Thursday, August 2, 2012

What is the Difference Between Enlightened and Ordinary?

This question has come up for me recently, probably because I’ve been feeling absolutely ordinary.  Yet I also know that the last 50 or so years of my life, I have studied and trained and practiced the principles that supposedly lead from ordinary to enlightened.  If the end result of being enlightened is to arrive at being absolutely ordinary, what does this say about the whole idea of ‘spiritual growth’?  Is there such a thing?

Something on the inside changes—an expansion of awareness—yet nothing on the outside changes, where other people will readily notice.  Personality traits remain basically the same, and we tend to have the same general preferences.  Yet, we remain quite ordinary.  Enlightenment is not becoming a ‘Super Hero.’

I stumbled across yoga and meditation and the power of thought at the age of 15, in 1960, in Vicksburg, MS, of all places.  I did not meet anyone else who also studied or practiced such things until I moved to Manhattan in 1968.  There, various teachers and groups were available, and I entered a long period of spiritual promiscuity, going to as many gatherings and classes as possible, going to the talks of all the well known teachers and yogis, trying to assimilate everything anyone had to offer.

Right from the beginning the goal was enlightenment, liberation, Mastery.  We could go through a process that would transform us from being an ordinary person to being a person of the miraculous.  We would go through a process from being ordinary to being a Master, a Siddha, a Perfected Being, one with universal Consciousness, free from all ego and samskaras—except that which is necessary to keep him or her in the body.  When we completely run out of karma, we leave the body.  The body is basically a cycle of karma.

What will be the difference when we get there to that point of perfection?  Supposedly there will be a great ‘improvement’ over how we are now.  We will become better if we practice diligently.  Some have the mistaken idea that if they ‘try hard,’ success will be won.  However, nothing of value is ever gained from the illusion of ‘trying hard.’  Intention plus attention plus will power might accomplish something of value, but there will be no ‘trying hard.’

Anyway, finally, after all these years, I have come to see myself as completely ordinary in all ways.  At first there was disillusionment, as I had previously bought into the idea that I had actually become something and that now it was lost.  Following this was a great sense of relief, a lightness, a sense of freedom unlike any other.  If enlightenment was anything, it was nothing.  There was nothing to attain except just this.    

Perhaps enlightenment is a more expanded way of seeing and understanding things.  This is a simple way of glimpsing enlightenment.  I say glimpsing, because we really can’t comprehend it with the mind, which is a contraction of pure Consciousness.  In addition, enlightenment includes freedom from the mind, and how is the mind going to grasp that?

Recently, on my Facebook page, I posted the following: 

This pure Consciousness has taken all these forms that appear in the physical, emotional, or mental universe.  It manifests as the cosmos, which includes all universes, all worlds, all realms, and all levels of existence.  It includes all of life, all of death, and it also exists beyond the polarity of life and death, as well as all polarities.  Light and dark, wrong and right, good and bad, pleasure and pain, spiritual and mundane, are all included equally within it.  It is the Absolute.  We experience it within ourselves as our own Awareness of Being.

Someone replied that this was only a subjective belief.  This gave me cause for contemplation.  Is the above paragraph only a subjective belief?  To me it is intuitively obvious and is supported by the authority of respected ancient scriptures.  In short, it is simply the way I see the world.  Remember, I began reading and studying such things when I was 15, so it feels very natural now to see the world this way. 

To myself I seem like a totally ordinary guy, and yet the experience of light and love is always present to some degree.  Just going by this, the line between ordinary and enlightened is quite thin and possibly irrelevant. 

I used to think of enlightenment, or the endgame of the spiritual path, as some kind of consistently exalted state, with light and love gushing, bliss pervading each and every moment.  I got to the point where I could experience all that, but then something would come up that would capture my attention all over again, and the love, light, and bliss would be forgotten. 

So I realized I had to work on consistency, and that consistency is necessarily a primary aspect of enlightenment.  We can’t be immersed in God in one moment, and then take someone’s words personally and react defensively in the next moment.  Enlightenment is being consistently in harmony with whatever is. 
         
It is impossible to disturb or distract the equanimity of the enlightened, for enlightened remains always the same.

Is ‘enlightenment’ simply being our ordinary selves in our ordinary lives, having attained nothing that was not always already present in the first place?  Is it like the T. S. Eliot poem about arriving at the place we first began, but understanding it for the first time?

The difference between ordinary and enlightened is that the ordinary wants more and experiences restlessness and frustration, while the enlightened is content to be ordinary, content with ordinary life, needing nothing to be whole and complete, and having no need to be better or to seek improvement.

Being ‘spiritual’ is not going beyond the physical world, transcending it somehow.  If we were supposed to do that, we wouldn’t have been given a physical body in the first place.  True spirituality is seeing God, or the play of Consciousness, in and as the physical world, in and as all these other beings, and in and as us.  It is not changing anything.  Things constantly change all on their own without any help from us.

This is a very large subject.  To fully explore it would be to participate in the Course of Training via email, yet here and now we can look at it and contemplate it and realize the Truth for ourselves.

Some people might question participating in a course written by a totally ordinary person.  This is when we realize that the course has nothing to do with the one typing it.  If teachings of Truth or transmissions of energy flow through an individual being, they have nothing to do with the person functioning as the teacher. 

An ordinary person has firm conviction in his or her personality and personal life.  Enlightenment is realizing they are not who we are and actually have nothing to do with us.  It is witnessing with a lighthearted state, witnessing the play of this world with full compassion for the pain and suffering that exist in this world.  There is unconditioned love, and the total absence of being judgmental regarding others.

As is our tradition, we will have some responses to questions in last month’s comments, without necessarily quoting the question.  Yet anyone who reads this gets exactly what they need at this particular time.  It’s a long story.

Soon the things you question will become obvious.  The Upanishads, one of the great texts of the East, say that God is the Witness of the mind.  God also witnesses everything without judgment, for He knows Himself as pure Consciousness, and knows that this entire universe is a play of Consciousness.

Each individual experiences their just and rightful karma.  You might not be able to see in this particular incarnation why something is so, but if you saw their last three incarnations it would be obvious why they are going through whatever they are experiencing.

God, pure Consciousness, sees everything as an extension of Itself.  There is nothing separate or different to consider—there is always only One.  This is our true and eternal state.  Everything else is the play of the mind, the experience of all thoughts: cause and effect, as the Law of karma.

The numbness between your eyebrows could mean anything you believe about it.  My ‘advice’ is to be the One observing the experience.  It doesn't matter what the experience is.  The only thing that matters is our conscious at-one-ment with the Witness or Observer.  Our true nature is the Knower or all that is known and the Seer of all that is seen.  This is how we eventually learn to see and experience ourselves, as our true Identity.  Such is the state of the enlightened.


Fearlessness is an attribute of the enlightened.  As long as there is fear, we are limited to individual ego.  Fear, according to the Upanishads, arises when we see ‘another’.  When we experience the Oneness and Unity of all, there is no fear, there is only contentment.  Constant contentment is enlightenment.

There might be harder days ahead, yet there will also be days so glorious you might never have thought you could experience something so grand, or that you were worthy enough, which is where many people have a problem, thinking of themselves as unworthy, often without realizing it.

It is good to be adaptable and to develop tolerance and endurance.  These are each essential aspects of spiritual evolution.  Enlightenment is being established in contentment.

Justin, what you say is true for all of us.  We are never going to be ideal, and our lives will certainly never appear to be ideal in all ways.  We will continue making the most stupid mistakes and saying embarrassing things that we have no idea what or where they came from.

This is just human life happening.  The secret is to stop identifying with it and caring about it.  Our basic reason for being here is to know, feel, and experience our own true Nature, which is the Reality even when we're totally off the wall on a personal level.

In the course we explore the 'superficial and superfluous realm of thoughts and emotions' that are part of being a human individual, and come with the incarnation as much as the physical body itself.  Our work is not to get rid of it, improve it, or change it in any way.  The true inner work is the present moment awareness of the Self, the pure Awareness of Being.

When we are aware of the Truth, and LIVE in the Truth of the Present Moment, it won't matter what is happening in the realm of karma.  It is simply how the movie of this individual life is manifesting right now.  Everything passes except the Witness of all that happens.  The seen constantly changes, but the Seer remains eternally the same.

We don't have to 'do' anything except remain lighthearted and loving and appreciating the humor in the appearance of this world.  You will find this easier and easier as you go along.  In the physical realm in particular, such things 'take time.'  Maintain a strong conviction regarding the conclusion, if you know that it is in the best interests of everyone involved to do so.  This is dharma.  Dharma is living for the whole rather than for the part.

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

French: drbutler.course@gmail.com

99 comments:

Kaunteya said...

I feel this post is one I have been waiting and searching for. It puts me at ease and takes the pressure off. I see now that I don't want to be 'someone special' or to 'prove something'. I just want to watch lightheartedly.
Thank you! :-)

Scott Marmorstein said...

Great entry, thank you Ram!

Anonymous said...

I have been in the presence of an enlightened being and she was as natural and unassuming as any one I have every met. She could appear just as ordinary as anyone. This helped me accept our personal nature and appreciate the spiritual nature - having the former does not preclude the latter. This blog entry certainly confirms my obervations more than ever before. On a similar note, I used to think a great being comes into this world to give enlightment to others, which a great, but I have realized that to an even greater extent, a great being comes into this world to facilitate the spiritual growth of the masses - which is HUGE.

Naganath said...

This entry is so fine and refined. Your words are "more" pure than ever. So inspiring. There is really nothing to say, except this course is transformative and beautiful. Also, your words remind me of what I wrote and believed in high school: Objectivity equals Subjectivity squared. Thank you.

Noah Naderi said...

