Sunday, May 1, 2011

Remaining Present in Rapidly Changing Times

The last few weeks have been intense, and many of you may have felt as though you were in a ‘pressure cooker.’ However, by time this is posted, most of you will be feeling much more settled and secure, more content with yourself and your life, and more optimistic regarding the future.  There will be more vitality and less stress.

It is all a part of rapidly changing times. When ‘the times are a changing,’ it is extremely important to remain present, as a living, aware, conscious entity, fully alert in the existing moment, remaining inwardly still. Otherwise we might get caught up in changing times on the outside and forget our true nature on the inside.

To be honest, and which you might have already concluded, this is a challenging time for those living on the planet Earth. We are facing changes unlike anything that has happened in our lifetimes, and unlike most of what we know as ‘recorded history,’ which is exceedingly more limited than most have any idea. A lot has happened on the planet that our current so-called ‘civilization’ has no idea of, as there are no records from the past in the sense that we recognize as such.

Records have been left, such as the pyramids and the sphinx from ancient Egypt, for example, but modern people have lost touch with the secrets of correctly interpreting them. I wonder what will be left of our ‘modern age’ for future generations to puzzle over. What would they think of us if all that is left, for example, is Disneyworld?

To make it through this time of intense changes, it is very important that we remain consciously present and that we focus our awareness on the Truth of the present moment—not on what is happening on the outside, for that occurs in time, which is of the physical world only. The Truth is never anything that can be described in words as a story, for that is one definition of an egotistical melodrama. The Truth, although eternal, doesn’t ‘continue’ in the linear way we ordinarily experience life.

A fellow recently wrote: "You say to replace unpleasant feelings with pleasant feelings. Yet sometimes it feels as though there is nothing present other than the unpleasant feeling, and that there is no one around interested in replacing it or doing anything about it at all except mope around in it.

"My own thing is sadness. Sometimes it gets very intense when I let myself get involved in some poignancy that I have taken personally. My wife’s thing is anger. Sometimes she becomes the embodiment of anger, and there’s no one else at home. Later she herself says, ”It was as though I could do nothing about it, like someone else had completely taken over.”

"So she gets angry at me when I’m sad, because she thinks I’m being weak, and I get sad when she gets angry at me, because I feel like she doesn’t even like me anymore, much less love me. How can someone be so mean to the person they supposedly love?

"‘So, Ram, what’s the way out of this? How do we gather the power to replace all this heavy stuff with something more cheerful and uplifting? Doing so sounds great as philosophy or theory, but often it doesn’t feel the least bit realistic."

Let’s return to the paragraph preceding the letter: To make it through this time of intense changes, it is very important that we remain consciously present and that we focus our awareness on the Truth of the present moment—not on what is happening around us, for that is in time and of the physical world only. The Truth is never limited to anything that can be described in words as a story, for that is one definition of an egotistical melodrama. The Truth, although eternal, doesn’t ‘continue’ in the linear way we ordinarily experience life.

The letter, as sincere and honest as can be, was still only a story. Sure, the emotions he describes are very heavy, very overpowering, and can fill us so full there is no room for anything else. Anger and sadness both have the capacity to take over and dominate our psychic system. They are triggered and nurtured by describing stories, inwardly to ourselves or outwardly to others, that seemingly confirm the reality of the perceived ‘cause’ of our unpleasant emotion.

Unpleasant emotions are a great hindrance to sadhana, especially when one becomes a habitual pattern, triggered by anything of even the slightest relevance. There will be sadness, there will be anger, there will be grief—though grief is not truly in the category of ‘negative’ emotions.’ It is something deeply human that must be completed once it arises, or the energy of it branches into other problems of a physical or psychological nature.

This is why we urge you to be as cheerful and lighthearted as possible. These states are like lights keeping the darkness away. Don’t seriously consider anything that seems that serious. Remain true to your lightheartedness and you can never go wrong.

As Bob Dylan said, The times are a-changing. I was a teenager in 1960. I remember life then. By 1970 life and the world seemed very different. Back then, we couldn’t have comprehended the world as it is today, with our instant messaging back and forth, even writing this blog and knowing that others will read it within minutes—not long ago that would have seemed like science fiction, yet even science fiction never came up with this one, or with many of the things that we take for granted today.

Speaking of different ‘times,’ it is important to honor each period of time for what it was, understanding that each time was complete as it was without necessarily having to be ‘continued.

Sometimes we cause ourselves great unhappiness because we want to mix up times, we want to bring another time over into this time, or think this time should be different from how it ended up, and we can never be content or fulfilled as long as we persist in our dissatisfaction with the present moment.

As a personal example, I enjoyed being a father and a family man when my children were growing up. Sometimes I tend to feel as though my children should be still young, still running around outside, still needing me in the same ways, still being around where it feels good just to watch them. So I need to honor that time for what it was, knowing that it was complete in itself. Honoring it for what it was, I can be happy about it, I can be in harmony with the natural order of things. I can be content in knowing my children are all very happy, all enjoying their lives as they make their way in this world.  They have what they need and their future looks bright.  I have much gratitude for that.

The best time, the most perfect time, is NOW. Yet we find this so hard to believe, so threatening to accept. How could now, this ordinary, uneventful life I live, be the most perfect time? That’s ludicrous. Either we think the past was better or we think the future will be better. We have a hard time believing that right now is the best time possible.

