the inner experience that counts, and that goes with us when we exit the physical body on the wings of the final exhalation.

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, who has done his part in helping to cleanse and purify our subtle bodies and chakras, immediately responded: “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.

“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.

“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.”

I always enjoy Scott’s input as he is very attuned to the subtle world, and it also amuses me that Scott is always the first to want to hear more about subtle reality, even though he might be one who experiences it the most. See Scott’s site at

The subtle body animates and enlivens the physical body, and ‘feels’ all the things that we ordinarily attribute to the physical body. Our subtle reality is much more who we are than this temporary physical manifestation. In subtle life, a hundred years or so is like nothing, being that the subtle world is free of time and space—which exist as vital aspects of the physical world.  In the physical world we live in a relative reality, and we need time and space for things to have any relativity.  Otherwise there would be only formless reality, yet the physical world is anything but formless.

The subtle body goes through no ‘aging process.’ This thing about ‘growing old’ is a physical phenomenon only. Do you have dreams where you are ‘younger’ than you presently are physically? Probably so. Do you ever have a dream where you are 'older' than you are physically? I bet not. When we ‘wake up’ from this physical dream, this current cycle of karma, we will be the same age that we always are.

I was going to explore subtle relationships with you, and then all that came out. Obviously, most people who read this share subtle relationships, or there would be no reason to meet here and read this. Through the course, we relate on a subtle level. Everything that happens through the course, and its adjuncts, this blog and my Facebook page, takes place on a subtle level. Transformation must first take place subtly before there can be any form of physical transformation.

Some of us knew each other physically in the past, sharing carbon footprints together, and now we relate subtly, manifested in the lessons of the course and online. Most of us have never met physically, and the entire relationship is of a subtle nature. Such was the same as my relationship with my first primary teacher, who left behind an amazing correspondence course, but who had left his body a year before I came across his course. Yet I have enjoyed many dreams and subtle experiences with him.

This physical life is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything actually going on in any given moment. The subtle world is much larger, much more diverse, and lasts a great deal longer than anything of the physical world. All kinds of stuff are happening right now, in this very moment, yet our ordinary conscious awareness has access to only a small portion of it.

Consciousness remains even when all traces of our carbon footprint are gone, when even our tombstone has returned to dust, when there is no longer any memory of us in any living person. This is why our true focus in life is, or should be, awareness of our true and eternally changeless nature. This is the great central reality that gives meaning to everything else, and around which all else revolves. Without it there would be absolutely nothing, for it has become everything.

Swami Ram Tirtha was a great Indian saint who took Mahasamadhi at the age of 33. Right before he left his body, he wrote a note in his room before he went out for his final bath in the Ganges. In his note he wrote:

Oh Death, take away this body if you please, I care not. I have enough bodies to use. I can wear those silver threads, the beams of the Moon and I live. I can roam as a divine minstrel putting on the guise of hilly streams and mountain brooks. I can dance in the waves of the sea. I am the breeze that proudly walks and I am the wind inebriated. All these shapes of mine are wandering shapes of change. I came down from yonder hills, raised the dead, awakened the sleeping, unveiled the fair faces of some and wiped away the tears of a few weeping ones. The bulbul and the rose both I saw and I comforted them. I touched this, I touched that, I doff my hat and off I am. Here I go, there I go, and none can find me.

There is much more to understand about all of this. If you take the course, you already know that it will be explored much more deeply in your lessons. If you have specific questions, please write them in the comments that follow this entry.

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



donnalama said...

Are the subtle and etheric bodies the same? Is a part of our subtle body expressed in this physical body and other aspects of our subtle bodies express in different dimensions? Some times I feel I'm traveling to other dimensions in my dream state as well. Always very vivid and I usually remember all the details.
Thanks for exploring this topic!

Sea Goddess Treasures said...

Actually I have felt, for quite a while that the subtle relationships we all enjoy taking your course are very powerful. I have had the sense that sometimes it is good to settle down and tune ourselves to this experience which is much greater then outward appearances. Lately, I have been taking more time to meditate and contemplate and consider things rather than talking about them. Thank goodness I love writing and I write down my experiences and feelings. My journal is my best friend. Sometimes I have wanted to talk or write in an exploration of spiritual evolution online or with others. My sense is that sometimes this isn't always appropriate or positive because the subtle relationships are so much more powerful, protective, and inspiring.

Kay Butler said...

It’s true that I have a sense of there being many souls in the room with us in the evenings. My first sense at the time I mentioned it to Ram was that our den is a place for the whole Course community to join us for satsang, all at the same time. So in the same way that our house is home to the Course—it originates and emanates through here—and the Blog and Facebook Page are home to the subtle gathering available online 24/7, you can consider the hours between 7 and 10 pm to be subtle satsang time in our den for this community of souls.

Those of you who have been participating here for a while, or who take the lessons (or both), will remember also the invitation extended in the early blog entry and lessons to join us daily at sunset, from wherever you are, for a moment of gratitude and affirmation (“I thank you Father for hearing me, and I know that you always hear me and care for me and mine in all our ways”).

On the theme of subtle relationship, my relationship with my lessons has been for decades very high up on my shortlist of most important relationships in my life. It’s physical, because the printed lesson is my constant companion in life, and it’s subtle because 99 percent of the Course takes place on the inside. Thank you all for being such a big part of my life. Thank you Ramji for your undying support.

D. R. Butler said...

Donnalama, the subtle and etheric bodies are not the same. The subtle body is more related to dreams, while the etheric body is more related to deep sleep. However it is challenging for the conscious mind to appreciate exactly what deep sleep is.

The subtle world contains many dimensions. It is much more varied than the physical world, which is merely a certain limited range of vibrations. The subtle world is composed of many levels, or lokas. Some seem like heaven; others seem like hell; even more seem somewhere in between.

All this is explored more deeply in the lessons of the course.

Mely said...

I loved the new entry, I always get excited when the new entry comes.
I just wanted to share with you that I'm getting married soon, and this entry was the answer to many questions.
Matt, my fiancée lives in Texas, I live in Mexico, so, we don't -see- each other very much... maybe once or twice a month.
And I was getting a little frustrated because I wanted to -be- with him more often.
But when I read this I realized that LOVE doesn't exist in time and space, and I remember that when we got engaged we said that we never felt so close to each other before, even when we spent the whole summer -together-. And I think that happened because that's how Love works, in a very simple and magical way...
The happiness of being engaged and celebrate our Love made us realized that we love each other here and now.
Thank you for reminding me what truly matters.
Thank you for being so close.
Mely .

D. R. Butler said...

Mely, congratulations on your upcoming marriage. We wish you the utmost in happiness.

Scott Marmorstein said...

This is a fantastic post! Love is the subtlest Power yet it holds all things and places within It. That includes heaven and hell, the subtle and etheric realms, and everything else that cannot be imagined by us.

D.R. Speaks the Truth about our subtle relationship as well.
Swami Thirth's passage reveals everything one would ever want to know about if they studied what he wrote carefully. It is a blessing to each reader whether he or she is aware of it or not. I feel blessed by reading this rich and inspiring post. Thank you, my friend.

Jane said...

Thank you Kay and Ram!! I was wondering why I felt drawn into meditation in the evenings (an unusual time for me). I thought it was because of a change in my schedule but now I know that there is another reason!

How wonderful to be together in the subtle realms. Thank you for creating so many opportunities for 'us' to experience unity.