Thank you Mr. Butler for writing this. You have changed my understanding of enlightenment to see that it is not "different" from being an ordinary person. I used to think enlightenment would make me better than an ordinary person; now I see it is showing you who you are, the Witness, and it is not being superhuman. I used to think enlightenment is the stage that the Guru talks about, of seeing the Blue Pearl steadily, and then it exploding, and pervading the whole universe -- what's that? Is that a step beyond enlightenment, like Siddhahood?

What I have also come to learn is that enlightenment is a different experience, a unique experience for each person. Although the essential experience of the Witness is there, etc., the experience of the moment is ever changing and unique. The contentment is the same, but the magic of how the external world is perceived, and the internal world, is infinite. I see there are no boundaries or limitations for enlightenment, what you can experience. God doesn't limit you. It is each person's personal heaven, and that experience of life is different for each person.

I also learned enlightenment is not having no pain; because with no pain, there is also no pleasure. Although you can do that. But it is experiencing pain when it comes without suffering, so it is not the same kind of pain. It can even feel "good" at times.

Also, Thank you Mr. Butler for your guidance in previous posts on getting out of the limitations of the mind by being in the present moment. I am finally understanding this, and practicing it, and it is so liberating. I have been having to go through many struggles for a long time with my mind, and finally realized that all of my thoughts are forms of delusion. Not to buy into what my mind thinks and believe in my thoughts, thinking they are real and the truth. I was practicing being in the present moment while taking a college course, listening to the professor, and as my mind kept going on and on, I instead focused on the present moment as a sort of "Exit" sign out of my mind. It was very effective.

P.S. All these spiritual terms such as "ego" and "Self" and "mind" are becoming more clear to me and am less confused and can read your writings now without getting totally confused and going into delusion. I am very grateful for this. I am coming out of my personal darkness.

Noah Naderi said...

I also thought that you can't be an ordinary person if you are enlightened, and if you are enlightened you aren't an ordinary person. I realize this is a delusion, thinking you should be some kind of superhuman divine being, or be saintly like Akkalakota Swami or Shirdi Sai Baba. I don't know what that is, but it seems that is some other kind of enlightenment. What's the difference between the enlightenment you talk about and the Akkalakota Swami enlightenment? Or is there a difference? And is there a difference between being a Siddha and being an enlightened being?

Leigh Ellis said...

Ram, one time at one of your weekend workshops, I asked for clarification. I felt that I didn't know who I was or what I was doing. You told me that this was a state of the self. It was a great state, very free, blissful even. People laughed a lot with me. That state lasted quite awhile, then it seemed to leave and my state felt quite "ordinary" again. There was not as much laughter and the blissful feelings disappeared. I don't think of that state of the self as enlightened, but it was certainly more than ordinary. Could there be a sort of elevated state that is " extra-ordinary", but not enlightened? I would love to see everyone as a sparkling, shining light like you describe in Lesson 47. To me, this would also reflect an "extra-ordinary" state. But, will this occur spondaneously through grace? I have always thought that those who became enlightened had managed somehow to love every single person that they came across and to see God in everyone. Those of us in an ordinary state still struggle with our samskaras, still struggle for the understanding that those that are enlightened have attained. Many thanks for a great blog, thoughtful, clear, never boring. Blessings to you and yours, Leigh Ellis

kirsty said...

As Kaunteya says, with this post you remove the pressure to perform which makes this life easier, simpler. This is both gratifying and satisfying, allowing relaxation.

I have wondered if 'enlightenment' isn't just finding and living consciously with the Stability that seems to underlie everything.

D. R. Butler said...

Noah Nederi, your comments reveal that you have come a long way in the last few months. You are writing with more maturity and clarity than you were for a while, when you seemed basically confused. You seem to have realized a lot and internalized the realizations to actually become a part of you.

I can't imagine what you must think it was like around Akkalakota Swami or Shirdi Sai Baba. I know both were before your time, and all you have are some photos and some quotes. So what is it that you are projecting onto them?

You have no idea what it would be like to be around them personally. It is not easy being around a saint, because the ego suffers in such a one's presence. And I assure you that in many ways you would find them quite ordinary.

I once asked my Guru if I could spend more time being close to him. He replied, 'Ha, if you were around me for a single day you would lose all your faith.'

So we create this huge dichotomy between the enlightened and the ordinary, while the dichotomy does not exist except in our imagination. We have to find the ordinary in the enlightened, as well as the enlightened in the ordinary.

D. R. Butler said...

Leigh Ellis, your question goes very well with the blog entry and also with my previous comment. Enlightenment is enlightenment, yet on one level it exists in degrees, as the individual experiences his or her own process. From this point of view, there can be 'extra-ordinary' states that are not yet fully enlightened. Many of the most well known teachers in the current 'spiritual scene' are exactly in such states. The more enlightened teachers who have attained the highest consistent state are often hardly known at all. Most people, even in the 'spiritual scene,' have never heard of such people. They do not attract attention to themselves.

There are many teachers who are less than enlightened that have helped a great many people. Teachers are needed for all levels. Beginners need teachers to teach them the basics, and advanced seekers need a teacher to show him what he hasn't already seen about himself. Many teachers can share knowledge, but only a few can actually transform our state and our vision.

D. R. Butler said...

This is a particularly good blog entry to share with others who might be interested in the difference between enlightenment and ordinary, or with anyone you'd like to introduce to the blog or even to the Course of Training. If you benefit from the blog yourself, it is a great service to pass on the link to the blog to others who might also benefit. There are so many who would enjoy and benefit from it, and from the course, who simply do not know about it. If you can help 'spread the word,' it will be greatly appreciated. You might be surprised at how appreciative many people will be.

Amy said...

Ram,

Thank you for this post. It really shined a light on some notions I've held of enlightenment. On closer examination, I could see how my ego had co-opted the identity of a "spiritual" person, and how "super hero" describes some fantasies of enlightenment very well. After an initial blush of embarrassment (well, ok, that's still going on), it is sort of funny to see the fantasies in this light. Like a child learning that there's not a physical Santa Claus, my ego was crestfallen: "Not a Super-Hero? But, but, but....I WANTED to be a Super-Hero." Poor baby. Even my meditation shawl was dragged into the fantasy. In addition to the genuine feelings of love and reverence when I put it around my shoulders, I now see that my ego enjoys it as a sort of super-hero cape. This is cracking me up as I write it. (it also reminds me that as a 4-year-old, I leapt from a risky height believing I would fly, given the special powers of the bath towel cape I was wearing. I could not have been more shocked to hit the ground).

This look may also be the first one that has me feeling some compassion for my ego as well as for myself.

Like Kaunteya, Noah, and Kirsty said in their beautiful comments, this entry does ease the pressure I've put on myself. A friend once told me that's the oldest trick in the ego's book - to give us a spiritual yardstick against which we measure ourselves (and others). It's such a strong samskara, I suspect it'll still crop up a lot. But this helps me prepare for its next visit.

Also, Ram, I remember you writing once that it's a good exercise to imagine that everyone else is enlightened, and we're the only one who hasn't "gotten it" yet. I haven't worked with this in a while, but it did help me let go of some of my ideas of what a spiritual or enlightened person is, and how they appear, and what even what they do for a living!

Thank you, Ram and Kay, for creating and growing this space for our community. Thank you, fellow Students, for sharing your experiences, insights, and questions.

With Love,

Amy

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Thanks for another great blog D.R.,

you wrote:
"Fearlessness is an attribute of the enlightened. As long as there is fear, we are limited to individual ego. Fear, according to the Upanishads, arises when we see ‘another’.
This statement almost seems ironic in light of your "ordinary" blog. If read out of context, this could sound daunting and also may create a sense of needing to strive for "fearless-ness".
I can't relate to nor do I think it is possible to be "fearless". Just like we can't extract or pull out the 15th tattva (ego) I can't imagine being human without fear.
That fear will always be part and parcel to the body is a fact. That we allow fear to keep us from growing is something we can choose to shift with wisdom and time.
The "old brain" has a job to scan life to look out for things that may destroy us, it registers "hostile" and dangerous things(imagined or real) way before the cognitive mind can even register and before you have even had a moment to shift..the body goes into a fight or flight state. This WILL happen..this is normal and unless you don't have a body , you can't change this.( well you could have a lobotomy lol.) This fear mechanism is part of what protects us, it helps us stay alive.
I am all for getting to know our fears, and in time moving forward despite our fears, and if this is what you mean by being fear-less than I can get with that, but if the Upanishads are being literal, well then, I guess I am happy to be human and limited by my individual ego.

Bettina said...

Dear Ram and Truth Community
I find myself writing letters to you in my daily life – however only in my mind while not sitting anywhere near a computer. The great thing about this is, that the blog and the Course became like a calalyst for a walking diary in my mind and they seem to be a constant companion in daily life as hard copies and as contemplation material.
However, taking the time while sitting on the computer – and even more remembering what crossed my mind sitting in the tram or on my bike, or, or, or - is a whole other ballgame... There is so much to do all the time... Time!

Here I am. I love the topic you shared with us here, Ram. It's been my driving topic for many years until I realized it's not about the goal but about the way. I remember though the time when I moved out of an ashram in the U.S. where I spent nine months, finding myself suddenly married and generally in a tough life situation back in my home country. It felt like having experienced an excursion into paradise and then fallen back into reality, just more challenging than ever. I kept meditating and doing other practices for hours, before and after work or especially on weekends. The idea was to do as much as I could in terms of spiritual practices (trying hard!) in order to get enlightened as soon as possible so that I wouldn't make all these stupid mistakes anymore, the outside would change and all the suffering had an end. I would even be able to get rid of the life situation I was in, for I would have passed the test...I pictured an easy life, full of inner and outer security, harmony, love and peace, however, it didn't come to me right away.

