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.


FB said...

So grateful for this, and every writing in the Course, on the blog, etc. The urge to want a beloved family member battling depression to "just read this, practice this, this is the solution!", is dissolving. That beloved person often takes my sincere desire to help as insensitive insults, criticisms, and judgements. And further poisons their happiness, release, and our relationship. Yet, although fainter (no longer acting on it) (except to vent via this 'comment'), the urge still niggles...ha! Thank you D.R.! So grateful! So fortunate, so fortunate! ingWhhatt2209

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Well put. The way is through repetition. Thanks.

Stephen said...

If the ONE is everything, then "who" is purifying the ego? Is not the ego an aspect of the Self? The Self constricts into the ego though remains the Self - no? I was raised catholic and we're always reminded we come into this world with "Original Sin" is this the same a Karma? I would love your wisdom on this please.

D. R. Butler said...

Stephen, this is a very great question. It shows you are doing true contemplation.

You are right, 'The Self constricts into the ego though remains the Self.' There is nothing at all except the one Self. However, the Self, being innately playful--like puppies, kittens, and young children before they are made serious by society--plays a game with Itself, which is to forget Itself and to think of itself as all these particular individuals.

So there is actually no one to either have an ego or to purify the ego. It all simply happens in the game the Self plays with itself for its own enjoyment.

The Self forgets Itself for the pure joy of remembering the Truth of Itself once again.

Karma is NOT the same as 'Original Sin.' There is no such thing as 'original sin.' The only sin is the consciousness of sin. We come into this world with Original Purity or Original Divinity, which is soon hypnotized by the world around it, causing us to forget our true and eternally changeless Nature. And the Game goes on.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Thanks D.R. for another great blog.
I loved the question that Stephen asked and your response.
You said something in the blog about training the mind. Yes yes!! I see that we/ society/ conditioning has trained our minds to focus on one side of the coin alone..the eternally changing aspect of the Self ( or as you know I love to refer to as the Goddess). It is through Her magical power of 'fun house mirrors' (maya), that we see and identify as ourself and the world.
Then when we learn to pay attention( through opportunities like your Course) to the inner/other side of the coin, that which is present, aware and silent in us no matter what is changing.
Often the process of feeling into the stillness that is eternally there can cause us to again ..separate the 'world and the changing' to something "other than " the the pendulum will swing back and forth as we can pay attention to one side or the other of the 'eternally bound coin' of the Self.

I see that it becomes more and more possible to feel and live in what always has been -The eternally changing changeless-ness :)

Mayuri said...

What a delightful game it is. I've been contemplating how everything is consciousness. There is no place where consciousness is not. One of my favorite practices is walking on the beach and enjoying the incredible variety and abundance that is always being offered. I feel such gratitude and awe at the beauty of this creation. Each shell, each ripple in the ocean, each cloud in the sky, each person walking by, are all manifestations of sacred consciousness. I am fascinated by the different energies people carry as they walk or run on the beach. It all comes down to one's state of being, to one's state of awareness. What do we chose to think about? How does it feel when we think on these things? Where do we chose to focus our attention? This is what we offer the world, our state. Simply to have the discernment to witness our thoughts and to realize we have a choice as to where we focus our attention is a great attainment. D.R. , your writings have helped me to truly love and value my life. Even with crazy challenges as the world surely will bring, there is this place in which we can be free and rest in equanimity. You have helped me again and again to enter this space. I thank you with all my heart. Thank you for making the teachings of the truth readily available. It is divine prasad. Much love.

Tom Joyce said...

so in this the moment......I am the Self....I can believe that. Or agree with that intellectually. Then what? :)

Tom said...

So if the Self has forgotten itself....and is going to remember itself....all as part of the game. What part do "I" play in this? And who am "I" when I ask this question.

Am I the Self or the Self being the ego? Or do I exist at all?

Larry'sBlog said...

Wow. Great post, great question, great answer! Sometimes when we're hurting or--and maybe especially--when we see someone suffering, it is very hard to think of it all as a game, but part of the pain of compassion comes from the very recognition that what I see "out there" really is just my own Self in another set of circumstances or limitations. . . If life is just a game--like cards--then, as the song "The Gambler" teaches, the hardest part must lie in learning, to "know when to hold 'em, know when fold 'em, know when to walk away, and [even] when to run . . ." But also to "count your blessings while your sitting at the table..." least as long as you have any sense of "other" left at all!

Debbra said...

Great question Stephen! Reminds me of the powerful questions and contemplations of the great being, Ramana Maharshi; the continuous self-inquiry of "who" it is that seeks or asks, or does anything. Seems that is the only true question.

And as for the Game, being played by the Self for it's own enjoyment: Have you ever noticed how enchanted and delighted babies are when you play peek-a-boo with them? This concealing.. and then revealing, never fails to captivate them! Always underscores in my mind God's own never-ending delight at the Game of ultimate hide and seek played through and as us.

Agnes said...

I am so glad Stephen asked his question. I have so often wanted to ask the same one, and have for a long time tried to understand what is Ego, what is Self? My Ego has to be part of my Self, yet it, the Ego always gets such a bad reputation.
Who would I be without my Ego?
Would I be aware of my Mind and Self without this bad boy, called Ego?
Isn't my Ego that allows me to be conscious of my mind, my Consciousness and That Higher Consciousnees or Bliss, which I have often experienced while meditating? ...on and on, the questions go, on and on….Where and what is the beginning, and who is my EGO vs. the SELF ???
Please help me understand!

D. R. Butler said...

Compassion is primarily developed through experiencing the poignancy of life, whether our own or another's or others'.
When we understand the poignancy of life in ourselves, then it is much easier to understand and empathize with anyone's pain or suffering on any level. And it is very good to see it all as the poignancy of life. It is the best perspective and the highest understanding. Otherwise the suffering inherent in this world makes no sense.