Every time I read a new blog entry - I think 'wow - this is the best one yet.' I often felt that way about Intensives, workshops, courses...I'm coming to realize it seems ‘best’ because I'm ready to imbibe more as the process unfolds.....

With infinite gratitude,

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Hi Ram,
Thank you for another amazing blog...and lesson!!!!
I am acutely more and more aware of life as a dream. At first it was a little disturbing, partly because the "reality" I was so attached to was crumbling and it was a but scary. Now it is just amusing. I feel more and more that the structure of time and space is relative and a concept.
I remember discovering this through experience vividly when I was listening to my Guru's Guru. In that moment, and now all the time, when I am hearing a voice, looking at a picture, or reading a book, I feel at that moment I AM indeed in their company. It is only through concepts and identification with the 10-20% of this physical matter (anamayakosha) we assume is "us", that we get lost in separation.
when I am "feeling" through identification with the house of the body is dull. When I am feeling in Awareness the body AS awareness, it is very full.

Deb said...

I had an insight while reading this D.R. While I have long been aware of the subtle group I belong to by participating in the course and blog, it had never occurred to me that I belong to other subtle groups by virtue of what web sites I read. A year ago I decided that I no longer wanted to read a daily newsletter focused on conspiracy theories. I've been so much happier since making that decision, and reading your post I flashed on the enormous subtle group that I was part of. Ick. My guru taught that the company I keep is important. This blog entry extended that to subtle company as well. Thank you.

Ekatman said...


How many Bodies does the self embodies?

Physical, Subtle, Etheric

is the Mind a Body?

is the Ego a Body?

What happens to the Bodies of a person who attains liberation?

Thank you!

D. R. Butler said...

Ekatman, the mind and ego are both components of the subtle body.

There is the physical body that corresponds to the waking state, the subtle body that corresponds to the dream state, and the etheric body that corresponds to the deep sleep state.

In sadhana, the goal is to become aligned with and attuned to the turiya state, the state of pure Consciousness, which exists equally in the waking, dream, and deep sleep states, pervading all three bodies, yet existing formlessly beyond them as well.

Curiously, perhaps, all three states happen simultaneously, regardless of where our awareness might be momentarily focused. Even as we are awake, the dream state is happening just below the surface of our consciousness, and even deeper lies the deep sleep state right this moment. It's not like we leave one state in order to enter another. Through the turiya state, we simultaneously exist in all levels of being.

Jane said...

Dear Ram,
Thank you for your clarification about the 4 states (and the bodies associated with them). It has taken me years/lifetimes to grasp that all 4 states exist simultaneously. For some reason, until I started reading the Course (this time around), I wasn’t ‘getting it.’ Now, I’m feeling much more hopeful about becoming aligned with the turiya state and (no surprise) this fits in perfectly with my current lesson!

Colette said...

What is the purpose of the deep sleep state relative to the dream and waking state?

Taylor said...

Dear Ram,
Thanks for this new blog entry. Thanks for sharing with us your evening routine with Kay. I also have dreams where I am with large groups of bhaktis. Lovers of the Truth.
I learned of an example of the subtle relations in my life this week. As my partner was away visiting with her elderly parents, I was reading my current lesson which had the theme of seeing the perfection of things. The phrase, it is what it is, was repeated several times. When my partner returned home, she told me how they had listened to a segment from NPR about "it is what it is." And, her mother kept repeating the phrase after they had heard it. Then, I realized that I had been focusing on that as well because of my lesson. We are connected on the subtle level!

Scott Marmorstein said...

Ram...isn't everything in our experience Subjective?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the new blog entry. Would a ghost be a subtle body? or would it maybe be an old samskara hanging around? Sometimes I feel when I'm asleep and dreaming I might appear as a ghost to one who is awake, LL

Ekatman said...


Thank your for your answer, I feel through the responses in this blog entry I understand more and from a higher angle what you have explained in the course a few lessons ago concerning the experience of the four states simultaneously.


Why is there the need to be in a physical body in order to attain "liberation"?

is it that the process of purifying the mind and the ego to become aware of our true nature cannot happen on the subtle or etheric realms?

Another question,

Could we say that when we experience awareness of awareness, the exquisite and blissful feeling of being, can we say that we have experienced or touched the turiya state then and there?

D. R. Butler said...

Colette, the purpose of the deep sleep state relative to the dream and waking state is that it is restorative and rejuvenating. Deep sleep is not the same as 'unconsciousness.' It is a very deep state. If, during meditation perhaps, we focused on the deep sleep state, without actually falling asleep, we would enjoy a very deep meditation.

Taylor, you are definitely well-connected:)

Scott, yes, everything in our experience is Subjective. That is the reality of it. Our Subjective reality is reflected as objective reality, like a cosmic mirror and appears to be a world apart from us--different and separate. People who are relatively 'sleeping,' as opposed to awake and aware, take the objective reality, the reflection, as the reality, and never guess that their own subjective experience is the cause of it all.

LL, what is ordinarily seen or referred to as a 'ghost' is what in Sanskrit is known as the 'kama rupa'--the body of desires and passions. This body, thankfully, is dropped by the subtle body on its way out, and it lingers behind in the familiar haunts that its physical host roamed in earlier. This began the idea of being 'haunted.' It is the presence of the 'kama rupa,' which is not the Self, or real Person, that inhabited the body as an earthly incarnation, but only the passions and desires that haunted the incarnated individual.

We can thank the benevolent process for allowing us to leave passions and desires behind, instead of having to carry them on into the next realm. We have some samskaras to work out that will continue in the subtle body, yet the base passions and desires we finally leave behind.

Ekatman, why is a physical body needed for enlightenment? Do you think this can be resolved by the mind? No, the mind is too contracted to understand. The best we can understand, regarding such things, is that God, or the Omnipresent Omniconsciousness, does it all for play, in the sense of a sport. The whole thing is just for a laugh. What else is there to do?

When we experience awareness of Awareness, will we have reached the turiya state?

The thing is, the turiya exists within all states simultaneously. Therefore, we must be experiencing the turiya state right now, already. It isn't something to be attained. It's something to be realized. The turiya state pervades even this space, otherwise how would we even know we were here?

So, yes, the awareness of Awareness is the turiya state, but more importantly in practical life, we already live in the turiya state. We are only distracted by some stuff that causes us to forget our true nature and to think that we are this individual person. Even so, through the turiya state, we recognize even our delusion, which is basically whatever distracts us from the pure experience of the turiya state.

Of course, all this is explored more deeply in the lessons of our course:)

Ghayas said...

Is the experience of the Self karmically determined, or one could experience the Self whatever karma he has to experience ? (Because sometimes I wonder "what am I waiting for to exprience It ? Is it part of the program for this lifetime, or not for me yet ? "). I'm optimistic though. Love, Ghayas

Ghayas said...

Ram, Scott, ...if subtly you're able to perceive THE major Samskara preventing me from experiencing the Self, please report it, save me some time. What is it ? (I know I'm taking a risk here... so what !)
Love, Ghayas

Scott Marmorstein said...


THE major samskara that I see here is that you have developed a shadow samskara that tells you there's a samskara in the way of your experiencing Awareness. Talk about subtle! The problem doesn't even exist except in conceptual form! :)

Actually that's just it, all the concepts of time and space, a bound bundle of form, thought, feelings, notions, and concepts that make up a bound person you call 'Ghayas' exists ONLY in thought, and that is the remaining 'samskara' and what's even funnier is that you literally drop in and out of this thought-based-conceptual-based structure of the life story of 'Ghayas' each and every day, many many times a day, without often even being Present with this fact.