On this background one Sunday morning I was sitting in the dark meditation room, our living room, trying to figure out enlightenment, desperately praying on my knees for guidance and for the big bang happening, trying to squeeze it out of me like toothpaste out of an empty tube... All of a sudden my Ex-husband came in, very angry, turning on the light and shouting that a tube in the bathroom was broken and water splashing all over the place, while I was sitting here motionless in the dark. What a comedy, looking back now. There I was feeling so desperate while life demanded action and being present. All I had to learn was what I didn't plan to, didn't think it was about that, and I didn't like to dive into that either. The less I cared about enlightenment, the more beautiful and love-filled life got. I'm sure, many of you had similar experiences, similar urges and fostered such concepts as well.

Bettina said...

By the way: Having rediscovered you, Ram, has added even more meaning and inspiration to my life, that my heart is overflowing with gratitude about this whole evolution, called life. I feel, with the inner stability the words of the Course create in our life - like an anchor into the depth of our own being - life can only blossom more and more.

This was my experience of the time written about above: shaky inside, shaky outside. It felt like the whole house of my own perceived personality was crashing down and I found myself being nothing of all the things I believed I was. Indeed, nothing was left over other than a pile of insecurity. I was nothing. Realizing this was a painful process, so hard for the ego - and I felt so worthless.

Thanks for reminding me again that I'm nothing, for its an ongoing process. Nothing and everything at the same time, just not this personality trying hard to whatever. The urge to achieve and improve, to prove and impress is still so strong at times and very binding. These are the times when I feel under pressure, I don't know how I will ever manage to get this all done, I feel overwhelmed by the 100 daily to-do's. The only way I found to be working is to simplify my life even more, create more slots of time in nature, time of solitude, less projects and less responsibilities. Just something in me (could it be the ego again?) is not willing to accept a simple life. I ask myself how others are coping with even bigger responsibilities and much huger to-do-lists and I start to feel unable. This part inside fears that I could get weaker with such a simple life, in a way like stopping to exercise (meaning leading a loaded, demanding life) and slack off.

Feeling into „being nothing“ puts me right away into a space of incredible freedom and timelessness. Away is the fear, for I see myself as acting out my own role under no pressure, for there is nothing serious about it, nothing to be achieved... Wow, what a reminder! Through you, Ram, we get the tools that enable us to dance and learn, to be, grow and laugh. Remembrance of the Truth is probably the most important aspect to ask for or pray for! Am I right saying that remembrance of the Truth is a moment of grace? What can support the ability to remember the Truth in your opinion, Ram, other than reading and rereading the Course, as well as practicing the principles?

Love to you all and with great gratitude for the internet, that enables us to connect in love for the Truth around the world!
Bettina from Switzerland

Al M said...

Thank you for the beautiful description, and reminder. I very much like what you said "Enlightenment is being consistently in harmony with whatever is". This is a very beautiful contemplation. It is all you need. It sums up present moment awareness, and enlightenment, and to me is a very powerful and deep sentence. It is not always so easy to be in harmony with whatever is. If you are experiencing a painful headache, or heartache, or sadness, or are being mugged, these types of things are very hard to feel in harmony with. Yet that is really exactly what enlightened beings do. There are so many stories of great beings being so kind and compassionate to a thief, and giving them so much of what they want, that it ends up turning them around anyway. To live like this, I think, would be hard for me, but it all seems necessary.
In fact, it seems like, by focusing on the moment fully, and accepting it, things and situations fall into your life that are exactly what you need to grow, and move on. These things may indeed be very challenging, but you always have the strength to use these situations to help you move through them, and fully assimilate the karma, samskara, or unresolved emotion that has caused this to be brought into your life.
This reminds me of an analogy I read I read in the Power of Now about enlightened beings. The author says our individual lives are like waves on a vast ocean. Most of us identify fully with the waves, and the associated fear, anger and grief that they seem to cause. But an enlightened being is like a deep sea diver that is immersed in the peace of the deep ocean. The state of such a being is unchanged, and can always access joy. Of course, they are aware of the waves up there on the top of the ocean, and they will do whatever is necessary and needed, but their deep inner peace is never in the slightest way perturbed by the constantly changing waves.
I hope you don’t mind me sharing a few of my contemplations about this month’s blog post. Thanks Ram for your constant and beautiful nudging into the present moment.

Omkar Naderi said...

Thank you Mr. Butler. You have helped clear up a huge part of my confusion in your explanation of how "I assure you in many ways you would have found [Akkalakota Swami and Shirdi Sai Baba] quite ordinary." And in saying that the Guru said to you, "If you spent one day in my presence you would lose all your faith." That is a really profound statement. I am going to contemplate this.

I have spent the last half a year thinking to myself, "I don’want to be a normal person," because I was feeling strange trying to be an enlightened being, but resisting, thinking that if I act like a normal person, I will never become enlightened. I mean, I knew it was delusional, but I couldn't help but think that because of my conditioning. I kept thinking I was less than an enlightened being, because they are so great, and therefore I need to move away from being a normal person and be like an enlightened being so I can be great too, otherwise, I am just a mere, basic, normal person. I thought I had very little worth.
Then I started thinking,"Perhaps enlightened beings are actually normal people. They are like the rest of us, but they live in an extraordinary realm." Then I doubted, "Well, I think an enlightened being isn't a human being actually. They are so evolved, beyond the ego, they aren't even human."

Then I remembered how the Guru said, "I have spent my entire life teaching human beings how to be real human beings."

So I realized, enlightenment isn't about becoming a Supreme Being who is so evolved he is basically not human anymore, but just God. I learned that enlightened beings have all the qualities of a human being—furthermore they ARE human beings--but are purified of the internal crap, and so are who they authentically are, and in a way are "more normal than normal." They are what a human being really is, an example of the greatness we really are. I realized, they are just like you, with the same kinds of feelings and emotions, and preferences.

I contemplated, "So what is an enlightened being anyway?" Someone who is aware that they are the Self. Everyone is the Self, but an enlightened being knows he is the Self. So I realized, the best thing I can do is believe I am the Self, even though I am not completely aware of what that is. I understood that enlightenment is not about becoming necessarily an “enlightened being,” but coming closer to recognizing who I already am.

Then I had this experience of being this beautiful form of Omkar – a being who was completely perfect as the Omkar I am -- the normal person I am, except illuminated about who this person was in a way I could not ever see before in the past. In the past, I had this image of myself as this guy, imperfect, but recognized that perspective of myself was an illusion of who I actually am. This was the enlightened perspective of Omkar, and that is who I really am.

And then I saw a preview of how all the normal people in this world are the Self too. I saw that in fact, we are all so great. I was seeing the "enlightened in the ordinary," and also, in looking at the Guru, seeing the "ordinary in the enlightened." I see, from the perspective of the Truth, each one of us is so great. Enlightenment is recognizing our own greatness on a deeper level, that we already are and have been good enough, not finally becoming someone who is better than everyone else, or better than who we already were. I mean, I had already known from the teachings, "You are sublime, you are worthy,” that we are so great, but it couldn't sink in until I had an experience of this for myself. I see, each person has so much to who they are, so much richness, and yet because we are not aware of it, and think of ourselves as this small thing, and petty, etc. we suffer.

So I realized: the same person before enlightenment is the same person after enlightenment, “enlightened” about the Truth of their existence, and yet still a human being.

D. R. Butler said...

Michelle, it seems as though we are caught in semantics again. You know I respect your perspective of things. Yet the English language lumps a lot of different things together and calls them all fear.

I think the kind of fear that you believe in is not the same as the fear I have been taught should be eliminated.

Baba was once asked what were the main attributes of a Siddha. He simply replied, 'A Siddha is totally spontaneous at all times, and is supremely fearless.'

Many teachers and scriptures have mentioned fearlessness as something that would be attained in spiritual maturity. From that perspective it seems like a strange thing to 'not believe in.'

If someone showed me something from scriptures I respect that I 'disagreed' with, I feel I'd need to look within and see what I'm not understanding about what I suppose I disagree with.

At any rate, there is nothing you said that I disagree with, which is what leads me to feel that it is primarily a matter of semantics.

Brahma said...

Ram, I realize you have likely not experienced this, at least not in your conscious memory, but can you describe what life after death is like. In your blog post you talk about looking at someones past 3 incarnations to know what their life will be like now.

What is it like in between? Is it rather like sleep, and you eventually awake when born into a new body? Or something else?

Omkar Naderi said...

Mr. Butler, please explain what you mean by this:

"An ordinary person has firm conviction in his or her personality and personal life. Enlightenment is realizing they are not who we are and actually have nothing to do with us."

This has thrown me off into confusion again. Does this mean that our personality/who we are as a person is not who we are and actually has nothing to do with us? Can't we know we are the Seer, and yet also be who we are as an individual at the same time, or is that not enlightenment? That doesn't sound right to me, and so I am guessing I am misinterpreting it.

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Omkar, thank you for your comment. Something about it made me feel happy reading it, for you and what you are experiencing, and also just spontaneously in me... the way you phrased things connected with me and I felt uplifted.

This community gets greater all the time.
Love, KJ

Jacob Birdsong said...

Dear RAM,

Lately, during my meditation, or visitation to “the space between thoughts,” I’ve begun to wonder if I am really there… Am I really reaching, at least the outer bounds, of this never ending space of inner joy and contentment? Am I experiencing the higher Self? Is what I’m doing working?…
Obviously, If these thoughts are entering my mind while I’m meditating, then I’m not as absorbed in the inner Light as I’m sure is possible. In other words, I’m not sure how to tell or what to look for when I arrive in this space. Does this make sense?
As always, any words of advice you have go a long way. Hope you are doing very well!

