Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The 'Power Struggle' Between Anger and Compassion, and Much More

Hello friends and life-mates.  I promised you a new blog entry and here it is.  I am taking some questions from last month’s comments that were never responded to, as Q&A is a very effective method for sharing Knowledge.  Even Socrates taught through dialogue with his students.  (While a member of the basketball team in college, my teammates gave me the name ‘So-crates,’ and usually referred to me as such.  Under my photo in the high school yearbook the editors described me as ’Philosopher at large.’) 

Going back to high school, one night during my senior year my girlfriend and I were riding in the car and suddenly, out of the blue, she said, very sincerely, “Please show me your space ship.  I promise I won’t tell anyone else that it even exists.  Just show me.  I want to see where you came from.”  She was an intelligent and level-headed young girl.  She was serious when she said this. 

Most everything is revealed in the lessons of the Course of Training Living in the Truth of the Present Moment (see the sidebar on the right for contact info), but the blog community is also important, for the Principles of Truth should be passed on to whoever is ready and open.  For participants of the Course, the blog is required reading, as an aspect of the Course.

There is a lot available here on this site.  There are archived articles that go back to July, 2008.  If you verbalize your question in the comments section of this current entry, it will either be answered there on the spot within a few days, or become a part of next month’s article.  Your participation is a great contribution to all who come here.

Something important that I want Course participants to understand (and it is available here for anyone who reads the blog):  We cannot tell by the way anyone looks, speaks, or acts, how advanced he is ‘spiritually’.  I am wanting to find a word other than ‘spiritual’ for it is greatly misunderstood and also brings up a duality--as in the word ‘non-spiritual’.  Nothing is either ‘non-spiritual’ or ‘spiritual’.  Everything is simply a play taking place within the supreme Consciousness we all share simultaneously.

Years back, I would come into scenes where some people dressed in a certain way, or made markings on their forehead, or acted or spoke in a way that was designed to cause others to assume that they were ‘spiritual.’  Invariably, such people were beginners with very limited understanding.  A truly advanced soul might be very cleverly disguised, might seem totally normal if not boring, or totally outlandish, and might do and say things no ‘spiritual’ person would ever do or say. 

It is important that we break out of this limited way of seeing and under-standing things.  Our job is simply to see the play of Consciousness in everything, and the same supreme Self in all people.

Okay, on to the questions and answers:

Q:  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.

A:  You seem to have a natural understanding of the ways things work.  I agree totally with ‘offer my actions as devotion,’ but there is duality inherent in praying to God to ask for things—it implies that there is us and there is someone else, a ‘God’ separate from our own Consciousness.  Yet in truth there is no one else out there.  The only ‘God’ in existence is one with our own inner Consciousness.  There is nothing separate from that, except in imagination. 

Since the only ‘God’ there is lives in all of us equally as our Awareness of Being, the only true form of prayer is affirmation.  We don’t ask or beg or plead--we affirm what we wish to be true as ALREADY True.  This is the Creative Principle at work.  All this is explored in detail in the lessons of the Course.

You asked: ‘How does belief or faith relate to will?’  Will is consciously KNOWING something is true even if there is no physical evidence of it at this time.  ‘Belief and faith’ arise from accepting some particular dogma or perspective of the way things are.  I advise Course participants to give up ‘belief’ altogether, as all that is truly important is to experience the Truth of the Present Moment.  ‘Faith’ is real and true if it is having the ‘Faith’ that the only Reality is our own highest state is this present moment.  There is ultimately nothing else worth having ‘faith’ about.  Simply have faith in your own Truth.

Q:  Who reports my dreams and sleep quality to me? If I’m asleep, who is awake?

A:  The One who is Awake is the only One that is ever Awake.  It is referred to as the Seer, the Witness, the Observer.  In Sanskrit it is referred to as the Turiya state--which ‘sees’ the waking state, the dream state, and the deep-sleep state simultaneously.  It includes and goes beyond all the states.  In itself, Turiya is eternally changeless, and always remains as it is.  When we truly ‘awaken’, we live in the Turiya state.

Q:  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 with 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 for your help and advice. I’m enjoying the course very much and I can feel the Shakti, the universal Energy, in the course.

A:  The ‘space between thoughts,’ ‘being aware of Awareness,’ and ‘being present in the Now’ are all different ways of wording the same state or experience.  There is no difference among the three.  They are simply different ways of alluding to living in the highest State.  (The Guru used to say that the highest state is Alaska.)

Q:  In my Current lesson the exercise is to practice resting in the turiya 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?

A: Chronic insomnia is usually attributed to an overactive manas, or conscious mind or waking mind, attuned to this physical world.  Turiya is simply the Awareness that is always, invariably, Present.  We access the Turiya state through observing that there is no interruption between the waking state, dream state, and deep-sleep state.  Turiya includes all the states and whatever lies beyond.  It never begins or ends.  It is, ultimately, all there is.  It is the state of living in the Truth of the Present Moment. 

For sleep, practice the sensation of ‘sinking’ into your mattress while taking long, slow, deep breaths, without allowing conscious mind thoughts.  By the time you truly sink into the mattress, you’ll be sound asleep.