If we only understood that what we know as ‘God,’ or pure Consciousness, or the inner Self shared simultaneously by all, is beneficent in nature. Whatever created us and sustained us until now is still looking out for our interests. Yet we lose awareness of this and we forget gratitude for all that we have. God is a loving God. We are love. We have so much love within our heart. Imagine how much love is in God’s heart. Of course, ultimately, we share the same heart. So the source of love is quite vast—even supremely infinite.

The Truth of the present moment cannot be described in words or comprehended as concepts. It is the deepest, simplest, and most fundamental experience we have from moment to moment, although it remains very still. It is our own Awareness of Being, which exists ONLY in the present moment.

The Truth is not about whether have a headache or a backache or not. It is not whether we’re feeling good or not either. Neither is it whether we’re thinking a true thought or not. Regarding this, we have a tendency to assume that what we’re thinking is true, yet we rarely investigate it to be sure. What is currently happening in the physical, emotional, mental, and even psychic realms are included in the Truth of the Present Moment, but none of them, in themselves, represent the full Truth.

Awareness cannot be described; it can only be alluded to.

The Truth is that which enables us to see and know what is happening on all those other realms. In the Upanishads it is said that pure Consciousness is the Witness of the mind. Indeed, It watches over all, without description or judgment, appreciating the perfection of it all.

The Witness, or inner Observer, sees nothing going wrong anywhere. With great equanimity, and with supreme compassion, It watches the cosmic movie of life, not only appreciating it, but actually delighting in it.

We do not live in a time where life on earth is intended to be easy. Over time, it will get more and more challenging, although the beings being born now are up to the challenge. For now, however, certain planetary tensions have released a bit, and everyone should find it easier to feel better for a while, to rest up and rejuvenate—even as we go about our daily activities.  Gather your energy now, when it is relatively easy to do so, for later on we will be challenged.

If we remain attuned to that in us which is always perfectly present, and ignore the apparent changes happening all around us, we live in the awareness of the inner Self, which is very comforting and blissful. If, however, our attention is pulled into the ever-changing outer world of objective humanity, it will be challenging to even remember who we are.

Deep within is a great light. It is the light of pure Awareness, illuminating all that is perceived. Truly, it is the light of the world; without it the cosmos could not exist. Meditate on this light, even while performing daily activities, and soon you will light up the room you sit in, you will radiate light into your environment and to all who know you. Focus on light in the heart and you will become lighthearted. Become aware of the light that fills your head and extends above it as subtle rays of energy, often perceived as an aura.

As you practice focusing more and more on the inner Light, and seeing the Light pervading and permeating the universe, even your inner worlds, including your dreams and beyond, you will become more and more established in your own conscious Presence right here and now, just as you are. And you will become more and more detached from the constantly changing world all around you, the world perceived by the five physical senses.

Practice being present and still inside, while simply noting, with great equanimity, the constantly moving and ever-changing world on the outside, and your life will be transformed in ways you could never imagine.

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




Scott Marmorstein said...

Yes, challenging times...all the more reason to rest...and to get stronger. We cannot remain present if we are not strong enough to. Thank you for this blog and this Course via email.

Thanks also for the nod about auras. Such things always make me happy to read/hear about.

What a beautiful post! You're on a roll my friend.

Melissa Abbott said...

Fantastic way of looking at our recollections, memories, and reoccurring reminiscences. Great advice for accepting yourself and dealing with those past mental impressions that haunt our thought patterns now and then. We can't go back.... but accepting those poignant
past impressions that distress us sometimes and moving into the now is an art form of sorts. D.R., whose creativity and written words bring us marvelous vibrating acquisition of present moment awareness, leaving our emotional/spiritual/mental attachment to past impressions on a puja shelf to be admired, worshiped, but not taken too seriously.
Thanks for a great Blog D.R. - enjoyed it very much!

Eileen said...

What profound writing! No "new" information as such - but the powerful way the teachings are presented here gives them their own homing device. They go straight to the heart, instantly triggering an experience of the Present Moment. Your work is beautiful. I cannot imagine life without the Course, this blog, and your FB page. Thank you with all my heart!
Much love,

D. R. Butler said...

Eileen, after a point 'new information' that truly adds something is hard to come by. Understanding the information we already have on a deeper and more expanded level, however, can be invaluable.

William said...

I've read most of your blog and quite a few of your lessons by now, and here is something I have noticed. Your writings are not based on any particular path or tradition, yet seem to include them all. A yogi, a Buddhist, a New Age free thinker, or even many among the orthodox religions could read your writings with equal appreciation. I am impressed with how the writings are so direct and clear yet unlike any other particular path or method of teaching. I'd love to know how you do that.

D. R. Butler said...

If it was 'me' doing it, God knows what might come out. Thank God it's not the mere blabberings of my ego and mind When you ask, 'I'd love to know how you do it,' it's because, aside from sharing some personal stories and anecdotes, I'm basically a typist taking dictation from an inner voice that is quite clear and distinct. In the days of my training, my Guru told me that I could trust that voice as coming from the very highest place. This is why I approach the Course of Training with great conviction and faith. I know where it is coming from.

