Friday, July 11, 2014

A Birthday to Be Remembered

July is usually a very special month for us.  It is our birthday month.  My birthday was July 4.  Kay’s birthday is July 20.  Since we got married on Kay’s birthday, our wedding anniversary is also on the 20th.  And the first ever entry of the blog, which I strongly recommend everyone go back and read in the archives, was posted in July of 2008.  I also began the actual writing of Lesson 1 of the Course in July of 2008.  That particular lesson has since been rewritten, to represent a more up-to-date overview of the Course as it has evolved.
This July, however, things were a bit different.  The day before the 4th, a twister came through town and heaved what turned out to be 15,500 pounds of tree trunk and limbs on the top of our house, crashing through the ceiling of our bedroom and over the stairway.  Water was dripping on the stairway from above, and we had no idea how much water might be in the attic. 
To be ‘safe,’ we moved everything from one half of the house and piled it all into the other half of the house.  Our mattress lies on the floor of the den, where I sit and write, so now I can suddenly prop my feet upon by bed as I write.  I am listening to a new mix my son Shane, the musician with Quilt, and solo as Olden Yolk, made for me.  The song currently playing is John Lennon singing his beautiful version of ‘Stand By Me.’  Next up will be Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello in a stunning performance of ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad.’  Wikipedia says this about Tom Joad: “Tom Joad is a fictional character from John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.  Henry Fonda portrayed the character in John Ford's film adaptation.”
On July 4th, my birthday, we got out of our half-wrecked house, attended a movie, and then went to a Japanese restaurant in downtown Scranton.  We ended up at a table for two next to the windows at the end of the bar.  Next to us was another table where a couple of gentlemen sat and spoke very gently.  We were so close to each other that even as they spoke quietly, I could hear much of what they said.
It was not the way ordinary people talk.  They never mentioned melodramas going on in their lives.  They spoke of literary matters, of writers and masterpieces.  They spoke in a very aware way that is rare among people.  The one across from me was very friendly, and initiated conversation with us, asking us about our lives, about Scranton, and when Kay told him it was my birthday, he looked me very warmly in the eyes, reached out to shake my hand, and very sincerely wished me a happy birthday.
There was something very familiar about him, as though I already knew him somehow.  He looked familiar, and I recognized his voice and mannerisms.  As they rose to leave, and wished us a good night, I asked him if anyone had ever told him that he looks like Graham Nash (of the iconic musical group, Crosby, Stills, and Nash).  With great warmth and humility he said, “I AM Graham Nash.”
I’ve loved their music since the ‘60s, and before the three of them got together to create the most perfect harmonies, his high voice had been utilized as the lead singer of the Hollies.  David Crosby was from the Byrds.  Steven Stills was from the Buffalo Springfield, as was Neil Young, who ultimately joined them.  Did you know these things?  They are part of modern Western musical culture.
Anyway, it was the way that he confirmed his identity that opened up a lightness and warmth in my heart.  I’ve been around famous people before; I wasn’t in awe.  Not many of them, however, maintain the lightness and humility that Graham Nash showed.  I was happy to have spent some time with him, and it was the perfect topping for an otherwise up-and-down birthday.  Next year, for my 70th birthday, I intend for it to be very special, in whatever way it happens.  It will be the one and only time in this lifetime that I will ever turn 70.  (If I don’t make it, you can whisper among yourselves that Ram thought he would make it to 70, but he was wrong.)
I had a dream last night that two men were trying to convince me of the benefits of yoga, meditation, and positive creative thinking, as though I was a complete newbie and knew nothing.  They were telling me that it was a great way to relax and let go of stress.  Of course, as usual, I went along with their assumptions, and enjoyed listening to them.  Then I suddenly started levitating until I was above their heads and began flying around them.  One of them exclaimed, 'You can fly?'
'Of course,' I replied from above. 'It's one of my main ways of relaxing and letting go of stress.'
Going back to my recent 69th birthday, this process of aging is something I have become keenly aware of for a few years now.  On the inside I feel the same that I did when I was 35, or 18, and perhaps all the way back to the beginning of memories.  So much has happened, so many people have come and gone.  People change so much over a lifetime.  I have seen so many friends, movie stars, and musicians as they were young and handsome and just starting out, and now they have grown old or have even taken the grand transition.  Yet you know on the inside they are always the same as they ever were.
So many people were famous and ‘the talk of the town’ a century or two ago.  They might have initiated important advancements that still affect our lives today.  Now, though, no one even remembers they were ever here.  If you wanted to know, for example, who invented the first washing machine, you might be able to research that on the Internet, but it is not something many know about today.  We simply assume the washing machine is supposed to be there, and a dryer, too, but we rarely consider that someone’s creative imagination made it possible to take care of and clean our clothes much more easily than it would have been otherwise.  What if we still had to take them down to the river and scrub them?
Did you ever think about that?  I would be amazed if you had.  Do you know who Andrew Carnegie was?  He never stepped into a college until he donated a small fortune to it.  Surely you know who Henry Ford was.  He was never able to attend college either.  They, and others like them, succeeded in their creations because of how they thought and how they focused their mind.
My first Teacher wrote in 1954:  “Both Mr. Ford and Mr. Carnegie stated that they could ‘see’ their product as mental pictures long before they ever became materialized.  They were creators: creating NEW and BETTER things spiritually, in thoughts which, of course, were the patterns or CAUSES, which compelled desired results.  Most of their employees didn’t know the meaning of concentration, or of insight, or of creative thinking; how could they?  They were too much concerned with their own selfish fears and worries; they were employed; they enjoyed steady salaries, or wages; and they depended upon their incomes and their jobs; why be bothered about Personal Development?”
This blog entry has a life of its own.  I am intrigued to see what comes next.
Since writing the above, another storm came through and knocked out electricity for miles around.  Everything just stopped.  The world became dark and quiet.  I am writing this now in a motel near Scranton.  We can’t stay in a house without electricity when there is so much to do, so many people to keep up with.  A new blog entry was not going to be completed there, so we had to come here.  Kay has many participants of the Course to keep up with; she couldn’t do it in a dark room. 
So, hearing that the electricity might be back on in a couple of nights from now, we are doing our best to remain in harmony with our karma, which is about the most any of us can do.  However, someone told us that 26 trees were uprooted between the electrical sub-station and our house, with wires down all along the way.  It will be a grand surprise if we actually have power in just two more nights, but I will be positive and acknowledge the possibility.
It takes will power to focus attention on what can be done that has positive and pleasant consequences instead of moaning about what can’t be done.
For people who are reading this hoping to learn something specific, I will share this excerpt from one of the lessons of the Course:
Strange as it seems, our own words create and sustain negativity.  There is nothing outside the meanings we ourselves give to things that can possibly affect us.  No matter what another person does or says, it has no effect on us whatsoever unless we (1) give a meaning to it that will upset us and (2) take it personally.  No matter what another person does, it is between him and his God.  There is no greater folly than blaming our own negative emotions and hurt feelings on someone else.
“The meanings we assign to things are what affect us—not the things themselves.”
The previous two paragraphs, taken from the lesson, are very important.  Don’t let them go in one eye and out the other.  They are worthy of great contemplation.  I had to contemplate them a lot before I could even come close to writing them.
I am happy that you have met me here is this expansive space.  The blog, for participants of the Course, is to be considered an important aspect of the Course—especially the question-and-answer interactions in the comments that follow this writing.  The blog is also freely available to the public, so if you benefit from it and enjoy it, please send the link to anyone who might be interested, or share it in various forms of social media you might participate in.
Some have considered joining us in the Course, but have not yet dived in.  My own perspective is that anything and everything is possible through the Course in all its many forms, although many do not recognize certain forms the Course comes in, and think something else is happening instead. 
Perfect understanding is that all of Life is the Course, and the Course trains us to experience Life in the present moment, which is the only time the Truth of Being exists.  It is best to not make any assumptions about the Course until actually trying it yourself to see what might happen in your life as a result.
Thanks again for joining me here.  May we meet again often.  Please feel free to leave your comments or question in the comments section following this.  The best way to get to the comments is to click on the title of this entry.  Then the comments will naturally follow.

