Monday, October 15, 2012

The Love Dream--Living in Love

            Recently on Facebook I asked my friends if any of them had ever had dreams about being with someone that they had never known or seen in waking life, but in the dream, in subtle life, they felt an intense love and closeness toward that person.  I was surprised at all the responses that reported that indeed they had, and many went on to describe their own dreams, which we could see based on everyone’s experiences, that the dreams were primarily composed of intense feelings of love and exaltation.

           This has been an ongoing phenomenon for me over many years, and they seem to happen more frequently as I get older (although in my dreams I’m not older: I’m ageless if anything, or as though I am the same age I always am.)  It’s not that it happens all the time—maybe an average of twice a month or so.  Yet when it happens it is very intense and leaves me with that same feeling throughout the following day, and often through many days following.

I wake up from them with that exalted love energy, and when I first wake up my feeling is something like, ‘oh no, not this world again.  I want to go back to the dream.  I want to spend more time with her.’  And it takes a little while to adjust levels and come ‘back to earth’ for life in this physical world (the remaining karma of this particular incarnation).

 Recently I had the latest.  In this one a very beautiful woman appeared before me and told me that she had 4 things of value that she wanted to show so that I would know who she is.  The first thing she showed me was from Sai Baba of Shirdi.  The next one was from Nisargadatta.  Then there was one from Muktananda.  And finally there was one from the Christ.

Although I have no memory of the exact objects she presented, they were glowing with light and contained an uplifting energy.  I experienced their power and I knew who she was.

           The next part of the dream I remember was her crawling into bed with me.  Touching her was ecstatic.  I moved as though perhaps we were having sex, but she smiled and said, ‘Not that, I’m just here for a cuddle.’

 I told her, ‘I was just being myself.’

She smiled brightly again.  ‘I understand totally.’  And somehow I knew that she indeed understood totally.  In fact, I’d never felt more understood.

 I chuckle now remembering saying in my dream, ‘I was only being myself.’  Kay laughed when she heard that part too.  Kay also understands me.

After that, the two of us were out on a grand adventure in some city or town I am not familiar with in waking life.  I cannot remember all that happened to us or all that we did; I only remember how incredible it felt to be with her, to feel her near me.

Then at some point I woke up, and it seemed an abrupt departure from the dream.  My initial feeling, as it has often been before, was, Oh no, I don’t want her to be gone.  I want to spend more time with her.  And then the feeling lingered for several days.

So when I asked my Facebook friends if anyone had similar dreams, or similar feelings during or following such dreams, I was surprised at how many had experienced it.  There were all sorts of ideas presented: I was meeting the feminine aspect of myself.  I was having a vision and experience of the divine Goddess in yet another form—if dream-life is actually a form.  Ultimately it all takes place in our own consciousness.  Anyway, if you have any similar dreams or experiences, feel free to share about them in the comments following this.

I would love to know what such dreams are truly all about.  Hopefully someday I will have all the answers to my own questions.  Whatever kind of experiences the dreams are, they happen often enough and are intense enough to be significant in some way, especially since so many others report similar experiences.
 
It seems, if this kind of love is available in a dream, and is real during the 'time' it happens, then it must be possible to live in love.  Why not go through all of life with this ecstatic feeling?  It would indeed be Living in Love.

There were some good exchanges following last month’s entry, and since they are worth reading, even worth reading again, I will share some enhanced responses to the questions in the comments:

Not taking anything personally is a great attainment.  Someone says, 'You are a foolish person,' and you can silently know within yourself, 'There goes a fellow who tells other people they are foolish.'  This helps a lot to attain humility.  I am not sure if in itself alone it will do the trick, although much depends on our readiness and willingness to live in a humble way.  

Perhaps it is most humbling to openly accept one's own divinity, without any further question. 'Ok, it's settled, I am an expression of divinity no matter what I think, say, feel, or do. Only I will experience the consequences of these things, and they will be like rain drops falling on a man swimming in the ocean, who will not care that it is raining.'

When people come to me regarding a loved one who is very sick or nearing death, I always direct the conversation to the subtle realms, where there is continuity beyond this temporary physical form.  When children die it is because that soul didn't have much karma to experience in this lifetime.  It has nothing to do with something 'bad' happening or something going 'wrong.'  It just means, 'Karma now over.'  Of course, the parents are devastated.  I cannot bear the thought of losing any of my children.  It is among the most horrible human experiences.

Even so, in reality, the soul of that child had very little karma to experience in this particular incarnation.  Knowing this does not reduce the grief, but it does give a way to deal with it.
 
 Responding to someone else: 'Who' is this person that you are describing to be yourself?  You are injecting an imaginary character whom you take to be yourself. There is no one to 'have' a mind; there is only the egotistical identification with thoughts. There is no one to have an ego; there is the ego which identifies with the body, mind, and emotions, and considers itself to be a particular person with a personal life.

'What role does the mind play in helping us realize our true Self?'

In short, we need the understanding that mind is creative in nature, and mind-in-motion, or thought, creates situations and conditions in accordance to its own nature. For example, thoughts of joy lead to joy, and thoughts of sadness lead to sadness. And so on.

Once we understand that the mind is creative, and that thoughts are actual psychic forces that affect us and have their effects in our life, then we understand the incredible importance of controlling what we think, so as to think only thoughts of a positive and constructive nature. This is the key to mastery of this physical world and the land of karma, but of course it takes more than merely understanding this with the mind; it takes actual practice and participation in our own life. This is why we have a Course via email: to aid in maintaining the process, understanding the process, and consciously participating in the process of transformation.

Ultimately, the Self exists in all Its fullness between each and every two thoughts, and behind all thoughts.  The Upanishads say that 'God is the Witness of the mind.  What we have always called God is the inner Awareness that knows what we think.  The contracted form of the Self is the mind, so thoughts are merely the bubbling up of Consciousness. It is when we are not thinking, and the mind is not in motion, that we experience the pure Awareness of the Self.

The mind can help in this process by thinking thoughts that lead toward the realization of the Self, and by ceasing to think thoughts that lead us into egotistical melodramas having to do with the objective world of other people, or objective humanity.

It takes no time to be realized. That which ever will be realized is already realized. That which is not already realized is only a figment of our imagination.

Someone asked why it feels so good to help others, and keeps up the yard of his elderly neighbors and notices that it feels as good to him as it does to them.

Kay and I would be overjoyed if some younger person came and cleaned up and shaped our yards. I can just imagine the joy and appreciation the elderly sisters must feel when you do that for them.

This is the great secret of the universe: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This is the secret to contentment, and also has the added benefit of creating only pleasant karma from here on out. It's when we do unto others what we wouldn't want done to ourselves that we create unpleasant karma.

The primary principle here, though, is that it is better to give than to receive. Giving makes receiving possible.  Service is such an essential element in the enjoyment of life. For one thing, service is the soul of money. When we serve others, we are magically compensated in ways we might never have expected.

In this darkest of ages (Kali Yuga) there are corrupt means of acquiring money, and they are often powerful forces in this world. Although this may lead to riches and worldly power, it can never lead to contentment. Contentment comes only through service. Service is the key to contentment.

 Any truly content person will tell you that it is their service to others that brings them the most contentment; and that whatever financial rewards come their way as a result, while practically useful, are not the main thing.  And the Tao Te Ching says that contentment is the highest goal of life.