When you're present of the dropping away of this--like when you go to open the handle of your car door there's a brief moment when everything about you and your world disappears and just this mysterious phenomenon without labels is occurring--you can experience ecstatic Joy.

Right? When you go to sleep at night and say you wake up in the middle of the night, you forget where you are living, you forget about family members, your only objective (probably) is to get to the bathroom and then back in bed as soon as you can. So all of those conceptual realities are completely gone from your consciousness--this is experiencing Awareness and you are simply being present with a task. That's the awesome Self as it is--playing 'as if' it were separate 'things.'

D. R. Butler said...

Ghayas, yes, the experience of the Self is karmically determined, and, yes, we can experience the Self regardless of whatever karma we are experiencing. They are both true.

Why wait? 'Waiting' is a very fascinating concept. It is simply an anticipation of the future. The consciousness of 'waiting' takes us out of the awareness of the Truth of the present moment.

Whatever you are waiting for, it is already present. There is nothing True or Real at any 'time' that is absent in the present moment. Whatever we are waiting for is already here now.

This is why the text is 'The Doctrine of Recognition' and not 'The Doctrine of Waiting.'

You remind me of when I asked our teacher what was it she knew about me that I did not already know about myself.

I said, 'Is there some aspect of ego I'm unaware of? Is it some samskara I can't see? What is it?'

She answered that the problem was 'what is it?' Why was I assuming something was wrong that needed to be corrected? I should relax more, stop worrying, and do more things to have fun.

It was very powerful advice and has worked very well for me. You are welcome to apply it to your own life.

rico said...

There should be a like button for the blog comments.

D. R. Butler said...

There is. If I don't like it, I don't publish it:)

(Actually, I can't even remember the last time I didn't put up a comment that came in. There seems to be only 'us' here now, and none of 'them.')

Ed said...

Actually, I don't remember ever having a comment published. Is it some glitch in the electronics?
Then again, maybe I don't keep up.

Anonymous said...

'us' and 'them' cannot escape the singularity, om

D. R. Butler said...

Did you ever submit a comment? They don't just appear and publish themselves.

Christina said...

Having taken your course for some years, I am aware that these teachings can be read and re-read until we ‘get’ them. Nevertheless I have really struggled to engage with the first 6 months of the current course….it felt dry and rather boring…I kept telling my mind to look deeper but it has been a struggle and I haven’t managed to read the lesson every day…I felt sad and but it just wasn’t happening……

Then lo and behold, lesson 13 arrives…and I’m carrying it around with me etc etc and crying and my heart is full and I’m feeling so glad I stayed with it….! But what is it? Why has it changed? It feels like you’re writing from your heart much more and that the earlier lessons were more from the head…would you agree with this? I know it’s not just me that’s changed…

I would really appreciate your comment on this if you have the time.

It’s such a relief to be looking forward to the next lesson again! Wonderful!

D. R. Butler said...

The difference is a little of everything. Part of it is that you HAVE changed, perhaps more than you realize. Also, many people have said that they feel they move into a new space with the course after every six months, and especially after each year.

I don't think I come from my head at some times and from my heart at other times, insofar as the writing goes. A process of opening up is going on, and we need to maintain a delicate balance is what is explored when. It is necessary to understand certain things before certain other things can be understood.

It will be interesting to see how you feel after Lesson 24.

Ghayas said...

Thank you very much Ram and Scott,
My mom used to tell me "Do your homework first, and only then, will you be allowed to have some fun". I guess the concept of "waiting" has its roots in this motherly command. Wait to deserve having fun, you're not there yet, your laziness is preventing you from the right of having fun, you have to work harder first. Thank You Ram for reminding me this interaction you had with our teacher. I remember you telling it in workshop: does the zebra go around wondering "what is it ?"... These were great moments. And this moment is a great moment as well. I feel so much gratitude for this subtle community. Really, it's so great. Have fun, relax, don't worry, drop it...these are the key words I intend to focus on, the best replacement to the education my mother gave me (who did her best by the way with what she knew then, I don't blame her, she didn't have a Guru who told her that relaxing and having fun is a good thing to do to feel good about oneself !)
Much love to you all, Ghayas

Mark P said...

At times I seem so clear as to what is written in the Lessons and an hour later I feel like I don't have a clue. I sometimes see that everything is just a play of consciousness including the idea of this me that is in the play as well as watching the play. I sometimes see that this seemingly never ending search is pointless as the One that watches this all play out remains always in the background unaffected but for some reason can't stop looking. I also see that this search is also part of the play. I sometimes think I'm like 'this close' to figuring the whole thing out but also know this too is part of the play. I guess my question is, is this normal behavior and should I quit looking (I probably couldn't if I wanted to). I appreciate any feedback as I know you're a busy guy.

D. R. Butler said...

Mark, your question reminds me very much of the questions from Ghayas. Your mind is swirling around, realizing wonderful truths, and yet you are telling yourself there is something you don't quite get yet. Amazing how many ways we do this to ourselves, isn't it?

You're right, everything is part of the play, including 'the search,' 'being this close,' or whatever. The play is vast, yet the game is very simple. Keep focusing on the Truth of the present moment as much as possible, and everything will gradually become clearer and clearer, probably without any explanation.

ML said...

In my new lesson you make the statement, "It is very important to develop the capacity to live in a nonreactive state." You may as well be saying "It is very important to develop the capacity to lift a Cadillac over my head."

In observing myself, I'm making some interesting discoveries with regard to reactions. The first thing is that there is no space between action and reaction. It's like a sneeze, you don't know it's coming until you're in the middle of it. Probably the closest I've seen myself come to "controlling" a reaction is, I'll be in the middle of a reaction and then catch myself doing it and think, "No, I don't want to do that." But those scenarios are few and far between. More often than not I don't realize it until after the fact.

Strangely enough what I'm discovering is that sometimes I'll be aware that I'm reacting but a part of the reaction is I don't want to stop. Once a reaction has taken over it feels like it's the right thing to do and exchanging it for something else doesn't feel like the right thing to do.

Do you have any suggestions on this matter?

D. R. Butler said...

ML, your question is very clear. You are relatively new to the course, and your following lessons will explain everything you ask about very clearly.

First you learn to watch the reaction without having any feelings about it, without criticizing it or find anything wrong with it. Not liking it only gives it more power. Gradually, as you will be taught, you create ways of being and responding that you wish to replace your reactions with. You have to do this ahead of time, for as you know, reactions happen very fast and there's not much we can do at the time unless we are prepared in advance.

All this is explored in detail in the lessons of the course. Be patient with yourself. No one can stop habitual reactions simply by wanting to or deciding to do so. Some things must first be practiced and understood in order to develop this ability. It will all come in due time. Meanwhile, practice the principles in your current lesson in your daily life the best you can.

D. R. Butler said...

Today someone wrote that the reason he hadn't enrolled in the course was because he can't read on the computer without pain and didn't know he was expected to actually print them out after he heard of others doing this. Each lesson is 9-12 pages sent in pdf to be easily printed out. Please don't limit your readings of the lessons to the computer. The form of printed paper serves its own purpose, as you can easily carry it around with you and refer to it in odd moments of the day. (You can also refer to it during even moments.)

eddie89 said...

