Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Purification of the Mind

Hello and welcome to this month’s blog entry.  This is a free offering for anyone interested in living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  Most people, if we were to ask them, might think they are already living in the present moment.  Yet there is often crazy stuff going on in the mind, or the emotions are in turmoil, or they are focused on some sort of physical discomfort.  Tuning in to such things may be in the present moment, but they are not the Truth of the present moment.

The Truth of the present moment is not about whether our back hurts or we are thinking crazy stuff or if we are depressed or angry or anxious or in any other emotional state.  The Truth is that which remains true at all times and places, and among all people.  The Truth does not fluctuate.  It is always the same.  It is eternally changeless.

Some might object to the suggestion that they could be thinking crazy stuff.  Perhaps you haven’t yet noticed, but the mind is pretty crazy.  My mind is crazy, and I’m sure plenty of others are in a similar predicament.  It takes a refined intellect and a great deal of discipline to go beyond the craziness.  Few people know anything about how to discipline the mind, or even what that means, and to most people the craziness seems normal.

Only the purified mind can perceive the Truth of the present moment.  The purification of the mind is a process that is consciously undertaken, and takes place over a period of time.

Most people in the world at this time have no interest in the process of mental purification.  There are always only a few who are interested in participating in their own spiritual evolution.  Most people automatically follow the dictates and patterns of the undisciplined mind, which usually only reveals the mind’s craziness.  Also people give in far too readily to negative emotions and automatic reactions relating to them.  All this has a very strong pull on our attention; it is rare to honestly open up to the elevation of the soul during this lifetime.

Something inside you attracted you to read this—something that is interested in what is going on here, which corresponds to something going on within you.  First of all, what is going on here is not primarily about the words and ideas.  There is a spiritual energy available that is awakening and elevating.  Of course, the ordinary mind is full of doubt and distrust.  Why should anyone trust what is being said here?

The only validity of what happens here is found in your own inner experience.  Either something happens or it doesn’t.  There is no reason to take anyone’s word for anything, or to accept anything on blind faith.  The Truth can easily be proven, and you can prove the Truth for yourself.  The point is to know with full certainty, and not to merely ‘believe.’

The mind of the average person is filled with untrue beliefs and assumptions.  Even most educated people simply carry around a lot of useless knowledge.  In certain Eastern scriptures this is known as ‘limited knowledge.’  It is knowledge that actually limits us, such as 'I can't do that.'  True knowledge is what can be actually proven and applicable in practical life.  There is no reason to assume anything.  Assumptions invariably lead us down the wrong path.

Reading the lessons of the Course of Training via email naturally and spontaneously purifies the mind.  Of course, it is important to apply the principles presented in your own life, and you will develop fairly quickly if you actually practice the simple exercises that are given with each lesson.

The lessons challenge the conditioned mind in unexpected ways that actually changes our inner makeup.  The mind has been conditioned ever since we learned our first words.  It began the first time we were told what something was.  This was the beginning of our indoctrination.  All our conditioning, all our beliefs, originate in words.

 In Sanskrit the power of words is referred to as matrika shakti.  It is the power of words that deludes us, and it is also the power of words that frees us.  We have already been deluded; now we are in the process leading to freedom.

One principle of Truth that every living human should know, at as early an age as possible, is that the mind is creative and that thoughts have their own power.  Thoughts lead to actions that lead to results that correspond with the nature of the originating thought.  We live in our thoughts, and we take combinations of words to be actual realities through associating them with images and pictures in the mind.

If a person does not realize that his mind is creative, he will habitually continue to recreate all the things he doesn’t like, all the things that make his life difficult.  Once we understand that the mind is creative, we become more careful about what we think.  This is the beginning of mental discipline.  The conclusion of mental discipline is Mastery.

All this is discussed in great depth in the lessons of the Course available through email.  For now, let’s look at some question and answer exchanges from last month’s ‘comments’.

   *     *

What are the marks of a spiritually mature person?”

Such a person has a still mind, or at least is able to watch the mind in action instead of identifying with it.

