Thursday, March 1, 2012

What is Spirituality in 2012?

A while ago I posted on my Facebook page that the world of yoga in the West was about to go topsy-turvy, and since then a lot has happened, if you keep up with the yogic ‘scene.’  If you don’t, that’s fine too, for everything is always as it should be, and we only learn of things that are our karma to know about.  Everything else is irrelevant. 

There is not and never has been any chance of any deviation whatsoever from the divine scheme of the unfolding of all things.

The Western world has been under a certain influence since the late 60’s and on through the 70’s regarding what yoga and meditation are, and basically, what spirituality is, as there can be spirituality where no yoga or meditation is required.  Of course, it’s all good and as it was destined to be during that particular period leading up to now.  It’s just that some misconceptions have arisen.

When Ram Dass returned home from India in the late 60’s, and published his famous Be Here Now, he introduced a certain way of seeing and understanding the world and our own life that most of us had never considered before.  He regaled us with stories of his Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, whom he referred to as ‘Maharaji,’ since his Guru, like many great beings, do not care for publicity or even for anyone knowing that they exist or where to find them.  His name became publicly known only after he left his physical body.

Only a handful can truly understand the nature of the great ones, and it usually falls to that handful to teach others the primary principles of Truth to those who are ready to understand.

In the years since there has been a lot of discussion and contemplation regarding who is a true Teacher, and the qualities required of a ‘spiritual teacher,’ for lack of a better term, for in actuality the term means zilch.  A true Teacher will do nothing to attract students or followers.  You will not find his billboard on the highway.  He is not interested in whether anyone is open to his message or not, just as the sun is not concerned with the fact that organic life on Earth is totally dependent on its heat and light for survival.  It all just happens; it is simply the manifestation of Nature as it is.

The truest of Teachers primarily radiate spiritual energy into the ethers that is present for all who are open and receptive to receiving it.  Such beings do not primarily present ideas or philosophies for people to ponder, although being totally free, they certainly can do this if they wish to.  It depends on the nature of their mission.

I have always advised to focus on teachings and not teachers.  No matter how pristine the teachings, the teacher is a human being and can never be anything greater than a human being.  Of course, we might have limited ideas of what a human being can be, yet it has turned out in many cases that should the teacher be ‘too human’—a ridiculous notion—the pristine teachings somehow get soiled themselves. 

Therefore, it is of utmost importance to protect the integrity of the teachings in their own right, and even more important to master the teachings in our own life, so that they are not mere philosophy, or something to 'believe' in, which becomes dogma.  The ‘teacher’ is only the messenger who reminds you what you already know but forgot.

People get very confused regarding what is spiritual and what isn’t, which, when we finally grasp the true Oneness of all things, is a rather absurd consideration, being that everything is composed of the same Spirit. 

In last month’s comments someone wrote:  As a long time spiritual practitioner, do you have a feeling as to whether caffeine is good or bad for someone with an interest in spiritual growth? In looking at your video interview, you are so relaxed it's hard to imagine you've ever had a cup of coffee in your life.

The ‘video interview’ he referred to is my first ‘public appearance’ in 12 years, and is in English with Spanish translations.  The address might or might not come out as a link here, but you can copy and paste and enjoy the video if you like:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHs9nu9wt_U&feature=youtu.be

I responded, You are right, I've never had a cup of coffee in my life. The reason is that I never liked the smell of it, still don't even like being near it, and I never had the slightest inclination to even take a sip of it.  I don't even like coffee ice cream,

However, this preference has nothing to do with spiritual principles. They always served quite strong coffee in the ashram I lived in for over 20 years. Whether one partakes of caffeine or not, or anything else for that matter, has nothing to do with spirituality.


This is an example of those ‘misconceptions’ we’ve picked up that I referred to earlier.  We superimpose our own prior conditioning upon the principles of Truth—resulting in a world where particular actions or certain substances can be either spiritual or unspiritual, when such a world is not even related to the reality of things, or to the Truth of the Present Moment.

Nothing in and of itself is either spiritual or not spiritual—especially regarding what we 'do.' Anyone who feels guilty for doing something 'unspiritual' has gotten bad information, or has misunderstood the information they got.  We can be remorseful if we have wronged or hurt someone, but remorse is purifying, and a far cry from guilt—which is contracting, and totally alienates us from our true inner Being, which is blameless—neither blames nor accepts blame.

Being 'spiritual' is seeing God's play equally in everything, and seeing everyone we come across as an individual expression or manifestation of Divinity. Being spiritual is loving and respecting all others, and recognizing their oneness, or at-one-ment, with our own inner Self, which manifests in all these bodies and peers from all these pairs of eyes simultaneously.


Being spiritual is recognizing the Divinity of our own eternal Being, and realizing that everything is equally included in the same Divinity.  Nothing can be left out or excluded except for that which does not exist.

Spirituality has nothing to do with what we eat, drink, smoke, or anything else. Such ideas come from old-fashioned and certainly outmoded ideas of spirituality, including the influence of the various orthodox religions that we grew up in and learned our first ideas of spirituality from. In truth, none of the actions of the body taints the indwelling Self to any degree whatsoever. It remains eternally pure and perfect. Certainly moderation in all things is helpful to spiritual growth, for with excesses we can easily become distracted or even drained.


Since I mentioned ‘smoking and drinking—the two ‘sins’ of my teenage years; teens hadn’t quite discovered drugs yet—I should point out that I certainly don’t advocate such things.  I simply recognize that they are part of existing reality.  When we accept something as an aspect of existing reality, it doesn't mean that we condone it.   We simply don't deny it or judge it.  It is what it is.  We might even work to help rid the world of it, but that work is not out of aversion, but simply out of wishing to help create a better world.

Speaking of my teenage years in Mississippi, there was a popular Southern comedian at the time known as Brother Dave Gardner.  On one of his albums he said, “They tell me all the time, ‘You smoke too much!  You smoke too much!  You’ll kill yourself.’  And I tell them, ‘No I ain’t; they might hurt my body but they’re not going to kill my Self.’”

That’s about the way it goes.  Many things might be harmful to the body, yet nothing ever taints the eternally changeless Self, which is our true Nature always.  There is this Sanskrit word, dharma.  In a sense, it means acting in each moment in such a way that is best for all concerned.  So, while nothing in itself is good or bad, there are actions that uphold dharma and actions that go against dharma (adharma.)  One of the highest dharmas is to take care of ourselves—which includes refusing to do anything that is harmful to ourselves or anyone else.

Spirituality has to do with the Light we see inside, and with radiating that inner Light outwardly for the benefit of others around us.  It is a process of allowing our inner Light to shine brighter and brighter, until finally we see it as it actually is and has always been. Spirituality is primarily related to the discovery of our oneness with this inner Light, and has nothing to do with what we do or don't do on a mundane level.


Spirituality is a state of Being; it is not a state of ‘doing.’  It is, if you will, a state of Mind; yet it is beyond thought, which is Mind-in-motion.  Spirituality is being centered in the space between thoughts, which is pure Consciousness, even as we function competently and efficiently in our daily life. 

I learned long ago that I can attend a movie or a party and experience a profound state of deep meditation, while I can sit for formal meditation and experience all sorts of worldly thoughts and feelings.  All is not as it appears to be, and it's definitely what happens on the inside that counts.

Someone else wrote, on the subject of explaining ourselves to others: 'I want loved ones to understand why I did or said what I did, not necessarily to change their position. I want them to get who I am.'

Yes, we are always explaining to others why we did or said what we did, we want them to get who we are. This seems very logical, and like the natural and right thing to do, yet, once again, things are not always as they seem.  There is more going on during every moment of life than ‘meets the eye.’

We offer a Course of Training via email because these particular principles being explored now cannot be learned simply by reading or hearing about them once or twice. We can learn it intellectually from books or articles on the Internet or videos on Youtube or classes, retreats, seminars, and whatever else such things are named, but to get it experientially, where it becomes part of our very being, requires a process of gentle transformation—so that our vision and experience become more refined, more subtle, and so that we come to truly understand what we already know.

Explaining to 'another' happens in duality. It's like explaining ourselves to the mirror. In reality there is only One of us sharing all these various individual bodies and personalities simultaneously, and the play of life happens through the interactions among these individual perspectives.  

There is a certain degree of delusion involved in wanting others to understand why we did or said things. We have a fantasy that if we explain ourselves in the right way, the other will enjoy a thrilling revelation about us that never occurred to them before, and they will finally see us in the right light.

Truth is, 99% if the time they are not interested and could not care less. They'd rather get to explaining to you why they did and said what they did, which is much more interesting to them.

These are very subtle principles we are exploring here, and a glimpse of what we explore in greater depth in the lessons of the course, in an experiential way. With greater understanding and awareness, it becomes intuitively obvious why explaining ourselves has no merit whatsoever.


At one point I referred to several of the comments that served as good examples of how we get lost in details.  People ask questions, hoping to solve problems, and yet they create their own entanglement through their insistence on details.  The details are best handled by Nature, which needs no help from us.

The principle that the entire cosmos exists in absolute perfection includes the perfection of all the karma we have created and must experience (cause and effect.) The divine perfection of all things includes the samskaras, or subconscious tendencies that make us do the things we have long since determined we prefer not to do. It includes the play of ego, which appropriates everything to itself, and thinks it is the body, the performer of actions, the experiencer of feelings, and the thinker of thoughts. Not only that, it assumes that if it thinks something, it must be true.  It also appropriates various karmic happenings as its ‘own life,’ stating, ‘This happened to me.’  In other words, the ego primarily takes everything personally.

All of this is included in the perfection of all things. This is an essential truth to understand. Divine perfection includes the human play in all its angst and folly.

We are pure formless Spirit enjoying a virtual human perspective, to see, for the fun of it, what an individual human life is like. Only we have forgotten that we were playing a game and that we are only having a virtual experience. Now we identify with the character as who we actually are and consider everything in its life to be real. We have totally lost touch with our own Truth—pure, formless Spirit.

This is one reason we offer a Course of Training—to learn the principles (laws) governing the game of human life, and how to learn to play this game well. Once we understand that it is a game, and we learn exactly how to play the game—through understanding natural law—it is then great fun to do whatever is necessary to Master the game.

Don't get lost in details. They will only drain you of energy and enthusiasm. Remain focused on the perfection of your life as it is, and SEE it the way that makes you happy. 'What' you see is determined by your own vision, not the other way around.  The world is created from the inside out, not the outside in.

Remain focused on contentment and fulfillment, and all the details of life will miraculously take care of themselves. This might include you doing what is necessary, yet from a state of contentment, what is necessary becomes intuitively obvious and not something to 'figure out.'


Someone else asked, 'What is it to come into harmony with all things? To see and feel connection in All things, to LOVE and RESPECT All things?'

As you are well aware by now, this is definitely the crux of the matter, and you have stated it perfectly as well as concisely. This is truly the question we all need to ask ourselves.

Anyone reading this believes in 'love' and 'respect' as great principles. Still, all that is important or even relevant is, 'do we go through our day being loving and respectful to each person we come across, including our loved ones, and even including ourselves?

My Teacher taught that the highest sadhana (spiritual practice) is to greet each and every person with great love and respect. This is about what it comes down to.  Yet, we must include ourselves.  We must greet our own inner Self with great love and respect.

Otherwise we can meditate and chant until we drop, we can do devotional rituals for years on end, we can study scriptures until we can no longer see straight, but there has still been no true transformation unless we can recognize the highest in everyone and treat each person we come across with great love and respect—even our husbands and wives, our parents, and our children, as well as the black sheep of the family. In many cases, we ourselves hold this distinction.


Back to the original topic:  What is Spirituality in 2012—it seems to me that more and more we are being guided to turn within, to find the answers to our questions and the solutions to our problems within ourselves, instead of searching outside for someone else to teach and guide us.  Yet I say this with great respect for all the teachers over the years who have inexplicably come along and taught me what I needed to know next.

A true Guru, a genuine Teacher, an authentic Saint, will always tell you to turn within and look to your own Self.  There is such great wisdom that lies innate within us that the ordinary, conditioned mind could never dream of.  That’s why we have to confound, surprise, even shock the mind sometimes—just to get a little freer from it.

The Truth will never be found in facts, or in anything that makes sense to the mind.  Have you ever explained yourself to a baby?  Probably no way the little one could possibly understand what you are talking about, right?  The same principle applies when trying to explain the Truth to the mind, which has a very crude understanding at best.

It is good to understand that what I refer to as Mind is totally different in nature from the conscious, waking mind (manas).  Mind is the origin of the cosmos and of all life and Being, while mind organizes the input of the physical senses into a coherent reality and thinks realities into existence, although for the most part they exist only to the thinker.  The English language is simply not subtle enough to give these two completely different powers or functions different names—which is one reason we often call upon Sanskrit terms for greater clarity of communication. 

This brings us back to what we can’t talk about but can only allude to.  The only Truth there is exists within you, as the Self, as Consciousness, or as pure Awareness of Being.  The Truth is perceived and experienced subjectively, not objectively, not ‘out there,’ bound with ‘others’ somehow.  In the Truth there is only One.  It is eternally changeless, all-pervasive, indestructible, and indivisible.  This is Who we truly are, whether in 2012 or 3012—the inner Self of all remains forever the Same.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email, along with parts A & B of Lesson 1, write: drbutler.course@gmail.com

Spanish: drbutler.cursoesp@gmail.com

French: drbutler.course@gmail.com

141 comments:

Cynthia Lynn said...

Dear D.R.
I enjoyed this post very much; very clear & concise. Thank you!

I had always taken issue with the idea that Supreme Consciousness contracts into life as we know it for "sport." A few years ago, I wrote a note to God about some drama I was experiencing: "This is NOT FUN ... why would YOU want to do/be this?"

Little by little, I am beginning to take myself less seriously, and as I experience bits of transformation from participating the the course, I can now knowingly chuckle when I read passages like this one from the current blog:

"We are pure formless Spirit enjoying a virtual human perspective, to see, for the fun of it, what an individual human life is like."

Darcy said...

Feel the Shakti! What a beautiful read -- Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Looking forward to diving in and imbibing my lesson. :)
Love to all--

Love,
D

Tony (Aditya) said...

Thank you for this sparklingly clear articulation of what spirituality truly is, Ram. We are surely living in interesting times, when the supreme arbiter of truth has become the investigative journalist -- if it's published in the NY Times, by someone whose book on the subject is due out soon, well then it must be true.