 For information about the Course of Training and a free first lesson, write:


Stephen said...

Thank you Dear Ram.
You share yourself totally and are always true to the Present Moment.
I experience you and Kay as Rama and Sita, ever sharing the perfection of each seemingly mundane or profane moment with such high and perfect Love.
I am buoyed by the simplicity with which you share the profoundest teachings for life in this world and beyond.
Thank you for lighting the way .
I guess God wanted you to really remember your 69th birthday .
I send you and Kay my deepest gratitude and best wishes for the new experiences life is presenting you and us - we are one <3

Anonymous said...

Thank you for getting our lessons out to us like clock work during the storm!
Happy to hear you are both safe and your house is still standing.
Did Socks keep his socks on?
Great example from our lessons of no matter what is going on in the outer...stay focused in the present
momemt and keep moving!!
Love and gratitude

Divya said...

Well Ram all I can say is that no matter where you are you always have the right words for me to contemplate and make a difference in my life. I have written them down so I can contemplate them this week. I was affected by what someone said about me at work this week. I did take it personally. Now, I am in the process of letting it go and coming back into balance inside of myself. I am needing to be gentle with myself and to forgive myself for getting sucked down that complicated mind space that gives meaning to things. Thank you for sharing even in a time when your life is changing by the moment. May all things come into harmony. Love to you and Kay.

Tom Mc said...

"There is no greater folly than blaming our own negative emotions and hurt feelings on someone else.

“The meanings we assign to things are what affect us—not the things themselves.” "

These teachings have profoundly enriched my life, and empowered me. They may seem like easily understandable concepts but they are actually quite subtle and so opposite to our conditioning. I huge shift happens when they actually become part of our beingness. When I look back a few years I read the same concepts and thought, "that's nice." but I didn't get it until they sunk in deeper and deeper as I read the lessons.
However, now when I hear of your recent 'catastropies' I smile and laugh! I mean I wish you all the best, and want you to be happy and well.... but, I still smile and laugh.
Love to both Kay and you!
Tom / Kaunteya

S. Mann said...

DR and Kay,

For the first time that I can recall, I have been awaiting your blog post. I missed you presenting one in June and am so happy to come visit your blog after dinner tonight and find this new posting. Thank you!

You are so normal, that is what I am taking away from this one right now. Yeah, I know that you say that in the lessons, over and over, but it struck a real cord in me tonight. Normal and yet so very present and in touch with your heart. As always you inspire me ... to be more of me: present in the moment and in touch with my heart.

There is a noticeable syncronicty in my life right now. That sounds weird. I guess there is always a syncronicty but now I am just able to see/feel it? My current lesson is bringing that to the surface and so too is this blog post.

The juggernaut .... while reading your post I felt this level of syncronicty in a wordless way as energy, while at the same time recognizing how entirely whole it felt compared to the "command and control" persona that I am used to presenting myself as ....

Some real triumph going on in my sadhana/journey this month.

Really enjoy the insights and revelations that arise from reading the lessons and your writing. Besides the pointed wisdom and Truth .. there is this unfolding within that unveils so much more of me and life ... naturally enriching my daily experiences with more depth.

Appreciate your reminder about the power of creative thought. Back in June, around my birthday, I committed myself to being more aware of my thoughts - as they happen - and from that am discovering new levels of diligence ... ha ha.

You rock my world, sending love and blessings, Steu

Ghayas said...

Thank You Ram for transmitting the Principles, and for shedding the Light even when your town is plunged in physical darkness. I appreciate how you emphasized the importance of the paragraphs about "giving meanings" to situations. (I'll remember it next time I feel inclined to blame my wife for something she said or did not say, and did or did not do...I'll be more creative with positive meanings and descriptions..for the sake of my own state at least)

Yvananda said...