He or she sees all beings as sharing the same Self as his or her own inner Awareness.

He is mature enough to have left behind all mechanical reactions and habitual negative emotions.

She is established in love, and naturally and unconditionally loves all in her sphere of existence.

He is established in contentment no matter what is said or what happens around him.

She is always the same one, and no longer fluctuates among various personalities.  She is no longer a slave to the moods.

He is established in the present moment, in in his own heart, and experiences only love wherever he goes.

These are some of the marks of a spiritually mature person.

*    *     *

“I read recently in my lesson that the power of a lineage is behind certain masters, and so it is a matter of that person 'getting out of the way' so that the power of that lineage can freely flow on to people who are open and receptive.  Would you please shed some light on this subject? Thank you so much!”

A spiritual teacher without a lineage is like a professor in a university that never attended or experienced a university. There are occasional exceptions, like William Faulkner teaching writing at the University of Virginia without ever having attended a university himself, but he had mastered his craft to such a degree that no one was better qualified to teach what he taught than he was. However such people are very rare, and exceptional.

If a person has his or her own Teacher, who in turn had his or her own Teacher, the teachings and the Shakti (Spiritual Energy) of that lineage is passed through those who are designated to pass it on to others. The lineage goes back a long time; it wasn't just started up a few weeks back. A true lineage goes back to ancient times.

If a person has no lineage, no Teacher who held him accountable to the purity of the teachings and practices of the lineage, then he can teach anything that comes off the top of his head, and delude himself into thinking he is teaching the Truth.  Sadly this happens too often.  Maybe some receptive people will still gain some clarity from even this much, if the teacher is sincere and a good communicator.  Still, he can take a student only as far as he himself has developed.

Attunement to the lineage opens us to a great Shakti, which is palpably transforming.  It is a Spiritual Energy that initiates, awakens, deepens, expands, and elevates.  A true Teacher is like a lit candle lighting unlit candles.  Much more than mere words and ideas are required for spiritual awakening and transformation.  What is passed on is the Spiritual Energy of the lineage itself. This happens in a spontaneous way, and takes place primarily within the circumstances and situations of one's own life.

         *    *

“I recently noticed while reading my current lessons, that I often think, "Oh, so and so is so like that.  They would really benefit from this."  I am very curious about this dialogue I have with myself.  I am not sure where it exactly comes from. Is it off the idea that we see in other what we pssess ourselves?”

For a long time we see the principles of Truth as things that obviously apply to others in our karmic sphere.  Especially when one is a relative beginner, the ego comes up with all the various people in our lives that we wish understood and practiced such exalted ideas.

As we mature spiritually, we understand that the principles primarily need to be understood and practiced by us.  As the ego's power decreases, we begin to see that others are primarily reflections of our own Self, or that everyone simultaneously shares the same Self or inner Awareness.

It is particularly easy for the ego to see in others traits and qualities that he himself has, but which he largely denies or remains blind to.  When he or she learns of what needs to be done, instead of actually doing it, he or she wishes that others were doing it.  Eventually we come to understand that we are the only one that can understand and apply the principles.

When we change inside, we see the world and others differently.

"My how you've changed since I changed."

        *     *

“What is a 'spiritual' person?  How does a 'spiritual' person live, and how shouldn't they live?”

In the last 30 years or so, my ideas of spirituality have changed quite a bit. Now my 'spiritual' person would see the same Consciousness appearing as everything, would live in a state of equanimity, and would experience love in all situations and among all people.

So, just using that as qualities of a 'spiritual' person, how do we know whether someone has them or not?  A person can act totally outrageous and still see it all as the play of Consciousness, remain in inner equanimity, and abide in a state of love.

Nothing about a person's appearance or actions indicates whether he is a 'spiritual' person or not.  If he has a beatific smile, always outwardly demonstrates his love, and is pious in any way, you can be sure he is nothing close to a 'spiritual' person.  He is simply a show, a costume.