The Course indeed works on very subtle and powerful experiential levels. In a recent lesson the Yoga Vasishtha was quoted: "Suraghu attained to the supreme state of Consciousness. Never again did he grieve ..." This stopped me cold, literally took my breath away for a moment; never in a million years would I have thought that the first thing to say about someone who attained to the supreme state of consciousness would be "Never again did he grieve ..." Completely unexpected and oddly exciting ...

I asked myself, "Do I grieve?" and immediately a sharp pain appeared in my heart, along with an image of a very recent injustice done to someone dear to me. And as I watched, throughout my body tiny painful points like shards of glass lit up, and each one was associated with a past loss or failure or grievous injury. Over time, as I returned to this, I saw grief as a thin gray cloak overlaying my inner light, until one day I concentrated on it long enough that it just -- vanished. And for at least a while, I knew what Suraghu experienced.

The teachings are truly all we need.

Nikki said...

This has to be my all time favorite blog post! Thank you. There is something so freeing about dropping my own misguided notions about being a "spiritual" person. I don't even refer to being on a 'spiritual path' anymore. After many years of thinking "I am on a spiritual path' I feel more humble now. Seeing the One in all and the perfection of the flow of life is enough!!
When others see me as a spiritual person it feels like a burden. As if I have to behave in a certain way...more and more I am getting what you say. It is an inside job!! Much gratitude for this and the course!!

Purnima Orlandi said...

Thank you Ram for this months topic. It is so true that being spiritual is not what we wear, eat, smoke, drink, read or chant...It is how we live in this present moment, being alive and lighthearted watching the play as it unfolds knowing that the world as we see it is determined by how we see it, creating it as we go along from the inside out. I have been blessed to experience this truth because of the Awareness through the course in training "Living in The truth of The Present Moment". I am a true believer of the course because it has changed my life to living in the truth.
In 1993 when I started meditating I thought it would require ardous work, meditating for many years, chanting and purifying myself to have bliss, to be bliss. Today, I feel bliss, I am bliss. How did it happen? Pure grace from within and without, and living the principles of the truth in the present moment. I am a much happier and grateful person in this world! I apply the principles and focus on the higher qualities, letting go of melodrama and past pain. I love this blog, the course, your facebook page and NEW VIDEO! I hope you can do more videos, perhaps translating into German, French, Italian, as well! Blessings to all~

Asherah said...

just a hello to get the mail to my phone. Thank you sooooooo much.
xxxxxooooooxxxxoooo

Niranjan said...

Thank you for this article. For most of my sadhana I was caught up in the teacher, the form and not what they were putting me in touch with. Since I've realized it's not about the form I find I can be aware of my Self anytime, not just in satsang or in meditation. I also like what you said about a true teacher pointing you to look within. I've recognized that anything I've come to my teacher with she has always put me into a process of vichara and this leads me to a conclusion that comes from within. This has been so valuable! This way I don't get caught up in the "shoulds" I just see things for what they are.

Sarah NH said...

What beautiful post! Each post and each lesson brings more freedom from what I can now call my "contracted spiritual path".

I love how Nikki stated to "no longer referring to myself as being a "spiritual person" , or as being on a "spiritual path".

Thru studying the lessons I have been able to see how those very definitions kept me in such a contracted and limited state...I thought i had to "do" something to achieve "something"...not at all the case.

While reading my lesson last evening I felt an overwhelming "open calmness" from the Shakti pouring through it. My gratitude and thanks for being led again to the lessons can't be expressed in words. The vibration of all my relationships is becoming much lighter and overwhelmingly loving...as I learn I only have to show up and be Present.

Thank you D.R. and Kay

Anusuya said...

Thank you Tony. Great share. Experiencing powerful sense of grief this afternoon after losing my husband recently. So was I in the supreme state of consciousness in the days I did not experience the grief? Something to contemplate for sure. I was wondering what that still, quiet state was.
Had to laugh about Ram's references to coffee and smokes. Both my husband and I never drank coffee before living in an ashram, and I remember thinking smoking was god too so I didn't need to give it up. The funny part was that the next thing I knew I was in the laundromat and threw my cigarettes away and never cared about smoking again. So although it was God, the dharma of caring for the body was in the flow of the shakti.

D. R. Butler said...

Anusuya says, 'Experiencing powerful sense of grief this afternoon after losing my husband recently. So was I in the supreme state of consciousness in the days I did not experience the grief?'

Anusuya, you were in the supreme state of consciousness when you were not experiencing grief, and you were also in the supreme state of consciousness while you were experiencing grief.

As you know from your lessons, grief is not considered a negative emotion--it is a very special state that must be honored. It is extremely important to never suppress grief.

In a state of grief, a person is much more open than usual. When around a person in grief, it is important that we are careful what we say to them, as our words have an even deeper impact than usual. As a person experiencing grief, it is very important to be careful what you listen to or expose your open state to, as you are much more impressionable than usual.

It is also quite natural that you would be experiencing grief now, and it will surely come up from time to time for quite a while. Do not attempt to fight it off, or to see it as 'weakness,' as it can be very purifying. Crying is very purifying, and cleans out certain emotional toxins that can not be cleared away by any other means.

When grief arises, honor it as an expression of your love for Pat. Grief is simply another aspect of love. If there were no love in the first place, there would be no grief.

You know Kay and I are both here for you should you ever need or want anything from our end.

Bhadra Nazzaro said...

Anusuya, I want to share that it's very important to give yourself the physical space to grieve as well. A few years ago, after losing a loved one, I didn't wait long enough before returning to work. The problem there was that at work I couldn't cry or go where these grieving emotions needed to take me. I saw firsthand how important it is to honor the grief, and just allow the space for the natural process to go through its stages. Sending love and blessings to you, Suya.

Bhadra Nazzaro said...

Late last night I printed out my new lesson to read before bed. I was very tired and aware that I was reading the words, but not absorbing as much as I do when I am refreshed. I read about 7 pages and then decided to read the rest in the morning.

Then, as I lay in bed, I became aware of the most profound shift in consciousness; a pervading sense of stillness and bliss. And here I thought I wasn't absorbing as much as usual! Just goes to show, once again, that the energy transmitted through the Course is not dependent on what we think we are reading or understanding!

Cynthia Lynn said...

It never fails ... I experience a moment of sublime bliss & contentment; even share it with others and ... BAM!

Yes, indeed ... the tests certainly do come in our day to day interactions with others ... my nervous system is "FRIED" from an interaction in which I "lost it!" ... did I "fail" the test? Nah, just experienced the other flip side of what was earlier ... will do the dharmic thing ... take a bubble bath and send love, light and blessings to myself and "the other."

Dear Ram, Kay and everyone ... much gratitude to all of you!

Kaunteya said...

Well, I have quit smoking for a month. Not sure why. I enjoyed smoking and am considering smoking again. Ram's comment about dharma comes up. Apparently smoking is harmful to the body. Can't really say I ever noticed that however.
SO...is it 'okay' to smoke?

D. R. Butler said...

Kaunteya, of course it is 'okay' for you to smoke or anything else you choose. No one will punish you for it, as you have broken no legal, moral, ethical, or spiritual laws.

My question is, why would you want to? Okay, you can say you enjoy it and you don't notice any harmful effects yet. But 5 or 10 years down the road it might be a different story. Instead of really enjoying it, you'll be smoking primarily to avoid a nicotine fit, as my father used to call it. And as you continue, you will began to notice the harmful effects it has, only then you're very close to too late. You'll notice that you get shortness of breath, that you can't inhale as deeply as you once could without coughing, and your lungs will start to feel uncomfortably agitated every night after another full day of smoking.

Then when the doctor unexpectedly tells you that you have signs of COPD, that can develop into emphysema, which Kay's father died of, and more and more you discover to your regret that you have great difficulty with the simple task of breathing. So what is the payoff? What does it do for you to make all this worthwhile?

Smoking doesn't make you stronger or more interesting as a person; some people might even move further away from you because they have a hard time with the odious smell of a smoker; it doesn't make you smarter or more sophisticated; it isn't really 'cool' as it once was, as you'll notice in old black and white movies; it isn't the least bit attractive or impressive to anyone; it doesn't make you feel better in any kind of euphoric way; it doesn't make you more handsome (or a woman more beautiful); it doesn't even cause more intense or longer lasting orgasms. So really, what is the payoff? What do you momentarily get out of it that makes the risk of so many potentially unpleasant conditions in the future because of it worthwhile?

Once again, this has nothing to do with moral or spiritual or ethical considerations. It doesn't have anything to do with what other people might think. It doesn't have anything in the world to do with anything other than the future of your physical health, which determines your capacity to live productively and fully after a certain age.

(Continued in next comment)

D. R. Butler said...

I remember as a teen in Vicksburg, MS, one summer. Feeling rebellious, I bought my first ever pack of cigarettes. I still remember the first inhalation very vividly. It was repugnant. My first thought was 'why would anyone ever choose to do this to themselves?'

Then a calmer thought prevailed. As soon as I got addicted to them, I thought, then I will finally be able to actually enjoy them. So I endured it long enough to start getting some satisfaction after smoking long enough to crank up an addiction.

I always found this to be a sad commentary on present society--that through advertising, peer pressure, and the examples of our parents and other adults, not to mention the movie stars and rock legends--we find it easy to justify an addiction by enduring it long enough so that we start actually enjoying fulfilling the addiction once again. It never occurs to us that later we might be gasping for air and put on oxygen--which puts a definite cramp on your ability to get around like you might wish to.

With all that said, I do not condemn smoking. It has been going on for many centuries among many cultures in many different places. It is just something else to do in this world. There is no 'bad' or 'good' or 'right' or 'wrong' about it. It will not stunt your spiritual growth, unless it upsets certain priorities, such as, for example, preferring to sit and smoke when instead you could be doing something helpful and loving for your loved ones, who deserve your time and attention.

When an addiction takes you away from your family, then you can know that you have gone off the deep end and are nearing the end of the rope.

If you have the choice now to avoid the addiction, then by all means choose what leads to freedom. You will never regret giving it up because it is followed by an enormous sense of freedom. You are no longer dependent. You are supremely independent and supremely free.

Anonymous said...

Dear D.R,

Speaking of addictions, can you comment on addiction to viewing pornography? These days it is too easy to get on the internet, and I find it very harmful, and the desire creeps up at the weirdest times. It fills me with shame, after the fact, and I do not support it in any way, as it is so harmful to the people involved, yet I struggle with it.

Brent Flickinger said...

D.R., it was a real treat to see you in the video interview. It's been a number of years since I've seen you in person and, yes, you look "older", yet what jumped out at me with happiness was seeing you looking so peaceful, relaxed (well, you always looked relaxed), content, alive, vibrant--I'm just reaching for words to describe an experience of feeling peaceful and happy watching you say the words I've read so often in the lessons. You look like a guy who is truly happy living in the truth of the present moment.

BreathWorks said...

Ram, as I gifted my Mom a year of the Course, I've been reading my new lesson as well as her current lesson (and very gratefully so for numerous reasons). In re-reading Lesson 5, I came across this passage you quote from the Yoga Vasistha that brings up a question for me:

"The Self is formless, but the subtle body roams in this creation in sentient and insentient bodies until it purifies itself, lives as if in deep sleep, and then attains Liberation."

When I read "lives as if in deep sleep", I keep wondering what the Sage is referring to.

In the writing, "lives as if in deep sleep" comes seemingly *after* this purification of "itself". Is this referring to being fully Conscious in deep sleep? Is this referring to the nivritti (thought free, unmoving mind)?

Looking forward to your sense of it...

Tony (Aditya) said...

Anusuya – I have very fond memories of Pat from the early days around Baba. I never spent a single down moment around him.

Regarding grief: I remember a program on August 8, 1976 celebrating the mahasamdhi of our Guru’s Guru. To everyone’s amazement Baba began to weep copiously and lament the loss of his Guru these many years ago, “whose like I will never see again.” His grief was powerful and present, and it showed us as nothing else could the depth of his connection to his Guru. We all – even his translator – sobbed along with him and felt filled with grace.

Love and blessings, in your grieving.

Bhadra Nazzaro said...

Kaunteya, I would add to Ram's words that smoking cigarettes, while there is no right or wrong about it, will also impact you in a few other ways not mentioned. One is the financial aspect. I believe cigarettes cost these days in the vicinity of $6.00 a pack (more or less). If you get addicted and smoke a pack a day as I once did, that is $180. a month or $2,160. a year. That will impact any person or family.

If you have children one day who see you smoke, they will very likely want to emulate you (as I did my mother), and become smokers themselves. Also, if you do develop a life long habit/addiction, and at the same time wish to use your body as a vehicle to do sadhana (or even just live), the health conditions you will develop and the toxins in your system will certainly be a real part of the equation and something to consider.

So there is no right or wrong, and at the same time there are certain inevitable consequences. I'm not sure Ram will even post this, but I wanted to add these thoughts, just in case it helps you as you consider this.
All the best Kaunteya.

sukhdev said...

Ram, you say “Spirituality has nothing to do with what we eat, drink, smoke, or anything else” , but what we eat, drink, smoke etc. has consequences that can negatively or positively impact the “process of allowing our inner Light to shine brighter and brighter” ? While I agree that “In truth, none of the actions of the body taints the indwelling Self to any degree whatsoever.”, the actions of the body do influence the layers of veils of maya and affects our ability to see through those veils to our own true nature. This is why some spiritual paths have instituted or recommended certain attitudes and behaviours that form a foundation to further the process of “discovery of our oneness with this inner Light”. I’ve found out the hard way that what I do on a mundane level certainly does affect my ability to see the Inner Light and/or be receptive to the Shakti of the course.

Melissa Shubha Abbott said...

Hi D.R., Really wonderful blog this month. After reading it, it occurred to me that it was like a very short overview of the last few years of the course. In addition it was potently energetic and communicative. Read the current lesson last night after receiving it, your talk about going deeper felt so right and I also felt a strong resonance and even saw you in a dream where I confided a fear I had about some inane dream problem and you seemed completely unconcerned which felt right too!! Thanks ;) Melissa Shubha Abbott

FB said...

