Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Eternal Serenity of All Things

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

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

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

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

Focus on the eternal serenity of all things.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

163 comments:

Susan C. said...

Thank you for this post. As always, it was the perfect way for me to start my day. I especially needed to read your response to Scott about creation in the subtle realm. I have read about this many times but this time I finally really feel like I Know what that means and will be better able to apply the knowledge in my daily life. I do have difficulty visualizing though and would love to hear more about how to improve that skill. I can invoke feelings, so even though I may not see that something is already real, I can feel that it is. Any suggestions? I love this community and this space to share. Thank you for making it all happen!

mohan said...

You speak here of initiations. It's always a type of initiation for me when I come up against dichotomies, oxymorons, or apparent opposite teachings in the same lesson. Both the answer you provide and the effort to formulate the question combine to generate some kind of breakthrough for me.

Well, here it is from my current lesson ( vol 2 lesson 29). There is a lengthy Gurdjieff/Ouspensky quote which states: “They think they signify something; they think they can move about as they like; they can decide to do this or that. But in reality all their movements, all their actions, are the result of planetary influences...All great events in the life of the human masses are caused by planetary influences...” And then, a few paragraphs later in bold print you say, “What we actually do, in the present moment, is all that counts. Everything else is meaningless.”

Now, I know, as clearly and deeply as I can know anything that this is true. But it seems to me, that if I take Gurdjieff at his word, that I am merely a pawn in a game and an unknowing slave to the tensions between heavenly bodies, then NOTHING I actually do in the present moment counts at all and that EVERYTHING is meaningless. Granted, Gurdjieff is addressing war and “big scale” events. I also realize that I may have different perspectives on the topic of astrology than you or most of the other students of the course. I just feel that if there is any correlation between what happens on Earth in the hearts and lives of humans and what happens in space it is more reflective than causal, more symptomatic than original. Isn't it all karma? Isn't what happens on a personal level, a global level, and on an astrological plane all determined by karma?

How do you harmonize the concept of planetary influences with the responsibilities of personal sadhana in the present moment?

love as always,
mohan

Sarah Hoffman said...

Thank you for this wonderful information. What struck me most deeply was the statement "To know something as a subtle reality, you literally have to deny the evidence of the physical senses". THIS is what has given me the most comfort as of late and during "hard" times in life...along with the phrase "this to shall pass"..Most often I am left with a sense of comfort that I CAN deny the reality of my physical senses..and it's a great relief!

Alison B said...

I have been in a spiraling down fear of money for months now. I wrote you about it at one point, and I really did hear what you told me, but was unable to bring it into my own thoughts, to really believe that I have everything I need. And then a really linear chain of events began. The more crippled I became in fear, the more gigantic bills began appearing out of nowhere. (Which ironically also confirmed how powerful a manifester I am when I "put my mind to it!") In the past month, we owe many, many thousands more dollars than when I was initially in fear about money. No kidding. And yet today I feel like I am able to take in your words differently. I am aware now of how I go with the cycles of lack in the world, and that I don't have to. I get that I don't have to believe my eyes. I will be rereading this many times. I used to be an extraordinary manifester of abundance. I am ready to be a newer and improved version of that manifester now.

Kevin McPheeters said...

Hope. Where am I without it? The last decade or so has for me, truly emphasized the question. I forget about the importance of Hope, all the time. I forget that it is the main ingredient in anything I want to create or bring forth. Without Hope creative-possibility has simply evaporated. But to live with Hope, reactivates the charge that makes the words “just do it!” actually seem possible.
Yet, Hope can seem so elusive. Like the weather - sometimes it’s cloudy, sometimes it’s bright and clear, –how can I possibly control the weather? And because I have preference to one atmospheric condition over the other, I experience either a ray of Hope or it just can’t be found, I don’t even remember to think of it. When I’m experiencing no hope – then the words “just do it!” - seem like pretty words that are for someone else. My reaction to those words become – “You just don’t understand my situation – let me describe it to you in more detail so you can better understand and commiserate…”
Yesterday, I got to experience a little bit of the manufacturing of Hope. The lessons of this course have cracked open some old/new part of me, that has allowed me to begin to really understand it is truly a choice – and that choice is all to do with how I think about things and circumstances. My critical mind in the past has often derided my “thinking” about what I do want, as mere fantasy. It has told me “you’re living in a fantasy world – look outside at what is real, what is actually happening around you. See all the suffering inside and outside…”
Where does Hope go in those moments? It is covered up completely in the cloud of my black thinking, mainly in the form of some crazy trade I make – I chose to buy into the “news” reports, the descriptions of what’s real (mainly of others) over what I actually want to create in my own existence. So yesterday, I went out for a walk and had an “imaginary” conversation with someone I care about, and I told them all about what I did want, as though it had already happened. I described it in nuanced detail. Answered all their questions about it.
And what happened as a result? Hope!
Fragile, delicate, subtle, new born and vulnerable to be sure - but there it was. Where there was none – suddenly there was some. And, I felt protective of it. Wanting it to grow and become real.
I’m starting to think this new cyber-gurukula is actually working. Though I sometimes think I long for the old experience of physically living in the ashram, and bumping elbows with other seekers – I guess now I’m feeling like though there were some very good parts of that past experience – It was also highly distracting. This is new. This is good.
More tears of my Hearts Gratitude to be shared. Thank you so much for creating this forum. Thank you so much for all the comments that help me to know that I am not freakishly alone in my longing and struggle for unity – in my quest to Know. I’m just a beginner, but with the remembrance of Hope and to be reminded I am not alone – makes the journey kind of fun again. Or at least I can imagine it so, because as they say “Hope springs eternal”
Oh, and a very interesting part of my imaginary “conversation” was that I noticed that even if I did actually have the “reality” of getting what I wanted – I realized that my life would not change that much – I would still just be me. What changed was that the emotional charge shifted – and the getting of what I wanted just didn’t seem so huge – and so the charge of not having what I wanted was also lessened.
Cheers!
with Love,
Kevin

Dave Silverstein said...

Hi Ram,sometimes I'll be sitting down looking inside or outside at my surroundings and have a flash of insight that every experience I've ever known has led me to this supreme moment in this NOW. There isn't anything else but this feeling of Serenity.

The interesting thing is that sometimes these moments of subtle awareness feel more real to me then my physical surroundings. Yet, they are all part of this eternal dream.

The main thing I've noticed especially since taking the course are the heart connections I've been experiencing. All these great insights are coming from that center. I feel all of this quite deeply.

I haven't gotten to Volume 2 lesson 9 (I'm on lesson 17) yet I feel like I'm having an initiation. Thank you for this great blog post.

Avivit said...

Hello and happy new month of november to all .
I am relating to Rico's question and D.R. answer in the begining of the post...november 5th.
Ricos asked:
'How do you know what you see in another is actually there and not just a projection or a reflection?'
Something which has helped me practice recognizing the difference betwen them comes from the teaching of Nonviolent Communication called "Observation" which explains the difference between observation and evaluation.
My teacher used to give the example of watching something through a camera lense and just observing what is ocurring without the "thoughts or feelings" that we may have about things. One would for example observe through the camera a person sitting by the table and the sink is filled with unwashed dishes. If one where to evaluate this, one could say something like...the person is lazy and doesn't give a damn about the dishes.
In fact all we really see is that there is a sink filled with dishes and a person sitting by a table.
So this is the way I ask myself everytime I am confused....what do I see.

Roberta said...

Wow, thank you for reposting these questions and answers. The one that really stood out for me was Scott's question about how to KNOW something is real at least in subtle form. I had read his question and your answer as it was posted originally, and thought I understood it. But I feel I got it this time on a deeper level.

I have read about the principle of creating through visualization and feeling, and I've never understood it. I always felt that I couldn't visualize anything, that it was my weak spot, something I just had no ability to do. I feel encouraged that it is an ability I can develop. I'm going to reread this along with my current lesson this month and practice visualizing.

Thank you so much!

rico said...

For someone like me who is perhaps a bit visualizationally challenged and predisposed to emotional detachment there is a variation of the method that has worked for me. I set an intention and simply refuse to entertain any thought that might contradict the desired outcome. At first I would use any trick or device I could to drown out the counterproductive thoughts but as mental discipline improves this becomes less necessary.

This is not to say that I haven't also at times used the visualization technique with great success but it can be difficult, particularly before one has experienced the effectiveness of this approach, to actually believe in a visualization enough to have an emotional response. And the belief factor is key to either the visualization approach or the "modified" approach. In the modified approach I simply refuse to entertain any doubt which one could define as belief.

The thing about visualization is that it's not necessary to actually see a a picture in your head when you close your eyes like you were at the movies. The mind's eye can "see" the image, and "smell" the rose even if the sensory response is absent or not vivid. If you can imagine something, that's visualization.

D. R. Butler said...

Susan C, visualization is an easy ability to develop but it does take some persistent practice.

A simple exercise is simply to visualize a candle flame or a rose (or any other flower you might like) (or anything else).

'See' it in your mind's eye. A million thoughts will try to replace your mental vision, but ward them off as long as you can. When you lose concentration, go back and bring your visualization back to mind.

Simply practice until you can 'see' something, anything, in your 'mind's eye' for as long as you want. This simple exercise develops both concentration and visualization, which are magical abilities to have access to.

D. R. Butler said...

Mohan, our sadhana is not about planetary events or the consequences they have on the masses on Earth. Our sadhana is how do we allow things to affect us inwardly. Our inner state is all that is relevant.

This physical incarnation is a cycle of karma. We don't have a lot to do with what happens 'to' us. However, it is entirely up to us what happens IN us. Karma determines what happens to us, but karma DOES NOT have anything to do with our inner experience. It is totally up to us, because we have the free will to think whatever we want. What we think is what we get.

As far as dharmic responsibilities, it is always intuitively obvious what is best thing to do in the present moment. We don't have to know what we need to do later. We only have to know what we need to do now.

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Thanks, Everyone for coming out into this space to comment, reflect, play, and connect. I love hearing all the new voices these past few weeks and getting to know ones who have been here before even better. We are building this community together and none of us has to be "freakishly alone" (love that, I can relate) anymore. Thanks, D.R. for your leadership and for being the steadfast and loyal servant of the Course. KJ

p.s. The visualizing/ feeling "it is already true" teachings have been really seeping down into my deepest pores lately from recent blogs and lessons-- I am ever grateful for being able to invoke some will and use the creative principle, more and more.

Margaret G. said...

Thank you for explaining the practise of visualization. The advise and teaching you give us in the lessons encourages us to be positive, to think more uplifting thoughts, to see people or situations in loving and more eternal ways, and I get a wonderful feeling about this and know it is the way to go. But the picture I have to see these things is quite fuzzy and I yearn to see more clearly. Now, I have some clear directions to help me practise! Thank you, so much! Thank you to everyone here, as well!

Marisa said...

Thank you for another awesome post. As a newcomer to this community (or any community of this sort really), I sometimes get overwhelmed. It seems like everything I read in the lessons or the posts or the comments is so rich and thought provoking and important that it's easy to get distracted and out of focus. The tendency is to want to "own" all of it and so everything just seems to get diluted. One moment I find myself pressured to understand every piece of the truth that I see, but then the next moment someone or something I read is right there to encourage me to relax, to trust the journey and to remember that the truth is so much bigger than my understanding. In those moments - those relaxed, content moments - I know that it's all beautiful and that I already have it all. Thank you, Ram. Thank you, everyone. I am so grateful to be here.

Nikki A. said...

Ram, I am so grateful for this post and very moved by the comments. I really needed to hear the part about money..as I am reading it I can feel myself align with the Truth...
I realize how much mental space I give to worrying about not having enough...and then justifying my worry by repeating my 'story' to myself. It is very subtle....but I can see it...
Sometimes don't even know what I want and so do not visualize often...I feel like I am a new-comer over and over again.... This is the school/community that I want to be a part of..

Michael said...

Simply create the feeling that you would enjoy if your greatest aspiration were already a reality. When you establish this feeling as your inner reality, then you are participating in the process of Creation. Well, this ego will never accept that its greatest aspiration is already a reality. To become one with God, to realize that God Himself is within itself right now, as he is, has always been its outstanding ambition. But the God the ego thinks it hasn't attained doesn't exist. The ego cannot attain its illusory god, which is but an extension of its conditioned imagination.
The real Self has no desires. It is its own source of contentment. It is its own God.
The feeling of the Self is Eternal Contentment. The ego can never experience that supreme Contentment as long as it remains identified with even the tiniest, subtlest desire, let alone the desire to attain God. It's much better off teaming up with the feeling that all its desires, past, present, and future, are already permanently fulfilled.

Anonymous said...

Was reading Marisa's comment and the earth moved. Literally! We just had a 5.2 earthquake in central Oklahoma. "I am so grateful to be here." RUMBLE. RUMBLE. Shake, shake!! We're ok. Well, not the cats. Their tails are still all fluffed out. Come to think of it, mine might be, too.

But wow, wouldn't that be a great way to go out? Reading a Lesson or the Blog???

Love to you all - may you have a quiet night!

Ghayas said...

Thank You Ram for this generous post. Whe some paragraphs of the monthly post repeat other paragraphs of my current lesson, it feels like a special invitation from the Shakti to focus on the principles mentioned in these paragraphs. This keeps happening ! I have a question about dealing with fear. I read several times in the lessons and in Course participants' posts that Love is a great replacement for Fear. I understand the principle mentally. It's another story when it comes to practicing it. For example, some of the fears that keep arising within me is "getting physically sick, experiencing physical pain" , another one is "seeing one of my children being harmed in one way or another". How could Love help soothing these main two fears I keep feeling ? Loving what by the way ? I thank you in advance for your help.
Love, Ghayas

D. R. Butler said...

Wow, Marisa's Shakti is very powerful. Would have loved to see the cats. Glad everyone is okay.

D. R. Butler said...

My goodness gracious, Ghayas. You are reeling off these 'what if' scenarios, that cause you fear, and which do not exist anywhere in reality except in your own mind.

I've had physical pain. Forget that one, you can deal with it. I've been sick. I had surgery in 1993 and was told afterwards that without the surgery I would have been dead within 2 days. It is okay, you can deal with it.

I've had to deal with children being harmed. Both Jnani and Shane spent part of their time at George School with their legs in casts, and using crutches to walk.

Thank God and Goddess that nothing severely bad has ever happened to my children. It is a hard one to deal with, I'll grant you that. But you have to train yourself to KNOW that they are guided and cared for by Beings and forces beyond anything you could offer as an individual, father or not.

Our role as parent changes from time to time, depending on the age of the children. When they were from 6 to 10 I had completely different roles, and functions, than I currently have as father.

The primary one, the most important thing above all other things, the main thing that needs to be perfected, is to simply be here for them when you are needed. Show them through your actions, not just words, that you are always here for them if they have any immediate need. Let them feel that, no matter what, if worse ever came to worse, their parents are there for them unconditionally, unjudmentally, and will provide any support on any level ever needed.

If fears arise in you of all the terrible things that could happen to them, what kind of vibration does that put out to them? Are they subconsciously feeling your doubt that they are in better hands than your conscious mind could ever imagine. What kind of service is that? What kind of support is that?

KNOW that you and your entire family are always divinely protected. Generate the feeling of how you would feel if you honestly KNEW the magnificant Truth of that.

Don't use the Creative Energy of the universe to imagine all the bad things that could possibily happen to you or your family. Its impact will be the opposite of what you'd hoped.

Practice gratitude for the great life and the great family you have been given. Every morning and evening say to yourself, 'Thank you, Father, for hearing me, and I KNOW that you hear me, guide me, and care for me in all my ways. Thanks to your divine Grace, nothing seriously bad will ever happen to my family or I. Thank you for giving them a great karma than that. They are under your protection alone, Father, and I thank you for your generous care of them.'

