Thursday, January 1, 2015

Answers to Some Excellent Questions

In the comments of the preceding (October) entry there are some questions that I never got around to answering.  It has been a very busy time with me, but a fun time, as I have gotten to spend some time with all three children.  In addition, I have put a lot of time and energy into the lessons of the Course.  Anyway, I am trying to catch up on some things, including answering these questions from the blog.

You can verbalize a question that you already know the answer to.  If someone asked you that question you'd give them a perfect answer.  However, making the effort to sincerely verbalize a question opens us up to a new and deeper or more refined understanding of the answer.  We can only grow in sadhana or self-development by being open to seeing or experiencing something new.  Sometimes this rattles our pride by having to admit that a cherished belief is not actually true.  When we do this an ever greater reality can replace it.

 Q:  I have a question about something you said in my current lesson. Someone asked if we are free of samskaras when we leave this body. You noted that a samskara remains with the subtle body. What I didn't understand was your distinction between anger--a samskara--and "desires and passions" which "remain behind at the time of physical departure." How is a passion or desire different than a samskara like anger?

A:  You are asking a question that comes from lessons later on in the Course, and might seem irrelevant to those who have not gotten to that section of the Course where we explore the kama rupa. Anger, a common samskara, or subconscious tendency, is indulging in negative energy because God has created His creation imperfectly, and we get angry because we don't accept the way it is.  'Reality' cannot be anything other than what it is meant to be.  It is our work on ourselves to be completely in harmony with it, regardless of how it manifests at any particular time. 

Anger does not fit in among 'passions and desires,' which make up the kama rupa, which departs from the subtle body and hangs around for a while as the physical body decomposes.  It is where the idea of 'ghosts' came from, as they can sometimes be seen by someone with subtle vision.  Since it is a body of passions and desires, the 'ghost' will probably appear as unpleasant or scary, which we tend to associate with ghosts.

There is a lot to learn about the phenomenon called 'death,' as in reality there is no such thing as 'death' and nothing ever 'dies.'  The consciousness or soul that occupied that physical body during a cycle of karma simply goes through a transition of 'shedding' the physical body much like a snake sheds its skin.  As you know, we explore all this quite thoroughly in the lessons of the Course.

Q:  When I read "We create our lives through whatever we think and believe in the moment." my mind tells me we just react to whatever appears in the mind. The true creator is the one who makes thoughts appear in my mind.  If there is any good I can do it is living consciously, so that I have experiences and I can learn lessons from these experiences, which then enable me to have better preferences.

A:  Since you didn't really ask a question, I'll ask you a few:  'Who' reads and comprehends what is read?  'Who' is it that thinks, believes, or creates?  'Who' is the One that makes thoughts appear in the mind?  Is it totally coincidental?  'Who' is it that lives consciously, that has experiences, or that can learn lessons from these experiences.  If we don't understand 'Who' it is, we're just repeating words, and everything else repeats itself as well.  When we discover 'Who' this is, we break free from all other stuff, and see that it was an imaginary and temporary appearance.  Perhaps this isn't an 'answer,' but it gives a lot of juicy stuff to contemplate and meditate on.  The ultimate answer will come from within yourself, from higher Mind.

Q:  How do we know when something comes to us unsought?  We still had to create it all on one level, right?

A:   Ha, very good question, but very subtle as well.  We know when something comes to us unsought because here it is.  Whatever life situation presents itself to you--as karma--has mostly, if not entirely, come unsought.  The best way to free ourselves of  'unsought karma' is to be in harmony with it and detached from it--so that its existence has no impact on our experience.

It is true that we created it all on one level.  So, regardless of whatever situation or relationship is present now, it was created by us on some level, perhaps unconsciously, and it all led up to this.

Even though its origin was our own creative energy organizing itself into particular thoughts, which became habitual and predominant, and these thoughts manifested themselves as our physical reality today, we can still remain established in equanimity, untouched by any temporary appearance or assumption. 