To answer your answer to my question, Ram, yes, I have submitted comments. It's hard to remember now exactly what they were and when they were and what's the point of chasing after them, anyway?
They have these choices about submitting at the bottom that confuse me. I often log in with wordpress, but I see it is more effective if I log in with my google account. At least that is the experience of the moment.
I wrote a comment about Prabhupada I think, what he thought, but like I said. It's something to deal with the question of being published. It's like kids who want their pictures taken. I understand the feeling but I am inclined to take a more mature position.
I just turned 58, you know, on March 15th. Happy Birthday to Me.

eddie89 said...

Oh, there was another comment I sent. You can put those .pdf docs into Adobe Digital Editions and it is much easier to read once you learn its little tricks - on a computer. If your printer malfunctions or is in some unusual place in a single man's apartment, underneath last night's supper and today's lunch, as you would. If you don't want to deal with the paper and the wires that connect your printer and you sit with a pc on your lap while you watch your massive TV for which you should feel gratitude to the great Self for giving to you, the Adobe Digital Edition. Did that sound like an ad? It isn't really. You'll find the alternative on your Adobe Reader. Just click edit and scroll down.
This blogger thing doesn't have a search engine so it would be hard to find if you published that one.

Jim said...

I think I've got it! ... No wait ... Yeah! ... Well, maybe ...

I really am That! And not this. Or this and That simultaneously?

I've always looked out as this one looking to become greater, now for the first time I see how I could be that One having become smaller.

Witness consciousness, play of the
Self. All phenomena, all thought, feeling and action - all equal - it finally lept off the page and went 3D for me. Halleluyah!

Shirley said...

Scott's remarks about a shadow samskara so resonated with a realization that hit me yesterday.
For most of my adult life (and I'm 80) I have felt guilt over things I did and said as a child and teen-ager that may have been, probably were, hurtful to others. Despite the reading I have done, despite the "work" I have done on myself, despite my mind's efforts to rationalize it away, I simply could not let go of the guilt. Yesterday as I was reading my lesson, I suddenly GOT IT, that this guilt I was using this guilt as an excuse, keeping me from loving myself, and magically, the guilt began to dissipate. I will not miss it. Shadow samskara, BEGONE with you!
Thank you Ram, Scott, and everyone who shares on this space so generously and so courageously.

Colette said...

I just love the blog, it shows me how similar we all are, and this of course gives me many chuckles. It gives me many insights into how easy it is to limit myself and of course what I'm doing and I don't realize it. When I see someone else doing the same thing it makes it easier for me to see it in me. It also allows me to see how wonderful I am, how wonderful we all are because the person we think we are doesn't really exist. What a humorous show. I am so grateful to all of you who teach me so much through your sharing. Many Blessings Lots of Love to You All, Karuna

Renee said...

Rico, I agree - I've often wanted to "like" a comment here!

ML, I'm working on reactions too. I recently caught myself thinking "disappointed" as I glanced at a stranger and then was horrified to realize that the thought flashed across my face too just as the person glanced my way. Why would I think that and communicate that to a stranger? I was so appalled that I walked off, but part of me wishes I had gone up to her and apologized.

The part that has me reeling in shock however, is that this person happened to be black. And lest you think I am a horrible racist (I may be for all I know), I have had the same reaction to just about every category of human being under some circumstance or another. There seems to be no type of person about whom I haven't had a negative (or positive) knee-jerk reaction after simply glancing at them.

Ram, you say the first step is to notice the reaction without having negative emotions about it. I will do my best, but I'm feeling something beyond extremely humbled. Something more like "disappointed".

Thank you both so much for all you do.

Al Macdonald said...

The thing that confuses me about all reality, whether physical, subtle, etc, is why is it here? If it all started from conciousness, a formless awareness that we call Self or God, that somehow appeared to witness the nothingness. How did that happen? Why did this happen? Why is there anything at all?

I have read about the Flower of Life (google it if interested), and how "God", created the reality by creating it, by becoming aware of it in a special way. The rest of reality seems to have fallen out of this. (As an aside, it is interesting that the biblical story of creation matches the building of the flower of life amazingly well.)

But whether the reality came from consciousness that appeared out of nothing, or perhaps a big bang from an immensely dense pin head floating in nothingness. (Which I can't say I believe in) My deepest question is why is anything, here? How did consciousness appear out of nothing?

Tony Aditya Putman said...

Ram, in response to your question to Ed -- several times I have submitted comments both before and after subscribing to the course. None of them were posted, so I have just been a silent participant on the blog since. FYI.

Shirley said...

Dear Ram,
My odd moments and even moments are kind of evening out. How odd that I even noticed. Guess it had to happen even-tually.
I LOVE you and the participants of this course sooo much.
Love and blessings,

Bob Dahl said...

To Al Macdonald and his question about where it all comes from I quote the singer Billy Preston and his song "Nothing From Nothing";

Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
You gotta have somethin'
If you wanna be with me

Be God - that's something!

Shirley, how odd, but even I agree with you.

D. R. Butler said...

I respond to a lot of questions in the comments. Sometimes I wonder about some things myself.

For example, how many people actually read this comment? I have no idea how many actually dig this deep or read this far. I get some idea by how many different people contribute comments, yet I know that most people who read this don't write comments very often if at all.

I wonder if people who started reading the blog at or near the beginning are still reading it, and I wonder if people who recently started reading the blog have gone back to read previous entries and exchanges? There are remarkable exchanges that take place in the comments of the blog only.

I wonder how many have read the whole blog from beginning to now?

I wonder what percentage of participants in the course actually read the comments of the blog?

I wonder what percentage of people who read the blog also participate in the course via email?

There are just so many things I could wonder about, things I could be genuinely curious about. I could go on and on.

Each person creates his own relationship with the course, and each person determines for herself what the blog means to her. It can be so many things to so many people.

What are these words, really? Why are they here and why are you reading them? I am not the writer. I am your own inner voice objectified for you in this form.

I have answered so many questions from you. I'd love to know more about you. I'd love to get a clearer idea of exactly who I am writing to.

We can relate and communicate here in real time. You can tune in any time, write your comments or questions anytime, and I am likely to be reading or writing anytime as well. It's like we never quite know what happens next. We make it up as we go along. We create it together. It is a fun game.

Of course, none of this really matters. Ultimately, I write to myself; ultimately some deep part of my inner Self reads and understands what is written. No one 'else' is involved. It's just 'us.' None of 'them' are here.

Meeting here together, and especially sharing the course together, is a physical manifestation of a definite and specific karmic connection. Subtly speaking, we serve a great function in each other's life.

You can reveal your universe to me, and I'll reflect it back to you. I can reveal mine to you and you can be the mirror for me. We learn and come to understand so much through this subtle interaction, which physically is hardly noticeable.

The process is extraordinarily subtle. Primary it is a subtle process that we physically connect to here, in the blog, or through the lessons. Perhaps you have noticed just how powerful and transformative subtle experiences can be.

This is my idea of enjoying a good time on a Saturday night. Enjoy your day or evening, whenever you read this. Take a deep, slow inhalation. Turn your attention deep within, within the ray of light that radiates between the head and the heart like an exquisite mini-galaxy. Merge into the light and experience the love. In this way we tune into the same space, we meet and merge in the highest way possible.

And here we are.

Eugenia said...

I watch the cats react in their way to stimulie and I wonder: does one communicate to the other her experiences? or does one experience events as they unfold in the other's life? When one stands motionless and silent is she mentally calling the other or does she float in the space just "here" where the other already is?
Love all

Scott Marmorstein said...

I wonder if I ever used to think that reading the blog and the comments from beginning up to now would have made me better or changed me somehow.

And the realization is that my attention would have simply been focused on numerous thoughts presently arising as I read the words on the screen but that some person named Scott Marmorstein probably wouldn't be any better off or changed in some permanently observable way.