This brings up an affirmation of gratitude. It is very powerful. Try it sometime; you might be amazed at the result.

Ghayas said...

Thank You very much Ram for your support. Love, Ghayas

Mahima said...

Jane - Wishing you Love,equanimity, peace and ... sending you a big smile. I do this little thing called 'Inner Smile' and it often helps soothe whatever is going on, like a a healing balm. I close my eyes and then wherever I feel anxiety, sadness, pain, etc ... I imagine a big smile right in that place. Sometimes I just place a whole lot of them all over for 'good measure' ... and it really makes a difference. Also doing breathing meditation ... 123 breaths in, and 45678 out for about 15 minutes, and of course yoga after a warm/hot bath is very soothing to the Vata - overly stimulated nervous system.

I wrote a comment above a few days back about similar things going on. Had them years ago and now seem to be re-visting (how FUN!!) AND in this Present Moment, there is peace, stillness and beyond that ~~~ Sending LOVE, Gentleness and deep peace to you, Mahima

Mahima said...

Love love love the title - "The Eternal Serenity of ALL Things'

Much of the time just a 'few' words like these penetrate deeply for me, than 'more'. I get such a visceral sense from a short but deep 'sutra' if you will.

Tonight I will go to bed with these words in my heart. Thank you, Ram ... much love to you and ALL HERE ~

PS - Tonight I posted a few responses for comments to my post, made to me earlier this week. I didn't realize at the time that you were on a 'new post' ... Learning the lay of the land here. When we post and it's from the previous blog, do we go back and post there or .... on the 'current' one ??

D. R. Butler said...

Mahima, if you're going to post something new, it's always best to post in the comments of the most recent blog. This is especially true if you have any kind of question you'd like answered, or anything you want to make sure is seen and responded to.

Scott Marmorstein said...

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

Last night I was out to dinner and the person sitting there with me said it felt like a bad dream and there was kind of a bad energy vortex in that part of the restaurant. Like it was a deja vou moment, but not in a good way at all. Until they said that I was completely unaware, just eating my dinner. After they said that I started feeling a little unease as I began to pay attention to the surroundings and so on.

After we left I felt like crying but there were no thoughts contributing to that feeling. I realized that either I was in a good place already and so wasn't experiencing what this person had said, or that I was too turned off to even recognize my surroundings which isn't too like my usual self, although it does happen.

Is there a balance to recognizing when we aren't in a good psychic/physical environment versus when it is merely our own projection? Say I went to a place in another country, an old place and felt spooked or strange by it, and then asked the locals if they knew anything about that place and come to find out everyone there knew it was haunted. Was that my projection, or was that a place with real history and having nothing to do with me on the relative level.

Taking this a tiny bit deeper, I also realize that literally everything comes from us in subtle form, there's only One Self, and at the same time as the paradox goes, there are individuals etc. I'm curious about your thoughts and I also realize this is a very deep and complex sort of question though it may appear simple at first read.

Love,
Scott

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Thanks Ram! After reading the new blog and your beautiful offering about choosing/ learning to live in the current of meditation ALL the time (or what's the sense of it), I thought about one of my friends who is in a 3 year, 3 month and 3 day silent retreat at Diamond Mountain in AZ. Today is her Birthday, she has been in silence and sequestered for almost a year. She and the participants are doing this retreat for World Peace.

Every time I think of her ( her name is Bliss:) ) , and her courageous commitment, I think of all the beings that most do not know, the Great Beings of Light that are living in the truth of the present moment, and offering such uplifting energy to the world. Most of us are completely oblivious to these beings unless we are attuned to it..and the only way we could feel the POWER of love and courage being offered is if we are in the present moment.
We are creating a kind of power here on this blog, a community of sparks that are also emanating LIGHT to the world. And regardless of how "dark and crazy" it seems "out there" there is a subtle network that is connecting us back into the STORE HOUSE OF ETERNAL LIGHT.
Every time we choose to come back to the present moment we can experience our PLUG IN with the Source, and can look around and notice all the stars twinkling in the night sky.
I am so grateful to be here with you all, thank you for all you offer and thank you D.R. for your generosity, guidance and wisdom!

christina said...

Reading your later comment Ram, about the family and KNOWING that they are always divinely protected, is such an incredible sadhana...I have worked with it so much and still the challenging feelings come up and grab me. I didn't protect my beautiful daughter from being sexually-abused by my father throughout her childhood and early teens...I had no idea...and living with the awareness of how this has affected her life cripples me emotionally at times. I am slowly healing from it and find it easier to bring myself into the present now, and accept the past cannot be changed, but it is the most challenging thing I have ever had to deal with.

So was this simply her karma? How, as a baby, could she have dealt with that? How, as a 10 year old, could she have dealt with it? Is it any wonder that as an adult, she sees that God didn't protect her and she tends to rubbish me when I gently put some spiritual teaching her way? All I can do now is to love her and detach myself and allow her to make sense of it for herself, but it's been so hard and has affected me powerfully.

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Ghayas and D.R.-- a profound thank you for your Q and A interaction here about worries over our children being harmed and the Perfect way to deal with this worry. I am going to print it all off and read it over and over.

I've already been going in this direction (knowing my loved ones are protected) based on some of D.R.'s writing in recent weeks but this latest comment solidifies it. You've hit something that has been a core fear for me in life (harm to children, loved ones) and I am sure others too-- now I have some practical things I can do daily! Love, KJ

Anonymous said...

Love this posting Ram! One of my teachers once said," Grace and self effort go hand in hand". I live in a beautiful neighborhood and have very spacious apartment. Before I moved here that is exactly what I visualized of my self. I intuitively new what I wanted but my mind always would come up with'" you can't afford to live in that neighbor hood". Never the less I kept visualizing living here. Low and behold I saw an add in a local paper that was not on the Internet or in the for rent publications. I checked it out and it was exactly what I was looking for and for a great price. I think a good way to feel the feeling and an aid to Visualization is if you can actually go to a place that has what your want, for instance in this area are many wealthy people and beautiful homes. I drove thru here before my practice of visualization. I have a concrete feeling of the place and visual aid. If you want piece of mind then got to a spa and pamper your self. I you want liberation take Rams course. These are what I call the concrete foundations of visualization. Blessings to all and thanks to you again Ram for the course and the last blog entry. I am looking more deeply into myself for comfort in these trying times. Peace and love to all the participants.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ram - I just had this somewhat strange experience happen to me the other day and thought i would share it with you- and I guess everyone else as well. I don’t mind sharing it here - but I doubt I would post it on face book- to me fb is too superficial and full of nonsense- but that’s what I like about it.
Anyway, the other day I was throwing the yi jing(I ching) for a friend. And I was explaining how one trigram changes into another because of the moving lines caused when you have 3 heads or 3 tails. But as I explained it I had the work book open and saw that 3 tails or yin, don’t change in to a yang, it actually changes back into a yin. Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with the details and I’m not sure I can explain it clearly-but the bottom line is that for 25 years or more I have been reading the yi jing incorrectly. This really blows my mind. The fact that for 25 years I could be doing something totally wrong - and not even know about it. When I looked at the workbook I thought there must be some kind of mistake- this doesn’t make sense. Then when I read the explanation for the reason behind it, it actually made me a little nauseous for some reason. I mean if I could be totally wrong about something that I was so sure of- that I thought I had such a handle on- what about the rest of me. What else am I doing, thinking that I’m correct and I have all the answers- when in fact I could just as easily be blind or mistaken about that too. It’s like getting a rug pulled out from under you. Your very foundation is shaken when the concepts you hold so dearly actually turn out to be wrong. So I really have to question this whole gestalt of personality and the way we relate to everything. And of course this is what you have been saying all along too. But I guess this is what sadhana is all about, making the unseen-seen, seeing the shadow as best as we can.
I also wanted to mention that l love the new lesson too and liked that you mentioned herbs and acupuncture :)
Chet-Ramachandra

Amy said...

Good Morning, Everybody! I didn't mean to be anonymous when posting about the universe reponding to a message from Marisa. USGS says the earthquake was a 5.6 - Oklahoma's strongest recorded. No reports so far of serious injury or fatality, thank Goodness.

Marisa, at least for a while, you will be "Shake-ananda" to me!

Lynne Bhanu Shulman said...

Ram, i am still absorbing this post and the current comments. I printed this all out. My grateful feeling is if i never read another word by you this would suffice. You have covered everything. this strikes me as full beyond fullness.It makes me understand how everything can be contained in a mustard seed. or saguaro seed here in tucson. your post left me with an inner stillness of recognition of the Truth. i sit here at the keyboard in deep gratitude and love and wholeness. there is nothing to do. no one to be. all my love, lynne

Cynthia Lynn said...

I am also responding to Rico's question and D.R. answer in the begining of the post...november 5th, where Ricos asked: 'How do you know what you see in another is actually there and not just a projection or a reflection?'

Usually we think in terms of our negative emotional responses to another, but what about the times when we truly feel an intensely positive emotion while relating to another person ... maybe even someone we don't know, or will never meet ... emotions such as in unbridled joy and happiness when we see that person? Aren't we also seeing that joy which exists within ourselves?

Sometimes we can often get caught up with infatuation (with the other person) and that probably leads to the downward spiral ... feelings of inadequacy (we could never match those qualities, could never be part of that person's life, etc.) so we let go of the joy, thinking it's not ours to have.

Mahima said...

Ram, I posted several comments under this 'new' post to several people, who commented to me from the 'last' post ... but they didn't show up ? And they're not under the post from the last of October. They were 'comments' thanking the people who had commented to me with thoughtful wishes ... Karen Jo, Margaret G, Vicki (Karuna) and maybe one other ?? I guess I posted them in the right place, but somehow they show up on here. There was a comment from me to 'each' of them under ONE post.

Thanks so much, again to all of you who did respond with such love and care here ~~~ All is always well, in this moment ~~~

Cynthia Lynn said...

In the process of reading the long exchange b/w Ram and Scott, the following sentence stuck out for me:

"... but by holding our preferred reality in our heart subtly, KNOWING that it is ALREADY REAL, as an emotional feeling, then there is no force in this world that can stop its manifestation."

This profound emotional feeling usually comes in the form of a subtle message, "... it's time to go." (my interpretation: it's time to move from one place to another). Whenever I take action on that message, I have moved.

There have been many more subtle messages ... some heeded; many "missed," ... but the lessons always became apparent one way or another.

I am grateful to be reminded to "tune in" to the subtle world more regularly and to establish a life lived in gratitude.

Marisa said...

I have a question. If what we see and negatively react to in another person is really just something in ourselves that we are projecting onto that person, how are we to respond to the discomfort? If the dynamic has gotten to the point of discomfort, just taking responsibility doesn't always defuse the negative emotions already at work. By then it seems like explosion or implosion are the options - neither of which will be productive. It would be nice to be completely beyond this discussion but the opportunity sometimes arises before I realize it and I'm not sure how to handle it at that point.

Marisa said...

"Marisa, at least for a while, you will be "Shake-ananda" to me!"

Amy - I'm glad you and the cats are ok! As long as everyone is unharmed it sounds kind of exciting!

Anonymous said...

Scott, After reading your post on here and visiting your blog. I have some insights into your work and your comment. First of all from my experience everything is energy either it is vibrating neg. almost neutral or pos. this energy is spinning and its either spinning clock wise positive or counterclockwise neg. When you go into a space with neg. energy, you can feel it. Its heavy and doesn't feel good at all. It sounds like by reading the lessons, repeating the mantra etc. you are transmuting the energy to a positive spin and thats why it feels so good later on that neg. energy has turned pos. its rotating in a clockwise manner and people like the feel of it.
I have a couple of friends who are deep in spiritual practice and complained to me that there was neg. forces in their space. I visited their apartment lately as an observer. They were convinced that the neg. energy was coming from out side their apartment where some trees had been cut down. Brutally murdered. Down stairs I didn't feel anything unusual so I went up stairs to where their beautiful puja was, there the energy was powerful. I walked into the next room which is where they chant and meditate and my being started vibrating around the heart chakra. It was so intense I had to walk out side for a while. I didn't tell them anything because this was a very sensitive issue for them. They had been fighting and almost broke up. I also noticed that they had very negative points of view towards people and the world in general. This pure energy was causing all that stuff to come up inside them and they were projecting outside on other things and causes. They now have moved in with their parents and are looking for another place. I plan on approaching them with my findings before they move, just haven't found the right time yet. Hope this sheds some light on your work and how we can blame and project our own negs outward. Peace and love, Ralph

Karen B. said...

Rico, I don't visualizes easily either. A long time ago I read about people cutting out magazine pictures as an aide to visualization. During the past few months, new friends have mentioned using the same technique.

Because the ideas has come around again, I've decided to give it a try. I'm looking for pictures that "speak" to me about what I want to visualize. I'm feeling excited about where this project may take me!

Purnima Orlandi said...

Thank you D. R. Butler for teaching me how to make my dreams come true! I love you and I love th course of training - Living in the Truth of the Present Moment ! I tell everyone I know, to read the blog, and take the course, some do some never even try, I feel very blessed to do so!
This blog is powerful, just with this blog so much can be realized.
Blessings~
XOXO

Roy said...

You might say I am addicted to the blog and your facebook page, never missing anything you post, but I have a resistance to commiting to taking the course. I think I am getting all I can handle and all I need from the blog and facebook. They seem quite full in themselves. Are there any ways in particular that I might benefit from the course that I am not already getting for free from the blog and facebook?

D. R. Butler said...

Today has been a busy day on the blog, but has been more of a 'slowdown' day for Kay and me, as we caught up on some well-earned relaxation and recreation.

Anyway, there are plenty of questions to catch up with, and I intend to get to that tomorrow. For now, for one post before I retire for the night, I'm choosing to first respond to the last question that came in from Roy.

Roy, most honestly, the truest answers that could come to your question would be from those who themselves take the course and know the difference. Perhaps a few will share their own experience about this with you.

The blog and Facebook offer great wisdom, great insights, practical solutions for problems and answers to questions. However, they in no way constitute a 'Training' designed to take you from where you are to where you truly wish to be.

In the course we undergo a training that actually allows us to apply and practice the principles of Truth in our own daily life, right now. In the blog or on Facebook, we might read something that sings to our heart, we might agree that it is indeed such a great principle, such a divine revelation, that we even share it with our friends and put it on their pages too, so that they can also have this wonderful wisdom. And then we go on to completely forget the principle without ever actually applying it in real life even once. Even so, if someone should bring it up, we would insist that we already knew all about it.

The Course doesn't allow you to forget. The longest you can go is 2 weeks, if you refuse to read your current lesson, but in two weeks a new lesson arrives to remind you of the Truth you have momentarily forgotten that you had sincerely intended to remember.

One more thing before I end my evening. I took a number of courses that were available in the 60's, during my teenage years. Some, like the Rosicrucians, or the Mayans, or even the course written by the Self-Realization swamis to present the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, were all a bit disappointing. The one that immediately made sense to me was the one by my teacher I have spoken of a little here, although much moreso in the lessons. I also kind of liked the lessons from Astara, as they presented certain principles I would need later on as a foundation. For example, they were the first to teach me of kundalini and the chakras, and this was in 1962.

Something else they taught made an impression on me, as obviously I have remembered it all these years. This knowledge has helped me to understand all spiritual paths much more fully than I would otherwise.

The teaching was that there have always--in all traditions and on all paths, in all religions as well as all schools of Higher Knowledge, in whatever forms they existed--been 'exoteric' teachings and 'esoteric' teachings. They both serve a purpose and are both necessary, as people on all levels of understanding need to know what, for them, is the next thing they need to understand or do in order to move forward.

