Saturday, September 3, 2011

Living Without Electricity (Dancing in the Dark)

     The strangest and most unexpected thing has happened.  Kay and I have been without electricity for 6 days.  We have altered our entire daily and nightly routine to adapt to a world without electricity, much like the days of yore during previous incarnations.

      We have adapted quite well, and it took almost no time, once we fully realized that on an outer level we truly had no control of our environment.  We relied on the principles that have gotten us through all these years, and which we now share with you, and we have enjoyed a very happy time together.  Kay says it was an unbelievable fantasy of her innermost dreams, where life was set up so that she didn’t have to do anything.  Indeed, there was nothing for us to do, at least nothing that required electrical power.

      We could play, we could laugh, we could sit silently, we could simply be, but we could not do any of our usual work, which is highly dependent on electricity.  We often dance to our favorite music, joyously shared with you on Facebook, as a regular form of exercise, but the music these nights was silent, and we were dancing in the dark.

It has been very interesting to be unable to go through any semblance of ordinary routine.  We could not do our work.  We knew we had a week’s worth of correspondence and new inquiries about the course, but we could not get to it, much less respond to anyone.  Scott kept you informed on Facebook; my daughter Sara kept you informed on the blog. 

All these people who have written to ask why their current lesson has not arrived really should keep up with the current comments of the blog.  They exist primarily to keep everyone up-to-date with any current happenings that are helpful to be aware of.

Anyway, I have had a wonderful week of non-doership.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve gone that many days without writing.  Yet it was a great renewal and rejuvenation.  I have much gratitude for those few days of extreme simplicity.

Another aspect of the comments of the blog is that we enjoy great Q&A exchanges.  Being that I haven’t had a lot of time to write a completely new blog, as the Shakti would have it there were some very good exchanges in last month’s comments.  I am happy to share them with you here.  To expedite communication, I am including primarily the responses:

Rico, how to develop here/now awareness of the subtle body? You are right, this is explored extensively in the lessons of the Course of Training.

What to do here and now? Be aware that awareness is subtle only and has nothing to do with the physical body. Understand that all mental and emotional activity are taking place in the subtle body. In fact, the feeling of 'touch' we experience is because the nervous system reports it to the subtle body. The physical body is good for absolutely nothing other than experiencing our karma and realizing the Truth of the eternal Self that we all share in common.

"How could I have fallen so far. There have been a number of times that I stayed in very expanded states for long periods but it seems long ago. I am feeling very low. I have not experienced the bliss in an ongoing way in sometime. I think I have fallen from grace repeatedly. How do I get back?

Ah, truly the most poignant feeling of all. 'I've lost my way. How do I get back?' 'I was lost but now I'm found.'

We 'get back' to the present, to our heart, and to our love through amazing Grace.

Since you posted under 'Anonymous,' I have no idea whether you take the lessons via email or not. In the process of moving from lesson to lesson, the most amazing and unexpected transformation begins to take place.

Why?  Because of some new facts? Because perhaps you'll get some astonishing and life-transforming information that no one else on the Internet is privy to? I don't think so.

In being committed to the process of the Course, grace happens. I don't know why. I am positive that it has something to do with teachers I have studied with, and that something is passed on that was once passed to me.

Contemplate 'who' is this 'I' that you keep referring to? 'Who' is the 'I' that is defining itself as manifesting in a low state?

Pure Consciousness exists fully, in all its glory, right NOW. There is no other 'time' it can manifest or even know Itself. It is the only Awareness there is. We all share the same Awareness.

Only the mind, ego, conditioning, and karma make us appear different as individuals, in the objective world around us. Yet we share the same changeless Consciousness eternally.

The only thing we lack is the awareness of the Truth of the Present Moment. Yes it is always totally obvious and right in front of us. It is not concealed. It is a matter of developing a more refined vision. Then things are even 'seen' differently, usually in a more expanded way.
Avivit, the dharma is to do whatever we can to relieve suffering when we find it. When the kid is drowning in the pond, we don't just say, 'Tough karma, kid. That's the way the puck skids.' No, we jump in and save him from drowning.  That is dharma—doing whatever is necessary now for the good of all concerned.

How can we help the starving in Sudan and Ethiopia or Darfur? How would we share some food with them? We see and hear about them through the media, yet, practically speaking, what can we do?

It is essential to remember that regardless of how things appear on the outside, every individual in this world is only experiencing his or her own karma and nothing else. We serve no good purpose by trying to prevent another person from experiencing his own karma, which balances and harmonizes processes happening deep within. We can't know from external appearances what is truly going on.
 See everything as God's creation. He created pleasure and pain, light and dark, wealth and poverty--all the polarities or pairs of opposites. Each individual could not possibly ever experience anything other than his or her own karma, which is immutable law.

This physical body is a cycle of karma we have agreed to go through and experience. I have never come across a physical body yet that did not carry its share of pain, and when you consider entire lifetimes, that's a lot of pain indeed. The physical world is made of polarities, and one of them is pain and pleasure, whether we like it or not. As long as we are in a physical body, we will experience pain to some degree.

As you say, when we sleep, we don't experience pain in our dreams, so the subtle body is ultimately pain-free. In fact, as was pointed out in an early lesson, if we're in physical or emotional pain, or in the middle of a severe egotistical melodrama, we can go to an absorbing movie and forget all about the pain. Why is it that I can have pain on the way to the theater and pain when I come out, but there's no pain while I'm absorbed in the movie?

So it's primarily a matter of attention. If we focus our attention on our pain we will really suffer. If we focus our attention on getting rid of the pain it is like trying to get rid of the darkness. The only way to eliminate darkness is to turn on the light.

Among the major practices of our course is focusing on the subtle body that is even now free from pain. The pain is physical karma only. Sometimes we need the karma of physical pain or illness simply to keep us in the body. When we wake up from the dream of this incarnation and find ourselves back in subtle form only, we will discover to our great delight that we are once again pain-free. Of course, if we create it again with an undisciplined mind, then what can we do?

Focus on the inner bliss that is eternally present, focus on the exalted sense of well being that swells up from deep within, and that can be the 'light' that rids us of the 'darkness' of pain.

If I discover a better way, I'll be the first to let you know:)

Eddie, self-consciousness is simply focusing our awareness on the 'other.' We are being the seen instead of remembering we are actually the Seer of all that is seen. When we become established in being the Seer and know without a doubt we could not possibly be the seen, self-consciousness dissolves like a wispy cloud.

Subtle relationships are always more intense than physical relationships, even when we are very close physically. The physical relationship is simply an aspect of the subtle relationship manifested in physical form.  It is the tip of the iceberg. The subtle relationship is much greater and deeper and longer lasting.

99.8% of relationships in my life right now are subtle relationships only. Physically, I see very few these days. For now, I prefer to keep it that way.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife said to him, 'Come to the party with me, Scott. I want you to meet some people.'

Fitzgerald responded, 'But dear, I already know some people.'

All relationships are karmic. You know when the relationship karma is over when it quits, stops, goes away, or you are able to simply walk away from it. It loses a certain charge and becomes more neutral energetically. As long as you cannot get away from the relationship, you can be sure that you still have karma there. If you don't have karma there, you can lie down in their pathway and they still won't notice you.