Whether things go the way we want them to in this life or not is much less releveant than most of us care to believe.  All that ultimately matters is our degree of contentment and fulfillment.  We experience this when we are truly ourselves, and this happens when we are living in the Truth of the Present Moment.

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

77 comments:

Sarah said...

Thank you for your service Ram..Thru studying the course I become able to experience what a true Blessing this lifetime is...

Peace and love always

Debbra said...

Thank you for another great Blog entry, Ram. I am happy to see the subject of these special dreams, which you discussed recently on Facebook, continued here. Like many others, I have had these types of dreams as well. Often come away from the dream with a feeling of having touched my own deepest Love.

Another version of this, which has mystified me my whole life, is the dream that I call "the heart sensation". It's not brought on by a dream person, but just arises in the dream as wave upon wave of such exquisite ecstasy in the heart region, that I am crying in the dream, and often wake in tears. Had this dream the first time at about age 11, around the time of my first crush on a boy. And it has visited in dream state maybe a dozen more times throughout my life. I wonder if others have known anything like this in dream time. Perhaps it is simply the movement of inner awakening. I honor this experience when it comes. It is a blessing.

FB said...

I just read this blog....as I look up, out the window, at the sky, which is a lovely clear blue today, the sun is glistening the fall foliage, gratitude, joy, contentment, and exhilaration (well-being)surge...a few minutes later Oneness is the experience...then comes, "oh, so this is Oneness" within. Thank you Ram.

Christine S. Boyd said...

I have been contemplating the word, "service" and it's wonderful to see it here. Several months ago in my astrological reading by Nadine, she emphasized the word "service" when she was answering one of my questions. The emphasis was full of love and that's what I've been contemplating. Twice recently at the workplace there has been added intensity with the receptionist away. The first time I did double duty to include her tasks, at day's end I felt incredibly content. So much so that I was looking forward to my next occasion which was this morning. Thanks for including service in this theme and to those who've raised the question/s!!

With love,
Christine S. Boyd

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Dear friends,

Recently I have been contemplating the honor of sharing this blog and the course with such a community of open hearted humans-- together we are creating a behind-the-scenes (and sometimes out-in-front, depending on our karma) force for upliftment and God knows it is the perfect time for it, the world could use it.

My Teacher (from my spiritual path) said something along the lines of "we are not here to save the world, but to serve it with love." The course is giving me tangible ways to serve with love, and to overcome my old patterns that get in the way of love.

This community is a great nourishment. I am happy we can meet here. Love Karen Jo

James said...

I also have out of the ordinary dreams. In the past I have enjoyed the ones where I am telling someone, "this is a dream we are dreaming!". I remember a dream where I was with someone I knew well and shared a loving feeling with though she was not incarnated at this time. Recently I had two dreams that were rated x. Or maybe the rating should be it is really rated o.k. to have such loving feelings. Perhaps the loving being I was with out of supreme compassion dresses in a body to share her love and lets me know what love is possible to feel. Over the years I have also had flying dreams. These things have been mentioned in the course over the years. Which came first? I think I hear about them in the course first then have them. Although this latest round of dreams seem to be happening at same time.
In my latest lessons it mentions the seriousness epidemic. I admit I labor under that hang up. I hear another teacher out there talking about it too. I feel I could make progress by letting that seriousness go. Tension has me running and hiding.
Service is always a growth area for me. I appreciate those who have the knack.

Jim said...

DR, when I read your post it reminded me of a dream I had last year about a girlfriend from young adulthood, when it was about intense togetherness, but also emeshment and no boundaries (which eventually did in the relationship.) In the dream it was present day, we both had our separate families, but there we were visiting, walking together, and there was this overwhelming love. I woke and for a moment I was aware of my head and legs, but in place of my chest was pure light. That perception quickly abated, but the feeling lingered, and like you said, I wanted to dive back into it. Through the years I have had similar dreams of reconnecting with a lost love, and initially I chalked it up as grief over the loss of the love interest. But gradually I'm beginning to believe that the true loss is the ability to love, the willingness to love. For a while I thought my sadhana was about growing a pair, getting a backbone, and it probably was, but I've gone to the other extreme and now maybe I have too many boundaries, too many lines in the sand and I've drawn a mote around my ability to love. So the dreams are pointing me back to what that experience was like as a reminder. It's like lost treasure.

To that end, a couple of nights ago while trying to get to sleep I visualized a journey through perilous caverns deep underground with enormous chambers and rock formations, narrow passageways, subterranean rivers, shear cliffs. I actually got stuck in one of the narrows and a bout of claustrophobia gripped me - I had to remind myself to get on with the visualization - and eventually made my way to a sacred chamber, which was as elaborately decorated, ancient and mysterious as I could imagine. The centerpiece contained the holy grail of the visualization, a stone sarcophagus, complete with a heavy and dusty stone slab that took great effort to move - and within was the pure light.

It was difficult to visualize and took effort to summon the feeling of being in its presense. There was some disappointment that it lacked the potency of the dream, but I believe I'm on to something and will try the visualization again.

sparkle said...

"Not taking anything personally is a great attainment. D R wrote: "Someone says, 'You are a foolish person,' and you can silently know within yourself, 'There goes a fellow who tells other people they are foolish.'"

This is such a clarifying example of how to maintain one's equanimity in the face of another's criticism, no matter what it is, or how intense, or how loud, etc. So simple. "There goes someone who...." I am now simply a witness, not critical and not involved. How many melodramas I might steer clear of with this frame of mind!

D. R. Butler said...

Sparkle, that is a great realization. It is life-changing.

Cynthia Henderson said...

Dear Ram,
I'm often reluctant to share my "progress" as usually right afterward I lapse back into the opposite ... however, I am moved to share recent observations about my behaviour.

Since starting Vol.2 of the course, I've noticed a marked improvement in the way I respond to others ... I'm seeing that although the habitual critical thoughts do pop up, I take a breath, and the response is more accommodating; more friendly. It feels SO MUCH BETTER not to always be putting others down ... (V2, Lesson #4 has my name written all over it!)

There is still more work to be done, but I just want to express my appreciation for the course being the catalyst for the gradual realizations that are finally taking hold.

D. R. Butler said...

Scott Schwenk wrote: I tried posting this question to the comments of the blog, but after about twelve attempts, I figure it's not meant to be at the moment. Where would you have me post this? It seems like it could be relevant to a bunch of folks.

"Ram, would you please describe your understanding of the differences between the tools of "Replacement" in the course and the tendency of spiritual bypassing? Thank you..."

DRB wrote: Maybe it didn't take because I have no idea what 'spiritual bypassing' is.

Scott Schwenk replied:
"Spiritual bypassing, a term first coined by psychologist John Wellwood in 1984, is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs. It is much more common than we might think and, in fact is so pervasive as to go largely unnoticed, except in its more obvious extremes."

And an example of when this tendency is pointed "outward" from the same author:

"Telling another to “lighten up” or be more positive can be shame-inducing, however nicely we might do it. What if they need to stay with their hate or despair or depressiveness for a while? How can we be sure that they’d be better off getting away from such states as soon as possible? Perhaps at such times we are — through our contact with their endarkened condition — starting to feel more in touch with such states in ourselves, and want the other to get away from their “darkness” so that we don’t have to feel our own."