I've brought out my trusty Webster's for some help here:

'Exoteric' is '1. Not confined to a select few. 2. Comprehensible to the public. 3. Relating to the outside or external.'

On the other hand, 'esoteric' is defined as: 1.'Intended for or understood by only a particular group. 2.a. Known by a restricted number. b. Confined to a small group. 3. Not publicly disclosed: CONFIDENTIAL.'

I suppose by these dictionary definitions, the blog and facebook present the exoteric teachings, while the Course of Training presents the esoteric teachings.

But like I say, the truest answers can be given only by those who actually participate in the course.

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Roy,

Great question. I hope others will come forward, too and share their experiences on it, but here is mine. I understand your feelings. When I found the blog and became D.R.'s FB friend in Dec. 2009, I hesitated before joining the Course. I felt so full and enriched by the blog, and I had all these mental projections-- should I spend the money on myself for the Course, etc. The FB and blog ARE addictive; if you feel their energy you will surely be blown away by the Course.

The thing is, I had taken D.R.'s Course for years in its paper form back in the 80's/90's so I had had the experience before, that what you get goes so far beyond the words on paper. Between knowing that previous experience and a dear friend telling me how happy I would be if I signed up for the Course, I took the "plunge" and I have never looked back. It is by far the best investment of money I can imagine.

How to describe the difference? The Course really IS a Training. It trains you consciously and it trains you subconsciously and before you know it old things likes fears and doubts you've carried forever are gone. You have to be willing to do the work. You're never off the hook. But every day, every month is freer and lighter. I guess one difference is it is systematic. The energy that directs the Course takes us systematically through a process. It's like having your own personal trainer except for your mind, heart, will an Being.

Or sometimes I think of it like an Aikido class or something. A training that demands some focus and attention and over time you have this confidence and strength you never realized was possible.

I am convinced the Course is like this vibrant entity. We become like subtle Jetis, carefully practicing our arts of being in the Present Moment, finding the Light and Love within, working bravely with our thoughts and feelings and tendencies.

I could write so much more, how the systematic principles and energy of the Course has helped my marriage and my parenting and my career, how I have increased ability to find safety and security within my own heart, but I will leave off now and hope others share as well....

blessings, KJ

Discernment Times, EzWebManifesting said...

Hey DR, a wonderful post and thank you! You spoke about many different levels of initiation, which took me contemplating. What is the difference between change and initiation in your perspective? I mean sure, there are different levels of change and different levels of initiation - like you already said. But, is all change some level of initiation? Perhaps I am over thinking this one and need to let if percolate in my heart. Blessings, Steu

rico said...

Roy, I've been taking D.R.'s course in one form or another for over 30 years. Someone who is not a Course participant might find that a bit strange. Either I'm thick as a brick or there must be something more to this Course than just some conceptual knowledge.

Whether we are aware of it or not we have been conditioned since birth by our parents and society to see the world in a certain way. Unfortunately this world view is very incomplete and distorted. This distortion leads to the distress and suffering we see everywhere we turn. What the Lessons offer is an opportunity to reprogram our distorted outlook. To correct our faulty vision so we are able to see the world as it truly is.

Since it has taken years to form and reinforce our distorted world view it also takes time and persistence to correct that vision. This can best be accomplished by forming a relationship to the Course which replaces our faulty programming. This can't be done by just reading comments here on the blog or on Facebook. It takes reading and re-reading the Lessons. But the Lessons are so much more than just the words on the page. There is a very powerful subtle energy that we experience while focusing our attention on a Lesson. Tuning into this energetic space provides a perspective on our moment to moment experience that, along with the reprogramming the words provide, turns the mundane into the sublime.

Facebook and the blog are a great adjunct to the Course and are kind of like dessert if you take the Course or an appetizer if you don't while the Course is the entree. Without the entree it isn't much of a meal.

Karen B. said...

Hi, Roy! I can only measure the value of anything in my life by MY OWN experience of it.

When I wrote to DR to ask about the Course, I received information and a complimentary lesson. Then I took a month by month subscription to give myself a chance to interact with the Course. The goal I set for myself was to read it for 7 months and then decide whether to continue.

I have done spiritual practice in my own tradition for a few years. Nothing has put it all together and helped me move forward like this Course. It's having a private tutor (DR)to help you truly "get it" and apply it in your own life.

All I can say is that taking the course is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Love, Karen

Colette said...

tRoy, from my perspective the course took my knowledge deeper, and it does it in a different way that's hard to describe unfortunately then the blog or Facebook. How do you explain deepening? You think you know something and then things happen on a different level and you realize I barely knew anything. That is what it's like to practice the course. It really is training.

I hope this is helpful, many blessings in all your endeavors, may your heart be filled with the light and love. Karuna

Scott Marmorstein said...

Hi Ralph,

I appreciate your good understanding. I have the same understanding though I never quite worded it that way in my first book.

Margaret G. said...

Roy,
I can understand how you feel about "getting enough" from the blog and FB. As I have said here before, I was introduced to many of the teachings through my husband, who has been taking the course for quite some time. He would share things with me that he had learned and I had a lot to ponder, to say the least! We had some great conversations (some very heated!), but I was resistant to taking the course for a long time. When I finally did begin, quite recently, I am amazed at how my thinking is changing, and the peace that I have experienced from D.R.'s teachings is such a wonderful gift.
One of the things that I really enjoy about taking the course, is the focus that it gives me, as each lesson, so far, has a different exercise to practise. I find that if I read the course daily, I get new insights into principles, even if I've read them several times. There is so much energy in the words! Reading the course gives much more meaning to the blog and FB entries. To me these entries are amazing, but I get my real food from the course. Sending much Love to you.

eddie89 said...

We are what we think,
having become what we thought.
Like the wheel following the cart pulling ox,
Sorrow follows and evil thought.

And joy follows a pure thought,
like a shadow faithfully tailing a man.
We are what we think, having become what we thought.

The Dhammapada.

D. R. Butler said...

This is not really relevant to posts here in the blog, but it came up on Facebook, and I wrote this in a thread there since it seemed relevant, and I'd like to share these thoughts here as well:

It's funny, I simply shared a comment with everyone who reads the things I write here. It was a present perspective; when I began I had no idea where I was heading. Just wanted to share a new FB status. And then, what largely follows is a thread of comments of people saying very nice and complimentary things about me, although the 'you rock!' doesn't really translate in any meaningful way, except as a slang term.

Such comments leave distinctly different impressions on different people. Those people who actually participate in the course know immediately what you are talking about, and more about who you are actually writing about.

For some newcomers just discovering what goes on here, this thread of comments might bring to mind an interesting and perhaps helpful person to know, and these people might go on to explore the blog or to write for information about the course at drbutler.course@gmail.com,​ being open enough to see if anything interesting or helpful might actually be revealed. Anything is worth a try, right?

For other people, new and old, the comments in general could be a great turnoff. 'Whatever he says, his followers think he's so great and believe every word he says. He really has them convinced into believing that he actually has something helpful to offer.'

Some even say, 'Oh, he just posted that to elicit more good things said about him. He seems to care so much that people think well of him.'

To this, as I said in the beginning, I was simply sharing a certain state I was in. It wasn't, and you will never find me posting anything intended to solicit any kind of response. Responses come, they are what they are, and they have no personal effect on me.

Anyway, keep in mind all the different kinds of people who read things here. There are many, many more readers than posters. It is great if you wish to say something of a positive nature about me, but let me be regarding something I said or did (quotes are fine) that actually positively affected you in some way. Don't just say, 'O Ram, you are so great. You really rock!' It means nothing whatsoever to me, and sounds weird to visitors that come here.

(Continued in next comment)

D. R. Butler said...

Also, I have no 'followers.' I no longer even claim to have 'students.' People participate in the course with me, and I think of them as course participants, who eventually get to be the people I know best and am closest to.

I think it it great when people talk about the positive or transformative effects of the principles, the teachings, the tips and suggestions that came from the course that changed something significant in their own life. These things are beautiful to share.

However, making a persona out of the writer really leads nowhere. I have already had adulation, and it got me nowhere, just a big ego trap. I have also been publically humiliated several times in several ways, and aside from burning the ego appropriately, it had no effect either.

So to talk to others of the principles and practical teachings available in the course is very great, for it allow them to have access to something they don't even know is available. It is difficult to give anyone any idea whatsoever of what the Course of Training actually is, but if they are open at all, they are open to how you have actually been helped or benefitted from it.

To talk to others of the teacher or writer, however, as though he is different from anyone else serves no purpose whatever. The writer is here today and gone tomorrow. The principles in the writings last forever.

Just share love. When others experience love from tuning into your love, they experience all 'I' have to offer; and it actually takes place in their own inner Being. We can all tune others into love, just as a lit candle lights unlit candles and passes the light on to others.

The sign of a true participant of the course is that he or she is loving and respectful to all they come across.

D. R. Butler said...

Catching up with previous questions in the thread, Scott asks, 'Is there a balance to recognizing when we aren't in a good psychic/physical environment versus when it is merely our own projection?'

Scott, for myself I always approach everything as though I am seeing and experiencing my own Self--perceiving inward, projecting outward. Really, when is something out there NOT a projection? It's all the screen of life, right, and we are the writer, producer, director, and Actor in the play we create for ourselves (as it is presented to us by our karmic map--which is basically what a good astrologer can see in our chart.)

Like you said at the end of your comment, it is an extremely complex subject. For on what for most of us is an ordinary level of reality, there are times and places where vibrations are there whether we're there or not, and are there before we arrive, and remain there after we leave--unless, of course, as you do Scott, you clean the environment before you leave.

I was going to go on and on, of course, but Kay is calling me to dinner. I will apparently reappear 'later,' although I'm not actually going anywhere at all.

Dave Silverstein said...

Hi Roy, My experience with the Course is that it is like a very dear friend that is my constant companion.

When I read the lessons there is a certain energy that has the power to draw my senses inward connecting with the wisdom in my heart.

The other thing I find is whenever I re-read the current lesson there is always something that I didn't see on first reading. I'll get new or deeper insights into all kinds of issues.

Facebook and this blog are wonderful and you can certainly keep busy with them as long as you like. However, as far as I'm concerned there is nothing like the Course. It's the best. -Dave

D. R. Butler said...

Good dinner. Anyway, Scott, you know that different feelings and vibrations exist in different places. In Manhattan alone, you can go down a block or two, and there is a whole different pervasive feeling.

So it's not that everything you feel or experience is coming from you, as you. Feelings or vibrations come from other people also, or even certain places. There is a completely different feeling, for example, from certain inner city locales than there is overlooking the ocean in Carmel, or on the rocks of Rockport.

So, like you said yourself, ultimately it is all the play of the same Consciousness. There is ultimately nothing outside us or 'other' than us. Yet, on other levels of existence, where we have time and place and an apparent linear sequence of things happening one after another, certain people and places have their own feelings and vibrational output. Then you have to play a game called distinguishing the Self from the non-Self. Good luck, lol.

JB said...

Roy, I definitively agree with what others have written before. I have been taken the course for 3 years now and I have experienced a profound shift in my thinking and day to day experience. Even though there are fluctuations in my state - some days are easier than others - it is obvious that on average, I am much more at ease with myself and others and my life, and I just feel I am more and more aware of what's going on on a subtler level - it makes me wonder how deep I was asleep before ...

Your post also made me think about something I have observed in myself and others, that is that for a long time or so, we approach sadhana in order to get high, to get a boost or a good buzz - we look for 'spiritual' events and things to read that will make us feel high. There is nothing wrong with this approach as these experiences open our perspective to what is truly available. However, after a while, I came to believe that spiritual maturity begins when you stop looking for a 'spiritual high' and you begin to approach each present moment with an equal vision, where it does not matter whether you get high or not, where everything is more or less the same, where you aim at maintaining an even keel no matter what. To me, this is what the course opens me up to - to stay even minded despite the obvious fluctuations both in my mind and outside, and to me this is the difference between getting 'high' on facebook or the blog (and again I don't see anything wrong with that) and deepening your approach by taking the course and applying its principles in your life; it's been my experience that the latter approach is much more fulfilling in the long run than the occasional highs which rarely have a long lasting effect.

Naganath said...

After reading all these words and Rico's most excellent response on why we take this Course, it seems the Lessons keep us on track--there is more "going on" beyond the words than we could ever imagine. The whole purpose is to connect us to the Guru (which, as we all know, lies within the Heart) and it really doesn't matter whether one takes the course or not. It is all perfect just as it is. Being part of THIS is Grace. Being part of the Course takes willingness to be more than you can imagine yourself to be, so much more than these words can say.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Thank you, Ram for confirming what I had suspected and felt inwardly all along. Sometimes it's good to get such confirmations.

Glad you had a nice dinner. :-)

I just wanted to respond to Chet Ramananda for a moment, as you said: "I mean if I could be totally wrong about something that I was so sure of- that I thought I had such a handle on- what about the rest of me. What else am I doing, thinking that I’m correct and I have all the answers- when in fact I could just as easily be blind or mistaken about that too. It’s like getting a rug pulled out from under you. Your very foundation is shaken when the concepts you hold so dearly actually turn out to be wrong. So I really have to question this whole gestalt of personality and the way we relate to everything. And of course this is what you have been saying all along too."

All I want to say to this is...what a beautifully freeing moment it can also be depending on how we look at it. I wonder if part of the reason it made you feel nauseous is because of how far back your mind went to all the 'past' explanations you gave people where they had no choice but to believe what you were saying. Ultimately if that is the case the people were not really harmed, and you were innocently telling them what you thought to be true anyway. Now that you are free, what a beautiful new place to expand from with other friends or clients in the long run. Also, you mention being 'wrong' but I don't buy that. I'd say misinformed perhaps, but not really 'wrong' as this implies some sort of judgment. You just had incorrect information. If you were wrong, it would have to be that you were intentionally (and knowingly) harming people with false information. Just thoughts...

Bindu said...

Dear Roy, your question sure raised a lot of interesting responses. When I first read
D. R.‘s suggestion that course participants answer you I was immediately prepared to fire off a reply. Well, in the ensuing days I really have had to sort out my feelings. Like so many things about the Course a superficial answer doesn’t satisfy. In agreement with you, I too think the blog and FB page are great, and why shouldn’t they be sufficient? Maybe I could quit the Course and concentrate on them. Mhm what would I be missing? For me FB and the blog are like a tasty dessert, just right to finish off a great meal. ( Interesting Rico, you and I came up with the same metaphor) Whereas the Lessons are a feast or a full course banquet. I can tell you without a doubt the blog and FB do not compare to the richness of the Lessons. What is most fascinating is how there is always something new, something that often uncannily corresponds to what is happening in my life. There is a certain cumulative energy from regular readings of the current Lesson. I guess the big word for me is experiential. The Lessons provide a systematic wholeness which plays out experientially in my life. After over 30 years of reading them how this works remains a mystery. But it does. I can promise you this if you like the blog and FB you’ll Love the Lessons. They are, in short, a way of life. Bindu

Ashoka said...

To Mohan's post: In the day to day work, it helps me to remember hearing my Guru say "Live beyond your planets (influence.) You can live beyond the planets." She was not taking anything away from the accumulated wisdom of seeing and using our knowledge of astrology (I mean the simultaneous events of larger bodies and little human bodies). The Master was reinforcing that there is nothing more powerful than 'my' action (including intention) in the Present Moment.
At the "least" I can 'live beyond my planets' by having a good appreciation and harmonious feeling with everything that is happening in my life (that's a lot.) At the most... who knows what changes I will see? (And I bet you and I have both seen some incredible, wonderful turnaround, in life.)
My comfort level with the tension between planetary influence and self determination is helped by having respect and awe - for the general fact that 'knowing' often seems to lie between and include two apparently irreconcilable, and irrefutably true, statements.

