Strangely, many do not realize that change happens only in the present moment. We think something will change later. We should be more interested in what is changing now. Even more than that, we should be more interested in the eternally changeless. The constantly changing is fascinating to the mind, but the eternally changeless is blissful to the soul.
Each present moment the universe is created in Consciousness. A pure Being sees only the play of Consciousness. An ordinary individual differentiates and describes situations and events and then automatically reacts to his or her own descriptions. Most people never realize we are doing everything to ourselves—we are the cause of every effect that affects us. Nothing outside us has the power to affect us unless we allow it to in our own thinking.
There have been some great exchanges in last month’s comments, and I’d like to share my responses to a few questions or comments that came in:
I'm not asking anyone to be free from emotions. However, breaking free from 'negative' emotions, and especially from 'expressing' them, which creates horrendous karma, is a very important step in sadhana.
In the lessons of the Course we recommend replacing negative emotions like anger, resentment, fear, worry, and agitation with the higher feelings, such as love, joy, cheerfulness, compassion, and lightheartedness. This of course takes will and focus of attention, which is explained in the lessons.
What you're calling a 'mood' is what I call an egotistical melodrama. In reality, true 'moods' are not different from the gunas. We may be influenced by the moods of tamas, rajas, and sattva, but these are very different from negative emotions.
When we have such incredible power in the present moment IF we are conscious of it and IF we apply it, there is nothing that should linger for weeks or months. If there is, we're simply caught in a negative emotion and won't let go—or bother to replace it with something more positive and enjoyable, which is possible in any present moment.
"I just want to know who to blame..."
You don't blame anything. Go beyond blame altogether. Never blame another, and never accept blame from another. What good would it do, practically speaking, to know whether to 'blame' the mind or the ego? They work as a tandem. The two of them together create what we call 'egotistical melodramas.'
"How do we ever get free of what is projected out onto the screen of consciousness which must be the objective world?"
We get free from it by turning our attention to the Subjective realm within, understanding that the outer objective world is only a reflection of the inner world.
"It's been quite a problem encountering people who simply refuse to see things any way but the traditional way."
Like it or not, these people make up the large majority of people we come in contact with in this world. Most people do not understand that the mind creates the reality they see and experience. There is no way we can make them see this.
It is hard enough teaching principles of Truth to people who sincerely wish to understand the Truth. It is impossible to share the Truth with those who have no interest in understanding it.
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I do not think that you get it that certain things come up to challenge your standards and ideals. Otherwise, you'd have no basis for declaring yourself 'unsuccessful'. Isn't, after all, that whole concept based on standards and ideals?
What is success? To me, success is being happy and content. Success is loving what you do. Success is thinking well of yourself and others.
As far as being successful in my work or not, who knows? Far too many still know nothing of the availability and power of the lessons. And of those who participate in the lessons of the Course of Training via email, far too many are too lazy or unwilling to refer to their current lesson often enough, which is the physical form of the transformative process for participants of the Course.
And then, how many actually apply the principles presented in the Course in their own lives in practical ways? For too many it is still far too easy to trigger a negative emotional reaction. Too many continue to allow the most limiting thoughts to linger in their minds, producing limiting conditions and situations in their personal lives.
Some people are simply not open to anything save their own rigidly narrow view of things. This is truly sad. Life is hard enough as it is; not understanding how it works makes it feel so much harder.
So, what determines success? 'Making it big' is temporary and often a rocky road. Many who had 'made it big' have had tragic endings.
I'll stick with being content and fulfilled, with being really happy with the way things are and with the simplicity of this present moment.
Try it. Prove the Truth for yourself.
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Are you certain your friend is fully capable of recognizing an enlightened being? Certainly not many people have this talent for knowing who is merged with the Absolute and who isn't.
You bring up some points that aren't in accordance with my own way of seeing things, as we are using certain terminology to have different meanings.
In my understanding, when you're free of samskaras, you're free. These deeply ingrained subconscious impressions are very powerful, even in intelligent and educated people.
Simply speaking, samskaras include attachments and aversions, identifications and compulsions, and addiction and inhibition. Of course, when we really look into these, as we do in the lessons of the Course, we see that these six simple categories cover a lot of territory, as we can make long lists of the ways we are involved in each category, which requires acute and honest self-observation.
An enlightened Being is free from samskaras and ego. He or she is no longer controlled by thoughts or habitual subconscious tendencies. One who is Awake sometimes but not Awake other times is not enlightened. We are all Awake sometimes and not other times. Some, through practice and the development of will, become more proficient and consistent about being Awake than others who never bother to practice or to even be aware of the process.
This is basically the answer to your question about different stages of enlightenment. Enlightenment is not like becoming a super hero and suddenly having powers. Enlightenment is being firmly established in the Awareness of the Truth of Being. If the experience is inconsistent, then it is just another person doing sadhana, not an enlightened being. So the stages are simply resting in the state of enlightenment more often, and for longer periods of time. A higher 'stage' is simply a greater degree of consistency.
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I thought I was very clear in the entry that I didn't care much for the idea of 'reaching' people. True teachers don't seek out more students. Instead, true students seek out a true teacher.
The only way I might actually care to 'reach someone' is that I know there are many people out there who would enjoy and benefit from the Course as much as the ones already participating. To offer the principles of Truth in ways that they can be understood and applied in the modern world is a great thing. It would be very good if more people, from their own openness, discovered them, but I am not going to send out anyone searching for those people, and I certainly have no desire to 'convince' anyone of anything. If a person is happy with himself as he is, then I am happy for him.
It is no more difficult to be a Master these days than it ever was. And it is true that they have relatively few students around them. An authentic Master does not directly communicate with the masses. They do not even reveal themselves to the profane world. The charismatic personalities with big followings that we hear a lot about are not necessarily true Masters. A true Master does not make much of a public scene, and very few people ever even hear of one.
The principles of Truth offered in the Course of Training via email will never be 'watered down,' unless hundreds of years down the road someone edits the lessons according to their own understanding, or intentionally aiming them for the masses. Then the watered down teachings might become the dogma for a religion. It wouldn't be the first time such a thing has happened.
For now, there is nothing anywhere similar to the Course of Training. Of course, there is no way to understand what this actually means without actually participating to see what happens as a result.
For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email, including a sample lesson, write: firstname.lastname@example.org
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