Friday, November 16, 2012

Your Life Is What You Make It


Your life is what you make it, and you make your life with the thoughts you entertain in your conscious mentations from time to time. Thought is creative energy in motion, and concentrated emotional thought creates the conditions and situations in your life that correspond exactly to the nature of the thoughts that compelled them.

What we can conceive and believe, we can achieve. Or, more to the point, what you think is what you get.

This way of seeing and understanding life was drilled into my head from the age of 15, and it is as obviously true now as it was then, in 1960. Not only that, the same principle has been taught for a very long time: “As a man thinketh in his heart (emotionally), so shall he receive.”

The mind is the only creative power in the universe. It is the only power that we as an individual have, as expressed through free will, ifexercised. Unfortunately, most people are hypnotized by repetitive energetic thought patterns that cause our life to repeat itself over and over, and which we subconsciously bring from the past to the present and then carry over to the future.

The past would be harmless if we left it as it is, but we robotically insist on dragging our past into the present and then projecting it into the future. Then we wonder why we are faced with the same problems and obstacles over and over.

Know this with all your heart and soul: Only you create your own feelings and your own experience. No power outside you, and no other person, can cause you to feel or experience anything that you do not allow yourself. We are not affected by people or situations themselves, but by what we think about them. We are only affected by our own thoughts. There is no exception to this whatsoever, no matter who tries to tell you otherwise.

Your life is as you create it, and you create your life through what you think from time to time. Thought leads to a feeling corresponding to the thought, which lead to effects or consequences in our personal lives according to the nature of the thoughts that created them.

Many people have ‘known’ this for a long time. Still, only a few actually practice the principle on a consistent basis in their own life. This is why in our Course of Training via email we go beyond merely ‘knowing’ things, which is very mediocre, and work on actually applying the principles in our own lives, to live lives based on harmony and love.

I am going to change the nature of the blog a bit. I am going to post shorter entries, and post more often. So for now I will include a few responses to questions in last month’s comments, and I look forward to your participation in the comments. I will post the next entry again near the beginning of December.

Of course this means I’ll have to think of even more titles. If you think of any potential titles to future blog entries, please post them in the comments.

Okay, here are my responses to a few questions in recent comments, where there are many more wonderful exchanges:

Scott Schwenk wrote: 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: 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.

Jessie asked: ‘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?’

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 truly 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, and I am very thankful for that, for in this area no news is usually good news. We'll leave that to such people as Deepak Chopra, who has a great knack for reaching a large audience and being somewhat honored and appreciated by the media. Mostly the media looks for what’s wrong, when it comes to things of this nature.

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 long before they ended up here.

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.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email—along with a free Lesson 1 so that you can experience what happens for yourself—write: drbutler.course@gmail.com

French: drbutler.course@gmail.com

 

52 comments:

Vandita said...

Something that I would love for you to explore more deeply here in the blog is the nature of Love. How to live in Love in a more consistent basis, understanding that it is our innermost nature and so on. You are such an expert on this and it is always so inspiring to read you :)

Vandita said...

I also have a question. In one of my recent courses we were actually discussing the creative nature of thought and someone brought up a question that has been in my mind for the last few days. She said that she fully believed in the creative nature of our mind, but she also found a contradiction when she read a quote by Buda that said: "Desire is the root of suffering."

The way I understand this sentence is that desire describes a state where you want something that you do not have, and this clearly puts you into duality/separateness/suffering. However, as you are able to visualize yourself in the having of that element now, which is how the creative power of thought works, you own it, you feel it, there is no room for suffering. Also, the sentence describes the state of an Enlightened one, whose experience is seeing himself/herself everywhere, so there cannot be desire since you are everywhere, so here there is no room for suffering either.

However, the question is still dancing in my head. Any clarifications will be so appreciated! Thank you!

rico said...

Vandita, I'm sure Ram will have more to say about your question but here's my take on this. Suffering as you so perceptively describe is caused by wanting something you think you don't have, by the consciousness of deprivation. You also nail it with your description of how the creative power of visualization works. Suffering only enters the picture when we are attached to the outcome. If we believe that what we visualize will manifest in its own time and then let it go there is no suffering.

Which brings up an interesting topic for future blog postings. What is the nature and power of belief. Perhaps this is a topic best left to the Lessons but a little taste in the blog might be interesting.

Michael said...