Hello Ram,
thank you for sharing yourself from your heart, it do touch mine everytime. I am always surprised at how many celebritys you have been in contact with. Even though you don't look for them, they are part of your life and that make me wonder how life is so inpredictable. I am also surprised at how simple you manage your life in midst of crisis. It says a lot in itself. Even thought I am far (Montreal), I want to offer you my help in any way you need. If I can do it, I will. You probably received many offer, still, I wanted to offer mine. Shubh Gurupurnima !

Sarah said...

Thank you for another blog post. Each one is like an additional lesson. SO glad things are smoothing out around your homestead and all are safe.

A question has arisen. In "What you think is What You Think is What You Get", if I find myself in a not so pleasant pattern of thought, I shift it as soon as possible and replace it with a positive more affirming thought or visualization. Elsewhere you have mentioned that even low level "fears" can manifest. As long as we keep shifting out of unpleasant negative thought patterns, does that transform the negative thought energy successfully?

Thank you for this space to share Living in the Truth of the Present Moment..

With Eternal Gratitude, Sarah

Cynthia Henderson said...

Happy Gurupurnima!

Thank you Ram and Kay for your tireless work on getting the lessons and blog out, come what may! I am also grateful that neither of you sustained any injuries during the storms, and offer my prayers for a fast repair of your home.

Thank you again for the reminder about not taking things personally or assigning negative meaning to the words of others ... this is so very difficult, but I am beginning to see how detrimental that habit is to my life and happiness.

Often, I learn of planetary influences that exacerbate negative interactions with other people, and I'm trying my best not to take THOSE personally either! (dog-gone planets!)

Man! Witness consciousness is such hard work at times! {:-D

Scott Marmorstein said...

It's funny you mention laundry. I've been writing some chapters that had been lost in a novel (2nd one in the series of 3) just recently and it mentioned the old fashioned way of doing laundry because it's describing the early 1800's. I can honestly say I have actually thought about who has made every kind of thing because my fascination and curiosity for all things technological has always been strong in me. Thank you for sharing here and for still being alive. And when you're 70 I'll silently whisper, "Ram didn't know for sure he'd make it this far, but I did!" And if I am wrong you can whisper in the hereafter that I was wrong. :)

Hopefully you're 70th will be filled with a lot of great magic and happiness, where nothing will be destroyed and great joy is shared amongst all!

Cheri Catt said...

It seems you write such simple words that are designed to keep me pondering. In a recent lesson, this is just a paraphrase of what you wrote...we make up a story about something, then we get mad at the story we just made up and then we get mad at the other people in the story. I will be laughing every time I hear the start of a new story and more likely I will be unable to fabricate any more stories. Thank you! Cheri

Jake Birdsong said...


Thank you for this blog entry. You're bottom-lining always help move my understanding forward. "The meanings we assign to things are what affect us - not the things themselves."

What's new for me is that we don't need to avoid any situations/circumstances simply because we're worried about so and so doing that thing they always do that we can't stand. I don't have to expend energy trying to prevent that outer scenario from manifesting because the true source of agitation is in my approach (description and meaning of that description).

It's absolutely mind-boggling how many levels of understanding there are. What's even more amazing is that I've already had this same break-thru in understanding many times before, yet it STILL feels new and exciting. It's interesting how newness comes from repetition - not exactly intuitive.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Naganath said...

The latest lessons seem so much more essential (i.e.--full of essence) and powerful. Or is it just me?

Jean said...

This blog post was like a really good thorough massage--I could feel the negativities dropping away one by one and peace revealing itself once again. After two months of slow post op recovery, I'd unconsciously allowed my thinking to become negative, one thought at a time. Your post was just what the cosmic Doctor ordered.
Once again, D.R., thanks and love.
And happy anniversary to you and Kay.

D. R. Butler said...

Naganath, both are true. The lessons are getting more essential and powerful, and so are we as we read and reread them and practice the principles contained within them.

Darren Chase said...

I have a question about the "How Feeling Creates Reality" lessons.

I have had a hard time integrating the lessons on "feeling" because I don't fully grasp the concept of feeling. At first the idea "think of what you want, create the feeling that it is already so, and you will find that the willpower to bring it into being is a natural outcome" seemed just out of reach because I didn't know what I wanted. I guess I thought of "want" as a career objective or next-step-in life type of want. The fact of the matter is I don't know what I want. Or maybe I don't want anything other than to live more flowingly.

I found I was trying to think and think of what I wanted in order to summon the feeling, assuming thought is first. Then I noticed that the describing and explaining thoughts I was examining had something behind them like a pre-thought or a symbol. Those wordless symbols have feeling to them. Instead of listening to the words or creating new words to describe the thoughts, I listened to these symbols and concentrated on orchestrating them into a more positive feeling, even the feelings about the past.

I know that's a lot of words there, but this is the only way I've been able to understand the concept of feeling. All my other attempts to access it were muddled by this idea of "want." I really can't imagine anything to want other than flow or insight. Does this sound ok to work with for now or should I work with something more finite like health or money? I fear somehow I am skipping steps. I would appreciate any guidance and I thank you very much.

D. R. Butler said...

I appreciate your question, Darren. Maybe you don't "fully grasp the concept of feeling" because a concept cannot capture or contain feeling. Feeling transcends concept, as a tree transcends the sapling that began it.

Also you have confused feeling that something is already real with desire or wanting something. You said, "Or maybe I don't want anything other than to live more flowingly."

You know, this is also all I want. If I consider having a desire, my desire is to be in harmony with everything that arises in life--with all conditions, situations, and other people. My desire was, as the scripture says, "Remain content with what comes unsought." I have also seen this translated as "Remain cheerful with what comes unsought."

It doesn't matter if we win the game. All that really matters is that we played the game well.

