Sunday, February 9, 2014

What Is the Most Essential Understanding?

Hello and welcome to this month’s blog entry.  This blog is for anyone interested in living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  Most people, if we were to ask them, think they are already living in the present moment.  Yet there is often confusing and irrational stuff going on in the mind, or the emotions are in turmoil over some seemingly good reason, or we are focused on some sort of physical discomfort.  Tuning in to such things may be in the present moment, but it is 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.
Those first two paragraphs are from a blog entry I made a few months ago, and I ran across it and thought it was about as clear as I could verbalize it.  There is this part in us that reads or hears those ideas, and thinks, that’s nice, but it is still not that important, not that great of a priority.  And we spend our time engaged in very temporary and meaningless melodramas that we somehow convince ourselves that are an essential aspect of our life, and that they are what’s actually going on.  This only shows how brainwashed, how hypnotized we truly are.
There are a growing number of us around the world who have dedicated our lives to living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  The central practice that we share is reading the lessons of the Course of Training sent and received via email. 
The next most intense and transformative aspect of the Course is the blog and the exchanges in the comments following the entry; this aspect of the Course is available free to the public. 
A more casual and lighthearted aspect of the Course is my Facebook page, where we maintain an ongoing dialogue of an elevated nature; this is also available to the public. 
Other aspects of the Course are revealed in time through the process of participating in the lessons of the Course. 
Nothing whatsoever is expected or demanded from participants other than remaining closely in touch with their current lesson.  Of course, in order to fully benefit from participation in the Course, the principles of each lesson must be applied in practical ways in everyday life.  The lessons contain no dogma or theory; they are only valid through our own experience. 
I began my own inner journey at 15 in 1960; now I am revealing all I have come to understand in the simplest, clearest, and most easily applicable ways possible through the physical form of the Course.  It does, however, require actual participation.  It is not a spectator sport.
In the other blog entry I also found these three paragraphs:
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?
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.  We recognize this as ‘limited knowledge,’ which is knowledge that actually limits us.  True knowledge is what can be actually proven and applicable in practical life.  There is no reason to assume anything.  Remaining open to the Truth is a much more powerful way to live.
I’m happy that I ran across those words from the previous entry, because I had no idea what I might write about this month, and frankly had no urge to write anything at all.  If you’d been writing about the same thing for 39 years (as of this writing) you might wonder what to write next too.
Since the Energy was not there to begin writing a blog entry, I decided I would work on the new lesson, as there are always people out there waiting for their next new lesson.  And if one is a day or two late, boy do we get the emails wondering where their new lesson is J
Interestingly, I had no problem writing the new lesson, the lesson no one in the world has seen before.  It just happens.  I have no idea what I will write in a lesson either, so I simply go to the computer and start typing.  After writing a bit, I thought, since I don’t know what to write about in the blog, I’ll just share a page or so of the lesson I am writing.  So what I wrote in the lesson is the following:
Above all things, we have to remember that our own thoughts create our own reality.  Our own mind is always the first thing to look at if anything about life feels iffy. 
Everything else in life, whether hellish or enlightened or anything between, originates from the contents of the mind, which we have chosen or allowed.  If we do not know what we are thinking, we actually have no idea of what is actually going on.  We are living in a kind of fog, although we assume this is normal and don’t really grasp that something much greater is easily within reach.
Right now, are we doing everything possible to make this existing moment a glorious one for ourselves and all those around us?  Are we thinking thoughts that will lead to results that will be most beneficial to ourselves as well as others in our life?  Most of us have studied this principle for so many years, and even practiced it to some degree—probably enough to see the power of it when used constructively. 
Yet, unknowingly, unconsciously, from a powerful habit that stretches back further than we can remember, we continue to entertain negative or limiting thoughts, thoughts about what we don’t want, and thoughts that lead to the most unpleasant emotions.  Through this process, which includes getting the emotions involved, we habitually create and recreate the very things we don’t want, and then we lament, thinking ‘bad’ things are happening or that something is going ‘wrong.’
Anytime we think something ‘bad’ is happening or that something is going ‘wrong’—we need to let that be an ‘alarm clock’ to wake us up and remember to pause and see what is actually happening.  Those two ideas, especially key words like ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’, exist only in the conditioned ego and mind. 
Once we find ourselves describing such things in words, either to ourselves or to others, this is an extremely clear sign that the ego has taken over and is making us think that we are whatever the mind is describing us in words to be, or whatever we accept of the words others express to us, even if it feels more contracted to do so.  This way this apparent life goes on even though nothing ever really happens.  Nothing has ever happened yet.  There is only this dream, this play of Consciousness.
Some might want to argue that things definitely happen, that they see and experience things happening, and that they are actually affected by what happens.  Of course there is a level of existence where, governed by the immutable law of Cause and Effect, things do apparently happen in each individual’s life.  Both ‘causes’ and ‘effects’ often appear as ‘things happening’.  The higher Self that dwells beyond words, beyond the conscious mind, simply observes the causes and the effects taking place, in this magnificent, unprecedented play of Consciousness.  The silent and still Self sees all that is seen and knows all that is known.
Our higher Self, or our true Self, sees only beauty and perfection everywhere, and in all things and beings.  It doesn’t, however, see ‘situations’ in the same limited ways that we do; it only observes how the mind creates a melodrama and how the ego takes it ‘seriously’ and gives meaning to it, which arouses certain corresponding emotions.  There is an apparent ‘situation’ in our life that we assign some kind of meaning to, and according to the meaning we give it, we experience corresponding emotions, and most people actually assume that all this is happening in their real life, and that it has some importance or significance.
In this way, we have identified with the infamous egotistical melodrama.  Suddenly our whole life seems wrapped up in this thing we have created in our mind, but which we ‘believe’ has a significant reality of its own.  In reality, however, nothing is happening whatsoever.  We live in our thoughts.  Everything has the same Source, and the mind alone determines how we experience it as an individual. 
Always remember, What you Think is What you Get.
So that’s a little excerpt from the lesson I am currently working on, and I think it works perfectly as the main thrust of a blog entry.  This is what we do, our approach to life, and our attitude toward the existing moment.  You have been offered a true glimpse of the lessons and possibly even how the Course works, according to how subtle and refined your vision might be—which is developed through the process of participation in the Course.
Twenty or thirty years ago I couldn’t say certain things because I might have sounded mostly delusional.  Since my next birthday, on July 4, I will be 69, I feel okay about saying what I say now, or rather, allowing what comes out.  It does not concern me how it sounds or what anyone thinks.  After all, it’s not the least bit uncommon for a fellow in his late sixties to be considered delusional, so it’s fine with me however anyone chooses to interpret these words, or how open anyone is about receiving what is being offered.
I hope this brief offering has clarified something or helped in some way.  If uncertain, try reading it again.  If you in any way experienced any kind of expansion or upliftment, please come back for more frequent visits; even dare to participate in the comments or ask a relevant question.  Also visit us on my Facebook page; it’s fun.  And if you truly wish to explore this deeply and more specifically, give the lessons of the Course a trial.  You can start off with 3 months, 6 months, or even a year—which saves you money and us time. 
As one participant said, “For the cost of a pizza a month, miracles are inspired, and a true transformation takes place.  I have so much gratitude that I learned of the course’s existence, and that I had the courage to try it.  I am still a bit amazed that more do not know of it or what is available through it.”
Now you know about it, and have been given a clear glimpse of what is available.