I had done one year of the course about 3 years ago, but just didn't feel any shakti as I had in the old days of the 80s. This isn't necessarily a reflection on the course, because I've had a 20 year long phase of tepid spiritual energy, despite sticking with the practices every day. Turning to your blog in recent months, I've had more energy and corresponding experiences return, so I may get back into taking the course. After reading the blog on ideal love dreams, I prayed not to have one of those dreams because they would leave me bummed out when I woke up to karmaloka reality, but instead I had a morning of being blissed out in deep love, even while the neighbors next door were making a racket. I then had a dream where my guru and I were hanging around together and I was having a hard time controlling my thoughts. She said she didn't like my mind, then grabbed me by the neck and quickly yanked my head to her heart in a friendly way. That was a nice experience.

D. R. Butler said...

Vandita, interestingly, the very next section of the Course for you is 'Love Is Where the Heart Is.' This will give you all you could hope for where love is concerned.

There is no contradiction between creative thought and the teachings of the Buddha. You don't have to have desire in order to think creatively. On the contrary, if you desire something, you are experiencing the consciousness of not having it. This is applying the same principle in error.

"We are what we think,
having become what we thought.
Like the wheel following the cart pulling ox,
Sorrow follows an evil thought.
And joy follows a pure thought,
like a shadow faithfully tailing a man.
We are what we think, having become what we thought."

~~The Dhammapada (believed to have been written by the Buddha)

Anonymous said...

Ram, actually I need some clarification regarding lesson Vol 2, Lesson 15, where you say: "Actually, Being is always the same, so what is elevated is our AWARENESS OF BEING." My concept has been that "awareness" is the inner Self and is never affected. I also thought what was being "elevated" was not my "awareness" but my inner state. And the only thing that affected my inner state was my ego's stuff: feelings, attitudes, unfullfilled desires, etc. I also take from my experiences of seeing the inner Self watching me and it is a "being" of "consiousness". Anyway, maybe it's symantics, not sure how to understand this teaching. Thanks!!!

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

I am on the section of the course called "Inner Growth Through Relationships" and I am loving it so much. It's true.... I can measure my inner growth but what I see happening it the family relationships around me.

Feelings of defensiveness, and feelings of "irritation" at how a loved one might behave seem to have been magically replaced-- through my inner work and repeated access to the lessons-- into fond amusement and loving acceptance.

Of course, I have valued these things in principle-- acceptance and unconditional love-- well before the course-- but it is through the continual course training that real change is happening on the family front.

On this Thanksgiving, so much gratitude for your continual service D.R. Butler, and to the community here for reminding each other of the Highest.

James said...

I always enjoy hearing that it is okay to be lost in thought. Then gently bringing myself back to some positive thoughts. Thanks for the reminder. Funny word re minder.

Vicki said...

Michael, your experiences since reading Ram's last blog seem anything but tepid. It's amazing how tuning into the Course, and even the blog, in this case, can ignite the Shakti that has already been awakened in us. There may be many reasons why you didn't experience the Shakti in the first year you took the Course. You may already know what they are. It sounds like you've been given the inner go-ahead to start again, and this time you are probably much more open to receiving the Grace ot the Course in its fullness. I hope you will choose to take it again. I'm beginning my fourth year, and each time I go to it, it feels like my Guru is putting my head on her Heart.

Michael said...

Thanks Vicki, I think doing a recent birthday wish exercise given by the Guru in the summer may have shifted my sadhana favorably. Plus there have been astrological cycles that have come around to create a new beginning.

So another experience I had recently was one where something I read resonated was where Ram mentioned the Guru scolding the samskaras. I was doing a sanskrit hymn and dozed a bit. While dozing, I had a light dream state of a great timer scolding and scolding various shortcomings. But it was kind of in the background so I didn't feel like "I" was the target. It reminds of something I read of a person's experience where she had dreams or meditations of the Guru scolding and angry and was worried about it because it was like she couldn't hear it or something. Then she had a meditation where the Guru told her that it was not her concern, it was between the Guru and the samskaras.

I've always wished the shakti would infiltrate the causal level samskaras and work them over and leave me out of it. That's the stuff that's represented in dreams as being subterranean and seems to be a deeper aspect of life-impacting transformation.

Amy H said...

Hi, every One! The first-ever global Course workshop via web just wrapped up, and my heart is so full. Thank you, Ram, Kay, Steve, and all my Course buddies seen and unseen. Wow! I think Steve said another is tentatively scheduled for December 16, and open to non-Course paticipants, too? Wow. I can't wait to share with friends and family. What a great Christmas present. It was and is soooo great. Much Love to all.

Vandita said...