One major thing about karma--we're not in charge. It's already the backdrop of the play of our life. The only thing we are 'in charge of' is how we choose to see and experience karma as it is in this present moment.

Our current thoughts, actions, reactions, words, motives, and attitudes determine what we, as an individual in an apparent linear sequence of time, will experience as 'future karma', which will manifest when it has become 'now.'

If you slap someone and they slap you back, that is 'instant karma.'

There is no need for pushing or pulling where karma is concerned. We simply relax into an already existing flow. Maintain that light balance and harmony with your own love. Maintain your awareness of your own heart and your own inner love.

Our sadhana, our reason for being here, is simply to finally be in harmony with that which is, or the way it is. When we let go of our own agenda, we experience a supreme contentment and fulfillment, and that's what it all has led up to. And when we reach that state we will realize that we have been here all along.

Ego is described specifically in the ancient scriptures. In the 36 tattvas or levels of creation in Kashmir Shaivism, the ego is the 'ahamkara,' the 15th of 36 tattvas or levels of creation. The 16th tattva is manas, the conscious mind, therefore ego is greatly identified with the conscious mind, thinking it's the thinker.

In short, the ego sees itself as separate and different from the whole, describes itself and others, continuously describes what is happening and takes its descriptions to be 'reality,' sees and experiences its own 'life' as a seeming sequence of events in linear time, and gets so caught in its own self-created egotistical melodramas that it forgets its true nature—the Self, pure Consciousness.

All of 'sadhana' is to purify the ego and mind so that the ego (ahamkara), which can NEVER be eliminated or removed, can focus upward and identify with the highest, 'I am Consciousness, I am the Self, I am the Light, I am God.' The ego is neither bad nor good. It simply is what it is.

The battleground or playing field of sadhana takes place in the realm of the ego and mind, which go through a purification process until we fully and consistently live in the Truth of the present moment.

Ego is not created by thought, as someone suggested. It is a sense of duality and separateness that exists even before the first thought arises. Impure or conditioned ego identifies with the thoughts of the mind, the feelings of the emotions, and the actions of the body, and believes itself to be the thinker, the feeler, and the doer of bad and good actions.

Pure ego is breaking the identification with the train of continuous thoughts arising in the undisciplined conscious mind, and instead identifying with the highest Self: 'I am the Self, I am Consciousness, I am God.'

With impure ego you have a mistaken identity. With pure ego you recognize Who you truly Are.  Love and honor your own eternal inner Self, for it is the Self of all.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email, including a free Lesson 1 write:



Scott Marmorstein said...

Ram, I really love this blog. I love them all of course. I can really understand at an experiential level what it's like to have to totally rely on the present moment for everything, being incapable of working and even without electricity as well. When Irene came along there was a large portion of the day after that I lost electricity and had nowhere to go and nothing to do. I just sat and stared out the window at the rain and the trees.

It was lovely and I was grateful. I could have read a book, or gotten in the car to go somewhere, but instead I chose to just watch the weather outside. I was grateful for those few hours. I can only imagine how a few days enriched your experience of the present moment all the more. I wonder how many people out there can truly relate to staying in an expanded frame of mind in the present moment while all the electricity was gone. Thank you for this beautiful sharing once again!

Colette said...

It is great to have you back. I am glad you had such a restful experience, and I'm sure at all unfolded perfectly for all of us.

Thank you for the clarity that you bring to all of us that take the course.

James said...

Good to have you back. Amazing grace. I love that. Reading the course certainly keeps me
in the flow of grace. My direction in sadhana is to be less of a hermit. I have heard it over the years. Now I hear it again and again. Seems I am stubborn in changing. Kind patient golden. I would prefer that trio rather than holding on to samskaras . Thanks for telling us to enjoy the remaining days of summer.
We all heard the wind blow. Did anyone hear any answers? Ram
you said, "be prepared." I keep that in mind.

Lynne Bhanu Shulman said...

Ram, so glad to have you back. I love this blog. I love the Course. i will forever be a student dancing in the dark and in the light. I am learning to take moments in my life and bring a different and more positive understanding with the help of this group and this course. Looking forward to the next lesson.

Purnima Orlandi said...

Ram, I really loved hearing about your 6 days without electricity and how wonderful, like a dream come true it was for Kay. I feel that way about spending quality time with Michael, my husband. Kay's comment that you posted on Facebook made me laugh!

I am so grateful to have found you and to be taking the course!

"The highest Consciousness exists in all its glory right now in this present moment". from Lesson 1 of the course, "Living in the Truth of the Present Moment".

Yet, we totally miss out by clinging to our prior conditioning, past grief, and thoughts of the future.
One of the miracles of the lessons for me are the steps taught to replace negative emotions with a positive feeling based on the higher qualities - love, compassion, lightness, freedom, gratitude, forgiveness, cheerfulness ect... thus freedom from melodrama and the habits of worry, anger, fear...Being present in this moment and open to the truth.

I wonder if others care to share what are the miracles of the course for you, or maybe one of your favorite lines from a lesson? These would be great fun to share and to hear about.

Renee said...

You bet! Thank you for the invitation. I hope I can pull out more than one, because it's hard to pick a favorite. :)

"Right now, you have a clean slate. You can create whatever present *living into* whatever future you want. One aspect of the present that you create is the future you are moving into. Do you prefer to take advantage of this great opportunity to create your life as you go, or do you want to simply repeat the same old patterns and cling to the same worn descriptions of things? It is your own decision, each and every new moment, each and every new now." From Lesson 4

Also, on the same topic, there is a line, something like, "Do you want to be a puppet of samskaras forever?" It's so good, and this doesn't capture all of it, but I've been looking and looking for that line, and can't find it. I remember that it hit me between the eyes. Kind of like, "Ok, you see it now. So what are you going to do about it?"


ILONA said...

I like this particular blog because it mentions internal bliss..which we experience going within..deep meditation..intensives..initiation is like a glimpse of Eternal bliss..being closer to Eternal and Universal God..However..didn't we come here to EXPERIENCE through our physical bodies..EXTERNAL love between humans etc or external pain and LEARNING to deal with it..WHY we have to desire to dive into internal bliss..when we came to experience external..if not..WHY we came here? In yogic teachings it says to get to know SELF to know God..Is it so?

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

What a great question Purnima! For me, the miracles of the course are so many; the way I instantly feel connected to the highest inner energy by reading the course or blog or FB posts; that I am becoming more and more aware in the moment of my automatic reactions vs. a chosen response; that I feel so much freer and able to be myself, to be natural. I feel safe and connected in this community of people who are committed to "doing the work". As one who could get lost in thoughts quite often, the course continually reminds me to come back to the present moment.

The other day I posted this comment under one of D.R.'s posts:

Today at Starbucks I saw a handwritten sign that said "the experience of our coffee cannot be conveyed by chalk." I immediately thought of D.R.'s Course. Chalk simply CANNOT do it justice. It must be experienced!