For information about the Course and a free first month (first two lessons) write:
The Course is also available in Spanish and French.


FB said...

So beyond GREAT to get to the Truth of what is really going on. So lifeless otherwise. Thanks again Ram and Kay and God for the Course, the blog, Course related Facebook shares;so rich, so alive, so beneficial, SO ESSENTIAL. Thanks everyone.112

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

I have been taking the lessons of the course for 4 years now. The experience of them just gets better and better, and they were pretty terrific to start!

I might look pretty much the same on the outside, but my inner state is what keeps getting upgraded and uplifted through following the Course. Now I know how to find that place of Peace and Light within, even as the outer world feels pretty crazy.

If you have not tried the lessons yet, and you feel something from the blog, please give it a try-- it is SO worth it, and you have so very little to lose.

Actually you have a LOT to lose--your sense of yourself as a limited identity, troublesome worries of all that could "happen", self doubt, nagging feelings of guilt and unworthiness, and so on.

I feel inspired to write this. The lessons are like nothing else you will find in our world. NOW is the time! Love KJ

Scott Marmorstein said...

Thank you, Ram! Great post. Your words convey a great story that is subtle but entirely useful and I hope many readers get the benefit of glimpsing into that. You are far from delusional. Likely the people who think it sounds delusional are either deluded themselves, or are a bit too arrogant.

Carla Orlandi said...

I've been reading the course for 5 years now and how my life has changed for the Best! My heart has opened and New horizons have appeared, never before imaginable!
My life has changed dramatically and beautifully!
Anyone out there needing a change, this is a key moment because as you have read from other comments, for the price of a pizza you get the tools to change your life. The only factor needed here is YOU wanting to change, wanting to give yourself a chance. Do it!

James Donohue said...

Happy Valentine's to D.R. and Kay. I have come across various approaches to "What you think is what you get." Seems in our course will power is used to think positive outcomes. I see others foster a more effortless approach. Like let the monkey alone and it will not produce more monkey's. Or wait for a train of thought to be over and be in the gap. Or repeat a mantra. In my current lesson you refer to 'thought bubbles' and to not get involved with them. I use various methods.
I had been thinking recently that to have no more desires. That I have everything. I can just relax. Let all my muscles let go. Let go of the tightness. Money done. Relationship done. Devotion done. On and on done. Breath.

Jake Birdsong said...

I always walk away from the blog inspired to practice the principles, and the priorities that I have for myself specifically, with a new level of focus and vigor. Two years ago I remember feeling: “how could I possibly be more committed to my own development than I am currently.” Ha! It’s amazing to observe how dedication to growth continues to grow with each reading/posting.

Thank you for illuminating the Higher Self’s perspective on egotistical melodramas. It’s so flat, isn’t it? It’s like there’s no juice in them anymore. The mind creates a dramatic event based on conditioning, the ego takes it seriously and thinks what’s happening is real and important and reacts to the meaning it gives it. – That’s not very exciting or juicy at all… From the perspective of the Self, egotistical melodramas are quite bland because it’s simply observing the mechanics of it all. Wow. And I still get caught up in these things time after time. Incredible.

Thank you for helping me develop an understanding.


Jim said...

Reading this blog entry was sobering and expansive, a great aide in divesting from the tyranny of the personal story and mind chatter.

Taylor said...

Thank you, D.R., for this post. It did clarify something for me. By your new way of describing how we create our own reality "Above all things, we have to remember that our own thoughts create our own reality. Our own mind is always the first thing to look at if anything about life feels iffy," and by your new way of describing "the infamous egotistical melodrama," I was able to recognize that an egotistical melodrama had crept up on me regarding my work life and I was feeling that what was happening there was all very iffy for the past couple of months. It's like it helped me to wake up and realize that my intention for my work life is what I can experience and nothing is iffy about that! Now, I can relax and describe things there in the best way possible. thanks & love, Taylor

Betsie Mathews said...

"our own thoughts create our own reality, our own mind is always the first thing to look at if anything about life feels iffy"
Watching or listening to my own thoughts I have come to see that I have a strong habit if thinking
I am too busy, I have no time, I am too tired, I can's to that, and now a new one, I am getting too old for that.
I see so clearly that these are very limiting thoughts and I am working on recreating them into a positive sentence .
Yet at times it also feels that by doing that I am not acknowledging my own feelings.
So my question is how do I know whether a sentence is a habitual pattern or actually a warning prompt to change my lifestyle.

chris mohan said...