Justin said...

I really like what JB said about changing our focus from seeking a spiritual "buzz" to living in the present. I have spent a lot of my years approaching the transcendent and the spiritual as a place to visit, a vacation to take, and something that I can recall when I go back to what I thought of as the real world with its drudgery and traffic and endless frustrations. What I am coming to see is that, as D.R. wrote, we can make anything a meditation.

I don't have to seek out special places and isolated events, treat spiritual growth as an amusement park to visit and myself as a kind of tourist. It's all right here and right now.

If church happens on Sunday and someday I'm going to do something to make my life better, I'm just wasting an endless series of present opportunities to think differently, see things as they are right now, and begin the journey rather than waiting for the journey to begin.

I guess this is my answer to what the course offers, or a part of what I am experiencing as I partake in it. I have come to see some of my samskaras, and while the answers I seek -- I'm not sure how to express this clearly, because it's not entirely clear to me -- are almost too simple for me to comprehend yet, the fact that they are making themselves apparent is very helpful. Habits are difficult to change, and I'm very attached to them, but I can feel a change in how I approach those habits.

Thanks to everyone who's writing on here. And thanks for this blog post, D.R. It is a real mindblower for me.

Roberta said...

Roy,
You asked what can you get from the course that you can't get for free from reading the blog or FB. The key word for me here was "free." One thing I learned from another teacher is the significance of expressing appreciation to someone in the form of money. Considering money to be a form of energy, an exchange of energy happens when we give money in return for receiving something, in this case, the teachings. Expressing appreciation through money opens us to receive more and to value what we have received. Since we are all One, you're really expressing appreciation to yourself. How much do you value yourself and your inner growth? I had to ask myself that question before I enrolled in this course. I decided to give myself the gift of these lessons.

D. R. Butler said...

Newcomer Marisa has written a great question, expressed very clearly: 'If what we see and negatively react to in another person is really just something in ourselves that we are projecting onto that person, how are we to respond to the discomfort? If the dynamic has gotten to the point of discomfort, just taking responsibility doesn't always defuse the negative emotions already at work. By then it seems like explosion or implosion are the options - neither of which will be productive. It would be nice to be completely beyond this discussion but the opportunity sometimes arises before I realize it and I'm not sure how to handle it at that point.'

Marisa, as mentioned before, your question is expressed very clearly. Good job. The more clear the question, the more clear the answer, which is the other end of the question.

The keyword in your question is 'discomfort'--how do you deal with the discomfort of a negative reaction, whether it is aptly justified since it originates in the other, or whether it is self-generated and merely reflected in the one that we wish to be angry at for a while--usually someone we are habitually angry with for one thing or another.

There is a whole section of the Course titled, 'The Incredible Power of Feelings.' Feelings are very creative; in fact they create our reality for us.

Generally we tend to think that our reality triggers the emotions. This is backwards, however. The emotional plane, or the subtle world, or astral world, or however we wish to understand it, comes before the physical plane, and therefore everything on the physical plane is a reflection of a particular feeling in the emotional realm. This feeling creates or attracts to us physical conditions and situations that correspond to the feeling.

For example, if we feel good, everything will seem wonderful. If we feel bad, everything will seem horrible. It is as simple as that. Most people simply do not realize that the feeling comes first and is the Creative Principle.

So, Marisa, we need to look and see exactly what is this 'discomfort' that you speak of. You must realize, to begin with, that the 'discomfort' is in you and is your own creation. This is true even if the other person also experiences discomfort as well. We have to begin by knowing that everything we see and experience begins with us and is of us. It is irrelevant whether it has an external reality or not. All that we need to deal with is the internal reality.

Consciously REPLACE the feeling of discomfort with a feeling of serenity, of love, of peace, of forgiveness, of lightheartedness. Once you do this, you will see for yourself that the whole external situation with the other person will change accordingly.

It is challenging to get used to the Truth that we are truly the Source of everything. We keep wanting to think that certain things come from 'out there' or from 'another person,' yet we remain the singular Source of all.

Asia0912 said...

Roy-- for me there is something about making a commitment to something that will make demands on me that catapults my growth into a new realm, one day at a time. The Course, with its regularity, exercises to do, and the way it builds my ability to apply spiritual ideas to make my daily life better, is like that. Paying for it monetarily is part of what catapults my growth, too. Paying for it is an action that proves to me, once and for all, that I think I'm worth it.

Marisa said...

So…what you're saying, Ram, is that any negative reaction that I experience always originates in me although it may not always be a self-generated reflection of me? But either way it is of my own creation and my response to it will be the same. When I find myself experiencing this discomfort I am to just (as though it's easy!) consciously replace the negative feelings - at that moment - with positive feelings and the experience of my physical reality will have to change.

Not being in that particular situation right now, I wonder just how much I can feel those positive feelings once I've actually gotten to that place where I'm already generating negative feelings. Learning to do this during the heat of the moment will take some practice I guess!

Thanks
Marisa

Michael said...

My current lesson explores the topic of how to move about in this world without making it your own or taking any of it personally. I recently found myself hurrying through the grocery store when I remembered D.R.'s story about getting his son to the bus before it left. He told Shane that he has trained himself to envision himself arriving at the perfect time, completely at ease every step of the way, no matter what obstacles he might encounter. He also stated that he has learned how to move quickly without rushing, which is a form of agitation and anger that actually gobbles up precious time and energy.
I thought, "what a great opportunity to practice moving quickly without rushing!" I realized the ego had already taken the situation personally so I had to do a little backtracking. I thanked the universal Energy for appearing before me in this form and mentally bowed to Her. As feelings of devotion began to arise, I gradually let go of the anger, telling myself I'll finish at the perfect time. I saw myself sitting in my recliner, drinking a mug of tea, all the groceries put away. And that's exactly what happened! As D.R. says, What you think (envision) is what you get.

Shirley said...

Roy, how great that you brought your question to the blog where, as you have already discovered from all the responses, people care, and truly want to help you to understand what the course has done for them, and could do for you.

My "history" with Ram and his lessons goes back many years. My husband and I took the lessons Ram was writing when we met him in the 80's. Note, I said "took the lessons", not "read the lessons". We read some of them early on, but eventually tossed the envelopes in a drawer, unopened. We finally quit the course, found we missed it terribly, and eventually subscribed to it again, starting with lesson one, and, this time reading each lesson over and over and over, as I do now with the present course.

The words in your query that really caught my attention and resonated big time were concerning your resistance to commitment. It seems to me that, at a deep level, it is not about the money nor is it about what the lessons would do for you. You already know their potential to help you grow in self-awareness, or you would not be reading and posting on the blog. It may be this resistance to commitment that is stopping you, the same thing that kept me from reading the lessons my first time around. I'm so grateful that something deeper and more powerful helped me to recognize this resistance in me, at work in so many areas of my life.

I am a faithful reader of the lessons and the blog, but an infrequent "poster". Thank you,
Roy, for your post, which helped me to face my resistance to posting.

Blessings,
Shirley

Gary N. said...

I am new to the community, but am invigorated by the subjects and commentary. I wanted to briefly comment on the great difficulty in my practice of finding that eternal serenity in the mist of pain, suffering and chaos. I have been involved with the care of chronically ill people for years; death,suffering and pain are constant modifiers. Though I usually begin my days with a ritual of conscious contact with Spirit,immediate remembrance of the ultimate reality at the heart of all experiences is episodic at critical times. Especially in a drama of human suffering with an apparent reality of attendant desperation, the attraction to dive into the chaos is just so forceful. Disarming my ego's response is an ongoing practice. Somedays I am not well capable of withstanding the lure of the external. The best that I can do at those times is to not get so far into the script that I lose all sense of direction and am dragged into the current of hopelessness. I am a work in progress, but it seems that I do my best and am the most clear sighted when I begin the days conscious of the necessity to avoid attachment to an outcome. I am most present and most helpful when I continue to use and believe in the mantra: "Thy will be done". This blog seems to help refocus that approach to life, and for it I am becoming more and more grateful.

Vicki Hilger said...

At the end of the last series of comments, Mahima asked if I meant to say that I actually had a session with Scott. Yes, I did, and then I listened several times to the recording he made. It was interesting hearing myself unable to relate at times to what he was telling me, because during the conversation, I was focusing a lot on the physical, and he was totally in the subtle, and it took awhile for me to understand the point I was missing. It was extremely helpful, and did not end with the session, but carried on on the subtle level. (thanks, Scott)

The agony of those 'weird' unnamable feelings was almost too much to bear, and even began to affect my physical health. Ram's recommendation came at exactly the right time for me. Maybe that stuff needed to be cleared before I reached the "incredible power of feelings" section of the course. I needed to get my mojo back.

On another subject, I read the blog for about a year without taking the course. Now I feel like a bird that's been set free. That She trusts me, and I trust myself to make my own decisions. What to listen to, what to read, what to study, no more should-ing on myself. These golden years have begun to sparkle with possibility and adventure.

Love to all, Vicki

D. R. Butler said...

Marisa, your mind works in an interesting way. You are very sharp. For one thing, I never said it was 'easy.' No, 'easy' is not the word I would use at all.

You are relatively new to the blog, and I am not certain if you participate in the course or not. My answers to your questions can be quite different if I know you already understand the basic language and terminology of the course. Otherwise there is a lot more to explain about things a participant of the course already knows.

There are a few months of lessons in the Course dealing with the questions you are asking. There is a great deal to understand to truly get the answer. It is not something I can sufficiently answer in two or three sentences, as much as I would love to.

Let's try this perspective for a change of pace. Consider yourself, your individual being, to be a bubble floating across an ocean of infinite thoughts and feelings. Sometimes your bubble floats through a realm of stress or hostility, and that's what you experience, but it's not actually a part of your individual bubble, or who you are--you simply wandered through that experience, which is one of an infinite number of possible experiences.

So you can get to the point of identifying thoughts and feelings without identifying WITH them. You can observe, there's that reaction, there's anger, there's depression--wow, what an award winning depression; it should go into the depression Hall of Fame.

You can see all these experiences, but you can also know that none of them are you, or who you are. They are all simply the various experiences available in human form.

In reality, you are only the Self, pure Consciousness, an unmodified, unconditioned, undifferentiated, formless Awareness of Being.

Knowing this, living with this awareness, you go through life as though enjoying an entertaining play or movie.

Marisa said...

Thank you for answering all my questions so clearly, Ram. Yes, I do take the course, but I am still very new (lesson 9 to be exact). And the "easy" part was just my nervous humor! I am well aware that you never implied that this is would be easy. Just today I had ample opportunity to work at this "replacing" thing. Although it took considerable concentration, it wasn't impossible - like I thought it would be. I'm not to the "floating bubble" place, but I can at least imagine it so I am encouraged.

One last question - then I'll be quiet and let everyone else talk. Is it possible to proactively practice replacing positive feelings for habitually negative ones? Like maybe purposely bringing to mind a recurring situation and working on it without the distraction of someone else in my moment? Just bringing it to mind does create strong feelings, so it seems logical that practicing like this would be of value.

Sukala said...

Welcome Gary N,

I understand your comments having spent 20 years in health care (left it 10 years ago).
Along with your a.m. ritual, do you set an intention? In the course, Ram writes much about the value of this.

I discovered in health care work, that I needed to feel needed. It filled a void in me and it bolstered my self-esteem. The problem was it was the ego's need. I wasn't very happy or lighthearted. I didn't have much life outside of my work, and the Thursday night chanting and meditation satsangs that uplifted me and gave me valuable insights.

Chronically ill people can especially make us feel needed. While it's 'good' work, if you have a tender heart, you might tend to take on their feelings which often are quite heavy. Thanks to Ram's course, I'm remembering, in my current work (employment counseling), that each one has their own karma. We cannot manage another's karma, although we can listen compassionately while repeating our mantra to remain centered.

It's great you use a mantra and the one you've chosen is lovely. It's a great reminder (when you remember to use the mantra) to come back to your love, your heart, and consciously offer your actions to your Lord. Keep up the good work Gary, and stay connected here, and asap, subscribe to the lessons. That's where the sweet relief is to be found, amidst the wisdom of Ram's enlightened master/s.

Much love,
Sukala

D. R. Butler said...

Marisa asks, 'Is it possible to proactively practice replacing positive feelings for habitually negative ones?'

Yes, not only is it possible, but later on in the course you will be instructed exactly how to do this and assigned it as an exercise to practice.

You are new to the course, and the whole first year is devoted to answering all the very questions you have brought up. This isn't the only topic covered in the first year, but it is certainly something that we learn to efficiently practice. You will be amazed in the lessons to follow how exactly they will answer all the questions you have asked.

Regarding your question specifically, we have to create our replacement beforehand, through constant practice, because samskaras move too fast for us to deal with them when they come up. If we don't have a practiced replacement ready to go at the moment it is needed, it is already too late. All this is explored in depth in your lessons over the next few months.

D. R. Butler said...

Discernment Times asks, 'What is the difference between change and initiation in your perspective?'

One of my favorite groups in the 60's was the Byrds, and they did a song called "Time Is Change." It seemed to neatly put both 'change' and 'time' in perspective, and certainly alludes to the basic oneness between the two.

So 'change' is simply what's new or different in the next moment. Change is closely related to time, and as long as time continues, change happens.

Initiation is an opening, an expansion of awareness with an unprecedented vision and experience of Being. When we experience an initiation, we see and experience life in a new way, with new eyes, with more clarity; we have a greater capacity for Awareness.

We never know what we are unaware of until we become aware of it. This new awareness is initiation.

Anne said...

What a great dialogue between Marisa and DR. I know you were asking for 'yourself', but I found the Q & A's such a great reminder ....

The mind is such a tricky little friend at times, even when it should 'know' it can manage to forget ; ). So I'm always grateful for the varied ways that reminders of Truth are given.
Eg the blog, and the lessons! I'm very pleased that you are doing the Course, it is taking you and I and all of us on a journey where gradually all our 'questions' and dilemmas get clarified or just sort of dissolve!

As you would know, and will continue to know [lol], Ram often speaks of the value of repetition re. reading the lessons. I find sometimes that even if I don't seem to 'understand' or 'remember' everything at the time of reading, just by keeping up with reading of current lesson, I can sense the presence of the Lesson's wisdom with me as the events of life unfold : )
Any occasions over the past year (I'm now at start of year 2) when I was a bit distracted, busy, or slack or .... something ; ) .... about making daily reading a priority are when I lost the pulse of the lesson a bit; and the dramas or challenges of life seemed more 'real'. Now daily lesson reading is I believe allowing the shakti to penetrate deeper into my soul, bit by bit. The Grace of these lessons just 'knows' me thru and thru better than I know myself - same for all of us - and supports and helps us in just the ways we need.

So glad you chose to participate in the blog Marisa. Keep up with regularly reading your lessons, relax into the process, we are in safe and good hands! and enjoy this wonderful journey we are sharing together : )

D. R. Butler said...

Anne, thanks for your great comment. It is true that--and it is one of the main reasons that I ask participants of the course to keep up with the blog--when one person asks a questions that, perhaps, feels very personal, it is invariably related to by so many others, who learn a great deal in their own sadhana simply by reading Q&A exchanges. There is a certain Shakti in the exchange that is beneficial to all that read it.

For this reason, I thank all of you who contribute questions for us all to learn from, and I also thank all of you who simply read and learn from questions and answers mysteriously appearing right before your eyes.

