Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Special Note to Participants of the Course of Training

This will not replace the November entry to be posted on the 1st or at least during the first few days of November, and it will be a really good entry, so prepare to open up wide.  We'll have a lot to cover.

The blog serves certain functions unique to itself.  Any course participant who does not keep up with the current comments following the entry to the blog is simply not getting all they could be getting from the course.  One way, of course, the blog is different from the lessons is that the blog is public.  Anyone is welcome to come here, as we are all-inclusive, and not exclusive in any way.  People of all traditions and backgrounds come here.  The comments in the blog are a great way of seeing how much alike we all are.

I loved the dialogue in the comments last month.  They were more like I had hoped the comments would eventually be from the very beginning--more personal, more open, more dialogue among each other and not just with me, sharing more openly and truly getting to know each other more deeply.  It is important for participants of the course to be able to converse among themselves, to share experiences and insights with each other, to discuss the course together, to get to know each other better.  Then the community truly grows, organically, naturally, and we come to realize just how much we are all the same, and why we are sharing the experience of the course together, and more and more, as we progress through it, we see and understand exactly what that means.

Yes, much progress has been made since the current course first started a bit over 3 years ago.  By reading the sharings in the comments of the blog, and also on Facebook, where we have a satsang of a different nature, and which is even more public, we can easily see the impact the course has had in various people's lives.  Many of you have done absolutely great, and have worked to make the principles of Truth your own, so that you can live according to them without any longer having to think about it.  Many could not have done much better in any way; they have given it their all.

Others, though, could do better.  I do not write like this often.  I believe others are most helped through encouragement, support, and inspiration; not through being told how they could do better.  Yet, every now and then, it becomes necessary in order for me to completely fulfill my own function in working with you.               

A large number of you are not reading, or referring to, your current lesson often enough.  You are not receiving full benefit of the course if you only read a lesson once or twice and imagine you know the contents.  It does not matter how familiar your mind becomes with the ideas presented.  There is a certain energy transmitted through the act of surrendering to read it, and simply by referring to a few paragraphs here and there during the day, or at night before bed, we tune into that energy as well as to the Truth of the Present Moment.

The course is not about learning ideas and concepts, like you would to be able to repeat them to another, as though you already knew it, or as you would for a test on the contents, like you had at school, to check out your memory and reasoning powers.  The course isn't like that.  It is a process that, through surrendering to reading it more often, tunes us into an incredible energy, as well as to an incredible Love and Light that is palpable and undeniable.

Even more than not referring to your current lesson enough, you have to be more diligent about applying the principles in practical ways in your own moment-to-moment life.  I do not care to discourage anyone from writing what is going on with them, for when we share, especially in public, like in the comments here or on Facebook, we become revealed to ourselves in ways that wouldn't be possible if we hold everything in and never express ourselves to another in open, real, and honest ways. 

Even so, questions come and descriptions of one's life often arrive when the very answers and solutions are in one's current lesson.  It's like we don't see exactly what we need even though it is right before our eyes.  We read something, agree with it, think how wonderful it would be if everyone else knew it as well, and then in a few moments or hours or days, we are acting completely contrary to the principle, as though we were completely ignorant of it and had never heard of it.

It does no good to simply 'know about' something, or to 'agree' with something.  Neither does it matter in the least if we 'disagree' with something.  It's only a certain stance the mind has taken.  Either something is true or it isn't, and it matters not at all whether we agree or disagree.  Instead of trying so hard to be understood, or to prove our point, it would be much more expansive to open up to discovering the Truth no matter where it leads.  And we cannot see the Truth unless we see something NEW.  Seeing what is familiar is not Truth.  It is only familiarity.

A basic principle of the course, presented very early in the lessons, is to treat everyone with love and respect.  I have asked that this be the mark of one who participates in the course: that he or she relate to all others with love and respect.  Yet some are still argumentative, challenging, contrary, unfriendly, even hostile.  Not to me, of course, but at your own home, around the very ones we are closest to and love most.  Sometimes we are downright nasty.  Yet, if we were asked, we would insist that we treat all others with great love and respect.  We love to attribute to ourselves qualities that we haven't come close to fully developing.

We refuse to see certain things about ourselves; we are blind to certain tendencies.  And if a loved one were to point out something to us that was obvious to everyone except ourselves, and which would be very helpful for us to know, we might only accuse the loved one of describing us in negative and limiting ways, for always seeing us in the worst ways.  If we take this stance, we can never learn anything new about ourselves, and when this happens, no further growth is possible.

If you take the course, read the lessons more.  See what happens when you tune into the energy of the lesson, which is on a completely different level than the written words.  There are some who go into great states of bliss simply by reading their current lesson, yet afterwards they couldn't tell you a single word they had read.  Don't ever think you 'already know it.'  If you do, you miss the whole point of the course.  It is not something to 'know.'  It is a way of life, an approach, an attitude.  It is meeting life head-on from the highest perspective possible.