Great post, Ram! Reading the lessons for me is not "reading" at all. It's like breathing in a fresh, sweet scent. Not that it's always easy or pleasant. Sometimes facing the unpleasantness that I have created for myself and confined myself to wallow in by my undisciplined mind is, well, unpleasant. But simply remembering to come back to the present moment, to the heart, to my love is all it takes to bring back clarity and peace.

Thank you for continuing to publish the course and this blog.

Renee said...

I have three young children, and I realized a parallel going on as I read this blog entry.

If is sit quietly, here in the kitchen, drinking my coffee, and listening to the cat purr, soaking up the words you wrote, I am also silently observing the interactions of my kids in the other room. I can hear them, but I can't see them.

All kinds of things happen among them. Pleasant exchanges, frustrations, celebrations, and the occasional slide into an impasse - egos clashing, misunderstandings raging.

I sit here and can see that nothing is happening, that they are each taking a point of view and running with it, oblivious to the others'. So much of my parenting seems to be helping them see the other person's point of view, what they saw and felt when such and such happened. It's so obvious that if you could see each one of them fully, understand them like I do, you would love them completely, warts and all.

That is the Love of the Self. It doesn't matter if sometimes we forget and fall headfirst into a melodrama, kicking and screaming about how the world has wronged us. The Self looks on, somewhat amused, content knowing that it is all just so much stuff that will blow over when we realize it was just our contracting back into our own egos. The love never wavers. It will come wash over you anytime you look for it, clearing away the misunderstandings and frustrations.

Ah ha! This is why we can start fresh each moment. Any moment we choose, we can let the Love sweep down and reset the whole thing!

My sincere gratitude for the Course. It was what I was looking for all those years I was reading book after book about meditating and Buddhism and lamenting that there was no way I could sit for hours a day and still earn a living.

Turns out, I didn't need to change anything in my life except how I understood it. The only change is in my perspective, and what a magnificent change that is!

Anonymous said...

I've been participating in the course for four years and find it to be spot on with my life. It's helped me to actually have gratitude for my karma, including MS; it is the life challenges, along with the teachings, which help me to grow. While I read my current lesson regularly (daily), I have yet to make a regular practice of reading the blog. That changes today! Thanks for the encouragement.

BreathWorks said...

I have been a student of the Course on and off, and now very on for the last twenty years. Since the first lessons were in my hands, I felt an electrical "presence" that my mind couldn't comprehend, but which I knew I was seeking my whole life.

I am blown away at my current lesson. Absolutely flabbergasted at how it's corresponding in great detail to the circumstances of my life at the moment. I don't really care any more which comes first, the circumstances or the presence of the lesson.

My current lesson starts a new section called The Inner State and suggests a whole new way of living life. Very naturally, (albeit a lot at once), my life circumstances, habits, and choices are going through an enormous transformation.

I'm grateful to have this lesson. It's like a safe, loving friend letting me know I'm on the right path, when it could be otherwise very destabilizing to be going through so many changes at once.

Thank you.

Bettina said...

Thank you Betsie for asking this question. I can totally relate to the "I have no time" sentence. I figure nowadays so many people have. Knowing that time is an illusion and can be contracted and expanded it is a deluded statement. However, time management, setting priorities and setting feasible goals is probably as important as not giving in to the negative self-talk. You are so right, that e.g. "I have no time, I am too busy" can tell me that I'm just simply doing too much on a very practical level - the feeling is talking to me. Sometimes I find myself wanting to have rools that I can relay on... it makes life so easy... but often times I'm shown that each situation is different and I have to ask questions: What is needed here, what does the situation want to tell me? I can feel how the ego is terribly resistant to asking questions and listening inside. Woaw, sometimes it feels like a huge thing and the ego makes me feel tired all of a sudden, having all these excuses, why I can't focus inside right now. That's where intention, attention and will comes in - a huge topic in the course in Volume 1. That's where we have to become warriors on the sublte plane. Warriors for silence. Luckily it is a life-long school and journey. And luckily we've got D.R. to help us getting over the biggest obstacles.

Stephen Pappas said...

Dear Ram,
Thank you for this entry. As I read it I'm my heart is expanding beyond this form. Your compassion and selflessness resonate within me. When I read my lessons it's as though I'm walking through the looking glass into a world of ease, warm and liquid elixir - a chariot to my own Truth - the shared Truth of us all - our Oneness.
I've been reading the course now for 2+ years and am continually rocked out of my comfort zone of mental self flagellation - oh Ram Thank you!
The sloughing is not complete, though I see the new and glistening Self more clearly each day. The course, the blog and you are my boon in this life!!! Words cannot express my Gratitude <3

Jane Skafte said...

Thank you for the ongoing reminders, which I need to avert the mind chatter and confusion. When I read the Course I am brought back to the One, who I came here to be.

S. Mann said...

... sitting here drinking my morning decaf and enjoying the quiet house reading my current lesson. This is the next to last one in the "relationship" series. When I started this series I knew that I had already made significant progress in my life about relationships and was curious as to what would result from reading this material.

It turns out this has been one of the only times I have not read the lessons every day during the course over the last three years. They have been invisible and not even a memory to me for about half of the time.

I had that realization this morning along with this one .... I had my first love when I was 13 ... it was so much fun. Then my family moved out of the state when I was 14. She and I wrote letters for a few yeas and then drifted apart. I have not talked to her in over 40 years.

After a series of events .... a friend dying ... someone posting a facebook page ... and a few other seemingly non related events ... she and I are back in touch with each other.

It turns out that she had been looking for me and I for her all these years ... but not until now did the events unfold to make it happen. It is a lot of fun and excitement to be connected to her today, although we live in two very different worlds .... it is a major completion for me in so many meaningful, educational, and spiritual ways.

All that is to say, this section on "relationships" has taken the lid off my life in a several tangible perspectives. As I contemplate it more wiring this to you, there are other relationship developments too in the last few weeks in my work and home - all good and helping me to expand.

This course is such a doorway ... even when I don't "think" it is ... so much unfolding for me here.