Love, Karen Jo

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

I love your question."Why are we here?", is such a root question. I bet if you asked a hundred different people you would get a hundred different responses.
What I have found through D.R's Course and through the teachings of yoga are that we are born here to discover the FULLNESS of who we are. The beautiful part is that that process to JOY(bliss) in not a one way journey. The outer search alone led me to a dead end. A dear friend used to tell me "It is a Divine impossibility to satisfy the human ego." That's the good news..because when I finally hit that brick wall and realized that LASTING joy is not "out there" in a world that is always changing, I started the journey inward. A gift for me has been that once the journey of Self knowing turned within, I touched and anchored into that unchanging BLISS more and more until that began to inform HOW I saw the world. Truth is, my inner state, feelings, ideas ect. were always responsible for how I saw the world, but I didn't know it and certainly didn't realize I had a choice and could shift how I experience LIFE.
NOW joy/bliss is BOTH inner and outer, internal and external..that is the icing on the isn't either or, it's the connection of both (yoga)-they are reflections of each other.

D. R. Butler said...

"However..didn't we come here to EXPERIENCE through our physical bodies..EXTERNAL love between humans etc or external pain and LEARNING to deal with it..WHY we have to desire to dive into internal bliss..when we came to experience external..if not..WHY we came here? In yogic teachings it says to get to know SELF to know God..Is it so?"

ILONA, yes indeed, we are here to know the Self, to know God, which are One and the Same. The 'internal bliss,' as you call is, IS God or Self. There is no difference. There is this Sanskrit word for the essence of the Self, Satchitananda, which means Light or Truth or Existence (Sat), Consciousness or Awareness (chit) and Bliss (ananda.)

In truth there is no such thing as 'external bliss.' Bliss is only inner, as an essential aspect of our own eternal Being. It exists along with any other emotion, and has no opposite. It is ALWAYS PRESENT and never absent.

The external is the reflection, the mirror, of the internal. There is never an exception to this. If there ever sounded like a good candidate for the course, you sound really ready:)

Purnima Orlandi said...

Ilona without the inner life, recognizing God within, letting go of the mind into the bliss of the present moment, life on the outside and physical world becomes a trap. For me, if it wasn't for the inner growth and teachings that guide me to live a happier life, found in the course, I think I'd be dead by now. Seriously, overdosed or as many of my past friends living a chaotic existance. I began modeling at age 14 and traveled to Europe, Asia, Latin America and US. Had all the luxuries and pleasures of the physical world. Yet, I was unhappy, felt lonely in a crowded room, was out of touch with my inner life. Others looked at me and thought, "she's so lucky to be in that cover.." but the truth was I was looking for a way out. After several OD's I remember praying to God for help. To my disbelief my prayer was answered. After that, I started my connection to D.R. and now read his course.I tell everyone I meet about it. I don't care if they think I'm nuts! It is for everyonr, from all walks of life or religions. God bless you sweet Ilana!

Narada said...

thank you once more for another spot-on blog.
it's great to have this place of uplifting positivity available.
following an period of expansive inner experience, I found myself back again wallowing in my little self... unable or unwilling to disconnect from the sense of identifiaction I had to the words of my mental descriptions.
the current blog hits the sweet spot... thank you (again)D.R.!

D. R. Butler said...

The following is a Facebook post I wrote on someone else's page:

That's a fair question, and I've found you in general to be an open and fair person, even willing to hear something new, which many people here are frankly not open to. A true Guru would never claim to be a 'guru.' Only ego can make any such claim.

The true Guru makes it difficult to recognize him, and often makes it very challenging to even be around him for very long. He doesn't have a beautific smile and a sweet disposition. He is more likely to appear like a madman; and as Salvidore Dali once said, 'The only difference between me and a madman, is that I'm not mad.'

The Guru transmits spiritual power, initiates profound upgrades in our state and our inner consciousness, and gives blessings, gives grace. If one were to sincerely approach such a one and say, 'Can I please have a child?,' 9 months later there will likely be a child. Sai Baba of Shirdi said, 'I give people what they want in the hopes that they will one day come to want what I have to give.'

A true Guru doesn't necessarily give teachings at all, except through catching the subtle hints of his actions and often seemingly mundane words. When I was officially afflilated with my Guru, I was among the top teachers in the organization around him, and for many years traveled around the world offering weekend workshops. Those who attended received amazing experiences and insights. Why? Certainly not because of anything I said or did, but because of Guru's grace. If the Guru tells you to lead a workshop, the grace or Shakti comes through, not because of you, but in spite of you.

So the true Guru is likely to be surrounded by teachers who teach the philosophy, who explain what is actually going on through the process the Guru initiated.

In 1974 my Guru told me to teach others of the principles of Truth, and specifically to help people in the West understand what a true Guru is. Well, I say in the West, but the East is just as ignorant regarding such things. At one time I gave a talk in Bombay on the value of having a Guru to an all-Indian audience. Very ironic to me both then and now.

The Guru is not a person, personality, body, or form; the Guru is the grace-bestowing power of the Self. The Guru is the initiating, awakening, uplifting, expanding, deepening, freeing, liberating Principle. A true Guru never encourages people to follow him, but is more likely to discourage them from following anyone.

An authentic Guru emphasizes that the eternal and all-pervasive Self lies within us, not within him. He certainly doesn't want to be worshiped. In 'Jnaneshwari' it is said that one who knows the Self would prefer to not even be noticed by others as being any particular person.

The Guru is a mirror. The Guru awakens us to the Truth of Being that lies within us, and helps dispel or free us from all the samskaras and ego that prevent us from experiencing the Truth in the first place. This is primarily done in ways we could never expect, or perhaps even recognize. One thing is certain; the Guru Principle is not the least bit limited in any way.

Lynne Bhanu Shulman said...

i have been up most of the night to this morning making up stories about my relationship with my bodie's phsyical pain. the first story i told myslelf was i am all alone. there is no one who will come to my bed and hold my hand and say there there. the second story was that my body is out to "get" me. the third story became i AM my body and i can be nicer to it.the fourth story i told myself like an older wiser person would tell a child based mostly on Ram's lessons, lets turn this into a magic play where i can turn the unplesant to the pleasant. Then came yes this is pain but it is not happening to the real you. just this shell you carry around and take care of. stay in the moment lynne, take breath now does it hurt? not this second. now? yes a little. Now? why no it is very different.... and so on. Patience as seeds grow and neurons fire.freeing myself of prior conditioning, choosing my responses. so instead of sitting alone crying i am choosing to know that each breath brings me to a new place. can't say i am thrilled with how my lessons are presented to be learned.(why aren't there more butterflies and raindbows) can say i am taking the opportunity to stay present.

Colette said...

What I love about the course is its ability to shift the place that I am listening from. We all have conditioned responses that we think that we are and that are always running in the background. It might be the recurring question Am I doing it right? or the sentence I am not good enough. this sort of thing goes on in most humans, if not all, and influences how we take in information and it is always based on past experience. What the course has given me is a practical gateway out of my already listening tendencies and when I hear there familiar sound I can thank them for sharing and laugh and say next.

BreathWorks said...