So, on one level, everything comes to us unsought.  And on a physical, objective level, whatever feels real now was at some point, (perhaps prior to this incarnation, or at least not consciously remembered), what we did to initiate this particular karmic vision or experience.  Very rarely, and only with a refined intellect, can we make conscious connections between the cause and the corresponding effect.

In truth, it doesn't matter if we know the original cause of whatever is affecting us now.  Our primary aspiration can simply be to be in harmony with all the 'effects' that temporarily determine our present experience.  All we have to do is to simply remain in harmony with it, so that we are never personally affected by some objective condition we have identified with as part of our own individual life.

So much more can be explored on this subject.  This takes place over the process of participating in the Course.  The feedback we receive from many participants around the world speak of all the ways participating in the Course has transformed their lives.  Because it has the power to transform and lighten the lives of those who openly and sincerely participate, through word-of-mouth others can learn what is available.  There are no teachers or students.  We are all participants, and before long we realize we are all simultaneously participating in this great game of Life together, some, perhaps, more consciously than others.

Q:  My current lesson urges me to maintain my highest state regardless of whatever challenge may arise. It's been fruitful to contemplate "highest state" as that implies a judgement of high and low and thus duality, and "maintain" implies I can actually "do" it.  I've become aware of a sense that I can't actually maintain such a state but rather, it in truth maintains me. I may appear to fail again and again, slipping into reactivity, yet something else waits, sustaining me until I'm finished, ready to welcome me when my pride is beaten once again and I let go of trying so hard. So--is it just about awareness and identification? Identify with the one that waits for me, and bring my awareness back to it again and again even as old tendencies arise and play out?

A:  You are seeing the limitation of language.  Of course there is no 'high' state or 'low' state, and of course you can't really 'do' anything to maintain it.  Of course you identify with the One that waits for you, but to do that you have to realize there is no 'me.'  It's not waiting for anyone, and sooner or later, depending on our openness and consistency, we realize fully that we are the One we always thought was waiting for us; we realize no one was waiting on anyone.  In reality there is no such thing as 'waiting,' except as a state of mind.

There are two people in a 'waiting room' somewhere.  One is bored and restless and itching to get it over with and get out of there.  The other is focused on her own inner bliss, on the divine joy that exists without any cause.  Bliss is an aspect of our true and eternal Self, and never fluctuates.  Only our attention on it fluctuates.  It is up to us to determine at any given time how we will focus our attention.

There is an important, even essential, section of the Course titled "Attention, Conscious Intent, and Will."  The section explores the connections and relationships among these three significant qualities.  It very much addresses the essence of this question.  If you are currently in this section, be aware that it is very important to understand this section before we can go much further.  If you haven't gotten there yet, you have it to look forward to--meanwhile focus on your current lesson.  If you are already past that part of the Course, you might be well served to go back and review those particular lessons.  You'll be surprised at how much you understand in a deeper way, and even how much you'll understand for the first time.  If you don't participate in the Course, well, what can I say?  I suppose you could at least contemplate the relationships among those three qualities--Attention, Conscious Intent, and Will.  We have to understand these relationships in order to know how life really works.

Q:  My current lesson has me realizing just how attached and based in perceiving ‘oppressor/oppressed’ or ‘villain/victim’ my ego is. This way of perceiving and conceptualizing entirely dominates how I understand and relate to life. Although I have made a small and comfortable, cautious dent in changing this, I realize how deeply entrenched in this perception that I am. I deeply base identity and choices on this basis, I let it dominate my outlook and my choices, and wonder, "can I drop this?"   Yet I am eager and enthusiastic to change this endless cycle, this addiction and habit of 'pleasure/pain', 'good/bad', 'win/lose' to equanimity; how refreshing, rejuvenating, inviting, restful, and wondrous this realm feels as I approach it.