Ultimately, everyone is a 'spiritual' person.  Everyone has Spirit in their heart.  In fact, we all share the same Spirit.  Living in this awareness is as 'spiritual' as we can be.

For information about the Course written by D. R. Butler, and a free month, write to   The Course is also available in Spanish and French.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Life, Teachers, the Mind, the World, ect.

There have been a lot of question and answer exchanges in the comments over the past few months that most people have never seen.  Since we contribute to others’ experience and understanding by verbalizing questions for clarity, this month we honor those who are willing to ask the questions that we all share but don’t know how to verbalize.
When we make the effort to verbalize a question, even if it is a question we could answer ourselves if someone else asked us, it opens up reception of a new communication, and we learn or imbibe something new, something we might have never guessed we needed to learn.  In the same way, we learn what we need to know simply by reading the exchanges initiated by others, because basically we all need to learn pretty much the same things. 
Q:  A teacher of hatha yoga asked, ‘The class seems to be going great, but sometimes I start feeling self-conscious, and then I worry if everything will fall apart.  How can I counteract this?’
A:  About 35 years ago, I was being introduced as a speaker at a yoga ashram. As I was being introduced I looked at the Guru’s photo on the wall and inwardly said to him, I don't have enough Shakti (spiritual energy) to give this talk.
As soon as I had that thought I heard his voice inside my head, very vividly and clearly, and he said, You are right, you have very little.  However, I have enough to get us both through.'
That little exchange has been the underlying essence of my sadhana, and after that experience I never felt self-conscious again. I always spoke as though speaking to the air, to space, being totally alone. I'm never speaking 'to' anyone.
Always be the Seer; never be the seen. We are the one looking out, not the one being looked at.
Always talk as though you're talking to yourself. Never speak as though you're talking to someone else, especially someone that you 'hope' understands what you are saying, and perhaps even agrees with you. Never care whether they 'get it’ or not. You've done your job by revealing your own Truth. They have to do theirs by opening up to it, which opens them to their own Truth—which is always and invariably the same Truth..
Most important of all, whenever you speak, always enjoy yourself, always make it fun for yourself. If you're having genuine fun, then your audience will have fun also. If you're not experiencing it within yourself, there's no way you can convey it to another, no matter how clearly you might be with your words. Don't get caught up in communicating concepts. Communicate experiences so vividly that you audience also has their own very strong experiences.
Q:  Another teacher asked, ‘How do you go about telling the student about his weak points or misunderstandings when I’d much prefer to tell him only good things about himself?’
A:  I hear what you are saying and it is a great question. Of course we would prefer to say only great things to people. We love and honor them, and want only to support them, so why wouldn't we want to shower them with praise?
As a 'teacher,' though, a communicator of Truth, there has to be a delicate balance. Singing their praises only can be hard for their ego to take in proper perspective, and it can sometimes get inflated, so we do someone a disservice if we praise them too much.  At some point we only contribute to ego, and a true teacher can never do this.
In my earlier life I had the great fortune and grace to spend many years in direct relationship with a genuine Guru of an authentic lineage. I can never be thankful enough for all I learned from him just being around him and watching him relate to others.
He was by no means a people pleaser. He didn't smile to be polite; he smiled when he was amused. He didn't issue many compliments at all, and usually if he said anything good about you, it was when you weren't around, and you'd have to hear about it from someone who was. He was always lightheartedly and laughingly putting down the ego at every opportunity that presented itself, and I got where I could only be amused when he ignored me or said something embarrassing about me. Yet every now and then he would say something to you of a positive nature, and because it was so rare, it was greatly treasured and transformative.
Anyway I learned from personal experience that more growth might be offered by sometimes withholding praise, and offering it only in special moments that truly mean something.
I know exactly what you mean, though. When simply relating to whoever shows up in my daily life, I am fairly pleasant and much more likely to say something of a positive nature than negative. When it comes to my children, of course, I speak as positively as possible, as the dharma of a father is a bit different than the dharma of a teacher.