Oh.....the man whom I'm quoting is author Robert Augustus Masters.

End Scott Schwenk message.

Okay, now I have something to work with. That point of view is pretty interesting, actually. I feel this is the way people are guided through the Course. We stay away from anything resembling guilt or shame, and emphasize breaking free from making wrong and being right, or telling another person how he or she could be better in some way if they would only change this particular thing that somehow we have some insight about.

It's true--how do we know the other person would be better off?

Our approach in the Course is to offer tools to change that which causes our pain or suffering. If something does no harm to others or ourselves, then it just is what it is. Any judgment would only come from our conditioned standards and ideals. Yet it is amazing how much guilt we feel from imagined wrong-doings that never really mattered to anyone in the least.

If, however, we are lacking in contentment, if we do not feel good about ourselves, then there are certain principles that can be learned and applied in real life that lead to major transformations.

It is important to realize that on the highest level we are totally pure and perfect exactly as we are. Nothing needs to be changed. Yet on the level of being an individual going through the karma of a lifetime, there are certain tried and true methods of attaining mastery and freedom during this embodiment.

Freedom from what? From that which causes our pain and our suffering, our sense of limitation and of not being enough. When these things fall away, through our work on ourselves, we attain a contentment and an exalted sense of well being like we've never before known--at least since we last forgot it.

Naganath said...

What if you dreamed your Love and then you wrote about it and she became real? What if every time you wrote about her it changed her. And she was real. And then you wrote a book about it. And then the book became a movie. And her name was "Ruby Sparks"?
Absolutely fabulous film.
Check it out. I was in tears thinking about this blog as I watched it tonight.

Jane Skafte said...

Thank you for the reminder Ram: not taking things personally. I had an opportunity to practice this today at my spiritual community. I attend Unity -- it should be the last place to find dissension, but today we witnessed a heated argumentative environment during what should have been an ordinary nomination of board members to serve the community. Nearly everyone in the room "forgot" to see the divine within themselves and others, and egos were running rampant like a bad movie. I was voted to serve on the board, and a disgruntled member said "if you had any integrity, you would resign." I had no argument with this person and have no idea where this projection came from, but the hatred she beamed at me was palpable.
It reminded me of times when driving, and another driver honks at me or gives me the "salute", when I am not aware of having done anything wrong, there is that visceral feeling that flashes and I feel "attacked" and defensive.
This for me is the most challenging time to practice not taking things personally, and wonder how other people deal with this. Some days are better than others, and today it took longer to regain my center than I would have liked.

Anonymous said...

I asked you for guidance in understanding what 'subtle' is.
Thank you.
It's ALL subtle! I only need to remember, and it all shifts.

Vicki said...

I enjoyed the story that you began my latest lesson with. The miracle of driving on the I-80, having something go wrong with the car, unexpectedly  finding someone to fix it at the nearest exit, and continuing on your way. Recognizing the miraculousness of how everything unfolded. Would you believe I had an almost identical miracle happen some years ago? And I also knew how much I was protected and cared for . In my case, it was late at night, I landed at a country store that was about to close when up drove a guy in a pickup, he just happened to be a mechanic, and he just happened to feel compelled to drive 10 miles at 11 pm to buy a newspaper. 

My lesson states: " Everyone, regardless of outer appearances, is equally a manifestation of divine Consciousness, the “Creator” of life; and we are all endowed with the capacity to expect miracles and, therefore, to watch them unfold all around us all day every day. No one is ‘more divine’ than anyone else—the same Consciousness exists within each of us just as the same air exists in all the balloons."

Isn't it great when we can believe that we are worthy of seeing miracles as part of our day to day life?  Little ones, and great big ones too. I do see them, day in and day out. Sometimes they are spectacular, and sometimes they might seem very ordinary to someone else.  As we continue our sadhana, they tend to be a normal part of life, in fact, they become our life, and we are witness to their unfoldment in each moment.

Vicki said...

Jane, you ask how others deal with not taking things personally. With this type of reaction, as with all other types, it's just an ongoing practice. When I react, I notice, and I attempt to change my feelinga, both within myself, and about myself, by applying the principles of the Course, which Ram mentions above. Above all, I approach myself with as much gentleness as possible these days, and refuse to habour feelings of guilt for having 'failed' in something. I think about how I would like to have responded, and how I would like to feel, and sometimes replay the event with the principled response and painfree feelings that I would prefer. That's a practice that can lead me to a better response the next time, or the time after that, or at some point when I finally drop the painfully contracted reaction. I also give myself plenty of admiration for the times I get it right, and share the victory with a buddy who can tell me how amazing I am!

Colette DeVore said...

Jane Skaffe,I often wonder what's going on with people when things like that happen out of the blue. You can be fairly certain that it has nothing to do with you. Maybe she's going through some sort of transit right now. It sounded like a very Martian thing to do. How well do you know this person? If I knew her well, I might ask her in what way she thought my integrity was out. If I didn't know her, I figured she'd say that about anybody who got elected. Anyway it is hard to deal with, especially if you're the kind of person who is listening from what's wrong with me. I have that tendency and I feel many do. I of course could be mistaken as well. My best defense with myself is laughing at myself. I do it more and more often

Jake Birdsong said...

My father and I don't see much of each other anymore. He's partially retired in Florida and only comes home to MD on business. When he's in town his calendar is filled with meetings, action items and whatever else he or his secretary put on there. He's constantly busy and constantly stressed out because of it. Still, we make sure to at least spend a few minutes with each other when he's in town.

Several months ago we went out to eat together. Much of the conversation was spent inquiring about his new residence in Florida and the partial-retirement life. While we were waiting for the check he asked how I was doing. I said "I'm living the dream, Dad. Everything in my life is going just as it should and I'm in a good place."

He asked what I attribute that too…

I told him that I remembered how much power I had. He asked what I meant. I said I realized that we create our own experiences through our descriptions of them... I touched on several of the principles we’ve all had the privilege of “remembering” through LITT ;)

He said "I've realized that about you." He said "Things that used to get under your skin now seem like water off a ducks back." He went on to say "But, you know, some things just suck."

"What do you mean, Dad? Give me an example."

He said: "Alright.... This check. Where the hell is it? We've been waiting on it fifteen minutes. You think this is how I want to spend my time? I have a million things that I have to get done in a very small amount of time.... on and on...... You see, some things are just inherently not fun."

I said "Dad, you live in Florida. We used to do a lot of things together and now I don't get to see you much anymore. We never had to worry about penciling each other in just to have dinner. So if we get an extra fifteen minutes to be with one another, well, that’s just about the best way I could imagine spending my time."

In this moment, his reality changed. What he was seeing as just another frustration morphed into a gift of time. The funny thing is, we stayed another half hour. When the check finally came, instead of paying it we each ordered another beer and just hung out like old times :)

D. R. Butler said...

I love your share, Jake, and I love what you said to your father. That was absolutely perfect.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Ok, I'm gonna open the raw wound. Often, others do and say and it rolls off like water on a ducks back. Then occasionally a situations arises (usually or always one where the ego is deeply invested in the opinion or thought that another has about it (me-LOL).

Most often this takes place with a friend, a lover or a boss. At least the ones I sometimes don't get past easily for months or maybe years (God forbid-LOL!).