Thanks with all my heart for sharing this course DR and Kay!

Blessings, Steu

Anusuya said...

So much is available, so freely in the blog. The past two months have really surpassed all of the previous wonderful blogs you have posted here.

Am awed by the way things have changed in life through reading the lessons regularly. It isn't about outer change, although there has been a lot of that to fit along with the practice of thinking o only what we want. The inner shift has been much more profound...a full experience of coming back to the moment, back to the heart, and back to love. Truly a life at matter the outer drama.

Mark said...

So if from a higher perspective, nothing has ever happened, that all this is a dream, and that we have essentially forgotten that it is a dream, and forgotten who we really are, then it kind of makes me feel like, what is the point of doing things in the world?

Or of working hard to get a higher paying job, so that you can have more things that are supposed to bring you more enjoyment.... But in reality the enjoyment they bring always seems limited, and then you end up with more stuff, that you now have to deal with and take care of.. I find myself going back and forth. I love sitting, or walking in a beautiful nature park, and just witnessing all that goes on, with the birds, the squirrels, a river flowing, etc. When I'm doing that, it is like a meditation, and I feel totally content.

But I have my worldly training too that keeps me churning in a good job, so that I can pay all these bills for all these things that I keep collecting! In my job, and dealing with man-made things, it is a lot harder for me to maintain this same contentment and detachment.

Of course if I chose to just get rid of all my stuff, and sit in a park all the time, then I would worry about where I would sleep, and get the bits of food I seem to need once in a while. I have been experimenting with only eating when my body is hungry, and strangely I find I really need very little food.. Usually I end up eating because of a thought that I should eat, or because of some emotional discomfort, rather than because my body is actually hungry.

I find it odd that we humans seem to need houses with fancy man-made heaters and air conditioning units, and even clothing, to survive, when every other creature on the planet does fine in nature alone, with no external clothing. It does make me wonder if we could survive in nature alone again. It's like we've somehow forgot our inherent wisdom that should allow us to do this.

Life does seem like a strange game sometimes.

martia said...

I have been learning with Ram for a number of years and I can feel now the benefit of having done so when I am in the thick of what might otherwise have been experienced as a negative scenario and I can still identify with the witness. I am more able to stand back and see the big picture. There is also a far shorter recovery time now from shock and upset. This is through developing the muscle of the mind to observe my thoughts. When I find a negative thought creeping in I check it and am then able to replace it with a positive thought. I am able to look on the bright side. If this is the teaching of a delusional man then I have nothing but eternal gratitude and respect.

Synonymous said...

I read this new blog entry a couple of days ago and I'm still getting mileage from the initial blast of expansiveness I experienced. Tonight talking with my wife, describing this and that situation, but instead of the usual 10 minute diatribe, I pulled up mid sentence in minute one, saying "you know what, this is boring! We both had a good laugh.

Michael said...

Either i live in my thoughts, or I live in the Heart, in contentment, in joy. Participating in the Course helps me to become more inclined to live in the Heart and to remain grounded there when the mind gets a little agitated. The simple truth is that if I am not thinking, there is no possible way for me to feel bad. Without thoughts, all I am left with are my natural Feelings such as Love and Hospitality, which are not the result of thought or action. I think of it this way: the color of the sky is blue. The sky doesn't have do or think anything to become blue. In the same way, the natural "color" or feeling of my Heart is contentment.

Bettina said...

By mistake I posted this in the last months blog, but it's supposed to be here: Over and over I'm amazed about the power of words that comes through the blog entries, people's comments and even more through the course. Also I feel so incredibly grateful for D.R.'s generosity of dedicating so much of his time to answer all of our questions that arise on the path of life, doing sadhana. He is not doing it for money, but because it is his hearts calling – what a huge service. There are not many places where you can get such high quality answers just like that in your own home. - What can we give back? Probably D.R. would answer: Apply the principles it in your life...

I just had this experience regarding getting some answers from D.R. in the last month's blog, when I asked 4 related questions, that I was carrying around with me for quite some time. D.R.'s answers were like a lesson in itself, for I felt ALL of him so present in bringing it to the point - it was like a flood of wisdom being poured onto me, and still in a very digestable way. Something within us knows and therefore understands. In this way I experience very often an inner YES, reading the words, along with some relief inside: „This is how it is.“ I guess these are the moments of aligning with the Truth, when a sublte correction of undestanding has happened. Therefore the course has become a lighthouse on my path - I wouldn't want to live without it anymore, for life has just become so much richer. Everything that happened in the past starts to make even more sense. Also the present feels much lighter and the future is lit with faith that all's well, that we are taken care of. Everything that doesn't feel along these lines I can take as a content for looking at it more closely with the help of the course principles. Sometimes just reading two pages lifts the mood or expands the experience of a situation. Slowly, being now in the third year of the course, I see the truth of D.R.'s words to just read the course, for all questions will be answered in the process. I admit, I feel attached to the course, however, it's probably one of the best attachments that you could have.

So much love to all of you who partake in this journey, and to you D.R. and Kay a great Thank You beyond words.

BreathWorks said...

Marta says ~ "...and I can still identify with the witness. I am more able to stand back and see the big picture. There is also a far shorter recovery time now from shock and upset."

I so relate. Your comment had me see and appreciate how working with, and I don't just mean passively reading for entertainment, the Course has helped me develop and continue to develop Will so that accessing the Witness and shorter 'recovery' times are more available.

There's just no replacement for the self-effort that draws Grace and the Grace that inspires more skillful self-effort.


Sarah said...

I am now re-reading the blog like I re-read the Lessons. The ever expanding awareness of how we create our own reality is unfolding Grace. The ever expanding awareness of Grace now walks with me through out my day and opens me to experience the infinite Love we are all truly created from. Thank you.

Christine S. Boyd said...