Reading the lessons transforms the ways our mind works, and rewires our conditioned tendencies in ways that lead to breaking free from them, and to enter something new and more expanded than before.  Still, mere reading is not quite enough.  The principles must actually be practiced.  It is not enough to simply agree that they are great ideas, and that they will surely lead to a better and freer life someday.  They have to be practiced in real life, this day and every day.  They are not something to try later, when you have more time, or when you are in a better mood.  Practice the principles even when it is difficult to do so.  This is when we experience the greatest growth.

Okay, something moved me strongly to write this.  How many taking the course will even notice that it is here?  Only those who check the comments regularly, to see what is new, to stay up to date.  Those who assume there's nothing worthy of their time and attention until the November blog is posted might miss this altogether.

What I hope is for us to eventually reach the point that we could never possibly miss a message addressed to all participants of the course simultaneously, regardless of what particular lesson they might be on.  This message can be understood and applied at any level of understanding.  Open up and let it open you up on the inside; open up to something completely new.  Only then is it possible to go on to the next thing.

The November blog entry will be posted in a few days, and I look forward to your comments both here and there.  It will be well worth your time to give it your all, as many subtle teachings are being transmitted.

For information about the Course of Training, available through email, and a free Lesson 1, which comes in two parts, write to:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Skeptics and Cynics—Money—Kind and Wise Taxi Driver Revisited

Occasionally on Facebook someone will put me into a ‘group,’ usually of a spiritual nature, which blends with my own nature, and I never know what to expect there.  Some are mostly sincere, and that is good to see.  However, what has stood out most clearly about many such groups is the amazing degree of skepticism and cynicism. 

One group, with several hundred members, discusses spiritual topics and has posts or links for various spiritual teachers, and yet most posts on most threads contain some degree of skepticism and/or cynicism, which also includes doubt.  In many, who think of themselves as 'spiritual people,' there is much more doubt than there is faith.  It’s as though they hope the Truth is true but don’t quite yet believe the Truth is true.

On my own Facebook page, which maintains a dialogue of a certain level among people of all religions and spiritual traditions, there is very little blatant skepticism or cynicism simply because they wouldn’t be comfortable with the feedback they would get from the others.  The little that comes out now and then is mostly of a very subtle nature, and the one expressing skepticism or cynicism or doubt on this level is not consciously aware of doing so. 

In fact, in many cases, were I to point out to a person, ‘You’re being a little cynical aren’t you?’ the reply would almost invariably be, ‘No I’m not!’  Sometimes this is followed by something like, ‘You do not understand me.  If you really knew where I was coming from, you would see that there is not a cynical bone in my body.’

People do not like to be told what they are doing.  Well, their ego does not like it.  The indwelling Identity doesn’t mind, but the ego hates to be called on what it’s doing.  If you say to a person, ‘You’re being defensive,’ they’ll almost always immediately reply, ‘No I’m not!’—which is a totally defensive statement.

Or sometimes you can say to a person who is being grumpy, ‘You’re being grumpy,’ and instantaneously they’ll smile sweetly and ask in the gentlest voice, ‘Now what would make you think that?’  The ego has various nuances, and it transitions from one to the other very smoothly, without our even noticing.  Like Gurdjieff once said, ‘The one who sets the alarm clock at night is not the same one that the alarm clock wakes up in the morning.’

Just as a fun exercise, observe yourself and see if skepticism, cynicism, or doubt come up in ways that you might not ordinarily notice or be aware of.  You just might learn something valuable about yourself through seeing something new, as though for the first time.  When you see something new about yourself, as though for the first time, it is the most valuable form of Self-Knowledge.

Someone wrote and asked if I could concisely explain the money thing to him.  He admitted he was having financial troubles and having a hard time generating the income that he needs, and wanted me to simply remind him once again in a way that, hopefully, he could finally get it.

This is basically what I told him, for anyone who can use the same information.  Money is possibly the most amenable thing in the world when it comes to manifesting according to our consciousness OF it.  One reason for this is that it does not exist, it is not real; it is a conscious concept.  These days people tend to pass money back and forth over the Internet.  How would that be possible if it were a real, tangible thing?  Do you think there’s enough gold in Fort Knox to cover all the existing ‘money?’ 

If the stock market goes up, the amount of available money increases.  When the stock market goes down, money disappears.  It doesn’t change hands; it disappears, it no longer exists.  If we understand that money doesn’t even exist, that it’s only a conscious concept, we can somewhat grasp the understanding of how easily it is controlled by our consciousness OF it.

People with money have prosperity-consciousness.  People without money have poverty-consciousness.  The cause is in consciousness, the effect is our financial situation.  If we feel in our own heart, in our own consciousness, that we don’t have enough money, there’s no energy there making it possible to generate any.  If a person is conscious of having all that he needs, opportunities arise and situations develop that make it possible to generate money.