D.R. Than you for reposting that comment that you put on anothers FB page. Very timely for me to connect with it. This unfolding process is so not linear, and appears to me to have as many twists and turns as mind can conceive. It's like no stone left unturned in this process. Those who identify with the newage marketplace seem to think awakening is some easy deal, read a few books by some highly marketed teachers, taste a bit of the witness, and whammo, you're awake. Not my experience. This refining, heating up, burning away process is anything but rigorous and thorough. And having the Guru principle as a felt and consistently represenced Reality is a full on life-raft to keep letting go of useless attachments more quickly and attach to the Truth more efficiently. ~~Scott

Terry McEldowney said...

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

Jill Chandralekha said...

I love what you say, DR, about the Guru Principle. So right on and so clear. What a beautiful use of words to enlighten and illumine.

Michael said...

With the power out, no tv, we read to each other by candlelight. Although I was delighted when the electricity returned three days later, there was a gentle nostalgia for the simplicity and stillness, the sweet candlelight, that replaced expectations.

DiscernmentTimes said...

Great to have you back. Your thoughts and wisdom light up my life and are a wonderful reminder of the True path. Thanks for being and sharing. Blessings, Steu

Sukala said...

While waiting for my current course I received a surprise - Lesson 1, the revised version. It is a chance to review how I describe things to myself and observe how my description in words causes me to feel. I'd been lamenting a neighbour's new garden because I was describing it to myself as very ugly. Now when I look out the window I'm saying, they are such good people.

This solution makes me laugh, like it's the best joke I've heard in years. I imagine how happy I will be as I continue applying this spectacular lesson.


Sarah Niebank said...

I am amazed to be back with the lessons after my first encounter with them and Ram in 1977. A feeling of profound peace has been re-awakened within me, when simply being reminded that the truth never changed, I just forgot about it. All I have to do now is just 'BE" and let the lessons expand me back into the true presence of my life. It's also amazing how much effort it takes to remember to just BE. What a comfort, the ultimate peace never went anywhere...I just forgot about it! and I thought I had been keeping it with me thru all these years...

Sharing your experience of being without electricity made me think, I have had little awareness of spiritual electricity in my day to day life for quite some time.. until now, once again. I'm so glad your lights are back on..and my spiritual light is too.

Leela said...

I am also LOVING this revised Lesson 1! What a great gift to receive the revised beginning of the Course! This selection really sums up why we are all taking this course and encapsulates the true experience of the Present Moment: FREEDOM!
From Lesson 1 Part A

"Freedom includes freedom from the past as well as the future. We can allow ourselves to freefall into the present moment, without having to hold anything together or control anything or hold onto any position or stance. In other words, we can relax and let go of all the stress and tension we create for ourselves trying to control our life and protect our interests."

I feel we are all looking for freedom, knowing somewhere deep that it is innate... looking everywhere but NOW for it! Freedom is NOW and when I forget, you remind me. I just want to freefall! Thank-you so much!

Catherine said...

Receiving Lesson One again was incredibly "timely" for me, both figuratively and literally. A great gift. It arrived in the midst of loud parties on both sides of my home because of a collegiate football game in my city. I found myself so bothered by all the loud noise, creating all sorts of responses in my head!! I am embarassed to even say this. So in your dream, Ram, you say the people caught the tendencies right away. It wasn't until I read the lesson and saw the assignment again, to describe something positively that I was describing negatively, that I was able to get a handle on it. Do we just get better and better at catching it in the moment? I feel at times that knee-jerk reaction will never get better. This is only one small example of "reacting" instead of responding. And after all, "how important is it?" Something else happened Tuesday that was similar. I can see it afterward, how I wish I had responded, and I know you gave the advice to prepare ourselves ahead of time with how we want to respond, and I have. Yet still when a new situation arises, I find myself having to eat humble pie shortly afterwards quite often. Yes, things are better. Yes, I do see it shortly afterward if not in the midst of it, but can I ever really change so as to just glide into a response and even laugh at my tendency to react? I can see how this comes from being in the present moment. Does this change by practicing and practicing and also grace? Thanks.

Colette said...

I had an aha moment this morning reading the revised lesson one, my conditioning and memories, which in a way amount to the same thing, is where I'm listening from. I don't know how it does it, but the repetition of reading the course somehow frees me from my conditioning. It's a marvelous tool and I so appreciate having it to use. It opens up the possibility for me of whole new world showing up. I can truly be brand-new moment to moment. How exciting is that?

Anonymous said...

about your comment about the True Guru,

why would a person whom the guru principal flows through discourage you from being in their presence if they bring so much love to your life? Why not just let that love flow?

It seems a bit like torture to experience someone whom that love flows through, and then have them push you away. It's not so easy to get over that kind of love and the feeling that it's connected to a particular person, even if that person makes you sick to your stomach and throat when you think about them.

I can experience the truth of the present moment within myself, but relationships always come back, thoughts come back, people come into that awareness and we have to find a way to live (to be alive) in the awareness as the title of your blog suggests.

Love the title, dancing in the dark ~ so wild and primal and free...

Volker said...

When 1st of September came about 00:00 or so, I went to check if the course had come...


Mmm maybe in the morning...

Later on... Mmmm, no course yet...

Mmm, perhaps RAM doesn´t know that I am up to day on my contributions : )

Later in the night... No course yet

Then I started to have the strong impulse to start reading lesson 1 (Because I have always talked about I would read previous lessons, but I never got to the task of doing it) But I still kind of ignored this impulse.

And then to my surprise, My impulse came from our synchronicity: A mail came in with the instruction to read again the updated Lesson 1

I am Reading LESSON 1 part A and part B And Wow, I am having such a strong vision of what Ram meant by The Evolution of Wisdom, it seems as if all the lessons I have read so far (36) all of a sudden have a higher meaning. There is a flavor to it.

I am not sure if RAM send you the same task to read the 1st lesson again. But I guess he did. Reading Lesson 1 it is something we all the participants of the course are doing.

The sensation of Strenght and concentration of Shakty and Grace flowing from the lesson are stronger than I have felt most times. I guess this is the sensation that We all the participants of the course are UNITED.

Our effort counts for each other. By means of all of us concentrating on the same lesson makes the impact of it so much stronger on each of us!

Ram already told us about it, But Today I have the taste of it.

Did you feel it too?



Lynne Bhanu Shulman said...

one of my favrite quotes from you is in lesson three

"The mind and ego are jointly responsible for all our
unhappiness and difficulties. Nothing outside us, and no other
person, is the cause of our trouble"

no one is harming me, i am not harmed. I am the source. it is all within me. when i am able to get back to that space it really is fun and peaceful

Anonymous said...

The commentary on ego is so essential to the mind comprehending the ego's role in "existence". I have no idea why I find that so valuable and it has been a cornerstone of reorienting through the course. Yet, in the greater scheme the work that goes on as the "separate self" (ego) re-identifies with the light has nothing to do with understanding or anything else, so it seems, but is simply alchemical and beyond reason or thought or logic or identification whatsoever. Thank you for keeping us delighted and occupied, Ram, while we all secretly (and not so secretly) dance.

Anusuya said...

Karen,I think a person who functions as the guru principle may turn you away to make you focus somewhere other than on the outer form. Perhaps the idea is to make us turn within, and recognize that God and the guru dwell inside each of us. This is a much more difficult task than sitting at the guru's feet in love. The guru may give us a vision of the true inner state, but it is up to us to come to the realization of That in our moment to moment existence.

mohan said...