You suggested a great topic, Rico, I am very much interested in that too. D. R. Thank you so much! such an exquisite poem! Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Today the workshop was a powerful experience for me,I did not have computer but sat quietly in my room knowing when the event started by the energy that arose within and gazed at a picture of Baba, I am in the second year of the course being in my seventies I have meditated for many years. I had questioned myself "who is the guru " ? Who is the guru in this course? It troubled me at times....Then I had the experience of looking in the mirror ànd seeing light and knowing I am the guru..today I was with you there felt powerful vibration of body and light around the room and light from a guru' picture..there is one Guru..Thank you Ram and this sangha. I do not feel isolated from sadhana buddies...in my retirement place..3

Eugenia said...

It was wonderful being in the same moment with all these lovely people and being invited in D.R.'s and Kay's home although it didn't seem in any way new. I am sorry I did not get to be there for the questions and seriously hope that this will be made available to us as re-listening to the talk would be good...ducks and all. Talk of samskaras always gets my samskaras up. I have this wooly version that keeps me afloat: If awareness is love then from love we come and to love we return; life is love too: we are like kids in the sea splashing each other. Why would we do that? We are already wet, surrounded by water and yet we splash each other and that's fun. We are love surrounded by love and yet we come into skin and splash each other with colours of love and that's fun too. But then you mentioned words I receive as negative or trite. We are floating in a green and pleasant space and then someone gets the urge/desire/compulsion for a curry and so head off to India via hot, corrupt, disorganised, unruly airports and then you really wonder. Or someone gets the urge to find their Guru or whatever path to their love and it starts to make sense. We love since the moment we are born and then we have kids and it all seems to have been a practice run for love untold and whatever you love after that can only be the last step before total awareness. Sure we learn along the way but how and why else would anyone learn if not through love? Doesn't everyone hurt more when their loved one is hurt? And what do you use your lessons for other than to benefit your loves. You take love away and nothing is left, even samskaras become irrelevant nothing to hurt, lose or gain either way. Why do I find talk of samskaras so depressing? What is the meaning of life? are we born because we have a compulsion for self punishment or self gratification or because we are in love? Thank you for everything you do for us
Love to all

D. R. Butler said...

Today we experienced our first ever online workshop, which was open only to participants of the Course of Training via email. We all experienced an amazing afternoon. Anyone who was present and who feels to share something about it to others who come here is welcome to present your comments in this thread. The next workshop will be offered in mid-December, and this one will be open to the public. Today we laid a strong foundation of what's to come next. Next time we will welcome anyone who wishes to experience what is offered, and we will continue from where we left off today. Not that you had to be there today to take the next step. We have already paved the way for you.

Ann said...

It has not been twenty-four hours since the wonderful Sunday workshop and already there is a renewed vigor within me that was totally unexpected. The words of my lessons have a greater intensity, even more poignancy...almost as though they are now written in capital letters. The energetic boost that I received is undeniable.....I did not realize how "stale" I had become...and I am most grateful for the recognitio. To each and everyone who participated I want to say "Thank you" from the bottom of my heart. Ann

Ghayas said...

When I think that 15 years ago exactly, nov 1997, I was attending a workshop with Ram in in a yoga-ashram in Boston, if someone had told me then that 15 years later I would be attending a workshop with the same Ram but via internet broadcast ( I didn't even have an email then) with my wife (I was single then) while our three kids would be watching cartoons to let us attend the workshop and all this would be happening after the "old course" would have disappeared (for 6 years) and a "new course" would have been created (that too was unpredictable)...
if someone had told me all of this then, I would have answered him : you suffer from hyper-imagination.
I remember precisely that in that workshop in Boston in 97 I was tormented by the fact that I had a card allowing me to not do the Lebanese military service, due to an "incurable disease" - I was tormented by this lie and I asked Ram about it with heavy emotions, and he simply replied, lightheartedly, something like: you don't want to go to the army do you? it's more fun to take workshops. The shakti gave you this card. Just use it and take workshops.

So here we are, 15 years later, still enjoying workshops and the army is a thing of the past. it is incredible how we cannot predict what the future is made of. But it is fun to notice that it is made of something much more fulfilling and happy than that which we could ever imagine. I could never have imagined for myself in 97, the life I am experiencing now.

Thank you all for being in my life, and thank you Ram for all the Workshops.
Much Love.

kirsty said...

Ann says it well. There was a huge energetic boost from the Workshop last Sunday. I definitely plan to get on board for the next Workshop in December. That it will be open to all is a marvelous gift.

For me, creative thought is the 'knowing' that we are fortunate and have all that we need. Thinking that there is something we do 'not' have sets the stage for desire, which the Buddha spoke of.

There was a book, years ago, about pretty bad slums in India. It was called City of Joy...because there was so much love and caring among the people in a situation that most of us would consider untenable, and unbearable.