Renee, I relate to your first comment. Bettina, I appreciate your inner questions.
Learning to let go of limited beliefs is a process. It takes patience, perseverance, courage and support. I find all these through the Course. Over these four years I've viewed the Course as a source of practical tools and the inner transformation. One application is to identify what beliefs limit me and one by one, let them go, layer by layer. There’s an energy just in reading each current lesson a few times that expands my awareness -- of a situation, my reactions and fears, and over time with the Course I see how I am changed. I value the deliberate repetition that sometimes occurs because every belief is multi-layered. One ability I’ve gained through this process is better listening with less impatience. This I realize is one form of compassion. This is really important to the team where I work and at this time in my life, that's where I spend 80% of my waking life so it's really very significant. The Course is a priceless benefit in my life. Thanks Ram and Kay for this!
With love,

Mary said...

Mark, I loved the question you raised. So wonderful that you are "going back and forth" at least. I don't have an answer as to how to achieve that true balance other than continually working on simplifying my life and trying to do the next right thing from a place of love. Have you considered that you may not need that higher paying job but rather a job that brings you true satisfaction and allows you to contribute and also gives you time for being with nature and meditating?

Still working on finding the balance, though it is certainly becoming easier to do the things that bring me simple joy and gratitude now that I am retired and on a fixed income. I just have to make due. No more striving. Yet I still seem to create all kinds of obligations for myself to fulfill.

vickie said...

yes Ram--this has helped clarify something and helped in some way and it's perfect timing--as usual. A current "situation" is challenging my ability to stay in the truth of the moment and it is incredibly helpful to watch my tendency to jump into the melodrama and choose instead to come here, remember and refocus. Thank you. And a question--my current lesson talks about the futility of euphoria and it's inevitable creation of is bliss different from euphoria? My sense of it is that euphoria is when my mind is thrilled to have gotten everything it wanted..while bliss is my heart knowing that in truth, I have everything I need. That euphoria is on the level of mind and polarity,and bliss is on a completely different level? If we practice thinking positive thoughts, aren't they by their nature of being on the level of duality, inevitably going to also create their opposite? Or is it that certain thoughts make it easier to go beyond the level of thought altogether? Anyway, again, yes, your writings do make a difference and are very much appreciated--many thanks!

D. R. Butler said...

Vicki, that is a very good question: what is the difference between bliss and euphoria?

Euphoria comes and goes, and is often entirely dependent on something outside ourselves. It has an opposite--dysphoria--which is a combination of depression, anxiety, and restlessness. Anyone who has ever used drugs to experience euphoria might recall that, after a while, the unavailability of the drug will lead us into a state of dysphoria, which is basically what is experienced during what we call 'withdrawal.'

On the other hand, bliss has no beginning or end, and never fluctuates. Only our awareness of it fluctuates. It is dependent on nothing outside our own Self. It has no 'opposite,' and therefore exists simultaneously with any mental or emotional state. We can be in a state of grief and still experience bliss. It is much deeper, and lasts infinitely longer, than 'euphoria'--which is always only a temporary phenomenon. This is followed by this thought: 'How do I get more of that?'

Bliss is always available, 24/7, although we do have to refine our awareness enough so that we can always be in touch with our inner bliss no matter what happens outwardly, in the karmic movie, or the world of objective humanity.

Leigh Ellis said...

I just wanted to say to Breathworks thank you for your comment. It expressed exactly my experience this month of reading the last lesson on relationships and moving to the first lessons on the Inner State.
Actually, I had written to Ram to ask for an answer to a question and the next day when I read my new lesson for the first time, the answer was right there in great detail.
I am one of those people who is a "lurker". I read the blog but rarely comment to share my inner feelings or experiences. It has become crystal clear to me that if I want to be free of those pesky egotistical melodramas and live in the truth of the present moment, resting in the Self, I need to use all of the tools that Ram has so lovingly made available to us.
In gratitude,

Jake said...

Dear Ram,

Lately, I've been having real difficulty maintaining a deep still state in meditation. I'll sit for hours and be kind of hovering around the deep still space without being able to sink into it and I become frustrated as a result. The deeper I try to go, the more frustrated I become. I notice I go through cycles where this seems to be the case until one day it's just effortless again. Seems to come and go. I'm wondering if the reason this is happening is because I might be developing some type of attachment to the emptiness of the Self? I'm therefore trying to get something that can't be gotten. Any light you could shed on why this kind of thing happens would be amazing. Would love to hear from anyone who has experience with the stuck ness I'm referring to and their experience.

With love,

rico said...

Jake, I've come to realize that the purpose of meditation is to become familiar with what it is that's aware of the meditation. That awareness is present at all levels in meditation. Once we become intimately familiar with that awareness in meditation it's much easier to notice it when our eyes are open and we're functioning in the world. Meditating with a goal to achieve a particular experience can be like a dog chasing its own tail.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jake
A Great Being once said to me that it really was none of my business what 'happened' in meditation.
When I did a lot of formal meditation sometimes there were 'profound' experiences, sometimes great insights, sometime kriyas, sometimes I recalled nothing, sometimes I just sat. Offer up the fruits. The Kundalini Shakti is in charge and will do what is best.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ram
I have some dear friends that are having challenging karma, especially difficult physical situations and lack of money. They have all been on the path for a long time and have great hearts.
Is it appropriate for me to wish them to have their outer karma eased? There seem to be so many that are having a hard time. I send blessings and love but haven't put extended effort into it as I am concerned it may drain me or that it is not my role.
Thank you,
Love to you and Kay,
Kaunteya <3

Mahima said...

Thanks, Vickie for posting your question about euphoria/bliss, and grateful for Ram's answer on that part. You had another question in there that was right in sync with one I have been asking - Would love to hear this one answered.

"If we practice thinking positive thoughts, aren't they by their nature of being on the level of duality, inevitably going to also create their opposite? Or is it that certain thoughts make it easier to go beyond the level of thought altogether?"