Anonymous said...

I have three questions. Could you tell me what affect chanting, mantra repetition, meditation, etc., have on samskaras and the subtle body?

What does it mean to raise your vibration?

Also, could you speak a little about the clearing process that takes place as a result of spiritual practices, visualization, etc.?

Thank you.

Naganath said...

When I was in law school (after having left the ashram and my seva ("work") position in Boston declined) I had a contracts class with a brillinat professor who was into EST and spent the first few days telling us we were not 'law students' or 'our stomachs', that we were mistakenly identifying ourselves as limited beings, etc. He taught the Socratic method and called on one or two people per class to defend and elucidate law cases. One day at the beginning of the sememster as I was going to class it hit me that he knew I followed a certain path. I played over in my mind how I would react if he happened to bring it up in class. That day, he looks over at me on the first row and says, "How many of you know that Watkins has a Guru?" Rather than be mortified with embarrassment (my usual reaction) I said, "Cal, you are my guru." Before I could go on to explain that everyone was my guru as I went through life learning from others (etc.), the class exploded into laughter and my nickname for many became "guru". The point is: conscious practice is very important to change and challenge samskaras but there is also a subtlety, a grace, involved in all this that by being aware of the present moment, our Heart, we can act in the best way at the best time in many instances. But practice makes perfect...

Jane said...

Hi Ram and all - I am practicing remaining undisturbed by anything or anyone and have experienced some subtle and at the same time profound shifts in my perception. Not surprisingly I sometimes go through a period of discomfort while I'm not reacting as the samskara is trying to dictate. This discomfort at some level feels 'wrong' but the grace in the lessons is supporting my ability to choose how I experience life.

The biggest challenge for me is the suggestion (in Lesson 47) to "Especially practice dealing with negative or irritable feelings that appear to come from others, without being affected or disturbed by them." Sometimes I can witness with detachment and not react. Other times, I see myself spontaneously respond appropriately (i.e. not a reaction by the samskara) in a way that allows me to maintain my own state.

However, once in awhile, I find that old pain is triggered and though I refrain from reacting immediately and believe that I'm witnessing without my state being affected - it isn't always true. What happens in these latter instances is that within 24 hrs, I feel depressed, hurt, angry and back being the victim. However, when (usually after contemplation and sometimes consulting with other(s)), I let the other person know that I don't want to be exposed to their negativity and hostility, I feel free and protected. I see this approach as interim step (which I only need occasionally) but I'm wondering if I'm missing anything else I can do in these circumstances wherein if I don't speak up -- I become very depressed.

Your (and anyone else's) thoughts and guidance are very much appreciated.

Mahima - Belated thanks for your good wishes and playful suggestion. It is so comforting and strengthening to feel we are together!

Much love to all..

Anonymous said...

I am about to finish Inner Growth through Relationships & have a question. I am a very handsome man & attractive women smile at me daily, in fact one just did. I want a new relationship but can't seem to cross the terror barrier to approach women. I immediately think about my money problems or my extra 10lbs or something else negative.

It's like I am struck mute at crucial moments.

I am sure I am missing financial & other opportunities also.

Please help.

Thanks,

Anon

Mary S said...

Ram,
Thank you for sharing your reaction to comments on FB adulating you, and especially that you identify yourself as another one of those sharing in the course. I found your reaction reassuring. Focus on the principles, not the writer. Reminds me of the the line, I think, from The Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance: "If you meet your Buddha on the road, kill him."

D. R. Butler said...

We have questions from who are obviously two very different Anonymouses. The first asks 3 questions very clearly:

'Could you tell me what affect chanting, mantra repetition, meditation, etc., have on samskaras and the subtle body?'

From this question I can tell that you do not participate in the Course of Training. There is nothing in the lessons that mentions chanting or mantra repetition except for very off-handedly. I do write some about meditation, but I do not teach it as a formal practice. I prefer the open-eyed meditation that can be practiced from waking up in the morning until going to sleep at night.

There are numerous teachers who specialize in teaching these things, and many of them are participants of the course, to finetune and elevate their own understanding and experience. The lessons of the course are primarily concerned with practicing the ancient Principles of Truth in practical ways in our everyday moment-to-moment existence, with a heavy emphasis on living in the Truth of the present moment. How we live here and now is ultimately all that matters.

'What does it mean to raise your vibration?'

Each individual lives or operates on a different vibrational or energetic level. As we grow in awareness regarding the Truth of the Self, we begin to live on a higher vibrational or energetic level than before.

After practicing sadhana for a long time, and making it a major focus in life, it sometimes feels very strange relating to ordinary people who care nothing for spiritual development. There is a very noticable difference in the vibrational level.

'Also, could you speak a little about the clearing process that takes place as a result of spiritual practices, visualization, etc.?'

'Clearing process?' Again, you speak of terms you've heard or read about somewhere else. There is a purification process that takes place over time during sadhana, but I think I have discussed it sufficiently in a comment above. To really go into it deeply and experience it for yourself, I strongly recommend trying the Course of Training simply to see if anything happens as a result.

Bindu said...

Perfct timing. Like michael my latest lesson has a story about D.R. and his son moving through life wthout agitation from being not on time. Over the last few years as a primary caretaker to a person suffring from anxiety and confusion I was becoming frustratd with how long it took to get anywhere and the anxiety he experienced around the possibility of being late. I began to repeat with assurance and persistence, "We have perfect timing." "Remember we have perfect timing." Soon it became apparent we did have perfect timeing. No matter when we left or when we arrived we had perfect timing. What I didn't expect was the effortlessness of perfect timing. Soon perfect timing took on a wholeness that related to what I experience as the perfection of the harmonious current of life. Is it possible that with this persistently held intention the all may be experienced? Could it be this simple?

Asherah said...

Such wonderful comments. I read one and want to respond then I read the next and want to respond... such a wealth. thank you all.

Last month I left a long term samsakara. I left my marriage of 25 years. Yet that was not the samskara I put aside. I relinquished the samskara of fear that has been a generational, ancestral and cultural conditioning for many moons. It was an amazing journey with lots of story lines should I wish to create a performance play. Since that release, I have been asked from my lesson to create the life and intention I want for the next year. To visualize and embody as if it was so right now. I want to bath in the love light and shine it out to my loved ones, my friends, community, world, universe and beyond. It has become paramount for me to intend this always. Why is it so important? I don’t know I just intuit that it is so and while I remember it is glorious and while I forget it is a reminder to remember again. This kula is part of both remembering and forgetting and bathing in this love light.

Jai, jai Caruso bide. – (spelling michelle?)

Shanti

Sylvia in Colorado said...

Dear Ones...What a joy! it is to steep myself in this course, in Ram's spoon-fed guidance and in this extraordinary exchange between everyone on the blog. I love to read the blog every day...in fact, today, I decided there is too much valuable sharing to leave it only on the computer. I have printed out everything from Ram's kick-butt letter to the current blog entry. Of course, I always print out the current lesson and carry it with me. Right now there are recent lessons laying all over my house.

A huge thank you to every one of you for taking the time to share and ask questions. Anne's comment on 11/10 is right on for me, perfectly worded.

Ram and Kay, I thank God every day for you, your selfless service and I thank your Gurus, Teachers, Guides with love and respect.

I had a recent major family issue in which the old samskaras krept up on me and seemed to choke off everything I've learned. I couldn't believe how hard it hit me...more accurately how hard I LET it hit me. I did not have a preplanned intention in place to protect my Self.

Ever since then, I've been bathing myself in the lessons, the blog, and the teachings. I can now see that there was a mountain of karma in that family situation, which is not over yet. I keep reminding myself that I chose, and co-created this particular situation for a multitude of reasons.

And NOW, in this moment, I am choosing to be lighthearted and to see the whole melodrama as a soap opera, watching it from a distance. At the same time, to take better care of myself, I will never get caught without my pre-planned and rehearsed intention.

I did not see this at the time, but I now see that each person and each action, including the words, are all the same supreme consciousness. In this respect, the whole thing seems like science fiction.

More work will be required on my part to totally release those old samskaras. Just as I write this, I am getting an image of Kali, the fierce warrior Goddess who is trained to take on all samskaras. And she is me.

Much much love to you all, Sylvia

Scott, do you ever do your work from a distance?
I am interested.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Dear Anon (anonymous),
When I was sixteen I wanted to quit smoking cigarettes.(I started when I was 12 to prove I was "cool"- LOL!.) I was really into sports and had a crush on a boy who did not smoke. But I had tried to quit before and had failed. In a moment of desperation I asked God silently for help and it was then that I was given a precious gift. The inner Self showed me that the only way I could quit smoking was to change the way I thought about and visualized myself.( sounds familiar?) Little did I know that I was given the insight of the Principles Ram talk about in the Course!!
I began a daily "re-wiring" project with myself. Every time I wanted to smoke, I would say to myself "Michelle smoke? She is not the smoking type, " and I would visualize the 'me' I wanted to be as if it were already real..the "non-smoking" michelle.

The reason I share this story is to remind myself and you that the Principles really work. That if we have a clear intention about what we want, ie not identifying with old habitual ways of seeing ourselves (samskaras)then when we see the thought/feeling arise of 'awkwardness', we have set the inner alarm that Ram talks about ,and we can catch the habit and replace it with the clear vision of our desired intention.
We are never a victim of negative thinking unless we choose to be. Shifting patterns takes commitment and time.We have to do the work.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Ashera,
it is jaya jaya karunabde hail to 'the ocean of compassion'..:)

Scott Marmorstein said...

Hi Sylvia,

Yes I do distance sessions. You're welcome to email me for more information at: scottmarmorstein@gmail.com

-Scott

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Hello--I found each of these comments today so helpful and uplifting. Thank you all for your shares-- I will also be applying some of the good ideas here (loved yours, Michelle, about the visualization about what "Michelle does".)

What a great community and it gets better and better.

Blessings, KJ

Tony Aditya Putman said...

Hello, everyone.

I just finished the first year of the Course. I check out Facebook several times a day, read the blog entry as soon as it’s posted and then come back daily to keep up with the comments, and I read the lessons faithfully, in my fashion. I much prefer to read here than to post, since everything in the entries and comments are just fine the way they are without correction or approval from me, and I have no questions that aren’t answered pretty much as soon as I become aware of them.

But at the end of the first year, Ram invites us to reflect on what has occurred as a result of participating in the course, and recently the comments have included a lot of people introducing themselves to the satsang here, so – here I am. A little background:

Ram and I were born in the same month, same year, and we both met the same great meditation master within weeks of each other in 1974. Our paths have very rarely crossed over the years – I doubt he would recognize me if he saw me – but we share a great guru and a great path.

When I first signed up for Facebook I received a friend request from someone named D.R. Butler, who offered a course via email. I was frankly put off – who was this guy and why on earth would I be interested in his take on things? – so I told Facebook I didn’t know him. After a few weeks, a friend “liked” something by this DR guy, and I realized “Oh – that’s Ram Butler!” So I emailed him and asked for another chance to friend him; he graciously did so, and that began the connection.

When I first read about Ram’s dream of being with a group of people who were doing the work of living the truth rather than just knowing about it, I thought: “I’ve wanted that all my life. I am absolutely in. How?”

The Course, of course, is how. Here’s an example of how it has worked for me:

Ram uses the phrase “the space between two thoughts.” For decades I have been aware of the space between two breaths, and can be there just by remembering it. Ram specifically said the space between two thoughts is the same space as the space between two breaths (it would have to be, wouldn’t it?), but I had never actually experienced “the space between two thoughts” and even though it is true that whenever I focus my will and attention on some spiritual state I have experienced (love, light, bliss …) I immediately, invariably experience it, I found I was avoiding applying my invariably successful method to something I had not experienced before, just in case it didn’t work and then where would I be …

a pause here to allow the astonishing nature of that attitude to shine forth …

… so the next time I came across “the space between two thoughts” I put down the lesson, focused my attention on my thoughts, watched one end and focused on the space after it, before the next thought started, and …

Oh. Wow. Didn’t see that coming … because it’s not just between the thoughts – the space is all around the thoughts, it’s the space within which thoughts arise and exist and then dissolve and here I was in a wholly new place relative to ‘my’ thoughts, literally just watching them and with no sense at all that they are me … this is the same space as between two breaths, and at the same time it’s completely new …

Since then I have returned to the space between two thoughts and stayed there, until I wasn’t but didn’t notice I wasn’t, then noticed I wasn’t so I returned to that space and …

So that’s me, doing the work, following the course, and every lesson has some version of that.

There’s more, but that’s enough for now. I’m in. Love and blessings to Ram, Kay and everyone sitting around this campfire, doing the work.

D. R. Butler said...

The other 'Anonymous' asks: 'I am about to finish Inner Growth through Relationships & have a question. I am a very handsome man & attractive women smile at me daily, in fact one just did. I want a new relationship but can't seem to cross the terror barrier to approach women. I immediately think about my money problems or my extra 10lbs or something else negative. It's like I am struck mute at crucial moments. Please help.

D. R. Butler said...

You sound just like me as a young man. When I first moved from Mississippi to Greenwich Village in 1968, you have described me to a tee. Well, I've never claimed to be a handsome man, but as I grew older I somehow realized that women had always liked me much more than I had ever given them credit for.

The 'terror barrier' was a big one for me too. I remember two incidents in particular. One, I was at a 'happening place' in the Village, and a very attractive girl kept looked at me with great interest. She was with another couple, and was kind of the 3rd wheel but was obviously interested in a possible 4th wheel.

What happened? I had to leave the place. I couldn't deal with it.

The other memory is of being on a subway in NYC. A young woman near me kept giving me interested and inviting glances. She looked very nice. What happened? I got off a stop ahead of my stop and waited for the next train so I didn't have to deal with her.

Confidence was definitely in the minus. I had a great fear of rejection, and I couldn't see why anyone nice would be interested in me in the first place. Looking back, I can see that I must have felt that if I had approached either of the young women, their initial good impression of me would quickly collapse as soon as they started talking to me and saw what an egghead I was. I guess there was a self-esteem problem as well.

Now, considering your question, I can see that the terror was as much on the other end as it was on mine. I saw everyone else as being full of confidence, but looking back, in reality it probably felt like a crap shoot for everyone. And I would say that the woman on the other side of your terror barrier is just as worried about her extra 10 pounds and personal problems equal to your own.

The way I see things now, you can't really wait for someone to come offer everything on a silver spoon. You have to put yourself out, invite rejection and ridicule, and be the best you that you can be. Someone will meet you halfway. But you have to do your part to give them a chance to do theirs.

Scott Marmorstein said...

I keep wishing that this blog had the ability to 'like' posts and comments the same way we do on Facebook. I also get it that, if it appears here at all after it's been approved that someone already did 'like' it to begin with. Thank you Ram and Kay for putting up some of the most likable stuff anywhere on the Internet.

I can't say as I relate to either Ram or Anonymous about the women thing. I just didn't really notice when girls were flirtatious and I had no problem talking with them. Or with anyone. I was plenty confident, but in hindsight I was completely oblivious to what other people were thinking and feeling.

It sounds like a nicer way to go to realize that the terror you experience is illusory than to be told you're oblivious and too confident and self absorbed. LOL Then again I never thought I was handsome or attractive back then which was probably another reason why I felt so comfortable talking to anyone. It's so wild and wondrous looking back on it all how incredibly different yet similar are our motivations (or lack thereof) for what we do or don't do in regards to 'other people.' It's simply fascinating.

D. R. Butler said...

Tony Aditya, thank you so much for your great share. It is great to hear from you.

Asherah said...