Q:  Does the Course have a different purpose than meditation? What's the specific benefit of meditation that the Course wouldn't fulfill? Which state of meditation is the one to preferably head for and spend regular time in (knowing that some states happen through grace and can't be created)?”
A:  Watch this aspect of you that is judgmental about states and meditation experiences. Only the ego is judgmental. Ultimately all states are equal, for they are but various manifestations of the same Consciousness shared by all. What is important is what sees and knows the state we're in.
Some participants of the course are into meditation as a practice, while others practice no formal meditation as such. Read in the right way, reading each lesson is a meditation in itself. Each sentence is infused with its own power and meaning. If we are absorbed in a lesson, we are in a true state of meditation, for the lesson takes us out of the mind.
Meditation is always happening. We can't start or stop it; we can only tune into what is already going on. It's not something we can take personally. Meditation is experiencing the space between thoughts. Meditation experiences are only experiences; the essential thing is the Seer and the Knower of the experience.
Be the Seer, not the seen; be the Knower, not the known.
I am happy you are enjoying our Course. It will greatly enrich your capacity to pass on greatness to your many yoga students.
Q:  Someone asked a few questions regarding the current state of the world.
A:  I agree that major energetic and vibrational changes are happening on our planet; this has already begun. If you haven't noticed, you must not have been paying attention to what is going on in people's lives. Even the weather is changing.
This will be an elevation or upgrading of how the world manifests, energetically speaking. People who are working to expand consciousness and awareness will find the new energies to their liking, for what is happening is an expansion, an elevation.
Most people in the world are going through something relatively intense right now. No one has written to say that life is humdrum or happening ideally. If we look and see what is already happening, and has been happening for a few years now, we will get some idea of what is coming in the future.
Unfortunately there will be more floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, earthquakes, financial upheavals, and all such things before it is over. Many people have had their lives uprooted already, and this will happen to many more in the time ahead.  This is why it is so important to develop awareness of the principles of Truth.
Those who are doing inner work, who are open and ready for the Truth, and who aspire to live in the present moment will find this a fertile time for self-development and transformation. This is exactly why many of us are incarnated here at this particular time.  Those who are only attached to the outer world as they know it will have difficulties.
Q:  ‘I’ve heard that a definite quality of a great being is fearlessness.  How do we permanently vanquish fear?’
A:  The Upanishads say that when we see 'another,' fear arises.
As long as we are conscious of power external to us that is possibly more powerful than we are, as long as we live in that kind of duality—recognizing that ‘another’ has power over us, we give fear the freedom to roam.
The secret to living fearlessly, which is indeed a prerequisite to being a free Being, is to be firmly established in the consciousness of Oneness, as well as the knowledge that ALL power originates from within. When we realize that true power invariably comes from within, and that the sense of an external power is delusional, we experience that there is nothing worth fearing.
Q:  One fellow wrote describing his many faults, flaws, and imperfections.
A:  I know that you judge yourself too harshly, and I am telling you that there is no need to do that, because only pure Consciousness exists as you, as you are right now in this very moment. The divine Self shines within you, radiates from you, yet you doubt yourself and focus on your faults. This in turn causes you to be judgmental of others, and even taking them to task for it. Yet only divine Consciousness dwells within them as well as you, and there is nothing going on anywhere other than the play of Consciousness.
Q: “I feel I am so identified with the mind?  Aren’t we supposed to get free from the mind” 
A:  Read your question above and note your use of 'I' and 'we’.   Contemplate exactly who you are talking about.
Who' has identification? 'Who' should get free from the mind?'  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. When you fully understand this, you will understand your own question on a much subtler level.
Q:  '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 productive nature. This is the key to mastery to 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.
Ultimately, the Self exists in fullness between each and every two
thoughts. 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 world of objective humanity.

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

Q:  Can you tell me simply and concisely why it might be good to continue reading this blog or consider taking your course of training?