The tendency/compulsion to tell my kids (for example) what is said in the blog and the lessons is 'out of alignment' has been gnawing at me for years. Fortunately, I am getting it that this is indeed out of alignment. This month's blog
post especially articulates and clarifies exactly what that gnawing sense of 'out of alignment here' is. Funny, and it is comical, that I, for one, want so much to give my kids (now well into adulthood :))every bit of inner strength I can lead them to. While realizing this is a universal parent-wish,it also comes to me that I am harboring a lack of faith and trust. H.m.m.m.

D. R. Butler said...

The most recent 'Anonymous' asks about an addiction to porn. This seems more in the realm of psychotherapy, and this is a subject I know practically nothing about.

I am not even sure how the addiction manifests. Is it: 'I've just got to see some!'? If you go for a while without porm, do you experience the very uncomfortable feelings of withdrawal?

If there is no withdrawal, no dysphoria (the opposite of euphoria)--anxiety, depression, and restlessness--then there is no real addiction, but only a thought or a mental state.

To my knowledge, 'porn' consists of viewing people apparently enjoying various forms of sex. Now I admit, as a young man I had a certain curiosity about such things, and I checked out the scene a bit when porn was in its glory days in the 70's (BF--before Aids). But I quickly saw that seeing some of it was pretty much seeing all of it, and that all the rest were surely only variations of a theme.

So, not only am I no psychotherapist, I do not even know how this particular addiction manifests, or what the 'symptoms' are, or how it appears from the perspective of the one with the addiction.

I think I simply do not understand what there is to it that is worth being addicted to. Isn't it just more of the same? So exactly what is the addiction 'to'?

As you see, I am no expert on this, but like with anyone else, I am willing to work with you on it. I just need a little more info about what the 'addiction'--if this is truly what it is--involves.

D. R. Butler said...

BreathWorks, I had the same exact question. I even went to the Guru and asked him about it. He obviously felt strongly that it was very important to understand, and in the 30-something years since then I have come to understand it more and more. It's definitely not something that we can simply understand overnight. It is too different from our ordinary view of the world. As you progress further in the course, the answer to your question will eventually become intuitively obvious.

The Guru explained that to one who knows the Self, the waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states are all experienced as the same.

I'm sure you are familiar with the Turiya state. We explore this quite a bit in the lessons. In the Turiya state we can move in and out of the waking state, the dream state, and the deep sleep state, while remaining unchanged, and experiencing all of them as the same.

Right now, if you look beneath the surface, you can see that the dream state is going on right now, and if you should drift from the waking state even slightly, you tune right into the dream state that is always going on. You can also experience that the deep sleep state is as real right now as when you are unconscious. If you go into deep meditation, you experience yourself, as you said, being conscious in the deep sleep state.

The kicker, the thing that makes this so difficult to understand, is that the deep sleep state is higher up the evolutionary scale than the waking state, which is very similar to the dream state when asleep, except that in waking dreams we are limited by space and time, while in sleeping dreams we are not.

Ultimately you will see that as you go into higher and higher states as you experience greater inner growth and expansion, the deep sleep state is actually a very high state. To be in meditation and consciously experience the deep sleep state is a very deep and profound meditation.

It is a very subtle subject. Hopefully there are some helpful hints in here that will help you to understand better. Meanwhile, the lessons of the course will lead the way.

D. R. Butler said...

FB, I don't really understand what you are saying. How is letting your kids know what is in the blog or lessons 'out of alignment'?

D. R. Butler said...

Sukhdev, there are also layers upon layers of understanding the answer to your question. In a certain approach to sadhana, what we eat and drink, and what and whether we smoke or not, is very relevant to the quality of our sadhana.

If the Teacher comes upon people who are basically attached, addicted, and undisciplined, then the first job is to help them clean up their act. They must develop the discipline and will power to not do the things they know are harmful to sadhana, or to themselves or others, and for a long time there must be a great focus on purification on all levels.

However, none of us are ever going to become ideal people in every way. There is no such a person in existence. It is true that each person is totally pure and perfect exactly as he or she is, for he or she is a pure manifestation of Divinity. Still, his or her outer manifestation will not appear as ideal to anyone. There will be things about them that bothers or annoys people, perhaps even things that seemingly prove they could not be the least bit spiritually advanced.

On a certain level, a great aid in one's sadhana is to develop the capacity to see perfection in that which is less than ideal.

I have known too many uptight, repressed yogic types who have very rigid ideas about what spirituality is. They take it all very seriously, and have no sense of humor about it in the least. In order for sadhana to be truly effective, there has to be a certain lightheartedness about it.

Whatever is taken too seriously is in the grip of the ego, for only the ego takes things seriously.
One who truly knows the Self will find it very easy to laugh, and is often in a state most of us would equate to giddiness. Yet it is also perfect Awareness combined with the joy of being alive.

(Continued in next comment.)

D. R. Butler said...

Anyway, I honor the truth of what you wrote. You show good understanding. However I also still stand behind the truth of what I wrote. It is very true when you wrote: 'This is why some spiritual paths have instituted or recommended certain attitudes and behaviours that form a foundation to further the process of “discovery of our oneness with this inner Light”.'

This is absolutely true, and I honor it totally. I have myself practiced those very attitudes and behaviors for many years, and it has been a great process of purification. Layers upon layers of gunk has been purified from my mental, emotional, and psychic systems so that I could one day see and experience the Truth clearly and undeniably. Otherwise we superimpose our own ingrained and conditioned ideas of spirituality and call it the truth.

Still, there are even deeper levels of sadhana, different upayas--a Sanskrit terms meaning 'means' or 'methods' of spiritual practice. On one level you do hatha yoga, meditate, chant, learn to concentrate and visualize, and study the scriptures. On another level you simply KNOW you are the Self, and the same ultimate goal is instantaneously realized.

Once again we are exploring a very subtle subject, and it can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted. You can't do a sadhana of a subtler, more refined level and still get caught up in negative thoughts and emotions. If we get caught up in such things, then more of the disciplined purification process is needed before we can go on.

Once we go beyond negative thoughts and emotions--and limited descriptions of ourselves, others, and life-situations, and all our ideas of how things should or should not be in order to be 'spiritual,'--we considerably upgrade the level we are doing sadhana on. We move on to higher upayas, all of which is explored in the course via email.

Each person does sadhana or spiritual work on his or her own unique level, and some levels require certain attitudes and approaches, while other levels might require completely different attitudes and approaches, or possibly none at all if one takes the most direct route.

On some level at some point sooner or later, we realize we are pure, perfect, and divine exactly as we are, as we are exactly as God made us.

When we live in this perfect realization, this realization of perfection, then what we 'eat, drink, or smoke' is of little consequence. Still, one cannot take this approach too early in sadhana, for the purification process has to happen first before the higher levels of sadhana can even be approached.

D. R. Butler said...

My comment in a thread on Facebook:

Practically all of sadhana takes place on the subtle realm. In a sense, it is the karma of this physical body, but expand the perspective a little and we see that this physical body, and everything pertaining to it, is itself an aspect of karma. Most sadhana takes place in the emotional or mental or psychic realms. The body is simply something to lumber around in while we experience a cycle of karma, beginning with the first inhalation and ending with the last exhalation.

I sense another question from you, though, which seems to pertain to sleep. Should we feel guilty about 'lollygagging in dreamland'? Well, you know I will say never feel guilt about anything, for the guilt itself is worse than whatever you feel guilty for.
Individually, we seem to have unique sleep patterns and needs. Some people, probably those with higher metabolism, get by with less sleep than others. It's been noted recently in scientific circles that most people actually need more sleep than previously thought or recommended. Before it was recommended to get 8 hours, but now they are discovering that people who sleep 9-10 hours or more actually do better in many areas, including, for example, stronger immune systems.

The most important aspects of dreams for 'interpretation,' which for the most part is totally unnecessary, are the feelings in the dream as well as the feelings about the dream. The subtle world is much more a world of feeling than the physical world. In fact, the feelings we have even now are experienced entirely by the subtle body. The physical body does not in itself experience emotions. It is simply the vehical for getting around during this cycle of karma.

Let's not pretend otherwise, laziness does exist, as a product of tamas guna--the sense of inertia and a resistence to rightful (dharmic) action. And it is true that many, maybe most, people need to work on their laziness and not let it get out of hand or become too powerful.

However, the ego is also that which makes us feel guilty for relaxing or recreating instead of 'doing' something productive, to justify our existence, to make our being here worthwhile and not a waste of time and space, as many subconsciously feel.

I was writing just the other day, in the current blog entry, how we emphasize 'doing' and practically ignore 'being.' Actually, in the long run, or even the short run for that matter, 'being' is what it is all about. 'Doing' is so temporary. All our doing and all the results of our doing come and go, and one day will be long gone. Yet, our Being is eternal. Not only that, it is eternally changeless.

This is why the greatest thing in the world we can 'do' is to 'be' present and KNOW the Truth of Being. This all-caps KNOW is not simply knowing information or agreeing with something heard or read. There is a space where Knowing and Being merge as One.

The 'goal'--silly word, but in English it's the best we've got--is for us to live in the full Awareness of the Truth of the Present Moment.

This is Being in all its fullness. Then we are not merely a lump on the log; we are the Presence of the only One.

Pama said...

Hello to everyOne,
After "lurking" for 3.5 years I'm joining you "here" in this awesome, indescribable "place", somewhere in indescribable "space". I am always fascinated by the matrika shakti inherent in the production of sound, syllable, word, etc. as well as how that same shakti "operates" on the "receiving/reading" end. Consequently, I want to express my great appreciation to/for all contributions here.

A few days ago I reorganized all my LTPM lessons and found the following which is probably a couple years old.

{Being a visual person, not long ago I had the following experience in the middle of the night. (Whether it was a dream or contemplation realization is forgotten.) I see in my mind's eye the "tape or film strip" of thoughts s-t-o-p! I observe tiny, tiny fragments of millions of stories/thoughts in stopped motion. I have used this image since, time after time, to see--just as all potential feelings exist, so do potential thoughts/stories exist. Whether "the tape" I saw was my own or a universal film strip I have not discerned. So, to "error on the side of caution" (so to speak), chances are, with all the stories being "on tape" they have already been filmed/enacted, and are in all probability "my" past conditioned tendencies. Samskaras! With understanding from the lessons, they are all, now, awaiting, with trembling trepidation, choice!
This great experience of the stopped tape has a feeling about it akin to Shakti on "pause". I have this slow-motion aid to be aware, hit pause, acknowledge the "good drama" as an opportunity for an intended choice, make the selection in a nano-second and "press play". And from there a new concept goes into free-flow surrounded by will.
The stopped-tape/slow-motion experience has given me the essence of the inner work needed for being established in the choice-makers "drivers seat", the consequence of which I experience, appreciate, and am grateful for the value, the perfection, the connection with the Truth of the Present Moment.
This, in my most recent pictorial experience, is an ongoing recognition of the process of purification. Being in Awareness and co-Creating allows "me" to be an "activist" for ultimate freedom, and observe a tiny frame in the magnificent movie of "life" in a carbon based form.}

It was such a boon to fine this and be reminded of the pure excitement I felt, at that time, with the new understanding. It has renewed my current appreciation level for each new ah-ha as it comes along. May it aid "another"/One.

How I love and appreciate all who make this great endeavor together.
Thank you Ram and Kay.

Ashoka said...

Dear Ram - you wrote: "Right now, if you look beneath the surface, you can see that the dream state is going on right now, and if you should drift from the waking state even slightly, you tune right into the dream state that is always going on." Thank you for bringing this up.
I have noticed this and it astounds me to immediately "get into" a narrative that I KNOW, when just closing my eyes for a moment, for example if resting when very tired, or at times during meditation. And then as soon as I come back to wakefulness or go further into meditation,the scenario and characters are gone, and at that point I reckon it must have been a dream. This would seem to have really far-ranging implications, none of which I ever thought of before...in the waking state. Do you talk about this in the Course?

D. R. Butler said...

We talk about everything in the Course. You can hardly imagine what all is there.

Cynthia Lynn said...

Interesting discussions about addictions:
Everyone in my family smoked except my grandfather. At one point, when I was in high school, I considered smoking ... I was lonely and felt unpopular; thought maybe smoking would change that ... it seemed so "sophisticated" (even though I hated the way it smelled, and everyone's breath also smelled bad!).

So what happened? The Beatles! If I decided to take up smoking - and cigarettes were $5 a carton in 1964 - I wouldn't be able to buy my first Beatles LP - also $5 bucks ... Saved by the music!

What's sad is when you meet someone who's panhandling for a few bucks to buy a pack of cigarettes ... I offered to buy this young lady breakfast, but she had her coffee, and all she wanted was a couple of bucks to buy a pack of "American Spirit." I gave her the cash.

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Anonymous, you wrote a question about internet porn:

"These days it is too easy to get on the internet, and I find it very harmful, and the desire creeps up at the weirdest times. It fills me with shame, after the fact, and I do not support it in any way, as it is so harmful to the people involved, yet I struggle with it."

I hope I am not out of line but I'd like to jump in with some information and thoughts.

In my day job I am a psychologist and I have been hearing and reading more and more about how powerfully compulsive/addictive viewing internet porn can be. On a personal level I have a friend whose teenage son began spending hours on internet porn. Yes, teenage boys (and men) have always been interested in beautiful women without clothing, but this is phenomenon is something else altogether.

There is a great book called "The brain that changes itself". I recommend it and it is truly cutting edge neuro-science. In this book is a whole chapter that covers the addictive properties on the brain of internet porn. For instance:

"The addictiveness of Internet pornography is not a metaphor. ... All addicts show a loss of control of the activity, compulsively seek it out despite negative consequences, develop tolerance so they need higher and higher levels of stimulation for satisfaction, and experience withdrawal if they can't consummate the addictive act....[Porn users are] seduced into pornographic training sessions that [meet] all the conditions required for plastic change of brain maps ... [namely,] rapt attention, [reinforcement, and dopamine consolidation of new neural connections]. p. 108-9 The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge (2007)

Anyway, I believe that your feeling about this is right on; it feels icky to you and it really isn't in the same league as when boys would sneak a peak at Playboy or National Geographic. There is some really negative vibrational energy around a lot of stuff on the internet. Of course on the internet the highest vibrational energies also exist such as in this community.

I don't write this in any morally judgemental way towards you-- Anonymous-- you have my compassion and appreciation of how hard it is and I am glad you were brave to write in.

I think DR might be onto something-- if you are having a hard time stopping yourself from a behavior that you know harms you, there are definitely professionals who have expertise in this area and will help.