JB said...

I agree with the practice of staying in the present moment and tuning within. I agree less with the idea of seeing times as 'challenging'. Haven't times always been 'challenging'?; isn't it the repetitive story of the external world ? is there something now new about it ? I remember you once shared here or in a lesson a quote about how the world seemed in such a bad shape, that was in fact written more than a hundred years ago but seemed to apply perfectly to the present times ! It seems to me that if an individual adopts this outlook, then 'times' will indeed appear challenging to him if not more so.
Maybe this post is triggering a personal reaction, but I am slightly annoyed at those that focus on telling others how bad is the shape of this world and how worse it will get; why should we fall under such influence ? I understand that this is not your intent and that in fact it seems that you are using this just to offer a compassionate perspective to emphasize the idea of turning within, as probably many of us do experience these times as challenging. However I personally prefer not to define this world and its whereabouts in any particular way, and I think it's best if we keep our outlook of it in the highest possible way.

D. R. Butler said...

JB, reading your comment, I agree with everything you said. There is truly nothing I disagree with. I would simply like to point out that 'challenging' is not the same as 'negative'. If times are challenging, it's not that something is going wrong or that something bad is happening; it's to bring out the best in us and help us to grow and develop inner strength and endurance.

I certainly don't think we should go through life anticipating that terrible things will happen. It is much more rewarding to focus on the underlying perfection of it all.

Thank you for voicing your question, as I am sure others had similar questions. Yes, times on earth have always been challening, going back to the quest for fire, and securing shelter and food.

It is good to be prepared. The course, and the interactions we have here in the blog and on Facebook, are all part of the process of preparation.

Expect only the best. Be ready for anything.

Chimene said...

Hi Ram, I resonated especially with the first paragraph and at the same time wondered if you were inspired by astrology, by some conjuncture to say there will be more vitality and less stress.
Another question, when something happens to our bodies, that is challenging would you consider that to be on the "outside", this is what has challenged me lately, or I think of Scott going through some intense health issues, would that be focusing on the outside?
thank you for this post, nothing new but oh so fresh!

Karen Blum said...

Just finished reading the blog along with my current lesson. What comes to mind is something I realized some while after meeting my Guru. I actually did hear the Truth at a very young age. I simply didn't have the tools to unpack it,and I know Mom didn't, either. The Truth was in the Nursery Rhymes my Mom told me. "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" is my favorite example.I know this understanding is not unique to me. I just wanted to share it. Hope Nursery Rhymes don't go the way of the Pyramids, although I suspect they already have.

D. R. Butler said...

Chimene, yes, astrology is one factor considered. Also simply the recurring cycles the world goes through from time to time.

Yes, the body would be considered 'outside.' In fact, truly speaking, even our emotions and thoughts are on the outside. Deeper within is pure Awareness, watching all that happens on all the other levels.

D. R. Butler said...

If you have read and benefitted in any way from this blog, please pass along the link to anyone you think might be interested. Also feel free to post the link to the blog on your Facebook page, etc. Practically everyone who reads this agrees that more should be reading it than merely the ones who currently know of it, and the only ones who can initiate this change, or help expand awareness of the blog or the course, is us.

JB said...

Thanks D.R. for your reply to my earlier post. It clarified my misundertanding that 'challenging' has to interpreted in a negative way, like we are on the verge of some major catastrophy. In fact I think in general the outside state of the world is improving - seems like slowly more people are more aware and tuned to a deeper way of living. I certainly prefer 'Expect only the best. Be ready for anything.' than 'Prepare for the worst - hope for the best' (although in some situations this may be the correct approach as well).

divya said...

I like what you said about being lighthearted and becoming the light. Staying healthy and calm in knowing that God is with us in every moment. I also enjoyed the humaness of both you and Kay in your anger and sadness.Sometimes I hold others in a higher place than myself and forget that we all have feelings and emotions that we need to work with in the present moments. Thank you so much for your blog. I will pass it on. Love, Divya

Scott Marmorstein said...

I love a good challenge. The challenges may be 'external' but how we deal with them are internal. You learn about that through protracted practice, or by taking the course via email.

Whether you're having a heart attack, or just a crummy day of failed expectations and people's bad attitudes, all comes down to the same in the end: are you being present and realizing that these are temporary phenomenon? Having compassion on yourself and others is part and parcel of excellent spiritual practice made practical by application. We're all in this world together. We are all One, but we are not all the same. Growth arises through contraction. We can't really have one without the other, and it wouldn't be much of a fun 'game' without a real challenge now would it?

Catherine said...

This is my first time writing here at the blog, but I feel compelled to express my deepest gratitude for the course. It is a beautiful synchronicity that as a correspondence course, it continues to correspond to whatever is going on with me and what I need to work on. For example, my newest lesson contained the line “As long as we remain rigidly critical of ourselves, we remain rigidly critical of others as well; and then we believe that is how they see us.” Really the entire lesson was so apropos of what I needed to see, my heart hurt in gratitude for my prayer earlier that morning of “show me what I need to know now” being answered. The blog entry this month, too, was the assurance I needed that the heaviness I had felt for several weeks was lifting. When I need something in the moment, I often go to the blog and in the comments section and/or what the responses may be to a comment, I often find exactly what I need in that moment. So again, just deep gratitude for the course, the blog and the comments being in my life exactly when I need them and for being part of the community of them, too.