But I am babbling now...and will go to my room...to sleep, perchance to dream of Buddhas and Gurus and the man who gives great workshops.

Lance said...

Ram, yesterday's online workshop was kind of a big deal to me. Taking this workshop kicked everything up on to a different level. The information you offer is great and it is extremely valuable. However, what is really going on here is way beyond the thought processes of the mind. There is also something taking place here on a subtle level. On a psychic surgery level. I have been subtly altered all day today. Very empty and wondering who I am. Thank you Ram and Kay.

Michael said...

I enjoyed hearing how our present circumstances are actually consequences of past actions, and just what the doctor ordered to secure our eventual freedom from egotistical melodramas. I also liked being reminded that I am more than my incarnation. There are different kinds of body - consciousness layered within me, most especially Being itself. Once I experienced the sensation of being immersed in what felt like a subtle mountain - so solid and silent. I think about it a lot but am unable to recover it except as a reflection.
It is still present, not as vivid, but always accessible. I express my deepest gratitude to you, Ram, for offering the Course, which offers so much insight and experience of subtle realities. I am more assured of my inner experience now and after I depart this body. I look forward to the next workshop, which will deepen this understanding.

Mayuri said...

I felt the most incredible joy and excitement as I logged on to the Workshop, a good 20 minutes before it was to begin. The energy was so beautiful and my heart felt so expansive and bright. As different people posted comments and Steve was working out the last minute details I could feel the virtual room filling with the most wonderful beings.

I loved when Steve said that people were filing in to the workshop with out any hall monitors. This made me laugh - As did so much of the interactions, as they were filled with a childlike joy and wonder. How could this be? Isn't this fantastic? Here we are!

Ram you were totally adorable! The interactions between you and Kay were perfect. I felt as though we all were part of the family. The laughter and joy was contagious as details were worked out with the sound and you played with your reflection in the monitor. You were the perfect example of being real and playful and totally present.

I loved your story about the duck and that it was thinking of bread.... Did the duck ever get any bread I wonder?

Thank you so much for your rare and precious presence and sharing so generously with all of us.
At one point I felt Baba's presence so powerfully that I had a full body rush, ah, love those physical kriyas.
Thank you Thank you Thank you. You've answered a prayer of my heart to appear in this form in our collective science fiction movie. This is the best party ever.

Much love,

Tom Mc said...

I have a question about karma and free will. This arises from my current lesson and the recent workshop.
If this is 'Karma Loka' and we are primarily here to work out our samskaras, wouldn't it be counter-productive to use our free will to alter our outer circumstances? Wouldn't that be avoiding Karma and the opportunity to evolve?
Thank you, Tom Mc

Debbra said...

Ram, I like the idea of shorter and more frequent Blog entries. This livens things up a bit; keeps us on our toes, and coming back for the next installment. :) It seems this is just one of the ways we have turned a corner in this sangham recently. The first ever online global course workshop was Sunday afternoon, and it really exceeded my expectations! Actually I didn't know what to expect, but the experience was one of great love and warmth, humor, and brought to vivid life the teachings of the Course.

The online venue for a D.R. Butler workshop is so perfect. A Sunday afternoon in my own home, with a pause in the middle for refreshment, a walk, getting a few things done.. Then comes the second session, a talk which anchors the listeners fully in the present moment, because that's where it's all coming from. Questions and answers, seeing the shining faces of fellow travelers from all over the world. Easy, informal, lighthearted, downright hilarious at times. And yet, an amazing infusion of energy into perception and understanding. Feels like I've woken up into a new awareness. Thank you Ram, and everyone!

Maureen said...

I loved the workshop and have been doing some of the exercises that D.R. recommended. I am working on the feeling of abundance. I am feeling that I have enough and all my needs are met and that I am cared for in all ways. I am feeling it in my heart now. I don't have to fight and struggle any more. I am feeling the Gratitude and letting go of the details.

Bindu said...

2 days PW, post workshop, and I am still feeling the love and laughter. In essence the energy, the fullness,is actually growing. It was a simply terrific experience. Light and deeply experiencial. A real family reunion. Thanks to Ram, Kay and Steve for all their work.

D.R. would you talk a little about why the workshops have such a powerfulimpact?

I think having another workshop in December is great.The energy will undoubtably build as we go along.
Thank You

Christine S. Boyd said...

I resonated with these words, 'We are not affected by people or situations themselves, but by what we think about them. We are only affected by our own thoughts.' This morning, serving an office with a wide variety of clients, gave me such a good look at what triggers my thoughts. I am grateful to the course for giving me tools to slow it down, notice what's happening, and show me that how I feel is my choice. And it depends on the thoughts I allow.
It was mostly a relaxing experience this morning and I hope to hold onto that this afternoon.