So you have me thinking about this man thing. I’ve never been aware of men who might be interested in knowing me more deeply because my attention had been in a committed relationship and others were not part of my awareness. Yet now as I begin to want to see the interest, funny things are happening.

First of all, I have decided that I am desirable and that men do want to know me for who I am. Against any “evidence”, that has to be a given for me. I had concerns of being older and quite funky and different from average folk but that is my unique charm. Then I approach everyone with my highest self and assume they reflect it back to me. INTERESTING!!!

One person my loins went wild so I engaged in conversation. Whoa Nellie, he came back at me with such derogatory, negative stereotyping that I stopped that encounter. I noticed that in the past I would have tried to prove him wrong, of course to no avail, and would have felt bad that someone should misinterpret me and judge me so harshly. Well, this time I told my loins to cool down and leave this gentleman to his anger and frustration. Within the hour, another gentleman spoke with me all about being in harmony with what comes.

I’m so curious who else will engage with me.

Rock on…

Margaret G. said...

Dear Anonymous: D.R.'s advise to you regarding approaching women reminds me of the saying, "You can't steer a parked car". Sometimes this helps when you're stuck in Indecisionland.

Anonymous said...

Dear D.R., I will keep this anonymous, for obvious reasons. Last night, as I was yelling obscenities at my husband for the 1000th time, I vowed (for the 1000th time) that I would get to the bottom of this, once and for all, so I am writing (for the 1000th time) to the Course and to the man who has helped me navigate all the currents of life.

My current lesson says: “For our exercise this time, we’ll focus on bringing all our thoughts, all our words, and all our actions into complete alignment. When a person thinks one thing, and then says a different thing, and then actually does a third thing, all his forces and energies are scattered. He lives in a fragmented reality that will never make sense or lead to contentment.”

Well, 33 years ago, when my father and mother were our age, I was already studying these teachings, and was so cock-sure that I would never repeat those same patterns. I would tell Mom, “You can rise above the things he does and says, you know; you don’t have to keep reacting to the same old things. Just see what you love about him and ignore the rest.”

It seems that history repeats itself and now here I am, in similar surroundings and still reacting to the same old things in the same old ways. I’ve spent more than half my life ‘doing spiritual work’ and I’m grateful to say that my inner state reflects that work—until I have spent a long and full day with a ‘grumpy old man’ and he makes yet another sarcastic and cutting remark and all my resolve has been used up for the day.

Your course has taken me through the worst and the best of life and I will be forever grateful. Yet, how to view the fact that, regardless of what I study, think, do (or vow that I will do), there’s no way to deny that the reactive young woman has become a reactive old lady. Please help! Grumpy and sarcastic or not, he’s the BEST, and deserves to spend his golden years surrounded with my gentle and loving respect and care--and I deserve to ‘retire’ from reactivity. Your words have always helped me over the most difficult hurdles of life. Please help me break this cycle before it’s too late.

D. R. Butler said...

Ashera, you and your loins, it's always amazing whose loins might be cooking.

D. R. Butler said...

It seems that the main questions recently come from 'Anonymous'--certainly a multi-faceted type. This latest anonymous, oh, I have answered her questions for years and years, only the names have changed. The questions are all variations on a theme--the 'other.'

Yes, it does seem that often we seem to get caught trying to finish off our parents' work. We act out the same patterns in our own relationships that they had going in theirs. All we need is a partner who had a similar set of parents, and we're in business.

You say you told your mom, “You can rise above the things he does and says, you know; you don’t have to keep reacting to the same old things. Just see what you love about him and ignore the rest.”

And what was he doing and saying? Accusing her of things and blaming her for things that she wouldn't dream of doing in a thousand years? And have you taken over the role of your mother or your father?

I've experienced, observed, heard about, read about, and written about this 'relationship' thing for many years now. Just as the previous Anonymous mentioned, he'd just finished the 'Inner Growth Through Relationships' section of the Course. Just about everything I understand about relationships is contained in those lessons. Still, because of the mind, there are always questions.

One consistency I've noticed in relationships over the years is that when we start describing our partner in uncomplimentary terms, as though the trouble is his or her fault, we are usually fairly blind to our own role, and what we are contributing to make the whole thing possible--the good and the bad.

So when you say you live with a 'grumpy old man who makes cutting and sarcastic comments,' I honestly have to wonder how is it that you relate to him? Are you sweet and loving and respectful and affectionate all the while that he's being grumpy? Or even leading up to his grumpiness? Somehow I don't think so. It's very hard to be a 'grumpy old man' when someone is being truly loving and playful with him.

So, as with all questions of this sort, I have to ask you to look at how YOU are being, and what you are PRESENTLY contributing to the relationship--not all the wonderful things you did in the past, but how you are being RIGHT NOW. If you are honest with yourself, you might be surprised at what you will find, and your partner's actions and words might not then seem like such a mystery after all.

This thing about being a 'grumpy old man,' is something I can certainly relate to. I can easily get into being a grumpy old man, especially when certain chronic aches and pains kick in. Being cheerful and lighthearted when you're in pain is challenging, although of course it can be done.

Anyway, my own experience is that it is fun being a grumpy old man. I certainly could not have gotten away with it at any other time in my life. To me it's a humorous attempt to get through life's challenges. Of course, Kay has to do her best to remember to not take any of it personally, for it truly has nothing to do with any other person. Yet, of course, if someone is around me, why wouldn't they take it personally? Surely they would assume I would be humorous and amiable if I were with anyone else, while with them I am cranky. So what would one think?

Still, it's not always personal. We have a huge tendency to take things way too personally. We explore this a great deal in the Course. We think everything another person does or says is about us.

Anyway, here's my advice to you: practice what you said to your mom, as you're the only one who can: “You can rise above the things he does and says, you know; you don’t have to keep reacting to the same old things. Just see what you love about him and ignore the rest.”

Cris Santeiro said...

I always enjoy so much reading about the creative process of our minds. The first time I ever encountered this principle my life changed forever, for I realized for the first time how the universe works. I felt such freedom to know that I am not a victim of the world or of any circumstance outside of me and that my world can be my own creation at all times.

Since then many years have passed, and I have had many spiritual experiences. I only look for miracles now, why not? All I have to do is choose my thoughts, have uplifting thoughts, and my life will be uplifted. I have never lost hope since I learned this principle. It has been my constant companion.

Justin said...

Dear Ram,

I have been involved in your course for a short time, and have gotten much from it. It's come to my attention that my desire for certain things IS my obstacle to attaining them. I am having difficulty understanding how to have consciousness of their existence and desiring them. You say in Lesson 7, "[People] think about what they don't want, instead of simply focusing on what they actually want."

You talk about cultivating consciousness of having access to whatever we need, and I feel that that's clear. That doesn't seem the same as wanting something.

Wanting things, I'm familiar with. Being conscious of having things I want, I am not. How do I take the first steps of getting through my desire for a result, and move towards being conscious of it?

D. R. Butler said...

Justin, perhaps some others here can offer suggestions. To me, your question is answered in the next few lessons you will receive, therefore it would do you a great disservice to try to say here in a few words what I have already made very clear in your upcoming lessons. I appreciate your questions, and welcome anyone else's comments, but I can only say that this is exactly what your new few lessons is about.

Anne said...

Tony Aditya ... what a fantastic share, I'm so glad you chose to do so!!
Justin, you have some wonderful lessons to enjoy very soon on your topic!
As DR invites us to comment, I'll slightly timidly stick my neck out ; ) If needed I'm sure someone will advise and correct.

I made up a 'sticky note' for myself about this with 'Thoughts, Feelings, Images, Resultant Conditions/Outcomes' written on it.
I think a piece of the puzzle that you will learn more of might be the Feelings and Seeing. As I understand it, we can think and think about something that we may 'want', but if we are still focussing on the FEELING of what we don't have then we are not helping ourselves manifest it!

Eg. if we want more money, but are still feeling and visualising being 'poor' or needy in the mind and heart, then we are applying 'mixed messages' to the creative powers of mind. Or, eg. if we badly want a beloved person in our lives but are still eg. feeling, 'oh I'm not handsome/pretty/ intelligent/cool/whatever' enough, then we are not allowing that to manifest as we might desire either! Or some of us might even feel, 'I'm not as spiritual or evolved as that person .... '. Any number of things that the ego/mind can come up with : )

So the Lessons say, we need to learn to 'feel' the result we want, which also seems to link in with 'seeing' it. Even if this seems strange or awkward to do at first. If we just wait till we just 'happen' to feel different we might be waiting a long time ... so good practice to help things along.

Eg. a simple example ... If I'm feeling sad or critical or self or others, I try to remember consciously invoke something that will help me FEEL differently, rather than just think my way out of it, or focus on the 'lack' itself.
It might be repeating a sacred sound/mantra, or deliberately remembering something humorous, or even imaging a smiley face stuck over my heart! or physically smiling and feeling that 'smile' down in my heart area ... It really does change one's mood with practice especially! I sometimes even smile and then look at myself in a mirror and see the smiling happy me looking back!
All this bit by bit helps create a new feeling, which manifests sooner or later as our 'reality'. Sometimes the nice results are surprisingly instant!
It might take some real effort to get started and might feel a bit 'make-believe' at first, but gets better as we practice and go along. I'm feeling a smile on my heart just thinking about this now : ).

In the eg.of money/abundance situation, we might find making a gratitude list of what we DO have, invokes that inner feeling of abundance and so we feel so cared for and loved, even if the outer circumstances might not immediately seem to reflect that. Or repeating that little daily prayer that DR gives in the lessons early on, about 'Thank you Father [or whoever] for hearing me, and for your care and guidance of me and mine. I know that you always hear, care for, and guide us in all our ways'. Doing this or a variation of it with a focus on the heart as doing so really does invoke such a lovely feeling, which ripples thru to how our day to day lives can be experienced! Love to us all.

Michael said...

Justin, in a very short while the consciousness of already having things (subtly) that have yet to manifest physically, in this material realm, will become as natural to you as walking or breathing, provided you stick with the lessons and practice diligently the exercises at the end. I've taken this course since its inception in 2008 and can convey to you with absolute certainty that what is created subtly must manifest in this world in due time. It works for lack, right? We're all too familiar with that one. Why shouldn't we turn the same creative principle to our advantage by contemplating abundance?

Marga said...

Thank-you Ram and hello and thank-you to all of you participating here. I'm a newcomer to this community - on lesson 9 now - and am once again thoroughly 'hooked', just as I was when I took the course during the 90's.

It's so precious to me to have a community of people who actually get to interact with each other over the study of this course. I'm blown away by the quality of the questions and the commitment so many here seem to have. Reading through the blog and the comments answers my questions about the pickles I get into in applying the principles. Amazing to have access to a living dialogue like this. I am so grateful!

D. R. Butler said...

Anne and Michael, really great responses to the question. You both reveal a very clear understanding of the principles.

Marga, welcome and thanks for joining our ongoing dialogue and community here. This blog is probably one of the 'best kept secrets,' as so many have never heard of it, yet those who are here seem to truly love the magic that happens here.

Asherah said...

Dear Marga, thank you so much for reminding me that i also had desired "a community of people who actually get to interact with each other over the study of" some course. And here it is!!! Once again the principals are at work.

Ram, a question. I am curious of the three gunas that weave our physical realities (just physical?) through their play. New concept for me. What can you or others share.

thank you in advance, in the past and right now...

Shanti

Justin said...

Thanks very much, Anne and Michael, for the thoughtful answers. I am looking forward to the coming lessons, even more than usual. It's good to see that the lessons I'm on are leading me to ask questions that will soon be dealt with in depth. Just one further example of getting what you need when you need it.

Cris Santeiro said...

Justin, I think yours is a great question, and as D.R. said, the Lessons go into this very deeply. For me I am conscious that the universe is guided by divine intelligence and that everything is perfect exactly the way it is. I am also aware that I have more than I need and that all my needs will always be met in the most beneficial way. If I really want to feel better, I have the power to choose good thoughts. I never choose negative thoughts, as I will be the one to suffer from them, as well as maybe some others around me who pick up on my energy.

By choosing positive thoughts I am bringing to myself all kinds of possibilities for miracles. Positive energy creates positive outcomes. And miracles happen every day, if we open our eyes to them. If I think there is something that would be beneficial for me in my life, I firmly believe that this is coming my way, because of my power of creative thinking. I can see and feel myself having that already without any hesitation, as I know that it is being created in the subtle realm. I don’t have to know the details of how things will unfold, but I trust in the goodness of the universe.

We create our own worlds by the thoughts we believe in. It’s kind of like believing in magic. We have access to all the magic we can imagine. We are co-creators with the power of the universe.

Thank You! said...

Thank you for the lessons!
I am a newbie.
I want to share that I found it easy to go back to Lessons 1 & 2. I found comfort in reading them. I found that reading them calmed me. I did not have this experience with Lesson 3 and found it very difficult to read. My experience reading 1 & 2 was that the act of reading it put me in the present moment. I did not experience this bliss with Lesson 3.

Lisa L. said...

I've been reading Ram's courses since 1995 in one form or the other but haven't participated in the blog. Frankly I have never posted a comment to a blog before or anything else for that matter but felt like Ram's Nov. 5th entry was a call to action so to speak. Recently I've tried to simplify things by just focusing on "PATH" which for me is knowing the following:

P - Perfection. Everything is always as it should be.
A - Abundance. Focus on all of our blessings and what you want, not limitation or lack.
T - Truth. Live according to your Truth and no one else's.
H - Heart. Find your Truth by searching in and listening to your heart. Your Trust may not be that of your well-meaing family or friends but our first duty in this world is to be our true Self.

chris_g said...

Dear DR and other course participants:

I guess I am an extremely tough case because after taking quite a bit of time away from the course, I’m back into my first month and already running across some content that I’m having a hard time grokking. My current lesson states “Everything is perfect now. … That which is perfect can never be imperfect”

I truly believe this, and that is why I prefer a view that the entire world is the living manifestation of the Divine Self. From this perspective there is nothing to change, nothing to resist, nothing to get worked up about. Whatever is manifesting in my life is something to accept and learn from. This, to me, is the path of Surrender.

However, in the lessons and the blog there is all kinds of references to the creative power of thought and how we can use this to improve our lives. Why would we want to improve something that is Perfect? How can there be something about my life that needs to be changed when it is whatever way it is for a reason, the reason being that it is a Perfect manifestation of the Goddess?

Elsewhere in this lesson it is stated: “We literally have to learn the meaninglessness of certain things – especially the things we blame for negative emotions as well as the negative emotions themselves. They have no meaning and serve no purpose.” I cannot reconcile this with the other teaching in the lesson. If everything is perfect, and everything is a divine manifestation, how can there be an emotion that is “negative” and “serves no purpose”.

Within the context of the healing path that I am a part of, even emotions such as fear and anger have a purpose. Of course when they are out of balance they cause disruption and greater out-of-balance-ness. No one wants their lives to be run fear and anger. But without fear we would all die from accidents occurring during extreme sports. Anger is the emotional energy that allows a person to set a boundary. Someone who has no access to anger is not a Saint, they are a doormat. To say fear or anger has no purpose just seems plain wrong to me.

Please help me to see how what is talked about in the course makes sense.

Best,
Chris

jean in TX said...

All I can say is that I am so grateful to be participating in the Course and to be able to read and appreciate all the words (yours, Ram, and the comments) on the blog. I cannot imagine my life without this--

Scott Marmorstein said...

I just want to say that among all the Lessons I have had the privilege to read so far, my favorite one truly is my current lesson 46. I know that, much as I would like to, I can't really share anything in it. Even if I did it would not make sense quite yet to anyone who hasn't gotten there, and the people who have "passed it" may or may not experience the same thing I do (why should they?) but I want to say thank you so much for the way in which it is worded.