What I already feel as though a certain desire is already real, is simply wanting everyone to be in harmony with each other; for everyone to be happy and safe, and for all of us to develop the power of unconditional love and compassion toward each other. I feel as an already existing reality that all is going very well in this lifetime, and that I am thankfully allowed to share insight with you, for that is what I do; all I've done in the last 40 years or so, after spending my 20's as a free lance writer--and actually earning enough to live on that income without worry--is share insight with anyone who is willing and even eager to open up to something new.

I share a certain feeling, a certain state, a certain perspective, and anyone who listens openly, without resistance, without feeling as though they already know and experience it, will be open to whatever is helpful at this particular time in their karma--which includes when and where they live, as well as the physical body itself. It is simply a manifestation of karma.

There is a transmission. It took me many years to learn to accept and understand that this actually happens, as it seemed pretentious, as though I was someone special who could, through simple communication, benefit another.

Yet I have had over 40 years of observing the process and seeing what actually happens. Many people have shared their experiences, insights, and transformations with me, as a result of reading the lessons and practicing the principles. Through their feedback I learn what happens through the Course in ways I wouldn't be aware of otherwise.

So something happens when I write or speak, and certain people experience it very strongly and even profoundly, while others notice nothing whatsoever. The others might see me as a totally ordinary person, or even a dolt. The transmission only happens when one is ready for it.

I learned a long time ago not to take any of this personally. It seemed as though the Creative Force of the Universe, or God, or the Guru--all of which are the same--decided to use this body as a channel for transmission. The fact that the Guru actually turned as ordinary as me into a genuine teacher, is proof enough that the process works.

I experience the transmission, but I am not personally responsible for the transmission or the source of it or anything like that. It is simply something that happens, something I have observe happen many times.

I've gone on lots of tangents. Just know that you don't have to 'want' anything to enjoy the feeling that your life is already wonderful and perfect as it is, and all that is required in return is recognition and gratitude for the Truth of the Present Moment.

Tom Mc said...

Ram, I loved your response to Darren!
My experience is one of receiving that transmission. Again and again I have felt it, embraced it and been blessed by it.

I have been fortunate to have been given this way of connecting. Please accept and be very aware of my appreciation and gratitude!

It seems (apparently) that one of these days that body of yours is going to transition. I fully expect that 'we' will continue this exchange (unless you are finally done, LOL). Nonetheless, along with the joy I have, there will be great tears. So why wait? I thank you now! Thank you for helping me so much. As I stumble about this realm, it seems I know very little except what I have received through you. I know that over these last 30 years I have been a challenge! I hope that you have at least received some laughter from my awkwardness and feeble attempts - and that you truly feel my Love and Thanks <3
Tom Mc, (or as you say Tom Mac)

Brent F said...

Just a quick observation. I've heard Crosby, Stills, and Nash perform twice in the last few years and have noticed the great respect they have for each other. I remember Graham introducing a song by saying, "This is one of David's best songs." I could feel the joy they still have in performing together.

Brent F said...

I was struck by some of the comments related to synchronicity and by Ram's noting how he simply observes the process.

Each lesson is a gem for me. I've had to deal with irritability and anger towards family members, and had even considered pharmaceuticals to address the issue. However, through ongoing therapy and ongoing focus on the teachings in the lessons, I believe a miracle of sorts has happened. By imbibing teachings such as "Why have an opinion? Your opinions mean nothing. I don't even care about my own opinions" (paraphrase), and similar teachings about maya, judgment, and many other concepts, I am no longer reactive as I have been for years. It's hard to say how this has happened, but I've watched it with amazement and gratitude.

Similarly, in my work as a community planner I've focused on positive changes in neighborhoods and imagined what they could be, and as I've moved forward on initiatives many doors have continued to open and amazing changes have taken place. By assembling people and focusing on the vision, folks have taken hold of projects and moved them forward with great enthusiasm without my needing to shepherd them along. It's great to observe whatever is happening. I can only assume that my sadhana, my spiritual practices, are somehow allowing things to line up smoothly and incredibly. The lessons are truly life blood for me.

D. R. Butler said...

Brent, we have known each other a long time, and I can tell that you have made a lot of progress. You've always had a good heart, and been eager to serve--a marvelous quality.

I can tell that you are relating from a different place than you were during the Workshops of old in Baltimore. I have also had the delight of staying in your home a weekend or two.

Keep going in the same direction, continue doing what you're doing. It's working for you. You have much to offer people, both as individuals and as a community. Go and do what is your mission to do. A mountain of grace supports you.

D. R. Butler said...

Tom Mc, I loved your post. It is quite possibly the best comment you have written on the various online places where we meet (primarily Facebook.)

I appreciate that you gave thanks before the appointed time of the transmission.

You have always been a good sport even when I picked on you or made the ego uncomfortable. You always met everything with a smile.

You wrote: "I hope that you have at least received some laughter from my awkwardness and feeble attempts - and that you truly feel my Love and Thanks."

Yes, I have received some laughter from your attempts, and I definitely feel your Love and Thanks.

I return the Love and Thanks to you tenfold. May you always be merry, enjoying the flow of your current karmic movie.

Tom Mc said...

I enjoyed your response.
I will continue to contemplate:
"I appreciate that you gave thanks before the appointed time of the transmission."
Of course my mind at first thinks, "He must have meant transition". but no.
Thank you, LOL

Brent F said...

Ram, as always, thanks for your kind words and support. My "mission"--the only reason I can see for being born in this lifetime--is to love others unconditionally. I haven't gotten to the unconditional stage all the time yet, but that is my goal. Through service to others my intention is that unconditional love will eventually be there.

I believe that everyone acts in their own self-interest. The issue is how broadly one sees one's own interest. As a Buddhist (such as my wife) would say, I act to alleviate the suffering of all sentient beings. Boy, if we all had that view of our self-interest, what an incredible world of bliss this would be! Thankfully the lessons and the blog offer constant opportunities to grow in understanding that ultimate self-interest is the constant experience of the Self.