Warmly,
Jake Birdsong

Amy said...

Dear Ram,

There have been some experiences in the past week that I am hoping you can help me make sense of (if sense needs to be made).

Question One:
A week ago, I drove to a different city to meet with a couple of contractors to work through some issues we had not been able to resolve by email or conference calls. The meeting was very productive, and after, I stayed in the conference room with my counterpart at the company that hosted the meeting. I hadn't been there in months. First we caught up on business, then we caught up on personal things. She shared that although her pregnancy had ended a couple weeks earlier, her doctor wanted her body to let go of the baby on its own, without a surgical procedure. She was mortified at the thought of it happening at work, but she thought the odds favored it. We talked for a little while longer, then suddenly she jumped up, exclaimed, "Look, it's happening!" And it was, very, very much. I helped her until the ambulance arrived, keeping her co-workers out of the conference room. Afterwards, I cleaned up the conference room - if they hadn't known, they wouldn't know.

Today, I was on a conference call at work to discuss the current risk of wildfires, the burn ban in our state, and what we need to do to make sure none of our activities sparked a wildfire. I had just made a suggestion, when Boom! A huge clap of thunder came seemingly from nowhere (we've had little rain, and none was predicted). As we tried to remember what we were saying before the thunder, someone on the call said, "There's a grassfire across the road!" Apparently the lightning bolt had started a fire. The firefighters got it out before our facility was affected (firefighters rock!).

So from those two experiences, first question: How much do we create by our language and what we focus on mentally, and how much mental focus might be because we sense or anticipate something happening. In both these instances, it just seemed like too much coincidence, too close together, that a possible event was being discussed, and Bam! it happened, right there.

Unrelated, but also fresh, Question Two:

After the fire was out, I packed it in for the day, and left earlier than planned. I'm behind schedule on some tasks, but it felt like it was time to go. On the way home, I was pulled to stop at a cemetary I've driven by hundreds of times. I parked, then walked around, reading the stones. While I was there, and after I left, and even now some hours later, I feel very peaceful, very in-the-moment, like after a long meditation. I've experienced this before at cemetaries. What's up with this? I can't say I did any particular practice, just walked around, reading. There was so much poignancy. You wrote a while back about a time you spent in a cemetary once, communicating with beings in the subtle world. This prospect has always brought up fear for me( though this evening, not so much). Is there anything there to be cautious of? I wasn't trying to make contact, but I did feel there were "others" there. And not just the caretaker following me around in his car. Now that was kinda creepy.

But really, what I'm interested in what it is about cemetaries that leaves me feeling the Shakti so strongly? I figured the eastern texts recommend sadhana in a burial ground because these places often bring up fears, and they are one big reminder of mortality. Or could it be just that it puts so much in perspective? Or is there some seva going on that benefits souls hanging out there?

(thanks for bearing with me.)

With Love and Gratitude,

Amy

Avivit said...

Hi D.R.
AT the end of July you posted the following on Facebook:
Bliss (in Sanskrit--Ananda) is an eternal aspect of our own Self. It never changes or fluctuates, and it is never absent. It is the tandem of the mind and ego that creates endless melodramas to experience habitual negative emotions, and such things serve as distractions from the Bliss that is always already present.

When the Mind is silent and no drama is on.....I experience mainly "silence, peace, completeness". I have always wondered what is meant by a state of Bliss....ananda. It sounds like a state of emotional well being. Of a delight that is "felt". There are times in which I felt the whole body in a state of pure delight as if my whole being is on Light....if one could say such a thing. Yet it is felt through the body. Maybe that is why one "needs" a body around here....to experience it. So my question is
is the state of Ananda something we are aware of through the physical sensations? can you please explain a bit more about it if words can clear at least a bit?
thank you

Jim said...

There is a feeling I get in cemeteries that reminds me of being at an ashram, being around a Guru. An arc that passes over my mind's fear of death, a bridge between worlds. Big picture stuff. At times I have felt so alive in cemeteries. The atmosphere underlines my aliveness and gives me gratitude. I leave my worries and petty concerns at the gate.

I first experienced this as a student, visiting some ancient etruscan tombs. They were burial mounds shaped like beehives. I entered one, descending a short flight of stone stairs and the earthen walls absorbed all the sound from the outside. There was such a stillness. Carved rock slabs were beds where the dead were laid. I climbed back out and stood at the arched entry. The late day sun was at my back and I could see my long shadow along the floor of the tomb. Each of my breathes out also cast a shadow. I had an awareness of being on the threshold of a door between worlds and I felt this exalted freedom from fear of death. The act of walking out of tomb felt liberating, like "I was dead, and now I'm alive again".

More recently I experienced this when my father died. At his burial the veil between worlds felt thin. Everything looked beautiful, colors were extra colorful and sounds extra musical. Could be that it is a heart thing and the veil between worlds is the door of the heart, open and closing.

Amy said...

Jim, thank you for your beautiful post. You captured the sense of it so well.

Amy

Devorah Feinbloom said...

What an extraordinary share Ram. So appreciate the distinction between ordinary and enlightened. This course could be called DELUSION BUSTERS!

What made me laugh was your comment to Justin about not being attached to the things that come out of our mouths. I often found myself obsessing about some stupid remark I made. I found something that works for me to disengage when I remember to do it - when something ridiculous comes out of my mouth, I just remind myself and others that "my lips are rented and I have no control over what comes out!" The worry and panic melt away.

Al M said...

People often say that common sense really is not so common.

In the same way, the kind of ordinary person that you are describing yourself to be really is not all that common.

I have briefly met you on a handful of occasions, mainly at workshops, and I have experienced an incredible sense of stillness, and humor that, to me is very uncommon.

I feel that I can taste that inner ocean of peace (perhaps this is what is meant by ananda), when I can focus between the thoughts, as you say, fully present in the moment. Only there is this accessible. I like the teaching that the goal really is to make this experience more and more constant in your life. Life seems to have a thousand and one ways to try and pull you out of the present, but goal is to allow that to be, but not allow it to affect your deep inner state. Not allow fear to arise.

Elias said...

I read this entry twice, and it's my favorite. I also been reading the course for two years. My tests come mostly from a person with a bipolar condition. Do I accept his behavior as enlightened? Was the guru so unpredictable, as you say, that no one was able to put you through as much as the guru did to your ego? Every time I feel that I got close to the truth, I get tested by this individual in time, and I had enough. Usually people get tested by situations or other people that you can at least communicate with. I am trying the path of silence, but I slipped, and gave in to anger, so I feel as though I failed. I can say that this friend is the form the guru takes for me, but I cannot take it anymore.

D. R. Butler said...

To try to catch up with a few questions: Brahma, I don't know what happens when people die, can't understand it as hard as I try. That was how Jackson Browne put it, and I feel the same way.

In our dreams when we sleep we get glimpses of life in the subtle world. It is much more varied and diversified than physical plane experiences. In the subtle world you can flow from universe to universe; the physical world is limited by space and time.

Anyway, it is very challenging to put into words an experience that the mind will have trouble understanding anyway, no matter how clearly presented.

Dreams are not exactly the same quality of experience that it is in the subtle world. They are more like shadows of the real thing. If most people knew the truth about how great life after 'death' actually is, they might look forward to it a little too much.

The existence of the physical body indicates that we are experiencing a cycle of karma. When the karma is over, our essence leaves the physical shell on the last exhalation.

D. R. Butler said...

Omkari Nedari asks: 'Can't we know we are the Seer, and yet also be who we are as an individual at the same time?'

Omkari, of course we can. That is exactly what the process is all about. We know we are the Seer of all that is seen and the Knower of all that is known, and yet at the same time we are perfectly aware of our individual perspective of the physical world.

Not only is there no conflict between the two, it is a good way of understanding enlightenment, or the experience of manifesting as a Siddha.

If one ignores physical karma and chooses to remain in some trance state, he will ultimately be good for nothing. He will be like, as Gurdjieff put it, 'a stupid monk.'

Enlightenment is experiencing and appreciating the higher, subtler states, and yet doing the dharma of playing out our karmic role in the drama of the physical world.

The Siddha, the enlightened or liberated Being, is firmly established in the highest state, yet is fully aware and alert regarding everything in the surrounding physical world. If he is oblivious to the world around him, he is only in a lower trance state, which is nothing like enlightment. A Siddha brings his or her state into the world and makes a corresponding impact. The ordinary person gets caught up in the outer world and once again forgets her eternally unchanging inner state.

D. R. Butler said...

Jacob Birdson asks 'am I there' and 'am I getting there' and 'am I experiencing...' and so on.

Jacob, I want you to honestly look at who is this being that you are assigning the 'I' to. When you ask, 'Am I there? How will I know?' it is like the ego hopes to one day be enlightened.

That which is not enlightened will never be enlightened. That which will ever be enlightened is already enlightened.

Enlightenment is not something you can comprehend with the mind, because such a state goes beyond the mind. You also cannot get there through stressful struggle, because where you are going is where you started out from.

D. R. Butler said...

Amy, you tend to get way too caught up in words and details.

You asked, 'How much do we create by our language and what we focus on mentally, and how much mental focus might be because we sense or anticipate something happening?

These are both the same. What we create in language and focus on mentally determines what we will anticipate happening.

It is also very common for something to be discussed, and then BAM, it just happens. The entire universe is linked together as one on the subtlest of the subtle reams.

D. R. Butler said...

I don't think a cemetary would necessarily bring up your fears or your sense of mortality. It's much more like you said about it giving us some perspective. When I walk through cemetaries I experience a lot of subtle energies. I can sense subtle entities around me. It reminds me that there is so much more than this physical world.

I live in a village with a population of 90. Yet if we walk up to the village cemetary, there are hundreds of graves and tombstones. The village itself doesn't grow, but the cemetary does.

