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’.

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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.

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“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 drbutler.course@gmail.com.   The Course is also available in Spanish and French.