A:  The only reason is to learn to live in the Truth of the Present Moment.  Many people think they are in the present moment, but on the level of ‘my back hurts’ or ‘I’m so angry and irritable,’ or ‘here I am, walking with a good posture.’  All such things on the emotional or mental level are very temporary and usually pass very quickly.  The Truth is eternally changeless, never fluctuates, never comes or goes. 

All there is arises from this Truth of Being.  All spiritual paths, all yoga and/or meditation, all Buddhism, all of anything else, eventually leads to living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  Our Course of Training simply goes to the heart of the matter without any trappings to trip on.  It focuses from the very beginning on what everything else eventually leads up to.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and a free month, write to

The Course is also available in Spanish and French.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Your Life Is What You Make It

After resigning my ‘official position’ in 2002, after 20 years of living in a yoga ashram and being a ‘spiritual teacher’,  I figured that phase of my life was over. 
 I spent the next six years as a recluse, here with my wife Kay in this village of 90.  We spent time with our children, but that was about it.  I had lived among so many people for so long, and I craved privacy.  One of the many things I love about Kay is that we are happy being alone together, and it’s not like ‘someone else’ is present.
I honestly had no idea what I would do in my life now that I had grown up.  I first thought of a book, which would in itself be a fine form of communication, but in my heart I knew it wasn’t really me.  My own experience had been progressing through the process of a Course, growing from one lesson to another, understanding one principle just so it will be possible to understand the next, slightly subtler principle.  My personal experience of this reveals that it is a very powerful practice, especially with the repetition that enables us to receive all that is actually being given.
I had experienced for myself that I could read the greatest book in the world, yet a few months later it was all but forgotten.  In the Course, no matter what we forget, there is always the next lesson to remind us.  Those of us who participate in the Course, have each experienced by now, that there is an inexplicable power in simply referring to our current lesson, or we wouldn’t still be here, .
It was made known to me in 2008 that it was time to write a new course, an entirely different course, starting from where I was now—with updated and a more refined understanding.  Now I could even more directly explore the principles of Truth I had studied, practiced, and been trained in since I was a teenager in Mississippi in the early 60’s.
Of course, my conscious mind was not certain even a single person would wish to take this new course.  I wasn’t sure myself what was going to come through; how could anyone else know?  Did I even still have anything worthwhile to say; it felt that I had already said everything.  Besides, it seemed that by now everything was already available on the Internet.  What could I possibly offer in addition to all that was already available?
I put my faith in my Teachers, each of whom had passed on something of great value to me.  My first Teacher trained me thoroughly in the Truth of Being—how the universe works, how the Universal becomes the individual, and what is the purpose of the individual, and how it finds its way back to the Universal.  This is the true game of life.
I wrote the first blog entry in July, 2008, introducing the Course and the underlying principles of Truth—it is still worthy of a new reading—and Kay and I contacted all the people we were able to and let them know that a new course was beginning.  I was surprised how enthusiastically so many of them were ready and even eager to start the new course—and already had the understanding that the new Lesson 1 was simply their next lesson, continuing from where the last one left off.
Since then, the Course has grown through word-of-mouth.  Sometimes the people you think might have the most interest in knowing about the Course have no interest whatsoever, while someone you would think would have no interest at all suddenly wants to know more, wants to get that first Lesson asap.
No one knows until they read Lesson 1 along with the intro material whether they want to try the Course or not, because many people are surprised at how the first lesson affects them, or by what their experience of the lesson is.  Something happens that can’t quite happen unless one actually reads a lesson for himself.  It certainly cannot be described in words.
We are not a path of monks or ascetics.  Some of us are to some degree on the path of the yogi, but others not necessarily so.  We are ‘householders’, people living in the world, learning to see the divine in the world as well as ourselves.