I really appreciate this blog, AND thanks to everyone for all the feedback wonderful feedback about the Course. I've printed out Lessons 1 & 2 and I do feel a peacefulness after reading. I will continue, re-reading - and right now I would say likely will JOIN In with YOU :) Thanks so much, Ram for all of your beautiful sharing here, on FB -- and the lessons I have read so far ~ Peace and blessings to ALL ~

Karen Jo Shapiro said...


See, that's the thing… what we FEEL or tune into when we read the lessons. I have been taking them for four years now and EVERY time I dip in or read the entire lesson again I am opened to touching a lighter, higher space within me. It feels Good, and as you say, peaceful.

So I continue and will continue to take them because of my own experience and feeling reading the lessons, and because of the way my mind and life has been upgraded since beginning.

Please do continue to join us Course-ers in the lessons. You will be so so happy you did!

Love KJ

Jake Birdsong said...

Dear Ram,

In my current lesson you discuss the four upayas. I have a question in regards to anavopaya; “the realm of practices.” My question is what exactly constitutes a practice?

“Meditation, chanting, mantra repetition, hatha yoga, mental exercises, studying scriptures, and performing rituals” are definitely methods chosen by many who are attempting to bring themselves back to the moment, but I’m wondering if the word ‘practices’, as it’s used here to explain anavopaya, also includes any method one uses to consciously come back to the Truth of the moment. For instance, I often times use running, listening to music, playing guitar, driving, as methods for coming back to the moment. I genuinely consider these activities to be spiritual practices of mine. Here, I’m defining a ‘practice’ as anything that brings me back to the heart. Could anything, performed with the conscious intention of bringing one back to the present moment, constitute a ‘practice’ as it relates to anavopaya?

Thank you for always helping me understand.

Also, thank you Rico and Anonymous for your clarity and insight :)


Harriette said...

Hi Ram - A question, please: Your first teacher talked about Omnipresence in a paragraph ending with the comment, "Learn therefore to Breathe correctly." How does proper breath affect the Whole and what is proper breath? Does this have to do with the breath pattern discussed in an early lesson? Thank you for any comment. Love-love . . .

D. R. Butler said...

Jake, it is great that you 'use running, listening to music, playing guitar, driving, as methods for coming back to the moment.' This in itself is greater than knowing what upaya it would be considered as.

If you are using your daily activities as means to focus on the Truth of the Present Moment, then you are combining the first 3upayas all at once. You could say that this, truly practiced, would be the highest practice of all.

D. R. Butler said...

Harriette, we inhabit the physical body through breath. It is truly the breath of life. We enter the body with the first inhalation and leave the body with the last exhalation. The more consciously we breathe, the more present we are. If we don't even know that we are breathing, then how could we know anything else?

Consciously practicing slow, deep inhalations, and then slow, long exhalations fills the body and mind with prana, the vital force that activates, animates, and enlivens the body we live in. If we should stop breathing, we can no longer exist in this physical world.

This is the basic understanding. Everything else we need to know is covered in the lessons of the Course at a pace that leads to a full understanding.

D. R. Butler said...

Kaunteya, your question above is answered completely in last month's comments in my answers to Bettina's questions. It was an excellent exchange and I suggest that you review it for the answer to your question.

D. R. Butler said...

Jake, above you say, 'I'll sit for hours and be kind of hovering around the deep still space without being able to sink into it and I become frustrated as a result. The deeper I try to go, the more frustrated I become.'

So 'who' is it that is sitting and hovering and is unable to sink in? Of course you're frustrated, because you have a case of mistaken identity.

See, You ARE the 'deep, still space.' You are not different from that. It is the ego that sits and hovers and is unable to sink. All of that exists in duality.

The highest goal already lies within you as your own Self. There is nothing to seek or attain. It is simply a matter of realizing the Truth of your own Nature, which is eternally changeless.

vickie said...

thank you Ram for your insights into euphoria and bliss. The notion of refining one's awareness to be able to recognize bliss no matter how the drama of the day presents itself is particularly helpful. Like Mahima, I wondered about the rest of my questions...and when no further explanation was offered I looked at them again. In referring to my current lesson I realized it said "think of what feels good and pleasant", not "think positive thoughts". It's not about fantasizing about a shiny car or a new fancy boat or new and improved's about remembering bliss, the most pleasant of pleasant experiences, the joy at the heart of it all. If there is no bliss present then it's a reminder of having merely become over identified with some aspect of some melodrama? Bliss by its nature is an aspect of the Witness,thus an indication of being present to the truth of the moment? And as my mind ponders too much, I feel myself moving away from my own contentment and so time to stop:-) but thank you again, as always.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ram for responding and Jake for asking ......just who is it trying to do and be all these things and reminded me ....just who is seeing thru all these pairs of eyes reading all these lessons and meeting here in this beauiful space/place together! It is the one I....the one witness self in all our different forms...wonderful toknow and recognize it and to remember it in all our present moments...which is why we are all here!! You just made my day!

Anonymous said...

Actually, I should have said you guys made my moment...because I cant remember to stay there for a full day yet..which is why I just keep moving along with the lessons.

hoppyglowingdarren said...

Hello DR and community: I love this course! I am in a busy season of life right now working many jobs but my process has been to go to my local bar when I get a free moment, order a hoppy beer and sit with my current lesson glowing out of my iPhone. It has been amazing to see the change in myself. Also the changes around me. It is like the inside of me--my descriptions of things to myself-- affects not just my perception of the world, but changes the world around me. "My how you've changed since I've changed" It is a mirror!

I have been a school teacher for many years and always enjoyed my work with the most challenging kids. Students often comment that I am always smiling and that I am one of those teachers who love every day of work. Sometimes this surprised me because inside I had the thought that I should be doing something more prestigious even while having a ball in the classroom. Sometimes I fall back into that but I am getting better at accessing how wonderful is my present and I can see that eventually it will be consistent reality.

I would like to learn how to teach creative thought to my 10th and 11th grade students. I also work with another teacher who has had a visceral awakening to the fact that "this is no dress rehearsal, this is it." We don't know how to do this, but we would like to learn to teach what we wish we were taught earlier, that "what you see is what you get." I don't know where to start, so I figured I would go back to the Shakti Gawain book that got me on this path some time ago. In fact I am doing that tomorrow. I am really a fish out of water with this subject, so if DR or anyone has anything to suggest, I would love it.