Meanwhile, keep on reading your course! Keeping turning towards those higher vibrational energies. My blessings to you. Karen Jo Shapiro

Kaunteya said...

Dear Ram
"Help! Help!"
Here I am struggling in the choppy waves of the ocean and this lifeline has been given to me.
Thank You !
Love
Kaunteya

Chris Griffin said...

There are a lot of negative things written about Tobacco here. It'd be good to keep things in the proper context. Tobacco, for thousands of years, has been a sacred plant to all of the indigenous people of the Americas. There are shamans all over North and South America who do healing with Tobacco. I have personally experienced this, and it is quite remarkable.

Like all sacred plants, when used with respect and in the proper context, it can be very beneficial. Like all sacred plants, when abused it can lead to ruin.

Our society, with its myriad blind spots, takes things that it cannot understand and labels them as "evil". Tobacco is no more evil that apples are. It is, however, easy to abuse.

D. R. Butler said...

Chris, funny, I don't remember seeing 'a lot of negative things written about Tobacco here.' Share with me what all these negative things you have seen are, for I haven't a clue what you are talking about.

Chris Griffin said...

You are right, my bad. What I wanted to say was not articulated very well. It's not that it has been spoken of negatively, and you have been very clear about that. Rather, it's been spoken of as almost a given fact that using Tobacco will lead to negative health effects.

The point is that *abuse* of tobacco will lead to negative health effects. I know many people that are paragons of health from top to bottom who use tobacco is a respectful and beneficial way.

And even among folks who abuse it, I'm not sure it's always bad. My great grandmother lived to be 108 and she smoked for her entire life. When she was 106 she was in the hospital with pneumonia. Her doctor told her she'd die of pneumonia if she didn't quit smoking. So she quite for a few weeks, kicked the pneumonia, then lived for a few more years.

Cristina Santeiro said...

Ram, you wrote: "the ego is also that which makes us feel guilty for relaxing or recreating instead of 'doing' something productive, to justify our existence, to make our being here worthwhile and not a waste of time and space, as many subconsciously feel."
I always have the feeling that I am taking up space in this world. I am basically not interested in many things and keep pretty much to myself. I don't know much about what goes on in the world, or about a lot of things. I see people who have so many interests and pick up on things right away, yet for some reason I don't seem interested in worldly knowledge or involvement much any more. I don't know if this is karmic or if this is an incarnation where my work is focused mainly on spiritual growth, and the world is only a distraction. It just seems really unusual that I am so uninterested in anything. I am fine just passing time at home watching TV, playing with my dogs, or reading a lesson and meditating.

D. R. Butler said...

Cristina, what comes up for me as I read your question is that you simply don't have a lot of karma left. Perhaps annoying incidents come up, like what recently happened in your personal life, but all in all, it sounds like you are free from a lot that most people still have to go through. Passing time at home watching TV, playing with your dogs, or reading a lesson and meditating sounds like a great life to me.

Jim said...

Today I stumbled on an understanding: there is only one joy. There are not separate spiritual, sadhana-sanctioned joys and secular joys. When teachers have suggested that I lighten up and enjoy myself, suggested that I make sadhana fun, I have felt temporary relief from my pattern of seriousness. But ultimately I heard their words through a filter, heard them pointing towards a conditional joy, a joy with strings attached. Sort of like if I said to my kid: hey we're going to play a fun game and it turns out the game is math teasers.

The same joy I would experience playing or watching sports, hanging out at the beach, playing or listening to music, is the same joy as can be had through meditating, worshiping, or a mind-opening moment reading scripture. When I think on this I feel a lightening and unburdening. I wasn't even aware that I had separated enjoyment into different categories.

Somehow this division seems to also have fueled addiction in my life. When the 'highest' joy is limited to such a narrow bandwidth, the quick fix has more appeal. Also it would seem that the joy experienced during an addictive behavior gets sullied with guilt and lumped in with the pain, consequences and dysphoric aftermath of the addiction. Ironic how the enjoyment in an addiction is the hook that keeps it going (the payoff) but eventually all the enjoyment is squeezed out and all that's left is the addiction.

Japanese proverb:
a man takes a drink
the drink takes a drink
the drink takes the man

Kaunteya said...

Dear Ram
This 'Living in the Moment' is new for me, and a challenge. There sure are a lot of thoughts / worries / concerns going on! Bit by bit I am reminded to be aware of awareness.

I wondered why this seems so hard and worked on seeing the positive in the struggle. The hours I am spending painting etc gives me time and distance to contemplate: The positive is that I am becoming more and more aware of all that stuff the mind creates and how it shapes my experience.

I am intrigued by a comment about the the dream state. Is all the stuff going on in the 'dream' state the same as in the 'waking' state? Seems the mind is a busy little fellow and I need/want to distance myself from it's spinning and just be conscious of Consciousness. Bit by bit...(or more appropriately, moment by moment)
Thanks!
Kaunteya

Scott Marmorstein said...

To 'anonymous',

About this porn addiction. I totally get this one. I "suffered" from it between the years of 1997-2007, so a solid ten years.

Yes, Ram. There can be dysphoria when disengaged. It wasn't my personal experience though, but I knew others who suffered when they went too long without a 'fix.' The problem is genuine as it creates the same chemicals as heroine in your body, and you can get a hit anytime you have the Internet and some privacy.

In my case (this will be in my autobiography in more detail) I prayed so fervently that I saw a White Light so blinding that it made me throw up and stay on the bathroom floor, stunned with sudden grief for having lost sight of myself.

However, addiction does not die so easily. What happened? It changed form to a food addiction in my case and as I was traveling on the road with Anusara Yoga from 2008-2010 I ate any and everything in site. I'm currently in recovery from addiction, which I lump all of it, food, sex, porn, whatever, into the same category...addiction is addiction, period. As they say in the 12 step program, "You're never recovered. You're always recovering." And I agree. I don't struggle so much with food anymore, and I don't entertain thoughts of porn either. In fact, the only great suggestion for porn that I can tell is a real spiritual awakening, a support group like 12 steps, and a real partnership with someone you deeply love. These things will be your guiding light. You also have to be willing to come out and expose yourself. "You're only as sick as your secrets." You have to tell others, and ask for support. Bottom line, if you're made to feel judged, the addiction will only strengthen while you pretend you're done with it in public. Hope this helps. I send you, whoever you are, all my light and love!

Anonymous said...

Since addictions and compulsive behavior has been discussed so much on this months blog entry, I'd like to tell you about my experience.

At one time I was a very black and white kind of person. It was all or nothing. You're either with us or you're against us. I had zero compassion for anyone. If you drank too much, you needed to quit. If you ate too much, you needed to diet...no compassion, no tolerance, no gray areas.

Then, as if by some cosmic joke, I became involved in addictive and compulsive behavior. It went on for close to 20 years. It was as if I had no choices. The addiction literally dictated everything about my life. I sometimes felt like I had a choker around my neck and was being led around by it.

I continued to do spiritual practices while I struggled with guilt and shame.

As time went by I began to realize that, because of my addiction, I was becoming very compassionate of others' weaknesses and suffering. I finally began to see that things were not always as easy as deciding to be different.

One day I was indulging my addiction and my good companion, guilt, was paying me a visit. Right about the time the guilt and shame thoughts started to arise, I heard a message from a deeper level. It said, “That's only the mind trying to convince you there's something other than Consciousness.”

I began to realize that my addiction was a perfectly valid and appropriate experience for me. It was something I needed in order to develop compassion and understanding. It had actually made me a better person.

I began to affirm, “I am as I am and I love myself as I am.” I was beginning to see Consciousness even in the addiction. As I began accepting that “what is, IS” the addiction began to become less and less strong until one day I woke up and it was gone.

I've since realized that “Life is innately and wholly appropriate and whatever arises in my world presents me with an opportunity for my progressive evolution.” I thank God for my freedom everyday.

Debbra Bhadra Nazzaro said...

‎More and more I am learning the value of a light heart, am spending more time in that place and it feels wonderful, after spending many years in and out of depression. Thanks to the course and the company of courageous seekers here, heaviness of heart doesn't hold my attention for long anymore.

While re-reading my current lesson this morning, a sentence jumped out at me in a new way. I had already underlined it in a previous reading, and still it felt like this was the first time I was really seeing it.

"Lightheartedness is essential before true spiritual progress is possible, as it enables us to flow toward expansion."

So simple, a primary principle we have heard about since the beginning of the Course. Now though, I had an insight: It isn't just that lightheartedness feels better, is nicer to be around, or even that is attracts better circumstances and experiences. It's that lightheartedness ENABLES us to flow toward expansion! It's what allows us to be buoyant and mutable enough to grow. It is a function...as well as a medium! Ah-ha. :)

Asherah said...

I re-read this morning;

"The feeling of extreme agitation, which we often blame on our fears or on some particular aversion, or insist is perfectly justifiable anger towards another person, is the ultimate villain, the cheif obstacle to our experience of peace, love, joy and harmony."

It says "THE FEELING" and it occurrered to me that there is only ONE FEELING that can distill into many samskara stories. One feeling to learn to divert. One vibrational quality in my body to distinguish from others.

I can do that!!

Colette said...

Since we've discussed addiction a little bit here, I want to read something for my current lesson." Feelings such as worry, fear, anxiety, anger, resentment, agitation, irritation, that sense of overwhelm( making stress larger then Self) jealousy, and unworthiness, become habitual and even addictive. When an emotion is repeated over and over, we have become not only identified with it but addicted to it.

At this point the mind becomes like an attorney appointed to defend such emotions and begin to argue on their behalf. It points out all kinds of reasons to justify and rationalize the bad feelings. If someone explains to us how the feelings are not only negative and destructive but also irrational, we will come up with even more irrational reasons why we are right." These paragraphs made me laugh out loud. I have pretty much stopped justifying myself and my worry addiction to other people, it's only me I have to worry about now. Notice the worry word, LOL. Through the course I am making progress however, thank God for that! I love you all, Karuna Colette

Alison Schers said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing the way you do, for keeping it real.

Love and gratitde,

Alison

Shyami said...

Ram, I love how you laid bare the subject of true spirituality and debunked a lot of common misconceptions about it. A very freeing entry. I wonder if, in the same vein, you might comment on the subject of "spiritual experiences", ie visions, inner voices, movement of Kundalini Shakti... I'm sure many of us have read wild accounts of these things, and I have also read that they aren't as important as they might seem, but what is your sense of where they fit into the whole process of rediscovering our Divine Freedom? Much Love and Gratitude...

D. R. Butler said...

Shyami, I agree with who said spiritual 'experiences' aren't as important as what they seem. Whether we have an inner vision of the green dragon or the purple whale, the only true meaning is in the Seer, Observer, Witness, of the experience. A great meditation or contemplation is, 'Who sees and knows the experience?' The answer to this is the one answer we all seek, and also the one Truth we all are.

Kaunteya said...

Dear Ram
"Who sees and knows the experience ?"
I like that!
Thank You.
Love
Kaunteya

Omkar Naderi said...

I am confused in the lessons about terms such as the one in this article: "You must welcome your own inner Self with respect and love." When you refer to "our own inner Self," are you referring to the God within us, or God himself, or us, or both? Am I the inner Self? I have had experiences of God within me, God as separate from me, but in a delightful way, being able to love God, but then I get confused because of teachings such as "God is altogether you, and you are altogether God." I want to worship God as God, like as the Bible describes, but I also want to know who I am. I just hate thinking that I am God because it takes away from the experience of worshiping "The God," if that makes sense. I hope my question makes sense; please help me to understand.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Anonymous, yes!, in my own experience when we surrender to what is in front of us, to be in true harmony with whatever it is...to no longer resist (to be distinct from indulgence); what once plagued us loses it's charge or power, from an acknowledgement of powerlessness we step into the state of true power.

Ram, as always, your dictation is supreme. I honor the one you represent as myself, as you. Gratitude continues to flow, regularly.

So many things to respond to here! I filled a book with "spiritual experiences" through meditation including lame descriptions of the Turiya state. LOL! It is sublime. Having become addicted to spiritual experiences, I am quite content these days in simply living well without the need to seek those experiences as validation for anything.

D. R. Butler said...

Omkar, what a connundrum. Here is a hint: There is no difference between 'the God within us' and 'God himself.' They are the same. If you truly wish to worship God, worship Him in the form of your own inner Self. There is no other God but this. God exists within only. If you want someone to worship, worship your Self.

Kaunteya said...

Dear Ram, Kay and Every One

I feel that this Course and Blog are giving me the secrets of the Universe, the Meaning of Life, the long sought Answer....

and giving it is a simple, clear, practical way that I can grasp, apply and attain.

Thank You for the lovely gift.

And thank you to ALL the contributors to this Blog - each One is a gift for me.

Love
Kaunteya

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Scott, thank you for your strong and true post about addiction and your own experiences. I agreed with and loved everything you said especially about how healing to have a real partner whom you deeply love.

You wrote:

"You also have to be willing to come out and expose yourself. "You're only as sick as your secrets." You have to tell others, and ask for support. Bottom line, if you're made to feel judged, the addiction will only strengthen while you pretend you're done with it in public."

Right on. I love how you model this for us here by coming directly from your own experience as well as the experience of recovering. I believe your words will be a source of comfort and strength to many who read them.

It is so hard to be honest with ourselves but that is part of our work here, not just with the addictions but all the different ways our samskaras manifest.

I look forward to reading more of your writings in your autobiography! Love, KJ

sukhdev said...

Thanks for the clarification, Ram. My understanding is that the only shortcut to Self realization is through the grace of someone who has already achieved it, and even then we are still not exempt from the laws of karma and are acountable for our actions until we become God realized. You've probably read plenty of stories of great rishis and sadhus who have had to return to the 'wheel of 84' because of their actions. I feel that I'm perfect the way I am and a long way from being pure. I have had fleeting experiences of my Soul /Self and the purity of that state of being is awesome. My  approach is to align myself with that purity of the Self as much as possible and grace will do the rest. What's the aphorism- take one step toward God and God will take a hundred steps towards you ? The levels of upayas is something new to me and something I want to contemplate and learn more about. I'll have to go back through the   Lessons of the course, perhaps you already covered that. My memory is good but it's very short.

Sukala C Boyd said...