Chimene said...

Thank you Scott for your comment, "I love a good challenge. The challenges may be 'external' but how we deal with them are internal" the last part calls for further contemplation of all the levels that we are operating on, until we touch the ultimate level, the Source.
But I will try to remember the phrase "I love a good challenge" when I feel like complaining and wining.

Anusuya said...

I often feel life is challenging, but this is a good thing in many ways. It gives me something to work with in terms of sadhana and helps me to move forward. In terms of bodies, although they are "outside", what we do with it when they are not well is very much on the "inside". It can serve to show us the body is not who we truly are. It doesn't appear to be the "ideal" situation karmically but it sure has the capacity to propel ones sadhana forward if we can learn to see it in the "right" way.

Melissa said...

Thank you Ram, and like my dear teacher and friend Kushala said: "It takes two to tango", otherwise, where is the fun?

Collette said...

Hi folks,

I want to share something from the course that is helping me so much and that is the question." Who is it that is aware or is seeing out of these eyes?" I know this is not an exact quote, but that's what I took forward. Right now I'm on the section of the course that has to do with attention and this is but one of my anchors for attention. When I watch the watcher. It's easy to see where I was listening from. Don Juan called the assemblage point, Landmark called but you're already listening, another name how you're perceiving due to condition conditioning or samsakaras. It doesn't really matter how you call it, you have to pay attention to your attention. I hope this is useful to some folks, but even if it isn't it's a good reminder to me. May All Your Paths Be Lit with Love and Grace and Truth, Karuna

Christina said...

I do my best to encourage others to take the course/read the blog etc...they can see how much I get from it but wow, SO much reluctance to join up!!!! hard to believe there is so much time in people's lives for TV etc but none for spiritual fun! I am completely in love with everything you write, Ram, and it would be so wonderful to share it with someone living over here in the UK. My current lesson is so deep that I am contemplating each sentence for hours...I am amazed as I didn't think I was a contemplator as I tend to FEEL everything. I feel I am on the edge of a big breakthrough...Oh love, sweet love...huge, enormous, sweet sweet love...xxxxx

Christina said...

Thank you so much for this gift of Love….words cannot express my gratitude that I have taken birth at the same time as you and can experience your writings. I have stumbled upon an oasis of great joy in the form of this course. I am drinking with an unquenchable thirst, my heart is so juicy again, my gratitude is without end…and even though I felt I ‘got’ it deeply before, I am REALLY getting it now, and know that I will repeat that sentence again many times in coming years (if I’m around!) I can really FEEL how the universe is in me, it’s quite weird I couldn’t quite understand it before when it seems rather obvious now! Oh I’m so excited as my lack of understanding is beginning to drop away. I am ever more amazed that you manage to keep the teachings so simple as that’s quite an achievement, to be able to still explain it all to people who are new to it all…I am learning so much from you on this level as well. How anyone ever becomes a teacher is beyond me….I seem to be able to explain less the more I know, yet at the same time I don’t feel as if I know anything!!!!!!!!!!!!

Loving you deeply,(or ‘loving deeply’)

Christina xxxxx

Gaston said...

"What you think is what you get. This is one of the fundamental understandings we need in order to have the capacity to function at a higher level of spiritual work (sadhana)" I totally agree with you Ram that our thoughts create our world. That's why each one of us have a different perception, a differnet interpretation of the same reality. We don't see the movie with the same lenses. We don't make the same "lecture" of the scenarion. As a matter of fact, we, each of us, are the creator and producer of our own movie. And we have a blank slate at each present moment. What a gift. We don't need any budget, We don't have to take care about the casting. God is taking care of everything. We just have to hold the camera and to make the call: ACTION!

Sukala said...

Thanks for this. My meditation teacher has always said it takes daily vigilant effort to stay afloat in happiness. For many years I felt content simply to make an effort to meditate, and I can see how strong meditation has and is making me. What else can I do to stay afloat? These days I'm tuning way more into how the words I speak create my feelings - they either slam a lid on joy and light or release the lid, causing an expansion. It's often completely bizarre to hear what I say about myself and others. This I accept as one of the two most important disciplines for me at this time in gaining cheerfulness. In my session with you Scott a few weeks ago, you spoke about this power of creation and speech and while I didn't get it intellectually,it wasn't meant for my mind and it got the ball rolling fast. It also runs through all the course materials thankfully.

D. R. Butler said...

Sukala, everything you say is very true. Vigilance is an extremely important word when it comes to sadhaha or spiritual development. The body, mind, and emotions all presume to have a life of their own, and they follow their own patterns, and the ego gets identified with these patterns and thinks they're a part of who we are. So we have to be very vigilant regarding our thoughts, feelings, and inclinations. Let's make sure they come from an uplifting place within ourselves and that they always have an uplifting effect on others around us.

It is great that you aspire to cheerfulness. Cheerfulness is a very high spiritual quality that is often underrated and under-appreciated. Yet genuine cheefulness comes from an open heart.

It is great that you are learning more about creation and speech. If we wish our lives to go into a certain direction, it is important to make sure all our thoughts, feelings, actions, and words resonate with that direction.