My relationship with the Course and the Blog is that of enjoyment and a deepening connection to the Presence of the moment. Thanks to whatever it is that allows all this to seem to be here as it is--it's truly a great delight.

Colette said...

For me the blog is an and expression and crystallization of Love. We drowned in love here. Completely melted I bid you adieu. PS I do read the blog every day. Karuna

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Hello Ram and other members of the community-

I loved your questions about who reads this blog. I am one who reads it every day, or at least every day that I log in, though I have posted infrequently. I feel like I am getting to know those of you who post more often, and I love the sense of connection.

I have only seen you (Ram) in your physical form once at a workshop many years ago, yet my tuning into the energy that comes through your writing has been one of the most important parts of my life.

I took the course when it was by mail for about ten years. Like so many others here, I missed it greatly and then like magic it is back in my life in this wonderful virtual form of blog, FB and lessons (and in its tangible printed version of the lessons).

In this incarnation I work as a psychologist and have a treasured husband, 14 year old daughter and 9 year old son. I live in NC as a transplant from the Boston area. I have been on my spiritual path (the one in which I took your previous course) for 25 years. I write poetry for kids and do coaching for adults and am passionate about growth and "doing the work"- both in myself and witnessing the experience of others.

Anyway, just to let you know that all over there are those of us who read and appreciate and take in the wonderful sharings on this blog and FB, even if we don't post very often. Thanks to those of you who DO post-- it's all such good stuff and makes every day full of the highest.

Love, Karen Jo (KJ)

D. R. Butler said...

KJ, thank you for sharing a little of your life and what you do now. I wish more would share this way. This way, as a community, we'd get to know each other even better.

Renee said...

Oh boy! I love talking about myself. ;)

I have read all the blog entries and comments, which was a feat because I found the course a year ago in the spring of 2010 and there was already an impressive amount of material! When I found the course, I had all but given up hope that I would ever come to practice seeing the Truth, so I am extremely grateful.

I am a 41-year-old mother of three (ages 5, 4 and 2). I've survived several deep depressions and an identity free-fall induced by massive, chronic, post-birth sleep deprivation (which basically lasted five years).

As a result, I no longer believe I know who I am, and in fact, I don't believe I ever knew. But often I forget. :)

Today I'm wondering - using the course, blog, FB posts - doing my best to keep an open mind.

The work of the course is indeed work. It is so much easier and more familiar to simply careen around on my old patterns, letting samskaras dictate my reactions.

But for the sake of my husband and children, I want to see what is new each moment. When I do the work, I see progress. I take myself less seriously, laugh more, play more.

I like to say that I have everything I have ever wanted in life ... and the nerve to complain about it. I have always loved the sentence on your FB page that says, "This course is for you." Of course, with the new format, I don't see it anymore, but it might be the thing that tipped me into writing to you to learn more about the course. And I'm so glad I did!

Grateful beyond words in Portland, Oregon,

Anonymous said...

I always check for new post, nearly everyday and FB. My other half reads the Couse more..Its a balance, LL

Kristopher Stillwell said...

I read this lovely enttry of yours, Ram, for the first time here the 11th of April. It is an understatement to say in the physical world I've been very busy the past 11 days. It makes me very happy and full of a feeling of reverance and respect to read the truth right now. For some reason unknown this passage speaks to me more than any other of yours in the blog. I had a sweet dream last evening with you in it. I eas telling "you" enthusiatically of the things I had been learning from the course. This morning in reflection I realized "you" were my projected contents as Ram. On closer investigation of yhe dream, I realized, you were simply thin air, perfect emptiness. It all seemed so quite natural and true. A mountain of emptiness.

D. R. Butler said...

That's me all right--thin air and perfect emptiness. One of the best compliments I've received.

Kartikeya, your comment was received and appreciated. If you have any questions about it, write to us at and Kay will respond to you.

Hopefully everyone is handling Mercury retrograde with poise and equanimity.

Eileen said...

It's quite fascinating, this subtle connection through this blog. I read the Course as often as my days permit and I pretty regularly log in to FB (I cherish them both) - but I don't get to read the blog as much. What's interesting is that I just now read through the comments posted here - seemingly cursorily - then WHAM! - just like that, I'm in tears. Just a simple reading of the words here and suddenly I feel this deep connection to That which loves me enormously and is always there. It feels very much like I've come back once again to the One who loves me supremely and waits for me with infinite patience. It is nothing short of magic -- how these innocent letters of the alphabet, strung together, can evoke such deep stirrings within my being. All I can say is Thank You, Ram - whatever it is that you do here that plunges me right back into that deep reservoir of love - thank you with all my heart.

Eugenia said...

"Mountain of emptiness". Funny that. Being a novice to the course I spent a while on "the sniffing period" as I call it. And then I had this intense DR identification with white, the colour with no colour and all colours at once. I suppose we are the colours ...olours...olours.

chimene said...

hello Ram and all the community,

You once said in a workshop that it was like a gathering of seekers around the fire of Truth, that together we would embark on a journey inside and even though it didn't seem like we were doing much, sitting around in a room, a lot was happening on other planes of being...
well the blog is that continuous workshop. I tune into when I can, when I want to get off the rolecoaster and tune into the Truth and I can just come and sit with you guys around the fire of the Truth and you Ram are the fire keeper, each monthly entry, each daily post on FB is fresh wood into the fire, and all our comments are like wind blowing on the fire, making it bigger and then new wood, more comment and it keeps us all warm ...
Hope my metaphor spoke to you, because it really is the warmth of the Heart, the course is that breeze of warm air from within...

rico said...

Ram's cyber dhuni

Colette said...

Facebook is fine, and the blog is delicious. The blog feels more intimate to me and even though I know that my story, it is my subjective experience. I am glad for all of it however.

For those of you who never share, I for one would love to hear your stories good and experiences. They are all stories of the One.Love to All, Karuna

Sukala said...

Dear Ram,

I work as an employment counselor and am at the computer most of the time. I thought of the blog community as more computer time. But after a few readings I liked how it felt. Like the course, it was the feeling that drew me back and there are times when I want to contribute something.
It helps me on many levels. One that’s not so obvious is paying attention to the written word, an essential life skill. Joining in the blog community last December was timely because it prepared me for my first online learning course in January. It was related to work and I was able to relax and have fun with it.
The course helps re-train my mind in practical ways to sustain and grow happiness. It’s exciting and transforming to let go of samskaras. Feeling like a victim; perceiving others inaccurately due to the muddy lenses of old conditioning; making excuses not to be 100% present in my life. You know the list… The course brings them all into view so clearly, that sooner or later I recognize you’re talking about me, not just my sister or a friend! I’m in lesson 35 and a major theme of the last few lessons is how to succeed in changing. I’m learning how to develop and hold a clear image of the desired behaviour -- before the challenging situation arises -- so it’s there when I need it. It’s taken way longer than I anticipated, as changes do. It’s no coincidence that I started home reno’s and the course together and the course helped me handle the reno’s more maturely. In fact, I mustered up the courage to fire the first crew five months into the project. It felt dharmic and so I placed all my faith in dharma.
The course probes the depths of humanity and the interactive blog community is a support for what is stirred up. My sister Vicki, reads everything on the blog, come to think of it, so does her husband. It was through her repeated promptings that I finally came to the blog, although I don’t think they’ve spoken on the blog. It works for me because I’m on my own and have a need to be heard and to contribute in this intimate way.
I like knowing about the community and people’s strengths. For instance, Scott M is a healer and since chanting what he suggested for me, a samaskaric reactions has lightened. Hanuman epitomizes the devotion, strength and constancy I want to have. Chanting to him is a real catalyst in my sadhana. I was amazed recently when I responded from contemplation, vs reacting to someone who triggered a painful samskara. Then the next week, and the next week, as situations arose, it carried on: thinking first, with love, then acting. This prevented anger and more karma with three people. Yay! Last night as I lay in bed til midnight hearing the pounding music of my neighbour, I could measure my growth. I no longer want to kill him, I simply want to find a solution even if it’s sending him blessings on the subtle level.

kurtso said...