It is these very moments that seem to be some of the darkest sadhana moments or times for me. They often lead to great expansion yet seem like these detours through the dark woods for a while.

I do not know why it seems so worthy of the investment to me, the remembrance of a hateful or deeply insensitive comment. One that so-called hurt. Our course teaches us that another words or actions can only hurt us if we let that be so. Hmmm, there are times I've just not gotten to that understanding yet. Often I've asked what is actually in this that I might learn something from.

Enjoy the dirty laundry. Hope it's useful to someone else.

rico said...

We may not be able to avoid the hurt but we can avoid the suffering. At some point we make the choice that we just won't put up with prolonging the pain by dwelling on it long after the original event has passed. Why and when we make that choice is one of life's great mysteries.

The Lessons teach us that we have a choice about how something affects our peace of mind. The ability to apply this principle is like a exercising a muscle. The more we do it the stronger the ability becomes. Some unpleasant patterns are so deeply ingrained it takes some real heavy lifting to get out of the rut. Some reactive tendencies require a strong will and quick reflexes to get out of their way before they knock us down and carry us away.

sparkle said...

Jake,
Thanks for sharing your experience with your father--beautiful. The course helps open us up to these moments, I find.

Michael said...

I used to have the dreams of soulmates with love and wonder now if that kind of perfect love is possible in other lokas that are more pure. I wondered if your dream relates to the inner shakti or receptive consciousness giving back the fruits from imbibing teachings of different masters, represented as gifts.

Taylor said...

Kristopher,

I also have a sensitive heart and have been hurt by hateful and insensitive comments by close friends, family members, and lovers. The Course has helped me tremendously in strengthening my will power through practice (as Rico says) so that I can use my will, attention, and intention to no longer be hurt by anything that is said by anyone.

What’s new for me, now, though, is that I’m getting lighter and lighter so that it’s getting harder and harder to take whatever someone else says seriously or take myself seriously. It seems like it’s becoming a non-issue. As a matter of fact, it seems like “I’m” becoming a non-issue. I know it sounds a little loony and it is.

Love to all,
Taylor

Renee said...

Dear Ram, thank you for this concise description of "God" as I understand the concept.

"Ultimately, the Self exists in all Its fullness between each and every two thoughts, and behind all thoughts. The Upanishads say that 'God is the Witness of the mind. What we have always called God is the inner Awareness that knows what we think. The contracted form of the Self is the mind, so thoughts are merely the bubbling up of Consciousness. It is when we are not thinking, and the mind is not in motion, that we experience the pure Awareness of the Self."

I also wanted to thank Jake for sharing his story of dinner with his dad. Fabulous!

Jane, I wanted to share with you something that has happened to me a few times since beginning the course. If I'm in the moment, and feeling free (whatever that moment holds, even if it's a child having a tantrum in the grocery store) I am not personally identified with the situation. I'm watching it. So when someone comes along and says something strange like that, I have permission to follow up with them. It's all a play, right?

This happened to me once, while standing in line to pick up antibiotics for my one year old daughter with a raging bilateral ear infection. She had been as patient with the line as she was going to be and long before it was our turn, she was *done*! I did my best to keep her from hurting herself or me, and spoke calmly to her.

A lady behind me said, "Have you ever heard of a book called (something like) 'Positive Discipline'?" I told her no and turned back to my daughter.

Parenting is an area where it's really easy to get caught up in wanting to do it "right". It's also fraught with opinions on what "right" is!

Well, I thought about it for a second, believing this woman was potentially criticizing how I was dealing with Paige, but not wanting to project that onto her, so I asked her, "What did you see here that made you ask me that question?"

She said she thought Paige was about to tantrum and I would appreciate knowing how to handle such a thing.

LOL! I had to laugh. I told her that Page *was* having a tantrum, that she certainly had my sympathy due to her long wait in line and terrible ear pain. I was able to walk away from that encounter feeling content. People are funny. I'm sure I've done things like that too. If I'm aware of the moment, I don't have to take anything personally. If I'm not, then like the others said, I have to come back around to it. :)

Much love to everyone this weekend! My latest lesson is my favorite, as usual. :)

Renee

Terry said...

I really enjoyed the update to this post...as usual it is all new in this moment...I don't remember what was in the previous version..lol. Anyway, lots of "truths" as well as a great reminder that the Self...God...exists in every Now between any two thoughts as as the background upon which thoughts appear. Thanks

Lynne Bhanu Shulman said...

It was wonderful to hear your story Jake with your father. Such a great example of how changing a perception is so powerful and can lead to greater closeness and love.
Since taking the Course i realize how much I used to look for negatives and hang on to them. 8 people could say something wonderful about me or my abilities and one person could say they weren't so sure i was that great.and that is what i would hang onto. Imagine how long i hung onto outright put downs and angry hateful tirades that i can't believe i even took part in and in some cases instigated. Like Rico said,it takes practice to bring myself into the present moment and change my thoughts which in turn change my feelings. In the world of psychology that is known as Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy... :) Change your thoughts and the feelings and actions will follow. Thank you all for the reminders and success stories. 12 step programs remind me that "Pain is inevitable...Suffering is optional"
I don't suffer nearly as much as i used to and when i do it certainly is of my own making. And i have Principles of the Course to help shift my perceptions and actions. I realize this has become a long post. I am glad I have this place to come. The election talk with my friends have really illuminated my ingrained "positions" my self assured stance that i am so "right" about so many things. And then to see anger arise when they don't see it "my" way. Thanks goodness I don't take myself and others as seriously as i used to. But it takes vigilance on my part, I really want to be a support to others, and my own self.

Tony (Aditya) said...

The exercise in my current lesson is to see God in and as everything -- a very welcome reminder indeed. I have noticed that, in addition to remembering to see things that way (and there we are...) I can just move my awareness from my head to my heart and God-in-and-as-everything just immediately reoccurs. The trick is to stay focused on the heart -- those thoughts are SO interesting ... but at this point it seems just habit, nothing more.

rico said...

Marga posted a link to a wonderful article about a neurosurgeon who taught at Harvard describing his experience while in a coma and registering no higher brain activity. Interestingly he too meets up with a divinely feminine being who sounds quite similar to the dream Devi described in the current blog post. Fascinating how this experience changes his rigid scientific understanding of consciousness into a more spiritual one. The story is linked below.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/07/proof-of-heaven-a-doctor-s-experience-with-the-afterlife.html

D. R. Butler said...

My daughter Sara enjoyed that link, Rico and Marga. Only 17, she's dead set that she wants to be a neuroscientist. She wants to learn how the mind works, and she has a serious spiritual bent.

The blog community should be aware that there is a huge hurricane bearing down on us, even though we live in the mountains. It's hard for me to get 'mountains' and 'hurricane' together in the same thought, but nonetheless that's what's happening.

The practical gist of this is that we will probably lose electricity, and for a while will have no contact with the outside world. So if you don't see me here, or if you write comments and they are not fairly quickly posted here, you will know why. Whenever I get back I will catch up as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I will be around as long as electricity holds out.

We have some tall Evergreens around our house. If the wind comes through mightily, well, let's just hope none of them end up on the house.

If you are also in the path of the hurrricane, then we will ride it out together. Please take care of yourself until we meet on the other side of it.

Michael said...

I'd like to share a few experiences about how the principle of Creative Thought taught in the Course of Training have brought about a series of highly desirable consequences in my life.