A:  You had to engage is some meaningful contemplation to have expressed all that you spoke of in your 'question'.  It is very good that you had some realization regarding "‘oppressor/oppressed’ and ‘villain/victim.’"  These are very alluring roles and make for some good drama.  Never be the oppressor, and never be the victim.

Some people can't keep from being the oppressor, and they (subconsciously at least) have a strong desire to be in control, even if it includes manipulating others.  When we try to control or manipulate another, or the way he or she lives, we create very unpleasant karma for ourselves.  It is very important to learn how to simply 'live and let live.'  Being judgmental and/or self-righteous is so contracting, we have to actually go into a space of pain in order to experience them.  See everything as God's play.  If we can do this, we can flow along with all that life has to offer with great serenity, which leads to unconditional love.

I feel we have covered a lot, certainly more than anyone will grasp with a single reading.  But it is here if you want it.  It is not light reading.  It is perhaps more than a total 'beginner' is ready for, although who knows for sure?  If you enjoyed this blog entry on any level, and don't yet participate in the Course, please at least read the introduction and complimentary first lesson.  If something is certain to be helpful in unexpected ways, why not give it a try?

To get the introduction and complimentary lesson, simply write to us at:  drbutler.course@gmail.com

The lessons are also available in Spanish and French.

Above all things, enjoy a great and happy New Year.  The way we begin a New Year sets a course of action for the whole year, so be at your best.  In fact, if you ever really start being at your best, you might never want to stop.

Love to all.





32 comments:

Leigh Ellis said...

Dearest Ram,
Happy 2015! I read your blog first thing this morning and I just wanted you to know I read it. I always read it; it's just that I never comment because I never know what to say. Your blog is the only thing I have encountered that leaves my mind thoughtless; stops it dead in its tracks. Awesome. It feels like there is so much to contemplate and process that I will be re-reading this blog a lot. I will be reviewing some lessons. I will be listening (again) to Bowie's song, "Absolute Beginners".
Your blog is a huge comfort going into the unknown this year. Many thanks for your work.
Leigh Ellis

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Happy New Year Ram, Kay, and the blog community!

What a delight to read this today. I love what you said about asking questions, even if we think we "know" the answer, that formulating and expressing them can lead us to something new. That certainly leads to a certain sense of relaxation in interacting with our Course and this blog.

I am just coming into year 5 of the course and it continues to enthrall, uplift, and absorb me. I cannot imagine life without it.

For those who haven't sampled this nothing-like-it-in-this-world-Course-- I strongly recommend you let 2015 be the year you read lesson 1, and see where that takes you!

Love KJ

Ghayas said...

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. Thank You for sharing your wisdom with us. I intend to bring back my attention to it over and over, and strengthen my will in this way. I also have a question. Since asking questions is beneficial, here is mine. (Let's start the year with a bang !) In my current lesson (III, 20) you share your understanding and contemplation of a christian concept/belief (Christ took away people's sin). Your contemplation of this belief in the perspective of the principles underlining the Course was very helpful. There is another strong, fundamental belief inherent to my monotheistic cultural background, I'm "struggling" with: the Final Judgement. The Course enlightens us a lot about death (or so called), the transition form this realm to another, the journey of the soul, etc. I came in contact through the Course with these descriptions based mainly I guess on Kashmir Shaivism about twenty years ago, and during this whole period I just "put aside, left on hold" the other concept of Final Judgement which is a main belief/faith of my religious conditioning, yet I feel after all these years that just "putting it aside" is kind of not enough. My mind is yearning to harmonize it with what I have learned in the Course and that feels true. What could I do ? Can you do or say something to help me with this ? If yes, please do, and God will bless you much more than He already does. All my Love to you as usual, but in an unpredictable way ! Ghayas

Carla Orlandi said...