I loved lesson one revisited as well. I almost was disappointed when my new lesson arrived. I wanted more time with lesson one. It seems to really capsulate all the teachings so well. Of course when my new lesson did arrive and I began to read, I realized it was perfectly timed as usual. Because, after all, only the present moment exists.

Tom said...

Hi Karen, That's a great question!
Perhaps because they wish for you to find the true source of that love within your own Self! will always be with your own Self! What could be better than to always have access to that love without being dependent on another.

why would a person whom the guru principal flows through discourage you from being in their presence if they bring so much love to your life? Why not just let that love flow?

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Last month, Ram wrote the following in response to blog comments:

"Two posts mentioning self-consciousness about posting. The courage to actually share of ourselves openly with others, in the form of sharing in the comments, breaks through huge samskaras of inhibitions and reservations that have always held us back and limited us somewhat. When someone makes their first ever post in a group like this, it is like a spiritual breakthrough."

I want to share that what D.R. writes has been my actual experience here. I was one of the people who wrote on the blog that I sometimes felt self-conscious to comment. It's funny because in my daily life no-one would ever accuse me of being shy. But here I was, shy. My first post a few years ago was SO hard. Every so often after that I would get that compelling feeling to write something else (and the little wave of fear to go with it) Anyway, even if you are hesitant to share here, I encourage you to try. Just come from your own heart and experience. It really DOES break through something personally and I believe it can help others who might resonate.

It's getting easier all the time.
Blessings, KJ

D. R. Butler said...

Catching up a little on some questions: Terry, the primary philosophy behind ego coming before the first thought is mostly simply the fact that ahamkara (ego) is the 15th tattva, while manas (thinking, conscious, waking mind) follows that as the 16th tattva.

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

D. R. Butler said...

Okay, finally to the question: 'Why would a person whom the guru principal flows through discourage you from being in their presence if they bring so much love to your life? Why not just let that love flow?'

Cool question. There's a lot to the question and to the answer as well. One almost wonders where to begin, if one were to wonder thusly.

A true Master or Guru does not stop the love from flowing, and one does not have to be in their presence in order to receive it. It is not dependent on space and time. It is a matter of readiness, openness, and receptivity.

Most people are simply not open to what is freely available. They don't see what is in front of their eyes. And if they hear anything that goes against their conditioned view of the world, they immediately dismiss the whole thing. As the Guru has said, we go to the ocean with a cup.

Most people have no idea what a true Guru is. I have taught classes about what is a Guru in Bombay (now Mumbai, home of Dennis) to an all-Indian audience. A Guru is not a teacher; usually, if he (or she) functions publically in this role, he has teachers he has trained himself to go out and teach whatever needs to be understood. A Guru gives grace, or blessings. I think most of this is in the comment above.

Some people have the karma to meet a living Master, and a few of those have the karma to actually spend some time with one. (According to scriptural authority, a true Guru must be enlightened; it's part of the job description.)

Even those who have the karma to meet and know a living Master usually spend only a certain amount of time in physical proximity. We have the karma to receive from the Guru that which one receives from the Guru, and then we have received it. We don't have to keep receiving it the rest of our life.

The scriptures compare the process of Guru giving initiation to disciple to a lit candle lighting an unlit candle. After the disciple candle is burning, it doesn't have to be lit again.

Of course we enjoy being with and around such highly developed Beings because it feels good. We are thrown into present-moment consciousness, and we feel this incredible yet inexplicable love. We have insights. Of course, our worst stuff, our darkest samskaras, can come up or be revealed for the first time in such a one's presence. It all depends on what one needs for maximum growth in sadhana.

The Guru knows that, for most people, it is not their karma to be with him (or her) for very long, and so he discourages it. Once the precious gift of grace is bestowed, then it is time for us to go out and do our work in the world and help spread that grace and love and inner peace to others.

There is a lot that could be said on this topic, but this is enough for now.

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

D.R. Thank you for your commentary here about the role the Guru plays. It is written so clearly and accessibly-- went straight to my heart and soul-- honestly it would be cool if it could be laminated and given out to anyone who has the karma, Grace and great good fortune to physically meet a living Master, kind of like a little orientation paper to the Awakening.

My karma has both allowed me to meet my own Guru physically several times in my life, but my life was not set up for me to live in an ashram etc. I have been married since age 21 to an incredibly dharmic and caring man who does not share my spiritual path. It's been a great learning in accepting that we are doing our own thing while intimately sharing a life path. I have two children and lead a householder type existence. My connection to the Master has always by necessity been primarily internal and that has been very comforting. And I also quite vividly remember the experience of being in the Master's presence, it was an Amazing feeling, it did indeed light my flame, I am forever grateful. As you say, so much more could be said.
Thank you for your comforting and clear words. Love KJ

Vandita said...

Thank you for your sweet words on this entry! This blog is a school of knowledge!

I have one more question, Dear D.R. (they both read the same:))

In my relationship to friends, when I see that one of them is holding on to a negative mental process that is bringing him now, it is easy for me to show an alternative way of thinking that helps him be free from pain, and many friends thank me helping them like that.

When a friend is holding on an adharmic attitude, I think that if I see it, I should tell him about it. So I go and explain what is wrong about that, and the consequences that it may bring him.
In this case, some people do not thank me but they get so upset with me. And I wonder if what I did helped anyone...?

I would love to know what your perspective is on this subject.

I don´t know to what degree my impulse into talking is my own ego... On the other hand I have heard teachers say "If you saw it why you did not do something about it?"

Thank you so much for your answer. Love!

Vandita said...

What an answer your last answer!!!! A-MA-ZING!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!

jimi said...

Ram says, "The scriptures compare the process of Guru giving initiation to disciple to a lit candle lighting an unlit candle. After the disciple candle is burning, it doesn't have to be lit again."

Well, I'm not so sure about that. I had fallen into a pretty deep pit these last number of years...deep enough so I was beginning to doubt any flame was still burning. However recently through the influence of a new friend I experienced what I call a "2nd rebirth". It was a lot like the 1st one but not as intense. From my perspective, the flame had gone out and it got relit. I suppose one could argue that the wick still had a weak glow & just needed a little oxygen blown on it. I know when this person 1st met me, she she said, "You are so ready" and at the time she didn't even know I had done ANY spiritual work...let alone for over 25 years. So yeah, maybe it was still lit & just needed a breath of fresh love washing over it to give it some glow. Lit or the end it doesn't even matter.

Volker said...

Hi Ram,

You posted this morning this thread in Facebook:

"The outer world is going through strange times. It's amazing that anyone thinks a different 'political leader' could make the country or the world a 'better place' with all the intense planetary tensions going on. We'd had 3 course participants write this month that they just learned they had cancer. Another longtime participant finally stopped the course, closed down her email, and went to the hospice. And these are the ones we didn't already know about."

and comented later

"Anyway, if your life seems unusually rough right now, don't take it personally. God is not pissed at you. Most people, outside of astronomers and astrologists, have no knowledge or understanding of planetary tensions. If the moon can move the oceans, what do you think the other planets can do? Gurdjieff said that because of planetary tensions men go to war and slaughter each other. This was in the 1920's. What is happening now is even more intense."