Three years ago I began visualizing the feeling of gratitude and wonder I would have if I had a person who would help me with organizing and planning in my job as Director of Music for a catholic church in Greenville, NC. I steadfastly maintained the feeling and early in 2010, a woman with three degrees in music AND her husband (two degrees in music) appeared and offered their services. Their assistance is monumental and constant.

Two years ago I applied the same principle to getting more people in my choir. This year the choir grew from 20 to 37.

This year I visualized a strong tenor. I felt intense gratitude, knowing that he would arrive at the perfect time, without knowing how. Last Sunday a young couple approached me after Mass with their two young boys. They were both attractive, with bright smiles, and a musical aura. They explained they had just moved from Pennsylvania five days before and were impressed with the music ministry and wanted to join the choir. Jessica has a Masters in Voice Performance, has served as a choir director and accompanist, and Chris put in two years of study in voice. Guess what - he's a tenor.

Anne said...

Thank you Ram for sharing your amazing, exquisite and expansive dream with us. It must surely be a Blessing of some kind, and sign that sadhana is going very well .. The inner Devi, or 'She', sounds mighty pleased with you, lol!!
I love and feel inspired by the "... Ok, it's settled, I am an expression of divinity no matter what I think, say, feel, or do." Realising that I can't 'un-divinize' myself no matter what, causes me to feel softer and more forgiving of my foibles - and so more able to keep noticing them, and letting go, and not putting up walls of defensiveness. Not needing to defend myself from attack from the 'other'. I'm even taking more 'risks', sticking my neck out more ... as Life isn't so 'deadly earnest' after all so what is there to be afraid of really? Laugh, learn, love! Lightheartedness puts everything into a healthier perspective!!

Love your comment about service, "is the soul of money". Thank you. And Contentment. I am thinking more about what 'service' actually is and means to me ... like it is not necessarily 'doing' something that may be noticed and praised or blamed, but in every day moment to moment 'ordinary' life interactions, what state do I bring to them? What energy I can bring to communications ... not how much I can get "done', or even how 'perfectly'. Am I a force for healing or divisiveness? Do I need to have the last word or can I let it go for the upliftment of the whole? What pushes my buttons, and why? etc.

Service ... also feels much more fun to be a hidden server just for joy of it, as expression and/or reconnection to God/Self. Oh I am not a particularly young person, but I sure wish I could have the pleasure of helping clean up your yard. Love all the wise comments here ... see you the other side of Sandy, beautiful soul friends and mentors. xxx

Anonymous said...

My five-year old son asked me few days ago, while I was driving him back from school: What is God ?
I told myself, after few seconds of hesitation, "let's try something from the Course here" and then answered something like "It's the Knower of all what you know" (something I'm still waiting, myself, to get !). Well the frustrating part of it all is that it made sense to him. He simply agreed and looked happy the rest of the ride !
The Course goes on !

Tom said...

so much wisdom, so many words - my mind doesn't hold on to them for long anymore.
Or much else. But here I am. I can see and feel whatever I focus on. That's real, now. Thankfully, the lessons are in my focus and so, through grace, Truth is revealed. What better?

Devorah said...

One of my favorite things in the lessons is when you share with us some of your communications with your daughter Sara. In this lesson you wrote how you taught her to describe things that make her feel good rather than making her feel bad. That teaching is a life changer.

Jessie said...

Why is it, do you think, that so many people love the course and get so much out of it, while others, no matter how much it is recommend to them, seem to be unable to even consider taking it?

D. R. Butler said...

That's an interesting question, Jessie, and one that's come up in different forms from time to time.

There are many sources for some degree of Truth these days. There are teachers for all levels and types of people. So many things can be immediately found on the Internet, and there is some great information available in books.

So the question then becomes, why should anyone think that something essential and valuable might be found in a course that comes by email every two weeks that can't be easily found in many other places?

I greatly honor those who are even open-minded enough to write and ask for the info and free lesson. At least they're willing to see if there is something there, perhaps something totally unexpected.

Most people who begin the course have some experience of it being unexpected and unanticipated, of it being a great surprise, for there is no way one can guess in advance what is coming once the course begins. The lessons take us into a different space than where we ordinarily live. One lesson lays the groundwork for the next lesson, and in this way the participant gradually understands what is written in a whole new way than was understood in the beginning. The same words and phrases start to take on a whole new level of meaning.

Yet how can anyone get any sense of this without even trying it? So, why are some not interested no matter how much they are encouraged to give it a shot? One aspect of this is karma. We are attracted to particular avenues of knowledge through karma alone. Of course, the true nature of karma is not commonly understood.

Another reason is that it takes a certain degree of commitment to participate in the course. Even though all we need to do is stay in touch with our current lesson, many people have a problem even making that much commitment.

Also, there is no way in the beginning to know where the course is actually coming from, for I assure you it does not come from me, your humble typist.

People learn about the course through word of mouth only, such as someone recommends it, or sends another the link to this blog, which kindles some inner interest in what the course has to offer. Or someone gives another the course for a while as a gift, so that they can see what is available, such as a Christmas present, for example. Many thankful people started out this way, through the grace of a friend or loved one.

Anyway, there are many reasons, most of which cannot really be understood with the mind. The mind is not our highest way of understanding things. Most of the really great teachers are not well known in a public way. Our course is not the kind of thing that will ever be mentioned in the media. We'll leave that to such people as Deepak Chopra, who has a great knack for reaching a large audience.

Most of the people who participate in our course are those who have spent many years on the spiritual path, and who have tried various paths and teachers.

What is the main reason people give for ever quitting the course? Because they haven't been reading the lessons. Yep, it is true, if you don't read the lessons, you won't get much out of the course.

There are so many things that could be mentioned and explored, and yet at the end we still have nothing like a concrete answer. Maybe some others who participate in the course can answer this question better than I can. You see how I tend to ramble, and I can only hope that something I have said is relevant to your question.

James said...

I can see why people may hesitate because there is commitment of time and resources. I feel that what I get from the course is well worth the time and effort. I hear from other teachers and some offer very similar lessons in radio and book offerings. On a practical level why buy another book if I am getting the top shelf material as it is. I still might buy something special. I am content with the course and excited about it after twenty and change years of participation. For me coming back to the course in its latest incarnation was a surprise. I had to get into the way the language of the course runs. Certainly paying attention to what I read. It is like reading a poem in the sense of getting use to its pulse. The strength of the course has remained up there throughout. Some teachers I come across I get excited about but it does hold up that long. What can I say. It is good to know the course is always going on.

Jessie M. said...

In answer to Jessie's question and D.R.s Reply - i find sometimes reading the lessons take an extraordinary amount of focus, an amount which is disproportionate to the content and the quality of the writing (which is very clear). On the first read, it almost feels to brain sometimes that I'm reading a physics text or some technical manual. I've come to believe this is because some process is taking place in my brain and psyche during that first read which is beyond the level of my cognitive understanding. For me only by the 3rd reading do I usually get to the elated feelings and ah ha moments that I've come to associate with the course. So my answer in short is that to truly participate takes real effort.