Happy New Year Ram! Great blog! I loved the questions and answers and will share it on my page. Here's a question, how do you relate to others that have been in a spiritual path for many years and have "received knowledge" but they don't practice it in their daily living?
It's funny because I suggest the course often but they say they already "know" everything!
I have taken the position of just letting them be. Yet when they call me with egotistical melodramas it seems so obvious what they could do to improve their state and thus be rid of the addictions and conflicts.
The course and blog have been so amazing to me,they have transformed my life and thus the lives of my husband and children.

Tara said...

Greetings 2015!
Really liked your comment Leigh Ellis, the Lessons and this blog are as you say a huge comfort going into the unknown, that feeling of life being a total mystery certainly took on vast proportions for me this past year. I feel like a newborn deer or such getting use to how things are now after so many things have taken place, kind of weak and kind of strong, unsure...kind of fragile...resting in a thicket to gain some balance on wobbly legs. The questions here and these steadying answers are showing me the areas in myself that are causing much of the distress i feel. Where else could i find this kind of guidance? It is a wonder that such help exists and that each Lesson is a new adventure into what life really is. Reading the Course...the Lessons, this blog and the connection this creates with myself and all of you who want to experience the Best of everything that life brings our way is a life long present from the One who loves us all equally and forever. Endless thanks and Happy trails 2015.
~Peace and flowers...Tara Smith

Christine said...

I like the questions you ask the person who expressed interest in knowing Who is the one creating the thoughts. I have found it extremely fruitful to ask such questions. One more that helps me understand this wonderful topic is, Who reports my dreams and sleep quality to me? If I'm asleep, who is awake?

colette said...

Dear Ram and Kay...and blog/course participants...Happy New Year and wishes for an abundance of love, peace and uplifting moments. I remain forever grateful for the course and you Ram! I seem to still have a lot of work to do in terms of coming into harmony with what is...I just returned from Ganeshpuri and found myself in a loving, blissful state for weeks however now the old conflicts arise and with it the question of how to feel and experience harmony with what is different from what one desires(at the extreme form, how to live harmoniously with poverty when one desires riches)...or is this just the ego? i am sure that one day I will find peace with this concept, just not yet....Happy 2015.

Walter said...

In lesson 8, you mention to become aware of the space between thoughts. I'm a little lost on how to be aware of the space between thoughts. This is a "concept/method" that has evaded me for many years. I'm more familiar of other methods such as being aware of awareness, or being present in the now. I would like to understand and deepen my ability to be aware of the space between thoughts. Is it the same thing as being aware of awareness or being conscious in the present? Thanks Ram for you help and advice. I'm enjoying the course very much and I can feel the Shakti in the course.

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D. R. Butler said...

Responses to recent questions.

Ghayas,I understand your quandary (how that translated in French?), but personally I do not like the feel of any particular dogma.

So, if we're the only One here, 'who' or 'what' is going to make a 'Final Judgment' of us? To be sure, God created every little detail exactly as it is; is He later going to 'pass judgment' on His own creation.

God, Consciousness, the Supreme Presence--however we think of it--is totally nonjudgmental. Everything is equally divine--even your thoughts and feelings and all your actions.

You alone can make a 'final judgment,' but it is my experience that judgment isn't worth it. Our 'judgment' of anything or anyone is nothing more than mental activity.

Simply see the divine essence of everything. Everything is a manifestation of pure Consciousness. We can either see the Truth of the Present Moment, or we can get caught up in details and judgment.

There is no one other than you that can pass judgment on you. Give yourself your highest blessings; see yourself as an individual manifestation of the Universal. Then you live in the Truth.

D. R. Butler said...

Responses to recent questions.

Ghayas,I understand your quandary (how that translated in French?), but personally I do not like the feel of any particular dogma.

So, if we're the only One here, 'who' or 'what' is going to make a 'Final Judgment' of us? To be sure, God created every little detail exactly as it is; is He later going to 'pass judgment' on His own creation.