D. R. Butler said...

If anyone has tried to post in the comments, and it has not yet appeared, please let me know.

Sarah said...

The power of "words"... Matrika Shakti....This blog posting is so gentle and powerful .... In the comments where you speak of (paraphrasing and correct me if i am not accurate) "the poignancy in suffering"... that seems to become even more pronounced thru the holiday season.Especially this week, I have been experiencing an awareness of beauty in the suffering around me (since everything is God and everyone is of God) ... and wondering if my experience of this beauty was way off base...the POIGNANCY of suffering says it exactly.... Thank you Ram


robert said...

Regarding still mind and "moods"...I'm wondering if we can necessarily apply the traditional "masculine" spiritual norms to the feminine...after all nature has many moods and is totally "spiritual", even "enlightened". Personally, I would rather see and feel all moods of the She and go beyond....Ideas?

Tom Mc said...

I am grateful for this blog and for the great comments! It is quite an adventure going through this 'life'. As I age I am becoming quite simple, LOL! Today I was driving along in my truck with my dear 14 year old daughter. To my surprise she did not object to my 'creative' singing. Here are some of the words (you'll have to imagine your own tune): You are the spoon, You are the rain on the windshield, You are the green in the traffic light, You are staples in the telephone poles, You are the pavement on the road, You are the daughter by my side... ... ... Love to You!

Dave Silverstein said...

'The Self constricts into the Ego though remains the Self'. What a great statement. I love what Debbra said about playing peek-a-boo with a baby. There is this blissful recognition, playing the game. Lately, I've been more aware of how my 'ego' feels when I recognize it. It usually feels embarassed, when I can catch it, I'll notice, "There's an ego". It actually feels 'hurt'. When that takes place, I can definitely feel a shift take place. I love contemplating the idea that the one has become everything. Just getting a small glimpse of this 'experience' is so precious. I am so grateful!

Jane said...

Dear Ram,
I'm wondering whether you have any suggestions (in addition to those in the lessons) about reading passages from your first teacher. My inclination is to read through the passages fairly quickly (because of the long sentences) and then, instead of trying to delve into a particular phrase -- just re-read...I find this keeps me out of trying to figure it out with the contracted mind so I can receive the words as an infusion into a deeper level than the conscious mind. I suppose this is largely the way the lessons enter me...but especially in the case of your first teacher, I'm not sure if I'm taking the best approach.
Much love and gratitude as always,

DougM said...

The comments and questions on identity certainly resonate with my experience of the course. One of the principle joys and frustrations of the course for me, depending upon how this mind is thinking at the moment, is the ongoing ambiguity of who this ‘you’ being addressed in the lessons. The course can be considered as an extended koan, repeatedly asking the question, “who am I?” as the Narrator leads tip-toeing through the tattvas in search of an identity. As I contemplate the question as presented in the lessons, I keep returning to the thought that there is nobody home. “I” am just a story line, but a very convincing one, if I do say so myself.

D. R. Butler said...

Robert, your question doesn't make a lick of sense to me. I am not sure how the masculine and feminine got split, or why you are referring to them.

The 'moods' are primarily the 3 gunas--tamas (not wanting to do anything except act cranky and mean, or being bored), rajas (having to do something no matter what) (agitation for lack of stimulation), and sattva (tending toward those things that are uplifting, expanding, and elevating.)

Other than the gunas, what we often refer to as 'moods' are basically egotistical melodramas.

Jake Birdsong said...

Dear Ram,

In my current lesson, you quote Albert Einstein:

“Everything is determined – the beginning as well as the end – by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”

I’m struggling with this quote because it seems like on one hand we have control over what is occurring in our sphere (by consciously choosing our thoughts and, therefore, consciously creating our karma), and on the other hand, we don’t really have a say in what happens.

I’m wondering how this invisible piper who calls all the shots can co-exist with the law of karma. I’m not sure that I’m holding these two Truth’s correctly. Any wisdom you could share around this would be really helpful and hugely appreciated as always.


Larry'sBlog said...

Isn't EVERYthing, and every mood some variety of recombination of the 3 Gunas?--including "egotistical melodramas"? (though I still think they'd be more accurately called "egocentric melodramas" because they involve the ego seeing itself as the CENTER of its universe rather than necessarily seeing itself as the "best" ego around (as an egotist would).

As for the gender issue, I do wonder about that. The assignment of Male and female acrhetypes abound--from Supreme Shiva and MahaShakti as cosmic forces of pure energy to the personified forms of Kali (who may appear somewhat Rajasic) to Saraswati (more apparently Satwic) and Shiva in the form of the ascetic yogi with matted locks.

The masculine and feminine aspects seem to be another sort of measure (like depth or weight rather than height or length, perhaps?)... Anyway, on an ultimate level, I think it's all semantics anyway, except that on an ultimate level, semantics don't even matter.

Divya said...

I was sitting at my meditation center and someone sat down beside me. She told me she had a very busy mind. I know I do too, yet at that moment, I noticed my mind was quiet. I think that over the years of taking the course of the Present Momentthat my mind is becoming quieter. I am learning to be in the present as a child would be. Still a work in progress yet seeing movement in a great direction. Very Grateful. <3

DougM said...

The comments and questions on identity certainly resonate with my experience of the course. One of the principle joys and frustrations of the course for me, depending upon how this mind is thinking at the moment, is the ongoing ambiguity of who this ‘you’ being addressed in the lessons. The course can be considered as an extended koan, repeatedly asking the question, “who am I?” as the Narrator leads tip-toeing through the tattvas in search of an identity. As I contemplate the question as presented in the lessons, I keep returning to the thought that there is nobody home. “I” am just a story line, but a very convincing one, if I do say so myself.

Tom Mc said...