I remember being in Mt Shasta in the 70's, and I asked someone the population of Mt Shasta, and a voice in my head said very clearly, 'embodied or out of body?'

D. R. Butler said...

Avivit asks, 'is the state of Ananda something we are aware of through the physical sensations? can you please explain a bit more about it if words can clear at least a bit?'

Physical sensations alone are too dense to experience bliss or ananda. Bliss is also not an emotion, and has no polar opposite. It is part of our Being and is never absent. The only thing that might be absent is our attention on it or our awareness of it. It can be experienced during any physical or emotional state. It is best experienced as an exalted state of well-being.

As a participant of the course, you will find that you naturally understand and experience bliss in your life more and more, without even knowing why.

D. R. Butler said...

Elias, your bi-polar friend is simply another manifestation that God takes. You do not have to consider him as 'enlightened' or as your Guru, unless this technique helps you to develop equal-vision. The transformative power of Shakti can come through any person, form, or situation, and your ego might feel challenged, but when you feel, 'I can't take it anymore,' you are only inviting it back.

It goes away only when you feel as though you could take it or leave it. Then you have attained equal-vision, and nothing disturbs your state.

Omkar Naderi said...

I have a question (by the way, I am not Omkari Nederi, I am Omkar Naderi...Omkari is a girl's name, lol.) re: this posting:

"You also cannot get [to enlightenment] through stressful struggle, because where you are going is where you started out from. "

I have experienced through my own mistakes over 4 years of how the stressful struggle to enlightenment is in fact unnecessary and in some ways blocks enlightenment. I have learned to trust in the Shakti and the Guru's grace to guide you there. Yet I still sometimes engage in a stressful struggle, because I think I have to. What I do not understand, however, is what is the right approach to get where you "started from." Since I don't know where I have started from, it seems like a stressful struggle to get back there. Thank you.

Cathy Bennett said...

This is a great entry. It answered a lot of questions I've been pondering. Now to see if I a robot or not.

Anonymous said...

This months blog is right on. It goes right to the center of my being. I am fortunate right now to live with an example of ordinary in the most enlightened way. Thank you for being albe to put it into words.

D. R. Butler said...

Omkar Naderi, I can't believe after all this time I got your name wrong. If I can't remember after this clear reminder, that will be a hint of early dementia.

You said, 'Since I don't know where I have started from, it seems like a stressful struggle to get back there. Thank you.'

If we end up where we started from, then we are there now. We do not go to a different place between starting out and ending up. It all happens now, in the present moment.

The Truth needs to be considered and contemplated from many different angles, and sometimes we end up questioning what we previously believed to be real. Thus the Course of Training, which considers all the different angles and says of approaching and experiencing something profound.

Omkar Naderi said...

That was the best explanation of all this Mr. Butler: "
If we end up where we started from, then we are there now. We do not go to a different place between starting out and ending up. It all happens now, in the present moment." Now I understand why I don't need to try to get to the end "in the future." And just be here now. I was in the present moment, and worried about how I would get to enlightenment from here, and now I realize everything just takes place in this moment. No time. Just now. This makes it easier for me to be in the present moment. It all makes sense...now!

margaret garner said...

Thank you for this entry, Ram. It coincides so well with much of what I've been learning in the course lately. I particularly enjoyed and thought of this Rumi quote you shared in Lesson 39 ... "The wise men and sages are idle and carefree; they reap the harvest without plowing. The Beloved does their work for them. People don't see the Divine Hand at work, so they sweat and fret, hustle and beg from morning till night." This constant striving seems to be at the root of so much of our lives...to be better in whatever way. Just being ourselves, being ordinary...it is so profoundly simple and freeing. Thank you again for helping to take the pressure off, Ram.

Amy said...

Thanks, Ram, for both responses.

(LOL...."way too caught up in words and ideas." Yes, I'm told, that would be me. :-). Thanks for this friendly reminder.)

Avivit said...

Guys.....from so much talk about the cementery.....I honestly am starting to miss it.....hahaha....true.
I love the deep silence in cementeries.
Maybe I shall have an outing there..:)

Anonymous said...

I am currently processing Volume 2, lessons 8 and 9 (I put these together because of their combined effect) which have had a profound difference in my life. From lesson 8, I really needed to hear "Eliminate disapproval altogether - never fall for it again. " I had spent a life-time devoted to it. Just following this one teaching has improved my level of contentment as the this lesson goes on to say: "Establishing oneself in a state of contment is one of the very major priorities in life." Then the "transmission" of energy offered in lesson 9 has resulted in a new level of relaxation and lightheartedness. Thank you for these and the entire course of training.

FB said...

On lesson 13, vol 1....this quote is very sweet, uplifting, and can be so applicable to the course, had to share....
WORD FOR THE DAY
Sunday, Aug. 12
The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
Robert Louis Stevenson
FB

Vandita said...

Anonymous, thank you for sharing that. It is amazing how just one sentence can change one´s life so much, just like that.

I love this course and with the lesson that I am working on right now, I cried two or three times because it still blows my mind how he can be talking, paragraph after paragraph, about the exact things that I have been pondering three days before I took the lesson. I get this feeling of being so protected and taken care of, and the insight that there is so much more to what we see here. I have been reading D. R.´s lessons for 13 years now. . .!

Jessie said...

On Lesson 15 right now and finding it incredibly relevant to a current family situation and also nearly impossible to apply. My brother's wife of 9 months left him last week abruptly - took some of his personal property and moved in with another man. My brother is a wreck - I find that I am often shaking with rage. Am I just being pulled into an egotistical melodrama? My family was already having a difficult time with my father's cancer and this on top of it is like a bad soap opera. I know it's ridiculous on some level but physically I am so effected by it - I really don't know how to be in harmony with this - maybe it's just too fress?

D. R. Butler said...

Amy, I didn't say you were too caught up in words and ideas. I said you were too caught up in words and details. The distinction is significant.

Jessie, as you said, I imagine it's just too fress. This world of karma is not always easy to deal with. In fact, it's damn hard sometimes. I can hardly deal with my teenage daughter being depressed.

Sometimes the worst things seem to happen. All we can do is work on being in harmony with whatever is. Living in harmony with whatever comes up is really the most we can do. Otherwise this world will eat us alive.

Be grateful you are participating in the Course. Without knowledge of the principles of Truth, life can be significantly more difficult.

Justin said...

Dear Ram,

I often like to waste my time feeling dumb after posting a question on here. It's one of my things. I posted last month about feeling like I wasn't getting anywhere, just days -- felt like moments -- before receiving my next lesson, which dealt directly with that very topic. And then lesson 25 talked about "the vortex of ego."

And of course your direct answer, recapped here in this great blog post, has been making its way around my head.

It's like walking out of my house every morning and tripping over a new gift that's been left overnight. I am stunned by the great results of going ahead and asking.

I asked myself for decades if I was capable of writing a novel, and was afraid to learn the answer, because maybe the answer was no. I didn't think I could possibly be special enough to do such a monumental thing. But I finally decided to try. And like so much of life, the habit of just sitting down and doing it -- and what can be more ordinary than just getting down to work? -- has led to a result I couldn't have imagined. I've written a novel. It begins, it works its way through a plot, and it draws to a close. That makes a novel, doesn't it?

I thought it took something really special to do it, and I don't need to get into "who" wrote it or anything, but the thing I needed to do to bring it into being was utterly ordinary. Applying simple focus, attention, and intent. A miracle constructed of utterly ordinary materials.

Thank you so much, and to everyone commenting. It's been sweet to read your thoughts.

Ghayas said...

Ram,
I have not sticked out the neck of my ego for a while, yet I'm still here, so if you feel like choping off a bit or two of it, please feel welcome. The ego wanting to purify the ego is talking here.
Love, Ghayas

D. R. Butler said...

Ghayas, how did a fellow like you get such a beautiful wife?
Chop-chop.

Ghayas said...

Ayyyayyayy !!!! The thing with spiritual surgery is that it is never performed under anesthesia, nor in a private room...Well, I asked for it (and on an August 15th !!!!).
Ram, you're incredible !
Thank You!

Sukala C. Boyd said...

OK, speaking of the first couple, how's this for synchronicity? I just opened my email to my current course, Vol 2, Lesson 20. It's titled "Inner Growth through..." gulp -- of all things, "Relationships". Well, I'm really stoked by this new section of your course. And I congratulate myself for getting all the way here!!!!! That's commitment! I was just about to look for a best book on the subject. My enthusiasm doesn't mean, I've learned, that some contents in this lesson/section won't bug and annoy. But then course buddies, meditation and other subtle level things like dreams will help clarify. The process sometimes reminds me of boot camps I used to attend where the more you interacted with the team, the better it got.

With love,
Sukala

Pam said...

Avivit, At some point won't we all be having an outing there? I've been thinking of visiting the maternity ward just to hear all the sounds of the innings.
Sincerely,
Just being Light and Cheerful for the moment!
Ram and Kay I remember several years ago someone wrote me a nice little note in response to all my blah, blah, blah of my life to the course these words: Pam! The Self is Light and cheerful! That was very powerful for me then and it is nice when those words can bring the experience to awareness now and then. With love, Pam aka Charumati

Anonymous said...

Seems to me the more you talk and think about enlightenment that actually keeps you in the mental world and very far away from enlightenment. But that is the paradox: to overcome one's own mind enough to be free from it. If I refuse to believe thoughts are mine - then I am free, right? By the way, I didn't think of that. :)

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

avivit said...