I'm sure it's not going to be my "all time" favorite Lesson, but for now it is the one I love the most. And I really LOVE all of them more than I could ever say already. The more that is articulated through each successive lesson, the more is cut out of the way so that the deeper Essence can shine forth and give the reader/student a more profound inner experience to touch on and work with.

Simply...thank you.

melissa said...

hi D.R.!, this is my first post, I'm currently reading lesson 22. I am so excited for every lesson! I've learned so much and am so very thankful for your teachings. however, I want to tell you that when I read the lesson and come across wording like, "the trouble is...", and then the message of, " getting rid of negative thoughts and feelings." I notice a sense of confusion and frustration when I'm reading because it seems like in your teaching you remind us of the negative. I understand your reasoning of expressing a point, and showing the other side of an issue helps us realize your point. however, it's a bit distracting for me when I love reading your message, and I find myself skimming over the "warnings" or whatever you would label them. I realize the truth is reality and that's what your explaining, I'm not asking you to sugar coat any teaching, perhaps the wording could be more uplifting and inspiring in a complete way. because, as I read one or two very informative lines, I'm then refocused on what the problem is or has been and it's a bit of a redundancy and mood dampener. I hope I'm not being offensive, I've gained so very much priceless information and look forward to even more as the lessons help me in my evolution immensely. with love, Melissa

Michael said...

Over and over I see and experience that there is only one Power, One Being, One Actor, One Person, expressing through a multiplicity of channels or media. Hence there are no relationships - no one to intimidate, no one to do the intimidating. There are no persons, so there is nothing to take personally. There are no separate beings. Divisions are illusory - they don't exist. The play of the One isn't actually happening, either. How can I say such a thing? When my mind - the mind - merges back into its source, which is always the Same, - this is a Place where nothing ever happens or happened or will happen.. Sounds kind of creepy, huh. Yet it feels really good. What does it feel like when the mind merges into the Self? It feels good, very good. All memories dissolve into bliss. All apparent divisions fall away. The heart blossoms with bliss. Sadness drops away.

D. R. Butler said...

Thank You!, each lesson is designed for a specific effect that might be very different from any other lesson. A primary function of the lessons is to clean out stuff. It is like a cosmic roto-rooter to help in the purification process.

It sounds as though there might be something in Lesson 3 that you are resistant to letting in or opening up to. See if you can find what that is, what it is that throws you off about Lesson 3.

D. R. Butler said...

Chris, there is no directive in the course to use creative power to change anything about your life, especially if it is perfect as it is and you have no desire to change anything.

That principle is only for people who are displeased with how their life is currently manifesting, and who need to know the principle for changing what is helpful and dharmic--or what is for the good of all.

If you see everything as perfect all the time, then you can think whatever you want all you like. Or you might not think at all, who knows?

Of course all feelings serve various functions and purposes. This is stated clearly in the lessons. Fear has a purpose, anger has a purpose. However, some people have the misfortune of fear and/or anger imposing themselves upon them, and experiencing fear and anger when it is totally unnecessary and is only bringing them down to a more contracted state. The principle deals with the unwanted and unnecessary fear and anger, not the useful and necessary kind.

When reading the lessons, it is important to read everything in the context in which it is presented, as well as seeing each statement or contemplation from the highest or most expanded perspective. Perspective is everything when it comes to how we see what.

D. R. Butler said...

Melissa, thanks for posting and expressing yourself. You are certainly not being offensive, as it is just as bad to take offense as it is to give offense.

When I first began hanging out with the Guru back in the 70's, he confounded me by seemingly contradicting himself over and over, sometimes in the same sentence. I thought maybe he was coming down with early senility or something, as he just couldn't seem to keep his facts straight.

Finally, after many lessons in sadhana and a great deal more experience in the ways of the great ones, I saw that the problem had nothing to do with deficiencies of his mind or his methods of thinking or communicating. The problem was I was so stuck in my mind that all I could see were apparent contradictions.

I realized I had to uplevel my mind to include seemingly paradoxical statements, because they were all true on their own level. I began to see that when he apparently contradicted something, he was actually saying one thing on one level and another thing on an entirely different level. I had to change my whole way of listening and understanding things. This included having to go beyond the ordinary mind that I had taken for granted to always know what it was talking about and had held in such great importance for so long.

Some things in the lessons will push your buttons. Some things might confuse you or even distress you. Some things might sound completely crazy--the mad ravings of a lunatic. Yet it is all by design. The lessons are not written to please your ego or to satisfy your mind. The lessons are to take you beyond such things.

Notice the things you don't like, or that push your buttons, and you will learn a lot about your own ego. Only ego can not like something or can have bottons pushed. The pure Self is already happy with everything as it is.

melissa said...

thank you for your reply

Margaret G. said...

Melissa: I can relate to the uneasy feelings you get sometimes when reading some of the situations that D.R. uses in the lessons to describe the melodramas or other "stuff" that we go through. I was just talking about this to my husband yesterday! I am always amazed how timely things occur in our communications! Anyway, the way I have come to see it, is that the lessons are just that- LESSONS. They are meant to make us sit up and take notice of the many things that annoy, anger, and make us sad, etc., and to teach us to not so much beware of these feelings, but BE AWARE of them. Although there is so much beauty and inspiration and Truth in the lessons, I might be better off reading some beautiful poetry or something(although the lessons are like that, too!), if I wanted to just have positive feelings and be entertained. I hope that I am making my thoughts clear. Just thought this might help.

chris_g said...

Thanks Ram for your answer. I think I need to learn how to read the lessons in the voice they were intended. Sometimes things are stated in ways that seem absolute, but are not really meant that way. Learning and learning
Love,
Chris

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Hi, everyone- great comments!

Scott M, lesson 46....oh goody! I am on lesson 44 so it's just around the corner. (I am enjoying 44 a lot) Maybe we will be able to have a little discussion.

ThankYou! (interesting name): I have also found that different lessons bring up different feelings though I feel the clear energy in them all. I think D.R. even speaks to this later on in the lessons. Some are as warm and soothing and comforting as a warm blanket and hot tea. Others are like jumping into ice water-- challenging and bring up resistances, but also invigorating.

Chris-- interesting point about contentment/seeing the perfection in all AND using the principles to create our reality. I have felt extremely drawn lately (I am sure it is a factor of where I am in the Course) to practice the "already true" principle, which is about creating reality.

Here's what I came to. It feels good to me to practice because it strengthens some muscle in me, perhaps the muscle of will and it helps me feel empowered as the co-creator with the Highest. I have struggled with feeling powerless in my life so this is where I need to be right now maybe. I do resonate with D.R. about the realities created being for the highest good of all.

I tried out this principle the other day. I was in TN on a business meeting and it was my 10 year old son's birthday. Understandably he wanted me to get home and so did I. Well my last client cancelled, so I began visualizing getting an earlier flight.

Everything started beautifully: I had the perfect cab experience (I swear the cabbie takes the Course. Without my revealing a thing he talked to me about positive thinking and how I should imagine it would be true I would make the plane. This in itself was cool enough for me to feel like there was a shakti connection going on).

I got to the plane, I made it through security in record time, I got on standby. And you know what? I didn't get on the plane. It was full and there were 5 standbys before me. In the last minute the #1 person got on.

But here's the thing. I didn't get my "wish" but my feeling of empowerment changed my whole experience. I had no anxiety in trying to make the plane, I just felt in tune with what was. When I saw I wouldn't get on I let it go peacefully, perhaps that #1 person needed to go more than me, or it just wasn't my karma to get home early that day. I still felt contentment.

This is the best I can share with how I live with the paradox of co-creating and contentment with what is.

Karen Jo Shapiro

chris_g said...

Karen Jo, that is beautiful. Yes, I will attest to the fact that even if it doesn't change the physical reality in the manifest world, seeing things in a positive light certainly gives us a better experience and in that sense creates a better life.

My whole personal beef with the whole "creating your own reality" thing is that it could be used as an ego trip. For example, the mind thinks it wants something and so it goes about thinking positively and so forth in hopes of creating it. But if that thing it wants is not what is ultimately best for everyone involved, either the person is disappointed when they don't get it or worse yet they do get it and then discover that it wasn't so great after all.

Somewhere in the middle there seems to be a razor sharp edge of balance that one can walk on - perfect acceptance of what is, and a simultaneous commitment to work towards and manifest (in whatever way we can) that which is divinely inspired in the Heart.

I guess the trap would be getting attached to that which one is trying to change.

John/Mukunda said...

Hi Ram,

Thanks for your response to my question ....It's great to have this connection with you, and with everyone else who posts here and who take the Course.

I've now added reading the blog as part of my practice and I agree with who ever it was that said "It's like dessert" with the Course being the main course.

As you have noted, there are times when I have a question...but it doesn't take too long before it seems to get answered in the lessons.... But the blog has it's own energy and I find the same phenomena occurs here....In which questions or thoughts I might have about sadhana/life are quickly reflected in the posts.

One thing I do miss a little is the face to face, person to person interactions with people who are practicing that used to be part of my life. But I do really appreciate the people who are willing to share their experiences, sometimes taking the risk of putting themselves out there for all of us to see...So thanks to everyone ....some of you I may already know...and some of you I'm getting to know...

Asherah said...

Karen Jo, that is a beautiful share of living the paradox of co-creating and accepting what is. thank you.

Jim said...

November is the month of giving thanks, though here in this space every month is such. I've seen no place in cyberspace like it. The sincere appreciation that is expressed here is rare air.

Here's some things I'm grateful to you all and the course for: I'm thankful that I can hear your thankful hearts - thankful for the fattening of the here and now in my life - thankful for all the wisdom on abundance you have shared - thankful for every moment of freedom I've won from the chains of habitual patterns - thankful for every wake up call, be it harsh or gentle - thankful for every minute of joy I've wrestled from the clutches of a brooding frame of mind - thankful of every creative inspiration that's come to me (creative ways of working the lessons) - thankful for your encouragement to be lighthearted.

Eugenia said...

Chris G's post made me feel intensely grateful as the course has provided me with all the shading and colouring to fill in the details to my sketches. On starting the course I already knew that perfection wouldn't be perfect if it wasn't ever-changing and that anger and strength are not necessarily related although it might be sweet to display anger in a moment of weakness. And yet these points I had to work at quite a bit. I feel I have moved past them now although I get regular practice to fine-tune my understading but when in doubt I think of the sea and of wine: Do you dare go in the sea when it is calm? when it is wavy? when can you relax in it? when is it perfect? And when is wine perfect? after 20 years? after 50? 200? For me the sea is perfect all the time and I feel safe in its strength every time. As for the wine, if I ever chose to have it it would be right now.
And Scott I think my current lesson is the most perfect although I am glad you find your current lesson perfect-er
Love

Marisa said...

Karen Jo, thank you for sharing your beautiful flight experience. It helped me understand what I felt but couldn't explain even to myself!

rico said...

chris_g,

Sometimes ego trips can be very educational

Scott Marmorstein said...

Eugenia,

You might be trying to be silly with me, I'm not quite sure.

I am saying that I love my current lesson out of all the lessons I have read SO FAR. We all get the same lessons and we all love or cherish the ones we do for wherever we are in the given moment. I am not making a statement about anyone else's lessons or any some such. Sorry if it seemed to come across that way.

Justin said...

Karen Jo, I loved your story. It reminds me of the time that I felt like I was in a really good place, co-operating with the universe, exactly where I was supposed to be, and then, to make it even better, an unexpected opportunity opened up in my schedule -- at the last minute -- for me to get into a yoga class.

As I drove down to the studio, I felt that this was a great gift I'd been given, and I was grateful for it, and almost giddy. I got there with a minute or two to spare, and began looking for a parking spot. I was sure there'd be one, there was always one, and tonight of all nights there would be one, for such a one as I who felt so in tune with what was going on at the moment. I looked in all my secret spots, and started having to look in a wider area.

When class started I was looking, and 10 minutes later, still looking. I realized that despite my conviction that this was going to happen, it wasn't.

The world doesn't owe me a parking spot. And the question of whether life is fair or unfair is not answered by the number of cars sitting on the streets of my city, or on how my expectations are completely satisfied.

Thank You! said...

D.R., Thank you for your response. I'll look at Lesson 3 again and allow myself to be open to letting more in and identifying the point of resistance.
Karen Jo, my username is in gratitude for being here. Thank you for sharing that you have experienced similar differences in the lessons and reiterating D.R.'s reply.

Eugenia said...

Scott you are right I am being silly though not with you. I take all you say on board and being flippant with the entire lesson experience as we all encounter it: every lesson is perfect when it appears and every reading,let alone every reader, will be different in its impact. I am being flippant with myself and my wine analogy as any "drink" is perfect any time anyone chooses to take it. I am being flippant with my past conception that perfection is a wall until someone quite suddenly opened the door to the universe. I am laughing at myself for taking all this time to figure it out. It fact recently I reinterpreted the "I have never seen anything like this before". People might understand that "this" is unique but suddenly it dawned on me that "I" and "my way of seeing" as it occurs every moment is equally unique. As I am attempting to grasp/blend into a particularly elusive set of vapours and periodically wondering who is holding the curtain closed and why, even as I know that vapour is vapour and curtains don't count...I can see I can't produce a straight response if I try. So please accept my apology as I investigate where my silliness is coming from. I will quote from my most perfectly recent lesson in case passers-by feel we are being gratuitously flattering: "In the present moment, the universe is vibrating as this throbbing pulse of pure bliss. If you focus your attention right now, in the present moment, on the area of the heart, and
remember the experience of love and joyfulness, there will soon be
a movement of energy inside you, a gushing forth from within, a
natural radiation from the heart, revealing the light. And there will
be a surprising and unexpected sense of exaltation, as though your
life has suddenly taken on great meaning and purpose and you are
fully awake to it."
Please take me in good faith because I have NEVER seen anything like this before.
Love

mohan said...

I have to say that this month’s topic, “The eternal serenity of all things” (and also the focus and exercise of my current lesson) is completely transforming my awareness. It’s not like I haven’t heard it before, but actually it IS like I haven’t heard it before. It’s like a door opened to a room I’ve never been in. There truly is a peace and serenity behind, beneath, within, and all around each moment. Thanks to you all for sharing in it.

love, mohan.

Amy said...

Eugenia, thank you for that hit of intoxicating bliss! Your joy and laughter are contagious.

Sylvia, sending you good thoughts and blessings as your family dharma continues.

With Love,

Amy

Merideth said...

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

For a long time, I have been struggling with how to pray. This statement jolted me -- another secret revealed, at least to me! Now, in my morning prayers, I articulate what I am aware of having (and not having) to get more (or less) of the same. Wonderful! Thank you, D.R.

James said...

Hi All,

Serenity.In my current lesson I did something lesson said not to do. I reacted to someone's words. I felt they were asking me a lot of questions. I asked them why? They replied they where just making conversation. I asked her not to ask me so many questions. Before hand I has every intention to relax. Later I was aware I just read about that in my lesson. I felt a remorse. It felt like serenity. My lesson feels like a grind in some spots. It has prompted me to ask people what they mean. It has been helpful. I get to give others more what they need. I get more clarity. Thank you all. The lessons are my manna.

Taylor said...

Ram,

Does the inner warrior relate to the area of the hara at all? And, when would I call on my inner warrior?

I know that I need a replacement feeling at the ready for times when a negative emotion arises. How does the inner warrior relate to this?

Thanks & love.

Sukala said...