God, Consciousness, the Supreme Presence--however we think of it--is totally nonjudgmental. Everything is equally divine--even your thoughts and feelings and all your actions.

You alone can make a 'final judgment,' but it is my experience that judgment isn't worth it. Our 'judgment' of anything or anyone is nothing more than mental activity.

Simply see the divine essence of everything. Everything is a manifestation of pure Consciousness. We can either see the Truth of the Present Moment, or we can get caught up in details and judgment.

There is no one other than you that can pass judgment on you. Give yourself your highest blessings; see yourself as an individual manifestation of the Universal. Then you live in the Truth.

Pam said...

Third time's a charm Ram....and if you post this one more time....I might just get it!!! He He!!!!
Happy 2015!!!!
Charumati

D. R. Butler said...

Carla asks, "How do you relate to others that have been in a spiritual path for many years and have "received knowledge" but they don't practice it in their daily living?

It's funny because I suggest the course often but they say they already "know" everything!
I have taken the position of just letting them be. Yet when they call me with egotistical melodramas it seems so obvious what they could do to improve their state and thus be rid of the addictions and conflicts.

The course and blog have been so amazing to me, they have transformed my life and thus the lives of my husband and children."

Carla, I truly know what you are feeling. Many people are told about the Course, yet they have no interest in trying it to see what happens as a result.

Like you said, most people already think they already know it all. And what can we do? We can only have compassion and allow them to live their lives as they choose.

A fellow once asked the Guru, "My father doesn't like you, and he doesn't like me coming here. He's always speaking negatively about you. What should I do?"

The Guru said, "Out of a thousand people, only one wants to know God. Your father is not that one."

vickie said...

thank you for the comments about the waiting room and the one who waits, and the one who just is, enjoying bliss....Yes, revisiting I, A and W, ever deeper. It's easier now to spot the various players that react, and get impatient and angry, and think this about that...and let them pass, returning to intention. It's like Rumi's field, out beyond ideas of right and wrong doing...As you also told me last year, the stillness never goes anywhere...Thank you again for sharing the Course--it makes a difference every day.

Darren said...

Hello Kay and DR,

Thank you both so much for caring for the Course. I have just finished the conscious intent, attention and will section.

In my current lesson it says "We can experience hostility or intense resentment simply because we lack the determination and will to replace habitual reactions with something more uplifting."

My question is "how does belief or faith relate to will?"

An important mentor in my life recently advised me to pray. He said I should ask God for what I want and offer my actions as devotion. I am unaccustomed to devotion or prayer as I was not raised in any religious tradition. In fact, I was raised by "devoted" atheists. Nonetheless I feel there is some connection to my struggles with maintaining the will to focus my attention on a conscious intent. There is something deeply moving about this question every time I contemplate it but it doesn't seem to be getting any clearer. Any guidance or insight is very much appreciated.

Love

Darren

Ghayas said...

Ram, "quandary" in french is "dilemme". I'll take it easy, and one day, even moment, at a time, and stick to Love. Thank You for your answer. Love, Ghayas

D. R. Butler said...

There are a few questions that have not been responded to, and considering the date, I think I will use the questions in these comments to answer in the February blog. Therefore, if you have some questions you'd like me to go in depth about, please express the question in a comment before I start answering them in a few days.

Leigh Ellis said...

Ram, thank you for the opportunity once again to ask a question. In my. Current lesson, V.3 Lesson 12, the exercise is to practice resting in the turiya (sleep) state even while functioning in the world. I don't understand this concept at all. Believe me, I would love to be able to do this, because I think it might help me with the chronic insomnia I experience, which then leaves me very tired when trying to function during the day. I feel as if I don't spend any time in a deep sleep state during the night. is there any connection here? Could you explain more about resting in the turiya state, what it feels like, how to access it? Thanks,

Pamela said...

Thank you Ram and Kay.