Renee said...

Awesome blog post for me. I thank you! Loved falling into the rhythm of your words. I'm feeling very at peace and in harmony after reading, as usual, and continue to be so grateful for your words and the Course and the community here.

Thinking of you both,

María said...

Toma Mac, ditto!!!!!

I can relate to everything every one shares and Ram I honor, your love, your life, your transmissions and The Course more than you could ever imagine.

How lucky can you get!!!

All my love and eternal gratitude dearest friend,


Jake Birdsong said...

Dear Ram,

In my current lesson you write:

“A common aspect of the egotistical melodrama is that we think we have to dissect and analyze it, think about it over and over, talk about it to whoever will listen, and discuss it to death until we figure it out. That, however, is not how understanding is gained. It is only the mind playing with itself, and the ego becomes infatuated with the play. Understanding arises when we let go of our obsession with the melodrama.”

My question is this: What does it mean to ‘process’ a difficult situation or circumstance and how do it without obsessing?

It appears to me that the understanding we are seeking from a situation or circumstance, particularly an emotionally challenging one, is brought forth at least in part through the art of processing it. It seems to me that processing involves reviewing the situation or circumstance that we’ve turned into a melodrama through our descriptions, in efforts to see what needs to be understood in order to authentically re-write the moment for ourselves and experience it in a more harmonious way. In my experience, I have needed to review the experience sometimes repeatedly in order to get a solid-enough understanding to see that difficult experience in a new and truly resonant way. At times, I have definitely felt a more obsessive quality to the processing and would love to better understand the processing process more correctly :)

With SO much love and SO much gratitude for your work and it’s participants,


Mary Louise Metz said...

Dear Ram, I've learned so much from you and Kay as you navigated the choppy waters of the birthday events smoothing them out with love, humor, and equanimity! Just another day on the beautiful river of Life. After reading this thread by my fellow students I'm left with the mantra "Be Merry...a Mountain of Grace supports you!!" That's an incredible gift for the whitewater moments! Love and gratitude, Mary Louise

S. Mann said...

Ram and Kay, thanks on your trust and confidence of passing the material along in this #35 lesson. Wow, it took my breath a way the first several times I read it. Not because it was hard to read or grasp, I was just so delighted with myself that I connected with some, like you, that was sharing the Truth... feels so good and authentic.

A lot happening in me now around stepping to an expanded power of creation and personal awareness.

As usual, I had a ton of letting go to achieve that I never considered previously, when I 'finally' stepped up to seeing a fresh look .... I became, and am, so inspired with me and my entire life to right now.

That sounds kinda corny, yet I feel so ordinary while every cell is brimming with loving content ... GREAT.

Enjoying this always surprising journey with you.

Thanks for sharing, sending,my love, Steu

D. R. Butler said...

S. Mann, yes, this is an surprising and always unexpected journey. None of us knows what will happen next--only that anything is possible.

D. R. Butler said...

Jacob Birdsong, you ask a very subtle question, which, by its very asking, shows that your contemplation is bearing fruit.

There is no similarity between processing and obsessing. The processing is simply going through what is necessary to attain the next higher or more expansive level of understanding. Obsessing is more a mental fixation, and rarely leads to true realization. Simply participating in the Course is a life-transforming process. It happens naturally without having to obsess on anything. If you have to obsess on something, then obsess on your inner Self, which is no different from pure Consciousness. Obsessing on Consciousness will only lead to your greater good.

You are a good student and participant of the Course. I wish we had more young people like you. Still, with only a few of you, I know the future of sharing knowledge and insights is in good hands.

Madhuri said...

I have just begun the Course and already feel so different, so much lighter and freer. Life is easier when I just flow harmoniously instead of resisting everything. I find myself laughing when I drop or spill something rather than cringing with angst. I went out of town to a conference last week. Going from my room to the conference in the hotel several times each day was like walking a gangplank. I walked through halls filled with bright lights, lots of revelry, loud noises and cigarette smoke. Instead of being filled with negative judgments, I practiced turning my gaze and focus inward. I was delighted at the difference in my experience. Thank you Ram and Kay for this gift!

Dave Silverstein said...

Ah...Ram, I so love this month's blog. I haven't visited in a while, yet it is the perfect moment in this eternal now. One is never late to God's party! There are so many loveable 'characters' in play here...musically, Graham Nash...then inventors like Henry Ford (and movie directors..John Ford)...and all of us! The Divine Matrix... Each one as an individual connects us to the Universal feeling of the one loving 'heart' of all....Connecting all the dots......

I've never felt such a powerful subtle 'link' to all of life....Truly, there are no words that I can write to thank you and Kay for the service you are providing in the 'sacred written word'of our Course....and I know that the 'best is still yet to come...With Gratitude and much love...Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ram,

I'm wondering if you may have any advice for me. I felt inspired to write this to ask you. I take your lessons, but wanted to post this anonymously.

My wife has been going through a very difficult year with some serious mental health challenges. She has been mostly healthy all her life, but recently she started displaying some bizarre behavior. At first we both thought it was perhaps some kind of "spiritual" experience. But as it went on, it seemed more clear that she was experiencing mania. Eventually she accepted treatment, and she has finally come off of her manic high. But now she seems to be lost in the despair of deep depression. These two extremes often go hand in hand it seems.

I read in the lessons about how "There is no way we can experience radiant health while maintaining the consciousness of illness." My wife is so depressed right now that all she can do is maintain the consciousness of illness. In fact her vision seems incredibly dark, and she just can't see anyway out. No matter what I say to her, she finds a reason why it can't help. She can't seem to believe, or latch on to any positive thoughts at all. So far her doctors don't want to give her antidepressant medication either, as they are concerned it could put her back into a manic state.

I'm wondering if you may have any advice on how I could possibly help her? Mostly I just sit with her and listen, and try to be compassionate. But I'm noticing more and more unhealthy thought patterns, that, at the very least, aren't very helpful. How does a really depressed person, forget her problems, and focus on the positive, when by its very nature, depression is a state where that seems impossible?

Thank you.

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous, I hear exactly what you mean. I hope she is under the care of a psychiatrist, and that no one else is in charge of her meds. It sounds to me like she needs meds for bi-polar disorder. Especially if she can't deal with an antidepressant, which would be my first choice for now until she gets that under control. Lexapro is effective, and I doubt it would trigger a manic episode. Otherwise, she needs something for bi-polar to balance out the chemicals in her brain.

I am supremely unqualified to offer any suggestions, but this is just what came up when I read your questions. Follow your inner feeling to do what is best.

Achla said...

Hello anonymous,

D>R is right. Your wife needs to consult a psychiatrist specializing in mood disorders. In the depressed phase, she will need an antidepressant along with a mood stabilizer. The Mayo clinic site has excellent information about Bipolar disorder.
Most psychiatry departmnents in a hospital will have a mood disorders clinic specifically for Bipolar disorder.

How do you help your wife?
I have found following D.R's advice in my present lesson, to be the most effective:" When we see love in others, it mysteriously enables them to experience love within themselves." I find it allows for a communication beyond the mind, and allows respite from the troubled mind.

With deep regards,


Anonymous said...

Dear Ram, thank you for your reply. It has been a quite a journey. She is on a medication for bipolar right now, prescribed by a psychiatrist. She is following up with a psychiatrist as well. She is not one that likes taking pharmaceuticals, so it makes it all the more challenging. Basically this whole thing has been a lesson to me that, one, you can absolutely never predict what is going to happen to you or those you love, at any moment. And two, that as much as I would like to help my wife get back to health, I feel totally powerless to do so. I wish I could wave a magic wand, or say a mantra, and she would get better. Even if I had the power to do these things, I feel that probably she needs to go through this experience, as hard as it is, for some reason - and that to take that away from her, may not ultimately be the best for the evolution of her soul. It seems the best I can do is love her, see god in her, be with her, and listen to her with compassion. Sometimes I try to remind her to look at things in a more positive light. Sometimes she seems to hear me, and other times, she just can't. I do feel that things are slowly improving for her, and I suppose I can vision her in vibrant health, while acknowledging her challenges.

Tom Mac said...

Dear D. R. / Ram:
A question about harmony:
What is 'harmony' and how do I embrace it?

In the Course Lessons, you frequently mention coming into harmony. I have sought understanding of this from several perspectives and levels.

First I thought that it was simply accepting certain situations, being tolerant and understanding. Then, when particularly intense things still haunted me, I sought to 'Let go', to replace the troubling thoughts and feelings with higher thoughts: to offer them up, to surrender them. Still, the same unresolved situations haunted me.

So, I felt I had to face up to things, to make all reasonable outer attempts to resolve and concretely deal with them, kind of a warrior stance - which I am still working on, (accompanied by some inner pain). I am also working through a detailed process of forgiveness.

Still, it percolates up. I am seeking a more adequate understanding of what it means to be in harmony and how to be harmony. I do not seem to be getting this lesson! And it seems to be interfering with maintaining the consciousness of my light-heartedness and equanimity.

Could you please reach deep into your bag of knowledge and insight and explain what 'harmony' is and how to embrace it?

Thank you.
Love, Tom Mac

Anonymous said...

My husband has recently had an affair, left his family etc. There is remorse, guilt on his end, and rage and deep grief on my end. I guess neither of us is in a place to have a relationship right now, however we both love each other deeply. We both would like to find a way back to each other as we heal. How to remain in the present when I am experiencing rage and grief, which I feel needs processing?

D. R. Butler said...

This is a difficult situation, with all the human emotions involved. Rage and grief, like everything else, can only be experienced in the present moment. Processing them takes place in the present moment. This tests your love more than anything else. So it is a matter of if your love wins out. Everyone makes mistakes, and often such mistakes are followed by remorse. Can forgiveness prevail? Love and forgiveness can trump rage and grief, although the 'process' will take some time. You have to look deep in your heart and see what is ultimately more important. Give love and forgiveness a chance, and they can take you through to the other side.

Jim said...

Tom Mac, I'd like to suggest you take another look at the Feb.2014 blog entry "What Is the Most Essential Understanding?" It seems to directly address your question. In reviewing it today, I found it especially helpful along the lines of what you desribe.

Tom Mac said...

Dear Ram,
well, since you didn't 'physically' answer the question about harmony, rather lengthy contemplations/insights ensued concerning what 'harmony' is. Such is my nature. Which, of course was the perfect answer!

Just as various instruments, when tuned, play different notes - together they make perfect music in harmony, while the drone of the tamboura is always there... or the different threads of a tapestry are seemingly separate and in disarray with each other, until the master weaver blends them all in together in one whole... so too the various thoughts, perceptions, concepts, events, actions etc. (that are in apparent disparity) are brought together in harmony through very subtle shifts.
Like a tamboura, when the strings are tuned just perfectly with very slight, almost unperceivable adjustments until that overtone resonates and a pulsing light.

LOL! what appears in life to be 'right and wrong' 'good and bad' 'pain and pleasure' etc. ... are, in fact, (with some minor tuning) perfect as they are.... and in harmony.

Thanks for facilitating this opportunity.
Love, Tom Mac

D. R. Butler said...

I have just posted an EXERCISE on my personal Facebook page that is required for all participants in the Course of Training via email.

Your full participation is appreciated, and you will not regret it.

I will post a new blog entry very soon. Meanwhile we can continue to meet in the comments here.

Catherine said...

I'd like to do the exercise you mentioned. Could you post the Facebook exercise here? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ram,
Thank you so much for the course which is proving to be life changing. I am currently reading volume 2, lesson 22 and am struggling with the depth of emotion that I am experiencing; life is suddenly throwing up all sorts of challenges. One of my biggest fears is public speaking, which I know I share with the majority of the human race! I have managed to skilfully avoid it for 54 years. However I have found myself agreeing to give a talk on my work to a large group of people. I am quite frankly terrified although there is something deep within urging me on. Most strange is the almost overwhelming feeling of grief I have.....I feel this is such a deep-rooted samskara and my question is, are these intense emotions due to my ego trying to hang on to the way I have always believed myself to be? I have always thought of myself as someone who goes about things quietly, not putting my head above the parapet and this feels unbearable. I hope this make sense and I would really appreciate your thoughts if you have the time.

With love and gratitude

vickie said...

hello again--I've been on the road and off the grid (blissfully:-)) and am now back and mention an exercise for the Course folks..but I've checked both DR sites and can't seem to find it? I'd love to participate--can you let me know how to find it? gee--metaphor or simple question? many thanks

D. R. Butler said...

THIS IS AN EXERCISE--REQUIRED for all participants of the Course via email.

Anyone else who wishes to participate is welcome to join in.

The exercise is to simply sing along with the song, gesticulating histrionically if preferred, sounding as much like the voice(s) as possible. Sing along loudly, and if you have a partner or friend who will do it with you, it will be all the more fun.

Sara and I used to sing along with this on our drives. We had great fun and laughed a lot. It was one of the most enjoyable things we did on our drives together.

The purpose of the exercise is to help eliminate inhibition and self-consciousness, to develop the power of free expression without reservation or hesitation, and to not take yourself too seriously. It will be good for you.

If you wish to share your experience of this, please feel 'free' to do so.

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous, public speaking is simple. You simply remain the Seer and refuse to be the seen. This eliminates the sense of duality and leaves you with the feeling of speaking to yourself--which in reality you are. I've spoken to many audiences, including one of 3,000, and I simply don't care what they hear. All I focus on is enjoying my talk. If I enjoy it, they all enjoy it as well. If you feel uncomfortable, they can only pick up on your own feeling. So feel what you want everyone to feel as they hear you speak, and it comes out as a joyful experience.

As far as feelings of grief, etc, it is just the time for hidden or inherent emotional states to come up and be revealed so that we might become free of them. Most people are experiencing intense feelings at this time, and it is prompted by planetary influences. It is a time of great upheaval and change. I would not want anyone to have to experience this era of time without the guidance and comfort of the lessons of the Course, which are helpful in getting through this time in the most positive way possible.

FB said...

Just feel like saying...
February 2015 will be the third year of the 'new' course for me. Before that I took your previous course from 1978 until it took a break for a few years and the current course resumed. To use analogy, many buds sprouted within me, but did not begin to open until the 'new' course.
And my karma became more challenging :).
Some external circumstances I cannot change, and rather than the emphasis, and therefore struggle, suffering, etc. being on changing all that ("if only..."),the changes within myself that the course has brought are contentment, self respect, seeing, respecting and trusting the goodness, friendship, and invaluable worth of others, happiness, gratitude, etc. And on top of that, I'm having just as swell of a time being 'a work in progress', just as I am.
Everything, everything and everyone in my life has 'changed' for the better All is and each, each and everyone, are radiant beyond measure! Thank you Ram, thank you Grace.

Eternally grateful,

Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you for such a powerful answer which shows me everything. Reading and contemplating the words has given me a direct experience of what you are teaching me.....a bubble of joy and excitement is rising from within at the thought of doing the talk. Now there is something I never thought I would say...With love and much gratitude

Anonymous said...

Too anonymous, whose wife was having manic/ depressive episodes - in 1982 I had a manic episode and that was followed by a lengthily depression. A psychiatrist put me on lithium at the time. Gradually I got off of the lithium after about a year - fortunately I've managed to remain pretty well balanced since that episode all those years ago. I just wanted to say this to you to let you know people can pull out of this sort of thing, and do. Have faith and God Bless.

Mayuri said...

Dear Ram and Kay,

Was the large tree that fell on your house the one that you called Your Majesty?

I have thought about washing clothes in the creek, or stream, and have even done some of that in my life, being a back to nature sort of person, and yes, I so appreciate the washing machine. I love your comment about these great men who have invented things that have made our lives easier, and how they didn't go to college - but they knew how to focus their minds and bring their creations into the world. What a gift that is - to have such focus - and inspiration.

I enjoyed the way this blog rambled - It felt like spending time with a dear friend as I read, and didn't want the visit to end. Fortunately I take the course and each lesson is an opportunity to go into an intimate and comforting realm.

Thank you for all you give. The transmissions before the transition are deeply appreciated. I look forward to continuing our satsang for a very long time. Happy 69th and hopefully we will all be gathering here together 20 years hence. If not here, in some other beautiful looka where hopefully the planets won't be so mischievous at times.

With Love and Gratitude.

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous, I appreciate your comment to Anonymous. (I always figured it was the same entity out there using all these different names and forms.)

What I liked is that you spoke naturally of real life stuff. Some people, especially in the beginning, think certain things are more 'spiritual' and other things are 'less' spiritual. This has more to do with our conditioning than rationally thinking for oneself--a radical proposition for most.

I've been to many 'spiritual' places. I've spent many years living in a ashram, both in America and in India. Yet, even though some people appear to have it very together in terms of self-development,and have been studying and practicing for many years, when you really get to know someone, you are sometimes quite surprised by how ordinary and down to earth they are in their day-to-day life. The only real distinctions among all people is the degree to which they apply the principles of Truth in real life, and the degree to which they see and experience the same Consciousness that permeates and pervades all things and beings simultaneously.

In all other ways, however, even among those anchored in the Truth, an individual human will continue to appear very human-like in all ways.

This is very important to understand. Otherwise we prevent ourselves from feeling worthy of greatness, because we are so 'human' in our life--as though we could be something else.

The drunk in the gutter could be learning his last lessons before he realizes the Truth of Being.