Dear Doug/One:
Each Lesson starts with "Dear One".
So, unless you are peeking at someOne else's email the answer to 'who am I' is that 'One'
of Course, the 'One' manifests as these multifarious perspectives (including DougM and Tom Mc)
Enjoy the play.
Tom Mc/One

Jane said...

Tom Mc - Love the reminder we are 'One' - Yesterday what came up within was "I'm no longer Jane - I'm God pretending to be Jane (or whoever else) Sometimes I am Jane forgetting I am God." The thoughts made me feel gleeful. Obviously, there is still some attachment to being 'Jane'...but the Course is, as Ram said above, "naturally and spontaneously" purifying the mind (as along as I remember to reread and practice the exercises).

Anonymous said...

Dear every ONE!
Im on lesson 34 and Ram asks for feedback in this trying to remain light hearted and cheerful more consistently for the next 2
weeks..I see how it is so easy for the mind to forget and get into some of our old patterns but thanks to the lessons I am seeing that I am getting better at bringing my mind back to the moment when it is dragging me off in many directions like a doggie in need of obedience training!
When you are around others aware of the one....the play can be a lot of fun
Im grateful for being here!!!!

Anonymous said...

Another being just the ONE in all these forms is this where the statement to always be the seer and not the seen comes into play or to always see the ONE in all the seen?

Anonymous said...

Hi again...I was reading Tom Joyce's post and what came to mind...the next would be an experience or feeling of it somewhere deep within our being or in the heart and you will know it. I remember a teacher once saying that the mind is in the heart and I pondered that for many years what am I not inderstanding here and at a later time for myself it came to mean that its a feeling... a heart felt sense of the head knowledge we have to feel the experience of it...and we know when that happens inside some amazing way for myself at least

Cristina Santeiro said...

Unfortunately at this moment I am having quite a struggle with my ego. As soon as I read the markings of a spiritual mature person I felt I failed at each one of them, which again is my ego wanting to make me feel bad about myself. Luckily I know about the fluctuations of the mind, and I keep reading the course and seeking guidance from within and from without. Thank you Ram for always being there and for the Course which always addresses my struggles and changes me.

Stephen Pappas said...

Happy Thanksgiving Ram and each being on this glorious path we're all on together.
In my current lesson Vol 2 Lesson 8, Ram, you state:
"My philosophy is to be real, be sincere, be who you truly are, live according to your own heart and your own nature, feel good about yourself as God made you, even manifests as you, just as you are. Drop all pretension. Give up your fake veneer and your hypocrisy even when you think you’re being genuine. Stop playing your phony games that you’ve been playing so long you don’t even remember that they are phony games".

Could you please elaborate on the meaning of:

"Give up your fake veneer and your hypocrisy even when you think you’re being genuine".

This is the line that "sticks out for me" tho' I'm unclear about it's meaning.

Again, Have an Ecstatic Thanksgiving!

Debbra said...

Stephen, maybe that means that we act so much within long held habits and patterns, more than we even realize, and that perhaps our responses can bear an even closer inspection. How do I feel? Easy? Natural? Present? The ego can be very clever and mercurial, and what seems like being myself is more an act, a pretense I've become very familiar with, even identified with as genuine. So seems the message is.. go deeper, look deeper, and rest in the ease and awareness that attends the true Self.

Taylor said...

Greetings dear ones. Happy gratitude weekend. I want to share something that I am grateful for. I had been in the practice of reviewing older lessons once in a blue moon. Recently, I started to review them systematically, so that I am always reviewing an older lesson along with my current one. It's been really great to review. I highly recommend it. Here's a gem from Lesson 4 that I would like to share.

"As simple as it sounds, our personal reality is determined by how we think about things. No matter what happens to or around us, we are affected only by what we think about those things, not by the things themselves. We are affected by how we describe incidents to ourselves and not by the incidents themselves.

We can make anything into a positive or a negative experience. This is a fundamental truth; it is amazing only in that it is not commonly understood in today's society. It is something that should be taught early on in school. It is simple enough that very young children can understand it. In fact, if their parents and society understood and lived by this truth, children would naturally pick it up through osmosis.

Instead, what children come to erroneously believe is that we are vulnerable to the conditions and people around us. We learn to be affected by words, by language. We squirm because of what we think another sees or says about us. We allow another's words to determine how we feel.

One consequence of this is that we grow up blaming other people and external circumstances for our own reactions and feelings.

Most of us go through our entire adult lives continuing to do this, as though it is completely natural, and as though we have no choice in the matter. Ordinarily it never occurs to us to stop blaming others or external conditions for our own feelings."

Taylor said...

Jake, I think that the Albert Einstein quote is just a poetic way of describing karma…you have the right understanding. Our personal reality is created by us.

Sarah said...

In re-reading the comments, another question comes up regarding your answer to Stephen's question...We come into the world with "Original Purity" and then we are hypnotized by the world around us....I take this "hypnotism" to be the conditioning from the environments we are born into... We also come into the world with samskaras or tendencies we need to break free from...My "new" question is, are samskaras the same as conditioning? or, could samskaras be left over conditioning from previous lifetimes? Thank you again !

D. R. Butler said...

Stephen Pappas, I am not ignoring your question. The fact is, I felt that Debbra answered it perfectly. It all has to do with the subtleties of the ego's behavior.

Sarah, yes, samskaras is the Sanskrit word for mental conditioning. Samskaras are indeed left over conditioning from previous lifetimes. It is highly doubtful at this point that we are developing new samskaras in this lifetime, but any that we do will be extremely weak in comparison to the samskaras we were born with. Remember, samskaras are the seeds of karma. They determine where and when we will be born, to what parents, our early environment, and many other things about our life. At this point, we are primarily in the process of breaking free of samskaras so that they no longer have the power to control or influence us. This is basically what sadhana, or practices for spiritual growth and freedom, are all about. When we are free from samskaras, we are free.

Larry'sBlog said...

I have always considered our childhood and early conditioning from THIS lifetime to be included as samskaras, as well, and I don't think any of us are without those!!

Stephen said...

Thank you Debbra & Ram & Sarah,
You bring up another querie for me Ram in your answer to Sarah.
When we receive Shaktipat initiation aren't we relieved of all past samskara's and Karma? Would we we not then be like the innocent - vibrant - receptive beings were meant (ARE) to be? Then why do we need to delve into this old conditioning - if we've already been set free within?
I was reading Paramahamsa Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi" when I was introduced to my Guru. This was a time when I was intensely searching for inner knowledge.
When I met her - it was an immediate inner response that "I was HOME".
Years later, my sister showed me a picture - it was my grandfather, Hamid Bey, with Paramahamsa Yogananda and my grandmother - Yogananda was standing and my grandfather was sitting in a chair in front of him. I later found out they they were great friends and that he'd written many articles extolling my grandfathers wisdom and teachings. They even shared the stage @ the Pantages theater here in LA, in the 20's .
Was I being groomed to meet my Guru then - or being my grandfathers grandson that netted me this ultimate meeting?
I was astounded and comforted reading my current lesson Vol2 lesson 9 - regarding the golden thread. This made me wonder - just how long had this meeting of my Guru been in the works???
Another mind and Heart expanding lesson - I'm filled with excitement and enthusiasm. I'm truly grateful to be in the embrace of this life altering course. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Tom Mc said...

I am thankful for all the shares here and on the Facebook site, and also for the opportunity for this person/people to share and to ask questions. It is quite a gift, wow! Somehow we are given a direct channel to the Truth. A great BOON.
Question: the 3 realms, 'dreaming', 'waking' and (union). What is the difference between them? I kind of forget. Seems they are increasingly the same.

Vandita said...

I am just in the middle of your most than perfect description of the process of breaking free from a samskara: 'OMG, I have always been that way, have not I?' This inflexibility and rigidity that I have defended for so long, how things should be, how behaviors should be, how people should be is now, finally, starting to break apart. I feel so much relief! How could it be that I never saw it before for what it is? This is the first time in my life that I understand how everything needs to be accepted in order for us to be free. How everything, everyone with their flaws and divinity, and this includes myself, needs to be fully accepted, forgiven, and loved. It may sound like a very simple thing, and a very easy thing, but it feels so huge for me right now. This unconditional acceptance makes me feel 'bigger' in a way, and also very humble.

Thank you for all the wisdom that you constantly share, and repeat, and share again, and repeat again, because it does bear fruit and it does truly transform.

Mary said...

"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."

D.R., The distinction you make in the above paragraph is immensely helpful. As I have tried to come into harmony with all that may be "going on" in the moment, I sometimes find myself focusing on the pain or whatever instead of that which is true and timeless at all times no matter what is going on.

Sherry Smithson said...

How does mental illness fit in with the experience of the truth? I have a friend that is bipolar, and when he gets manic, he is very blissed out, and also says he is very present. But I don't really see him that way, as it seems like his mind is racing a mile a minute on all sorts of subjects. Can you, or someone comment on this? Also, I'm interested if you have any tips on how to help someone that is manic regain mind control, and come back to themselves, or even if that is my responsibility at all?

Bob Sonnenberg said...

I have a stepson that is bipolar. I often wonder whether that is really an appropriate response to the world as he knows and experiences it.

rico said...

Anyone can experience the Truth if their attention is focused here now. Even someone with absolutely no awareness of anything beyond their mental constructs can have moments of clarity and joy. But the purpose, the intent of sadhana is to develop the consistency to maintain That awareness. This is difficult perhaps not even possible for someone whose mind is afflicted. Folks who experience mental illness are working through their karma just like the rest of us. If someone with mental illness is within our karmic circle our responsibility is to treat them with compassion. We are no more responsible for their peace of mind than anyone else. The best way to foster peace of mind in another is to cultivate that peace within our own mind.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Butler: My question has to do with a tendency to instantly and without any forethought interpret my husband's words and tone, nearly every time he speaks to me, as not-so-subtly faultfinding, accusatory, and diminishing of me.

Simultaneous with the interpretation comes a deep stab of emotional pain. And my knee-jerk reaction to that pain is to turn the feeling toward him, often drawing from him an equally negative reaction that results in a large or small spat.

I'm tired of my own negative reactions and I'm ready for a breakthrough into a loving inner response to the words of the man I love.

After all these years of reading your lessons, I could probably write my own answer easily, but it's been my experience with your course that if I contemplate my question and write it clearly, then I will be able to open up enough to allow a change in the ways I'm responding to my life.

I want to be able to see a sweet humor in things just as they are and just as they are not. For my own sake as well as for the sake of my loved ones, I want to express only love. Thank you for considering my request.

Vandita said...

So much clarity. Thanks Rico :)

D. R. Butler said...

I am aware that I am 'a little behind'--wish I had a little post-it of a baby's butt here--regarding answering the last few questions. I have been more concerned with family life recently than usual, and I've spent less time on the computer. I plan now to return here later tonight and get caught up on all the questions. Love to you all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous of Dec 15
That is a great share/question. I join you in both the experience and in the understanding of your offering. I have had the same transformative experience, and eagerly await the answer to this pesky samskara! (well except I am a man, and my spouse is a woman...guess we all are basically the same)

D. R. Butler said...

Stephen: 'This made me wonder - just how long had this meeting of my Guru been in the works???'

Stephen, such things happen on a much grander scale than we consciously realize. If we are to meet a great teacher in our lifetime, it is our karma for that to happen, just as it is our karma to marry who we marry, or to work where we work. Things don't happen by random chance, or accidentally. It is all according to divine design, as it was worked out long before the initial inhalation of this present incarnation.

Our conscious mind has no way of knowing such things, unless we come in contact with a Course such as ours that guides us through the process. Ordinarily, we have a very contracted scale of seeing things. Like we have the vision of the grasshopper in the valley, while we could just as easily have the vision of the eagle flying over the mountains. There is much more going on than our conscious mind has access to.

So we could say the meeting with your Guru has always been planned. It was a part of the grand design right from the very beginning, whether we think of it as the 'big bang' or whatever. Interestingly these days scientists are moving away from the big bang theory. Now they're beginning to say the universe never began and never ends.

D. R. Butler said...

Tom Mc writes: "Question: the 3 realms, 'dreaming', 'waking' and (union). What is the difference between them? I kind of forget. Seems they are increasingly the same."

You are on the right track, Tom, as they are ultimately the same. What you call (union) is known as the 'deep sleep' state. There is a fourth state, the Turiya state, which remains the same in the waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states. It observes the physical activity of the waking state, the mental and emotional activity of the dream state, and the state of void during deep sleep. So rather than understanding the differences, it is far more valuable to experience Turiya, so that we essentially remain unchanged during all the other three states.

D. R. Butler said...

Sherry Smithson, it is not your responsibility to help someone regain control and come back to themselves. That is their own responsibility.

If someone has a manic episode in your presence, the only way you can really help is to remain calm, unchanged, and certainly unreactive in any way. If you can maintain your own highest state in their presence, and your equanimity, unaffected by their state, this is the only way you can help them.

D. R. Butler said...

Rico offers a very insightful comment. Also, most cases of 'mental illness' are due to a misalignment of ahamkara (ego) and manas ( conscious mind.) When these two are not in perfect alignment, the individual tends to act and behave differently from what is considered the social norm. The great Indian saint of the 19th century, Ramakrishna, would probably be institutionalized in modern day Western societies.

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous has "a tendency to instantly and without any forethought interpret my husband's words and tone, nearly every time he speaks to me, as not-so-subtly faultfinding, accusatory, and diminishing of me."

This sounds very much like something from your long-ago past that you are projecting onto your husband because he's the only one there. Chances are there has been some degree of the same tendency in every relationship you have had--even friendships--where you tend to hear and interpret whatever is said to be something negative regarding yourself.

This is actually a fairly common dynamic when couples get stuck in a rut. They lose their respect for each other, they forget what they once found adorable about each other, and they treat each other as an adversary, and become defensive and hostile quite easily.

It sounds as though you need to learn to listen to your husband in a totally new way--something that is in no way associated with the past. You might find that, instead of being fault-finding and diminishing, he is actually being quite clever, and that others would find him interesting and amusing--perhaps even insightful.

I know a couple where the wife becomes the same way--she interprets her husband as being negative toward her, so she uses that to justify being negative toward him without even giving him a chance, and she regularly points out what he is doing wrong and how he could do things much better.

Then, if they go out to a social event, around other friends, she sees that people really like him and treat him with much more respect than she does. She forgot how to like him, and how to relate to him as though she likes him. She forgot who he actually was, and began to treat him much worse than anything he deserved, justifying it by how she presumes he is seeing her.

So every time they get together with other friends again, she sees once more how they are much nicer and more respectful of him than she is. Suddenly she remembers again who he actually is. And then for a while she treats him with love and respect, like she did in the beginning when she adored him. And this goes on until her samskaras (tendencies) act up again, and she will again habitually start projecting negativity upon him, and will see him in the worse ways--forgetting all about how anyone else in the world would see him.

Perhaps there is something in that that will be useful to you.

Bob Sonnenberg said...

DR Thanks for posting on this husband/wife play? I constantly struggle with this.We have been married 20+ years and it comes up almost daily.

D. R. Butler said...

Bob, this is exactly why we focus so much attention and energy on Q&A exchanges here--because when a person verbalizes a question, he verbalizes the same question a hundred other people have, but are unable to acknowledge or verbalize. And when we read the responses to other people's questions, many of our own unasked questions are answered in the process.

It is a very ancient way of communicating Truth, and great inner growth can occur from participating in it for many people simultaneously. It is, for many, an unrecognized opportunity.

D. R. Butler said...

I've been reviewing the Q&A exchanges above, as I often do to see if there is any more of value to bring up. Anonymous, remember, has "a tendency to instantly and without any forethought interpret my husband's words and tone, nearly every time he speaks to me, as not-so-subtly faultfinding, accusatory, and diminishing of me."

In contemplating the roots of where these feelings arise from, it occurs to me that we would actually have to be a bit self-absorbed to think and feel such ways. If we were more focused on what we were adding to the other's life, on how we could be helping to make the other's life easier instead of even harder than it would be otherwise, such questions as this from Anonymous wouldn't even come up. It's when we get self-absorbed that we start feeling that everything is against us, or that our loved one actually hates us and takes advantage of us and insults and disrespects us. If we were focused on how we might make life nicer for the other person, a whole different dynamic could be created.

Just something to consider, when wondering where that stuff comes from.

Johanna said...

Hello again Ram, Can I ask you a question? It's about physical pain. For a few months now, I've been chanting 4 to 5 hours sometimes 6 a day, plus meditation and all my readings. I go to bed repeating the mantra and wake up still saying it. I started to have very strong headaches that go away only with migraine medication. For a few months I've been feeling a strong pressure behind the third eye and at the top of my head. I don't know if I should do less practices or just take the medication and continue.

D. R. Butler said...

Johanna, first of all please understand that any suggestions I might have will probably be very different than the response you might get if you asked anyone else in the world.

Respectfully, I start to get a headache just by reading your description of all that you do. So my immediate, off-the-cuff response is to simply stop all the 'practices' for a while, just to see what the difference would be. You are overdoing it, and you need a break from it. Stop chanting and meditating and remembering the mantra and let your mind and body simply we free for a while, without demanding anything of them.