Nice one, Karuna Colette. I find I'm gaining observation time. It gives me time to notice, say a word like 'worry'. If I hear myself use it, I note that I want to avoid it. As several of lessons teach, I can substitute a word containing lightheartedness and motivating energy. Thanks to the course I'm embracing our changes at work. All of us are doing well, focusing on the desired outcome. It's amazing to see myself become a team player, learning as I go, even at this stage in my life at 60.

Love,
Sukala

ari said...

Great conversations about addictions. My friend who introduced me to meditation went from being a heroin/steroid addict to a meditation "junky". He quit cold turkey.
Many times we discussed porn and healthy sexual practises. Many times we both noticed that after some intense spiritual work the sexual energy would rise very violently. We suspect there is some misdirection of kundalini energy at work.
We've been condtioned all of our lives and exposed to many sexual images. Combine that with biological urges and you have things like porn addiction.
I took a workshop with DR in tuscon in th elate 90's and it was about guilt. How feeling guilty perpetuates whatever you feel guilty about. Even if you participate in something like porn continue to feel good about yourself. Eventually if you focus on lighter realms, lighter feelings perhaps you will "overcome" these things. In the meantime dont be hard on yourelf. Everything happens through grace. Your not going to "overcome" anything. Only your ego will want to keep you feeling lousy and working on overcoming your addictions.

Anonymous said...

D.R. answered: (march 8)
Shyami, I agree with who said spiritual 'experiences' aren't as important as what they seem. Whether we have an inner vision of the green dragon or the purple whale, the only true meaning is in the Seer, Observer, Witness, of the experience. A great meditation or contemplation is, 'Who sees and knows the experience?' The answer to this is the one answer we all seek, and also the one Truth we all are.

I do not know what you mean when D.R. says...these 'experiences' aren't as important as what they seem". What are they for?
It makes me ask myself what they gave me. They where and are quite important as each of them is a very deep experience which holds in it very deep truth that helps me realize a much much deeper reality. Otherwise it's like reading about something....not experiencing its essence and "knowing" it in a more profound way.
So when you mean they are not so important as they seem,do you mean they are just the finger pointing to the moon? not the moon?
I just wouldn't want to miss these experiences honestly said. They have given me trust and hope and even some clarity about life and myself and guidance to a deeper Self.

Chris Griffin said...

I have many friends who have suffered from various addictions. Even years after giving something up, let's say Alcohol for instance, they will still go to meetings every week and repeat "My name is Steve and I'm an alcoholic." This always impressed me as very destructive. Sure, at one point they have a problem to overcome, but their words and attitudes maintain their imbalanced relationship with alcohol in perpetuity.

It seems that rather than focus all of the attention on that which we wish to transcend, what's needed is to focus on a brighter light, that leads in the direction we wish to grow.

That was how I quit drugs and alcohol in my mid 20's. I became so passionate about meditation that I just left that other stuff behind.

As for porn, I agree with Scott that a good relationship with someone you love is the brighter light that leads to a deeper way of connecting with one another than acrobatic sex.

Omkar Naderi said...

Hi Mr. Butler, I think you mistook what I was saying in my last comment. I know that the God within us is THE one and only God -- that wasn't my question. I am asking this question because I am not sure to worship myself as God, or worship God as God. I am still in my ego, the shadow self, I guess, and when I worship myself as God, I feel like I'm not really touching God at all. When I worship God as God, say, like the Christians do, I feel in touch with bliss and a higher power. I am still just confused about what it means to worship your "Self" - does that mean worship yourself, Omkar, or the "Self" as in God within you? If I worship myself, it feels like shit. If I worship God, then I feel like I am in touch with the Lord -- but not myself, a being within me. What would you say to someone like me who has no realization of himself as God; would you say worship God instead of worshiping myself? Because recognizing that God and I are one and the same is not possible for me.

Omkar Naderi said...

I have another comment. Thank you for your answer in last month about desires. Right now I am actually locked into this state of complete "desirelessness," which is extremely dry, in which I see women totally nonsexually, like I would see a male friend, almost. I have been somehow "forced" from inside to give up desires for women for 3 years. I have been trying to get out of this but I cannot get out. Finally, I surrendered and now I am just blank. It came to me because I was anxious about having to become desireless someday and the Shakti, I guess, gave me this to teach me a lesson. I have been trying to take the shortcut to enlightenment by having no desires (in the past, before you told me to stop seeking enlightenment) but the effect never went away...it has lasted for 3 years. What should I do? Or is this irreversible? I know, what a nutcase I am.

D. R. Butler said...

This thread of comments have taken a strange turn toward addiction and addiction to porn in particular. I have mixed feelings. I like for you to have the space to discuss whatever is in your heart. Yet I'm not sure this particular discussion is truly representative of what we do here, for a new person, for example.

The blog entry was 'what is spirituality,' and although I have no rules that we should remain bound to the topic of the entry, I wonder if we have drifted a little.

Spirituality is seeing divinity in everything. See divinity in addiction, see divinity manifesting as porn, as part of the whole. Realize that only the tandem of ego/mind would object to that. See divinity in the ego and the mind. They are all waves arising from the same ocean. All waves eventually merge back into the One, which they actually never left.

There are many forums on the Internet dedicated to all sorts of addictions. See divinity in them, too. Yet, let's not become one of them.

Let's remain focused on the Truth of the Present Moment, in which no addictions exist. Like everything else in the objective world, addictions require time to exist. Yet, the Truth of the Self is beyond time, and is unaffected by all appearances that come and go in time.

Kaunteya said...

Time to move away from the addiction stuff.
As Ram's post says:
"People ask questions, hoping to solve problems, and yet they create their own entanglement through their insistence on details....They will only drain you of energy and enthusiasm."
I watched the video of Ram once again and am enthralled by it. The energy is amazing. What a sweet gift. We are all so fortunate to be able to bask in such a variety of postive energy.
Thank you
Love
Kaunteya

Mayuri said...

What is Spirituality in 2012?

Is it not the same in all times and all places? The faces and players may change, fads come and go, but the truth of our Being... the awareness that is who we are.... that experience, is it not the same in all times and all places? Isn't it always fresh and new?

Why do I come back again and again to the lessons, over twenty years now? It is because there is something vital and vibrant pulsing in this exchange. It is an inner awakening to a greater truth that is within each of us. We simply need to be reminded. I thank God for you, D.R. and all of you the blog and the course participants. I believe we are creating a wave of awareness that is helping to shift the energy of our planet. I feel that as we become aware of that essence, and treat each other with great respect and love we all benefit. True spirituality benefits all. With great respect and joy, Mayuri

Kaunteya said...

Dear Ram
You write: "I have always advised to focus on teachings and not teachers. No matter how pristine the teachings, the teacher is a human being and can never be anything greater than a human being."
For 30 years my understanding was that focusing on the form of my Teacher was one of the highest practices. Many of the teachings that I followed emphasized (among other practices) focusing on the Teacher's form. That energy was conveyed through that form, as well as through words and teachings. For example, there is the whole Bhakti form of worship, with the joy of seeming duality where the devotee is focused on the form of the Teacher.
In my mind there seems to be a contradiction, which means I don't understand properly. I don't 'mind' my concepts shattered, or newness....and I love and totally support the Course and it's teachings!

When I took a previous Course for a long period of time my understanding was that it's value existed because the Teacher's grace and shakti was behind it.
Of Course, you also write that we have limited ideas of what a human being is. Is this the solution to the contradiction: that ALL human beings can be viewed as conduits of that great energy that can transform us?
Love
Kaunteya

Jane said...

I appreciate and respect Ram's comments about our getting off track with too much discussion about addictions. However, what I've learned in the course about addiction has been extremely helpful for me. In one lesson, Ram speaks about the various types of samskaras and includes 'addictions' - that is how I've viewed my addictions - just another type of samskara. After spiritual initiation, one of my addictions was lifted and another accelerated until I was able (through grace) to let it go. However, the latter still requires constant vigilance and active participation in the recovery process. Having said that, this vigilance no way limits my identity with the highest - just as being a woman, being a this or a that (whatever the role is) or having this or that disease does not limit who I am unless I allow it to. Regardless of the tendency that pulls me into a contracted sense of self, if I practice the principles in the course, these tendencies (samskaras) do not have the same grip on me that they once had. Of course, it is a process which requires constant application and that is why I love the lessons so much.

My recent lesson talked about the upayas (different methods of pursuing sadhana) and granted me a new understanding. I previously would sometimes feel bad about myself (ego) based on which upaya I thought was accessible to me. Reading Lesson 6 Vol 2, I woke up to the perspective that I have all the upayas available in my toolbox. Now when I feel bad about myself (caught in the delusion of the anava mala), I've learned to use the anavopaya (upaya). I've been reading about upayas for many years and wasn't really grasping their meaning and use until this lesson. I'm actually having fun realizing when one or the other upaya is most natural and useful.

With many thanks and lots of love!

Anne said...

Just checking in to thank you for this month's blog entry : ) I have been reading it regularly, and like the lessons see more 'in it', each reading. Every part has something to contemplate, for me!

For instance, "When we accept something as an aspect of existing reality, it doesn't mean that we condone it. We simply don't deny it or judge it. It is what it is. We might even work to help rid the world of it, but that work is not out of aversion, but simply out of wishing to help create a better world."

This explains so lucidly the Truth how to balance those urges to want to 'improve' certain things in this world which concern me ... yet without the burden of 'judgement' ... discrimination yes, judgement, no!! Somehow this is getting clearer to me, the more I read it ... it is OK, even desirable, to want to 'help' remove suffering, but this desire absolutely must be supported by right understanding and love. The sense of harmony possible in bridging duality is so reassuring!

There are so many wonderful & diverse sharings in this thread, they amaze me, often. Thank you everyone and DR, I'll keep reading and contemplating 'What is Spirituality in 2012?' What a great companion piece to the Lessons as well.

Sukala C. Boyd said...

I don't know anyone who hasn't had to deal with addictions. How could there be such a person when you remember what addiction really is? A samskara, an attachment that is ego driven, like an aversions (eg hating this or that) is a distraction from living in the Truth. In my experience, the one great thing about emotional pain is that it serves me to say, hey - aren't I off track long enough? And to ask myself, What makes me happy, what always brings me "back to my heart, back to my love"? This phrase is one of the most helpful teachings of this Course of Learning for me.
To dwell on any negative, whatever it may be, is to reinforce its power, and to say, "I'm just not strong enough to overcome it". Unless I have a mental illness I don't know about, one that needs medical attention, I am very able to take steps to overcome my addiction or aversion. It takes practice practice and more practice. What I love about these vehicles (Face Book and the blog) are the stories about overcoming, about applying the teachings, and how we assist one another.
I get stuck from time to time in bemoaning one thing or another. I get unstuck by coming back here often, along with reading my lessons regularly. The key is applying the Truth. There's just no other way through. And it helps to have the courage to share with each other when we apply it. That's where the strength of the group is palpable.

With love,
Sukala

Scott Marmorstein said...

Omkar this one's for you...

Maybe you should just worship God that is somehow separate from you. When you get bliss from this experience, why try to change it? Isn't that Bliss union itself? You say you feel connected. Right? If you merged completely in that Bliss, you probably would take an indefinite dirt-nap. So while you're here on good old planet earth, do what you can to increase your bliss, and stop worrying about trying to merge into enlightenment (or whatever that even means to you) and just get with the worshipping God and experiencing bliss program. Seems to work for you from your description. Why make it so complicated? Who cares what all these sages are saying? You know what works for you in your own experience. Maybe it will change for you naturally in time. Maybe it won't, but challenge this idea of 'Enlightenment' or worshipping yourself. What is your idea of worship in the first place? Does it mean to kiss the dirt that God walked on? See, things like this are so confusing and distorting to truth. It reads to me like you have a lot of ideas about things, but are trying to make those ideas into realities. Spend some time with reality instead of ideas and see how reality informs or obliterates all ideas. Ideology after all will only get you so far, and look where it's gotten you now. How's that working for you? Seems like it's a confusing place to be.

Anyway, this is just sort of...'fwiw' or "for what it's worth" for you. Don't take me too seriously, but it sounds like you are all wrapped up in a nice blanket of concepts and ideas, not applicable to reality as it is in front of you. If the problem for you exists 'in time' it will always exist for you. "Wait, and you wait forever." Right? These are just some thoughts for you.

Kaunteya said...

Dear Ones
I need guidance/help...
A dark cloud has enveloped me. It has been building over the last few weeks. It is quite painful. I can't seem to resist and feel hurt.
I made a decision to trust someone to build our house and the cost has doubled. We can't deal with the financial burden and are shattered by being misled. Feel we are at the breaking point so...I write to you.
Any guidance/help would be appreciated.
Love
Kaunteya

Darcy said...

What beautiful insightful heartfelt questions, and perfect responses, thank you D.R. all.

To read 'spiritual experiences aren't  as important as  what they might seem' is so liberating for me.  In regard to my own 'spiritual experiences' I never sought them out, they just seem to happen. Since the Course and becoming more attuned with 'Self' they've actually picked up quite a bit.  

Growing up with these experiences had created  much unnecessary fear and uncertainty.  I just wanted them to go away, or try and understand and make sense of them. However, since joining the Course and imbibing my lessons I can finally relax. I can allow these experiences  (which are truly gifts) to come and go as they may... no negative thoughts or emotional attachments to them. I appreciate and honor them for whatever they may represent or reveal at the time. I know everything is as it should be in the Present Moment, and that is enough. 

I am so grateful to be be a participant in the Course. It's truly a blessing. I'm now (after back sugary) beginning to truly physically heal in and through the process, ways in-which I had lost hope. So much is unfolding in the most beautiful way.  My Lesson on living in Dharma is perfect. I am filled with joy and happiness while expanding and growing. I imagine its a taste of heaven on earth. 

In loving gratitude,
D

Tony (Aditya) said...

Dear Kaunteya,

What you did, and did not do, is in the past. It in no way changes who you are, and there is no going back and changing it. You did not make a mistake, even though it seems like a terrible one.

What is in front of you is your karma, about which D. R. has written: "Karma exists to teach us, to strengthen us, to deepen our understanding and expand our awareness, to develop endurance, tolerance, and acceptance, to free us from rigidity, to awaken the awareness of our own Truth, and to eventually bring us into harmony with all that exists. This is the right understanding of karma."

You will get through this. You will look back on it and see it as the blessing it truly is. How great is it, to be brought to "the breaking point"? Who breaks? And what remains when it does?

Impossible as it may seem now, lightheartedness is what you need, and you have it right within.