It is very clear that a large part of my sadhana consists of coming into harmony with a loved one, my only child, who struggles with substance abuse. It has been a challenging decade+ for me in this regard. God only knows where I would be had it not been for this Course - thank you!

But I continue to struggle with my reactions to his undesirable behavior; not only the fact that he's addicted to heroin which will eventually kill him, there's the lying and stealing that goes along with it. Anger is a big one for me. I'm angry when he steals from me and lies to me, I can't trust anything he says, I'm angry because it's so painful to watch this, it doesn't seem fair. I feel shame, I grieve for the loss of little boy I had such high hopes for. Every parent enjoys taking pride in their child's positive development and successes, how do you come into harmony with this? I don't know how to or what to replace this anger reaction with when it comes upon me SO fast. I without a doubt feel compassion for his struggle, but compassion takes a back seat when anger is in town. It's hard to feel gratitude too. How do I keep an open loving heart and not sacrifice my own well being in the process?

I don't want to ramble on with all the unpleasant details. It has taken me quite a while to actually compose this question to you - it seemed so daunting. I need some help. Thanks.

Bindu said...

Bindu writes: Dear Ram,
What about physical pain? Masters seem to transcend it. I tried many methods, but when present it occupies my whole mind and body, can you enlighten me? I send you my blessings. Bindu

Leela said...

I know I'm squeaking in with my question, but I have been contemplating the Breath so much.
"...You continue to partake of the Infinite Omnipresence as you respire," from your first teacher, quoted in Volume 3, Lesson 8).
So, through our breath we connect with the Source, who we really are, and that is why attention to the breath is such a powerful exercise???

My main question is how is the breath related to the subtle body, does the subtle body "breathe"? I know you have probably answered this in the Course or here before, but Id love to hear it one more time. I heart repetition.

Thank you for all that you offer, all of us! With all my love!!!

Christine Boyd said...

I gained understanding from these questions, comments and your answers. It was a good review for me as a Course participant for over five years. I am grateful for people who want to know and live in the awareness of the one Truth, as do I. Thanks so much for this place.
Christine

Deb R said...

Dear Ram:
I have a question about Anavamala. In Swami Shantananda's book (The Splendor of Recognition) he talks about Anavamala as meaning "I am separate". In your lessons (I don't remember where) you speak of Anavamala as meaning "I am unworthy" or "I am inferior". To me those are very different interpretations. I (the dualistic me) can feel separate from a tree out the window, from the window, and even from the person standing next to me. But that doesn't mean I feel unworthy or lesser than those things/people.

Isn't it the same with the God? I definitely feel separate from God, especially because I have never experienced that merging or Knowledge of Oneness of all. And if I think about it, of course I feel inferior to God. Nonetheless, feeling inferior and feeling unworthy don't, it seems to me, automatically derive or arise from the feeling of separateness. Or do you define anavamala as a covering solely relating to the individual's relationship to God, and from that, the assumption that one would feel both inferior and unworthy? But even then, though I can see the inferior aspect, I can't assume that every individual doing sadhana would necessarily feel unworthy, even if they do feel separate.
So I'm curious as to why you define it that way, and if other Kashmir Shaivite scholars also define it as you do.

Kay Butler said...

Hello Everyone...A participant who has recently begun working with the lessons wrote to ask: "... how can I be available to let the ego be exposed and worked on during a moment when I feel a need to be defensive or explain myself?...it doesn't seem like it should be ok for me to agree with someone saying something about a situation regarding facts that are untrue." I responded:

When we feel a need to defend or explain, that's the time when the ego is already being "worked on," so I don't think we have to make ourselves "available" during those times, because we can't really escape that ego-work when it's happening. But I do hear what you're saying about wanting to stand your ground when others are saying things about you that are not true. I believe we can do both.

We can take note of the defensive feelings that are arising and bring the attention back to our intention to remain lighthearted and flowing with whatever is happening, while at the same time responding in a way appropriate to the situation. And of course, that takes practice.

For a time it might look as though we're not maintaining our cool when we attempt to explain our position in the situation...it's a trial-and-error thing and will be likely to come up again and again until we are able to maintain our own inner state in the face of unfair accusations. Work with the intention to always recognize those feelings of defensiveness when they arise and to remember your conscious choice of lightheartedness.

And that doesn't mean that you won't ever "defend" or "explain" your position; but it does mean that you will be able to maintain your own highest state while doing and saying whatever is most in harmony with right action (dharma) in the moment.

It's all a part of the process of the Course, so keep on reading the lessons and practicing the principles in these situations and you'll do better at maintaining your state each time you're faced with the tendency to want to defend and explain yourself. And never beat yourself up about it if you haven't perfected the practice yet. We're in the arena now, so there will always be plenty of other opportunities to practice.

Well, this is my way of sending love to all readers today. You are always in my heart. Kay

vickie said...

So funny--my last lesson urged me to remember and see the value in participating in this blog and on Facebook and I felt sadness reading that, thinking fewer people seemed to be coming here these days, and even DR seemed more involved elsewhere. But I persisted in coming nonetheless, and now this morning find myself very glad I did. Thank you all for your sharing--it is such a rich space. And Pamela, your share hit home hard for me and helped me see my own son's issues in a new light. My first response: you are addicted to shame. Just let it go and remember the love that is far truer than the addiction...And I realized it was me who has been unwittingly addicted to shame. It led me to look up an earlier posting of DR's from yes--Facebook:-) where he talked about how the hardest folks to come into harmony with have often agreed to play those roles out of the greatest love for us so that we can become free and come back into harmony on the deepest levels. Now when my own anger comes up, and yes, the disappointment, fear and shame, I remember, and look to the love he and I have agreed to play out together this time around, and marvel at all he is teaching me about what love truly is and what the work is of allowing it to be. And to that end--thank you Kay for your offering as well as you describe the moment to moment work so beautifully with the compassion to embrace even our seemingly failed attempts. My thanks to you all. And the funniest part--the exercise in my current lesson is to practice compassion:-). always a beginner...

Anonymous said...

A question about V3L24 Pg 5, next to the last paragraph
It says "It is juicier to experience being the lover than it is to be the beloved, although in reality we are one and the same."

I couldn't figure out the first part of the phrase, though the second phrase resonates. Hmmm. I'm not really looking for "corrections", but some things seem odd when I read them multiple times. I wait to see if they present a teaching to me, before I write to you.
Love,
Maitri

D. R. Butler said...

All the questions that were not answered in the comments will be answered in full in the next (February) blog entry.

There are some excellent questions, so I imagine the next entry to be very engrossing.

I just need to finish the next new lesson, and then I will get to the questions in the blog. Thanks for contributing questions to help make for a great dialogue that many will enjoy and benefit from.

D. R. Butler said...

All the questions that were not answered in the comments will be answered in full in the next (February) blog entry.

There are some excellent questions, so I imagine the next entry to be very engrossing.

I just need to finish the next new lesson, and then I will get to the questions in the blog. Thanks for contributing questions to help make for a great dialogue that many will enjoy and benefit from.

Kay Butler said...

Dear Readers...These questions came in from Dianna, who is relatively new to the lessons of the Course. They are all related and are each followed by my response.

"How are these lessons not a form of conditioning in itself?" It is a form of conditioning; we might even call it brainwashing (as we could all use a little scrubbing of what's been put in the memory banks during all the eons up to now).

"we must be reprogramming our own minds...but for what purpose?....what cause?" As you've noticed (and learned), a lot of negative conditioning/ programming/ patterns/ samskaras (however we wish to name it) has always been arising in response to 'triggers' from our own thoughts and from the outer world and others.

Most of what was fed into the mind when we were children, and since, is recorded as negative rather than positive memories on a subconscious level. It's true for all of humanity, and we might even say that the collective unconscious of humanity is primarily negative at this stage of civilization.