Pam, I am not so sure "we" will have an outing there, maybe a short one when absolutely necessary....yet our bodies will for sure! :)
Going into a maternity ward, listening to the sounds made me question why is it that people get so happy about coming into the world...knowing life is no picnic for anyone.
Cementeries mostly have a silent and to some, depressing or sad connotation. Maternity wards on the other hand a cheerful, joyful one. I get joyful thinking about leaving this plane and this body one day.....yet I do enjoy the process of waking up....the deep recognitions fill me with the highest joy!
Shabbat Shalom to all of you.

Jake said...

Dear RAM,

I apologize if the following is a “stupid” question, I want to make sure I understand the powerful effects of feeling in my own world.

In one of the lessons, you described yourself as an excellent basketball player only AFTER you created and trusted the inner feeling that resulted from imagining yourself as a “tenacious defender and a skillful ball handler.” Am I missing something in thinking that, surely, you must have practiced significantly to move from a reserve player to one capable of earning a scholarship.

Is your point that you could have practiced endlessly, as much as humanly possible, and without the feeling that you were a great player, you would have never been satisfied with your own performance?

Thanks for helping me understand, as always.

Jake

Al M said...

Another thought for you anonymous. The words of the course and the blog do not contain the truth, but they point to the truth. They give your mind something to mull about, and direct your attention and intention in the right way, so that hopefully you can see it.

Justin said...

Wait, whose thoughts were shared?

Anonymous said...

Ram,
You should remove my last post....I thought it was funny when I wrote it but now I see it as trivial dribble.
Thank you for your infinite tolerance. :) -John

D. R. Butler said...

I don't know which 'Anonymous' post I should remove.

Jake, yes, I practiced physically as well, to train my body to do what I created in thought and feeling. Physically, I could miss shots, but in visualization, I made every shot. I became a much better shooter, yet both contributed to my improvement.

Divya said...

Some things that stood out for me in this blog were "Attention Intention and willpower--no trying hard." I tend to try too hard and I've been learning to relax and let things come to me a bit more.Letting go of the strangle hold that I have had on my life has been freeing. Knowing that I am protected and guided. "Enlightenment is being consistently in harmony with whatever is." I've been working on doing this with my last two lessons. Today someone shared with me at the center that when asking Baba "How do I know I am in alienment with my will and God's will?" Baba said--"When you can accept what you have right now." To me this was an ordinary answer and very simple really."An enlighteded one is content to be ordinary." Finally --"Remain lighthearted and loving and full of appreciation of the humor of this world." Sending yu love and gratitude...

Darcy said...

I had a beautiful experience yesterday and I felt a beautiful pull to check in today. Thank you for the beautiful blog entry this month dearest D.R.  --As always moving, meaningful and heartfelt.

I wanted to share a story: that if had it taken place last year (before I enrolled in the Course,) would have never happened. I'm an American living Denmark and summer has  arrived ( for the time being). Yesterday was an incredibly beautiful day at the beach. Very crowded, I've never seen it so. At one moment as the day unfolded. I looked up at this tall aesthetically (stereo-typical beautiful Scandinavian woman). I'm talkin' Ursula Andress! She and her family planted themselves alongside my family. I observed them for a while. A few thoughts popped up "how is she possible, she's perfection". I enjoyed and envied her beauty at the same time. I then avoided observing her for quite a while.  After some time another thought came when I looked over at her "I am of her. She is of me" We are all from the same!". All of a sudden I felt very connected to her and in harmony. I felt at peace to observe her and her beautiful gestures and movements. I then continued to observe many different woman: all ages, sizes, shapes. Again, I felt at peace and in harmony with all I observed. "She/He/It. Are all One" to every person and living thing I observed, this statement rolled around in my head and felt in my being. It was reinforced throughout this amazing day, and it was beautiful! To be in such harmony with everything, and nothing. I'm grateful.

How this spoke to me as I read it now: "God, pure Consciousness, sees everything as an extension of Itself.  There is nothing separate or different to consider—there is always only One.  This is our true and eternal state.  Everything else is the play of the mind, the experience of all thoughts: cause and effect, as the Law of karma.". 


With loving gratitude to all and One,
Darcy

D. R. Butler said...

There have been a couple of interesting exchanges recently on Facebook that I would like to share with the blog community, which is longer lasting than a Facebook thread.

One fellow said, 'ultimately to be free you don't need a course you only need a heart and the more we think about life the more we miss what life is really about.'

Well, I certainly agree with his vision. Everything he said is true except his remark regarding the course, which arises from misunderstanding what a 'course' might be.

I responded, I appreciate that you are participating in our ongoing dialogue on this page. It is cool to have your input and hear how you see things. Your perspective is quite sensible. Perhaps you are a bit rigidly limited to what your idea of a 'course' might be, probably associated with experiences you have had with other courses in the past.

We use 'course' for lack of a better word. It is also a 'training' regarding the laws that rule the universe as well as individual karma, and a 'process' that leads to transformation and expansion. The experience of the course is probably different for each person who participates.

Anyway, I don't disagree with anything you have said. Still, I'm not convinced that you fullly understand or appreciate what our 'course' is or can be. That is fine also. The course is not for everyone. A certain kind of person finds it the most meaningful thing in life, while others find it totally irrelevant. Truly, very few will ever even hear of it.

And what Kay said is true. I don't enjoy promoting it. I've had to surrender into doing something that I am by nature uncomfortable with. Still, it serves its own purpose. And I've had to learn to not be 'personally involved,' except as being a participant like everyone else.

D. R. Butler said...

The other comment was, 'Please offer the complete course for free. Truth is free.'

I responded: I know what you mean about how the course should be free. The Truth, after all, IS free.

Yesterday I had surgery to repair 2 hernia, and today my abdomen hurts to move, to get up or down, to sit, to change positions while lying, to blow my nose, and to clear my throat. Even so, I stubbornly continue to clear my throat.

It is difficult walking from room to room. And the pain just sits there like a hideous blob in my abdomen. Now, why is it that I have to pay for all this? Why is it not free! Hell, they should pay 'me' for having to endure it.

But the nice community hospital provides a great service, and I am on first name basis with everyone in the OR -- 'Hey, he's back again!' And we have a little pre-surgery party. I'm going to write more about this experience somewhere else. Still, should they perform surgery for free, and then go off to their day jobs?

The surgeon has spent many years in school and learning through internship, and many other years serving others with his skill. Why is it that he should offer his services for free? I guess he'd also have to get himself a day job.

The Truth is the most valuable thing there is. Nothing else compares to it. Sure, It IS Free. Yet, for us to open and expand enough to see and experience the Truth within ourselves, AS us, it is necessary to go through a certain process. And just like the surgeon is essential for surgery, it is helpful to have a guide through the process.

I've spent the last 50 years learning, training, preparing, practicing, and communicating principles of Truth that anyone can embrace in his or her life for surprisingly effective results, especially greater freedom. The Course is simply a guide through the process. Why should this be free? Should I, too, get a day job?

How would Kay and I live? How would we help get my daughter Sara through college? Can't you see the way life has to work in order for the most people to experience the most benefit? In Sanskrit this is known as 'dharma.'

The Truth IS free. But to get from where we are to the full recognition and experience of the Truth requires not only that we go through a purification process, but also that we give something in exchange.

Truth is free. Yet a certain subtle transmission of energy cannot happen, cannot be sent or received, unless it is 'paid for.' It's just the way the universe works. It helps to maintain a certain energetic balance. It is not something worthy of debate.

Mukunda said...

I'm sure most people who take the course would say that it is way underpriced given the incredible value that it has on our every day life. Over the past two years that I have been taking the Course I am feeling so much more alive and in tune with my life...how do you price that?!

It does bring up the issue of how we relate to money, a subject that I have not heard you comment on recently. Way back in the day when I was taking 'The Training' I remember the first lesson addressed this subject and it has influenced me as much as any lesson since.

Personally, I try to see money as something to be careful with but not stingy with. Sometimes I will spend a modest amount of money on things I think I need to do even though it looks like I don't have the money....for example, a trip to visit my Parents in Florida. A feeling of rightness confirms that the decision is OK. But I won't usually spend the money on something I really don't need ( new golf clubs....not to say someone else out there should pass on new clubs,etc.). I think I would probably be 'freer with my money except I also answer to my wife who regularly reminds me that we do not have much money. Not that I totally buy in to her assessment of things....but when I do spend money I know I will be needing to explain it to her...for better or for worse. Mix in my thoughts about how the Universe provides....along with a certain resistance I sometimes have when it comes to surredering 'my money' to something I may or may not need... So while I feel pretty good with my relationship with money, it would be interesting to hear others perspective....

Bob Sonnenberg said...

Thanks for the post Mukunda.It was helpful to hear someone's insight to the topic of spending money. Wives do make spending money an interesting undertaking.

Avivit said...

Dear Ram, in lesson V2-L36 you write "At the end of each cycle of karma, the subtle body departs from the physical body & returns to the subtle world (which it never left). The subtle body houses buddhi (intuition, inspiration, higher knowledge), manas (conscious, waking mind), ahamkara (identification/ego), and chitta (memory). You further explain "it returns to astral planes that correpond to our beliefs, interests, inclinations, expectations, fears, anticipations, habitual emotions & primary state of being".

I must say that it hit me for the 1st time, understanding that even in the subtle plain the samskaras "run" the show despite of having the ability of seeing clearly that the physical world is only an outer reflection of the subtle world within.
I say "run the show" because I always thought that in the subtle plain we get a holiday from being run by the samskaras/ego. I never took the time to contemplate this yet had in mind a kind of "adult" figure, maybe even the higher Self, which would take responsibility or the upper hand and wisely decide which next life, samskaras we would be working on.
When you write that "after a while in the subtle world the samskaras in the subtle body get antsy & yearn to express themselves in the physical world again" I understand it as a part that does have a say even in the subtle plain and I must say I am a bit shocked! smile
(who is the shocked one?? :)

No wonder time is absolutely precious...when samskaras can only be worked on in the physical plane...despite following us like a flea in whichever plane we go to.