Know that the only 'sin' is the consciousness of sin.  There is no cosmic list of do's and don'ts, or shoulds and shouldn'ts.  No one should should on themselves.  Whatever we are, whatever we do, is God in this form being or doing that.  There is no separation between us and the Divine

There is of course dharma and adharma.  It is not nearly the same as 'morals,' which have their origin in orthodox religion.  Simply speaking, dharma is doing that which benefits everyone involved.  Adharma is anything that hurts another on any level, or takes advantage of them, or in any way causes harm to others.
We are God in Human Form.  There is a section of the Course that explores this essential Truth quite extensively, so that it becomes consistently our own experience.  Whatever we do or experience, we are God doing or experiencing that.  As the Bhagavad Gita says, "All actions are His."  Nothing is in and of itself either spiritual or unspiritual.  It is All the Same, all Equal.  The 'spirituality' exists only in the consciousness we bring to it.
My digestive system could never deal with a hotdog, but some people eat hotdogs, and when they do they are ultimately God eating a hotdog.  If someone has a glass of wine, it is God enjoying a glass of wine.  The one that feels like the middle-man, the person between God and the action, is the ego.  There is nothing between God and the action doing the action.  It is only God in the form of that action.
We explore this deeply in the lessons of the Course.  The point of this month's blog entry is to let you know clearly that there are no good or bad actions.  Love exists, and if we are attuned to that love in our own heart right now, everything we do or say is equally spiritual—which ultimately means 'natural.'  So don't judge yourself, ever.
Remember that guilt is the worst thing.  Guilt is worse than whatever we are feeling guilty about.  What affects us inwardly is all that is relevant  So think the highest of yourself, and let the actions of the body simply be the actions of the body. Then it is easy to live in perfect dharma.  (Dharma can be translated simply as 'right action.)
The process of Self-development takes place totally in what we call the Now.  No one ever has or ever will improve in the future.  In fact, in Reality, there is no such thing as self-improvement at all, but rather an unfoldment of what is always already here. It is possible, through the use and direction of Creative thought, to fulfill any reasonable desire.  When we attain True Understanding, however, we then no longer have desires, for we are then constantly fulfilled to the highest possible degree.
This may sound incredible, but it is the state to which this process called ‘Life’ naturally leads.  Meanwhile, all your dreams can come true, if you choose.
We express physically as who and what we think we are.  We do what we think we do, and have what we think we have.  If we need more of anything, all we need to do is picture what we want in our minds, like a small child does in imagination, with the feeling that we already have it.  This mental creation attracts the object, condition, or experience like a magnet, causing our visualization to manifest physically.  Just remember that the 'feeling' is essential.
If we desire better finances, or improved health, or harmonious relationships, or to achieve success or development in some area—even Spiritual Realization, which is true Freedom—we must ‘imagine’ that we already have it, making a game of it the way a child would, instead of being  solemn and serious like boring grownups.  This creation of mental pictures is ‘fun.’ When we actually 'see' our own creation, we ‘enjoy’ it.  It makes us ‘feel good.’ 
It must have this kind of positive effect on us in order to affect us emotionally, and we must be affected emotionally in an uplifting way before our desired visualizations can become physical realities.
Our intellectual mind has the tendency to recognize what it thinks it already ‘knows,’ simply through familiarity with the ideas, and to reject hearing the same knowledge as something new.  Actually, though, we are not attempting to educate the intellectual mind, but rather to radically change subconscious impressions, causing the Universe to be viewed and Life to be experienced in a totally new way than what we’ve previously considered.
The subconscious mind is impressed in two ways:  through constant repetition, and through highly charged emotional events.  As we go into deeper secrets, the highly charged emotional events necessary to growth and improvement will occur naturally and spontaneously.  It may take a while for you to understand the significance of certain events in your life, but you will soon see that everything that happens to you is deeply meaningful and a significant piece of the puzzle. 
In the Course, certain ideas are repeated over and over in many different ways, approaching the principles from all possible angles.  As this knowledge begins to become a part of you, and as you begin to notice positive changes and results, you will greatly appreciate this method.  Meanwhile, it will be good to read and reread all lessons as often as possible, before the next new lesson arrives, for new insights and greater understanding will follow each reading.
Reading the lessons actually changes the way you feel and how you view the world.  It changes the state of consciousness which you live in daily.  It is not a matter of memorizing material, or even of believing what has been written.  By simply reading each lesson three or four times during the two weeks until the next lesson arrives, you will be amazed at the results.  Don’t take my word for this, but prove it to yourself.  The Truth is always easy to prove.  There is nothing to 'believe.'