Love and blessings.

Kaunteya said...

Dear Ones
That was helpful to share, to surrender to God. Thank You. It put things 'in a new light'.
Quite a process!
Love
Kaunteya

Michael said...

A friend raised the question, "why does bliss seem so elusive?" Here is what came up: maybe it isn't so much the bliss that's elusive, but us - somehow we manage to elude the bliss that is seeking us. A great being wrote, "ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running up and down the streets looking for you! " It's the little ripples, not so much the big waves, that draw my attention away from resting in contentment. The ego says, if I'm busy resting in contentment, how will all these things get done?

D. R. Butler said...

Kaunteya, going back to your question on March 11, you ask a question that is much more profound than most might think. There is always this conflict: The Truth is that everything is One and there is nothing separate or different from that One. The One is the Ocean that all the individual waves arise from and merge back into.

Knowing this to be true, there is also something in the heart, a yearning for the beloved, wanting something to love or worship--the bhakti yoga you spoke of, the yoga of devotion, and particularly of worship of the form.

There is a powerful practice known as Guru bhava, where one focuses so one-pointedly on the Guru that he gradually begins to imbibe the qualities and the state of the Guru. It is a way of making the Guru come alive in our own body. Of course, the Guru Principle lives equally in everyone, yet this practice helps some to be more aware of it.

The Guru is an incarnation of our own inner Self. Therefore the Guru is in no way separate or different from us. We think there is a difference between us while the Guru knows we are One and the Same.

So it is a certain path that many people have practiced to one degree or another. Just like all paths, it appeals to some people while others have a hard time relating to it.

We each have our own unique path. Sometimes it takes a while to really understand what form of sadhana is most true to our nature. Never copy another's path; remain true to your own heart. As individuals we have very different preferences, needs, and dispositions--which is the reason there are many paths so that there is something available for all types.

Our Course of Training offered via email is not in itself considered a path, but rather is inclusive of all paths while excluding none. It's an exploration of the Truth of the Present Moment, and anyone of any path or lifestyle can enjoy and benefit from the process.

Seriously, after 50 years of observing what is offered of a 'spiritual' nature, it has become obvious what the primary focus needs to be, for all types and dispositions. Unless we open to the Truth of the Present Moment, we won't fully understand or experience anything we are learning--without the experience of the moment it will only be mind stuff. Understanding and experiencing happens in the present--no other 'time' is necessary. They are not a sequence of events. They are a flash.

D. R. Butler said...

Omkar, you have already received some very helpful feedback. I love it that we have reached the point where several others are capable of clearly answering someone's question. Often I feel I'm hardly needed. (Actually, I am quite certain of it, but that's another story.)

Omkar, as always, you are very much in your mind. I ask you to focus on your heart, and you try to do this mentally. You can't get to the heart through the mind. You have to get to the heart in spite of the constant interference from the mind.

You say you can't see yourself as God. Well, who or what do you think you are then? Do you think you are only Omkar, someone separate and different from the whole? We're always going to be One and the Same, no matter how hard you keep trying to put us together.

In one comment you said, 'I think you mistook what I was saying in my last comment.' It doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter whether I understand or not. The work happens on a much more subtle level than that. Understanding happens, but as a side effect, not as the primary thing to seek. The primary thing is to know and experience That which we think we have to understand.

And this thing you have about desires and women, it's getting boring. Aren't you bored with it. Like someone else once said, get a girlfriend, fulfill your desires, experience life--it won't last forever, but why not include everything.

You worry too much and you're much too serious. Also watch how you describe yourself, for you create yourself through your own internal language. Light up, loosen up, do more things to have fun.

D. R. Butler said...

There is nothing to 'figure out.'

Trying to 'figure out' things with the mind only blocks our immediate access to inner insights that are perfect for what we need to understand right now.

Kaunteya said...

Thank You Tony (Aditya)
I appreciate your kind and thoughtful words.
Karma...a mysterious thing.
I continue to embrace what comes unsought...and will be more welcoming to lightheartedness. Perhaps it is only concepts that will be broken! lol
Your help is a sweet prasad- it will be a gift well savoured.
Love
Kaunteya (Tom)

Kaunteya said...

Dear Omkar
I can relate to your experience. I found that it was (and often still is) difficult to be gentle and kind to myself. It seemed (seems) 'easier' to push and deny. I found that it was easier to sit in a full lotus for 3 hours than ask a girl on a date. Weird.
Look in front of you, around you and in you, what you see 'should' be embraced - it is the opportunity that has been selected for us. Be kind and loving to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat another that you love.
Love
Kaunteya

Kaunteya said...

Dear Omkar
I can relate to your experience. I found that it was (and often still is) difficult to be gentle and kind to myself. It seemed (seems) 'easier' to push and deny. I found that it was easier to sit in a full lotus for 3 hours than ask a girl on a date. Weird.
Look in front of you, around you and in you, what you see 'should' be embraced - it is the opportunity that has been selected for us. Be kind and loving to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat another that you love.
Love
Kaunteya

Scott Marmorstein said...

D.R.

You said, "Sometimes I feel I am hardly needed." Then you went on to say you were actually certain of that, but it was another story.

Once again I find myself in the position of contrarian, especially to this view. I know you (probably) weren't looking for any response to this, but here it is.

Of course you're needed! If you weren't needed you wouldn't be here! Whether other people can answer questions in a way you like, or a way you would have done yourself, doesn't mean anything and I know you know that.

What you have done here is churn the Ocean of Discourse, at least as I see it. I would have said narrative, but no...I see too little story, and much more conversation--not that there's anything wrong with that.

In fact, I think what might "kick this up a notch" as our good friend Emeril Lagasse would say, and make this a little more "BAM!" as he might say, is if those that were interested would share some great stories pertaining to their own experience and or understanding of spirituality. Maybe they have some juicy yarns from this year alone. Maybe you do, in fact...in fact I'd be willing to bet that you have some great tales to tell that are completely timeless.

I remember when I was in the Ashram... I am certain that my favorite part of any activity (except chanting, I loved and still love the art of chanting) was hearing the stories either my guru told, or that swamis told, or that my friends told. Something about that was so...rich.

And, if I may say so, Ram...you tell a GREAT story! I'm not saying you're only needed here to tell stories and churn discourse, but these are the dimensions we get to see you on from our limited window into a limited universe, which we call "The Internet."

Lots of love!

Lynne Bhanu Shulman said...

I so love this “there is nothing to figure out.” Two years ago the body I have became physically ill. I have been unemployed, running through my savings . Why even 7 months ago I tried to “explain” to Ram that I couldn’t afford the Course.  I think within 24 hours I wrote Ram back and said I didn’t know what I was thinking but of course I could afford the Course of Training. He kindly wrote back “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time “ As you might expect, the money appeared, I signed up and here I am seven months or so later. Not only that but all of a sudden this past week Social Security come through for me. Finances stable.
I don’t even feel inclined to figure this all out. It seems I have given this up and it is immeasurably freeing. Why is this body falling apart? Where did the money come from? What should I do next? Amazingly I don’t feel compelled to understand any of this. For the first extended time and I say extended because over the years I have experienced this in short bursts. I am like a puppet of sorts just taking action on intuition. Directed if you will, by the Shakti, or whatever anyone calls divine guidance. It is such a relief. As long as I follow the Course of Training and let the Divine guide my choices and decisions I am really free of the dreaded space of “figuring things out”. I am happy, I am in love with what is. All of this is subject to change when I lose my connection. For now. Right now. So sweet. I love this blog and facebook community .

Anonymous said...

Dear D.R,

Will you please teach us how to dharmically deal with bullies. I need to learn this lesson once and for all. Ahimsa is great but allowing myself to get pounded with insults in the workplace is not good for my morale. I need to learn to set boundaries and train people to treat me with respect. I think that I fail to respond because years ago I use to openly blast people and that didn't work either. I have gone from overreacting to not having any response at all.

christina said...

Ram, in answer to Cristina's post on March 6, you say she may not have much karma left. Is there an allotted amount of karma to be worked through in any given lifetime ie particular samskaras we have signed up for, or in this comment do you mean her overall karma?

D. R. Butler said...

Scott, thank you. I appreciate your expanded vision.

Kaunteya, put more stuff in one post rather than making so many posts, as I am doing here.

Lynn, I truly appreciate your attitude and approach toward life, considering the challenges that I know you face.

Anonymous, you can attract bullying to yourself if you do not have enough self-respect. Overreacting to anything is a quick way to lose respect. You need a big dose of confidence, more self-assurance. Maybe no one has ever taught you how. Do you participate in our course?

Christina, I was referring to the karma of this lifetime. When someone has very few if any relationships, and they have plenty of time to relax in the way they choose, it indicates there's not much going on karmically speaking, for this lifetime. They've reached a point where most of it is behind them.

People who still have lots of karma have busy lives, are in touch with many people on a personal level, have several important relationships of one form or another going on, and just generally have a lot to do on a regular basis.

Of course, it also has a lot to do with age. The younger we are, as a rule, the more karma we still have left to work off during this lifetime. As we age, most of our karma is behind us.

An important principle is that EVERYTHING that happened in the past was karma. It could not have been different; there were no mistakes made; no one ever did anything wrong. It all happened exactly as it had to in order for us to be where we are now.

Omkar Naderi said...

Scott Marmorstein -

Thank you very much for your comment. The wisdom you shared from me is EXACTLY the same as the wisdom I received from my own inner Self, so seeing it from someone outside has really confirmed my own guidance for me and has helped me to listen to it. Thank you for pointing out that what matters is to do what is blissful. I'm going by that now and eschewing my concepts. God bless you. Going back to worshiping God as the separate God who watches over me now and feeling bliss!

And thank you Mr. Butler for your responses as always too. I can see that if I'm not God, who am I, but at the same time I feel more protected and safe believing there is a God/Guru within me who knows everything and is beneficent looking after me. I know, I guess you would probably say, "It's the ego that thinks there is a God within you who is protecting you, you are God," but I like the experience of being Omkar and having a relationship with a separate God. Didn't the saints say to God, "Keep me separate from you?"

Yes, the desire and women thing is getting old. I am getting bored of it too, sorry for bothering you with it. I won't talk about it anymore here.

Thank you!

D. R. Butler said...

Omkar, I understand all your feelings and everything you're going through. They're just 'growing pains' that we all go through in one way or another.

The saints did not really say, 'Keep me separate from You.' It was more, 'Allow me to recognize my at-one-ment with You, and to live in the awareness that we are the Same.'

Still, the saints honored the Beloved and acknowledged what is known as 'the pain of separation.' They enjoyed the pain of separation, the worship and devotion, and the longing for Oneness. Since the worshipper and the worshipped are one and the same, it is always only a play. The only Realization is seeing how it has always been and will eternally continue to Be.

I don't personally care if you talk about your desires and women thing. When I ask aren't you bored with it, I'm nudging you to recognize that it is an imaginary problem you can give up as soon as you can forget about it. It is a problem, like many such problems, that exists in the mind only.

Also it is a habitual way of thinking that seems very real after a while. Sometimes we get in these mental ruts without even realizing it. So the relationship with the Course happens in a way to free you from limiting or restricting ruts or habitual ways of thinking, and replacing them with simply seeing the Truth of the Present Moment.

Omkar, are you reading the lessons regularly? Sometimes certain kinds of questions make me wonder if you are truly paying attention to your current lesson. Something happens through the relationship with the Course itself, something far beyond writer or reader.

Transformation is real and even immediate if we do that which enables us to see and experience the Truth of the Present Moment; recognizing, of course, that the doer and the doing are already done.

ari said...

I love the reminder by you DR about explaining yourself. It was probably one of the biggest lessons I felt like I practised and have fully incorporated in my life. It's seems very natural now not to explain myself.

It's very freeing to remove this unecessary burden in your life. As much as the ego loves to explain itself other people love to put you in positions to have to explain yourself. It's kinda like "what a sucker this guy is trying to explain himself."

I've found it helpful just to agree with people when they ask a question which doesnt require any explanation but for some reason you feel compelled to go on about yourself.

Susan C. said...

Lynn,
Thank you for your comment. As often happens here, it was just what I needed to read this beautiful morning. I have been torturing myself lately trying to figure things out, even though I know better. Your post reminded me that all that is missing is my connection.

Omkar Naderi said...

Regarding the course, I have been refraining from reading it on account of my therapist advising me to stay away from spiritual material for the time being.

D. R. Butler said...

Omkar, I turn you over to your therapist and suggest you only listen to him or her for now. All the best to you.

ari said...

DR: Volume 2 lesson 38 you make mention of the poignancy of life. "much can be learned from the poignancy of life".
do you mean observing it from the witness point of view? Kind of like watching a play with all it's ups and downs?

James said...

The other night I had a dream. One man told me to wait and see someone who would tell me a secret. I received my lesson that day and it was mentioned I was being initiated once again. I am getting more aware about synchronicity of course material. It deepens my value of the course. Again and again thanks to all. Your sharing gets me into the light.

Dave Silverstein said...

In my current lesson I'm reminded of a saying that I've thought about many, many times. "I wish I could start all over and know what I know now." If only this...If only that...

The dream of my mind is always needing to create a new life or 'wishing' things had been otherwise. When I contemplate the awareness that every moment is brand new I'm enjoying just 'being' and accepting 'this' as it is now. I now see very clearly that anytime I'm NOT happy with my life it is because I'm 'fast forwarding' to the future as though my life will be better if I do so and so.

Lately, I've been able to catch this tendency of my mind of creating a 'future' which is no more real then a comic book character's life. In fact Ram, I'm starting to see why you love science fiction so much. The act of just 'being' in the moment of whatever I'm doing IS my life. There is a simple contentment in this for me that is very pleasant. It all feels so much more 'heart' centered then mind stuff.

D. R. Butler said...

Ari, yes, by observing the poignancy of life as the Witness, we grow in both wisdom and compassion. The poignancy of life is a great teacher and purifier.

Dave, here's how I deal with that one. I pretend that I have come from the future to see exactly how this moment in time actually was. This exercise not only centers me totally in the present moment, it helps me appreciate this present moment in a way I never would have otherwise.

Kaunteya said...

