Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year--Self-Interview Part 3

Q:  So, it’s the first day of 2012, and you’re going to do the self-interview thing again?  Why don’t you just wish them happy New Year?

A:  Happy New Year, everyone!  May the upcoming year be your most excellent yet.

Q:  Sweet.  So if you’re not going to write a New Year’s blog message, what sort of questions shall we go for?  Do you want to talk about philosophy, Eastern religion, practical living, or yourself?

A:  You’re a terrible interviewer.

Q:  Okay, let’s start off with why anyone should bother to read this blog.

A:  This blog is for people who are sincerely interested in living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  There are a lot of people on a spiritual trip, who define themselves as 'spiritual people,' that have not yet gotten to the point where they’re willing to do whatever it takes to remain in the Truth of the existing moment, which is the only reality there is, the only true life there is.  Most people live in their imagination, and to tell the truth, are hardly aware of what is actually going on around them.  They live in a dream-bubble floating through time and space, occasionally bumping against other dream bubbles—objective humanity.

Q:  Are you saying that the past isn’t real?  It happened, didn’t it?

A:  Well, yes and no.  It happened, relatively speaking, but on a larger scale, it is essentially no different than a dream such as the ones we wake up from after sleeping.  In reality, none of it actually happened.  The ‘Yoga Vasishtha’ refers to this physical world as ‘an illusion of longstanding duration.’  When we leave this body, it’s like waking up to a subtle reality that is much more real and familiar to us than this world of karma, which is kind of awkward and clumsy in comparison.  Instead of saying, ‘What a strange dream that was,’ it’ll be more like, ‘What a strange incarnation that was.’

Q:  Are we in a dream now?

A:  Again, yes and no.  The dream is happening; it goes on in waking life, whether we take it seriously or not.  If we are unaware of the changeless nature of the Self, then we are most probably caught up in the dream and think of it as reality, or ‘real life.’  If we are aware of the eternally changeless nature of the Self, we enjoy this karmic dream as we would a good movie or play.  It is actually a performance for our own delight, but instead of lightheartedly playing along, the ego takes it all seriously and makes everything into distressing and stressful circumstances and situations.

Q:  Where does the dream of life come from?

A:  Mind.  This apparent individual human life is a fictitious imagining of the Mind, which is creative in nature.  Ordinarily, our life is an outer manifestation of the past conditioning of the mind, which we know as subconscious mind.  Most of what we do, think, and feel, and how we act, is the result of subconscious tendencies, known in Sanskrit as samskaras.  They are the original invasion of the body-snatchers.  They make us say and do things we have no true feeling to say or do, and act in ways that we have no desire to be and would never choose to be.  When we say, ‘I’m not going to be this way ever again,’ and then a while later we are being that way again, that is a samskara—a past impression that reproduces itself over and over even though we’d prefer that it go away.

Q:  How do we break free from this?  Are there ways to make it go away?

A:  First we have to realize the truth of our predicament.  Should the great majority of people read what has been written so far, they will either consider it new-age mumbo-jumbo, or will think there are some interesting ideas, but will have no sincere interest in pursuing any of it further—especially when it comes to actually changing anything.  The ego is insidiously resistant to change.  It insists on remaining as it is, and it wants nothing to do with change unless it’s in charge of the details itself.  Even if one were to recognize a good idea, the ego, with one ‘excuse’ after another, would prevent him or her from ever actually applying it in real life.

So the first step is simply recognizing the truth of how it is—that we are actually chained to a fence of samskaras that will do everything in their power to prevent us from changing anything about ourselves or our life as it is.  The samskaras only want to reproduce the past over and over in an endless cycle.  This is why most people can never break free from the life they are presently chained in—because they cannot see any possibility beyond the samskaras, or do not understand the samskaras themselves for what they are.  Most people are totally ignorant of all this.  It is the state of the world we live in.

Q:  So how is it possible to see that something greater than what we already know is actually within reach?

A:  The soul (in Sanskrit, jiva) goes through its own evolution.  It is what incarnates from one body to another, each incarnation taking up, in conscious development, where the last left off.  At some point, when it is truly ready, it comes across someone who is happier and freer than itself, and it has reached a point, has suffered enough, that it wants to know how it is possible to be happier and freer.

That is when we find something that begins to reveal greater possibilities and a new direction to move in.  We find a book that engages us in a new way, we come across a yoga or meditation class, we meet a teacher, or someone tells us about this blog and our Course of Training via email, which I can say without any fear of successful repudiation that there is nothing else like it anywhere. 

This might at first seem like a great presumption, or even pompous arrogance, but after 50 years of sincere searching, and being fairly familiar with everything available on the ‘spiritual scene,’ I have found nothing even close to it, other than my own Teacher’s course written in the 40’s and 50’s.  Any participant of the course will tell you that they have never seen anything that compares to it.  It might sound strange coming from me, but coming from them it sounds like sincere appreciation.  Read the comments of the blog, or the postings on Facebook, to get an idea of the ongoing dialogue among course participants.

Q:  How can you account for the fact that you are associated with something unlike anything else available?

A:  For the life of me I’ve never been able to figure that one out.  I am fairly certain, however, that it has nothing whatsoever to do with me personally.  It happens in spite of me, and certainly not because of me.  I am sure that it has something to do with the teachers I have studied with and what they have passed on to me that is to be passed on to others. 