The secret to financial security is to KNOW without any doubt that you have all that you need.  If you have the consciousness of having all that you need now, there is no reason that this condition should change later, in the future.  Our consciousness of any quality determines the reality of it for us, in our own personal life.  The objective world around us is only the mirror, the reflection of the Subjective world within.  What we create on the inside determines what manifests on the outside.

All this and much more is discussed thoroughly in the lessons of the Course of Training, yet this is the concise answer, or explanation, or exploration, of how the money thing works.

You might remember Kind and Wise Taxi Driver.  If you don’t, please see the blog entry of June 1, 2011—it is certainly worth a read.  We had a visit from Narayana on his birthday last month, which is how he usually likes to spend his birthdays.  This time he became 59.  You have to understand that I have known Narayana since he was 16.  And he hasn’t changed yet.  He is still the same in every way, although his wisdom has evolved over the years, and there is a slight aging process happening physically.  If I hadn’t seen him in those 43 years, however, I’d recognize him immediately. 

Aside from his sister that lives in LA, (imagine her surprise to start reading the front page lead article and the first thing she sees is her brother’s name,) I am probably as close as anyone to being ‘family’ in his life.  In October of 1974 I met an incredible meditation Master who  transformed my entire life and made me into a teacher.  He asked me to lead a meditation center for him.  At the very first satsang in January, 1975, Narayana was there.  Several years later there was a blizzard in NYC.  It hit on the night of our satsang.  I said to the person I was with then, while looking out the window at the utter intensity of nature, ‘It looks like no one will be here tonight.  It’s too bad for anyone to go anywhere.’ 

A few minutes later the doorbell rang.  Narayana had walked through several feet of snow to get to the subway, and then had walked quite a long distance with snow blowing in his face from the subway station closest to us.  He was, of course, the only visitor present.  The three of us had a wonderful satsang.

For many years now, he has driven a Taxi in Manhattan during the evenings.  He could write a book about all his experiences.  Maybe Martin Scorsese would even make a movie about himJ

Narayana presented us with a copy of the September 11, 2011, Los Angeles Times.  The lead story on the front page was about the 9/11 tribute in Manhattan near Ground Zero.  The first two words in the article was Narayana’s name.  The writer of the article was the same man who inspired the character of the journalist played by Robert Downey Jr in the movie ‘The Soloist.’

Turns out, when this journalist came to Manhattan to cover the original 9/11 happening, he hailed a taxi and was picked up by Narayana.  Narayana essentially became his guide for the whole time he was here, and he wrote an article about his experiences with Narayana then.  Coming back for the 10th anniversary, the writer called Narayana and asked him to escort him about and be his guide again. 

So he wrote the 2nd article about him, 10 years later.  Narayana was quoted a few times, but what most sticks in my memory was when he was quoted as saying, at Ground Zero, ‘This place shows how we should never forget how quickly our lives can end.  This present moment is precious.’

You have to understand that Narayana driving around New York City is like a mini-ashram on wheels.  If you hail his taxi, you are in for satsang, regardless of what you expected or how big of a hurry you are in.  He interacts with many different people on any given night, and you never know who might step into his taxi.

He was telling us that not long ago a woman stopped him and got in the back seat and that she seemed to have a frustrated energy about her.  As he got a better look at her, he saw that it was the actress, Marisa Tomei.  One ironic ‘coincidence,’ is that the movie that really kicked off her career was ‘My Cousin Vinny,’ and it happens that ‘Vinny’ is Narayana’s birth name.  (Yes, he’s from Brooklyn, too, still lives there.)

So when she exhibited this frustrated energy, he asked her what was bothering her.  She replied, ‘Just relationship problems.  They get me every time.’  Narayana said, ‘Are you not focusing on the present moment?’  She sat up with a start and said, ‘What?’ as though she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  So they had a nice chat on their way to her destination, and by the time they got there she was totally calmed down and in a cheerful mood again.  Of course, Narayana give her the address of the blog and encouraged her to take the course, as he does with many lucky passengers.

Anyway, just a quick note to catch you up on Kind and Wise Taxi Driver.

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

The response was this:  Terry, the primary philosophy behind ego coming before the first thought is mostly simply the fact that ahamkara (ego) is the 15th tattva, while manas (thinking, conscious, waking mind) follows that as the 16th tattva.

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

Finally, a ‘comment’ shared last month, which was originally posted in a relevant thread on Facebook:   The subconscious is formed and molded through conscious concentration and repetition. If we do something consciously often enough, it will be passed on to the subconscious. Therefore we have to make sure that we feed it the right 'food' in positive and uplifting conscious thoughts. So the process of 'conditioning' the subconscious happens through habitual conscious thoughts, and what we consciously accept as true. Then the process of sadhana is the purification of the subconscious impressions, which we know in Sanskrit as 'samskaras.'

Thank you for joining me for our chat this month.  Hopefully you will read it more than once, as you can experience for yourself simply by doing so that it will be good for you.  You can be sure that I, if no one else, will read it againJ

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