My inmediate question was:

What do Planets struggle for?

I am sure the planets are alive, like everything else in the universe, timing with consciousness… But What do Planets struggle for?

I went to check for the astro weather @ and with my poor astrology skills I coldn´t see anything unusual from a chart, mars in cancer, will leave that position soon, mercury in tension with Neptune, but mercury is a fast planet and will soon be in harmony with Neptune… I mean, I don´t see long term tensions beside pluto and uranus, and there are some trines and sextiles (that supposed to be harmonius relationships)

But I know that what you are saying is true, I can see that the world is upside down, all the horrible things happening here in Mexico, Afganistan, the “patent wars” between companies. The economy, The Two major earthquakes that shifted the earths rotation and the recent ones in the US and Vancouver…. Come on a Huracan reaching NY, that is completely unheard of…

So I know now, my Astrology skills are none…

I am a very curious individual, and I know that gathering unusable knowledge can only give you trouble, it has been to a degree my experience, so I would not ask you such questions… but as I said in facebook: Normally I would tag such questions in my head as "irrelevant" but since you brought the subject as note worthy, Can I ask you about this planetary tensions? Which are the ones you as speaking about?

And also how can we ease their influence in our lives?

Thank you!


Jim said...

Little words cause me the most trouble: ego, God, love. Little words, huge concepts. Thanks to year one of the course, now I have a working understanding of -ego-. It no longer baffles me.

But now -love-, I'm derailed when reading it in the course. Example from my current lesson "practice loving your own Self." Sad to say, after years of lessons, learnings, teachings, I'm still caught in cliches when I hear the word -love-. Hung up in a hollywood hippy new-age combo mess of concepts and misunderstandings. Howard Jones sang in the 80's: -what is love, anyway?- which I hear in my head sometimes when I hit this snag.

I've got mediterranean blood in me so I'm no stranger to being demonstrative and affectionate. But what you are saying is bigger than that and not attached to any display. It's not like I could give my Self a big plate of pasta with red sauce and be done with it. If love is all pervasive, the secret sensation of the Self, then it must be really familiar. Yet there is a disconnect when I think of calling my awareness of awareness -love-.

Practice loving my own Self. How do you do that? What is done? What I come up with when hard pressed: worship, honor, presense, acceptance. Is that it? I feel I am missing something subtle here. Help. Thank you.

... what feels like an answer came to me as I was about to post the above. An image of the saint Zipruanna, shoved in a well by angry townswomen who were tired of him walking around naked and looking to teach him a lesson, only to find him the next morning singing happily to himself. I can feel what the love of the Self must be just picturing him doing that.

Melissa Abbott said...

As I read this blog I kept hearing "We were just Dancing in the Dark" song in my head by Bruce Springsteen. It was interesting that while you were "gone" in the electrical blip, it was like you weren't really gone, the lessons and teaching surged up within myself stronger than ever. So it is great to have you back and the depth and breathe of this blog is so great. I think many of us have struggled with the same question that Karen asked about the Guru. I loved the Anusuya gave. For me, the evolution of the being away form the guru physicially has taken may twists and turns in my state and in my inner life. It has really made me aware that it is up to me to create my own inner state. I just can't sit there and feed off someone elses inner state. I now realize that it was a huge gift, like a gift given from a parent to a child to have that association. Now, if it isn't actualized and realized daily within for me then what good was it? There are lots of tools to remembering these lovely states of being but number #1 is reading the Course everyday. It keeps you in touch with the truth....Otherwise it is so easy for the flame to waver in life's breezes. Mantra, Meditation, Yoga, and Contemplation are huge supports....the love never goes away. It is there within you all the time...So agin and again want to Thank-you Ram for carrying the flame like you do for us :) The course and satsang created by this blog and your facebook page is so very valuable!

D. R. Butler said...

Couple of more things I want to add regarding the 'Guru' question:

One, we are always being tested. This is one answer to why the Guru would make it difficult to physically be around him or her. We can hardly anticipate the forms the tests will come in, and we will do well to recognize when we are being tested at the time it is happening.

It isn't a personal thing. There's no one in the Guru thinking, 'I'm going to test this person.' It doesn't happen on that level. The Shakti is behind it all.

Also, we do not have to be in a great one's physical presence in order to receive what they have to offer us. All we need is to be open and receptive. There are very evolved Masters in lamaseries of Nepal and Tibet that never leave, never travel, never work directly in the world or with others individually, yet their radiated Consciousness and Light is primarily what keeps this world going. There is great energy coming from such Beings all the time. All we need is to tune in to them and be ready to take their offerings in within ourselves.

D. R. Butler said...

Vandita, that's a very tricky question, and one that might totally depend on the individual. I am very careful about giving advice, even when asked for, and I almost never give unsolicited advice.

It is okay to point out to someone that he is being adharmic, but you have to be gentle and come from the heart, and never critical or disapproving. It is quite normal for someone to not appreciate being told how he is being adharmic, so you have to be prepared for the consequences, although it might yield good results down the road.

Mostly we just have to have a great deal of compassion for the pain and anguish others cause themselves. It is very difficult to tell someone that they are creating their own problems, and that many so-called 'problems' would not even exist if we were not describing them to ourselves and believing in our own descriptions.

People create the most amazing stories that make their lives much harder than they would be otherwise, and there is really not much we can do to help them as it is their own conditioning. So we have to develop a great deal of compassion to relate to others in the highest way.

Vandita said...

Thank you with all my heart for your beautiful answer!

Eugenia said...

Used to know this chap, one of those people who know were they need to be but can't figure out how to get there; and he used to get so angry, so I used to peruse him the way a woodpigeon looks at a sparrow. And he used to explode "IF NOTHING MATTERS why don't you just kill yourself!" And I used to shrug "well nothing matters but I am not killing myself". Several lifetimes later I have established that it really doesn't matter but I really do care. In the same way that a beam of light illuminates a strand of dust particles and bugs and leaves and makes it seem that those bugs, dust and floating leaves are the only ones there. Even knowing that each beam that is us illuminates a similar set of particles. It often happens that the merciful elements yield to the beam as if saying "well as long as you know fully it really doesn't matter, but since you do care..." And then for a while the beam may become brighter before joining all the other beams till they can no longer be identified as individuals.

Naganath said...

"Whatever we react to in another person corresponds with something we are not seeing and accepting about ourselves. Otherwise, there would be a simple observation of the way someone is; there would be not emotional reaction to it." D.R. Butler Lesson 25 Vol.2
Very meaty. How to incorporate this into every day awareness?

Justin said...

I have just begun your course, and have found so much to take in with it. Thank you. Having read through the first few lessons, I have come up against a familiar impulse, which is a desire to be cured of my humanity. While working to live in a state of heightened awareness, I find myself reacting to the lessons, hoping to get rid of ego - which made your comment about it's being always there most helpful - for example.

The fact is, in trying to change my attention, I am in a state of profound confusion. I realize this is probably the gift of the work, but there are times when it's hard to appreciate gifts. How do I behave now? I don't know.