Dear Ram
Thank you. The lessons, blog and posts are very powerful and priceless treasures! What connections!
I have entered a new world. It feels like the Matrix movie where I was given the choice of taking the blue pill, or the Total Recall movie where I have left myself a message about what actually is real. By the way, I have been reading Science Fiction for 50 years and found it heartening that you do as well. I have always found 'messages' in the stories and clues to hidden realities.
There have been many experiences, many ups and downs but I know they are all for my ultimate benefit. Sometimes I am in great confusion and pain - then it finally peels away and there is a subtle contentment and a reassuring bliss. Although I welcome the transformations (at least afterwards!) it is also scary and it often puts me off balance. But the support offered brings me back and reminds me. I am being guided. A lot like jumping off a cliff, not knowing what is coming, but part of me trusts and somehow hangs in there.
Thank you One and All...
Love
Kaunteya

Bindu said...

What a fabulous blog. Reading each entry I experienced a series of revelatory answers to questions I was unaware I even had. In particular one of D.R.‘s responses to Omkar Until recently I did not realize nor value how how deeply I have come to enjoy the play of the “pain of separation.” The worship, and the devotion, and the longing for oneness. I have been subtly endorsing the notion that the relationship between student and Teacher/Guru needs to be left behind in order to open more fully to the Oneness. Understanding this too is God’d Play has liberated me from subtle restriction.
Then there is the sense of “what next?” Since the death of my husband in late Oct. of 2011 I have had a feeling that I have very little karma left in this lifetime, as I too find myself with very few if any close relationships and with lots of free time to relax in the way I choose. As an individual who has spent much of her life in intense relationships, and also very participatory in life, this has been confusing to my mind. And dare I say it, I felt guilty. Hoping to get clarity I tried to share this feeling with others until I became aware such a view point was distressing to them. They tried their loving best to “raise my spirits” but Truly my spirits are fine. I am just different. More consistently aware of a calm and completed sort of place. What a relief to affirm as DR said to Christina “its okay not to be active or busy, its okay to relax and be still. Perhaps it is my age or perhaps it is time to let come what comes and let go what goes. In any event thanks for a superb exchange of thoughts and energy. Much to contemplate both here and in my new Lesson. I am humbled by the good company we are being offered. Love and Blessings to all. Bindu

Tara Chinmayi said...

Hi Ram...greetings on this sunny morning...i have been feeling a sense of isolation so in that spirit i am joining in with the blog.
I quit smoking due to Baba's Grace
about 30 years ago. My mother was a heavy smoker and i looked up to her and could see that the smoking was part of her way of coping emotionally with the
anger and frustrations of being a woman raising a family of six children and the pressures of trying to be someone that could entertain clients and help my father with life as an attorney. Reminds me of the AMC show
Mad Men which out pictures many truths of the way things were for my parents at that time. {I was born in the 50s.}Toward the end of her life Mom had to have her leg amputated from her lifelong addiction to smoking. Terrible for all of us to go through. She did quit after it was to late to save her leg. She loved to dance..God it was sad to see her in such agony.
i used smoking to make me feel more secure and deal with my feelings like my dear mother did.

The isolation i am experiencing now
has a lot to do with my precious older brother having had a stroke some months back. Being around others has just seemed to hurt to much and to take to much energy.
I have been feeling like i don't enjoy life the way i once did. The strain of being in relationship with my brother the way he is now is sacred. i have to listen in ways that i have never had to listen to anyone before. i feel deep intense emotions after talking with him on the phone. He lives at quite a distance away and i haven't been able to go see him since the stroke. I have already known a lot of loss and grief this lifetime and have found it to be a true teacher ultimately. Right now i feel like i need some help... to move forward and trust life again. I want to give my Best to this life i have been given.
Love and Spring flowers to all....
Happy trails...Tara

Stef said...

thank you! I'm always so inspired and uplifted by what you offer! Love, Love, Love!
Stephani

Julian C. said...

I'm glad I took time to read this month's post. It was well worth my time and relevant to what I am going through right now. Thank you, Ram. This might just become a habit for me :)

D. R. Butler said...

In the current blog entry I wrote: Spirituality has nothing to do with what we eat, drink, smoke, or anything else...In truth, none of the actions of the body taints the indwelling Self to any degree whatsoever.

Since then I've noticed a couple of comments pointing out the perils of smoking. I trust that everyone understands that I do not condone or recommend smoking, I simply said it has nothing to do with spirituality. I didn't say it doesn't hurt the body. Personally, I cannot even be around someone who is smoking, but that is something about me, and not that I condemn smoking or anything else.

I tend to be offbeat and radical in my presentation of ideas, so the reader has to be alert to not misinterpret anything or to give what is read a different meaning than what was actually meant in the writing.

This month's thread has had some of the strangest comments. I loved Bindu's post, knowing her and all that she's been through for a while before this more relaxed now. Kaunteya had endless good things to say; he must have had a very good month. Even Tara Chinmaya posted a comment in the blog, which proves that miracles do happen and that truly anything in the world is possible.

Thanks to everyone who contributes what they do to our dialogue here. It is an interesting process simply keeping up with the great variety of comments and offerings.

D. R. Butler said...

Wow, Julian C actually read this month's blog entry and might even do it again. Will amazements never cease? I can tell we're going to close out strong this month.

Colette said...

My dearest ones, thank you for all the precious great qualities that you exhibit. Thank you for how you all support my sadhana. I also want to thank our visitors that don't take the course for coming here to explore with us. We are all perfect whole and complete just as God made us.

Through the course, I am learning to focus more and more on that which is in me that uplifts.

A great being once said "to imbibe only the great qualities of others not there sins." The course has allowed me to take this to a whole other level where I only focus on the good qualities in myself so that they can grow, and so that I can share these good qualities with the world.

May you all be in each moment exactly as you wish to be, and may it lead you to your deepest hearts desire. Blessings, Karuna

Divya said...

I read this post earlier in the month and I have needed to contemplate it. I seem to have an issue with seeing God in people who call me names and abuse me as in the last roomate situation. It took me all of my effort to not think of this person in a negative way. I suceeded some days and not others. Now, I have moved on and it still comes up--the thought of the situation and how did I create THAT. It makes me apprehensive about the next step in my life. So I then continue to go back to the practices and to the present moment. The remembering of contentment and happiness that is in my life right now. I know it was karma being played out.I just wish stuff like that wouldn't happen.I am finding it hard to let go of it and not be attached to it.I want to be able to hold onto my state of the Self longer. I also want to be able to look at this with humor rather than such identification. I want to approach my life from the place of the dance of Shiva.

Tara Chinmayi said...

Hi again Ram...the blog is very comforting,thanks..many good vibs.
Thanks for teasing me too, you made me laugh! My new Lesson is comforting and healing too. Nice to know there is so much love in the world.
Peace of the One...Tara Chinmayi

Christina said...

This has just had me laughing out loud! Ram, you really do have such a unique way of speaking which makes the teachings so enjoyable and so personal.Thanks for all your service.

Julian C. said...

Ha, ha, ha, Ram. I'm new to blogs, but I see they can be fun. Time to catch up on some needed sleep though, so I'll see everyone here again later (no, not six months from now).

Cynthia Lynn said...

Dear Ram,
I'm really enjoying the blog and everyone's comments this month. Although I haven't been able to finish your YouTube video due to slow computer speed (which should be remedied next month), I did catch something about the Shiva Sutras ... it caught my attention because my first introduction to these teachings also came from the Shiva Sutras ...

In 1992, as I was walking past a used bookstore in San Diego, I experienced a gentle "tug" that had me actually walking backward to the doorway. Upon entering, I asked for the Eastern Religions section, and the first book I touched was a little book of commentary on the Shiva Sutras by Baba Muktananda!

There is another story behind this, but it's no longer important, as it only existed to "set me up!" LOL!!!

Love and Blessings, and thanks for all you do here ...
Cynthia

Asherah said...

I am intrigued by karma. I recently withdrew myself from a large network of public presentations and relationships because I felt done with them. I also notice now that I created new relationships while staying out of the public eye. I love these new relationships and feel incredibly lighthearted and learning so much about being present, recognizing samsaras and choosing to respond rather than react. I am consciously using these relationships to expand my ability to hold and experience light , energy and love. I feel it is a sadana that is working for me. I am constantly grateful for these amazing gifts the divine, myself, gives me. And now I am curious around this creating more karma. I guess I’m still young at heart and have more busyness to play with.

I so appreciate the comment that the ego wonders how anything will get accomplished if I sit in this bliss all day. I like the bliss too much and laugh at the ego.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Dear Ram and blog friends. Ram, I recall your wish some time previous to see the blog become more interactive. More of a dialogue among friends, well-wishers, supporters. It is so great to see that that wish, that intention has come to pass, you are truely great, each and every one of you. Thank you all for taking the time to listen to each other and support one another. It makes reading this such a great joy.

Shanta said...

Dear D.R.,
I have a question about inner guidance. I recently went to some programs with a female guru and one area I wanted help with was making the decision of whether or not to retire this year. She didn't say anything about that, but she did say she was going to give me a special blessing. A couple of days later, I was at another one of her programs and went into a deep meditative state where I was watching myself think, "Maybe I should take an office job next year." After I heard that question formulate, I heard a male voice say loudly and clearly, "No." I guess I got my answer, but I'm confused about where the voice originated from. Is it from my inner Self or just from some part of my mind or subconscious that I don't usually have access to? Is that how you write the lessons? Also, how do I know whether or not I can trust the "voice". One of my friends does channeling and says that sometimes she contacts entities that are not of the highest type. Anyway, I'm confused about how much stock I should place in the "message" I received. Shanta

Kaunteya said...

Dear Ram
Now when I wake up I am aware of thoughts and immediately want to focus on the present moment. I get out of bed and here I am!
Yesterday the mind kept going back to it's pattern of thoughts... and I could not remember how to get back to the present. I had to scramble... and recalled, be content, be happy. But the mind kept going back to it's pattern of thoughts and worries. All I could remember was 'be content, be happy' so I repeated that and then other phrases came up from the Course, Blog and Facebook and I was rescued. I also had sent myself an email with quotes. 14 hours at work ... but I was peaceful: content and happy.
Others were a joy. The work in front of me was welcomed to help focus the mind and be in the moment. Outer dramas were met with responses, not reactions.
I shall continue focusing my will to support this new and highly beneficial 'habit'. Amazing how the world is suddenly transformed !
Thank You for your help!
Love
Kaunteya

Becky said...

Part of this earlier thread reminded me of a recurring question. Are there certain places, locales, in the world with more or less karma? It seems there are so many pockets of cancer these days. My dad is recently diagnosed and there are great numbers in his area who have been through cancer and are currently. I am with my parents now helping, grew up here, but am about to move to another country and quite an unknown one to me. All this has me wondering, do places hold karma, too? Are there pockets without karma? ... just wondering.

Anusuya said...

Bindu
As another of the widows, I can relate to the feeling you are talking about. I miss Pat and our life together, even though it was like someone else's life the last few years, but also feel strangely content. The karmic movie is so different, I feel like I'm caught between lifetimes or something. I also experience a sense of completion...but maybe it is just completion of a big chunk of karma, and more is on the way when the timing is right. This is just the respite after a lot of hard work. Seems like it would be hard to stay here without more karma to work through.

Carmen said...

I read the course and blogs. Thank you for the lessons.

I just moved from Europe to USA 6 months ago due my husband's job. I left there family, friends, jobs, and everything gave me identity and happiness.
Here in USA I am not working waiting for a job and in a house I don't feel mine, I am meditating, puja, chanting, mantra, etc
at the begining I was trying to make sense give a meaning to my time here...a Purpose...

I am no longer feeling joy nor sadness, I feel like in a void, purposeless, don't have sense of time nor care for anything that before was giving me joy.... do not understand reasons for being here...dont' have wishes ..do not wait for anything...is this death? is this ok?
thank you, Carmen

Shanta said...

I have a question about what it says in the course about never trying to change anyone else. I'm not sure how that relates to situations where someone is either hurting themselves or being disrespectful or hurtful towards me. For example, if a family member develops a serious drug or alcohol problem, it seems like the dharmic thing to do would be to try to get the person to change, if you can see they're headed for self-destruction and they are too confused to recognize it.

Also, I had a situation come up recently in which I felt a friend was treating me inconsiderately. He didn't follow through on anything he said he would do, so I felt like I was being lied to over and over again. I didn't want to end the friendship, but I didn't think it was good to keep tolerating being treated that way either. When I discussed the situation with him, he said that's just the way he is and there was no need to take it personally. I can see that he's correct about that, but it also seems right to me that I made an effort to try to get him to change how he is behaving with me, since it's ruining our friendship and I don't feel like I should have to keep enduring it. Shanta

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Hello everyone-

I made a point to re-read this blog this morning and am really glad I did so. I found that for me it takes a bit more discipline to read this blog, then the comments, and stay open to the comments I can contribute-- than it does to read the course or read Ram's FB page. (Maybe someday Wordpress will get that cute "like" button and a way to post an image of ourselves if we choose.) But it was worth the effort. (I just started the course section on priorities)

What stood out to me on this reading was the following:

"The Truth will never be found in facts, or in anything that makes sense to the mind. Have you ever explained yourself to a baby? Probably no way the little one could possibly understand what you are talking about, right? The same principle applies when trying to explain the Truth to the mind, which has a very crude understanding at best.

It is good to understand that what I refer to as Mind is totally different in nature from the conscious, waking mind (manas). "

I feel like for the first time I really get that my mind can't "get it". I need my mind to keep things organized and make sense of my current "reality" (so I am glad I get to keep it and retain this functionality) but the larger questions of how can I be One and this individual-- well my mind's -baby-self is just boggled and that's now okay.

The Course helps me more and more tap into Mind, or some periphery sense of it. I am so happy to relax into the course of training and let it do its thing, for if I had to plan my own development, my mind could never figure it out.

I love all your comments and shares. We have something amazing here that we share. As Ram says in this blog, spirituality is about Being more than Doing. Blessings, KJ

D. R. Butler said...

Shanta, I wouldn't take stock of any 'message' at all, which can just be the mind messing with you, unless you have a strong feeling of rightness about it in your own heart. There is nothing outside you to get a reliable message from; that would be living in duality. The Truth always arises from within, never from without, and it always arrives with an uplifting, elevating feeling, and never leaves you feeling worse.

If you want to help someone change for the better, be supportive and encouraging. You can't help anyone get free from anything by nagging them or pointing out something negative about them, or speaking to them in a chastising manner. To help another, the most important thing is to be loving and respectful.

