Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013--What a Wonderful Year It Will Be

I am very happy that 2012 is over, aren’t you?  2013 is a year we can begin building something new, both in our individual lives and in the world around us, of which we are a part.
I always love a new year.  I highly value the new, for only the new is true.  The old is past, done, finished.  Many of us have a strong tendency to take the past and project it into the future, so that we continue to live the same old life, being the same old person.
Aren’t you tired of who you’ve been?  I would never again want to be who I have already been.  Been there, done that.  Out with the old, in with the new.
I write a Course of Training with the same title as this blog, ‘Living in the Truth of the Present Moment.’  Practically, participants receive a new lesson on the 1st and 15th of every month.  Participation includes reading and rereading each new lesson, referring to it as often as possible in the two weeks before the next new lesson arrives.
As we engage in new ways of seeing and experiencing our life, the world, and other people, a transformation happens that is incomprehensible before it is actually experienced.  Do not take my word for this.  Nothing is true simply because someone says it is so.  Try it for yourself.  Prove the truth to yourself.  By applying principles of Truth in practical ways in your own daily life, you will see and experience the transformation that occurs as a result.
Someone recently sent this message:  “I love your blog and Facebook page, but I have resistance to beginning the course because I have been studying principles of truth for many years, and I cannot feel good about starting at the beginning of the course and going through the basics once again.  Isn’t there a way of starting off with more advanced lessons?”
I hear this now and then in different ways from different people, who are too ‘advanced’ to start at the beginning of the Course, with Lesson 1, like everyone else has, and I always have to smile.  There are no ‘basic’ or ‘advanced’ lessons.  Every lesson is as advanced as the consciousness of the one reading it.  The lessons can be read on many levels, depending on the level of understanding the reader brings to it.  A truly ‘advanced’ participant will see ‘advanced’ teachings in Lesson 1.
The first year of the Course, or the first 24 lessons, are among the best I have ever written anytime before now.  The blog only gives a taste of the Course.  Many participants of the Course are themselves teachers of some specialty or another, and help others in their work, and yet they find the lessons of the Course invaluable to their own development.  No matter how knowledgeable or advanced someone might be, their understanding can be deepened and refined.  I experience this myself every day.
Everything we already know can be understood in a deeper and more refined way.  This is what is known as the evolution of wisdom.  We can have a great insight, and then months or years later come to understand that same insight in an entirely new and expanded way, and even later on, we might exclaim, ‘Oh, that’s what it really means!’
Even our understanding of the Truth of the present moment evolves.  Our understanding of ‘Truth’ evolves, and our understanding of ‘the present moment’ certainly expands as we go along.  All it takes for this evolution of wisdom to take place is the sincere longing for and openness to the Truth.  This attitude attracts everything that is needed for the Truth to be experienced, although later on we might understand it even more deeply than we do now.
One of the most astonishing things for a person to realize is that most of the ‘knowledge’ he has accumulated is false knowledge, or relative knowledge at best.  Most of what we 'know' is either utterly false, or that knowledge somehow limits us in what we can be and how we can express.  In Kashmir Shaivism this is known as ‘limited knowledge.’  It is the knowledge we ordinarily take to be true, but which actually limits our abilities and capacities to be and do and express.
We are entering a new year, 2013, which has never before existed, or at least manifested on this planet that we inhabit.  Whether we believe it or not, we can be, see, and experience something entirely new this year, something we have never previously experienced.  That will be one of our Intentions in the blog and in the Course of Training via email.
As is our tradition, let’s conclude with some responses to questions in last month’s comments.  We’ve found that everyone gets whatever they need from the answer, without knowing the specifics of the question, which sometimes are very obvious.  Many of these particular questions came from yoga and meditation teachers, or other writers and speakers who do their work primarily to uplift, inspire, and serve others:
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 all the time?
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 disfavor if we praise them too much.
I had the great fortune and grace to spend over 25 years in direct relationship with a genuine Guru of an authentic lineage.  Oh my, 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 laughingly putting down the ego at every opportunity that presented itself, and I got to the point that 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 that is powerfully positive, and because it was so rare, it was greatly treasured and powerfully 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. I never consider it 'my place' to 'work on another's ego'—so many terms to toss around—but I do notice that sometimes people react to something I say in unexpected ways, and it has nothing to do with me personally.
A lot could be said about this. I am happy you are participating in the course, as we will touch on all the nuances of this whole topic, which is quite profound.
There is so much in your comment that I actually think I could write a whole lesson based on your questions.  Maybe I will someday, for I don't see any other way to fully answer them.
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.  What is important is that which 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.  Our mind isn’t running through its usual patterns if we are focused on the lesson.
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 very happy you are participating in our course, as it will  enrich your capacity to pass on greatness to your many yoga students.
About 35 years ago, I was being introduced as a speaker at a yoga ashram.  As I was being introduced I said inwardly to the Guru, 'I don't have enough shakti (spiritual energy) to give this talk.'
As soon as I thought that 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.'
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.  To communicate effectively, especially subtle principles difficult for the mind to grasp, it is very important to be established in the Seer and to never even consider being the seen.  In truth, we are the one looking out, not the one being looked at.  It is very important to understand this, especially if we are to teach and guide others.
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.  They have to do theirs by getting it.  If we care whether they get it or not, we won’t have a lot of shakti or power in our communicating.
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.
Yes, there is a deeper sleep that is a very rejuvenating meditation.  Sometimes this happens when we are getting a big blast of energy, or when we are hearing ideas that consistently go beyond the mind.
There is a quote in the Yoga Vasishtha:  "He is awake but enjoys the calmness of deep sleep; he is unaffected in the least by pleasure and pain.  He is awake in deep sleep, but he is never awake to this world.  His wisdom is unclouded by latent tendencies.  He appears to be subject to likes, dislikes, and fear, but in fact he is as free as space.  He is free from egotism and volition; and his intelligence is unattached whether in action or in inaction."
That quote is not exactly light reading, although in fact it is actually very simple.  Still, we have to contemplate and meditate on each phrase and idea to allow the true meaning to gradually sink in, because it is not something the mind immediately understands.
What does the sage Vasishtha mean by, 'He is awake but enjoys the calmness of deep sleep; he is awake in deep sleep.?
There was a time, almost 30 years ago now, that I was in the ashram in India, and in those days the Guru would sit in the courtyard and it was very informal, so one could just go up and talk to him about something.  One day I approached him with this question of being in sleep while awake, for many scriptures speak of the same experience.  And he seemed very interested in my question and told me it was very important to understand, and we talked about it for a while.
As he spoke, I observed him very closely, and it was as though he was speaking in his sleep.  He was actually in that state of sleep even while apparently awake and speaking to me.  The understanding of this is, as he said, essential.
We discuss this whole process at length in the Course, but there is just too much subtle stuff to get into in the blog. Thank you for your great questions, though.

I feel in my heart, and therefore KNOW that 2013 will be a great year for each of us and for all of us, individually and as a community.  Let 2013 be the year of expanded clarity and Love.

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: