Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Incredible Balance of Life

Something I have been noticing lately is the incredible balance of life.  We live in a world of polarities, which might be thought of as the play of opposites.  For example: light and darkness.  At any moment of time, considering the planet Earth as a whole, there is exactly an equal amount of light and darkness.  What’s more, we could not have one without the other.  Would we notice light if we never experienced darkness?

In every human’s life, there are times when pleasant things occur, and there are also times when unpleasant things happen.  No one on this planet experiences only one side of things.  There are times when we are happy, and times when we are something else.  There is always a perfect balance.

It is a waste of time to try to make everything wonderful.  Because of the perfect balance, this would not be possible.  Sometimes we will experience the opposite of wonderful.  It is inevitable in this human life.

I experienced this quite acutely very recently.  My daughter Sara was graduating from a high school near Philadelphia.  Her two brothers had also graduated from there, and came in from Boston and LA so that we could all be together during this special occasion.

The times we are all together are among my happiest of times.  One thing our family shares is a sense of humor, and we all laugh a lot when we are together.  I have a great relationship with all 3 children, and I experience a lot of joy simply hearing them talk and laugh among themselves.  It feels to me like everything is in its right place in the world.

Our weekend together, however, lasted only so long.  Soon they were returning to their respective places, and I returned home.  As soon as they went one way while I went another, a great sadness came up.  In only a couple of minutes I went from being extremely happy to being quite depressed.

I was fascinated noticing this quick difference.  It was a great example of the incredible balance of our life.  If I had not been so happy for a while, I would not have been sad when it was over.  They go together, just like all polarities, or pairs of opposites.  We can't have one without the other.

In this world of polarities, which is what the physical plane is, they have to go together, they must be balanced.  We cannot have all of one and none of the other.  If we experience one, we have no choice but to experience the opposite at one time or another.  Natural Law does not allow an imbalance to exist.

Most people are unaware of this balance, and get thrown off when the more unpleasant polarity shows up.  We feel like something bad is happening, or that something is going wrong.  If we can clearly see that we are only momentarily experiencing one side of the inevitable balance, the unpleasant aspects of life will not affect us nearly as much.  It will be obvious that they, too, will pass soon enough.

Take one of the greatest polarities of all—life and death.  Many people do not understand life and death from the right perspective.  My first Teacher, whom I came across while still a teen, simply referred to them as the ‘pre-mortem’ and the ‘post-mortem’ states.  This gives a totally different perspective of the relationship between life and death.  There is even a perfect balance between being embodied and being disembodied.  Life goes on at any rate.  There is a time that we occupy a human body, and there is likewise a time that we do not occupy a human body.  Life itself is unaffected either way.

My days are numbered.  This is a very true statement.  Each day the number is one less than the day before.  Next month I will be 68, and I am well aware that people of this age can exit the body at any time for any number of reasons.  The older we become, the more likely and imminent our transition becomes.

This is true for everyone.  All our days are numbered.  It is our karma to be in this physical body for a specific amount of time.  We don’t leave it by accident, even if appearances tell us so.  The wise among us learn to see beyond appearances.  It might be difficult for most of us to even comprehend how absolutely insignificant appearances actually are.

Through the lessons of our Course of Training, which are sent out to participants twice a month, we explore the reality of this world as well as the reality of the world beyond this one, which is actually only relatively beyond this one, as it exists simultaneously.  In the physical world we are ordinarily too bound by space and time and the limitations of the physical senses to see the reality of subtler and more refined worlds right here and all around us.

There are, in fact, incredible Beings of Light near us, guiding us to the degree that we listen inwardly and are sensitive to inner guidance.  We have the choice at each moment to live either according to inner guidance or rigidly conditioned habits and patterns.  We break free from them only through experiencing the process that leads to freedom, which does not happen without our participation.

We have two cats.  After spending their first year in the house only, they have begun to explore the back yard.  They are much safer out there than they seem to realize, as they are no nearby threats to them.  One, the apparently less secure of the two, gets nervous if the door to our back porch is completely closed.  He only feels comfortable if he knows that he can quickly run inside if suddenly attacked by a predator.

When it’s warm enough for bugs to be around, of course, we prefer that the porch door not be open.  A couple of days ago I was on the back porch, watching this cat who kept glancing at the door as though awaiting an opportunity to dash inside.  He doesn’t realize, like the other cat seems to naturally know, that all he has to do is meow and I’ll open the door for him.  He doesn’t realize that someone is looking after him, and that his needs are known even before he asks for them.

I could see how much like him we humans tend to be.  We are unconscious of greater beings near us—ready, willing, and eager to help us if we only acknowledge that help is available and inwardly ask—the human equivalent of a meow.

If thinking of Beings of Light in our midst feels weird, we can consider it as our own intuition, as promptings from our own higher Self.  Ultimately it is all the same anyway.  We don’t have to understand it, anymore than my cat has to understand me in order to know that I am caring for him.  We only need to know that when help is needed, it is perfectly balanced by the truth that help is readily available.  This is another example of the incredible balance of life.

A fellow who only recently began the Course sent this question:  "How can we be uplifting to others without playing into their egos?"

The more we understand the ego, the more we understand that the ego itself is never uplifted.  It always remains what it is—a sense of separation and limitation, appropriating thoughts, feelings, physical actions, and experiences to itself, as though it had its own individual life.  It is not capable of being uplifted.  Higher feelings, such as love, compassion, and cheerfulness are experienced only to the degree that we are free from ego.

Upliftment happens only when we are lifted higher than the level of ego, which is realizing that we are more and much greater than we ordinarily think of ourselves, as the ego limits us in very rigid ways.  A human life is an opportunity to break free from ego and go beyond, or at least purify ego, meaning that we identify with the highest instead of the lowest.

It is great to aspire to be uplifting to others, but it is important to remember that we must be uplifted ourselves before we can possibly uplift another.  We can only help another to approach our own state.  We cannot make another person happy when we are sad, or help another person to feel peaceful when we ourselves are agitated or angry.  We don’t tend to ask a depressed or angry person for help.  All we ultimately have to offer is our own state.

For this reason, we work on ourselves, we uplift our own state, for the benefit of humanity.  We do not improve in any way only for ourselves.  As we become lighter and more uplifted within ourselves, then, through simply being ourselves, we help pass that light and upliftment to others.  If we experience Light within, we become a Light to others through our own words and actions.  This is true service.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email, including a sample lesson, write:


Carol Lane said...

Hi Ram. Thanks for the reminder that we have help readily and eagerly available. It helps to hear that this morning!

Melissa Abbott said...

Love what you said "the ego is never uplifted"... a deep contemplation, wonderful!!

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

WOW D.R. Butler...I feel this is the most profound and powerful blog you have written to date~the immense gift that can come from the experience of pain.
Thank you for your beautiful articulation of polarities. This amazing pulsation is unavoidable as you say..and something in itself that supports growth and insight, and certainly connects all of us through experience to each other. The more we watch how life is, polarities and all, the more freedom/ empowerment we have.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Thank you for writing this article. I really appreciate it!

Jimena Marquez said...

Thank you Ram for this new post, it reminded me of the great balance principle.

Jean said...

You continually amaze me-- this is the best one yet. This was one that made the little light bulbs go off in my brain as I read and one which I felt came directly from a higher plane. Thank you, dear friend Ram. When I finished reading, I felt I am not the same person who began reading just a few minutes go. I am awash in Love

Vandita said...

I loved this entry. Thank you so much. These incredible beings of light are around, and so eager to offer so many gifts to us as we request them. This is my daily experience and I love to read it here, since it´s been my little secret, except for those few people that I have told how to work with 'them'. This goes hand on hand with a recent post in your FB where you are talking about most people not getting to read their lesson even once, and not coming to understand the full power of this course. It is so difficult to explain what the full power of the course really means. Maybe and probably I do not know yet. But I got a taste of it some time ago.

Many years ago I started to translate these lessons, so I would spend my time every day reading, re-reading, finding the words for translation. The feeling at doing this was so fascinating that I just could not stop reading and working on the lessons, day in and out, even on the weekends.

Then, something started happening. As I woke up in the morning I knew that something extraordinary had just happened during the night, but I could not remember what it was exactly. That one feeling of waking up from 'that' is one of the most extraordinary sensations that I remember from my whole life up to this moment.

There was only one clear memory from one of those nights: some other beings and myself were in a class. In that class everyone was dressed in white. The whole scenario was shed by the most beautiful white light, and there were several teachers teaching a spiritual class, highly spiritual concepts. The most beautiful thing was the sensation of finally being at home with the people that I loved the most, and with the people who truly knew who I was deep within, this sense of this being my real family, a deep sense of protection and of everything making sense (finally).

I would notice some changes happening while being awake, like suddenly having an answer to so many things. This was big because it happened from one day (not knowing) to the next (knowing). Right now in my work as a teacher, these answers are always there, and there is no fear to not knowing. There is always an answer. Of course I know there are many things (so many) that I do not know, and I do need a teacher to teach me. But that one was a very big change.

So this is a little taste of the big power of this course. The amazing subtle transmission of knowledge that takes place as one dives into the lessons. It is incredible.

Tara said...

I feel deeply grateful to your children for the happiness they bring to you in your life.The other night I saw you in a dream and you looked and felt so sad that all the next days I have been wondering why you seemed so sad, {as you have often reminded me not to be so sad}....missing your children, ah what a beautiful pure sadness, like the way sun and rain makes a rainbow. May you see each other again soon!

Purnima Orlandi said...

Thank you Ram for this very touching blog entry! it's so true that there are up moments and also low moments in life and equanimity is necessary to be ok during both polarities. I love that you mention light spirits because I have guides that have been with me and protected me numerous occasions when I could not help myself. I'm glad you reminded me of this since I haven't been aware lately and will start to be again aware. Today I did an amazing thing, I ordered a DNA kit to find out more about my ancestral lineage. Technology has advanced so much that they can find others with the "same" DNA markers! WOW! I'm so excited and hope to connect to anyone out there or any that have gone into a higher plane. Just wanted you to know. You have always been so encouraging to me and supportive. I love you D. R. Butler!

Roberta Haglund said...

Thank you, Ram. I also really appreciate the reminder that help is nearby if we only ask. I like the image of you standing by the door ready to open when the cat meows. It's very comforting.

Naganath said...

We are Beings of Light. And when we drop these bodies we will be even Lighterer!

Debbra said...

Dear Ram, I was just getting to a place of serious "Meow" when I realized I hadn't yet read June's Blog entry. Thank you, and thank God for this! So perfect, and the reminder of balance is this moment's salvation. Much love to you, and see your spirits lifted, Debbra

Jeanne said...

Ram This course has helped me alot and it was right on time.Three years ago I lost my son He was 35 years old and was hit by a car Although it was very painful it has pushed me to witness my thoughts instead of identifing with them.This has helped me alot.Retuning to the present moment rather then being involved with all those thoughts has been a blessing Iám truly grateful for .Thank you Ram for all you do. love and blessings, Jeanne

Bill Berry said...

Thank you for this, it rings so true for me and makes me smile. I notice in myself and others the tendency to define in too-specific terms what's "good" and what's "bad" in a life, or in a day -- then judging the whole universe as unfair if it doesn't go 100% "good". Better to just ride the waves (and troughs) and not curse them I think... thanks for your laser-beam lessons! Love the meow metaphor, and the option to call helpful spirits "intuition". I do like to customize my spiritual exploration :-)

Jane said...

Ram,Thanks for another inspiring blog entry. I love it when you share examples from your own experience and how you apply the teachings in your life. It helps me to apply the principles in my own life. For a long time, I was one of the many people you described who often felt that something bad was happening, that something was going wrong. This tendency was compounded by my anticipation that even if things were going well, they could go irreparably wrong at any moment and the downward spiral would continue forever. Over time, my perspective has changed and recently I've been reassuring myself that despite appearances at times, nothing is ever going wrong - everything is unfolding perfectly. It is so reassuring to have this point reinforced in the blog entry.

I've also had trouble feeling safe and protected. The cat analogy is very helpful. I recently realized I was depriving myself of this feeling of protection because of the anava mala - feeling unworthy. Since the Immersion I've been feeling that I finally have the tools to counteract the anava mala. Of course, the tools must have been there all the time but I wasn't able to access them.

Once again, my gratitude for the lessons continues to expand and my understanding of how precious they are enters me at deeper levels. Much love and appreciation to you, Kay and all the participants who I feel so close to even though I don't know anyone on the physical level.

Mandala Healing Art said...

Thank you for the sychronicity of this blog and its contents..:)

I have question in reference to the part about already having a pre-appointed time to leave this earth plane.... does that mean for example, if we trash our physical bodies thru not respecting and taking care of them, do we actually have a choice thru free will, as to how much physical comfort we will experience or not experience while in them? Is that karma we can create for ourselves? There is a part of me that feels I sort of answered my own question, that "yes" you can have a more enjoyable physical experience by respecting your physical form and caring for it but I've never asked that in this type of forum.

Yet, I work with beings who were born completely unable to physically care for themselves, and have to completely rely on others for the maintenance of their physical well-being.... yet I also understand that was chosen karma prior to birth....Thank you again.


D. R. Butler said...

Sarah, while it is true that we have no conscious say in how long we will remain in this physical body--that having already been karmically determined--it is also true that we can live healthier and more comfortably while here through how we live and think.

It's fairly simple: A positive thinking individual will enjoy life, while a negative thinker will find life to be a continuous stream of difficulties and hardships.

Igor Sergeyevich Gouzenko said...

Some people say that we choose our life, and the type of challenges we want to experience before being born, in order to be able to clear out previous karmas that are attached to our soul. Part of this selection would include how long we are to live. So while we are here, we may not have too much choice about when it is our time to move on, but before we came, we did have a choice.

Do you think this is true? Or is the selection more unconscious?

There have been many books on near death experiences these days, and I am also wondering, as a result of your post, if perhaps the reason some people have these experiences, and are able to come back to their body is because they experienced death, but it wasn't their time, so their body was healed, to allow them to complete their work and their existence.

Thank you for your help.

Igor Sergeyevich Gouzenko

kirsty said...

Such a clear explanation and commentary on riding the waves of everyday life, the ups and downs, the sudden surges, the peaks and troughs of emotion. To be able to watch, rather than sink or drown, is so freeing. Surfing takes practice...oh, so much practice, but the prize at the end is surely worth it. I've had glimpses...

Also the recognition of and sympathy for the sharp sadness when loved kids leave for a while. It hurts. Just remember, D.R., what a great job you have done raising these special people, what a gift you have given the world.

Nikki said...

Thank you Ram. Polarities! Just the other day I was talking to my ten year old daughter about them..then of course forgot and got a bit lost in them!
I guess the practice is to be in that space that is not disturbed by them. Is that correct?
I also enjoyed reading about the importance of our own upliftment..that it is not an act of selfishness but an act of true giving...
I love coming here..thank you Ram.

kirsty said...

Is my understanding right, that the subtle world is somehow outside this physical one? And that the Beings of Light can enter and leave at will, helping those they have known. And are they so diffuse that Aunt Harriet, for instance, can be with me here and also with others around the globe at the same 'time'?

Or are the physical, subtle and other worlds totally intertwined in this, Love's Great Movie?

How right you are that the mind cannot understand the sublime...for I find it very difficult to even voice or figure out my own question, which seemed so real a moment ago.

Vandita said...

Everything is intertwined and we can access other planes depending on vibration and attention. Everything is here and now.

D. R. Butler said...

Igor, a human incarnation is simply a cycle of karma. Wondering about who has the 'choice' or who makes the decision is only the ego's way of getting the mind involved. All we need to understand is that a cycle of karma is happening. It's up to us how much we identify with it.

You are right about coming back from a 'near-death' experience because it is not our 'time.' The karma of this incarnation is already set to last a particular amount of time. We have no power to change it. However, by being responsible for how we think and how we live, we can make the time we have here more enjoyable and fulfilling. We DO have the power to change this, and through doing so experiencing a completely different set of consequences.

D. R. Butler said...

Nikki, it is true that the practice is to be in that space that is not disturbed by anything. Only the ego can be disturbed. The inner Self can never be disturbed, for It remains eternally the same.

D. R. Butler said...

Kirsty, the subtle world is not really 'outside' this physical world. It interpenetrates it. It does not exist at another time or place, for time and space are of the physical world only. So the subtle world is right here right now. It is the blueprint or matrix of how the physical world manifests for us. The physical manifestation, however, occurs within a particular range of vibrations. The subtle world is composed of lighter, more refined vibrations. Yet it is right here right now. In fact, the subtle body is what enlivens and animates the physical body. The physical senses are only a reflection of subtle senses, which are also much more refined. One day all this will be intuitively obvious. Until then, we can still remain aware of the Truth.

D. R. Butler said...

Vandita responded to the question as I was writing. What Vandita said is absolutely true, and very concise.

Dave Silverstein said...

Ram, thank you for this month's insightful blog. I loved contemplating the 'balance of life' in my own life....I've been enjoying a brief vacation on my own down in Asheville, NC. I've always been struck by the 'polarities' in our life. If we're playing the 3D game in this world, then everything has it's opposite. As I was driving (even with my GPS) guide, I was somehow still getting lost. I could feel the anger, frustration building from old 'reactions', habits..when I remembered the polarities.... Then this thought in my mind came up, it's get lost...It has to 'balance' the times when things go very well....What was interesting is just how quickly I became centered, and actually, laughed about it....That was a real teaching for me in that moment. I'm so appreciative to you and this life transforming Course.

kirsty said...

D.R., and Vandita, thank you.So well said.
It is sometimes maddening how the mind tries to comprehend that which cannot be understood using the tools our physical bodies have been given.Our senses are these tools...and maybe the mind is as well. All are limited. Experiences come along, though, that shatter these limitations. The more interaction with D.R.s course, the more frequent the experiences and the greater the understanding.

Debbra said...

Nikki, I love coming here too. I forget sometimes, with all that is competing for attention these days, but time and again, I feel that right here on this Blog are some of the greatest teaching and learning moments. Reading what you said, Nikki, about discussing polarities with your daughter, and then getting lost in them yourself, it hit me once again how easy it is to keep falling for the 'drama' of this life. It's becoming more obvious that 'impossible' challenges serve the purpose of pushing us again and again to remember, to ride the wave, as Kirsty says. There comes the moment of choice, will I allow this wave to knock me over, or will I ride it by maintaining witness consciousness?

Ram, you say you noticed how quickly you went from happiness to sadness in just a few minutes, after your kids left. With Shyami and the grandchildren living overseas I can totally relate. After reading the Blog entry through a second time, I honed in on your words about being fascinated by observing this quick change. So there was happiness, right up until your children left, and then "a great sadness came up."

When my family are coming near the end of their stay, I usually feel that sadness days in advance, anticipating the departure. It's inspiring and something I will apply this summer when they visit, that it's possible to stay happy in the Present..right up to the time they leave. Then of course there might be sadness, appropriate to the moment of parting..and hopefully I will be fascinated too observing it, until it passes. :)

Also, I highly recommend reading the current Blog through more than once. This time I printed it, so I can refer to it easily, without spending more time online. It's like an extra Lesson, keeping us together in the current flow, for which I am so grateful. Love to All.

D. R. Butler said...

I feel it should be mentioned that between the extreme happiness and the incredible sadness, there is a long stretch of equanimity, where everything is just fine. It's not that it's always either one or the other of the extremes. The extremes are relatively rare, and in the end they are perfectly balanced.

Vandita said...

Ram thank you so much. You always honor me and that makes me feel so grateful and humble. I was feeling quite shy after I wrote that sentence, but then I see that we are one mind, somehow, and I love that.

I love to explore questions like Kirstys, so difficult to grasp with the mind. They open us up to something so extraordinary great, to a greater world and to something greater in ourselves, which is that which knows 'the unknown' :):)

Jane Skafte said...

Hi Ram, I am so delighted with the analogy of your cats wanting the door to open, and not realizing it is in his/her capacity to ask. I started a practice when I had long commutes to work and had to drive myself--- if there had been public transportation available I would have used the time to write in my journal, a practice I have maintained for years. So I started "talking" my journal entries in the car, talking to myself-- eventually in the speaking (and praying aloud) it was clear to me that I was in a dialogue with an unseen entity. I am a long time meditator but this felt quite different to the landscape of inner awareness. Also when I asked for help in specific areas I was always pleasantly surprised to see the creative way my prayers were answered. Little daily miracles. So from the perspective of the cat, who may be fervently meditating on "OPEN DOOR" and then, presto, the door magically opens only coincidently with the presence of a human, he may be thinking, Miracle!! Answered prayer!!

Debbra said...

Thanks for adding that last bit, Ram. It crystalizes what you are saying about experiencing polarities, and points to the steady state of awareness beneath it all.

Catherine said...

I had not had an oppty to go to the blog this month until this morning. I read my lesson over breakfast and felt drawn to the blog. I was grateful to see how it corresponds so closely to the lesson I had just finished reading. One particular quote stands out for me:

"The physical world exists in polarities, or opposites—light-dark,pleasure-pain, joy-sadness, and so on. Without the play of opposites, there would be no life as we know it. It would be impossible for one polarity to exist without the other. If there is no darkness, how are we ever going to come up with light? If there is no delusion, where will enlightenment come from?

It is very important that we develop the capacity to remain detached from any particular polarity. If we are attached to a polarity, we will also have to deal to an equal degree with its opposite. The best understanding of the polarities is that they are all equal. The play of opposites is the substratum for the play of this world, enabling organic life on Earth to live out its karmic play.

For this reason, the focus of sadhana is not for one polarity to
win out over the other; the focus is on going beyond being affected by
the polarities."

After reading my lesson for this month, I realized that a main reason I had resented being drawn into an addicted family member's chaos and drama was that it pulled me out of my quiet, peaceful life. Having grown up in a chaotic environment, I prefer to live quietly. I did not want to experience the opposite! I am grateful that the course deals with this so succinctly and how to go further in our sadhana to break free from our samskaras. As has been mentioned before, there is nothing else out there like this that I am aware of. Gratitude always.

Vickie said...

hello Ram--for some days now I've been chewing on a portion of this month's blog that I have had difficulty with...a sense that sadness inevitably follows happiness, that depression is the balancing side of joy. After your children left, the sadness you felt seems to me to be the primal sadness--the appearance of separation after the joy of reunion. But to move from that primal experience into depression seems to me to be falling for the "allurin and bewitchin" power of maya that I can still hear you speaking about from the old days. Didn't they manifest for the moment an embodiment of the truth of union, and yet in the next embody the truth that all, even our most beloved forms are fleeting? Isn't depression more an attachment to a particular manifestation rather than a balancing of joy? If we can love the moment and the revelation of the joy of reunion, and then still watch with love the experience of sadness as God appears to leave again, isn't that true balance? Isn't it ok to feel absolute joy without thinking that this will necessitate equal pain? Isn't it the attachment that causes the pain/depression--not the joy?

Debbra said...

Great question, Vicki. This is giving voice to something that was rolling around in my mind as well. There is nothing like the love of children, grandchildren, or even our pets to trigger intensely happy or sad emotions, with their attendant attachments. Seems to be part of the human condition.

Just above, Ram called the two polarities, "extreme happiness" and "incredible sadness".. and in between those is the "long stretch of equanimity". So the question is when is our happiness true inner joy..and when is it dependent upon external circumstances? Is there joy in equanimity? Or is it simply this still and nonfluctuating place where everything is always alright?

I think we embrace the totality. If we feel joy, that's the experience in that moment, en-joy it, observe it. Don't have to think, there is bound to be sorrow. If sorrow comes though, that is the experience to observe, knowing all is in perfect balance. Parting will always be sweet sorrow me thinks, especially where children are involved. If we sometimes get too high on the joy, well then, there's bound to be a little hangover later on. :)

kirsty said...

Catherine, Vicki and Debbra have broadened and deepened the understanding of polarities for us. It is so easy to get all caught up in happiness or sadness. Maybe the key is to learn how to watch both with equanimity....look! There she goes again! Wheeeeeee.

Or is avoiding these strong emotions the goal? Could any of us lead so bland a life? Or, would it be bland? Surely we need to portray these emotions on the stage of life...while watching ourselves. Possibly this is the key?

I shall go to my room now before I get even more confused....

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

This is an interesting entry which I keep coming back to in my mind. Debbra and Vicki voiced some of what has been going through my reflections as well.

There's a part of my mind that rebels against this idea that each happiness is matched by a sadness (ultimately). But in a way, by struggling with that, I am thrown into the remembrance of going within to that which never changes (as we learn about in the course).

One of my the bigger neuorses from my younger years (and definitely seen in my father as well!) was the often lurking belief that if I could just get everything right on the "outside" I'd reach some kind of happiness that could go on forever.

Needless to say I was a VERY anxious person.

My father, sadly, still seems to operate under this full condioning and he still is quite anxious. Through Grace, my involvement with the course and my spiritual path has brought me to a very different place.

The more I can remember to go within to that which never changes, to be aware of Awareness, the more true joy and freedom I feel.

Thank you for your sharings D.R.

Love KJ

Anonymous said...

Finally, an oopportunity to read the blog which I love. Balance, a great reminder for me. I am in love and then have a friend who is dying. To ask for help from the great beings for both of these situations is very comforting. To look at my life from the perspective of ease rather than being hard has helped me a great deal.To know that the door is always open. To enjoy it all more and make it a game rather than a fight for survival has eased my mind and soul. I value you in my life. <3

Taylor said...

We are so so blessed. I just had a full day's work ( on not quite a full night's rest), made dinner, did a few things around the house. Then, sat to read my lesson. Within 2 paragraphs, I began to feel the most exquisite energy throughout my being - especially my upper being. Like omg, I thought to myself that it probably takes some yogis hours to get to this inner state through their practices...Here I am, I sit for a minute reading and I'm there. We are so so blessed. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank YOU. Yes, you, the only one there is. I bow to you.

Carly said...

That was exactly what I needed to hear right now. Help is always here. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, the most powerful commentaries appear clear as a glass of water. So, they can easily be missed if we don't tune in with our full attention. This blog entry feels like one of those. I love how you speak of service in this context, D.R. I'm learning to unlearn so much.

Santiago said...