There is a good chance that if you stop all your practices, your headaches will probably go away as well. In fact, I'd say this will definitely happen sooner or later. If the headaches don't leave you immediately, continue with medication until you no longer need it.

In your 'break' from practices, the pressure behind the third eye and at the top of your head will probably drop away as well. You are just stirring up more energy than your body is ready for.

Try this for a while and let us know how you are progressing.

Anonymous said...

D.R Butler, I have recently come upon your blog while spending my free time browsing the web. I find I can't stop myself reading your posts! I am a little confused on exactly what your course goal is? What exactly do people that go through the course achieve from it? Is it to get in touch with ones spirituality? I have always been interested in as you put it 'spiritual evolution'. In a strange way I feel this is something I have really been looking for.

D. R. Butler said...

'Anonymous' comes in many forms and shapes. This one sounds like someone who is genuinely new. This is wonderful. There is a true opening and readiness.

The reason it feels you can't 'stop yourself' from reading the posts is because of the spiritual energy they transmit to the reader. This is why there are people who have taken various versions of the Course since the 70's. They've read so many lessons for so many years, yet still they are excited to get their next new lesson. It is because of the Energy in them. It is quite palpable.

The goal of the Course is to live in the Truth of the Present Moment. Most people have their past life leading up to the previous moment, and then they conveniently skip over the present moment and go right into projecting what the future will hold. Living with the attention focused in the past and the future, we miss out on our actual life, which is always taking place in the present moment, and ONLY in the present moment.

Once we get somewhat established in the present moment, the next step is to be established in the TRUTH of the present moment. We can be in the present moment and focused on our backache or headache, or on any of many emotions we are vulnerable to, such as worry, fear, anxiety, agitation, and so forth. We can also be in the present while being obsessed with some thought, or some structure or patterns of thought that we can give meaning to. All these things are temporary and passing show. They are relative truths, but not the pure Truth.

The TRUTH of the present moment is always the Same, and does not fluctuate or change in any way. It is an exalted state of well-being. Some people refer to the same experience as Love. There is no real difference between Love and Truth.

All you have to do is read two 10-page lessons a month, and apply the principles presented in your own daily life to whatever degree is possible. With practice, more and more is possible.

In the process of the Course you will come in contact with your own true Self, which lives within you as Subjective Consciousness. Through the lessons we come to understand and experience the Truth of that state, and learn to live in the state of the Self, which is very blissful.

Yes, it is something you have been looking for, whether you realize it or not. Everyone looks for it sooner or later, and often we don't even realize that we're looking until what we are looking for is actually found.

My wife Kay, who helps me produce the lessons, has already sent you Lesson 1 and some info about the Course, and you will receive Lesson 2 in a couple of weeks. Anyone interested in the Course can receive the first month free simply by stating their interest in it.

Thank you for your refreshing questions and attitude. My guess is that you will indeed find the lessons to be just what you are looking for.

Johanne said...

Dear Ram,
I am so happy to speak to you after almost 30 years. The reason I was doing so much chanting of the Rudram and Guru Gita is that I was told that chanting "and moreso the Rudram" disolves the ego. That chanting is like rubbing the samskaras with a sand paper. Can you explain to me the effect of the chanting of those two chants?
All my love!

D. R. Butler said...

Johanne, you've come to the wrong place with this question. While I have had interesting experiences in the past with these two chants, they are not among the topics discussed in the current Course of Training. Some people who participate in the Course have their own practice of chanting, and others don't, but it is nothing explored in the lessons. I don't do much chanting anymore, as it irritates my throat. I have no feelings toward someone either chanting or not chanting, whichever way one is inclined to go, but it is not a subject I talk about much, and I feel you might find more satisfying answers to your questions elsewhere. Of course, many regular readers of this blog participate in chanting, and perhaps someone among them can address your questions with much more skill than myself. Thank you for being in touch and for visiting our blog. If you care to discuss something that is actually explored in our Course of Training, you are always welcome to bring it up here.

Much love to you.

Vicki said...

D.R., I could hardly stop laughing when I read your reaction to Johanna's description of all that she does. And Johanna, as a practitioner for 37 years of the same chanting and meditation that you do, as well as a host, in my own home, for certain programs and events that you quite likely attend, I must say that my approach to the entire thing is very different from yours, and yet, in the 4 plus years that I have been studying D.R.'s course I have found such a change in my relationship with myself and others, and such joy and peace of mind. If you use the wrong grit of sandpaper, rub too hard, or too long, you only damage the poor wood and make a mess. The key is balance - the right amount of sand, gentle motion, and a good long rest for the arm, which can easily develop tendinitis. Spending more time in the joy of life, rather than creating some kind of boot camp out of the practices, will surely bring so much more shine and polish, in the form of lightheartedness and fun, into your life. Hope you can find it in yourself to just relax, and know that you are already Perfect. Refine your understanding of what is required of you. Let us know how it goes.

James Donohue said...

There is that sense of staying connected by doing sadhana. Usually by doing some activity reading the lessons, chanting, listening to teachers ...etc. It can be kind of headache if overdone 'just thinking about it'. I like when you put some music up in your facebook page. I also like when you talk about having more fun. Can you elaborate on that more? How can we have even more fun?

D. R. Butler said...

James, the inner Self is very lighthearted. It is the ego that is serious. This is why there are so many 'fake' or 'false' teachers tend to act the very role most people expect from a spiritual or religious leader.

Many enlightened beings are known to be playful and even mischievous. Krishna was the most exalted and pure manifestation of this kind of Being.

The few true Masters I have been around have a great sense of humor, and tend to laugh a lot even when we can't figure out what's funny. Simply resting in the highest state is fun, and such beings make life fun for themselves as well as for those around them.

I am happy that you enjoy the music on my Facebook page. I enjoy sharing my favorites as a change of pace, and I feel that the feelings in the music are just as important as the words used in philosophizing.

Anonymous said...

Hi All, I am a participant of the course & while I enjoy reading through & sharing in the insights offered , I rarely participate for reasons unknown. Today Id like to share an ongoing experience in the hope those sharing this journey can provide a fresh perspective.
OVer 12 months ago as a result of an unprecedented karmic twist, I found myself in a job / working environment which brought up deep feelings of frustration, sadness & to some extent - grief. Fast forward 12 months & I am still very much in the same situation. While I acknowledge I have grown beyond many of the samskaras which harassed me some time ago, and I apply the principals of truth as best I can to see me through each day, I feel I am missing a key insight which alludes me & perhaps - is keeping me stuck - which is truly the feeling within me that stays long after the feelings of frustration & pressure pass.... I feel I am waiting for the penny to drop, so to speak & yet am met only with silence....
Your thoughts & comments will be appreciated more than you could know.

Anonymous said...

To continue with my previous comment regarding feeling stuck in an unhappy work situation - my current lesson reads "We need to see what there is to be learned or realized from each & every situation that presents itself; nothing in life is present by accident of chance"

I believe this. I truly do. The challenge I face is truly seeing & understanding what is to be learned.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Butler: Your answer to my question about how I misinterpret the motives, words, and tone of my husband's commuications to me, and then I get personally insulted, raise my voice trying to defend myself or my position, end up stalking out and slamming the door, only to return a bit later to apologize for being caught up in it again, feeling ashamed and that he finds me boring and disgusting because we have gone through the same anger routines during our whole marriage.

Your answer is not new to me but I am deciding to be new to it. I will print it and study it along with my lesson until I finally break through whatever is holding me back from just taking responsibility for being the great being that I actually am when I'm being responsible for my own interpretations.

I want to be open enough to allow your response to my question to make a real difference. Something needs to shift soon because he's losing interest in being with me and I'm happier lately just being alone, where I don't have to see myself reacting in the same old ways again and again, and feeling the same old pain.

I'm grateful for the power of the Course in my life, and I can see now that the whole pattern might be as simple as the self-absorption you mentioned, just another way to keep the attention on myself and my melodramas. Even this whole comment now seems self-indulgent.

Tom Mc said...

I am becoming more aware of the apparent dual nature of each of us. As paradoxical as it is, my experience is of being a 'human' dealing with all the human stuff like emotions, bodily issues, tasks, 'outer' events, 'others'... while asking for and receiving help from those in a 'higher' space than me.

THEN, the roles seem to flip, and I seem to be in that 'higher' space and I am able to help others that are struggling with all the 'human' stuff. And back and forth it goes. This is an interesting cycle that continues and continues. Like a coin with 2 sides different, yet the same. A spiral that continually lifts us up. I find it most curious that my identification (and apparently that of others) shifts between these 2 perspectives.
Does this all make any sense? Is this the way of sadhana?

I also feel that there is a door that is partly open, and light streams out of it, but yet I only can deal with that bit that peeks out. Is patience the lesson here or am I to hold my breath and jump through somehow? I feel I am open to the new, yet I sense that I only have a vague awareness and experience of the Truth and that the other side of the door might burn me to a crisp.

And I would love to hear more about having FUN!

Thanks, Tom Mc

D. R. Butler said...

Sharing my most recent post on my Facebook page.

I was surprised that, when I first told you that your post was too intellectual for easy comprehension, that you simply moved it to another thread.

And what I find interesting is that now you say you don't really care about all the stuff you talk about anyway, that you're just playing with the mind.

I can understand that, but why impose your own mental-play on others? If you're going to post something here, at least make it intelligible and easy to read. Don't fill the heads of others with what you don't even care about yourself.

Maybe you have the capacity to be a true teacher somewhere down the road. That possibility is the only reason I am writing this to you, otherwise, why would I care? And also, I am never only talking to one person. When I explore how to communicate and share the principles of Truth, it is there for all teachers or teachers-in-training.

The Guru told me to teach others to do what I can do. So when someone comes along that has the potential to share principles of Truth with others, I simply pass on some of the things I have learned over the past 40 years of doing that.

There is nothing in me that cares to make you or anyone else wrong about anything. However, I can help to fine-tune how people communicate principles of Truth to others who are open. I am 68 years old now. I have to do whatever I can to help others to do what I can do, which is to clarify the Truth of Being for whoever seeks higher Knowledge. What I have been given, I must pass on to others who will also pass on. There are people being born right now that one day will be seeking this very knowledge, and teachers must be prepared now to lead them.

D. R. Butler said...

There are suddenly so many anonymous posters that it's a bit challenging to clearly communicate with them all. Doesn't anyone share their name anymore? In case you don't actually know how to share your name, simple click in the circle next to 'name/URL' and then write your name in the box that comes up. It is very simple.

To the first Anonymous of Dec 19, you say, "The challenge I face is truly seeing & understanding what is to be learned."

Usually this is right in front of us. It could be very subtle, or it could stick out like a sore thumb. It cannot be figured out by the mind, but it is intuitively obvious whenever the knowledge is needed.

I suggest you stop defining your life as being stuck in an unhappy work situation. From your comments, it is obvious that you are only make half-hearted efforts, if that, toward being positive and seeing the world with an uplifting vision. You are simply allowing your habitual negative thoughts to take over, without even realizing what is happening.

Try describing your life and your prospective future in much more positive and lighthearted ways, and you will be amazed at everything else that changes as well.

D. R. Butler said...

Tom Mc, you have to have fun jumping through the door. Most people go back and forth between the 'higher' state and a contracted state, until through determination and practice they become firmly established in the higher state. Then the individual is openly connected to the Infinite, and limitations drop away.