D. R. Butler said...

Very true, Jessie M. Participation in the Course is very dynamic. It cannot be done passively. This is part of the process of actually Waking Up. Many people prefer to remain asleep, complacent with things as they appear. One aspect of the Course is to go beyond appearances and beyond how we think things are, and instead begin to see things as they truly are. It leads to Living in the Truth of the Present Moment. This cannot be experienced passively. Be dynamic.

margaret garner said...

Just wanted to share on the blog how the Course has helped me recently...I have been taking it now for about a year and a half. About ten years ago I experienced some very intense panic attacks and tried everything I knew at the time to calm down. Eventually I was prescribed an anti-depressant, which I took for about 4 years. It was hell tryng to wean myself off them but finally did and have been free from any further attacks, until just recently. In the midst of this, my new lesson arrived, which discusses the importance of replacing negative thoughts and feelings with the higher qualities of contentment, gratitude, lightheartedness, etc. Now, this wasn't the first lesson that I'd read that has talked about this principle, but I really needed to hear it again and it was SO relevant in this "crisis" (in my mind, anyway!) situation. It is so true that when we consistently apply the principles in our lives, how that "spiritual muscle" develops. I'm so thankful that with the Grace of the Course that I was able to avoid having to take that medication again. It's also opened up some opportunities to share with a few friends and family members about how the Course has been my lifeline through this.

sparkle said...

Apropos of nothing particular in this blog:
For several weeks now my husband and I have been reading the lessons together out loud. I am finding that it makes a huge difference to hear the words as well as to see them. Probably this phenomenon is explained by neuroscience. Just mentioning this in case it might be helpful to someone else.

D. R. Butler said...

A couple reading the lessons out loud together is a great thing. It is very good for relationships, and is highly recommended.

Michael said...

My current lesson descibes good-natured as a prime quality of a liberated being. I'm really getting into this. It's amazing how easy and natural it is after four years of the Course. Instead of thinking about what might go wrong, I start the day off by thinking about all the wonderful things I will experience, the tests that will purify and strengthen me and make it even easier to live in bliss tomorrow. When anybody around me starts laughing for any reason, I automatically join in, even if I have no idea what they are laughing, because I want to share in the fun.

Naganath said...

To me, being involved on the Course is a matter of karma. It is not that some folks are more "fortunate" than others, although it could be seen that way, it is more what the soul has evolved to at this point, and with what other souls. Thus, the Course speaks to some deep place in some and is gobbledygook to others.

Jake Birdsong said...

Dear Ram,

One thing I’ve come to find is that if we take ANYTHING seriously, we will kill it. I’ve observed this with every single thing in my life that I have ever taken seriously – I would temporarily kill it until I relaxed and lightened up about whatever it was that I was concerned with. This would frequently involve me confirming to myself that the subject matter was less important or less meaningful then I had been telling myself. From this “coming down,” if you will, I’d immediately begin to recharge and fall back in love with whatever it was, which was easy since I wasn’t obsessing. I’d then begin re-climbing the latter of seriousness (becoming more mentally involved, spending all my time doing it, etc) until I’d find myself taking the subject matter so seriously that I’d kill it again, and then I’d unwind again. Again and again. It felt so good to be at the bottom of one of those cycles and relax my grip on the reigns.

How do I communicate to the universe that I’m interested in something, knowing my true Self for example, without taking it seriously?

Warmly,

Jake

D. R. Butler said...

Jake, for a relative youngster, you have good insights and ask clear questions.

It's good that you are seeing at your age the folly of seriousness. There is nothing worth taking seriously. Only the ego is serious. In comparison, the Self is what we might think of as 'giddy.'

You asked, 'How do I communicate to the universe that I’m interested in something, knowing my true Self for example, without taking it seriously?'

For one thing, know that 'the universe' or 'Higher Power,' or the Infinite OmniPresence--or however we choose to name It--is essentially lighthearted, and therefore doesn't take you seriously even if you are serious.

If you have an interest in knowing your true Self, know that your own Self IS 'the universe' that you refer to, and that it is eternally WITHIN you, and NEVER outside you.

The only One you can communicate such a thing to is your own inner Self. You are That Which hears and understands that which you communicate. When you know this you will know your Self.

Brahma said...

Sometimes I worry that if I don't take some things seriously, bad things could happen. Like if I lose my job, can't pay my bills, I will end up losing my house, and perhaps be on the street. How does one deal with such a crazy thought?

Vicki said...

It's dark, I'm driving home, I've driven 130 miles in two days, just to go to the dentist, twice. Both times he's seen me at the end of the day, he's tired, and yet full of energy, eager to solve the riddle, and regaling me with stories of his time in the navy, and we make each other laugh. On the way home, I almost hit a young deer that cuts across the highway right in front of me. As I turn onto the dirt road, 10 minutes from home, I again remember the exercise in my lesson - to fall in love with my Self, to live in love with my Self, and be grateful. I begin to talk to myself.

Love the Self. I don't think I'm feeling love. How do you know? Because I don't really feel anything. What do you think you should feel? Well, some sort of...something. What DO you feel. Hmmm ... just ... being. Neither up, nor down, neither blissful, nor sad, just kind of ... am-ish. Amish? No, am- ish. I just am. Well, isn't God 'I am'? And isn't God Love? So... Yeah, so love is just I am. So maybe Iove IS what I'm feeling, but it's not what I thought it would be.  

That covered, I move on to gratitude. Thank you - thank you for this sweet drive home. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for helping the dentist help me. ...Okay - who are you thanking? I'm thanking the Self. Who is it who is thanking the Self? I am the Self and I am thanking my Self. I'm just playing a Game. 

Suddenly, my mind stops. I remember that last night I was rereading my lesson. It's the first in a new section called "The Greatest Game Ever Invented". Honestly? When I read it last night, I still wondered, "What game?  I don't get it. Not really."  Hmmmm....

kirsty said...

It has been said in the Course that the time of our death, our transition to the subtle world, is pre-ordained.My question is about the manner of the transition. In hospice experiences I have seen frightened people who had a very difficult time leaving this world and then there were others who slipped away peacefully. They had worked with positive thoughts, programming themselves about dying in their sleep, or consciously with family around, or quietly and free of pain. It seems to have worked.

So...even though the time of going from here to the subtle world is non-negotiable, can the way it happens be instilled ahead of time?

rico said...

Staying lighthearted is not equivalent to being irresponsible. Whatever dharmic responsibilities we encounter we can do our best to fulfill them without becoming contracted about the outcome. That's really the nature of seriousness. Focusing on and being attached to a particular end result. We can always give everything "we do" our best shot but it's the clinging to a certain outcome that is contracting and heavy. Perhaps you've heard of the approach to life known as "controlled folly" where we know that nothing really matters but we act as if it does. This approach removes the doer from the picture. Instead we become an actor in a Cosmic Play where everything always works out in the end.

D. R. Butler said...

Brahma, yes, people are afraid that if they don't sufficiently worry about things, that anything could go wrong. Believe me, taking things seriously doesn't prevent anything from going wrong. It is more truthful that taking things seriously is at the root of all problems.

When I read your question, I truly feel that you should focus more on that which you are named after. Brahman is pure Consciousness.

Where do all these negative thoughts come from? Lose your job? Lose your home? My goodness, you must never have read Lesson 1, which is free.

What you think is what you get. If you have the worry habit, then you're likely to get what you're worrying about.

Your question doesn't sound like someone who participates in our Course of Training, which includes the science of right thinking. I truly recommend that you give the course a trial run just to see what happens.