It also makes me wonder and this is a question for you, what then is the difference at all? is it the only difference that we don't have a body and we realize more clearly that the physical world is only an outer reflection of the subtle world within?
I was so happy looking forward for a real brake....hahahaaa (laughter).....sniff sniff....
"oyi vei"...as they say in yiddish.

Tara said...

Dear Ram...afternoon and blessings on this day. Feel better soon!
Sending money for the Lessons is one of the most fun ways i get to spend! i can't believe that you keep the cost so low and i always
wish i had a lot more to send your way. It is rough enough living my life with the Lessons, what a
bummer it would be without them. My money karma is intense, in the old days i was a single parent and often had to go without food to keep my daughter fed. i worked many hours and still received eviction notices etc. Times are somewhat better now but belive me the scars still hurt from so much hardship.
i think though that after growing up very wealthy it provided me with some true understandings about
money and sharing it from a place
of none ownership, more the feeling of the Source {Great Spirit}that it flows from.
Happy trails...with love...tara

Al M said...

As far as offering the course for free, I really don't see why this is necessary. The course is what it is, and usually one pays for a course, of any kind. I think the fee is very reasonable, actually.

And besides, the blog contains so much wisdom, offered for free, that really one could attain all that they need to understand from reading the blog alone.

I'm quite sure I've read the first Siva Sutra in the blog, and that really sums it all up nicely.

Of course the mind does like to have more words, and tends to need some purification to really get the full impact of that simple teaching. And for that, the course is very helpful. (I admit, I am not taking the current course, but I have taken an older version of Ram's course for many many years).

Regarding money, it is an interesting question, many people say they want health, joy and abundance, but I have heard it said before, that what people really mean when they say that is they want 1. to look good, 2. to be happy, and 3. to have a lot of money. They really aren't the same thing. The latter are really contractions of the former.

To me, I feel very abundant when I truly look at and appreciate all that I do have in my life. And really it is amazing what I have. And yet I would not be considered rich by the standards of the west. My practice lately with money, is to try to feel gratitude for what I do have in each moment. I love being able to sit on my deck, and watch the deer wander by, or listen to the birds chirp, or the squirrels run around. I am grateful for the loving company of my wife, and my friends. I have food to eat, and can explore the world. What more really would I need? With my work, I don't always know if I will be paid regularly. I have gone for periods of 4 or 5 months with nothing coming in. And if I am not careful, I can experience a lot of worry during these times.

Yet, for me, trying to come from an attitude of trust, and knowing that if I remain focused on the present moment, these life situations are not problems. They are just life situations. Truly I have to make a few decisions once or twice a month about how I will deal with the money situation, but the rest of the time, I am fine.

As I practice this, I understand more and more that there really are no problems at all, ever, in the present moment. A problem only appears if you are thinking about the past, or the future. But being free in the present moment, there are no problems. There may be life situations that you may have to deal with once in a while, certainly, but not problems.

Vicki said...

Dear Ram - why look at it as "promoting " the Course, since you don't feel comfortable with that. Why not see it as 'sharing' . Don't we all yearn to share what we love and enjoy, and what we are benefitting from? A few minutes ago, a fellow who is chopping wood for me took a little break to talk with me. He pulled out his big black cherries and told me all about them - how they ripen unusually late in the summer, have the greatest flavour, are so big that the largest are shipped to Europe and sell for a fortune. Then, from his little container of a dozen or so, he selected 3 for me. I took them in the house, savouring each one. They were the cherries of my childhood, of my dreams, beyond delicious. As I ate, I recalled my late mother, always teaching me to eat the darkest coloured foods for the highest nutrition. So that simple act of sharing brought us both such delight.

Just thought I'd offer up a fress perspective.:)

Dave Silverstein said...

Ram, one of the practices I'm working on a lot lately is being more 'aware of awareness'....who is the one observing? When I'm asleep in the dream state, I've always experienced that when my 'body' is asleep, there is the one who tells me what I dreamed when I awaken. The 'witness' of my thoughts is always awake 24/7.

When I take a walk I'm sometimes 'aware' of this body taking these steps and its as though I'm watching it from afar even though I'm still right there.

Then I'm reading in my current lesson, "Nothing is separate from Awareness. There is only the play of Consciousness happening within our own Awareness, in the same way that a dream happens as a subconscious experience when we sleep. The dream is not separate from our own Awareness. Neither is the external world of objective humanity. It is like a waking dream."

The thing is that my experience of the dream state is so much freer without this 'body' to drag around every moment on this physical plane. I can really see now more clearly then ever how this incarnation IS indeed just a cycle of Karma, the 'gift' of being given this body to help me work out 'stuff' The awareness OF this Awareness is the key to it all...just getting some neat insights into things. Thank you, Ram.

avivit said...

Vicki....I loved your sharing about the cherries and his sharing...and I liked the point you made regarding promoting the course.
Don't words make the experience difficult sometimes?

I also had a thought regarding "Truth is Free" and why shouldn't the course be free?

How about "Money is Free"?
A creative thought is Free....
Actually all energy is at our service....and Intention and awareness is the key to everything....isn't it so?

Ram, may the body you use feel much much better ASAP!

James said...

Hi Ram. Sending you compassion for your health challenge.I am touched at how much you share about yourself. The previous course was different on that level. The photo's were also very enriching. The state that you and Kay radiate is meditative and refined. I affirm your statement about money, "I always have what I need". Many people are selling spiritual education and thats great. What you do is ordinary in that sense. I can share from my own experience the support and uplifting nature of the course is extraordinary.
I fell a sense of relief knowing I will continue to make human mistakes but now and in the end I have a divine nature. May all be well with you.

D. R. Butler said...

Dave Silverstein, I liked your comment a lot, and thought it contained some significant insights and realizations. Thanks for contributing and participating in our cyble-gathering.

D. R. Butler said...

James, you said, 'I feel a sense of relief knowing I will continue to make human mistakes but now and in the end I have a divine nature.'

That is a real biggie, a Maha understanding; most people tend to think that spiritual progress is becoming a greater person than we are now. That might also be true, but it is not the essential understanding.

That would be firmly established in knowing we already have a divine nature, regardless of what the body, mind, or emotions are doing. They are only the play, the drama of this world.

If there were such a thing as 'sins,' self-judgment would be right at the top, along with passing judgment on others. Ultimately, no matter how long it takes, or how many lifetimes, we must be firmly established in the understanding that everything is perfect and purely divine exactly as it is. This is the ultimate realization.

Speaking of mistakes, it reminds me of when the Guru sent a message to a friend of mine in the ashram, and the message said, among other similar things, 'Stop trying to be so perfect. Practice making more mistakes.'

Not exactly the sort of message we might anticipate from an authentic Guru, yet we get exactly what we need. And the message contains some of the greatest teachings if we fully understand those two sentences.

Sukala C. Boyd said...

I liked Al M's (1st entry) focus on enlightenment and harmony. I'm reading this while eating lunch in the office and there are long munchy pauses in between each sentence and I'm thinking how harmonious I feel at times, and how do I know I'm not enlightened when this occurs? A minute or two later, I read, "Enlightenment is being consistently in harmony with whatever is". Oh...consistently.
Especially nowadays, referring almost daily to the Course, and having basked in a remarkable summer of support, when I feel in harmony there can be a sense that I'm touching the edges of what the enlightened beings feel. I was recently listening to a NY talk from the early 2000's by my Guru in which she stresses the importance of holding enlightenment as the goal. Until I re-heard this last week, I wasn't very focused on it at all as a goal, content to just do the daily reading and other practices. Yet, having heard her words, I now feel a renewed effort within and my heart is much moistened. Do you think we only really hear things when we're ready for them?

With love,
Sukala C. Boyd

Debra said...

I am usually pretty even tempered. I don't take myself too seriously, yet I found myself being rather snarky today. I even yelled at my dog. Then as I was reading this blog, the line that really stood out for me was "It is impossible to disturb or distract the equanimity of the enlightened, for enlightened remains always the same."
Ahhh, there's the difference. Just in case I was wondering about my progress on the spiritual path. I am certifiably ordinary. Or perhaps ordinary will be something to strive for.

Vandita said...

The lessons of your course are such a refuge for me. It does not matter what is happening on the outside, what storm might be happening at the time... the moment I place my eyes on the words of my current lesson there is ease and peace. Thank you for this invaluable gift!

D. R. Butler said...

Vandita, I just posted this on my Facebook page:

It is a time when it is difficult to do things outwardly or physically, yet much progress in the forms of insights and realizations, or deeper experiences of Self, comes very easily if we consciously focus this time for that purpose. Trying to get things done in the physical world will be tiresome and frustrating. It is a time where focusing within, being aware of Awareness, is not only easier than ever, but also essential towards getting through these challenging times.

Roberta said...

I posted a question a few days ago but wasn't sure at the time if it went through or not, so here it is again.

Your comment on FB and to Vandita seems to apply perfectly. I'm supposed to be relocating to go to grad school -- should have left 2 or 3 days ago -- but am finding it very difficult to give notice at my job and go. In fact, I've actually gotten in my car to drive there and have turned around and come back. My question was, still is, how can you tell when it's your Inner Voice indicating that the time isn't right for something, or you're paralyzing yourself with mental chatter or a fear-based samskara?

I guess I'm afraid of losing an opportunity if I don't go. My workplace is struggling and my job is one that could be reduced or even eliminated. Seems like I ought to go, yet I hesitate. Is this the type of situation you're talking about here?

Shanta said...