A curious experience was had by me Yesterday, and perhaps it is appropriate to share it here?: in meditation, all the energy that i had invested during a lifetime in encounters disengaged and flew back from memory to the unqualified present; and, vice versa, i did rend back to those folks extant in my remembrance what i had from them borrowed. It proved to be very light and freeing (perchance what some yogis term a precipitation of regular karma into kriyas). In addition, the causes of my conditionings to respond this way or that to kinds of people were uncovered, all of that so much adventitious! -Santiago,

Jim said...

Karen Jo Shapiro, what you said about Karen your neuorses from my younger years, trying to get everything right on the "outside" to achieve happiness - after reading your comment a few days ago, it has been running around in my mind. I connected it with my current lesson, which gives the exercise to practice what it would be like to already be enlightened. DR recommends we ask the question: how would a realized being deal with this situation? The answer that occurred to me was "the i's will have to go undotted and the t's uncrossed"

Tom Mc said...

A few months ago a Lesson prompted me to physically highlight parts with a marker. WoW - sure helped me! There are all kinds of coloured marks added with each reading and the Lessons and I are merged newly on a most intimate, tactile level.
I tend to remember little (which is fine by me, and strangely kind of a relief). Evey day I notice that I have imbibed by osmosis. It is delightful to witness the Teachings manifest spontaneously as I plod along.
My words seem inadequate ... I am Grateful. I send my thanks and Blessings and Love to All

Kirsty said...

I have been consciously repeating “ I love myself as I am ” as suggested in your current lesson. It seemed rather egocentric at first but suddenly a switch occurred bringing peace and quiet humor into the day...and energy. This seems to fit with striving to behave as an Enlightened person would, or as how I imagine this person would handle various situations.

“I love myself. I love my Self. I love your Self. “ It builds.

Having no idea how it feels to be fully aware of the Self, or to be Enlightened, I trust that this contented harmonious state is what I am searching for at this stage of the game. Is this right? I am never sure if I am making progress or not....sigh.

D. R. Butler said...

Kirsty, that is the perfect approach. You're definitely on the right track--retraining the mind to think only the Truth. The Truth is beyond thought, but thoughts of the Truth lead to the experience of the Truth.

Menaki said...

My heart wants to share my feedback: being on lesson 34 and as you state on the last page, you'd welcome feedback on the exercise given.
Yesterday my 85 year old mom visited me. I could see in her eyes and face she had been in one of the gripping anxiety/depressions she has suffered her entire life. Not only does my conscious intention to respond to my own limitations and samskaras with cheer, equipoise, lightheartedness, humor, and contented happiness profoundly help me, but it also helps my mom significantly!

I actually saw her face and eyes change from the residue of crying, forlorn unhappiness, fear, physical problems, and sadness, to shining, revitalized easeful happiness! Inside I was wondering, "OMG, what can I do for her"? The course has taught me not to enable, reinforce, become part of the problem, be dragged down, etc; yet apply compassion.

This morning I called her to encourage her (without force) to follow through on a couple of medical issues, only to find she had taken a walk around the outside of the retirement apartment building she lives in, plus her intention to follow through on eating better as well as the medical issues! It is so great! I could tell she means it this time (even if it just one step in the right direction)! Thank you from my whole heart!

And I notice whenever I talk to either of my 3 adult children, they are so thankful and relieved as well as inspired, that I am happy, cheerful, and content...they are free and encouraged to get on with, do their best, and have great faith in their own lives. A parents dream. And what I want to give to all as well as myself. Menaki

D. R. Butler said...

Menaki, you are teaching your parents well and teaching your children well as well. What a great role model you are being. It is much better to show others how to be than to tell them. Anyone can tell someone how to be, but only a few can show them.

Jake Birdsong said...

Dear Ram,

This most recent blog post has helped me immeasurably as do all of the lessons. My appreciation and gratitude for them is unending. Thank you.

In my most recent lesson you write: “We are only having a pity party for ourselves if we ignore or deny our innate ability to feel whatever we choose to feel at any given time.” This makes perfect sense to me and I want to make sure I’m incorporating it appropriately.
I recently ended my relationship with my girlfriend and I believe it was in both of our best interests to do so. Initially, I felt a very dharmic sense of relief. The feeling one gets when they do what’s right even when it’s difficult.

Now, just several days after I ended the relationship, I’m realizing how much I miss her. While I assuredly feel that we cannot be in a committed relationship with each other, she’s got a terrific heart and I wish nothing but good things for her. The short story is this: I miss her. A lot. I am grieving.