With love
Christine

Michael said...

Would you discuss the four types of body consciousnesses in the human being? I understand there is the "ordinary"consciousness in which I experience myself as the physical body. There is the body in which I dream, which can seem very light and expanded or heavy, depending on the predominant emotion. I experience the causal body as an absence of objective knowing, or perhaps a feeling of being encased in something very solid an unmoving, like my mind had suddenly frozen and I'm floating in the middle of a mountain. The fourth body I experience as a flash of recognition when I look into another person's eyes and am flooded with the awareness that we're the same One. Or I feel the universe inside, rather than outside myself.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Tom Mc,

Karma refers to the principle of cause and effect, Ka mean by ones own hand. We can't alter our "outer circumstances" that we experience as life right now..that has already been put into place..the wheel has already turned in that department-as it were, so the only thing we can do is use our free will to decide how to respond to life as it unfolds in every moment.
We can use the power of the mind to create a brighter future by thinking acting and responding in positive and uplifting ways.
Shifting our actions(what we do ) from unconscious to conscious is the first step.The Bhagavad Gita says, Yoga is SKILL IN ACTION.
I would say that eventually we stop creating more karma- be it pleasant or unpleasant -because we begin to be present in our lives. That presence is eventually who we identify with and once that happens, karmas are no longer created because "by "OUR own hand" because we, as a separate identity, are no longer a player in the game..there is no longer an attachment to ourselves as the doer.

D. R. Butler said...

What Michelle said.

D. R. Butler said...

Michael, discussing 'the four types of body consciousnesses in the human being,'--whatever that is or might be--is too much for the blog. Something like that will be in the lessons at the perfect time. It is much too involved to talk about here in any truly comprehensive or transformative way.

Rico said...

What is the nature of Belief? How is it activated? What does it take to believe in something as yet unmanifest? Several questions yesterday related to the creative power. Ram has long said that for something to manifest one needs to create the feeling that it already exists. How do you do that? This is the key (or a key) to unlocking the power. After many years of putting this into practice I have seen this practice bear fruit so I believe, I know it works. But what about when one first starts out. There is no evidence of the efficacy of this practice. How does one conjure up a feeling without it feeling artificial. How does one believe in something created out of thin air that runs counter to all previous conditioning. My approach was to simply (yeah not so simple) not entertain any thoughts contrary to my intent. I suppose some have the ability to conjure up vivid visualizations to the point where the experience generates a feeling. I suspect most are not so gifted. I used to think I had decent visualization skills but nothing approaching the vivid.

D. R. Butler said...

There are some very good questions above that I have not gotten to yet. Please be patient, I haven't forgotten they are there.

For the next few days my family is visiting for the Thanksgiving holidays, and I will be online much less than usual. It might be Tuesday before I get back to this, but we'll see. If everyone takes a privacy break at the same time, I'll see if I can contribute something here. Thank you for your participation in the comments.

Everyone enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays. I understand many countries don't practice that particular holiday, especially at this time, yet it is always good to give thanks for all that we have been blessed with. Gratitude is powerful, as it attracts more of what we're grateful for.

D. R. Butler said...

Feel free to continue to post your comments and questions. I will eventually catch up.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Dear Ram,
After listening to your beautiful workshop it struck me that there's such a powerful exchange that happens as people ask you questions "live".

Someone asked you a question about time, planning for a future event, or memories from the past and how they play into the present moment.

We talk so much of the NOW that I think it can be confusing for people and perhaps they take it too literally, meaning they start to think that the "past" and the "future" are somehow problematic.

It was great to hear some clarity from you on this point. That OF COURSE memories from the past come up and in fact contemplating the "past" can be very helpful in our process of learning here on earth and YES we will need to plan for things in the future, this goes with the dharma of being here...
The crux of the matter is ARE WE PRESENT when we are watching memories, or when we are planning for the future? Or are we identified with that "past memory."

Awareness is the key! Are we paying attention to that which is enjoying the memories or the planing?

It is only then that we are really living in the "fullness" of time and timelessness.


Tom Mc said...

Thank you Michelle and Ram for you answer. Interestingly, I couldn't quite grasp the subtleties of my current lesson, but right after I read your response it was suddenly crystal clear. I have noticed this phenomenon many times and it always amazes me. It is like a light has been turned on.

What my question really mirrored was my conflict between seeking a change in outer karma versus just accepting it. I see now that karma is simply karma, I need to come into harmony with it - not try to make it ideal. The inner feeling is what matters, having gratitude and learning from the lessons, developing inner strength and to be able to deal with whatever is in a dharmic and harmonious way. The Truth is everywhere we look, a mirror of our Self.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
With Gratitude, Tom Mc

Ellen said...

Thank you so much, Ram, Kay, and everyone else, . I am forever thankful to you. The workshop, I felt, as Lance described it, the psychic surgery... and I feel and love to read so many other things people have said...Ghayas, that is such an awesome post. the workshop is still in my house and the energy is working in my heart... much Love , Thank you <3 <3 <3

Michael said...

Rico, in my experience, "imaginising" might be a better description than visualization. I imagine a scenerio and imagine it panoramically, as if I'm really in the scene and it's surrounding me. Sometimes feelings are stagnant or blocked energetically. I then offer Sanskrit hymns to create windows of opportunity where shakti prana gets kick-started enough to temporarily clear the murky feeling and help with positive intention sessions. I wait to feel the shift the next day or so after offering the hymn, which feels like an inner glow of wellbeing, and then do imagination work. If I've been in a stuck place of feeling, the window of opportunity may last an hour or so - enough to apply positive energy during a creative thought session. Even if the murkiness returns, at least I've planted the seeds for improvement down the road.

Sylvia from Colorado said...

The Workshop is still wafting around me like a gentle, yet shockingly profound and uplifting, breeze. It still amazes me after all these years how "the workshop" format makes such a difference. As Michelle said a few posts ago, "there is such a powerful exchange that happens as people ask questions LIVE." Like Ellen and Lance, I too, feel like the workshop was psychic surgery.

Regarding, "Your Life is What You Make It," I am finally getting the hang of not allowing certain thoughts to pick up momentum! Oh my gosh, it feels so empowering to finally drop that negative thought, even a simple judgment, and immediately come back to THE TRUTH of this moment.

The part that finally spoke to me the loudest is "the truth" of the present moment. After much contemplation, I realized, the TRUTH is purest, sweetest consciousness; better than being in love; the truth is feeling the sweetly divine; the truth is understanding the Oneness of all; next step is the eternally formless. I find words cannot easily express "the truth."

Gratitude and love abounds for Ram, Kay and everyone here...you light up my life.

Colette DeVore said...

I am in my most favorite part of the course ye, t Inner Growth through Relationships. I love this part of the course. I am all about relationships, and ironically, for the first time in my lif,e, I am not living with anyone. I am in relationship with myself however and friends and family, so it's all applicable. I feel like I'm in training for the ultimate relationship with myself. "Remember, all things, including ourselves, manifest as we (inwardly or outwardly) described them to be" . For me this has broad implications and is fruit for much contemplation. Who exactly am I? Who am I describing myself to be? Am I enjoying myself? You can see why this is such a juicy part of the course for me. LOL it reminds me of that commandment not to take myself too seriously. LOL

I am really enjoying myself after the workshop. My whole life seemed so funny. How is that I didn't notice it before. It is a laugh a minute or moment. Lots of love to you all my dear relations. Karuna

Vandita said...

Hi Rico.

I am looking forward to what D. R. Butler has to say on this subject. I find it interesting that you also practice this. I do practice it a lot.
Something that I read in one of Thomas Troward’s books stood for me, as well as something that D. R. said during the workshop last week. Troward exquisitely explains how the omnipresent universal mind exists as an ocean of potentialities, where everything that ever existed, everything that does exist now, and everything that might exist in the future co-exist.

Our mind is a ‘contraction’ of this infinite mind. I see this as our mind being the pen drive that of course has a limited capacity, but is always connected to the big computer, or universal mind. Our mind functions in a limited way, but it is never disconnected from this ocean of potentialities.

To me, the trick is to work on visualization on a regular basis, every single day. Even thought I may want to get into a feeling of something that is yet unknown to me, first I start by thinking the feeling, by mentally saying the name of it. For the first few days this feels absolutely fake and empty. However, with this action, I am asking the big computer (universal mind) to download the information, the fullness of the real feeling, into my mind, into my experience. So, after a few days, the exercise goes from pondering a thought of something that I did not know about well to start feeling the nature of the experience, not only when I visualize, but also during my day to day activities. And so the unknown becomes known.

It is such a mystery that which happens when we are in deep sleep. I believe that there is a mental programming that takes place, if we ask for it and allow it, that will make us owners of that knowledge, those feelings or experiences that we ask for, so that as we open our eyes, our mind is already functioning in that direction.