Hello from the silent 'blogjority',Ram. I know of seven people in my circle of friends who read the blog.We discuss the blog but do not necessarily feel compelled to write comments.(Especially those of us who live in the woods and don't have access to high speed internet).Nevertheless,the blog has become an important part of our lives and part of our extended spiritual family.Thanks & Namaste, Sukhdev.

Kathy said...

Hi, hope all is well with you and Kay. I am sending you this email to let you know how "the course" has affected my life. Sounds like it's going to be a long email, but as you can see it's not.

Of all the things that I have done and read I really feel that the course has been my greatest teacher. From the very beginning it taught me how to see things that happen in another way, and that teaching has made all the difference.

From reading the lessons in California on Cowper Street, to sitting here in my living room all these years later, the principals and perspectives I have absorbed have been my greatest companion. The reading and re-reading has really helped certain perspectives I now hold always come through for me when I need them most.

I thought it was time for me to share this with you.
Thanks for all you do.
Be well
Love from me

JB said...

I enjoy the course and blog. Reading other's comments opens my heart and makes me realize that we all have different perspectives, while such differences don't really matter after all.

I read your previous writings when I was a teen and immediately loved them and read them almost everyday as long as they were available. I can't say for sure it is because of this, but my life has just been constantly getting better ever since (not that it is always easy or things always turn out to my ego's advantage, but overall, it is getting easier and easier on some level).

My wife found the new course and I am glad about it -- I find it as powerful as your earlier writings, but much clearer and direct. It helps me to see all the ways I react unnecessarily and makes me recognize the many facets of my ego. I enjoy the much needed continuous repetition -- I have always wondered how come I forget everything so easily although overall, I see I am progressing, and I am more patient with myself and others around me -- little by little. I also enjoy more and more seeing God in this world and in others.

I have been working as a research scientist for a few decades now -- I never thought this is what I would do with my life but I am enjoying it. There are some strange peoplein this field -- some believing that science will one day explain and fix everything, although overall, people are nice and good hearted. I have met many inspiring people in my work, and they have helped me see many things again where I needed to improve. I like the concept that others around us merely reflect things about us, and would say more precisely it is more like people we engage with and/or react to reflect things about us that we need to recognize, appreciate or change in us -- the others around are just ... the others around.

I am quite amazed at the wisdom contained in the present course. I have started recently rereading all lessons one by one -- I am sometimes quite impressed how just a single sentence or paragraph can contain much needed understanding -- my guess is that if an individual can imbibe and live uninterruptly just what is contained in a single lesson, he has gone a long way on the path.

Many thanks. JB

D. R. Butler said...

JB, thanks for rereading the lessons you received in the beginning. I wish more people would do this more often. If we read a lesson that we originally spent 2 weeks with a year or so ago, we are often amazed at how much we see in it that we never even noticed the first time around. As our understanding expands and deepens, our comprehension of the principles of Truth becomes much greater, and we read the same words on a whole other level.

Christine said...

I was headed out the door this morning going to a meeting and kept getting bouts of the kumbhuka that comes to me now and again. The kumbhuka was so particularly strong this morning that even as I was on the subway platform waiting for the train my breath kept holding for long periods and releasing, along with centering, lightness and bliss. Talk about life synching with the course, I opened up the course on my blackberry after my breath released to your instructions for breathing that mirrored my breathing! lol. right on time!

Great lesson, and I continue to learn so much and experience expansion.

Light and love,

Christine .

kirsty said...

I read your question about who turns to the blog. I probably read it once a week...being mostly absorbed in the lessons every morning, as I have been since the '80s, I think.My memory is hazy as to when you first started writing them originally. Then there were the workshops in Baltimore and elsewhere.

Frankly, I don't find FB as rewarding; but then I am an old fuddy-duddy and unused to social networking.

Just know that what you do and where you lead us is invaluable!!

The world has become so complex and so easy to get caught up in that the fresh air of your thoughts about 'reality' is much needed and we are grateful.

Devorah said...

Wonderful comments..really found myself in a deep place of awareness after reading them all. One of the comments made me curious about awareness. I understand awareness, know when I am and not aware, how does one become aware of awareness as you described? Or is that what awareness is - aware of awareness?

Dogu said...

Hello D.R. and the Subtle Sangham,

Al Macdonald's question resonated with me. He asks, "My deepest question is why is anything here? How did consciousness appear out of nothing?

That there should be anything at all is utterly and inconceivably miraculous! I sometimes call this the First Miracle.

To say that anything could exist with out consciousness is meaningless. To assert existence or non-existence independent of consciousness is to make a distinction without a difference.

Contemplating this miracle that there is anything at all I am filled with awe and gratitude.

I am currently on lesson 12 on this iteration of the course. I visit this blog a couple of times a month, and try to read a portion of my lesson daily. I haven't caught up to the current blog month from the beginning yet, but expect to be caught up in a few months.

The course of training provides an evening counterbalance to my morning meditation. I find the combination much more effective in maintaining my presence than just the meditation alone.

I am very much aware of D.R.'s call to do the work of the course in the present moment, and I do wonder how I am doing in this regard. How deep is my commitment? I can still get blinded for days at a time, especially when I am not feeling well.

Thank you all for your thoughtful and loving reflections.

D. R. Butler said...

Yes, Al Macdonald puts it nicely: 'The thing that confuses me about all why is it here? If it all started from conciousness, a formless awareness that we call Self or God, that somehow appeared to witness the nothingness. How did that happen? Why did this happen? Why is there anything at all? My deepest question is why is anything, here? How did consciousness appear out of nothing?'

And Devorah asks, 'How does one become aware of awareness as you described? Or is that what awareness is - aware of awareness?'

I used to wonder about these things when I was a teen. I remember meditating on such questions in the backyard in the dark of night. How did anything get here to begin with, and why? Where did it all really come from? It was so perplexing I could feel my mind getting tangled and knotted, and I realized early on that the mind would never be satisfied with any answer to those questions, and that it could never grasp the truth of it.

Questions like these are challenging to answer because the answers make no sense in an ordinary way. It is like asking why do we dream at night, and where do the dreams come from? There are answers, but they do not come in the forms we tend to expect, and therefore we might not recognize them even when they are quite clear.

Just before reading these questions I posted the following comment on Facebook:

Of myself I have nothing to offer. I am an embodiment of emptiness, no striving or struggling, no grasping or clinging, alive for reasons I will never know. In the beginning an inhalation, at the end an exhalation, and between them nothing much happens, although it appears as an extended spectacle of seemingly great significance. I sit here, following the breath, enjoying the patient pulsation of life.

The Facebook post was simply something that arose in my mind at the time. It has no meaning, and yet for me it contains great meaning. Even though there are no answers to the questions, it is as good of an answer that I have.