And the only way to change the world is by changing one person at a time (the one in the mirror), raising the consciousness of oneself is our true life's purpose--both individually and collectively.

If these lessons speak to you, help you to recognize those old patterns of thought and behavior and release them, replace them with something more affirming, then you are doing the work of raising your own consciousness. It's a lifelong process, yet it doesn't take long for the effects to be very evident in an increased ability to return to the space of contentment and love that we're calling 'the present moment'.

"Is it even possible to be entirely "detached" from some type of belief system/ conditioning/ programming?" Your 'belief system' is like the operating system of your computer--it is the basis from which all else arises. Once we've managed to shift our deepest, ancient, belief system more toward the positive, then we're able to actually 'witness' that which arises, because it no longer holds such a negative charge and doesn't pull us into its dramas as easily as before.

In that way, we're 'detached' enough to actually choose, in each present moment, how to think, feel, and respond (as opposed to react). Soon the new habits of thinking and reacting are replacing the old unworkable ones, and then there really isn't the question of 'detachment'--it becomes more a form of enjoying the show while being fully engaged.

“In the present moment there is a real sense of euphoria. It feels as if everything is infused with love, and it is easy to see how one can "fall in love" with everything in the present moment. But is it possible, to "fall out of love" in the present moment?" What we are calling 'the present moment' is simply that space of pure conscious awareness, which has the attributes of Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss (Satchitananda in Sanskrit). As we get more and more able to attune to that space (to whatever degree) habitually, then love is never absent because we know where to find it (within, where it is present in each moment).

If you are talking about 'falling in love' or 'out of love' romantically...well, that's a whole other story. Romantic love can surely serve to tune us in to unconditional love, the love of the Self; but in itself romantic love is not the end all and the be all, and it is not automatically going to last forever--that's up to us and to how willing we are to generate romantic love over time with a particular person.

Love is the substratum of the universe and is never absent; but romantic love takes work, and a willingness to continually generate it after the 'glow' wears off.

It’s been fun sharing these questions/responses with everyone here. With love, Kay

Jim said...

"Your 'belief system' is like the operating system of your computer." Kay, I agree. For me this is a very helpful way of looking at things.

For many lessons, the discussion of ego puzzled me, but one day something in the course gave me the idea to draw this analogy: the ego is a subroutine of the Self, a program loop where a little bit of the main program, Consciousness, gets allocated and then loops back on itself. Since then I don't puzzle over 'ego' when it is discussed in the lessons.

Tom Mac said...

My Dearest Ram:
I had contemplated a few questions for you, but the answers rose up and the questions dissolved. Which is quite a pleasant experience. It reminds me of what my Guru (I asked her a lot of questions, LOL) said to me, "Why do you ask?"

However, I thank you for the most recent Lesson. It was also quite an experience. After reading one page, out of my mouth came the words "Holy S***!". So much clicked and fell into place, I feel such clarity and empowerment. What a gift it is - thank you very much!
I am very grateful for all of your offerings.
Tom Mac

Christine S. Boyd said...

The question from the parent who has a son with addictions reminded me of a personal core issue, having expectations. I don't know if this will help the parent but I would like to share what came up for me. The only way through this when expectations arise is, after I recognize what's going on inside myself, to bring the real issue back to myself. Even though it seems about another person, I know it's about myself, since I'm the one feeling the pain. As I focus on changing my expectations or better yet having none, and just blessing the other person, I become freer and naturally, happier. It's a bit wild and out of the box to do this at first because it is so free. I have to continue expanding my ability to embrace this sensation of freedom because it's not how I grew up. It's learning a new skill. That's probably the main reason I take part in the Course, for the expansion into freedom and happiness. Of course, it means letting go of control and false or not, for years believing I was in control felt true and right. Talk about a paradigm shift!
Christine