I am currently reading Lesson 3, and affirming my gratitude when I wake, at sunset, and as I go to sleep. And I barely know what to be thankful for, so I stutter through a litany of the things I think should qualify. It's actually very funny, at least when I am not doing it. "Thank you for, um, Enlightenment? and... you know, Consciousness."

This is because much of what I have been grateful for in the past seems to be stuff that is so grounded in mind and ego. How well "I" do this or that.

I do believe that this confusion is a gift, and recently I have benefited greatly from not freaking out when things aren't clear, being patient and letting things come to me, or letting them settle. And the impatient "What then?" questions will probably sort themselves out. In the meantime, though, I am very attached to my habits, and find myself in turns, embracing them and then letting them go.

Letting go of one way of doing things requires some hope and faith in there being something else to hold onto, or not. I don't know. Floating between is a challenge.

Anyway, thanks for your course. I will add it to my list of things I'm grateful for.

Volker said...


Thank you!

I take your last entry in the blog as the answer to my question:

"That in you and of you that is real and eternal will be exactly the same a hundred years from now. All that will happen between now and then, for all of us, is physical change. We need to take our attention off the constantly changing, the temporary, and instead focus it on the eternally changeless.

It is our own Awareness of Being. It has no beginning or end, but exists forever in this present moment, this eternal Now. This is my advice for staying in the present moment."


Renee said...

Justin, I loved your comment. Those first lessons are still my favorite, if there can be such a thing, for getting right to the places I need to work on most.

I've been thinking about what you wrote, and it meshes with something I've been almost seeing today. You wrote: "Letting go of one way of doing things requires some hope and faith in there being something else to hold onto, or not. I don't know. Floating between is a challenge."

Did you ever see the movie, "The Neverending Story" with the 'nothingness' that is coming to destroy the world? Not knowing what is coming - if I really let go of all my preconceived notions of how things *should* go down, there is this 'nothingness' out there just in front of me. I mean, it's right THERE! I could touch it except the present keeps catching up to it. So it's like riding a wave of the present, into the next present. It's not riding into the future. There is no such thing. I'm just crashing away, tumbling forward, watching as things change and unfold because they keep doing it. It's got that "freefall" feeling to it that Ram wrote about in the revised Lesson 1.

Does that ring true to you, or anyone here, too?

rico said...

Renee, I loved your surfing metaphor. Although I've never surfed (downhill skiing is my closest real life parallel), what it takes to keep from wiping out is complete attention on the moment, with the mind in neutral. As soon as the mind becomes involved you tend to fall off the wave (or crash and burn on a steep ski slope). If you ask most athletes what is the best thing about their sport the more aware ones will tell you it's when they are in the zone. That place where time (and the mind) stops and only the joy of the present moment remains. We are so fortunate that we have found a way to turn all of life into a Divine sport. Surfing the wave of the Moment can make the most mundane things exhilarating!

Sukala said...

Hi Justin,
Welcome to the community. Good for you, already participating in the course and blogging here. It took me many months to understand the value of the community.
I relate to your description of confusion. Some days are crystal clear, knowing my purpose. Other days I awake too early, my mind too active which accounts for the confusion, and my breath too shallow. I remember the course content, its teachings that are universal, and focus on something that has stood out for me like deepening my breaths. I have learned that the breath and mind are intricately connected, and deeper breathing calms the mind.
Daily reading of the course is important for my growth and contentment.
You've found an effective method, a gratitude list. A little like counting sheep, reciting what we're grateful for focuses the mind. I find gratitude leads my mind into my heart, the seat of peace. It's become a favorite tools for this reason.
On my meditation blog I commented this week about having a gratitude list. It's at if you wish to look at it.


Justin said...

That does ring true for me, and reminds me of something else, too. E.L. Doctorow is quoted as saying about writing a novel: "It's like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

I like to cheat and try to look ahead so I can figure out what to do with the things I think are coming, but that's not what living is.

D. R. Butler said...

Renee, I loved your metaphor also, and your post was written so beautifully and very experiential. Are you one of those mothers of young children who go on to write a great novel?

I also loved Rico's response to your comment. He was talking about the experience of athletes in sports 'being in the zone,' which is kind of like no-mind.

I forget the year, but there was a college football game between Florida and Kentucky. Danny Wuerffel (sp?) was the QB, an extremely accurate passer as a college quarterback. Kentucky was ahead by a few points and the game was ending. Florida had the ball on about the 30 yard line and it was 4th down and there was only time for one more play.

Danny heaved it to the end zone. I forget the name of the receiver who caught the winning touchdown pass in the waning seconds of the game, but I vividly remember his words, illustrating Rico's point exactly: 'When I caught that pass, I became so happy that my mind stopped.'

It's one of the best actual examples of what the experience of the mind stopping actually is. It is extreme happiness, or an exalted sense of well being.

Vandita said...

I want to thank you with all my heart for being such a good friend to all of us. For me, you have always been there, supporting me with your loving presence, always available to answer any questions or doubts, always shedding light on my dark moments, always seeing the highest in me and in everyone, as well as in life.

This is true friendship and it is so valuable. It is a true gift to be able to be in touch in this way.

You do this freely with so much love, out of love, after so much study, training, surrender, burning. And year after year, you are always here.

I am so lucky. Thank you so much Ram.

Renee said...

Wow! What fun! Ram, you are so kind sometimes. :) I *am* writing a novel about mindfulness and parenting (but not necessarily in that order). :) When people ask me how my novel is coming along, I tell them "I'm doing research." Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Seriously, I'm going to finish it in the next couple years and your course has been the catalyst to get me to really work at being present for my children's childhood.

That athlete metaphor is very apt for me. I played soccer all through collge (at Penn State) and I ski raced too. I honestly believe that anyone reading your blog and taking your course must have felt that extreme happiness associated with the absence of mind activity at some point in their lives. One of my best memories of all time was riding my mountain bike down a hill in New Hampshire in late September. The leaves, the sky, the cool air, the trail. Simple and exquisite. Time stands still, or is not relevant.

Also, I feel just the way Vandita so beautifully put it. Thank you, from me too.


Tony Aditya Putman said...

On the facebook page, DR posted:
"In one or two sentences (all others will be disqualified) sincerely and honestly share what is the top priority, the number 1 thing, to consider when approaching life, the day, the moment, most consciously and dharmically. Focus on your own Truth, not something you've read or heard, as though you're trying to get the right answer in a test."

I'm more comfortable posting my answer here:
"See the light in everyone and everything. Be love unbounded"

Works every time without fail.

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Tony, Renee, and Vandita-- Thank you for your recent words here. Of course, I share that thankfulness to Ram for creating this space and this Course community and for the profound changes coming through the Course of Training. I am also thankful to all of you who post here; it keeps this place vibrant and real and practical and inspiring. Love KJ

Sukala said...

At lesson 46, I’m more aware of it being a choice to feel good or something else. This is especially true when emotions arise. It involves stepping back to see I can change my mind if I want to. It involves surrendering my ideas about things. Meditating, contemplating and sharing all help me to choose what I really want to “predominantly feel”, a valuable phrase and tool I’ve gained here.