As we progress in the course, the answers will be revealed in a natural and spontaneous way. For now let's simply say that everything exists for the delight of Consciousness, and no other reason is needed. At first it makes no sense, but after a while we see that it makes much more sense than anything else.

This one is to be continued, in one form or another.

Jane said...

Ram - Thank you for your response to THE question posed by Al. When I read his comment, I wondered how you would reply because, quite honestly, it is a question I try to avoid asking myself because I can't verbalize any answers.

When I read your response, I took a deep breath and felt at home with the fact that the answer doesn't have to be available to my mind in a way that the mind is accustomed to. This is a big relief and very reassuring!!

With much love to all,

Christina said...

I have recently been experiencing "waves" of bliss rising on what appears to be the right side of my body. This is different to the calm deep stillness of bliss at other times. The other day I walked into the kitchen to see my lovely partner had yet again!!! left an empty soya milk carton on the worktop. I felt a wave of irritation arise but at the same time was still aware of the bliss coursing through me. I stood there observing felt great! In my current lesson,14, on page 2 you say "there is room for either I FEEL GREAT or I FEEL PAIN. It's not half and half. It is always one or the other".On page 3 "it's always one or the other - the mind or the moment". Can you comment on this please? Thankyou.

Scott Marmorstein said...

I checked in on you in a dream place once--looked like an old ashram I was familiar with and well, you were there talking to a large crowd of people. The subtle body doesn't seem to hold us back like the physical ones. So I can attest to you doing some fun stuff in the subtle realm. Still, there's something quite fun about the physical world that the Lord seems to enjoy. I for one am glad it's all connected without any real division. But that's something that's challenging for many to grasp since it's not really an intellectual understanding. It's subtle. :)

Al Macdonald said...

Or perhaps this is an age old question that even the original conscious being cannot fully understand - somehow consciousness came to be, and it created all this. It is all truly a play of consciousness, and one can either resist, or just witness, and fully engage in each moment. I have often noted that no matter what I do at night, or what I think, I wake up in the morning, and there I am once again to engage another day. Even this is a miracle.

I didn't really expect an answer to this question, as how can such things be answered to the satisfaction of the ever questioning mind. Perhaps I will never know, but I feel I need to enter the heart, the divine spender, and perhaps from there the answers to these questions become clear.

I'm sure that the deers that frequent my yard live from their hearts. They are such peaceful beings. One can learn much from nature.

Jim said...

"Of myself I have nothing to offer..." I read and re-read this. It's like the crib notes version of the course, the plot summary of the movie. It's like the 268 page instruction manual condensed to 50 words or less. It names something I have always known but have fought hard to avoid. How much of my activity, striving, grasping, noise making has been to cover up the emptiness? (Oh ****, there's nothing here but formless consciousness! Better get busy making sure nobody notices). It is like the rare kung fu manual showing the secret moves, showing how to move through the gross world while staying focused on the subtle. To think that I could learn to sit, follow the breath, enjoy the patient pulsation while moving about in the extended spectacle.

This is your magnum opus. Can you possibly get any more succinct?

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Hi Ram Once agin thank you for such an astounding lesson! In lesson 44 you say:
"Anger? Am I really sure I want to lose myself in the samskara of anger once again? How long is anger going to run my life? Isn’t it time to let that one go and move on to something more uplifting?"

I am blessed to have someone in my life that mirrors my anger and desire to be right and argue. Recently I have been ready to really take responsibility for my crazy behavior and make a shift. is the scenario...I get a phone call and my beautiful mirror starts to attack and argue. Now all I can do at this point is to say "I need to get off the phone" and I hang up. Before I would start to justify myself and prove I was "right". Now all I feel is the energy is so toxic, I feel my own the reaction right under the surface and at this point all I can do is immediately get off the phone.

Probably needing to get off the phone is another reaction. I feel queasy for a few minutes after these's like a sick feeling from the adrenaline that kicks up. but now the "hit isn't pleasant any more- I am coming "off" the drug :)

I am so grateful for this teacher in my grateful for seeing another layer of contraction being exposed! So grateful for your support and guidance!

Anonymous said...

DR- you said-
“All that ever was, all that ever will be, and all that we could ever
hope for is ours now, once we are willing to recognize and appreciate
the Truth within our own Self.”

I think that this is a very powerful and concise statement. There have been other as well- but this one- at least for now -seems to say it all-
thanks again

Sylvia from Colorado said...

What a incredibly delicious month of comments from all who take the time to write. I read this blog almost daily and I have been reading Ram's lessons from the beginning.

I have recently retired from my private practice in psychotherapy. Even though I enjoyed my work, I am ready for, and enjoying, retirement at 70 years old. My opportunity for karma cleaning is my husband who is not a spiritual seeker. There is a meditation group that meets in my home most Tuesday nights. My husband helps me with the cleaning and setup...little does he know he is doing God's work. I appreciate him. We have been married for 25 years of love and respect... most of the time.

In each present moment I am deeply thankful for this group of loving beings...I feel connected here.
I relish each blog contribution, partly because it causes me to pause and reflect, partly because I am getting to know you better, partly because I sometimes laugh and almost always feel uplifted.

Learning about the subtle body is a joy. Strengthening the muscle of Awareness is a lot of work, and then BLISSful.

Thank you, Ram and Kay, for inviting us to attend your "evening program" and Subtle Satsang. You two are very high up on my short list of favorite people. "I thank you Father for this bright ray of sunshine on the web. Please bless every person who visits here on every level of their Being. Thank you Father for Ram and Kay and their golden service here on this planet." AMEN with love

Ruth said...

Thank you for the constant suggestions and tips that are so helpful in everyday life. Being 'lighthearted" isn't always possible when it come to dealing with some difficult people, but to have that as a goal helps me remember the bigger picture and just flow with those on-going challenges. I'm trying.
Thanks again for the lessons. Each one is precious to me.
I send my blessings to you both.

Taylor said...

Acting alone while with others is so opposite to my conditioning that it feels like a radical teaching to me. It's mind-boggling but I believe that I understand the principle. I'm planning on practicing the principle today while at a group workshop. I'll be focusing on being alone with our Self.
Any further tips on this principle or experiences would be appreciated. I do feel that I have experienced losing personal power from focusing on "others".
Thank you. Have a great weekend everyOne!

Jane said...

Hi Ram – in Lesson 34, you ask for any feedback regarding the practice of light-heartedness. As is often the case, shakti draws challenging experiences when the time is right! My current challenge has been recognizing that the samskara of anger still recurs from time to time. This samskara was the primary way of protecting myself from feeling any pain or frustration from childhood until about age 40 and then weakened considerably (a number of years after receiving spiritual initiation). It created the illusion that I was strong and powerful, though in actuality, it only reinforced my sense of being powerless.

I can clearly see that it is a reaction as opposed to a response (an important distinction reinforced in Lesson 34) but from time to time I see myself so identified with the samskara that I forget it is not who I truly am! Recently, I’ve allowed this samskara to play its tapes in my head (though haven’t acted on it) but through re-reading the Lesson, Blog and Facebook and talking to some ‘sadhana buddies’ – I’ve come to understand that everyone is playing her/his part in the show to help us break free from the grip of our samskaras and so I’ve emerged into a more light-hearted state with greater compassion for myself and others. Of course it isn’t a linear journey so there will be temporary setbacks but thanks to all that is offered through the Course, I can see much more identification with the Self and less with the self (jane)!

With much gratitude and love to all,

christina said...