D. R. Butler said...

Maruyi, the tree that fell on our house was not Your Majesty. The tree that was blown over was in front of the house, next to the road. Your Majesty is in the back, across the creek, and there is a beautiful area all around it to walk around it in contemplation or meditation. We can really sense how it is a living Being.

I am happy to hear that you liked the way the blog rambled. I have never been totally comfortable with any kind of rigid structure. In this blog more than most I really did truly ramble. Like talking from a rocker on the porch with stimulating company. It is what comes most naturally for me, and for many people it also comes most naturally for them as well, so we are a good fit.

Yes, we will be meeting together for a long time. Even so, the miracle is that we meeting together Now.

vickie said...

thanks Ram for the "exercise" me and my husband singing along...and he's still whistling it over in the other room:-) Yeah, can creep up on me...Even with this great musical moment, having to fight the nostalgia, the sense of innocence lost, of never dreaming then in the crazy early times where we would get to...thankfully the joy remains Now, the laughter, the reminders, pulling me back (or is it forward:-)). We can still choose--and it seems even more important now to do so! thanks always--

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, this is anonymous with manic and now depressed wife. Thank you for your response. It does comfort me to hear your story. I do hope that she can come more into balance in time. She is on lithium currently, and it does seem to be helping. But the side effects are hard to live with. She has fear about coming off of the drug, because, what if the mania come back, and that is a fear I can certainly understand! But I hope that life will, somehow, make it clear to her, when it is a good time to try to come off of the medication, with consultation with her psyciatrist, of course. I know of other people who have successfully overcome bipolar as well, and eventually got off all of their medication. Regards,

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous with the wife with bipolar disorder. I spoke with a psychologist weekly for over a year, after my manic episodes. Those sessions helped me to see how much I feared my own anger, and repressed it rather than let it out. I didn't want to hurt anyone with my anger, instead I hurt myself by holding it in and burying it deep.

If you can afford to get her a good counselor/psychologist, I highly recommend that. The healing that can happen in that format if you find a good fit, is tremendous.

For me Lithium felt as if I was trying to function under 20 feet of ocean. The pressure, the weight of it all - feeling numb to my emotions, not sure what I felt…. it was depressing.
There are other drugs now that might be more appropriate for your wife. I'm not a doctor, but see if you can find some other options to the lithium at some point. I've heard that it is an old strategy and many newer and possibly more helpful strategies are available now.

A drug that can help her to relax, could be just what is needed when she starts to be manic. For the depression, what ever can help her to focus on her blessings and get in touch with what she loves helps.

I wish you two all the best. There are lots of books on the subject. May you be guided to the perfect solution <3

D. R. Butler said...

I am not a doctor and have no medical qualifications. With that said, I am not a fan of lithium, especially when side effects are present.

There are new medications for bipolar patients that have far fewer side effects than lithium. Have your wife see a psychiatrist who is up to date on modern medications. There are drugs available that are more modern and have far fewer side effects than lithium.

D. R. Butler said...

I am not a doctor and have no medical qualifications. With that said, I am not a fan of lithium, especially when side effects are present.

There are new medications for bipolar patients that have far fewer side effects than lithium. Have your wife see a psychiatrist who is up to date on modern medications. There are drugs available that are more modern and have far fewer side effects than lithium.

FB said...

192192 have just read a 2011 blog. Oct. 2011, where you stated how everyone's input is important. Not wanting to be a 'pest'or 'needy', as fathomed by me, I hold back, often. In reading that blog I realize how much pride has imprisoned me! Thanks to the course and that blog, I can laugh at that samskara, experience the gratitude of being able to recognize it, and feel the freedom and joyfully let it go! Ah!
True happiness!

Avivit said...

In my current Lesson D.R. you write:
"There is nothing to fear in this incarnation, for everything has already been taken care of. It's athough we have been given a life-insurance policy that guarantees that al necessary details have been taken into account. We can relax and be 'on vacation' for the rest of our lifetime if we open up enough to acept how it really is, and are willing to do our part, which is basically living according to dharma."

Is this a consequence for anyone who accepts this as actually true?
Anyone who read this and accepts this as a given will automatically experience just that? Is it this simple?

vickie said...

Likewise not wanting to be "needy" or a "pest" I too have held back from admitting that I very much miss your blog presence, and particularly the amazing virtual community we all shared over the summer through the workshop. It's good to look at that of course, know we are still connected, look ever deeper for the same guiding truths..and today it also seems fine to give thanks for those forms that were so potent for me and let you know they are missed. I had mistakenly thought they were going to be continuing in a different tangible form and got more great way to practice letting go. Anyway, thank you for all of your offerings as whenever you share them they are always beneficial, and greetings to all the great subtle folks that I enjoyed gathering with around the subtle campfire all summer. Your words continue to inspire me, and your company continues to warm my heart. with thanks and blessings,

Tom Mac said...

Tom Mac
Gee, Avivit, a beautiful quote!
to live according to dharma and know that it will all unfold for the best.
to then be able to let go, and instead of feeling I have to micromanage and be in control and responsible for everything ... instead to sit back and watch and be focused on the witness, on being.


Kay Butler said...

Hello everyone...this next question begs for a direct answer from Ram, so I'm posting it here rather than responding on my own. With love, Kay

Question: "For the last couple of months, each time I receive a Course lesson and read it for the first time, I can only get through to maybe the 5th page before my mind feels like it can't comprehend anymore. The energy in my head and chest seem to be pulsing and I feel slightly "out of it".

"As I continue reading the lesson until the next lesson arrives, the energy seems to lessen but rarely can I get through reading the lesson in one sitting. It becomes a real challenge to understand what I'm reading - like the mind shuts off and there's a constant flow of energy.

This happens with reading about the Truth in other written texts as well. Chanting the Guru Gita is almost impossible without feeling faint - this has been happening for a couple of years now.

"I've done physical exercise to become more grounded in my body but it only helps for a while. I would love to be able to read and study more about the Truth but at this rate, dementia may settle in before clarity."