Particularly helpful in the very observed world of public eduction was this DR quote about the Seer and the seen: "Most important of all, whenever you speak, always enjoy yourself...communicate experiences so vividly that your audience has their own very strong experiences."

D. R. Butler said...

Hoppyglowingdarren, it is very good that you are proving for yourself how the principles of Truth actually work in your own life once they are actually applied, and not merely 'agreed with.' A lot of people agree with the principles without bothering to actually apply them in practical ways in their own life.

Please don't ever think that you should do 'something more prestigious.' Really, who is there to impress, and how would your life be made easier even if others were impressed? Believe me, it wouldn't help you in any way.

You can teach creative thought to teenagers. I did--I share in the lessons how I wrote my first course while still in high school in the early 60's. The most important thing is that you can only teach what you have proven to yourself to be true. You can teach what you actually know, but if you are only passing on something you read or heard elsewhere, not much of value will be communicated.

Talk to them on their own level, and in ways that make it fun and interesting to them. It shouldn't be something to be taken very seriously. It is a subject best taught in a lighthearted way. Just be yourself and have a clear intention, and then everything will happen perfectly all on its own.

Vandita said...

I have been reading, from a source that I trust, that the food we eat, the way we breathe, the way we live... will determine if we are 'killing ourselves slowly' and die earlier, or if we can live a longer and more fulfilling existence.

I heard you mention several times that the moment of birth, as well of the moment of 'death', are already set up and they are chosen by us before we are born, and that is something that we cannot change.

This somehow brings some peace to my heart, and to my understanding of what´s going on with people close to me, students of mine, who are losing loved ones, since that departure did not happen accidentally, but in the exact right moment that was already pre-determined. However, I also like to think that healthy living brings a longer life. Would you please clarify this subject?

Thank you so much!

Taylor said...

Wondering if others share an experience that I have with the lessons. Most of the time, during my very first reading of a new lesson, I have the experience of feeling a very strong exalted feeling, shakti, love. I feel it mostly in my brow chakra and head and above my head. During the subsequent readings, I feel exalted as well but not to the same degree as the very first reading. It's very addicting. A good addiction. ;-)

D. R. Butler said...

Vandita says, 'I also like to think that healthy living brings a longer life. Would you please clarify this subject?'

Vandita, the ancient scriptures say the time of birth and the time of death are set simultaneously, as we have the karma to spend a certain amount of time in this physical cycle.

'Healthy living' may not add any extra years to our life, but it can certainly affect the quality of our life during the time we are here. Through 'right living' we might enjoy the last ten years of life much more than we would otherwise. The time we have here is determined by karma, but the quality and enjoyment of life is determined by how we live--and especially by how we think.

Cynthia Henderson said...

All I can say, Ram is WOW! This blog entry – which I'm just getting around to reading – completely corresponds to my experience of the past couple of days and also to some reactions from a friend when I copied and pasted one of your Facebook quotes!

I really experienced the power of truth when I was able to dismiss my mind's tendency to try to sabotage an experience of powerful inner feeling and joy, and also counter my friend's fears and resistance in a loving and compassionate way ... thank you again for this course!

Ann said...


Thanks for your answer to Vandita regarding one's life span.

I'm striving to improve my breathing pattern from shallow to deeper breathing. I've read and heard Ayurveda and Qi Gong teachers speak about breathing.

Can deeper breathing extend the life span? Is it true that we're given a certain number of breaths in a lifetime and the length of our time here is dependent on our breathing pattern?

Or is our time here from one date in time to another date in time, no matter what our breathing pattern is?

Al M said...

Death is not the opposite of life, death is the opposite of birth.

The scriptures may say that your time of death is set at the time of your birth. But how does that really affect you now? Relatively speaking it will come soon, whether it is in one year or 50 years, it is relatively soon. And when it does come, it will be now. Probably the best preparation is to become immersed in the truth of the present moment, and not worry about details like what your appointed time of death is. I imagine that the transition will be very peaceful if you are immersed in the truth of the present moment, and much more painful if you are immersed in ego. Ultimately, whether the scriptures are correct or not doesn't really matter, how can we truly prove one way or the other? Although you would think that the great yogi's of the past would, if anyone, be able to extend their life through their yogic powers, and yet so far they have all moved on. But once one has moved beyond ego, there really is nothing left to desire to live longer. The truth of who you are is ageless, has always been, and will always be.

But doing things that will improve your health, is probably a good idea. The scriptural answer does explain why some people survive certain illnesses or accidents, but remain in vegetative states sometimes for years.

Divya said...

Just getting to this as I have been working a lot these days. Love this post and being able to read your newest lesson! I notice that when I don't judge the classroom that I have been in but rather allow it to be the way that it is/was works much better for me in being at peace in the present moment. I am also noticing that if I remain the same no matter what occurs during the day that I remain at peace in the present moment. Lately, I have been looking in the mirror and noticing what I am telling myself. I am much more conscious of this and I am able to change the negative thoughts to positive ones in the moment. This has been giving me so much freedom in my life. Things are expanding in great ways that I never imagined. Thanks so much for the course D.R. and Kay<3

Vicki Hilger said...

What an interesting experience I just had. Thinking I hadn't been here for awhile, I came to the blog and noticed how the comments had grown since my last visit. I was thinking to myself - there's only really one thing I need to do here, and that is to ask - what does your first teacher mean when he says to learn to breathe correctly. I scrolled down to the middle of the comments, thinking I'd sort of pick up where I'd left off and behold- Harriette asks the question, and you answer it. How cosmic is that?