During the workshop D. R. Butler said ‘If you have to think, think only of the outcome that you really desire’. And this stood for me because, as you say, sometimes we want to create something that is so far from our usual conditioning. And I realized as he said those words, that in regards to a certain situation of my life, my mental dialogue would always automatically go in the exact opposite direction of that which I want. So the most important is to realize this, and to be willing to stop it and change it. It amazed me so much how just a little effort into thinking about the exact outcome that I do really want to see in that subject, doing it for two or three days only, totally changed already the nature of a negative mental dialogue that had been rolling on its own within my mind for a long time.

As I said, I am so much looking forward to hear D. R. Butler´s thoughts on this interesting and important subject.

Thank you & love.

Naganath said...

Reading the words of your First Teacher in my latest Lesson (6, Vol. 3) I was suprised to experience that what he is saying was very clear to me. Before, the words seemed dense and the meanings somewhat strange. After pausing a few days between readings, I was able to understand what he is saying about transition between the earthly plane and the subtle realms at "death" and the multidimensionality of being in a fluid way. I actually realized while contemplating the words that one not only is present in this life in many "levels of being" and in a multidimensional way but that one also exists simultaneously in the subtle realms beyond life, and beyond death for that matter. That we are present in a subtle way in all our lives and other levels beyond life in this moment always. This slight shift in awareness is not easy to put into words but gives a sense of power in knowing we a much greater than we could ever imagine.

D. R. Butler said...

Naganath, that is the way it is with his writings. At first it seems incomprehensible and, as you say, strange. Then, after we read it a few times, the deeper meanings start arising from within our own understanding, and his words suddenly seem vividly clean. It takes some people some time to get used to him, but once you do you never want to leave him.

D. R. Butler said...

Great questions and dialogue above from Rico and Vandita, two 'regulars' here and long time course participants, as well as from Michael (there are about 7 different Michaels that post here, and I'm never quite sure which one it might be, not that it matters.)

Vandita, I love how you say, 'I realized that in regards to a certain situation of my life, my mental dialogue would always automatically go in the exact opposite direction of that which I want. So the most important is to realize this, and to be willing to stop it and change it.'

This is a very important understanding. Most everyone who comes here, at least after reading the current blog entry, knows that thoughts are creative, and what we think is what we get. Yet, even knowing that, we continue to think in limiting, contracting ways, without even realizing it, because the habitual patterns are so powerful. This is why we have an ongoing course, instead of merely an article or a book, so that we can through practice learn how to actually apply the principles of Truth in our own life, here and now, as we are.

Rico, how do we believe something? Just like we believe that if we stand up and walk, the ground or the floor will support us. Just as we know we will remain on this earth instead of floating up into the sky. Just as we believe that our name is what it is. We have no doubt about our name. If someone else tried to convince us our name was something other than what we know it to be, we could never believe him.

This is how to believe something. In the Course of Training we explore how creating something mentally, together with feeling, actually exists in subtle reality, and what exists subtly will eventually find expression outwardly.

Sometimes we have to deny the evidence of the senses, which reveal the results of our past creations. We did not always create with discrimination, and this led to obstacles and problems, and through dealing with our creations (karma) we grow and mature inwardly.

Most people do not know what imagination is, or what attention is. They are familiar with the words and vaguely know of their meaning, but understanding them and how they determine our reality for us is a completely different matter. To understand and apply this fully, as you knows, requires a number of consecutive 'lessons,' each taking up where the other left off, and we gradually develop our abilities and capacities.

Of course I cannot go into the whole process of creation here, as much as I might like to. Everything is in the lessons, and they are readily available to anyone who is open and receptive to something totally new.

Vandita said...

D. R., thank you so much for your answer. I is so true that a constant reminder is so much needed, and how things that have become so obvious now, were not even a consideration only a few years ago. I remember the first of your lessons that I ever read, more than 20 years ago. I could only think two things: "Are you saying that I can do that? No way!" Finding it totally impossible to follow your suggestions in the lesson, and "I don´t understand what he is talking about" at some other times.
However, every time I took the lesson and my eyes would fall on the words, I was uplifted. So I kept reading the lessons. And as I did that, in time my understanding gradually expanded, and the exercises suggested would become a constant inner experience and vision of things. The change after choosing to think in the direction of that which I want has been like a volcano exploding, it is bringing amazing understandings into my life, and realizations. I will let you know how it goes. Thank you again for your answer and for the blog :)

rico said...

D.R. your response stirred up a contemplation of the flip side of belief, doubt. It seems doubt is simply entertaining thoughts contrary to belief. Perhaps even more than entertaining but allowing certain thoughts to move into that spare bedroom in our head. As with any unwelcome "guest" the longer they hang around the tougher they are to get rid of.