If we sit around thinking about the very things we don't want, we will make ourselves miserable. Why should we think of what we don't want? This is silly, yet it contributes our energy toward the creation of the very things we don't want. Whatever we think about most attracts these very conditions and traits to ourselves. What we think, and what we speak, is what we get.

Words are creative. This is one of the most important things in the world to understand--the power of matrika shakti--yet most people are not the least be interested in this, as it doesn't fit into their conditioned way of thinking and seeing things.

You are doing very well. I am happy you are enjoying the lessons of the course.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words about focusing on the inner Light. So good to be reminded.

I have been noticing taking the course that when it comes to replacing negative feelings that there are two very interesting things happening.

First is that I am getting way many opportunities to practice detachemnt as various challenges arise.

And the other thing is kind of paradoxical. I also feel like I am being forced into acting more skillfully and effectively in dealing with problems that arise.

Both seem to be happening together - letting go and also stepping up in a skillful way.

So thank you Ram - it is great to feel engaged and to watch this process happening of growth and evolution.

Jim said...

This occured to me over the weekend: karma is nothing more than the result habitual thoughts.

That led me to wonder if I am underestimating what it takes to change habitual thoughts. An honest appraisal of my past success and failure to change would indicate that I should have more respect for what a formidable opponent they are.

Changing habitual thoughts sounds easy. You just rearrange a few things inside your head, which is the size of a melon. It's not like you're moving mountains. But this is an illusion, yes? When I think of it in terms of karma, then it seems more daunting.

So changing habitual thoughts must be earned through persisent effort. If habitual thoughts were a prison, mostly our efforts to dig out would be like tunneling out with a spoon. And grace would occasionally lend us a shovel for a short time, or even more rarely, a backhoe. The change could take a blink of an eye, the change could take a life time.

Any confirmation or adjustment of my understanding is appreciated. Thanks and regards.

rico said...

"It's difficult to defeat an enemy who has outposts in your head"

-Sally Kempton

She says it's difficult, not impossible. Any difficult endeavor requires patience and persistence. I can't think of a more difficult or a more rewarding endeavor than getting a handle on what goes in your head.

"Patanjali says, Yoga is the termination of the distractions of the mind"

- Baba Rampuri

JohnRama said...

In one of my recent lessons you wrote there is the physical body and awareness of being, but no middle man. I am paraphrasing, but that way of looking at it has given me so much more freedom. I am not sure whether the shift came first and then the idea was appreciated or whether the idea was appreciated so that the shift could take place, but it has been a tremondous breakthrough. Thank you so much Ram!!!

Kathy said...

Rico that's really great. Thank you for sharing that.

Yoga is ... no longer being tricked and run by your own mind ... no longer being thrown off center by every changing form.

Jim said...

Thanks, Rico. That Sally Kempton quote is in my current lesson. Looking at the lesson today gave me some answers to my questions - and actually now I see the questions arose to begin with as a result of reading the lesson.

D. R. Butler said...

Jim, as explored in the lessons, the way to change habitual thought patterns is by 'replacing' them with more positive, more uplifting, more expanded thoughts. Each time there is a tendency to go to the old thought, immediately replace it with the new thought you have decided to replace it with. This is an important point, and is gone over extensively in the lessons. You can't push the darkness out of the room. You only have to turn on the light, which 'replaces' the darkness. Two thoughts cannot exist in the mind at the same time any more than darkness and light can exist simultaneously. It's always either one or the other. The choice is ours.

Tara said...

Spring does a hummingbird..after a long cold winter..find the way back to this honeysuckle bush in this yard...what about all the other honeysuckle bushes in all the other yards between here and there?
I figure it must be a very great light that guides such a tiny being to the same place to give joy and receive nectar i guess we are all set.

rico said...

When we change the prescription of our own glasses what we see in the mirror changes.

D. R. Butler said...

My how you've changed since I changed.

Jim said...

Thanks DR. After reading your response I spent some time asking myself why I have resistance to the practice of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. It seems I have often complicated this by being too specific, singling out specific thoughts related to specific events, places, people etc. It would be simpler and less overwhelming to look for general patterns and reactions, maybe without considering the trigger events at all. I am going to try this out and see what happens.

Another place I've been getting hung up was with motivation. There are some tendencies I whole-heartedly want to change while others I have difficulty mustering the enthusiasm to challenge. I would guess that it's simplest and better chance of good result if I follow my willingness. Or is this a cop out and should I instead buck up and stretch my confort zone?

Bob Dahl said...

D.R. In response to your suggestion of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. What if one were happy, viewed all thoughts as positive and really didn't pay much attention to any of their thoughts. Is that the same end goal?

Bob said...

What are the two qualities we most need to develop. I can think of a lot of possibilities, and a lot that needs to be developed, but which two would you put at the top of the list?

D. R. Butler said...

The two qualities I would most focus on developing are humility and gratitude. Humility is very important; otherwise we will have a lot of problems simply because we're arrogant enough to think our apparent problems are important enough to think something is wrong.

Anyone reading these comments has more good karma than bad karma or you wouldn't be here; therefore there is much more to have gratitude for than there is to complain about or feel bad about. It is a matter of being disciplined enough to focus on what there is to feel gratitude for.