After many years of knowing something intellectually it's wonderful to have that knowledge go deeper. I've been reading about this subtle reality in DR's course, and how predominant it is in our lives. But my experience was how physical everything is, from my car to my feet to the food I eat. I'm seeing that the biggest experience of the subtle reality is in feelings that come and go, whether I'm awake or in the dream state. Having the guidance of the course helps bring my attention to where it needs to be and makes it mighty interesting. It all happens due to the abundant forms of grace surrounding me, some self effort, and lots of perseverance.

Love,
Sukala

Calandria said...

Hello Ram, just a note to say thank you. This post is a great reminder about what it means to be "spiritual". It is really quite subtle, and even though I tend to get involved in many "spiritual" activities, it is sometimes easy to forget and miss the essence and purpose of it all.

Taylor said...

Ah, the inner warrior is the inner Self. Any shares on working with the inner warrior in order to actually live by our priorities?

Thanks & love to all.

D. R. Butler said...

Chris_G said, 'My whole personal beef with the whole "creating your own reality" thing is that it could be used as an ego trip.'

I truly understand your 'conflict' with the 'creating your own reality' thing. It sounds like a lot of things that have left a bad impression on some, like 'The Secret,' for example, which many people liked, but which many didn't, for the same reasons you bring up yourself.

Here is the reason I present the teaching in the course in the beginning: We use this Creative Power all the time anyway, only we do it subconsciously, according to conditioned patterns--which is mostly persistently thinking about and creating the very things we do not want and which do not serve us or anyone around us in any positive way.

Since we use this power anyway, why not be conscious of it? Truly, most people are totally unconscious of it, even though they unknowingly use it to create their own personal life. If you create your reality through what you predominantly think, don't you want to know about it?

The first year or two of the course, while presenting the highest teachings right from the beginning, focus on helping us to get our physical lives together, where we can enjoy harmony and prosperity in daily life. Only then are we truly ready to delve into deeper principles. We can't be committed to our own spiritual path if we are constantly distracted by egotistical melodramas in the mind.

As mentioned, everything is revealed from the beginning. Nothing is held back for later. It's just that, two years after first reading Lesson 1, you go back and read it anew and you are amazed at all that is in it that you didn't even notice the first time. This is because your awareness is now awakened and expanded to such a degree that you can see things that you once just couldn't see.

D. R. Butler said...

Taylor asks, 'I know that I need a replacement feeling at the ready for times when a negative emotion arises. How does the inner warrior relate to this?'

Taylor, it takes refined understanding to get the whole inner warrior thing. The inner warrior, in a sense, is that aspect of us which does the work. It is related to will, or Iccha Shakti.

There are many situations in life that nothing in us is really prepared to face or deal with except that which we're calling the inner warrior. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary to call upon our inner warrior to meet a certain challenge. If a fight in required, the inner warrior is up to it. We just have to remember to call upon it and turn things over to it.

This is discussed throughout the course on various levels. It's a challenging topic to talk about out of context like this. I had to turn to my inner warrior in order to approach this one:)

One great thing is for certain: everything becomes more clear, not less so.

chris_g said...

Thank you D.R. that puts it into perspective.

Anonymous said...

Ram, I can totally relate to annon's share and your experiences as a young man with the ladies. Reminds me of a workshop in which a young attractive woman told you. "I want to make you feel as good as you have made me feel." I wanted to raise my hand to ask her: "Have I made you feel good in any way?" :)

Bhadra Nazzaro said...

I've just spent the last 90 minutes or so catching up with comments here. Wow, they are so inspiring, so instructional, and filled with enthusiasm! They offer such beautiful support to this community. A heartfelt thank you to everyone!

And speaking of thankfulness.. Jim, I really enjoyed reading your uplifting Thanksgiving gratitude list, especially:

"thankful for every minute of joy I've wrestled from the clutches of a brooding frame of mind"

This is a beautiful reminder that joy is our true nature, and is eternally present, like the sun above the clouds.

What I love about the comments here are all the wonderful and useful examples of ways we apply the principles to specific situations in our lives. For me this really underscores and brings to life the Course in action. It crystalizes the teachings and makes them stand out in memory, ready to be implemented in my own life.

Thank you again, everyone..for taking the time, for keeping your commitment, and for your great open-hearted sharing.
Happy Thanks-Giving! :)

Margaret G. said...

I wish that I could express how grateful I am and how important the Course has been in the improvement of my daily life. I just wish that I could share the benefits more openly with others that are important to me. I realize that they will see the changes in me over time, but I find it difficult to share specific principles when they are sharing problems or difficult situations with me. I know it is important to let the moment dictate or imply what is a good "opening".
I have a very close loved one who is going through a very hard time recovering from cancer, and is having a hard time (understandably) coping with this. She is very scared and confused about her future (she is quite young - 39). I am a good listener, and let her share her feelings, but would really like to encourage her to take the Course. I have spoken to her about it in the past, just before she was diagnosed, but she seems to just need to talk about her feelings right now. Any suggestions? I thought this might be a useful post because I'm pretty sure that most of us have questions regarding sharing the Course.
Love to all, Margaret.

Julian C said...

Although I have glanced at this blog now and then in the past, this is my first in terms of leaving a comment. As a matter of fact this is my first time commenting on any kind of blog. There is nothing in particular I wanted to contribute at this time other than the fact that I can see why DR encourages us to check in and participate. I sometimes resist jumping into to another new form of communication since I sometimes feel overwhelmed by "information overload". On the other hand, as DR has said, it's time to pick up the pace. This too shall become a regular part of my life, not so much for all of the details of what's discussed but for the "essence" being imparted.

Margaret M. said...

Dear All –

I am a relative newcomer to the course and have been trying to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for all of the good (& perhaps at first glance not so good) things that have come into my life. This is what strikes me as an important step to keep me on a learning & growing path. The prayer that was introduced to us in Lesson 3 captured my attention. I copied it and printed it out so I could have a copy at my desk and other places in my house – my brain doesn’t seem to keep the words available from the lessons, & I wanted these words to be nearby.

It seemed like I wasn’t really ‘getting it’ though & yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, I happened upon an article in our newspaper about the power of gratitude; another small, reinforcing nudge to do more. It was so very timely and just what I had been pondering. One of the things the author recommended was a simple exercise – a gratitude journal. This I can do – 5 or 6 items that I write down each day, to bring my gratitude more into focus. Some things are small, but that’s OK. This is my first day of Journaling – something I have never tried before.

For today: I am grateful for my loving and supportive husband who put the correspondence course first lesson into my hands. I am thankful for the abundance of food in my refrigerator (& the microwave that will allow me to reheat the Thanksgiving Feast with little effort). I am grateful that I am employed part time – right now it allows me to be more supportive and a better teacher for my students. I am grateful that I have been gifted with a bright and inquisitive mind. I am grateful for the colors in the world (& my fabric collection); they inspire and comfort me. I am grateful for Chocolate and all of the people in the world that grow, manufacture, distribute and sell it……

I hope everyone reading this has had a blessed Thanksgiving. I know I have and that this course is enabling me to see more of my blessings every day.

Love, Margaret M.

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

I'd like to share how the Course has changed my very way of Being.

In my current lesson (44) it says,

"The repetitive process of the Course is not about learning by rote, so that we can repeat it verbatim as though we know something but rather about imbibing it subconsciously as well as consciously, so that the impressions on the subconscious mind can gently be upgraded, uplifted, and expanded.

As our subconscious is purified and elevated, we notice that we live in a new way, in a new world, and as though we were a different person altogether from the one we were before. We will enjoy the new way, the new world, and the new person, much more than the old."
...
Well, I've been noticing that I actually feel this happening. For instance, I'll read one lesson and my mind might argue even as my heart/soul embraces the teaching (i.e. no one thing to do is more important than anything else, have equality consciousness).

And then, before I know it, like last night, I am going around actually feeling like this new understanding is actually part of me I always had, like "wow, it feels so natural to be as at peace and happy doing this formerly boring task as it would to be doing something I thought exciting. Because I AM HAPPY INSIDE", as if I actually I CAME UP WITH THIS NEW CONTEMPLATION MYSELF!!

1) Somebody in me used to have all these judgements and evaluations about how I spent my time. It was exhausting. Even as a teen I wondered if I was spending my time in the "best" and most constructive way. Now I am just doing whatever I am doing in the best state I can connect with (go inside to the Light) and and the evaluating part feels fallen away, silly really. Did I really have all those crazy rules for myself that were supposed to win some kind of imagined approval?

2) In some weird way I used to think I was holding everything together, at least psychologically. It was tiring. I had to make sure everyone was "happy", anticipate what they (mainly extended family) might be thinking and disapproving of. Now I just FEEL happy a lot and I really get that it's not coming from the outside, although I am enjoying what's happening around me in ways I never could. And I trust that with my better, freer state, others around me may feel mysteriously more happy, or at least lighter, too.

3) I am not nearly so afraid. I'm not all scared "what's going to happen next", how it's all going to "turn out". I don't have to worry about the Finale. I am HERE and I am protected and so are we all.

I love being elevated and uplifted this way. Dear Course, thank you for the Upgrade. I really like my new Operating System.

Best to all, KJS

Shirley B said...

My heart overflows with love and gratitude each time I read the lesson and the blog, which I do every day. Your words and your example of how to live in the Now are like a beacon for me. Since you do it, I know it can be done.

A little over two years ago, Douglas received a letter from Kay. Enclosed was a Douglas-generated card which he had sent to you, Ram, a very long time ago, and which she had found in your files. She gave us the glorious news that you were writing a new course, and we immediately enrolled. We had been looking for you, or some link to you ever since your previous course was abruptly halted.

I marvel often at how a thoughtful action on Douglas's part resulted in our being reconnected with you so many years later, and how that reconnection to your lessons helped us through his last weeks.

And that causes me to reflect on how unaware we often are of the consequences/results of our words and actions, not realizing that when a thought, a word, an action has been released into the world, it has the potential for "going viral" for good or for ill. It behooves us, then, to live in awareness moment to moment, to do our bit whatever our circumstances, to share love and joy. Douglas used to say, "Stalk your words", and by extension, your thoughts.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
With love and gratitude,
Shirley

D. R. Butler said...

Margaret G, you ask a good question. When sharing the course with another, it depends a lot on the other's experience and understanding when it comes to how to approach it.

Generally I suggest recommending the blog, or sending them a link to the blog, perhaps with a word about the course. Suggest that they check out the exchanges in the comments, which is really the heart of the blog. Of course, this is mostly effective with those who naturally spend time on the computer anyway.

In your case, why not share Lesson 1, parts A & B. As you know, it has been recently rewritten to be completely up to date, and it is what we now send people who inquire about the course--as it contains all the practical details of the course as well as the current Lesson 1 in all its fullness.

Share your own experience of the course, how it's helped you in practical ways. Suggest how it helps one to actually see and experience the world differently, as well as viewing oneself in a whole new and expanded way.

Any course participant can print and share the new Lesson 1, parts A & B, with anyone. Or, you can suggest that they write us for information, and we will send it to them, however it works best.

It's hard to get a true idea of the course without actually experiencing it. I mean, I wouldn't take a course by email in order to advance spiritually. It sounds absurd. Yet things are not always as they seem, and there is much more happening behind and beyond appearances, as well as behind, between, and beyond the words of the lessons.

The Course is not simply lessons to read. It is a connection to ancient lineages with a great deal of power and energy (Shakti.) Even so, it is challenging to present this to another unless he or she is willing to experience it for themselves.

Colette said...

Thank you all of you great being who visit the blog, take the course and help me to wake up by the work you all do on yourselves. I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOUR LOVE AND COMMITMENT HAVE FAR REACHING EFFECTS.It makes me so happy and makes me more watchful for all there is to be grateful for just having you out there as part of the play of my life.,or as Karen Jo says the universal upgrade of this individuals consciousness. Blessings and Gratitude to all. Karuna

Dave Silverstein said...

Sometimes when I post it feels like some serious "heavy" stuff is going to come out. I'll contemplate this for awhile until a thought comes into my mind and I'll ask, "Who feels down"? Then, I see three letters; EGO.

My current lesson 18 deals with how feeling creates reality. I really focus on getting in touch with the feeling underneath the feeling (sort of speak) and all of a sudden there is this shift to an easy flowing lightness that takes over. As Ram says in the Course, "If we want to be effectively creative, we must conjure up true feeling." The true feeling I wanted to experience was one of joy not seriousness.

The great gift of the Course for me are the great insights I receive that allow these shifts to take place. When I connect with my heart in this way, I'm in the moment and I become my own "Main Man". It's really great to share from that space. There's nothing like it...Be gone you serious ego you!

Asherah said...

Good Morning. "The more we grow spiritually the lighter is ego; and the more refined our own ego becomes, the less we care about the ego of others." As I reread this i would like more discussion around it. I do not "know" what this is yet I want to experience it. Then I read Dave asking "Who Feels Down? EGO." and the conversation continues. Thank you. I still don't know what it means yet I feel a deepening of understanding that goes beyond my "intelect." Does this make sense to anyone?
Santih,

Michael said...

D.R., you sometimes refer to Beings of Light who inhabit a Realm that is as far beyond our world as ours is beyond that of an ant colony. We tend to be as unconcerned with that Great Realm as ants are unconcerned with ours, unless we get in their way. I understand that taking the lessons will help me develop my awareness of that Realm. Would you kindly speak about this Realm of Being and its Inhabitants, who seem to love and care for us as we do our pets?

D. R. Butler said...

Ashera, your question is simply too broad to discuss here. Are you asking what is the ego? Your question could only be sufficiently answered by participating in the Course of Training via email. The answer to your question is an experience, not a mental concept. Participating in the course allows that experience to be a reality in the present moment. An intellectual understanding about it wouldn't help anyone very much.

D. R. Butler said...

Michael, I kind of feel the same way about your question. How can I simply write something that will reveal the secrets of the Realm of Light? This experience also comes about through participation in the course.

The entire physical world as we know it, believe it or not, consists only as shadows or reflections of something in Light realms more subtle and refined than this physical world that we are hypnotized into believing is the true reality.

The physical world is an illusion, an apparition. It appears real but there is no substance to it. It is a passing apparent phenomena of no true importance. If we know how to focus, or how to unfocus on physical details, we can literally see right through it. It is diaphanous.

Right where you are right now, what was there a hundred years ago? And what will be there a hundred years from now? Can you even imagine? Everything will change in ways we could never anticipate or predict, just as no one a hundred years ago could have imagined the world as it is today.

And where were we a hundred years ago, and where will we be a hundred years from now? Do you know what? We have never gone anywhere. We never will go anywhere in the future, either. We are eternally right here, right now. And the more we come to know ourselves as we truly are, the more we see and experience that we are a Being of pure Light.

sukhdev said...

Re: gratitude in negative situations. Often I won't feel grateful but knowing it's important to turn things around will ' fake it til I make it' and say ' thank you, thank you, thank you ' until a feeling of genuine gratefulness arises.

Margaret M. said...

Thank you, Sukhdev, for your gratitude in negative situations comment. Yet another piece to add to my 'gratitude toolkit'. I can put you into my gratitude journal this evening. :)

Vicki Hilger said...

Here we are, at the gate of 2012. In 1939, at the first Christmas of WWII, King George VI of England included in his Christmas speech part of a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins. I found a copy of it, framed, in an antique store about 30 years ago, and read it often. Called "At the Gate of the Year", it goes like this:
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown'.
And he replied 'Go out into the Darkness and put your hand
into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light
and safer than a known way'.
As we venture hand-in-hand into the bright unknown of 2012, may we continue to see the highest in ourselves and others, may we bring out the best in one another, and may we always remember that we are never alone.

Vinata said...

Dear D.R., Lesson Three IS huge! Would you please expand a little on the concept of "astral weather"?