Reading the blog (and making it an almost daily practice- I'm not online every day-) is such a blessing, truly Facebook Sangham. I see so many comments from people who have a life whereby they are geographically near to each other and can sometimes feel quite isolated over here in the UK..I don't know anyone yet who takes the course or is active on the FB page the sense of being connected to you all in this subtle way is of great importance to me. Thankyou all for everything you share, and thankyou from the depth of my heart, Ram, for setting this up. Blessings upon the One xxxxxx

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Hello, everyone--

The question came up on Ram's Facebook site about how the course has transformed us. At first I "got my feet wet" by reading the blog and FB posts. Even though I had taken the older "mail" version of the course for ten years, I just wasn't sure if the new one would have something different enough. Then suddenly I was inspired to try it, and WOW. As others have said, EVERYTHING is different.

For me, I have felt a big dropping away of old compulsive tendencies to "get things done", "to be productive" and generally run around "doing something." Every day I enjoy more and more the happiness in being still, in BEING.

I am growing in my ability to see all around me, relationships, events, re-curring thoughts, conflicts etc. as a chance for growth and development, while experiencing the teaching that I am already perfect.
Yes, I have heard these teachings for many years (have done sadhana for 25 years) and the foundation I have gotten from these things has been fundamental. I love my spiritual path dearly. I experience Ram's course like a "lab" component in life where we get to imbibe the energy right into the situation of the moment and try out the experiments. And it all leads to feeling freer and lighter, steadier and clearer.

I used to think of myself as an anxious person but I am becoming steadily more steady every day.

Still love the blog and FB, they add something vital to the process-- the chance for interaction with this community is priceless!! Someone in the community yesterday linked to Sally Kempton's wonderful article about our patterns, and in it she realized over the course of sadhana that in old conflictual situations, instead of having been triggered and getting upset, she could have laughed.

Ram's course is making this a reality for me. I am finding humor inside. I realize
that "I could have laughed."

Much gratitude, KJ

EcuadorDeb said...

Through the grace available today, being Easter, and the guidance of your course, I've had a bit of an epiphany today. Thank you D.R.

In my current lesson you say,...A Jivanmukta is one who is liberated while living in the body. According to Ramana, and all saints and sages, Jivanmukta occurs with
the realization that in everything that appears there is only the One Self that is Consciousness.

What I realized while reading this today is that I don't see God in everything because I don't WANT TO see God in things I perceive to be against dharma. I want to defeat anything I perceive to be against dharma, and then I will be happy to see God in everything.

It's clear to me that as long as I have this stance, I will never become liberated, and instead will just attract anti-dharma to my life until I learn to see God in it.

Duh. Right...? :-)

D. R. Butler said...


God created a world of polarities. We can't eliminate, or fight against, half of them.

Better to be in harmony with the whole.

D. R. Butler said...

I just had an interesting exchange on Swami Shantanand's Facebook page, a swami, actually, who lives a short distance from me. He's the 'closest swami' should I ever have urgent need for one. Anyway, I'm sharing our exchange here with you--one of those fwiw kinds of things:

Swami Shantanand: (responding to my comment that, due to my peculiar training and experience, I can no longer relate to people in ways to appease the ego) ‎"which is to not appease the ego." D. R. Butler, did your Guru have ego? Do you have ego? Have you met anyone without the ego? May I know what is ego and how did you free yourself from ego? Please reply only if you enjoy otherwise just ignore.

D.R. Butler: Of course I enjoy, or I wouldn't visit your page in the first place. I find you to be very interesting and I enjoy exchanging ideas with you. Probably we will meet physically before too long. As for ego, I think it's a lot about 'it takes one to see one,' as usually it's ego that notices ego or cares about ego. According to the scriptures of Kashmir Shaivism, one who still has ego is not qualified to function as Guru. Only a fully enlightened Being is qualified to be Guru. Do I have ego? Who is here to answer that question? If I have ego, only the ego will answer, and it may or may not admit to being egoic. It might claim to be egoless, who knows? If there is no ego, who can say, 'I have an ego' or 'I don't have an ego.' Neither applies. As Osho once said, when he was still Rajneesh, when he was asked if he had ego, 'It is presumptious to assume there is anyone here to ask the question of.' If anyone is free of ego, it is only through the divine grace of the Guru. It is not attained by self-efforts, because only the ego identifies with making efforts. It is very subtle, as you know. You ask good questions. If only we could come up with some good answers:)

(The Osho quote seemed relevant since Swami Shantanand is an Osho disciple, so to speak.)

He can be an interesting fellow. He wants more Facebook friends, so if you're on Facebook you might want to friend him. Be sure and tell him that I sent you:)

Since I brought up the 'grace of the Guru' with him, and shared it here, we should be clear that we do have Guru's grace. We are only left out if we shut ourselves out.

D. R. Butler said...

This is my most recent post on Facebook. Even if you've already seen it, it will do no harm to consider it again:

Can we relate to others with genuine love and respect? Can we see the highest in others no matter what they do or say? Can we see the best in them, unconditionally, as well as in ourselves? These are the ways we learn to see God, or pure Consciousness, or the Self of all, everywhere and in everyone. It starts off with practice, and with not waiting for the other person to go first.

Colette said...

Ram, thank you for sharing that last quote. It is what I've been working on on a daily basis, I've also been watching my attention, as suggested in my lesson. I still am amazed at how often I get lost in thought and lost material world. The lessons are such a grounding force for me. I'm amazed at how much the earlier course shifted me, and this one is shifting me even more. It's amazing how much fun it is not to have to be right. I Love You All, Karuna.

PS does anyone know why I never get the following posts after I post? I always check the box for them, but they never come. I guess the universe wants me to put out more effort to connect with you guys. Of course I know this is a story I'm making up, but that the whole rest of my life is that too.

Sylvia in Colorado said...

Wow! What a great question to ask Swami Shantanand, Ram! And what a perfect answer, Swamiji! It totally makes sense, and tickles my funny bone, to recognize that the ego might be the one answering, "No ego here."

I saw Swamiji's photos on Ram's Facebook...what a radiant being! I felt my heart warmed and uplifted just looking at his photos.

I finally signed up for Facebook after avoiding it for several years.I have been avoiding all of the extra computer time I might be tempted to bring on myself. But with so many of our blog family here repeatedly talking about FB entries, decided to try it as an experiment. What a delight to see other photos of Ram and Kay...and a photo of Meggie.

Ram, thank you for asking the question. I would love to read your response to Swamiji's answer, if you would enjoy... otherwise just ignore. :)

Much love, Sylvia

D. R. Butler said...

Sylvia, since you are now on Facebook, simply friend Swami Shantanand. He loves getting new friends. Then you can read the whole dialogue.

Collette-Karuna said...

I had an unique opportunity yesterday, I got to see the beginning of what could be a fracture in a romantic relationship. All of us as human beings want to have a great life. The trick is we forget that we are creating our life, moment by moment. If we could deeply see this we would pay more attention to where our attention goes. In the very beginning of our relationship, it is always delicious intoxication. After a while we begin to interpret what others do in terms that match our already existing listening, or samskaras. This is the beginning of the end of our joy and the reinforcing of our past history. Without even realizing it, we take our past with all of our inclinations and projected into the present moment and this happens through how we focus our attention. My current lesson is about focusing the attention. I love Ram.

James said...

I had a great day chanting in the graveyard. All the birds and flowers were out.The afternoon sky was tremendous here in Brooklyn. Knowing we all share the same awareness helps me know my own awareness. Getting in touch with the joy during the chant is fun. Like Sally says doing it because its fun.