We live in several worlds simultaneously.  Of these, our intellectual conscious mind and our five physical senses perceive and apprehend what we call the ‘physical world’.  The physical world is the realm of action and reaction, or cause and effect.  That is, here we reap the fruits of our actions.
The Universe is always in perfect balance, and therefore there is a corresponding reaction to every action.  In Sanskrit this is known as karma.  We use some Sanskrit terms occasionally, because they represent important Cosmic processes for which there are no English equivalents.  Each person is already fully involved with his karma—and only his karma.  There is nothing else on the physical plane to be involved with.
For information about the Course and a free lesson, write:
The lessons are also available in Spanish and French.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Death, Dying, and Living in the Physical World

In 1993 I experienced major surgery—I was told afterward that I would have been dead in two days if it had not been performed.  I remained in the hospital for a month, on IVs, not allowed to eat, hardly able to move, always hooked up to stuff, including several tubes protruding from my belly monitoring fluids.  Another larger tube went up my nose and down my throat.  My abdomen was somehow stapled back together.  My stomach was being continuously pumped.  I had a catheter, for God’s sake.  Somehow I sensed this wasn’t the greatest shape I had ever been in.
Friends would come for a visit, and I could tell that they assumed I was going through a horrible ordeal.  I could see the sympathy in their eyes, which, in fact, I sincerely appreciated.  Yet for me there was never any sense of suffering or pain at all, no sense of anything going wrong or anything bad happening. 
For the first few days after surgery, I could not remember what I had once thought was so interesting about this world.  I knew that there had always been something very vital about this world, but I couldn’t remember what it was.  The world as I’d always known it suddenly seemed so very irrelevant to anything in the present moment.  I could see that others felt I was experiencing pain and discomfort, even though I could no longer relate to those experiences.  They were very far away, a part of someone’s dream.
As I gradually got stronger, I became a bit more grounded than I had been the first couple of days, during which I could not relate to the body or the world at all.  As I regained my strength and became more grounded, I started to relate to the body and the physical world more and more, as though being pulled back among old friends I had temporarily forgotten.
The experience gave me a perspective I can never forget.  When the physical body became irrelevant for me—which will be true for all of us within a hundred years from now—the outer world was simultaneously no longer relevant.  The truth is, most of us would be astonished how irrelevant so many of the things are that capture our interest and attention and seem so important in the moment.
Previously I might have felt it would be interesting to keep up with this world after we leave it, like knowing what’s going on here: what films are winning the awards, who’s going to the Super Bowl, how all our friends and family will continue in their lives, stuff like that. 
Once I had the experience of being disassociated from the body, though, the whole physical universe as I had known it became completely irrelevant.  I couldn’t even remember what about it had seemed so interesting, so vital somehow, as though life revolved around it.
Okay, I can hear some of you thinking:  But what about our loved ones, won’t we be able to keep up with them?  Won’t we somehow know what happens to them, what becomes of them?
All those with whom you are in relationship, you already had those relationships subtly, in the astral realms, long before you ever met in the physical realm.  We have deep relationships with souls who are not even currently incarnated.  Don’t you sometimes dream of souls whom you don’t know in this current life?  When you dream of them at night, you experience a subtle contact with them; you have visions of your subtle relationship, which in many cases goes on for several consecutive incarnations, if not forever. 
In the end, in my vision of things, we’ll all be singing around the same campfire—“everyone is here; no one is excluded.” 
So this is how we ‘keep up’ with loved ones, through our already existing subtle relationship with them.  Any true relationship happens primarily on the subtle realm.  The physical relationship is simply a reflection of what exists subtly, and is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true relationship. 
Therefore death doesn’t take us away from anyone, and birth doesn’t put us any closer to them.  The relationship is always of a subtle nature; it is only vaguely related to the bodies, for the purpose of this particular incarnation, or cycle of karma.