If we simply developed these two qualities, we would enjoy such a great life.

D. R. Butler said...

This one is only for those who read the comments of the blog, unless it also comes around in a future lesson. So much good stuff exists only in the comments, and I honor those who are steadfast in keeping up with them.

This is my response to a private message. It's one of those fwiw kinds of things, so make of it what you will:

You seem a little angry.

The physical world exists in polarities, or opposites--light-dark, pleasure-pain, joy-sadness, and so on. Without the play of opposites, there would be no life as we know it.

For this reason, the focus of sadhana is not for one polarity to win out over the other; the focus is on going beyond being affected by the polarities.

This 'torture' thing is a very deeply ingrained samskara for you, I can see that, and it brings up a lot of anger, and the anger fuels it further. When you enjoy some clear moments you can understand that this is the gist of what you have to work on for true freedom.

You must be free from your aversion to torture.

As Krishna told Arjuna, 'There is neither slayer nor slain' Can you see a realm where there is neither torturer or tortured? Ultimately, for freedom, you must break free from your feelings regarding torture. Is there really a 'tortured?' It is very subtle, and it is all about understanding the essentiality of polarities and observing the play of Consciousness without reaction, without taking anything personal (having personal feelings about it.)

Our Teacher said is it just as bad to take offense as it is to give offense. Only the ego can be offended. So you can justify being offended or you can see the perfection in the whole. Perfect is not the same as 'ideal.' It is perfect as it is, whether we recognize the perfection or not. Nothing is ever going to be totally 'ideal.' It's actually our ideals that cause much of our suffering.

I know you don't like hearing all these things. Still, the physical realm is not heaven; it is not intended to be an ideal place in all ways. It is not a place that we can avoid suffering and cruelty and torture; they exist as parts of the totality, as polarities.

Without such things there could also be no pleasure, no joy, and no sense of exaltation. With any polarity, the opposite must also exist in order for the cosmos to remain in harmony and balance.

Stopping the course won't do any good either. You'll eventually have to face and work with your aversions whether you take the course or not. With the course, at least you have a reference point and a reminder of the Truth of the present moment. Believe me, torture does not exist in the present moment. It exists in the illusion of time.

I hear everything you say and I understand with great empathy. I am only sharing some things that I have learned along the way, and it was often just as difficult for me to see certain things as perfect as for you to see perfection, or God's play, in the appearance of torture. I understand entirely. I hope our exchange will help clarify things for you. Otherwise, greater understanding will come in time.

Taylor said...

Namaste Ram,

Thanks for sharing your response to a private exchange.

I appreciate that you have increased my understanding of the difference between ideal and perfect.

Enjoying the perfect raining and greening of Spring,


Michelle Synnestvedt said...

HI Ram,
The lessons just keep getting better ( or perhaps it is the "constriction" melting into what is infinitely possible. :)
In lesson 46 you again are speaking about emotions. You mention how "lower emotions" come from the "past" and "higher " emotions are always in the present.
Been noticing the mysterious and seemingly randomness of emotions lately. I watch how a sensation arises, then the mind wants to label and categorize it- connect it to a story, then emotions and thoughts dance around maintaining this story- dream.
When The witness is watching it all go down, it dissolves even before the story- dream solidifies.
Then there is also a watching of the mechanism that "owns" everything, the personal identity.
The more I hang, the more I notice that even the notion that emotions come from the "past" and the higher feeling are in the present, it all seems funny to me. It feels like every thought, emotion, sensation ect only happen NOW, then they are gone. "The Past" feels like the thinking mechanism and is now a funny kind of re-run. It is even more entertaining that it seems "real"..what makes any thought any more 'real' than any otherseems to be about how quickly it gets connected to a story- the story of "me", and yet all it has ever been is random thoughts coming and going in a seemingly seamless stream...the ongoing movie.
Then it hit me...just like the individual experiences the ending of Me-ness when thinking stops, in a relative sense, if everyone stopped thinking simultaneously..wouldn't the world end, wouldn't the dream be over? " (It's the end of the world as we know it...and I feel fine"..R.E.M hahaha) least until the Dreamer began to dream again....
Thanks so much for your beautiful offerings! Saprema!

D. R. Butler said...

I love the idea of everyone stopping thinking simultaneously. Let's do it now. One, two, three...STOP!

D. R. Butler said...

In response to someone's recommendation to be aware of the causes of one's suffering, in a thread on their Facebook page, I commented, 'It seems that by focusing on the cause of suffering, we are focusing on the darkness. We can't push darkness out of the room. We can only turn on the light, and the darkness is instantly vanished. What is our 'light?' It is the remembrance of the shining Self of all. To dispel the darkness of delusion, we focus on the Light of the eternal and changeless Consciousness that pervades and permeates the cosmos simultaneously. If we focus on the cause of suffering, we only continue suffering. To dispel suffering, we 'turn on the light' by focusing on our inner Truth.'

Bob Dahl said...

In regards to the post about the cause of ones suffering, I have heard it said that expectations lead to suffering. Don't expect anything, be happy with what comes or does not come, and focus on the light. If I can remember to do these things I seem to suffer less. Sending positive and loving thoughts to all who suffer.