The first step to allowing the principles of creative thinking to work for us instead of against us is to kick that doubting freeloader out and to refuse to answer the door when he comes knocking again...

Harriette said...

Ram, your first teacher speaks of The Guardian. What a great device! I can so work with that. Gratitude.

D. R. Butler said...

On Facebook a participant of our Course, who is a yoga teacher in Zurich, Switzerland, shared the link to the blog with another yoga group in Thailand. I loved her message, and want to include it here as well:

Hey friends, I can really recommend this blog - including all the comments. This is online Satsang, like we're sharing it here live in Thailand. Just in case you miss the gatherings of Truth, when you're back home... However, even more I can recommend the course via email, that D.R. Butler is providing, a ten page lesson you receive every two weeks. I've drawn soooo much inspiration for my yoga classes and for daily life in general from these writings. The course has become my constant companion, since I started to read it a year ago, for there is a great transformative quality in it, bringing you back to the essence of the present moment, in which you're able to reconnect with who you truly are. That's what yoga is all about, isn't it? Worth checking out the free trial lesson!

Tom Mc said...

Dear D.R.
It is always so amazing when I am going through what I term 'a difficult time' and then I look at the lesson and it corresponds to exactly what is going on. Time I watched the newly posted video from The Thanksgiving Workshop and it ALSO matched up. Guess the powers that be really wanted to make sure that I got the message - and the encouragement.
Thank you!
BTW, that workshop was fun, powerful and transformative! Thank you for making it available!
Tom Mc
PS I have a question that I would appreciate clarification on. I have 3 house dogs. What are they from a 'spiritual' perspective?(besides 4 legged creatures that bark).

D. R. Butler said...

Anyone who would like to see an excerpt from the Thanksgiving Workshop can go to this address:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPwP_iRoRVI&feature=plcp

D. R. Butler said...

The 'kind and wise taxi driver' in NYC shared another story with me:

'This past Saturday night a man waved me down to get in my taxi. I immediately recognised him as 'Phillip Seymore Hoffman,' the famous actor. So as he was getting in I yelled "The great actor, get in here'. He looked like he didn't know what to expect. I said "It's an honor to meet you, really, you are so Great, really, it's an honor." He felt my sincerity, and thanked me. Well, we talked a bit, and since he made that movie "The Master", I brought up Ram's blog to him. Well, no sooner I mentioned it he pulled out his I-Phone and started reading it to me out loud. It was as if he were reading his next script to a movie. I dopped him off a short while later and as he walked away he turned back and in that moment, we Presenced together.'

ari said...

Hi DR:
Couple of comments. My wife and I are doing some marriage counseling right now. The counselor has mentioned that I have a rather passive approach to my wife. I've tried to use the lessons as a guideline in my relationships. Let's just say my wife tends to be a little more spicy than I am. My approach has been not so much to engage When she gets A little hot over something. I always think of the word harmony And to just left the storm passed without engaging in it too much.
The counselor feels this is the wrong approach. And I must engage in her more. It really isn't in my nature to do so But I've done it lately and to be honest I've have found success in it. My wife seems to have responded to it better Have I been misinterpreting the lessons all these years?
My wife has also mentioned I seem to emotionless. Should I become somewhat of an actor to try to appease her . It just seems counter intuitive to me

FB said...

12/27/12
Studying Lesson 22:
On the first page is the statement: ...“feeling impacts our personal reality. What we are feeling determines how we see and experience the world, ourselves, and others.”
So on one hand I view those with the karma to be physically able as well as physically worthy to be with their Guru, etc. as role models I hold in high esteem. Intellectually I love, respect, and cherish everyone, until I view them as ‘advanced’, (truth is that ‘better’ is the accurate word, but admitting this reveals my shame, my ego, hence avoidance is called into action, have to laugh, it is so funny!), then the “I’m lowly, despicable, etc.” kicks in and I feel/become that way. I see the samskara reinforcement process here…
“not good enough”, shame-increasing self contempt-increasing shame-alas! ‘the circle game’.
My son just walked through the room saying his friend is going through a tough time. We agreed whatever uplifting and encouraging words, thoughts, and prayers we can offer are beneficial and important, and it is ultimately good that she goes through this painful time so she can learn what she needs to learn and be free of, and be lighter and happier.
I am smiling and uplifted, grateful, encouraged, and delightfully awed, as the answer to my question came so immediately! And so graciously!
I am so fortunate, this process is everything. The Course is such A Friend and guide.