Still, we do not necessarily maintain our interest in the physical world following our transition to the subtle realm in the way that we might think we would.  I suppose we could remain consciously focused on the physical world if we were really attached to it, but that would be standing still in development.  It would be somewhat like remaining focused now on how we were as an 8-year-old—cute, but there are just a lot more expanded directions to take than to be obsessed with a past stage of development.   
Our conscious mind, because of its attachment to the past, has not yet caught up with our present state and true development.  The mind is always a little behind because it thinks it has to first describe, define, or figure out what really happened in the past, when we could be much freer by simply forgetting about it. 
The past led up to this.  We wouldn’t be here if it were not for the past leading up to this moment, right now.  Yet the awareness of the Truth of the present is much more rewarding and fulfilling than constantly reliving the past merely because that is our habitual approach.  Each of us approachs life in our own distinct way.  Are we approaching life as we have clearly realized is the greatest way, the most loving and compassionate way, or is our approach merely a habitual pattern that we do without even consciously knowing about it?
It might momentarily be fascinating to see and experience past stages of development, but it would get old very quickly, and we definitely wouldn’t want to live there again.  The energy level of the past would seem very slow compared to what we have become accustomed to.  We’d soon want to get back to our present life, as it is right now, and right now.  In each present moment, we always have a clean slate.  Do we want to create a great legacy, beginning now, or do we only wish to constantly repeat all the habits and patterns of the past, not only bringing the past into the present but projecting it into the future as well.  Unknowingly, perhaps, we make this choice each moment.
The subtle nature of our life does not die, does not end when we depart this temporary physical temple.  There is only a transition from one realm to another, and the transition has more to do with our focus and perspective than with any actual existing reality.  We will go from here to a place where we have been all along.  We just had this ‘dream’ of a physical incarnation.
Know with full conviction that there is no such thing as ‘death’.  No one ever dies, or ceases to exist.  Whatever exists now always has existed, and always will.  That which apparently has beginnings and endings is a temporary illusion.  When the body returns to the elements of the earth, we are still that same One we have always been, and all our various ‘relationships’ still exist in the same way they primarily exist now—subtly.
We never need to clutch or cling to anything in the objective world.  When the outer world disappears, we are still here, and we will be aware of this presence to the degree that we remain one with the formless Awareness of Being that is Consciousness itself.
There is no ‘death’ in which anything is lost.  The physical world is only a reflection, a mirror, of the subtle world.  Nothing happens at the end of this incarnation that will be in any way unpleasant or painful.  Nothing is ever lost.  What is here is all that exists.  Or as the Vishwasara Tantra says, “What is here is also there.  What is not here is nowhere.”
I know there is always grief when a loved one passes on.  It is among the natural order of things.  Never repress this feeling.  Allow grief to all come out—crying is very purifying—until you reach a point where it has passed, and suddenly you feel infinitely lighter.  Some degree of grief is in everyone’s life; it is as essential as breath for inner growth and developing inner strength.
People come and go.  Even if you love them with all your heart, you can still be detached.  No particular individual lasts forever.  We ourselves are only here for a few moments in the grand scheme of things.
We explore all this in great depth in the lessons of the Course of Training, which is like a handbook for living in this body and this physical world.  We never got a ‘how to’ book when it comes to living in this world, an 'instruction manual' to refer to when times seem confusing or bleak.  We were kind of just thrown out here, with the assigned task of finding our way home again.  There is powerful knowledge, which comes from very ancient times, which show us how to live happily and lovingly in our own life. 
This knowledge has always been known by only a few.  The reason is not that everyone else is excluded, but simply because they aren’t interested.  It is available to all, yet only a few are truly open to receiving it and applying it in their own life--which is much more essential than knowledge alone.

For information about the Course of Training, ‘Living in the Truth of the Present Moment,’ and a free Lesson 1 to glimpse how the Course works, please write to:
The Course is also available in Spanish and French, thanks to some very dedicated people