Today I had a chance to practice. Some things occurred over the weekend that triggered my ‘disappointed’ samskara. My old pattern would be to engage the intellect to think up a way to tell the person off diplomatically. But there is no way to do this and maintain happiness or sustain a friendship. I wanted to maintain feeling good as my predominant feeling. So I contemplated until compassion arose for both of us and chose a way to respond rather than reacting. Yay!!

Thank goodness for this course -- filled with all the teachings and the grace of the Masters, timely with life and practical. It challenges and supports me to summon my courage and renew my commitment daily to implement the teachings. I read the lesson and the assignment and often set goals about certain situations.

Some support groups say, “just for today” and just for today, I choose harmony. Tomorrow I will need to refresh my choice. This is the way of the warrior. What’s great is how, when I can’t do it, it’s OK. The promptings from the inner Guru let me know that gentleness is as necessary as strength in sadhana.


Michael said...

What does it mean to fully participate in the Course?  
How am I applying the principles into my life as it is? How am I incorporating the understanding  that we are the same little one into my current awareness?  Look at someone, preferably my boss, my wife, myself, observe what feelings arise when I think of them and then introduce the thought that we are really the same mischievous, adorable little Krishna. Watch the card castle of projections collapse into laughter.  Perceiving the little one makes life's lemons taste like lemonade. 

Anonymous said...

Could you paint us a word picture of what life would be like to live as a totally free person? I have a hard time imagining what it would be like to live in total freedom.

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous #72, I will respond to this question a little later. I am a little behind (you should see it) on questions here, but I will catch up as always. Meanwhile, the fullest answer to this question lies in the lessons of the Course of Training via email. There is more on this subject there than I could ever write here.

I am still going to address the question about planetary tensions, I've just been pondering what can really be said about it in this concise space.

(Can space be concise?)

Later (soon).

Avivit said...

Hello everyone of you! I just finished reading the last 32 posts here and it just feels like I am having another Shaktipat / awakening experience reading your entries. You are so wonderful! you make my heart really sing and I feel gratitude is going to blow my mind!
Between 2002 and 2008 I almost screamed-prayed so often to God to find Ram and get me to read anything he writes and shares. I even searched the web...and obviously I am a VERY VERY fortunate Being, AGAIN! How fortunate can one get???? I have a need to bow at all your feet now....ALL OF YOU! I can see them in a a Mandala!I LOVE YOU and I thank you! and I thank God for giving me eyes to read all this and a computer and a Heart to feel and experience.
By the way....where does "experience" takes place? the knowing... hmmm..I feel things and and thoughts are saling through, I am aware of the vast emptiness in the backround...

D. R. Butler said...

Posted on Facebook in response to a comment that the 'process' is from the subconscious to the conscious:

The subconsciousness is formed and molded through conscious concentration and repetition. If we do something consciously often enough, it will be passed on to the subconscious. Therefore we have to make sure that we feed it the right 'food' in positive and uplifting conscious thoughts. So the process of 'conditioning' the subconscious happens through habitual conscious thoughts, and what we consciously accept as true. Then the process of sadhana is the purification of the subconscious impressions, which we know in Sanskrit as 'samskaras.'

D. R. Butler said...

Okay, I've been contemplating planetary tensions ever since the question was asked. It is a very complex topic. It could be understood through astrology, astronomy, and Quantum Physics, yet the three of these would not understand them in the same way.

As a response, I've decided to quote from 'In Search of the Miraculous' by P. D. Ouspensky, which describes his work with Gurdjieff and quotes Gurdjieff extensively:

"What is war? It is the result of planetary influences. Somewhere up there two or three planets have approached too near to each other, and tension results. Have you noticed how, if a man passes quite close to you on a narrow pavement, you become all tense? The same tension takes place between planets. For them it lasts, perhaps, a second or two. But here, on the earth, people begin to slaughter one another, and they go on slaughtering maybe for several years. It seems to them at the time that they hate one another; or perhaps that they have to slaughter each other for some exalted purpose; or that they must defend somebody or something, and that it is a very noble thing to do...They fail to realize to what extent they are mere pawns in the game. They think they signify something; they think they can move about as they like; they think they can decide to do this or that. But in reality all their movements, all their actions, are the result of planetary influences. And they themselves signify literally nothing...It must be understood that neither Emperor Wilhelm, nor generals, nor ministers, nor parliaments, signify anything or can do anything. Everything that happens on a big scale is governed from general cosmic laws.

"All great events in the life of the human masses are caused by planetary influences...Human society is a highly sensitive mass for the reception of planetary influences. And any accidental small tension in planetary spheres can be reflected for years in an increased animation in one or another sphere of human activity. Something very transient takes place in planetary space. This is immediately received by the human masses, and people begin to hate and to kill one another, justifying their actions by some theory of brotherhood, or equality, or love, or justice."

Michael and Anonymous, I like your questions, and I plan to answer them in the October blog entry.

Colette said...

Ramji, I get so stuck in being a doer that it would never have occurred to me to simply be indifferent to the emotional clouds that pass through the skies of my consciousness, thank you for this great gift.

Vandita said...

As I shared in FB, I had an experience last weekend, during a meditation in one of my courses, of rising a few inches above my own body. The sensation was great, but the most amazing thing for me was that my mind became still and absolutely anchored in the present moment. A couple of days before that, I had had a huge fight with someone who is important to me. Then he showed me how wrong I was and I felt terrible about it. I asked for forgiveness and forgiveness was not given... Anyway, right before the meditation I was not in my best at all. But in that experience, as my mind became still and focused in the present, I suddenly forgot the past and I suddenly forgot about the future too. The present moment awareness came accompanied by a feeling of total happiness and love, the perfection of the moment was clear and the “fight” absolutely lost its relevance.

Present moment awareness was with me for the next two days. Then all of a sudden the mind became active once again and the pain from the fight was made visible once again, with the subsequent mental activity around it. Then all of a sudden, this afternoon stillness took over and this mind is now, once again, focused in the present and love and total happiness are back.

For the first time, after hearing you talk about the importance of living in the Present Moment for years, I think I have finally grasped a bit of what this really means. Nothing else is important or needed as I am present. Nothing that I have experienced in life is better than this. I love being here and now.

My question is why I lost it for a couple of days, why it came back on its own, and if just the effort to be present is enough to keep it here.

Thank you so much for your answer and for being here!

Michael said...

In the Catholic Church, September 29 is the Feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Traditionally Michael is the great warrior who thrust Satan into hell, and patrols the cosmos for forces that go against the Truth. Gabriel is the bringer of Good News, the Mouth of God. Raphael is the great Healer. I wish you all the darshan (glimpse, direct encounter) with these great forces that are watching our backs. After taking the Course for two years, I have a new appreciation for these Great Beings.

Anusuya said...

Have been contemplating the five actions both in our inner life and outer life. Maybe that's a given at this moments in our lives, but I noticed a desire to explore this again came up a few months ago. It's been reignited as we contemplate death more deeply, since this is such an outer manifestation of dissolution. Creation, maintenance, dissolution, concealment, and the greatest of all...grace. Would love to explore these cosmic functions more deeply in a lesson.