You give a lot of emphasis to a few pages of that particular lesson, pages in which the short statement on breathing is included. In fact, you say to learn the teachings in those pages well, and read them often. I decided to read those pages daily, for a long time, and practise the teachings contained in them to the best of my Intention. I want to know if the teachings on becoming the controller - director of creating my life (by controlling every thought) will bear fruit, as promised in those pages. I don't know if I will be able to control every thought, but I know that by re-reading and letting the energy of the pages go very deeply inside, there will be a shift

Before deciding to ask about the breath, I had already decided to contemplate the sentence, and each time I read it I have a deeper insight. Like most teachings, the level of the teaching is revealed through study, contemplation and practice. I can't articulate yet what arose for me yesterday. I look forward to the coming month - or three - of transformation and answers.

Taylor said...

Love the quote below from the current post. The last sentence should really peak everyone's interest. It does mine! Happy Spring everyone! love, Taylor

"There are a growing number of us around the world who have dedicated our lives to living in the Truth of the Present Moment. The central practice that we share is reading the lessons of the Course of Training sent and received via email.
The next most intense and transformative aspect of the Course is the blog and the exchanges in the comments following the entry; this aspect of the Course is available free to the public.
A more casual and lighthearted aspect of the Course is my Facebook page, where we maintain an ongoing dialogue of an elevated nature; this is also available to the public.
Other aspects of the Course are revealed in time through the process of participating in the lessons of the Course. "

Tom Mc said...

The last couple of months I have been able to have some time to myself and time to contemplate. As I reread this month's blog it became clear to me how much I have changed. I can't add any profound words to what D.R. Butler has written, but I can honestly share that it is all True and allowed me to be in touch with what really matters!
Lots of Thanks!
Tom Mc

Liora Stern said...

Hi dear Ram, I am one of your students and want to ask you something that is in my mind lately. I wonder how to relate to Alzheimer from the spiritual view point; can you comment...? Thank you so much. Peace to you, Kay, and all the people you love

Tom Mc said...

I am reading one of my Lessons and realized something when I was contemplating, "Why would anyone want to make a negative emotion a priority for even a single precious moment of life?"

I absolutely agree about the stupidity of giving negative emotions any priority.
However, embarrassingly, I don't feel I value or appreciate the preciousness of each moment.
I have gratitude for what I have received through Grace and for external things like health, family, comfort... this Course etc.

Here is my question:

Often I seem to be in a rush to leave this body. What is it about being in THIS BODY that is so precious? I want to fully appreciate the preciousness of each moment and am open to fuller understanding.
Thank you!
Tom Mc

Mark said...

That is a great question Tom. I feel I need to contemplate that too. We are here, that is quite something in itself. Why is anything here at all? If reincarnation is really true, which I believe it is, then we'll be back again and again, and have probably been here thousands and thousands of times before. But perhaps the key is the moment. The present moment that exists now is so incredibly precious because we have the ability to do or think or create whatever we want now. If we waste a "now" moment, then we have lost, in a sense, an opportunity to create more joy or more happiness.

Anonymous said...

I have been a student of your written works for about one and a half years. I was wondering if you could make some clarifications for two questions. The first, I have read other material that stated that God did not create cancer, war, and disasters. Therefore it is not real because we have created our personal illusion of the world based on our descriptions. However, in lesson 41 you made a comment about the Guru Principle and stated that God/Guru/Self is the source of everything. I am rather confused.

The second question concerns that fact that I am bothered by another who is a procrastinator. The procrastination has led to numerous financial issues over the years. However, in several of your lessons, you have stated that we should remember that another is temporarily under the influence of a samskara, and we should have true compassion for him/her. I am struggling with this because the behavior is affecting my personal finances and has for many years. If this is one of my aversions, and I am using it to find blame with the other person, how do I get my brain and heart to shift gears? This is a major block for me. Can you shed some light on this question also?

D. R. Butler said...

I will catch up with all questions in a day or two. Meanwhile, I will not post a new entry until the beginning of April, so you have plenty of time to get your questions in.

D. R. Butler said...

Liora Stern asked about understanding 'Alzheimer from the spiritual view point.'

Almost all 'mental problems' arise from manas being out of alignment with ahamkara--or the conscious mind and ego. In 'normal' people the mind and ego are aligned with each other.

I have only had personal experience with two such cases, one was Kay's mom and another was Kay's older sister. Her mom simply lived in the present moment; she just couldn't remember anything. She actually became happier and more lighthearted when she couldn't remember the past. In many ways she was more interesting than she had been when 'normal.'

Kay's sister has a worse case, yet she smiles at us when we go to see her. In fact, they had to take her off some medication for a procedure, and once the medication was stopped, she started having memories again.

From a 'spiritual' perspective, it's no different from anything else. It's not better or worse than anything else. All conditions and experiences are manifestations of the One Being that permeates and pervades the Universe.

If you relate to a person with Alzheimers, do your best to be lighthearted and cheerful with them, and there is a good chance they will follow your lead.

D. R. Butler said...

Tom Mc says, "I don't feel I value or appreciate the preciousness of each moment.

Here is my question:

What is it about being in THIS BODY that is so precious? I want to fully appreciate the preciousness of each moment and am open to fuller understanding."

Tom, being in this body is so precious because it carries a precious cargo. What if you could actually experience that nothing is inside this body other than God or Consciousness? What if you were truly aware that you are carrying around the Lord everywhere you go?

If you felt alone with God, would you experience the preciousness of the moment? Well, in truth, you are alone with God right now.

When you fully understand this, you live in the consciousness of the preciousness of life.

D. R. Butler said...

Tom Mc says, "I don't feel I value or appreciate the preciousness of each moment.

Here is my question:

What is it about being in THIS BODY that is so precious? I want to fully appreciate the preciousness of each moment and am open to fuller understanding."

Tom, being in this body is so precious because it carries a precious cargo. What if you could actually experience that nothing is inside this body other than God or Consciousness? What if you were truly aware that you are carrying around the Lord everywhere you go?

If you felt alone with God, would you experience the preciousness of the moment? Well, in truth, you are alone with God right now.

When you fully understand this, you live in the consciousness of the preciousness of life.