And if you already participate in the course, then you really need to give your current lesson more attention.

D. R. Butler said...

Kirsty said: 'Even though the time of going from here to the subtle world is non-negotiable, can the way it happens be instilled ahead of time?'

The way it happens cannot be changed as far as physical conditions. That is, if you're destined to die in a car accident, that's what you signed up for, it's already been determined.

It seems like what you actually mean, regarding relating to the dying in a hospice situation, the individual has complete control, if he exercises it, over his mental state at the time of transition. In fact, our final thoughts are a major determining factor on where we end up, regarding which subtle level or loka the subtle body is attracted to following the final exhalation and departure from the temporal physical form.

People can be taught to approach death pleasantly, and as a great adventure. However, we need to start working on this now, not at the time we leave the body. Still, you work with what you are given, and you do your best with what you have.

My first experience of death was my paternal grandmother. I was about 12 or so, and we went to where she was on her deathbed in the hospital. She had 9 kids, so you can imagine the room was quite full. Once I got right up to her bed and saw her eyes close up. Even then, what I knew I saw was fear. She was afraid at what was going to happpen.

This is very common, yet it's never necessary. People should learn the principles of transition at a very early age, as they do in certain cultures, such as Tibet and Nepal. Death is a Grand Adventure, freedom from this body of mud, from space and time, and from all karmic limitations. We go back into a world of Light.

Everyone should look forward to their own death, yet we should also honor our current karma and dharma, and live the life we have been given with as much Consciousness as possible. This makes dying not only easy, but enjoyable.

Dave Silverstein said...

I love what Rico stated, "We have the choice how something affects the mind"....so simple and the key for right understanding. My daughter has been performing the last few nights at our local theater. As I was driving her to the train station, I accidentally 'spilled the beans' over what I thought was a surprise party that the director was giving her. When I realized what I had done, all this old unworthiness muck, embarrassment and other gobbledy gook began bubbling to the surface. It was like a shock to my system. "What have I done!" All serious ego melodramas rearing their ugly heads.

Katie was fine with it, but I was a mess. She said I needed to start breathing again and that everything would be okay. I then took a few deep breaths and consciously 'replaced' these 'dark' feelings with ones of 'lightheartedness and being in harmony with it in this present moment. My lesson exercise was to practice loving myself....perfect. Gradually and with self-effort I began to experience my 'humaness' and accept it for what it was.

What I love is that these replacement feelings of harmony and love are beginning to come up automatically now, still takes effort but definitely easier. This course of training is by no means passive. It is a very dynamic one that bears many gifts.

ari said...

From volume 3 lesson 5: this kind of tidbit is why I love the lessons so much:
"Are we intelligent? In society intelligence is often measured not so much by the capacity to uphold the estalished order of things. A person who can be like everyone else does is often considered more intelligent then someone who is different. A person who can remember what others have imagined to be true is considered intelligent, but one who sees the unreality of the world appearance may seem quite odd".

Speaking of "advancing" in the course I hear people wonder if the lessons become "more advanced". I have found as you go on in the course you stop looking for "advanced topics". It's more of a mind thing. You start to experience and appreciate the simplicity of things, the quietness, and no longer wonder how advanced you can get.

Anonymous said...

If someone commits suicide, is that too what they "signed up for", or does it have a detrimental effect on their spiritual progress? You say "our final thoughts are a major determining factor" regarding which subtle level our subtle body ends up in, so does it make a difference whether they committed suicide in desperation, or with a feeling of calmness and refief having reached the decision to end this cycle of karma after much consideration, having been unable to get into harmony with their life enough to make it bearable. Can suicide sometimes be the dharmic thing to do?

D. R. Butler said...

I agree that Rico's comment is one that all would do well to reread. He doesn't say much, but when he does, it's worth a listen.

D. R. Butler said...

Ari, I get your gist, but you have misquoted me, and that diminishes the clarity of what you quoted. The exact quote is:

'Are we intelligent? In society, intelligence is often measured not so much by the capacity to perceive the Truth as by the capacity to uphold the established order of things. A person who can be like everyone else is often considered more intelligent than someone who is different. A person who can remember what other people have imagined to be true is considered intelligent, but one who sees the unreality of the world-appearance may seem quite odd.'

It is true that after a while there are no 'advanced topics.' Progress is measured by a greater understanding of what we already know. Most people who are participating in this blog know all they need to know in order to be enlightened. The work becomes to fully understand and practically apply what we already know. As this happens the state we live in is expanded and refined.

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous, you ask a very complex question. It is true that one who acts with calmness transitions to a completely different place than one who acts from desperation.

The primary thing about suicide is the effect it has on others, on those loved ones we left behind. Now maybe if we have some painful and incurable disease, those left behind will simply understand that we just didn't want to go through the pain anymore, and will forgive us without being personally 'hurt' in some way.

However, if our loved ones experience a lot of pain and agony because we ended our own life, then all that they experience because of our action is created as future karma that will be experienced by us as the consequences of our action.

Remember, how we affect others determines how we will be affected by others. It probably won't come back through the same one, but through another, and we'll wonder what we ever did to deserve that. Every thought is a cause that leads to action which leads to consequences corresponding with the nature of the thought that compelled it.

So if we commit suicide and many people suffer because of that, in some future incarnation we will experience all the suffering we caused. This is the Law of Cause and Effect, or in Sanskrit, karma.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ram for your answer to my question regarding suicide. There is one part of it that I am unclear about. You say that where our actions cause others to suffer, we will experience that suffering in a future incarnation as our karma, but I'm wondering how that fits with page 6 of my current lesson 27 where, talking of when we are "suffering through a period of intense negative emotion" and we are telling ourselves "I must continue suffering through this because it is my plight in life. Obviously I was very bad in my previous lives and I deserve this", you say "Rubbish! We are whatever we invent ourselves to be in each moment" and "We are not limited by anything in the past unless we continue to believe that we are."

I have had a lot of suffering in my life, and have sometimes wondered what I must have done in previous incarnations. I found the sentence "We are not limited by anything in the past unless we continue to believe that we are" very uplifting (as is every lesson, I have so much gratitude for the Course), but I am feeling a little less uplifted now! (:

I think I am missing the point somewhere.

Jim said...

"... in some future incarnation we will experience all the suffering we caused. This is the Law of Cause and Effect, or in Sanskrit, karma."

If we have harmed others, what effect does repentance or making amends have on actions that cause others suffering? Does this then temper or eliminate the karma in future incarnations?

And what affect does forgiveness have on karma? If someone has harmed us, is their karma alleviated if we forgive them?

The course guides us to see that no one can truly harm us, that it is how we perceive what happens which affects us, that no one can actually harm us. How does that factor in? If someone has the intention to harm another, but that other does not suffer, does this create karma?

Michael said...

Will I encounter my parents and pets in the subtle realms after I leave this body? Will they be different than I experience them in my dreams? Will they resemble their incarnations? Or will i recognize them more by a feeling of intimacy and familiarity? Shortly after my cat passed, I had a dream in which he seemed more "alive" than when he shared this realm with us.

kirsty said...

These are interesting questions about death and the here-after. I look forward to the answers when you have time in your busy life.

We are all born to die and a graceful and Gracefilled death would seem to be of paramount importance.