You have to be patient, and you also have to sometimes hold your breath and jump through. The other side of the door cannot burn You to a crisp; it can only burn to a crisp that which you are not and which you in no way need. The unnecessary baggage you drag along like a heavy weight, making life feel so hard, is what is burned to a crisp.

But don't worry, it cannot happen at any faster rate than you are willing to go. You can actually speed it up or slow it down simply by KNOWING what you want and what is best for you. When everything that you are not is burned to a crisp, you will feel so happy and free.

Larry'sBlog said...

D.R. Butler wrote:

«When everything that you are not is burned to a crisp, you will feel so happy and free.»

I love that.

Reminds me of that line from a Kali chant by Bhagavan Das:

"Take from me,
All that is not free."

I have tried to hold that intention in prayer at fire ceremonies (yagnas or homas), and I try to remember that attitude when I find myself getting stuck "on the wrong side of the door."

Colette DeVore said...

Through practicing the course,more and more it is dissolving the me that I thought I was and allowing the ME in all my forms to exist in this play the way they are. I feel more and more that no matter how it appears to my limited self that Everything is unfolding for my highest good. It is safe to let go. This is such a relief, and yet I know that I have just begun, there is so much more. How blessed are we to be exposed to our own Selves.

Christine S. Boyd said...

This was so helpful. I remember a dream 20 years ago where I fought with an angel to enter a sacred Shakti temple, and was let in. Then years later how I looked away from a burning glance from my Master because I didn't understand, what was burned would make me free. To read this is like entering another sacred Shakti temple and this time it is filled with laughter.

D. R. Butler said...

Colette and Christine, I enjoyed your heartfelt shares.

This is to wish Happy Holidays to all those who read this. You help, through your own participation, to keep this a lively, Shakti-filled place to visit. Thanks to all of you who meet regularly here, and feel the subtle community with the others who meet here. The greatest way you can contribute is through your own participation. True, it is a little slower than Facebook, but we can go much deeper here, as the blog gives a taste of the Course.

Once again, please enjoy the Happiest of Holidays.

Vandita said...

I went for a walk today in the midst of a mental melodrama, and decided to do walking meditation, repeating a mantra, in an attempt to get out of the drama. As I started, the trees and the path and the ocean and the air and the birds and the plants somehow became more alive and more 3D than usual. Everything exuded life. Every single thing was alive as I was. The wooden path is as alive as I am. The trees and their leaves are as alive as I am. I cannot accurately describe this sensation in words. No hurry in this exquisite observation and contemplation of life.

Then, the mind tried to incorporate the story, the drama. So many years studying your lessons and reading how the ego and mind superimpose themselves upon reality. But today it´s been the FIRST TIME EVER that I really saw how this works! It is no longer a theory. The mind pushes forward and it is so powerfully creative that makes me feel as true and real that which it is thinking. But that is only thought/memory. It is not Reality!

In my choosing to be flexible and to NOT feel the anger that thinking about the story had been bringing forth, I have been able to keep myself in this state of contemplation of Reality for more than one hour. So obvious this Reality. Always here. So close to me. So alive.

It is what is. It is what is NOW. Maybe all the conflicts with people these last two years did hit me so hard so that that I am left with no other option but realizing the only thing that I really have, which is this present moment. The rest comes and goes. And in this present moment, the only thing that I can guarantee that I have is I AM, I Exist. And in this present moment there is this glittering life being poured throughout the stones, and the waves, and the sand, and the sky, and the clouds, and the dogs running, and the trees, and the plants, and the wooden path.

I thank you so much for all these years of repetition and repetition and analysis and repetition. So much patience and compassion on your side. Thank you, thank you, thank you with all my heart.

Kaunteya said...

Beautiful, giving shares. I thank each of you!

I was taught (or conditioned) in my younger years to be logical, analyse and solve. These tools allowed me to create labels and put things in boxes.

As Vandita put so clearly, reality exists apart from thoughts and their projections. I am very grateful to be able to receive such gifts from here. How bound we let our mind make us. However, each moment I feel a bit freer, a bit more aware of reality. What is this person but a cartoon character, bumbling along.

Love and gratitude to you all!


Jane said...

Vandita - Thank you so much for sharing your experience. The day after I read it, I could see my mind going into a dramatic narrative - the ego feeling slighted - and then I decided to just drop the story line. I'm sure reading your share (of course in conjunction with the lessons) strengthened my ability to return to the present moment. Shortly thereafter, instead of my usual pattern of anger, I could feel some sadness come up and instead of resisting it, I tried to let it pass through my system without attaching it to a particular story. It felt much healthier than the hostility samskara I can fall into so easily if I don't remain vigilant...

This is just one example of how the energy and support from our community (on the subtle plane) is so transformative.

Love and blessings to all in 2014!

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Dear Friends,

Happy Bright and Shiny New Year! I am so very grateful for all that the lessons of the Course have brought me.

I was contemplating last night that one transformation in these past four years is increasingly I am aware of an uncoupling between an age old belief that outer circumstances determine my state. I have begun to experience much more consistently that my inner state determines my experience of those outer circumstances.

Then I got my new lesson and was amused to see that much of it was on this very theme. I had "forgotten" I am in the section "The Inner State". How wonderful that the very section of the course we are in brings a tangible change along its theme. Yet this has happened to me over and over these past four years.

Thank you Ram and Kay, and all Friends here!

Tom Mc said...

Happy New Year Ram and Kay...

In my current lesson you share about walking around town and looking people in the eyes and smiling.

? in an earlier course I read to stare at the space above their eyes at a space on their forehead. For me, pondering this change, I am both unclear and uncomfortable - apparently, this is a big shift for me.

I would appreciate any comments you have about where one's eyes should be staring.
Thank you for all your guidance and help,

D. R. Butler said...

Gee, Kaunteya, I guess we'll have to come to some sort of compromise. Probably the best thing is to just stare at their nose.

Johanne said...

Ram's humour always cracks me up!