Q:  How is it that you are so certain that what you write about is actually true?

A:  I have applied the principles of Truth in my own life, and have seen for myself that they are infallible and immutable.  There is no question about their power once they are actually applied in real life.  They are not something to ‘believe’ in.  I encourage people to believe nothing, and to prove what is true in their own lives.

I am not interested in communicating something to only be believed or agreed with.  Whether anyone else believes or agrees with something or not is of no consequence to either them or to me.  I come from the experiential school.  The principles of Truth explored in the Course of Training can be experienced right from the beginning, with Lesson 1, or for many people, just from reading the blog.  There is no dogma, nothing to believe or agree with.  Never believe anything you can’t prove true in your own life.

The course is simply a clear and modern presentation of the ancient principles regarding the Truth of Being.  In a sense, it is an awakening of who we truly are.  Participating in the Course changes a person’s life on every level.  It is a process to be experienced, and one lesson leads to the next, so that there is a progression on whatever level of sadhana one might be on.  The course can be taken on whatever level of understanding you have attained, and wherever you are, it will meet you.  It is not ‘elementary’ for anyone, regardless of one’s background or previous experience.   

Q:  So what’s your perspective on the prophesized events for the year 2012?  Is there anything real to it or is it all hype?

A:  You know, I was just watching something on CNN that covered, in order, all the physical and natural catastrophes that happened somewhere in the world during 2011.   My wife Kay and I were watching it together, and we turned to each other and agreed that if that had been foresight, or seeing events ahead of their time, or knowing in advance everything that was going to happen, it would have seemed very scary and possibly even unbelievable that all that could happen in a single year. 

It has been prophesized by many different traditions that unusual changes will occur in the year 2012.  Considering 2011 as a prelude, you’d have to think the planet is heading in a direction that includes a certain degree of upheaval, inwardly as well as outwardly. 

Anything, you know, is catastrophic for whomever it’s happening to.  My mother died suddenly at the age of 43 in a car accident.  For me, who had just turned 21, that was as catastrophic as it gets.  So anything that happens is a big deal for those it happens to, and for those who know them.

Probably we’ll see more of what we’ve seen in 2011.  The worst could certainly be yet to come, but the good part is that the best is yet to come as well.  I don’t have any inside information about it.  I’m only an observer.  My perspective, and what I encourage in those who work with me, is that whatever happens, even if it at first appears catastrophic, is gradually leading to something much better than anything we’ve yet experienced.  In the end, as in the beginning, there is only perfection. 

In my eyes, only something wonderful lies ahead.  A new birth, on any level, is a wonderful opportunity for growth.  If you are not interested in growth, then simply be content.  Contentment is the highest state anyway.  There is nothing that needs to be attained.  All we need is the recognition of the Truth of the Present Moment.

In one of my responses in the comments following last month’s entry—which included some really good exchanges—I discussed the importance of understanding that the subtle world and the subtle body, in which we currently reside, are much more powerful and substantial than the physical world and the physical body.  The subtle body entered the physical body at the first inhalation, and departs on the last exhalation.  The connection between the subtle and physical bodies is the breath and the nervous system.  Through the nervous system, the physical and subtle bodies merge as one.

If a powerful bomb went off next to our physical body—which strangely happens to some people in this world—the physical body would only return to the elements of the earth from which it came, while we would simply find ourselves once again focused on the subtle body and subtle world instead of the physical body and physical world.  The actual experience would be somewhat like waking up from a dream.

Once we are fully established in the awareness that the subtle body and subtle world are more permanent and more powerful than anything in this physical existence, and that nothing in the physical world can affect the subtle body in any way—unless we allow it to in our own thinking, which would be a lack of discipline on our part—we lose our fear of anything bad happening; we lose our fear of death and destruction. 

Physical destruction seems like a big deal when we are focused on the physical body and physical world, but when we are firmly established in our subtle reality, physical destruction is seen as just another apparition in the ongoing play of constantly-changing appearances.

Q:  That seems like a lot to take in.  Knowing all that, what do we do?

A:  Knowing all that, we enjoy the simple delight of the present moment.  Our experience of the present moment can be whatever we choose it to be, unless we only passively repeat the past over and over again, and then how will we ever experience something new?

We know we are following the path of Truth as long as we keep seeing what is new.   Something ‘new’ for us is like a signpost telling us that we are on the right path.  When everything seems old and familiar, when it feels like we already understand everything worth knowing, then we can rest assured that we have strayed from the path, and we need to come back to the present moment, back to the heart, and back to our love.

This is presented in the first 2 lessons of the course:  Come back to the moment, come back to the heart, come back to your love.  It is such a simple thing to remember, yet it is so powerful to simply remember that doing this is all that is required, and that it takes no time at all.  It is a simple willingness to return to the present.  All thoughts that distract us from the Present are dropped and noted as irrelevant. 

The Truth exists only in the Present Moment.  There is no other time to Be.  Be in the Present Moment and you will be everywhere at once; you will pervade and permeate the cosmos.  There is nothing more to do.  There is only to Be.  In our culture and society a great importance is placed on ‘doing,’ and very little value is placed on ‘Being.’   Yet, in a conscious, awakened community, ‘Being’ would be highly valued, while ‘doing’ goes on, as dharmically necessary, in the background

This is living in the Truth of the Present Moment.

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

French: drbutler.course@gmail.com