I’ve observed that as soon as my awareness is on something else and not on her (as nearly impossible as that seems to do at this point), the feelings no longer exist. I spent the first two days after the break-up struggling to implement this teaching by consciously doing what is necessary to replace the feeling, and something is simply not feeling natural. I get the sense that I’m asking something to be complete before it is. Trying to replace this feeling is more than paddling up stream, against the current, and into the wind, it literally feels like in order to move forward, I need to let nature blow its winds and run its course. And I feel a great peace in saying that.

Right now, the feeling becomes debilitating when I consciously try to replace it. It’s like a dinosaur that will move when it is damn well ready.

I guess my question comes down to this: is grief a feeling that I should actively be trying to replace? The nature of the grief is connecting me with my heart through the tears. And it doesn’t feel quite complete yet. What’s the best way to apply this teaching here?

Only Love,


D. R. Butler said...

Jake, even when we realize that a relationship really isn't going to work for either partner, once she's gone we discover that there are many emotional attachments that we didn't anticipate. It takes a while for all of them to dissipate. Don't rush the process.

Grief is a very real feeling when a relationship is over. In our Course, we don't consider grief to be a negative emotion that needs to be replaced by something more pleasant. It is very important to surrender into feeling the fullness of grief until it's finally done with and doesn't come up anymore.

Your feelings are very natural, and it takes time to finally feel in harmony with what has happened and the new direction our life has taken. There is no need to rush it or control it. Finishing with grief can be very purifying. Like you say, the nature of the grief strongly connects us to the heart. Hang in there, and one day soon you will realize the perfection of all things--including the grief for as long as it continues, and the essential lessons we learned while experiencing it.

The most important thing to remember is that the process of grief is very purifying, and when we are finally finished with it we will experience a great lightness and freedom like no other.

Jake Birdsong said...

Ram, thank you for your clarification. It feels most natural to let this feeling run its course and just be with it. It's very helpful to know that I don't need to replace it.

Thank you.

Benita ('Beej') Galvan said...

Delightful as always! I read this first when it came out and re-read it now.... Today after having exactly the whole bouncy joyful to despair in a space of a minute, this was a perfect reminder! LOVE the ego reminders too! As always. Love.

Benita ('Beej') Galvan said...

And thank you Jake for your authenticity on grief, and Ram for the reflections.. Good grief, it takes as long as it takes, which is how long??

Christine S. Boyd said...

This post and these uplifting comments are so valuable. I often wonder about all these polarities, especially as they occur in my and other people's emotional states, our ups and downs. This month I had a simple yet profound inner awareness of the light within. It occurred during the annual birthday celebration of my Guru. As I come back to that experience, I see how that's the only place beyond dualities, and it's in everyone waiting to be discovered. What's interesting to me is how I've had that same experience before but because of chipping away at the ego (4 years of your Course, sharing with like-minded people, and practicing my Guru's teachings to my capacity), I received the experience more deeply. I'm grateful for all these supports and the education they contain about the subtle. It's a great incentive to find times to be quiet and listen.


Harriette Reust said...

The new lesson speaks of the loss of an adult child (which I cannot imagine). "Yet such things happen to people who least expect it, people who seemingly in no way deserve it." Nineteen Hot Shot Firefighters from this mountain community, Prescott, AZ, were killed today fighting a wildfire in Yarnell, not far from here. I cannot get my head let alone my heart around it. So many of us are numb. Deep deep within it's the way it is. But for now we deal with the pain. Love to all these families.

D. R. Butler said...

Harriette, this is a very sad and poignant happening that affects the lives of many. It is in no way 'fair' or even rational on any level. Yet it has to be karma, and therefore it had to happen as it did. These elite firefighters agreed to this lifespan before they ever took the first inhalation--it was their destiny.

It is hardest, as always, for those left behind. However, the day will come when it will be obvious that nothing ever happened to anyone, that it was all just a karmic show, which is always very temporary.

In our Course we explore how there is no such thing as 'death,' how there is only transition from the physical to the subtle level of being. Preparing for this transition, which is actually a beautiful experience no matter how it appears to onlookers in the objective world, is one of the primary reasons we are here in this life. If we live gracefully, we will experience the grand transition from this world to the next gracefully as well.

Harriette said...

Ram, thank you for bringing me back into alignment with how it all is. The mind gets it. The heart . . . . not yet. Love

Vandita said...

I have come to realize --and I am really surprised at this- that coming into harmony with things has nothing to do with doing anything for harmony to happen, but with keeping my mind in harmony with things exactly as they are.

Colette DeVore said...

I want to thank everyone who participates here on the blog for the uplifting comments that they leave here. This, like the course, is truly a life raft in the ocean of samsara.