That last paragraph you wrote just sounds like you are getting too involved in the world of objective humanity, which is invariably in error. Don't get so involved with others, or how they treat you or how they see you or what they say to you or about you. They're just doing what they do. There's no reason to take any of it personally.

D. R. Butler said...

I'll catch up with other questions soon. My daughter Sara is visiting for a few days and I am being with her and spending less time on the computer for now. Thanks for understanding, and for continuing with your own contributions to the comments. It is great knowing the community here is strong even when I am around less often than usual. Love to all.

Margaret M. said...

Shanta, I hope you don’t mind if I put in my 2 cents worth of comment on your situation with your friend.

For a while my daughter used to leave me waiting outside school to pick her up while she essentially lost track of time and didn’t come out. So, we decided that I would wait there for a while (5 -10 minutes) at the appointed time and then I would just leave. At that point she could walk home – not really that far. That worked for us and she got MUCH better at informing me of her schedule.

Maybe you can do a similar thing with your friend. Have a plan for yourself – you don’t necessarily have to tell him - so that you respond instead of react and get upset. Don’t count on him for something important & if you make plans to be together, have an alternative plan, too. Wait for him for whatever amount of time you think is respectful, then text him to let him know that you’ve either gone on ahead or changed plans and perhaps you will see him next time.

That way you have not left him hanging – you have been respectful to him and to yourself and you still have something fun to do. Be in harmony & go with the flow. If that is really just the way he is, he will understand. If he wants to change his behavior, he will change. See the good that you can in your relationship with him and let the rest drop away.

Colette said...

I have a question, How would your life look if you focused only on what is great in you and in 'others', which of course is also you, and you refused to allow any other thoughts in and if you did you laughed and went back to the above? Even practicing this slightly I feel giddy. Anyone else want to play? Love and Blessings, Karuna

D. R. Butler said...

I like that game, Karuna. I will play. As far as your 'question,' the answer is that you would live in love and lightheartedness. Great game.

Julian C. said...

nI just returned, as promised, and got to skim through this entire thread. What a wild ride! I'm glad Ram pulled the discussion back to the original question from the porn excursion. I could comment on a lot of the topics which have been brought up, but I'm feeling tired and I need to get to bed. I see "spirituality" as being nothing more than true freedom from all the lies, games and entanglements which keep all of us trapped in what could be described as a dream or nightmare. Once you wake up to the Truth of the Present Moment, even if it's only momentarily, this dream begins to loose it's grip.

Julian C. said...

I'll try to start reading these blogs as soon as possible after they are posted, and check on the thread more regularly from now on so that I don't end up trying to catch up like I did this time around.

Of course, reading and participating in this blog doesn't make me more "spiritual", but I do want to help contribute to our collective awakening. I also don't want to miss out on any help available through this blog which might serve to help me in my awakening.

Bindu said...

Karuna, What a great and yet simple game. I'm in!
What you say is true, I feel lighter and happier just trying it. Thanks for the "tip."
Bindu

Pama said...

Greetings to Ever'One--A little share!

Fri. night-Reading the Yoga V! Visistha is using the analogy of water in the mirage (which is, of course, unreal) with the various "levels" of world appearance arising as notions from infinite consciousness.

Sat. afternoon-Raking the yard! I was focused on the simplicity of raking, when I suddenly became aware that my mind was off on a tangent of it's own telling some story from the past to some imaginary someone. Reining in that "race horse", I put forth the inquiry--into what "aspect" of the Self would I like to contemplate?
Immediately, it came that I would like to view this present moment as "water in the mirage", a notion of the infinite, an undulation in the ocean of consciousness. In that instant my entire perception began to shimmer a sparkly silver-
gold and "I saw" how thin is the veil. I heard laughter echoing through the neighborhood and discovered it was coming from "my" mouth. Raking resumed...with an agreeable amount of chuckling.

Sat. evening-Reading blog comments!
There is Karuna's open invitation to "play the game". As I have completed "the game" section of the course, I was off with more laughter. It seems by Karuna's
asking for "players" that the "anty" in the game (for me) has been upped. I'm here to play.
Thank you, my heart, for the original invitation. Thank you, Ram, for keeping the invitation ever in front of me/us. Thank you,
Karuna, for "upping the anty". Love!

Colette said...

Thank you for playing Bindu and Ram and anyone else who is so inspired but had no need to say so you all rock. Love,Karuna

Michael said...

Three years of taking the course has helped me to be less reactive. Where I once reacted with anger or annoyance, I now bless with an inner smile. Oh, once in a while events conspire to expose a big samskara and there is a struggle for a while to maintain poise and not give way to the reaction. I'm learning, however, to anticipate being ambushed at any moment. Luke 12:39 states, " And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through."

Charles Deschênes said...

Karen Jo, it's amazing how, through the course and all the tools offered to us, there's something keeping us all in sync. What you're describing is really one of my current insights. I've always "known" it, but it has become a deeper understanding lately. It is becoming more an experience -- and that's really what it is, an experience. An experience which is beyond words.

So now what I have to do is have faith in something which cannot be really put into words. My mind has some hesitations... and it's understandable. The poor thing has lived in the supremacy of thoughts for so long, it forgot how to feel along with the feelings.

So the Truth is very silent. It is an experience. There's something that has to be let go of. Slowly we can increase our dedication to the space between the breaths, or the space between two thoughts -- thus opening to the heart, to all of its unspeakable treasures.

Karuna, this is a serious game! hehe. A game I've been playing lately, maybe on a slightly different angle. I don't necessarily look for qualities, but I stop looking for things which are unpleasant for me (in me and others). I mean, for example, how useful is it to feel offended by something someone does? Say I see a guy in the subway, he puts his feet on the next seat, takes another one for his bag, an the subway is full. Now I could have a reaction and think to myself "what a jerk! How can one have so little respect!". But how would I feel then? Wouldn't I have this totally unpleasant feeling in the heart, like if there was some bad chemical being mixed in, so to speak? Would having this thought make anyone else's live better? Nope.

Now, if I just let myself delve into the silence of the mind and perhaps simply find it amazing how different vision some people have -- oh, and if I want to be bold I can even laugh inwardly, thinking "my Self has taken quite a disguise in there!" --, then, how would I feel? As great, or even possibly even greater than before I saw this person! Any downside? Nope. Will anyone be hurt by me having this attitude? No, on the contrary it will be much more pleasant being around someone lighthearted like this.

Of course, if an old lady is standing up, all of the above will not stop me from gently suggesting he leaves some space for her!

So theses days I'm playing with these things. I'm having fun.

Charles Deschênes said...

Becky, my understanding would be that everything that is being lived is karma. Great beings who have "attained" everything, stay on this earth until there is no more karma for them on the physical plane.

I think the question whether there's more karma here or there is not relevant because any and all karma that we are experiencing happens wherever we are.

Going somewhere else to "start a new life", will not change anything in how we let events and other people affect us. The samskaras -- these "bad habits" we have, in the form of way of thinking, or reacting in ways we don't want to -- will keep on popping up, wherever we are. I know a few people who had a first hand experience of this...

Ultimately, what we can do about karma is doing our Dharma of self-inquiery instead of focusing on specific events (while of course doing everything we can to help others in their life and doing ourselves whatever is needed to prevent disease -- for example, by stopping smoking).

Fear of the unknown can be overwhelming. But taking one breath at a time we can move towards a new world -- from the inside --, we can connect to a wonderful source of happiness, joy and peace. Then, karma will be dealt in the most appropriate way, wherever we are. And we will have all we need.

Darcy said...

Dear Carmen, I feel you.  I left my home country (US) four years ago to live in Denmark (my husbands homeland).  Its a great challenge. Thanks to the teachings of the Course  I'm at place of peace and joy  -- even when challenging circumstances arise. I've found if I truly  imbibe my  lessons. I'm returned to the place of heart where peace love and joy reside. Stay strong dear Carmen, you're on the right path. Sending much love and strength. In fact today I woke with such energy it was challenging to just 'be' with, so I read my lesson and  here I am. :) Always returns me to a place of Truth. 

I teared up with joy when I came upon  your comment Ram: "People who still have lots of karma have busy lives, are in touch with many people on a personal level, have several important relationships of one form or another going on, and just generally have a lot to do on a regular basis.".

I'm forty two and have a small handful of friends.  My life is simple (hasn't always been;).  I'm a simple housewife in a humble home (I'm grateful I have a roof). I'm a mother of  two beautiful  sons. My oldest  lives (most of the time) 5,000 miles away. Presently  on paper -- my life would not be  considered ideal, especially in terms of social or economic  standards,  but I'm so happy. My life is rich and full.  I no longer feed that ego driven voice,  the one that says: "Get out -- Be more, Do more!".  I enjoy  life, as it Is -- the rhythm is perfect.   Being with nature and silence (as time allows) is very fulfilling.  Even on the days or moments my traveling companion named pain decides to reside  with me, (which I'm grateful is much less than it used to be). Today is Now. Life is a dance and I  have the  choice of making it any dance  I choose. 

I'm Living  in The Truth of the Present moment.  I'm present, content and fulfilled, whatever may be Now.  I wish you all the same on your journeys. 

This speaks to me in this moment, from lesson 10: 
We create our own experience from moment to moment, and how we *describe* conditions and situations in words to ourselves and others  *is* our personal reality. 

Thank you for your words  Kristopher S. and I'm in Karuna, as D.R. Describes. :)

Yay for being 'aware of our awareness'. 

With an abundance of gratitude and love,
D

Debbra said...

The past few days have been intense family karma for me and I have fallen for a few minutes into a pothole of samskaras. Both my elderly parents are very sick and in the hospital. I am in the brave new frontier of figuring out what my role is as the only surviving child, seeing them to the end. Also, there is the mentally ill mother..and the samskara that goes with being her daughter as well. If anything could supremely challenge me it would be this bit of karma..and it has. I haven't felt this disconnected for a long while.

And yet once again, coming here to this blog and comments has re-focused me on the truth of the present moment like nothing else has been able to. Karuna's game is simple and perfect for this moment, and Charles' wise comment brought me back to the heart:

"Fear of the unknown can be overwhelming. But taking one breath at a time we can move towards a new world -- from the inside --, we can connect to a wonderful source of happiness, joy and peace. Then, karma will be dealt in the most appropriate way, wherever we are. And we will have all we need."

So much gratitude to Ram and everyone here for keeping this space vibrant. I recommend to anyone reading this, next time you think you have met your biggest challenge yet, just come here for the shortcut back to your heart. :)

Kaunteya said...

Dear Ram
Life feels so different now that I have made connections to this blog, FB and the lessons! And Ram, from my point of view, you are the catalyst and perfect 'messanger' affectionately manifested for me (so I trust and hope that you will be around for a long time!) I am very thankful for the guidance and support. I look forward to my awareness of Awareness increasing each moment.
I am brought back to focusing on Now, on being aware of the mind spinning it's web, on the greatness that is in me and in all others. Humour, contentment and acceptance are predominant. Truly my outer perception and experience have greatly shifted to the positive!
How can it be put into words? Such profound gifts and such welcome reuniting...There is only Now...there is only One...as the will is focused...as 'I' am reminded...lightheartedness and a flowing are the experience.
Ram, Kay, and all 'others' - thank you for your gifts! The journey shall continue after a seemingly long hiatus. A journey that is loving, gentle and longingly appreciated!

Ellen said...

I love reading this. I think I see most clearly here, the oneness. All the different stories and ah ha's, they are all mine.

I smile each time I come here to see what new has been added.

Thank you, everyone.

Sylvia in Colorado said...

Charles, regarding your post on March 27: you always have just the right words for what I need at the moment. As my karma/samskaras have been intensified lately due to a family situation, your last paragraph above about "fear of the unknown" is what I needed this morning. I have already been using everything I've learned in the Course just dealing with my brother. But then comes my Mom's actual death. I have Hospice in place in the nursing home, which I know will be great support to the family and to Mom. Fear of the unknown comes from being part of my Mom's actual dying process. I've never done this before.

What Debbra wrote, and what Kaunteya wrote in late March, BOTH express my feelings to a T. Thanks to both of you for speaking from your heart and from mine.

If anyone has any words of wisdom for me on witnessing the demise and death of my mother. Charles?
Ram? Scott? Anyone who has been through this, I'll be looking for your response here in our meeting place of the heart.

Kaunteya said...

Dear Sylvia
My dear Mother passed on about 2 years ago. I miss her physical presence greatly yet know it was time for her sweet soul to move on. I also know this opens a new journey for me. Of course she is still as close to me as ever and is available in my heart whenever I choose.
Thankfully I spoke with her just before she passed. I blessed her and told her that she had done a good job and could stay longer or pass on. I pray that both your mother and you are at peace. All is a perfect unfolding.

Sylvia in Colorado said...

Much appreciation Kaunteya for sharing your experience of your Mom's passing. Thank you for your prayers for me and my Mom. You are right that all is unfolding perfectly. All this month, I have been dealing even more intensely with my brother re: the best care for our mother. I was so hoping for some words of wisdom to appear on the blogs about this obviously karma-entwined relationship with my brother...low and behold, it was right in my current lesson. I don't know how I either missed it or overlooked it, but, thankfully, there are the answers (as always). "As we spiritually mature, with a growing awareness of the true nature of things, as we stand taller in the light and expand our inner state, we naturally feel more compassion for the plight of others. We become less judgmental of others, less critical of them, less angry with them for their faults or mistakes, and we discover a new level of forgiveness within ourselves, to the degree that eventually everyone is forgiven for everything." In another section, Ram writes,"If there is something you do not forgive someone for, then that person and that unforgiveable action must somehow, in your consciousness, be other than divine."

I knew this...that all things are forgivable just as all things are divine. But when I applied it to my situation with my brother, somehow, it translated differently ...I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I did not know if it would ever be forgivable. Now I know I can meet the challenge of forgiveness all around. My teacher always said "everything happens for the best." Whew, this was a big one! Love to all

Sylvia in Colorado said...

...Oh, and then there is Karuna's invitation to play the game of seeing only the highest/greatness in my brother. He is also my own Self playing Sylvia's brother. Inside myself, I thank him for playing that unattractive role, and I send him blessings. Inside myself, I wish him well. I have yet to say this out loud. Ooooo, that sneaky old ego has it's own games to play, but I am onto it. Heehee.

Thanks everybody for this month's sharings, insights, experiences, and love, one toward the all and all toward the One.