Would people who choose to stop eating be considered suicides? I guess so, but invasive and heroic measures to maintain 'life' seem abnormal and they mess with what the body had planned to do.

I would want to help the pre-ordained plan..not hinder it.

Brahma said...

Thank you for answering my question. Yes I have heard that before, that I should focus on what my name represents. I will work on focusing on things positively. Perhaps I will request the first lesson as well.

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous, yes, you are missing the point somewhere. There are no contradictions in the two things you bring up. We do create our own karma by our thoughts, words, and deeds, and we can also rise free from karma by being totally present in the existing moment. Then we simply observe and enjoy the karmic movie of our own life.

D. R. Butler said...

Jim, wow, it's amazing how many questions one comment can bring up. Your questions are complex and it would be truly amazing if anyone knew the answers to all of them. Forgiveness is one of the most important things. Before the game is over, we have to forgive everyone for everything, including ourselves. Our motives and intentions also help create the karma we experience, so when we have a motive for doing something, it comes back to us in some form. Do not know if this answers all your questions. After I pass on to the next realm, I'll get you the answers to the rest of them.

D. R. Butler said...

Michael, again, how could anyone know the answers to these questions. I don't think anyone will resemble their physical incarnations, which are dictated according to karma, because that particular karma will be finished.

I feel it more like you say, 'a feeling of intimacy and familiarity.' Like your cat, everyone will seem 'more alive' in the subtle realm than they ever were in this world of karma.

Sure, you can see your parents again. In fact, you can see your parents from all your incarnations. That will be quite a crowd at your 'family reunion.'

D. R. Butler said...

Kirsty, you'd be amazed at how powerful the 'pre-ordained plan' is. There is nothing powerful enough to hinder it to any degree.

Christine S. Boyd said...

For many years I've been working with (increasing my consciousness) the fact that the mind is creative. That's one reason I subscribe to the Course, because I need a daily reminder to stay on track, to think in a way that will give a happy outcome. On the weekend I had a good test. My neighbour's music was blaring as I was on facebook, dug in and ready for a 3-4 hour session. But the sound was so jarring and my computer is connected up in a home office, so I shut it down and went back to Plan A - exercising. Throughout the process I was asking myself, what are my choices in how to think about this. Because I know beyond any doubt that how I think will determine how I feel. As I was doing my routine, I landed on a new approach for this specific situation -- to see the person and the music with gratitude for prying me off the chair and into my Plan A activities. It was a productive, good day. Had my neighbour not done what he did I would have missed at least four tasks I really wanted to complete. I did a good job of applying the Course and noticed another benefit. I feel an opening in my heart toward my neighbour, a greater Consciousness.
With love,
Christine

Purnima Orlandi said...

I love the course!!! It is a life changing course! I post it almost every day on my Facebook page! I tell people every day when i meet them! Some people think it's mumbo jumbo, others are too involved with their pain and troubles to give anything a chance and very few actually take the leap to be free! Free from past conditioning, old tapes playing over and over of should haves, could haves, freedom from the attacment to the past, and from all of the religiuos dogmas that confuse instead of liberate. This course is so SIMPLE!!! Simple and leads to the TRUTH. Will YOU READING THIS NOW TRY IT???

Purnima Orlandi said...

I really enjoyed reading all of the comments and how much or how little we know if life after death. i did see my dad after his passing and heard his voice and had richer moments than i did through my teens and adulthood. I was blessed to see the woman that raised me, Jenny, while entering a meditation hall in South Fsllsburg. I had prayed for years to see her ONE more time. As a young girl age 12 when she was killed by a drunk driver I prayed and had long talks with God about his existance and showing me by letting me see her one more time...During my first visit to the Ashram at age 26 there SHE WAS! My whole being was shocked as i fell to the ground in the dark hall. My wish had been granted. I stood up and ran through the woods praising God for her gift.
Since my Shaktipat experience and this visits from Jenny, my dad and some friends and family after their passing i have no doubt that there is LIFE after "death".

Jim said...

DR, I did expect you might rib me a little for the barrage of questions, but otherwise your response was, as usual, unexpected and changed the way I was looking at things. Mental Aikido.

I was also surprised at the questions, most of all the clarity with which they came up. Usually my response to reading the blog is a flurry of envigoration which expresses itself in a stream of thoughts that I can't slow down enough to arrange into anything cohesive.

It was cool to see that I was part of a larger question barrage confluence. Maybe it is part of the energetic wave leading up to your workshop.

D. R. Butler said...

Jim, your barrage is forgiven, for you ask good questions, and with clarity.

Yes, it does seem like a confluence of energies leading up to the workshop for participants of the Course on Sunday afternoon. (There will be future workshops where anyone can participate, but the first one is for participants of the Course only.

Making the effort to clearly verbalize a question opens the channels through which the answer will come. And, clearly articulated, it WILL be answered. That is, you will get your answer in one form or another.

Also, and this has been true for me, we sometimes have to write it down in order to clearly see how we feel and think. Creating the question simultaneously creates the answer.

Christina said...


Thank you for this…another wonderful lesson choc-a-bloc with jewels of wisdom. Much to contemplate here. Something I have wanted to ask for a while…if we take the conscious mind, higher mind, ego and memory with us when we depart this body, does that mean we are still thinking in words? If so, which language? Or is it images? Am I right in remembering we experience this human world through the sensations of our nervous system? So are there no feelings in the subtle realms? Do we keep re-running our memories of past lives? which would drive me insane if that were possible…!! But if that’s the case, is it that which drives the soul to re-incarnate, to have another stab at it all?

Thank you again for everything you give.

Much love as always, Christina

D. R. Butler said...

Christina, all our feelings exist on the subtle realm, and in the subtle body. The physical body on its own has no feelings or emotions. They are subtle vibrations.

There would be no point in rerunning memories of our past lives. One life is enough to drive us crazy, without having to juggle many at once.

We communicate more easily subtly than physically. It would be more accurate to say we communicate telepathically on that realm, and this is possible even while in this body once we understand how certain things work and are related to each other.

Language? That's an interesting approach. If we have different languages we'll need some subtle translators:)

Pama said...

Here "I am", chuckling again, after catching up on the last few comments.
Ram, the words you used describe exactly the experience I have had many times. "Creating the question
simultaneously creates the answer." So many times I'm reading the blog and a question pops into my mind. I look carefully at the question to see if it is valid. When I'm satisfied it's a real question, I'm thinking, okay, finally, I have a question to ask Ram. I begin to write it down so I can articulate clearly. And, wouldn't you know, I rarely get the entire question down before little pieces of "info" begin to filter in.
Most times whatever I'm writing turns into a contemplation and further affirmation of the answer.
I have much gratitude for the year,
long ago, that many of us spent learning contemplation. Whatever the process is has been internalized to good use. I am ever grateful when the channels are open.

Thank you Ram for this precious space and to everyone for your comments here. A special thanks to
Rico for his comment of Nov. 10. His words provided me with a break through I needed for something I'd been working on. Abundance!!!
(The word just cracks me up: A bun dance! What a mental picture!)

michael said...

Hey Ram,

Thanks for killing my Love Dream.

I didn't expect to loose it but ever since I admitted my Love Dream to you on Facebook I haven't had one. I don't even miss it... it semed to have absorbed into me somehow.How did you do that?