Peace and Love

D. R. Butler said...

Why not meet in a space of love now? Deep in the heart, in the center of our own Consciousness, our Awareness of Being, exists a love that awakens the awareness of our Oneness. What is better than this? Make me an offer. In this love we float in bliss. All our questions and needs dissolve into the bliss of the Self, just as this world. at the appointed time, dissolves into pure Light.

Sheila said...

I have read the current lesson 3 times and I'm being rewarded with a degree of awareness and clarity that I never experienced before. That's the first time I experienced the true difference between taking the course and simply reading the posts here and on Facebook. No matter how many of your excellent posts I would have read, they could never have led to the same experience that happened through the process of going from one lesson to another, mastering one step before being presented with the next. I have a new appreciation for what is happening. You've always implied that the course gets better and better as you go along, and I am seeing for myself exactly what you mean by that. Thank you for your offering. No amount of money charged would be sufficient to fully repay you for the transformation I have experienced. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I only wish others could see the truth of my experience, just so it wouldn't take so long before they realize it for themselves.

D. R. Butler said...

Sheila, I appreciate your post very much. Let's remember, though, that it won't help us if anyone else gets anything or not. If they understood what you have experienced, it might help them, but you might never know it. Although we receive feedback all the time, it seems impossible to really grasp the impact our work has on another's life. We simply do what we do, because it's all we can do, because someone has to do it, and because we have no choice since it is already happening, seemingly with or without us.

Anyway, don't worry about what others understand. Everyone eventually experiences the Truth, because everything leads up to that and nothing else. The Truth exists only now. This is why we call it the Truth of the Present Moment.

Anonymous said...

I've got an attitude of gratitude, yeah that's my style. Whatever comes to me, I'm thankful all the while. Through all the ins and outs of life I try to stop and smile. I've got an attitude of gratitude, yeah that's my style. (AttitudeZapz)

Chip said...

While reviewing Lesson 1 I just came across this line: "What is true is what is new right now. The present moment is always new; it never existed before now."

This is an interesting line. Depending on how it is read, through what kind of filter, it has the quality of a Trika system sutra and can be interpreted in a number of ways.

"What is true is what is new right now" can only speak to relative truth. Truth transcends time, underlies Consciousness, absent even of absence. Not two. Not one. Not zero either. Thus designations like "old and new" may arise in Consciousness but "what is true," being outside of Consciousness, is altogether uninvolved in any such designations.

"The present moment is always new" is correct in the same way that it is always "Sunday" morning, as such, for the Sun. The first dawn is perpetually breaking now. There is no noon, no dusk, no night for the Sun. It knows nothing of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years.

But the present moment is also timeless, being just as old as it is new. It is "present" as a frameless window outside of time, through which time is conceived and experienced as a quality of seriality in Consciousness, arising and subsiding as the objective world.

The ever creative currents of Consciousness filling that window of timelessness with serial objectivity is what we experience as change.

"It never existed before now." And yet even "now" does not exist, unless we accept that a mirage is real.

Reflections ...


Jennifer said...

I can totally relate to what Sheila wrote. At first the lessons were just interesting, inspiring, and informative, much like the blog and comments on FB. After a while, though, I began noticing a significant change in what was happening to me while I was reading the lessons, and especially going from one lesson to the next. I felt that I was moving up, progressing, ascending, understanding with a new-found clarity. I can see why it's called a "process" and I can truthfully say that it is both powerful and unexpected. In fact, I don't even know what to tell other people about it in a way that they would believe me, except, "Try it yourself." Those of us who have come across this and made it a part of our lives are very fortunate indeed.

Anne said...

DR, are these 'challenging times' to do with what some people are calling "The 2012 Phenomena"? I don't know much about this or what it is supposed to mean or signify beyond end of Mayan calendar .... (And never saw that movie either, lol ...)
Is it something that we would be advised to learn more about? Are there ramifications to this we 'should' learn about, or be prepared for in some way? Or is this just likely to lead to getting caught up in fear and anxiety needlessly? And so be a major distraction probably, to experiencing Peace and Truth in the Present Moment? : )

Naganath said...

Chip, that ws awesome. Love it, now.

rico said...

Hey Chip, very provocative post. It's different every time I read it.

Reflections indeed.....

D. R. Butler said...

Chip, well said. Your comment was obviously appreciated. Thanks for your great contribution.

Anne, 'challenging times' is enough in itself. We do not have to explain it through anyone's calendar or anything else. Challenging times do obviously exist. Anyone who's unaware of this is out of touch.

As far as 'learning more about' or 'being prepared' for what is to come, this is why the course exists. The lessons are primarily a preparation for what we'll need to know--in fact, what we need to know right now, and which we do know without a doubt deep in the heart, but then the mind gets involved and we doubt.

There are certain principles of Truth that we must be aware of in order to live in the times ahead of us. It is a Truth that is tied to no religion, path, or tradition in particular. The principles can be applied by all people in all places and at all times. Yet the only time it is ever possible is right now, in this present moment.

Anyway, through the course, you will be well prepared. Leave fear behind and replace it with a divine certainty.

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

This is one of the things the the Course (and FB/blog community) does for me....

that blocks the flow
of Being Love
has got to go.

To our commitment! You all inspire me every day-

D. R. Butler said...

I like to share some of the better exchanges with those of you who read the comments of the blog.

