Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Practical Perspectives for Living in the Truth

There have been many questions to come in this month.  This is good, for simply making the effort to articulate a question opens us up to a new insight or revelation.  There are many questions that, should someone else ask us, we might answer them easily; yet through the process of asking the question ourselves, we enable the possibility to understand our current knowledge in a new and expanded way.

There is so much available on the Internet:  knowledge, information, facts, and even some true wisdom.  We search and we read, something inspires us but soon we want more, we want another hit of inspiration.  We are not truly fulfilled until we realize that the Source of all we truly need lies within us, not outside us.

It is relatively easy to agree with this in theory, yet it is challenging to live this way with true conviction.

It seems we could hear, The Universal Consciousness that pervades and permeates the entire universe is the same as your own inner Awareness of Being, and it would seem so sensible and logical and intuitively obvious that this is the primary Truth we need to grasp.  All other knowledge is secondary to this.  It seems that upon seeing or hearing the Truth even once, we would always be fully conscious of it.  After all, how long does it really take to learn a simple truth?  Most find that it takes a while, and a lot of trial and error, to fully see and live in the Truth of the Present Moment.

I am going to share some responses to several questions that have come in this past month, without necessarily posting the questions.  This might cause it to seem as though there are some mysterious or abrupt transitions from one paragraph or subject to another, yet it seems to come out in a way that many more questions are answered than only the ones that initially inspired these specific replies.  Someone, in fact, was asking about getting ‘messages’ though certain happenings or words heard in the external world.

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

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

It sounds like you are getting too involved in the world of objective humanity, or the consciousness of other people, which is invariably in error. Don't get so involved with others, or how they treat you or how they see you or what they say to you or about you. They're just doing what they do. There's no reason to take any of it personally.  They would be the same way even if you weren’t around.  Never taking anything personally is a great freedom

There are layers upon layers of understanding the answer to this question. In a certain approach to sadhana, how disciplined we are in certain areas is very relevant to the quality of our sadhana.

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

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

A great aid in one's sadhana is to develop the capacity to see perfection in that which is less than ideal.

I have known too many uptight, repressed yogic types who have very rigid ideas about what spirituality is or should be.  They are very judgmental of themselves as well as others. They take it all very seriously, and have no sense of humor about it. In order for sadhana to be truly effective, there has to be a certain lightheartedness about it.

Whatever is taken too seriously is in the grip of the ego, for only the ego takes things seriously.

Occasionally, as those who participate in our course know, I might write something completely outrageous or seemingly totally inappropriate, and yet reading it shakes us up a bit, perhaps causing us to see something in a new and more lighthearted or uplifting way.  Sometimes we actually need some sort of shock to the system to us to take the next necessary step.  This ‘shock’ comes in many unexpected forms, and in fact we are often not likely to recognize it for what it is until in retrospect, if at all.

One who truly knows the Self will find it very easy to laugh, and is often in a state most of us would equate to giddiness. Yet it is also perfect Awareness combined with the joy of being alive.

It is very true when you wrote: 'This is why some spiritual paths have instituted or recommended certain attitudes and behaviors that form a foundation to further the process of “discovery of our oneness with this inner Light”.'

This is absolutely true, and I honor it totally. I have myself practiced those very attitudes and behaviors for many years, beginning at the age of 15, and the traditional practices have been a great process of purification. Layers upon layers of gunk are purified from the mental, emotional, and psychic systems so that we might one day see and experience the Truth clearly and undeniably.

Until then, we to some degree superimpose our own ingrained and conditioned ideas of spirituality and call that the truth.

Still, there are even deeper levels of sadhana, different upayas—a Sanskrit term meaning 'means' or 'methods' of spiritual practice. On one level you do hatha yoga, meditate, chant, learn to concentrate and focus the mind, study the scriptures, and various other practices which you do through using the body, mind, and prana. On another level you simply KNOW you are the Self, and the same ultimate goal is instantaneously realized.  In most cases many years of the former are necessary before the latter is possible.

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

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

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

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

Most of sadhana takes place on the subtle realm, often when it outwardly seems as though nothing is happening. In a sense, it is the karma of this physical body.  Yet if we expand our perspective a little, we see that this physical body, and everything pertaining to it, is itself an aspect of karma. Most sadhana takes place in the emotional or mental or psychic realms. The body is simply something to lumber around in while we experience a cycle of karma, beginning with the first inhalation and ending with the last exhalation.

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

Let's not pretend otherwise, laziness does exist, as a product of tamas guna—the sense of inertia and a resistance to rightful (dharmic) action. And it is true that many, maybe most, people need to work on their laziness and not let it get out of hand or become too powerful—otherwise it can begin to seem as though it requires a great effort to move or to act.  Only on one level is effort necessary; on a subtler level all that is needed is the feeling that it is already done.

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

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

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

The 'goal'—silly word, but in English it's the best we've got—is for us to live in the full Awareness of the Truth of the Present Moment.  The Truth is changeless, while the body, emotions, and thoughts are constantly moving and changing.

This is pure Being in all its fullness. Then we are not merely a lump on the log; we are the eternal Presence of the only One.  All we lack is this understanding.

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

Spanish: drbutler.cursoesp@gmail.com
French: drbutler.course@gmail.com

Sunday, April 1, 2012

This Blog Entry Reveals Everything Imaginable

April Fool!

The true April entry will be posted in another day or two.  See you then.

D. R. Butler