Q:  What about physical pain?  Masters seem to transcend it.  I’ve tried many methods, but when present it occupies my whole mind and body, can you enlighten me?

A:  ‘Masters’ do not transcend pain.  They only remain absorbed in their inner state, and refuse to focus attention on pain.  A major transmission in the Course is the capacity, or at least the possibility, to focus our attention only on what we actually prefer.  In fact, speaking of spiritual Masters, their pain might be the only thing keeping them in the body.  Some form of karma is necessary to stay in the physical body.  When the karma is finished, the body has completed its mission, and is left behind.  Thankfully, physical pain does not follow us into the next dimension after the transition.  It is best to simply consider it an aspect of the human condition.  No one lives without pain.

Q:  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 I’d love to hear it one more time.  I heart repetition.

A:  The breath enables the subtle body to enliven and animate the physical body, and is the primary connection between the physical and the subtle. The soul (jiva) enters the physical body with the first inhalation, and departs with the last exhalation.  There is no such thing as ‘death.’  There is only transition.

Q: In my current lesson 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 even when I read them multiple times.

A:  It is simply that it is more satisfying and fulfilling to love than to be loved.  Of course, it is of major importance that we love our inner Self--then we can see and love the same One in all ‘others.’

Q:  It is very clear that a large part of my sadhana [[the inner 
spiritual work]] consists of coming into harmony with a loved one, my only child, who struggles with substance abuse. 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 the 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? God only knows where I would be had it not been for this Course - thank you!  It has taken me quite a while to actually compose this question to you - it seemed so daunting. I need some help. Thanks.

A:  I am sure that most who come here can empathize and relate to your life-situation.  It seems to be a certain aspect of the human condition.  Due to how we have been conditioned, first we pass judgment on our parents that seems to change from year to year for a while, and at a later stage of life, we have to deal with the physical manifestations of our children.  They were so cute when they were young, but as they got older the stranger became their actions, decisions, and choices.  It takes a few years for parents to fully understand their children, and part of that is honoring their karma, and living what feels like the most dharmic approach to all that comes unsought. 

Anger is one of the most common and intense samskaras [[tendencies to think, feel, and react in conditioned ways]] shared among people.  Anger primarily feels, and believes, that a certain aspect of God’s creation just isn’t going the way we personally would prefer it.  So instead of acceptance and compassion, we fill our psychic space with anger and resentment.  These two things are what primarily hold people down, not allowing them to experience the Truth of their Eternal and Perfect Awareness of being.

The way to deal with anger is to replace it with something completely different, something infinitely more preferable.  The most powerful replacement for anger is Compassion.  It is possible to go through life feeling compassion when we would once have been angry.  Someone, your son perhaps, makes choices that you feel unsettling.  It is a matter of developing and experiencing the subconscious impulse to be compassionate, whereas in our ignorance we could only feel anger and resentment.  We replace subconscious patterns to feel anger with patterns (developed, through conscious repetition) to experience compassion for what we were once angry about.

This is a very great transformation.  It is possible, and many have already experienced it.  It is not a ‘pipe-dream’.  We can live in a natural state of acceptance and compassion for all that anyone has to go through, as aspects of their karma.  It is actually absurd to be angry at someone because of their samskaras (conditioned subconscious patterns).  They have not yet developed the capacity to be otherwise.

There is a lot presented here, and certainly worthy of more than one reading.  As participants of the Course know, repetition is very powerful.  Certain life-lessons are best taught or transmitted through interaction. 

Please consider sharing this link with your friends, or through your social media.  The blog is for all people of all traditions and faiths.  The principles presented are a generic presentation of all the relevant teachings of reliable and trusted sources, and there is nothing in the lessons that anyone of any philosophy or religion can successfully prove to be untrue--'truth' will always be intuitively obvious through your own inner experience.

Recently a participant of the Course wrote that someone she would never 
have considered as having an interest in these principles was eager to begin the Course as soon as she read the introductory material and the complimentary first lesson.

Sooner or later everyone must become aware of these principles of Truth, especially to make it through the very fast and intense era we are currently experiencing.  Let others know about the blog and the Course in Living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  There is nothing else completely like it, believe it or not.  There is no reason to take anyone’s word about anything, nothing to accept on faith.  Try it yourself, initiate yourself in the infallible and immutable Truth of the Present Moment, which lives in love, bliss, and absolute contentment; there is nothing beyond it or separate from it.  This is the Truth of our own Self; this is the Truth of the Present Moment.

In last month’s comments there are two lengthy responses to answers not included here, and there are also two posts where Kay interacts with people regarding their questions.  They are well worth referring to.

For information about the Course via email, and a complimentary first lesson, please write to: 
drbutler.course@gmail.com

Thanks to our translators who have volunteered to help make the Course available to as many as possible, the lessons are also available in Spanish and French.  The translators are excellent, and have great understanding of the principles of Truth.  The only way anyone can successfully translate is through having a profound understanding of the communication and the evolutionary process we are all sharing.

I’ll meet with you in the ‘comments’ to follow.  A lot happens on a very deep level in that space we can easily share together.  Be Happy.  Be Love.