A fellow recently wrote to ask, basically, what was my primary focus in meditation, and also how important is the practice of mantra repetition during meditation.

My response: I focus on turning my attention inward; being aware of Awareness, conscious of Consciousness. I like to focus on the inner Light which is the radiance of our own Self. I am sure japa has been the perfect practice for millions, and beneficial to all who practice it, but I don't think the love of it includes people of all dispositions. Some don't get the devotion thing, for example. Others don't get the mantra thing. Anyway, I had established my practice of meditation long before I ever got a mantra to repeat, so I couldn't see the point, unless my mind went crazy and starting believing thoughts I would never wish to think, and then the mantra could center me in that inner space again. But as a regular practice it never appealed to me on a 'gut level,' so to speak. Practice the form of yoga you love the most, and do it the best you can; be committed to what you aspire to. For example, my own particular practice is living in the Truth of the present moment. There might not be a single other thing in this world that I can do unfailingly, but one thing I can do is maintain the awareness of the present moment. So that is my thing. Everyone has their own thing. Pick the practice that most appeals to your own nature, and don't worry about other people's practices. It's not like everyone has to do everything.

Om said...

Hi DR, Hi Everyone!

This is actually an earlier's just that I couldn't figure out how to comment on the blog from my home (dial-up) computer.....

So I am here at my local Senior Center (can't believe I'm a senior already!) ....using their high-speed computers!


Anyway...what I wanted to say was....

I love DR's words in Lesson 1! Especially the words about Awareness.
I'm really into being aware of Awareness these days.....and wondered if anyone else had some thoughts, words, ideas, tips on being aware of awareness......
Actually I can share one funny experience I had.....
When I first started I had this image of someone behind a door or wall.....I couldn't see them...and so I tried to kick the wall down (in my dream) I could see the one who was "seeing". It didn't work now I'm just content with being aware that I am aware....


Bindu said...

Dear Ram,
Several times you have stated that "grief is is not really a negative emotion in the sense that I use the term. "
You also state it is possible "to experience bliss even when we are crying." Could you help me to understand these statements?
Over the course of my husband's progressive illness, I have experienced what seems to me to be grief, or overwhelming, painful loss. As it is when the grief strikes, the tears come and bliss feels very far away.
A friend sent me this wonderful quote.
Is your present experience hard to bear?
Yet remember that never again
perhaps in all your days
will you have another chance of the same
Do not fly the lesson
but have a care that you master it
while you have the opportunity
Rama Tirtha
The quote comforts me and I believe it to be true, yet I have been unable to FEEL its truth.
Thank you from my heart.
Bindu L

Colette said...

Omananda, thanks for the laughs, I can not tell you how many times Ive tried in one way or the other to kick down the door! I seem to have forgotten that the kingdom can not be taken by storm, but only by love. May we all surrender to the awareness and love of our True Selves. Karuna

Scott Marmorstein said...


The loss of any loved one is a terribly difficult thing to go through, and yet what Ram says about grief is really quite true. Having lost my mother last year (we were quite close) I wrote the following in my own blog about it:

"About grief, there is no comparison. Losing a person is losing a person. It can take years to grieve, whether it's the end of what started out as a great relationship (husband or wife), or the loss of your Mother. Yes, I am in a phase right now where I am solid, everything is fine, then BAM! I'm hit with a wave that feels very poignant and difficult to be with. I miss my Mom very much, of course. I cry and accept on all new levels of my being that I won't be seeing or talking to her in this relative world again--not ever again here....Grieving has many levels and aspects, many qualities, and many sides. It is completely none other than a Divine experience. Accepting every aspect of it with love, with understanding, is 'awakening to our inner courage and becoming steeped in divine contentment.' We have to use our 'golden mind which has been prepped by our years of sadhana to experience a golden life', even in the toughest and most challenging moments of our lives."

You can consider this blog and the lessons of the Course to be sadhana--I do, even though D.R. is not my primary 'Guru' he is my teacher and friend. The words that come through D.R. are from the Truth, which is my Guru. We may not always be able to feel bliss when we're crying, but that might also be because we do not recognize bliss as an absence of euphoria. It takes time to really go deep with this. May these words help in your healing process.

Ghayas said...

I LOVE IT... I JUST LOVE IT... Each time I discover my "new" lesson, there is this gratitude for feeling myself so blessed of having this daily and very practical guide in my life. Few days ago, while browsing in a bookstore, I noticed the huge amount of self-help handbooks and spiritual literature. They are all certainly great and perfectly fine and worthy, without a doubt, but I felt: "Well, I have the Course in my life, this daily companion, so how could I need this again, how could the one-time reading of any of these books deeply and thoroughly change my life for the best, better than is doing the rereading and the step-by-step teaching of the Course." I just discovered my lesson 31 now and finished (first draft !) practicing the exercise of creating my life in one year from now. It felt fun, and yet deep and profound exercise, I felt myself invited to deeply respect my own life, to create it with care, with a feeling of gratitude to all the potential and the possibilities at my reach. It is so great to be reminded of the principles in a very concrete way on a daily basis. THANK YOU. I don't know what I did previously to deserve this now. But I know what I want to do now: imbibe it the most I can. Love, Ghayas