Hi Ram,
Although I've been taking the correspondence course in its different forms for many years and have studied with many gurus, I have to confess that I still don't know how to tune in to the light, love, and bliss in the heart without either being in the physical presence of a guru or else with a loved one. When I focus on my heart, I don't really feel anything at all most of the time and when I try to tune in to the present moment, I just feel focused on the task at hand, but not blissful at all. I must have some misunderstanding about how to go about it, but I don't know what I'm missing and feel totally clueless.

Al M said...

Shanta, I have heard my Guru say "those who do know, don't know, and those who don't know, do know". So the state of feeling totally clueless is probably a good sign!

I do know what you mean about the feeling that develops in your body being around the Guru. It is profound, blissful, and still, and of course you want more of that. The Guru is certainly totally immersed in deep stillness and peace and presence.

But because of our past conditioning, focusing on the present moment is not going to necessarily make you feel anything in particular. But one thing that I have noticed is that it does allow you to truly know what you are feeling in any moment.

If I am caught up in future or past, I really don't notice what I am feeling now, but if I can stay connected to the present moment, then those feelings are there. (and if I feel really pulled out of the moment, I close my eyes for one minute, and watch my breath, and try to enter my body again, which tends to bring me back)

If you can watch those feelings, and perhaps put some space around them. Like imagine that you are yourself, and you are watching yourself feeling whatever you are feeling (it doesn't matter if it is positive or negative, even boredom, sadness, grief, anger). Just be with it, and offer yourself some compassion. I find that doing this puts space around what I am feeling, and gives me the strength to pause and not react.

I just remain with the feeling, until it passes naturally. Of course, if I have to respond to something in the world as a result, I will do that to. But being with myself in this way seems to have the power to transform strong or subtle feelings into stillness.

If you find that you are truly not feeling anything at all, then just bask in the stillness! Try to focus on your breathe, and feel the aliveness, the consciousness in your body and being. That consciousness is God the scriptures tell us.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't feel blissful all the time, perhaps once in a while. But to me, just feeling things fully has made me realize that my body contains all kinds of sensations. I believe that the harder feelings come from our samskaras (our prior conditioning), and the more of them that we have, the more we probably will not feel blissful all the time. But as you work with them in this way, the "trapped or unintegrated feelings" will be integrated, eventually allowing room for more bliss.

Chris Craig said...

I love my children, family and friends beyond words. I forgive them in an instant for anything. I accept them totally and unconditionally. I am really good about not judging and simply enjoying people for who they are.

Why in God's name is it difficult to turn those qualities on myself?

To look myself in the mirror and say, "I love you". To say, "I forgive you". To say, "I accept you exactly as you are". That is not an easy thing to do for me.... It should be the most natural!

The fact that the game is set up to make it a challenge to love, accept and forgive the one person you spend the most time with is the definition of irony...

Lastly, it helps when you mention forgiving yourself. Often times I simply forget!

Thank you, Ram & Kay, for all you do. You make a real difference in many, many lives....

Jake said...

Lately, during my meditation, or visitation to “the space between thoughts,” I’ve begun to wonder if I am really there… Am I really reaching, at least the outer bounds, of this never ending space of inner joy and contentment? Am I experiencing the higher Self? Is what I’m doing working?…

Obviously, If these thoughts are entering my mind while I’m meditating, then I’m not as absorbed in the inner Light as I’m sure is possible. In other words, I’m not sure how to tell or what to look for when I arrive in this space. Does this make sense?

As always, any words of advice you have go a long way. Hope you are doing very well! Warmly, Jake

Pam said...

I guess my question is I still love that feeling of separateness so I can,enjoy petting the cat, dog or riding a beautuful horse etc. and the story where the worm falls in love with its other end and realizes it is its own self I feel sad in a sense that it is alone. In one of the lessons it states that only YOU exist and I must say I felt a feeling of fear like I dont want to be the only one here!
I really like being here with the others most of the time and we miss the ones we have loved who have left us in passing over. I guess I hope we can be with them again and I understand that we go thru so many forms in one life ie the baby to the oldie but goodie so which form would I want to be with I mean what stage ie my child as their baby self or my childs adult self. All the stages of my child I have loved
so I hope you can sense what I am asking and what I am trying
to express.

Love to all
Pam/Charumati

Debbra said...

I am thrilled because this is the first time since beginning the Course one year ago, that Lance and I have been able to pay a year in advance. We are so happy to be able to do this, and just as you said in early lessons, it did take about a year for our finances to straighten out, and for abundance and other manifestations of Grace to resume flowing into our lives. I am so very grateful for this transformation, and I look forward with great enthusiasm to the Lessons in the year ahead!

D. R. Butler said...

Hopefully everyone is enjoying your new lesson sent out on the 1st. If you are not participating in the Course of Training, you might be missing out on a significant transformative experience. By tomorrow I plan to start catching up answering the questions that have been recently posted. A new blog entry will be posted sometime over the next few days.

rico said...

Jake, to the mind the space between 2 thoughts looks like nothing is happening. Your mind will never know the space between 2 thoughts because the mind doesn't exist in that space. In meditation you become more and more familiar with what it is that is aware that you are meditating. It is this Awareness that will notice the space not the mind.

Expecting the mind to notice the space between 2 thoughts is kind of like a dog chasing it's own tail

D. R. Butler said...

Roberta, I am wondering what happened? You were saying you couldn't get clear about what you were supposed to do. I know from experience and past observation that this is often something we don't know the truth about until it simply happens in the present moment. Amazingly, what is supposed to happen always happens. Nothing we can do can change it. Yet we spend so much time and energy trying to 'figure it out' with the mind, when the true answer does not arise until the time to actually take action, which will always only be in the present moment. I am sure that the things you described are working out perfectly. Please let me know if you think otherwise.

D. R. Butler said...

Shanta, it doesn't require any effect to experience bliss. Your true and eternal nature is already blissful, so it's a matter of tuning into what is always already true. You are simply a bit caught in the mind, which is pretty much like everyone else. If you could truly get into the space between thoughts, wherein you get to experience the Universal instead of the individual, you would discover that bliss is already present. As long as you are trying to attain something that you don't already have, the very effort will be your primary obstacle.

Roberta said...

D.R., I tried once again to drive to school. I got about one-third of the way and was having the same experience of inner resistance and dialogue in my mind about pros and cons of doing this at this time. I wished I could be more grounded. Feeling that what I was doing was potentially unsafe, I turned around and drove back.

I called a friend, a fellow devotee, who invited me to stay with her. I am now living in a very beautiful small town in a very sweet condo. It feels safe and grounded. We have shared many wonderful conversations about our sadhana, and some fun activities. I can't believe my good fortune that I have ended up here. It is truly grace, and I feel so grateful; I am almost laughing as I write this. It does seem like the perfect outcome.

During my adventure, I read my lesson A LOT. I can truly say, I'm not the same person I was a few days ago. I felt your presence supporting me, and really, the presence of this community. Thank you for helping me to grow through this experience.

Hope you are well.

D. R. Butler said...

Chris Craig said, 'To look myself in the mirror and say, "I love you". To say, "I forgive you". To say, "I accept you exactly as you are". That is not an easy thing to do for me.... It should be the most natural!'

Chris, when these things are hard to say to ourselves, we are thinking of ourselves as ego, mind, and body. Ego, mind, and body have disappointed us again and again.

When we realize we are not limited to ego, body, and mind, and that our true and eternal essense is very beautiful, supremely pure, and totally perfect, then love arises spontaneously. This inner Light, which was never born and can never die, is our true Identity. Once we realize who we truly are, it is most natural and effortless to love the eternally changeless Self within.

D. R. Butler said...

Jake, you can't 'wonder about' anything in the space between thoughts. That space is Infinite, and never wonders about anything. The space between thoughts is non-thinking. You can't be in the space between thoughts and ask yourself if you have attained the highest state. The space between thoughts is wordless. It does not care about attainment, but sees it only as a notion of the mind. It is already all there is and all there will ever be, the Seer of all that is seen and the Knower of all that is known. The play of the mind is the play of Consciousness. Pure Consciousness, or pure Awareness, is experienced in the space between any two thoughts.

D. R. Butler said...

Pam, like most people, you are attached to duality, to the sense of 'other.' The sense of duality must be given up to experience the divine Oneness of all. Of course, we don't want to give up what we are attached to; otherwise we wouldn't bother to be attached to it.

You don't 'enjoy petting the cat, dog or riding a beautuful horse,' because of separateness, but because of Oneness. We are already the same Consciousness within the cat, dog, and horse, so there is no separation.

Touching pets is very important for us and for them. Loving pets contributes love to the world. It feels great to touch either of my cats, and I have no real idea why. It just does. I enjoy pulling my dog's ears, very slowly and gently of course, and she moans in pleasure as I do so.

All this is the play of the one Consciousness. Separation or duality only leads to heartbreak and suffering. The attachment is not worth it.

We let go of our children, giving them to the Lord, who manifests AS them as they are. Thankfully, they stay, because we are each other's karma. We give them up knowing they have their own karma, and yet we rejoice since their karma includes us.

As you progress in the Course, all this will be more and more obvious. In this process the principles will not be something you are learning or trying to remember, but will have become an essential aspect of who you are, so that you yourself become an embodiment of the principle.

In this way we make the greatest contribution to others.

D. R. Butler said...

I think I have answered all the questions that have been presented. If somehow I didn't answer yours, try asking it again after the new entry. I am going to take the answers to several of the above questions to put in the new entry, because they can be available to more people than have already seen them. If you have already read them, you will benefit greatly by rereading them. There is always something new to see.

Tamam Dil Ast said...

How do you explain karma as a concept when science is making so much progress with proving evolution. When did karma begin? If the soul is said to be bound in a bodily form because of karma, did the first form of life in the sea have karma?